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Is the New Evangelization enough?

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The New Evangelization is the effort of the Church to preach the Gospel, and attract millions of new people to the faith. However, in much of the world these efforts do not appear to be working as well as they should. Why? What needs to happen? 

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With churches emptying, what can be done?

With churches emptying, what can be done?

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
4/6/2022 (1 month ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Catholic, New Evangelization, changes, Paschal Mystery, Eucharist

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Anyone who attends Mass regularly knows the problem. The pews are filled with elderly parishioners, and young people are rare. The handwriting is on the wall, and in a generation, many parish churches may be in crisis. 

The problem is also visible in Catholic schools. Since 1960, about half of all Catholic schools were closed, and those that remain open struggle. Those that remain have priced most Catholics out of attending. 

In parish churches, priests are forced to do administrative work and are compelled to keep tight schedules. To be a priest is to be an accountant, and human resources director, a janitor, a scheduler, and more. But it is less and less about preaching and evangelizing. Liabilities, a lack of time and resources are driving people away from the church grounds. Scandals rob priests of the respect they deserve. 

From a few pulpits come statements that tread too close to politics for some. These statements, drive both right and left leaning parishioners away. 

And a final problem, which comes down to basic catechesis: ask any Catholics to explain the Paschal Mystery, and most will give up. Ask Catholics to explain how we know the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is real, and most will shrug. 

These are the problems facing the Church. The New Evangelization should suffice to address them, but with priests confined to the office, it becomes hard for many of them to preach and explain these things to people. 

Catholic schools should also teach these things, and they do. However, tuition means only some children get this education, and it is often poorly understood by the youth who have other concerns in our fast-paced, connected, modern world. Also, adults need education too. 

The problems are apparent to us, but it is up to the bishops of our Church to make the policy changes that will reverse these trends.

Jesus provides the model. Jesus spent no time behind a desk. He served needs and preached the Gospel. There was no mention of politics, for there did not need to be. It is enough to teach the truth, and the politics become informed. 

In the Church the solution is to free the priests from their chains behind the desk. While some are there by preference, the work of a priest should not be that of an administrator, which plenty of lay people can be trained and hired to perform. Instead, priests must be in classrooms, in the streets, prisons, hospitals, and more, teaching and preaching. And they should be meeting people using various mediums, including YouTube, Catholic Online School, and similar channels, where a wider audience can be found. 

Adults need education too. Teaching people about the Paschal Mystery is important! Why did Jesus have to come to us in the first place? Why did He have to suffer as He did? What difference did His Passion, death, and Resurrection, and Ascension make? Understanding the "problem of evil," its answer, and how the Paschal Mystery relates to this is essential to appreciating the Catholic faith. Likewise, the reason we know that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. 

When people understand the Church has answers to important questions, like the problem of evil, and that only the Church is protected by the promises of Jesus Christ (Matt 16:16-20), and that only the Catholic Church has the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, then people will begin to understand why they must (not should) be Catholic. And they will also appreciate the celebration of the Mass. 

These changes will make all the difference in the world. The hard part is getting people to let go of the old ways of approaching things, which are clearly not working. Getting people to listen to the Church will be hard as well. But if some courageous, priests and bishops come out from behind the desk, meet people in the streets and on the socials, and preach the Gospel --and really preach that and that alone, then a true difference can be made in a short time. The evidence will be seen in the pews. 

In the meantime, anyone who is curious about the answers to some of the questions above are invited to take some special courses from Catholic Online School. 

The Paschal Mystery
Eucharistic Adoration
Justification and Grace
The Way of Christ

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Please don't scroll past this. We interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to defend Catholic Online School's independence. 98% of our readers don't give; they look the other way. If you are an exceptional reader who has already donated, we sincerely thank you. If you donate just $10.00, or whatever you can, Catholic Online School could keep thriving for years. Most people donate because Catholic Online School is useful. If Catholic Online School has given you $10.00 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the world that access to Catholic education matters to you. Thank you.

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