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Thought from Fr. Colm - 5th May 2024

“We are not living an epoch of change so much as an epochal change, Pope Francis says. The forms of religion and their roles in different societies and cultures are also changing. Secularisation has not brought about the end of religion but rather its transformation. While some forms of religion are experiencing major upheavals, others are so vibrant that they have transcended their former boundaries. Traditional religious institutions have lost their monopoly on religion. The culminating process of globalisation is encountering resistance: manifestations of populism, nationalism, and fundamentalism are on the rise. The world community of Christians is not united – today the greatest differences are not between churches but within them. Differences in doctrine, and in religious and political attitudes, often have roots hidden in the deeper layers of people’s intellectual and spiritual lives. Sometimes people reciting the same creed in the same church pew have very different ideas about God. Among the transformations of today’s spiritual scene is the collapse of the wall between “believers” and “nonbelievers”, noisy minorities of dogmatic believers and militant atheists are being marginalised, while there is a growing number of those whose minds and heart faith (in the sense of proto-faith) and unbelief (in the sense of doubting scepticism) are intertwined. I am finishing this book in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic; around me many sick people die daily in overcrowded hospitals, and many of the living and healthy are slipping into existential insecurity. The certitudes of our world are also shaken by this experience. In addition to the long-standing crisis of traditional religious certitudes, there is also a crisis of traditional secular certitudes, especially the belief in humans’ dominium over nature and their own destiny. The state of the Catholic Church today in many ways resembles the situation just before the Reformation. When an unsuspected number of cases os sexual and psychological abuse were exposed, it shook the credibility of the of the Church and raised many questions about the whole system of the Church. I regarded the closed and empty churches during the coronavirus pandemic as a prophetic warning sign: this may soon be the state of the Church if it does not undergo a transformation ….” Tomas Halik


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