I have noticed a severe drop in the numbers of people at daily Mass this visit to Malta. I first came here in 2011, and some of the Masses in Valletta were full. Now, the numbers seem to be halved.
This is also true in Sliema. The age of the typical daily Mass-goer seems to be between 50-90. I do see students and young tourists at daily Mass, however, but they are not Maltese. Some are English.
Many pundits state that the aging Church in Europe indicates a dying Church. The Church will never die.
Numbers have never meant anything to me, knowing as a teacher that a class of 25 means nothing in comparison to a class of 20, as the same percentage of students would work and succeed. In fact, the smaller classes always had higher success rates, as one could give attention to the few.
God is giving more attention to the few. He is calling forth a strong remnant. This remnant will be those who are not sinning mortally and who daily call out to Him in prayer and petition. Again, for newer readers, I have many posts on the remnant-just follow the tags.
If the Church is getting smaller in numbers, this only means that God is weeding the members of the Church. Already, the separation of the sheep and goats is happening.
I am not one of these people who think we need ministries which chase after those who have decided to use birth-control, marry outside the Church and prefer the modern culture to a Catholic one. We should pray and do penance for those who have fallen away. But, converts keep the Church alive.
I speak to those who need meat, not milk. And, this is the time for fortifying one's body, mind, soul, memory, imagination and will.
This is the time for the remnant to get serious about being saints now.
Boot camp time is rapidly coming to an end and we shall all be thrown into the various fields of battle. Some of us have been sent before the rest, alone, doing reconnaissance, mapping out enemy territory.
The Church is not dying but getting leaner and meaner. I wrote about this fact in 2007, a year which seems a long time ago to me, when I was still involved in teaching, in academia, in working with students, and helping to form minds for the coming battles.
That year, the year I started the blog, I began to see with the help of a particularly bright student, who is now a lawyer, that the Catholics needed to get down and dirty about the Faith on line. We needed to get on a spiritual regimen preparing us for the time of martyrs, which I had taught my students as early as 2002, was coming and coming fast upon that generation.
The Church will witness formal schism and formal heresy. But, it will not happen as the sedes and pseudo-sedes predict. Some dioceses, as the Church has witnessed before, will slide off into public error. I have said for a very long time that we shall see, or at least my younger readers will see, an American Catholic Church, separate from Rome.
Dying? No. Regrouping and become strong, yes.
Catholicism is not a numbers game. Catholicism is the way to get to heaven, The Church was instituted by Christ and will be here when He returns to judge the living and the dead.
The Church will survive, but will you be part of Her sheepfold?
I hope so.