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Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Crisis Magazine Plug, Part II.

Then there's this brilliant piece by National Review's Kathryn Lopez about the Church losing its young members.

Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt offers his explanation for going to conservative Presbyterianism:

He argues, "The American Church...needs a reformation." But, he despairs, "none is even remotely close to occurring." Hewitt points to the new cathedral in Los Angeles as "the perfect expression of the American Church today—so sterile it could be an air conditioning plant and designed to please non-Catholics with the taste of the leadership."

Hewitt describes his move from Roman Catholicism to Presbyterianism as partly positive and partly negative. He considers himself an "ex-pat, obliged to move to a Protestant expression of faith because I experience God’s presence more easily and more conclusively as a Presbyterian and began to do so over a dozen years ago." Presbyterianism works for him in ways Catholicism no longer did. "The Presbyterian confessions and order of worship are very left-brain and made me into a much better Christian," he says.

But some of the reasons for Hewitt’s move were direct reactions to problems he saw in the Catholic Church. Hewitt says, "The American bishops literally drove me out. I could not read the paper without muttering about their inanities. James Malone, the bishop of Youngstown, my bishop, who confirmed me, sputtering about nuclear weapons and poverty"—all this while Hewitt worked in the Reagan White House.

"These silly men," Hewitt complains, "issued reams of nonsense and met and met and met even as the liturgy collapsed into incoherence and the preaching dissolved into eight-minute homilies on the need for love. There was also the problem of the Responsorial Antiphon. It would almost always cause me to either laugh or grind my teeth. Is there a worse collection of ‘music’ anywhere? And the Christian Rite of Initiation, and the revamped Sacrament of Reconciliation—all of it just another set of committee reports from priests and nuns bored with the old Church. I could go on, but my guess is that you have heard it all before."

Hewitt concludes, "There is enormous energy and talent within the American Church which might over the years genuinely renew it and rebuild it. But I need God on a much more immediate basis."

Indeed. Read the whole thing. For the most part, these men weren't lured out--they were driven away, and for a multitude of reasons most of us see every week. Dispiriting, but necessary, reading.

P.S. Did you notice this?

"'Is there a worse collection of ‘music’ anywhere?'"

If so, I haven't heard it. Thankfully.

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