|How did such a situation ever occur on such a basic catechetical point? It started with the children, who were inaccurately taught that Jesus had a childhood just like them – so they think that includes sin. As Bishop Joseph Galante of the Camden diocese admitted during a press conference:
In effect, we focused more on moral teachings and bypassed the fundamentals. Or we presumed that people knew the fundamentals, which was a bad presumption…
…The number of Catholics who have a very flawed, a seriously flawed, understanding of who Jesus is, that’s troublesome. We’ve got to re-focus on how we teach and inform people. Jesus is the foundation of who we are as Catholics.
Unfortunately, the diocese’s fundamental problems don’t stop there.
Camden is a rather typical American diocese with 43% of the region’s population raised Catholic – yet today, only 34% of these adults consider themselves Catholics. And of this 34%, the Sunday Mass attendance record is very low which has Bishop Galante concerned:
What intrigued me in particular was the high number of people who don’t attend Mass simply because they have other priorities. They say they are distracted by other concerns including work, sports and family time. One of the things we need to do is emphasize that worship time can also be part of family time as well. I would like to make observing the Lord’s Day a priority throughout the diocese.
Bishop Galante obviously has his work cut out for him, but to rectify the paucity of Sunday Mass attendance, he plans to alert the diocese’s priests and deacons on the importance of preaching about a spiritual life rooted in Christ, of presenting an inviting and welcoming parish atmosphere, while requesting parishes and schools to refrain from scheduling activities on Sunday before 1pm – which will free families to attend church. He also stated he would be asking businesses to allow their employees, if at all possible, time off for Saturday or Sunday worship.
The bishop will not use the old fear factor approach though: “come to church or go to hell”, as he claims this will not work in today’s world:
Fear is not a teaching tool. It’s going to take a lot of time and effort, but we need to get people to go to Mass because they want to, not because there is a sword hanging over them. We have to be more inviting, more welcoming and more hospitable.
Fr. Terry Odien, the diocesan Vicar for the Clergy, added: “We’ll really need to study this, and work on finding out what people are looking for (at church).”
Some comments from SSPX.ORG
Needless to say, we wish all the best to Bishop Galante’s Sunday crusade of recuperating lost sheep who ignore the Faith – even Catholicism altogether. Certainly it is no easy task to regain souls indifferent to God’s commandments, who often are de facto apostates.
The state of catechetical affairs rather comes as no surprise, as we have previously commented on the scandalous laxity in teaching and morality present in so many of today’s schools which are “Catholic” only in name. For years we have witnessed the “fruits” of these institutions, whereby having left high school, very few graduates are proud of their Church and even less actually practice the Faith. Thus the Camden diocesan situation is another example of the same problem.
Perhaps even worse though is that the inability to invoke the “fear of Hell” (as Our Lord Himself so often did), unmistakably reveals something has gone very wrong in the Church during the past generations. For if the average Catholic can no longer accept God’s teaching, this may indicate he is past recovery. One must wonder how long it will take Bishop Galante to reach this prognosis himself. More importantly, when he will realize that the only true remedy is to restore the entirety of Christ’s teaching in his diocese?
1 Source and quotes cited from in article from The Christian Post published on May 7, 2012 titled, “Study: Over Half of South Jersey’s Catholics Believe Jesus Sinned”.