In East Tennessee, the Diocese of Knoxville has dedicated the country’s newest cathedral, March 3, during a special Mass in which prelates and parishioners celebrated the growth of the Roman Catholic Church in this region of the United States. Bishop Richard Stika, only the second bishop of a diocese created by Pope John Paul II in 1988, greeted the gathering of more than 1,000 with a simple phrase after the three-year building project: “Well, we made it.”
Five cardinals, 21 bishops, more than 100 priests, 58 deacons, and 39
men and women religious took part in the three-hour dedication Mass
along with more than 800 East Tennessee Catholics. It cost $30 Million and features a 144-foot-high dome with murals of the Twelve Apostles and 16
saints. A 25-foot portrait of Jesus with the sacred heart is the largest
image in the dome.
The cathedral’s art and architecture also includes a 45-foot-tall baldacchino, or canopy, over the altar.
In July the Diocese of Raleigh dedicated its cathedral.
So what does this mean? It means that Roman Catholics are growing, at least in the South, and that this growth comes at a time when other churches in the area are struggling. It means that Rome is far from over and out, except in regions where the chief reason for existing seems to be opposing what their church has believed and taught (Europe). It also means that all this talk about praise bands and screens and top 40 style music and such may not be what churches ought to pursue.
Could it mean that Romanist leaders in Tennessee don't spend their time writing blog articles detailing what the Missouri Synod is doing in the state?
The important thing is not about the latest Cathedral, nor the growth of a particular denomination. God had plenty to say about ornamentation and outward religion when He addressed the ancient Jews. God looks at the heart. He considers the content of the preaching and the doctrines. Revelation describes types of churches and how the Lord views them and will judge their faithfulness. We cannot equate church growth with the idea that it is always pleasing to God. He will judge whether growth is positive or not.
Perhaps Lutherans shouldn't judge our Catholic brethren too quickly as maybe, just maybe they are doing something right?
Ornate objects and art can play a visible assistance in bringing the worshippers to an awareness of the presence of God in their midst.
Worshipping idols is wrong but if used as an aid to awaken the senses perhaps they are sincere? Do not judge.
And PRAISE music is used extensively in the Catholic Church. After all it does have it's place in worship. Lutherans take note.
What needs to be said about the growth of Roman Catholicism in the South:
Conclusion: As Roman Catholics flee from the Northeast to southern and western states, they bring their faith with them. For example, it is not difficult to find ex-New Yorkers now living in North Carolina. Perhaps we are witnessing the same migration trend in Tennessee?
Anonymous, you think in the typical American way and your thinking is limited only by what happens on the U.S.A. Your analysis may be correct in your particular small part of the U.S., but there is life elsewhere on the planet.
The American way of thinking? On the contrary, other countries, including Canada, are well represented by these organizations:
From the above National Catholic Reporter web link:
"Up until now, "nearly $3 billion" has been the most widely cited figure by media, academics and activists for the cost to the U.S. church for clergy sex abuse and its cover-up. NCR research shows that figure is too low, probably by as much as a billion dollars -- and perhaps much more."
The state of Roman Catholicism on other parts of the planet:
Perhaps confessional Lutheranism can win converts from the Brazilian Evangelical community (people who were once Roman Catholic).
Anonymous, I think somehow we jumped from church growth and new cathedrals to the abuse scandal, which could be a relevant topic?
On that topic, Catholics have recovered remarkably well considering the seriousness of the issue. It appears in "some areas of the world"
they are still showing modest or significant recovery.
Now to the main point of the post is that Roman Catholism is holding their own in growth and, may I add, they have remarkable youth ministries and are effectively evangelizing them to be active participants in the life of the church. Now Lutheranism could take a page out of their book. Our youth vanish like a mist on a hot summer day. Again, Lutherans take note. But maybe our forte is crictism?
If you think Brazilians will convert to Lutheranism, that is another false assumption, Catholics who haven't darkened a church door for 20 years will tell you they are Roman Catholics and are not interested in any other church.
We Lutherans have our work cut for us, and lambasting Catholics will do us no good.
People still remain with the Roman Catholic church or are attracted to it despite the ongoing abuse scandals, which is intriguing.
Roman Catholic laymen are known for retaining their identity decades after they have stopped attending mass. The preference for staying home rather than becoming involved in a different Christian denomination is amazing. That denomination must have some excellent catechesis!
Think about all of the disillusioned non-denominational laymen who eventually burn out from weekly "how to" and prosperity sermons. For some reason, many of them flip 180 degrees in the opposite direction and consider joining Rome. They don't seem to spend any time considering confessional Lutheranism as an option during the church shopping process. Therefore, I had thought it would be easier for confessional Lutherans to witness to Evangelicals than to Roman Catholics.
Lutherans tend "to eat their own", it is true. The infighting is bitter and relentless. Rome does not look at Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, or Fuller seminary for inspiration, and yet it does just fine. People fleeing Evangelical theology do not want to see it in the LCMS. I hope someday the LCMS leadership can move forward and finally listen to the ex-Evangelical Lutherans....
I thought Fisk was going to lead the way, but Worldview Everlasting was disbanded.........
The announcement, of the WEtv Board of Directors (Pastor Jonathan Fisk, Pastor Matt Richard, Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller) explained what was happening with the dissolution of Worldview Everlasting, but in his video, Pastor Fisk dodged the question of why this was happening. And other Lutheran sites that have promoted Fisk and WE in the past have been oddly silent on the whole thing.
Agreed, focus on our good sound theology and leave the criticism/judgement to God. Remove the plank from Lutheran eyes, then maybe we would see better?
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