I was listening to the news yesterday and it seems that Pope Benedict got an enormous, screaming, fainting reception in Mexico. Mexico is an interesting nation-state. When they won their independence from Spain, the new government was so adamant about establishing their sole rule and monopoly on power that they basically kicked the Roman Catholic Church to the curb. Mexico remains a deeply Catholic nation, yet you can’t get married in a church in Mexico. You have to go to the town hall, to be married by a secular government official.
So after almost 200 years of the Mexican government waging war on the Church, what’s up with people lining the Pope’s route to town, ten deep, for 21 miles? We could look to the collapse of the Soviet Union for a similar phenomenon: when the secular, anti-religious government collapsed after 70 years of repressing every vestige of religion, the Church sprang from the ground like the spring lilies. And this brings to mind the resurgence of religion in America (and elsewhere, the MidEast being a blinking, honking, flashing example).
Disclaimer: I am not religious. I am a confirmed Deist. I believe absolutely in the existence of the Creator, but I’m not a member of any religious denomination. I do appreciate religion as a tremendously valuable social structure.
Here’s what I think about the resurgence of religion. The secular power of the nation-state is failing, very visibly. There are a handful of nation-states that aren’t train-wrecks: Switzerland, Singapore, hmmmmmm, that’s about it. As people in Mexico come to realize that their government is incapable of solving the problems of that long suffering nation, and as Benedict speaks out about narco-violence, the people are turning back to the Church for comfort, if not solutions.
The people of Russia did the same thing, as are the people of the MidEast, and of America. And Europe won’t be far behind, I’ll bet a nickel on that. As the Europeans come to realize that, except for a few nations (all of which still have church taxes), they’re all going to be in for hard times, the trend toward secularism will wane as the power and influence of the Church waxes. Their secular governments will be powerless to restore shattered dreams, but the Church will be there … as it’s always been there … to offer equality and comfort and community to all. While the super-rich run things to their own benefit, the rest of us take comfort knowing that it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter Heaven.
I don’t assign any value judgment to this turn of events. I simply note that it’s occurring, and why. I trust that intelligent, well-informed citizens will come to the right conclusions. Meanwhile, I’m gonna’ head out back, stare at the sky, admire the Master Watchmaker’s handiwork, and relish the entire situation.
G’day all, and may God continue to bless America.