Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Is the Catholic Church losing its grip?

By Brian Holden - posted Monday, 28 July 2008

Understanding church-think

When he was here, the pope called for the protection of the natural environment. That call came about 40 years after atheists and agnostics ratcheted up the then low profile green movement into world prominence. Why this discovery of the environmental peril by the pope at five minutes to midnight? Why will we have to wait for the next pope to admit that having lots of children is not good for the environment either?

The fact is that the church has no genuine interest in the natural environment nor animal welfare nor prison reform nor any other enlightened movement. Concessions are made only when the back is to the wall. There is a disinterest in our trying to make this a better world. (A distinction has to be made here between the conservative bishops and those priests with their feet on the ground and who often act on their own initiative.)

The belief is that there is an afterlife - and it lasts for eternity. Relative to eternity, the time we spend on this Earth is nothing. This world only exists for us to prepare for the next. Many thousands of Catholics over the centuries have spent their adult lives in monasteries and convents where almost every waking moment was devoted to getting to Heaven. Much of the pre-Protestant Reformation thinking lives on.


However, the disinterest in quality of life could not possibly be total. The medieval teaching that misery was good for your soul, won’t wash today. The faithful, on the whole, do not want to live lives of sacrifice while their non-Catholic neighbours are enjoying life.

As Jesus was worldly enough to expect people to help each other, for centuries the church has shown some interest in our physical and emotional needs rather than simply our spiritual needs. Today’s examples are the St Vincent de Paul Society and the establishing of hospitals (which are now receiving funding from the public).

The visible charity work can be a distraction. The non-religious should be aware of what the real agenda of the church is: the church is here to assist us in passing the tests we need to qualify for Heaven.

The changing church is a weakening church

The strength of the Catholic Church was that it was unchanging. This is what separated it from the Protestant churches. It was the rock shaped by God Himself. There is a core which is untouchable. Outside of the untouchable core, change can occur - but only after everything is done to avoid it. The bishops know that the more the change, the less credibility the church has, and the weaker its grip on the faithful becomes.

We observed an example of a conceded change last week at the World Youth Day celebrations. By tapping into the potential of crowd dynamics, the Catholic Church has taken a page out of the Pentecostal’s book. There was music which sounded nothing like hymns and there was the waving of national flags. The overlay of the traditional trappings of the church looked out of place. It was obvious to old Catholics that the church was losing its grip.

The plummeting number of priests is a terminal illness

In 1950, daily Mass had good attendance and the churches were nearly full to hear Sunday Mass. There were two million Catholic priests in the world. By 2000, many churches were not even opening on Sundays. As the speed of the fall is accelerating, the church will have become unrecognisable well before 2050.


At the foundation of the church is a priest in every parish. When ordained, it is believed that the priest receives mystical powers to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ at Mass. He can also anoint the dying and hear confession. Even if its very survival is at stake, the church will not select members from the congregation to administer these three sacraments.

Pedophilia has done irreparable damage

In the minds of many, the title of “Catholic priest” is now synonymous with “pedophile”. Benedict XV1 has inherited a problem bigger than any since the Protestant Reformation - and it is just as irreparable.

At the very beginning, somebody told the story that the birth of Jesus was a virgin birth ((immaculate conception). This was not only biologically impossible, but the necessity to have the mother of Jesus not engaging in the sex act, defined sexual feelings to be essentially grubby.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

211 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Brian Holden has been retired since 1988. He advises that if you can keep physically and mentally active, retirement can be the best time of your life.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Brian Holden

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Brian Holden
Article Tools
Comment 211 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy