The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Monday, April 13, 2009

More Odd News

One of the odd and unexpected things I've discovered about aging: I don't seem to need as much sleep as I once did and so I now wake up early every morning, usually about 5:30. Under this new regimen I say Morning Prayer a good hour earlier than in the past, and then, after a quick scan of the local paper, take some time to casually browse some of my favorite Internet sites. Here are just a few of the more interesting items I gleaned from these sites this morning.

The first item comes from the Netherlands. According to a study in which 10,000 Dutch nationals were surveyed, only about half of them knew that Easter is a Christian holy day. Now if that upset you, get ready for a big surprise. The same study found that only 15 percent of Dutch nationals correctly identified Good Friday as the day commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I think we can all agree that Europe is no longer Christian in any sense of the word.

A similar, but not identical, Marist Poll conducted in the US indicated that 63 % of Americans and 74% of Catholics planned to attend church on Easter Sunday. The poll also showed that 86% of Americans (and 88% of Catholics) know that Easter Sunday commemorates Christ’s Resurrection. I guess we're marginally more religiously informed than our Dutch bothers and sisters.

In Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schonborn has leveled a strong attack on those in the Church who openly dissented against Church teaching when Pope Paul VI issued his 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae. These dissenters -- bishops, theologians, pastors -- assured Catholic laypeople that artificial contraception was morally acceptable and were thus largely responsible for both the catastrophic birth rate in Europe and the decline in Church attendance. The Cardinal especially criticized the bishops who, “frightened of the press and of being misunderstood by the faithful,” distanced themselves from the Church’s teaching. Now, the Cardinal said, Europe is “about to die out,” and part of the reason is the lack of commitment by the bishops to the Church’s true, fruitful, loving and beautiful pro-life teaching.

In Scotland, Keith Cardinal O'Brien, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, issued a public denunciation of Scottish society. In his words, "Scotland is staring into the abyss of social collapse. Too many of our young people are caught up in a maelstrom of drug- and alcohol-fuelled promiscuity, hedonism, vandalism and outright nihilism. It is a whirlwind, which we will reap for a long time to come.We are paying the price for denying too many of our young people security, stability and morality, a price paid in shattered lives and broken children. Yet as the human debris of our failure accumulates, our politicians have become paralysed by a chronic fear of moralising. In place of leadership and a moral compass, a stifling political consensus seems to compel our parties and our parliament into ever more frenzied regulation."

Do you, like me, see the connection among the above supposedly disconnected news items? Poor Europe! Pretty soon the whole place will be just a large museum and mall. Look for me in the food court.

Another interesting item is a report that Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg was proposed by President Obama as US ambassador to the Holy See but was subsequently rejected by the Vatican. The Vatican denies the story which leads me to believe that the appointment was not a proposal but only an informal suggestion, one that received the anticipated response: "No way, Barack." Rumor has it that Schlossberg was the third such "suggestion", which leads me to question the intelligence of the Obama administration. Haven't they figured out that no openly pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-embryonic stem cell research Catholic will ever be acceptable to the Holy See? Personally, I think the problem is that the President and his staff don't know any pro life Catholics. It will be interesting to see whom the rock star eventually appoints.

Isn't it interesting how many important people, the so-called movers and shakers, talk so much about their faith in God and yet act as if He doesn't exist? As our tiny earth makes its way through God's vast universe, far too many of its inhabitants seem to believe that they actually run the world. Far too many think that they, and not God, are in control of the destiny of the human race. Let's pray that they all come to accept Christ the King, the only ruler of our world.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Deacon Dana,

    My name is Steve and was wondering how to contact you (without scarring your blog) to see if you wouldn't mind writing a review of my website on your blog (good or bad).

    You can contact me at
    Peace Be With You