Rio: More Poison For The Patient
And so the gay-friendly – at least when they are his own buddies – Bishop of Rome is now in Rio, a place known all over the world for its spiritual atmosphere and culture of contemplation and asceticism. Apparently, the mission objective is supposed to be – besides the usual “youth” rhetoric – to revitalise Brazilian Catholicism.
Sandro Magister informs us not more than around two thirds of Brazilians are Catholics nowadays, with Proddies of a newer sort – those who believe in God, I am told – making massive inroads particularly in the big cities; in fact, the same source tells us in Rio the percentage of Catholics is merely 46%, thus making of them a minority compared to the population as a whole.
I have written in the past, but repeat today, that these short-term media exercises all have a short life. You'll hear a lot of people saying they are so “energised”, “inspired” or the like; but when you look at the long-term collective effect, you'll see it tends towards zero.
Pope Benedict XVI visited the UK in 2010 amongst crowds far, far exceeding the most optimistic expectations. Three years later, we have the so-called same sax marriage, and few of those who call themselves Catholic care a.. fag. Nor have his travels in Germany or the US or elsewhere left a permanent mark; nor did, in fact, his predecessor, with his huge theatrical streak, the earth-kissing and the like.
There is no reason whatever to believe the Bishop of Rome will have more success; actually, seeing the type one would be scared at the new Catholics he were to allegedly covert; but be not afraid: it won't happen.
These are media stunts; mere straw fires; the populace flocks to see the Pontiff largely because it's an “event”, something worth one's time in an age constantly looking for some form of excitement. I have actually even heard people saying a Papal visit is a “cultural” event. One doesn't need any sort of value investment to participate to such an event, nor will he take away anything durable from it.
Of course, here and there someone will be deeply impressed. Someone is always doing something. But it is very reasonable to assume serious work on the ground is far more important, and leads to far more serious conversions, than this kind of media circus.
On the contrary: the media circus tries to cure the disease administering more poison to the patience: more superficiality, more easy slogans, more entitlement mentality, more sneaking socialism: that is, more of what has caused the loss of faithful in the first place.
The real evangelisation is made with serious priests on the ground; reverent masses; proper Catholic instruction; open defence of Catholic values on the public square, and the courage to talk about the whole faith – including the unpleasant parts – rather than always hammering on the easy parts (the obsessive mantra of “joy” is the one that always amuses me most; it's like a motivational course for the kindergarten.
We are going to get an awful lot of this in the next days, including all the talk about how “energised” Brazil is. But it is just another straw fire.