The Need for a Smart, Beautiful, and Vibrant Catholicism

“We’ve dumbed down the Faith for way too long. My generation got a dumbed-down Catholicism and it’s been a pastoral disaster… We dumbed down the Faith in order to make it relevant and we undermined ourselves. It’s a smart, beautiful, vibrant Catholicism that people find compelling.”

That was Bishop Robert Barron of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester who spoke about the watering down of Catholicism and the vagueness with which the Faith is so innocuously offered to the youth and the masses.

On The Drew Mariani Show, Drew discussed Bishop Barron’s comments and a column written by Bishop Gerard Battersby, agreeing that the core of the Faith has been lost in equating Catholicism to an obligation, an organization, or an affiliation.

Bishop Battersby began his column by telling the story of some friends he recently had dinner with. Unexpectedly, at this dinner, his friends announced that they would no longer be practicing the Faith. The husband explained that he didn’t want to be part of an organization that compelled him to vote for a particular political candidate. His wife joined in, saying that they disagree with the Church’s stances on divorce and LGBTQ issues.

“Wrestling with and struggling to understand church teaching makes sense to me, but abandoning Jesus and his Eucharistic presence is nearly impossible to wrap my mind around,” wrote Bishop Battersby.

And that was exactly Drew’s point: How did we get to this point where religion and politics became an either/or decision? Somewhere along the line, something in the lives of this couple – and so many other Catholics – has usurped the throne upon which God once sat.

“Are you going to throw out your baby with the bathwater because you don’t like the bathwater?” asked an exasperated Drew. “You’re going to walk away from Jesus who is truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist? You’re going to walk away from the freedom that comes from the sacrament of reconciliation? You’re going to walk away from the truth and the Church that was established by Jesus Christ?”

Many people fall into this category. There is something about the Faith that pushed them away whether it was hypocrisy, coldness, or corruption within the Church. And an initial response of shock may have been appropriate. But abandonment is not the correct answer. It is we the faithful who are supposed to be the light, the warmth, and the change that we want to see in the world and within the Church.

It is no time to fret, and no time to mourn. It’s a time for action. As Bishop Barron points out, it is a vibrant, beautiful Faith that attracts people, both converts and reverts. We are going to be the ones who are charged with bringing lost souls home. Through our example, through our love, and through our prayers, there is no telling how many we can lead (back) to Jesus and ultimately to heaven.

Bishop Battersby closed with a call to action: “It’s not time to sound the alarm; that time has passed. It’s time for bishops, priests, clergy and religious, laymen and laywomen, all putative disciples, to make a decision: Will we sanctify, teach and govern as believers, or will we continue to travel down the road of lukewarmness, indifference and futility — the road which surely can be called, ‘we used to be Catholics.’”

Tune in to The Drew Mariani Show weekdays at 2pm CT

John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at and on the Relevant Radio® app.