The great institution we refer to as the Church finds itself in peril in this age. Why because of its lack of faith in the Gospels. It has nothing to do with with competence rather the leadership is more concerned with orthodoxy and embrace of traditionalism regardless of the individuals competence. Most were possessed by a severe theology that saw the church under siege in a hostile world.
Such a focus had its price. It denied the advancement of more centrist individuals to positions of authority. It inhibited the advancement of sounder, more dynamic leaders who were willing to move in new directions.
Steps Pope Francis could take at reform bring down the retirement age bishops to 70, allowing for exceptional Bishops to stay on beyond that retirement age. With the priest shortage common sense would indicate that a married clergy would be another significant reform.
So many people are leaving the Church because the massive clergy sexual abuse scandal that seems only to get larger and larger with each passing year.
Currently there are 75 million Catholics in the Church. According to Pew Research, their level of religious practice and attachment has been waning. Pew found there are an additional 22 million Catholics who left the American church. If these former Catholics were a single denomination, it would be the second largest religion in America.
Like Ahaz, a misguided king in the Book of Isaiah, most bishops cried out, “Lord, send me a sign!” This after abundant signs had already been sent, but ignored. Many bishops have blamed anything else but their own failed leadership: pop culture, secularism, feminism, the media, too much education, too little education, Satan, weak belief, television, general moral decline.
It is far past a time for a new Spring Time in the Church. Or this great Church will return to the dust from which it came.
Rainbow Sash Movement