Years ago, I had cause to be at the Episcopal cathedral in Albany for a mass. A friend was being ordained into the church as a priest, so I went up to celebrate the occasion with his family. I noted the subtle beauty of the church, particularly inside. It just oozed tradition, which is quite imposing in the spiritual setting. The outside of the building was rather plain, which is what made the inside impressive. I walked in expecting a utilitarian facility and instead I walked into a beautiful cathedral with arches and stained glass.
The mass was not well attended, despite the fact there were half a dozen people being minted as priests that day. My guess, at the time, was that most of the people were relatives of the condemned. Talking a bit with some people after the mass, I was told that attendance at Episcopal services in the area was down to a sprinkling and most of the regulars were old people. If what I saw in Albany is typical for the church as a whole, I’d bet they are finished in a generation at best. A church without worshipers is a building.
This is a common story with mainline Protestant churches. The local Presbyterian Church is lightly attended and the average age is somewhere in the 60’s. They used to have a grammar school, but that closed. They still run a daycare center, but I suspect that is just a business. They hope that the mothers dropping off their kids will decide to attend services at some point. Until then it is a cash relationship for services rendered. There’s a good chance government subsidies play some role as the kids are mostly black.
Part of what has destroyed the mainline Protestant churches is their full-throated embrace of Progressive lunacy. At my friend’s ordination, three of the people ordained were woman. Judging by the haircuts, all three were lesbians. Gay marriage is a huge issue in these churches, driving off the sensible and leaving only those who see Christianity as a vehicle for Progressive activism. Many of these churches are no longer Christian, as a theological matter. They are just Progressive meeting houses for the deranged.
If you are a normal person, the mainline Protestant churches have nothing to offer but endless lectures about the joys of liberalism. It’s a familiar pattern. First the women take over, then the men leave, except for the guys willing to take orders from the gals. Then the normal women bolt. This boiling off of the sensible eventually leaves the crazies in charge of the organization. Before long the freak flag is hoisted and it is the bar in Star Wars. It’s the pattern we saw with Labour in Britain and the Democrats in the US.
A similar thing seems to be happening in the Catholic Church, which had managed to resist the same fate until recently. The turning point appears to have been the sex scandals, which have been used by the lunatics to push out the sensible. It’s also emptied the pews in many parts of the world, as parishioners simply could not tolerate the handling of these cases. The conservatives in the Church should have gone on the offensive to purge the pink monasteries and the buggerers. Instead they surrendered.
It is hard to know if the Red Pope will live long enough to destroy the Church, but he will certainly cripple it. There is only one good response to the death of Fidel Castro and that is “enjoy hell.” That’s true for the Pope, as well. It’s perfectly fine for the religious to pray for the souls of the wicked, but it is not required. The Pope should be the one guy making that point, but instead he took the opportunity to celebrate the life of a homicidal maniac. The reason is Fidel belongs to the same Church as the Pope – the Communist Church.
What’s happening with the Catholic Church is it is following the same path as the Protestant churches. They are inviting in people from other religions, thinking they will be Catholic first and communist or Progressive second. It never works that way. The secular faith always comes first, which is why you can never find a liberal Catholic, who is pro-life. Their liberal faith will never tolerate opposition to abortion and their liberalism trumps everything else. A man cannot have two religions; one must be dominant.
The demise of the high church in the West was inevitable. Big, highly organized organizations need protection from the state to survive. McDonalds cannot exist without government protection. This is especially true of churches, which often challenge the wishes of the rulers. It’s why the Catholics were willing to cut deals with both communists and fascists. It is why the Orthodox Church supports Putin. No above ground church can exist at war with the ruling class. They always have to cut a deal.
When the the ruling classes of the West began to abandon their Christianity, it was just a matter of time. Students of the French Revolution know that the radical’s hostility to the Church started with economics, but quickly became ideological. As the religion of the Western ruling classes became one version of leftism or another, hostility to the high church was inevitable. It took longer in the US than Europe, but we are well on our way to see the elimination of the main churches.