Skip to comments.The Cult and the Culture-- Part I: (ALL Catholic Caucus/Orthodox)
Posted on 10/22/2013 6:43:28 PM PDT by RBStealth
For decades now faithful Catholics, hoping for signs of a genuine revival in the American Church, have looked anxiously to the traditional indices of Catholic vitality: the rate of attendance at Sunday Mass, the number of young people entering the priesthood or religious life, the openings of new parishes and parochial schools. By all those standard measurements the decline of American Catholicismwhich began in the 1960s and accelerated through the 1970sis still continuing.
In more than 30 years as a journalist covering Catholicism, I have found that the most exciting signs of vigorous life in the Church oftenI am tempted to say alwayscome from unexpected directions. Official renewal programs, launched by diocesan committees under the guidance of expensive consultants, begin with great fanfare but end with meager results. Meanwhile far from the limelight, prayerful Catholic individuals, without formal credentials and without financial support, working alone or in small groups, quietly work wonders.
My favorite example of this phenomenonand arguably the greatest success story of 20th-century American Catholicismis the growth of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). Who could have predicted that a cloistered nun with no background whatsoever in broadcasting, and with serious physical ailments, could found a Catholic radio-television empire that spans the globe? Mother Angelica began with nothing but a vision and a commitment supported by faith. She had no experience or expertise in broadcasting, no connections with the industry, no powerful corporate sponsors. For years she faced opposition from the US bishops conference, which poured millions of dollars into a competitive effort. Yet against all odds it was EWTN that prospered, while the lavishly funded effort by the bishops conference disappeared from the scene without leaving a trace.
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Mother Angelica is an amazing woman - boring, monotone, but amazing. She returned Catholicism to its roots and was an unabashed believer in the Catholic Church’s fundamental doctrines. She was fearless in her faith and simply ignored the world and its naysayers. Which is in stark contrast to the majority of Catholics, with and without collars.