Posts filed under: new evangelization
If you’ve got a choice to make between preaching to the choir and to those out on the front steps, you probably should go to the ones outside the door.—
Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan (New York)
Well, it would be pretty silly of me not to speak highly of them. Every believer was a non-believer first.
You know they say there are two types of people in this world: those who say all the time that there are two types of people in this world, and those who don’t. Well, count me among the former.
I just wouldn’t break down the world into believers and non-believers. Let’s think in terms of “those who are seeking truth” and “those who have given up on seeking truth.” Because you’ll find a little of both amongst both believers and non-believers.
For me the real tragedy is when someone gives up on truth. It happens lots of ways: not getting the answer to something and assuming that there isn’t an answer, living the “turn on, tune in, drop out” lifestyle of just living to be entertained, taking the easy road, etc.
It’s one of those cases where low expectations usually get rewarded with proportional results, and life loses all real meaning. It’s just going to work and going to the store and going to eat and going to sleep… all over again all the time.
So the really interesting people — and there are lots of them on Tumblr — are the ones who care. I can talk to them all day, whether they’re atheist or agnostic or Hindu or Catholic or whatever. But I also see it as part of my mission to try to get through to those who don’t care.
Jesus said, “Seek and you will find.” Whether you agree with that or not, I think you can agree with me on its inverse: “If you don’t seek, you won’t find.”
- Father Shane
Why is church attendance dropping so rapidly in European countries where Catholicism used to thrive? (France, Switzerland, Germany, etc) - Anonymous
It’s a very sad situation, definitely. Actually, it’s dropped even faster in European countries which tended more towards Protestantism, which is the case of much of Switzerland and Germany; Scandinavia, Holland and England are practically post-Christian at this point.
The number of factors involved is really staggering. Part of it comes from long-term effects of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment: The Church there was so identified with power structures that anyone who sparked a rebellion against any regime was also going to target the Church and faith in general, so that’s why movements as disparate as France’s Revolution, Italy’s Risorgimento and the Communist tendencies of the 20th century were anti-Catholic to a violent extent that’s almost unthinkable for us nowadays in the US. In Ireland, most of the recent drastic erosion has happened thanks to fallout from abuse scandals, since priests had been placed on such a high pedestal there.
But there are literally hundreds more factors, including the moral relativism that began to take hold after WW2, the oddly different way in which the 1968 revolution happened there, the much closer relationship between Church and State (like Germany’s church tax), etc.
If it’s a subject that you want to get a deeper grasp of, you might really appreciate George Wiegel’s The Cube and the Cathedral. This is also an interesting article, and then of course there are fascinating books by Pope Benedict like this one and this one.
So folks from the Near East evangelized Southern Europe, Southern Europe evangelized Northern Europe, Ireland helped re-evangelize parts of both afterwards, then Spain and Portugal evangelized the Americas, sporadic efforts were made by various powers to evangelize parts of Asia and Africa, and now you see more and more often that Africans and Americans are returning to Europe to re-evangelize it. Funny how that works. Cycles of birth, death, rebirth.
God bless you, and let’s pray for Europe!
- Father Shane
Modern technology does not replace our need to gather together as faith communities in liturgy and other settings, but it offers great benefit in the sharing of faith experiences and the forging of friendships rooted in Christian good will. Who better to take the lead in using technology for the proclamation of the Gospel than our youth?— Bishop Gerald Barnes (San Bernardino)