American Christianity is growing stronger
At thefederalist.com Glenn Stanton challenged the myth of Christian decline in the United States. Recent research had shown that Christianity was actually growing stronger, he said.
The research, by Sean Bock and Landon Schnabel, academics at Harvard and Indiana Bloomington University, found that “intense” Christian faith had not declined at all. The proportion of Americans who “attend church more than once a week, pray daily, and accept the Bible as wholly reliable and deeply instructive to their lives has remained absolutely, steel-bar constant for the last 50 years or more,” Stanton wrote. Mainline churches may be “tanking”, he said, but their former members were going elsewhere. The trend meant that the proportion of religious people with a strong, active faith was growing – from 39 per cent to 47 per cent.
“If your Christianity is reconstituted to the day’s fashion, don’t be surprised if people lose interest in it,” Stanton said. “[People] want the genuine deal, and the demographics on religion of the last few decades unmistakably support the fact.”
Praying for the dead in the overhead locker
Writing for the website of East Anglia diocese, Fr Henry Whisenant described an unusual request on an overseas flight. “What I’m going to ask might seem a bit strange,” said the man behind him. “My father is in the overhead compartment…” He was returning from his father’s cremation. A family of secular Jews, they had not had a religious service – but now he asked for some prayers for his departed father.
“That’s how I ended up at the arrival gate of the airport, reciting the De Profundis,” Fr Whisenant wrote. “This incredible encounter would never have happened had I not been wearing clericals, and had I not taken that break from what I was doing.” Many such moments, he wrote, must pass him by every day.
A town died – but its church survived
The BBC reported on the unlikely survival of a church in a ghost town in Pennsylvania.
The town, Centralia, was once home to 1,000 people, before a fire started burning through the coal mines underneath it – a fire that authorities were unable to put out. Now Centralia has six residents.
But, although the former townsfolk may live many miles away now, they still come to the town’s blue-domed Ukrainian Greek Catholic church. Its loyal parishioners include John Mayernick Sr, who moved away 40 years ago.
“This was our church,” he said. “As long as it’s going, I’ll keep coming.”
Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, has made the church a pilgrimage site.
Parish priest Fr Michael Hutsko said: “When you look back, it was saved for something greater. I can’t help believe that something truly spectacular is going to happen here.”
✣ A dog has been hailed as a hero after saving religious Sisters from a devastating fire.
The dog, named Rambo, began barking as the blaze swept through the Virgen de la Candelaria chapel in the town of Calafquen, Chile, waking up the Carmelite Missionary Sisters in the convent next door.
Parish priest Fr Alejandro Gutiérrez told Radio Bio Bio: “If the dog’s barking hadn’t alerted them, the fire would have spread to the convent and we would be grieving over a much more serious incident.”
Officials say the fire was a result of arson. Fire chief Rodolfo Zúñiga told Cooperativa Radio that such an attack was routine. “Once again today we had one of the most beautiful chapels in the area reduced to rubble,” he said.
✣ The Vatican Museums are to explore the “spiritual side” of Andy Warhol in a major exhibition next year.
Officials are in the final stage of talks with the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, according to the Art Newspaper.
The artist, best known for his depiction of a can of soup and silkscreen images of Marilyn Monroe, was a dedicated Mass-goer who volunteered at a soup kitchen.Born to Slovakian parents, Warhol was raised in the Ruthenian rite, an Eastern rite fullly recognised by Rome, in Pittsburgh.
✣The week in quotations
Where the Madonna is at home, the Devil does not enter Pope Francis at Mass in the Basilica of St Mary Major Vatican News
Just create clarity – take away the doubt Cardinal Willem Eijk’s appeal to Pope Francis Dutch newspaper Trouw
Nowhere in the Bible has Jesus Christ ever presided over an electoral commission Congolese president Joseph Kabila rejects the Church’s role in politics Fides
A midnight ambush Archbishop Diego Padrón on plans to change the date of Venezuela’s elections ACI Prensa
✣Statistic of the week
13 Number of abortions in NHS hospitals in Northern Ireland last year, three fewer than 2016 Department of Health
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund