"See How the Church Is Alive Today!" | Paul Erich Menge | CWR blog
The last forty years have witnessed a flowering of faith in the Church, despite numerous challenges and difficulties
"But we see how the Church is alive today!" — Benedict XVI, Final General Audience, Feb. 27, 2013.
Upheaval in the Church and confusion among the faithful. The late 1960s and early 1970s were dark days indeed, as reported by Kenneth L. Woodward in his memoir of big changes to the Church in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, in the February 2013 issue of the journal First Things. Woodward at that time was religion editor at Newsweek magazine.
But Woodward’s account takes us only into 1971. It is only the beginning of the story. Then, gradually, came a flowering, the evidentiary work of the Holy Spirit, a great happening, a turn in salvation history.
First stirrings were the emergence of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in February 1967 with its appreciation for the work of the Holy Spirit, which spread throughout the Church; publication in 1971 of Malcolm Muggeridge’s Something Beautiful for God, which brought to the public’s attention the ministry of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and her Missionaries of Charity; founding of the international journal Communio in 1972 by Joseph Ratzinger and other prominent theologians who in 1970 broke with the progressive journal Concilium; the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in January 1973 which prompted into existence the anti-abortion/pro-life movement; appointment of Fr. Michael Scanlan in 1974 to be president of the College of Steubenville and to begin the rescue and spiritual transformation of the college (re-named Franciscan University of Steubenville in 1985); and the “Hartford Appeal for Theological Affirmation” of February 1975, which was a response of fourteen Christian thinkers to current distortions of Christian faith, “the casual jettisoning of Christian orthodoxy,” and included identification of thirteen “false and debilitating” theses.
Multiple fruits of the Spirit appeared in the late 1970s and early 1980s, most notably the papacy of Bl. John Paul II, beginning in 1978 and continuing for 27 years.