Gus reads an email he got from a listener the other day who also happens to be a religious education teacher for kids who don't Catholic school. She lamented of a precipitous drop-off in attendance and involvement of both students and parents during the pandemic and wonders if the numbers will ever increase and would like to know what other parishes are doing. After reading her email, Gus invites listeners who are involved in religious education, aka CCD, and share what their experience has been over this past year.
Later, Gus is joined by Francis X. Maier, senior fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Policy Center and senior research associate in Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He recently published an article on First Things called "Somebody Needs to Be Dad," where he interviewed 33 bishops, mostly North American, and got their thoughts on many of the hot button issues of the day, including COVID and the clergy sex abuse scandal. He left them anonymous and put together a composite sketch of how they feel and are handling these issues and what their expectations are for the Church's future.
One point that Francis X. Maier made abundantly clear in his article is that being a bishop is a tough gig. It's a very thankless one in that, no matter where they stand on a particular issue, they face intense criticism from every side. Gus invites listeners to call in and talk about what comes to mind when the word "bishop" is mentioned, how they feel about the job bishops are doing and what they want to hear from them.
And Gus also shares some good news and some bad news. First, the bad news. This past Saturday, St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticut, the birthplace of the Knights of Columbus, was damaged by vandals who broke in the stained glass windows in the front door. The good news is a story about Seth and Kayla Fifer who received the terrible news that their unborn daughter was diagnosed with three separate and rare brain diseases. Even though they're facing an enormous financial burden, they decided to keep the baby. Their friends sprang into action and set up a GoFundMe page and other avenues for donations and, as of this morning, that have raised nearly $25,000.