Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Elephant in the Living Room

With much fanfare, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter opens a new blog on his book The Future Church, which deals with the ten trends that are shaping the future of the Catholic Church. His choices are

* A World Church
* Evangelical Catholicism
* Islam
* The New Demographics
* Expanding Lay Roles
* The Biotech Revolution
* Globalization
* Ecology
* Multipolarism
* Pentecostalism

I'm sorry, but this list strikes me as cliche, canned, and oddly redundant (Globalization, World church, New Demographics, and Multipolarism seem too overlapping). Nor do I see how Ecology and Biotech affect Catholics in the pews in a profound way that influences our relationship to the faith. As for Islam, it is with us and has been for a long time. So this list doesn't really connect with anything I know about. I don't think I'm alone here. This is New York Times Magazine material, not the real world.

What is missing? The greatest and most profound change affecting every seminarian, most of the laity, and every Bishop, one which is growing in importance by the day: the new liturgical movement, which includes dramatic change in music, vestments, architecture, and the role of solemnity in liturgical experience. This is one point is vastly more profound in terms of its role on Catholic experience.

It is interesting to me. Venues like the National Catholic Reporter once spoke about liturgy constantly. That was when trends where going the other way. But now that the Woodstockization of the liturgy has seen its time and is a passing thing, they want to change the subject. They want us to think about recycling and biotech rather than the way in which sacred music is making a roaring comeback, for example.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: