DUTCH CATHOLICS RENAME LENT "RAMADAN" TO APPEAL TO MUSLIMS
From Telegraph.co.uk: "Dutch Catholics have re-branded the Lent fast as the "Christian Ramadan" in an attempt to appeal to young people who are more likely to know about Islam than Christianity.
The Catholic charity Vastenaktie, which collects for the Third World across the Netherlands during the Lent period, is concerned that the Christian festival has become less important for the Dutch over the last generation.
"The image of the Catholic Lent must be polished. The fact that we use a Muslim term is related to the fact that Ramadan is a better-known concept among young people than Lent," said Vastenaktie Director, Martin Van der Kuil.
Three decades ago the Catholic Church was as strict as many Muslims are about Ramadan with a total ban on meat and alcohol during the 40-day Lenten period between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
Restoring the counter-cultural disciplines of lent would certainly do more to attract Muslims than a further watering down or "polishing" of the faith.
"Most Dutch Catholics now focus on charitable work after the Vatican loosened fasting strictures for all but the first and last days of Lent back in 1967.
"Four million Dutch describe themselves as Roman Catholics and 400,000 people attend Mass every week but only a few tens of thousands still mark Lent by fasting, said Mr Van der Kuil
The falling away of so many is further evidence that conformity with the world over the last half-century has failed.
"Vastenaktie organisers hope that by linking the festival to Ramadan they can remind Christians who may be less observant than Muslims of the "spirituality and sobriety" of Lent.
"''The agreements are more striking than the differences. Both for Muslims and Catholic faithful the values of frugality and spirituality play a central role in this tradition,' said Mr Van der Kuil."
No, the differences are striking--the denial of the Holy Trinity and of Jesus Christ as the Son of God cannot be ignored or downplayed for the sake of a wordly peace.