Many Americans remember their mothers coaxing them to eat their vegetables using guilt-inducing statements such as: “There are children starving in Africa who wish they could eat your broccoli.”
More and more, however, it may be African parents urging their children to be grateful they do not live in the West, where God, spirituality and human life are losing value.
The Church is thriving in Africa and the East and deteriorating in America and many parts of Europe. This fact became particularly noticeable during the 2014 Synod of Bishops, when the liberal German bishops continued to press their progressive agenda, and met resistance from none other than the African bishops.
As veteran Vatican journalist John Allen Jr. wrote at Crux last fall, the African bishops “no longer regard themselves as junior partners in Catholicism Inc. This time, they’re ready for the board room.”
While American bishops often seek to “cooperate” in various economic partnerships with the government – even the pro-abortion, pro-same-sex marriage Obama administration — it has been the African bishops who have stood up to the U.S. president.
In July of 2013, Kenyan Cardinal John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi and president of the Kenyan bishops’ conference, condemned Obama’s call for Africa to accept same-sex marriage.
“Those people who have already ruined their society…let them not become our teachers to tell us where to go,” said Njue in response to Obama’s statements promoting same-sex marriage. “I think we need to act according to our own traditions and our faiths.”
Speaking at the Rome Life Forum early in May, Father Linus Clovis of Saint Lucia observed with concern the apparent need for some bishops to make the Church’s message sound more socially palatable:
Then suddenly, some shepherds began to speak with a strange voice. With stupefying temerity, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, commenting on the “coming out” of a “gay” college football star, told NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “Good for him… I would have no sense of judgment on him…. God bless ya. I don’t think, look, the same Bible that tells us, that teaches us well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say ‘Bravo’.”
In contrast, African Church leaders have shown no inclination to embrace political correctness or accept popular culture as the measure of what is valuable.
In April, Breitbart News reported that South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier tweeted strong criticism of leftwing German Cardinal Walter Kasper, whom the Huffington Post labeled “the Pope’s theologian.”
Napier tweeted that it’s a “worry” to see Kasper referred to in this manner, because “unlike Pope Francis, Cardinal Kasper isn’t very respectful towards the African Church and its leaders.”
“Cardinal Kasper considers African Bishops to be excessively controlled by taboo and too reticent to address polygamy and similar marriage problems,” slammed Napier.
During the bishops’ synod last fall, Napier also referred to parts of an interim report discussing whether same-sex unions are marriages as a “sideshow.”
Similarly, in the wake of Ireland’s vote to allow same-sex marriage, bishops from Africa urged families to be courageous in upholding Catholic values regarding the family and to reject atheism and secularism, ideologies that are destroying marriage and the family.
America, on the contrary, according to a recent Gallup poll, has shifted left over the past 15 years, a direction that finds it now engulfed in moral relativism and embracing behaviors previously considered unacceptable and even sinful.
It seems shifting left and toward secularism is associated with fewer births and young people, the exact opposite of what is happening in Africa and India.
As Pew Research discovered last year, most Western countries, including the United States, are projected to see the segment of their population that is 65 and older exceed its 15 years or younger group by 2050. This means there will be fewer people of working age to care for an increasing number of people dependent on human and government assistance.
In India and Africa, however, the population is increasing and becoming proportionally younger, indicating that, by 2050, those regions will have more workers than dependents.
Writing at Aleteia, Tom Hoopes of Benedictine College in Kansas says the data points to the fact that the secular West is “in for a rude awakening.”
He notes that as Europe’s population will drastically diminish, populations of places like Nigeria will exceed that of the United States by 2050, with Catholicism and Christianity increasing rapidly in the East as well.
Hoopes points out that, today, India has five times the number of Catholics as Ireland. And China, as The Telegraph reported, will have more churchgoers than America by 2030, a projection that demonstrates how a people once forbidden to worship Jesus are on the brink of becoming the world’s most Christian nation within 15 years.
“[A]s the members of the shrinking Catholic community in Europe debate how much they should change Christ’s teachings to appease the frat houses of the West, the Church rising in Africa is happy with the Gospel as it is, thank you,” Hoopes writes. “Watching the dying West celebrate its decadence would be funny if it wasn’t so sad — and so scary. The truth is, life for Christians in the West will get much worse before it starts getting any better.”