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Fr. Bell: “the Church has had small influence of late”

14 August 2017

Fr. Bernard Iddings Bell.jpg

 

“That the Church has had small influence of late, and seems likely to have little more in the immediate future, is the Church’s own fault. Christians have been too willing to come to terms with, and even to flatter, an essentially godless world. Sometimes this has been due to ecclesiastical venality; more often it has come about from inability to understand what has been happening. Carried along by inertia, churchmen have watched without comprehension while congregations have melted away, while the secularly educated younger generation increasingly has absented itself from worship and activity. To have retired fighting before the attacks of a growing secularism would have been a hard but glorious adventure, perhaps the prelude to a new and vigorous offensive; to have drifted into the position of a tolerated minority, politely begging an increasingly indifferent multitude for occasional smiles and reluctant contributions, has been to enact a role no less ignominious because ecclesiastics have not known what they were doing, no less deplorable because the populace, at least in Anglo-Saxon countries, has been too polite to tell church people the truth about themselves.”

Fr. Bernard Iddings Bell, The Atlantic Monthly, 1942

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