In just 13 years, there has been a 50% drop in the number of Catholic baptisms and marriages performed in the Archdiocese of Detroit, Archbishop Allen Vigneron revealed Wednesday.Everything hinges on the diagnosis of the problem. We give thanks for the clarity with which the problem of the shrinking Catholic community has been identified, and we promise our prayers for God's guidance of the Archbishop and fellow bishops as they seek to formulate their diagnosis and prescribe the cure.
... In 2001, about 24,000 people partook of Catholic sacraments such as baptism and marriage rites in the Detroit archdiocese, compared with 11,689 last year.
... Vigneron said he had to “think of myself like Alan Mulally,” who became Ford CEO in 2006 and was charged with turning around the Dearborn automaker during profound contraction in the domestic auto industry.
“I have to change the culture of our operation ... as he changed the culture of his operation,” said Vigneron.
The survey results, said Vigneron, show ways for Catholic parishes and pastors to bolster those numbers. Parishes and pastors need to work on reaching out to inactive and non-Catholics and to do more for youths and young adult Catholics, respondents said.
Some readers may remember our own earlier discussions of the issue of "Catholic culture." Sometimes we hear "cultural Catholics" rightly derided for having no personal faith. We even hear them called "sacramentalized pagans." There is some truth to this. At the same time, we believe it would be a huge loss to turn our backs on the rich legacy of Catholic culture with which the Church has gifted us over previous generations. This legacy is in many respects nothing less than a gift of the Holy Spirit enfleshed in human culture. Thus, when we hear the Archbishop declare that the "culture" is the problem, and the "culture" must be changed, we are heartened, if this means razing the bastions of the ebulliently self-indulgent, antinomian culture of the 1960s that has imbued the western Church over the last half-century. It's time to wake up, as they say, and smell the coffee, and get down to the business of living The Faith in earnest, come what may. Pope Benedict XVI predicted that the Church of tomorrow would be radically diminished in size and likely face persecution. Let us prepare ourselves to be unabashedly Catholic, to say what we mean and mean what we say, and to be faithful custodians of the legacy entrusted to us by our Catholic forefathers.