“One more word, gentlemen, our final word: this edifice which you are constructing does not rest upon merely material and earthly foundations, for thus it would be a house built upon sand; above all it is based on our own consciences. The hour has struck for our “conversion,” for personal transformation, for interior renewal. We must get used to thinking of man in a new way; and in a new way also men’s life in common; with a new manner too of conceiving the paths of history and the destiny of the world, according to the words of St. Paul: “You must be clothed in the new self, which is created in God’s image, justified and sanctified through the truth.” (Eph.4:23). Pope Paul VI, United Nations Address, Oct. 4, 1965
Pope Paul VI’s historic day in NYC, 50 years ago, included a Mass at Yankee Stadium in which he recalled “the magnificent development of the Church in the United States…We know your pastoral work and your faithfulness; we know the splendid organization and spiritual vitality of your parishes, of your seminaries, of your universities, of your schools, of your hospitals…” But the Catholic Church in the U.S. soon saw widespread unfaithfulness emerge, among the so-called progressives and traditionalists, as each in their own way dismissed Church teaching on freedom and liberation (Salvation) in favor of various flawed notions (see Birth Control and the Iraq War). The result has been closed churches, hospitals, and schools — in a failed State that threatens the world.
American Catholicism represents 6% of the world’s Catholics, but accounts for over 50% of the Church’s annulments worldwide (which Church leaders hope to add to).
Leading the world in annulments should not embolden a local church. And yet as one writer put it, with his changes to Canon Law — to “streamline” the annulment process, Pope Francis has “delivered a major thumbs-up to American Catholicism.”
Photograph from: Messenger of Peace, 1965