Sobering photos

Sometimes when I hear talk, often vapid, about the New Evangelization, I cynically wonder when it was that we completed the Old Evangelization.

On the other hand, we are living in a post-Christian era, most of us in countries that were clearly Christianized.

What is the NEW Evangelization about?

It is in large part a project of RE-Evangelization.  It is also about our continuing need to evangelize in an authentic way.

From the MailOnline comes an article about what is going on with the demographics of religion in the UK.

One country, two religions and three very telling pictures: The empty pews at churches just yards from an overcrowded mosque
Two photos show Sunday morning services in churches in East London
The third shows worshippers gathered for Friday midday prayers outside a nearby mosque
The difference in numbers could hardly be more dramatic

Read the article there, but here are a couple photos to drive the point home.

To recover our Catholic Christian identity we must, first, revitalize our liturgical worship of God.  We must be prepared to articulate what we believe in the public square as well as in private.  We have to get involved in spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

I think that Pope Benedict set our liturgical worship on a new course because he saw the devastation to our Catholic identity that happened after the Council.  We must, must, must, proceed with what he launched.   In that light I think Pope Francis is pointing to what I mentioned above: spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

No sphere of our Catholic lives can be revitalized apart from our liturgical worship of God.  By the virtue of Religion, we owe God proper worship.  He Himself makes it possible for us to worship in a way that is pleasing to Him.  He has given us Holy Church and the Church has given us our proper rites, which must be followed lovingly and reverently.

To recover who we are, we must worship well.  To worship well, we must recover who we are.

A couple great books for reflection on these points:

Russell Shaw: American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America

George Weigel: Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church

I part ways with both authors on certain points, but their books drill at a burning issue. They are both directed to American readers, but it seems to me that the principles in them are useful to all readers of English.

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74 Responses to Sobering photos

  1. Phil_NL says:

    On one level (as in the threat to society) the comparison of these pictures is both very accurate and timely. On another, namely evangelization, much less so: the first picture is a clear consequence of Christianity loosing members, but the second is a clear example of islam ‘transporting’ members (and their offspring).

    Which doesn’t mean that the ideal solution wouldn’t be that muslims convert, but since islam has a multitude of social, cultural and religious mechanisms to keep muslims captive (including threatening execution for conversion) that will be a very long term affair – centuries, most likely. Getting lapsed Christians to revert will be comparatively much easier (merely decades….), and stopping muslim immigration very much easier still (when we get the political will….)

  2. contrarian says:

    The whole page there–the pics of empty pews, the pics of Muslims at prayer, and then just to the right, the endless pics of celebrity skin, gossip, and idiocy–all on the same page, all telling a single story. The pictures tell much about the health of western civilization, without having to read a word.

  3. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I wonder how many non-Arabian Muslims in that photo either long to learn Arabic (like many with whom I have spoken over the years) or have been saturated in it from their youth, in ways quite in contrast with most Christians with repect to Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Church Slavonic, etc.?

  4. Bob B. says:

    There is much to be done and it needs to be attacked on different fronts at the same time.
    We need bishops that are not afraid or reluctant to defend the Magisterium, who will publicly deal with politicians, clergy and laity who deport themselves in opposition to Church teachings.
    We also need them to make Catholic education among the highest priorities – this is fundamental to any long-term strategy. The way public schools are headed (Common Core, immorality becoming mandatory teaching, etc), the need for Catholic schools is dire. CCD programs have produced Catholics who have no idea what the Church is. It will take a lot of money (but the bishops could surely give up some of their own travels to support school scholarships). Teachers need to actually be Catholic, too, and believe in what the Church teaches. The clergy must be seen supporting the schools. This will take something of a Herculean effort, but it needs to be done (a la the Third Baltimore Council in 1884 which demanded that all Catholic parishes open schools within two years).

  5. Patruus says:

    Published in 1698, Fr. Ludovico Marracci’s observations on the relative allure of Islam vis-a-vis Christianity to anyone who has not been pre-instructed in the putative demerits of the former, remain of interest today –

    “Ego enim semper in ea opinione fui (experientia id mihi, & ratione suadente) quod si Alcoranus, & Euangelium gentibus illis proponatur, semper Alcoranum potius & Mahumeticam superstitionem, quam Euangelium & Christianam religionem amplexurae sint, nisi antea & de Euangelii veritate, & de Alcorani mendaciis ac fraudibus probe instruantur.

    Prima quippe facie, ea quae hic habet, naturae, praesertim corruptae, dictamini magis conformia apparent, quam quae illud proponit: nempe unum esse Deum, omnipotentem, omniscientem, rerum omnium conditorem ac moderatorem, cui nihil commune sit cum rebus creatis: pias ac frequentes ad illum preces fundendas: eleemosynas in pauperes erogandas: peregrinationes sacras obeundas, jejuniis corpus afflictandum: justitiam servandam: modestiam, beneficentiam, pietatem, aliasque virtutes excolendas: nemini injuriam faciendam: a furtis, adulteriis, caedibus, aliisque criminibus abstinendum: res mundanas, utpote fluxas, spernendas: bonis operibus incumbendum. Praeterea reddendam esse rationem Deo ab omnibus operum suorum: Bonis paratam esse in coelo aeternam felicitatem in iis rebus, quas humana natura vehementius solet appetere: Malis perpetuum in gehenna supplicium; & alia hujusmodi, quae revera passim in Alcorano leguntur.

    Si vero audiat ethnicus proponi sibi a Ministro Euangelico, Deum unum, & trinum: Deum hominem factum: Deum pauperem, crucifixum, mortuum, ac sepultum: mysterium Eucharistiae; necessitate sacramenti poenitentiae: monogamiam; coniugii nexum indissolubilem: vitam perpetuae cruci conjunctam; beneficientiam erga inimicos: felicitatem summam sitam in bonis, quae nec oculus vidit, nec auris audivit, nec in cor hominis ascenderunt; & alia hujusmodi, vel humani intellectus captum excedentia; vel naturali conditioni & imbecillitati difficillima, si non impossibilia; & haec cum Alcoranica doctrina comparaverit: statim ab his refugiet, & ad illa obviis ulnis accurret, (nam, ut scribit S. Hieronymus, lib. 2 comm. in cap.13 Matthaei, ‘Praedicatio Euangelii minima est omnibus disciplinis: ad primam quippe doctrinam fidem non habet veritatis’) nisi antea instruatur, etiam testimonio ipsius Alcorani, nihil Religionem Christianam continere vel absurdum, vel falsum; quantumvis captu arduum, factuque difficile; sed omnia in ea vera, certa, & divino testimonio in Pentateucho & Euangelio (quos Mahumetus ipse libros a Deo traditos, & certissimae veritatis esse affirmat) comprobata. Nihil autem in Alcorano veri sanique esse, seu circa mysteria a Deo revelata, & virtutes Theologicas; sive circa virtutes morales, quod non pluribus fabulis, ineptiis, & erroribus plerumque commixtum sit; & quod in Euangelio & Christiana Religione purum, integrum, & sincerum, sed & uberius non doceatur. Mahumetum porro nihil aliud fecisse, quam veram, & prope universalem in Orbe religionem corrupisse; novamque ac perversam superstitionem armis, fraudibus, aliisque malis artibus invexisse: a qua, si ea quae Christiana desumpsit, auferantur, ‘moveat cornicula risum furtivis nudata coloribus’ [Horace, Epist. I, 3, 19-20].” etc.

    Source – http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=HwY_AAAAcAAJ&pg=PA161

  6. backtothefuture says:

    Islam has no problem attracting men to the faith. Why hasn’t the one true faith been able to do this anymore? Simple, femminazation of the faith, starting from the new mass. The masculilinity, the focus on sacrifice, sinfulness, have been stripped out. Those things are found in the traditional mass. You usually tend to fight a large amount of men at the traditional mass. I mean, who wants to see altar girls, women in the sanctuary, wussy hymns? And this isn’t a knock on women, because any real catholic knows the dignity of women, and that outside of the lord, the greatest human being that ever lived was a women. Heck some of the greatest saints in the church are women.

  7. acardnal says:

    There is a new book out by Al Kresta, Dangers to the Faith: Recognizing Catholicism’s 21st Century Opponents which addresses these issues, too.

  8. pelerin says:

    These photos are not really comparing like with like. Both photos were taken in the same area – the East End of London which has always been an area where poor immigrants coming to Britain first moved too. There is a building there built as a chapel by the Huguenots. When they prospered and moved away it became a Synagogue for the immigrant Jewish population. It later became a Methodist chapel and is now a mosque. The building reflects the history of the area.

    The Mail is known for its scaremongering headlines and in the wake of the horrific murder of a British soldier in London last week I do not think it clever of them to contrast these pictures at this time.

    Pity they did not visit one of our churches on a Sunday. My own parish has a Sunday Mass for the Polish population which is always packed out.

  9. xavier217 says:

    @backtothefuture:

    I fought such a large number last Sunday I’ll have to take a couple of weeks off TLM. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  10. ReginaMarie says:

    backtothefuture: “The masculilinity, the focus on sacrifice, sinfulness, have been stripped out. Those things are found in the traditional mass. ”

    You will find these elements in the Divine Liturgy, as well.

  11. backtothefuture says:

    @xavier, hahaha, stupid iphone. Find, not fight! Lol

  12. Therese says:

    Thank you, Father, for this post. When the people stop going to Mass, we must go to them.

  13. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Translation or it doesn’t count!

    What Marracci says: “For I always have been of the opinion (persuaded by reason and my experience) that if the Quran and the Gospel are put before these peoples, the Quran and Mohammedic superstition will be embraced rather than the Gospel and Christian religion — unless they are honestly instructed beforehand about both the truth of the Gospel and the lies and frauds of the Quran.”

    He goes on to say that, basically, Islam has some stuff right (one God, various precepts consonant with natural law and Judaism), without all the difficulties introduced by the real Divine revelation (like doing good to your enemies).

    I don’t know why someone would quote a long passage instead of just linking to it, if he’s not going to translate.

  14. Pingback: The Cardinal Dolan Controversy Continues - Big Pulpit

  15. Suburbanbanshee says:

    And btw, the Faith hasn’t been “feminized.” Women don’t like this stupid junk either.

    The faith has been stupidized, uglified, postmodernised, bastardised, and dragged around in the dirt. But it hasn’t been feminised one little bit. If it had been, there’d be a lot more drama in today’s religious art, for one thing, and there’d be a lot more women dressing up for church, for another.

  16. backtothefuture says:

    banshee, femininity isn’t a negative thing in itself, don’t feel offended. Sacrifice is a masculine trait, it always has been. And that’s where the church has been feminized. Again, no knock on women, but mass isn’t about offering God the father sacrifice anymore, repentance for our sins, unworthiness, it’s now about a meal, holding hands and fuzzy feelings. And that keeps men away.

  17. backtothefuture says:

    banshee, femininity isn’t a negative thing in itself, don’t feel offended. Sacrifice is a masculine trait, it always has been. And that’s where the church has been feminized. Again, no knock on women, but mass isn’t about offering God the father sacrifice anymore, repentance for our sins, unworthiness, it’s now about a meal, holding hands and fuzzy feelings. And that keeps men away.

  18. The Masked Chicken says:

    In many ways, these photos are like time machines or astronomical photographs. Islam is stuck in a 13th century mentality that will never be broken, since they abandoned the idea of doctrinal development when they killed all of the scholars who argued that God was a God of reason (and not merely a God of will) in the 13th century (alluded to in Pope Emeritus Benedict’s Regensburg address). If one could put a photograph of Christianity in the 13th century next to the modern Moslem photograph, it would be a fair comparison. In essence one is comparing light from a distant star to light of a nearby star.

    Until people quit behaving as if one religious impulse is as good as the next (Modernism run amok), they will never come back to the Church. I hate to say this, but these people are being lied to and I cannot help but sense an underground movement to keep people so docile in their ignorance of authentic Catholic teaching that they will accept any sort of fuzzy-headed ideas made in the spirit of religion. For as much as bishops harp about the shrinking of their parishes, I must, sadly, conclude that they really don’t want to either fix the problem (for, surely, they could if they had the will) or see no problem at all. Plainly, Catholicism is no longer a matter of life and death to them and this has been communicated to the people at large.

    The only difference – the only difference – between the two photographs is that in the one, we see people to whom religion is a matter of polite feelings and in the other, it is a matter of life and death. Until Catholicism. once again, becomes a matter of life and death to both the intelligensia and the upper management (with some exceptions), all the evangelization in the world will be useless. Who needs a priest to forgive sins when sins are, to many modern Catholics, a minor pricking of the conscience?

    I would be willing to bet that the majority of people at Sunday Masses and most of the fallen away Catholics could not tell the difference between Protestant theology and Catholic theology. Is it poor education? No. Many of these people are highly educated in theology – they just aren’t highly educated in the truth. To them, theology is a game, not a matter of life and death that they must get right at all cost.

    I am pessimistic that any new initiative for evangelization will be effective until both clergy and laity shout with full voice that there is only one Truth and it is not optional. That is what Islam does, but they’ve got the wrong truth and they don’t understand the word, optional.

    The Chicken

  19. Nathan says:

    Those who posted have made some very good and salient points, and Father, you are spot on with your assessment both about re-evangelization and the liturgy.

    The Daily Mail photos, while poignant, though, seem to me to suffer a bit from both selection bias. Were I to juxtapose, for instance, a shot of the crowd at one of Pope Benedict’s Masses in the UK beside the praying Muslims (both recent religious ceremonies in in the UK), one might come to a different conclusion. And one might rightfully accuse me of selection bias as well.

    A factor to think about–I do not know how large a role it may or may not play in the New Evangelization–is just how much social and family expectations have changed in regard to Christians, which seems not to apply to (first generation, at least) Muslims in Europe and the US. 75 or a hundred years ago, the churches were much fuller, in no small part due to a societal and family expectation that you were supposed to be there. A couple hundred years before that, in England and the colonies, there were legal penalties for not going to religious services. How much of that kind of expectation (as opposed to widespread devotion) applies to the Muslims in East London? How susceptible will their children be to the widespread secularization of the UK, Europe, and North America? How should that impact how we think about the health of the Catholic Church, especially when perhaps the better historical analogy would be the Church in ancient Rome rather than the Church at the height of Christendom?

    In Christ,

  20. Athelstan says:

    Pelerin,

    Pity they did not visit one of our churches on a Sunday. My own parish has a Sunday Mass for the Polish population which is always packed out.

    Yes, but what of the Britons?

    You can only import so many Poles to keep the Catholic Church alive. (Just as America can only import so many Hispanics and Vietnamese.)

  21. Legisperitus says:

    By all indications, these are Anglican churches. The C of E is considerably more moribund than the Catholic Church.

  22. An American Mother says:

    backtothefuture, suburbanbanshee,

    I think you’re both right – it’s just a question of defining our terms.

    I think the problem is not so much “feminising” specifically, as a fundamental misunderstanding of both the feminine AND the masculine, driven by our society that insists against all evidence that sex and ‘sexuality’ and ‘gender’ are both meaningless and interchangeable.

    Not only do the fallen-away denigrate masculine virtues such as strength, sacrifice, and active courage, they also denigrate feminine virtues such as compassion, endurance, and nurturing. As a result, they have rejected both the courageous saints AND the Blessed Mother, substituting all kinds of new age and pagan nonsense in their place (all of which is just a pale and distorted reflection of the Christian virtues that they have rejected).

    But it all boils down to the same thing – they have rejected the good for evil.

  23. wolfeken says:

    George Weigel and Russell Shaw? For 50 years these men have been defending the Second Vatican Council and its reforms. If someone is looking for a “new evangelization” I would not recommend reading tired apologies for Vatican II, even if wrapped in a new package.

    Notice the Moslems in the above photo are not at a “novus ordo” liturgy of their own.

  24. backtothefuture says:

    You hit the nail on the head american mother. How many men that you find in church today are willing to shed their blood for their faith(for all the right reasons)? Muslim men I’d be willing to bet are more willing than catholic men. Why would any man, even women want to shed their blood for this hippie Jesus they’re being fed? Everything is peace, groovy and non judgmental. The church has stopped being church militant.

  25. Theodore says:

    The inimitable Mark Steyn discusses these pictures (and more) in the larger context of Christian Europe turning into what he has termed Eurabia in this article.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/349640/road-europe-mark-steyn

  26. Jason Keener says:

    The pictures are sobering indeed. The Catholics stand there looking at each other in a self-enclosed circle while the Muslims go to the ground and at least face in the direction of Mecca. Frankly, I can see why many Catholics left the Church or never bothered with Mass in the first place. The Mass in a typical suburban parish has been deprived of its solemnity, beauty, and sacred tension. These elements must be recovered if we have any hope of a New Evangelization. First steps: Make the “ad orientem” posture mandatory, and eliminate Communion in the hand.

  27. UncleBlobb says:

    What we need, is to love Jesus above everything else, even enough to love our enemies. We need to be so transformed, and transformed by the Mass and the Holy Eucharist, that people will do anything to join the Church. We need to foster friendships with each other first, as a community, and then with others who we dislike and may even hate us and persecute us, as God works through sinful us to transform others one at a time, and over a long period of time. We need to pray first and work for vocations to the family before anything else: motherhood, fatherhood, so both Christians and people in Caucasian cultures can increase, especially since there is the heart of the culture of death. We can only do this with sacraments and daily prayer, formal and mental prayer. St. Nunilo and St. Alodia pray for us. Our Lady of the Rosary pray for us!

  28. Maltese says:

    Three things:

    A) Hunker-down and see the mass as more sacrifice than meal.
    B) Pray the Rosary daily.
    C) Wear a blessed Scapular.

  29. Long-Skirts says:

    “Take away the supernatural, and what remains is the unnatural.” (Chesterton)

  30. jacobi says:

    A factor not mentioned so far is that modern Christians, including Catholics, are contracepting their way out of existence with their average 1.3 children per couple reproduction rate and so creating a population vacuum which Islam is more than happy to fill.

    But as Voris has said, we live in the world of the “Nice” Catholic Church and how many priests are prepared to stand up and say that contraceptors, aborticide and foeticide users, not to mention some who actually opt for direct abortion, are in a state of mortal sin and should not receive Holy Communion?

  31. Priam1184 says:

    It pains me to say this but the Latin Church, its leadership at least, has been scared to death by Islam for 1400 years since that anti-Trinitarian heresy (the first of the heresies to come complete with its own army) burst out of the Arabian Peninsula and took away what was then the fairest part of Catholic civilization, the eastern and southern shores of the Mediterranean, at a single stroke. We have never once converted Muslims at a large scale like we did with the pagans, and in truth have not ever really attempted to do so. The Crusades were primarily a military adventure to defend Constantinople that succeeded in regaining Jerusalem for a time, but never was accompanied by any attempt to convert the Muslims of Syria and Palestine. Maybe if we stood before Islam (and the rest of the world) united and boldly proclaiming that the Catholic Church is the One True Faith no ifs, ands, or buts established by Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word and Redeemer of the human race for the salvation of souls it might make a difference

  32. Athelstan says:

    Hello Ken (Wolfeken),

    George Weigel and Russell Shaw? For 50 years these men have been defending the Second Vatican Council and its reforms. If someone is looking for a “new evangelization” I would not recommend reading tired apologies for Vatican II, even if wrapped in a new package.

    I can’t really recommend Weigel at this point (and it seems to be largely repetitive of his previous works anyway). But in fairness, there’s some real daylight between Shaw and Weigel, and it came out vividly in Weigel’s critique of Shaw’s book over at First Things this week. Shaw actually recognizes that Americanism is a genuine phenomenon and a present danger, and recognizes on some level (perhaps not enough) that there are inevitable and inherent tensions between Church teaching and the principles of the American founding, even in the best light. From what I’ve read, there are some fruitful discussions in his work for tradition-minded Catholics, without endorsing the book at every point.

  33. NBW says:

    A long time ago people knelt and prayed the Angelus at 6 am, 12pm, and 6pm. Latin is the Church’s language although it’s not as popular as it should be. I am not sure about Islam but it looks like there are specific times of the day that they stop and pray. What happened to our Catholic church??

  34. acardnal says:

    Wolfeken,Athlestan: It’s worth reiterating what Fr. Z wrote above regarding Weigel and Shaw:
    “I part ways with both authors on certain points, but their books drill at a burning issue. “

  35. Supertradmum says:

    Going into my third consecutive year in Europe and having lived in England ten years then another two, I can assure you the photos reflect the demographic changes in London and Birmingham accurately. Some of the problems of low Church attendance solidly rest on these following points;
    the Catholic Church is dying in England, Wales and Scotland owing to several factors:

    one) parents have not passed on the Faith to their children for two or three generations-mixed marriages cause much of this, but a culture of dissent is the largest cause, including disobedience regarding contraception, which is common;
    2) men are not getting married, and therefore, there are less Catholic families-33% of the households in London are run by singles;
    3) male leadership is non-existent-we now have several empty bishoprics and more coming up in the next 18 months with a lack of leaders, men who are bishop material just not there;
    4) there is no real solid Catholic education, with most of the schools being very wishy-washy with regard to orthodoxy;
    5) dissent and abuses in the liturgies still;
    6) very, very few vocations, not even close to replacement rate;
    7) vast divisions within the Church, including liberalism, false ecumenism, disobedience, and heresy, the most common ones being the belief in universal salvation and the denial of the authority of Rome in the local churches-sound familiar?;
    8) the insistence on engaging with the culture to the point of compromise, such as many Catholics supporting SSM;
    9) contraception, contraception, contraception….
    10) the lack of the Traditional Latin Mass, which is my mind is the ONLY way to evangelize England, Scotland and Wales.

    Crisis Magazine had an interesting article today which ties into this discussion somewhat. The author noted that St. Paul rarely in his epistles mentions or teaches “evangelization” but writes much, very much, to and on the Catholic communities. Why? It is the Catholic communities which, by their existence and in the love exhibited therein, which brought pagans to the Faith. If we had Latin Mass communities reaching out to the pagans and bringing people in…

    The Traditional Latin Mass is the only way.

  36. Mariana2 says:

    Well, happily here, in Scandinavia, the first picture would be the Lutheran church on a good day, the latter the Catholic Church – our church buildings are in fact bursting at the seams from converts!

  37. Moro says:

    My problem with the whole “New Evangelization” push is that, at least in my diocese, it seems like they took the same old “renewal” type programs from the Great Jubilee 2000 and repackaged it with the name New Evangelization. No real evangelization, or even just plain old parish and community outreach that was once the norm is happening. None.

    To give you an example, there’s been a young adult praise and worship thing that happens from time to time on a Friday night in my diocese. It’s now being headed by the Office of the New Evangelization. As far as I can tell, it’s the same old thing as before.

    We should real be doing house calls, revert/adult catechical programs, scheduling daily mass and confessions at times that are convenient for people who work and go to school rather than the 9AM daily mass that only retirees and single moms are able to go to. Then you’d see, slowly with time, the pews starting to fill back up again.

    I grew up in the suburbs of the Archdiocese of Washington, my parish had a 6:30 AM mass, it was packed with working people, a family of 6 (and probably growing) – dad went to work after mass and the kids went to school, one young man who went to public school went every day before class (which started around 7:30). Today he is a priest who celebrates the TLM. In my present diocese, you’re lucky if your parish church has a mass every day and often it’s at 9AM because the pastor doesn’t want to offend the old people. When I do get to go to daily mass then next youngest person is probably more than twice my age and I’m 29. My current diocese has more faithful, but fewer vocations than the Archdiocese of Washington. It’s almost a night vs. day difference.

    It just requires a little bit of effort from clergy and laity to make progress.

  38. rcg says:

    The UK people dislike religion, at least Christianity, because it is not considered smart. It is stupid, for them. They are being replaced by immigrants, but I think that has been their history. Many of the Britons will convert to Islam because they do desire some certainty in their lives and almost none of their leaders believe in their own culture anymore. They are spiritually defeated.

  39. DisturbedMary says:

    Just this past Sunday after Mass I asked my pastor to substitute the word Catholic instead of Christian in sermons in order to promote Catholic identity. The pictures here tell me what happens when you lose your identity (Catholic Church) or when you find it (Islam). Catholics used to have identity out the wazoo: bells/whistles/rules/rituals/devotions/liturgies/on and on. The muslims only have it in this one in your face public prayer ritual. Catholicism needs to claim its identity.

  40. Laura Lea says:

    “To recover our Catholic Christian identity we must, first, revitalize our liturgical worship of God. We must be prepared to articulate what we believe in the public square as well as in private. We have to get involved in spiritual and corporal works of mercy.”

    Catholics are really good at discussing the finer points of our faith with one another. We do not lack the intellect or education about our faith. But we are too closed in on ourselves. We are singing to the choir. We do a fairly good job at our own internal ministries but only about 17% of Catholics are involved in their church’s ministries at all. Very few Catholics (maybe 1-2%) are involved in the communities that they live in, by actually DOING the spiritual and corporal works of mercy though. It’s one thing to “talk the talk”, but it is an entirely different thing to “walk the walk”. We can talk about helping the poor until we are blue in the face, and write volumes of books about the virtues of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, but this is not actually DOING them. Talk is cheap. It takes actually performing these works of mercy for them to make any difference to other people outside of our faith.

    Father Z mentioned revitalizing the liturgical worship of God. This is absolutely the truth and not just in the technicalities of how we worship God in the Liturgy. The overall goal is to enter into the mass and be an active participant and that doesn’t happen without a genuine prayer life outside of mass. How many of us are truly conscience of the fact that we are worshiping “the One who created us” when we go to mass? Are we thinking about everything but Him? Yes, we are required to go to mass and receive Jesus in communion and we pray for various intentions, but are we there to genuinely show our love for God too?

    In so many of our Catholic churches, we have lost a sense of reverence for the Lord. People often arrive and leave mass without acknowledging the tabernacle at all. Only a tiny percent of parishioners kneel and pray for a few moments before mass starts. There is so much talking going on before mass and musicians who want to practice the hymns that there is no quiet for the ones who want to pray. The mass is sacred. It is also a sacred space and we have lost that sense of the holiness of the mass, the real presence of Christ in our midst.

    All love flows forth from the mass into the world, or at least it is supposed to. The love we experience in our worship of God, receiving Jesus in communion and the love of the faithful gathered together at mass, is supposed to spill out into the world, affecting everyone that we come in contact with in tangible ways. We simply need to get much better at expressing the love that we have found through Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, to the rest of the world through our words and deeds. Many Catholics feel clumsy discussing our faith with people who are not Catholic, or even with family members who are not Catholic or have fallen away from the church, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. We will get better at doing this if we just begin. Just take the first step and the next step, and the ones there after, will get a little easier as you go along.

  41. PA mom says:

    I just finished reading the Duck Commanders book, Happy, Happy, Happy. In it, he details how he was saved by choosing Jesus over alcohol, then how years later, as he went around giving demonstrations, he decided he would speak on the Bible and his faith. It is very moving, and it raises the question, how many Catholic men would dare do something like that?
    He brings people to his own home to baptize them after giving them the Good News, he sent three of his four sons to seminary.
    I guess I am saying that we individuals in our Church really need to learn how to do this so that we can be convincing images of the Faith.

  42. Robbie says:

    I’ll say this about the pictures posted above. Islam refuses to moderate or give into the desires and whims of the present and, yet, its mosques are filled to the brim. On the other hand, the Catholic Church and many of the mainline Protestant denominations have attempted to conform their views and understandings to the current times. And as they’ve done this, the pews, generally, have grown emptier and emptier.

    I’m not arguing for fundamentalism, but religions can’t bend and mold over time. If they do, they risk becoming nothing more than a fad. A religion can’t become a political party that every so often must reassess and change with the times.

  43. Supertradmum says:

    reg, the reason for your observation is a painful, violent past wherein families were divided by the sword of religion in several wars and through persecutions from all sides. Cynicism and relativism are the direct results of the purges of Henry VIII, Mary, Elizabeth I and many other kings, as well as Oliver Cromwell. In a country where religion caused civil war and where family members betrayed each other, words like zeal and enthusiasm or commitment scare the English. The island is so small for such great religious differences.

    The largest group of conversions to Islam, believe it or not, are British women. The reason is that they want to get married and have kids and think the Islamic men are stronger. Sadly, many get trapped into being second class citizens and suffer under sharia law, which is allowed here in marriage disputes.

    The situation is complicated, but people want community and family and think the Islamic culture brings that.

    Catholicism here is very weak and is getting weaker. As Western Civilization dies, which was created by the Church, so the Church is no longer protected, but undermined.

    We Catholics in Britain are fast approaching real persecution. Real and it has all happened before.

    http://guildofblessedtitus.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/a-time-machine-back-to-1581-death-of.html

  44. PA mom says:

    I also believe that the Chirch would gain a lot more credibility by being a lot less political.
    Why does Cuomo get so much of Cardinal Dolans time? Why are the Bishops taking up immigration? Let the Catholic elected officials do it. I really think that a lot would be gained by putting the eyes back on the intended prize of heaven and less on the nonsense here.
    Teach the laity properly, then let THEM primarily do it.

  45. acardnal says:

    “To recover our Catholic Christian identity we must, first, revitalize our liturgical worship of God. ”

    “No sphere of our Catholic lives can be revitalized apart from our liturgical worship of God.”

    Well said, Father Z.

    Save the Liturgy, Save the World.

  46. Supertradmum says:

    PA Mom right on. Years ago I told seminarians in
    America to stop thinking salvation was in politics instead of the Church.

  47. StJude says:

    from the article: “In the past ten years, there has been a decrease in people in England and Wales identifying as Christian, from 71.7 per cent to 59.3 per cent of the population. ”

    That is sad.

  48. rcg says:

    Supertradmum, The UK women are right. I expect there will be a mass conversion of the people, perhaps led by one of the Royals. Certainly John tried.

    It is a shame they must flee to Islam for protection, and ironic. I think most Christians don’t really believe in it themselves. Standing up for yourself and your beliefs is considered unChristian, so they don’t. This is where I am still concerned about our Pope. But he must be clear or his words will be used against him. He speaks of Satan, and as the Germans say, he will appear. He is perfectly correct that we must do good to our enemies. But Christians tend to let the enemy define the good, and that is our mistake.

  49. frjim4321 says:

    Very dramatic indeed.

    The Sieks and Hindus are very strong here in the area. Both very young and vibrant communities, parking in the streets during worship.

    I’m guessing it has something to do with the big hospitals in the area and the foreign docs that are coming into the area.

    Also a fairly large mosque not here but in the neighboring parish where a dear classmate is pastor.

  50. Suburbanbanshee says:

    “Islam refuses to moderate or give into the desires and whims of the present….”

    Well, actually, anytime Islam is present for a long enough time in an illiterate enough area, people tend to forget what the Quran said and go with what the traditional stories say. And frankly, they tend to end up with a much more humane, natural law version of Islam. Often run by female prayer leaders, actually.

    Basic culture also tends to trump Islam after a long time. For example, Persian culture was strong enough to make most Iranians believe that Islam demanded monogamy and adult marriage only, until the Ayatollah came along. Iranian people still tend to murmur to each other that such-and-such is un-Islamic, even if it is in the Quran. (Under the idea that maybe it was okay for Mohammed, but everybody else thinks it’s gross.)

    And of course there’s art and music and poetry, all of which are big no-nos (or in the case of poetry, just barely not a no-no) for the extreme Islamic types, yet historically very popular overall in the Muslim world.

    That’s why the extreme and well-funded groups are so very hyped on proselytizing Islam, and getting everybody to attend only their schools and mosques. They want to stamp out all the other interpretations and make people forget they ever existed.

  51. johnnyDmunoz says:

    The sad thing is that Catholic congregation looks like my home parish… I travel about half an hour to Lapeer, MI for the Latin Mass, and the Liturgy is thriving out there. The attendance is young, seemingly devout, and much more masculine than I have ever seen. Very up lifting to me.

    Hopefully the Church will reclaim what it is to be masculine in the Body of Christ. We need to wage our holy war based on the precepts of Christ and the Gospel. And subdue nations with His might through Faith Hope and Charity. But it starts from the inside out, we as men need to get our lives in order with Christ or we will not be Harvesters and in turn the world suffers. That is the path that I am trying to walk down, but it’s hard… Pray hard for yourselves, the Church and our enemies.

    Sanctus Bellum and Sola Ecclesia! ( is this the proper way of saying what I am trying to say?)

  52. acardnal says:

    “The Sieks and Hindus are very strong here in the area.”

    FYI for readers, Sikhs are NOT Muslim. They are closer to Hinduism. Males do not cut their hair but keep tucked up under their turbans. Unfortunately, Sikhs were the brunt of some anti-Muslim violence after 9-11.

  53. TomG says:

    Acardnal – a few cases in a nation of 300 million people. Get real. Frjim didn’t say that Sikhs were Muslims. I’m sure that virtually everyone reading this blog knows that. Sikhism is an offshoot of Hinduism.

  54. It is certain that nearly all of Islam is united in their belief. Catholics on the other hand, we simply can’t decide which master to serve. If the Church were serious about its future, the salvation of souls, and Her members, then there would be wholesale restructuring of how Catholics believe so that we can finally all be on the same page again. The law of prayer is the law of belief. I’m sure those praying in the latter photograph have bee praying those exact same prayers for centuries. Americans think we have to “fix it till it’s broke.”

    The problem I see, at least here in America, is that Catholics are torn between serving the world and between serving God. We cannot see past our soccer matches, our TV shows, and our fashions to even THINK ABOUT focusing our attention on the spiritual. We can’t define what the word “spiritual” even means to us – for most Americans it means, ‘think about God every now and then, toss him a little scrap of my time without sincerity, because I’m too busy with all of life’s challenges.’

    That is how our form of worship is – we have eucharistic ministers at every corner to speed up the mass and get us the heck out of there so we don’t encroach into our soccer game after the last blessing – if we can even stick around for the last blessing. We have holy days of obligation transferred to the following Sunday so as not ‘to infringe’ on our secular lifestyles. We have confessions for a measly hour once a week – where I even heard of one priest announce he couldn’t hear confessions because he ‘needed’ to attend a party. We have “anticipated” masses so that the worship of God doesn’t cramp our style. We’ve got prominent Catholic politicians getting away with murder and confusing the remaining Catholic populace because these politicians will not be publicly rebuked by our hierarchy. We basically have a drive-by religion that is suited to serve our secular impulses and suppress the spiritual man inside – only to sift the primitive impulsive man of the sensual world and not the spiritual man of God within.

    That would explain the difference between these two pictures.

  55. Priam1184 says:

    A question to all: do you pray for them? Do you pray for the conversion of the Muslim peoples? Do you pray for the five great Sees of Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Carthage lost to Islam so long ago? Or do we forget about them and say that they have their way and we have ours and what is past is past? Nothing to my knowledge would be greater work for the glory of God and be a greater credit to our flailing Church in this age than the conversion of the eastern and southern shores of the Mediterranean back to the True Faith that was adhered to by the fathers of their fathers of their fathers. Do not forget these souls and do not think for a moment that this is an impossible dream. Believe. Pray for them. Nothing is beyond the power of God.

  56. JabbaPapa says:

    Well, if I were to photograph the attendance at our own Catholic Parish with attendance at the local Friday prayer meeting of the Muslims (which used t take place right in front of where I live, and now takes place next door to where I eat most Fridays), then some exactly opposite images would be shown.

    The Muslim Friday prayers are attended by sparse numbers of predominantly OAP men ; the Catholic High Mass on Sunday is attended by hundreds of people including most of working age, very few OAPs, and dozens of children.

  57. Marcy K. says:

    I could give an “Amen” to so many of the comments here. I think one of the hopeful things I see today is so many people really love this pope. They really connect with him because they see him as genuine and truly living the life a Catholic Christian is called to lead. Someone gave me Dr. Matthew Bunson’s book “Pope Francis,” which is a light read about the transition from Benedict to Francis, and a bit about Francis’ life and work in Argentina. One thing I took from it was that he really has the “common touch” and because of it people respect him and follow him.

    The average Catholic is pretty ignorant of their faith but they respond to him greatly. Francis doesn’t act like people view a “theologian.” Supposedly, he already has brought people back to Mass and Confession. Time will tell if that lasts, but several people I have spoken with are so excited about him. My son’s 18 year old girlfriend just waxes poetic over him. Average Catholics tell me they just love him, and praise him for his care for the poor. Even atheists and protestants have expressed their admiration for him. And seeing the reaction online by many dissenting Catholics, they know Francis’ beliefs are in line with Church teaching, but they are willing to overlook it for the time being because he wants to help the poor and downtrodden. It truly would be a miracle if Pope Francis could bring together a unity between “liberal” and “conservative” Catholics. I think the Holy Spirit is working overtime, and really has a plan with this Pope. I pray that everyone cooperates with the plan He has in mind.

  58. RafkasRoad says:

    Super Trad Mum and RCG,

    You’ve both made excellent observations. nature abhors a vacuum. Thus, as the Western Churches in the UK and continental Europe largely drift into obscurity, transformed into museums rather than orthodox, thriving, ‘reaching out’ parishes and congregations who believe what Holy Scripture, Church and the Hermeneutic of Continuity have taught regarding what it actually means to live a genuine Christ-following life (NOT ‘warm fuzzy, I’m OK, You’re OK 70’s claptrap), people will seek something robust and mature to fill the cultural, ethical, moral and faith abyss of post modern moral relativism. to many, Islam ticks the boxes and makes sense; Islam’s growth is not merely the product of migration, but increasingly, the product of conversion, with, as previous commenters have noted, Western Middle Class, well educated women attracted in surprising numbers.

    The Gospels and other NT writings, not to mention the heritage of the OT have much to say on the way we are to comport ourselves as Christians in private life, intimate life, worship life and the civic sphere. As Post Modern (Western) society decouples itself from these checks and balances, all too glad to be rid of them a’la Psoam 2 and Psalm 14, an increasing number of people will gravitate to that which offers solidity.

    We must live our faith rather than reducing it to a private affair conducted between conscenting adults behind closed doors.

    Don’t be perpetually afraid of your Catholic identity; My Marounite congregation has no problems with processions and pilgrimages in public; these are seen as an organic and natural part of faith life, as is public prayer and a midnight mass for just about every high day, not merely Christmas Eve, reaching beyond its cultural majority into the wider community working with and attracting folk of all cultures who find Christ presented in a refreshing, gutsy, ‘out there’ yet loving manner.

    Do Muslims have a structured prayer life? yes. Do we, Yes; though few even realise this let alone practice this. do they have public visible worship? yes. Do We? Yes, if folk would stop their incessant addiction to cultural cringe and live the faith physically, bodily, and visibly, rather than merely ‘in one’s head’. Do Muslims have standards of morality, family and decency? yes. Do we? yes. Catastole anybody? Catacalupto anybody? Scriptural teachings on family and marriage (practically reiterated in Church tradition, Canon law and the CCC). Why remain culturally ‘relevant’ when the surrounding culture has well and truly gone down the toilet? must we race it to the bottom? Look at what a mere ten percent of the population gave to the Roman empire ‘back then;…we sold our souls post WW1 and its just gone down hill from there (Mass Chicken has painted the slide in his own comments to previous posts here).

    Stop cowering in the shadows and live faith boldly.

    Aussie Marounite.

  59. av8er says:

    Archbishop Fulton Sheen said of the communists that they have all the zeal and none of the truth and we Catholics have all of the truth and none of the zeal. Same could be said about Muslims or any other false religion..

    If we are not excited about our faith, we do not arouse a healthy curiosity in non-Catholics. Example, the mormons. I have worked with many and they have all been cheery and nice. They make their belief look appealing and lures in the poorly catechized. I realize some out there have met jerks, I haven’t.

    We need to take the plank out of our own eye (lukewarm, C & E, cafeteria catholics and the like) before we take the speck out of the others. We need to be challenged to believe the faith. Contemplate it seriously who have doubts/questions. After a while these people with doubts need to look themselves in the mirror and make a decision. People who stubbornly believe only certain aspects should get out and stop causing scandal. I can’t call myself a Hindu if I only believe a portion. The Church would shrink but pope Benedict emeritus had said so previously. Cut the fat, trim down and re-emerge as a stronger Body of Christ. Only then, would we have a serious shot at evangelizing.

    My opinion, it starts and ends with the Eucharist.

  60. The American Catholic Church was at its zenith during the WWII era. They didn’t get labelled the “Greatest Generation ” for nothing. They weren’t all a bunch of charismatics whooping it up for the Lord that allured people into Catholicism. It was their nose to the grindstone, unwavering, and steadfast adherence to the Holy Religion where they put their money where their mouth was. Not much drinking, a lot of fasting, a lot of praying, and a lot of heroic virtue. The Greatest Generation of men didn’t think twice about throwing themselves on a live hand grenade because they LIVED the Gospel. They didn’t ponder what it might do to their families back home, they did their duty in front of them manfully and with steadfast faith in God. This type of simply living the Gospel by living up to their duties before them and not neglecting them. There was very little dereliction of duty during this time and very many examples of heroic virtue. The American Catholic needs to rediscover what DUTY means. Each individual and with unwavering steadfastness. No hand clappin hootenanis are going to really, and deeply, convince people. Only our rising out of the ashes to man up and perform our duties in our states in life like MEN.

  61. pmullane says:

    We are losing England. Soon, there will be no England any more. Perhaps she is already gone.

    Supertradmum has hit the nail on the ehad. Catholics have stopped being Catholic. The salt isnt salty any more. The Anglicans have gone the way that they were always going to go, swept along with the tide, their ‘Christianity’ making no more of an indentation on their lives than it would had it not existed. When a society ceases to be Christian, it soon becomes anti-Christian. We are in a time of soft (but hardening) persecution. We cant state our beliefs for fear of losing our jobs. Soon it will be our freedom. Then our lives. The secularists, post modernists will write the laws that the Muslims will use to kill us. The vast majority will convert, because they will go along with the easy life. They will learn to live without Pork, without alcohol, they will learn to walk behind their husbands with a bag on their head. They will learn to put up with the beatings and the rapes. The ones that dont wont last long.

    The island will be here, but England will be gone.

  62. Father Bartoloma says:

    The top picture is inaccurate because all of the people are dressed conservative and neatly in church.

  63. PostCatholic says:

    I think I’d vastly prefer the adoption by the Muslims who live in them of the western Enlightenment values that gave rise to the modern post-Christian state. I have hope that this is what will happen because the dominant culture is so much more attractive.

  64. Phil_NL says:

    PostCatholic,

    Dream on. Muslims not only despise the ‘dominant culture’ as a rule, if anything the second and third generations tend to be more fanatical, more pious, and more counter-cultural. Exceptions always occur, but by and large muslim immigrants isolate themselves very well from the surrounding Western culture – and often society at large. And make no mistake, they never forget what islam tells them should be the final aim: to become the dominant culture.

    It is not impossible to chip away the islamic bloc, bit by bit, but it is a Herculean effort – and one that neither the secular nor the religious culture – as it stands – can manage. The only thing that can help one make inroads is at least prevent the immigration of new muslims.

  65. Sol says:

    @ Absit Invidia

    It is certain that nearly all of Islam is united in their belief.

    One could hardly be more wrong. It is a common Western delusion han Islam is a phenomenon which could be dealt with en bloc. In fact, this is precisely why it is so hard to oppose ‘Islamic culture’ in the multitude of its strains. For while ‘Western’ ‘mass culture’ has largely morphed into one homogeneous block all over the Western world, and everywhere it reached it engendered similar processes (I know I’m oversimplifying here, but think McDonald’s, CocaCola, ManUtd and their Asian tournees); such is not the case with Islam. Islam is in this respect rather like a 5- headed dragon and one never knows which head to strike first, not to mention the fact that it grows back as soon as it’s cut off. This is because the variety of ‘Islams’ is beyond the scope of anyone to ward off. And the Shia-Sunni divide is just a start of it. We all now Wahhabi Islam, political Islam in Turkey, Hanafi and Hanbali schools of islamic law, islamic extremists and hatemongers, outright ‘jihadists’ and state-sponsored terrorists… No, Islam is not united in its belief at all, even though Muslims might be united in the zeal for their cause. And these causes are as different to individual Muslims as chalk and cheese.

    PS: Just to let you know I’ve enjoyed reading some of the above quite insightful comments immensely. Unfortunately, time constraints don’t allow me to relate to all interesting points I’ve come across.

  66. Supertradmum says:

    One point…women are slaves in Islam. They are not seen as equal to men.

  67. Athelstan says:

    JohnnyD:

    The sad thing is that Catholic congregation looks like my home parish…

    That photo is actually of a Church of England (Anglican) parish.

    Which is not to suggest that the Catholic Church in the UK is in great shape – it’s not; see Supertradmum’s post up above. The Catholics are at least being kept afloat by Polish immigrants and incoming Ordinariate priests, but it suffers from many of the same pathologies as the Anglicans.

    But that church is Anglican, not Catholic.

  68. Vecchio di Londra says:

    On the contrary, Catholic worship in London is both flourishing and widespread.
    Those two photos are deliberately misleading: a basic understanding of London demographics and local history changes the picture completely.
    If you Google-map ‘Cable Street’ and look at it in Streetview, you’ll see that this area of Whitechapel is remarkably empty of people and such as are visible on the street are nearly all of Asian appearance. It was a largely Jewish area of East London (see Wikipedia, ‘Battle of Cable Street’ 1936). The Jews departed postWWII, and the Bangladeshis moved in. The church is the Anglican (not Catholic) Church of St Mary, Cable Street (dating from 1638) and I’m amazed that there are still as many local Anglican parishioners as are shown in the photo.
    Spitalfields, not far from Liverpool Street, had a white successor population to the Huguenots centered around the wholesale fruit-and-veg market. The Market closed, the East Enders moved out to Essex. From the 1970s onwards, Spitalfields has seen increasing waves of immigration in large numbers from Bangladesh and the tribal lands of the old Frontier (i.e. now Western Pakistan) who are both extremely rural and fundamentalist, and now growingly politicised. There has been a deliberate move by recent incomers to concentrate themselves in Spitalfields and turn it into a ghetto, aggressively trying to prevent indigenous non-islamic Londoners from even entering a street (Brick Lane) that was until recently a popular evening and weekend destination because of its many curry-houses. So it would not surprise me to see five times the number of bowed backs shown in the second photo. It’s all about local immigrant south Asian population numbers and ‘white flight’.

    Elsewhere in London, Catholic churches are all very well attended these days, and conversions are many. Among other immigrant groups, African Catholics (for example) are staunchly faithful both in attendance and in piety, and among the congregations of all racial backgrounds the young are notably present.

  69. JKnott says:

    Charles de Foucauld wanted so much to convert Muslims and never succeeded. It is reported in his writings that after living with them, and sincerely loving them for so long, that he didn’t think it was possible. During all his years in the desert he managed to baptize two young women who eventually were forced back to Islam.
    In the end, for all the good he did, he was ambushed and shot in the head by Muslims.

    “I want all the people here, Christians, Muslims, Jews, non-believers, to look on me as their brother, the universal brother. They begin to call my house ‘the fraternity’ and this makes me happy.”
    Charles de Foucauld

  70. TLM says:

    Today I went toy a toy store here in Elmhurst, IL and while my granddaughter looked at toys I became engaged in conversation with the gentleman sitting at the register. He is 80 and the conversation was a delight for me. He said he is an ex-Catholic. When I told him I go to the Traditional Latin Mass as it was before Vatican II he perked up and said how beautiful it was. I told him about the FSSP and he could find it in Joliet, IL where I’ll be going this Sunday. He eventually revealed that it wasn’t his lack of faith but the church that drove him away. I came to know dear Tom so well in such a short time. Let’s say a prayer for Tom today.

    God wants us to help each other to return and Pope E. Benedict gave us something that will do just that. It brought me back and our FSSP Parish is vibrant and growing fast.

    Perhaps there will be another picture of the same church shown here and the pews will be full then. I do believe God is calling the faithful to return Him and uses each of us to help.

  71. Supertradmum says:

    JKnott, sadly, the order of Charles de Foucauld have become relativistic and no longer believe in converting people. It is all about tolerance, which, as Fulton J. Sheen said, is not a virtue. The weakening of the Church within comes from many of the missionary orders who simply do not believe it is necessary to be a Catholic.

  72. An American Mother says:

    Athelstan,
    Can you identify the parish?
    I would say Catholic and not Anglican because of the prominent placing of the statues of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, the Tabernacle and the side altar. The vestments and liturgical colors don’t seem right for Anglican either. I have no idea which missals/hymnals/ etc. are used in England or the books at the back might give us a clue.
    Admittedly I am just a former Episcopalian who visited England a couple of times so I have little first-hand knowledge of how they do things across the pond, but unless it’s an ‘ultramontane’ Anglican church, to me it just doesn’t look Anglican.

  73. An American Mother says:

    It always helps to go to the source . . . :-o

    A little digging revealed that the parish is St. Mary’s Cable Street — and that it is indeed an Ultramontane Anglican parish — references on their home page to the “Mass”, Catholic saints, auricular confession etc. abound. Been there, done that . . . .

  74. St Donatus says:

    In most places in the US, you can’t find a Latin mass. I returned to the Catholic Church after 30 years due to the priests at a Traditional Latin mass (TLM) parish. Since I have started going to church there, I see it growing. At the same time I see a worrying situation. Several families have had to move to other areas for work. The new location they move to sometimes doesn’t have a TLM parish. Here and there I will hear about one of these families who now attend a standard Novus Ordo parish faithfully. Their children who were faithful and loved the Catholic Church when they left, are in many cases, no longer engaged with the Church. Those children who have grown up and left home and moved to an area with no TLM parish, are some times suffering from the same problems as Catholic young people who have always attended the novus ordo. The TLM (and the traditional Catholic values that are promoted in the parishes) are like the heart that feeds the faithful. Once you are cut off from that source, many start dying away. When the young people continue to attend the TLM, they either go on to marry and have beautiful strong families or go on to become priests or nuns.

    This was the same story with me. I am certain that if the TLM had been available to me, and the traditional teachings of the church, I would have become gone to seminary. What I struggle with is why does the Church not encourage more traditional Catholic teachings? If what they are doing is failing so badly, why don’t they do what they know works. Every TLM parish I have ever seen is thriving. Bishops have two main jobs, foremost is to promote spirituality in Catholics and the other is to manage their diocese. Many do a great job of managing a sinking ship, but they don’t seem to be trying to fix the leak that is sinking the ship.