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Jew to Pope: ‘Re-Christianize Europe!’

What a remarkable short piece by David Gelernter in First Things. Read on:

Not for many generations has the Church amassed as much prestige as it has under John Paul II and his successors. They underline (or have so far) the formidable quality of church leadership. Since John Paul II’s elevation in 1978, no nation on earth has been led better. That prestige ought to be used in an important cause, and one where it will matter. There is a desperate cause right under the pope’s nose. What is he doing in the Philippines and South America at a moment when, throughout Europe, Christianity is dying?

And once the fire is dead in Europe, the rest of the world will grow cold too, gradually but inevitably.

The pope must go to his own backyard and preach: to Berlin and Paris and London; must walk out into the center of Trafalgar Square, or some such place, and preach for his life and the life of Europe and Christianity and, ultimately, mankind. I understand that popes are not roving preachers; are not Franciscans, evangelicals, or preening curates in Trollope novels. But they are bishops, shepherds of the whole Christian flock; and a shepherd who sees this sort of catastrophe approach must do something. Worrying about the nuances of doctrine on homosexuality while Europe’s churches are converted one by one into restaurants and health-clubs and (who knows?) discount tire shops is a mistake.

The essay is short but passionately delivered. Gelernter clearly believes this should happen. I am grateful for Gelernter’s encouragement, but would love to know why it matters so much to a believing Jew that Europe should be re-Christianized. Jewish readers, care to hazard a guess? Is it fear of an ever more powerful Islam? Or is it fear of a Europe detached from Christian values? What is it? Whatever it is, I hope the Pope will take Gelernter’s advice.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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