Mary Anastasia O’Grady interviews Archbishop Timothy Dolan for the Wall Street Journal:
If Archbishop Dolan can save and perhaps even revive the city’s Catholic school system, he will be a hero to all of New York. But while he’s working on that, he has two other problems that are troubling for the Catholic Church. The first is the growing number of 20- and 30-somethings, raised in the faith, who are not attending Mass or getting married in the Catholic Church. The second is the sharp drop in people choosing Catholic Church vocations.
I asked him what he thinks has gone wrong. For starters, he says, the Catholic Church for too long took for granted the Catholic culture, “when it was presumed that you would go to Sunday Mass, that you would marry a Catholic and be married in the Catholic Church, when it was presumed that you would always remain in the faith, with tons of priests and nuns and Catholic schools to serve you.”
Those days are gone, and now he says its time to “recover the evangelizing muscle that characterized the early church.” This means putting an end to the “wavering” that has too often characterized the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council and a return to a clear and confident message.
“Very often even the word Catholic even the word church has had a question mark behind it,” he says. “Does it know where it’s going? Does it know what its teaching? Is it going to be around? There was a big question mark. A young person will not give his or her life for a question mark. A young person will give his or her life for an exclamation point.”
This “recovery” in confidence, he says, began under John Paul II and continues under Pope Benedict XVI. In his new role, Archbishop Dolan intends to keep it going. Being a Catholic is an “adventure in fidelity,” he insists. The Catholic Church, he says, has “a very compelling moral message. She calls us to what is most noble in our human makeup, dares us to become saints, challenges us to heroic virtue.”