Monday, April 10, 2006

Monks and their monasteries go into retreat as recruits dwindle (Britain)

Monks first arrived in Britain almost 2,000 years ago but they are now in danger of all but disappearing within a generation, figures suggest.

A growing number of Roman Catholic monasteries are being sold as their ageing communities are hit by death and plunging vocations.

While a few larger institutions such as the Catholic independent schools may be strong enough to survive - though increasingly run by lay people - smaller houses will fade away if trends continue.

The official figures show that the flow of new recruits reached a trickle in 2004, when just 12 men joined monasteries, and the trend has been downwards for decades.

Although there was a modest recovery last year, when the numbers rose to 18, insiders concede that it was probably a blip, rather than any upsurge, following the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

[…] The news is no better for nuns, who have experienced a parallel decline and now total 1,150.
In 1982, 100 women entered convents, 50 of them into enclosed orders, but by 2000 the number had declined to 22 and in 2004 it was just seven. Last year saw a slight increase to 13.

Moreover, the average age of people entering both monasteries and convents is climbing.

An analysis of the 12 women who joined enclosed orders in 2003 found that three were aged between 31 and 35, five between 41 and 50 and four were over 50.
(Read the whole story at the News Telegraph (UK) online.)

A sad commentary on the state of the Faith in Darkest Eurabia. It is quite a contrast to some of the vibrant orthodox religious communities in the United States, not to mention in the rapidly-Christianizing southern hemisphere,

It is an ironic phenomenon. The cradle of Christianity was occupied by Islam, following which the Christian faith has largely been eliminated. Now, in historic Christendom, the Christian faith has largely been eliminated, followed by the real possibility that it will be occupied by Islam in a generation or two. Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, the Church grows like – well, like seed sown on rich soil.

It said the gospel must be proclaimed to all nations before the end of days. I guess it never said it had to be proclaimed to all nations simultaneously. People make their individual choices, but whole cultures make their choices as well.