In it he addresses some of "the nones" - the 14 percent or so of people, according to this study by the Pew Research Center, who say they have no religious affiliation - though they may believe in a God and pray.
The good Bishop is troubled:
Every generation -- every human being -- at some point has to answer a fundamental series of questions: Who am I? Why am I alive? What does my life mean and how am I supposed to live my life? But barely half of the "nones" report any reflection on these sorts of questions.While he never actually gets around to discussing perhaps why the "nones" are growing more unaffiliated by the generation.
That said, the lack of religious identity in a growing number of people is of great concern to me. But I have found that many people, now in their 70s, 60s, 50s, 40s or 30s, who were lost to faith in their late tweens and 20s, have too often made a decision -- without much thought -- that lasts a lifetime. They create a life mired in consumerism.
I have to face up to the fact that some of the "nones" were created in our own churches and temples. They were the children of believers -- possibly marginal believers, but believers nonetheless -- who never caught it, or caught it and dropped it by the wayside as they entered their young adult years. The Pew Research notes that 74 percent of the "nones" were raised with some religious affiliation.
Luckily the Pew report gives us an answer (and this would be something the Bishop decided we didn't need to know):
Overwhelmingly, [the "nones"] think that religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in politics.Hmm...I'd hazard a guess that perhaps the collective faith in the Bishop's Church might well have been weakened over the years by the dissonance between the rules on sexual morality (pro-life, anti-contraception, anti-equality) it seeks to impose (by way of the political process, doncha know) on everyone and it's own disastrous handling of its own predatory priests:
Prosecutors who have been stymied for years in their attempts to build a criminal conspiracy case against retired Los Angeles Archdiocese Cardinal Roger Mahony and other church leaders said Tuesday they will review newly released priest files for additional evidence.How often did things like this happen while the country was being sternly lectured on the civilization-crushing moral evils of condom use or masturbation or Ellen Degeneres?
Thousands of pages from the internal disciplinary files of 14 priests made public Monday show Mahony and other top aides maneuvered behind the scenes to shield molester priests and provide damage control for the church.