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Senior Catholic Official Praises Immigration for Reviving Christianity in the UK

Senior Catholic Official Praises Immigration for Reviving Christianity in the UK

Newly elected cardinal Vincent Gerald Nichols of Britain talks during a news conference at the British college in downtown Rome, February 24, 2014. | (Photo: Reuters/Max Rossi)

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the senior Roman Catholic official in the U.K., is praising immigration for reviving the Christian faith in a "weary, western secularized culture."

According to The Telegraph, the loss of citizens who identified as Christian is being bolstered by 1.2 million foreign-born Christians living in the U.K., including many Evangelicals who hail from Africa and Polish-born Roman Catholics.

Nichols believes the wave of immigration is not only providing vigor to fledgling churches but helping native-born Brits to reclaim their own "wellsprings of faith."

"I think there are particular challenges with a weary secularized western culture," he added.

"But I think what is happening is that the energy of Christians in particular coming to a wearied, western secularized culture is giving new hope and, certainly in the life of the Christian faith, new resilience and enthusiasm."

The Catholic Church is currently implementing new strategies to spread the Christian message in England and Wales.

A rubber dinghy with 104 sub-Saharan Africans on board waiting to be rescued by the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station is seen some 25 miles off the Libyan coast in this handout photo provided by MOAS October 4, 2014. MOAS, a privately-funded humanitarian initiative, began operating at the end of August and has assisted in the rescue of some 2,200 migrants crossing from Libyan shores towards Europe. | (Photo: Reuters/MOAS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/Handout)

The English Cardinal, born in Crosby, Lancashire, says it is wrong to discount non-native born English when it comes to the health and growth of Christianity in the region. To some degree, the Roman Catholic Church in England has always experienced rejuvenation during various eras in England due to an influx of immigrants.

"If you 'strip out' immigration you are talking about a place that doesn't exist," Cardinal Nichols declared.

"We are a mixed race, we are an island and people arrive here from all over the world and they bring different talents and readiness … you can't separate them, you have to take the reality of Catholic life today," he proclaimed.

The Catholic Church has been especially sustained in England by immigrants from Africa, the Philippines, and Eastern Europe.

Last month, The Christian Post reported on remarks made by Mark Gonzalez at the Future Conference at Skyline Church in Southern California, where he declared that God is providing revival for America by "wrapping it up in immigration."

Gonzalez stated that "the enemy" is trying to divide us on immigration because "if we get this right the revival will sweep through this nation." Gonzalez, a supporter of immigration reform, added that he is not an advocate of illegal immigration.

The United States Conference on Catholic Bishops, however, has stated that it supports "comprehensive immigration reform."

"Our strength as a nation (U.S.) is drawn from our diversity and the unique talents of persons from around the world. Under our current immigration system, we weaken our country, not strengthen it," Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, who is part of the USCCB's Committee on Migration, said last year.

According to some experts, the influx of immigrants into the U.K. will slow down the decline in church attendance within five years. The decline in church membership across all British Christian churches anticipated for 2020 will now not be evident until 2025.

The Pew Research Center's findings reveal that 66 percent of the world's Christians lived in Europe in 1910. That number has now to about 25 percent. According to Pew, 40 percent of the world's Christians will live in sub-Saharan Africa. Muslims are estimated to be over 10 percent of the population in the U.K. by 2050. While Christians will still be the largest faith group, the number of people who identify as Christian will be around 45 percent.

Nichols, formerly the Archbishop of Westminster, was elevated to the office of Cardinal by Pope Benedict in 2010.

The U.K. saw one of the greatest evangelical revivals in the 18th century under the leadership of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement.


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