Father Tim Moyle, over at "Where the Rubber Hits the Road" linked this insightful article from Commonweal by Peter Steinfels, a Roman Catholic. Mr. Steinfels is co-director of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture, and so he has the wherewithal to write this article. He is also the author not surprisingly of the book for which this article was titled, Further Adrift: The American Church's Crisis of Attrition, and has written others or contributed to their writing, including The Neoconservatives. He's been around the block.
He writes about the US Catholic Church, which is a lot like writing about the Canadian Catholic Church, just bigger. There are pretty much the same issues facing the Catholic Church in both of our countries.
He points to the losses of Catholics raised in the Church. noting that one in three have left the Church. Though many have found a home in another Christian denomination that suits their fancy, all too many have joined the ranks of the unchurched. At the two Christmas celebrations that we had last year, one with My Dear Wife's family and one with my own, there were 7 practicing Catholics present, out of a total of probably 20, all of whom have been baptised into the Church, and all of whom were raised attending Church regularly.
The simplest answer to this complex article, which begets much thought is found in the Parable of the Sower.
Luke 8:4-15  While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable:  "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.  Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown." When he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."  His disciples asked him what this parable meant.  He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, " `though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'  "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.  Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.  Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.  The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.  But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.The reality that we are seeing is mirroring the parable that Jesus spoke. Pretty smart guy Our Lord and Saviour.
It is true that seed that is along the pathway (the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts) will be devoured by passing birds or trampled into the ground, The seed that falls on rocks (the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root) will die because there is no soil to sustain them. Seed among thorns or weeds (those who hear, but as they go on their way ... are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and ... do not mature) will die also, because their life is choked out of them.
But, what if we go looking around the paths near the garden and pick up the seed that has fallen on the path and carry it over and lovingly plant it in the garden? What if we look at the rocks near the garden and pick up the seed we find there and carry it over and lovingly plant it in the garden, and what if we weed the garden so that the weeds will not steal the nutrients meant for the seeds nor choke the precious seedlings?
Kenneth Copeland, an Evangelical preacher that I listened to often, said: "The failure of any Christian endeavour is a prayer failure. The success of any Christian endeavour is a prayer success."
We owe everyone on this planet with us only love, and the first way to love others is to love God, and receive the grace from Him to do as He wills, and to entrust to Him the overall care and feeding of all of His seeds. This can only be accomplished by coming into His will, which can only be achieved by devoting ourselves to prayer.
So, let us not worry about this article. Even though it is true, it is a snapshot. Life is a motion picture.
Listen to Deitrick Haddon as he sings "Prayer Changes Things."
If you find that a little too wild for your taste, then listen to that wonderful Gospel Singer, Mahalia Jackson as she tells you the same thing with different words.
Do not be discouraged Brothers and Sisters, but pray always.
Got it. GET ON IT!!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, we trust in your love for all who have been baptised into your Holy Church. Sacred Heart of Jesus fill them all with Your Precious Blood, that was shed for us all on Calvary to free us from sin and death.