Pope calls western churches a dying breed

Mainstream churches in the West appear to be dying as societies that are increasingly secular see less need for God, says Pope Benedict.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that his outlook was "even glummer" than that of his predecessor John Paul, who lamented at the decline of faith in the developed world and said it explained the Catholic Church's struggle with falling attendance in the West in recent years.

Pope Benedict said many developing countries were, by contrast, enjoying a "a springtime for faith".

"It is different in the Western world, a world which is tired of its own culture, a world which is at the point where there's no longer evidence for a need of God, even less of Christ," he told a meeting of clergy in the Italian Alps where he is on holiday.

"The so-called traditional churches look like they are dying," he said, according to a text published by the Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano.

Participation at Sunday Mass in some developed countries was as low as 5 per cent, a recent Vatican report said.

A combination of an increasingly secular mentality and the lure of more simplistic sects was challenging the relevance of the church, especially in Europe, Australia and, to a lesser extent, the United States, the 78-year-old Pope said.

"The Catholic Church is not doing as badly as the big Protestant Churches but naturally it shares the problem of this moment in history."

Western churches a dying breed: Pope (Sydney Morning Herald/Reuters 28/7/05)

Pope Heading to Retreat South of Rome (Reuters/Yahoo 28/7/05)
Pope prays for victims of Indian floods (Reuters/Yahoo 28/7/05)
Telegram for monsoon flooding in India (Vatican Information Service 28/7/05)
End of Pope's vacation in Valle D'Aosta (Vatican Information Service 28/7/05)
Christ is the answer, his light will reappear (Vatican Information Service 28/7/05)
Pope to leave Italy's Valle d'Aosta and head to retreat south of Rome (Associated Press/Boston Herald 28/7/05)
Pope: a West tired of God; Asia and Africa at the crossroads (AsiaNews.it 28/7/05)
Pope expresses "profound solidarity" to the victims of torrential rains in India (AsiaNews.it 28/7/05)
Pope restates tough stance (Belfast Telegraph 28/7/05)
Pope expresses 'profound solidarity and concern for monsoon victims in India (Catholic News Agency 28/7/05)
Pope addresses vocation crisis, lack of faith in Church; says 'suffering is the way to transformation' (Catholic News Agency 28/7/05)
Pope Benedict calls situation of divorced Catholics who have remarried 'particularly painful' (Catholic News Agency 28/7/05)
JP II set the pace, says ecumenist (Catholic Voice August 2005)
Pope ends Alpine vacation (Catholic World News 28/7/05)
Pope Reaches Out, but Real Tests on Tap (The Herald-Sun Durham North Carolina/Associated Press 28/7/05)
Pope prays for monsoon victims in Mumbai (IOL 28/7/05)
Imbalance Between Technical Possibilities and Moral Energy (LifeSiteNews.com 27/7/05)
Benedict XVI Pope reaches out, but real tests ahead (Associated Press/Barre Montpelier Times Argus 28/7/05)
Pope Enjoys Last Day of Alpine Vacation (Zenit 27/7/05)
Benedict XVI's Top 15 "Words" (Zenit 27/7/05)
On Benedict XVI's 100 Days (Zenit 27/7/05)
Cardinal Ratzinger On Europe's Crisis of Culture (Zenit 27/7/05)

29 Jul 2005