Interesting story about the Einsiedeln Monastery in Switzerland sponsored a pilgrimage. The article is titled “Roman Catholic Church lures back flock”, nice unbiased headline if you ignore “lures”. It also goes on to mention people worshipping the “Black Modonna”, but I guess you can’t expect theological precision in newspaper articles.
I was raised as a Catholic and that is something I feel inside and I can’t change it,” said Verena Huber, who is uneasy at being called a pilgrim.
“Even when I declared myself an atheist, I was still comfortable when I entered a Catholic church. It was probably because I was brought up as a Catholic, I don’t know.”
Huber formally left the Church 20 years ago as a teenager. When she was six years of age, she lost a sister, and her father died when she was 12. These events made her lose her faith.
Now with three children of her own, she is looking for a way back to God and the Church, since she wants her offspring “to be at home in a religion”.
The unique pilgrimage at Einsiedeln gave her that chance.
Titled “At loggerheads with the Church”, the event was the brainchild of the Einsiedeln abbot, Martin Werlen.
Werlen said he was inspired by the biblical story of the shepherd who leaves his 99 sheep to search for the one that is lost.
“There are many people who are struggling with the Church,” explained Werlen. “They sometimes go to church but don’t approach us with their problems. This pilgrimage is our invitation to them, so we can address their needs.”
Pilgrims have journeyed to Einsiedeln for centuries to worship before a wooden statue, the “Black Madonna” (see related story).
This three-day pilgrimage was of a very different nature.
It included a series of talks by prominent members of the Swiss Roman Catholic clergy, musical performances by guest choirs from abroad, guided hikes in the rolling hills around the monastery and wine tastings.
…When the discussions came to an end on Saturday, Huber said she was very impressed with what she described as a “wonderful experience” and that it represented for her a big step toward rejoining the church.
Still not entirely convinced by the Roman Catholic Church structure, she said “it cannot be changed from the outside. You have to go inside”.
Hopefully this effort to bring back lost sheep can help to get people to go from “wonderful experience” to intellectual belief in the truth of the Catholic faith. Of course as Fr. Pacwa says “That is dependent on upper management (God).” It is interesting to note that some people see “Church structure” as more important than whether the Church is true. Multi-syllable words like Modernism, Relativism don’t cause most people to flinch – but mention hierarchy and they will run screaming from the room.