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, October 5, 2009

European (and American?) Christian Apathy

Just a few moments ago I came across the comments of a young African Catholic who takes European Christians to task for their apathetic response to the constant barrage of attacks on Christianity that issue from the European "elite". Kizito Chinedu Nweke, a seminarian originally from Nigeria is currently studying at the Pontifical University Heiligenkreuz (Holy Cross) near Vienna, Austria. Here's what this young man has to say:

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"In Western Europe, there has been a storm of critique on Christianity for a long time, an Anti-Christian trend. To have faith is seen as a pitiful situation. To say it gently, the majority of Christians waits helplessly and inactively for the total destruction of already wounded Christianity. I am not worried that the Church would not survive difficult situations (Mt 16:18) or that Christ would abandon his Church (Mt 28:20). But I worry about the degree of carelessness and apathy that Christians in Europe show in this difficult situation.

Christians meet the increasing wave of Anti-Christianity with total passivity. Because of the media, daily newspapers, magazines, TV and radio, people are on a daily basis confronted with ideologies that only deep faith and clear discernment can withstand. The question is: How do Christians react to this? What did they do until now?

I read daily newspapers and I am bewildered because of the eagerness with which journalists and editors make arbitrary statements, leap to illogical conclusions and criticize the Church in a hostile way. The passivity with which Christians react on these assaults is alarming.

Why do you observe instead of argue, defend and proclaim the truth from a rational point of view? Why not react on negative developments, especially when they turn into a dangerous ideology?

Now it is time to wake up, everyone in their way and in their environment! Let’s write! Let’s speak loudly! We have to prepare ourselves, because as Christ has already warned us: “...for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light...” (Lk 16:8)

It is not enough to wait for a miracle! We could not impede this development by waiting for a wonder from God. Why should He perform a miracle, when he already gave us the ability to act through faith and common sense?

Prayer is undeniably the first step that we have to make, but it is not enough. We have to act. We owe that to our descendants. People leave the church because they receive wrong answers to their questions. And they get these wrong answers from the wrong people.

Average Europeans who read daily newspapers probably will tend to lose their faith than remain a believer. It is time to let Christ lead us. Let everyone around you notice that there is a Christian. Where are you? What do you see? What do you hear? What do you know? Speak aloud! Our silence is our pain."

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I think, perhaps, these sames words could have been addressed to American Catholics. As our young seminarian said, "It is time to let Christ lead us."

God's peace...


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