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RELIGION: The Future of the Catholic Church

Commenting on the survey which reported a steady decline in the Catholic Church, and demands that it change its position on important issues such as birth control, Michael Toth, an active Catholic, writes: "If the ordination of women, birth control, and divorce, are such "widely sought" and commendable ecclesiastical reforms, why are the denominiations that have accepted all three, like the Anglicans, struggling to fill their empty churches? It makes perfect sense to me. If your minister says the same things as MTV, why leave the house to get saved? "

There are contradictory answers to this. Pope John Paul II is very charismatic, albeit apparently wooden, and his visit to Damascus, where he became the first Pope to pray in a Mosque, made history. He is admitting that all faiths have something divine about them. Scotty McLennan can claim that he is a Universalist Unitarian. Well, not quite. We do not know what hew says in his prayers. Perhaps he is praying for lost souls. In any case, he is the pontifex maximus, the great bridge builder among the various faiths, leading to the hope that they may treat each other as a religious fraternity.

On the other hand, figures show that there ia a great drop in Catholic vocations. Spanish friends tell me that seminaries there which used to be crowded now have very few applicants. Can Latin American friends tell us what the situation is there? As for birth control, Church dctrine is blamed for the procreation of thousands of children who end up on the streets of places like Rio. We have quoted from some messages about efforts of Catholics to help the children, but the problem is of such magnitude that this is insufficient. John Wonder, who has lived in Brazil writes: "Working in "sweat factories", etc., would be far more beneficial (or, less harmful) than roaming the streets and getting into trouble. I used to remember the anguished sighs on the part of do-gooders in Brazil (rarely Brazilian) about the children hustlers in the streets (and I am not necessarily referring to sexual hustlers)".

Ronald Hilton - 5/6/01