Christianity has seemingly been dying out in Europe (especially Western Europe) for a couple of generations now. The fact that America remains religious, even as Europe has given up its traditional faiths, has been widely identified as a fundamental cause of the cultural and political differences between this country and the Europeans.
This UPI report, which begins with a description of the return of the Latin mass to rural and small-town Catholic churches, suggests that a revival of European Christianity may be in progress:
“I overheard in the pew behind me the hushed dialogue between a young man and his girlfriend. He had been clearly raised as a Christian; she had never been in a church before. Softly, he explained to her every element of the liturgy; haltingly, she spoke the Lord’s Prayer after him.
“Later, I asked her about this experience. ‘It was very lovely,’ she said. ‘My parents have never introduced me to this. I did not know any of these hymns,’ the girl went on, referring to chorales for the season of Advent, all of which had been standard musical fare for Germans — and indeed Christians in the West — for nearly half a millennium.
“As we continued our discussion it became clear that she was already a second-generation religious illiterate. Her parents, both highly educated professionals, had grown up as heathens under communism because their parents had abandoned their ancestral faith in yet another atheist dictatorship — the Nazi regime.
“There is something afoot in matters of faith — in Germany as in France and other parts of the allegedly de-Christianized continent of Europe, according to Catholic and Protestant clergymen interviewed on a recent fact-finding tour. They spoke of an ever-growing ‘thirst for God.’ After leaving Leipzig I received a telephone call from Matthias Pankau, a divinity student. ‘You won’t believe what’s going on here,’ he said. ‘In this city, where only 11 percent belong to a Christian denomination, there are long lines of people outside all churches for every single Christmas service.’
“‘I have never seen this before,’ Pankau went on. ‘Many of these people are very young. They don’t know the Lord’s Prayer. They don’t know hymns. But they all seemed anxious to come in.’”
I haven’t seen any hard data on this; but if it is a trend, it’s an important one.
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