An editorial in the National Catholic Register cites anecdotal evidence that there is still hope for Europe. The editorial mentions an increase in female vocations in Italy, an article about religion growing— even in the ‘west’, and a small revival in Holland. All of this is obviously welcome news. However, as George Weigel states, “time is not on their side”. A demographic and civilization crisis looms. Another article on CNS speaks of a study that young Americans are becoming more ‘loosely’ associated with the Church. But again there are signs of hope. From the CNS article:
“A sizable minority of young adults are very spiritual and highly religious,” it says. “As Colleen Carroll has shown in her book, ‘The New Faithful,’ a sizable number of young adults — we estimate about 20 percent — attend Mass and go to Communion regularly, go to confession occasionally, think of themselves as ‘orthodox’ Christians and read the Scriptures whenever they can. …”
I believe that what is happening in Europe, and also in America, is the formation of what Cardinal Ratzinger called a ‘Creative Minority’, which is a committed and motivated group of orthodox Christians that can help re-shape and re-evangelize the generation to come. This is not merely a sociological phenomenon in response to militant Islam, borderless Europe, or the dynamic Popes we have had. Surely these all contribute, but at its heart, it’s a movement of the Holy Spirit. I certainly hope, pray, and believe that the Lord will not let Christian Europe go the way of the dodo. Rather, I think that for years we have been witnessing Europe’s Good Friday and what we are currently seeing is the earliest glimmers of the sun on Easter morning.