Pew research center released a new survey that is very telling. It revealed that there has been a decline of Christians in the United States. It also revealed that for the first time people with no affiliation with religion has risen above the number of Catholics. They attribute much of the decline to the Millennial Generation although it is reflective to all ages.
This is serious stuff and I am wondering what the Christian churches can do to reach out to those disaffected. I think a lot will hinge on the outcome of the Synod of the Family this Fall. Everyone is watching and waiting to see if a shift will happen if change, however, small is imminent and possible. For the most part the 2014 synod began the process by pondering and discussing many family issues without a problem, however, fierce debate took place over three hot-button issues:
* How welcoming should the Church be to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender “LGBT” people?
* How accepting should the Church be about “irregular” relationships, such as living together before marriage?
* Should divorced Catholics who remarry without first getting an annulment be able to receive Communion?
Like it or not these are real and crucial issues for the young adult community and I believe the future church will need to address at least some of these issues. However, based on expressed strong dividing opinions this year’s upcoming summit promises to continue the conversations with high tensions over sensitive hot- button issues.
It is predicted that a divided body will be unable to deliver solutions to the pope. This outcome will leave the final decisions up to him which, could create more controversy. Some are so nervous about how this is going to go they have taken matters into their own hands with US clergy, including five bishops, ask synod to ‘stand firm’ on marriage and petitions signed by bishops and priests.
This is partly why Pope Francis is asking us all to pray, pray, pray.
What are your thoughts regarding the survey, Synod of the Family and these hot button topics?