The loss of happiness, then of faith


‘Hopeful Catholic’ (Letters, 12th October) states that “a loss of faith, a decline in morals and dwindling attendances at Mass” are all down to the changes brought by Vatican II in the 1960s.

This is to ignore the similar losses and declines among other faiths across the Western world from that time.

In my opinion, the only factor that is relevant to these changes is the general happiness of Western populations.

From observation and understanding of our society, it is quite clear that happier people are more likely to have “values, ethics, principles and especially morals”. This applies to every field, especially religion and politics.

In other words, the West has had a crisis in happiness since the 1960s and this explains these indicators of decline in faith, morals and attendance in a universal sense. Unfortunately materialism now dominates the West.

This is the real cause of the changes and churches, Catholic or otherwise, despite feeling the negative effects, have had little success in dealing with them.

In my opinion, the biggest factor affecting the decline is the enormous growth of millionaires and billionaires – people who tend to be extremely unhappy under the façade – who are setting the agendas in the political world through large donations.

Changing the goal of society from money maximization to happiness maximization will reverse the decline.

The Church hierarchy needs to understand this and start listening to the ordinary people again by making meaningful connections with left of centre political parties who struggle to remain ethical in a world dominated by extreme wealth.

As to whether or not “many Catholics don’t obey the teachings of Christ”, I would contend that happier people do, even when they have no knowledge of Christ, and that materialistic people will never obey any of Christ’s teachings, basically because they tend to be unhappy.

Happiness is the key to a better world. We cannot achieve that while we take instructions from political parties under the influence of unhappy wealthy donors.


John O’Connell,