Monday, August 21, 2017

Why Christianity is dying in Europe. . .

In 2017 all French dioceses together ordained only 84 priests. Nearly half of the active diocesan priests in France are over 75 years old. In 2015 there were 5410 active priests over 75 and 6217 priests under 75 years old.  Interestingly, one quarter of all French priests ordained in 2017 were from Old Rite communities (Latin Mass).

Europe's Christian past is under threat not simply from without but from within.  When Trump went to Poland he spoke to the Poles in the same way John Paul II did so long ago in his first homecoming after his election to the papacy. From his speech:
Through four decades of communist rule, Poland and the other captive nations of Europe endured a brutal campaign to demolish freedom, your faith, your laws, your history, your identity -- indeed the very essence of your culture and your humanity. Yet, through it all, you never lost that spirit. (Applause.) Your oppressors tried to break you, but Poland could not be broken. (Applause.)

And when the day came on June 2nd, 1979, and one million Poles gathered around Victory Square for their very first mass with their Polish Pope, that day, every communist in Warsaw must have known that their oppressive system would soon come crashing down. (Applause.) They must have known it at the exact moment during Pope John Paul II's sermon when a million Polish men, women, and children suddenly raised their voices in a single prayer. A million Polish people did not ask for wealth. They did not ask for privilege. Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words: "We Want God." . . .
As I stand here today before this incredible crowd, this faithful nation, we can still hear those voices that echo through history. Their message is as true today as ever. The people of Poland, the people of America, and the people of Europe still cry out "We want God." (Applause.)
Together, with Pope John Paul II, the Poles reasserted their identity as a nation devoted to God. And with that powerful declaration of who you are, you came to understand what to do and how to live. You stood in solidarity against oppression, against a lawless secret police, against a cruel and wicked system that impoverished your cities and your souls. And you won. Poland prevailed. Poland will always prevail. (Applause.) . . .
The nations of Europe will never forget. We are the fastest and the greatest community. There is nothing like our community of nations. The world has never known anything like our community of nations.
We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers.
We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression. (Applause.)
We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything. We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves. (Applause.)
And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom. That is who we are. Those are the priceless ties that bind us together as nations, as allies, and as a civilization.
What Trump spoke resonated with the Poles because of all of Europe they have been at the forefront of refusing the revisionist history that rejects the Christian heritage and the fruits of a culture in which that Christianity flourished.  They have been ostracized by their neighbors in pursuit of a global world in which there is no objective truth, in which morality is subservient to desire, in which life is a commodity, and in which diversity refuses to honor anything but its own twisted relative truth captive to the whim of the moment. 

For too much of Europe, Christianity is a history lesson and one many would rather forget.  Instead of being the shape of hope, the Christian past has been falsely characterized as intolerant.  As a result, Europe is a shadow of its former self both culturally and in terms of the Christian faith.  But we are headed in exactly the same direction.  The message Trump brought to Poland is exactly the message we need to hear -- not for the triumph of some Christian dominance but for the survival of hope in the message of Christ and Him crucified.  No one will return to a moment in time that has come and gone but each must wrestle in our own age to raise up the cross and to refute those who wrongly characterize and dismiss that which is the only hope for a people living under the oppression of self, of a world that glories in desire, and in a culture of death.  We who stand in pulpits on Sunday morning must equip our people to catechize in their homes and to stand with courage in their neighborhoods for the sake of Christ.  In Europe the Christian past is seen by many as a generational view that is soon to pass as the ancients pass and a new secular age takes its place.  But there is hope.  The battle is ours to lose but it is God's to win.  Among the young there is a yearning for hope that only the true Gospel can satisfy.  Pray that we listen and pray that the Word of the Lord which endures forever will continue to be heard among the din of hopeless words and self-indulgent falsehoods.


Anonymous said...

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”

The dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world are legion.

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break[b] them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. - Psalm II

John Joseph Flanagan said...

Christianity is barely holding on in America also, and though it is still visible and active in many places in the Bible Belt states, it has lost much influence in the Northeast and Western states, and among the younger generation it has lost interest. I have been in too many churches, even LCMS ones, where much of the congregation consists of senior citizens. So what happens after these folks have passed away? It is a very bad omen for our country. Rejection of Christianity means rejection of the Bible and God Himself, and in our time, many look at this period as a post-Christian era. Lord knows how bad things can get in the future. And since Christian values collide with the prevailing social and humanistic values, as well as the political rise of Leftist agnosticism, we can expect persecution and oppression are on the horizon. In recent days, news reports have shown a trend toward serious intolerance and lack of civility and discourse in America, however, this comes by way of the progressives and Democrats, not from the traditional values and free speech crowd normally on the Republican side of politics. The Democrats have already tied most Christians to the religious right, to the white nationalists, anti-immigrant, anti-socialist, and by smearing their enemies, have set the stage for intensifying persecution in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Only 1.4 percent of the population of England attend an Anglican
Worship Service on a typical Sunday. This was an official statistic
for the year 2015. England has been back sliding for decades. It has
a very anti-Christian culture.

William Tighe said...

In 2003 1.53% of Swedes attended a Church of Sweden service in "census week" and 1.52% attended services of some other religious group or "denomination" in that same week. I have not seen more recent figures.

Carl Vehse said...

How various Lutheran church bodies in the United States over the last few decades are dealing with the Demonicrat Party is similar to how the German Evangelical Church and the German Free Churches dealt with the Nazi Party in the decade prior to WWII.

RomGabe said...

In Denmark only 2% attend Sunday services every week. 10% attend once a month. Baptisms, confirmations, weddings and funerals are very "normal" reasons to attend. It is what they call the 4-wheel cart Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Christianity seems to be dying with the decaying neighborhoods in Chicago as well.

The Archdiocese of Chicago quietly sold a historic church cathedral to a private party and did not bother to solicit the laypeople for input:

- Forwarded Message -----
From: Polish American Congress Illinois
To: Polish American Congress Illinois
Sent: Wed Jul 26 2017 01:10:10 GMT-0500 (Central Daylight Time)
Subject: Działalność prez. Spuli w dwóch ważnych sprawach; Pres. Spula's involvment in two hot topics.

Dear Board members,

We physically ran out of time at our last meeting and could not communicate the following information to the general membership. - This is a quick summary of the extent of Frank Spula’s, PAC National President’s involvement in the high-level negotiations on two important topics. Several of us met with Mr. Spula last week and he communicated following.

1) St Adalbert’s Church. He is in a continuous dialogue with Archdiocese and specifically Archbishop Supich. He works closely with local organizations and community leaders trying to optimize solution aimed at saving the Church. He cannot share too many details since this case is being tried at Vatican Level. More information should be available in July.

2) Orchard Lake. Frank Spula will spend next several days working with Michigan Archdiocese and Orchard Lake Board of Directors trying to ensure that Father Seweryn is nominated the head of the College. At this point Orchard Lake has only three students, major financial issue and their accreditation was waived. Father Seweryn developed a plan to return Orchard Lake Seminary to its previous status and to encourage increased enrollment. Frank Spula is working with Board of Regents to push for Father ‘s Seweryn’s nomination. More information is forth coming the first week of July.

Shining light on common issues of interest that must be discussed, and addressed…
That is: “The Honestly Dishonest” “moral-sins of misinformation”.


Henryk Marciniak
Road to Peace Foundation
Civic and Community Engagement
4200 Forest Ave.
Brookfield, Illinois 60513