By now it has become a fashion. For Christmas throughout Italy churches and cathedrals have become places where people eat and drink. The spearhead of this use – certainly singular, for many improper, for some almost blasphemous – of the places dedicated institutionally to the worship of God and prayer is the Community of Sant’Egidio which for years has been doing this kind of ceremony, in Rome and elsewhere. I must say that such an operation, carried out by an institution – the Catholic Church – directly and indirectly responsible for an extremely vast and differentiated real estate – knows a great deal of demagogy. I cannot believe that the bishops and the parish priests cannot find other places that are not churches to offer Christmas lunches. With empty or half-empty seminaries and convents in the Church, do we need to finish with tagliatelle, lambrusco and panettone? But come on … Certainly it is not something that could happen in the world of Orthodox Christianity, or Judaism, or even I believe in Islam. On this theme, Stilum Curiae is pleased to host a reflection by Giorgio Spallone.
The banquet and the harvest
In these days we learn about churches, a bit throughout the peninsula, used as eating places and places for concerts of varied music. At the same time, the Bishops have on the agenda the theme of the destination of the churches being dismissed and of the closure, by unification, of parishes. All this when, for many years now, many parish priests, often no longer young and especially in rural and mountain areas, live in solitude, with an overload of the indispensable service of celebration of the sacraments among the many Christian communities entrusted to them. We do not want here an evaluation, although problematic, of what happens, but an attempt to examine the cause, which resides in the now chronic and, as for Europe, endemic shortage of priests and desertification of the seminaries for lack of vocations. On this subject we see from the ecclesiastical hierarchy a resigned acknowledgment, accompanied by an impotent silence. It will be said that the social context has changed compared to the past; but God, for believers, continues to call, as always, over the centuries. The problem of adults, pastors and lay Christians, is that they no longer know how to provide to young people with the conditions for listening. Is it not perhaps that the socially more counter-current and subversive choice is no longer perceived by the young as such, because of the progressive homologation of the figure of the priest to any other worldly work or profession? How can a young person let take root and grow the desire to spend his life entirely for the Gospel if he does not see around high paradigms of distinction from the world, but on the contrary a chasing of the Church towards the things of the world? Naturally losing chase, in whose wheezing fades the indispensable vertical spirituality and supernatural vision. On this the Christians, first the Pastors, must question themselves, fixing a reality fraught with dangers, without myopic references and guilty fatalisms. If it is certain, in fact, that the One who is the foundation of the Church is at the same time guarantor, also for us, men of this time, the question is valid: “When the Son of man returns, will he still find faith on earth?”
(From Stilum Curiae, January 2019. 2019©AP. Used with permission)