As secular values become entrenched in Europe, Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and all Russia, has issued a warning.
"Modern Europe will not create a new post-Christian culture and civilization but will simply vanish from history," Alexy said at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow Wednesday evening, according to the Interfax news agency.
"Losing their Christian roots, the people of Europe will sign their own death warrant"
Pope Benedict XVI has made very similar statements in the past.
The secular world either totally ignores such words or gives them the big raspberry.
What is beyond dispute though, is that as Europe has become more secularised the fertility rate of Europeans has declined. How the two phenomena are correlated might be a matter for discussion.
For a nation to maintain its population at its present levels it needs a fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman.
Today the country with the highest fertility in Europe is France which to date is the only Nation to have fully acknowledged the issue and put policies in place in an attempt to address it. Even so they have not yet achieved population replacement fertility levels and currently fertility there is estimated to be 1.86 children per woman(1).
Of course Europe wont become depopulated, overall the fertility rate of all the world's women is estimated at 2.59 and as the original inhabitants of Europe die out people from other more fecund places will move in to take their place. A phenomena that is self evident in Europe today.
And to suggest that the new Europeans concept of the shape of future European civilization may not match that of modern western secularists is not hyperbole.
And what is happening in Europe applies to New Zealand and Australia as well.
Here is an example of hedonistic secularism from this mornings New Zealand Herald: Women 'want no-strings sex'.
Two young women researchers are calling for a new form of sexual ethics that would allow women to have casual sex without feeling that they're "sluts".
They say the popular view of women as either promiscuous or passive victims has failed to reduce incidents of rape and sexual assault.
Instead, they want both women and men to think about what each of them really wants out of a sexual encounter, and negotiate how to get it.
Which all seems very modern and liberated.
But "no strings" sex means sex without any commitment least of all the biggest commitment sex might bring - a child. And that in turn means no commitment to the future.
In the past the negotiation over sex was called courtship, and what both parties ideally wanted from it was a mutually supportive relationship and children.
Of course it didn't always work out this way, Children were conceived out of wedlock and there were other casualties beside. But western civilization persisted, developed and flowered under Christianity and by holding to Christian values, albeit badly at times.
Europe has become depopulated in the past. And every time it has, the population crash has been followed by baby boom and the population has recovered. After the thirty years war, for example, the population, particularly the adult male population was so decimated that polygamy was temporarily permitted in some places to ensure recovery.
But today while Europeans negotiate "no strings" sex and forgo courtship the children they are not having are being born by women from other cultures. And it is these cultures which will ultimately inherit the future. Cultures which don't place a high premium on the blatherings of sociologists about negotiating "no strings" sex.
And if we want to be part of the future neither should we.
(1)What should be noted about France's fertility rate is many of the most fecund in France are not people of French origin but recent immigrants, primarily from North Africa.