American Catholicism: And Now Where? by John G. Deedy

By John G. Deedy

The yankee CATHOLIC church is a striking institu­ tion. Its humans worship in numbers that dwarf figures from in other places. It has probably the most brilliant of Cath­ olic college platforms, maybe the main shiny. it really is mainly an obedient church, a few might say docile­ controversies of contemporary years though. it's a church characterised by way of nice loyalty to the pope and by way of unstinting monetary generosity to Rome. nonetheless, the Ameri­ can church is a church in transition. there was ero­ sion in components of church existence. but extra is probably going. The vii viii PREFACE American Catholic church, in sum, is a ready-made sub­ ject for research and learn. whilst this publication venture on American Catholicism used to be first broached, no specific time urgency appeared to be concerned. in recent times, nuns and clergymen had ex­ ited the spiritual lifestyles by means of the hundreds of thousands, and their ranks weren't being refilled. Many seminaries and convents were closed for loss of want, then bought off to satisfy the monetary imperatives of the respective non secular com­ munities. The management of Catholic hospitals in different towns have been became over to put forums, and some Catholic faculties had close their gates. a few Catholic courses had disappeared from view, and in lots of Catholic parishes, focuses shifted, usually to ac­ tivities of apostolic inconsequence, as emphases tired clear of diocesan colleges, very a lot of which had closed for sturdy.

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5 But it is fair to presume that the vast majority of bisops deferred, and continue to defer, to the apostolic delegate and the authority that he represents. The apostolic delegate's influence has reached, accordingly, into matters large and small and, as a rule, has needed only to be indirect to be effective.

The Times Living Section columnist Anna Quindlen not long ago confessed in the very second paragraph of a warm and moving appreciation of her Catholicism that "Since the issue became material to me, I have not followed the church's teaching on birth control. " 11 It's a familiar acknowledgment. Even if 80 percent overstates the number of Catholics who practice artificial birth control, it can't overstate the number by much. A huge percentage of American Catholics have settled the issue of birth control on the basis of their individual consciences, as opposed to the official teaching of their church.

Was the medium wrong (because inappropriate) for the Trinitarians? Was the message wrong (because overly frivolous) for the Oblates of Mary Immaculate? But those questions stray into another issue. The point is that one way or another, new priests can be recruited. By the same token, a church short of funds can harden the sell and look for income to rise. It has always been this way, and no doubt will continue to be so, new tax laws governing charitable donations notwithstanding. Religion dwarfs all other philanthropic fields as the beneficiary of individual and corporate generosity.

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