Inside Catholic has posted a slew – a slew -of reactions to the Pew study. The respondants are all over the map, and include a bishop or two. It’s well worth a read, and Inside Catholic has done a great job of collecting this diverse responses.
So the real “solution” always has to be, Do more of everything. Better art, better journalism, better catechetical education, better living on our own parts (Catholics are probably the number one reason people leave the Church), et familiar cetera. Whatever you can do that is Catholic, do more of that thing, so that the people who yearn for it can find it. We often don’t find it at the parish church.Specifically, Americans are obsessed with finding narratives of personal discovery — finding our true selves. Narratives of transformation are more obvious in this respect than any other kind. Who wants to say, “Yeah, I was born Catholic and . . . am still Catholic now, so I guess that’s who I am . . . you know, by default”? That just doesn’t have the ring of radical self-discovery that Americans tend to consider “authentic.”So perhaps what American Catholics need is a renewed devotion to the saints. The saints offer countless stories of people born Catholic who nonetheless underwent radical personal transformations in the fire of Divine love. Even saints who were born Catholic aren’t Catholic by default. If we need some kind of story to tell us who we are, we could do much worse than becoming a self by surrendering that self to Christ.