This piece from Salon, which I came to by way of the morning Schwartzreport, is an example of ignoring – overlooking — the elephant in the living room.
The article states, almost gleefully, that the Catholic church’s hemorrhage in numbers is good news politically. It assumes that the origins and significance of the most significant change happening in the West – not just America – are primarily political!
The West is ceasing to be Christian, as ancient Rome ceased to worship its gods, and in neither case did it have much to do with social issues. People leave churches – leave their religion — when they are unable to find what they need for their spiritual growth and sustenance.
I was raised Catholic and had to leave fully 50 years ago. It wasn’t because I disagreed with church doctrine on this or that. (In my experience, American Catholics largely ignore such issues in their daily lives, as can be seen in the scarcity of American Catholic families with three or more children.) Instead, it was because something within me felt I had to.
My life since leaving the church has been a long fumbling search for greater meaning, greater truth, greater spiritual relevance. If my church had provided me that, do you think I would have cared a fig about the hierarchy’s position on birth control?
Those who think a church can be successfully turned into a social-welfare group or a political-advocacy group are in for a crushing disappointment. Society is evolving a new form of group spirituality that will fill the gap the old religions can no longer fill. I don’t know what that new form will look like, but I know it is on its way, and it won’t be the worship of science or consumerism or “progress.” What it will be? Stay tuned.