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The Economist asks a question…… December 13, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, error, General Catholic, Glory, Latin Mass, Liturgy, scandals, secularism.

……so many of us have asked ourselves. Did the Church take a wrong turn 50 years ago?   This question was asked at the end of a short article describing the Traditionalist resurgence in the Church. The article is particularly interesting in how it gets certain basic things right that so many sexular pagan media organs just can’t seem to comprehend, while it also points out some truths that even many conservative Catholics refuse to countenance. Some highlights (my emphasis and comments):Holy Souls Mass.jpg

SINCE the Second Vatican Council in 1962, the Roman Catholic church has striven to adapt to the modern world. But in the West—where many hoped a contemporary message would go down best—believers have left in droves. Sunday mass attendance in England and Wales has fallen by half from the 1.8m recorded in 1960; the average age of parishioners has risen from 37 in 1980 to 52 now. In America attendance has declined by over a third since 1960. Less than 5% of French Catholics attend regularly, and only 15% in Italy. Yet as the mainstream wanes, traditionalists wax. [I don’t know where they got their figures, but Sunday Mass attendance has fallen by much more than a third.  I think they meant 2/3. And even that is understating reality badly.  By my own calculations, going from the numbers of parishioners various parishes claim, and their actual Sunday Mass attendance, the average in the northern part of the Dallas Diocese is more like 10-15%.]

Take the Latin mass, dumped by the Vatican in 1962 for liturgies in vernacular languages. In its most traditional form, the priest consecrates the bread and wine [Body and Blood] in a whisper with his back to the congregation: anathema to those who think openness is the spirit of the age. But Father John Zuhlsdorf, an American priest and blogger, says it challenges worshippers, unlike the cosy liberalism of the regular services. “It is not just a school assembly,” he says. [OK, that’s not much justification for an ancient practice, one with enormous theology behind it.  In point of fact, the turning around of the priest was the single most destructive act the revolutionaries were able to force on the Liturgy]Saint Padre Pio_-1

Others share his enthusiasm. The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, started in 1965, now has over 5,000 members. The weekly number of Latin masses is up from 26 in 2007 to 157 now. In America it is up from 60 in 1991 to 420. At Brompton Oratory, a hotspot of London traditionalism, 440 flock to the main Sunday Latin mass. That is twice the figure for the main English one. Women sport mantillas (lace headscarves). Men wear tweeds.

But it is not a fogeys’ hangout: the congregation is young and international. Like evangelical Christianity, traditional Catholicism is attracting people who were not even born when the Second Vatican Council tried to rejuvenate the church. [The average of those who assist at Mass at the local TLM parish is probably 15 years younger than any other parish I have been to.  For one, there are far, far more children. But even among the adults, there is a majority in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.]

The return of the old rite causes quiet consternation among more modernist Catholics. [Hmmmm…….even a secular organ like the Economist, a very liberal organ, is able to recognize in the progressive wing of the Chuch more than a little modernism.  In point of fact, that wing is modernist, period]  Timothy Radcliffe, once head of Britain’s Dominicans, sees in it “a sort of ‘Brideshead Revisited’ nostalgia”. [B as in B, S as in S. So, I’m nostalgic?  How so?  I wasn’t even Catholic 15 years ago. I was born years after the Council ended, after the Nervous Urdu was introduced.  I’m attracted to the beauty, the reverence, the theological wholeness, the overwhelming Grace that flows through the Latin Mass.  There are many more reasons, but I’ve come to be deeply, deeply attached to the traditional Mass] The traditionalist revival, he thinks, is a reaction against the “trendy liberalism” of his generation. [No, it’s a reaction against the destructive modernism “of his generation” that has devastated the Church.  I love the TLM and all the other timeless traditions of the Faith because THEY ARE GOOD FOR MY SOUL.  That’s it] Some swings of pendulums may be inevitable. But for a church hierarchy in Western countries beset by scandal and decline, the rise of a anchoressIatraditionalist avant-garde is unsettling. Is it merely an outcrop of eccentricity, or a sign that the church took a wrong turn 50 years ago?

Well, that’s the question, isn’t it.  And I don’t think it’s really even a question – the Church DID take a wrong turn 50 years ago, a horrible, nightmarish turn, and the fruit is plain to see: Mass attendance collapsed, number of active Catholic collapsed, very sharp drop in all kinds of vocations (marriage, priesthood, religious), church donations plummeting – by any objective measure, the changes implemented in the Church have had the exact opposite effect from that promised.  The revolution was sold as harbinging a “new springtime,” but what we have experienced is the coldest winter in history.   The only question to my mind is the extent to which the Council itself brought about this winter of suffering and despair, rather than the false spirit that we know did much of the damage.

But it’s more than just the Traditional Latin Mass that attracts people.  If one is blessed to find a vibrant traditional parish, one is exposed to an entirely different culture, a radically different form of existence.  At these still relatively few parishes, the Faith dominates the life of virtually all who belong.  One’s life tends to begin to orbit around the star of the parish.  This is how life was for almost all faithful Catholics for most of the history of the Church.  But now, only small pockets of such remain.  But we are incredibly blessed to have even these pockets, given the revolution that has shaken the Church to its very foundations in these past few decades. I pray they continue to grow, and more and more souls seek out these parishes that I have found have a way to transform your whole existence.



1. Woody - December 14, 2012

“The Church” did not make a wrong turn. It cannot. However, those in charge of The Church certainly can make wrong decisions. The change in the liturgy began in the early 20th Century. Venacular masses began before VII in Europe. The battle to make the change in liturgy throughout the world was fought during VII. You might be able to say it was a draw but the real victory was in giving way too much power to the episcopal conferences to alter the liturgy. It was thought that the changes would bring the laity closer to God, more holy during Mass. Tradition was not to be thrown out at the expense of pastoral expediency but it was. The result was catastrophic. The traditional liturgy was shattered. People left the Church, vocations to the priesthood plumented. Only now are we picking up the pieces and turning the liturgy around to embrace Tradition. But, it is an uphill fight because there are those that don’t want to go back to Tradition. And many of these individuals are bishops and their group still control the episcopal conferences. However, biology is on The Church’s side.

tantamergo - December 14, 2012

Don’t go Ultramontanist on me. The Church can make errors of a practical, non-dogmatic nature. I think it clear there were “wrong turns” under the rubrics of collegiality and ecumenism and those continue to this day. But these are practical and disciplinary matters. That doesn’t mean the Truth – the Faith and Morals – have been compromised in any way, except in the fact that they are no longer taught because of the “wrong turns” in the other areas. One of the ways in which the revolution has been very successful is in getting faithful Catholics to defend the changes, or at least not complain too much, by getting them to think that if they do complain, they’re somehow attacking the Mystical Body, the timeless Truth, the Fountain of Grace, etc. That’s not the case. In fact it is our duty as faithful Catholics to point out when the Church has taken a wrong turn, or is about to do so. In fact, had the clergy and laity pushed back harder, it’s possible many of the “successes” of the revolution woudl have never occurred in the first place. But centuries of conditioning to be obedient to the Holy See (and which had been done for a very good reason) had prepared a fertile ground for unthinking obeisance to radical changes in the very heart of the Faith, changes which have fatally undermined the faith of millions.

Ultramontanism can go way, way too far. I once saw an interview with an apologist for this view being asked what he would do if the Papacy redefined 2+2 to equal 5. He said he’d accept it, while trying to undestand why the Holy See had in its wisdom ruled such. That’s lunacy – the Church has no special competency in mathematics and it’s contrary to reason.

It’s a touchy subject. This is the heart of the “traditionalist” concerns, or critique, if you will. You have to be very clear to what you are referring – there are practical matters where such concerns can be expressed, while there are dogmatic areas that we have to accept without question, and I pray I do.

Woody - December 14, 2012

Third sentence in: “However, those IN CHARGE of The Church certainly can make wrong decisions.” Those in charge would include popes, cardinals, bishops, episcopal conferences, etc.

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