My official task in the ROC in Belgium is to represent Orthodoxy to the non-Orthodox here in Belgium.
Unofficially, it is becoming to defend the local RC and Protestant churches from attack from Orthodox, quick to draw sweeping conclusions with very little knowledge of the local territory.
Like a friend who linked the retreat of German Protestantism to moral laxity (gay marriages, female clergy, and the rest...).
I quote my reply:
“I hesitate in seeing a direct relationship between women priests, gay marriages and abortion and reduced Protestant church attendance. (…)
I suspect that the problem lies not in a loss of a sense of morality among Protestants (moral debate among Protestants on issues like euthanasia and homosexuality can be excruciatingly intense). Rather it is that Protestantism has been largely based on morality, and very little else, (...) with very little sense of beauty or mystery, except if you are keen on organ music.
Once I decide that as an adult (cf. Bonhoeffer’s ‘man come of age’) that I can make my own moral judgements, outside of the church, and without the need of its pastors, there is really very little reason to go to church.
Nor am I really sure that the Catholic ‘Fussvolk’ (Catholicism in Germany is holding its ground) is really that anti-gay, anti-woman priest, anti- all abortions. I rather suspect that many do not really follow the official Church line in their hearts, but have learned to keep their mouths shut - at least so long as they are not directly affected.”