Aug 13, 2012
Will the present whiff of secularist persecution be a help toward healing what ails American Catholics as a Church? Leaving aside predictions, I’ll only say: it may.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan has a flair for getting people’s attention. The Archbishop of New York did that recently by declaring the Big Apple “mission territory.” Many other bishops could say the same of their sees. As far back as 1943 in fact, the famous Cardinal Suhard of Paris became forever linked to the title of a book—La France, Pays de Mission?—that he’d commissioned two youth chaplains to write.
In France as in New York and many another place, the fundamental problem was and is the same. Cardinal Dolan calls it “the societal crisis of faith.”
In just two months a general assembly of the world Synod of Bishops will be underway in Rome wrestling with the problem implied in calling New York or Paris or anywhere else outside the third world mission territory. Its theme, chosen by Pope Benedict XVI, will be the new evangelization. And new evangelization, as nearly everyone must know by now, has repeatedly been proposed by Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II before him as a matter of the highest urgency.