Italy is the center of the Roman
Catholic Church, but the church is steadily losing its influence. Many are searching, but few are turning to
Christ. A shortage of workers means that
many never hear the gospel.
is located in southern Europe. It is a boot shaped peninsula in the
Mediterranean Sea and two islands - Sicily and
The terrain is a combination of mountains and plains.
The population of Italy
is approximately 58 million. Most (over
90%) are native Italians. There are
significant cultural and economic differences between northern and southern
Italy is a member of the European
Union. Northern Italy has more industry
and is wealthier than southern Italy. Rampant crime coupled with government
inefficiency and instability has hampered economic growth.
Italy became a nation in 1861. After a series of authoritarian rulers, Italy became a
republic following defeat in World War II.
However, the elected governments have typically been unstable and
short-lived. Corruption and crime are
widespread. Much of the power in Italy lies with
organized crime. These organizations
have such influence that the government has had little success against them.
The Roman Catholic Church lost
its position as the official state church in 1984. Although it still dominates, the Catholic
Church has lost a significant amount of influence since World War II. The number of members and priests has fallen
rapidly in recent years, and many are disillusioned with the church.
Unfortunately, most of those who
have left the Catholic Church have turned to New Age thinking, the occult, or
groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Evangelicals account for approximately 1% of the population, and there
has been some growth in the last 20 years.
We can praise the Lord that
Protestants are no longer persecuted as they once were. However, the church has significant
needs. There is a lack of native Italian
pastors and much infighting among those who are pastors. Pray that the Lord would call more men to the
Italy needs more evangelical
missionaries. Italy is a difficult place for
missionaries to work. There is much
opposition to the gospel and significant cultural differences. Unfortunately, only 10% of missionaries
return to Italy
after their first term. Pray that the
Lord would send more missionaries with the grace to stay for the long term.
Copyright 2006 by Brad Garrison