A Crisis of Faith by Val Conlon
Today in Ireland many people whom I knew as solid Catholics most of my life, that is, in their own quite reserved way, they went to Mass every Sunday, said their prayers at night, supported the Church when it made a decision on political or social matters, and when push came to shove they stood up and supported the faith publicly when called upon.
They were the mature, intelligent, sensible, silent majority, of the Catholic Church. They were the strong backbone of the Church in Ireland. The Church then being, the Catholic people. This quite reserved, mature, intelligent, sensible, silent majority, has dwindled so much, it hardly exists at all today. Why has this happened? Why has the faith and God faded or become indifferent in so many of their lives. I have spoken to a number who agreed to talk about it.
It seems it has evolved in different ways but primarily a disappointment with the Church, the Church today being seen as the priests, the bishops and the Vatican. These people find it very difficult today to defend the Church or explain all that has happened to the skepticism of non believers. Most of them have also lost their once normal ritual of prayer. Many have got to the stage where they see the Church and the faith as the same thing, and worst of all, because they find the Church nor credible any more they also find the faith not credible any more.
A terrible legacy of this is that the young adults in the families of this mature, intelligent, sensible, silent majority are not becoming involved in the faith or the Church at all, and when you speak to them they don’t even want to ponder any of the issues involved, they are not remotely concerned because they have not been introduced to the teachings of Christ in any way, and all they know about the Church is what they read in the papers, and they don’t want any part of it. How sad is this. I have given my life to promoting what I believe in, with the great help of devotion to Jesus as Divine Mercy. God’s mercy being the cornerstone of nearly all faiths.
But I would not know how to attempt a dialogue or discussion on Divine Mercy with these people anymore. It would be like speaking a different language because their heads are not in that place anymore. Mind you these people are still the most moral Christian people you would hope to meet, christian with a small c, it being a universally accepted term for good decent fair minded people.
But we have to go beyond simply understanding the reasons for the fall off in the faith, to some way of coming up with the answer.
These families are the bedrock of decent society in Ireland and they must be brought back to practicing the faith, because the faith is really the bedrock on which all law order and decency depends. I believe the recent riots in England are a guide as to what society becomes without the family and religion in their lives.
The media don’t often report on the importance of religion, but in at least one report in a well known English daily newspaper they were making a loud statement. They produced one survey which showed that the majority of the young rioters were from one parent families, and all of them were unattached to any religious faith. It begs the question can the state maintain law and order where there are no basic moral values being taught to young people. And can the faith be alive outside the family unit? “Man is not meant to be alone” (Genesis 2:18)
There has to be a monumental effort on the part of the Church through the actions of the Vatican to get this mature, intelligent, sensible, silent majority back to their faith and to supporting the Church again. They should point out that although it is a small percentage, still no matter how many servants of the Church have failed, they are still only the servants who have lost their way, they are not the Church. The Church is the family of Jesus Christ, these people have failed the family, as individuals in many ordinary families, fail their family. And the young adults of this generation have to be introduced to the value of the family unit in society, both in schools and universities.
It has been proven that the only way to preserve a law abiding decent family society is through having a strong faith, which gives you strong moral values. What our Country and our Government and maybe the world has lost entirely is, it’s ability to understand the human condition, which is animal. An animal will devour anything that feeds it’s greed without compunction. The almighty gave the human animal a spirit, a soul and a conscience. The human will revert to the animal if it is not subservient to these three sacred elements which are not of the body, but of the spirit.
If man lived by these three elements there would be no need for regulators or regulation of state law’s of any sort. We just have to look at the experiences of belief and unbelief as they are shaped by today’s culture. The focus should be on the level of good that faith and belief in God has given to society, rather than on the debase atheistic intellectual argument that society is so clued into today. We cannot prove the existence of God to anyone but we can prove the good that belief in God has done. I am convinced that the real answer to all the world’s problems lies here.
It can be so easily demonstrated how the loss of faith has conditioned the new context of modern living today. How belonging to a faith conditions fundamental attitudes to life and society, and how the faith conditions man to live his life with a set of moral values that govern his every action. The non believer or atheist has nothing to base his moral attitude to life on, and ordinary man made laws will not be enough to contain the many greed’s that exist in a world of people who don’t believe in God. Faith is more a matter of living life through the dictates of the spirit rather than the animal urges of the body. The spirit influences you to live by love, and not by reason on its own. This is an important if not obvious discovery.
The atheist is someone who has lost contact with his soul, his inner self. Any person who does not believe in God is an atheist and atheism isolates a person from human emotions guided by love. But we must be aware that there is an atheism concealed in all human animals, which is like a time bomb and can only be diffused by allowing the sacred elements infused by the almighty to determine our lives. If society continues as it is going, the new age we seem about to enter is the post human age, which threatens the transcendental mystery of the human being which can only be found in religion and spirituality Transcendental is something being beyond ordinary or common earthly experience, thought, or belief, that is the supernatural.