Is the Church dying?


I’m no doubting the Faith itself, but I heard on the news that the Church is fading in Europe and America. This really worries me. I know that Jesus said that nothing will conquer the Church, but what if the Church died in America and Europe. I know that the Vatican will always be in Rome, but France is starting to lose its Catholic heritage, same with Denmark. Is the Church winding down? I realize that it’s growing in Africa and the Church has a large presence in South and Latin America. But it still worries that the Church is fading in many parts of the world. Is anyone else worried about this? Or am I just paranoid? :shrug:



Don’t think of it as dying, only being “pruned”.

I’m not worried personally because I believe God has everything under control. Me, on the other hand, rarely do but thanks to the Trinity I get by.



Perhaps you ought to tune into EWTN sometime, you will see how alive it is (especially now ).



I think it is very alive just getting smaller but stronger.



It may get smaller, but it will be mightier. Those left to follow Jesus will be stronger in their faith, the Church having been pruned of whatever and whoever would make it weak and spindly. Then it will grow and flourish, like a tree does after a good pruning. It has been this way since the beginning of Church history. This is nothing new. But we have to be patient and wait upon the Lord.



Absolutely not. You are correct about Europe and America, and even losses in South America. I have read many many reports, and spent hours on this. The Church is growing in places it never had, Africa(as you mentioned) and Asia(S.Korea especially, never had been Catholic). As I’ve just posted in a recent reply. Christianity in general is decreasing in numbers in the West and secular countries.That shouldn’t be a surprise. The growth of Catholicism has remained constant with the rise in population, that’s the important thing to remember. Since the early 1900’s the Catholic Church has quadrupled.

Before 2050, there will 100 million Catholics in the US, even with the losses. Immigration will not only increase the numbers of Catholics, it will also bring in very young Catholics, something many denominations haven’t been able to attract, the very young. The face of the South will also change. Catholicism won’t be so unusual in the Bible belt. The problem the Church is not the growth, but of meeting the demands of the growth. You are part of a huge family faithful to Christ, there shouldn’t be any fear whatsoever, just faith and humility. I’m really encouraged by what I’ve researched on this matter, I was believing the gloom the media painted. There are alarming losses though for several Christian denominations. I would be extremely worried in their case, especially those in the US. Within a generation they will be looking at substantial losses in church membership, possibly irreversible losses. As a Catholic I am concerned for them, we should all be concerned because we’re united in Christ.



The numbers enrolling in seminaries is increasing in the past few years.




Who said, “Do not be afraid little flock?”



Some information about the numbers in French seminaries.






The middle east and Africa were once thriving places for the Church, and then themuslim conquest occured. What makes Europe or the US any different? Why would the death of the Church in America or Europe be any more profound?



This is actually one the most uplifting threads! Thanks to all for your positivism.

Something to think about: the presence of increasing attacks on our Faith, particularly the institutional Church, and the severe moral decay in the Western world shouldn’t be signs of the Church fading (or dying, as you put it). Instead, the increase in opposition suggests that the Church is on the cusp of gaining great strength (leaner, but mightier… as one poster put it). Satan is trying to stop the increasing momentum of the Church with ever stronger attacks. Ha ha, he thought secularism, hedonism, relativism and liberalism would dissolve the Church… instead we are hungry for the Truth, and thirsting for the true freedom promised through Christ, not the world!



Fear not, friend! Yes, this is a difficult time, but the Church will never falter. Having some involvement in youth missionary work, I have seen so many young adults convert or come back to the Catholic Church. Now, it is probably true that the growth is not as fast as the decrease in people practicing the faith, but clearly were not done

Also, remember that when Jesus left earth there were very few Christians. Saint Paul was initially laughed off by people when he preached and yet Christianity grew rapidly, despite persecution. Even if the faith declines in Europe and Canada/America, it’s continuing to grow in Africa and parts of Asia. I have great optimism about Eastern Asia and India for the growth of Catholicism

In short though, the answer is simple; the new evangelization!



The Church in Africa is relatively strong, lots of vocations coming from there. There are some problems in some areas because of Islam or anti-religious secularism, but there remains a strong Christian population there. In Europe and the US, the numbers are falling but those who are remain are strong. Many people learn about their faith (not just the what they believe but the why) and become apologists of a sort. As for the Middle East, the women are treated very badly and have no rights and very little medical care (women can only see female doctors and of course women can’t go to school long enough to become a doctor). But history shows that things like that do not last forever. I believe someday there will be uprisings against the governments and once that’s done people will be free to study other faiths and make up their own minds rather than be forced into a certain religion (in this case, Islam).



I’m loving this. The church is eternal.



I believe the Church is on the cusp of a surprising rebirth, and one that will be primarily lay-driven.

I can’t imagine a better time to be Catholic, and make a meaningful contribution.



The Church is under attack now.

But it has always been under attack.

From the Emperor Nero crucifying and then burning martyrs, to Henry VIII and his persecution of Catholics in Britain and Ireland where they ended up being martyred at Tyburn, to the French Revolution martyr of Catholics and so on.

Current indifference is as pernicious as direct physical attacks by external opposing regimes mentioned earlier.

Roman Catholics worldwide need to publicly affirm their faith in these times.



The Church is undergoing a spiritual bootcamp. Those too secular won’t make it. Its time to seperate the Wheat from the Chaff. However, the Church is FAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR from dying. She is at Her Strongest Hour. She is going to come out on top again victorious and triumphant, and I wanna be there when She does. The secularists have lost this fight from Calvary on. Actually, make that Genesis on. However, they’ve lost it. We’ve won it.




The rumor of the Church dying has been around for hundreds of years, especially since the “Age of Enlightenment” and the French Revolution in the late 1700’s. And look what happened to all of the Anti-Church activists of the period. They are all but forgotten except for a few scholars and historians. Likewise, those in the 19th century.
In the 20th Century, there was a concerted effort to destroy the Church by both Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin. Thousands upon thousands of clergy and millions of laity were killed, especially in Eastern Europe…and, where are their regimes and supporters today?
Today, the greatest enemy of the Church is secularism and the personal selfishness of individuals, both of which are being promulgated, not only by the mass media, but by the teachers in our public schools and Universities.
However, never forget Christ’s own words about the Church: “…and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it!”.
Throughout history, ever since the Crucifixion, no enemy of the Church has been able to subdue or irrepairably hurt Her; and, all those who have tried have been turned into history’s dust and forgotten.



Sometimes I feel the same as the OP. I actually thought of moving to a country where I would feel more comfortable living out my old age as a Catholic. The Phillipines is too far away but Portugal is an option because Our Lady of Fatima promised Lucia that Portugal would never lose the faith.

I don’t think the Church will ever regain the secular power it had in Europe and I hope it doesn’t because power corrupts and we are suffering the consequences. If we clean house thoroughly, the Church can grow stronger. We can blame the secularists all we want but they are merely using ammunition that we handed to them on a plate because we didn’t clean house. In a way, I suppose that we should be grateful to them, otherwise our own complacency could have resulted in the evil one gaining control of the Church. The Holy Spirit surely works in mysterious ways.


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