Only the Saints Can Save Us

By J. Peter Nixonauthor and contributor to Patheos.com Does the Catholic Church have a future? Given the events of the … Continued

By J. Peter Nixon
author and contributor to Patheos.com

Does the Catholic Church have a future? Given the events of the last few months, the question is not impertinent. As Ross Douthat noted in a recent essay in the Atlantic, this was the year when the clerical sexual abuse crisis truly became global, reaching even into the Vatican itself. Douthat observed that “for millions in Europe and America, Catholicism is probably permanently associated with sexual scandal, rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The abuse crisis was a hurricane battering a structure whose foundation had been eroding for years. The decline of sacramental practice in Europe is so obvious as to require no further comment. But smug Americans who think “it can’t happen here” should look at the numbers. Rates of mass attendance and sacramental marriage among Catholics in their 20s suggest that Catholics in the West will share a common future.

Most of the solutions offered are unlikely to have much of an impact. The liberal path of greater rapprochement between Church and culture has not proven successful for those denominations that have tried it. But an embittered and joyless defense of orthodoxy — the kind on display in far too many quarters of the Catholic internet — repels far more people than it attracts.

The problem goes deeper than difficult doctrines or antiquated structures, problematic though these may sometimes be. Our children and grandchildren are abandoning the faith because they perceive — rightly — that its demands are at fundamental variance with the lives we have prepared them to lead. We have raised them to seek lives characterized by material comfort, sexual fulfillment, and freedom from any obligations that they have not personally chosen. Should it surprise us that they fail to take seriously our claims to follow one who embraced poverty, chastity, and obedience to the will of God?

A revival of the Church in our time will require believers who are willing to take risks on behalf of the Gospel. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Cardinal Law, rather than retiring to his sinecure in Rome, had instead made a penitential journey to Haiti and lived out his days in a hospital cleaning toilets and picking maggots from the wounds of street people. Some might have seen such a penance as inadequate to the offense, but it could not have been dismissed as an empty gesture. To renounce everything he had achieved for the sake of the Gospel would have been an act worthy of a follower of Jesus Christ.

The future of the Church is not in the hands of its leaders, whose exhortations seem increasingly to fall on deaf ears. It is in the hands of ordinary men and women who are willing to live lives that make no sense unless Jesus Christ is who we believe Him to be. In the end, it is only the saints who can save us.

J. Peter Nixon is an award-winning Catholic writer whose work has appeared in America, Commonweal, U.S. Catholic, and elsewhere. He lives in Northern California.

This essay is part of a series on the Future of Catholicism at Patheos.com.

  • petelafond

    Don’t know what a saint is. Can you introduce one to me to prove one exist? Or is your last point meant that only the true delusionalist will be left?

  • probably-no-deity

    …………………………………………………………………

  • probably-no-deity

    The Great

  • usapdx

    With the RCC administration painting them self into a corner by blameming all but not admitting that they silenced the truth of the sexual abuse crimes of children to protect the image of RCC has done more damage since the damage they brought on with the monk Martin in Germany.I bet the RC women will never forget how the pope call the sin of ordination of a women a more damageing of a sin the abuseing a child sexually. Pope of P.R..No wonder RC members attitudes are changeing. The old days of hell,fire,& damnation from the clergy are past tense. It time for a NEW pope and then VATICAN III to turn the RCC around or there will be empty pews in the old church.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    The judge in the federal trial of the 2008 California H8te Vote to harm LGBT Californians has evidence Catholic leaders conspired with Mormons to throw the H8te Vote by making massive secret, illegal cash and in-kind contributions to the H8te campaign. This is not the only serious violation of US laws Church hierarchy have committed in order to force their beliefs on our political system. They have been violating IRS 503c regs with massive lobbying for many years. All it will take is a few US officials with courage and the RCC will lose its tax-exempt status and be forced to pay massive fines for its criminal activities.I take no pleasure in the demise of the RCC, the faith of my childhood. I honor the good Sisters who taught me, and note the Sisters spoke out FOR health care reform while the old men said “We’re all set, to hell with everybody else.” That hierarchy will probably make it into the Vatican City just before indictments are handed down.Catholics will still be free to practice their faith even when they have forfeited their vast riches for their criminal activity. Their faith shouldn’t depend on cathedrals OR huge amounts of commercial real estate currently owned by the RCC.

  • mjcc1987

    As a recovering catholic I can say that the church, christianity or “religion” in general no longer has relevance to my life. I am generally a good and moral person who does not require a sky fairy to tell me what is right and what is wrong.The problem with all churches, mosques, and temples, is that as you gain more knowledge, you shed the fairytales. All religions require and demand ignorance and superstitious fear in order to propagate its power. Knowledge and intelligence is the mortal enemy of religion. Always has been and always will be.

  • SarahTX2

    We are indeed observing the dying fury of the Catholic Church. It is riding hard on its 2,000 year reputation. And riding it into the ground. The 60′s were in fact the beginning of a bridge to a new enlightenment of inclusiveness. The Catholic Church tried to board that bridge with Vatican II but it didn’t work because Vatican II didn’t practice what it preached which I believe was love. If you love women and children and gays and all people, you do not continue to scorn and disdain them while saying I love you. In the end, Vatican II degraded love because it did not follow through by tearing down the walls of exclusion in the Catholic Church.The oldest institution in the world is dying because the one thing it will not do is recognize that all men, women, children, gays, divorced, priests, nuns, all people are created equal. So be it. In the midst of this maelstrom of inequality, I believe the one thing the Catholic Church could do to revive itself and get back up off its knees and become a force for good in the world would be to take all those closed buildings, churches, seminaries, rectories, etc. and turn them into sanctuaries and refuges for all the children that were harmed by the Church, a commitment to take care of these children until the day they die. That is the road back. The worldwide road back. How likely is that? Near zero. That is why the inconceivable begins to be conceivable and we can imagine the fall of the Catholic Church which is not too big to fail.

  • lionelroger

    Religion was created by men for manipulatio, power and money.

  • bonniebeagle

    The Roman Catholic Church (and other Catholic churches) certainly have a strong franchise in leading believers to salvation but it does not have a monopoly. Once church leaders recognize this and choose to lead by example and positive counsel, the Church will begin to reinvigorate itself. There has been more exploitation of the faithful over the centuries than the Church is willing to admit and, every so often, there comes a payback time (such as the Borgia popes fomenting the Reformation. The time for renewal is now.

  • johng1

    Does it have a future? Let’s hope not. I hope they go into bankruptcy, lose their tax exempt status, and all those deviates are jailed. Not in any particular order.

  • georges2

    Well, I certainly hope so, as I’ve just joined!

  • mikem5

    It’s been through a lot worse. It will exist until the end of time. Sorry folks. When God makes a promise He keeps it. Now if only Catholics would not use birth control like our church teaches then it would be able to keep pace with Muslims.

  • lufrank1

    Sigh . . . Just as a small group of MEN decided which writings were sacred and which were not……a small group of men (not GOD) decides upon whom to confer Sainthood.When (never) will people understand that concepts of who, what and even if God is are speculations of mere MEN?

  • rohit57

    The trouble is the assumption that it is either Catholic dogma, or else a life without any moral obligations. But isn’t this because we take it for granted that Christianity is the only game in town?A lot of Americans have tried Hinduism and Buddhism, two religions which are not dogmatic and do not eschew morality. (Some versions of Hinduism in India do have problems with dogma, but this does not apply to the versions prevalent in the West). I do not suggest that people convert to one of these, but just learn about them to realize that there is more space than the choice between repressive dogma on the one hand, and materialistic selfishness on the other hand.

  • mikem5

    lufrank1:Do you think Peter or Mary or Jesus’ Mother were speculating when they saw him Easter Sunday morning? It is a historical fact that Mathew, Mark, Luke and John had those stories down on paper. If you don’t believe them why do you believe that the War of 1812 happened? It is speculation based on reason and logic my friend.

  • mikem5

    rohit57:Good point. And I’d add that anyone who thinks Catholics are repressed both don’t know much about the Catholic faith and don’t understand true freedom. Is a train “repressed” because it has to stay on the tracks or is that what liberates it to be what it is?

  • detoqueville

    All churches (Catholic, Mormon, Islamic, et al) will continue to be influential because in difficult times people cling to their religion (and their guns.) Only the truth will truly set us free: there is no supernatural, no paranormal, only the natural and the normal and the mysteries we have YET to explain.

  • mikem5

    detoqueville:For someone who believes theres mysteries we have yet to explain you sure sound confident about what there is and isn’t.Let’s hope we don’t find out Jesus did die and rise from the dead. That would ruin your whole theory ;)

  • fedupindc

    I am one of the one-third of Catholics who was born in the Church but who has left it because of the unenlightened leadership of most of the hierarchy and the rigidity of all its rules … against contraception, its catalogue of mortal sins and accounting that boggles the mind, marriage with other Christians, woman clergy, the pro-pedophile policies of the current Pope etc, I was educated at Catholic grammar and high schools and Catholic college where I had to take theology every semester. But now I am a member of the Episcopal Church along with a lot of ex-Catholics. According to Catholic dogma, we are all guilty of mortal sins and should all wind up in hell.Cardinal Ratzinger, now the current Pope, has long history of opposition to any attempt to modernize the Church such as Vatican II, reining in theologians such as Hans Kung who question Papal infallibility. As prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger sends a letter in 2001 to world’s bishops ordering them to report to report pedophile and other sex crimes to the Vatican and not to the police. From 1992 to 2002, Boston’s Cardinal Low, is proactive in his support of pedophile priests such as James Porter and Paul Shanley. He is finally forced to resign for having protected abusers than the abused. Shanley is sent to prison in 2005 for his rape of child.

  • mikem5

    fedupindc:Don’t know what to say to that one…well…other then we want you back. And the Blessed Mother wants you back. Jesus wants you back. Just always remember that the Catholic Church is you home and she loves you. Take out your rosary and ask the Blessed Mother to take your hand and lead you to her Son. It will never fail.

  • jmljep

    How long will we have to wait to see ALL churches simply banned? “My God is better than yours” should suffice at showing how ludicrous those voodoo religions are. I can’t reasonably make a difference between any of them. Telling (Indoctrinating should I say) people not to worry about their present life and how happy they will be as soon as they are … dead is a crime against humanity. It is demeaning to make one’s life depending upon the whims (all purely invented) of a supposed God. All the rest, including the above article, is simply hard and shameful consequences. Religions and churches are a plague.

  • Renshaw

    @MIKEM5:”And the Blessed Mother wants you back. Jesus wants you back.”What arrogance! He hasn’t left the Christian Church! And what would a Jewish woman want with anyone belonging to any other religion than Judaism? She was a devout Jew all her life and died as one! She probably never heard the word “Christian” at all.You think that everyone who isn’t Catholic is somehow reprobate. We aren’t. Here’s a news flash for you, sweetie – Episcopalians believe in God, Jesus, and will go to heaven just like you Catholics.Now go protect your priest rapists and send your money over to Cardinal Law so he can continue to live in his palace at Santa Maria Maggiore with his 15 servants. He belongs in jail for protecting all his priest rapists, but you and your Church can go on harboring him for as long as you can.Sickening!

  • Horace2

    God and the Church will live a lot longer than elderly blonde Washington Post reporters.

  • mikem5

    Renshaw:I think Cardinal Law should be in jail too. See we agree! But (and I say this out of love) Jesus really started one church. Those that have broken away aren’t really doing what Jesus asked them to do. Sure, God will decide who goes to heaven but poor old Jesus put Peter and his successors in charge of continuing his teaching. And of course the Blessed Mother didn’t hear the word Christian but she did know that her son started a new religion and that his apostles were to carry it on. God bless and sorry for the arrogance.

  • ceflynline

    “It would be nice to see the oldIt wouldn’t be the first time, and the immediate previous times are as recent as today, or Mexico in the early twentieth century, or Communist China, or…And each persecution produced its share of volunteers gladly accepting the job and the imminent threat of martyrdom. And after the persecution ends and the era passes, if there is still a human race there will still be a Church, a Pope, Cardinals, and Bishops and priests. A persecution will only cause the Church to gain more priests, not fewer.Two thousand years of experience tell us this. And scripture backs it up.

  • mikem5

    ceflynline:Well put.

  • pioneer1

    if you cling to a gun, at least it has reality to it. To cling to a mythology-based belief system is much much sadder. To cherish and polish the oddities of dress, food, mannerism, repression of women, hatred of others who have different clinging mythologies, denial of fault and the ability to be a disgusting and evil human being while still being able to mumble a few words that open the door to your Heaven. Be a mass murderer, win 72 virgins. Its very sad.

  • ceflynline

    “Once church leaders recognize this and choose to lead by example and positive counsel, the Church will begin to reinvigorate itself. Posted by: bonniebeagle”By Example? The Current Pope, when he was still just an Archbishop, had some few possessions that he needed to tend his diocese. This for a highly educated and very talented man of long work experience. When he accepted his election, not needing his car any more, he gave it to be auctioned off and the proceeds to go to charity. He now, of his own, owns nearly nothing. As head of the Church he owns responsibility for it, but his salary is a small apartment in the Vatican, and his meals and clothing provided. Your average American Diocesan priest has eight years of college level education in philosophy and theology before ordination, and gets a life time education in counseling, social work, and psychology. for all this education and experience he gets paid, in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, about $20,000 a year. given his seven day a week work schedule, and the day long nature of his work, this is quite a bit less than minimum wage. From that he pays his personnel needs, sometimes including paying for his own lodging. Many still find it possible to give away some of that pittance to help the poor.If the priest, or Brother, or Nun are of a religious order, they may own some personnel possessions, few personnel possessions, or no personnel possessions, depending on which order. For that compensation these people work to bring Christ to the world, by work, prayer, example, and occasionally by preaching or teaching. They tend the sick and the poor, care for orphans and the indigent, and try to bring surcease to the sick and dying. And when a few, from weakness, or carelessness, or deliberate misconduct, do wrong, (sin), the world chooses not to see the Church as a whole and the sinners as an aberration, but to see the sinners, a small contingent, as the norm, and the Saints, like Mother Teresa, as the aberration. And then demand that the Church reform and lead by example. Ok, since you wish to see only the warts, look at only the warts. The Church will in time purge themselves of those warts, reform itself as it can, and, since it is still made up of men, have priests, bishops, brothers, sisters, and even occasionally Popes who are less than warts.But it will still be the Church, and as Catholics believe, it will still have the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And it is that promised guidance that makes the Church something to value and participate in. And Joyless? Not in MY 63 years.

  • woyaobob

    Despite the many wonderful individual Catholics, the problem with the Church is that in its Roman Imperial style of administration and the all too worldy benefits bestowed on its leadership, it is a travesty of what Jesus taught in the gospels.

  • ceflynline

    “What arrogance! He hasn’t left the Christian Church! And what would a Jewish woman want with anyone belonging to any other religion than Judaism? She was a devout Jew all her life and died as one! She probably never heard the word “Christian” at all.Posted by: Renshaw”Since tradition has her living in Antioch at the time of her death, at 72 years of age, which would be around 55 AD, by which time the Antiocheans had coined the term Christian, she probably knew it, and if she knew it she probably embraced it. An observant Jew all her life? Probably not, since women in Judiasm of the time were unimportant to the Jews of the time. She would certainly have known of the council of Jerusalem and its decision, and keeping kosher in gentile Antioch would have been far too great a burden, given Jerusalem’s ruling. Imposing on the Church Fathers Protestant adjustments to history that they need to justify their separation from the Church doesn’t make your history valid. One Church, and one Church only, can trace its existence to the First Pentecost. Every other Church and Sect defines itself by what its reasons were for separating from that Church. So the fundamental principle for EVERY Church not in union with Rome is a claim, many years separated from the Apostles, that the one continuing Church was somehow in error on the points claimed by the new Church, propounded by men who founded that Church. Yet obviously, if the one continuing Church was wrong, the New Church had no teachings that couldn’t be equally wrong.

  • ceflynline

    “Despite the many wonderful individual Catholics, the problem with the Church is that in its Roman Imperial style of administration and the all too worldy benefits bestowed on its leadership, it is a travesty of what Jesus taught in the gospels. Posted by: woyaobob”A: See post immediately below yours.B: One of the great inventions of the Roman Political System was an organization to administer an agglomeration of hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of individual “Nations”, that is groups of different tribes and clans having local affinity, into a political system that brought peace and economic prosperity to Western Asia, Asia Minor, much of Europe including the Western Isles, and North Africa down to the impenetrable Deserts. It kept that peace, as well as any nation since, for four hundred years, and the eastern portion continued that peace for nearly another thousand. As a political model the Roman Empire taught all Western Governments everything THEY know, even when, were they to learn more of what Rome knew, they might better governments for it. The Church uses the better parts of Roman administration, but so do virtually every Western Democracy and every remaining Western Monarchy. The Church’s wealth is used, not for the pleasure or benefit of its administrators, but for the spread of Jesus teachings, ESPECIALLY its teaching on the status of the poor. The Church owns what it owns thanks to the generosity of its members and its careful stewardship of those donations. But those administrators live rather frugally in that physical creation, and carefully pass to their successors as much of that benefice as they can. And when, after centuries of Monks living frugally and building their own living quarters in places where people chose not to live, and in the process improving agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, as well as Architecture, mechanics, and other industrial science, they frugally pass on to their nth generation wealthy monasteries, built by those monks, and greedy schismatics, heretics, and apostates decide to own those properties, that move on, (or are martyred, moving on in a much better direction) and invariably those treasures immediately begin rapid decay, because they existed at all only because of the pious maintenance by those frugal monks. That wealth you condemn is there BECAUSE the leadership lived in careful following of Jesus teachings. When it falls into the ownership of those who are not so motivated, it decays quite rapidly.

  • ceflynline

    “PREDICTION: Pope Benedict XVI will suddenly or mysteriously die in less than 300 days. ” Posted by: probably-no-deityOK, Prophet.Should Benedict drop dead today there would be little mystery, given his advanced age. So his living beyond your prophetic 300 days is more mysterious than his death within the nearly year yu don ‘t give him. So when Benedict is still Pope in June, 2011, you are exposed as what you are, a fraud, a false Prophet. We have your prophesy on record. We have the time to wait.

  • johng1

    MIKEM%: “It’s been through a lot worse. It will exist until the end of time. Sorry folks. When God makes a promise He keeps it.”You make me chuckle when you say till the end of time. Ha ha ha. You’ve got to be kidding, or you have never really pondered how long humans have been here compared to the everlasting time before they showed up and the soon to come everlasting time after they disappear. Ha ha ha

  • elwoll

    Does the Catholic church have a future? I hope not. May the bastion of magical thinking and practice succomb to and be overpowered by the evolution of reason and humanism.

  • mikem5

    johng1:When you can tell me what/who was/is the first cause I’ll conceed that there is no end of time. Something doesn’t come from nothing my friend. And if something creating nothing (as I believe) then something cand end it.

  • linguine33

    I’ll bet all those catholic zombies wish for the good old days when you could

  • mikem5

    elwoll:How did the first matter evolve or was it always in existence?

  • jailkkhosla

    Catholics should take a lesson from the Muslims.When Muslims are confronted with the fact that the founder of Islam was a pedophile, they retort that Aisha was not 9 when the 56 year old Muhammad forced her into his bed but she was 12.Aisha was six when the 52 year old Muhammad married her and when she turned 9 and had her first menstrual period he took her to bed.Catholics should come up with similar evasive tactics and then threaten to kill any one that draws an image of Jesus. Then the Catholic religion will be everlasting.

  • mini2

    My goodness–until the end of time! When that pronouncement came down, the 2d Coming was due in a half-hour; oops, make that next week, next year, 1200, 1600, . . ., 2012; oops.”The problem goes deeper than difficult doctrines or antiquated structures, problematic though these may sometimes be. Our children and grandchildren are abandoning the faith because they perceive — rightly — that its demands are at fundamental variance with the lives we have prepared them to lead. We have raised them to seek lives characterized by material comfort, sexual fulfillment, and freedom from any obligations that they have not personally chosen.”Who raises his/her/their children this way? This is a transliteration of the Roman Catholic hierarchy’s “blame it on the prevalent, i.e., secular, culture”; more avoidance of responsibility: blame the Spockized parents! Such tripe.Xianity in the US of A is a crutch, probably needed because the capitalistic society chews one up and spits one out; perhaps, if we had a different economic system, the spiritual safety net could be disposed of.

  • mikem5

    mini2:It’s the evangelicals that predict end of time not the Catholics. You are too smart for me to comment on anthing else you said ;)

  • beck5

    Geeze, Catholic and love it. If only society would realize that the church is a minor reflection of the rampant child abuse that exists – everywhere. Yes, we are Catholic, yes we are sinners. But we are not gun lovers, nor haters of anyone. A very small minority of priests were abusers and this fact was blown out of proportion by sad people that were thrilled to see good, truth and beauty fall. You may not love us, but we are still to love you.

  • potaboc

    One thing that would seriously disarm many of the church’s problems would be for senior clerics to be held accountable for their actions on clergy crimes. If a few potentates (Cardinal Law, e g) were to do time, there would be a different less lax attitude on the part of his cpnfreres. As for doctrinal issues, the church (if it is to remain true to its calling) will have to accept that doing what it thinks is right has to cost sometimes.

  • politbureau

    “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

  • phvr38

    I’d argue “aggiornamento” wasn’t, as it moved institutional Catholicism radically away from the other orthodoxies without any “gain” elsewhere (save from that of the fire sale of priceless altars and statuary, paid for and built over centuries by rich and poor alike). As we still think of our military per the uniformed esprit de corps of World War II (as opposed tho the multisex pajama party it has become), so do non-Catholics think of Catholicism and are surprised at how the institutional Church has chosen to diminish itself, reaping scorn and rejection even in the many countries where Catholicism was an essential and often official part of the culture. In 2008 the US electorate thought its incoming government agreed with it that Iraq was a mistake; how long will it take the Vatican to realize that shooting itself in the foot 45 years ago was a mistake?

  • thebump

    Christ promised the Holy Spirit, and proclaimed that the gates of Hell shall not prevail. If you believe anything you believe this.The biggest scandal is the dumbing down of the liturgy, the sacraments, sacred art and music, and Church teaching. Once someone truly grasps that the Holy Mass is the most sublime experience that one can hope for this side of Heaven, you can’t keep them away. But if what they regularly see is irreverence and what they hear is dreck, it is only natural that the limitations of the human senses would militate against the supernatural beauty and truth.

  • voice02

    “Does the Catholic Church have a future?”

  • cpameetingbook

    Does the Washington Post have a future? I think the old Roman Catholic church will long outlive WaPo and everyone associated with it.

  • flyersout

    The catholic church is a stinkingIt would be nice to see the old

  • BlaiseP

    “By submitting content, you are consenting to these rules: You agree not to submit inappropriate content. Inappropriate content includes any content that:You agreed to the above flyers out. Let’s see if the Post agree to enforce its own rules. (Does libelous material against a Catholic count?)

  • BlaiseP

    jontomus alledges:Please back up your statement with evidence that the Catholic Church On the contrary, the Church apologized again and again and paid out billions in damages. Your charge is false. (The rest of your rant is just standard anti-Catholic bile one would expect to find on the Post.)

  • Renshaw

    @CEFLYNLINESo let me get this straight – you’re saying:Mary was a bad Jew, lived in her 70′s, and was a Christian. You know this how? By what you call tradition? Is this the same tradition that includes the Inquisition, the wholesale slaughter of Jews, the wholesale slaughter of Muslims, the Crusades, the Jewish Pogroms and the tradition of priest rapists?By the way, it wasn’t in the 50′s when they used the term “Christian”, it was in the 80′s. By your count, she was already dead.But you don’t care, since you also seem to think that only you Catholics go to heaven. What a miserable God you people believe in! He creates all people, but only wants 1/6 of his created humanity in heaven because they’re the only ones who are Catholic.More utter nonsense.

  • BlaiseP

    PS Texas is not the world. If you read Scalia’s article (which you obviously didn’t) you will find the growth is in the Southern Hemisphere: LatAm, Africa, Asia.

  • detoqueville

    Mike,The origin of matter (energy, really) is one of those mysteries that can’t yet be explained. I do know one thing about the answer, though: it will be achieved by observing and understanding the physical world. Reliance on supernatural explanations decreases knowledge of the world and of ourselves. It’s time to let go of them.

  • BlaiseP

    The decline church-going Catholics is most pronounced in Europe (with the exception of central Europe–Poland, Czech, western Ukraine), and in the US, although Latinos seem fairly resilient to the prevailing anti-Catholic sentiment from the likes of folks like,well, Jontomos and flying scout(out?), who is libelous although his comment will probably stand.Jontomos OTOH merely calls names. Well, if your argument is weak enough, that is all that is left!

  • paulhume

    jmljep – tut tut. The “voodoo religions” (voudon, candomble, macoumbe, obeah, santeria, etc.) don’t generally get into the “my God’s better than your God” argument you suggest. If they find a God whose cultus is rewarding (culturally, spiritually, magically, whatever) they tend to adopt and adapt that cultus into their existing liturgy.That aside, in the US at least, all the “religion oughtta be banned” arguments imply that it would be necessary to amend the First Amendment’s free exercise clause, in the same way that one would have to eliminate it’s separation clause to enforce tokens of religious belief on the population at large. Over the years, one side or the other in the tension which exists between these two imperatives has indeed tried chipping away at the protecgtion is dislikes, by legislation, judicial action, what have you. Simply ipping out the protection inherent in either endangers the protection inherent in the one one prefers.As far as the original article, if the Catholic Church is forever linked to the present scandal (as it doubtless will be), it is also forever linked to numerous other scandals, crimes, schisms, through the ages. So are most human institutions with a history measured in centuries. Many of these still survive (there were periods during the Buddhist theocracy in Tibet that give, say, the papacy of Alexander VI a run for its money in terms of court intrigues and murderous power plays). Plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose.

  • ZZim

    Does the Washington Post have a future? I think the old Roman Catholic church will long outlive WaPo and everyone associated with it.=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-Rofl, well said. The demise of the Catholic Church has been predicter by its enemies for centuries, this century is little different..

  • jontomus

    Oh, BTW BLAISEP, libel isn’t libel if it’s true.Just because you don’t like the sound of it, doesn’t make it libel.You really are pathetic. don’t you have any other kind of imporant something in your life, is it really so empty you’d defend child molestors just so you could have a church to go to?Whine, whine, whine, die. Not much of a life BLAISEP.

  • jontomus

    good for you BLAISEP, never let the truth disturb your fantasies. You’re a fine True Believer, and you’ll go to your grave someday with all the self-assurance only the most delusional people can have.

  • mini2

    “mini2:It’s the evangelicals that predict end of time not the Catholics. You are too smart for me to comment on anthing else you said ;)POSTED BY: MIKEM5 | JULY 24, 2010 5:39 PM”I think we might start with St Paul’s writings to discover that “the end of days” is not a 19th-century evangelical Xian creation; also, look to St John’s “Book of Revelations.” In those days, they WERE the “evangelicals.”

  • elshibinihussein1

    ” Our children and grandchildren are abandoning the faith because they perceive-rightly- that its demands are at fundamental variance with the lives we have prepared them to lead “.

  • ceflynline

    “More utter nonsense by Renshaw “Since you haven’t a clue what you are writing about, I ought to apply my principle of ignoring ignorant posters.BUTTradition is that portion of the Deposit of Faith that was not written down in Scripture but taught by the Apostles. It also includes the verbal records of the preaching and travels of the early Church fathers (and Mothers). Tradition says peter was crucified upside down and Paul was beheaded with a sword because he was a Roman Citizen. Acts of the Apostles gives us the fact that Christians first got that title at Antioch. Since Acts ends by around 50 A.D. it is reasonable that Christians were first so called about that time. John says he took Mary as his “Mother”. Tradition says she lived 72 years and died at Antioch. It is unreasonable that she would not follow her Son’s teaching, and like Peter give up kosher as no longer needed. There is just no reason that she would not have been a revered member of the Church at Antioch when she was there. But invent your unsupported time scales, and define words, that the Church has used in its own way for two millenia, as you will, since it lets you reject the teachings of that Church. It does not relieve you of the requirements to live as God directs, it merely puts you outside the Church, and therefore cuts you off from the authority that you just might need to understand what it really is that God Wants.”Outside the Church there is no salvation” means that when you deliberately reject the teaching and authority of the Church, you bring upon your self the onus of your failing to meet God’s requirements, and ignorance will not be a defense.

  • B2O2

    The problem is not just with the child sex abuse scandal and the associated denial. And it is not just with their utterly medieval attitude toward women and people who do not have heterosexual sexual feelings. The problem is that the Catholic Church has been utterly wrong on virtually every major question facing humankind for many centuries now. Evolution versus Creationism, the basic makeup of the solar system, torture… you name it. Every time there has been a Big Question, this institution with its supposed Hotline to the Source of Divine Intelligence, has gotten it wrong. They’ve eventually taken their cues from science and secular society, getting dragged along like clueless children. These latest two failures of the church are just the last in a long line of them.Would you keep bringing your car to a mechanic that had exhibited no knowledge of automobiles, time and again? If so, are you sane?

  • Grandblvd03

    In my hometown, the diocese closed a small catholic school which was the oldest parish school in the town. Parents were outraged and the bishop refused any sort of compromise. Their only option was to move the kids into other schools further away. It was a financial decision. Months later, the diocese purchased (in cash) a home in the wealthiest neighborhood in town for a new auxiliary bishop. There were plenty of existing old rectories and homes where the new bishop could have lived. This is the problem, I’ll bet it’s happening all over the country, all over the world.

  • frantaylor

    I gotta say I learned some great new jokes today, courtesy of ceflynline: 1. That the Holy Roman Empire fell because its government failed to be Catholic enough. 2. That the Holy Roman Empire “kept the peace”, despite the Crusades where entire civilizations were obliterated because they failed to be Catholic enough.3. Oh and this is the best one: “The Church’s wealth is used, not for the pleasure or benefit of its administrators, but for the spread of Jesus teachings” This is ABSOLUTELY a hoot because my Catholic Priest had NO qualms about asking his poor destitute flock to donate money to be sent back to the Vatican in order to pay for “administrative costs”.

  • ThishowIseeit

    What’s frightening is not the downfall of the RCC – we can live without it- but the steady rise of the other male-dominated social and political system incompatible with democracy and masquerading as a religion that was invented approx. in the year 610 CE.

  • mdc2836

    The Catholic Church signed its own doom when it strayed from the Gospels and put its strength in Tradition (with capital T). The message of Jesus is so lost to the Church right now–only the Holy Spirit can revive it. Never underestimate the work of the Holy Spirt. We sometimes have trouble recognizes it.

  • douglaslbarber

    If the Catholic Church had no future, its critics would have no more interest in it than they have in the Flat Earth Society.

  • geonerd20

    As long as there are young boys and girls to be molested, the Catholic Church will definitely survive.

  • mikem5

    detoqueville:Agreed, observation and science will answer the question. But, at this point at least, reason (and open-mindeness) would have to allow the possibility that a “creator” is the origin.

  • Martial

    The institution has always been someone’s bete noire. Fred Barbarossa posed an infinitely greater threat; having survived that gentleman, the Church can rest assured of some sort of a future after the dust settles on this child abuse scandal.

  • mikem5

    MINI2:POSTED BY: MINI2XXXXXXXXXXXXXXI thought you were talking about the modern day church. These days the Catholic church teaches that man cannot know the exact time. And what the hell does Xian mean?

  • dangreen3

    I grew up in a Catholic family, and was surrounded by many relative,s also involved in the church. Was a rural community, and everything seemed to revolve around the church, the rules confession, making sure you donated, etc., etc. Religious artifacts, adorned everyones home, and the priest were treated as if they were very special people. The whole atmosphere was a turn off, for the young. Fear seemed to be the driving force to keep people in tow.

  • Renshaw

    CEFLYNLINE:You’re using the Acts of the Apostles as your source? The book written by the same author as the Gospel of Luke? That Gospel says Jesus was born when Herod was King of Judea, when Augustus was emperor of Rome and Quirinius was governor of Syria. Yet Herod was long dead before Quirinius went to Syria. He got that wrong, didn’t he. And Luke says that the turning of the money-changers tables happened the week he was killed but John says it happened nearly a year before he was killed. Who is wrong?And he says that Jesus died during Passover, and that he ate the Passover meal with the disciples. John says there was no Passover meal, and that he died on the Day of Preparation. So who is wrong dear? And which gospel do you accept and which do you reject regarding the crucifixion sine they don’t agree? You say Mary listened to her son as he spoke to her on the cross? I wonder why Matt, Mark and Luke never mention that conversation? I guess you just gloss over these inconsistencies and errors. You’ll say that you don’t think of the Bible in literal fashion until it comes to ordaining women, when you claim that Jesus only ordained men. They were all jewish, too, but that doesn’t seem to be a requirement for ordination today, does it?You’re just like the fundamentalist and born-agains. You can’t think for yourself. You say tradition has it that Peter was crucified upside down. Yet you ignore the tradition of the Church ordering millions of deaths. You pick and choose all you want, dear. Your Church is becoming more irrelevant with each and every passing day.

  • joe_allen_doty

    A saint is anyone who is old enough to know right from wrong and has made his or her own deliberate decision to accept Jesus’ free gift of salvation. If you are a Believer in Jesus and you try to live by HIS teachings and the teachings and practices of the apostles and the disciples of Jesus during the 1st Century AD, you are a member of the real church with even Paul called “The Way.” Paul did not approve of denominations in the sense that groups of people followed a religious leader.

  • bpai_99

    The Catholic Church will remain with us for some time, but the writing is on the wall regarding its eventual extinction. Its growth in the current era springs entirely from undeveloped countries where the uneducated, desperate and gullible mostly reside. Eventually even they will experience rising living standards and higher educational levels. Religious devotion/intensity is directly proportional to high ignorance and close-mindedness. The day will come when humanity outgrows its intellectual infancy and faces the universe without a pacifier.

  • mikem5

    This is the future of the Catholic Church:

  • ceflynline

    I gotta say I learned some great new jokes today, courtesy of ceflynline:Strange that you should ascribe that idiocy to me, as I didn’t mention the Holy Roman Empire once. In fact I gave the time of the (Western) Roman Empire as about 400 years, thus ending it two hundred years before Charlemagne and the start of the Holy Roman Empire.So, dear frantaylor, your initial reading being so poor, it is obvious that you learned NOTHING from me.Sad, but I can’t get everyone to pay attention.

  • mikepost1

    This is my take on the RCC:

  • ceflynline

    Oh! by the way, the HRE lasted from Charlemagne to Bismark, something of a millenium and a quarter. Not to shabby a life span after all.

  • joe_allen_doty

    The Roman Catholic Church is not only a church denomination, it even has its own country, aka the Vatican.How do I know the RCC has its own political government? The United States of America sends assigns an Ambassador to the Vatican. But, the USA has no ambassadors with other church denominations.When the RCC Papa (what they call in in Italy and Spanish speaking countries) speaks, he claims to speak for ALL Christians. But, he never speaks on my behalf. I am not a member of his denomination. The RCC claims that the Pope is the Vicar of Jesus the Christ.Well, who is the Vicar who Jesus promised to represent Him after he ascended up to Heaven? Why, the Holy Spirit, of course.The RCC practices a form of godliness and most of its rituals are modified versions of Jewish rituals. No such rituals were practiced by the 1st Century AD church members.

  • ceflynline

    Mike: frantaylor had no intention of responding to my post. She needed something to mock and so decided that I couldn’t tell the difference between Rome and Aachen. She also decided to ignore fact and mock the peter’s Pence collection, never a big thing in the Church but a fair request, all things considered. Like Renshaw she can’t deal with the post so she invents her own and attacks that. Like I Say, I usually don’t respond to ignorance.By the way, its he.

  • jontomus

    The catholic church has the same future as the church of zeus. It is dying now, withering away like all the other ancient, primitive, barbaric religions which preceded it.As soon as Islam dies the same way .. .why, the world will be a much better place.

  • thebump

    Comment: Okay, but those are the impressions of a child. You are now an adult, responsible for yourself and your own soul. You have a responsibility to yourself as well as others to educate yourself as an adult, and to develop for yourself a mature personal understanding of the truth.

  • sdr1

    Does the Catholic Church have a future?Does superstition have a future? BetchaS D RodrianAll religions are local..

  • alientech

    “Does the Catholic Church have a future?” – the only people asking that question have already answered it in the negative. The way things are going, Western Civilization will be gone before the Catholic Church.

  • spidermean2

    THE CATHOLIC CYCLE In one third world country where population explosion has become a major problem, Catholic chapels or centers offer free operation to untie the fallopian tubes of mothers after indoctrinating them that artificial contraception is a SIN. This devilish Church invent their own doctrines so parents would produce more children despite their abject poverty. With more extra children, they are forced to raise them with no proper education and decent meals and most of all, no future. They then teach these poor people that their government is the cause of their poverty due to corruption but lo and behold those same government personnel are usually “devout catholics”. Some revolt (with the church’s help of course) which cause more poverty and this has become a “CATHOLIC CYCLE” which I presume is routinely duplicated around the world. To escape poverty, many go abroad adding more economic pressure to their countries of destination.Catholic countries not only over populate, they produce extortionist rebels too. Had you wondered why there are no marxist rebels in Islamic countries but there are so many in catholic countries? It’s because many of their priests support that ideology. They breed fast and then kill each other fast too. WHAT A CYCLE.There are many things this church does which is outside our scope of detection. The devil could be using a much bigger cycle that is harder to detect. Consciously or unconsciously, all catholics is part of that grand cycle.This church teaches that poverty is blessed but when they become truly poor, then comes the blame game and they then teach rebellion..

  • willemkraal

    religion is a total scam a major fraud, it poisons everyone it touches.

  • Yankeesfan1

    “We have raised them to seek lives characterized by material comfort, sexual fulfillment, and freedom from any obligations that they have not personally chosen.” Not all of us have raised our children to be selfish.Of course, when this forum is moderated by Sally Quinn, who with her husband Ben Bradlee “forgot” about his granddaughter’s wedding and scheduled her son’s wedding for the same day, but then actually rejoiced about the fact that there were no overlapping guests because the families all hated each other so much that she and Ben had been uninvited to the granddaughter’s wedding, it would be easy to assume that selfishness and narcissism are the dominant characteristics of those who hold weddings in churches (Washington National Cathedral, in the case of Sally and her son). It is not, however, true of most people of faith, including our young people. The average age of March for Life participants gets younger every year.

  • JimW2

    The catholic church has finally been showen for what it really is,

  • DwightCollins

    The Catholic Church will survive until the end of days…

  • DwightCollins

    I cannot believe the Carholic church will fall because gays infiltrated the clergy…

  • abboggs

    The church will survive but it’s survival will not be honorable.

  • wpatters

    Has anyone ever asked why we support the Vatican when they are a dictatorship, rather than a democracy? I think this hypocrisy is stunning, especially when coupled with the Vatican’s policies on denying basic human rights to millions around the world (gays and lesbians), extorting it’s citizens if they want a divorce (payments allow for annulment) and turning a blind eye to the rape and abuse of our children.The Pope isn’t elected, except by a select few cardinals. The people have no voice in their leadership. The Pope is no better than Castro or Chavez. Wake up.

  • raschumacher

    Probably. There are still Wiccans, right? OTOH the Greek, Norse and Latin gods are all gone, so maybe ol’ Yahweh/Jehovah/Allah will follow.

  • ThomasBaum

    J. Peter NixonYou wrote, “The abuse crisis was a hurricane battering a structure whose foundation had been eroding for years.”If one thinks of the “Catholic Church’s Foundation” as being anything other than Jesus than the “foundation” has been eroding since day one of the church.Jesus never said anything about the Church being “perfect or imperfect”, what He said was that the “Church” had a mission and that “mission” is that “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it”.You then wrote, “The decline of sacramental practice in Europe is so obvious as to require no further comment. But smug Americans who think “it can’t happen here” should look at the numbers.”Some seem to think that the “mission” of the church is to keep the “institutional organization” going at all costs whereas as I have said and will repeat: The “mission” of the Church is that “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it”.You then wrote, ” It is in the hands of ordinary men and women who are willing to live lives that make no sense unless Jesus Christ is who we believe Him to be. In the end, it is only the saints who can save us.”If we “believe” that Jesus Is Who He Is, then we believe, or at least we should, that Jesus is OUR Saviour, OUR as in ALL OF HUMANITY AND ALL OF CREATION.God’s Plan will come to Fruition.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • douglaslbarber

    The Catholic Church is in the midst of a perfect storm, though not the first in its history. At the time of the Reformation I don’t know of a single contemporary commentator who would have said “Popes, Bishops, Priests and Monks tend to be exemplars of morality.” Quite the contrary.The current crisis has the Church afoul of feminists (on abortion) and gay rights activists (on any number of fronts), and it’s hard to think of a more damning thing that could be said of it, than what can be said of it.It will survive, as an embodiment of that form of Christian faith which trusts in God’s shepherding of a community rather than God’s once and for all revelation by means of a text.

  • socomfy

    … I hope not …

  • deacon777

    Just say the phrase “The Catholic Church” and all the loonies come out to play.

  • Impudicus

    The threat of a huge meteorite headed towards the earth or of an all out nuclear war would concentrate the minds of the fallen away very quickly upon God and religion. Who needs God when prosperous and in possession of so much stuff that makes life worthwhile. There is so much anger and malaise in America because the god of prosperity…the one who creates full employment, an ever expanding economy and protects us from foreign and domestic enemies has deserted us. Who can we turn to now? Turn out the lights! The party is over!

  • ak1967

    The problem with Catholic religion or for that matter any highly rigid or organized religion is that they are fundamentally in conflict with democracy, freedom of ideas, free speech and open discussion. On one hand we tell our children to think for themselves, and then we tell them God does not want women priest ( Catholics) or does not want women to get education (Taliban). Religions have to modernize themselves. They have to keep up with the knowledge that is being generated in science, technology, humanities, medicine, history, cultures. It is not the other way around, like conservative like to think.

  • gokart-mozart

    “its demands are at fundamental variance with the lives we have prepared them to lead. We have raised them to seek lives characterized by material comfort, sexual fulfillment, and freedom from any obligations that they have not personally chosen.”Well, either Christ’s Church will fall, or societies organized around these foolish and anti-human lives we have prepared them to lead” will fall.Looking at European birthrates, I’d bet on the Church.

  • pechins

    If you believe that Jesus was the Son of God then you know that the gates of hell shall not prevail. Notice the word shall was used by Jesus. Shall is the stronger grammatical form of will or shall. Also through out the old testament their was always a remnant that survived even in the harshest times. I believe that we are the final remnant that will survive until the end of time.

  • ravitchn

    People have been predicting the demise of the Catholic Church since Saul of Tarsus in 35 AD.

  • mascmen7

    Catholics in name only CINOs can bring about the demise of the Church in certain nations as it grows in Asia and Africa at a rapid rate. Muslims destroyed the Catholic and Orthodox Church in North Africa, Middle East and Spain by 711 A.D-Muhammad died in 630 A.D. Spain reconquered its territory by 1492 under Queen Isabella on her white horse more courageous than our cowardly presidents who send others to seize oil for David Rockefeller. King Henry VIII and Elizabeth I destroyed the Catholic Church in England in the 16th century and Luther/Calvin did same in Scandinavia and East Germany. Muslims conquered Constantinople in 1453 weakening the Orthodox Church which left Catholic Church in 1054. Jesus said, “When I return, will there be any faith left on earth? Homosexual priests are doing a good job in destroying faith on earth.

  • RichardHode

    It’s really too bad the Catholic Church got itself into the mess it’s in. Right about now a rabid Catholic Church would be useful in counteracting the creeping islamization of the West. Who can better fight religious fanatics than other fanatics? The smackdown of the century: Allah v. God and their sidekicks, Jesus v. Mohammed (in strict alphabetic order.) Should be something to watch.

  • n_observer

    “Our children and grandchildren are abandoning the faith because they perceive — rightly — that its demands are at fundamental variance with the lives we have prepared them to lead.”What do you mean we, kemosabe?The fact that lukewarm Catholics raise secular children is not exactly breaking news. People who can’t be bothered to fast six Fridays a year aren’t cut out for perpetuating culture beyond passive consumption generally, never mind passing anything to do with sacrifice on to a new generation.The other side of the coin is that secular Americans are taking themselves out of the gene pool by failing to reproduce at even replacement levels, leaving the future to those who choose to populate it.

  • bushmills

    The concept of online dialogue needs to be upgraded, to an exercise in civil discourse on this, a serious topic vs. who cares about Lebron James…..The concept of church vs. faith is what is being played out through this vile and disturbing incident / epidemic in the RCC. The role of Christ is not at question, but the role of the infrastructure of the Church to deliver his message and abide by his teachings….No organized church has clean hands when it comes to scandal and abuse of power in the history of mankind…What is immensely disturbing about this topic, as a RC, is the churches need to nullify its detractors rather than solve the problem at a global level, and to admit wrong and seek forgiveness as Christ himself taught.This hypocrisy cannot be ignored by people of faith, as it reveals the gap that now exists between the Church and the faith itself. Christ came into the world to bring change and salvation, as I was taught. The Church needs to have the same capacity for change and truth in order to deliver on its promise of salvation for those who believe.The intellectually and morally corrupt individuals in the Church need to be removed……as no organization can endure when its leadership ignores it own teachings of truth and light, and instead lives a life of deception and corruption.The RCC is a viable entity, as are its faithful who see the wrongs and work to right them. Jesus is no less real to so many billions worldwide due to this scandal, but the Pope should recognize what part of the Churches history he wishes to preside over, its resurrection or its demise.

  • daniel3715

    “Does the Catholic Church have a future”?I sincerely hope not.”It is the biggest joke in human history that the most dangerous agents of evil have come cloaked in the mantle of God”.Author unknown.

  • apspa1

    The latest on Catholic Church:”VATICAN CITY — The pope has granted broad powers to the archbishop he selected to overhaul the Legionaries of Christ following revelations that the order’s founder led a double life.A decree approved by Pope Benedict XVI and published Saturday on the Legionaries’ website said Archbishop Velasio De Paolis can override the Legionaries’ own constitutions as he goes about reforming the order and purging it of its institutional abuses.The conservative order once hailed by the Vatican for its orthodoxy and ability to recruit priests fell into disarray starting last year as it admitted that its founder, the Rev. Marciel Maciel, sexually abused seminarians and fathered at least three children.In a May 1 statement, the Vatican said Maciel had built a system of power built on obedience and deceit that allowed his criminal and immoral misdeeds to go unchecked for decades. It said the Legionaries needed to be profoundly purified to survive, with the order’s essential spirit redefined, its founding constitutions revised and the systemic abuse of authority corrected.In the decree dated July 9, the Vatican said De Paolis would have broad powers of governance to carry out those tasks: He will oversee the commission revising the constitutions. He will have authority to decide who becomes a Legionary priest and where current priests are based. He will approve decisions about Legionary schools and seminaries, all extraordinary administrative matters, and transfers of the order’s assets.The order’s current leadership – accused by critics of having covered up for Maciel’s misdeeds – remains in place “unless it becomes necessary to provide otherwise,” the decree said.Questions about the fate of the current leadership and control of the Legions’ finances have swirled since the Vatican announced it was taking over the order. News reports have estimated the Legion has assets totaling euro25 billion ($33 billion) in a holding company headed by the order’s current No. 2….”On the question of does the Catholic Church have a future?For the sake of the future of humanity, we should hope and pray it does not!

  • jemvbcnyc

    The Catholic church has a bright future despite the sex abuse scandals. Pedophiles are found in every area of society that deals with children, and this is a sad commentary. In the Catholic church, it is inexcusable. The vatican and dioceses need to purge these predators, and they need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If they are sheltered then those who harbor them, also need to be prosecuted. In fact, catholicism is flourishing, due in large part to the Latino population. By commparison, Lationos tend to have larger families than their caucasian counterparts. Africa has also experienced growth. The Catholic population is higher today than two years ago, coming in at 1.611 B. and this trend should continue.

  • Renshaw

    @JEMVBCNYC:I don’t know where you get your information, but the Vatican released in February a number of 1.116 billion people BAPTIZED as Roman Catholics in February of 2008. That’s just the baptized. How many of them are actually practicing? Look in Europe. Less than 1% of all Catholics in Europe actually go to Mass at least once a year.Your numbers are way off!

  • kenk3

    The Catholic church is growing due to the increase in uneducated people in the world.

  • areyousaying

    “Catholic Church” and “future” in the same sentence is an oxymormon.They only have their past.

  • czer2006

    The question should read: “Does the Washington Post have a future?”The Roman Catholic Church has survived worse situations in 2,000 years. It will be around long after the Washington Post has to auction off parts of itself – a la Newsweek – in the coming years.Perhaps an exorcism is in order to save the Washington Post from its Liberal deamons.

  • glorybe1929

    The Roman Catholic Church is failing as we speak. They will be tried in the WORLD COURT and found GUILTY OF EVERY SIN IN THE BOOK.

  • mini2

    “And what the hell does Xian mean?POSTED BY: MIKEM5 | JULY 24, 2010 8:45 PM”"X” as in Xian is the Greek signifier for ‘Christ,’ hence “CHRISTian” (see also “Xmas”).I don’t believe that the ROMAN Catholic (there is another “schismatic” Catholic church, the Eastern Orthodox) Church has given up its powers of prognostication; it has just been wrong so often since its early, “traditional” phase that it has shut up about it, leaving lunatic Biblical interpretation to the boobs of contemporary “Evangelicalism”; would they would apply that principle to the rest of RC “dogma.”Since the RCC believes in the remnant (a different, less (?) prideful version of “the chosen people”), a small, select–perhaps even “elite”–band of the saved, those of us amused/bemused by their antics might just let them pass into oblivion (“the Pearly Gates”?). One certainly hopes the organization has no future influence even if it continues to exist as a shell of the self-anointed.

  • Nemo24601

    Catholic church is doing fine, thank you. So well that the trial lawyers are trying to loot more dioceses and the Vatican itself. It has to be realized that the loot-financed groups like SNAP and other “victims” groups will never be appeased, so the thing to do is ignore them and treat them as the enemies they are. Certainly do not defrock “credibly accused’ priests, that’s the “if it sounds good, it must be true” method that we would never tolerate in our criminal courts, I hope.

  • txoh

    It can be saved, but not in its present makeup and attitudes, especially to mandatory celibacy and the need for total inclusion of women at all levels. There is a long overdue need for some serious reformation and intelligent insight into the very serious issues that are rocking today’s Catholic church. If the church stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the need for change, then it, like the dinosaurs, will be just another footnote to history. A mere candle in the blowing winds, soon enough snuffed out. The “all boys” club is on the precipice – either they chose wisely, or go over the edge.

  • jplannert

    If the Catholic Church can survive the Second Vatican Council, it can survive anything…But if it wants to thrive, the Church needs to rejoin its Orthodox brethren anb allow priests to marry, while maintaining celibacy for bishops.

  • cllr

    Will the last person to leave the Catholic Church please blow out the candles?Thanks everso.

  • Relmitfam

    I am not sure what Mr. Nixon’s basis is for saying that orthodoxy repels more than it attracts. If you go to any church that adheres firmly to the Magesterium the numbers of parishioners grow every year. From such churches there has begun an revitalization of solid priests who truly desire to serve God in chastity, poverty and obedience. The sex abuse scandals are most prevalent in wayward priests who were caught in the confusion right after Vatican II. Unfortunately, Vatican II was grossly misinterpreted to Churches around the world and the Vatican definitely made a false assumption that people were properly catechized. Sadly following nearly every major Council in history there has a been a period of 50 or more years of unrest and turmoil in the church before there a great period of reform and growth. Historically, many men have written as Mr. Nixon has that the Catholic Church is in the decline and won’t be revitalized easily, but they have all proven wrong.

  • OldAtlantic

    The Catholic Church is obsessed with finally eliminating the White Protestants by 3rd world immigration. It is going to get a Muslim Europe with the Sistine Chapel scraped clean.

  • johng1

    It’s a crying shame the Romans ran out of hungry lions. Or maybe the lions got tired of christians. Crying shame.

  • johng1

    Posted by: politbureau | July 24, 2010 9:33 PM : “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” The Catholic Church has survived the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages, the Inquisition and Communism and it will survive the blight killing many of its branches now.————–Dude, read that again. Gross! Stop trying to read between the lines and realize they actually mean what they say!

  • robertajkaufman3

    so much going around on line. first something about what glen beck said jews did not kill jesus romans did. romans where the weapon that the jewish leaders used to kill jesus. they could have set him free but they chose barabis instead so he was correct at least I think so there is a divinitive balance in our world this doing pentance as you call it i believe god is the only one who knows what man needs to do to right his self when grievous sins occur if he is to be righted at all. sometimes when man tries to institute that process so less in wisdom than a wise god true worshipping becomes religious retribution. jesus said render to caesar what is caesars. we have laws in our society against criminal activity of any sort depraved or other wise. let them be adhered to for that is a law of god unless that law goes against his. remove someone from a trusted office if he or she has violated it and if there is repentance and redeeming wouldnt that be between the soul and god. you dont have to be a priest to serve god but you have to be separate and extremely holy to serve our christ as a priest there is no higher office calling those to supreme standards of holiness. thats why religions are dead and thats why people who come to christ often get lost when the shepherds are lost themselves what happens to the sheep I believe a remnant of the catholic church will survive they would be the faithful enduring to the end. they will be the ones who hold on to christ see his will and fix the things that need fixing but that is an opinion and wont we all just have to wait and see today I love the lord not because I am worthy or in the rank of the highest called but simply because he has been my friend thru years of struggles and lets me know his prescence is with me when I can in the humility of my spirit forgo hatred and strifes and feel him cover me we all fall short of reaching that place with him but should keep trying no matter what happens in our lives if we love him for what other hope have we

  • APaganplace

    “”Probably. There are still Wiccans, right? OTOH the Greek, Norse and Latin gods are all gone, so maybe ol’ Yahweh/Jehovah/Allah will follow. Posted by: raschumacher Incorrect, by the way. Just because Christians and some atheists both like to triumphalistically-say that people who worship the traditional Gods don’t *exist,* (and thus can be defamed and demonized at will,) …what you say is simply not true. Frankly, the Catholic Church’s problems aren’t failure to sell repression and othrodoxy, or in the ‘right way,’ …It’s the lies. The corruption, both institutional and theological. The hate. The political aggression. The blaming of others for their own obvious problems relating to all of the above.The blindness. The arrogance. The bigotry. The abuse, of people within and without the Church. The total denial and victim-blaming about their own crimes and corruptions. The *hypocrisy.*The fact that what they’re selling *doesn’t work.* Frankly, if the Church goes under, I’m not looking forward to seeing a totally-*uncontrolled* mass-manipulated theocracy, but I won’t shed any tears, either. A return to even worse ‘bad old days’ isn’t the answer for the Church, though. Their tactics of simply getting more virulently-right-wing and hateful may consolidate some power, but in the end won’t make them any friends. What the Church needs to do is stop pretending they’re our rightful overlords and start acting like the neighbors even *exist.*

  • papafritz571

    There are no organized or recognized religions that operate solely to save souls.

  • ThomasBaum

    detoqueville You wrote, “The origin of matter (energy, really) is one of those mysteries that can’t yet be explained. I do know one thing about the answer, though: it will be achieved by observing and understanding the physical world.”Do you really “know” this?Or do you “believe” that the answer to this present day mystery will one day be knowledge that we “figured out”?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • PSolus

    Thomas Paul Moses Baum,Dude, you are on a tear!Did you change your medication?Never end a sentence with a preposition, unless you know how to.Insincerely, Peregrine Bartleby Rumpelstiltskin Solus

  • glorybe1929

    There is no FORGIVNESS FOR THE SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT!Anybody out there smart enough to know what that sin might be…?????.Let’s hear it. Name one.

  • ThomasBaum

    pechinsYou wrote, “I believe that we are the final remnant that will survive until the end of time.”Time will not end, the “end times” and the “end of the age” are spoken of but not the end of time.You also wrote, “If you believe that Jesus was the Son of God then you know that the gates of hell shall not prevail. Notice the word shall was used by Jesus.”Actually, it is the “gates of the netherworld” which include not only hell but also death both spiritual and physical.This is the “mission” of the Church and it is directly tied in with Jesus’s mandate to us, “Proclaim the Good News”.God’s Plan is for ALL to be in the Kingdom, it is not to set up a theocracy on earth.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    mascmen7You wrote, ” Jesus said, “When I return, will there be any faith left on earth?”Did He say that or did He say, “When the son of man comes, will he find faith?”.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    mikem5You wrote, “It’s been through a lot worse. It will exist until the end of time. Sorry folks. When God makes a promise He keeps it.”As I have already written, the end of time is not spoken of but the “end times” and the “end of the age” and what God spoke of was the “mission” of the Church which is, “the gates of the netherworld (hell and death, both spiritual and physical) shall not prevail against it.You then wrote, “Now if only Catholics would not use birth control like our church teaches then it would be able to keep pace with Muslims.”Is that what you think the “mission” of the Church is, to “keep pace with Muslims”?Considering the fact, that there were no Muslims and no Islam on this planet when Jesus told us the “mission” of the Church, it is clearly impossible that keeping “pace with Muslims” has anything to do with the Church’s “mission”.Actually, the church does not teach, not to use “birth control”, only some forms of it and instead of trying to run people’s lives, the Church should “Proclaim the Good News” which is what Jesus instructed the Church to do.When Jesus said, “Simon, thou art Peter and upon this rock, I will build MY CHURCH…”, He did not say that is was Peter’s, did He?Also, when Jesus said, “Feed MY lambs, tend MY sheep, feed MY sheep…”, He did not say that we are Peter’s (lambs, sheep) but were Jesus’s, is this not correct?Jesus’s invitation was to “Come follow Me”, not to follow Peter or his successors, not to follow the Church, not to follow Jesus’s followers, but to follow Jesus.God has a Plan and the Church is part of that Plan and the Catholic Church clearly teaches that the “Church” is not confined within the Catholic Church.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    lufrank1 You wrote, “When (never) will people understand that concepts of who, what and even if God is are speculations of mere MEN?”I am a “mere man” and God has revealed to me that God Is and I believe that there have been other “mere men” (male and female) that God has revealed Himself to.By the way, if anyone is wondering about the pronoun (Himself), I would like to point out that even tho God-Incarnate was a Male, that God is neither a Male, Female nor an It but is a Being of Pure Love and a Trinity.God became One of us, Jesus, when Mary said, “YES”.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    mikem5 You wrote, “But (and I say this out of love) Jesus really started one church.”Something to think about: “I Am the Vine, you are the branches”, not ‘I Am the Vine, you are the branch’.The Catholic Church, itself, teaches that the “CHURCH” is not confined to the Catholic Church.Isn’t it something that Jesus said, “There is work to be done…” and instead of us helping God do His Work, we tend to tell God and man just how “we” are going to do this work and spell out in “intricate detail” just how everyone else is suppose to fall in line.”My Ways are not your ways and My Thoughts are not your thoughts”, God does not fit into any of our “boxes”, no matter how good intentioned or well constructed they are.”Father forgive them, they know not what they do”, just as true now as when they were first uttered.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom.We speak of Jesus being the “Saviour of the world”, how many actually believe this, hope for this, thank God that it is so?The aforementioned question is directed to those that believe that Jesus Is Who He Is.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    ceflynlineYour post of July 24, 2010 3:51 PM, says a lot if people are open enough to actually think about it.One of the things that I have said on here is: There are those that think that the Catholic Church can do no wrong and there are those that think the Catholic Church can nothing but wrong and they are both wrong.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    ceflynlineYou wrote, “Every other Church and Sect defines itself by what its reasons were for separating from that Church. So the fundamental principle for EVERY Church not in union with Rome is a claim, many years separated from the Apostles, that the one continuing Church was somehow in error on the points claimed by the new Church, propounded by men who founded that Church.”Do you think that “selling indulgences” should be reinstated?Should one be in “union” with Rome or with God?There have been many things thru the age that the “Catholic Church” has done, that it should not have done and one of the things that Pope John Paul II did, was travel the entire planet making “public penances” for the “sins” of the Catholic Church, did he not?Do you think that God cannot use us humans as a “wake-up call” to the “arrogance” of “worldly power” that can rear it’s ugly head at times?Have you ever thought that when Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit to “guide us …”, that it was not just to us individually but also to His Church and that the Holy Spirit could work not only from within the Church but also from outside the Church?You also wrote, “One continuing religious and political, body can trace its existence to the first century A. D. The rest are imitators.”Jesus did say, “I Am the Vine, you are the branches”, He did not say, ‘I Am the Vine, you are the branch’.The sheer arrogance of man to tell God just what is allowed and what is not allowed in building HIS CHURCH is really something to think about.The True, Living, Triune, Triumphant God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious afffiliations or lack thereof.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Judy-in-TX

    Jane’s comments below are so very, very traditional Catholic.

  • PSolus

    Thomas Paul Moses Baum,I wrote, “Did you change your medication?”You wrote, “No, just commenting.”All this activity on the same meds?I also wrote, “Never end a sentence with a preposition, unless you know how to.”You wrote, “I guess neither one of us is on here to win a grammatical or composition award, I am on here trying to do what God chose me to do.”I can’t say the same; I’m here of my own volition.Squeeze from the bottom of the tube, and flatten as you go.Insincerely, Peregrine Bartleby Rumpelstiltskin Solus

  • ThomasBaum

    PSolusYou wrote, “Did you change your medication?”No, just commenting.You also wrote, “Never end a sentence with a preposition, unless you know how to.”I guess neither one of us is on here to win a grammatical or composition award, I am on here trying to do what God chose me to do.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

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