On Wednesday 10 March 2010, I was privileged to speak in the morning to the students at Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida and in the evening to a group of about 80 Catholics who attend an ongoing speakers' series called "The Splendor of Truth."
Jesuit High School is in the midst of an impressive renaissance because of the outstanding leadership of Father Richard Hermes, S.J., the school's president, and I spoke to Jesuit High's 700 boys about my own conversion story and the need for continuing conversion in the life of every disciple of the Lord Jesus.
Later that evening I spoke about the dictatorship of relativism, to borrow a phrase from Pope Benedict XVI, and the difficulties posed by relativism for Christians who are called by the Lord Jesus to find freedom in the obedience of faith.
The questions and comments offered by those at the "Splendor of Truth" event confirmed what I have found in many other places: the lay faithful are much too often not being fed with solid spiritual food in their parishes. Preaching and teaching in too many places is nothing more than story-telling, moralizing, and vague assurances that God loves us. Authentic preaching and teaching should start with the clear exposition of Sacred Scripture and include many dimensions: dogmatic, moral, liturgical, apologetic, historical, and missiological. But for that to happen, the preacher himself must first believe the Gospel and think with the Church, and one of the most poisonous effects of two generations of dissent and disorder in priestly life and ministry is that far too many priests are no longer certain what they believe and do not trust, let alone think with, the Church. Is it any wonder our people are not being fed?