Friday, June 29, 2007

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi
Mainline churches are declining there, reports Frank Lockwood, as they are just about everywhere
Sometime this year, if it hasn't already occurred, the number of Australians claiming "No Religion" will surpass the number of Australians affiliated with the Anglican Church. For most of Australia's history, the Anglican Church was the dominant denomination Down Under.
Most Australian Anglicanism is thoroughly Evangelical.

I understand the place is as secular as Europe (America has always been both very religious and theologically very confused — it’s gone from Puritan Protestantism dominoing into the ‘Enlightenment’ to ‘I’m spiritual but not religious’, like Unitarianism without the potluck dinners) so I’m not surprised.

Regarding the rising RC numbers I wonder if like in the UK and Ireland they’re Eastern European immigrants. (I’ve been told a regular Mass-goer in Eire is either about 80 or a young person from Poland.) Which is probably great for those churches because the immigrants are more or less really Catholic.

Now with the motu proprio about to come out (Deo gratias, alleluia, alleluia as is sung at Easter) that may get even better!

Between this latest from Pope Benedict, along with his promised clean-up of English texts, and Russian Orthodox reunion (more) this has been a good year indeed so far for the Catholic world.

It puts the Episcopal row into perspective. You’ve got the loud online liberals pushing gay entitlement, suing conservative congregations out of their buildings to push that (people who pride themselves on not being legalistic certainly know the intricacies of property law!), and then crowing about it... (As for accusing the other side of theft, negotiate something instead! The law says you don’t have to but do it anyway.) Try and engage these people on anything else, like Iraq or Palestine, and they don’t care. Their upper-middle-class causes are all that matter. (Gayness and their church politics trying to promote it.) It really is driven by that class’s changing mores and not a consistent theology. A dodgy convert to Islam doesn’t affect them so that’s like one tree falling in an empty forest or something. (Here I mean the liberal sites that report nonstop on the Episcopal row; if the Archbishop of Abuja trips and falls they’re on top of him! Lots of liberals and moderates have spoken up agreeing the Redding affair makes no sense.) But if it’s something they want — gay church weddings for example — there’s lots of allusion to living tradition (!), and what a surprise, officially or not they get their way. (‘The Spirit told me exactly what I wanted to hear — c’est un miracle!’)

Meanwhile the conservatives often are of the Protestant persuasion like many Aussie Anglicans and, oh, yes, often wrong about Iraq and Palestine (and about Mr Bush and his minders). They really are in the Protestant religious right, like the RC neocons who still get played on abortion. BTW, those among them who boast that they belong to the church of Washington and Jefferson (I’ve seen this on ‘reasserter’ and Continuing church sites)... those were English ‘Enlightenment’ deists: ‘Don’t believe in that crap? Neither do we.’ They went to church because it was expected of men of their station: a good example because religion helped keep the masses useful, you know. Today without that social responsibility they wouldn’t be at this or the other side’s church (‘so wait, we go to church because it’s tradition but have gay weddings because tradition doesn’t matter... what?’). Chances are they’d stay home like most people in the equivalent class today do anyway.

It doesn’t have to be that one-sided though, and of course orthodoxy and Catholicity aren’t really like that. There’s ‘blogging ecumenism’ reaching across party lines and churchmanships, like with the ‘post-modern’ young people (really liberal liberals, open-minded and even charitable, who are giving tradition another listen) who even read the same offices I do (and sometimes better than me... you know who you are) and who do care about the big issues in world news for Christians, and a few centrists, usually born Anglicans at least my age... who knows, you may even learn a bit about the ‘disciple’ thing.

And politically you get good crossover like this now-reciprocal blogroll link:

Open Hand/Open Eye
Many thanks, John Spragge and Allison MacDuffee in Toronto

Anyway Mr Lockwood answered me about RC in Oz:
I think immigration is fueling the church's growth, but not necessarily immigration from Eastern Europe. The [Roman] Catholic church is vibrant in much of Asia.
Fr John Zuhlsdorf’s readers are debating whether to have the Roman Mass in the vernacular: repeated my pennorth here.

To thank the Pope for the motu, on this feast-day of the see of Rome’s patrons:
ODIE * Simon Petrus ascéndit crúcis patibulum, allelúja: hódie clavicularius regni gaudens migrávit ad Christum : hódie Paulus Apóstolus, lumen orbis terræ, inclináto cápite, pro Christi nómine martyrio coronátus est, allelúja.

EUS, qui hodiérnam diem Apostolórum tuórum Petri et Pauli martyrio consecrásti : da Ecclésiæ tuæ, eórum in ómnibus sequi præcéptum; per quos religiónis súmpsit exórdium. Per Dóminum nóstrum Jésum Chrístum, Fílium túum, qui técum vívit et régnat in unitáte Spíritus Sáncti, Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculórum.
Amen!

Meanwhile the Russian Orthodox are commemorating St Tychon (Tikhon) of Amathus, a Cypriot who opposed the cult of Aphrodite, which tells you 1) when he lived and 2) some things never change.
HOU didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Tychon, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to him that hath given thee strength. Glory to him that hath crowned thee. Glory to him that worketh healings for all through thee.

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