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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Sad Days

I attended two Masses today, one in French and one in German. I had reasons to do this.

At both, about eight people were in attendance. And, yet, the streets were chock-a-block with tourists.

I have never seen the streets of Valletta so crowded, even in the summer. Many Maltese were out, attending children's Christmas programs of dancing and song, as well as for last minute shopping.

But I have seen Mass attendance dwindle here in the past four years. A priest told me that grandparents go to Mass, but not the children and grandchildren in many areas. Also, the number of foreigners moving and settling here come from countries which are not Catholic-Egypt, Libya, Russia, Liberia and so on.

The population is changing and one can see it in the streets, on the buses, and in the churches.

Malta boasts some of the most beautiful churches in the world. The Knights of Malta supported art, music, liturgical vestment, altar ware and so on. This heritage is obvious in most churches, but also, sadly, in the museums. To go to these institutions and see all the Catholic pieces of artwork, altar ware, even tabernacles, no longer in use, breaks one's heart.

Some Maltese men told me they are very concerned about the changes here. And, yet, one young man told me he would not get married or have children in this hard world. He is afraid of the changes. He has not attained an adult faith.

The Faith is dying. If it is dying here, with such an amazing tradition of real piety and faith handed down for hundreds of years, the faith is passing into history even faster among other European nations, as well as in America.

Sad days for the Church. After leaving the second Mass, I said to my companion that we have just witnessed a snippet of the future--when the very small remnant will carry on the Faith in small churches of eight or ten people.

Today was a glimpse of the future, unless people start having Catholic babies, raising Catholic children, and returning to their Catholic identity.