Here are two excerpts, one positive and one negative:
- From George Sim Johnston:
The good news right now is the apostolate going on at the grass roots, much of it inspired by the teachings of John Paul II. In most places, there is a small but critical mass of young Catholics who have responded to the late pope’s marching orders. In addition, Pope Benedict XVI, in his brilliant writings, has provided these new evangelizers with a compelling story to tell—an up-to-date Christian humanism that ought to resonate with anyone who has ears to hear. Those dioceses where the bishop and his staff are eager to promote and harness these energies are the ones that are going to thrive in the coming decades.
The other good news is the increasing number of bishops who champion a vibrant orthodoxy. We are at a tipping point in this regard. Although there are still bishops whose core convictions are political rather than apostolic, they are a minority. The statements on contraception and homosexuality that recently issued from the U.S. bishops’ conference meeting in Baltimore would not have happened a decade ago.
- From Russell Shaw:
Of the three criteria used in ranking sees, two (priestly morale and priestly vocations) concern clerics, while the third (“effective evangelization”) refers to newcomers to the Church. None reflects the situation of the great majority of Catholics—the longtime lay faithful. Casual readiness to disbelieve...is typical of an alienated, marginalized, and apparently large segment of this mass. But the laity doesn’t make it into the special report.
Both are right.