Church Seen to Be Enjoying an Uptick

Author Stands By His Earlier Assessment

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By Carrie Gress

COLUMBUS, Ohio, DEC. 6, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Instead of turning away from the faith and embracing the relativism of society, more and more youths are actually embracing the teachings of the Church, says Catholic author David Hartline.

Speaking with ZENIT, Hartline, author of "The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism," said: "Many have asked me since the release of my book earlier this year if this tide of good news will continue or if it just a temporary cause for joy.

"The answer is that this tide continues to gather strength. Good news is abounding in the Church."

Hartline's book chronicles trends within the Church, showing that the negative slide in numbers and interest in it and its teachings is swinging in the other direction.

Rejecting relativism

"When the young gravitated toward Pope John Paul II," said Hartline, "many skeptics said this was only temporary. When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pontiff, many said the young would leave.

"However, just the opposite happened, the young remained and could easily relate to Benedict XVI's comments on the 'dictatorship of relativism.'"

"Many young people saw what the relativistic culture was doing to their friends and family," he continued. "It was tearing them apart.

"One only need look at various youth conferences around the world where there are long lines for the confessional and Eucharistic adoration and where the recitation of the rosary is greeted by large crowds."

"Recently in the United States," he added, "the National Catholic Youth Conference held in Columbus, Ohio, saw over 20,000 in attendance. The numbers were triple that of conferences held 15 years ago."

Embracing truth

"More young people are embracing the core of our 2,000-year-old faith and rejecting the latest whims and trends that society is throwing at them," Hartline emphasized.

He added: "The number of seminarians and postulants to women's religious orders continued to increase, most notably in African and Asia but also Europe and North America. This fall it was reported that 8 million converts came into the Church last year from Asia and Africa, while 3,000 priests were ordained on those two continents."

"The young," Hartline explained, "continue to use their talents for the Church in various entertainment forms. Many younger Catholic athletes regularly speak out about their faith to various Catholic media," while "Catholic-oriented films like 'Bella' showcase rising stars like Leo Severino, Eduardo Verástegui and Alejandro Monteverde."

The author said that in an interview he did with Verástegui, "the young actor explained why he walked away from being exalted as the next Latin lover of the silver screen. Turning down millions, he decided that he wanted to star in and produce movies that not only his own mother would enjoy, but also the Blessed Mother."

"While some Christian churches are in a free fall," said Hartline, "the Catholic Church is one of the only organized churches growing. Many people attribute this to Benedict XVI's strong leadership, but it is also because of the gift of the teaching authority of the Church, which frees us from our beliefs being molded by those who dissect opinion polls.

"As you can see, there is much to be thankful for this Christmas. Indeed the tide is turning."