Roman Catholicism in Spain Today
Over 3/4 the Spanish population would claim to be Catholics, but less than half of these 'regularly' attend mass unless there is some kind of party invitation to follow, such as a baptism, wedding or funeral. The church has also effectively lost its voice in an increasingly secularised society.
Many people who were christened as Catholics do not attend mass unless there is a meal afterwards (baptisms, first communions, weddings, etc..) and even then more just stand outside the door or in the bar across the street. It simply says nothing to them. They are walking away from their religion, but few have new ideas about where they are heading. They attempt to fill the gap with secularism, materialism or simple activity. Others fill the void with drink, drugs or gambling. And yet others begin to investigate religious or pseudo-religious movements as far from Christianity as possible, while some fall into the hands of marginal movements like the Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons.
However, old-fashioned superstition, merging seamlessly with New Age philosophy are common and for many the -or a specific image of the- virgin has preeminence over Jesus. The late Pope, on his 2003 visit to Spain, bode farewell with the words."Hasta siempre, España, hasta siempre, Tierra de María!" ("Farewell, Spain, farewell, land of Mary!")
One of the most fascinating movements to come out of Spanish Catholicism in the past century was the Opus Dei, a sort of semi-secret society of business and political leaders, as well as clergy. See their own web page at: http://www.opusdei.org/ Its founder, speaking with reference to the university he established, wrote the following: " The University of Navarra strives to make present in all its undertakings the idea that human work is proof of man's supremacy over the material world. Human work is, in fact, a means to develop one's own personality and a source of unity among people. Work is, in its most basic sense, man's way to contribute to the progress of humanity."
Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer
Another fascinating movement within the church is the lobby movement to create ever more "Saints". For example, the effective founder of the Spanish Inquisition has such a lobby group.
Here is an interesting article from The Guardian, 31 March 2011.
Comment from ICPRESS:
Catholic Communion without Mary...
... is UNTHINKABLE
Rome, May 8th, 2003.
So, it's all about Mary really, is it? While the ecumenical movement is still reeling from the latest missile launched by the Vatican in the form of the papal encyclical on the Eucharist, it appears that the aim was to put Mary back at the mystic heart of the communion service. No wonder Protestants are not welcome at the altar.
The Pope says the decree follows on from other themes such as 'Marian crowning' and 'Rosarium Virginis Mariae' in which the mother of Jesus is side by side with her son. "Contemplate the face of Christ and contemplate it with Mary" is the idea behind the latest move, part of the programme for 21st century evangelism. It brings together two key elements in Catholic dogma - Christ and Mary. Apparently, true worship at Communion from a Roman perspective, involves Mary.
The Vatican is concerned that people are not taking the sacrament seriously enough: "The Eucharist is too great a gift to admit ambiguity or reductionism." However, the big surprise comes in the form of a chapter devoted to Mary's role in the Eucharist. She is described as "a eucharistic woman" and is one of the most novel aspects of this latest encyclical. She is as inseparable from the Eucharist as is the Church, according to this new teaching.
Such a position is defended on the grounds that Mary acted 'eucharistically' even before the Last Supper introduced the practice, by offering her body to be used in the Incarnation of Jesus. "Mary, through living her life alongside Christ, and not only at Calvary, made her own the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist. Mary is present with the Church and, as Mother of the Church, is present in all our eucharistic celebrations." The Pope then calls on Catholics "to listen to most holy Mary, in whom the eucharistic mystery is shown, more than in any other, to be a mystery of light."
Why doesn't Rome simply rename herself 'The Church of Mary'?
Source: the demised ICPRESS
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