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« Vatican's Top Liturgical Liberal Steps Down | Main | The Nattering Nabobs of Know-Nothingism »

October 04, 2007

Comments

Gibberwock

Well said, Mr. Akin. If all things in the 20th century were held equal, one might be able to blame liturgical reforms for declining Mass attendance. Of course, all things were not and are not equal; the 20th century has been a time of major deviation from Christian moral teaching, often leaving the Church alone to defend what have become very unpopular truths.

Esau

Well said, Mr. Akin.

I agree -- Mr. Akin has done it again!


THANKS JIMMY!!!

Different

It's rather telling that Mass attendance in the US began declining sharply in 1966 - three years before the missal of 1969.

It makes far more sense to look at all the cultural upheaval as the likely cause of decling attendance.

Pam

Very, interesting analysis. And of course when Catholic's left the Church they may have found it easier to blame it on liturgical changes rather than dissent from the teachings of the Church on Divorce & remarriage and contraception.

Tim J.

Bravo, Mr. Akin!

Mike Petrik

Agreed on all counts. I would only add that another very important factor has been the failure of catechesis. Catholics who grow more distant from or leave the Church seldom have any real sense of what they're leaving. Nor, with regard to teachings with which they disagree, do they have any real understanding of such teachings or their underlying rationale. In sum, few adult Catholics today have been competently catechised.

Esau

Bravo, Mr. Akin!


hehehhe...

Brian Walden

Good post. While the Magisterium holds fiercely to the truth concerning marriage and sexuality, I wonder how many people are turned away from the Church because their local priest and bishop don't preach these hard truths well.

A few years ago one of my friends who comes from a Irish-Catholic family was shocked to hear that the Catholic Church is opposed to contraception. Admittedly, that case is rare and most Catholics do know that the Church is opposed to contraception - but how many know why? It's just not taught well (if at all). I have a hard time even finding a good priest to even confess to about sins which society as a whole doesn't consider to be sinful, many times something like "it's ok everybody does it" is implied in the tone of his response.

The clergy need to better and more clearly teach the parts of the faith that society is most opposed to. The laity need to do a better job of publicly living these difficult teachings in order to set a positive example for their neighbor.

For as much as the hard teachings of the Church lead Catholics to fall away, I think that the identity crisis between the official church teachings and the way the faith is taught by the average priest and lived by the average lay person turns away non- and nominal-Catholics who might otherwise be interested in learning more about the Church.

Esau

I would only add that another very important factor has been the failure of catechesis. Catholics who grow more distant from or leave the Church seldom have any real sense of what they're leaving. Nor, with regard to teachings with which they disagree, do they have any real understanding of such teachings or their underlying rationale. In sum, few adult Catholics today have been competently catechised.


Very well put!

This is precisely true on all fronts with regard to Catholics who have gone to supposedly greener pasteurs either in Protestantism or other world religions.

The fact of the matter is a majority of them never really knew/understood what the Catholic Church Taught and the rationale for such Teachings.

There are even those who take their mistaken notions of Church Teachings as actually being Church Teachings themselves -- although the reality is far from it.

AnnonyMouse

I think a letter to our Catholic Newpaper summed it up (not on purpose of course); Before Vatican II we went to mass to avoid mortal sin; now we go for community, singing and livliness of the community.
Good points SDG. What did you do with Jimmy?

SDG

Before Vatican II we went to mass to avoid mortal sin; now we go for community, singing and livliness of the community.

And while the first half of this sentence illustrates the need for a new catechesis prior to Vatican II; the second half illustrates the failure to achieve it after Vatican II.

Going to Mass to avoid mortal sin. Yes, it's better than not going to Mass at all, but.

Good points SDG. What did you do with Jimmy?

He puts the lotion on his skin, or he gets the hose...

Esau

...now we go for community, singing and livliness of the community.


AnnonyMouse:

Thank-you for giving attention to this!

Sure, this may make Mass a little more lively, a little more interesting.

But it seems to take focus away not only from the sanctity of the Sacrifice of the Mass and the reverence we should hold for it, but also it places emphasis on "feeling" rather than on "Christ" on many levels.

For what happens if that "feeling" were to be tested?

That is, if it doesn't feel good -- if it doesn't live up to the attendee's expectations and the entertainment is lousy; why attend Mass at all?

I remember when one person was given the opportunity to "witness" (at least, that's what I would've called it from the previous Protestant church I attended in college) by the celebrant during a homily.

I remember when the guy said that if we pray hard enough (being overcome by feeling), then perhaps Jesus might become present to us at Mass.

NEWSFLASH, folks, but aside from referring to the verse in the bible about Jesus being present 'where 3 or more are gathered in my name'; isn't Jesus present at all in the HOLY EUCHARIST?

Or is that just a figment of a Catholic's imagination?

I have no qualms about "witnessing" to others and so forth; I can even tolerate the modern worship music at some points.

But then you have priests who further accomodates such innovations to the point of altering the Eucharistic Prayer as well as omitting the Nicene Creed at Mass.

Thus, to me, such things seem to laregly take focus away from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by placing emphasis on how a person 'feels' about Christ rather than the Mass actually being about Christ.

AnnonyMouse

"He puts the lotion on his skin, or he gets the hose..." WHAT ON EARTH~?

Totally agree with you Esau! And to top it all off....in our newspaper....there was absolutely NO NONE ZILCH followup about it STILL being a mortal sin. A great Catechises moment...but it is followed up with drivel from a priest complaining about why would we want to go back....yuck.

I am sure praying, Esau, that our faith remains during these times. Because there are times when I cry at mass, get angry and want to throw my hands up and go "what is the point"! Our going to mass is more than a feeling..I can GUARANTEE that!

Mike Petrik

I largely agree with SDG.
Also, in the 1960s we retired the incomplete but true Baltimore Catechism (BC) and replaced it with ... nothing. Thirty years later we finally have a new Catechism (NC), which is also true, and substantially more complete, but it reads more like a reference tool rather than a text. It is fine for adults and high school students, but not for children. I do wish we would have retained the BC for use through middle school (teaching the who, what, when, and where) in order to set the table for the NC (with its enriching explanations of why). I think such a strategy, competently executed, would have prepared college students and interested adults for authentic Catholic theology, including moral theology and its application to contemporary life.
Just a thought.

bill912

Amen, AnnonyMouse! All masses are re-enactments of Calvary. Unfortunately, some are so in more ways than one.

bill912

Amen to what you said, too, Mike P! I remember a homily I heard over 20 years ago. The priest preached on the first 2 questions from the Baltimore Catechism: "Who made you? God made me.
Why did God make you? God made me to know, love, and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next." You could have heard a pin drop in the Church during his homily.

Smoky Mountain

SDG here (not Jimmy)

SDG,

Can you stop referring to him as J.I.M.M.Y?

To me, I keep thinking you're saying "Just Ignore My Mother's Yodelling".

And I didn't know your mother could yodel.

AnnonyMouse

B.C. is GREAT for concise answers, especially for the young! We use it and plan to still use it! Our dd (12 now) has just started to "get into" the CCC and it is definitely NOT for children. But she is taking it in stride and understand the basic meanings but only because of the B.C.

Bill, I never knew why we were made till I started teaching our children. Honest.
Also, we were taught that contraception was OUR CHOICE that the church didn't/hadn't really said anything on it. And in our pre marriage course, we were taught that porn was OK as long as we "ate" at home. Talk about wanting to throw up!

SDG

Smoky: Leave my mother's yodeling out of this.

Ben Bentrup

I ultimately trace the problem to letting our pride get the better of us. Before, we recognized that we were God's creatures in need of a spiritual father (God) and mother (the Church). Now we see the many wonderful works of our hands, and like the ancient Babylonians, and fall prey to the prime evil. We think we can take care of ourselves, making our own precepts and calling them godly. We allow relativism (egged on by materialism) to distort our notions of truth and goodness. Ultimately, even something as tragic as contraception is just a symptom of our culture of death. It's time to get out the metaphorical sackcloths, repent, and humble ourselves before God.

I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see any way out of the current muck until God one day allows, through his Divine Love, some huge cataclismic destructive event when people will wake up and realize they are in need of a savior.

If the Tridentine Mass had gone on unsuspended, as the conjecture was originally made, I personally doubt we'd have a much different society than we do now. Personally, my favorite Mass is the Novus Ordo with as much Latin as possible in its rites. I hope that stays licit til I die.

Sad times here. However lets hope, as always, in the Lord.

Ben

Tim J.

As an adult convert, I love the old Baltimore Catechism. The art is so kitschy that it has come back into style, in a way. Very amusing for the kids. We do laugh at some of the illustrations, but... it GETS THE POINT ACROSS.

Questions followed by intelligible answers.

Last time I taught parish "yoots", the materials were so watered down and touchy-feely, it seemed like every question the kids might have was answered with... three more questions. It gave them almost nothing they could sink their teeth into, and they left more confused than when they came.

I honestly believe that may have been the aim of the writers.

Leah

I think perhaps another item we could add to the list of teachings widely criticized and misunderstood on which the Church stands largely alone would be ordination of women - like divorce and remarriage and contraception, a question hanging on our modern misunderstanding of sexuality.

While there are some Protestants that oppose women priests/pastors/elders, the Catholic Church is by far the most visible Christian body opposing women's ordination. And nobody knows why. As an admin assistant in a diocesan department, I had the director of Marriage and Family Life ask me why we didn't allow women to be priests (she knew I've read about that sort of thing). I was shocked that the director was asking me.

Society is largely against any belief in inherent differences between the sexes (a big contribution to the rise in divorce in so many ways, beginning with the inability for spouses to understand their differences). And it's not a topic we hear addressed from the pulpit.

John E

Great post, but first, a couple nits:

"The fact remains that in the Catholic Church it is still a whole heck of a lot harder to get divorced and remarried..."
Just to clarify terminology, wouldn't it be more accurate to say that in the Catholic Church there is no such thing as divorce, and no such thing as remarriage unless your spouse has died? There is marriage or no marriage. Divorce is a civil matter.

Not just the Church's teaching, but the imperfections of the Church's leadership obstruct their way.
The Church's teaching does not obstruct, it frees. Rather than Church teaching being an obstruction, people put themselves into situations where it is sometimes very difficult to come to full communion. Sometimes this may be due to lack of catechesis or imperfections in Church leadership. Sometimes it's due to a person's own obstinance or selfishness. If I get mud all over my shoes and my wife tells me to take them off before I come inside, it's not so much her instructions that are the obstruction, it's the mud. It's not even going to help my case if I complain that I didn't know I would get muddy where I was walking, or that someone who I thought was trustworthy never told me I would get muddy.


At our parish we have great singing and talented musicians. They play some catchy tunes and would be great performing on Broadway. But a lot of the music is not appropriate for Mass. There are serious parts of the Mass, such as when we're asking the Lamb of God to have mercy on us, where I shouldn't feel like snapping my fingers.

I think when the Mass itself is celebrated by the priest, congregation, and choir with utmost reverence it is also one of our greatest tools of evangelism. Our early morning Easter Vigil Mass was mostly reverent. But during Communion the choir sang a song with the lyrics "No need to knock, just come on in". Here on the one hand you have the RCIA group spending nearly a year or more discerning whether they should be Catholic, working on annulments, learning the faith, and preparing to be received into full communion. And then when at last they are welcomed into the Church to receive their first Holy Communion, the choir tells them and all present in the congregation, "No need to knock, just come on in!" Combine that with a homily or liturgy that focuses more on naval-gazing than Christ and it's easy to see why non-Catholics in the congregation would conclude that there's nothing all that special going on here. "If Catholics don't REALLY believe it, why should I?"

It seems like many priests or liturgists must think that the Church needs to conform to the culture so that we can draw more people to church. When some finally do come to church they often realize they can get the same or better entertainment or "feel-good-about-myself" homilies elsewhere without all the uncomfortable challenges to radically change their lives. The Church needs to attract radicals, not cultural conformists.

Esau

At our parish we have great singing and talented musicians. They play some catchy tunes and would be great performing on Broadway. But a lot of the music is not appropriate for Mass. There are serious parts of the Mass, such as when we're asking the Lamb of God to have mercy on us, where I shouldn't feel like snapping my fingers.


John E,

Thank-you!

We have similar folks at our church.

Hand-clapping is actually incorporated into the Gloria.

Because of this, most kids and other young folks (as well as adults) concentrate more on the "fun of clapping" rather than put serious thought on the words of the Gloria and the Worship due God!

It's to the point where they're laughing and having fun -- mind you, not at a carnival, not at a kindergarten class/preschool, or what have you -- BUT AT MASS!

Like I said, I can't wait until they incorporate Dancing with the Celebrant into the Mass as well!

It'll make everybody wanna go have fun and attend this Carnival -- I mean -- Mass!

SDG

Just to clarify terminology, wouldn't it be more accurate to say that in the Catholic Church there is no such thing as divorce, and no such thing as remarriage unless your spouse has died? There is marriage or no marriage. Divorce is a civil matter.

FWIW, it was civil divorce I was speaking of in that sentence. "In the Catholic Church" refers to the ecclesial standing of those getting divorced, not to a divorce process within the Church.

The Church's teaching does not obstruct, it frees. Rather than Church teaching being an obstruction, people put themselves into situations where it is sometimes very difficult to come to full communion.

Well, that which frees us can also be a kind of obstacle, a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. (And in the case I'm thinking of, it is not only the objective situation in which the people have placed themselves, but also the obstructive processes that have kept them hanging for a number of years, that is the obstacle.)

Esau

SDG:

I believe John E was referring to your following statement:

" The fact remains that in the Catholic Church it is still a whole heck of a lot harder to get divorced "


Anyone reading could mistake your statement to mean that divorce is possible in the Catholic Church.

Mike Petrik

"I remember a homily I heard over 20 years ago. The priest preached on the first 2 questions from the Baltimore Catechism: "Who made you? God made me.
Why did God make you? God made me to know, love, and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next." You could have heard a pin drop in the Church during his homily."

This does not surprise me one bit. The teaching is moving in its simplicity. Thanks, Bill.

SDG

Yes, Esau, I followed that, hence the clarification in my reply.

Anyone reading could mistake your statement to mean that divorce is possible in the Catholic Church.

And it depends on what you mean. Divorce IS possible in the Catholic Church in the sense that it is possible for members of the Catholic Church (who are "in the Church") to obtain a civil divorce. That is the sense I was speaking of, although I appreciate that the sentence could easily be misread.

Esau

SDG,

On its face, your statement:

" The fact remains that in the Catholic Church it is still a whole heck of a lot harder to get divorced "


...implies that the Catholic Church does allow divorces -- only that it's harder to obtain it.

SDG

Yes, Esau, and, again, the Catholic Church DOES allow [civil] divorces in some circumstances -- potentially even where there is a valid sacramental marriage. (Having said that, the sentence concerned what was easy or difficult, and a fortiori what is possible, not what is permitted or not permitted.)

John E

SDG, fair enough. Thanks for clarifying.

Esau, we have our hand-clapping at the Alleluia. Although I don't really care for it, I don't have as much a problem with it in itself, except for the reasons you mentioned. Interesting that you mention the Gloria though. We have a version that we often sing in our parish where we in the congregation sing "Glory to God, glory in the highest, and peace to his people, peace to his people, and peace to his people on earth." Then we sing that part 5 or 6 times while the soloist gets to ornately but unintelligibly sing the rest. It sounds great though. We rock! If fact, dare I say, glory to us!

Seriously though, I know that we are participating and the soloist is like our representative and singing the rest of the prayer on our behalf. It's a package to which we each contribute and present to God as a whole. It's just that I love that prayer. I wish I could sing it too.

Mike Petrik

"We rock! If fact, dare I say, glory to us!"

Not at all meaning to pick on you, John, but ... ugh.
And I don't at all like applause at Mass for choir "performances." Such acts, while undoubtedly well-intended, reveal a failure of understanding. While choirs should normally lead people in sung prayer, I certainly don't mind instances where they sing difficult and beautiful music unaccompanied by the congregation; but these are prayers to God intended for his ears, not our applause.

Esau

...these are prayers to God intended for his ears, not our applause.

A-M-E-N!

Another point that I agree with M.P. here!

Esau

...have a version that we often sing in our parish where we in the congregation sing "Glory to God, glory in the highest, and peace to his people, peace to his people, and peace to his people on earth."

John E.

Is that the same version that was done at the Papal Mass for John Paul II in Los Angeles way back then?

That one I don't mind so much and, in fact, I find some appreciation.

However, the one in our church seems too much of a hand-slapping game rather than a song of Praise, an actual Prayer to God.

Anonymous

Just go to a mass in the extraordinary form and you won't have to worry about whether the "band" is rocking that particular Sunday or not.

Esau

Just go to a mass in the extraordinary form...

Where? It's adoption failed as far as many of the parishes in our vicinity go.


...you won't have to worry about whether the "band" is rocking that particular Sunday or not.

Why worry?

I'm waiting for them to play Agnus Dei in Grunge!

Brian Walden

Seriously though, I know that we are participating and the soloist is like our representative and singing the rest of the prayer on our behalf. It's a package to which we each contribute and present to God as a whole. It's just that I love that prayer. I wish I could sing it too.

John E, when the Gloria is sung in a soloist/response way like that I usually sing quietly along with the soloist part. In my church the solo part is accompanied by music which is pretty easy to hide my voice under so I won't interrupt the meditation (or daydreaming or bulletin reading, etc) of those around me. I also love the Gloria prayer and often pray it when I wake up in the morning.

Brian Walden

Just go to a mass in the extraordinary form...

Where? It's adoption failed as far as many of the parishes in our vicinity go.

Esau what about a Mass with no music. A lot of parishes do that for either their earliest or latest Mass. It's sad, but those are often easier to find than a Mass with good music. All things being equal I'd much rather have hymns, but I don't yet have the strength to not let myself get distracted by unorthodox lyrics or arrangements that don't make sense (like a happy, sing-songy Agnus Dei).

RC

The cited 5-10% decline for Protestant church attendance is not very informative even if accurate (I have no idea whether it's correct), because it doesn't reflect the vast differences between the shrinking Protestant groups and the growing ones.

Over the past 40-50 years, Pentecostalism exploded and once-respected old-line denominations shrank.

SDG

RC: Yes, that is PRECISELY one of the reasons I regarded the statistic as misleading.

The catechesis issue many have mentioned is another factor I included in what may become another post on this subject.

Esau

Over the past 40-50 years, Pentecostalism exploded and once-respected old-line denominations shrank.

Don't forget non-denominational churches which, incidentally, seems to be the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.

CH

The comparison between the decline in Protestant church attendance and the decline in Catholic church attendance would be more meaningful if we knew where each group started. My impression 40 years ago was that Catholics were much more likely to attend weekly services than Protestants were. I suspect that the same is true today. In any case, survey results tend to be all over the map on this issue, partly because many people are less than honest about whether they've been to services recently.

If you are listing factors responsible for a decline in Catholic participation, you certainly shouldn't leave out the impact of the many clerical abuse scandals.

CatholicAudio

SDG -- "He puts the lotion on his skin, or he gets the hose..."

For those wondering, this is a brilliant quotation from Silence of the Lambs:

Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb: It rubs the lotion on its skin. It does this whenever it is told.
Catherine Martin: Mister... my family will pay cash. Whatever ransom you're askin' for, they pay it.
Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb: It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.
[to his dog, Precious]
Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb: Yes, it will, Precious, won't it? It will get the hose!
Catherine Martin: Okay... okay... okay. Mister, if you let me go, I won't - I won't press charges I promise. See, my mom is a real important woman... I guess you already know that.
Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb: Now it places the lotion in the basket.
Catherine Martin: Please! Please I wanna go home! I wanna go home please!
Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb: It places the lotion in the basket.
Catherine Martin: I wanna see my mommy! Please I wanna see my...
Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb: Put the ****ing lotion in the basket!

Inocencio

SDG,

I think catechesis is a huge part of the decline. I look forward to you next post.

As always I recommend that everyone, as much as they are able, volunteer in some way at their parish. Maybe instead of giving money support your parish with your time.

I teach the RCIA/Adult Education Class and my wife teaches the third grade CCD. We have had to deal with terrible catechetical materials but we have slowly made improvements. It took three years but this year at our parish every CCD teacher was given a copy of the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism (donated by a parishioner). The teachers were very grateful and happy with the easy and concise format of the Balitmore Catechism. I am still hoping to get the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism into the hands of each child but one step at a time.

Being very involved and willing to help in anyway we could has made a big difference in our parish. Most parishioners want to know what the Church teaches or expects but they don't know where to look. There are some people who don't want to know the "rules" but most do. Just by being involved we have been able to show why certain things are not allowed.

If every knowledgeable Catholic would in some way humbly and charitably volunteer with the long-term benefit in mind what a difference we could make in our own parishes and the Church in general.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

A Non

There are so many errors and problems which need to be addressed.

1) Declining numbers and arguments from it are very American-centered. Visit other places, such as in Africa, and you see a thriving, developing increase.

2)The American numbers for church attendance (and not just Catholic) was unusually high and seems to be due to issues of WWII. We are outside of its influence, and the development of a prideful, capitalistic-oriented culture has encouraged a dismissal of anything that is "priceless."

3) The Baltimore Catechism and the Catechism of the Catholic Church cannot be compared. The BC was a local catechism (never was universal), and one can find problems with it since it does not accord with the full teaching of the Church.

4) The Universal Catechism is not meant to be used as a local catechism but a source by which one would make something similar to the BC.

Inocencio

A non,

The Baltimore Catechism and the Catechism of the Catholic Church cannot be compared. The BC was a local catechism (never was universal), and one can find problems with it since it does not accord with the full teaching of the Church.

I would point out that it is local for the United States and age-appropriate for children. I think it just cannot be beat in format or content for teaching children and what a bargin at about $3.50 each if purchase in bulk. Especially when compared to common catechetical materials.

And just so you know in our parish we use the Unites States Catholic Catechism for Adults issued by the USCCB based on the CCC.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

John E

when the Gloria is sung in a soloist/response way like that I usually sing quietly along with the soloist part

We have a version like that too, where it goes back and forth between soloist and the congregation, and many of us would sing with the soloist (maybe that's why they switched). In the version I'm referring to, we sing the refrain continuously while the soloist attempts to sing over us. It's not soloist then response, it's soloist and response all at once. We're either too loud or she's too soft. You can hear her melody, but not the words. It would also be difficult to sing along. It would be like trying to sing along with the scoobity-doo-waps of a jazz singer -- it's too free-flowing.

AnnonyMouse

A non,
If you buy the current St. Joseph B.C. I think you will find that the only errors would be Holy Days of Obligation. Since we are using CCC and St. Joseph BC we haven't seen any errors.

Mary Kay

With a topic like this, so many directions one could go in...

As for the catechism, I've never understood the either/or attitude. They're both good in their own way.

Rick

I have not read all of the comments here but there seem to be a couple of things at work.

1) First of all correlation does not prove causation. Thus the charges that liturgical changes or the culture caused declining mass attendance must be proven before they can be claimed as causes.

2) The rhetorical dynamic here is significant. Traditionalists (and I am one) argue that the current crisis has been caused primarily by the imposition of the new liturgy. Conservatives have responded with the culture argument to protect the Novus from criticism. I understand both perspectives here.

3) The problem is that both perspectives are impossible to "prove" without data.

I would tend to agree that the cultural shifts of the 1950s and 1960s (so much for the "greatest generation" nonsense) had a negative impact on Church attendance. I would also say that because the mass is the one event that all practicing Catholics experience together every week that it must be taken seriously as an influence on Catholic behavior.

matt

Nobody suggested that Mass shenanigans are the only reasons for the decline in the Church. But they are significant and work together with all of the other things mentioned above to result in a decline. Decline isn't just about Mass attendance either. Take Rudy Gulliani/John Kerry/Nancy Pelosi, in the 50's and early 60's a publicly pro-abortion Catholic politician would not recieve the Catholic vote, let alone Holy Communion, and yet today they still attend Mass regularly to my knowledge.

It is a decline in the influence of the Church in our hearts and our culture that is the essence of the problem. This occurred in a large part because many Church leaders stopped resisting the influence of secular culture on the faithful. The liberal motion of the culture acting simultaneously to this relaxation resulted in the massive and rapid decline.

God Bless,

Matt

TerryC

I would certainly agree that the void in catechetical teaching in the post Vatican II period was a factor in the decline of practicing Catholics, but I would also state that whenever a poll is conducted which attempts to compare Catholics and Protestants the data is skewed.
Edward R. Tufte says that whenever you illustrate cost over a number of years and do not compensate for inflation you lie. I would maintain that whenever you compare Protestants and Catholics and do not only include practicing Catholics you do the same. Few People who where raised Protestant, but no longer worship would claim to belong to the relevant denomination. However, even people who have not darked the door of a Catholic church for years will claim to be Catholic in a poll. Such cultural Catholics tend to skew poll numbers. Most left the Church because of disagreements with the core Catholic beliefs mentioned by SDG, not because the Liturgy changed or because of Vatican II (one way or the other, SSPX not withstanding.)
As for Catechisms take a look at the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is written in a dialogical format, much as was the Baltimore Catechism.

defeat heresy

SDG, I disagree with your premise.

A more appropriate comparison would be of Catholics and liberal Protestants vs. conservative Protestants.

To many formerly devout Catholics, and to those who, like me, were raised Catholic and came of age after Vatican II, the Catholic Church became indistinguishable from liberal Protestantism (except for its views birth control and abortion). As in liberal Protestantism, "social justice" took precedence over religion.

I think you'll find Church attendance down among liberal groups generally. But groups that have held to their faith, conservative Protestants, haven't lost members and have picked up many converts–including former Catholics.

Zachary Foreman

I've always found this causal narrative more persuasive:

After Vatican II, which raised expectations that anything could change in the Catholic Church, many in Europe and America (read: theologians) expected the Church to change its teaching on contraception. This was especially true after the committee charged with this recommended to Pope Paul VI that it be changed. Many theologians put their reputations on the line that the Church would alter its teaching in this regard. When Humanae Vitae came out, it caused a firestorm of controversy. The majority of married Catholics, who were contracepting, could not ignore the fact that they were dissenting from Church teaching. Not only that, but a second Magisterium had sprung up to challenge the bishops: the academic theologians. Now "faithful" Catholics could justify their dissent because professors of theology with Ph.Ds, teaching in Catholic Institutions were agreeing with them. The authority of the Church had been broken. If contraception was moral, then why not divorce, not going to mass on sunday, etc, etc. Reinforcing this was the analogy that abstaining from meat on fridays was the same as contraception. They were both arbitrary rules of the Church, and could therefore be changed. Even the possibility of changing the law on contraception allowed the idea that there were no moral absolutes hold sway (of course, this came precisely at the time that moral relativism was catching on in the secular culture in a big way.
So, yes, in a way VII had something to do with it, in that the large changes in church practice, as exemplified by the liturgical changes cast into doubt the immutability of all church teachings. But I place more of the blame on the lack of action by the Church to combat doubts concerning contraception. HV should have been promulgated in 1962, not 5 years later (in fact it was considered at VII but postponed).
The alternative magisterium provides cover for all dissenters everywhere. And we know how much damage even one person can do. I don't think that I have read an article about Catholicism in the Main Stream Media that hasn't quoted Fr. McBrien, and he carries a lot of weight because of his position. The bishops hesitated in their teaching authority at precisely the time that secular culture as unhesitatingly advancing an antithetical agenda.

Joe

I didn't see this post until just this morning. I am honored by SDG that he would start a whole threat base on my wild accusation. I got my information from an article in Homiletics and Pastoral Review, check out the article here: http://www.unavoce.org/Novus_ordo_record.pdf

Yes, the decline did start before 1969, but the wild liturgical experimentation also started pretty quickly after Sacrosanctum Concilium and the 1965 missal were introduced. I think that the timing of the decline is simply too coincidental to be coincidence. Sure there were other factors involved, but the liturgy was the main causal factor, it seems.

Joe

By the way, I am not the only one who thinks that the collapse of the liturgy is responsible for the collapse of the faith:

"I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part upon the collapse of the liturgy" ("Milestones")

"We left the living process of growth and development [the old missal] to enter the realm of fabrication. There was no longer a desire to continue developing and maturing, as the centuries passed and so this was replaced - as if it were a technical production - with a construction, a banal on-the-spot product." (preface to "Reform of the Roman Liturgy" by Klaus Gamber)

Both those quotes are from our pope.

SDG

Joe: "Wild accusation" is hardly how I characterized your argument. Don't be dramatic.

I didn't say -- in fact, I explicitly denied saying -- that liturgical changes haven't been a factor. I just said the issues are more complicated than "A caused B."

The quotations from Pre-16 you provide differ from your original comments in two important respects. First, as quoted in Milestones, Pre-16 is speaking of "the ecclesial crisis," which is a broader subject than "declining Mass attendance." Second, he cites liturgical problems as an important factor ("depends in great part"), not as "the cause."

Joe

I don't think I ever wrote that it was THE cause, but I will say that it was the greatest casual factor (just as Ratzinger stated).

Also, why can't I be dramatic? I think it is fun, and you as a film critic should appreciate that. I wasn't putting those words in your mouth.

Joe

Also, I would encourage everyone to read the HPR article I posted. I think Dr. Lothian really fleshes out the argument that the liturgy is the greatest factor in declining mass attendance. Note too that HPR isn't an ankle-bitting arch-Traditionalist magazine.

Joe

SDG,

Sorry to post so many times in a row, but I just have to mention this. The rates of those who contracept are extremely high among Catholics, even for those who attend mass. I don't see how that is a major factor in declining mass attendance. I live in a fairly conservative diocese and attend a fairly conservative parish. On one Sunday our priest gave a talk on the immorality of contraception and many in the pews were audible grumbling during the homily and many confronted the priest after mass. I think contraception is virtually ubiquitous for Catholics, both who attends church and those who don't.

LCB

One big problem with blaming Church teaching...

When was the last time you heard Church Teaching in a homily? Read it in a bulletin?

Maybe we've stumbled upon the real problem-- we quit being authentically Catholic, so why should people bother showing up when they can get the same thing down the street?

Dare to be different.

Megan Elizabeth

I haven't read all the comments, but I would second (or third or whatever) the statement that catechesis was very bad for a while.

I know a couple who were married in 1986, the wife Catholic and the husband not (at the time, he is now). They were told that the part of the vows that says "We will accept children," means that you have to be willing to have 2 kids...eventually. But feel free to get to know each other first, and for goodness sakes after you've had the two kids don't keep going.

Thankfully, things seem to be improving.

Esau

Maybe we've stumbled upon the real problem-- we quit being authentically Catholic, so why should people bother showing up when they can get the same thing down the street?

THANK-YOU, LCB!!!

You hit it on right on the spot!

I mean, the church where I go to has all the set-up of Protestantism in Mass.

However, if that's the case, why would anybody even consider converting to Catholicism when they can stay Protestant and attend similar Worship Services in their church?

NOTHING SPECIAL HERE, INDEED!

In fact, with some Protestant churches, the services are even livelier and better done.

JUST WHEN WILL CATHOLICS ACT LIKE CATHOLICS AND STOP ACTING LIKE WANNABE PROTESTANTS AND START CELEBRATING THE MASS INSTEAD OF CELEBRATING A PARTY AT MASS?

Maureen

Dude. No need to shout.

No need to exaggerate, either. I've never yet seen anything at Mass even vaguely worthy of the word "party". (Except maybe at the "faith community" where it took 'em ten minutes to finish the Sign of Peace and five to take Communion.)

Different

The problem with the hypothesis that Mass attendance dropped because of changes to the liturgy is that the "tradionalists" would be the ones who left the church. If the Mass became "very liberal" as some suggest, then why would the social-change-baby-boomers leave. After all, they were getting what they wanted - felt, kumbaya, and spineless homilies. The traditionalists, on the other hand, would be expected to know better and not abandon the Church just because of a few changes.

It seems that the pre-Vatican II conservative types DIDN'T leave the church, it was the "I know better than my parents" baby boomers who stopped going to Mass on a regular basis. Does it make sense that the mostly baby-boomers stopped going because the Mass wasn't the traditional Latin Mass anymore??? That just doesn't make sense.

Esau

No need to exaggerate, either. I've never yet seen anything at Mass even vaguely worthy of the word "party". (Except maybe at the "faith community" where it took 'em ten minutes to finish the Sign of Peace and five to take Communion.)

Look, when the priest stops at the Eucharistic Prayer in order to engage the parishoners in a jovial conversation, the priest for his homily talks about sports with the people with laughter and loud chattering in the background, the rock-n-roll band plays with hand-clapping Glorias, and the very ambience of Mass becomes one reminiscient as that of a social gathering than a Prayerful and Solemn event; yes, it becomes but a party than what it should be -- the Re-presentation of the Holy Sacrifice at Calvary!

So Exaggeration? I THINK NOT!

fred123

I agree with Esau

LCB

Esau SDG and I should start our own blog !

JoAnna
Look, when the priest stops at the Eucharistic Prayer in order to engage the parishoners in a jovial conversation, the priest for his homily talks about sports with the people with laughter and loud chattering in the background, the rock-n-roll band plays with hand-clapping Glorias, and the very ambience of Mass becomes one reminiscient as that of a social gathering than a Prayerful and Solemn event; yes, it becomes but a party than what it should be -- the Re-presentation of the Holy Sacrifice at Calvary!

But this doesn't happen at every Mass around the country. It's certainly never happened at any Mass I've ever been to, so I wouldn't say it's a terribly common thing. More common than it SHOULD be, yes, but hardly the norm.

Michael

"Does it make sense that the mostly baby-boomers stopped going because the Mass wasn't the traditional Latin Mass anymore??"

If going to mass is the same as not going to mass on a Sunday morning why get out of bed at all? The traditional mass was something you could not get anywhere else.

More generally, it was not just the change into the vernacular and less reverent masses that drove all those who left away. It was the embrace of the hippy culture and explicit socialism that seemed to capture almost the entire Church that drove many out of the Church. The adoption of the new mass was only part of that change.

Leah


Does it make sense that the mostly baby-boomers stopped going because the Mass wasn't the traditional Latin Mass anymore??? That just doesn't make sense.

If the only reason the "social-change-baby-boomers" were attending Mass was out of habit, or because they only appreciated it because of the "smells and bells" and the Latin that were lost, it would make sense that the changes in liturgy would make them stop coming.

Yes, the external solemnity of the liturgy points to the true meaning of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, but it isn't the cause. And for Catholics who were not well-formed, changing/abandoning the external solemnity of the Mass may have snapped their understanding of the Mass as something intrinsically important.

Dent, Arthur Dent

I have often wished I knew how to convert Catholics to Catholicism.

Joe

Leah wrote: "Yes, the external solemnity of the liturgy points to the true meaning of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, but it isn't the cause. And for Catholics who were not well-formed, changing/abandoning the external solemnity of the Mass may have snapped their understanding of the Mass as something intrinsically important."

Benedict XVI disagrees with you: "This [people being attached to the old missalwas especially the case in countries where the liturgical movement had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier Form of the liturgical celebration. . . .I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church."

The disappearance of the old missal was deeply hurtful to those well formed in the liturgy and the faith of the Church. People like Dietrich von Hildebrand are examples.

Joe

Repost (need to proofread)

Leah wrote: "Yes, the external solemnity of the liturgy points to the true meaning of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, but it isn't the cause. And for Catholics who were not well-formed, changing/abandoning the external solemnity of the Mass may have snapped their understanding of the Mass as something intrinsically important."

Benedict XVI disagrees with you: "This [people being attached to the old missal] was especially the case in countries where the liturgical movement had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier Form of the liturgical celebration. . . .I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church." (Letter to Bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum)

The disappearance of the old missal was deeply hurtful to those well formed in the liturgy and the faith of the Church. People like Dietrich von Hildebrand are examples.

Tim J.

"I have often wished I knew how to convert Catholics to Catholicism."

That's where the field of evangelism is ripe here in the U.S... we need to convert a bunch of Catholics.

Fallen away Catholics are the second largest (or is it the largest now?) religious demographic in the country.

Ben Bentrup

Joe, as far as I can make out, you and Leah are agreeing with each other. The Benedict quote seems to cement her position.

Joe

Ben,

Then you aren't "making it out" right. Leah said those who are poorly formed left the Church after the mass was tinkered with. Benedict said that those most disturbed by the liturgical changes were those most fully formed.

Ben Bentrup

Joe, I thought you were simply referring to changes in the Mass leading to general decline in church attendance and/or heartfelt pain for the old liturgy. However, if Leah is talking about those who are poorly formed, the Benedict quote referreing to those deeply rooted does not preclude her position, so now I don't understand why you are saying Benedict disagrees with her when his quote isn't even addressing her topic.

LarryD

I don't anything cogent to add to this conversation, but I just read this about Mass abuses in Holland. Hoo-boy!

http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/170066?eng=y

If you have problems with the link/address, you can get to it through SpiritDaily.com.

LarryD

Not only do I not anything to add, I do not have anything to add....must proofread!

Joe

Ben,

Here is a link, read the whole thing to get the context: http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/b16SummorumPontificum2.htm

Benedict is stating that those who experienced the most pain by the banishment of the old missal were those who had a deep formation and faith in the Church. Leah is telling us that those who were upset were those who didn't know what the mass was really about. They are totally contradictory statements, I don't know why you don't see that.

Ben Bentrup

No, Joe, it seems like Leah is saying group A is feeling disenfranchised by some action. You are saying group B is feeling disenfranchised by that same action. There is no reason why groups A + B can 't happily coexist in disenfranchisement. They are not mutually exclusive.

Tim J.

"Leah is saying group A is feeling disenfranchised by some action. You are saying group B is feeling disenfranchised by that same action."

I don't know about disenfranchised, but a good number of the the shallow, nominal Catholics might have been hanging on partly because of the aesthetic and sensory appeal of the traditional liturgy. How many times have you heard converts describe the sense that, even though they didn't understand the Mass, they sensed there was something BIG happening? A profound Mystery? I don't see that happening with the happy-clappy masses you see so much now. Would these Masses move anyone to convert?

So rather than feeling disenfranchised, I could see these nominal Catholics just plain losing interest. They got bored and - lacking real, internal, spiritual motivation to soldier on - just drifted away.

Ben Bentrup

Disenfranchised, admittedly, is probably not the term I was looking for, fair enough. I just didn't get why Joe was attcking Leah with a quote from the pope that didn't much address what Leah was talking about.

We have too many attacks from outside that we shouldn't go out of our way to attack our own.

Mary Kay

Tim, having been in the Church as a child, I would venture a guess that "aesthetic and sensory" was not on the radar of appealing qualities.

Converts have a sense "there was something BIG happening" because they are coming in as converts, that is, making a fully conscious decision to be there. Nominal Catholics were bored and/or just in the pew even before the conciliar changes.

The difference was that the constraints were lifted/loosened and the nominal people high-tailed it out of the Church.

Mary Kay

Should have said "as a child with some memory of before all the changes."

FR RP

I'll put my 2 cents in here. Vatican II wanted the priesthood to have a fuller role than that of sacral (or priestly), but wanted the prophetic (seen in preaching) and kingly (pastoral) emphasized as well. We ended up, I think, taking our cues from protestantism in how to do that..often with disasterous results. The preaching was substandard in that it oftentimes fed the growing feelings of entitlement and hedonism (avoiding 'harsh' topics such as Birth Control, abortion, confession, vocations) in favor of a variation of 'once saved, always saved' where we were taught that Jesus loved us no matter what and we could be assured of heaven even in our faith was nominal at best. Decades of devolved sense of sin were going to lead to a lesser committment to not only Mass, but to Church teaching a whole. The laity, for the most part, were only too happy to adapt this way of thinking modeled for them by the clergy. Any form of commitment to the Church, especially Sunday Mass, and then priesyly/religious vocations, and then marriage collapsed into a freefall. I would think if we wanted to turn this back, it must begin with not only sound teaching but with sound example as well from the clergy. You lay people need to start demanding as such from your priests and bishops. I know some of you do. I know you are hostily rebuffed...but keep doing it...I would hope even the most liberal priest will start questioning himself when he realizes that maybe he is not living the Gospel.

Joe

Man alive, I feel like I am in crazy town. People keep saying that shallow, nominal Catholics who were just going to mass for lace, smells, bells, and choreography where the ones who left the Church when the mass was deformed. I quote from Benedict where he explicitly states that those who had the greatest liturgical formation and deepest faith in the Church were the one who were most hurt by the banishment of the old missal; and folks say that these statements are saying the same thing!!

I know several people who were deeply devout Catholics and who loved the mass, understanding that it was the sacrifice of Calvary, whose faith was destroyed when the Catholic Church's most sacred possession was tossed aside for a liturgy that was radically different. When you compare a TLM (a rite with 1500 years of stability, according to Klaus Gamber) with your typical happy-clappy suburban mass how could anyone not be disturbed?

Mary Kay

a quick drive-by before running out the door...

Fr. RP, your comment about taking cues from Protestantism is interesting. Similar results but I would say not actively taking cues but that with little or hasty preparation, the self-interpretation crept in. That's not saying it sufficiently but will do for now.

Joe, a) the Mass was not deformed and b) no one is saying what you claim.

Joe

a) ummm, yes it was:

"The liturgical reform, in its concrete realization, has certainly strayed from its origin. The result has not been a reanimation (renewal), but a devastation. . . .What happened after the Council was altogether different: instead of a liturgy, which was the fruit of continuous development, a fabricated liturgy was put in its place. A living, growing process was abandoned and the fabrication was begun. There was no further wish to continue the organic evolution and maturation of the living being throughout the centuries, and it was replaced -- as if in a technical production -- by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment."--Cardinal Ratzinger, Preface to "Reform of the Roman Liturgy"

Joe

By the way, for those interested in where I get my crazy ideas should read Ratzinger and those he promotes:

Ratzinger: "Spirit of the Liturgy," "Feast of Faith," and "Memoirs"

Those he wrote prefaces to:
U.M. Lang: "Turning Towards the Lord"
Klaus Gamber: "Reform of the Roman Liturgy"
Alcuin Reid: "The Organic Development of the Liturgy," and "Looking Again at the Question of the Liturgy with Cardinal Ratzinger"

Those he has publicly endorsed:
Michael Davies: "Partisans of Error," "Liturgical Time Bombs in Vatican II," "I am Always with You," "Saint Athanasius," among many other.

And personally I would recommend anything written by the man Pope Pius XII called the "20th Century Doctor of the Church," Dietrich von Hildebrand, especially "Trojan Horse in the City of God."

That should get ya started...

Michael

I don't know about disenfranchised, but a good number of the the shallow, nominal Catholics might have been hanging on partly because of the aesthetic and sensory appeal of the traditional liturgy.

There is so much wrong with this statement. Even if your characterization of those who were attached to the traditional liturgy as shallow and nominal were true, why would it not have been better to keep the thing that kept them coming back? Why would anyone who cared about their souls send them out the door with a "googbye and good-riddance"?

FR RP

I had to hastily throw my thoughts together before as I had to get to our 1st saturday devotions (adoration, confessions, litany to Immaculate Heart of Mary, Benediction) and Mass.

I will put the caveat forward that I was born just as VII was ending and did not becoem Catholic until 1977. I have never seen the 1962 Ordo. But I do not believe the change in the Mass is the reason for declining attendance; I cannot believe it would've been any different had the Mass stayed he same. I beleive, though, that many innovations that the Council Fathers never envisioned crept in as the surrounding culture's animosity towrd authority found a home with clergy. Many of the innovations were things taken from protestantism...particulary liberal protestantism. An emphasis on feeling..hence a switch from transcendance to immanent...became the rule of the day and true measure of the worth and validity of an event. No longer were we there to worship God...we were there to receive an emotional rush. Some got hat rush from smells and bells...some from liturgical dance and such. Clergy proceded on the path of least resistance and gave the masses what they wanted (not what they needed) because people were much more effusive in their thanks and compliments. There is nothing inherently disrespectful, anti-transcendant, or sacrilegious about the Novus Ordo. However, how some have molded it to their own ends can be all such of those things.

In the particular area of preaching we devolved. WE cannot say that we have no models of preaching in our own tradition: St. John Chrysostom, St. Dominic, St. Francis, and so on. However these were looked away from because their preaching could be seen as caustic and demanding (like..say...Christ's was). Gone were the days when personal behavior was challenged and popular trends admonished...gone were the days were we were called to constant metanoia. No, instead we got "Jesus loves you"...we were presented with a Jesus who was weak, effeminant, a victim (in the bad sense), and would condone behavior, even though none of this was scriptural. It undermined Jesus' authority over us and led us to mistakenly believe that we could live on our own terms, cave into every craving, be mastered by sin and our passions, live in outright rebellion against the will of God, and still call ourselves good Christians. There is nothing new in this, look at the people of Israel in the OT! Naturally Church attendance and vocations will plummet! If we do not allow ourselves to be challenged by the Gospel, this is what happens. The church has been plagued with such things through all 2000 years of her existance. That is why reformers from St. Gregory VII to St. Francis of Assisi to St. John Chrysostom to St. Bernard of Clairvaux to the saints of our own age kept calling us to return.

Unfortunately the rebellion of the 60's-90's has led to a far greater and deadlier beast..the indiffernce of our own age. Entitlement has become entrenched, narcissism the norm, and ease the mandate. The only way to combat indifference is to model fervor, obedience, and a devout willfulness to the will of God. For clergy, it means embracing simplicity, chastity, courage, apostolic zeal, and perserverance. It means saying what NEEDS to be said and forsake the easy route of tickling peoples ears. It means living what the Church teachings and with compassion encouraging those entrusted to our pastoral care to do the same; because the same qualities are needed in the laity as well. Lay people also need to embrace simplicity, chastity, courage , apostolic zeal, and perserverance...especially those who have the pastoral role of parent! We all need to greater grasp, through our cooperation with the grace of God, the wisdom of the Gospel..eschewing the wisdom of the world. Do these things and both Mass attendance and vocation will skyrocket. WE will more likely to commit ourselves to something that engages and challenges us that something that numbs and condones.

Mary Kay

Fr. RP, isn't it funny, when I read your post, I thought that it sounded like you were in a hurry when you wrote that. It has a condensed, shorthand sound to it. God bless you for offering that on a Saturday morning.

I essentially agree with you. There are a few details where I'd differ with you though. It wasn't just taking the easy way out (although some probably did). I remember homilies where the priest clearly was trying his hardest to "Be Pastoral!" and it was also clear that there was a learning curve.

One of the things that I find myself repeating over and over again to you young 'uns is that there wasn't one separate, single factor. There was a confluence of events and happenings that I would pinpoint to the mid to late 60s. Certainly led up to in the preceding decades and played out in later decades, but the huge social and technology changes and IMO spiritual darkness came to a confluence in the mid to late 1960s.

We do have the models of preaching that you mentioned and good preaching was not entirely absent during the time period you mentioned.

A conversation to be continued :^).......

Mary Kay

Joe, the difference between you and then Cardinal Ratzinger is he that he sees what is right in the 1970 Missal, to the extent of saying that it is the normative Mass. OTOH you express only disparagement for the ordinary use. You wrote a sweeping statement and I answered when short of time, neither of which are good for discussion.

btw, I have read what then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote. For you to assume that those who value the 1970 Missal have not read then Ratzinter's writings is unwise.

Mary Kay

Michael, your post has good questions, but for later. I would only say that it was not the intention to send people out the door.

Joe

Where have I totally disparaged the missal of Paul VI? I think it was, as Ratzinger stated, a "banal fabrication" and not a product of organic development. But there are some good innovations, such as the priest and congregation singing the Gloria and Credo together (the TLM High Mass is a bit awkward with the priest and schola reciting the same text at different paces). But all of the good in the NO could have been accomplished with slight modification of the 62 missal (I think the 65 missal was a step in that direction).

However, I do think that the NO was a gargantuan mistake. As Alcuin Reid (an author Ratzinger supported) stated, the NO is radical break with Tradition and is not the mass that Sacrosanctum Concilium called for.

Tim J.

"Even if your characterization of those who were attached to the traditional liturgy as shallow and nominal were true..."

That was not my point, at all. I was only saying that not EVERYONE in the pre-conciliar Church who enjoyed the TLM was a devout and serious Catholic. Some may have been attached to the TLM for reasons of personal taste, nostalgia or whatever. Is that a controversial thing to say?

For many of those attached to the TLM for all the right reasons, I understand that the changes to the liturgy were very painful, and I am thoroughly in sympathy. For others, though, it might not have been so much painful as it was just confusing. Once many of the distinctively Catholic elements of the Mass became colored with something resembling a protestant "service", there would be that much less incentive for them to stick around. After all, they could find something of much the same "flavor" down the street.

I was not at all saying that "those who were attached to the traditional liturgy" were shallow and nominal Catholics. But certainly shallow and nominal Catholics existed before Vatican II, and many of these might have been attached to the Old Mass for more shallow, personal reasons.

Ben Bentrup

Joe, since you're obviously passionate in your love for the TLM Mass (what does TLM stand for? however I think you are referring to what I normally term the Tridentine Mass) and, from what I can tell, highly critical of the Novus Ordo Mass, can you please put together a brief outline explaining what is wrong in the NO that the former Mass does well? I would read it with great charity and interest. I was born in 1977 so I have little concept of the former, so please assume absolute ignorance in your audience (although I hope I have some small clues). Otherwise, I feel you and I will be talking a foreign language on this topic. Post here, elsewhere with a link, or just email me. Thanks.

Two last points. First, I assume you're inherently against the NO, and not of the opinion that it could have been great but the actual reform was bad. That correct? Secondly, although you could probably find something around the Net encapsulizing your position, if at all possible, please use your own words. Reading highly technical reading for the masses on the internet is not my strong point.

SDG

"TLM Mass" is a redundancy, like "PIN Number." You have a PIN, not a PIN Number; it's not a Personal Identification Number Number. And it's the TLM or Traditional Latin Mass, not the Traditional Latin Mass Mass.

"Traditional Latin Mass" or "TLM" just won a poll at (I think) Father Z's blog as the best way of referring to the extraordinary use of the Roman Rite (the 1962 missal, yes?). "Tridentine Mass" is not entirely accurate, and "Latin Mass" is somewhat misleading. "TLM" is somewhat imprecise but is probably clearer and easier to understand than "extraordinary use" or "1962 missal." I'm willing to go with "TLM," although being a bit pedantic about precision I will probably continue to use "extraordinary use" as well.

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