Thursday, June 03, 2004

A Crossroad for the Catholic Church

The link above is to an old article, from Feb 3, but its author points out what he believes the top three issues the next Pope must face. Actually, this Pope is facing them as well.

1. Europe is committing demographic suicide, as no Western European state has a replacement level birth rate. At the same time, Catholic practice in Western Europe is at historical lows. Churchmen believe these two hard facts of European Catholic life are related: Europe is heading for demographic disaster because it is in a severe crisis of cultural morale. That crisis is one result of a radical secularization that dissolves a people's sense of responsibility for the future.

2. There are two culturally assertive religious communities with global reach in the world -- Catholicism and Islam -- and they know that radical Islamism is an implacable enemy of religious freedom, which is the centerpiece of the Catholic Church's approach to world politics.

3. The new genetic knowledge and its capacity to advance the arts of healing. The Catholic Church also teaches that attempts to remanufacture the human condition by manufacturing (or retrofitting) human beings end up dehumanizing us. How to shape the global debate about the new biotechnologies so that humanity gets to the 22nd century without finding itself ensnared in Aldous Huxley's brave new world is a mega-issue.

What a job, to follow John Paul II. Each of the problems above are incredibly difficult. A Catholic Czar for each would be nice.

Update: What is not on the list of "Most important items for the next Pope" is also interesting.

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