An honest observation:
3) Christians remain a living force capable of witnessing with discernment and courage at the heart of neo-pagan culture, even though in some traditionally Christian countries practicing Christians are no longer the majority of the country.
Can institutional Christianity adapt to losing top dog status? Many assumptions exist within older Christians, and these are often challenged. Some of them touch deep at the Church and its traditions, morality, and structures. Others are human indulgences. The latter we need not cultivate.
A listing of positives follows:
Clear signs of this hope can be seen
- in the World Youth Days,
- great gatherings for Eucharistic Congresses and at the sanctuaries of the Virgin Mary,
- the multiplication of resource centers,
- the numerous requests for monastic retreats,
- the rediscovery of ancient pilgrim routes,
- the flourishing of a multitude of new religious movements that affect young and old,
- and the crowds that converged on Rome at the death of John Paul II and for the election of Benedict XVI.
It’s a good list, and true enough in many places in the world. Sometimes new religious movements have come to us in new guises, initiatives such as Cursillo. Many good developments came as a result of Vatican II and the years that followed.
The Church certainly has a pulse:
It is clear that the Church is alive. As the Holy Father exclaimed during the homily of the mass inaugurating his pontificate: “During those sad days of the Pope’s illness and death, it became wonderfully evident to us that the Church is alive. And the Church is young. She holds within herself the future of the world and therefore shows each of us the way towards the future. The Church is alive and we are seeing it: we are experiencing the joy that the Risen Lord promised His followers.” [BENEDICT XVI, Homily for the Mass for the Inauguration of his Pontificate, 24 April 2005.]
The full document is here.
Image: the rose window at Notre Dame in Paris, By Zachi Evenor based on File:North rose window of Notre-Dame de Paris, Aug 2010.jpg by Julie Anne Workman – CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60404628