Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter and of "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary.
A Catholic church in the UK has been sold to the Muslim community. St Peter’s Catholic church in Cobridge will become the Madina Mosque.
The site was put on sale following a dramatic decline in the number of parishioners. A spokeswoman for the archdiocese declared that “the parish of Cobridge has a long history, but in recent times the number of Catholics in the area has shrunk to such an extent that those attending Mass at St. Peter’s were simply no longer able to maintain a priest and the church buildings”.
Islam is replacing Christianity as first religion everywhere in Europe.
In France, the country of famous Catholic intellectuals such as Emmanuel Mounier, Georges Bernanos, Francois Mauriac, Jacques Maritain and Teilhard de Chardin, dozens of churches have been razed to make way for mosques, showrooms and malls.
The last cases are in Saint -Blaise du Breuil, Allier, Saint -Pie- X Hérault and Saint- Jacques d’Abbeville in the Somme. The Observatory for Religious Heritage claims that “for the first time places of worship are destroyed for no apparent reason and turned into parking lots, restaurants, boutiques, gardens and homes”. According to the French Senate, 2,800 Christian religious buildings are now at risk of being demolished.
France now has just 9.000 priests measured against 40,000 during the last war. Many churches are replaced by mosques.
In Quai Malakoff, Nantes, the old Church of St. Christopher became the Mosque of Forqane. The Church of Saint -Aubin du Pavoil was the first to be demolished in the western region of France since 1789, that year of the French Revolution and radical atheism.
Art historian Didier Rykner, who directs the magazine Tribune de l’Art, writes that “for the first time since the Second World War churches have been reduced to rubble”.
Last June, the Church of Saint- Eloi in Vierzon ceased Christian worship and became a Muslim place.
The National Federation of the Great Mosque of Paris, the Council of Democratic Muslims of France and the Collectif Banlieues asked the Catholic Church, in a spirit of “inter-religious solidarity”, to rent the empty churches to the Muslims for their Friday prayers.
The symbol of this rampant secularization and/or Islamisation of French territory is the church of Saint- Pierre -aux -Liens, in Gesté. We are in the region of the “Chouannerie”, the Catholic dissidents who suffered most in the Vendée wars against the armies of Robespierre and where in fact most of the churches have been rebuilt since 1800. The historic church has fallen under the blows of the “deconstruction”, as the socialist municipalities dubbed the destruction of Christian sites, borrowing the term from the postmodern philosopher Jacques Derrida.
Robert Schuman once called it “the Europe of Cathedrals”. But today German cathedrals are put on sale on eBay, looking for potential buyers. The church of St. Bernard in Brandenburg is the twenty-fifth to be put on the market by the Diocese of Berlin in the last ten years. Starting price: 120.000 euros.
Despite the fact that “Papa Emeritus” Joseph Ratzinger comes from Germany and the current German President Joachim Gauck is a Protestant pastor, Germany is literally selling its churches. Some people evoke the “Gott ist tot” (God is dead) of Friedrich Nietzsche.
According to a report in the weekly magazine Spirit, in the next two years 15,000 of the 45,000 existing churches in Germany, a third of the total, will be demolished or sold.
But this is not an economic problem. The churches are closing down because they are empty. It is the phenomenon of the “Konfessionslos”, the Germans without religion. It is estimated that every 75 seconds a German leaves the church.
The church of the Holy Family in Barmstedt has been demolished. Between 1990 and 2010, the German Evangelical Church closed 340 churches. Recently in Hamburg, a Lutheran church was purchased by the Muslim community.
The German weekly Der Spiegel called it “the Last Supper”. In Spandau, the church of St. Raphael is now a grocery store, while in Karl Marx’s town the churches are turned into gyms. In Cologne, a church has been transformed into a luxurious residence with a private pool.
Take Frankfurt am Main. In the 50’s, when Konrad Adenauer was the chancellor, 430,000 Protestants lived in the city. Today there are 110,000. A quarter of the churches in the city have been closed.
The famous leaning tower that vies with Pisa, the campanile located in the German town of Bad Frankenhausen, no longer calls for the faithful. Meanwhile in Petriplatz, in the central Mitte district of Berlin, there is the project of a multicultural building unique in Europe: a mosque, a church and a synagogue all under the same roof. The building will be symbolically built on the ruins of the old church of St. Peter. They call it a “religious amalgam”.
In the Netherlands, two Christian buildings close every week. It is not uncommon to find ritual objects once used in the Dutch churches in Indonesia, Congo, Philippines but also in the former communist countries, such as Ukraine. The Netherlands has, in fact, become the world’s most important exporter of religious objects. Here for the first time secularization has become a business.
“In the Netherlands, the Catholic presence on Sunday was the highest in Europe, ninety per cent”, said Rev. Jan Stuyt of Nijmegen. “Now it is ten percent”. Every year sixty places of worship shut down, are sold or demolished. Between 1970 and 2008, 205 Catholic churches were demolished in the Netherlands and 148 converted into libraries, restaurants, gyms, apartments and mosques.
The Dutch Ministry of Culture has even drawn up guidelines on dealing with the conversion of disused or abandoned churches.
The Fitih Camii Mosque in Amsterdam was a Catholic church.
The church of St. Jacobus, one of the oldest of the city of Utrecht, a cradle of Catholicism, has just been transformed into a luxury residence by a group specializing in the conversion of churches.
The Protestant church loses 60,000 participants each year. At this rate, it will cease to exist by 2050, according to church officials.
In Helmond, a town south of Bilthoven, a supermarket has moved in a former church. A library was opened in a Dominican church in Maastricht, while two churches in Utrecht and Amsterdam have recently been converted into mosques.
In the ultra liberal and tolerant Netherlands, these are known as “the dead churches”.
These are the symbols of the existential condition of the West: the vacuum in the “the evening land” will be filled by the religion coming from the East, “the morning land".