Friday, 15 April 2011

Paris in the Spring

Just back from a very enjoyable few days in Paris.
We were told that the city was on high alert after a law was passed banning the wearing of the burka in public and the police, and indeed the army, were very visible in all parts of the city, though we saw only one very small demonstration against the new law.
We visited most of the popular tourist haunts and the city looked great, far better than I remembered it from my last visit in 1991.
There was very little sign of an economic downturn,though there were more beggars on the streets than I have seen in other cities recently.
It is hard to measure the spiritual temperature of a place in a few days but  Paris  looks even more materialistic than other places and from all I read the church in France appears  weak, and seems to have little influence.Although still nominally Roman Catholic less than 10% of  those who describe themselves as Catholic attend church.

We visited some stunning church buildings including the Notre Dame and the Basilique du Sacré Cœur with its amazing ceiling

These churches were crowded with tourists but looking around I was also struck by the number of people praying and lighting candles and also the number of people writing down prayer requests in books that had been provided for the purpose.
Even if we assume that only a small percentage of these people attend worship regularly ,they do at least provide evidence that human beings have real spiritual needs and are in some way reaching out and looking for Gods help in their lives
I know UK Christians who have worked in France for many years and found the going very tough, but I was left wondering what more the church here could do to help the church in France?

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