PINS -- "Philippines, India, Nigeria, South Korea" -- John Allen, Jr.'s acronym for Catholic populations that will shape the Church's future.
As with so much else, Allen hits the nail on the head here. Over the past decade the West has recognized suddenly "global Christianity." The faith is, and has been, growing there faster and more fervently than its traditional homes of North America and Europe. An early, and certainly not the first nor the only, example is Philip Jenkins' The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (Oxford, 2002; revised edition, 2013). Jenkins, as is his style, did not shy away from controversial conclusions, namely that "global Christianity" would be more conservative than its Euro-American predecessor. Pope Francis' ascendancy to the Chair of Peter, despite the wide-ranging reservations and outright criticisms of the Holy Father, could be seen as validating Jenkins' argument.
Allen follows that path, contributing some real, up-to-date specifics. First, all of these countries:
On each of these Allen adds:
The ferment [over legislation proposing state regulation of religious ministries, Christian or Muslim] is a reminder that Nigeria will likely face a major headache for some time to come, which is how to give the state the tools it needs to combat deadly religious extremism – without also handing it tools it could use, were it so inclined, the gag mainstream religious leaders trying to give voice to civil society.
Allen's Crux publication will soon move from The Boston Globe to support from The Knights of Columbus. This continuity is crucial for all American Catholics, and especially the Catholic blogosphere because through Allen's good work--and that of others, like Rocco Palma of Whispers in the Loggia--the Church's micro- and macrocosmic developments remain accessible to us. This is especially pertinent given the internationalization trend Allen discusses in this post. As he himself notes:
If the issues seem remote or unfamiliar, remember that American or European preoccupations often strike these folks the same way – and, more and more, they’re going to be setting the Catholic tone, not us.
Read Allen's article here.