Austin Ruse, director of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, has warned that “Europe is almost certainly dying” because of falling birth rates, radical social policies, and the decline of marriage on the continent. Its only hope for revival, he argues, is for Europeans to again proclaim the “lordship of Christ.”
Ruse’s comments, published on the new web site “The Catholic Thing,” tell of his attendance at the “Post-Christian Europe and the Resurgence of Islam” conference held earlier this month in Vienna to discuss secularism and Islam.
Ruse writes that there was a “fair amount of Muslim panic” at the conference, especially from British journalists in attendance.
“There seemed to be a consensus that Europe is in deep trouble for a whole host of reasons, including Muslim immigration, lack of assimilation, and below replacement fertility of non-Muslim Europeans,” Ruse says.
However, Ruse believes the reaction to one conference panel was indicative of a deeper problem. The panel, made up of Southern Baptist theologians and historians, spoke about Christendom, the history of Christian Europe, the Crusades, and other similar matters of faith.
“They quoted quite a lot from scripture. Many were offended,” Ruse says.
“A demographer from Oxford sniffed that one sermon on Sunday was quite enough, let alone four,” he continues. “A visibly peeved legal scholar from Washington D.C. said such language should be moderated since it would never reach the typical European and certainly wouldn't reach his own secularized and skeptical children. Even after the panel ended, snipes at them continued through the day.
“Keep in mind that these Evangelical scholars were not sermonizing, waving their arms around, or damning anyone to hell. What they said was quite mild, yet drew anger from scholars who were otherwise puzzled as to why Europe was in decline.”
Ruse says that many Europeans are confident Christianity will continue without renewed dedication to the faith. He said how a member of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s Cabinet had once said that France, the “eldest daughter of the Church,” could never lose the faith.
To this cabinet member, Ruse replied that Ephesus, the last home of the Virgin Mary, was now in ruins and in the nearby village there are mosques, but not one Christian church.
“The faith does not grow on stones but only in human hearts,” Ruse comments.
“Europe is tired. Europe may be spent. Europe is almost certainly dying. The spread of radical social policies and their death-dealing pathologies, the epoch-ending birth rates, the death of marriage; all these are symptoms of a deeper malaise of the spirit.”
Europe can only be saved, Ruse says, by “more Europeans proclaiming the lordship of Jesus Christ,” using an expression popular among Evangelicals.
Ruse praises the pious language of America and American Evangelicals, saying such language has “kept America percolating as the most religious country in the west.”
“Catholics owe a great debt to Evangelicals for this kind of language. It may not be our language, but it is language that has protected this country from going the way of Europe,” Ruse writes.Ruse counsels Europeans to visit Talledega, Alabama, where prayers are said before every NASCAR race, observe how they speak about Jesus, and take some of those habits back to their home countries.