The Future of the Church in the US?
Cathleen Kaveny February 19, 2008 - 4:11pm
In a review essay in Catholic World Report, Russell Shaw quotes a strikingly pessimistic passage from former Commonweal columnist David Carlin:"Reviewing the evidence of decline in his book The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America (Sophia Institute Press, 2003), David Carlin concludes that the outcome of the crisis will probably be the de facto collapse of the Church in America and the retreat of Catholics into the status of a "minor and relatively insignificant sect." Traditionalists will have won the internal Catholic power struggle, mainly because the progressives will have drifted away. But in the end, the small band of traditionalists will find themselves isolated in "a new Catholic quasi-ghetto," with about as much influence on the culture as the Amish and Hasidic Jews have now."Is Carlin right?And if you read Shaw's review, it seems clear that his solution is more discipline --kicking more people out (or more precisely, telling them that their actions and beliefs have put them outside the Church). But won't this simply hasten the world Carlin predicts?
About the Author
Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.