Friday, January 28, 2011
Here (thanks to a friend) is an as-per-usual interesting essay by John Allen, in which he explains (among other things) that and why "[r]eligious freedom is destined to be the towering diplomatic and political priority of the Vatican and the global church in the 21st century." A bit:
As the 21st century rolls on, the leadership tone in Catholicism will increasingly be set by [those] . . . who live in neighborhoods where the battle for religious freedom isn’t about an alleged “war on Christmas” or the latest exhibit in an art gallery. It’s a matter of life and death, as recent events in Iraq, Egypt and Nigeria, as well as India, eloquently illustrate.
As leaders from those parts of the world exercise greater influence on the Vatican and on global Catholic consciousness, religious freedom will be set in stone as the church’s top diplomatic and geopolitical priority.
In English-speaking Catholicism, India in particular will be a force. By mid-century there will be 25 million Catholics in India, more than the Catholic populations of England, Ireland and Canada combined. Since English is the primary language of Indian theological and public policy debate, Indian Catholics will exercise a gravitational pull in Anglophone Catholic circles.
The pride of place assigned to religious freedom may frustrate some Catholic social justice activists, who would like to see a greater share of time and treasure invested in anti-poverty crusades, campaigns against war and the arms trade, environmental struggles, and so on. Those issues won’t disappear, but as long as Catholics have to fear for their lives precisely in those parts of the world where the church is experiencing its most dramatic growth, defending religious freedom will remain at the top of the to-do list. . . .