Is there any evidence Christianity is on the "rise"? Where is JPII"s "new springtime"?

You know, I grew up absolutely convinced we were in the End Times. I watched the news and watched the culture, and I saw the world gradually getting worse and worse. I studied the “prophecies” intensely: Catholic apparitions (verified and alleged), Protestant interpretations of Scripture, secular/pagan predictions, etc.

We should all know about Leo XIII’s vision regarding the twentieth century. THe 2000 election gave me hope that America was on the right track. Events over the past 8 years, worldwide, had me thinking things were gonna change for the better.

Now, it’s 2008. What do we have?

A guy whose beliefs can only be legitmitely characterized as “New Age” is elected President of the United States. He has strong personal and ideological ties to Communism and Islam.

A party that hates marriage and the family gets an almost opposition-free majority of legislative and executive power in Washington in and in most states. Members of that party have said that pro-life speech “is the first Amendment gone too far,” taht opposition speech on the radio “should be treated like porno,” and that pro-lifers are “divisive” and enemies of “unity.”

Meanwhile, let’s remember that the previous president has spent four years undermining the Bill of Rights, justifying torture and fighting a “war to eliminate terrorism.”

Then look at the fact that, the previous president before him identified the “pro-life” movement as the “#1 terrorist threat” in America.

Voters aged 18-30 voted overwhelmingly for the new president.

As a 31 year old who teaches college, I am shocked at the “sea change” that has happened with the views of our young people. The students I teach–not much younger than I am–seem a world away from me. THey have no sense of culture, no sense of tradition or values. They are living in isolated little worlds of Ipods and blogs. They are drowned in an ocean of opinions. Talk to them about culture, even pop culture,and they don’t even know about stuff from the 1980s, much less the 1880s or 1780s or 800s.

They have all been brainwashed by the schools and colleges and the mainstream media.

C. S. Lewis said that the dilemma of Christians of his generation was fighting relativism. From 33 AD to 1900, Christians could cry, “Repent! For the kingdom of God is at hand!” “Jesus saves!” And people heard that message because they knew they had something to repent from, to be saved from.

Today, as Phil Vischer puts it on his blog, polls show most young Americans think “Christianity” means “homophobia,” the way most Americans think “conservative” means “racist.”

The world has moved beyond relativism, but it has adopted a new, inverted “natural law”: dignity means suicide; choice means abortion; people who support traditional marriage are “perverts”; homosexuality is considered a noble “lifestyle.” . . .

Internationally, there are only a few countries where abortion is still illegal. Those countries are receiving constant and increasing pressure from the “international community.”

When you get a country that goes all the way, like the Philippines, and outlaws contraception, it takes tons of heat from the “international community” and the media.

Throughout the history of the Church, we’ve had good times and bad times. But, until now, we’ve always been in ascendancy.

But, everywhere I look, I see Christianity in decline. I see that most people have been innoculated to Christianity’s message.

I agree with your assessment of the current decline. I expect a long cold winter ( figuratively and literally as it is snowing heavy outside my window right now) . I think we are going to have more decline of Christanity as we have more liberal laws that normalize the perverse and create a protected class of people who are opposing traditional values . I find in general younger adults think - it can not be immoral if it is legal under the law. My opinion is that we are going to have years of cleansing before we see the ‘springtime’

I was reading God’s Gadfly’s post, and in the aftermath of yesterday’s election results, I have to agree with him. I was so depressed all day-I didn’t even watch any election results on TV last night, knowing that the MSM was soooo ‘pro-Obama’ anyway. I cried out in anguish when I saw the headline from my local paper, which said, ‘CHANGE IS HERE’-I had just left our Perpetual Adoration Chapel, where I offered the Five Sorrowful Mysteries (instead of the ‘usual’ Glorious Mysteries for Wednesday).

We Americans voted for our bellies and our wallets instead for our morals and our values. :frowning: If ‘Obamanation’ keeps his bloody pledge to sign the FOCA in his first 100 days, then all the sweat, blood, and sacrifices of the pro-life movement in this country will go down the drain! We will be ruled by the ‘Gang of Four’ (Obama, Biden, Pelosi and Reid), and suffer persecution for speaking up and saying that abortion and homosexual ‘marriage’ is wrong! (Look what’s happened to clergy in our neighbor to the North)

We are in BIG TROUBLE-watch for the wrath of God to descend on this country! It’s going to be a long cold winter-not just seasonally, but morally, too!

That’s why I always vote for republicans, because they have limited abortion to just 48 million.

Have faith ye of none.

We can only see what we are looking at.

I notice several have referrenced yesterday’s election, fair enough. But we don’t know what may be going on in rural Africa or western India or the islands of micronesia.

All we can do is work and pray. It’s all we’ve ever been able to do.

Exactly. As Americans we are notoriously provincial - don’t assume what happens in the US is representative of the rest of the world - especially regarding the Catholic Church.

Having said that, I would also point out that Benedict did not share John Paul’s vision of a new springtime. I can’t cite a source offhand, but he essentially said John Paul was expressing irrational exuberance, or at least exuberance that Benedict didn’t share.

Christianity is definitely in retreat. However, we must stand bravely because we have truth on our side. We must stand our ground no matter what the consequences. I recalled after the election that Hitler was also elected by a majority when he became vice chancellor. That is proof to Obama nation that the majority is not always right.

there won’t be any spring or revival until there is persecution.

I read the following a day or two before the election and it seems quite profound now in retrospect:

Over the course of his pontificate, John Paul II would speak frequently about the twenty first century as a possible “springtime” for the Gospel after the winter of the twentieth century. During the same period, Cardinal Ratzinger would deepen an alternative view, that the Church of the immediate future would be a smaller and purer, not quite a catacomb Church, but certainly not the dominant force in Western culture it once had been. Cardinal Ratzinger seemed to think that the West and it’s humanistic project had fallen into irreversible decline. ------ from “Witness To Hope” by George Weigel

I wonder if we are becoming a catacomb Church in the midst of a culture secular humanism? :gopray2:

Don’t confuse Spring with Summer. In Spring the little buds of new life push through–that is the “smaller, but purer” that Benedict refers to. We see this in the latest crop of seminarians and new priests.

Good points! “April is the cruellest month.”

Also, then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s predictiosn about a “smaller church” also had to do with cleaning house considerably before the Church will be effective enough to fight the culture.

I think the “new springtime” consists of the young people from the JPII generation and the new generation who reject the hippie spirit-of-vatican-II anti-theology. At least it’s something, much better than the bleakness of liberalism that seemed to be taking over and leading things to ruin.

The Church is going to go through Passion of sorts where it will be cleansed. Those who are true and dedicated spiritual warriors will be left to carry the banner.

Well, human rights commissions have efectively removed the possibility of that.

Well, not it happening, just it being defined as such.

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I think the “new springtime” consists of the young people from the JPII generation and the new generation who reject the hippie spirit-of-vatican-II anti-theology. At least it’s something, much better than the bleakness of liberalism that seemed to be taking over and leading things to ruin."
Yes, but I’m one of those “JPII young people,” and, even though I’m only 31, I feel like I’m 80 when I talk to people just a few years younger than me.

Their whole worldview is shaped by The View and Al Franken and Bill Maher and Michael Moore and Jon Stewart and Comedy Central and MTV and so forth.

They have no respect for any authority, no sense of tradition or culture at all. Just this utter contempt for the world.

How do you evangelize that?

A lot of younger people who are searching for spirituality are looking at paganism or wicca. While authority isn’t a big part of those beliefs, tradition and culture are. So I think the flip side of the complete void of any authority or tradition is that the void will make people search for something.

Here’s the most recent Papal reference I could find to a new springtime. [2008-07-29]

[quote=http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/synod/documents/rc_synod_doc_20080511_instrlabor-xii-assembly_en.html]… the Holy Father expresses his heartfelt desire that the practice of Lectio Divina spread as an important element in renewing faith today. He states: “I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio Divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart (cf. DV 25). If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church—I am convinced of it—**a new spiritual springtime. **As a strong point of biblical ministry, Lectio Divina should therefore be increasingly encouraged, also through the use of new methods, carefully thought through and in step with the times. It should never be forgotten that the Word of God is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (cf. Ps 119: 105)” (59).

The newness of Lectio Divina among the People of God requires an appropriate pedagogy of initiation which leads to a good understanding of what is treated and provides clear teaching on the meaning of each of its steps and their application to life in both faithful and creatively wise manner. Various programmes, such as the Seven Steps, are already being practiced by many particular Churches on the African continent. This form of Lectio Divina receives its name from the seven moments of encounter with the Bible (acknowledging the presence of God, reading the text, dwelling on the text, being still, sharing insights, searching together and praying together) in which meditation, prayer and sharing the Word of God are central. In various places, Lectio Divina is called by another name, for example, “the School of the Word” or “Reading in Prayer”. Because of rapidly changing and oftentimes divisive situations in people’s lives today, the hearer/reader of the Word of God is different from the hearer/reader of the past, requiring that the clergy, consecrated persons and the lay faithful receive a formation which is instructive, patient and ongoing. In this regard, the sharing of experiences, drawn from listening to the Word (collatio) (60), or practical applications, above all, in works in charity (actio), already being done in some places, can be useful. Lectio Divina should become a source of inspiration in various practices of the community, such as, spiritual exercises, retreats, devotions and religious experiences. An important aim is to help a person mature in reading the Word and wisely discern reality.

Lectio Divina is not confined to a few, well-committed individuals among the faithful nor to a group of specialists in prayer. Instead, Lectio Divina is a necessity element of an authentic Christian life in a secularized world, which needs contemplative, attentive, critical and courageous people who, at times, must make totally new, untried choices. These particular undertakings will not be purely routine nor come from public opinion but will result from hearing the Word of the Lord and perceiving the mysterious stirring of the Holy Spirit in the heart.
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“Lectio Divina” Yet another thing I should be doing I guess. :smiley:

I’m very new to this site and have made lots of “tehnical” mistakes. This is the first time I’ve hit “reply” instead of “quote” and I’m wondering where this post will land. Actually, my crazy experiences are turning into fun… My sense of humor in having “senior moments” has returned.

One comment. I find posts very interesting, especially this thread. Unless these old eyes missed some posts, I only saw one that had a specific “action” in it. Someone changed to the sorrowful mysteries in an Adoration Chapel.

Haven’t put it all together, but I am seeing a connection between a lot of the stuff mentioned here and the low attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Seems to me, that Catholics need a better understanding of Transubstantiation before they can address the ills of today with courage.

To answer the topics’s question – this site is evidence that Christianity is on the rise.

As for proposed “action” in this post, participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass one extra time in the month of December.
And if you are fortunate enough to have Eucharistic Adoration in your parish or a 24/7 chapel near you, make a 20-minute visit as soon as possible.

Thank you for listening to this old granny and do keep these discussions going.

:thumbsup: Prayer, the Mass, Sacrifice…the key!

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