What the US can learn from secularism in Europe, priest explains

Father Georg, LC, proposes five principles to evangelize culture in the US as he learns the effects of secularism in Europe.

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Tim Daniel

(ZENIT News / Napa, 10.24.2023).- If Europe is 20 years ahead of the United States in the process of secularization, is there something the United States can learn from Europe to better confront the impact of secularism?

Father Georg Elsbett lives in Vienna, where 99% of Catholics under 35 do not practice their faith. Based on his experience and trend analysis, Father Georg gave a lecture at the Napa Institute in the United States, addressing a fundamental question: «Can we learn from Europe to better confront the impact of secularism?» Father Georg, a priest of the Legionaries of Christ, delved into questions like «How do we make people who don’t believe, believe?»

Father Georg’s answers are based on the context provided by the Megatrends of «Optionality» (Charles Taylor) and «authenticity» (as interpreted by J. Hartl in his understanding of modernity). The five principles, which not only respond to the mentioned megatrends but actually utilize them, are:

– Principles about models: Don’t seek a model to follow but principles to shape.
– Maintaining tension (the idea of «Spannungseinheit» by Romano Guardini applied to pastoral work).
– Facilitating relevant experiences of faith: People are increasingly seeking experiences rather than answers to questions (although answers are important).
– Prioritizing discipleship: Thinking in terms of «steps» or «processes» rather than «apostolates.»
– Living in an authentic evangelizing community.

The foundation for all of the above is, of course, a Culture of Prayer. We offer the complete talk by Father Georg, the director of the Zentrum Johannes Paul II in Vienna.


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