OK. Ok. Reading CMR recently, one can get pretty easily get a “we’re all heading to Hell in a handbasket” feeling pretty easily. But today I’m going to lighten your load a wee bit and suggest that we might just have our hands on the controls of this handbasket and we should all be getting ready for a big fat neck snapping 180. See, I’m optimistic like that. And I’m not alone.
CNS reports on a Zogby poll that indicates that progressive Catholics are pretty darn pessimistic about the Church’s future while those Catholics describing themselves as Orthodox are pretty optimistic. Yup. I’m thinking that’s good news:
Those Catholics who identified themselves as progressive were more likely to be pessimistic; even so, on this issue they were a minority within their group. Four percent were very pessimistic about the church’s future and 36 percent were somewhat pessimistic.
By contrast, those who identified themselves as “orthodox” Catholics were much more optimistic. Only 6 percent of that group said they were somewhat pessimistic, and just 1 percent very pessimistic.
That’s 40 percent of progressive Catholics who are at least somewhat pessimistic about the Church’s future compared to just seven percent of Orthodox. Hey, that’s gotta be worth more than a little schadenfreude, right?
I’m thinking the two facts are connected. I remember speaking to a liberal Jesuit I know a few years ago and he despaired how the young Jesuits and seminarians were all so “ultra conservative.” He despaired over the future of the Church. I wonder if the next generation of optimistic orthodox Catholics are actually the cause of the pessimism of the progressive Catholics in this poll? Well…us and Pope Benedict, of course.
The bit of bad news is that those calling themselves progressive was 20 percent of respondents. Only eleven percent self-identified as orthodox. Then you had these classifications which I’ve got to tell you I couldn’t figure out: Evangelical Catholic, Fundamentalist Catholic, and born-again Catholic.