Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A More Liberal Church Fails to Fill Pews

Bending with the winds of change such as ordination of women to the priesthood, relaxing sexuality teachings, promoting Dorothy Day socialism, and liberation theology has failed to bring a new 'springtime' in many Catholic parishes and dioceses. One striking example is that in a new 'congregation' outside of Toronto, Canada. A renegade priest makes a public announcement of his support of the ordination of priestesses and then founds his own church, ie, Christ the Servant.
It shows that disaffected Catholics can pull together to find a path to God they believe is more community-oriented, inclusive and -- as the 13 parishioners interviewed for this story kept repeating -- more awash in joy than the official church. But the breakaway church's struggle to bring in fresh blood, and even retain its spiritual leader, also suggests that bucking the Vatican's hard line, discarding traditional teachings and generally going liberal is not a guaranteed way to fill pews. Although Christ the Servant has brought Mr. O'Dwyer (breakaway leader) and his fellow parishioners profound joy, the church has struggled to attract new members and has, in fact, lost members since its founding priest left in September to seek a reconciliation have been reared in the faith that even the disaffected are loath to switch to another church. The bottom line? A softening in the Vatican's stance on female ordination or other controversial issues would be unlikely to usher in a flood of converts to Roman Catholicism. "If there was a change there, the [women] who were already actively involved would probably feel more comfortable with where the church is relative to their particular views," Mr. Bibby says. "But I doubt very much we would suddenly see all kinds of people from the outside coming in."
Emotionalism, feel-goodism, socialist-leaning Catholic social doctrine is not what Jesus AND the Church serve. We serve God, not man. To read more on this click here.


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