This is by no means scientific. But when I was younger and when the American RC church was in its prime, I considered that if 15% of baptized catholics had fallen away through divorce or indifference, then the established church went on in its prime. This is in no way an exclusively catholic thing but for the sake of argument, I am quoting from memory and my own observation which is, dare I say it, “culturally catholic”.
These are lean days of RC church attendance even with the emergence of the medieval revivalists, extreme right. In the ranks of those left who give a crap about the RC church, I think that in this survival mode status of the RC church in America, that getting and keeping 15% of baptized catholics still in the church is the desired goal. What happened to 85% of the church now in the dark?
Well, I will not talk about female issues here, though it is a significant factor in the scheme of things. I think that what destroys the RC church a little bit, decade per decade, percentage point per percentage point is the fact that certain people, besides women, were factored out of the salvation equation centuries ago. The one body of people that comes to mind is the gay community.
I knew a relatively famous actress some decades ago, a friend of a distant relative. Myself being a very naïve person, it took some time for me to realize that she was a lesbian. Putting that aside, she went on a trip to Rome with her entourage and upon her return I asked questions about her trip. I was surprised that she did not visit the Vatican or the Vatican Museum. She replied rather disdainfully – something like why should she. She was boycotting an institution that not only discounted her humanity based on her sexual preferences but totally ignored the question of salvation for anybody of her persuasion.
After the retirement, good riddance, of Bishop Joseph Martino, of Scranton, I look back over many press items and one thing stands out in my perception of his failed administration and the destruction through mismanagement of the faith of many deserving souls in the RC community there.
Putting aside Bishop Martino’s rantings and ravings, almost exclusively through distant abstract press releases, the turning point in his inability to rule over a sixteenth century social model framed by the Council of Trent was the very liberal Misericordia University and its Diversity Institute. The old cracker went absolutely ballistic over a minor item dealt with by a diversity program. One invited speaker to that Institute, Keith Boykin, was smeared in the catholic blogosphere as a Gay Marriage Advocate. This was also framed as a reason to shut down the diversity program at that university.
While that may be one of pet advocacies of that guest speaker, other things got ignored. My personal opinion is that Bishop Martino hated Boykin, first as an African American, and second as a faggot. Pius IX supported the Confederacy and was therefore pro-slavery and anti-African. Since Pius IX was infallible in spiritual matters, his personal petty likes and dislikes, like that of Bishop Martino, gets thrown into the human mix of things. Is it sacred tradition or good old fashioned human hate?
There is a great deal of pain now as the once sacred world bleeds into the growing real global world of secularism. The French are currently starting a twelfth generation since their revolution and their ease and comfort and treating religion and the church with total ambivalence, almost like just another cheese course after dinner, you like this stinky cheese religion or you don’t.
The institutions in the Christian mainstream, COE, RC, etc. that have ignored the relevance of Women, Gays and other minorities are in their death throes.
Individuals who seek faith and spirituality must do so in private and without influence from these dying institutions that centuries ago lopped off this percentage or that of humanity. The tree of their Christ is a grafted contrivance.
The message of God to all people and all time will survive. The institutions we see today as religion will not all survive into a future age unless they search their hearts and seek and love all humanity and not just a small part of it.