Walking into that church felt like coming home. Of course, no one in the West is allowed to have that feeling anymore. Hence that church's upcoming closure. Hard-working Irish, Italian, and German families pitched in a hundred years ago to build it and the school across the street. That demographic mix remained intact into the mid 90s. Within ten years of my graduation, the student body became overwhelmingly Hispanic, enrollment cratered, and the school closed.
The new wave of immigration destroyed what the prior immigrant wave had built. The symbolism isn't lost on our elites.
It is, however, lost on the Catholic Church's hierarchy. The USCCB gets 40% of its funding from the government for helping to resettle migrants in the US. The thinking among bishops and Catholic charity administrators alike is that they can skip the hard work of catechesis and evangelization and simply import new parishioners from majority Catholic countries. Getting paid for it is the cherry on top.
Meanwhile, the children of those imports suffer the same 40%--there's that number again--apostasy rate as native Catholics, and once thriving parishes merge into multi-church clusters presided over by one or two itinerant priests.
A recent YouGov poll shows that 40%--anyone else seeing a theme, here?--of Catholics are practically agnostic. If the bishops don't see a connection between these figures, they're even more out of touch than we thought.
None of this should be surprising. The Church's hierarchy is staffed by human beings who are susceptible to the same vain apathy that's beset all the West's institutions. The story of the West over the last 60 years is the story of leaders who inherited noble legacies from better men. Instead of safeguarding and handing down this patrimony in their turn, they tried to refashion it in their own image. Instead of consecrating the Modern world, they left a colossal mess for their successors.
Some point to these disastrous failures of leadership and declare the death of the Church. Their predictions are myopic at best. Christianity isn't going away. It may, however, be going back East.
Don't count Western Christianity out just yet, though. Generation Z is already more religious than the Boomers were at the same age. Those Zoomers who are staying with the Church crave the ancient doctrines and traditions which are their birthright and which they've been denied. And they're doing something about it.
What we're seeing in the Western Church is a process called boiling off. The Modernists and Christmas and Easter Christians are leaving as being Christian increasingly comes with a social cost. Those who remain are committed to the faith in spite of the cost. That's the stuff from which crusaders are made.
My military thriller series Combat Frame XSeed depicts a world in which such a crusade took place. Read it now!