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Challenges ahead for the Church in 2011

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 Contents - Feb 2011AD2000 February 2011 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Challenges ahead for the Church in 2011 - Michael Gilchrist
Book Review: Cardinal Pell and Pope Benedict XVI's interview - Cardinal George Pell
News: The Church Around the World
Liturgical rights of Catholics must be upheld - Fr Martin Durham
Marriage: US bishops signal a tougher stance in the culture wars - Michael Gilchrist
Vocations: Following in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi - Kay Cozad
Key issues of ecumenism: new Vatican president's assessment - AD2000 Report
Science and Christian faith: the case for intelligent design - Babette Francis
That ubiquitous F word: don't demean the sacred - Fr Max Barrett CSsR
Young children: never too early to love God - Bishop Arthur Serratelli
Pope Benedict honours Catholic Women's League member Brenda Finlayson - AD2000 Report
IVF: The Catholic Church and reproductive technologies - Fr John Fleming
Letters: Euthanasia - Leon Voesenek
Letters: Apostles' wives - Francis Vrijmoed
Letters: Leadership - Joe Lopez
Letters: Correction - M.J. Gonzalez
Letters: From India - Fr S. John Joseph
Books: Isabel of Spain: The Catholic Queen, by Warren Carroll - Terri M. Kelleher (reviewer)
Books: Christ Our High Priest, by Cardinal Albert Vanhoye - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Books: MOTHER BENEDICT: Foundress of the Abbey of Regina Laudis, by Antoinette Bosco - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Books: MOTHER ANGELICA: Prayers and Personal Devotions, by Raymond Arroyo - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Books: Order books from
Reflection: The great but neglected harvest of inactive Catholics - Joseph Agius

The Church has faced a wide range of challenges throughout its two millennia history, some external, some internal. This coming year is no exception so the need for strong leadership is as great as ever ever.

Internally, the long-awaited, much improved translation of the Missal is due to be introduced this year. Here, a window of opportunity presents itself after decades of often unchecked liturgical adventurism. Many Catholics, including regrettably some priests, have come to regard the Mass as owned by the local community rather than the universal Church, with relevance rather than authenticity the watchword.

In ensuring that the new translation is faithfully implemented in every Catholic parish, school and religious community, the Australian bishops are in an ideal position to adopt a broad-brush approach to liturgical reform.

A good deal of preparatory work has been done, but more will be needed to ensure that the potential benefits of the more faithful English translation of the Mass texts, including greater understanding of the eucharistic sacrifice and more reverence in the real presence of Jesus Christ, are reflected in a deepening of the spiritual life of all believers.

As the reflection article (page 20) reminds us, another major challenge for the Church is how best to re-evangelise her inactive members at the grassroots. Connected with this, the fostering of a genuine Catholic culture in the schools and the training of committed future teachers remain works in progress if the declining practice rate of young Catholics is to be reversed.

Even more fundamental to the Church's spiritual health are the cornerstones of marriage and family, each under constant attack from secularist elites totally opposed to Judeo-Christian values. At the cutting edge is the relentless push for "gay marriage", euthanasia, abortion and the denial of religious freedom.

Here the fall of Communism in Europe has been followed by the emergence of a "soft" totalitarianism manifesting itself in moral relativism, so-called anti-discrimination laws and radical environmentalism.

It is therefore encouraging that our Church leaders are increasingly appreciative of this challenge, as indicated by the Australian bishops' recent initiative in defence of marriage (page 4).

Michael Gilchrist is editor of AD2000 (email address available on request)

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 24 No 1 (February 2011), p. 2

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