The death of the Church

The words of my world issues teacher got me thinking today. She says that because of the rapid growth of Islam, combined with the general secularization of North American and European countries (the “Christian West”) signals the death of the Christian religion. Christianity is no longer growing, and certainly not the Catholic Church. The secularization and modernization of western society has created an extreme drop in birthrates in the last few decades and the abandonment of Christianity. Demographers now say that within a century Christianity will cease to exist.

As I was reflecting on this lesson I began to wonder if all that the Church is trying to do- bring back traditional morality; denouncing relativism, modernism; pushing for a rebirth of Christian thought- if all this is just an attempt to prolong the death of the Church; an effort to slow the inevitable downfall of Christianity . Does not the Church that we see in the west possess but a shell of her former glory? Is it not this liberal, relativistic society that we live in dying in its own decadence and corruption, starved of morality and deprived of God? Society has killed the Church and in doing so has ushered in its own death.

I can see I am being slightly pessimistic here, but how true is this? Is the Church dying? Will society die with it?

A principal teaching of the church is the indefectability of the Church instituted by Christ. The church may shrink, the church may cease to grow but it will NEVER die.

Yet the world must die. Our world is not eternal. The Church militant belongs to this world, it’s institutions belong to this world- so would not the Church die with world?

The Church Militant doesn’t belong to the world, it is IN the world. Big difference. The whole reason it’s called the “Church Militant” is that it’s fighting the struggle in the world, representing the City of God against the City of Man.

Things are a lot less dire for the Church today then they were in the year 100 A.D., a LOT less, and we made it through those times quite well.

The collapse of the Western world may indeed occur. Do you know how many times the Church has outlived the collapse of the Western world? First there was the fall of the Western Roman Empire, more disasterous than anything we’re facing today. The Church came out flying from that one. Then there was the collapse of the Frankish Empire, again the Church survived. I would argue that the last collapse occured with the Protestant Reformation, and we are now witnessing the collapse of the “Western world” that grew out of the ashes of that, namely the Enlightenment period.

If anything, I’d say history shows us that one thing in the West that IS likely to survive, and even thrive, is the Church. I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see the latest iteration of the “Western world” go; it’s worse than the Roman Empire in many ways, IMO.

Peace and God bless!

The Church is divine in origin and the Body of Christ himself. It will last until the end of time. We do not have the promise that it will be as large or as influential, but there will always be a pope, Magisterium, and a body of the faithful.

I believe that a restoration is coming that will once again boost our population and turn our society around. The attacks on 9-11 were the impetus for this, as such dire events often are. People don’t realize what they have until someone tries to steal it away from them. It’s God way of waking us up and getting us off our complacent behinds.

Hmm… Christianity is far from dead. But I think that a society would a strong background in science would not be religiously devout. But the USA is not like that as a vast majority of Americans reject evolution (well at least we beat Turkey :slight_smile: . )

While Christianity in the broadest sense might survive, what about Protestants? Do you think it is conceivable that Protestants might outnumber Catholics?

I believe that the secularization of the west was led by the Protestant reformation and that eventually, Catholicism will dwindle to almost nothing in the US. It is impossible to fight protestantism!

Catholicism started out with Peter, 10 other men and maybe two or three women in an upper room somewhere in Jerusalem, hiding from the authorities who were out to exterminate them.

It may change a fair bit in practice and in structure, it may wax or wane in popularity, I don’t think it’ll die.

You need to hang around here more my friend…all that propaganda is wishful thinking (IMO), though if Christianity did die off, you can rest assured that the world’s society would indeed commit suicide not long after. The reason “the Dark Ages” were known as that is because the barbarians had wiped out most all of the churches, monasteries, and convents, along with all the attendant schools, colleges, and such. As a result most of the learning and science (like farming…) was lost and the darkness fell on the continent. It only began to recover when St. Patrick’s Celtic monks and priests returned and began to re-evangelize Europe, bringing with them the Bible and other scholarly works.

I have to wonder if mankind would survive if the modern equivalent of that happened today.

I honestly thnk that a lot of non-Catholics are already trying to write off the Catholic Church, but I think they’re in for a really nasty surprise because people are converting all over the place, and the ones that are generally some serious folks who not only practice their faith, but go out of their way to spread it. I think they want to count the Catholic Church down and out, but the Holy Spirit has something else in mind.:whistle:
[SIGN][FONT=“Georgia”]Pax tecum,[/SIGN][/FONT]

The death of Christianty is indeed wishful thinking among some, and narrow-minded and insular reasoning by others. While Christianity may be losing potency in the West and North of our world, it is still stronger and more vibrant that many wish it were.

Even if it became completely moribund in the West and North, in the South and East (South America, Africa, and Asia), the Faith is growing by leaps and bounds, even surpassing Islam.

You (and your teacher) may find the links below instructive. I suggest you burn her a few copies:

Christianity’s New Center

I absolutely agree with you. After all, it is the mainline Protestant churches (the original reformation churches) who have apostasized, it is only the current Evangelical movement that is keeping the Protestant phase of Christianity viable, and they are fighting a hard battle staying true to the basics of the Christian faith and keeping out all the error that seems to surround and attack the movement from all sides and angles.

The Catholic Church has never waivered in her teaching and will not waiver until Christ comes, even if things look weak and troubled to our limited vision. Thus the promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against her, it’s the Word of Christ, we can stand firm on it’s truth.

And the faithful will always remain with the Church, until the end, don’t be fooled if she looks lean for a time. It’s not numbers on earth at any given moment that are important, for the numbers across time and space are countless, she is ever growing, and the Holy Spirit will always be at work in building and purifying Christ’s Church!

Ceasar - You have to see the Church with the eyes of Eternity and with the Truth of Christ’s own Word as your authority, not with the eyes and limited intellect of an early 21st century World Issues teacher!

I can’t speak about the official statistics of allegedly declining members of the Catholic Church, but instead of a “dying breed” I see a revitalization taking place. Maybe part of that is the fact that I hang out here and see like-minded Catholics who are faithful to Christ and His Church. I think the Holy Spirit is doing something in the Church–breathing in some new life so to speak. First of all, we had an awesome Pope who really touched many lives–both Catholic and non-Catholic. His successor seems is perhaps less charismatic but an awesome theologian. Another thing that has impressed me is the high profile, evangelizing converts like Scott Hahn, Patrick Madrid, Jimmy Akin, Tim Staples, and Dave Armstrong to name a few. These men bring that evangelical zeal to the forefront but they are 100% Catholic. I think this is a major help for the Church. I also think that after a time of confusion, Vatican II is starting to yield some real fruit. The laity is involved, Catholic Bible studies abound and have you looked at the apologetics websites?? There must be hundreds of them! Yes, I know there are many anti-Catholic sites too. But I guess what I am saying is that Catholics seem to be standing up for their beliefs rather than just ignoring the constant snubs. (Need I mention that Catholic Answers is the result of Karl Keating receiving an anti-Catholic tract).

These are of course the positives. The priest “scandal” has done a lot of damage to the reputation of the Church. And men choosing the priesthood is also down. Catechisis has been poor in many parishes. I’m not blind to the problems of the Church.
However I trust that the Holy Spirit is actively working in the world as is Our Lady and all the Saints. Christ’s Church may have its ups and downs but it will not die.

By the way, daily Mass attendance in my parish has been steadily increasing over the last couple years. It is getting so crowded we may have to move from the small chapel to the main Church. Yipee!:thumbsup:

If the Catholic Church dies so will every other religion on the planet since it’s my understanding the end of Catholicism/Christianity will only happen upon the Second Coming of Christ.

Makes me wonder about the conspiracy theories about various End Times organizations being behind a lot of the turmoil going on…they are so into their belief that they are the ones going to God that they kinda can’t wait for it to happen naturally…maybe they really are pushing things along…They’d love to see the Catholic Church die since it’s THE sign of the Second Coming.

How does this “teacher” reconcile the fact that in the past 20 years (including the years of the scandals) the Catholic Church has increased 50% from around 750 million to over 1.1 Billion worldwide? Doesn’t sound like death tolls to me.

The promise of Christ.
Matthew 16:18
"…and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hell will not prevail".

The parish I attend, is growing in leaps and bounds. 10 Years ago they built a new church, due the tremendous growth rate. This year we will complete our entirely new Church (huge), and it’s already expected, that it might not be large enough in the coming years.

There are also 1 to 2 billion Catholics in the world. Do you really expect they will all die tomorrow morning? I doubt it.

The current problems with specific growth rates in certain countries, are only temporary. Once awareness increases then, with prayer, the population will correct for it.

By the way, people become Catholic all the time, the church is growing. And though Protestant churches may seem to attract tons of people, they also splinter at a much faster rate.

I disagree with that one. As the Protestants in the US continue to split and form new groups, eventually they will want a constant, historic truth.

And then hopefully they’ll stumble on to this forum!

Check out this site for some US Church stats…

Look at the world stats though. My teacher says that Islam almost doubles Catholicism and is almost more numerous than Christianity in general. She says that Islam is gaining ground in South America (I thought the fundies were replacing Catholicism there), Africa and Asia- and soon in Europe.

She also says that because of the Catholic sexual ethic (she thinks it is a “dont have sex at all” policy), Catholic countries have falling birthrates- although I always thought that it was the secularized countries with populations that are Catholic only word that have the falling birthrates, while actual Catholic countries in South America and Africa have high birthrates (in fact, I thought the stereotypical Catholic family was supposed to be very large).

I don’t think it’s impossible, but you have to admit that there’s something for everyone in Protestantism - and if you can’t find exactly the vision of God that suits you, just go down the street or start your own denomination.

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