The Missing ... and the Mission

The editorial in Commonweal's edition of March 14th is entitled "The Missing." It reflects upon the recent "United States Religious Landscape Survey" by the Pew Forum.The survey revealed, among other things, that former Catholics comprise close to ten percent of that landscape.After offering a number of thoughtful considerations, the editors conclude: "The church in America must give a better account of the hope that is in us."Though not explicitly identified, the final phrase comes, of course, from the First Letter of St. Peter, which instructs Christians to be always prepared "to give an account of the hope that is in you" (1 Pet 3:15).The God-given foundation for that hope is proclaimed in the very first verses of the Epistle: "the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Pet 1:3).On this Holy Saturday of vigil before the solemn and joyful celebration of the resurrection of Jesus the Christ, our hope, we might also reflect anew on the mission to which we are called: to share so wondrous and life-transforming a gift with all -- always, as Peter insists, "with gentleness and reverence."

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is a longtime Commonweal contributor.

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