Perhaps it is living long enough to recall a time when the definition of marriage was obvious, families with three or more children routine, and abortion a shameful aberration; but it is a dismaying time. Add to that the Saracen not outside the gate, but demanding shariah on European streets and in its municipalities ... well, it is no wonder that death knells are sounding across the blogosphere.
It is providential that we have a Pope who has taken it upon himself to help Europe come to itself, "slopping the swine" and bereft as it presently is "in a far country." We see in Benedict XVI God's man and Saint Peter's successor a man who loves what once was Christendom and has decidedly not given up on it.
That said, however, Hilaire Belloc, the great and largely forgotten 20th century man of letters (1st History, Oxford) and friend of Chesterton, saw the sad state of England coming more than a half century ago. According to Paul Likoudis (Ed. @ The Wanderer):
"England's condition was especially serious, Belloc warned, for the effort to cut the English from the traditions of the race through a 'Reformation' was now four centuries old and England was on the precipice of a brutal neo-paganism as a consequence ... To Belloc, only a person who thinks with the Church could see, looming on the horizon, the Neopagan Barbarian ready to storm the broken gates of Christendom" (Saint Austin Review, Sept.-Oct. 2003, 9-10).
England's cliffs of Dover long ago turned their backs on Mother Church. Only time will tell if BXVI will live long enough to see his hopes fulfilled, and the Father welcome his footsore and beaten down prodigal trapsing back to the gladsome Farm of truth, goodness, and beauty. Only time will tell; till then let us watch and pray "more than watchmen for the morning -- more than watchmen for the morning."