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Challenges--Ethical and Otherwise--Facing the Catholic Church

Monday, Aug. 16, 2010

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.


Tags: religion and ethics