I was on a Catholic apologetics website a few days ago looking for answers for my Anglican friend regarding praying for a Saint’s intercession. She is an interesting person, she is totally non theological as far as I can tell, yet relatively orthodox in her Christianity, she believes in transubstantiation for example. So anyway her problem with praying for a Saint’s intercession was that how can a Saint hear our silent prayers, they might be in heaven but that doesn’t make them telepathic. The answer is that they can only hear any of our prayers through God’s power, bit of a catch all get out clause that.
Anyway I was looking for perhaps something more deft than reinventing the wheel and I came across a statement on this website. “We can win the culture wars”, interesting, but anyone who reads my blog recently might have noticed that through my rather long drawn out argument with someone regarding abortion who, it turns out is most likely a complete relativist, so there wasn’t much point, I’ve come to the conclusion that no, we really probably can’t. Its not that we don’t have the arguments, logic or theology, its just that nobody will listen.
Christianity is always a minority religion, even in countries that are still Catholic, take Italy for example, what is the percentage of Catholics there who go to Sunday Mass every week? I’d be very surprised indeed if it was 50%. Then there are the people who go to Sunday Mass but live lives totally incompatible with the faith… I’m betting there are a few there too. This religion is always about the narrow road to salvation, and the broad road to perdition is so much more tempting to our weak humanity.
So what does this mean? well we should rejoice because we are lucky, by accidents of birth, or by meeting the right people we have come to know the one true faith and that is a miracle of God’s grace. We will always be a minority, and for me looking at growing old in the Church in this country we really are going to see how small a minority we can become. I reckon in 40 years time when I die the number of Church goers will have halved, maybe even worse, I don’t believe there is a vocations crisis, but I do believe there is a broader crisis of faith in our society. It will become harder to swim against the current circling the abyss but the effort will breed a new type of Catholic. A Catholic strong in faith, a Catholic who knows their faith intimately, people of prayer and quiet jubilation. Christianity will become ever more like a secret, not because we keep it to ourselves like gnostics, but because the world is deaf to it. We must treasure this secret in our hearts.