Catholic Church – deep sleep or a grand awakening?

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Across the Roman Catholic Spectrum we are seeing an unusual amount of what can only be described as public panic on the part of the Roman Catholic Bishops. In many situations Catholic institutions that were once considered sacrosanct in the Catholic Community such as Catholic Hospitals, Catholic Universities, are facing a crisis of identity issues.

The recent uproar of the US Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops over the issue of contraception with the Obama Administration only further illustrates how out of touch the Bishops are with the lay person in the pew. The Bishops want to make this an issue for the 2012 electio; however f,or most Catholic voters it will only be a distraction that will be dismissed. About 98% of sexually active Catholic women use contraception, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Catholic Healthcare West, one of the nation’s largest hospital systems and operator of four Bay Area hospitals, is ending its governing board’s affiliation with the Catholic Church and changing its name to help the system expand. This is happening in part because the US Conference of Catholic Bishops inability to identify itself with Gospel concerns of poor, and promotes the idea of abortion and contraceptive concerns over the medical needs of women living in poverty.
On the University front we are seeing Catholic Universities unable to balance the needs of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops with the need for federal funding in higher education. Tax dollars simply can longer be used to promote the narrow religious identity such concerns no longer out weights the need for federal funding. This is why in most Catholic Universities such as Catholic University of America, Notre Dame University, and De Paul and Loyola universities in Chicago are witnessing a dismissive attitude when it comes the Catholic Bishops concerns for Catholic identity.

The Vatican recently has even been forced by reason to change its position on Adult Stem Cell research. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture recently said that the Catholic Church enthusiastically supports scientific research on adult stem cells along with the exploration of the cultural, ethical, and human implications of their use.

Even at the front line of the Church’s engagement with society our parishes are facing incredible challenges. Catholic Schools are being closed on mass across the country. The Clergy Sexual abuse scandal continues to drain funding that should be used for the poor. Parishes are quietly starting to vanish as our younger generation is leaving the pews in staggering numbers. Parishes are being combined because of the lack of vocations to the priesthood which only intensives.

The only the thing Archbishop Dolan, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops seems to be concerned with is pelvic issues. Unlike the Catholic Laity whose concern is more about the chasm between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the institutional Catholic church and  how the message of Jesus who “chose a life of poverty, taught that the poor enjoy God’s special blessing, urged compassion for all and preached a gospel of peace and justice ” could have become “the supposed guiding light and inspiration for a church that perpetuates the values of control.”

The Catholic Church in the United States is on the verge of its death throes, or a religious awakening that will bring reform to a bloated Papacy, and irrelevant Bishop’s conferences. The Rainbow Sash Movement believes the Pope and his Bishops are pushing the panic button because they are quickly becoming an irrelevancy with both Catholics in the pew and Catholic Voter. They are losing the cultural wars because they are increasingly being seen as unreasonable, and cut off from the very people they claim to be leading..
Jack Anderson
Rainbow Sash Movement
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