[CUA Office of Public Affairs]

The Church's Challenge

30 January 1998


c.gif (1084 bytes)harles R. Morris, author of American Catholic, said the major challenge facing the Roman Catholic Church "will be coming to terms with the phenomenon of pluralist democracy." He made his remarks in a speech at The Catholic University of America.

"On a scale of difficulty I would rank that with the challenge of coming to terms with Galilean science 300 years ago," Morris said. "The Church eventually found a way through that problem but it took a couple of hundred years.

"Pluralist democracy, in one form or another," Morris continued, "seems to be the wave of the future throughout the world. I certainly hope that is so because the currently available alternatives are so singularly unattractive. Further, since this country is the major exporter of pluralist democracy throughout the world it's reasonable to suggest that the way the Church meets the challenge here will have implications throughout the world."

In other observations, Morris said: The institution of the Catholic Church is more central to the self- identity of Catholicism than any other religion. The American Catholic Church has been the most successful national Catholic Church over the past 100 years. It didn't lose the working class; it paid its own way; and it helped the global Church. Successful American religions, including the Catholic, have always managed to define themselves as oppositional to the mainstream culture.

Morris' book, published last year, reviews the state of the Catholic Church today.

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Revised: 30 January 1998

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The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.