Here is another – stop what you are doing and read this – article.
At Catholic World Report there is a piece by Sam Gregg about what’s going with a rise in France of … Catholicism. It is packed with interesting information, names, and analysis.
France’s Catholic Revolution
While Mass-attendance rates have steeply declined over the last 30 years, today France is witnessing the rise of an increasingly self-confident—and dynamically orthodox—Catholicism.
When many think about France and religion today, the images that usually come to mind are those of a highly secular society with a growing Islamic presence: a combination of widespread indifferentism, epicurean Voltairans, persistent anti-Semitism, increasingly radicalized Muslims, and now jihadist-inspired and organized terrorism. But now even some secular French journalists have started writing about a phenomenon that’s become difficult to ignore: an increasingly self-confident Catholicism that combines what might be called a dynamic orthodoxy with a determination to shape French society in ways that contest the status quo—both inside and outside the Church. [There’s that ad intra and ad extra thing I refer to pretty often. Consider: If we don’t have a strong identity as Catholics, and if we don’t know what Catholics believe or we don’t know how to communicate it without waffling and temporizing, then why should anyone in the public square listen to us? And we must be in the public square, with a strong and smart Catholic identity. This is where I direct you back to my constant drum beat about the renewal of traditional liturgical worship!]
On October 30, readers of France’s main center-right newspaper, Le Figaro, woke up to the headline “La révolution silencieuse des catholiques de France.” What followed was a description of how those whom Le Figaro calls France’s néocatholiques have come to the forefront of the nation’s political, cultural, and economic debates. Significantly, the new Catholics’ idea of dialogue isn’t about listening to secular intellectuals and responding by nodding sagely and not saying anything that might offend others. Instead, younger observant Catholics have moved beyond—way, way beyond—what was called the “Catholicism of openness” that dominated post-Vatican II French Catholic life. While the néocatholiques are happy to listen, they also want to debate and even critique reigning secular orthodoxies. For them, discussion isn’t a one-way street. This is a generation of French Catholics who are, as Le Figaro put it, “afraid of nothing.”
That’s how it starts.
There are some provocative paragraphs (for the Left.. heh). For example:
In recent years, we’re heard much about the Church as a field-hospital. It’s true that the French Church finds itself providing much help to the many people damaged by the culture of cynicism, economic statism, self-loathing, and hedonism bequeathed by France’s May 1968 generation. The new Catholics, however, also recognize that no-one is supposed to remain perpetually in a field-hospital. [Do I hear an “Amen!”? And another thing… lots of people DIE in field hospitals! A field hospital is where the second moment of patching up takes place, after the battle field corpsman stops some of the bleeding, before the wounded are sent on to a higher level facility. It often happens that the wounded don’t get out of the field hospital alive. This is the Church Militant, after all. We don’t want people to die, to fall away from the narrow path, to drift into error and spiritual peril (Fishwrap). Christ died for all, but not all will accept what Christ did for then and be saved. This happens in the Church: people fall aside and are lost. And if parishes are supposed to be “field hospitals”, they had better be good, faithful parishes, where the wounded can find good salvific help. I’m not saying that parishes are not field hospitals. I’m saying that not everyone in field hospitals will be saved. But I digress…] Nor are they interested in affirming mediocrity. Instead they have chosen to live out what Benedict XVI suggested would be Western European Catholics’ role for the foreseeable future: a creative minority — one that imaginatively engages culture from an orthodox Catholic standpoint in order to draw society closer to the truth, instead of meekly relegating Catholics to the role of bit-players in various secular-progressive agendas.
I also found this interesting:
Perhaps the most evident sign of this sea-change in French Catholicism is what’s called La Manif pour tous. This movement of hundreds of thousands of French citizens emerged in 2012 to contest changes to France’s marriage laws. La Manif’s membership traverses France’s deep left-right fracture. It also includes secular-minded people, many Jews, some Muslims, and even a good number of self-described gays. Yet La Manif’s base and leadership primarily consist of lay Catholics. Though the French legislature passed la loi Taubira legalizing same-sex marriage in 2013, the Socialist government has subsequently trod somewhat more carefully in the realm of social policy. After all, when a movement can put a million-plus people on the streets to protest on a regular basis, French politicians have historical reasons to get nervous.
Since 2012, La Manif has continued shaping public debate. This ranges from challenging attempts to impose gender theory through the educational system to disputing proposed changes to adoption and IVF laws. In doing so, it has been visibly supported by many bishops and even-more-visibly by many more young priests. Some of the latter are heavily active on Twitter and widely-read social media such as Padreblog. In certain cases, some names of the rising generation of French clergy—such as Abbé Pierre-Hervé Grosjean, Abbé Pierre Amar, Abbé Guillaume Seguin, and Abbé Antoine Roland-Gosselin—are better known than many French bishops.
Read the whole thing there.