by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris
By deliberately choosing to ignore the Bible's teachings on marriage and the family, Europe is paying a big price.
As Romans whiz through the busy streets of their pothole-filled streets on noisy motorini and tourists blissfully meander amidst splendid ruins, piazzas, museums and churches (which, by the way, are mostly empty for daily and Sunday Mass alike in Rome's "Centro Storico" or "Historic Center"!), does anyone really think they are paying attention to, let alone might be deeply concerned about, what's at stake at the Synod of the Bishops on the Family?
I don't think it would take a huge leap of our collective imagination to conclude that most people living in and visiting the Eternal City could not care less!
Why do I say this? Because Europe as a continent is dying due to its self-centered materialism and secularization by which it has effectively turned its back on the God of the Bible and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Europe may in fact be involved in what one could call "the longest wake in history." It's like watching a scene out of Thomas Mann's "Death in Venice" in slow motion.
Let's not kid ourselves: The demise of Europe has been happening for quite a long time. Especially since the end of the Second World War, most of Europe (the so-called "Catholic" and "Christian" nations like France [historically dubbed "eldest daughter of the Church"], Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland) have been in steady decline, not so much economically as morally and spiritually speaking. A moral and spiritual malaise predominates in many parts of Europe, but is especially alarming in countries like Italy that once boasted the world's highest birthrate and now barely whimpers about the dubious distinction of having one of the world's lowest birth rates on account of its widespread and prolonged recourse to artifical contraception and abortion.
By deliberately choosing to ignore the Bible's teachings on marriage and the family, so beautifully clarified, prophetically illustrated and applied to the modern world in magisterial documents like Pope Paul VI's encyclical "Humanae Vitae" (1968) and Pope John Paul II's encyclical "Evangelium Vitae" (1995), Europe is paying a big price. But good, old Europe doesn't seem to care very much (if at all) about the grave consequences of its gross immorality and amorality. Many Europeans seem content to live day-to-day as long as they can: conveniently brag about their quaint, old traditions and dying cultures, which are surely worth seeing in person and photographing; earn a decent living, while lamenting and occasionally protesting their corrupt, socialist governments; and enjoy a taste of the "good life," free of any lasting concern about higher standards that may require them to make selfless sacrifices for the love of God and neighbor.
In a word, many, if not most Europeans, are quite comfortable with their medieval-like (feudal) "status quo," or even endeavor to push for more and more secularization (liberal and progressive reforms!) in continuity with the anti-ecclesiastical and anti-clerical ideals of the godless French Enlightenment. Europeans, whether they realize it or not, stand on a very dangerous precipice, which will lead them (if they are not careful) headlong toward self-destruction. As Cardinal Walter Kasper and other likeminded Synod Fathers call for a "Via Penitentialis" for the sake of divorced/remarried Catholics, perhaps they should be addressing a much more obvious and pressing problem we can aptly term "Via Exstinctionis" ("Road to Extinction/Perdition").
Will Europe continue to hobble along this "Road to Perdition"? Or, at last, will the Europeans entirely cave in, allowing radical Muslims to conquer whatever ruins are left standing? If the latter takes place, the radical Muslims will exact their revenge for having been defeated at the crucial battles led by the Christian forces of the Frankish King, Charles Martel (Battle of Tours, A.D. 732); the Christian coalition of maritime forces organized by Pope St. Pius V at the Battle of Lepanto (October 7, 1571); and the armies backed by Pope Innocent XI and John III Sobieski of Poland at the famed Battle of Vienna (September 11-12, 1683). In a certain sense, the radical Muslims are already winning the battle from the time of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 until the present as ISIS continues to ramapage through the Middle East and North Africa, killing off Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities, including fathers. mothers and children, in the process.
ISIS has sworn that it will attack Rome! Some suggest that ISIS is referring to "Rome" not in a literal sense, but more like a symbolic representation of the Western civilization and cultures that it so deeply loathes and despises. Nevertheless, whether or not ISIS, or other radical groups, ever do seek to conquer Rome or other places in Europe, we can know that at the present rate of extinction, in fifty years or so there won't be many European Christians around to stop them, anyway.