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Confronting the long march of secularism

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 Contents - Apr 2009AD2000 April 2009 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Confronting the long march of secularism - Michael Gilchrist
Benedict XVI addresses a Vatican conference on evolution and Christianity - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
US Catholic universities: how not to observe Lent
American women religious: Vatican apostolic visitation - AD2000 REPORT
Red Mass Homily: Catholics as 'bearers of light' in a secular culture - Bishop Peter J. Elliott
Anti-life platform: Archbishop Chaput: President Obama and the challenge for US Catholics - Archbishop Charles Chaput
Foundations of Faith: The Mass and private devotions in Catholic life - Br Barry Coldrey
Andrew Cichy: A bold project to reinvigorate Church music in Australia - Anthony Barich
Events: Holy Week 2009 - Traditional liturgy in Melbourne
Conversion: Peter has spoken through Leo: why I became a Catholic - Michael Daniel
Letters: Active Catholics? - Rev Edward P. Evans
Letters: Hippies - Stephen Hemingway
Letters: Dissent - Peter D. Howard
Letters: The Pill - Denise M. Cameron
Letters: Capitalism - William Briggs
Letters: Church unity - Alan Baron
Letters: Love and truth - Frank Mobbs
Letters: Church in China - Francis Vrijmoed
Letters: Bush fires - Maureen Federico
Books: RENDER UNTO CAESAR:Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life, Charles Chaput - Tim Cannon (reviewer)
Books: LIVING BIBLICALLY, by Archbishop Barry Hickey - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: AD2000 Books for April
Reflection: The Resurrection: confirmed by faith and reason - Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli

The Australian Government's approval on 10 March of funding for overseas foreign aid programs that include the provision of abortions will appal all who respect human life and want development programs to improve pre-natal and post-natal care for mothers.

The Australian decision echoed that of US President Barack Obama when he abolished the Mexico City Policy prohibiting the use of taxpayer funds for providing or promoting abortions abroad.

The provision of abortion will do nothing for the health of mothers and children in the developing world.

Disturbingly, a majority of Catholic voters (admittedly among the non- practising ones) supported Barack Obama in the presidential election, despite his well-known pro-abortion stance.

The inexorable moves in Western countries towards removal of all legal barriers to abortion on demand, as well as recognising homosexual marriage and adoption, indicate the extent to which secularist ideas have penetrated key areas of opinion-shaping and policy-making.

One explanation for this phenomenon is evident in the just-released findings of a comprehensive survey of Americans' religious beliefs. It shows the number of non-believers has almost doubled to 15 percent over the past 18 years while the number calling themselves Christians has fallen by 11 percent over the same period. Australian statistics show similar trends.

Of further significance is the fact that non-believers appear to be disproportionately represented in the mass media and in areas of government.

The challenge facing Christians in Australia and the US in light of these negative developments - and how they should respond - is set out in articles by Bishop Elliott and Archbishop Chaput (see pages 8, 9).

More than ever, active Christians will need to demonstrate the courage of their convictions if they hope to bring the Gospel message to an increasingly secularised public square.

Michael Gilchrist, Editor (email address available on request)

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 22 No 3 (April 2009), p. 2

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