St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Remnant


Many years ago I read a rather painful, truthbook book called: The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America (2003), by David Carlin (1) a politician and sociologist.  It is definitely written from a sociology point of view; research and study, and interestingly, Mr. Carlin defends his pro-life position, while attempting to remain within his party, Democrat.  It is an intelligent book with much useful, (but let’s face it), rather depressing predictions for the Catholic church’s survival in America.  I do wonder what Mr. Carlin’s thoughts on his party would be at this current moment if interviewed on the subject.

Although I don’t think Mr. Carlin uses the phrase “remnant” in his book, I have read other Catholic writers in the last decade use this term in regard to what might be left of the authentic Catholic faith and practices in this country in years to come….just a remnant church.

That eventually, with social policy and secularism punching away at authentic Judeo Christian values and traditions, the Catholic church will not only decline under the pressure and additionally decline but perhaps fall or fail altogether in this country.  And in the end what we will see is a very small minority of Catholics upholding and holding onto their faith and faith practices and where there was once an abundance of Catholics and Catholic institutions representing the Catholic factions there will be only memories …memories of a booming Catholic presence. 

While I’m not trying to be the herald of bad news this morning, I do think we have long seen the signs for many years….as Mr. Carlin explains in his book.  One thing that stands out in my mind is that if the church insists on not remaining uniquely its’ own, ancient and never changing and standing fast….and if we don’t recognize it as different and powerful because it isn’t just “ordinary”, then it will indeed become a remnant.  If it is not different than the secular world when we walk through its doors ….then we won’t bother to walk through its doors.  But, Mr. Carlin’s argument is much more articulate and eloquent than my retelling here.  I urge you to read it yourself.

In these days of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announcing last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees health coverage that includes contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization “services” as mainstream, my mind travels back to Mr. Carlin’s book. 

It is my prayer that enough Catholics and other Christians care enough to petition against what seems to be a blatant attack on religious liberty by this current administration.  Maybe this administration is counting on the Catholics who are “in name only”, and think the church is very old fashioned and needs to get up to speed in this day and age; maybe they think all the Atheists override most of the Christianity in this country anymore…..

I think this country overall needs a return to respect for religious liberty, especially that of the traditional mode that this country was born and raised on.  How easy and quickly we forget the Christian belief system that was foundational in the rearing of this country. 

All I know is we’ve really got one heck of a battle going on this time around.

Let’s not throw God out in the wash water…..

(1)  David R. Carlin, Jr. (born 1938) is a politician and sociologist. He was a Democratic majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate. His total period of service in the state Senate ran from 1981 to 1992. He made an unsuccessful bid for the Rhode Island's 1st congressional district in 1992. He considers himself to be a "Pro-life Democrat" and supported James Langevin's campaign. As a writer his books include Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?: How the Party I Loved Became the Enemy of My Religion and The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America. Carlin is a current professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island at Newport.


Megan@TrueDaughter said...

I've been wanting to post about this as well, but I am so darn angry - I am waiting a day until I can sound coherent. I'm also wondering why we didn't hear the bishops' letter at Mass this weekend, when we were supposed to.
I truly hope and pray that the religious in this country, regardless of denomination rise and and are heard. We need to let the administration know we will NOT have it.

Home School Mom: Denise said...

Megan, Bishop Conlon, our former, was one of the first Bishops to address this issue in a published and spoken address to his diocese in Ill. I'm not sure why...we didn't hear anything yet ...or if something is being formulated for our priests to say from the current Administrator of the diocese. I am sure something will be in the diocesan paper.
I know, I am trying to stay calm about the whole thing when I am really seething inside about all of it :( It's absolutely ludicrous and way out of bounds of religious liberty -- this is like telling the kosher restaurant that because they serve the public they must now serve those foods forbidden to them regardless of their faith practices. But this is not going to happen without a good fight - that's for sure, then hopefully not at all.

Annette M. Heidmann said...

Thanks for this excellent post - joining the call to arms of many Bishops (including ours in Phoenix, the wonderful Bishop Olmsted). It's truly a battle, not just for religious liberty in our nation, but for the hearts of the faithful, especially the many uncatechized who dissent from Church teaching on the subject of contraception. Our priest at the cathedral began including the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel yesterday, which I think cannot be prayed enough.