January 16, 2006

State of US Catholic Church at beginning of 2006

Spero News

Monday, January 16, 2006
by Father John McCloskey

The Catholic Church in the United States is in a state of profound transition. A priest or layman transported through time from 1965 to 2005 would be astonished and most likely disconcerted by the dramatic changes that have taken place in the 40 years following the close of Vatican II.

Evaluating American Influence

Of course, the hierarchical and sacramental nature of the Church remains unchanged. What, however, has clearly changed are the numbers and status of laity, religious, and clergy in the mystical Body of Christ. Related to this is the altered understanding of their roles in the Church.

I am writing this article in the aftermath of what the well-known convert Fr. Richard John Neuhaus referred to as "the long Lent" that the Church in America has undergone. This refers to the painful unraveling of the revelation and past cover-up of thousands of accusations of sexual abuse of young people (some well-founded, others not) by Catholic clergy. Although brutally disillusioning to many of the lay faithful, these accusations were brought against less than 2% of Catholic clergy during this time period, and some of the cases even pre-dated the post-Vatican II era.

Posted by kshaw at January 16, 2006 12:49 PM