Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Falling Away From Relgious Faith

"Why do we live a life of faith? Without concern for an answer to this question the possibility of becoming tepid [falling away from the faith] is always present.   A priest, with these words, begins his article in the Catholic Times on those who have left the Church.

Many Catholics consider health and family their primary interests, but without having the faith as the primary interest, leaving the faith will always be there, he says. When following Jesus is not the primary objective, but rather peace of mind and looking for material blessings, leaving the believing community is a strong possibility. Without efforts to solve this basic problem, we will, the priest says, not lessen the number of those who are tepid; the numbers will continue to  increase.
At present the opportunities of experiencing Jesus and the meaning of what it means to be a follower of Jesus are few. A very fuzzy idea of what it means to have a faith life is common. He reminds us of the need to examine thoroughly the depth of our faith-life. Without doing so, he says, may be like taking a stone from the top of a pile and fitting it below, and taking the stone from the bottom and putting it on top--a very temporary expedient.

Fortunately, Korean Catholics are zealous. They not only participate in the work of the Church but are interested in the evangelizing endeavors throughout the world. Even if limited by time, it is necessary to teach the catechism at a slower pace, taking pains to be careful in how the teaching is presented, if we want to see a change.

From the 1990s, there has been a decrease in the number of catechumens and an increase in the number of those who have left the church. We are conscious of the problem but have done little to remedy the situation. Getting those who have left the Church to return, he admits, is a difficult task.

Those who have given the subject much thought have come to the conclusion that we are going around in circles, if we concentrate only on those who have left the church and not give our attention to those in the pews  who have a very weak faith life. Attention has to be addressed to those with a lukewarm attachment to Jesus. We are interested in those who are registered as tepids, who have not gone to the sacraments for three years, but are forgetting those in the pews who might still be going to the sacraments but are not far from  absenting themselves from the community.

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