Hello from Los Angeles!
The Religious Education Congress has been excellent — energizing and enlightening. There has been a decided focus on some basic topics and themes that have been unpopular with most Catholic progressives — things like sin and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It’s all been integrated in a very interesting way. I believe it may be in reaction to the accusations of the Catholic Right that everyone else in the Church has fallen off the deep end into perdition. It is also probably in response to the reality of the need for evangelization regarding the need for God in the first place.
Religion is very un-PC at the moment. “Sin” as a topic is a “no-no.” Taking responsibility for hurtful acts is very difficult for most people. The connection between sin and evangelization is that one cannot be a credible witness to the need for faith if one is living a chaotic or destructive life. Many of the speakers pointed to the need for good decisions, being able to hear God’s voice in the midst of all the competing voices in our culture — security, money, appearances, status etc. — and having a spiritual director or a personal spiritual coach in the person to whom one goes for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Matthew Kelly noted, “Holiness is attractive.” We have so many Catholics outside the Church who have been hurt by someone in the Church that we have to look at how committed we are to our own faith — does it really matter? We are attracted to a Mother Teresa. She was only one person — a small one at that. So, Kelly rightly asked — “What’s with the rest of us?”
It’s a good question — one that we would all do well to take as our focus during these final days of Lent and as we go into Easter.