On Churches Becoming Mosques

Well, late last night, I confess to becoming argumentative with a fellow Catholic on Twitter and have learned–as any fool ought to already know–that Twitter happens to be the worst place to argue.  Twitter’s format encourages one to be cutthroat, as messages of 150 characters hardly allows one’s opinion to come across with clarity.  But, I did respond with cynicism to the news that an old church was being converted into a mosque, which naturally includes the loss of its crosses.  The church had been originally closed due to the merger between two parishes due to “parishioners moving to the suburbs.”  And my interlocutor compared this incident to the loss of Hagia Sophia in 1453.

hagia_sophia_interior

But, churches in modern America and the Europe of today do not fall to bloody conquest.  The history of the Muslim conquests of the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Europe include some of the blackest pages in history.  Churches in modern first world countries, however, are lost by apathy and poor religious education.  The Church has to a large extent lost the war for the hearts and minds of the people.  Christians neither attend Churches nor contribute to the upkeep of churches.  For this reason and not essentially because Catholics move, churches are being converted into mosques.

The loss of a building matters little compared to the loss of souls evinced by the loss of the building. It is a great shame to hear that a tabernacle which held Our Lord is now empty, but the tabernacles which Jesus Christ wishes to reside in, the tabernacles he reached through the sacraments offered in the church, are human hearts.  The vicinity of a closed church usually has plenty of baptized persons who can fill churches–unless it truly has been taken by force of arms.  On Sunday, the majority of these persons stay home or feel that they need to work on this day.  The importance of attending Mass was never impressed on their minds.  Even if they love Christ, they cannot connect the importance of the sacraments to their devotion.  This points to a failure in religious education–or perhaps they feel unwelcome?  That the Church is for the elderly or the middle class?

Věnceslav_Černý_-_Příchod_věrozvěstů_Cyrila_a_Metoděje_na_Moravu

For whatever reason, the Church lacks the vibrancy to keep their members attending Mass.  (Even my particularly vibrant parish has an attendance rate of less than 50 percent.)  People joke that the surest way to endanger a Catholic youth’s faith is to send him to a Catholic school.  The absence of Catholic culture in films and books contributes to the idea that the Christian worldview is of limited worth.  Thank God for J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis!  Sometimes I–and I am not the only one–think that I see more Christian messages in anime than on American television!  The Catholic church in America does have a vibrant center, but they seem incapable when it comes to making the Church’s message palatable to groups beyond the naturally pious.

On the other hand, Muslims, Secularists, and Atheists are so much more motivated to destroy the Faith than its adherents are to build it!  Christianity appears blase compared to their attempts to build a perfect society or a kingdom of God on earth.  But, the riches of Christ are infinitely greater and more beautiful than the beliefs held by our cultural enemies.  With God on our side, the only reason for us to be losing is inaction!  Until more souls become on fire with the beauty of the Gospel, we shall see more churches becoming mosques.  Can we blame anyone but ourselves?

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8 comments on “On Churches Becoming Mosques

  1. David A says:

    Sadly, the Christendom is almost vanished, and it would be difficult to rebuilt it. There are few options if a reconquista or restoration is going to be done.

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    • It will be hard, but if society went from being predominately pagan to predominately Christian to predominantly pagan (present times) again, it must be possible to conquer the present paganism. People usually feel most motivated to convert others to their train of thought when they find themselves marginalized. The Catholic Church is becoming more active in spreading the message as it sees people leaving the Church.

      We are on the side of the right, but heroes are lazy. They only use their full strength when they feel strongly pressed. And the Church is more strongly pressed now than it has been since the Reformation!

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  2. Foxfier says:

    I got more Catholic messages out of anime than out of a decade of youth group.

    That’s probably a large part of why participation isn’t very high… along with things like my mom not going to Mass anymore, because (for example) the Sunday before Christmas the sermon was…the priest’s dad asking for money to support the illegals a few towns over. (We have one priest for a half dozen churches in that area of the county.)

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    • That sounds like a horrible sermon to have the Sunday before Christmas! I have listened to sermons which I have disagreed with at points, but fortunately none which were total let-downs as of yet. Though, I did once attend a Church where the elderly priest always seemed to forget the prayer of the faithful. At least, the sacraments are always ex opere operato.

      The fact that one often finds Catholic messages in anime reminds me of a comment a professor of mine once made that Cicero’s worldview “is very much like a Conservative, American Catholic’s, but not quite.” It is amusing to see how the Taoist and Confucian worldview offers better parallels to Catholicism than American secular culture. And then, we have a small number of shows which are directly influenced by Christian thought, like Blassreiter, Trigun, Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water, Wolf’s Rain, and Arpeggio of Blue Steel. You could probably name a few more. That’s more than American TV has going for it!

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  3. Luminas says:

    *Grins* Heh, you guys are forming a sort of counterattack. There’s a surprising number of people (My sister included) who have become fundamentalist Christians if not Catholics lately. Keep your nobility in yourselves always and your kin will never disappear completely. 🙂

    Which brings up an interesting question: Do Catholics consider Protestants Christians?

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    • Well, we do our best to spread the message and remain true to the faith. Of course, without God’s help we ourselves should neither remain in the faith nor would people come to believe in Christ. Sola gratia, as theologians say.

      Yes, most Protestants are Christians. If I were to exclude any groups, the Unitarians and Mormons, because they do not believe in the Trinity or that Jesus Christ was divine. Most Protestants adhere to the tenets of the Nicene and Athanasian creeds (even if they claim to be non-credal), and that seems like the best test for determining whether they are Christian or not. They are heterodox on other matters, but it would be going too far to say that they are not Christians. Though, many Protestants don’t hesitate to say that about Catholics. The progress of ecumenism is slow!

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