Catholic Church

How to destroy Christianity in Europe

Looking for an effective way to render the church in Europe impotent? No need for fierce persecution. Here’s the plan — give the church social recognition; turn the clergy into government employees; shower the church with money.

In 2013 the Catholic Church in Germany received almost €5.5 billion ($6.2 billion USD) via taxes levied by the government on the church’s behalf. (The Lutheran and some other Protestant churches benefit from the same arrangement.)

Here’s the result:

An unprecedentedly low number of Catholic priests in Germany are being ordained, new figures show, as a crisis appears to be engulfing the Church in that country.

Only 58 men joined the clergy in 2015….

The number of ordinations has dropped by half in the past decade: In 2005, a total of 122 diocesan priests were ordained, and five decades ago, in 1965, the number was 500. Today, there are 14,000 Catholic priests active in Germany, down from almost 20,000 in 1990.

Meanwhile, only 96 new seminarians – trainee priests – were registered in 2015, the lowest number ever. At the same time, 309 priests died, and 19 left the priesthood.

The new figures for priests being ordained are the latest element of what appears to be a crisis in the German Catholic Church. In July, it emerged that almost 200,000 Catholics left the Church in Germany last year… 

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The movement principle — don’t feed the ducks!

The Church confronts (Post?) Modernity

I'm reading Catholicism and modernity: Confrontation or capitulation? by James Hitchcock. Written in the late 1970s in the wake of Vatican II. He writes as an orthodox Catholic facing the growing liberalisation of his faith from within the Church.

There are striking parallels in the story of the Episcopalian demise in the US and Canada and the woes of the Uniting Church in Australia.

The heart of the problem is a failure of nerve in confronting a culture that is hostile to the Christian faith. Hitchcock quotes TS Eliot who said of liberalism that,

[It] tends to release energy rather than accumulate it, to relax rather than to fortify. It is a movement not so much defined by its end, as by its starting point; away from, rather than towards, something definite.

In religion, Liberalism may be characterized by a progressive discarding of elements in historical Christianity which appear superfluous or obsolete, confounded with practices and abuses which are legitimate objects of attack. But as its movement is controlled rather by its origin than by any goal, it loses force after a series of rejections, and with nothing to destroy is left with nothing to uphold and nowhere to go.

Unfortunately, this history will be repeated in the postmodern world by the stream of the emerging church described by Ed Stetzer as "Revisionists". The scenery has changed but not the story.