Oviedo Lluis - Canteras Manuel,
Is there a limit to religious decline?,
Antonianum, 85/2 (2010) p. 243-271
Summary: Theology needs to pay attention to "signs of the time" as a requirement to cope with current challenges. An analysis on the ongoing process of secularization in Europe, or religious downward spiral, and its hypothetical limits is essential. The perceived negative consequences of extreme secularization, and the cyclical nature of religious decline and renewal in the past may be adduced as arguments in favour of such a limit. These hypotheses, however, cannot easily be tested, as secularization today has gone beyond former periods of religious drop, and several European countries show no ending to that process. The analysis of available data sends mixed signals when the main European countries are examined. An alternative approach consists of testing links between religious and social crises. Again the analysis does not provide strong evidence for the alleged thesis, even if neither supports other current theories pointing to a progress of religious decline in Europe. Theology should review some dominant ideas regarding survival of religion while aiming to restore credinility to ist message.