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The nineteenth episode of The Journey Home is titled “Patrick Madrid: A Life-long Catholic Apologist” and aired February 6, 1998. It can be viewed online here.
As this is another episode with a life-long Catholic for a guest, I expected that there wouldn’t much for me to say in response. I immediately noticed that this episode, inexplicably, is in black and white, and I guessed that might be my only reaction.
About four and a half minutes in, however, Marcus Grodi pointed out that many young Catholics go through a time of distancing themselves from Catholicism, and asked why. Patrick Madrid said this: “[W]e live in a culture that is unique in the sense that we have, we have come to the point culturally, in the West, where our culture is openly, actively, hostile to the Gospel, to living one’s Christian faith, and we can see that in the media, in the books, in the movies, and so forth.” I can see where he’s coming from, here. Only 40 or so of America’s presidents so far have been Christian. There have only been a few dozen big budget Hollywood movies centering around Christianity, specifically the stories of Christmas and Easter. Only 70% of Americans identify as Christian. In any bookstore, there are only about 3 aisles of books specifically about Christianity or of the “Christian fiction” genre, and sometimes a whole of an aisle is dedicated to all of the other religions in the world (I’ve never seen “Muslim fiction” or “Hindu fiction”). Not every teacher is allowed to openly teach creationism in the classroom; most are instead being forced to actually teach science in their biology class. A few students around the country have realized that they don’t have to say “under God” when they do the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in school, as per their constitutional right to have a different religion than Christianity. That constitutional right of freedom of religion sure is hostile to Christianity! It makes it so the Ten Commandments can’t be displayed on every courthouse lawn, even! The media, though, is the worst. About three whole guys each have a show where they sometimes mock Christianity!
Here’s a test to show whether your religion is being persecuted in your culture: are you afraid to tell people your religion, because they might immediately assume you are an evil person and shun you? Do you keep your religious views secret and refuse to ever wear any sign of them at work or in public for fear you might be fired, ostracized, threatened, beaten, perhaps even killed? If not, you probably aren’t under persecution. If so, hello, fellow atheist! (Ok, that last part assumes an American audience.)
They then say that most people go through a few years of having fallen away or gone through doubt, and come back to Catholicism.
I mean, has any Catholic ever stopped to consider that maybe, just maybe, young people are leaving Catholicism because they know what the teachings are and disagree with them? I personally know at least one person who left Catholicism mainly because of the homosexuality issue. I left because I found that I couldn’t accept Catholicism as true, and I don’t see that changing.
So far, our breakdown of the guests’ religious state before conversion to Catholicism looks like this.
- Serious Christian: 12
- Always Catholic: 4
- Lax Christian: 1
- Non-Christian, but religious: 2
- Non-believer, but not very skeptical: 0
- Skeptic: 0