Yes, I know, I was there for only a couple of days, and you might think I let myself be too impressed by people eager to sell a visitor on the good things happening in the Twin Cities. I don't think so. For starters, in a lot of places I visit people don't even try to put a good face on things. The comments of clergy and lay people reflect discouragement, ranging from malaise to disaster. In the Twin Cities, among both evangelicals and Catholics, there was a contagious sense of excitement about Christian renewal and mission. (more)
This pretty much encapsulates my own response to Minneapolis, MN. Lots of exciting new apostolates, a great deal of enthusiasm and piety among the youth. A surprising extent of involvement in Eucharistic Adoration, Scripture study and catechetics. I met one young man in his early twenties who, along with two or three friends, began a successful campaign to put a complimentary copy of the Catechism in the hands of every adult convert in the Archdiocese. Of his own accord. Astounding.
At the same time, of course, there are the varying degrees of nuttiness. I posted last year my own experience in a suburban St. Paul parish (I can't find the post now), where the rear wall beside the sanctuary doubled as a coffee bar, which offered coffee and donuts up to five minutes before mass began. But these things will always be with us, especially with the particular generation to which this parish catered. Better things hearken.
Fr. Neuhaus' observations on the Archbishop, I think, are fair, although I do not know the man well. That he has allowed so many flowers to bloom under his watch is a good token.