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Changes in Religious Practice

  1. The past three decades have witnessed significant changes in the role of religion in society. Western Europe and North America, where a good number of Jesuit schools are located, have seen a significant decline in the number of people that claim a religious affiliation, especially among younger generations. [30]
  2. In these places, it is not uncommon to hear doubts regarding the relevance of religion, particularly in light of scientific progress and under the pressures of consumer culture.
  3. While the phenomenon remains disputed, the phrase “spiritual but not religious” has entered common parlance, and many wonder why today’s youth are attracted to this form of religious expression. For context, it is worthwhile to reflect upon a statement in The Universal Apostolic Preferences:
  4. A mature secularized society opens up spaces for the complex dimensions of human freedom, especially religious freedom. [31]
  5. Wealthier nations tend to be less religious. [32]
  6. In other parts of the world, the number of people affiliated with religion is increasing. [33]
  7. By the mid 21st century: [34]
  8. a. The percentage of Christians worldwide is likely to remain the same;
  9. b. The percentage of Muslims is predicted to rise dramatically, nearly reaching the number of Christians. Moreover, Muslim populations are likely to rise considerably in Western Europe and North America.
  10. c. Pentecostal Christian denominations are on the rise in Latin America and Africa.

Exercise 16. For discernment:

In your region of the world:

  1. How do you assess these changes?
  2. What are the most significant developments?
  3. What developments seem to reflect the greater good?
  4. In this context, what has your educational apostolate done?
  5. What should your educational apostolate be doing?