Saturday, May 30, 2015

Captive audiences are the best audiences

The other core team members and I are driving the teenagers up to the diocese's summer camp for a retreat all this weekend. I'll be gone today through Tuesday. I'm looking forward to driving a giant van. I'll have a captive audience for the Levinson Awesome Mix:


One of the talks I must give is on the New Evangelization, specicifally evangelizing Catholics. This bemused me; I thought that was the whole point of the New Evangelization anyway. It's a tacit admission by the Church that she has been failing rather spectacularly at passing on the faith to the generations that came after Vatican II without pinpointing the cause. And much like Vatican II itself, the term is ambiguous enough that it can mean whatever the speaker intends for it to mean:
Pope Francis has called for a reorientation of the Catholic church's way of educating people in the faith, saying the process of catechesis should steer away from using "simply the scholastic sphere" in order to teach people to encounter and follow Christ.
The pontiff has also offered a new definition for a term that has long befuddled many church observers, redefining the "new evangelization" as an effort by Catholics to evince their faith by working to help those on society's peripheries.
Speaking in an audience Friday with participants of a meeting of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Francis first said that the times in which we live are ones of "great changes."
"Truly, these changes are a happy provocation to gather the signs of the times that the Lord offers the Church so that it may be able ... to bring Jesus Christ to the people of our time," said the pope. "The mission is always identical, but the language with which to announce the Gospel asks to be renovated, with pastoral wisdom."
Francis of all people should know the old Latin-American joke: "What happened when the Church opted for the poor? The poor opted for the Pentecostals." It's not a coincidence that the Church has hemorrhaged membership since she made a paradigm shift from speaking about man's eternal destiny to worldly problems like nuclear disarmament, youth unemployment, and climate change.  We've pretty much allowed the world to make a colossal reframe of religion. In the past, we demanded the world accept our frame instead. We can speculate about how deeply the faith held the people, but the verifiable facts are we had much greater Mass attendance, participation in the sacraments, and priestly vocations back when we were supposedly withdrawn inside Fortress Katholicus as Mark Shea derisively calls it. I'm not opposed to trying out new paaaaastoral strategies in principle, but there comes a point where you need to accept that it isn't working. The Springtime of Vatican II passed its sell-by date thirty years ago.

But I'm just another Trad blogger. All I can do is stay in a state of grace and offer my best for those members of the next generation it has been my privilege to work with. Archbishop Lefebvre - whom, for the record, I consider one of the greatest Catholic heroes of the 20th century - said that the Church will return to its traditions some day. It won't have a choice; there won't be anything else left. I wish my five loyal readers a good weekend and I'll see you in a few days.

3 comments:

  1. Hope you had a good trip. Anyone try and claw out of the van to escape the music?

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    1. Actually, everyone loved all of my selections. My awesome mix relies heavily on 1980s hair metal, but there's just something about that genre that pumps you up and makes you believe you can do great things.

      I asked the kids what teens listen to these days. They pleasantly surprised me in their personal tastes. There were 30 kids on the retreat and they all impressed me with their faith and devotion. The world may be rapidly devolving into chaos, but there will still be small corners where young people are all right.

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  2. Glad to hear about the kids. My church's youth group growing up was not so devout. Of course, we didn't have someone like the youth group leader your church has.

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