This coming April, AD2000 will have completed 25 years of publication since its first issue was launched by Bob Santamaria in April 1988. Responding to what Blessed John Paul II described as "a genuine crisis" of belief within the Catholic community, the magazine aimed to uphold and defend orthodox Catholicism in faith and morals as taught by the popes and bishops, and set out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
As a new year gets under way, the concerns of 25 years ago remain much the same: among other things, a recovery of the sacred and the re-establishment of a deepened personal faith among Christians. The Church itself needs to find new methods of meeting the challenges of the pervasive decline of religious belief in society through sound religion teaching in the schools, faithful celebration of the Church's liturgy, strong episcopal leadership, and high standards of religious life and priestly formation.
Encouraging developments have occurred in all these areas in recent years, with the development of new religious movements and new orders, and the rediscovery of the Church's rich tradition, but, simultaneously, secularism continues to impact on the Church's membership especially via the advances in mass communication.
In most Western countries, including Australia, attacks on the Church's positions in defence of marriage, family and human life have become more open and aggressive. At the same time, the running sore of clerical child abuse has undermined the Church's credibility as an authentic upholder of moral truths in the eyes of the general population and mass media.
Given these trends, the challenges confronting the most fearless bishops and dedicated teachers grow ever more daunting.
AD2000 will continue to report on positive endeavours such as those of Catholic university student groups, the Missionaries of God's Love, Campion College, the new generation of Catholic priests, and many others, all indicative that a growing number of Catholics remain serious about their faith and are not prepared to throw in the towel in the face of growing religious scepticism and militant secularism.
Their efforts need to be broadcast widely, emulated and encouraged.
Michael Gilchrist, Editor (email address available on request)