Church Attendance Growing
As we approach the holy day in which we celebrate the birth of the Son of God in a manger in Bethlehem, the earth is once again filled with tidings of great joy. From Michael Swan in the Catholic Register, the newpaper of the Diocese of Toronto we learn that:
Catholic and Protestant, mainline and Evangelical, young and old, urban and rural, Canadians are coming back to church.
Reginald Bibby, Canada's leading sociologist of religion, calls it an "embryonic renaissance of religion."
After decades of decline, Canadian Church attendance is on the rise, Bibby's surveys show an eight point jump from 30 to 38 percent between 2000 and 2003 in Canadians who attend church at least once per month. Weekly attendence has also surged from 21 to 26 percent in the same period.
Bibby's results are also mirrored in other major surveys by Alan Gregg, Gallup and others. His conclusions are also supported by Statistic Canada's figures.
During the 2000-03 time period Canadian Catholic and Protestant church attendance (measured as attending a church service at least once a month) jumped by 10%, from 36% to 46% for each group. Roman Catholic attendance figures are running somewhat ahead of other denominations. Outside Quebec, Catholic attendance has increased an astonishing 15%, from 42% to 57% in three years.
Catholic numbers overall are depressed nationally because of Quebec where Catholics traded in their faith in God, during the 1970s, for faith in the separatist dream. Even in Quebec, however, Catholics have shown an increase in Church attendance of 5%, from 29% to 34%. The report concludes that the increases hold true for both urban and rural dwellers (with a slight variance favouring rural dwellers). According to Professor Bibby, a sociologist from the University of Lethbridge, the evidence:
can't be explained as a blip in the survey data, or as a shift in the age of Canadians. "We actually have some evidence that the Spirit of God has been active in Canada," Bibby said.
You might think that Bibby making a spurious assumption with his assertion that increased church attendance is a sign the Spirit of God is working, but you would be wrong. You obviously haven't been attending yourself, or you'd know it isn't the outstanding quality of the homilies, the deeply moving tenor of the hyms, or the esthetically pleasing liturgies causing the increase (at least in the modern Catholic mass). Fortunately it is the sacramental aspects and not the human element of the services which draw folk to the Church.
Now one would think that Paul Martin, the self-avowed devout Catholic Prime Minister of this Dominion, would be happy to learn of this renaissance. (My advice is to avoid Catholics who describe themselves, or allow their staff to describe them, as devout. It is a sure sign something is awry spiritually.) If you think he would be elated, though, you are wrong twice in a row.
I suspect Mr. Martin will greet the news of increased church attendance with some alarm. Think about it. This is bad news for the Liberal party. What major political party introduced and defends abortion on demand into Canada? The Liberal party. What party introduced divorce on demand? Liberals again. What party is championing same-sex marriage in parliament? Liberals. What party is soft on child pornography? Liberals.
When euthanasia and polygamy are brought before parliament (as they most assuredly will), what position do you think the Liberals will take? Given the above record it is surely not too difficult to extrapolate. Please don't say they will oppose these things. Three strikes and you're outta this blog and I would prefer it if you finish this post.
The Liberal party has taken a consistently regressive and anti-family position whenever it has dealt with these matters. As the population turns, in ever increasing numbers, to practicing their faith in God, the Liberals will find themselves increasingly outside the mainstream of public belief and practice.
It may take a while yet, but if the return to religious practice by the people continues at anywhere near the current pace, the Liberals will soon discover they have committed political suicide by unvaryingly maintaining positions congruous with the cult of death.
The worm is turning folks.