I refer to the front page article in CL 10/12/06, “Losing the Mass habit”.
The results of this research contain findings that many lay people and academics have been aware of for some time, viz perceived irrelevance of the Church to modern life, the quality of homilies, a sense of feeling excluded by Church rule, etc.
I am from a family of six children, all of whom were given a Catholic education, and all of whom participated in Catholic activities such as YCW, Catholic sporting teams, etc.
In total, with spouses, children and grandchildren, our greater family has grown to over 40.
The sad fact about our family is that there are only two members who still regularly attend Mass, viz my mother and I.
The rest are like the people interviewed for the research, that is, they do not see the Catholic Church as having any relevance in their modern life.
My close Catholic friends also confirm that their families have experienced a similar lack of interest in the Church by most of their wider family members.
It is interesting that Yale University Professor Emeritus Louis Dupre expressed his concerns for the relevance and ultimate survival of mainstream religions in his lectures at the Australian Catholic University in September 2004. These lectures focused on the theme “Spiritual Life in a Secular Society”.
I also, find myself asking more frequently “Why am I still a Catholic?”, as the Church does not offer much relevance to me in this secular society.
The Church and its aging leaders seem determined to keep us in the 18th century tradition, rather than recognising that we live in a secular society of the 21st century.
There does not seem to be any room to negotiate with the old school bishops and cardinals.
I just hope that they will seriously consider the results of this survey and bring about changes that will make the Church relevant to our modern secular society.
If they do not, then the number of Mass attenders will continue to dwindle, and the Church will lose its opportunity to provide spiritual leadership to our community. I am sure that this is not what Christ would have envisaged.
Being irrelevant is a position that any organisation must avoid at with vigour, as it is a status that cannot be changed easily.
Once entrenched, significant change within is required to regain relevance.
This will be an almost impossible task for the current governance structure of the Catholic Church.
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