|Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,|
Netherlands: religious belonging and attendance still decreasing. Only 6% of those who say they are Catholic attend Sunday Mass
(22 ottobre 2018 @ 15:28) 51% of Dutch people over 15 years of age do not belong to any Church or to any religion whatsoever. Just released by the National Statistics Bureau (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek) as part of a survey of “social cohesion and welfare”, this figure shows a further decrease in the religious belonging of the Dutch: in 2016, 49% of them stated they did not belong to any religion, in 2012 they were 46%. The believing minority is composed of 24% Catholics, 6% belonging to the reformed Church and as many to the Protestant Church, 6% to other confessions, 5% to Islam. 78% of Dutch people have never or hardly ever attended a religious service, 10% of them attend once a week (6% for Catholics), 3% go 2 to 3 times a month, and the same proportion attends one religious celebration/ meeting a month; 7% go less than once a month. The figures change depending on the age range and sex: 71% of Dutch people over 75 years of age stated they are religious, 34% that they regularly attend a celebration in a place of worship. The less religious ones are young people aged 18 to 25: 32% of them are somehow connected to a religious group, and 13% of them regularly see their group. As to men, 46% of them belong to a religious group, while 52% of women do.
Mass attendance is worse and drifting even lower in neighboring France with attendance at 4 percent of those who claim to be Catholic. Please remember, France was once known as the “First Daughter” of the Roman Catholic Church.Nabi Sayeth: What the poll numbers have not yet taken into account is the impact of the most recent revelations about the hierarchy’s mishandling of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. Good Catholics are furious and they vote with both their feet and wallets/pocket books.
While the percentage of Catholics attending mass in the USA is much higher at last count, the trend is downward according to the results of the last Gallop study:“From 2014 to 2017, an average of 39% of Catholics reported attending church in the past seven days. This is down from an average of 45% from 2005 to 2008 and represents a steep decline from 75% in 1955," the poll found.”
Nabi asketh: What’s it going to take in order to get the Catholic Church “Pentecostally” fired up once again? Here are some humble suggestions:
We must GO BACK to our roots in Matthew 28:18-20….
18. “Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
Looking back over our beloved Church’s 21 century history, it becomes quite clear that there have been two modus operandi for Her operation:
The Mission model: From her earliest days the fundamental Gospel message of “Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead” was the focus of all Her efforts and energy. And the Church spread like wildfire, even in the face of horrific persecution.
But once the Church had spread throughout the then-known world (and was called Catholic beginning in 103 A.D.), another model of the Church emerged and came to the fore: The Maintenance model. The Church, in other words, became institutionalized. And with institutions come offices with officers and departments and organizational structures with laws and regulations to promote and ensure orthodoxy, discipline and order, and money was needed (from collections, then endowments, and eventually annual appeals) to maintain the buildings that arose and to pay Her workers, and then the Church began to measure Herself in terms of territories and groups called archdioceses and dioceses with their parishes...and then the Church workers/leaders who had been given titles BASED ON THEIR SERVICE WITHIN THE INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH (episcopoi = bishop = “overseer”.....presbyter = priest = “elder”…..diakonoi = deacon = “servant”) began to see the positions develop an honorific tone with ranks and titles and positions based more often on “appointment” rather than “discernment”. Theology degrees began to be required for ministers to preach and teach Jesus Christ. And, then human egos began to swell. Then along came a universal code of Canon Law along with Diocesan attorneys when Canon Law didn’t work…...Notice the dramatic difference in tone and content in the words of the great Apostle and missionary Timothy’s instruction from 1 Timothy 3:
1 This saying is trustworthy: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task.
2 Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach,
3 not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money.
4 He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity;
5 for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of the church of God?
6 He should not be a recent convert, so that he may not become conceited and thus incur the devil’s punishment.
7 He must also have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, the devil’s trap.
8 Similarly, deacons must be dignified, not deceitful, not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain,
9 holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
10 Moreover, they should be tested first; then, if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
12 Deacons may be married only once and must manage their children and their households well.
13 Thus those who serve well as deacons gain good standing and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.
Compared that to the words of some great holy Saints beginning just a couple of hundred years later:
The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their signposts.” St. John Chrysostom 407 A.D.) attributed.
“I do not think there are many among Bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish.” St. John Chrysostom, Extract from St. John Chrysostom, Homily III on Acts 1:12.2
“The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” St. Athanasius, Council of Nicaea, AD 325 attributed.
“The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” Saint John Eudes (1680 A.D.) attributed.
“It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly.” St. Thomas Aquinas (1274 A.D.) Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 45
“Augustine says in his Rule: ‘Show mercy not only to yourselves, but also to him who, being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger.’ But fraternal correction is a work of mercy. Therefore even prelates ought to be corrected.” St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 4, Sed Contra.WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED?????
In the days of Wuerl, MCCarrick, Bransfield, Tobin, et al, we have learned the painful lesson: POWER CORRUPTS; ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY.
An extreme focus has been placed for too many years on the Maintenance model of the Church’s operation. As the result of this extreme focus, our growth has ceased with the exception of places such as the continent of Africa and the Far East. But we were founded by Jesus Christ to be a Church on MISSION. We have, unfortunately, delegated our missionary work to the few brave and holy priests, sisters, brothers and laity to go “over there” on our behalf. We listen to them preach to us once per year, we throw lots of money at them, and then go back to our happy homes with contented smiles and clear consciences. We are smug in the thought that we have, therefore, “done our part” to advance the Church’s mission...REALLY?
My Friends, until we:
1. Get back to our missionary roots and start witnessing to Christ “to all people” and at all times…
2. Pray with the frequency of our breathing...
3. Call the ordained ministers back to their true role as HUMBLE SERVANTS...
4. Use our gifts (especially money) EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE MISSION...
Then we can only expect to see further decay….