Martin Luther’s homeland is today more Catholic than Lutheran. Catholics outnumbering Protestants, in Germany, happened in 2009. According to a recent survey, the crisis of the Protestants is increasing whilst the number of Catholics has been stable since 1950.
The crisis of Protestantism, therefore, hits Germany as well. A short time ago, we were observing the same phenomenon in the USA: collapse of the Reformed Christians and stability of the number of Catholics. 20,7 million German Protestants left Lutheranism in 1950, whilst the Catholic Church counted 23,2 million faithful in 1950 and today likewise 23,3 millions. The absolute number is kept.
Neither does the Catholic denomination enjoy good health, though: in a year, as reported by the Episcopal Conference of Germany, 270.000 faithful abandoned the Church, and only 9.332 entered or came back into it. The German Bishops have already closed 515 churches in the last ten years. One of the main reasons for this defection, unique in the whole world, is the compulsory religious tax (8-9% of the income tax) that believers are to pay to the Church. Many of those who “unenroll” remain, however, believers and Christians; simply, they do not want to pay an additional tax.
Even though some attribute the decline of Lutheranism in the first place to the demographic pyramid, certainly we may say the Protestants’ plan to conform with the secular to look more attractive has failed. Married priests, female bishops, the approval of divorce, contraception, and the gay agenda. It was useless: always more Lutherans have kept far the churches, maybe also because of this.
The interview released by Roger Scruton, eminent Anglican philosopher, Professor at the Oxford University, is very interesting: «Catholic institutions» – explained the most important exponent of contemporary conservatorism: «are the only institutions that would openly offer cover and support to somebody as conservative as me, and without agreeing with me or anything like that». He did not follow the example of Newman, the passage to Catholicism, for two reasons: «One is that it requires a bigger leap of faith than I’ve been able to achieve. And the other is that, because I’m divorced, I couldn’t possibly get married a second time in the Catholic Church». However, he concluded, «I’ve always been drawn to the Catholic Church because of its respect for tradition, for the apostolic continuity it represents and for its attempts to imbue ordinary life with sacraments».
Such is then the appeal of the authoritativeness of the Apostolic continuity and the authority of Tradition, that is the fixed point in history that tells the truth on Christ and prevents us succumbing to the confusion and liquidity of modernity, as well as to all the other fleeting human interpretations. In Scruton’s words, it is possible to notice the main cause – at least in our opinion – of the crisis of the Reformed denominations.
The Editorial staff