Archbishop Gomez delivered his second presidential address to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, Maryland, on Nov. 16.
In 1889, Archbishop John Ireland of St. Paul, Minnesota, said, “The next century of the life of the Church in America will be what we make it. … As we will it, so shall the story be. … There is so much at stake for God and souls, for Church and country! … The duty of the moment is to understand our responsibility, and to do the full work that heaven has allotted to us. … With us it will be done, without us it will not be done.”
As bishops, each of us feels the urgency that Archbishop Ireland felt more than a century ago. We realize that God is calling us to bring souls to Christ and build his kingdom, and to infuse our culture and society with the values of the gospel.
Our challenge is to understand how the Church can best carry out her mission in an America that is now highly secularized.
There is a spiritual awakening going on in America, underneath all the clouds of the pandemic, all the uncertainty about where our country is heading. People are starting to examine what they truly believe and what they value most deeply in their lives. New opportunities are opening up for the gospel!
That is because we are living in a moment when American society seems to be losing its “story.”
For most of our history, the story that gave meaning to our lives was rooted in a biblical worldview and the values of our Judeo-Christian heritage. It was the story of the human person created in God’s image and invested with an earthly vocation to build a society where people could live in freedom, with equality and dignity.
This story underwrote America’s founding documents. It shaped the assumptions of our laws and institutions, it gave substance to our everyday ideals and actions.
What we see all around us now are signs that this narrative may be breaking down. This is one of the consequences of living in a secular society. Without God we cannot make sense of our lives. As a result, many of our neighbors are searching, looking for a new story to give them meaning, to tell them what they are living for and why.
But our neighbors do not need a new story. What they need is to hear the true story — the beautiful story of Christ’s love for us, his dying and rising from the dead for us, and the hope he brings to our lives.
Archbishop Ireland talked about “the duty of the moment.” I believe the duty of our moment is the responsibility that we have to tell the Christian story once again to the people of our times.
This is why I think that the initiatives we are undertaking as a conference of bishops are absolutely essential. Especially our document on the eucharistic mystery, and our pastoral plan for a eucharistic revival.
We are all aware that salvation does not come through another Church document or program. We are only saved through the personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
But the eucharistic revival is a missionary project. It aims to draw our people deeper into the heart of the mystery of faith, to awaken what St. Pope John Paul II called “eucharistic amazement.”
The Eucharist is deeply personal, our intimate encounter with the living God who comes to be our food and our strength in the journey of life. The Eucharist is also the key to the civilization of love that we long to create.
Jesus promised that he would be truly present in the sacrament of the altar, but also in the flesh and blood of our neighbors, especially those who are poor and suffering.
If we ever hope to end human indifference and social injustice, then we need to see the image of the living God in every human person we meet — from the infant in the womb to our elderly parents drawing their dying breaths.
Our beautiful task is to continue to tell the Catholic story, to reveal Jesus to our people — to place their hands in his hand so they can walk by his light and follow him on the path to eternity, to the love that never ends.
As Archbishop Ireland said more than a century ago, there is so much at stake in our mission, for God and souls, for Church and country. “As we will it, so shall the story be.”
In just a few weeks, we will celebrate the 490th anniversary of the Virgin Mary’s apparition to St. Juan Diego, which is the true founding of America.
So let us look to Our Lady of Guadalupe in this moment and entrust all our challenges to her maternal heart.
The above comes from a Nov. 24 post in Angelus News. The remarks can be read in full on ArchbishopGomez.org.
They need to devote the next meeting to one topic only: why are 90% of people raised Catholic leaving the Church and what can be done to change that?
They can blow hot air all they want about telling the Gospel story anew.
When 90% of your customers from birth have rejected what you offer, it’s time for serious soul searching about yourself.
Sadly I agree with you, Next meeting– a really fine post, IMO. As a convert I truly do not understand the hemorrhage of youth from the Church after confirmation. Many, it seems, end up in Evangelical churches if they continue going to church. As a musician I played in an Assembly of God church for several years and one Sunday the pastor asked how many were former Catholic and quite a few hands went up. I would say these people feel they have a deeper relationship with Jesus there than at their former parish. Why is that? Also, I would think a very good question to ask of those who stay is “why?” Why have you stayed? As an aside, I am glad to see Abp. Gomez speaking out. I think he is doing a lot of soul searching and I hope his example catches on with his brother bishops.
Are you kidding? People reject the Church because of their own sin (s).
You cannot change revealed truth to get more butts in the seats.
They should not have changed the things they did, in my opinion.
We are in a suicide epidemic. They Church used to say people who committed suicide went to hell. Everybody knows it. But nobody will say it.
You know when they come back-when they want to give their children what they had or when Satan scares the crap out of them.
That’s part of it, but institutional hypocrisy, clerical corruption, liturgical and homiletical banality, catechetical irrelevance, and a perceived lack of meaningfulness in the Gospel on account of the Church’s sins have driven many cradle Catholics away.
That may just be the self-righteous excuses of the person who is bored. Acedia is a sin.
Banality, would I be understanding you by restating your post as “The Church is spiritually and intellectually dead (or better, dying) ?”
Value, meaning, importance and purpose.
If you do not understand the purpose, the value, the importance and the meaning of the Catholic Church, those things might rock your boat.
” It was the story of the human person created in God’s image and invested with an earthly vocation to build a society where people could live in freedom, with equality and dignity.”
No, it really wasn’t. There were a few people like that. Eleanor Roosevelt comes to mind.
America’s founding documents were about not having the government or the Church tell you what you could and could not believe or say.
I agree that the true Gospel needs to be spread. People need to be taught to pray-that is the personal encounter with Christ in addition to the Eucharist.
We need saints-true saints-not I give a million dollars of my billion dollars.
Bishops and priests need to hit the streets and be a part of American life in all things but sin.
Oprah Winfrey is a wealthy philanthropist. She obtained her success by seeking to do and to be what her Creator desired for her to be when He created her. She is a generous woman who wants to make a difference in other’s lives and who empowers and enables others to do so. Her desire to do good for others stems from one incident in her childhood. They were poor and her mother told her there would be no Christmas that year; there was no money for it. Oprah was upset not because of the lack of things but because of the embarrassment she was going to feel when all the other kids on the block talked about what they had gotten for Christmas. She would be humiliated by having to tell them that she got nothing.
On Christmas Eve, a couple of nuns brought her and her mother food for Christmas dinner and brought her a doll. They spared her from that humiliation and she never forgot it. That is the root of her philanthropy.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
The Catholic Church is the ideal. It is intersectional, as they say now. We are all out here praying and worshipping the One God. All ages, all races, all nationalities, all mental states, all phases of life, in all kinds of relationships-bad one, good ones, working on them ones, giving up on them ones, all areas of work, play, art, athletics.
We are all here.
If you want to know why people aren’t coming, ask them. Don’t guess.
When I did a welcome home ministry in the 1990’s, one thing that people said was “Nobody ever missed me. Nobody ever came looking for me.”
If priests and nuns go out and be seen outside the Church, just the clothes they wear impact people. Somebody sees a priest in his blacks and it convicts them to go back to Church or to make up with a friend or to stop using.
it makes a difference.
Since Vatican II, there have been just way too many extremely destructive things happening everywhere in our Church. Catholic “identity,” what it means to be a Catholic, and to practice the Catholic Faith– has been nearly destroyed! Catholics are left to fend for themselves, in this big “mess!” And many just grab onto whatever they can, for themselves and their children. Others have tragically been led astray by the Culture of Death to adopt sinful “lifestyles,” and many priests and bishops do not help them. Very tragic. Poor leadership! Why do sinful “Catholic” political leaders insist on Mass attendance and reception of Communion? Very, very bad leadership, in our Church!
Folks, this comment by “Many” is plainly ridiculous. It is typical of those who unjustly lambast the legitimate Magisterium of the Church. For example, that many Catholics are “left to fend for themselves” and “just grab onto whatever they can”? Sounds like the the ramblings from someone from a different planet, if I may say so. We Catholics are not left alone. We have the sacraments, we have the continued guidance of the Magisterium, we have the Bible, the witness of the saints, we have the Eucharist, and many more. Our Lord Himself has promised, “I will be with you always until the end of the age.” This ridiculous rambling by “Many” is tantamount to saying that Our Lord did not mean what He said in the Scriptures. “Many” therefore is wrong.
I bet you were a hoot to have at the Thanksgiving table
jon, you fail to understand. This is just a plain and true statement. It is not a criticism of the Fathers of Vatican II and their Documents. Let’s be perfectly clear: It is a plain fact, that the “Post-Vatican II Era” has been troubled with a great many extreme problems in the Roman Catholic Church, never seen before in its history. And that’s all. Period.
I think Many has been doomscrolling or something.
And we have the Catechism although it seems to be a book that everybody has but not many read, kind of like the Bible.
You get out of things what you put into things.
If you left the Church before the Catechism came out, things have changed.
My parish has worked very hard on instructing adult Catholics in the faith. Look for resources at your parish and diocese.
I know people who left our Church but it was because they did not like the teachings of the Church. Or because of divorce and remarriage.
Sinful Catholic political leaders? We don’t vote for them.
I doubt your leadership is as bad as you think it is.
Are you stuck at home because of Covid? Call your parish and see if they can put you on a visit or call or even a prayer list.
There are a lot of great things-faithful things-going on in the Catholic Church.
This from the guy who said that riots are the language of the unheard.
Maybe it’s time to re-re-consecrate the state to Mary again.
like the vaccine boosters? the original didn’t have the intended effect, so try a boost?
American society is losing its story but the church is losing its members