Is there a crisis in the Catholic Church today?


Is there a crisis in the Catholic Church today?

If so what is it, and how does it get fixed?


This question could have been asked on any day since that very moment Christ stood up to teach.

The answer would always be the same.


There are persecutions, heresies, in fighting, bad popes, bad bishops, injustice, poor judgment, sex abuse, liturgical abuse, theft, abuse of indulgences, abuse of diocesan authority, wholesale rejection of Church teachings, schisms, splits, fights, unjust imprisonments, apathy, blindness to faults, etc., etc., etc.

The fix is always the same. Pray, fast, do penance, listen for the call of God.


Yea, verily! :thumbsup:


Good reply, thanks.

What would you all say would be the BIGGEST problem in the Church today?


Personally, I believe the heresy of Modernism has not been adequetly dealt with and aspects of it are rampant. This heresy says that the Church must update Her teachings in order to “get with times”. It has often been called the sum of nearly all previous heresies.

From this we get an overblown idea of tolerance, where even sin and sinful lifestyles, yes, even among the clergy, are tolerated, in some cases celebrated and promoted. We see this in the various debates on contraception and homosexual activity.

This heresy also tolerates the idea of Indifferentism, where all religions are the same. In this regard, it also promoted the ideas of false ecumenism which see the identifying of common truths as the end-point, not the starting point, for discussion and that bringing people into communion with the Catholic is not considered important.

Modernism affect many other areas. But ultimately, it “dumbs down” Church teaching, tolerates relativistic morality and makes the Church seem less relevant. The result is that many of the faithful are discouraged, many catechists do not teach the faith completely or accurately so individuals cannot learn the enduring truths. Instead, people are left with often meaningless ritual that seems (and in the cases of liturgical abuse, are) arbitrary, “old-fashioned” and even silly.

Thus people stop going to Church. Men do not hear the call the priesthood or religious life. Women do not hear the call to religious life. People fail to heed important Church teachings out of ignorance, confessional lines are short but Holy Communion lines are long.

What is needed to to recognize that the Church and her teachings are timeless. While there can be development in certain theological ideas that improve our understanding, doctrines can never change.

People need to start hearing five important words in homilies: Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell and Sin. (But this last problem has been around forever, there have always been cowardly priests.)


The crisis in the Church today was identified back when Pope Benedict was Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. The biggest problem is with Catholics who dissent against the Faith. Many of them hold positions of authority of some kind. The core reason is a spirit of secularism (or materialism) that denies the supernatural quality of the Catholic Faith and just sees the Church as a humanistic organization where you can go to feel good or perhaps do some community deeds.

There are a number of factors that lead to the secularist-relativist type of Catholic. We could call it “liberalism” - meaning, a laxity in what is demanded by God. The belief that God is our equal (Pope Benedict has complained about this idea) and that God can be used and controlled for our own perceived benefit.

There has been a century of Scriptural scholarship that has sought to destroy the divine character of the Bible itself.

But probably the main thing is the loss of the sense of the sacred – of the transcendent. That’s the #1 problem. It is manifested in a dismissal of the Cross of Christ as being central to the Catholic Faith.

We can see that in our Church buildings where crucifixes are often taken out. We hear it in sermons that do not remind us about the demands of taking up our Cross daily.

Teaching on the Cross won’t work unless there is the transcendent aspect – we rise above the suffering and death because the power of grace lifts us. But we can’t rise until we embrace the offering and sacrifice of the Lord.

We see this with pro-choice Catholic politicians. They want to be friendly with the values of the anti-Catholic world around us and they simply reject the teaching of the Church. But they also claim that they’re “faithful Catholics”.

All of this dissent and heresy (which can be found in the pews at Mass or quite frequently among “Catholics” here on CAF) is not disciplined properly by the bishops?

Why? For similar reasons, there is a belief that we can use human principles alone (psychology, sociology, organizational strategies) to help people grow as Catholics. Contemplative prayer (again oriented to the transcendent power of God) has been diminished so our leaders don’t have the “tools” they need to convert people who are in dissent.

As I see it, that’s the crisis in the Church. Pope John Paul II complained about it quite bitterly in several of his writings. Pope Benedict is even more clear about the crisis – although he has taken a very positive stance towards it.

… all of that said, the situation is improving. The worst dissenters are dying off. They do not have many young followers. Seminarians are living in union with the mind of the Church with more fidelity. There are very few young priests, for example, who are disciples of Hans Kung or Charles Curran, for example.


I heard Fr. William Casey once say that he thought it was the fact that many Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence anymore.

The reason I originally asked the question was because I hear many different opinions and I wanted to see what you all thought.


It’s a very good question.

There are some good books on this topic also. “Signs of the Times” by Fr. Gilsdorf is very good on this topic.


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