The musty old Church of the Catholic Christians has been called judgmental and misogynistic; so we have made ourselves welcoming to the roles of women and non-judgmental to lifestyles and tolerant of all the new confusing genders that have recently been invented. Since families did not want to come and hear condemnations of their behavior which seemingly judge them personally, making them feel guilty for things such as abortion, contraception or abnormal sinful behavior; we now apply every Bible verse to the relevant topic of being more loving and forgiving of one another. So now we’re called the Church of Nice and so we strive to be. We are nice and we are Church. Why then are so many people leaving this improved version of Christianity? Have we not made enough changes? Is it because we aren’t being nice enough to those who want to have homosexual marriages in the Church or divorced and remarried couples receiving Communion; though only a small minority really believes it to be the Body and Blood of Christ anymore? Perhaps we could be more accommodating . . . by continuing to do more of what hasn’t worked so far.
Christ has been made to be a spiritual Santa Clause of love and forgiveness Who demands nothing to fill our stockings yet nobody believes in Santa anymore. We annul nearly every prior marriage and will forgive any sin in the Sacrament of Penance and nobody wants to go. We have inclusive language and have increased the roles of women but now the men do not even darken the doors of their local parish. We have liturgical dance, folk songs, and tunes with a good beat to engage the young men and women but once they are confirmed into the Church they stay home with dad. Indeed, what is the problem? Can’t you see how the Church has become relevant and concerned with the big issues such as global warming, feeding the poor and social justice? What can we do that would attract more of you to attend: bingo, dances, movies, clowns, sing-a-longs, or maybe a free lunch or breakfast? It must be that we have not changed enough and have not yet rid ourself enough from our old image of rigidity and being too judgmental: but we are told every week how much we have changed and how much more we must change in order to be the pastures where the sheep wish to graze.
I’m afraid that we can’t compete with the secular world in distributing worldly treasures. We keep trying to out give them, to out love them and to show everyone that we are even more tolerant than the world. It is a fool’s errand that we are on. The attraction of things of this world is not what converts hearts and makes good Christians. Making people feel special and stroking their egos is not going to help them strip away a life of self-loving for a life of self-giving. Had it been that simple, we would now have record numbers of Catholics and the whole world would have changed. I’m afraid that what makes a Christian a Christian is the awakening of a small inner voice that condemns them in their sins or that leaves them feeling empty with all the treasures that the world has offered and given them. It is the Faith of our Fathers and the Pearl of Great Price that makes men want to strive to earn it and children to desire it and women to fall in love with it. This is the gift of Christ that cannot be matched by any worldly goods and is being ignored by the teachers of the faith and destroyed by the lover’s of this world. If it isn’t in-season in this world, they won’t preach or teach it and therefore it is not being done. And so, as Scripture tells us, they will “strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” Pray the leaders of our Church recognize the problem before only a small remnant remains.