The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Practically Speaking: Seeking the Estranged, the Witness of Charity

Authored by Patty Norris in Issue #33.2 of The Sower
There is a shocking reality concerning the demographics of worshiping Catholics in the United States. If one would like to identify the largest community of Catholics it would seem logical to look at the largest Catholic parish in any diocese. However, in most cases that is not true. The largest group of Catholics will be found worshipping at the local ‘mega’ non-denominational church. If your country or diocese does not have a mega-church culture then the picture may be even blacker, the Catholics who no longer attend Mass may not be worshipping at all. The reasons that Catholics leave the Church are many and complicated. Some drift away, some are driven away, many are in irregular marriage situations, many misunderstand what the Church teaches on moral issues and others know very well what the Church teaches and simply do not believe. There is enough blame to go around for all of us who remain and all of those who are gone! Although the particulars of each situation matter and need to be discerned and dealt with the problem for all of us goes much deeper. Through our baptism, we have been adopted into a filial relationship with Jesus Christ. His life is our inheritance and we share this inheritance with those who share our baptism. Our estranged companions are not a problem to be solved. We must seek out our brothers and sisters who have forgotten, misplaced, squandered, lost or rejected their inheritance.

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