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Article: The Vatican’s changing relationship with Europe

July 23, 2007

John Allen / NCR (tip to Three Mass’keteers):

Some of you know that for the last two years, I’ve been working on a project to identify what I call “Mega-Trends in Catholicism,” meaning the most important forces shaping the Catholic future. For the sake of manageability, I’ve come up with a list of 10, which are:

1. World Catholicism
2. Secularism and Catholic Identity
3. Islam
4. The New Demography
5. Expanding Lay Roles
6. The Biotech Revolution
7. Globalization 8. Ecology
9. Multipolarism
10. Pentecostalism

It’s important to say that this list is intended as a descriptive, not prescriptive, analysis. My aim is not to argue that these points represent where Catholicism should be going, but rather to identify where it actually is going. Today I’ll attempt to pull out from this research a few implications for the Catholic church’s approach to Europe. In broad strokes, the bad news is that Europe will be less important to the Catholicism of the future, and in particular the European Union may almost disappear as a subject of positive political interest. This does not suggest a retreat from public life in Europe, but rather an engagement of a qualitatively different sort.

I’ll comment briefly on three mega-trends mostly directly related to our topic. I’ll then describe their likely implications for Europe in terms of three transitions in Catholic thinking:

From pragmatism to principle; from politics to culture; and from the European Union to multipolar diplomacy…

Full article here.

See also:
Jimmy Akin: Quo Vadis, Europa?
John Allen: Struggle to reassert traditional Catholic identity scores two wins

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