Pope warns that the Faith is in danger of being snuffed out in vast areas of the world

In his address to the plenary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Pope Benedict has warned that the Faith is in danger of being snuffed out in vast areas of the world  due to a loss of the religious sense:

‘As we know, in vast areas of the world the Faith is in danger of being snuffed out like a flame that no longer has any sustenance. We are at a profound crisis of faith, at a loss of a religious sense that constitutes the greatest challenge for the Church of today.

The renewal of the faith must therefore be the priority in the undertaking of the whole Church in our times. I hope that the Year of Faith can contribute, with the cordial collaboration of all the members of the People of God, to bring God back anew to this world and to open to men an access to the faith, to a reliance on the God who loved us to the end (cf John 13,1), in Christ Jesus, crucified and risen.’

The Year of Faith is an  ’opportune moment to point out to all the gift of faith in the Risen Christ, the clear teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the invaluable doctrinal synthesis offered by the Catechism of the Catholic Church’.

Protect the Pope comment: This is a stark warning from the Holy Father which must surely apply in particular to Europe. It is obvious for all to see that the Faith is in danger of being snuffed out in the UK. Out of a population of 70 million only 880,000 are practicing Catholics.

The situation has been worse for us in the past, when during the Penal Times our numbers dropped to around 50,000, but then the population of the UK was much smaller.

What are we doing to make sure that the faith is not snuffed out in the UK due to a lack of sustenance?  The poor fare presented by the liberal/progressive Catholic experiment over the past 40 years has failed entirely. Only a return to the fullness of the Faith and lives of devotion will provide the sustenance necessary to preserve the Catholic religion in the UK.


6 comments to Pope warns that the Faith is in danger of being snuffed out in vast areas of the world

  • Mike2

    For decades, the Church relied on schools and families to pass on the faith to the next generation. In recent years neither of these institutions has been as successful as they used to be. Either a way has to be found of making them more successful or some completely new method must be found. What is needed is some solid evidence that an organisation, such as a particular school, or else a particular method has proved to have had considerable success and then those in charge of catechesis need to endorse it as an example of best practice which should be followed elsewhere. What is clear is, as they say, that going on in the same way as the past forty years is not an option. And the people at the top need to say loud and clear that the methods of the past forty years have not been a resounding success and therefore need to be changed. Making sure that seminarians are adequately formed in the successful methods of catechesis, rather than those of the past forty years, would be a good start. We need to make sure that the beacons of light become brilliant rays of sunshine throughout the Church.

  • ms catholic state

    I don’t think there is a lot more that we can do. I’m sure all committed Catholics are doing their best and their bit by trying to get schools to teach the Faith, by spreading the Word when and where they can and by praying attending Mass when possible and making sacrifices. But I’m not sure there is much more that we can do. I think it is in the hands of God really. And I’m sure our prayers and efforts are having an effect. The number of seminarians is rising….and so too is the number of nuns and maybe monks too. But if anyone can suggest other things we can do, then I would be very glad to hear them.

    I think though the situation is precarious for one salient reason. When I think back on the early Christians evangelising Europe they had time on their side. Gradually they could convert and (I don’t mean to sound vulgar but….) outbreed the pagans. But today there is a very strong competing religion in the form of Islam with its strong family ethic, high birthrate, high immigration rate and fierce evangelising spirit. Really the situation would look hopeless if it were not for the Holy Spirit….and our wonderful Pope and his re-Evangelising call.

  • Karla

    France is quiet secular but the Archdiocese of Paris for example has a thriving Catholic community; Western Churches that are struggling need to look at the Western Churches that are thriving too see what they have done to invigorate their Catholic parishes.

  • spesalvi23

    I agree with the need for solid formation of Priests and with restoring Catholicism in Catholic institutions.

    I also think loss of faith is connected to the rather long and unusual period of peace and prosperity we’ve had in Europe.
    My parents (born in 23 and 27) went through hell as children and as young adults and then spent all their lives rebuilding complete wreckage.
    Their priorities were clearly different and their life-style was still connected to what they could afford and what was reasonable and rational and moral – and always with the fear of the return of ‘bad times’ in the back of their minds.

    Luckily, we haven’t had any bad times. We’ve gotten used to fat times and have since then turned soft.
    We’ve lost all rationality in terms of what we can/should better do or not do – in every aspect of life, including (not only sexual) morality.
    We’ve learned to defy and reject authority, because we’ve been told that our own conscience is the norm for everything we do.
    We’re all special and we all have a right to defy for the sake of defiance.
    We’ve learned to reject forms of living which have been labeled as old fashioned and ‘square’ – such as getting married, fidelity and raising a family.
    Prudence? What ever happened to that??
    We’ve learned that making an honest living based on ‘the good old values’ is okay, but rather boring, stressful and not really very glamorous – but we all need to be glamorous, right.

    There are countless other things which have gone ‘wrong’ since the sudden overturn of our value system and I don’t think that people will find their right minds again until they have to face ‘bad times’ – caused by economic hardship or military conflict or some kind of cultural and/or class conflict. We’re much too comfortable in our nice, bright, technocratic, shiny world.
    The bad syndromes of our times haven’t been analyzed or accepted enough. All attempts to point them out end in ridicule and aggressive rejection.

    To feed our natural hunger for spirituality, we’ve learned to compose an undemanding, cozy, little mix of wellness and esoterism.
    Who on earth needs God – and who needs some kind of authority which tells us what we cannot do??

  • fd

    I would like to post here an editorial which was on Avvenire like two weeks ago.
    It is written by Avvenire’s Marina Corradi, one of my favourite columnists.
    In the article she says that, while the reality might seem sometimes discouraging and while the papers even amplify this discouraging reality ,and watching tv, reading the paper, we might be tempted to think that everything is bleak and all we can aim for is the less worse, well on the other hand she says than when she is discouraged she always reads again the Pope speeches. Here she quotes the one on the three wise men, who sett off without any certainty ( She says: sm will have laughed at them, who left everything for …a child and following..a star)
    I suggest you read the article: it’s really uplifting.
    Note : it’s a google translation, and while I ‘ve corrected it sometimes, it’s nothing like the great Italian used by Mrs Marina Corradi, who is an excellent writer.
    But, unlike what she says in the title ( don’t be satisfied) I say to you: be satisfied!
    Enjoy your reading

    January 21, 2012 Consolation in the speeches of the Pope
    Item Title
    Do not be satisfied by what appears!

    The new year on certain days, on the newspapers, seems so hard and almost hostile. The crisis shakes, recovery struggles and so does the euro, and the big ship stranded off the Tuscan isle of Giglio looks like a sad image of us. The feeling, some days, is like walking into a really dull reality without a horizon in which to hope. According to the pure arithmetic of the matter it is actually more difficultthan usual to hope, at the beginning of 2012. You then feel the need to search for food for your hope, and good words, reasons to attach to and strength, as the climbers cling to the rocks on the wall. Trying these rocks, I got into the habit of re-reading the speeches of Benedict XVI, noting that even in the complexity you are inside, as between the lines, short simple sentences and useful to us poor Christians in everyday life of our days. A few words that he left as a suggestion, as a response to so many unspoken questions, paths, tracks, almost, from an old Christian, who for our own silence and solitude is past, and has been able to go any further. Listen, for example, these four lines of the the Pope Epiphany homily, referring to the Magi( the three old men): “They were people with a troubled heart, who were not satisfied by what appears and is normal.
    They were men in search of the promise, in search of God and they were vigilant men, able to perceive the signs of God, his soft and insistent language. The Pope reminds us :” We are accustomed to thinking of the wise men started on a journey of which we already know the outcome, and the glory. But those three who had set off, with nothing in hand, distant memories of prophecies and obscure astronomical calculations. Who knows, between those who saw them passing, many doubted in that peculiar company. A royal procession that moves in foreign lands following a star, looking for a child. (One child, you know, a child. Perhaps the same result, in secret, someone smiled and laughed at them). But the three kings had this restless heart, a palace was not enough, gold, slaves. “Not satisfied by what is customary and that appears.” They were looking for the footprints of God’s earth, plants, the words of the prophets, and the great sky at night, they knew the King had eyes and ears to look capable of grasping the soft language, that others, aware only of things you can touch and measure, escaped. It seems, the words of the homily of the Epiphany, a viaticum to us, this year it is, we call for us pilgrims, tough and not distracted, able to look beyond the pure and perhaps last appearance. Watch out for signs of God, who speaks softly. Or, again, and always talking about hope, reminded of a step hearing on October 19 last year dedicated to the 136th Psalm, called the Great Hallel, what was being sung in the Jewish Passover and repeats: “His mercy endures forever” , marking the unwavering faith of Israel from its history of fondness and salvation. At one point, the Pope asked: how can we make this our prayer, a psalm, how can we appropriate it? (Where, that is, a Christian today can derive this certainty that God is merciful?). And in response indicated among other things two ways: first, look at the creation, which seems to return to “keep listening” of the Magi, and the second, draw on the memory of its history. The fundamental structure of the Great Hallel fact is that Israel is reminiscent of the goodness of God in its history there are many dark valleys: but Israel is a reminder that God was good and can survive, as you remember. And this, said Benedict XVI, is also important for us to have the memory of the goodness of God (memory of having been brought into the world, loved, educated, to have fathers, friends, sons of the well received that we often forget). Memory, and here is the short useful word for us poor Christians, “become power of hope.” And it opens, even in the dark days of difficult road. As this light chased by three kings. Pilgrims in the dark, like us, but so beautifully stubborn.

    Marina Corradi

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