Last week I wrote an article criticizing the Protestant character of some “New Evangelization” programs. I gave a few brief suggestions for true Catholic evangelization, and a number of people contacted me subsequently requesting more practical suggestions. In terms of one-on-one evangelization, I’ve written a book on the subject; here I’d like to share a few important steps for how a parish can be renewed in a fully Catholic sense.
One essential point before we begin. Today the Church is awash in “programs.” Most of these programs are well-intentioned, but there isn’t much evidence to suggest that they’re successful in leading people into a deeper commitment to Christ in the Catholic Church. I’m sure people have been impacted for the better by this or that program, but the fact remains that the Church is still hemorrhaging members and most parishes are lukewarm at best, despite being inundated with a plethora of programs.
What I suggest is far more radical than a new program. We are in our current situation because the past 50 years have given us a radical reconfiguration of how the Faith is practiced. Another program is at best a band-aid when the patient needs surgery (and some programs are like opening a new wound). It will take another radical reconfiguration in order to stem the bleeding and heal the patient. I offer the following steps—in order of importance—as a way forward.