Kudos to the First Things blog for pointing this article out. National Review also has some mention of it. Here’s the gist of it:
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.
Ramadan is the Muslim month which commemorates the giving of the Qur’an. It is a period of fasting, almsgiving, prayer and meditation on the Qur’an.
Now to be honest, we have to recognize some external similarities between Lent and Ramadan. Traditionally, Christians participate in fasting, prayer and almsgiving during this holy season. These practices are almost universal in world religions in one aspect or another.
Having said this, calling Lent the Christian Ramadan is offensive to the Christian faith and to Islam. Lent is about pointing to the suffering of our Lord for our sins. Ramadan is about the works that one is to do to get closer to Allah. I know that’s oversimplified, but that is the essence of it. The Christian faith is about what God does for us. It’s called the Gospel.
This is a sign of the desperateness that Roman Catholics in Europe are feeling regarding the pressure of Islam. I have read elsewhere that estimates are that Islam will be the majority religion in Europe within a generation, maybe less. So it is no wonder that there is a great desire to counteract that.
But the way to do it isn’t to become like Islam; it’s by holding up the Crucified One.