Once upon a time there was a Catholic lawyer who walked out of Mass one Sunday to find that a Baptist church had leafleted all the cars in the parish’s parking lot with a tract attacking the Eucharist. He decided to take matters into his own hands, made a tract of his own responding to those charges, and leafleted the Baptists in return. His leaflets were signed, “Catholic Answers.” The rest is history.
That was… 40 years ago.
Today, what would have happened had one of us done what Mr. Keating had done? Would the recipients of the tracts even bother to examine the claims therein? Or would they use the tracts as an excuse to go no further?
We have never had stronger apologetics.Yet we have never had a smaller audience. We’ve always heard it said that the problem is that “Catholics don’t evangelize” or that the problem is that we do evangelize but not in the right way.
After much reflection and soul-searching, I don’t agree.
Consider the Anglican Ordinariate. If that’s not an effective evangelization, I don’t know what is. A special sub-rite of the Church specifically for one group of Protestants, giving them everything they wanted. Although there have been success stories,, the actual number of Anglicans or others joining the Ordinariate is tiny.
I don’t think we are the problem.
I think society is the problem. We’ve all seen the numbers. People are calling it the baby bust or the sex drought (semi-explicit article). The reasons for it, as your can see in that article, is that the (sexually explicit) media is replacing marriage; something is going very wrong with our society’s interprersonal relationships. We are increasingly “bowling alone.”. Put it all together, as Archbishop Chaput did, and the inevitable conclusion is that we have reached a critical mass of broken families.
The archbishop specifically rules out winning our society back through debate. In my attempts to nevertheless do so (here at CAF and offline) I have found something disturbing. Protestants seem to always have a beef with Mary, and specifically, with her perpetual virginity. Look at this thread, and the sheer number of times the Protestants say the word “sex” (after a suggestion about unrepented sin, no less) and the casual attitude that they take towards their arguably blasphemous views of the Virgin.
Sexual depravity is the reason we can’t evangelize.