Jul 15, 2021
Nearly buried last month in the hubbub surrounding the U.S. bishops’ debate over who is and isn’t worthy to receive communion was a colloquy between two bishops concerning something that may prove of far greater importance in the long run.
Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens of St. Paul-Minneapolis had reported on plans for a project called the National Eucharistic Revival and was fielding questions. Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, a prominent media evangelist, urged that instead of starting next year, the project begin sooner because of the urgent need for it. Bishop Cozzens replied that dioceses could start earlier if they wished, but the revival needed careful planning if its impact was to be “lasting and deep.”
Both bishops were right. The need really is urgent. And one can only hope this project has significant results.
Familiar numbers underline the need. Fifty years ago nearly 60% of American Catholics attended Mass weekly, but by 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, the figure had dropped to little more than 21%. Not only that--recent survey results showed that two-thirds of all U.S. Catholics, and nearly a third of weekly Mass-attenders, do not believe that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist.