Game over in France? Who’s next?

The young Papist has a rather dire note about the Catholic Church in France.

Christian Campbell, an Anglican blogger who aspires to full communion with Rome, excerpts an article in French newspaper La Croix which details how rapidly France is de-Christianizing:

The IFOP Institute has just made a survey on Catholicism in France for the daily La Croix. The result is mind-blowing:

*Whilst, in 1965, 81% of the French declared themselves as Catholics, they were no more than 64% in 2009.
*More serious: whilst 27% of the French went to Mass once a week or more in 1965, they are no more than 4.5% in 2009. [Higher than I thought. I wonder what part of that 4.5% attend the older form of Mass.]
*At a doctrinal level, generally, it’s a catastrophe: 63% of practicing Catholics think all religions are the same; 75% ask for an “aggiornamento” of the Church on contraception and even 68% for abortion.
*As for communion with the Roman Pontiff, the situation is no better: only 27% of practicing Catholics consider that Benedict XVI “rather well” defends “the values of Catholicism” (personally, I don’t even understand the question, but that doesn’t matter) when 34% think he defends them “rather badly”.

This is a cautionary tale, folks.

Our Lord promised that the Church would survive until He returned.

He did not promise it would survive in France.. or in England, or the United States or anywhere else…. even Rome.

Think about the once thriving ancient Churches in North Africa and Asia Minor.

Wasn’t France known as the Roman Church’s eldest daughter

There are no guarantees that the Church in your region will survive.

There are no guarantees that your diocese or your parish will survive.

They won’t if you are not involved and willing to give support, even at some cost.

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62 Responses to Game over in France? Who’s next?

  1. EnoughRope says:

    I am pretty bummed today. I went to our parish council with the intention of changing some liturgical issues (abuses) at my parish. It did not bode well for my side. I used Church doctrine and documents, the words of Cardinals and Popes, and reason. The opposition used emotion and rebellion. I feel like I am the only one who thinks a certain way at my parish. I say that not to make myself seem holier than thou, but as an exasperated cry for help. I desire to take the good fight to the atheists and agnostics, not fight a defensive battle in my parish against my brothers and sisters in Christ. I hope above all to have a parish to worship at where I do not feel like I need to fight for the Church. I know I can move, but I feel like that is accepting defeat. St. Francis was told to repair his Father’s house, not move to one that doesn’t have plumbing issues.
    I need God’s grace to get through today because I am running on empty.

  2. Ralph says:

    I have an older friend who firmly believes that the Holy Father is preparing us to live as a “Remnent Church”. Perhaps he is right. As Pope BXVI moves us “back to the basics” of our faith, it may be so we know what the essentialls are to hold fast to when the storm comes.

    What can we do? I personally believe that step one is to make our own lives reflective of the faith. Live our vocations to the Christian Ideal. Be a becon to the world. Those of us with families, boldy rasie children in the faith, open to life and open to our Fathers Plan. Those of you in religious life, openly serve God, in public, in clerical or habit so that the world can see Christ’s sacrafice and love lived through your chaste life. All faithful in all vocations actively work to support the priesthood so that we can have recourse to the Sacraments which will sustain us in the trying times to come.

  3. Flambeaux says:

    Father,

    Would you be willing to put together a post on how you think we should prepare and what we ought to do in the event of the total collapse of the Church in our region?

  4. catholicmidwest says:

    What precisely does “They won’t if you are not involved and willing to give support, even at some cost” mean??

  5. catholicmidwest says:

    Especially the “involved” part.

  6. Timbot2000 says:

    Ralph,
    I agree with your thoughts, but even more important is that our prayer truly reflect and fully encapsulate the faith, not merely in words, but organically and organoleptically and holistically, in iconography, in bodily posture, motion, musical modality and content. An eastern Orthodox bishop once said “If you want to know what we believe, come see the Liturgy!” Could this honestly be said to be true in the west? Our patrimony was not so much stolen, as we set fire to it and burned it to the ground ourselves.
    I fear that until the parousia and its eucatastrophe we are simply fighting what Tolkien called “the long defeat”

  7. moon1234 says:

    I firmly believe that the members of the SSPX, FSSP and ICRSS make up the bulk of practicing Catholics in France. In another 20 years or so these three groups will BE the majority groups of Catholics in France. Why is this? VII and the subsequent changes in the liturgy and the wholesale abandonment of Traditional Catholic doctrine are to blame. Until we return fully to Tradition this will only get worse.

  8. Tom in NY says:

    Aux larmes, citoyens! The Church has seen a hard road in the Revolution and the turmoil of the 19th century (see Catholic Encyclopedia), to say nothing of the 20th. Pray and stay active in your congregation.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  9. catholicmidwest says:

    “stay active”
    There it is again. How, exactly? What does this mean? I’m serious.

  10. “He did not promise it would survive in France.. or in England, or the United States or anywhere else…. even Rome.”

    Does this mean no pope? Didn’t Jesus promise papal succession until the end of time?

    Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

    Doesn’t it say here in Matthew 16 that the gates of Hell will not prevail against it?

    How do we reconcile this with what Fr. Z says,

    “He did not promise it would survive in France.. or in England, or the United States or anywhere else…. even Rome. Think about the once thriving ancient Churches in North Africa and Asia Minor. Wasn’t France known as the Roman Church’s eldest daughter. There are no guarantees that the Church in your region will survive. There are no guarantees that your diocese or your parish will survive. They won’t if you are not involved and willing to give support, even at some cost.”

    There seems to be an apparent contradiction here. That’s all I’m arguing here. I’m just wondering. How do we reconcile Matthew 16 with what Father Z says in this blog here?

  11. catholicmidwest says:

    No contradiction, Romancrusader.

    It is said in scripture that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. It never says that the church will be in France, or Italy or the United States. It never says that the pope will sit in a palace, or that the Vatican will not be overrun by some marauders. It only says that the church will go on and there will be a Peter someplace.

  12. Tom in NY says:

    To “catholicmidwest”
    a) participate in parish life – in person and with money
    b) evangelize by example or more direct methods
    “See how those Christians love one another (Tertullian?)”
    c) pray.
    If the Reverend Moderator has better ideas, he can offer them.
    Salutationes tibi.

  13. Thanks Catholicmidwest for the clarification.

  14. French Mass attendance was at 27% in 1965?! That means more people attend weekly Mass today in the US than 1965 France. It would seem that France may have been in very bad shape well before Vatican II.

  15. catholicuspater says:

    Catholicmidwest, I’m curious as well as to what Fr. Z means by “being involved” and “supporting” one’s local church.

    If he means supporting one’s neighborhood parish where anything goes, and the local pastor preaches openly that Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict approve liberation theology and that using contraceptives is sometimes “the loving thing to do,” I’m not sure what one person can do to correct the situation besides writing reams of letters to ecclesiastical authorities which will never be answered.

    I’m not convinced that staying in a parish like the above and subjecting one’s children and oneself to a steady diet of such is to be recommended in the futile hope that one’s good example of passive obedience and long-suffering will somehow turn the tide.

    However, if Father means traveling a significant distance to a reasonably orthodox parish and becoming involved there to what extent one can, then I agree with him that this is a suitable option.

    I’m afraid that I will never concede that the laity are obliged to give money and visible support to a heterodox and morally corrupt Catholic parish administration or diocese, no matter how much that church or diocese is in danger of bankruptcy or even extinction.

  16. Elly says:

    Wow, this scares me a lot and makes me want to have a lot of children!

  17. Reminds me of some private prophecies:

    anonymous:

    “Everywhere there is war! Peoples and nations are pitted against each other. War, war, war! Civil and foreign wars! Mourning and death everywhere! Famine over the whole world. Will Lutetius [Paris] be destroyed? Why, O Lord, does Thou not stop all this with Thy arm? Must also the elements be the instrument of Thy wrath? Enough, O Lord, enough! The cities are destroyed, the natural elements are set loose, the earthquakes everywhere. But mercy, mercy, mercy for Rome! But Thou hearest not my entreaties, and Rome also collapses in tumult. And I see the king of Rome with his Cross and his tiara, shaking the dust off his shoes, and hastening in his flight to other shores. Thy Church, O Lord, is torn apart by her own children. One camp is faithful to the fleeing Pontiff, the other is subject to the new government of Rome which has broken the Tiara. But Almighty God will, in His mercy, put an end to this confusion and a new age will begin. Then, said the Spirit, this is the beginning of the End of Time.”

    Interesting isn’t it? Here’s another one by Brother John of the Cleft Rock:

    “At that time, the Pope, with the cardinals will have to flee Rome in trying circumstances to a place where he will be unknown. He will die a cruel death in this exhile. The sufferings of the Church will be much greater than at any previous time in her history….God will raise a holy Pope over whom the Angels will rejoice. Enlightened by God, this man will reconstruct almost the entire world through his holiness.”

    and yet another by Holzhauser:

    “These are evil times, a century full of dangers and calamities. Heresy is everywhere, and the followers of heresy are in power almost everywhere. Bishops, prelates, and priests say that they are doing their duty, that they are vigilant, and that they live as befits their state in life. In manner, therefore, they all seek excuses. But God will permit a great evil against His Church. Heretics and tyrants will come suddenly and unexpectedly; they will break into the Church while bishops, prelates, and priests are asleep. They will enter Italy and lay Rome waste; they will burn down the Churches and destroy everything.”

    and by Sister Elena:

    “Russia will march upon all nations of Europe, particularly Italy and will raise her flag over the dome of St. Peter’s. Italy will be tried in by a great revolution and Rome will purified in blood for it’s many sins, especially those of impurity. The flock is about to be dispersed and the Pope will suffer greatly.”

  18. EXCHIEF says:

    Once again the Marine Corps plea for “a few good men” comes to mind. Better smaller and capable than larger and culpable.

  19. pelerin says:

    Interesting comment that 63% of practising Catholics in France think all religions are the same. This afternoon I watched a TV programme showing the work of one of the French Bishops. He was shown asking a young man which Church he now attended. When he replied that he went to an evangelical church the Bishop said to him ‘We are not the same but that does not matter. We all pray to the same God.’

    If the Bishops think it no longer matters then it is not surprising the people do to.

  20. Central Valley says:

    Any wonder why the bishops in France despise the SSPX? They have numbers, the diocese do not. Traditional catholics are beleivers.

  21. James Locke says:

    Its true. is there way way for the pope to remove bishops and replace them? I wonder more importantly, where all these bad bishops came from? Poor shepherding means the flock suffers too.

  22. Prof. Basto says:

    Romancrusader,

    (1) Our Lord promised Peter that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church.

    (2) The magisterium teaches that Church’s has an unchangeable divine constitution, ordained by the Lord, and the supreme authority vested in Peter and his successors is part of that divine constitution. Indeed, the Petrine primacy is an essential part of the Church’s constitution. Dogmas teach us that the Petrine Succession, to last until the end of the world, is willed by the Lord. Not only won’t the gates of hell prevail against the Church, but they will also not prevail against that Rock, against that foundation of unity, that is the Petrine office.

    (3) Catholic doctrine teaches us that, Peter, having first gone to Antioch, finally settled in Rome, presiding over the Christian community in that city, where he suffered Martyrdom at the Vatican hill. With this Martyrdom, Peter’s universal office of leadership, of supreme ecclesiastical authority, became united with the See of Rome for ever, so that the Roman Pontiffs are, and will always be, until the end of time, the successors of Peter.

    So:

    a) Petrine Succession will be assured until the end of time; and

    b) the Successor of Peter at any time will always be both the Supreme Pontiff and the Roman Pontiff. Indeed, it is by virtue of election and investiture as Bishop of Rome that he will succeed Peter in the universal office of primacy.

    But:

    (i) This is not a guarantee that the Bishop of Rome will always reside in Rome.

    The history of the Church shows us that: (a) popes have lived outside Rome for generations (Avignon) and that (b) popes have been inprisioned (several examples from Peter to Pius VI and Pius VII)

    (ii) this is not a guarantee that there won’t be long periods of vacancy of the Holy See and even of confusion about who is the true Roman Pontiff.

    Regarding this topic, consider the example of the Western Schism. There was confusion about who was the legitimate Pope and there were instances of long vacancies of the Apostolic See (when the Schism was resolved and the Pope and the antipopes had resigned, it took two years until the election of Martin V). And even outside of moments of schism, history records other long vacancies.

    It seems, however, that the true Roman Pontiff existing at any time will always have a following, or else, if he were to be totally abandoned by all, to the point of being a Pastor without a flock, the gates of hell would have prevailed, and that is not possible.

  23. patrick_f says:

    Remember in the understanding of “Church”, there is “Church Militant” (us, and our man made, Holy Spirit inspired institution) and “Church Triumphant” (the perfected church as it exists in heaven)

    Christ promised the church would never be conquered. He never said how or in what manner it would exist, or where

    We have to remember, the Church here on earth, isnt the final incarnation. Without treading into “Dispensational” waters, we do Profess that Christ will come again in Glory, and all things will be made perfect, and right. We are but cultivators and tillers. To think that the Kingdom is already here in its glory (which in the end the Church IS the Kingdom) is both naive, and speaks of gnostic heresy, in my opinion.

    Regarding parish involvement – I think this means being actively visible and involved in the parish. Yes sometimes we end up being the “Crazy Uncle” in the corner…but Crazy Uncles are eventually listened to.

  24. Prof. Basto says:

    Has anyone given consideration to the fact that, perhaps, one of the biggest problems of the French Episcopate has to do with the fact that, under a Convention signed between France and the Holy See in the first decades of the 20th century, the Government of the (secular) French Republic has a role in the appointment of Bishops?

    Indeed, in accordance with the “Briand-Ceretti Agreement” (in force to this day) that re-established normal relations between the Holy See and France in the aftermath of the hideous 1905 legislation on the “associations of cult” (Church property would not be controlled by the Hierarchy in communion with the Pope under this legislation, but by the laity, who would be voting members of “associations of worship”), the French Minister of the Interior has the right to veto any intended appointment being considered to the French Episcopate, so that there are always consultations between the Nunciature and the Government before Episcopal appointments are made.

  25. Recorder says:

    Fr. Z is, as usual, right on the money. The Churches mentioned in the Book of the Apocalypse, the Christian Communities addressed by St. Paul’s Epistles, the Sees and homes of the Early Church Fathers, so many of them have been wiped off the Christian map, never (probably) to return. So much of the once-Christian Near East, the once-Christian North Africa, has been lost to the Church, in any meaningful sense, for centuries. Now it is Europe’s turn, it seems.

    None of these phenomena undermines the indefectability of the Pope. Neither did the removal of the Papal Court to Avignon, the exiles in Certosa or Valence or the Papal Election at Venice or the imprisonment at Fontainbleu, admittedly all temporary.

    I disagree with the tone of many of the comments above that talk in such apocalyptic terms. If I die today, none of these preparations make any sense. Very often Catholics are happier to speculate on massive upheavals and worldwide phenomena when the key to it all is the conflict within their own souls and over their own souls.

    If I understand Fr. Z correctly, or if I can read some things into his words, the universal conflict of good and evil runs in tandem with the conflict within and for the individual soul. Therefore, the place for me to wage the universal conflict is primarily within and for my individual soul.

    Zeal should be the outpouring of personal holiness. When it comes from an externalism or from a love of curiosity or speculation is is not only weak but positively harmful, not only to the universal conflict but also weak and harmful in the conflict within and over my soul.

  26. In our Tradsitional chapel in northern New Jersey, the FSSP administrator is French born and raised. The reason he is in N.J. is the bishops in France would not allow the traditional Mass. Alors, aujourdhui il est ici dans une paroisse Americain traditionale, n’est-ce pas? Dieu est bien!

  27. Thomas S says:

    Prof. Basto,

    Interesting information. What would be the consequences of the Holy Father ignoring the current set-up and defying the French secular authorities in his appointment of bishops? What would French law ALLOW to happen, and in practice what do you think the French would DO?

  28. asperges says:

    Even those without a good knowledge of French would do well to look at the PPT presentation from La Croix at http://www.la-croix.com/illustrations/Multimedia/Actu/2009/12/28/catholicisme-ifop.ppt . There are ample charts worth studying.

    The French hierarchy must bear a heavy burden of failure – I don’t believe that State involvement is a factor – and they have relentlessly pursued a line (particularly anti-liturgical and modernist) that is stuck in a sort of post-Vatican II mist of stupidity. There has been a serious trad/modern split for years and years and very little dialogue and a great deal of posturing. They were also as a body very active in opposing Summorum Pontificum which fortunately the Holy Father set aside.

    France has always presented an enigma to the “Anglo-Saxon” mind (as they refer to us) and vice-versa. There is a maddening spirit of contradiction in the French (I speak as a francophile) and along with all this bad news and chaos, is a perhaps small, but very deep-rooted love of religion and fidelity to it.

    There are areas of the Church in France which are more than exemplary in holiness and tradition: think of Fontgombault, La Chartreuse, Le Barroux. Monasticism is strong in France (much more than in many other European countries) and there is hope and promise if only within what these embody which will not be extinguished quickly. Don’t write them off yet.

    I sometimes smile at the self-deprecation of many US correspondents on this blog. You may have problems within the Church there, but there are also many very healthy “green shoots” and particularly, on more traditional aspects, a real growth and enthusiasm which should not be underrated. As you see from this thread, some of these qualities are now dying or very tired in Europe.

  29. Penguins Fan says:

    I wonder if such a study was performed in Spain. It would be interesting to know how the same survey cited in the blog would apply to Spaniards. For several years Spain has had a Socialist government seemingly hell-bent on eradicating all vestiges of Catholicism from Spaish public life and replacing it with pseudo-stupid social engineering such as gay marriage and liberalized abortion laws…all the while ignoring the steadily worsening Spanish economy…kind of like what the Democrats are doing in the USA.

  30. j says:

    62 million * 4.5% = 2.8 million, according to the article, total French who regularly attend.
    SSPX in France is on the order of 1-2 million, most are weekly congregants.

    A little unclear whether the 2.8 million includes SSPX and other EF congregants, and whether the 63% of alleged Catholics that really don’t believe refers to the 2.8 million or the “larger” Church, but yes, the EF must be a major part of Catholic life in France, making the hostility of Bishops that much more puzzling.

  31. Jack Hughes says:

    Contary to the apocalypic doom and gloom pervading the chambers I’m actually an optimist, In America a ressurgence of Christian philosophy has taken place and one hears encouraging news coming out of the Middle East, if anything the ‘new’ athiests have woken us out of a slumber and given us a new opportunity to evanglise SO WHY are we leaving it to the evangelicals? I admire their enthusiasm even if they are heretics.

  32. Father S. says:

    RE: catholicuspater

    “I’m afraid that I will never concede that the laity are obliged to give money and visible support to a heterodox and morally corrupt Catholic parish administration or diocese, no matter how much that church or diocese is in danger of bankruptcy or even extinction.”

    I think that this is quite morally defensible. The fifth Precept of the Church says, (quoting CCC 2043) “The fifth precept (“You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church”) means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.” Further, CIC Canon 222.1 says, “The Christian faithful are obliged to assist with the needs of the Church so that the Church has what is necessary for divine worship, for the works of the apostolate and of charity, and for the decent support of ministers.” That said, it still is necessary to assist in some way. Of course, if we take advantage of local programs without cost that have inherent costs, it is just to assist the programs. But, the letter of the precept can be fulfilled without giving any local assistance.

  33. Maltese says:

    Some attribute the decomposition of Catholicism in France to the Revolution of 1789, but it is important to remember that our Lady appeared at Lourdes a generation later, and certainly ignited a renewed fervor of the Faith in the nineteenth century. Really, among the rank and file of the Church in France, the decomposition happened over a century later. Those clamoring for a deconstructed Church really took-hold in Paris in the 40′s and 50′s, especially from the liturgical movement emanating from St. Severin church (a gorgeous medieval church across the Seine from Notre Dame, which in no way deserves blame.)

    And as the deconstruction of the Church in France started with liturgical change, it ended with it at Vatican II. For an accomplished, realized view of the Sacrificial versus remembrance understanding of Mass, I would refer you to “P.K.P.T’s” comments, especially at 18:33, at this fine blog:

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2010/01/collapse-of-church-in-france.html

    Or, you can look at my self-promotional dim understanding here, where I do quote extensively from someone accomplished in the field: Michael Davies, and his “Eternal Sacrifice”:

    http://hospitallers.blogspot.com/2008/09/holy-sacrifice.html

    In any case, I think we can all agree that something went terribly wrong in the Church after Vatican II.

  34. lucy says:

    On the topic of giving to a local church that we know is teaching lukewarm nonsense – we give to our parish, but very little. The rest of our tithing goes to Catholic radio – which I know does fantastic work. We also give to the FSSP and other traditional orders from time to time. We also give money to care for a child in a poor part of the world. We give to our local Right to Life folks. There are many ways to give to the Church – it doesn’t have to be in your own back yard necessarily. I cannot give a goodly portion of our hard-earned money to a local parish that does not teach the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even though I fully recognize that it is God’s money. I was lost for 6 years after going through my parish’s RCIA and it’s still the same. That’s a sin in my book. To poorly catechize folks coming in just keeps things wishy-washy, rather than solid and faithful. But, we can support the faithful Catholics who are doing wonderful things here and there.

  35. Father S. says:

    RE: Maltese

    I think that we can likely agree on that in some places, and always to different degrees. However, if we honestly evaluate some of the things that go on today, they are not a legitimate, organic outgrowth of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council or the Liturgical Movement which preceded it at least from the time of Pope St. Pius X. The fervor after the Council and a misguided sense of the Council may have been used as justification, but the “innovations” of utter non-Catholic liturgical, moral and doctrinal whims were more properly the result of opposition to the Church.

    This is not the first time this has happened, either. Recall, per your own name and website, that in the 16th Century, the Knights of St. John engaged in the slave trade of captured Muslims and that Pope Paul III had galleys oared by the same slaves. Perhaps the liturgical craziness that we see today was not quite the same in those days, but moral and doctrinal issues are by no means new. We cannot be (and I am not saying that you are) myopic about what is going on around us now.

  36. Maltese says:

    Father S.,

    Those are very good points. Your comments about Paul III immediately bring to mind Julius II, the “Warrior” Pope. I actually rather admire Julius for his heart-felt appreciation of art (think Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel) and his personal manliness: I mean the guy was no wimp of a Pope charging himself into battle! Yes, yes, I know, by today’s standards he was not politically correct!

    But my point is this: no Pope, until Paul VI, had the gumption to create a brand new rite, and suppress others!

  37. Catholic Dad says:

    “SSPX in France is on the order of 1-2 million, most are weekly congregants.”

    LOL… where did you create that figure from?

  38. catholicmidwest says:

    Okay:
    a) participate in parish life – in person and with money
    Still wondering how that’s supposed to happen, particularly the “in-person” part. Surely you’re not suggesting I go volunteer as one of those Extraordinary Ministers, are you? I don’t play the piano. Catholic churches no longer have choirs. Generally, parishes are run by small cliques of laypeople, many of whom are looking for a paying job with the parish (like the parish needs hordes of paid people who can’t get a job anywhere else.)

    b) evangelize by example or more direct methods
    OK, I’ve never seen a catholic evangelize. Seriously. In fact, 25 years ago, when I called a large parish office about finding out how to become catholic, the priest didn’t take me seriously. When I called, he said “think about it and if you’re still interested call me again in 2 weeks”. He sounded like he thought I was out of my mind for asking. I’d like to see a Catholic evangelize. I don’t think Catholics know how.

    c) pray.
    I do pray, but honestly, Catholics don’t pray together or in public very often. I’ve been Catholic 25 years and have prayed the rosary with other catholics only a few times. It’s just not available unless you don’t work and don’t have anything else to do at 9am on a weekday morning. If you work, you are out of luck, I guess. (Same thing with most of the other parish functions–either they don’t exist or they seem oriented towards senior citizens, school kids or a handful of people who don’t work.)

  39. catholicmidwest says:

    And Tom, make no mistake: The whole “evangelize by example” thing is usually a giant flop.
    Reason: Most people don’t know if there are any Catholics in their workplace because Catholics generally don’t own up to being Catholic in public. Thus when Catholics think they’re “evangelizing by example,” what it really looks like is that they’re just being “nice” and the reason is not given. People can’t tell what you’re trying to do if you don’t make it clear. They’re not mind-readers, after all.

    “Evangelizing by example” is just another phrase for “phoning it in” if you don’t make it well known you’re a catholic.

  40. lucy says:

    Catholicmidwest:

    My husband and myself, along with two other couples did make it a point to get together once a month on a Saturda evening, pray the rosary, help each other with any difficulties in life, and just have a bit of socializing. That worked well until one couple moved away. You can make it happen if you work at it. We’re in the process of getting another couple involved so we can resume praying together as a community, small though it is.

    But, otherwise, I think your comments are right on.

  41. patrick_f says:

    I feel the point on serving a parish is being missed…

    Here is what I do…and I will put it bluntly

    I am an annoying, persistent well rounded Catholic. If something is wrong, I speak out in an appropriate way, through charity.

    Also – There are other things one can do besides be an EMHC….and being an EMHC in itself is not bad. One can do that, and lead by example, and not look like a schmuck doing it. One can show how to humbly approach the ministry

    Second – One can AND SHOULD get involved in adult faith formation . MOst parishes have some sort of adult faith programs. Who is better in the program? The person who only knows what’s in the booklet given to them? Or those who hang out on forums like this. My frustration is the “traditionalist” is more content to just sit on the side and say how bad everything is, and give up and say there isnt hope. That does absolutely nothing to help the cause. The parish gets worse and worse, because those who are ill equipped are running the show

    Imagine what could happen in our parishes, if those of us who dearly loved Holy Mother Church, the way we do and exhibit here, stayed and fought for what was right

    I see this as a fight. When Paul VI said that the smoke of satan had entered the church, he wasnt kidding. But that doesnt mean you lay down and take it. You fight, you fight through prayer, you fight through action. I just feel like giving up on the local community parish is not the best approach. YOu miss out on evagelization, and you lose the Catholic presence there. Then satan wins. We lose, because that presence is gone, and it will be an upward battle to get it back

    Evangelize by example — St Francis once said, “Preach the Gospel, use words if necessary” . This applies not only to the Gospel in the Bible, but also the Catechism of the Catholic church. One can not only evangelize to the public, but also their own parish community. Just because people sit in a church at mass….doesnt mean they have a clue…or arent without a need. Also, we cant be afraid to say “I AM CATHOLIC”. I work for an evangelical ministry…and I practically wear it like a badge? Why? Because, its who I am. Its not just my faith. Its a part of my being. I show my Catholicity through action, word, and thought. If you are trying to show it through those, it will come out. Trust me from experience on this

    What we need to do more then ever is get behind our Priests, and positively encourage and reenforce what they do. Show them that there is still something worth fighting for, and I guarantee the majority of them will start fighting.

    I mean my response in Good Will…but we absolutely cant let ourselves get into a “Good Church Bad Church” setup…. Satan is a skilled general. He will try to divide and conquer.

  42. MikeM says:

    “But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them,
    but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,
    but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.” -1 Peter 3: 14-16

  43. albizzi says:

    We must stay confident. The faith in France is not dead. The fire is smouldering under the ashes. Once the “has been” modernist bishops have left the stage, when the new generation of trad priests coming from SSPX and elsewhere will take over, when difficult times will come for the country, more difficult than those it already had to withstand, people will come back to pray in the churches of the eldest daughter of the Church.
    There are a lot of prophecies that predict a true renewal of the faith in France, but certainly not the “New Pentecost”, the new spring Pope John forecast in the sixties before the council and its sad outcomes.

  44. The-Monk says:

    I think people should go back and re-read Karl Rahner’s “Shape of the Church to Come,” originally published in the early 70s, I believe. Like Rahner’s prognostications concerning the future or not, it matters little. He did foresee a very small, remnant “basic community” type of Church scattered throughout the world that would teach morality without moralizing (as, I would suggest, Pope JP II did, and as the Church in Vietnam did and in China continues to do). From that remnant, I believe new life will be breathed into the Church. And, given current demographics, that remnant of Catholics will suffer greatly for their faith, especially on the Continent.

  45. Grabski says:

    My brother in law is from Montpelier. About 20 years back he had a joke about 2 frenchmen debating what would be the religious language of France in the future; Latin or French. A third fellow came along and said: You’re both wrong; it will be Arabic.

  46. chironomo says:

    Grabski;

    I have heard that one , and looking at the demographics it seems to be not so much a joke as an aphorism. But long before Islam began eating away at the Catholic fabric in Europe, socialism had already done most of the damage. And now the same is happening in the US.

  47. robtbrown says:

    Enoughrope,

    Some years ago I heard a similar tale. A man, not a Trad, wanted to help out in his parish and wound up on the Liturgy Committee. At the first meeting, wild liturgical projects were proposed. At the next meeting the man brought some Vatican documents with him to show the other members that the projects were not permitted.

    The next few months there was no meeting. The man asked another member when they would meet again. An embarrassed look came over the member, who then told him that they had been meeting but decided not to tell him.

  48. irishgirl says:

    William Phelan-I know who that French FSSP priest is! When the Fraternity used to come to Upstate NY twice a month to say Mass, he was one of them! I’ve also seen him at the ‘Pilgrimage of Restoration’ in Auriesville, NY.

    catholicmidwest-I totally agree with your comments at 10:14 pm.

  49. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    It’s been 10 years since I lived in Europe (Germany). I still keep in touch with a few friends, many from my travels. In a few regions of France, while the secular authorities (school teachers, bureaucrats and the like) tried to extinguish the flame of faith. It has not happened.

    Where Christians are “quiet” about their rebellion, the Moslem immigrants and asylum seekers (also subject to the exact same treatment) are rebelling openly and with the fever of “jihad.”

    The media in France is even MORE anti-religious and anti-Catholic than what we have here in the USA, or even Canada. It is dangerous in France to hold on to, let alone support traditional values.

    But while traveling there, I attended many a celebration of the Mass, and from large cities (Paris, Lyon, Metz, Strasbourg) to smaller towns (Wissenbourg, Bitche, Chamonix) the Catholic Churches were FILLED, and not just old women either. In many, there were more young people in their late teens and early twenties, both present and participating than people my age (middle aged). This was even more so than in many parishes in the USA and Eastern Canada (where I have family). Where we have families with younger kids, and then gaps in the adult years, and then some senior citizens, with few teens and young adults present.

    In Germany, it was starting, I knew children that were teens before I left and they still of their own volition attended Church, and not just on Saturday night or Sunday morning. Many times without their parents.

    One difference, that might be a factor, most churches were only a short walk from their homes, in the center of towns, and near “public school buildings,” not miles away like they often are here in North America.

  50. robtbrown says:

    I think people should go back and re-read Karl Rahner’s “Shape of the Church to Come,” originally published in the early 70s, I believe. Like Rahner’s prognostications concerning the future or not, it matters little. He did foresee a very small, remnant “basic community” type of Church scattered throughout the world that would teach morality without moralizing (as, I would suggest, Pope JP II did, and as the Church in Vietnam did and in China continues to do). From that remnant, I believe new life will be breathed into the Church. And, given current demographics, that remnant of Catholics will suffer greatly for their faith, especially on the Continent.
    Comment by The-Monk

    Did Rahner mention that his theology would be a principal cause of the contraction of the Church?

  51. the_ox says:

    I have long attended a ‘traditional’ parish that was miles from my home, but after prayerful consideration recently chose to register as a member of my geographic parish. This parish has faults. Bad music…guitars…. irreverent servers… holding hands… clapping…etc. (sigh) It was a painful transition – and still is. I missed the reverent liturgy – but for some reason I felt like I needed to put down roots and operate my faith within this – within my local parish.

    I have found that the parish is changing – slowly. The people are not liberal – but former pastors were. I have gotten to know the current pastor. He is orthodox and does not pull punches. He has the right things in mind. I better understand the challenges a parish priest has to deal with when instituting change. I have even found that I can pray in this environment – but it takes more focused attention on my part.

    I believe parishes benefit parishioners who are orthodox to be a voice – a voice from within – to help move things back to where they should be. Dozens of my neighbors – ‘traditionalists’ – drive 30-40 miles to a ‘reasonably orthodox parish’ while if just a few would put roots down locally – I know they would be welcome. If they came to Mass and participated reverently – things would improve. If they would have their boys serve on the altar and be reverent – things would improve. If they would invite the priest over to their house so he could observe your families and feel your support – things would improve.

  52. TJerome says:

    The situation in La Belle France, is sad, tragic. But when I review the statistics from 1965 I can see why French bishops felt the need for “reform” much more so
    than their American counterparts where the Faith appeared to still be flourishing without the need for “reform.” We need to keep the French Church in
    our prayers. Tom

  53. patrick_f says:

    “I have long attended a ‘traditional’ parish that was miles from my home, but after prayerful consideration recently chose to register as a member of my geographic parish. This parish has faults. Bad music…guitars…. irreverent servers… holding hands… clapping…etc. (sigh) It was a painful transition – and still is. I missed the reverent liturgy – but for some reason I felt like I needed to put down roots and operate my faith within this – within my local parish.”

    Amen dude! That is exactly what I have been saying. We need to work from the ground up. when you try to change things from the outside, you will lose so much ground

  54. Tom in NY says:

    A lighter moment:

    How did the prophet cover his floor? With a remnant.

    Salutationes omnibus.

  55. robtbrown says:

    The situation in La Belle France, is sad, tragic. But when I review the statistics from 1965 I can see why French bishops felt the need for “reform” much more so than their American counterparts where the Faith appeared to still be flourishing without the need for “reform.” We need to keep the French Church in our prayers. Tom
    Comment by TJerome

    Not so sure what you mean, but in 1970 the Archdiocese of Paris had 877 priests, in 2004 566 priests. The Archdiocese of Bourges (where I was confirmed) had 351 priests in 1969, in 2006 106 priests.

  56. Supertradmom says:

    Our present Pope, as Cardinal Ratzinger many years ago (1990s), in an interview, did refer to the “remnant Church”, describing a small, not triumphalist, presence in the world. The secularization of the “eldest daughter of the Church”, France, happened over a period of time when influences, as we are seeing in the United States, such as socialism and relativism, became popular. The media pressed for extreme change in traditional views, just as our media has and is doing here in the States. Americans cannot remain smug about the strength and viability of the Catholic Church here.

    Hilaire Belloc’s “Europe is the Faith, and the Faith is Europe” is a dead quotation. As much as I love Belloc and want this to be true, it is no longer.

  57. Supertradmom says:

    PS Did not Our Blessed Mother at Fatima tell the children that the Faith would always be in Portugal? Does someone know the reference?

  58. TJerome says:

    robtbrown, your statistics merely confirm the point I was making as to why French bishops felt the need for reform at the time of the Council was important. Unlike the American Catholic Church which enjoyed around 80% of its adherents attending Sunday Mass in 1965, the French Church had around 27%. If I were a French bishop at the time, I would suspect something was very wrong. Unfortunately they may have focused on the wrong thing – the Liturgy rather than other more historic reasons. Your statistics point out things got worse since the Council. So whatever was wrong, they did not address the seminal cause. Tom

  59. catholicmidwest says:

    Well, I don’t have that kind of infrastructure. I’m the only catholic in my family, which doesn’t seem to matter to the local parish. It’s a pretty common situation, in fact, to be the only catholic with no infrastructure, even though all you hear about is families.

    Someone also said something about participating in adult education. As a teacher, they already have one and more standing in line. (Remember the $$$ angle I mentioned above. They’re always hoping, qualified or not.) As a student, I can only take being told the same emotive stuff for so long. Catholic education, even the adult variety, is at about 7th grade level everywhere I’ve ever seen it. There appear to be no specifics of any sort in the popular version of Catholicism.

  60. robtbrown says:

    robtbrown, your statistics merely confirm the point I was making as to why French bishops felt the need for reform at the time of the Council was important. Unlike the American Catholic Church which enjoyed around 80% of its adherents attending Sunday Mass in 1965, the French Church had around 27%. If I were a French bishop at the time, I would suspect something was very wrong. Unfortunately they may have focused on the wrong thing – the Liturgy rather than other more historic reasons. Your statistics point out things got worse since the Council. So whatever was wrong, they did not address the seminal cause. Tom
    Comment by TJerome

    I remember reading that when Cardinal Marty took over in Paris in 1968, mass attendance was still above 75%. There are, however, other areas in France which have been historically anti-religious that weren’t doing as well.

    That having been said, I do know that one of the concerns before and at the Council was the parish situation. Vocations were trending toward religious orders at the expense of the dioceses.

  61. berenike says:

    As far as “there is nothing in my parish” – how about starting something? E.g. adult faith formation/catechesis – you could use Evangelium “It is adaptable to different parish situations and can even be led by non-experts when necessary.”

    US distributor here.

  62. catholicmidwest says:

    Seriously, Berenike,
    If you think that’s really possible, you haven’t been listening at all.