The fact of the matter is that Europe is burying more people than it is giving birth to these days. The population numbers continue to plummet. And there is a direct correlation to the relativistic attitude and the contraceptive mentality that has taken root on European soil, and in European hearts.
The Churches are empty and the people are disillusioned with organized religion.
In a positive step to combat this religious morass, a Synod of Bishops will meet in Tirana to discuss the New Evangelization of Europe.
Do you know where Tirana is? Well, if you clicked on the link above or know your geography, you do.
It's in Albania!
Now, in my humble opinion, this is one of the most inspired moves I have witnessed on the part of the European Bishops of late. Albania is a small country that was isolated from the world for decades as part of the "cold war", and really didn't rejoin European culture until just recently.
They are wonderful blend of East and Western culture, as well. Albania borders, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia (regions that were once part of the former Yugoslavia); they are also border Greece.
I remember when my husband and I traveled through Macedonia, we got as close to the Albania border as was possible, both legally and safely, We were reminded about the Eastern Bloc influence on this country as we approached the Shrine of St. Cyril and Methodius on the Macedonian/Albanian border and were greeted by large signs that said "STAY OUT!"; "TURN AROUND!"; "ARMED GUARDS!"
This is a people of devote and innocent Faith. Their Catholic culture was nurtured under extreme oppression. As a result, it is a beautiful and fruitful place to begin a conversation about the evangelization of Europe, and perhaps the unification of the Churches in the East and the West. (Not to mention that it is also the birth place of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta -- a very powerful intercessor for conversion!)
This is exciting news, and hopefully will yield a 100 fold return (cf. Mark 4:8) for the efforts of the Bishops. The evangelization of Europe is at hand!