La France se déchristianise à vive allure – France is de-christianising rapidly
My translation from French
The IFOP Institute has just made a survey on Catholicism in France for the daily La Croix. The result is mind-blowing:
- Whilst, in 1965, 81% of the French declared themselves as Catholics, they were no more than 64% in 2009.
- More serious: whilst 27% of the French went to Mass once a week or more in 1965, they are no more than 4.5% in 2009.
- At a doctrinal level, generally, it's a catastrophe: 63% of practicing Catholics think all religions are the same; 75% ask for an "aggiornamento" of the Church on contraception and even 68% for abortion.
- As for communion with the Roman Pontiff, the situation is no better: only 27% of practicing Catholics consider that Benedict XVI "rather well" defends "the values of Catholicism" (personally, I don't even understand the question, but that doesn't matter) when 34% think he defends them "rather badly".
That's the least we could say, that in view of the figures, it is urgent to change the strategy and reunite the living forces of French Catholicism to re-evangelise the former Eldest Daughter of the Church! To find all the survey data (in French): "La Croix".
Some of you might wonder why so much is being written about France on an Anglican blog. I repeat the fact that our combat and aspiration to the fulness of Catholicism is part of a wider context. We are being called by the Pope to help the whole Church get back onto her feet.
Indeed. There is nothing new here, but it is more dramatic than we expected. Either it's all over in this country or the Roman Authority will decide to do something about it. The first problem is bad Bishops trying to apply the dinosaur ideology of the 1970's (cultural Marxism, etc.)! The first thing to do is a complete reform of the Episcopate, and perhaps doing away with the old territorial dioceses that have become obsolete white elephants. Replace them with five or six Apostolic Vicariates directly under the jurisdiction of the Pope (via the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith like the future Anglican Ordinariates). These Apostolic Vicariates would call all hands on deck from the Summorum Pontificum communities (traditional rite) and reform of the reform communities like the Petits Gris or the Communauté Saint-Martin and those secular clergy who want to be Catholics. Perhaps even a priest or two from an Anglican-Catholic Ordinariate happening to live in France… It is urgent also to rebuild the stable rural ministry and allow priests who want to work in the country areas to do so, even though not all parishes could have a priest at first. It would be a travesty to confine the evangelisation work to cities. I would also recomend that celibate priests should live in communities of three or four, praying the Office together and to make High Mass possible.
If anyone in the Vatican is reading this, please pass on the suggestion to the appropriate office!
Update: Article in Deborah Gyapong's blog – a quote from the last part:
I think the Holy Father has heard the cry of the Eldest Daughter of the Church and that's why he sent our dear former Nuncio Archbishop Luigi Ventura to France.
Ventura played a key role in Canada in what looks like a counterrevolution to the Quiet Revolution that emptied Quebec's churches out in the 1970s and the small "s" spirit of Vatican II, aka the "hermeneutic of rupture." Of course he did not do this alone–but the timing of his arrival–the day before the 9/11 terrorist attacks and almost a year ahead of Pope John Paul II's 2002 World Youth Day in Toronto, coupled with his faithfulness and graciousness to all, has had a dynamic effect on the springtime I see in many places in the Canadian Church.
When the Canadian bishops said goodbye to him last fall at their annual plenary, the room was full of love for this man. There was no division among bishops that one might place on different ends of the spectrum. It struck me how Ventura was a sign of unity for Canada, someone who always kept the whole Church in mind.
So all of you who have concerns for France, pray for her Nuncio.