Crisis in Catholic Leadership

Dear Friends,

New York Times bestselling author, acclaimed speaker and business consultant, Matthew Kelly, goes to the very heart of the current Catholic problems in the United States and worldwide when he boldly identifies a crisis of leadership as a primary cause for many of the spiritual ills in Catholicism. His recent book, “Rediscover Catholicism, a spiritual guide to living with passion and purpose”, in my view correctly pinpoints a paralysis of fear as the culprit for a lack of spiritual leadership as well as an inability of the Catholic hierarchy to properly present the beauty of the Catholic faith and spirit to a modern world.

Kelly rightly identifies the reality of “rapid change” that has been moving modern society along the paths of daily life. I can identify with his views that generations of young people, beginning in the 1960’s, have advanced intellectually and are no longer looking toward authority figures for direction in daily life but are setting their own paths uninfluenced by traditional leadership.

In order for Catholicism to flourish again and bring life to a troubled world, we need leadership whether lay leadership or clerical leadership. Whether female leadership or male leadership, someone needs to rise up and present the beauty of Catholic spirit again. The problem is “courage” to do so. Kelly believes, “we are afraid” and this paralysis of fear prevents individual Catholics from acting boldly. Fear to face rejection, criticism (in many cases from church hierarchy themselves), and heartbreak continue this cycle of inaction.

In a previous article, I put forth the view that new structures of leadership, new people and new players need to come forth and lead our church. New spiritually focused ideas in how to do this are needed. The purpose of this article is to generate some thinking. I’d like to hear from you. How will this new leadership look like? What structures would support it?

Looking forward to your ideas.

Dr. Nick


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