England and Wales now minority Christian countries


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England and Wales now minority Christian countries

Nov 29, 2022, 7:42 am

England and Wales now minority Christian countries, census reveals (Guardian)

England and Wales are now minority Christian countries, according to the 2021 census, which also shows that Leicester and Birmingham have become the first UK cities to have “minority majorities”. The census revealed a 5.5 million drop in the number of Christians and a 44% rise in the number of people following Islam. It is the first time in a census of England and Wales that less than half of the population have described themselves as “Christian”. Meanwhile, 37.2% of people – 22.2 million – declared they had “no religion”, the second most common response after Christian. It means that over the past 20 years the proportion of people reporting no religion has soared from 14.8%... the census revealed a substantial fall in Christian religious adherence. Islam, by contrast, is increasingly widespread, from 4.8% or 2.7 million people in 2011 to 6.5% and 3.9 million people in 2021... “It’s official – we are no longer a Christian country,” said Stephen Evans, chief executive of the National Secular Society...

Nov 29, 2022, 10:42 am

>1 John5918: Thanks. I wouldn't have guessed that. (Here in Denmark about 73% are members of Folkekirken).

Nov 29, 2022, 11:29 pm

Calls grow to disestablish Church of England as Christians become minority (Guardian)

Role of church in parliament and schools questioned as census shows 5.5m fewer holders of faith in England and Wales...

Dez 5, 2022, 3:46 am

I wonder how much of this is really a fall in the number of people who have faith, and how much is a change in what people feel comfortable saying. I suspect that 20 years ago a lot of people who hadn't been inside a church in years were still saying "Christian", but today don't.

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Editado: Dez 10, 2022, 1:29 am

Two articles from the British Catholic magazine The Tablet.

Religion in Britain – the 'nones' have it

The discovery that Christians are no longer in the majority of the UK population was perhaps the least surprising result of the 2021 census. More interesting is recent research indicating that the dividing line between people of faith and “non-believers” is becoming harder to navigate... But those who choose to tick the “non-religious” box in the census are not necessarily anti-religion. It is not a box simply for those who are atheists; it includes those who are agnostic or who consider themselves “spiritual but not religious”... Being a “none” is a social marker, a way to identify oneself as belonging to a particular group, and just as there is diversity in religion, so too there is diversity in non-religion...

When the church of a Christian minority is a necessary storehouse of moral capital

Rationality needs to be interrogated by faith – and vice versa...
(this one is behind a paywall, I'm afraid)

Editado: Dez 10, 2022, 1:29 am

It does rather call to mind the old joke about the chap walking down the street in Belfast during the Troubles who is waylaid by a balaclava-clad man with a gun. "Are you Catholic or Protestant?" he demands. Thinking quickly, the chap responds, "I'm an atheist!" "Aye, but are you a Catholic atheist or a Protestant atheist?"

Editado: Dez 22, 2022, 2:14 pm

Meanwhile, in the USA:

Churchgoing and belief in God stand at historic lows, despite a megachurch surge (The Hill)

The share of Americans who belong to churches dipped below half in 2020, a historic low... Church membership, church attendance and belief in God all declined during the pandemic years, survey data suggest, accelerating decades long trends away from organized worship... At least one-fifth of Americans today embrace no religion at all... The lone, striking countertrend is a steep rise in nondenominational Protestants, who attend churches outside the “mainline” denominations — the once-ubiquitous Baptists, Methodists and Lutherans. Nondenominational Protestants — “nons” — became a majority in 2021, signaling a new era of churches and clergies untethered from religious tradition... If the Cold War pushed religion into politics, the Republican Revolution of 1994 pushed religion into partisan politics. Republican leaders of that era increasingly identified Christianity and churchgoing with patriotism and republicanism, seeding a generational retreat from the church by Democrats and the Left. Today, agnostics are three times as likely to identify as Democrat than Republican, Pew research shows, while only 15 percent of atheists count themselves as Republicans. “Christian nationalism is a very potent force right now... We’re at a great polarization, and we’re seeing such extremists at that religious end. That might tip people out: ‘I’m coming out of the closet as a nonbeliever, I’ve had it.’” The rise in “nons,” “nones” and nonbelievers all come at the expense of a vanishing “moderate middle” of American faith... Mainline Protestantism “is collapsing”...

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Dez 23, 2022, 10:45 pm

Christmas comes with good cheer. The tragedy is the religious baggage (Guardian)

As a cultural Christian, I share the goodwill. As a humanist I am glad to see archaic beliefs and damaging traditions losing their grip...

This is the first Christmas since time immemorial that most people in this country are not Christians... The number of atheists is probably higher, as some tick the Christian box as their cultural identity, without having any religious belief. In that sense, I feel culturally Christian, so deeply imbued with its myths, paintings, hymns and parables... Here comes Christmas. It touches most rationalists as much as believers, reaching deep into the recesses of heart, childhood, memory and family bonds... In all Christmas messages, the poor inherit the earth, the stable stands for the homeless and refugees, yet the mystery is why so little of this goodwill gets beyond the tinsel into politics. This yuletide’s proposal to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is popular. Sentimental gathering at the crib doesn’t extend to enough outrage at so many children going to school hungry. Every culture needs a mid-winter festival of light in the darkness, a rebirth in the shortest days. Much as I dislike most Christian belief, the iconography of star, stable, manger, kings and shepherds to greet a new baby is a universal emblem of humanity. In that spirit I relish singing the old carols when I get the chance... But the rest of it, I find loathsome...

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Editado: Dez 25, 2022, 12:57 am

>12 brone:

Just for the record, that's a quote from the cited article, as indicated by the vertical line on the left which is LT's "BLOCKQUOTE" tool, not my own view.

Dez 25, 2022, 12:03 pm

Im as you know a back pew bus driver, I have no clue about vertical lines, LT's "BLOCKQUOTE" tool I do know you blocked a lot of my quotes and I believe if you could on this group you would too, but maybe this year you and I could still have at it, I disagree with most of your posts but then again what do I know, Merry Christmas John 5918....AMDG....

Editado: Dez 25, 2022, 1:30 pm

>14 brone:

If you want to learn about the posting tools on LT there are quite simple instructions here, in the first post of that thread.

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Editado: Dez 26, 2022, 11:26 pm

2 books reach same conclusion on organized religion in America (NCR)

Do I Stay Christian? : A Guide for the Doubters, the Disappointed, and the Disillusioned by Brian McClaren

Reorganized Religion: The Reshaping of the American Church and Why It Matters by Bob Smietana

Quoted from the article:
threats arise from within the broadly framed community itself. Religious organizations (Catholic hierarchs top the chart in this area) have demonstrated a propensity for egregious corruption. Institutions built by and for white congregations, as Smietana puts it, are of fading relevance in a culture that is turning brown. Generations of regular churchgoers are dying out and being replaced by people with far looser, if any, attachments to civic and ecclesial institutions. And the pandemic has accelerated the speed and effect of changes already underway... its hardened divisions, immersion into partisan politics and what he sees as a diminishment of religion into a kind of packaged behavior guide in thrall of a minimized God... the hubris of celebrity preachers and its tawdry effects, the corrosive sex and money scandals that have torn at major denominations and deepening political divisions that have bared a sinister racism among some congregations and movements...Church leaders in the past could assume that Christianity would be the dominant religion, that people would always be attending church services and that churches would endure long into the future. That's no longer the case. Among the examples, one illustration tells a great deal: "In 1966, there were more than 3.4 million Episcopalians. By 2019, that number dropped to 1.7 million, even though the population of the United States nearly doubled from 1960 … to 2020"... membership declines for every other mainline denomination is also cited... Not only are young people not showing up, there are fewer of them to potentially fill the pews in mainline churches, where the membership is either aging or having fewer children than previous generations. More recently, political divisions that have riven civil society with the advent of the Trump era have invaded U.S. sanctuaries. Smietana recounts tales of people leaving former congregations, citing Trumpism and deep disagreements over issues of gender, sexuality and race as the causes...

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Dez 27, 2022, 6:49 pm

I can't post this on the "tradition catholic"site because it would be censored "by Admin". Fr Morko Rupnik is excommunicated in 2019 for sexually abusing nuns, his friend the pope re-instates him and commisioned him to paint the logo for the 2022 World meeting of Families, a real good example for families to follow. Meanwhile let us journey around the world to French Guiana and we find the Pachamama Bishop Emmanuel Lafont he is the guy who during the Amazon Synod walked into a Roman Catholic church with a Carved wooden god of fertility (pachamama) in procession with a guy wearing a hat full of feathers and no shirt on. The idol worshiping Archbp apparently had other things on his mind, you guessed it he was convicted of sex abuse. If I remember that movie you dont want to go to prison in French Guiana. Dont worry about the good Archbp he will spend his days in prayer and penance in a Monastery in France (check his baggage for anything wooden) and in this age of "transparency" the pachamama bishop is not dismissed from the good ole boy hierarchy. Now come north with me to the land of the backward, rigid, pelagians, and you will find priests being cancelled for saying latin Masses, for pro-life views, statues being ripped of pedestals, Churches desecrated, and its faithful ridiculed for being traditional, Francis what are you thinking cause as the saying goes "ya cant think this stuff up"....JMJ....

Jan 25, 8:41 pm

I am afraid Canada (my country) as well as most of the world sees Christianity as old and outmoded. Faith is seen as an escape mechanism for those unable to cope with "real" life. They do not see faith as being a hard thing to do or maintain because they never had true faith in anything (besides themselves). A bit harsh I admit but probably to the point.
I think part of the reason is our (believers) fault. Things have crept into the church frome various venues that have undermined it. Staunch denominationalism, errors in theology, etc. have taken their toll. My research into the Jewishness of Christian faith has strengthened me and given me hope. True Christianity doesn't reside in a church or any building or place. It resides solely in the hearts and minds of those that have been changed by its life changing viewpoint. Its call for people to love eachother in a wholesome and good way. Jesus said "You are my deciples if you have love for oneanother". In a increasingly individualistic, money worshipping, materialistic society, it is easy to see why that is not happening.

Editado: Jan 26, 1:33 am

Meanwhile, in sharp contrast, Running the numbers, Africa isn’t the Catholic future – it’s the present (Crux)

Unsurprisingly, the central finding is that Mass attendance is much higher in the developing world, especially in Africa. In Nigeria, a reported 94 percent of Catholics say they attend Mass at least weekly, followed by Kenya at 73 percent. Lebanon clocks in at a robust 69 percent and the Philippines at 56. By way of contrast, the highest percentage anywhere in Europe is in Poland, at 52 percent, and in western Europe, the best performer is Italy at 34 percent... A better correlation, according to the CARA analysis, is between both Mass attendance and religiosity on the one hand, and per capita GDP on the other. With a couple of striking exceptions, the poorer a country is, the more vibrantly religious it’s likely to be... In much Catholic parlance, it’s long been said that Africa is the future of the church. Looking at the numbers in terms of who actually shows up, however, Africa isn’t the future. It’s the present, and it has been for a while.

A lot of the public discourse within and about Christianity is still dominated by European and north American voices and cultures (and culture wars!), but we need to remember that the church, whether Catholic or protestant, is now found at its most numerous and most vibrant in other parts of the world whose voice is often not heard, and whose cultures are different from the "individualistic, money worshipping, materialistic society" (thanks, >21 MonkMan:) that tends to characterise the Global North.

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Jan 26, 2:07 pm

>21 MonkMan: Monkman take heart the boomers are dying off and retiring there will be a new wave a Catholic renewal of young people and young priests who are not indoctrinated by modernism, relativism, indifferentism, socialism, fascism, hedonism, homosexuality, but are concerned with the first principle which is the calling of God, Who is the One Who takes the initiative in first communicating in that privileged relationship, which we call the communion between God and every individual human person. Jesus appears in Galilee and approaching the future apostles he calls them and says"follow me."....JMJ....

Editado: Jan 31, 1:25 am

Where is Mass attendance highest? One country is the clear leader (CNA)

Nigeria and Kenya have the highest proportion of Catholics who attend Mass weekly or more, with Nigeria as the clear leader. Ninety-four percent of Catholics in Nigeria say they attend Mass at least weekly. In Kenya, the figure was 73%, and in Lebanon it was 69%. The level of attendance in Nigeria is notably high given the high number of violent attacks against Christians across the country in recent years. Terrorist incidents inside Catholic churches are not infrequent... Countries with a higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita had lower levels of Mass attendance and vice versa... "we can surmise that Catholicism is strongest in what is often called the developing world where GDP per capita are lower, while it appears to be contracting in wealthier ‘developed’ countries”... “The precise mechanisms associated with economic development and wealth that are impacting Catholics’ participation in the faith and identification as religious are unclear. Whatever they are, they matter significantly.”

The article also includes a chart showing that mass attendance in UK and USA is 25% and 17% of Catholics respectively.

>21 MonkMan:, I suspect your "increasingly individualistic, money worshipping, materialistic society" is part of the answer to the final point I've quoted from the article. Just two days ago, Pope Francis warned against the "consumerist society" and "throwaway culture" (here).

Editado: Fev 2, 3:12 am

Census data suggests UK faces ‘non-religious future’, say campaigners (Guardian)

More people under 40 in England and Wales now declare “no religion” than profess to be Christian – the first time the UK’s dominant religion has been pushed into second place in any age group. The striking census findings – which also show more than 50% of twentysomethings are not religious, compared with under 37% a decade earlier – are expected to fuel debate over whether state schools should still be required to provide “broadly Christian” daily worship, and the role of the Church of England in parliament... Campaigners for non-religious people said the figures “make plain that the UK faces a non-religious future” and called on the government to adjust public policy and “renegotiate the place of religion or belief in today’s society”... the figures were “in stark contrast to how our state institutions operate today. No other European country has such a religious setup as we do in terms of law and public policy, while at the same time having such a non-religious population”...

It does raise challenging questions for a country where Christianity is the established state religion, where bishops sit in parliament by right, and where many state schools now have multi-religious and non-religious majorities. Interesting times ahead!

Edited to add: Interesting to see an Archbishop of Canterbury reportedly speaking about disestablishment of the Church of England!

Welby ‘would rather see C of E disestablished than split over same-sex marriage’ (Guardian)

The archbishop of Canterbury has said he would rather see the Church of England lose its privileged status as the established church of the country than risk the global church fracturing over disagreements on same-sex marriage, the Guardian has been told... Several MPs broached the question of whether the C of E should retain its status as the established church when it was out of step with the law of the land and with public opinion. Welby replied that he would rather see the church disestablished than risk losing conservative groups within the global Anglican church, the Guardian has been told by people present. A spokesperson for the archbishop said they did not recognise the comments attributed to Welby. Disestablishment of the C of E would be a momentous break in a history stretching to the 16th century, and would lead to the church losing its reserved seats in the House of Lords...

Maybe the word antidisestablishmentarianism will come back into vogue? As children we were fascinated by this long and arcane English word, although I don't think we knew much about it. Later in life I learned that it referred to the position held by those in 19th-century England opposed to separating the Anglican church from the civil government.

Editado: Fev 5, 6:28 am

This may be slightly off topic, but it does appear to connect with the question raised in >25 John5918:

Religious persecution in Cuba and Nicaragua revitalizes the faith of the people (The Hill)

The dictatorships of Cuba and Nicaragua are leading one of the most vicious attacks on religious freedom in the Americas. Both regimes reportedly total more than 1,400 attacks on preachers and parishioners. Its goal is apparently to strangle the prophetic voice of the church, but for some reason the effect has been the opposite. The courage of the religious leaders has aroused the massive admiration of advocates and agnostics... The church has a power that dictatorships do not understand or control. The impoverishment and abuses caused by tyrants are denounced by the church with a voice that crosses borders and mocks censorship. Autocrats see it as a powerful and dangerous threat... In the 2018 protests, the Nicaraguan church stood by the people. Its courage was loud and clear, public and permanent, preventing Ortega from murdering a greater number of students, women and children. The Cuban church rose like Lazarus. In July of 2021 protests, the priests stood with the oppressed who were peacefully demanding “patria y vida” (country and life). This closeness and empathy with the people infuriated the tyrants, accustomed to receiving praise and adoration...

This dynamic will be familiar to all those who live under autocratic regimes, including South Sudan and DRC where the Holy Father and his ecumenical colleagues are currently showing solidarity with the often embattled local churches.

And then here is another article reinforcing the reality that the centre of gravity of the Christian (and in particular the Catholic) church has shifted to the Global South:

Congolese Catholics are "a lung" for the Universal Church: Pope Francis (ACI Africa)

The enthusiasm, joy, and missionary zeal of Congolese Catholics give oxygen to the whole Church, Pope Francis said during his final meeting in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday. “As a Church we need to breathe the pure air of the Gospel, to dispel the tainted air of worldliness, to safeguard the young heart of faith. That is how I imagine the African Church and that is how I see this Congolese Church,” he said during an encounter with the country’s bishops...

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Fev 7, 10:02 am

I think these two articles from ACI Africa both have some relevance to this thread.

Why Pope Francis’ Focus on Africa, Church Peripheries is “disruptive in a good sense”

Pope Francis has paid special attention to Africa, a Catholic theologian has said, noting that the Holy Father’s focus on Africa, which he says has always been the periphery, is “disruptive in a good sense.” According to Massimo Faggioli, a Church historian and professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, U.S., the Holy Father’s ongoing trip to Africa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan, is especially important as it shifts the focus from “what has been traditionally a Eurocentric white-male-dominated Church.” “There has been, in the last few days of the coverage of the Pope, a series of articles written by prominent commentators lamenting that the Pope is devoting too much attention to Africa and the southern hemisphere, and he has forgotten Europe,” Massimo says... He says that the lamentation is “very interesting because it shows how disruptive, in a good sense, Pope Francis is for the Catholic culture of white men in Europe”... the Theologian described Pope Francis as a religious leader “who seems very attentive to the peripheries of the world”... “it is a glimpse into the future, which is now called global Catholicism, or world Christianity.” The trip, the Church historian notes, “will look significantly different from what has been traditionally a Eurocentric white-male-dominated Church until a few years ago”... Fr. Stan Ilo noted that the Catholic Church in Africa is becoming more and more relevant to a younger population, a situation he said signifies that the future of the Catholic Church is in the African continent...

Africa Had the Highest Number of Martyrs in 2022: Catholic Charity

The Catholic Pontifical and charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, has paid tribute to Christians all over the world who were killed because of their faith, noting that most martyrs of 2022 came from Africa...

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Editado: Fev 8, 2:12 am

>30 brone:

Yes, but as I understand it the global Anglican communion is made up of independent churches loosely united under the Archbishop of Canterbury. The policies of the Church of England, which is only one of those churches, are not binding on the global church. In the case of women priests and bishops, for example, the various national churches were not in step (and still aren't), and the same will certainly be true of homosexual blessings. Unity in diversity.

Fev 8, 2:44 am

African and Asian Anglican bishops making strong statements against homosexuals are a major problem for Anglican churches in countries where LGBT persons are generally accepted as having rights and personal worth.

Editado: Fev 18, 3:33 am

Nigeria’s Newest Cardinal Shares Secret Behind the Highest Mass Attendance in the World (ACI Africa)

After Nigeria was recognized as having the highest Mass attendance in the world, the African nation’s youngest cardinal has shared some of the secrets behind his country’s vibrant sacramental life... Cardinal Peter Ebere Okpaleke, 59, who leads the southern Nigerian diocese of Ekwulobia, sees three key factors behind the active participation of Catholics in Nigeria... Okpaleke said that he believes Nigeria’s traditional worldview, the role of the family, and a sense of community within parishes have kept Nigerians close to the sacraments generation after generation.

Nigerian society as a whole has “a traditional worldview” that recognizes the presence of God in life and society, according to Okpaleke. Nigerians have not lost sight of how the spiritual world imbues everyday life. “There is a general awareness of the role of the divine in human life"...

In Nigeria, there is a strong sense that “the family is ‘the domestic church,’” a term used by early Church Fathers and emphasized by St. John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio. The family is viewed as the primary place where the “faith is handed over to the next generation,” Okpaleke said...

Catholic parishes and dioceses in Nigeria provide people with a strong sense of “community and belongingness.” “Largely, people feel a sense of community in the Church,” Okpaleke said. The cardinal has seen this firsthand in his own diocese, which is only 3 years old, where diocesan Synod on Synodality discussions felt like “traditional sessions in village squares where matters of interest to the community were discussed”...

Edited to add: How Christians are Fostering Fraternity, Living Gospel in Niger’s Muslim-dominated Society (ACI Africa)

Fr. Rafael Casamayor, a Catholic Missionary Priest ministering in Niger’s Niamey Archdiocese has explained how Christians in the predominantly Muslim West African nation are using Basic Christian Communities (BCCs) to foster fraternity among themselves and to live the Gospel... “Every fortnight a group of Christians from a village meet in one of their homes to pray, read the Gospel, and simply pray, commenting, exchanging ideas, experiences, talking about the Christian life, supporting each other in a Muslim society that generally does not make it easy to express oneself,” Fr. Casamayor says. The encounters in BCCs, he says, “is not an easy path, since we all have very different points of view but we are slowly managing to 'break the ice'”. He says that BCC members appreciate the fact that they get an opportunity to exchange viewpoints and be in touch with each other during the fortnightly encounters. The BCCs that the Catholic Archdiocese of Niamey established are part of the organization of Parish life and a method and instrument of spreading the Gospel among followers of Christ... “This method and organization of Christian life comes to us from Latin America and has found its echo in several African countries with considerable success"... the Christian community in Niger is “quite heterogeneous”...

The Basic Christian Community model is a widespread pastoral practice. In East Africa it is referred to as Small Christian Communities, and in Latin America as Basic Ecclesial Communities. The differing viewpoints and heterogeneity are integral to these basic communities - they represent the local society in its entirety and are not intended simply to be groups of like-minded individuals reinforcing their shared opinions. As the article says, it “is not an easy path", but it has proved very fruitful. It would probably be even more challenging for the individualistic cultures of Europe and north America.

Editado: Fev 18, 3:32 am

Reposted as an edit to >33 John5918:

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Editado: Fev 19, 10:40 pm

>35 brone:

As usual, you omit to cite your sources. Two UK Catholics acquitted after being charged for praying in front of abortion clinic (Catholic News Agency) reports this story and as the headline suggests, the point is that they were acquitted. There are laws protecting people from being harassed and intimidated whilst going about their lawful activities, which in UK includes entering a health facility. As the article suggests, the police were initially unsure whether these laws had been infringed or not. The matter was decided by a court in favour of the defendants. That's how due process and the rule of law work, regardless of whether you or I agree with it.

Since you do not cite a source, I'm not sure what you mean by "Censorship Zones" nor what the UK parliament is currently debating, but your suggestion of "Marxism" is, as usual, ludicrous given that the UK currently has an extremely right wing government, and has done for many years.

It might be helpful to hear why you think this is relevant to the topic of this thread.

Mar 14, 7:54 am

Church Growing Quickly in Africa among 10 Things to Know from Latest Catholic Survey (ACI Africa)

1. The Church is growing quickly in Africa. Despite continued violent persecution in countries such as Nigeria, the largest percentage increase of Catholics in the world was in Africa, with an increase of 3.1%. 2. Africa breaks the trend by showing an increase in seminarians and religious brothers...

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Mar 17, 2:52 pm

By the numbers: How the Catholic Church has changed during Pope Francis’ pontificate (CNA)

Pope Francis was elected to the papacy 10 years ago, on March 13, 2013. How has the worldwide Catholic Church changed since then? Statistically speaking, the Church has grown, keeping pace with and even exceeding overall world population growth. The total number of Catholics worldwide grew from ​​1.253 billion in 2013 to 1.378 billion in 2021, an increase of nearly 10%. During the same period, the world’s population as a whole grew by 9.1%, according to the World Bank... “The Church and Pope Francis and bishops have had to try to navigate their way through some really challenging demographic changes as well as the pandemic. And the Catholic Church has come out of these better than many other Christian denominations"... The drop in participation in the sacraments worldwide is not due only to the pandemic, he cautioned, but rather is part of a much larger demographic trend worldwide of declining births... the total number of students in Catholic schools is up by 7.3% since 2013... The number of diocesan priests worldwide appears to be virtually unchanged in the decade of Pope Francis’ pontificate, while the number of religious priests dipped only slightly... Despite overall growth in the number of Catholics worldwide, that growth has not been evenly distributed. Overall, Africa has a higher baptism rate than Europe and a far higher rate of Mass attendance in countries with large Catholic populations. Another recent analysis by CARA found that Nigeria, Kenya, and Lebanon have the highest proportion of Catholics who attend Mass weekly or more, with Nigeria as the clear leader... Africa also saw the only increase in seminarians and religious brothers across the globe... Focusing on the United States — where a mere 5% of the world’s Catholics live — the picture is a bit less optimistic...

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Editado: Mar 21, 11:27 am

>42 brone: We know a faithful muslim wouldn't be caught dead inside a Catholic Church

Not true. Where do you get these erroneous ideas from? To my own certain knowledge "faithful Muslims" including imams have been in churches in Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Palestine, USA and many other countries where inter-faith engagement and prayer is not uncommon. It's not "being forced down the throats" of anyone. In northern Uganda and CAR, for example, it was welcomed by ordinary people suffering from violent conflict, who recognise that peace and justice will only come when different faiths work together. As a South African imam said to Sudanese Christian leaders twenty years ago in my presence, "Let's not talk about theology, because we'll disagree. Let's talk about peace and human rights, where we will be able to agree and work together".

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Editado: Mar 21, 11:43 am

>44 brone:

But none of what you've written supports your erroneous claim that a faithful Muslim imam wouldn't be caught dead in a church. All you've demonstrated is that there are areas where some Muslims do bad things. As the same Muslim imam I quoted above also said to Sudanese church leaders, "I want to apologise for what some of my people have done to some of your people."

Despite all the stuff you've referred to (without citing sources) there's a huge amount (albeit not as well publicised on right wing and Islamophobic websites) of instances of Muslims and Christians working together for peace and justice. There's also an equal or greater amount of war crimes and intolerance which can be laid at the door of Christians. World War II was started by a Catholic. Apartheid in South Africa was underpinned by a Christian church. Etc. There are good and bad people in the world, from all religions and none.

Mar 21, 11:49 am

Three months since my speech in this house British MP Andrew Bridgen bemoans being censored by YouTube for saying enough of our citizens have been sacrificed on the altar of ignorance and unfettered corporate greed. Of course, when an official, celebrity. priest etc gets shutdown on YouTube they bemoan it as something new like it just happens to them. Bridgen on the oher hand wondered out loud on twitter. Good thing Musk owns it now or he would be still wondering to himself. If I an elected member of Parliament is censored how is anyone else to be heard. Welcome to the real world Andrew in America, we call it "outside the beltway"....JMJ....

Editado: Mar 22, 12:41 am

>42 brone: A video gone viral in conservative catholic circles

Here's just one exposure of the sort of fake news which circulates on the sort of websites which people seem to like propagating but not naming nor fact-checking. Here the Catholic Church in Central African Republic refutes one such allegation.

Incidentally ACI Africa is owned by EWTN, which can certainly be classed as "conservative catholic". I personally know at least one courageous African bishop whom EWTN dropped from their roster of approved interviewees (what I think brone often refers to as "cancelled") as he apparently offended its "conservative" ideology. But I've spoken to the editor of ACI Africa, a missionary priest whom I knew in South Sudan, and he assures me that his part of the organisation has editorial independence and integrity, and operates professionally, not according to any ideology.

“There was no kidnapping”: Catholic Bishop on Reported Abduction of CAR Cardinal (ACI Africa)

The March 18 media reports indicated that Cardinal Nzapalainga had been allegedly kidnapped in the town of Ouadda, Haute Kotto, about 800 kilometers north-east of Bangui by rebels of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC). In a statement issued Sunday, March 19, the Local Ordinary of Bambari Diocese who was part of the Cardinal’s delegation says, “There was no kidnapping, no ransom, no threats, no restriction of movement”...

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Editado: Mar 22, 12:45 pm

>48 brone:

Readers are not able to fact-check whether or not they are fake if you don't tell us where they are. I've given one example of fake news. You are the one who mentioned a video going "viral in conservative catholic circles".

But since you focus so much on Islam, this article might be of interest. I wish a blessed Ramadan to all my Muslim friends and colleagues. Interesting that it overlaps with Lent this year, so Christians and Muslims are fasting and praying at the same time, albeit their fast is rather more robust than ours.

How will rising prices hurt Ramadan celebrations? (Al Jazeera)

Cheaper meat and leftovers for iftar. No new clothes for children. Yet the crisis could bring Muslim communities closer... As the holy month of Ramadan kicks off this week, millions of Muslims around the world are feeling the pinch of inflation. Food and energy prices have been soaring around the world as Russia’s war in Ukraine, the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change-related events weigh on the global economy. Countries of the Global South – especially in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, where the vast majority of the world’s Muslims live – are also among the worst hit by price surges and shortages of key supplies...

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Mar 25, 11:51 pm

Seems Australia is another western country where Christianity is struggling.

‘I want it to have a future’: churches in rural Australia are struggling to keep the lights on (Guardian)

Dwindling attendance has seen a drop in the number of operational churches in regional Australia, and ministers say the church has to change to survive...

Mar 30, 9:12 am

The Center for Global Christianity has recently published a book entitled Portraits of Global Christianity, edited by Gina A Zurlo, to honour its Co-Director Dr Todd Johnson.

The blurb includes: "research, reflections, and, of course, data! Portraits of Global Christianity is a unique volume with reflections from Christians who have learned about and continue to experience the global church in their everyday lives. This book helps readers reach across ethnic, gender, and class boundaries as Christianity continues its southward shift."

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Editado: Abr 9, 10:19 am

From the "Final Statement of the Second Pan-African Catholic Congress on Theology, Society and Pastoral Life", held in Nairobi in July 2022: "we affirm the vitality of the Catholic Church in Africa as a sign of hope for the World."

Abr 10, 11:06 am

Black British Christians: keeping the faith (Guardian)

Churches with African and Caribbean roots are thriving despite the secular times... The 2021 census results, published in November, found that for the first time less than half the population identifies as Christian. Thousands of churches have closed their doors in recent years, some repurposed into art galleries or museums. In the midst of decline, however, a religious success story is changing the shape and enriching the texture of British Christianity. To a remarkable degree, black majority churches (BMCs) are a countercultural growth industry in a country which is perhaps less secular than it believes itself to be. Research suggests that the rise in non-white church attendance in recent decades may more or less match the drop-off in white churchgoers. Though predominantly Pentecostal, BMCs also exist within the Anglican communion and other historic church traditions, the Baptist Union and Methodism. In London and Britain’s other major cities, former bingo halls, warehouses and shops have been transformed into places of worship, channelling the evangelical intensity of African and Caribbean Christianity...

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Editado: Abr 30, 6:11 pm

>58 brone: The authority of the King of England (and the secular authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury) is derived from Parliament which is the supreme authority in the United Kingdom under its unwritten Constitution. Charles is not an absolute monarch. Thus, no, he does not have the power to change the organizational structure of the CoE without the consent of Parliament, which he would be unlikely to get even if he were interested in doing so (and which I'm certain that he is not).

It would theoretically be within the power of Parliament to pass an Act recognizing Rome's authority over the Church of England.

Maio 1, 12:24 am

>59 cjbanning: I suspect anyone voting for that would be in danger of losing his/her seat in the next election.

It would also leave the Pope with the problem of how to deal with a large number of churches with clergy whose ordination he does nor recognize, most of whom are married, many of whom are female, and nearly all of whom would not recognize his authority. I suspect he would be appalled.

Editado: Maio 1, 2:31 am

I think there are some amongst the "High" or "Anglo-Catholic" wing of Anglicanism who would be willing to accept the pope as some sort of spiritual head of a decentralised Church, in a way that in the early Church the Bishop of Rome was seen as the first amongst equals, but they would be unlikely to accept direct papal authority, nor to be subsumed into the Roman Catholic Church. Those who wanted to have already left and become part of the Anglican ordinariate created by Pop Benedict XVI within the Roman Catholic Church. The "evangelical" wing of Anglicanism would reject any such moves out of hand.

As >59 cjbanning: says, Parliament would need to approve any significant change within the established Anglican Church. Apart from the danger of losing one's seat (>60 MarthaJeanne:), I can't see this being a priority for any party to take up valuable time in a busy parliamentary schedule.

most of whom are married

That would not be a problem as the Roman Catholic Church has already re-ordained hundreds if not thousands of former Anglican priests as married Catholic priests.

Many of the Anglican priests who have come over to Rome have been disappointed in what they find. If I may generalise and caricature somewhat, many of them are well-educated English gentlemen, like fine wines, erudite literature, classical musical and the finer things in life, and are very pernickety about liturgy - bells, incense, rubrics, vestments, music, etc. They find themselves working side by side with Irish priests who like a pint of Guinness with the lads down the Catholic club singing Irish rebel songs, playing golf with fellow priests on their day off, and who have a very sloppy approach to liturgy dressed in vestments which make them look like a sack of potatoes with a rope tied round the middle. Apologies to both the High Anglicans and the Irish, who of course are not all at these extremes, but I have to say I've seen a lot of both types. Personally I'd be down the club with the lads - indeed in my youth I used to work on the bar in the parish club in our home parish, and I enjoyed some good evenings in many other parish bars. But I do rather like good liturgy.

Maio 1, 2:36 am

>61 John5918: Ah, so you prefer a split church, so you can have both cosy bars and good liturgy :-)

Maio 1, 2:41 am

>62 bnielsen:

Unity in diversity!

Maio 5, 12:00 am

Defender of all faiths? Coronation puts focus on King Charles’s beliefs (Guardian)

The crowning ceremony will be a deeply Christian affair. Will it be at odds with king’s desire to reflect UK’s religious diversity?... In common with his predecessors for almost 500 years, Charles will take the titles of defender of the faith and supreme governor of the Church of England. He will swear to uphold “the laws of God and the true profession of the gospel, maintain the Protestant Reformed religion established by law and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline and government thereof, as by law established.” Almost 30 years ago, Charles triggered a furore when he suggested he would be defender of faith in general, rather than defender of the faith, stemming from a desire to reflect Britain’s religious diversity. Ever since, there has been speculation that the coronation oath might be altered. In fact it will be unchanged, as became clear when the archbishop of Canterbury’s office published the coronation liturgy last weekend. Instead, the coronation oath, for the first time, will be prefaced with words spoken by Welby, making clear that “the church established by law, whose settlement you will swear to maintain … will seek to foster an environment in which people of all faiths and beliefs may live freely”. James Walters, who leads the London School of Economics’ faith centre, said: “People got very fixated on whether the title would change. But I don’t think that was ever {Charles’s} intention; rather, it was how the title was to be understood. And in many ways that reimagining of what it means happened under his mother, who spoke of the Church of England creating a space for freedom across religions.” Last September, shortly after the queen’s death, Charles echoed and expanded on his mother’s words. He told faith leaders at a Buckingham Palace reception that he was a “committed Anglican” but the sovereign had a “duty to protect the diversity of our country, including by protecting the space for faith itself and its practice through the religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us as individuals.” In a significant acknowledgment of the growing number of people who say they have no religion, he added: “By my most profound convictions … I hold myself bound to respect those who follow other spiritual paths, as well as those who seek to live their lives in accordance with secular ideals”...

Editado: Maio 5, 2:00 am

>64 John5918: Thank you for posting this. I really like what he said.

The rest of the article is also well worth reading.

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Maio 8, 11:08 am

>66 brone: The British King in waiting Charles lll

Just for the record, Charles III is not "King in waiting". He has been king since the day his mother died. "The Queen is dead - long live the King!" The coronation is a significant public ritual, but it is not what makes a king - he had already been king for many months before 6th May 2023.

Editado: Maio 8, 11:51 am

The Archbishop of Canterbury is not the head of the Church of England. King Charles III is the "Supreme governor". The Archbishop of Canterbury is the Primate of all England. Major decisions are made by synod and confirmed by parliament.

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Editado: Maio 15, 6:23 am

>69 brone: nobody cares about the unsustainable noise they call music

I remember attending an ordination in UK more than forty years ago where at one point the Archbishop of Birmingham, who was presiding, shouted at the choir, "Stop that cacophony!" He also objected to photography and shouted, "Stop that flashing and say your prayers!"

But I think you and I have agreed elsewhere on LT that there was some appalling music during a transitional or "experimental" period after Vatican II, and that there are many parishes which have not moved on from that experience and fail to make use of some of the excellent, prayerful, dignified and respectful music which is now available. But I think you fail to recognise that this good music, which includes many of the old hymns and Latin settings, is widely available, and is used in many parishes and in other masses. Have you seen papal masses and other masses in big churches and cathedrals, or in some of the monasteries? I'm very sorry if you have not been able to find a decent parish in your home area, but they do exist, and since you seem to be ready to go out of your way to find Tridentine masses, I'm surprised you haven't been able to look a bit further afield to find good liturgy using the normal universal rite of the Church, whether in the vernacular or in Latin. I think I have also pointed out to you elsewhere that I remember the Tridentine mass when it was the normal rite before Vatican II, and that there was some appalling music and badly celebrated liturgy. There is good and bad liturgy whichever rite one uses. If we want good, prayerful, respectful, dignified liturgy, rather than harking back to an old rite which was superseded for very good reasons, approved by the assembled bishops of the world by a vote of 2,147 to 4, we should work on ensuring that the current liturgy is well celebrated and that appropriate music is used.

It is simply not true that "nobody cares". All of the recent statements on liturgy by the pope and other Vatican officials criticise sloppy and unorthodox liturgy. Our cardinal (now emeritus) in Sudan is a liturgist and was very particular about good liturgy, our late archbishop in South Sudan issued directives on abuses in the liturgy, and all over the world I see bishops calling for better liturgy. We need more catechesis on the liturgy, both for priests and laity.

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Maio 16, 1:06 am

>71 brone:

Not sure why you posted it here, as it has nothing to do with Christianity and would probably have been more appropriate in one of the COVID threads in the Pro and Con group, but that's as may be.

Michael Yeadon is a British anti-vaccine activist and retired pharmacologist who attracted media attention in 2020 and 2021 for making false or unfounded claims about the COVID-19 pandemic and the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

A quick google will provide various fact-checking articles which debunk the good doctor's claims.

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Maio 16, 12:54 pm

>73 brone: those communists hate me

That sounds a bit paranoid to me. I think that you confuse disagreement with hate, not for the first time. Or perhaps it's projection, as you do give the impression of hating people who disagree with you. But certainly people will disagree with you when you promote conspiracy theories and fake news, and will offer counter-evidence as I have done. If you are so lacking in confidence about your sources of information that you are afraid to cite them, and afraid to discuss them in a rational manner, it doesn't say much for their accuracy, and it's not really designed to persuade others of the truth of your claims.

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Editado: Maio 17, 7:09 am

>75 brone: Yikes what a grouch... communists hate me

Ad hominem attacks on anyone who disagrees with you don't sit well on a Christian discussion board.

promote fake news such as...

It is potentially fake news unless the reader can look at the source and context and fact check it. Many striking sound bites look very different when set in context. Since you continue to refuse to tell us the sources of your information, it's up in the air. Might I add that the way you present it, loaded with hate, innuendo and disparagement, using offensive nicknames for people you mention, etc doesn't help to make it look authentic.

you would only pull the condescension and ridicule card if I told you my sources

Which again suggests that you have no real confidence in your own sources. Sources should be able to stand up to independent fact checking and to comparison with other sources. If they can't, then they do tend to attract ridicule. And if I cite a source which others can subsequently demonstrate to be false, then I have learned something and can alter my position to take that into account.

there are many other Search engines besides google

That's a change of tune from you. In the past, when I have asked for your sources, you have told me to google it because it is all over the internet. When I have tried to do so, I have found that it is not "all over the internet", as there's very little from "all over the internet" which can't be found on google. Perhaps you mean it's all over extremist right wing and conspiracy theory websites and social media? Can you help me with the names of some of these search engines? Or are you referring to the "dark web", where drugs, porn, conspiracy theories, hate speech, extremist ideologies, other people's credit card details and all manner of illegal activities can be accessed via TOR? I'm afraid that's an area of the internet I am not willing to play around with.

But basically, you are being very unhelpful, obstructive and uncooperative by telling your fellow Christians on this site to waste a lot of time using arcane non-google search engines to find material which you have posted, when you already have that information instantly available. It's no wonder people get frustrated with you. For heaven's sake, stop playing childish games and just copy and paste the sources that you're using so we can all read them. And yes, if they don't stand up to objective scrutiny, they will be challenged. So be it. You may even learn something about which sources are more credible and trustworthy.

>73 brone: Covid was your classic anti life manufactored virus and Chistians should post on evry Christian blog,bulletin board and media outlet their views on the Basic right to life

I see a bit of a contradiction here between your exhortation for Christians to post everywhere and your own reluctance to post in the COVID threads on LT in case anyone laughs at you. There are several threads dedicated to COVID where you can discuss your views, and those threads helpfully include a lot of credible, verified and peer-reviewed scientific and medical facts which help us to weed out the fake news and conspiracy theories and remain grounded in reality.

But hopefully we can now get back on topic after this little excursion?

Maio 18, 12:00 am

God seekers (National Catholic Reporter)

Many surveys reflect a sharp increase of Americans who say they are unaffiliated with any church. Over a third of young adults reportedly self-identify in this category. All mainline Christian denominations have lost ground, including Catholics. Many of the unaffiliated say they are atheists or agnostics. The surveys only speculate on reasons for the drop in formal membership, but the failure of mainline Christianity to attract and hold young people is an acknowledged factor. This speaks to a shift in culture and the perception by many seekers that formal religion has not offered real meaning and purpose or modeled an effective way to address social justice problems and people's personal questions... Paul's approach is to explain how "natural theology," represented by the Greek shrine to an "Unknown God," could lead to acceptance of an all-knowing creator by rational argument... The journey to faith has many thresholds and paths. The more experience people have, the more they understand how mysterious life is... Knowing little and believing less can paradoxically be a good place to start because the mind is not cluttered with easy assumptions. When we let Life itself be our teacher, it sets us on the road to faith by urging us to face our questions and problems honestly. A sincere heart and an open mind inevitably lead to the deepest questions about the source and purpose of our own existence. This is when we begin to encounter the nameless God who knows us by name and loves us more than we can imagine.

Although this article refers to the USA, it raises the same sort of issues facing Christianity throughout Europe and north America. I think it is a very nice little reflection on that important but oft-neglected passage from Acts of the Apostles 17:23, "In fact, the unknown God you revere is the one I proclaim to you."

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Maio 24, 1:06 pm

English literature is substantially Protestant. That being said. "Whatever is true is from the Holy Ghost"....AMDG....

Jun 14, 12:25 am

Anglican leader does not have to be ‘white guy from England’, says Justin Welby (Guardian)

The leader of the global Anglican church should not always be a “white guy from England”, the archbishop of Canterbury has said... Welby said the structure of the Anglican communion, which claims 85 million members worldwide, needed reform “so it’s no longer invariably run by a white guy from England in a communion that is 90% global south”... Welby told the conference on Monday: “Within the life of the church … we have to listen to one another and not, as a political party might do, impose one group’s views on people who entirely disagree.” He said he would welcome “serious changes” in the structure of the global church and not “hold on to the position of being leader of the Anglican communion”...

Welby also said he regarded the decline in attendance at C of E services in his 10 years as archbishop as a personal failure. “Even if I were not responsible for {it}, I am certainly accountable for {it}. So that, personally, I count as failure,” he said. “I am not sure I know what else could have been done. Because in the end … the future of the church and its survival or otherwise does not depend on archbishops; it depends on God and the providence of God. And over the last 2,000 years we’ve been in infinitely worse places than this”... Asked about the possibility of the C of E losing its privileged status as the established church of the country, Welby said disestablishment was a “question for parliament”... “What I do know is God is bigger than that. It’s not going to make any difference to the future of the church whether it’s established or disestablished. It’s in the hands of God."

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Editado: Jun 23, 12:15 am

>81 brone:

Thanks for that partial history of the Catholic Church in England, although I think we should also remember the "reign of terror" which the good Catholic Queen Mary ("Bloody Mary") unleashed on English protestants. Under different monarchs we tended to torture, kill and burn each other. But yes, there was plenty of anti-Catholic legislation, some of it spurred by religious rivalry but also the fear that Rome was trying to impose secular as well as religious rule in England. Later the situation in Ireland also spurred anti-Catholic feeling, which lasted well into the 20th century. My late father, a protestant, recalls as a boy throwing stones at Catholics around the time of World War I (but he later married one!) and I recall even in my own youth we were disparagingly referred to as "left footers". But we grew up with an acute awareness of our English martyrs. The Jesuit grammar school I attended was named after Campion, and we had classes and houses named after the likes of More, Fisher and others. I spent my university years in the north east of England where the Venerable Bede is still well remembered.

But I don't think anyone is "quibbling" about who heads the Church of England. Justin Welby is merely responding to the reality that the Church of England is now a multi-cultural Church, with much of its congregation being British people from African and Caribbean backgrounds, and that the wider global Anglican communion is, as he says, 90% in the Global South, so the pool of potential candidates for leadership is now far bigger than it was say fifty years ago. The retired Archbishop of York, the second most senior clergyperson in the Church of England, is from Uganda. Thanks be to God!

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Editado: Jun 24, 7:41 am

>83 brone: So what is the Church of England?

I don't know whether that is a serious question, or whether it is just part of your routine attacks on various Christian denominations, including Roman Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox? I hope there are some Anglicans/Episopalians here who can answer it better than me, but your characterisation of it is flawed.

First thing, it is clearly not the Roman Catholic Church. However it is an offshoot of the Roman Church. As with the Lutheran Church it shares a great deal of theology and praxis with the Roman Church, as various joint theological commissions have declared over the last few decades. All three churches have bishops who broadly speaking share in apostolic succession, ie tracing their episcopal lineage back to apostolic times. We have more in common than what divides us. While it is true that in its earliest times it might have been considered "the religious arm of the ruling establishment", it has to be remembered that in those days the Roman Catholic Church was also a secular as well as a religious power, and indeed technically still is, with the Vatican State being an independent sovereign country with the pope as its head of state. I think we also need to recognise that the Church of England is now only one province of a global Anglican communion, and not conflate the two. Within the broad Anglican communion there are both "catholic" and "evangelical" wings, and everything in between. And for the record, it is not a "Marxist" Church.

As to the criticism that the Church of England does "not want to stand up to the ruling class", within the diversity of a broad Church, I think you'll find many Anglicans who have done just that, whether it be the social justice movements of the early 20th century or the outspokenness of archbishops such as Rowan Williams and Justin Welby in our times.

Edited to add: The mention of Archbishop Rowan Williams and the connection with Archbishop Justin Welby's statement about the leadership of the Anglican communion not having to be a "white guy from England" reminds me that Williams, while he is "a white guy", is neither from England nor a member of the Church of England. He is Welsh, and the Church in Wales is an independent member of the global Anglican communion. Interestingly it is not an established (ie state) Church; it was disestablished in 1920. So the Church in Wales is fully independent of both the state and the Church of England.

Jul 7, 2:26 am

>84 John5918:

Just came across a reflection on the Anglo-Catholic social movement of the 1920s which I mentioned.

The Christian spiritual tradition is very clear about how we are to relate to those who are fragile, who have been rejected and forgotten, and who are standing on the bread lines waiting for food. We are to see them as Christ and approach them with the same kind of reverence and willingness to say yes. This identification of Christ with the poor is such that an old Anglo-Catholic saying, often cited in the context of the slum priest movement of the 1920s, tells us that unless we are willing and able to see Christ on the highways and byways of our cities in those who are rejected, homeless, and poor, we have no business talking about meeting him in the Eucharist. Our faith cannot be complete unless we have connected the two. As one theologian said, “The real presence of Christ, which is hidden in the bread and wine, is visibly manifested in his social presence in the poor who are the sign and image of his ongoing passion in the world.”

Adam Bucko, Let Your Heartbreak Be Your Guide: Lessons in Engaged Contemplation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2022), 77–78, 78–79, who is also referring to Philip J. Rosato, Cena del Signore e amore sociale (Ponteranica, Bergamo, Italy: Centro Eucaristico, 1994), 83, drawing from a homily given by Pope Paul VI to farmers and farmworkers in Bogotá, Colombia, on August 23, 1968.

Jul 16, 12:45 am

Justin Welby says it was ‘a privilege to be her son’, after mother dies at 93 (Guardian)

Archbishop of Canterbury says he had a messy childhood due to alcoholism in the family but he loved Jane Williams deeply... The archbishop of Canterbury has paid tribute to his mother, Jane Williams, who has died at 93, saying she had “lived a full human life, with all its ups and downs”... it had been “a privilege to be her son. I am the person I am in part because of her love, example and encouragement”...

May she rest in peace.

Jul 23, 9:07 pm

>83 brone:

I as an Anglican am never going to agree that the universal Church subsists only in those churches governed by the Bishop of Rome, just as I suspect you will never agree that our churches have maintained valid apostolic succession or celebrate valid sacraments. These are things over which we will have to agree to disagree, and over which we really ought to be able to agree to disagree politely and respectfully. Certainly we have the example of many Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops who have been able to do so!

We should also be able to agree that many elements of sanctification and of truth can be found outside the visible structures of the one true Church, wherever and whatever she may be, and that they impel towards catholic unity. Even from the perspective of the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of England, the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the other provinces of the Anglican Communion constitute Christian ecclesial communities, none of whose living members bear any responsibility for the schism from Rome and who are faithfully following Christ and His commands the best we can based on our understanding of the faith as it has been transmitted to us through our tradition. We recognize that that tradition is able to be, and almost certainly in places has been, distorted by human error. (Of course, we also believe the same about the Roman Catholic tradition!)

Jul 25, 12:58 am

An Anglican appointed at the helm of Taizé community (Vatican News)

English-born Brother Matthew is set to take over the office of prior of the France-based ecumenical monastic order early in December this year. He will succeed Roman Catholic Brother Alois... Brother Alois explained that after eighteen years “with the world and the Church having changed so much over the last two decades” he felt time has come for a brother who entered the community after him to take over his responsibility. He said the appointment follows a wide consultation with his confreres...

Taize is a shining example of ecumenism and, in the context of this thread, one of the parts of the European Christian Church which is still able to attract and mobilise young people. I had the privilege of taking a multicultural group of British youth there in 1982 and they and I were highly impressed by the experience. The music and prayer of Taize has had an influence across the world.

Jul 25, 1:04 am

I remember when Taizé had a big meeting in Vienna, Christmas 1992. One of my husband's colleagues wanted to know what was going on. He was on the U-bahn, and stations were crowded with young people, but they didn't push. They waited patiently for a train with space. And they sang.

Editado: Jul 25, 5:52 am

>89 MarthaJeanne:

Reminds me of the big meeting they had in London in 1981. I was working in a Catholic parish in west London and we were coordinating a large group of them who would stay in our area, in various Christian churches, the Sikh temple and private homes, having some prayer events locally and others in large churches in central London. The night they arrived it was cold and pelting down with rain. We were all ready to meet them, with the parish priest waiting in the church with a huge vat of hot soup, but no sign of them. Eventually I took the parish minibus and went in search of them. I found groups of obviously foreign and very bedraggled young people with rucksacks who had missed the turning and were merrily walking towards Wales. I spent the next couple of hours ferrying groups of them back to the church, where they enjoyed their hot soup and were dispatched to wherever they were to be accommodated, although some of them didn't make it that night and ended up sleeping in the church - at mass the next morning we found sleepy heads appearing from sleeping bags in the pews. The parish priest moved out of his room and slept in the office so several of them could have his bedroom. It was a tremendous experience for the whole community, and the New Year candlelit vigil was very moving, particularly as a traditional new year party was going on in the parish hall next door but many revellers popped in for a quiet moment of prayer and reflection. Our parish youth made some good friends amongst the Taize visitors, which is why we made that trip to Taize in 1982, and also continued to Germany where a large group had come from. I'm still in touch with some of them more than forty years later, and visited one couple in Germany only last year.

And as you say, they sang! Laudate omnes gentes...

Editado: Jul 26, 12:18 am

In Portugal for World Youth Day, pope will find a Catholic Church that 'is losing influence' (NCR)

At first glance, the Catholic faith today in Portugal seems as central a part of everyday life as when the conservative dictator António de Oliveira Salazar's autocratic regime ruled the country with the tacit approval of the hierarchy in the mid-20th century. Adults and young children alike still attend traditional festas and participate in religious processions... Priests and bishops are still called upon to bless fishing fleets or new bridges, and the roads into Fatima are often jammed with religious pilgrims... Even so, when Pope Francis arrives in Lisbon on Aug. 2 for the 42nd international trip of his papacy and his fourth World Youth Day... he will find a weakened Catholic Church experiencing the same difficulties it has in much of the developed world... "The greatest challenge to Catholicism {in Portugal} is society's indifferentism," said Fr. Hélio Nuno Soares... "Catholicism maintains its preponderance, but is losing influence on the values present in society"... But some challenges facing the church have been self-inflicted by a church failing to live out its own values... Catholic clergy members in Portugal had abused more than 4,800 children since 1950. The commission’s chairman said that figure was likely "just the tip of the iceberg," and its findings sent shockwaves throughout the country's Catholics...

Although from my own experience on the Camino Portugues four years ago I can confirm that one thing which hasn't changed is the hospitality shown by ordinary Portuguese people towards religious pilgrims.

Set 24, 9:03 am

France's Catholic Church in decline as Pope visits (France 24)

Tens of thousands of Catholics are expected in the French Mediterranean city of Marseille for Pope Francis's two-day visit, but the once dominant faith is in a long decline in France...

Out 25, 5:19 am

Vatican Statistics: Africa Had Biggest Increase in Catholics, While Numbers Fell in Europe (ACI Africa)

New data from the Vatican show that Africa added the greatest number of Catholics in 2021 out of all the continents and that all the world’s continents registered at least a modest increase in the number of Catholics in 2021 — except for Europe, which continued a yearslong decline... The African continent gained 40 million people in the time frame studied, 8.3 million of whom are Catholic. Pope Francis has shown particular pastoral attention to Africa this year, making a visit to the heavily Catholic Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan early in 2023... Worldwide, the total number of priests dropped by 2,347 to approximately 408,000. Europe suffered the largest drop, with 3,632 fewer priests from the previous year. Balancing out that loss, however, was a net gain of more than 1,500 priests in Africa and about half that many in Asia. The Americas lost nearly a thousand priests, and Oceania recorded a small gain of less than a dozen... The Fides statistics do not mention baptism rates, but other data show that in addition to a higher baptism rate, Africa has a far higher rate of Mass attendance in countries with large Catholic populations...

Nov 7, 6:43 pm

My love of English hymns is no secret, and I am constantly hinting to our music director to incorporate some of them in his repertoire. My latest favorite is "I heard the Voice of Jesus Say" by the Rev Horatius Boner who was by the way educated beyond anything compared to today, yet his hymn could be understood by an eight-year-old. Check out the version done by the Manchester Cathedral Choir The last verse is truly astonishing enjoy....JMJ....

Nov 8, 11:54 am

>94 brone:

Thanks. Beautiful indeed, and that Manchester cathedral choir version is a good one.

We're in UK at the moment and this morning we visited the cathedral at St Alban's, named for the first British saint and martyr. It's a beautiful old cathedral, the current one dating back to Norman times, but the cult of St Alban goes back many centuries earlier, with an abbey there from at least the 700s.

Nov 8, 10:19 pm

I am glad to see you at St Albans us Yanks going back to an old church would be going to the 1850's. beautifully built by immigrants with the same idea as those who built St Albans all those centuries ago. Reminds me of the medieval trust Christians had in their relationship with God. St Augustine said, " there can be only two basic lives... the love of God unto the forgetfulness of self, or the love of self-unto the forgetfulness and denial of God". It was this desire to seek and love God in all things that motivated souls in the medieval era to glorify Him by building places like Albans. The great religious practice of pilgrimage is enjoying a mini revival today. In your journey (Chesterton would have called you a "tripper") I pray you and I two different souls not the same, who have vastly different experiences and varying paths that hopefully will lead to perfect union with God, it makes me happy to see you observing the holy tradition of pilgrimage....AMDG....

Nov 8, 10:51 pm

>96 brone:

us Yanks going back to an old church would be going to the 1850's

Actually, the oldest church in the U.S. is in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It's the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista. The original building was built in 1521, but after its destruction in a hurricane, it was rebuilt in 1540. There are a slew of churches built in the 17th and 18th centuries.

And we all know the Old North Church in Boston (1723), from Longfellow's poem:

"Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,—
One if by land, and two if by sea;"

But it's true, we've got nothing on the Europeans! Santa Maria Assunta on Torcello in Venice has parts of the original building that date back to the mid-7th century.

Editado: Nov 9, 1:59 am

I remember when I lived in your Pacific Northwest I visited a small wooden church built, I think, by the Jesuits around 1850 which I was told was the oldest surviving building of any sort in that area.

In Britain, thousand year old cathedrals are fairly common, at university I lived in a castle that was over 900 years old, and I grew up close to what is the oldest surviving wooden church in England (and possibly in Europe or even the world), a thousand years old or possibly more - the walls are made of huge oak tree trunks.

But you also have ancient structures dating back to long before the European settlers arrived. I remember visiting a snake-shaped burial mound in Ohio which I believe is more than 2,000 years old.

Editado: Nov 9, 8:53 am

Esta mensagem foi removida pelo seu autor.

Nov 20, 7:27 pm

" The doctors kept pressuring us to have an abortion right up to the moment of birth". The Gregorys refused, Indi Gregory was born naturally, and immediately diagnosed with MDS. The Socialist Health care system of Britian (NHS) bureaucrats decided Indi's life was not worth trying to save. Take her of the ventilator they demanded, they refused taking them to court. Meanwhile Georgia Meloni the Italian PM hearing of Indi's plight offered her Italian citizenship and care in Rome's finest hospital.The NHS would have none of this and took the case to court again and three courageous judges of that court ordered that Indy's life be terminated. Indi was immediately terminated like something out of a George Orwell novel. This little covered story was not at an end with the murder of Indy. Mr Gregory a non-baptized, non-religious person says. "But when I was in court, it felt like I was dragged into hell"a volunteer at the hospice center whispered Baptism, the power of Baptism. I was so impressed with this person and my Christian lawers "I had Indy baptized" He and his wife also were baptized and is now comforted knowing that Indy is now in the hands of Our Lady Mother of all Christians....JMJ....

Nov 21, 2:43 am

>100 brone:

I'd love to read more about this sad case. Where can I find it?

Editado: Nov 21, 3:24 am

"This little covered story" Has been reported repeatedly in BBC over the past months. The doctors asked to take her off life support because there is no therapy that can cure her mitochondrial disease, and the life support was causing her pain. She lived for 8 months.

There have been at least 20 articles in BBC of which those are the most recent and earliest that I have found.