Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Letter of the Day

Catholic Church still growing

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Gwynne Dyer's Feb. 16 column, Still the 'Roman' Catholic Pope, states that the church is hemorrhaging and that Pope Benedict is to blame. Statistics show that the Catholic population increased from 1.181 billion in 2009 to 1.196 billion in 2010, a growth of 1.3 per cent.

Two-thirds of Asian Catholics are in the Philippines. The future of believers in the Asian continent will depend, to a large extent, on religious liberty, which is being eroded in the West. Brazil, with 161 million inhabitants (88 per cent Catholic), is the largest Catholic country in the world, followed by Mexico, 94 per cent of whose 95 million inhabitants are Catholics.

There are presently 60 million Catholics in the U.S., almost 25 per cent of the of the population. In Africa there are 110 million Catholics, 15 per cent of the population. Oceania has 26 million inhabitants, seven million of whom, or 26 per cent, are Catholic. Does this show a widespread or uncontrolled loss?

Pope Benedict has stressed that faith without reason is superstition and that reason without faith is self-cannibalizing and can easily deteriorate into various forms of irrationality. Dyer's statements are irrational. The Catholic Church, founded strictly on the evangelical message of love, continues to grow because the secularist self-enclosed view of the world, without windows, doors or skylights, is not appealing. It only stifles the human spirit, including the capacity to think clearly.

FRANCINE LEE

Catholic Civil Rights League

Carman

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 23, 2013 A16

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