Europe Without Christ?
Interview with Director of the Center on New Religions
TURIN, Italy, AUG. 19, 2006 (Zenit) - Europe is afraid of Christ, says Massimo Introvigne.
The director of the Center of Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) recently published ll Dramma dell'Europa Senza Cristo. Il Relativismo Europeo nello Scontro delle Civiltŕ" (The Drama of Europe Without Christ. European Relativism in the Clash of Civilizations), published in Italian by Sugarco.
In this interview with us, Introvigne, author of some 30 books on religious minorities, reflects further on this "fear of Christ."
* * *
Q: The drama of Europe is a somewhat pessimistic title. Is it that bad?
Introvigne: I don't think it's too strong a title. Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI have used even more dramatic expressions.
John Paul II used the expression "Europe's demographic suicide" and my book begins precisely with this theme: In Europe the number of children per couple (if immigrant couples are excluded, including immigrants who have obtained citizenship, which in some countries, such as France, alter the statistics) is under the level of natural replacement of the population and is typical of civilizations that are dying.
The fact that children are not born is not only an economic but a moral and religious problem, and it is the sign of a terrible crisis of hope. Without hope, a civilization dies.
The moral crisis is also confirmed with the practice and legislation on subjects such as marriage and adoption by homosexual couples, euthanasia in Holland and experimentation with embryos.
Finally, there is a crisis of European institutions which do not succeed in agreeing on almost anything or in speaking with a common voice. When they do so, it is not on very important topics or, worse still, when they try to impose on reluctant countries a relativist view of morality on topics such as abortion, bioethics and homosexual unions.
Q: You say that fear of Christ harms Europe. But there are many Europeans who cannot be afraid because they don't even know Christ. Is ignorance worse than fear or disdain?
Introvigne: In fact, all Europeans know Christ. It is enough to consult national literature or to leave one's home to see signs of Christianity everywhere -- chapels, monuments, and churches.
What some call Christophobia is a conscious rejection of this Christian heritage, a fear especially of moral obligations entailed in embracing Christianity. It's true, phenomena like the success of "The Da Vinci Code" show that there is also much religious ignorance. But that doesn't mean that Jesus Christ isn't known.
It is known who he is, but the truths of faith are not known -- including of lay, historical academic research -- which refer to him, because contact has been lost with religious institutions and also because a relativist climate has been established in which any Dan Brown is considered to have as much authority as a bishop or even a university professor, perhaps a non-believer, but who knows the historical sources and would never endorse the absurdities of "The Da Vinci Code."
Q: What is the "religious capital" to which you refer in your book?
Introvigne: According to a school of sociology born in the United States, that of religious economy, each one of us has a "religious capital" which is made up of beliefs acquired in our youth of which, even after a rejection or estrangement something remains from which one cannot be easily separated.
For this reason, when a non-practicing European returns to religion -- something that today and for the past ten years has been happening ever more frequently -- he can easily return to Christianity, or perhaps to ways that are very distant from orthodoxy but which retain symbols and reminiscences of Christianity, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, instead of converting to Islam or Buddhism.
The theory of religious economy holds that this happens because there is a tendency to conserve one's religious capital.
Those in Europe who return to the Catholic religion from the status of being non-practicing or agnostic, either become Pentecostals, or even Jehovah's Witnesses, retain in the three examples I have just given a part of that "religious capital" that comes to them from their youthful religious education. Those, instead, who become Buddhists or Muslims must give up -- almost -- all their religious capital and build a new one -- almost -- from scratch.
For this reason, though conversion to Islam or even to Buddhism are more newsworthy in newspapers, the majority of Europeans -- in particular since Sept. 11, which led many to question their identity -- who are interested in religion again, return more easily and in a more striking way -- from the point of view of statistics -- to Christian ways or at least retain Christian elements and symbols.
https://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Christ, Europe, Introvigne, God
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 HD Video
- International study shows stem cells can stop MS and relieve symptoms ...
- Bl. John of Parma: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, March 20, 2018
- Pope Francis explains a crucifix is not just for decoration
- Stem cell study provides new hope for MS patients
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, March 20, 2018
- 'Living Lent': Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent - Day 35
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, March 19th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, March 18th, 2018 HD
- The Earth is Dying: Human impact continues to shape the future of the planet HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education