Christian Europe: Hope Among the Ruins?

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Europe is not a Christian continent. Western civilization is, also, no longer Christian.

Admitting both of those is hard, but it’s necessary to see why the West suffers as she does in the modern era. The West was still the West when Greece and Rome were pagan. The West was still the West when Hitler persecuted saints, or when Roosevelt and Churchill bombed Catholic churches. (Yes, that happened.) Neither Hitler, nor Roosevelt, nor Churchill, were actually Christians. Neither were Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, or Napoleon Bonaparte. But all of those men were definitely from Western civilization.

The West today is non-Christian. It’s paganized, but we won’t be able to see until The Other Side just what that means in the big scheme of things. What will this new religion be called? Liberalism? New Age? Humanism? Modernism?

No one’s really sure. In this unhappy era, we’ve reached a milestone that’s worse for Europeans than for the entire globe for once, the Catholic Church is not identified as an exclusively European phenomenon. For Americans especially, Catholicism is identified with Asians and Hispanics. Good, obviously for those who are still Catholic, but ugly for Europe, and hard to admit.

Pope Benedict XVI, to his credit, understood this. It underpinned his engagement with the “European Constitution,” and international relations. He, while having his own drawbacks like plenty of others, negotiated with the world as a Catholic, and represented the Church. He warned Europe that without the Church, something far uglier would fill mankind’s natural theological breach.

In the post-Benedictine era, the news isn’t always good, but it’s necessary.

Archbishop Minnerath, in France, finally expelled the Fraternity of Saint Peter from his diocese, and found priests more willing to concelebrate the Mass of Paul VI. From Gloria TV:

Dijon Archbishop Minnerath, 74, France, found a way out after he caused a mess by expelling the Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP).

On August 27 he announced that from September 12 a priest of the Institute of Christ the King (ICRSS) – a group similar to the FSSP – will be in charge of the Roman Rite community in Saint Bernard basilica. He will be an assistant priest of the Novus Ordo Saint-Michel Parish in Dijon.

In Spain, the government ruled by the descendants of the Priest-killers of 1936, the PSOE, has announced an effective expropriation of Church property. From the same outlet:

A new “Heritage Law” proposed by Spain’s anticlerical government wants Church property, listed as Unesco World Heritage, to be managed by a board where the state has a majority.

The bishops call the law “invasive” and “expropriatory.” Córdoba Bishop Demetrio Fernández said, the law is “typical of dictatorial countries” which ignore religious freedom.

In the German-speaking world, the shade of schism approaches. From SSPX News:

Three Catholics from the Diocese of Essen have addressed a formal dubium to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at Pentecost. The question, already raised by certain bishops and theologians, as to whether the Catholic Church of Germany has already separated from the rest of the universal Church, is addressed there.

“We are three Catholics from the Diocese of Essen. We have been involved in parish life for many years in various ministries. For many years, we have experienced the growing polarization in local communities.”

One of the three initiators, André Wiechmann of Bochum, told CNA that the “great concern about unity” made them wonder if a schism had not already taken place. “From my point of view, the split has already taken place,” added Wiechmann.

In Poland, the supposedly “conservative” government, which just recently bowed to the EU on this issue of “LGBT discrimination,” has now begun issuing anti-church edicts and “pandemic” restrictions. Also from SSPX News:

The president of the Polish Bishops’ Conference is accusing the government of using the coronavirus crisis to restrict the freedom of the Church and to promote “authoritarian aspirations” that go against the Constitution.

“We have witnessed an unprecedented treatment of the Church by the State—unilaterally suspending any kind of gathering and making Masses and liturgies unavailable.”

The high prelate – who occupies the archiepiscopal seat of Poznan and is the head of the Polish Bishops’ Conference (KEP) – denounces an unprecedented situation: “nothing like this has happened in the church’s 2,000-year history, not even during the wars, bombardments and plagues which often afflicted our country’s people.”

Pointing out the party that leads the ruling coalition – Law and Justice (PiS) – the president of the KEP specifies that, “Past governments never dared muzzle the Church in such drastic ways, displaying total disrespect for its role in social life.”

Despite Europe’s immense contributions to the Church, arguably outweighing still all others, all believers and cultures are equal specifically in their capacity for sin, for error, though not always for the same sins or errors. Europe has gone largely into apostasy, and those believers in places like Indochina, the Philippines, Latin America, and Central Africa, may well have some missionary work of their own to do if Europe’s civilizational soul is to be saved. We can only hope that such an evangelization isn’t coupled with the kinds of ethnic-cleansing-by-immigration operations with which we Americans are all too familiar.

Don’t ethnically cleans Europeans. Convert them.

Saint Patrick, ora pro nobis!