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Men without conviction, churches without people

Europe’s wholesale abandonment of its Christian faith is often explained as the inevitable by-product of modern social, economic, and political life. But there is far more to the story of Euro-secularization than that, as three ecclesiastics—a Presbyterian minister and two Italian priests—demonstrated this past Christmas.

The minister in question was the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Derek Browning. In his Yuletide message to his disappearing flock, Dr. Browning confessed that in his “darker moments,” he sometimes wondered whether “the world [would] have been a better place without [Jesus]. If there was no Jesus, and therefore no Christianity, would there have been no Crusades? Would there have been no Spanish Inquisition?” (Dr. Browning didn’t contemplate the possibility that, without Jesus, there would have been no iconoclastic destruction of Scotland’s ancient and beautiful Catholic churches, or no mass burnings of “witches” by his forebears in the kirk; but that, perhaps, would have been cutting a bit too close to the bone.)

Then there was Fr. Fredo Olivero of the Church of San Rocco di Torino in the Archdiocese of Turin. At Christmas midnight Mass, Don Fredo substituted the syrupy Italian pop-religious tune “Dolce sentire” for the Creed, explaining, “Do you know why I do not say the Creed? Because I do not believe it. . . . After many years I understood that it was something I did not understand and that I could not accept. So let’s sing something else that says the essential things of life.”

Which, evidently, do not include the confession of faith that Jesus is Lord and Savior.

Read more at First Things. 

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