Highlights from the week online

American Christianity is growing stronger

At thefederalist.com Glenn Stanton challenged the myth of Christian decline in the United States. Recent research had shown that Christianity was actually growing stronger, he said.

The research, by Sean Bock and Landon Schnabel, academics at Harvard and Indiana Bloomington University, found that “intense” Christian faith had not declined at all. The proportion of Americans who “attend church more than once a week, pray daily, and accept the Bible as wholly reliable and deeply instructive to their lives has remained absolutely, steel-bar constant for the last 50 years or more,” Stanton wrote. Mainline churches may be “tanking”, he said, but their former members were going elsewhere. The trend meant that the proportion of religious people with a strong, active faith was growing – from 39 per cent to 47 per cent.

“If your Christianity is reconstituted to the day’s fashion, don’t be surprised if people lose interest in it,” Stanton said. “[People] want the genuine deal, and the demographics on religion of the last few decades unmistakably support the fact.”

Praying for the dead in the overhead locker

Writing for the website of East Anglia diocese, Fr Henry Whisenant described an unusual request on an overseas flight. “What I’m going to ask might seem a bit strange,” said the man behind him. “My father is in the overhead compartment…” He was returning from his father’s cremation. A family of secular Jews, they had not had a religious service – but now he asked for some prayers for his departed father.

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection