On a trip to Italy a number of years ago, I was struck by the magnificence of the churches, cathedrals, and basilicas. At the same time, I was even more astonished by the emptiness of these incredible edifices of European civilization. Most of the people populating these churches were older women; hardly any young people were present. Yet, Italy has a much greater church attendance than the Netherlands, France, Germany or the United Kingdom (UK).
In many of the European countries however, the shrinking attendance and affiliation has forced churches to close down, or be sold to the ever growing Muslim communities in Europe. It also reflects the decline of the Christian faith in Europe – both Catholic and Protestant. This phenomenon bodes ill for Europe, whose Christian faith sustained and enriched it for centuries. Christianity today, more than ever before, can be a unifying factor in a continent that has lost faith in the future. This loss of faith is manifested in the decline of fertility rates, marriages, and children. Conversely, the influx of millions of young Muslims with high fertility rates has transformed the educational system in Europe, where in some grammar and high-schools, Muslim children (mostly of North African parentage) count for over 50% of the pupils. It has also impacted on the culture and politics of Europe.