Loss of members tops the list of challenges facing the Catholic Church according to Tom Reese, SJ, visiting scholar at the Center this summer and fellow of Georgetown University’s Woodstock Theological Center.
Citing statistics from a study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Reese said there is a 4:1 ratio of cradle Catholics leaving the Church to people joining the Church.Losses were especially apparent among young people and women.
Reese also pointed to the decline in the number of priests and religious, to what he called the “clericalism and arrogance” of the church hierarchy, and to boring liturgies and inhospitable parishes as other significant problems.
To meet these challenges, Reese advocated “presenting the Christian message in a way that is attractive to people in the 21st century.”Referring to the passage from the Bible, “You’ll know they are Christians by their love,” he counseled “acting like Christians.”
Reese made his presentation last week at a gathering of SCU faculty and staff, and Catholic school educators gathered at the Center for a program on moral formation and character education.
Educators from throughout the Diocese of San Jose gathered at the Center this week for a program of presentations and workshops on moral formation and knowledge of faith.
A session of the Center's popular Ethics Camp, the program featured Center Director of Character Education Steve Johnson, himself a former Catholic school teacher and principal. Other presenters included Fr. Tony Mancuso, a visiting scholar at the Ethics Center and chaplain at St. Francis High School; and Christa Hanson and Cecile Mantecon, principal and religion coordinator at St. Mary's School, Gilroy.
Tom Plante, SCU professsor of psychology and nationally recognized expert on the problem of clergy sexual abuse, talks with the Center's Emerging Issues Group about recent research on sexual offenders. The group discusses what the Catholic Church has done--and still should do--to address the problem.
Center Executive Director Kirk O. Hanson returned today from a conference at the Vatican, "Towards an Economy Supporting the Human Family: Person, Society, Institutions."
Hanson was a panelist for a session on "North American Perspectives on Caritas in Veritate," the 2009 Papal Encyclical described by the US Conference of Bishops as "a call to see the relationship between human and environmental ecologies and to link charity and truth in the pursuit of justice, the common good, and authentic human development. " He is shown here with co-panelists and Stefano Zamagni, a member of the committee that drafted Caritas in Veritate.