As one of the colonists, I send good wishes and prayers for Her Majesty.
May the Virgin Mary and saints intercede for her, and the good people of the United Kingdom.
Peace and Blessings.
“We do not teach in an uncivilized way, we do not pelt our enemies with insults which is what most people do, fighting not against arguments but against those who propose them; at times, too, they cover over the weakness of their reasoning with invective, like the cuttlefish who, they say, belches forth ink before itself to give its predators the slip, or to hunt without being seen. But we try to show that fighting the war on Christ’s behalf consists in fighting as Christ did—the meek one, the peacemaker, who sustains our weaknesses.”
— Saint Gregory of Nazianzus
The world is changing very fast in all of the arenas of life: politics, economy, family, education, church, medicine, etc. In fact, the diminishment of Christian faith and culture is gaining speed. This is result of a very true fact that Christians are weak in faith (they don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ and they don’t know what it means to be a disciple of Christ) and they liberal in their actions, e.g., many have abandoned the desire to have children. Islam on the other hand are serious on both parts: they have big families and they practice their faith.
There was an interesting article was published recently addressing the forthcoming changes in Europe forged by “faith and birthrate.” Ralph Sidway reposts an interview with the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Raï on what we can expect. Read the article here. An Italian publication Familia Cristiana carries a more specific perspective.
The practice of religion is falling according to the Pew Research Center on religion and public life. Experience tells us by looking at the Mass attendance and participation in religious education programs that many people no longer consider official religious practices essential to their life of “faith.” Sherry Weddell, as other researchers have said, has said that the fastest growing religious denomination is the USA are the “nones” –those people who check the box saying they are spiritual but not religious.
While Pew research is interesting, it does not cover the entire story of a person’s journey in faith. The caution I would propose is whether a person believes in the need of having a savior. Many people, I contend, don’t think they need to be saved. Their conception of salvation, heaven, sin, grace, sanctity is now very much a private affair, these people isolate themselves from other members of the Church. In the USA, as in other countries, the need and desire fora religious community is waning.
On one level I can see why people don’t want to be a part of a religious community: their priest/minister no longer really cares for them and their spiritual life, the priest/minister is a gossip, the priest/minister doesn’t preach well, know the ritual well, and the sacred music is poor, the priest/minister has little concern for the poor, the needy, sick, etc. The teaching of the faith is grossly watered down with no ideal to strive for and to live within (the journey of faith is flat).
In short, our pastoral ministers have become very narcissistic and self-serving. I know several priests who are in trouble in their ministry: they do not attend to their spiritual life, they do not read literature or spiritual topics, they are lazy and watch tons of TV. One can see why over the centuries many of the saints have proposed a new way of living, acting and working for the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ and the administration of the sacraments. The Latin phrase comes comes to mind: the Church always needs reform. Our ecclesiastical reform movements have generated great beauty and intense of love for the Church and for humanity. We’ve had saints like Benedict, Ambrose, Augustine, Bernard, Dominic, Catherine of Siena, Francis, Angela Merici, Ignatius of Loyola, Charles Borromeo, John Paul II, Luigi Giussani and countless others who have pointed a new way.
But all the blame can’t be placed on the ministers. Our Christian Faith requires a personal engagement, a personal bringing together of faith, reason, and living concretely in the community of the family and the secular world. You have to show up, you have engage your heart, mind and body. You have to be willing to be honest, and to be with others and to allow our spiritual life to be changed by Christ Jesus.
The Pew report is here.
Pray for the Church and ALL her members.
This story is making the rounds: the Catholics at the South Pole won’t have regular contact with a Catholic priest as they have had in the past. The Catholic Church through her priests has been ministering not only to Catholics but others for a long time at US McMurdo Station on Ross Island –at the end of the earth. Very few can say they’ve been to the end of the earth!
A military priest will visit from time-to-time. I happen to think the decision to cut funding is short-sided –“Where 2 or 3 are gathered there I am” comes to mind. Here is the BBC story about Fr Dan Doyle in the South Pole.