December 10, 2013 – Mary Eberstadt
// December 10th, 2013 // Quest for a Culture of Life in America
The parallel declines of the family and the Christian Religion in the West (Europe and North America) has long fascinated academicians and sociologists. The debate has typically been over whether family decline caused religion decline, or religion’s decline caused family decline. In How the West Really Lost God, Mary Eberstadt makes the case for religion and family being so intertwined that neither can change without a consequent change in the other.
This influence of family on religion, Mary calls the “Family Factor”–the active effect that family participation has on religious belief and practice.
The American Catholic Church has certainly been in decline for several decades as manifested by closed schools and parishes, fewer vocations to priesthood and religious life, and a mere 25% of Catholics attending weekend Mass.
Family decline is equally evident in the 50% divorce rate, 40% out-of-wedlock birth rate, push for same-sex “marriage”, and the continuing abortion of one out of every four pregnancies. Can Mary convince us that these facts are intertwined?
What does the future hold for the institutions of family (marriage and children), and Church? Mary offers two possibilities–one pessimistic, another optimistic? What do you think? More Churches closing, even smaller families, or a rebirth, a new evangelization, and stable families?