Eureka Street has an interesting article today from a great Australian Jesuit, Michael Kelly, on the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II. "As my recently deceased spiritual guide, Peter Steele, would never tire of saying: 'There are only two conditions in the spiritual life — you're either growing or you're dying,'" he begins, and goes on to consider how the Church has grown (or died) in the last 50 years.
I'm not sure I agree with all of it, particularly the at-this-point standard interpretation of Benedict as happy with just a "faithful remnant" for the Church. It's true, he made a comment like that before becoming Pope. But I haven't seen much evidence of him pursuing that idea as Pope. If anything, he's welcomed back some groups that people have had a hard time accepting
But it's a great article to think about.
Something it provokes in me: could it be possible on some level that the diminishment of people in the pews is not a bad thing? That it's a signpost of something changing in the way people want to experience God, or of how they understand Eucharist? I don't want to say it's not a loss -- the Eucharist is our primary in our faith and our sense of our community. I'm just trying to play the sociologist and understand what people are saying with the choices they're making, particularly those who would continue to self-identify as Catholics. I might not like the choice they're making, but can I learn from it? As a great poet once wrote "Christ plays in ten thousand places..." I'd like to know about as many of them as I can.