Which is the reason the author of this article in Crisis Magazine gives for the failure of the Catholic Church to influence the world for the good, which is true, but how did the Church become secular.
My research indicates it became secular because many of its leaders did and once the shepherd wanders off, the sheep too often follow.
The eternal Church can never become secular nor will we if we follow the Catholic Way.
Our way as Catholics is seen as difficult but is really simple—With Peter, to Christ, Through Mary—and the Peter we speak of is not always the single man who is pope at any given time, but the Peter of the eternal history of the Church, the Peter immortalized in Church teaching, tradition, and scripture, the Peter who leads the Church, following Christ.
An excerpt from the article in Crisis.
The Church today has a troubled relation to the academy and media.
The reasons are quite basic. Secular intellectual authorities believe they stand for a way of understanding the world, free unprejudiced inquiry carried on by disinterested professionals, that is sufficient as well as uniquely correct. The Church considers neutral secular expertise insufficient, since the world is neither neutral, secular, nor fully comprehensible by human means. She therefore accepts additional sources of knowledge, such as tradition, revelation, and natural law, and appeals to them especially in regard to ultimate issues and questions of value….
In fact, the radical weakening of tradition, transcendent standards, and the idea of human nature, together with the bureaucratic and commercial complexity of life today, liberates those professionally involved in defining reality from the control of actual realities, no matter how obvious, and sets them free to follow the demands of power, their own or those of their patrons. Many of their theorists tell us that reality is a social construction, and there’s something to that. As a matter of practical social authority reality is not what we see in front of us, or what God, nature, and history have given us—it’s what’s on TV or in the prestige press.
What should we do under such circumstances as Catholics, as citizens, and as human beings? The answer must be found in independence, integrity, and building on what we have.
First of all, we must stand our ground. In recent decades there’s been an unfortunate tendency within the Church to treat secular life as the standard and Catholicism as an accessory, so that the goals and understandings driving secular public life are thought to define the nature and needs of the times. The Church knows more about reality than Harvard or The New York Times, so that attitude makes no sense and has to stop. Throwing open the windows of the Church doesn’t mean throwing the Church open to the secular progressive party line. It means throwing open the windows to God, who defines reality in all its infinitude, and then throwing them open to man as he really is, not man as secular modernity wants him to be….
With that in mind we need, with the aid of our own intellectual and media institutions, to develop, articulate, and live by a fully Catholic understanding of how things are. That will require discipline and limits, but it’s not simply a matter of those things. The Catholic world has the right to outshine all others, since it has so much more to draw on. The most basic reason Catholicism is losing in public and private life is our own mediocrity. We have taken what we have inherited and turned it into something nondescript. As always, we need to examine ourselves and respond to what we find. What is the tone of Catholic life and religious observances? How many saints can be seen among us? What, compared even with recent times, is the level of Catholic achievement in the arts, sciences, scholarship, and thought generally?
The Church is hardly the only hotbed of mediocrity in America today, but those who can draw on the spiritual and intellectual resources of the Church have no excuse for accepting the current situation. With that in mind, we need to go beyond Catholicism as a social identity and routine, basic though those things are, and open ourselves to inspiration and transformation.