Wednesday, March 9, 2005

MH - Can Pope John Paul II Save Europe Again?

That's the question posed by John O'Sullivan in this very good piece from NRO. He first offers a bleak description of the state of Christianity in Europe:
For the Christian churches that survived the oppression of communism seem to be succumbing to the euthanasia of post-Christian consumer materialism under liberty.

Or to change the metaphor, if Communist hostility to religion was rape; liberal antagonism is seduction it sets out to deny and destroy the soul by painting man as an entirely materialist creature rightly devoted to pleasure and inspired at best to bureaucratic compassion.

In this atmosphere religious belief and attendance are both declining across the continent even in such outposts of belief as Ireland.

He then discusses the Holy Father's reaction to such events - his campaign to fight secularism in Europe - and concludes on this note, to which we can all add our hopes and prayers for this tireless warrior who has already done so much for our Church and our world:
It surely grieves him. But is there perhaps in the pope's pilgrimages to the third world and in the "reverse missionaries" from there to Europe the hand of providence a second time?

Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world came to St Peter's Square last Sunday to see the silent pope and hear his appeal for their prayers read by another.

Will the millions of new Christians they represent in Asia and Africa be the vehicles of the saving grace that will rejuvenate the tired churches of Europe? And will the pope himself live to lead this renaissance as he led the last? Or will he merely glimpse from afar, like Moses, the promised land he is not permitted to enter?

Not to be in the least flippant but: God only knows.

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