Catholicism Growing Strong in Europe
From the Irish Independent, October 28th, 1959:
Catholicism Growing Strong in Europe – PRIEST LECTURER
“The Catholic spirit is stirring powerfully in Europe to-day,” Rev. Dr. Michael Carroll, C.S.Sp., told members of the Catholic Association for International Relations at their inaugural meeting in the Gresham Hotel.
Speaking on “How Catholic Is Western Europe,” he said that the trend was especially evident in the European Press.
The position of the Catholic Church in the world, however, was that the Catholics were in a minority — they numbered barely one-fifth of the human race.
Of the great religions, Islam’s gains in the last 30 years had been the most dominant and bewildering statistical fact of this century.
Islam was on the march, and in Africa they were making converts in the proportion of two to one as compared with Catholicism.
Referring to absenteeism from the Church, Rev. Dr. O’Carroll said that in France it was accepted that only 15 per cent of Catholics went to Mass on Sunday. Absenteeism was an explanation of the staggering effect of Communistic recruitment in France and Italy.
More recently, however, there had been a turning towards Catholicism due to the emergence of striking personalities. The Common Market was an achievement of Catholics, insofar as many of those concerned in the original negotiations were devout Catholics, such as Schuman, Adenauer and de Gasperri. The Common Market countries had a Catholic population of 115,000,000 out of a total population of 160,000,000.
The Countess of Wicklow said that the struggle in Europe was still the struggle for Germany and no tribute to the great Catholic statesman, Adenauer, could be too exaggerated.
Dr. Sidney Ehler said that the electors of six most important countries of free Europe had repeatedly in a number of elections placed their confidence in the leadership of Christian Democratic parties.
The Council of Europe, the Coal and Steel Community and the Common Market were chiefly due to Christian Democratic leaders and it was hardly an exaggeration to say that Europe had lived since the end of the war under the ascendancy of the Catholic Christian Democrats.
Mr. J.A. McCarthy, President of the Association presided.