Are people leaving the Church because of a lack of inspiring leadership, or simply because they have lost faith?
Pope Benedict XVI believes that the main reason people are deserting the Church in Europe is because of a “crisis of faith”. This is why he has called the Year of Faith, which he hopes will inspire Catholics to share their faith in a compelling way.
In an address to the Curia last year the Pope pointed out this crisis, saying: “If we find no answer to this, if faith does not take on new life, deep conviction and real strength from the encounter with Jesus Christ, then all other reforms will remain ineffective.”
But is the underlying problem a crisis of faith or a crisis of leadership? Looking across Europe there are only a handful of inspiring bishops. Most are content to let things drift. The abuse crisis has exposed some to be dreadful decision makers. Too many, George Weigel argues, have thought of themselves as managers, or “discussion-group moderators”, instead of apostles.
So what is really ailing the Church in Europe: a crisis of faith or a crisis of leadership?