“Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:33-37).
Does this not also apply to Church authorities? Every day they send mixed signals on matters of faith and morals that had been historically established as revealed tradition and steadfastly upheld for millennia.
In some dioceses priests are expected to accept to Holy Communion remarried couples whose marriages were never declared null based on an understanding of a brief footnote in Pope Francis’ encyclical Amoris Laetitia (e.g., San Diego). Others bishops see it differently and have forbidden their priests to give communion to those whom Jesus regarded as adulterers (e.g., Philadelphia). And Rome is fine with this?
Moreover, the Pope won’t answer questions. Does he believe in hell? Is there salvation outside the Church? Is homosexuality a sin? Did he know McCarrick was a pervert when he put him in his inner circle? Should Catholic pols that support abortion be denied communion? He refuses to clarify his position on these and other serious matters.
No wonder church attendance keeps dropping. The data supporting the sad statistic that for every one person in the U.S. that enters the Catholic Church six leave was confirmed by Pew Research:
Overall, 13% of all U.S. adults are former Catholics – people who say they were raised in the faith, but now identify as religious “nones,” as Protestants, or with another religion. By contrast, 2% of U.S. adults are converts to Catholicism – people who now identify as Catholic after having been raised in another religion (or no religion). This means that there are 6.5 former Catholics in the U.S. for every convert to the faith.
Those wonderful, rich, very well fed German bishops blame it on the failure of the Church to adapt to modern society, especially in terms of sexual morality and gender equality. But Protestant churches who have tried this only accelerated their decline in membership (since its embrace of homosexual bishops, the United Methodist Church in the U.S. has been losing members at a rate of 1,000/week).
Protestant denominations are generally open to change based on a reinterpretation of scripture in light of modern science. But at this point for the Catholic Church change or no change represents a ‘catch-22’ (damned if you do, damned if you don’t). To establish as Church teaching something that contradicts tradition destroys the Church’s credibility. On the other hand, to steadfastly uphold Catholic tradition without equivocation will put the Church in the crosshairs of an increasingly hostile modern world.
The 6.5 that leave the Church for every one received will probably continue for a while, whoever is pope, but at least it’s not ten to one as in the U.K.