Church faces tough decisions for future

By Abigail Keefe
December 1, 2005

The tally of Roman Catholic clergy nation-wide continues to dwindle right before the eyes of its followers. Memories reflecting the days of Catholic schools containing fewer lay teachers than clergy members still exist, but the days themselves are long gone.
Priests and nuns outnumbering the amount of lay teachers faded away with the enforcement of discipline through the slap of a ruler and mathematics being called arithmetic. Reading, writing and arithmetic were the subjects pounded into the brains of Catholic school children through relentless repetition and a desire by the students to appease their religious elders.
Some of the same teaching techniques utilized decades ago in Catholic schools, however, are still used to the present day, with the rulers left behind. The difference is that just a few clergy members are still delivering this knowledge to Catholic school students.
Cabrini College is a perfect example of this alarming and realistic trend. A school that was once heavily influenced by the presence of Missionary Sisters and other members of the Church, now possesses just a few clergy representatives.
Many religions are quickly gaining mass amounts of followers that dwarf the enrollment of the Catholic Church. Some say the extremely conservative nature the Church has taken through Pope John Paul II and the present leader of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI, has deterred American Catholic men and women from enrolling in the seminary.
As the world diversifies and flattens due to globalization, people are encountering new beliefs, stances and equality that personify the age to which society is heading.
With Pope Benedict XVI’ s recent release of a Vatican document which reaffirms the Church’s stance against homosexuality of any kind within its’ seminaries, it appears as if the gap between strict Catholicism and the modern world grows only larger.
Homosexual priests in the Roman Catholic Church have spoken-out in recent issues of the New York Times. A few openly homosexual priests stepped forward and reported feeling victimized by such a publication of the Church. Also, the priests believed that through publishing such a document, the Church indirectly suggested homosexuality was the cause for the sexual abuses that occurred over the past few decades.
Nevertheless, millions of devout Catholic followers from every corner of the globe firmly support actions and statements created at the Vatican. The document’s release is Benedict’s first substantial action taken since elected, but the release did not come as a surprise due to Benedict’s similar conservative beliefs to his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.
It is only natural, however, to speculate the future of the Catholic Church if some aspect of the faith does not change. Whether it is permitting homosexuals in the Church, women’s ordination or married men’s ability to become priests, the Catholic Church has some serious thinking to do.
The object of this story is not to support one side of an argument, but to stress the urgency of the future of the Catholic Church. As stated above, enrollment for clergy members, especially in the United States, is below where it needs to be. Therefore, one may assume that actions must be taken to preserve the dynamic Roman Catholic Church that has persevered and still alive in the United States today.
Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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