In his recent National Catholic Register post, “Why the world doesn’t take Catholicism seriously,” Matthew Warner addresses the question of why American Catholics are leaving the Church at an alarming rate. His answer is this:
“We Catholics don’t look or act any different than non-catholics. It’s that simple.
The question we must answer is ‘if Catholicism offers a better way, why don’t Catholics’ lives seem any better?’
He draws this from the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes, which says, “One of the gravest errors of our time is the dichotomy between the faith which many profess and the practice of their daily lives.”
Warner proposes that the solution to this is not to wait for the institutional Church to fix the problem (though there are problems that need to be fixed), but rather to focus on “what the Church does best. Our competitive advantage. What nobody else can do like the Catholic Church does: Create saints.”
However, Warner says, this shows us another problem: we’ve gotten bad at teaching people how to be saints.
“The best teachers show. As children we learn more by what we see our parents do than any words they ever say. We’ve forgotten this when it comes to handing on the faith.”
To help remedy this problem, Warner has started a new project called The Radical Life. This project aims to inspire people to live the radical call to sainthood by simply sending one short e-mail to their inbox each week. These short posts address how to shift your priorities to focus on what is essential and most important in your life.
“If we want the world to take Catholicism seriously, we must first take it seriously ourselves. That means making radical changes to the ways we live our lives. We need more people to answer the radical call to sainthood. We need saints. Not just saints of the past, but your sainthood.”