CRI DE COEUR: “If there were no more priests hardly anyone would be crying about it.”

At Rorate I saw something (translated there from Italian) from the blog Radicati nella fede, for the Catholic community of Domodossola and Vocogno in the Diocese of Novara.

This is a cri de coeur, if there ever was one.

My emphases and comments.  Original HERE.

The greatest crisis of the Priesthood in the history of the Church

Nobody is crying

If there were no more priests hardly anyone would be crying about it. This is the sad statement that we have to make.

We are witnessing the greatest crisis of the priesthood in the history of the Church. Whole areas in Europe are now without priests and all is hushed up. You do not even hear a single bishop raise the alarm, weeping with the faithful, asking everyone to pray intensely for priestly vocations and ordering fasting with ardent supplications that the Lord may have mercy on His people. [In France there are towns with thousands of people and no priests.  Some French priests have dozens of parishes!]

It is true, you will hear bishops and heads of curia describing the numbers of this dizzying drop in the presence of priests in the Church. You will hear them calmly – too calmly – drawing up a list of the information in a detached manner as if it were a situation to accept just as a matter of course – in fact, the chance for a new Church – more of the people.

In the coming years, in Italy, land of Christian antiquity, we will witness the disappearance of parishes and some [radical] changes, unthinkable even a few years ago, in the simplest structures of Catholicism, of parish communities, where Christian life was [once] natural for everyone. But the absolute majority of busy Catholics will pretend nothing is happening, because their pastors are already doing so.  [And some of the bishops there are among the more radically liberal I have ever heard of.  What some of them do to priests of a traditional stripe is dreadful.  And yet there is a crisis in the number of priests there.]

It is a “ catastrophe”, an “earthquake” – but nobody is crying about it – there is a pretence [sic] that nothing is happening. There is a pretence that nothing is happening because the fairytale of the Council’s “springtime” must continue. Any historical verification and evidence of a crisis without precedent are denied.

And a less than Catholic-like future is being prepared for us. [My old pastor, the late Msgr. Schuler, when hearing from the chancery about how in the future there wouldn't be enough priests, likened the situation to the Irish potato crop failure that caused so many to starve.  He suggested new approaches and used them himself for vocations (30 1st Masses in 33 years as pastor of the parish).  Instead, the powers-that-were - stuck in their rut of the same-old-same-old (liberal rubbish) sat around talking about how to starve together rather than planting new and different crops.  It's enough to make you crazy. One of the fundamental criticisms Schuler had of the seminary faculty at that time was that they couldn't answer three questions: Who is Jesus Christ? Who is the Church? Who is the priest?]

“Restructuring” the organization of Christian communities is already being discussed, i.e. creating space for the lay people (as if they never had enough of it in these past years) [!] and a new type of Christian faithful is being invented who will become the administrators in the parishes and will replace the priests. Lay faithful, duly “clericalized”, will maintain the churches and while waiting for a Mass, they, like adult Christians, will do the preaching of the Word…

…yet nobody is crying about it – nobody is praying and crying out to God.  [Remember: No priests, no Eucharist.]

Perhaps they are not crying out because someone has been preparing this upheaval in the Church for some years now.  [The Italian actually has "terremotto", "earthquake".]

They have debased the Catholic priesthood, transforming priests from men of God into social workers for the community. [That is an important point.  Priests are just functionaries tasked with mundane or temporal duties, even honorable duties concerning works of mercy.  Were they, then anyone could fill the job.] They have reduced the breviary and prayer. They have imposed secular dress so that the priests are like everyone else. [When I was in seminary in the USA you could be questioned for wearing black pants.  We were actually forbidden to use the word "priest", which we called "the p-word". We were to use the term "ordained ministers", in order to break down the distinction between the priesthood of the ordained and the common priesthood of the baptized.] Priests were told to keep up with the times because the world was moving forward. They were also told not to stress their own importance, but to share their responsibilities with the faithful.  [How condescending.  That is tantamount to telling lay people "You aren't good enough on your own, so I will let you do things that I can do."]

And the final blow: priests were given a Mass that has become the preparation for the catastrophe in the Church.  [The translation is not uniformly great:  "E come colpo di grazia gli hanno dato una messa che è diventata la prova generale del cataclisma nella Chiesa... And as the coup de grâce (mortal blow) they gave them a Mass that became the dress rehearsal for the catastrophe in the Church..."  But the general drift is conveyed adequately.] No longer deep prayer; no longer adoration of God Who is present. [I don't think those two points are entirely fair.] There is no longer intimate union with the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, [The deemphasis of the sacrificial aspect was truly disastrous.] but, instead, there is a holy supper with the community. [Not entirely, but... the Novus Ordo is prone to that imposition.  That's a problem.  It doesn't have to go that way, if the priest has his head on straight.  But given the lousy seminary prep and the persecution for decades by some bishops and priests, the Novus Ordo, susceptible to aberrations, is often way off course.] Everything is centered on man – not on God – and a lot of extenuating talk about building community. [Instead, Mass needs to build an encounter with Mystery and help people prepare to die and be judged.] It is a Mass which is a constant coming and going of lay people on and off the altar, a training for that coming and going of ladies and gentlemen who will shortly be running our ex-parishes without priests.

With the “worldly” Mass, the universal priesthood of the lay faithful has been cultivated and its meaning twisted. The baptized are a priestly people inasmuch as they offer themselves in sacrifice, in union with Christ crucified, offering all of their life with Jesus. The faithful must sanctify themselves; this is the universal priesthood of the baptized. The faithful do not participate in the Holy Orders of the priesthood, which are of an other nature and conform to the Priesthood of Christ. It is through the Sacrament of Holy Orders that Christ renders Himself present in the grace of the sacraments. If there were no more priests, both the Church and the grace of the sacraments would come to an end.

Martin Luther and Protestantism did exactly this: they destroyed the Catholic priesthood by saying that everyone was a “priest”, underlining specifically the universal priesthood of the laity.

In the matter of restructuring parishes, things might end up like that.

It might have been different to confront this crisis with minds and hearts holding the priesthood in high esteem, with the knowledge that the priest is one of the greatest gifts for the Church and all people. But this has not been the case. The crisis will be dealt with after years of total confusion in the lives of the clergy; after years of being unaccustomed to daily Mass and Catholic doctrine. ["I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry." 2 Tim 4:1-5] So the faithful will do without the priest. This is already happening. And when a priest arrives, they will not have a clue what to do with him, having become accustomed to the belief that the Lord will save them without priests and sacraments. [I'll tell you what they often do: they turn on him when he does what he is supposed to do.]

We think it is not right to pretend that nothing is happening.

This is the reason we are asking our faithful to pray fervently to the Lord, so that He will grant a lot of priests to His Church, as He once did.

Dear faithful, in this month of June, which is the time dedicated to Holy Orders, let us have the courage to ask for this grace, even with tears, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

And let us cling to the most precious gift of the Mass of all time – the Mass of Tradition. It is only this Mass that will give new priests to the Church of the Lord.

Reason #… 3? for Summorum Pontificum.

The New Evangelization cannot take off without a revitalization of our liturgical life.  The older form of Mass is necessary to help this revitalization.

The New Evangelization cannot take off without strong priests who know who they are and are faithful to Holy Church’s teachings.  The older form of Mass can promote vocations and clearer priestly identity.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Cri de Coeur, Mail from priests, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The future and our choices, Vatican II, Vocations, Year of Faith and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

112 Responses to CRI DE COEUR: “If there were no more priests hardly anyone would be crying about it.”

  1. Priam1184 says:

    There really is no New Evangelization Father, and I say this with all respect. Whenever I hear that term I am tempted to think that the whole thing is just a ruse, though I confess that that may be uncharitable and unfair to the speaker. The New Evangelization is a wonderful title for conferences for academics and media personalities but let’s be honest what has it accomplished? The Church’s impact has diminished in the world to such an alarming extent that I get more concerned by the day. This post very well elucidates the confused state that the Church is in now. I do not pretend to know in advance the Holy Spirit’s intentions for our day and age and I have full confidence in the promise that Jesus Christ gave His Apostles but I am deeply troubled.

  2. johnnyDmunoz says:

    “No longer deep prayer; no longer adoration of God Who is present”
    “There is no longer intimate union with the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, but, instead, there is a holy supper with the community.”

    This sums up my parish in Flint, MI. I have talks with a few, older women, who attend the prayer hour with me at our parish, and I talk to them about the Latin Mass. It confuses them as to why I would go to the mass they are glad to see gone.

    The reasons they are happy with the new form is; it creates a flow from the priest to the people. They see the last supper up there now, missing the point that Jesus’ ministry didn’t end in the upper room. And of course they know more of what is going on now that the priest doesn’t have his back to us.

    All of this I believed until I found the true form of the Mass. My home parish is loud and abrupt. A social gathering instead of worship. I am trying to plead with God for grace and mercy, while everyone erupts with conversation and applause here and there throughout the sacrifice. Heck, no one even knows it’s a sacrifice! Just a meal. But I do my best when I am there and look forward to the last Sunday of the month when I can go and beg God for his graces and forgiveness. ( In Lapeer, MI)

    I hope someone is in the Flint area and reads this, let me know so we can bring the Latin Mass back to Flint! Also, Father Z-Swag, could you please direct me to an online store that has real masculine Catholic art! Icons, manly Jesus art, prints of classic Catholic art, preferably not nude.
    Every store I go into around here look like a Catholic thrift store and Jesus always seems to be wearing blush and eye shadow.

    Sola Ecclesia! May God have mercy on us all…

  3. marpoliv says:

    Hello, johnnyDmunoz!

    There is a TLM in Flint at All Saints, on Sundays at 4:30 pm (maybe 5 pm). I have never actually attended, as it conflicts with my duties at my home parish, but I have a few friends who sing in the schola, so I would be surprised if it was anything other than very reverent. I’ve been told it’s actually one of the oldest TLMs in the area!
    Oremus pro invicem!

  4. Gail F says:

    “a lot of extenuating talk about building community” — but without actually building it, has anyone noticed? People want community, but are more isolated than ever.

    This is a great piece but more and more I think the problem is not with the Church. What is happening with the Church is a symptom. The West is committing suicide, a suicide that might or might not happen (you never know). We are not reproducing, we love death, we are all about ourselves. It started a long time before Vatican II and it is a way of thinking and being that poisons everything. People see themselves as nice, as kind, as caring — it’s not as obvious as zombies or Nazis. But what they do is destroy everything; rip everythign down and replace it with nothing. People don’t believe anything. They can’t be counted on, even by their spouses and children and parents. They’re not sorry about the fall in the number of priests, because they’re not sorry about anything. It’s not that people aren’t passionately devoted to things, or capable of deep love and hatred and outrage and kindness. It’s just directed to the wrong things, and people don’t really believe there are any wrong things.

    The Church will go on, it always has. But will we? Or will the Church be there for other people?

  5. iPadre says:

    Much caused by lack of priestly identity. Our priesthood has to come before everything else. There are times when priests go out and if they wear their collar, they looked upon as if they have two heads. It is refreshing to go out with another priest who is proud (in the good sense), to wear clerical garb in public. “Come on, can’t you relax.” “You got to learn to loosen up a bit.” Who says we can’t relax in our clerical garb, and who says we are too tightly wound if we wear the collar? Is the Pope to tightly wound? Why doesn’t he relax and wear secular clothing for us all to see? I’ll tell you why – he knows who he is and what he represents! Enough of a rant!

  6. Kathleen10 says:

    What an idea, no priests. Or if we had to pick between terrible priests and no priests, what would we choose. But if we had no more priests many would absolutely cry about it. I’m not sure about in Europe, but in the States we would. There are still clearly alot of people who understand very well how a good and holy priest is a conduit to God. And from God.
    I return to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who said our church may well become “smaller”, with the idea being smaller is better than becoming a distorted version of itself. I agree wholeheartedly.
    Personally, I prefer the idea of an authentic, holy, reverent, Catholic Mass once a month in a relatively far off location, than the absurd concept of lay-people involving themselves any more than they currently do, weekly. I would prefer no church to that travesty.
    Here would be a great time for Jesus to return. The world is in a mess, the US is in a mess, the culture is in a mess, the Church is in a mess. If I hear the trumpet, I will rejoice! I’ll be petrified, but I’ll rejoice. Oh, if only it would happen!

    I often wonder what is going on in our seminaries now? Is the harassment of good men still going on in seminaries today? Are there still “pink palaces”? One never hears about such topics at all, yet it heavily determines the future of our church.

  7. Catholictothecore says:

    So true! As I commented in an earlier post, there was only one priest ordained this year in one of the largest dioceses of Canada. What I found out later was that five priests are retiring this year. One new to five old. These numbers will not sustain the Catholic Church. Something has to give. And sadly it will be the retiring priests who will be called upon to continue working well past their retiring age of 75. Last year we had a newly ordained priest made pastor of three Churches. THREE. Poor fellow. But look how far the Lord brought him from the day he discerned his call!

    I’m all for the TLM. I grew up with the TLM. When they tore down the railings at our Church back in those days after V2, it was the saddest day in our parish. You cannot replicate the reverence, the silence of a TLM in a Novus Ordo. Try as you may, it just won’t happen.

    We must pray for more vocations to the priesthood. No priests, no sacraments.

  8. thomas tucker says:

    Wow, I had no idea that the situation is that bad in Europe. If true, I will be very surprised if the Holy Father doesn’t open up ordination to married men. I’m not saying that is a good thing or that I favor it, just that I will be surprised if he doesn’t do so.

  9. Woody says:

    My own intuition is that the real problem is that people, laity, seminary formators, priests and bishops, do not really believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Or they do not believe that the Jesus who is there is God. This being so, the “utility” of the priest at Mass is naturally devalued, since his “product” if you wish to reduce it to that level, is not supernatural. This blog has pointed out many of the symptoms of this lack of belief over the years: communion in the hand, reception standing, movement of the tabernacle off the altar to a side room that few even bother with, or, as seems popular here in Houston at present, location of the tabernacle at a place some yards off to one side of the sanctuary, thus producing the effect that the clueless faithful genuflect to the altar, or sometimes zealously venerate the crucifix, but ignore the tabernacle. To add to the list: toleration of slovenly dress at Mass, songs (you could not really call them hymns) that are so banal that they lack all sense of the sacred, and instead connote the invasion of the world through the open windows of the Church, catechesis on the other presences of God, Risen Christ crucifixes, banal vestments, etc. The total effect is that Mass takes on the outward appearances of a campfire meeting or Protestant prayer service, no Real Presence here, thank you, move along now.

  10. Whoa.
    I cannot argue with the original article or your comments Fr Z. This is the future of the Church. They will not rest until Christ is dead. Meditate on the Passion of Christ to understand what we are about to withstand, also the prophets in Scripture such as Daniel and others. The parallels of the trials in the Church are described if you read with understanding.
    For almost a lifetime, I have been prepared by forward Catholic thinkers [often called 'crazy'] who were not afraid to predict the outcomes of the changes that started in the 50s, including laity and clergy -even Papal documents from the 1790s- [to-wit the heartbreak and predictions by Cardinal Ottaviani]. What is happening now has been predicted not only by aware Catholics but also by numerous warnings of Our Lady and various private revelations/predictions as far back as the 400s.
    Reading solidly approved private revelations can be a great comfort – for instance the predictions of Our Lady of Good Success in Quito Ecuador describe in stunning accuracy what we are enduring – these words of Our Lady show us that the battle plans were drawn long ago and this is how it is to be. Mary of Agreda describes the meeting in Hell of all the demons the moment they realized the triumph at the Crucifixion and their diabolical plans to bring down the Church of Jesus Christ.
    We were born now, put into this era in the mind of God before Time began. We have the grace to live in these times.
    I have no suggestions for a cure of the present state of the Church. Aside from working on our personal sanctity and devotion to our Blessed Mother and her rosary and depending on the few faithful clergy, the corrections must come from the top of the Church. Fish rots from the head, as St Teresa says. When the good men in the upper hierarchy come to realize the seriousness of this battle, they will wake up and courageously do as our Lady asks. Until then, the sheep are vulnerable.
    Teach those you know how to perform all the Sacraments and blessings out of the old Ritual – there may come a time when this knowledge will be lost. This is not time for cowardice.
    If any of you out there feel like you are battling all alone, feeling alone is the way it always has been. Each of us is called to battle ‘alone’, many saints have felt like the last man whether the likes of St. Joan of Arc, St Athanasius or the saintly housewife in a crazed family – don’t give up. All of heaven watches and surrounds you. The holy angels battle all the more ferociously with every rosary you say.

  11. ray from mn says:

    It’s not all bad. A couple of weeks ago, I worked on the TV crew (as a “grip”) for the broadcast live and on cable for the ordination of ten young men as priests in our diocese. It was a wonderful experience. Actually I couldn’t see that much as I had to be watching the camera operator as she moved around to get different shots.

    But two things really impressed me. and reminded me of the olden days. it was standing room only in a Cathedral that seats about 3,000 people. And more importantly, nary a pair of blue jeans in sight. Virtually everybody was dressed to the nines! And most of our priests and deacons in the archdiocese were there to celebrate with these new priests of God, in the Order of Melchizedek. It was glorious.

  12. LarryW2LJ says:

    At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon and an old fogey. IMHO, if you want to reverse this tide we have to go back to what we had before the “Kumbaya” days of the 70s. Most people, even if they hate to admit it, crave for authority and structure and reverence and beauty. People are walking away from the Church and vocations because they just can’t stomach milquetoast. Return the beauty and majesty to the liturgy and they will come back – not overnight, but they will come back. People admire strong men with spines who stand up for what they believe and are not afraid to proclaim it. If we get more priests like that, people will return.

  13. Hank Igitur says:

    The article on Rorate is very good and I am glad it has been picked up here by Fr Z too.

  14. Traductora says:

    Very powerful post! I wish we could start calling Vatican II what it was: the Disaster. I’m not denying that there were some changes that needed to be made, and I’m not saying that the people who were involved in this disaster consciously intended that outcome or even foresaw it. But that’s what it was., a disaster.

    And not just for Catholics. All of the other churches may not admit it, but they depend on what we do and they follow us. They followed us right into dissolution.

  15. Denis says:

    I am confident that most Bishops in Europe are happy to oversee the decline of the Priesthood. That was the plan all along: to force a “priesthood of all believers” by destroying the Catholic Priesthood. Given Cardinal Kasper’s recent confession, I believe that many of those instrumental in the Second Vatican Council filled the council documents with contradictions and ambiguities in order to get us to where we are today.

  16. Long-Skirts says:

    UPON THIS ROCK

    Weary, weary,
    On this earth
    Shielding souls
    Beyond their worth.

    Few are grateful
    Some regress
    Others proud
    They won’t confess

    When the waves
    Break on the shore
    Warning them
    What is before.

    Established
    You stand on this rock
    ‘Gainst the gales
    ‘Fore those who mock

    Facing squalls
    They cannot see
    But all behold
    Your bended knee.

    Few will follow
    Some deny
    Oblivious
    They won’t comply.

    Then a blue moon
    Saffron sun
    Come together
    Almost one.

    Fingers blessed
    With Holy Oil
    You lift the Light…
    Sun moon recoil.

    Blinding many
    Opening eyes
    Contradiction
    Most despise.

    But on this rock
    Eroded-rife
    You stand your ground
    Opposing strife.

    Between the storms
    And sheep you block
    The tempest winds
    That hurt the flock.

    With outstretched arms
    The daily crux
    You nail the Truth
    So not in flux

    Never will lie
    Only can free
    Upon this rock
    Catholicity.

    “Oh, Lord grant us Priests
    Oh, Lord grant us Holy Priests
    Oh, Lord grant us many Holy Priests
    Oh, Lord grant us many Holy Religious vocations”

  17. catholiccomelately says:

    Perhaps we must pray for priests to come to us as missionaries from the global south … that God may provide for us in our poverty from their abundance, all to His glory!

  18. pannw says:

    This is horrifying…

    I’ve been reading up on approved Catholic prophecy and the significance of France in so many of them. I wonder…

    there is a holy supper with the community. Not to go off on a music rant, but…This past week, I was unable to attend at my normal parish and the one we attended had a Communion song about coming to ‘the table of the Lord’. I couldn’t help my drooping shoulders and thinking about the hymn “Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All”. It really is amazing the difference just the music at Mass makes.

    Everything is centered on man – not on God – Again, regarding the music. Twice in the past month, we have been unable to attend our usual parish and both Masses, at two different parishes, I was struck by the songs vs the hymns we are blessed to sing at my own (a very reverent and beautiful NO). I finally put my finger on what has bothered me so much for so long; the songs are always about us and how we relate to God or His kingdom not about HIM. Let us build a house…They Will Know We Are Christians…and that horror You and I are the Bread of Life (whatever the title is). Contrast to something like Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All or Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King. Yes we are mentioned in these too, but only in light of how we need Him to do all for us, not what we can do. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but it really is the difference in patting ourselves on the back and praising and giving glory to the Lord who is King. I hear these hymns and I want to throw myself at His feet, am brought to awe by His greatness. The songs, not so much…I will be honest and admit that usually they just make me fantasize about blowing up the piano (while no one is there, of course.) Then, I need to go to confession…during Mass! Not good… Thank you, God, for St. Mary’s.

    And about the secular dress… I was on vacation in the southwest a few years ago, and we went to a historic church out in the desert. I can’t remember why, but I had a question about the shrine and so I was looking for someone who might know after Mass. There was a man in a pair of shorts and t-shirt with a logo who looked like he new his way around so I asked him if he worked there. He said he was one of the priests and did it in a rather snitty way, as if I had offended him. How was I supposed to know he was a priest?

    transforming priests from men of God into social workers for the community.
    They were also told not to stress their own importance,

    A friend of mine was trying to get Eucharistic Adoration on First Fridays for her children’s parish school, so she went to the priest. He told her, “You know that is just a devotional.” *flabbergasting* She asked him why he became a priest. His answer: “Because I wanted to help people.” My thoughts when she told me about this were, “Not to bring the Truth of Christ to people, to help them get to heaven?????” No, help them get jobs, food, housing…all important, but any social worker can do that. He can bring them Christ, Truly Present in the Most Holy Eucharist! He apparently was trained so well not to stress it that he doesn’t even realize his own importance. I don’t want an arrogant self-important priest, but my goodness. You alone can celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar!! And grant me absolution… Through the power of Christ… That is so awesome.

    I am so thankful for my priest, Fr. Baker, and for Father Z, and all faithful priests. You are very important, just fyi. I would cry without you! I mean that.

    Thank you, Jesus, for our holy priests. Please give us more.

    *note* my friend’s priest has improved. I think he really does want to be a good priest; he’s just been badly formed, but he allowed First Friday Adoration at the kid’s school and they all go for at least 15 min. Deo gratias!

  19. torch621 says:

    I’m sorry if this comes off as rude, but why do I get the feeling that Rorate posted this only because it said negative things about the Novus Ordo? (Reading Rorate I’ve gotten the impression that they hate the Novus Ordo with a passion).

  20. Supertradmum says:

    from phone..we only have ourselves to blame…no marriages, no children, contracepton, lack of generosity, no prayer in the home . Davenport Diocese…15 active priests for 100,000 in less than 2 years; Arundel same number of Catholics 6 or 7 sems. Laity, are we holy?

  21. tjg says:

    I’ve been listening to an old (late 1990′s) series of CDs by Fr Bill Casey that was made during a 40 hrs of devotion at Holy Rosary Church. The lack of belief in miracles and the lack of faith in the Real Presence of Christ is the overwhelming theme (and with good reason), if we do not believe in the Real Presence, then there is no need for priests, no need to go to Mass, no need to dress properly when one does go to Mass and if one does go to Mass it had better be fun!

    God is Great though and He has kept us in his Arms. Our current pastor offers TLM every Sunday at 7AM [and Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 to "keep in practice". ; )] . During the NO he has on occasion celebrated Ad Orientum, we typically have many altar servers in place, and he has preached on the Real Presence, encouraged receiving on the tongue, and kneeling during Communion. I look for the altar rail to be reinstalled any day….

  22. Di says:

    The Beautiful Hands of a Priest.

    We need them in life’s early morning,
    We need them again at its close;
    We feel their warm clasp of true friendship,
    We seek it while tasting life’s woes.

    When we come to this world we are sinful,
    The greatest as well as the least.
    And the hands that make us pure as angels
    Are the beautiful hands of a priest.

    At the altar each day we behold them,
    And the hands of a king on his throne
    Are not equal to them in their greatness
    Their dignity stands alone.

    For there in the stillness of morning
    Ere the sun has emerged from the east,
    There God rests between the pure fingers
    Of the beautiful hands of a priest.

    When we are tempted and wander
    To pathways of shame and sin
    ‘Tis the hand of a priest that absolve us.
    Not once but again and again.

    And when we are taking life’s partner
    Other hands may prepare us a feast
    But the hands that will bless and unite us,
    Are the beautiful hands of a priest.

    God bless them and keep them all holy,
    For the Host which their fingers caress,
    What can a poor sinner do better
    Than to ask Him who chose them to bless

    When the death dews on our lids are falling,
    May our courage and strength be increased
    By seeing raised o’er us in blessing
    The beautiful hands of a priest.

    I for one would be heart broken if I couldn’t receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. Please pray for priests every day. . We are battling evil here and we need to call on those who where made to defend the Church. St. Michael defend us in battle and Blessed Ever Virgin Mary Queen of Heaven and Earth defend and protect us. Pray the Chaplet of the Holy Face.

    St. Athanasius tells us the Scripture that devils fear the most is “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those who hate Him flee before His Holy Face.”

    Thank you Father Z, for being a priest.
    For they loved the glory of men, more than the glory of God.
    ~Luke 12:43
    “Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good.”
    ~ Pope Leo XIII (Sapientae Christianae, No. 14, encyclical, 1890)

  23. Priam1184 says:

    I want to echo what Di said: thank you Father Z for following the call to the priesthood.

  24. JabbaPapa says:

    [In France there are towns with thousands of people and no priests. Some French priests have dozens of parishes!]

    When I walked on Pilgrimage to Compostela in 2005, to give Grace where it is due for my conversion and Baptism into the Church, I was SHOCKED to discover that the principal (ex-cathedral) church in Arles (!!!!!) was being served by one single geriatric semi-retired priest.

    The priests in most of France are doing a superb and heroic job, but those parts of the country with a history of Protestant rebellion are deserts for the Catholic religion.

  25. Bea says:

    So sad, so true. That is why it is so sad because it is so true.
    The whole article and your comments were right on the button, Fr. Z.

    I just disagree with this one:
    “No longer deep prayer; no longer adoration of God Who is present. [I don't think those two points are entirely fair.]”
    I agree with those 2 points, myself (certainly it is not so in your case and in the case of devout priests and bishops, but on a general basis it is, indeed too true).
    I remember a certain bishop in the SouthEast, some years back, who was requested to have Eucharistic Adoration and Exposition to which he said: “no”, that it was not necessary, he would rather just have them go to Mass and either discouraged or forbade his priests from promoting this.
    In our own parish (3 pastors ago) our pastor was approached by a layman who requested that he have the Stations of the Cross during Lent. This pastor also said: “No”. If he wanted it he could do it himself. This layman did it for a while but since it was not official or printed as an event in the bulletin, there was a poor turnout except by word of mouth. Thankfully our last 2 pastors have had this, led by the pastor and another in Spanish led by the assistant pastor. The attendance is fair, but not as it used to be in days of yore. The people lost the habit and the next generation never experienced it.
    We, the laity suffer for it. It’s like we are trying to lift ourselves up with our own bootstraps, but of course we don’t have the Grace of State to encourage or lead our own selves to holiness. I don’t blame our priests. They have had poor training and are completely unaware that they even lack it. They can’t lead us into what they don’t have and have missed out in that True depth of Holiness that the Saints once showed us by words and example.
    I think this is why there is so much emphasis on service to man as stated in the article “They have debased the Catholic priesthood, transforming priests from men of God into social workers for the community” It seems they see the actions of the Saints without understanding the impetus behind it.

  26. Supertradmum says:

    May I put out a challenge to some of the readership here, Fr. Z? How many single men are there in the TLM who refuse to get married and have children? Recently, in a NO Mass in A and B diocese, a priest caught the attention of all from the pulpit by challenging the single men to make a decision for either the priesthood or marriage, instead of staying in the state of constant adolescence.

    This was talked about for weeks, thank God. I heard a similar sermon in Iowa years ago, when a great trad priest practically came out of his position at the pulpit in such zeal, again, challenging the many young men who were not deciding on their vocation and in their 30s. We have encouraged this stupid idea of a vocation to the single life as if working for money and going out on the weekend, while attending Mass regularly, is a vocation. NO. Taking care of aged parents or working full-time for pro-life as a single is a single vocation, but being a doctor or an airline pilot, or an accountant and being single is avoiding commitment.

    The lack of children is the laity’s fault, not the clergy’s, obviously, and that can be remedied.

  27. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Doubtless it would be very easy for all the Catholic single men in the world to find wives, dioceses, or monasteries willing to take them in. Because all those things magically appear.

    My older brother searched and courted women for years. My sister-in-law also searched for years. When they got married, she found out she had full-blown MS coming on,and my brother has his own health problems. There’s never going to be any children. They don’t have to look for opportunities to sacrifice.

    Now, suppose they’d never found each other. They’d still have their health problems; no convent or monastery was going to take them. Their talents are for work in the world. But yeah, that would just have been baby pretend games.

    There are some orders out there which are good, but they can’t take everyone. They can’t take most of us. Even in the old days, that was true. There were millions of Catholic men and women who lived single lives in every age of the Church. There has never been a time when everyone who didn’t marry headed out to the desert. Never. Not ever.

    Quit binding burdens on this generation that not even the most severe saint has dared to bind. You mean well, but you’re not thinking about the implications. Urge people to think about vocations, but don’t demand that people magically pull them out of their butts. That’s part of how we got to this point.

  28. Phil_NL says:

    I symphathize with the plight of the authors and all who have to endure similar situations. But I must also note that on some fronts, it’s over the top.

    First of all, the NO is pretty much blamed for everything that has gone wrong in the past 50 years, and portrayed as hardly a Mass at all. That’s nonsense. The NO can – and in more and more places is – be reverently offered, and is just as much a Mass as an EF: Christ will be truely present in the Eucharist in an NO. To shovel that aside is just not right. There is a difference between recognizing we have an important problem with the way many parishes celebrate Mass, and implying the NO is virtually the only problem. Much of the issues facing the Church would also have come into being without the NO. We also have (had) quite a few poor bishops, loads of unspeakably sinful priests, an increasingly hostile culture all around the Church. All of that would have happened without VII as well, in fact, quite a bit of it happened before VII too, or by people formed well before the NO. Celebrating Mass the proper way is a major tool for getting back, I won’t argue against father Z it is a necessity, but it is not a miraculous cure that will sweep all our problems away. There’s a difference between necessary conditions and sufficient conditions.

    Secondly, it may hurt more in traditionally Catholic countries because the change is more pronounced, but the-end-of-the-world-is-nigh tone regarding priest shortages is belied by the experiences of Catholics in non-traditionally Catholic countries. Fewer Masses can mean that laity is doing more – too much – or it can mean the faithful drive a bit longer. Having a town of a couple of thousand souls without a priest may be shocking in Italy or France, but is hardly seen as an issue where catholics are spread out thinly. And that’s exactly what’s happening in Italy and France as well: on paper a big majority of the people may still be Catholic, in practical terms these countries are simply joining the ranks of the places were we are a minority. That means more effort to get to Mass and the sacraments. And of course that’s a deterioration of the situation, but to what extent you let that deterioration ruin your catholic lives, is also very much up to the individual faithful. Just blaming the priest shortage (or, more insidious, someone pushing for inappropriate stuff to ‘compensate’) is taking the easy way out.

  29. Fr. Z., thank you for this very powerful, if heart-wrenching post. (And I would also specifically like to thank you for the comment that while the Novus Ordo is prone to going the wrong way, it does not necessarily have to be so. /Unlike probably most of the readers here, I prefer the N.O./).

    You said “no priests, no Eucharist”. May I add: “few priests – Eucharist but no communion”. If the number of priests decreases dramatically, we won’t be able to go to confession and sooner or later we (well, I definitely) would have to stay away from Holy Communion. What a horrendous thought. :(

    Supertradmum: re. being single: to get married you need two people.

  30. Clinton R. says:

    This is quite a troubling article to say the least. With all that the Church has suffered through since Vatican II and with Cardinal Kasper’s admission that the Council’s documents were intentionally ambiguous, it is no wonder priestly vocations are way down. The modernists got their way to impose a Lutheran view of the priesthood. Everyone is a priest. The priest should not look nor sound like a priest. He is now just a do gooder whose main job is to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside. It is hard to inspire a young man to the priesthood when he sees the priest tell jokes at Mass, hears him deny the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, and sees the priest wearing a golf or Hawaiian shirt when he is not celebrating Mass, as if he is embarrassed to be a priest. And why be a priest when you can do just about everything a priest does as a layman? It is for these and so many reasons that it is becoming increasingly difficult to see the Second Vatican Council as anything but the Second Protestant Reformation. The ‘reforms’ in the Church, most notably the New Mass have been a complete disaster. Previous councils were held to clarify doctrine and thus aid the teaching of the Catholic faith to the world. Vatican II has done just the opposite. Seminaries have shut down, parishes and schools closed, universities run amok with heretics and apostates and no one seems to be doing much about it, sadly. More and more the laity is running things, and while some are honestly trying to keep in line with tradition, too many are attempting to form the Church in their own image. The way I see it, the only way to reverse the immense damage caused by the “spirit” of Vatican II is to restore the beautiful traditions of the Church. That means the restoration of the Tridentine Mass (let the priest be the priest), beautiful churches, artwork, music, and restoring our Catholic culture and heritage. And yes, this also means ending our failed experiment with ecumenism. At least the false kind, that has only lead to confusion and ultimately, apathy. The Catholic Church has been through many dark times in her history and we know God will never abandon her. So let us keep praying for our priests and for God to call good men to tend to His harvest. Domine, miserere nobis. +JMJ+

  31. JARay says:

    I read all that you printed above Father and it really filled me with great sadness. I fear that it is true….but then….I got to thinking. My experience is largely here in Western Australia although I do visit England round about once a year because I have relatives there and it is where I was born.
    Here, in Perth there are at least three parishes with perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. My own parish has Adoration on two days every week, on Wednesdays and Fridays. I attended Mass this morning for the Feast of the Sacred Heart and that was followed by Adoration. I was not the only person at Adoration after Mass. This is only in my parish. Our now retired archbishop ordained over 100 priests in his tenure of Office. He reopened the Seminary which had been closed before his appointment and there are a reasonable number studying there. He also invited the Neo-Catechumanates to open a Seminary and that has at least thirty Seminarians right now. They come from different countries and after serving for a few years after ordination here, they are sent on to other countries. They mainly come from the South American countries and the Philippines. From what I read there is a growing number of Seminarians in England and that is good news. Sadly there are too many vacancies for Bishops there although I read that the last two who were appointed are good solid men.
    It is a very long time ago now but once I was a Seminarian at The English College, Lisbon and when we were there, we wore cassocks all the time, including out in the streets. We were very visible as to what exactly we were. I did not continue, although I did receive Minor Orders. I am convinced that priests should always dress in such a way as to show exactly who and what they are.

  32. Maltese says:

    I would rather wear a blessed Scapular on any given Sunday than go to a Novus Ordo Mass. It celebrates the cult of man, not God.

  33. Maltese says:

    And one last thing. I spent time studying at Trinity College, Dublin, and traveled throughout Ireland. When a car I was renting broke-down in the middle of Ireland (can’t remember exactly where); I foraged through some bush, and found a VERY old roofless church (at least from the 1,300′s). The altar was on the wall, facing east…

    The mass IS SACRIFICE!

  34. jaykay says:

    “challenging the single men to make a decision for either the priesthood or marriage, instead of staying in the state of constant adolescence.”

    As if it’s just a simple “either/or” like that. Honest to God, that sort of simplistic nonsense does nobody any good. And I won’t even get into the whole area of gratuitously insulting those who, for various good (and I stress “good”) reasons, just cannot get married. Suburbanbanshee: you said it all.

  35. Spaniard says:

    In Spain we usually get one priest per 8 rural parishes. On the other hand, churches in the cities get one or two priests each, altough the age range is well over 50. My spiritual director has 10 parishes, a convent and is chaplain to a prison and an assylum, so imagine the situation!
    PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!

  36. “Everything is centered on man – not on God – and a lot of extenuating talk about building community. ”

    Doesn’t that say it all! They dumped “alter Christus” in favor of “community organizer.”

    Thank goodness the Holy Spirit is caring for the Church.

  37. robtbrown says:

    CatholicCoffee says:

    Fr. Z., thank you for this very powerful, if heart-wrenching post. (And I would also specifically like to thank you for the comment that while the Novus Ordo is prone to going the wrong way, it does not necessarily have to be so. /Unlike probably most of the readers here, I prefer the N.O./).

    Does that include the NO in Latin?

  38. AdDeum says:

    JohhnyDMunoz

    Yes there is a TLMass at All Saints! It is at 4pm every Sunday (unfortunately, they do not have them during the week at all… nor for Holy Days of Obligation). There are also confessions every Sunday at 330pm before Mass. Every October, they’ll have an anniversary Mass; usually a Solemn High Mass that lasts upwards of 1.5 to 2 hrs.. though quite honestly, it’s so beautiful you don’t realize it. And they have dinners that follow.

    If you’re unsure of where All Saints is… it is on Pierson Rd, just east of I-75.

    I have been lucky enough to adjust my personal schedule enough to go to this Mass almost exclusively. Though, occasionally, I may have to attend the Social Gathering they call a mass where I live (I live about a 1/2 hr north of there in a separate diocese), complete with a card table and all.

    Also, if you need to sometimes (or if it fits your schedule better), there is a TLMass in the crypt of the St Mary’s Cathedral in Lansing. That’s at 11am every Sunday. It is mostly low mass. But, they have a dedicated priest to say that Mass. May God bless Bishop Boyea!

  39. robtbrown says:

    thomas tucker says:

    Wow, I had no idea that the situation is that bad in Europe. If true, I will be very surprised if the Holy Father doesn’t open up ordination to married men. I’m not saying that is a good thing or that I favor it, just that I will be surprised if he doesn’t do so.

    The problem is with Western Europe.

    BTW, the SSPX and FSSP don’t seem to have problems getting vocations.

  40. pmullane says:

    I wouldnt be too thin skinned about Supertradmum’s comments, I think she makes a very good point. I know of lots and lots of young men who just wont commit to either finding a wife (not ‘getting married’ but committing to finding a wife, getting a decent education, getting a decent job, working hard to build a secure foundation for a family to be built on and, most importantly, building relationships with women with the ultimate goal of finding a wife, not just a companion, or some ‘fun’ or someone to fulfill their needs here and now) or discerning a vocation (actually speaking to a priest and testing whether they have a priestly vocation).

    Many young men I know off like to volunteer in ‘catholic’ retreat centres, do pointless University degrees which are merely an parent free extention of High School (with alcohol, drugs and women); live with their parents, and basically drag out adolescence to early middle age.

    Not that the young men themselves are wholly to blame. Our Catholic culture just doesnt promote vocations. If a young boy is discerning a vocation, who takes him an interest in him to encourage it? Do parents make priesthood an option? Do we want other peoples children to be priests, but not our own?

  41. Imrahil says:

    Well… yes, there’s a crisis in (Western) priesthood.

    No, it’s not so hard as some might think it is. Though, and that’s the point, we really would wonder why we have so many priests – compared to the circumstances.
    Why, in fact, would anybody want to offer himself up for priesthood, except that (which is not the way things usually go) God explicitly orders him to do so in a voice of thunder? You can’t marry; nay, it has even become unusual to employ a housekeeper. Many things which you still theoretically could enjoy, you have to avoid for fear of scandal. Whenever there’s some work to do, you’ll be the one the bishop counts on to do it – it won’t be the female pastoral assistant with a degree in theology, who can after all say that they have a family life, etc. The bishop gets the splendour of the Church, the laity gets said any time that it’s all about them; you get the work to do. And then your principal work seems to be to either work along with a good deal of effeminacy (for lack of a better word; dear real women, excuse me!) and childishness not only in the catechetics and liturgies addressed to children, but even in the pastoral councils! And it is either “work along with an untenable state of affairs” or “split the parish and drive so and so many homines bonae voluntatis”, which you have all reason to believe they are, “at least out of parish life”.

    All this being so, the ratio “priest / Mass attendant” has slightly gone up. And if put in ratio to the number of people that go to Confession, we are having an outright flood-tide of priests. I do not say that in appeasement or wishful-thinking. It just happens to be the case.

    The “twelve parishes” are certainly significant of lack of priests, but I have a guess that the situation, while hard enough, is not as hard as the number would signify. I don’t know the French situation. As for the Bavarian situation, I live in the outskirts of a city, next to a countryside municipalty with 5000 inhabitants and a total of 3, in words: three, parishes. It used to be three municipalties, secularly also, which (given streets, cars, telephones) were merged in the 1970s. Their merge to one parish is a logical thing.
    Not a logical thing, except for the reason that there really are somewhat too few priests, is that this same parish is merged with yet another parish of another 5000 inhabitants, viz. mine. All the same, these four parishes have, at present, still a total of four priests, of which three retired.

    I do not think, though, that the shortage of priests is something wanted. I do not know how restrictive the seminaries are (that’s, if there is one, the decisive spot), but if people say they are quite glad that due to shortage of priests the laity comes into importance – do not believe them. They do not mean what they say – if they would, they’d not say it and hide behind empty phrases. Those who do say it are merely giving a reaction-in-defiance, because being progressists and therefore fatalists they are bound to hold any necessity as a good thing (not like the good old Christian who is allowed to believe that a change for the worse actually did occur).

    One of the problems, though, is that in the globalizing world of today, the Church, ever defending of all the good things put into neglect by the momentary powers-that-be, has (perhaps nolens-volens) taken up, among her many other roles, also that of Lady Keeper of the Seal for the small-t tradition, local custom, countryside romance, farming, and all that sort of thing. (In Bavaria, it is not far from being a Catholic code-sign to speak the dialect!) All the more problematic if the parish-life of a single parish is brought down by lack of a priest… though the ones that care for the Sunday obligation or even daily Mass* can unproblematically satisfy themselves by car-driving and car-sharing. (In Bolivia there is a real lack of priests.) People know that parishes won’t survive if they are not, at root, a Eucharistic community with a priest of their own. As for the prospect sometimes heard of keeping up parish-life without (theoretically that is compatible with going to Mass, one would just meet at the parish at some other time), I seriously don’t know whether it be a good or a bad idea.

    [*Except on Mondays. Somewhen in the 197os, the idea arised that there must not be a liturgy on a Monday. I'm not claiming that any priest did bad who does not follow the recommendation of daily celebration, but I seriously don't get how if there is a free day, it is always on the same day on the week throughout a landscape.]

    Dear @Supertradmum,
    it has already been said that it takes two to make a marriage. May I add that, imho, there’s the problem of romantic love at the bottom. If you have romantic love, there will be people who do not, or do not for a long time, find their mate.
    Now romantic love is not the only thing that has been practised in the world in this respect. Would it not, somehow – I do not mean that as an invective – seem easier to do things in the Mohammedan (and perhaps, generally heathen) way, just pair-off the children by parental action (after all, parents do have a claim of obedience) some way, count on it that they aren’t altogether uncaring for and unattractive to each other (which does have a high probability), and let love grow with the years. Especially since not necessarily, but so very often, mate-finding is achieved on a sinful path.
    Yet it has been among the great glories of the Christian West, that, in very general though not exceptionless practice, and in its ideal (including the most secular storytelling, always a telling thing!) certainly, it has upheld and followed the idea of romantic love, and as for me, I’m going to stick to that.

  42. robtbrown says:

    jaykay says:

    “challenging the single men to make a decision for either the priesthood or marriage, instead of staying in the state of constant adolescence.”

    As if it’s just a simple “either/or” like that. Honest to God, that sort of simplistic nonsense does nobody any good. And I won’t even get into the whole area of gratuitously insulting those who, for various good (and I stress “good”) reasons, just cannot get married. Suburbanbanshee: you said it all.

    Agree. That is the lack-of-vocations-is-your-fault approach that I’ve heard from priests. It is nothing if not naive.

    The liturgy was Protestantized, the priesthood sociologized, doctrine compromised, liberal politics lionized, intellectual formation in seminaries minimized, and detente with secular culture maximized. It’s a miracle anyone would want to become a priest or religious under those circumstances.

    Meanwhile, while bishops and priest wring their hands, the SSPX and the FSSP and flourishing.

  43. Supertradmum says:

    jaykay and others, two fine priests did not think this topic of choosing either to be a priest or get married as too simplistic for sermons at Sunday Mass-one a TLM and the other a NO priest.

    As to vocations, these need to be encouraged, but I clearly remember a 2011 ordination of priests article online which stated that a hefty number, about 50%, had NO encouragement from family members.

    One meets God on one’s own in the solitude of one’s heart.

    As to romantic love, Imarhil, sorry that is something which is the greatest lie about love in our times, stretching back to medieval France and the cult of romantic love. I suggest reading Benedict Pope Emeritus’ superb encyclical on love for clarification, found here.
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20090629_caritas-in-veritate_en.html

    He wonderfully explains the different types of love and the encyclical is a masterpiece. Love is in the will. One wills to love a person until death us do part in marriage, or to love God exclusively in a priestly or religious vocation. And, it is simple, really, but one has to choose.

    Most people seem now to not want to choose and to float through life without making choices.

    Not only is the SSPX and FSSP getting more vocations, but more marriages as well. The SSPX chapels are full of couples with children. And, I know of many FSSP marriages—maybe the TLM has something to do with helping people make good choices or making decisions.

  44. robtbrown says:

    Imrahil says,

    it has already been said that it takes two to make a marriage. May I add that, imho, there’s the problem of romantic love at the bottom. If you have romantic love, there will be people who do not, or do not for a long time, find their mate.

    The emphasis on romantic love is no greater now than it was 40 years ago, when there were many marriages. The difference now in the West is that there is no unified vision among Catholics.

  45. Imrahil says:

    Dear @pmullane (and @Supertradmum),

    nevertheless someone can only be blamed for actual sinful action. If they, in frustration about achieving the grand goal and because there’s momentarily nothing specific to be done for achieving it (cf. Prov 13,12) seek little pleasures not forbidden, there’s no reason to blame them for that. And if they go into excess and seek pleasures that are forbidden, they are to be blamed precisely for that excess.

    Even if there is actual sin-of-inaction… you won’t order people into marriage. You can only entice them into marriage.

    And… let us not forget that education is an end in itself (except in the theological sense where only God is in end in itself). Even today, university degrees generally are not pointless; they are certainly not pointless just because of the fact that you can’t earn money with them. Cf. Bl. John Henry Newman, Idea of a University I ch. 5.

  46. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Supertradmum,

    if the thring stretches back to as Christian a society as mediaeval France, that’s all I want to know for the present.

    I agree that love is in the will and a choice, and that marriage means to love someone until the end. But leading up to marriage, courting or brideship if you will, is something voluntary which the lover can either do or not do. When once you are in marriage, you can count on the sense of duty to support the love; nevertheless, Christendom in general has decided to have romantic feelings (and personal reason) to lead up to the choice of marriage, which is then unsoluble.

    Dear @robtbrown, agree (to all you said).

  47. pmullane says:

    Imrahil,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I wasn’t really talking about Sin though, but about lack of vocations. Noone will Sin by failing to follow through in their vocation, but their vocation will still be lost, and the ghood that would have come from it never realised. Same as a man who doesnt marry his sweetheart doesnt sin, but the goods that would have come from the marriage are still lost.

    In terms of education, yes an education is a good thing, but 4 years drink drugs and women with the occasional essay and exam thrown in at the cost of many thousands of pounds are, if not ‘pointless’, then not perhaps the most prudent use of ones time.

  48. The Astronomer says:

    Although we have Our Blessed Lord’s promise to St. Peter about the gates of Hell not prevailing, He never said that it wouldn’t be a very close call. For many cities of the former Christendom to be without a priest and we also look at our massively growing moral and cultural rot, we can perhaps extrapolate that Christ has deliberately withdrawn grace from large parts of the ‘institutional organization’ of the RCC structure. Perhaps this could be tied back to the vision of Pope Leo XIII. I think it’s a mistake to think we’re going to return to the ‘glory days’ of prior to the Council, but we must return to clarity of doctrine, moral teaching and disciplined beauty in our liturgical worship.

    A learned cardinal, now deceased, told me that the worst fate that can befall a Catholic is to lose your Faith, because if you REALLY lose your Faith, the worst part is that you don’t REALIZE you’ve lost it. So many middle-of-the-road US Catholics have been anesthetized by the watered-down, homosexualized ‘Church of Nice’ as Michael Voris puts it, that they instinctively recoil when presented with authentic Roman Catholicism. My 74 year old mother, when I tell her of my love for the 1962 EF Mass, keeps hammering me with “but it’s in Latin and but we don’t get to DO anything but look at the back of the priest!! I’d rather skip Sunday Mass than go there…”

    Bugnini has done his job well.

  49. anilwang says:

    “The New Evangelization cannot take off without a revitalization of our liturgical life. The older form of Mass is necessary to help this revitalization.”

    While I agree, I think that if a priest can’t celibrate the NO properly, he won’t do any better with TLM. If TLM were suddenly made the norm and NO, TLM would devolve into making the “Change of Habit” liturgy ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2mxa1iZZHc ) the norm within a few years. While TLM remains pure, there is hope.

    IMO, the New Evangelization has to fix the NO by making ad Christum (preferably ad orietum) the norm and communion on the tongue (preferably while kneeling at the altar rail) the norm. We also need to fight the “Spirit of Vatican II” iconoclasm that has stripped statues and icons from the Church. The last point, cannot be underrated. I fell away (without understanding the faith) soon after first communion. A big part of my suddenly understanding the Mass some 30 years later was a tour of a Byzantine Orthodox Church. All walls were filled with icons, and the placement had theological meaning (e.g. laity below saints below apostles below Christ the King which is on the top dome looking down on all the Church) that screamed out that the liturgy brings together heaven and earth.

    Fix these things in NO, and people will flock to TLM and people will want to become priests (although you won’t truly solve the priest shortage until we solve the contraception crisis through preaching).

  50. robtbrown says:

    Supertradmum says,

    He wonderfully explains the different types of love and the encyclical is a masterpiece. Love is in the will. One wills to love a person until death us do part in marriage, or to love God exclusively in a priestly or religious vocation. And, it is simple, really, but one has to choose.

    Most people seem now to not want to choose and to float through life without making choices.

    Choosing marriage or a priestly/religious vocation is not the same as choosing to marry a specific person or choosing a specific diocese (incl seminary)/religious order. I’ve known people who chose to be religious, entered an order, and found the place a zoo (and I’m being kind).

  51. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    A bit off topic, but I do wish that my fellow Catholics would be mindful of the fact that the good Lord sometimes does not send children even to some faithful Catholics who have been 100% open to life. Sometimes these Catholics have, with the assistance of spiritual direction, discerned a call to devote themselves instead to the care of *both* sets of older, infirm parents as well as to other, childless relatives (for example, to a briefly-married widow who never remarried), to support for their adult siblings who have significant health issues, to lavishing love and support upon their nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, to work in their parishes, to prayer and study, and last but not least, to loving devotion to each other.

    Sometimes God sends “children” (in a sense) who need a great deal of our love and care, but who may be considerably older than we are.

  52. Cricket says:

    A very sad situation, & believe me, I do pray for priests daily. But I must say, in all honesty, that the majority of priests I’ve encountered in my 6 decades of being a Catholic fall far short of the “In Persona Christi” ideal. Very few give the impression they can see souls, let alone have any interest in saving them. Too many priests succumb to the temptation to become arrogant parish CEOS, rather than shepherds of souls. Sad, but true. The remedy for this can be found in the late Father John Neuhaus’s dictum, “Fidelity, Fidelity, Fidelity.”

  53. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Cricket,

    the majority of priests I’ve encountered in my 6 decades of being a Catholic fall far short of the “In Persona Christi” ideal.

    You don’t say!

    Why, oh why do I think that to my paragraph which attempted to describe the hardship of today’s priesthood, I should add: “ever having to fulfil the very highest top of both morality and nobility of personality in the eyes of the faithful”?

    Forgive the tongue-in-cheekness.

    One actual theoretical point: “Seeing souls”, I was under the impression, is a additional, so-to-say miraculous, grace. It is not regularly part of the priestly office.

    One point for not to be too strict with our poor priests: When they have an actual chance to do something specific for saving of souls, you’ll see whether they’re out to saving of souls or not. In the meantime, as long as they don’t see such an opportunity and rather let that rest in intention and go on to manage their parish… particularly if they do that well… that’s good enough for starters.

  54. nykash says:

    The comment stream on this post represents a lot of my own thoughts as of late.

    If I may be so bold and add a fourth question to Fr. Z’s list: what is it to be Catholic? The NO mass has seemingly destroyed our Catholic identity. Where’s the belief in the Real Presence? “It’s a little host that I eat with my hands, while I walk up saying hi to people” is an insult. I go up and – if not at an altar rail – fall to my knees. It’s God. How else should we act?

    In talking with a priest friend of mine, he pointed out that we’ve created our own churches – as Catholics. There’s the liberal NOs, the conservative NOs, the EFs (which have their own variants, too).
    If a priest who offers the EF also offers the NO (addressing the five mystical wounds of Christ – ad orientum, Latin, et al), does it make him any less of a priest or any worthy of a sacrifice? Keep in mind I do love the EF mass, but it seems like we’re coming apart at the seams.

    Attacks on priests, and the lack of support they receive, is terrible. We need to pray for our priests.

    What is it to be Catholic? Some people int he urban parish that I belong to view the building itself as important as a work of beauty or history. While both are true, it misses a the point. Yes, high altars, rails, statues and more should point to our identity, and therefore to God. robtbrown’s point is spot on – instead of merging and clustering parishes, why don’t chanceries see the problem for what is it? Tradition is the answer.

  55. L. says:

    ” [I'll tell you what they often do: they turn on him when he does what he is supposed to do.]”

    This happened to my parish Priest. His predecessor let the laity take care of most things, e.g. teaching RCIA classes, and so on. When my Priest came in, he started doing those things appropriate to his vocation instead of letting the laity work while he played with his train set in the basement of the rectory. He was given a second parish to take care of, and built up the population and fixed parish finances. He’s being reassigned to a small parish in the boondocks because he’s known in the chancery to oppose the worldliness and careerism of its inhabitants.

    It is stunning to me that Pope Francis criticisms about “careerism” and worldliness among Bishops and Priests could be a case study of our Diocese.

  56. eben says:

    To: supertradmom; pmullane; Imrahil; I’d seen a comment to the effect that one of the problems is a lack of unified vision among Catholics. Concerning the marriage/procreation issue, I’d humbly suggest that this might well be part of a far larger, over arching problem, i.e. that there’s no unified vision of the direction society and the people in it are going. My language is clumsy, but I’m trying to describe a significant difference I feel at work in US society from the time of the 1950′s and today. In the 1950′s there was a shared sense of common values, goals, aspirations and the proper object of work, family and church life. There was a living, functioning social contract at play and one which people believed in, discussed with some degree of reverence and which provided a bedrock foundation from which to work toward a better future for all. It was, I believe, the impetus which made the placing of a man on the moon and the winning of the space race possible. Then, I distinctly recall a “feeling” of difference coming to the fore in the 1990′s during the first Clinto administration. It was that the fabric of civil society had warn tissue paper thin and was slowly being rent assunder. Fast forward to 2013 and there’s an obvious lack of shared recognition of any “social contract” at work amongst citizens as between citizens and their government. No shared values, no shared vision of or for the future, no clear goals or proper objectives for going forward and least of all, any sense of community. Youth are adrift, caught up in the “moment” of their social media, but clearly without objective. Everyone’s leery of everyone else and if there is anything in the way of shared concepts it is that no one trusts the government. In the face of any true crisis of national import, I can assure you the center would not hold.

    Saving the youth would require the work of everyone. They know neither discipline nor direction. I’ve come to believe that the only way forward is retreat; true retreat from the noise and distractions offered up by the incessant din of electronic distraction from cell phones to the TV. Only in retreat can anyone teach some lasting values and the joy of focus. It is necessary to disconnect from the myriad distractions with which we are daily afflicted. Its the only way to gather up some quiet, the kind of quiet necessary to get back in touch with what’s real, what is of value and that which is enduring.

    God Bless.

  57. jaykay says:

    Supertradmum: “jaykay and others, two fine priests did not think this topic of choosing either to be a priest or get married as too simplistic for sermons at Sunday Mass..”

    Well, that doesn’t actually guarantee that it isn’t so. There are (and always have been) many genuine reasons preventing people from getting married. And to say that if one is not married one should then become a priest (or religious, presumably, although that’s not what he was reported as saying) is just… bizarre. Surely there’s the little matter of having a valid vocation, for starters? No small matter, I should have thought?

  58. Gregg the Obscure says:

    As Fr. Z has mentioned from time to time, the gates of hell won’t prevail against the Church in general, but there’s no guarantee of its survival in specific locations. In the fifth century, the Church was strong in north Africa and southwest Asia. Now there are nearly no Christians there. In the fourteenth century the Church was strong in western Europe, but it looks like She will be basically absent from that place soon. I expect that in fifty years or so most live Christians will be found in sub-Saharan Africa, India and some pockets of eastern Asia.

  59. Bea says:

    I’d like to add to the “it takes 2 to make a marriage”
    2 on the natural level,
    but if you want a God-centered marriage, a true, sacramental, spiritual marriage as God intended, it really takes 3: God and the couple.
    It really is a call from God to follow His Will
    a CRI DE COEUR, if you will.
    In the “old Church” we learned that the single life is another vocation, not just marriage and the priesthood. A single life as a vocation in a celibate holy way, of course.

  60. Sixupman says:

    And yet, and yet, a priest, in the UK, was cast out because he created a Traditionally orientated parish [both rites] with a strong following, across the spectrum, because of his affability and charm, yet preached ‘old time’ Catholicism. The diocesan curia closed-down the parish against the wishes of the congregation. That priest left with nowhere to go, except through the good offices of clergy friends.

  61. churchlady says:

    Our family has been extremely blessed to be in a parish with very holy priests. Please continue your prayers for them. Also, I ask prayers for my son who has been discerning his vocation and call by God. He will be heading off to college, an excellent, solid Catholic college where he will be able to continue his discernment. If this is God’s call for him, I know that he would be another good and holy priest as the examples he has served for have fostered such a love for Christ, the Eucharist and especially liturgy.

  62. robtbrown says:

    Cricket says:

    A very sad situation, & believe me, I do pray for priests daily. But I must say, in all honesty, that the majority of priests I’ve encountered in my 6 decades of being a Catholic fall far short of the “In Persona Christi” ideal.

    “In Persona Christi” is a technical phrase that refers to the action of the priest in celebrating the Eucharist–thus “This is MY Body” rather than “This is HIS Body”. This is true whether the pope is saying mass or a priest who is leading an immoral life.

  63. Athelstan says:

    There is a TLM in Flint at All Saints, on Sundays at 4:30 pm (maybe 5 pm).

    Just in case JohnnyDmunoz is still reading…

    I’m not a Michigander, but Wikki Missa does confirm what marpoliv says:

    48504 – FLINT – All Saints Church 4063 W. Pierson Rd
    Sun 4 pm
    Pho (810) 787-0491
    Diocese (Fr Anthony Majchrowski)

    Wikki Missa is a great resource for finding a TLM near you. It’s not perfect, but very nearly so. It invariably also tells you who offers the Mass (Diocesan, FSSP, ICK, SSPX, etc.). Link here: http://honneurs.free.fr/Wikini/wakka.php?wiki=ListeEtatsUnis

  64. msokeefe says:

    I lay all the blame on Vatican II. I grow weary of Novus Ordo apologists who claim it was not Vatican II, it was the “unauthorized abuses” that took place after. No, it was Vatican II which caused the suppression of the Tridentine Mass [?] and forcing upon us the liberal and socialist mindset. Vatican II turned the Church into a “Catholic Protestant Church”. If the Church leaders post Vatican II have the power to suppress the TLM, why don’t they have the power or desire to stop communion in the hand, force the worship of God ad orientum, [orientEm]etc, etc? The Vatican’s hot topic is ecumenism. For what? What does the dialogue with other “religions” do? All they are telling people is that “We all worship one God”. If this is the case, why would anyone want to be a Catholic? They can go to other “Churches” that instead of reverently worshipping God, can make us all feel warm and fuzzy? Maybe have playstations in the pews for the kids? In the NO you have girl altar servers, who will never be priests. [Which has nothing to do with the rubrics of the NO.] Wasn’t that a way to get vocations in by gone days? I am sure most Priests were at one time altar boys, it nourished a calling. Does the NO really need a Priest? [I trust you are not suggesting that the NO is not really Mass.] The “Church Lady” is the lector, the 3x divorced protestant convert is the Eucharistic Minister. New Churches are so “UnCatholic” looking, they may as well have a drive up window with a pimply teen in sweats giving you your requested “Pauline Combo”, a cup of the precious blood and a Body of Christ. Bring back the Tridentine Mass, reinstall altars that were ripped out, as well as communion rails, impose rules of decorum. Allow the Priest to lead us in the Sacrifice of the Mass. He is the physical stand in for Jesus Christ at the altar, treat him as such. If you want to get “involved” cook a meal for the Priest who has to subsist on fast food due to his rigorous schedule or inability to cook. Run errands for him to lighten his load. Get involved and plan parish events. Look after retired Priests who do not have a nest egg for retirement. The US Bishops should spend less time on immigration reform, gun control and “social justice”. The new illegal immigrant is a drain on government and Church resources. They take all the freebies and “Western Union” their money home until they have a large enough nest egg to go back. They aren’t here to learn the language or build or support the Church. Since we have the NO, our common language, Latin is almost gone. Instead of having a TLM, with the Priest’s sermon in the non English tongue, we have segregated Mass’s so everyone can have it in their native tongue. There goes the cohesiveness of the parish. Now it is “us and them”. “Social justice” is the purview of the Church, not the government. The Church needs to stop ceding it’s moral authority to the government.

    [Well!]

  65. PA mom says:

    We all know people in long term relationships who, for whatever reasons, won’t take the leap to permanency. I don’t think that in a crowd of a couple hundreds young adults you can possibly not hit several in this exact situation.
    I had no idea the situation was so serious in western Europe. Can the Pope assign new, more orthodox bishops from elsewhere to there to try fresh blood for repair? I think of the Bishop from Ireland who has been setting Texas on fire….

  66. Athelstan says:

    torch621,

    I’m sorry if this comes off as rude, but why do I get the feeling that Rorate posted this only because it said negative things about the Novus Ordo? (Reading Rorate I’ve gotten the impression that they hate the Novus Ordo with a passion).

    Well, it’s a rabbit hole that I doubt our kind host wants us to spend too much time on…

    I can’t speak for any of them, but knowing a few of them as I do, I expect this cri de couer tilted at a number of critical themes for them, not just the problems with the Mass of Paul VI. Which, to be sure, is not greatly liked over at Rorate, but then the same is true to some degree of more than a few posters here. They are not sedevacantists; they recognize the validity of the N.O.. But it strikes me that they view it as theologically impoverished, inferior in important respects to the Traditional Mass. (Some of the combox commentaters at Rorate, on the other hand, do seem to reject it more decisively.)

  67. Athelstan says:

    Sixup,

    The diocesan curia closed-down the parish against the wishes of the congregation. That priest left with nowhere to go, except through the good offices of clergy friends.

    Because some people in the Church, especially of a certain generation and especially in some dioceses, would rather see the Church die than to revive itself through such approaches.

    It’s a perverse mindset, but a deeply held one.

  68. Priam1184 says:

    @nykash when I see all the of the posts that use the terms EF and TLM and NO to describe themselves or others I become deeply deeply troubled for the Church’s future and fear that we now are on the verge of succumbing completely to disunity. We now have two different liturgical calendars operating in the Church under the Novus Ordo and the Extraordinary Form. I am not condemning the Extraordinary Form at all, I love it and I wish that it was once again the Liturgical Rite throughout the Church but all of this division is a serious problem. We are supposed to be one, Pentecost was the antidote to Babel and now we inflict Babel on ourselves. Offer an act of reparation on this Feast of the Sacred Heart for all of the sins we have committed against the unity of the Church and the Faith.

  69. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: single life — I just pulled out my old inherited _Catholic Girl’s Guide_, written by Fr. Lasance for the Children of Mary back in 1906. There’s two chapters about the situation of a girl living unmarried in the world, and Fr. Lasance attributes the inevitability of that situation for some of us to Divine Providence. “Under all circumstances a Christian maiden ought to remain firmly convinced that it is no disgrace to remain unmarried.” He also speaks with sympathy of those who feel called to religious or married life but are prevented by circumstance, and says that God permits such desires to go unsatisfied so that such people may increase their merits by living with a difficulty. Single life also provides an opportunity for both prayer and good works, as well as more freedom to help others on a small or ad hoc scale than the organized life of family or a religious order. In any case, “It truly requires courage and fortitude to pass through life” alone “but the Giver of all good gifts will not deny these qualities to His true servants if they keep eyes and heart fixed upon Him… Leave your future serenely and hopefully in the hands of God, to be disposed of as He shall see fit….” He also wrote _The Catholic Boy’s Guide_, so I’m pretty sure his advice was similar.

    The Baltimore Catechism warns in its sections on Holy Orders and Matrimony (at least in the 1891 version) against people entering either the married or religious state without having a call to it. There’s a discussion of discernment, too.

    Now, that said, of course we need to encourage vocations to the priesthood, religious life, and marriage. Of course we do! We should encourage all sorts of exploration and discernment! But oversimplification is not truth, and Jesus Christ is the Truth. Encouraging discernment of God’s will is what He wants from us, not demanding that people flip a coin between one of two vocations.

  70. robtrbrown, yes, it also includes N.O. in Latin according to the following formula :) :
    EF/N.O. in Latin -> N.O. in Latin;
    N.O. in Latin/N.O. in the 3 languages I speak fluently -> N.O. in the 3 languages I speak fluently
    N.O. in Latin/ N.O. in languages I can’t speak -> N.O. in Latin.

    While I mentioned earlier that you need two people for marriage, can I also add that you also need “two” for priesthood and religious life because no one can go if not called. You cannot decide after a homily that you are going to be a priest the way you can decide to be a dentist or a car mechanic.

    Supertradmum, I assume you do not advocate getting married to anyone you can get to marry you just in order not to stay single?

    And finally, there are people with private vows (received by the local bishop), members of secular institutes of consecrated life, members of societies of apostolic life and members of third orders and people called to special things (Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche comes to mind), who may appear to be “single” and may not disclose it to anyone other than necessary that they are not really “single”.

  71. robtbrown says:

    CatholicCoffee says,
    You cannot decide after a homily that you are going to be a priest the way you can decide to be a dentist or a car mechanic.

    There is a similarity: If someone wants to become a dentist but is not admitted to a dental school, the desire to be a dentist is s in vain.

  72. Gemma says:

    Something to keep in mind in all of this. I think someone said it before me. I was talking to seminarian who pointed out to me that in many places in Europe their are no Catholics anymore. Just has many villages don’t have any children anymore… Therefore no need of a priest. So it is not just about a priest shortage. The problem is much bigger. It is beginning to happen in our country. I know of someone in the south who told me that they did not have need for some teachers in a First grade or Kindergarten class because they had no students. No people, no priests, no faith.

  73. Well, the gates of hell won’t prevail, but Jesus didn’t say that the gates of hell wouldn’t get close ;)…and Jesus did say would he find any faith, when He comes back….Kyrie eleison

  74. robtbrown says: That is the lack-of-vocations-is-your-fault approach that I’ve heard from priests. It is nothing if not naive.

    In fact, the laity does bear a share of the blame for the lack of vocations. Frankly, the problem starts with us. There are not enough faithful Catholics. The traditional nuclear family is giving way to promiscuity and concubinage; the lives of the children born into such situations are a house of cards. Catholics divorce at the same rate as the rest of the population. Parishes are closing, not only because there are too few priests, but because so few of us in the pews actually attend Mass and support the Church anymore. Many Catholics do not keep Sunday as a holy day, filling it full of unnecessary servile work or less-than-wholesome recreation. Many Catholics do not know that theirs is the True Church, or even care whether there is such a thing as the True Church. Many Catholics do not know the content of the Catholic Faith; many do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist; many think the Church’s opposition to intrinsic evils like abortion, contraceptives and gay “marriage” is stupid. More than half of Catholics in the U.S. voted for Barack Obama, probably the most pro-abortion, anti-Catholic president in the history of our country. And it is from the ranks of the laity that clergy and religious are drawn. If we are a mess, they too will be a mess. Remember St. John Eudes’ chilling assertion that bad priests are a chastisement and an infallible sign of God’s anger with His people. That means that if we have hirelings instead of true shepherds, not only prayer but introspection is called for.

    If we are unfaithful, that has consequences. The laity in the world, the religious, and the clergy all react upon one another: none of them can be corrupted without also corrupting everyone else. Shrink the pool of faithful lay Catholics, and you shrink the number of faithful priests and religious. When religious abandon their charisms, they are not obtaining conversions or supporting the work of the clergy with their prayers. When priests go off the reservation, they are not forming faithful Catholics. And the results spill over into the world at large: because we Catholics have ceased to be Catholics in more than just name, the Catholic faith is far less of a force to be reckoned with.

    Marion Ancilla Mariae says: A bit off topic, but I do wish that my fellow Catholics would be mindful of the fact that the good Lord sometimes does not send children even to some faithful Catholics who have been 100% open to life. Sometimes these Catholics have, with the assistance of spiritual direction, discerned a call to devote themselves instead to the care of *both* sets of older, infirm parents as well as to other, childless relatives (for example, to a briefly-married widow who never remarried), to support for their adult siblings who have significant health issues, to lavishing love and support upon their nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, to work in their parishes, to prayer and study, and last but not least, to loving devotion to each other.

    You do not explicitly mention Supertradmum, but it is her comments that people are getting upset about. She is not talking about people in these situations — in fact, she explicitly excludes these. What she’s talking about, in essence, is people who refuse to be open to life, which entails openness to responsibility. She is talking about the selfishness of the grain that refuses to fall to the ground and die, so that it may bring forth fruit. There can be no doubt that this selfish attitude of refusing to be open to life is currently fostered in our culture. It really boils down to the culture of death. The result is far fewer faithful Catholics, and thus far fewer vocations.

  75. jaykay says:

    And I seem to recall that He didn’t just accept anybody who thought they wanted to follow Him. He was in fact quite specific on that point. I’m thinking of the rich young man…

  76. cheerios in my pocket says:

    I’m sorry if anything I say is redundant with what has been said, but I’ve read about half of the comments and I cannot spend the time reading them all at this point.

    Fr. Z, is the FSSP a possible light along with the priests (such as yourself) who understand the travesty that has occurred with our Liturgy?

    Also, to those who are fine with the N.O., I have an odd story to tell. My husband and I were betrothed, following an E.F. Mass 22 years ago. All of our relatives attended, and I honestly was quite lost. Following the Mass and Betrothal, we celebrated and my sister said, “Well, it just goes to show, you can never go back.” In my ignorance, I agreed.

    Within the last year, my family (husband and our 4 teenagers) has faithfully attended the E.F. Mass. My 2 older children convinced us to go since they believed the difference is monumental. After attending just 2 E.F. Masses (it took 2 because I was trying to read all of the “side comments” of all of the prayers as well as the prayers themselves. I have been to an extremely reverant N.O. Mass, and it does not nor cannot even be compared with the E.F. The prayers are thorough, humble, and beautifully composed. My children have taught me why the Mass must be prayed in Latin (dead language…not alterable)…which reminds me of the old saying, “if it’s not broken don’t fix it.” Why chant? Why not hymns? Hymns are protestant, they claim (I haven’t researched much on this one yet). If one stops to really take the time to follow the E.F. Mass (my Sunday Missal recommends following carefully is our participating…OH, and this Missal has a catechism teaching attached with each Sunday!), what I found out this morning having attended an N.O. Mass, that…it just goes to show you, you can never go back (to N.O.) The beauty of the Liturgy has been stripped. Shame on those who committed this crime! I encourage all to find their nearest E.F. Mass and spend some time getting to know the sacrifice, the altar rail, the Word.

    If you read this Fr. Z, my 2 children were also sharing with me that Eucharistic Adoration is not traditional as well. That it is unnecessary since the Lord is present in the Tabernacle and that this too is abused because of the ceremony that must truly accompany exposition. Is this accurate?

    God bless you Fr. Z. and God bless all your faithful readers!

  77. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    No quarrel with Supertradmum, whose comments I always respect. Just asking that my fellow faithful Catholics, in general, when speaking of “childless Catholics” might bear in mind that the unburdened lady in the pew may have, before coming to Mass, been shedding tears over yet another negative pg test. A couple of wonderful priests helped us to discern ways to serve His Majesty as a childless married couple. The pain and the tears are mostly behind me now, thank God, but it doesn’t help to read unqualified and disparaging references to “the childless.” And I certainly don’t wish to address my remarks as a complaint against anyone in particular, but as a cry of the heart to persons of good will, who may care about the effect a quickly uttered word or two may have upon others whom they wouldn’t dream of hurting.

    And, if you don’t care, or don’t wish to be bothered about such things, then my message is not for you; please, by all means, ignore it. It is, of course, as they say, a free country.

  78. Singing Mum says:

    “Most people seem now to not want to choose and to float through life without making choices.”
    We have to admit, this is true of Gen X and beyond.
    If floating around and not making decisions truly doesn’t apply to you and many good people you know, great! But let’s not pretend its not a problem.
    Likewise,
    If you truly struggle with infertility and know other good people who do, that’s understandable. No one is criticizing that! But let’s not pretend birth rates aren’t a problem.

  79. Charivari Rob says:

    I saw this at Rorate and am glad to read Father Z’s thoughts on it.

    It’s hard to evaluate the article, since I don’t have much first-hand knowledge of the situation on the ground in western Europe (other than Ireland).

    It’s not the smoothest argument when one paragraph is “it’s not being talked about” and “nothing is being done” and a paragraph or two later it says that things are being discussed and done. Perhaps some of it is translation issues.

    That’s an interesting analogy that Msgr. Schuler made to the Famine, Father Z. I don’t know – I’d have to hear more before I’d be able to agree with the interpretation and applicability. It wasn’t an unwillingness for crop diversity or some “starve together” institutional fatalism that blew up a fungus and a few seasons of failure of one crop into a disaster of epic scope. It was an occupying power that continued to take so much of all the other, unaffected crops in taxes & rent and left the failed crop to the natives.

  80. Bea says:

    Charivari Rob
    ” It’s not the smoothest argument when one paragraph is “it’s not being talked about” and “nothing is being done” and a paragraph or two later it says that things are being discussed and done. Perhaps some of it is translation issues.”

    Here is the original article written by the priest, if anyone wants to gleam more from it:
    http://radicatinellafede.blogspot.it/2013/05/non-piange-piu-nessuno.html

    His original title to this article, if I translated it correctly is:
    NON PIANGE PIU’ NESSUNO
    which I gather to mean : “Don’t cry about it anymore”

    I’m not too adept in Italian but from the Italian that I know; he is saying that people are just accepting the “status quo” so this shortage of priests is as it is, so “why bother anymore about it”. (which is what he means that since it is accepted people and/or bishops they just don’t talk about it and nothing is being done (constructively)to remedy the shortage). Bishops are not sounding the alarm.

    Then he goes on to say that the fact of the shortage is discussed as a fact of life by bishops and we’ll just have to adjust to a new way of restructuring the order of the community so that the laity will take over the parishes and there will be a new genre of clerics. This is the kind of “talk” that is taking place. kind of like “this is where we’re going, so get used to it” which is no “talk” at all because it’s not being talked about as a soution.
    He ends by saying “to me it seems unjust to pretend nothing is happening and because of this we ask our parishioners to pray forcefully to Our Lord to send many priests to His Church. Dear Faithful, in this month of June, which is the month of Holy Ordinations, we ask you to pray, even with tears, this Grace from the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary and we hold as a precious gift the Immortal Mass, The Mass of Tradition, which alone will know to give new priests to God’s Church”

    I hope this will help clarify your question, Charivari Rob, maybe someone more adept than I in Italian can explain it better following the Italian link to this priest’s editorial from his Church bulletin.

  81. robtbrown: There is a similarity: If someone wants to become a dentist but is not admitted to a dental school, the desire to be a dentist is in vain. No, it isn’t. They could try harder, study more, apply to another university, train in another country, etc. It is still down to the person and their own effort. As opposed to this you cannot become a priest if Jesus personally has not called you any more than decide to dine with the Pope tonight. You have either been invited – or you haven’t. See in the Gospels (Luke and Mark) where Jesus heals the Gerasene Demoniac, who afterwards begs (!) Jesus to be allowed to go with Him and He does not allow it (Lk 8,38). ->Not everyone who wants to, can.

    I agree with Anita that the laity is responsible for the lack of priests to some extent. First, by not praying. But also by praying “Lord, give us priests, but not from my family, I want grandchilren and I don’t want anything weird and out of the ordinary in our family and I don’t want any embarrassment when I’m asked at dinner parties what my children do”.

    cheerios, a lot of what is being said about the N.O. relates to the local culture. To pick one thing from what you have written: “hymns are protestant”. Poland is 98% Catholic, so you can bet N.O. hymns there aren’t protestant. What I’m trying to say is that many of the things people say about N.O. aren’t about N.O. but about N.O. where in the world they live.

  82. bookworm says:

    “I do wish that my fellow Catholics would be mindful of the fact that the good Lord sometimes does not send children even to some faithful Catholics who have been 100% open to life.”

    Also be mindful of the fact that it takes two to tango. One spouse could be 100% faithful and open to life but if the other spouse isn’t (or was when you got married but changed his/her mind later), there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it, other than pray and try to set a good example, of course, but sometimes even that doesn’t work.

  83. robtbrown says:

    Miss Anita Moore, O.P,

    I wasn’t aware that Bugnini was a layman–or Rahner, Schillebeeckx, and Kung.

    It wasn’t the laity who caused so many monasteries following the Holy Rule to abandon its core. Neither did the laity encourage Dominicans to abandon their rite and limit (or completely eliminate) the study of St Thomas. And it wasn’t the laity who made the decision to let ecumenism and detente with secularism (including Communism) trump doctrine.

    And it was the bishops and religious–not the laity–who let their seminaries and houses of formation fall into ruin.

  84. cheerios in my pocket says:

    CatholicCoffee, Hi! I was confused when my children said this because I said, “What? Well then, why is ‘St. Agnes’ credited for the hymn they sang at today’s Mass?” Faith of our Fathers comes to mind as well. So, is the history of hymns being sung during Mass pre-Luther or post-Luther? I don’t know…help?

    Just to add, my children are 20 and 19 and live lives most people would think is alien…no texting, just cell phones, no loud music (one only really appreciates classical, opera and chant/polyphony… she has perfect pitch–God given, not from me), received a High School Liberal Education from The Lyceum School and have moved on to profoundly Catholic culture colleges. This is why I usually trust their reasons since they were discussed usually at length with traditional priests or tutors. They are great children and one reason is they have 2 special needs siblings that basically helped form their character (loving, responsible, fun!)

  85. Imrahil says:

    Hon. dear @Miss Anita Moore, I guess the problem with the unfaithful laity who does not appear to Holy Mass is not, of course, that it wouldn’t be the case; but that it’s not the case with the laity present. I guess we all view such statements immediately in a sermon-setting…

    Dear @eben,
    that was very interesting. I might, also, perhaps go a bit into some musing…

    On the 195os two things can perhaps be said. The first is that the 195os belonged to the modern age still, with the core belief that future will be better than present. This time is over, being a of fleshly origin it has gone the way of all flesh. The Christian dares (in colloquial language) hope for and work for a better this-world, but he will always know that here, there may be worse ones as well, and that this hope, unlike what is properly his hope, may be disappointed. (A side-effect is that he can approach the developments of time with realism, approval or disapproval, and is not bound to the jingo-fatalism of the progressist.)

    We must respect modernity for all that was valuable within her (note: correct English would probably be “it”, but I’ll go for the personification)… But I have mixed feelings about her. They can perhaps be best expressed thus: I’m prepared to sing The Good Comrade over her grave; but I can’t pretend to be overly sad for the loss.

    We’re post-moderns now; which means (that’s bold as a definition, but here I go) that we finally have savvied that, no, “to travel hopefully is not better than to arrive”.

    Chesterton once said that, under the maxim “to travel hopefully is better than to arrive”, just as the Protestants denied purgatory, modern man would come to deny Heaven, in favor of an eternal purgatory. As a matter of fact, that had been precisely the teaching of Immanuel Kant. Of course, somewhere here played protestantism a role, with its two confusions 1) of imperfection and sin, 2) of imperfection and not-being-God (remember that St. Thomas teaches, and after all Our Lord holds possible, a perfection for man in this life). Hence the outrage against the dogma of the Immaculate Conception: it’s not what we might perceive “the Protestant criticism”, viz. its not really explicit mentioning in Scripture, these are technicalities of as little interest to Protestants as they are to anyone. It’s the outcry: “Mary was not God! How could she be sinless?”, forgetting a bit about Adam and Eve before the Fall, and about the “altogether Man” part of the Incarnation dogma. Hence modern theologians even in the Catholic fold insist that the Fall at least could have been the first deliberate action of mankind. Scripture seems to hold the naming of the animals against that, but I have another question: why do they wish it to be this way? Would it be so much better if sin was within human nature or if this is not possible, at least as much as possible?
    Holding this, however, the Protestants have, perhaps, started modernity, the will to become better. What the Catholic wants is something distinct: he wants to become good.

    [Forgive the digression.]

    We’re post-moderns now. We can, I still believe (with the ordinary difficulties of fallen mankind) be convinced to do good if we are convinced that it is good. (The chief problem about e. g. contraception is not an abstract immorality in the sense of insisting to do bad, but a disability to see how contraception should be bad.) But above all, we want to have it good (I hope that is an English idiom), and preferably now – or, if we have patience (which is indeed not the most post-modern of virtues), with certain (not vague) hope for arrival. He cannot travel hopefully to whom arrival is not still better.

    Now at rather precisely this time when modernity gave way to post-modernity, by a general “event” even if not so much by documents, the Church, at the II Vatican Council, has finally made its peace with modernity, not, indeed, by accepting anything directly wrong in her own teachings, but by following the modern direction in any way in-itself-right. But we’re post-moderns now.

    Karl Valentin already guessed that. He said: “Even the future used to be better.”

    That other thing about the 1950s is the old story already reported by Sallust. We then had an enemy. Having no enemy has often been reported to lead to decadence (De conj. Cat. VI-XIII).

    Now what to do now? I do not think we’re leery of anyone else. That not. Also we do share some “values” in common, e. g. that a man after all does have a right to existence without need to be justified by common usefulness. Also we value leisure and comfort. As it is in the friendly parody of the German soldier’s pledge: “the right and the free-time [originally: freedom] of the German people, bravely to defend”. These are, indeed, actual values. And in the event of a true crisis of national import, the center I’m rather assured would hold… or at least we would want it to hold. We might have got out of training to do the necessary things; but even so, I do not fear for any specific reason of the state of our generation a true crisis of national import. I do fear invisible developments of the same range. It’s the creeping destruction that might get us mulled in everything’s-allright-comfort.

    As for again the values we share in common… I think we’re generally under the same morality as was anybody else. Not only in reality (that is clear), but also in acceptance. Prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance are things that are held up as good things. As it were, the weak spot is not even temperance. The weak spot, the virtue people rather want to see and praise in others than claim to (these claims may be quite unfounded in the case of temperance, but nevertheless that’s important) realize in themselves, is fortitude – and hope.

    Which is one of the problems. We lost the thought of Heaven. I do not mean so much that great masses lost faith. I mean that the faithful have ever craved for the consolation that, while we’d not say no to pleasure in the meantime (that’s what to some may seem the less-holy thought), the object and goal is Heaven and then all our tears will be dried and we will be richly rewarded. But accepting the Communist charge and, perhaps, in the streamline of the Protestant thoughts I mentioned before, to think of the prospect of Heaven as consolation was treated with more shame than many sins were. But you cannot have people fight without hope.

    What, therefore, do we have to do? Retreat from cellphones and TV might work if we have a benevolent dictator. I don’t mind this thought-experiment, but as for realism, in a culture where others have cellphones and TV, forbidding them (being not intrinsically evil) will do no good. What do we have to do?

    Hm. At any rate start back to tell the youth that Heaven is our goal – not with the undertone “stop earthly pleasures” (which will make them just shut their ears), but with the undertone “if you miss, and I really mean ‘miss’ and am not moralizing, some earthly pleasure, then what does it matter”.
    Tell them there’s sins and you must not do them. I wonder whether the word ‘sin’ is, for the time being, a stumbleblock, but at any rate do not replace it with “mistake” or “weakness”. They claim, and rightly claim, a right to make mistakes without being ashamed thereof. And as they are not totally off religious talk, they’ll hear the precise contrary than the attempted minimization, and think that every mistake is a sin. No: the important point is that sin (including venial sin) is a mistake of such a nature (viz., offending God) which you neighter ought to nor, normally, really want to make (“that which I do not wish to do, that I do”). So if the word ‘sin’ needs replacing for the time being, replace it with “crime”. For the Christian, it is a crime to have a slight feeling of contempt for a neighbor, etc.

    And, of course, they do need to get some aim in their life. I’m inclined to think that the traditional, natural way will be the easiest one. Husbands tend to take care for their families; indeed Chesterton (at the beginning of the 20th century) said that men only began to really work when once they were married, and after all as far as upkeep goes, a Christian is not supposed to worry about it.
    If you (now making a thought-experiment of my own) could preach the 6th commandment sins, the “easy way out” as far as the sexual drive goes, out of youth, they’d naturally enough find their way into marriages and then do some care for their families.

    Of course many other things might be said.

    Excuse the excessive length.

  86. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The comforting thing about this problem is that:

    1. Most of it is related to the basics of the faith. If we can fix teaching the basics, then with God’s help a lot of our problems gradually will go away, including bad demographics and the priest shortage.

    2. Pretty much every Catholic can help teach the basics, as soon as they’ve been taught themselves.

    3. Every Catholic can help by praying for priests and new vocations, no matter what state in life we’re in. Pretty much every Catholic can encourage other Catholics to discern.

  87. robtbrown says:

    CatholicCoffee says:

    robtbrown: There is a similarity: If someone wants to become a dentist but is not admitted to a dental school, the desire to be a dentist is in vain. No, it isn’t. They could try harder, study more, apply to another university, train in another country, etc. It is still down to the person and their own effort.

    Huh? I wrote “not admitted to a dental school”. Why would you assume I limited that to a certain country? And what if someone has already topped out in effort and study, and it’s still not adequate for admission?

    As opposed to this you cannot become a priest if Jesus personally has not called you any more than decide to dine with the Pope tonight. You have either been invited – or you haven’t.

    1. The invitation is from the Church (whose Head is Christ). That means there is component factor that resides in fallen man–no bishop is infallible when he decides whether or not to ordain a man.

    2. Although the desire to become a priest isn’t enough for ordination (because no one ordains himself), that doesn’t mean that there aren’t men who were ordained who should not have been.
    There were men ordained who didn’t have vocations (acc to JPII), some of whom were Communist infiltrators.

    3. I have known more than a few who have left the priesthood, and the ones who sincerely wanted to be priests have wrestled with the questions: If I didn’t have a vocation, why did God let me get ordained? And if I did have a vocation, why did He let me fail to persevere?

  88. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    The hour is late. The time is short. Evening’s lengthening shadows encroach more and more upon the light of the day that dawned on the first Easter Sunday 2,000 years ago, when Christ conquered sin and death. The darkness we have all embraced has inky fingers which stretch forth and envelop more and more souls, plunging them into doom and dread and the pit.

    Efforts to revive the 1950s may sound helpful, but mankind passed through the 1950s already, yet mankind nevertheless finds itself at this pass of today. Did the 1950s have the power to save us? No, a revival of the 1950s – even if we could bring it about – will not be able to overcome those inky fingers of darkness which even now swallow up the remnants of the Christian faith.

    I believe that only Jesus Christ living and reigning here on Earth, His life truly brought to others and lived out in our own lives, through the sacraments, the liturgy, and certainly through our own personal discipleship in prayer – is all that can halt the spread of the darkness that even now threatens to engulf the Church.

    “A personal relationship with Jesus Christ”: this is not just “a Protestant thing.” All of the great Catholic saints have spoken of Jesus as “the beloved spouse of my soul.” Have I consciously made Him the Beloved of my soul? Is He my best friend? Do I consult Him about every matter that I have to decide upon? Do I choose Him above all other loves? Do I prefer to spend time with Him alone or in company with others, above all other ways to spend my time? And when I speak, do I prefer to speak of Him above all other topics – above politics, the economy, the way of the world, my own interests – just Him for Himself?

    If even a handful of Christians the world over were to make themselves able to answer, “Yes!” to all of these questions, I believe God would vouchsafe to save our broken world yet again.

  89. Gail F says:

    eben wrote: “Concerning the marriage/procreation issue, I’d humbly suggest that this might well be part of a far larger, over arching problem, i.e. that there’s no unified vision of the direction society and the people in it are going.”

    Hear! Hear! This is exactly what I meant — there is an overarching societal problem that affects Catholics as much as it does everyone else. No one is marrying, no one is having children, no one is committing to anything. Nothing can be counted on, nothing is permanent. Pockets of people (Evangelicals here, Orthodox Jews there, traditional Catholic yon) defy this but there is no overall pattern, and often what seems to be a factor that influences greater stability and commitment to family (such as membership in a particular religious community) isn’t a causal factor at all, it’s a sign that people are drawn to those communities because they are seeking stability.

    People aren’t “choosing” to be perpetual adolescents, to be single, to refuse a call to the priesthood, etc in the sense that they are sitting down and clearly making a choice. They are drifting along in the middle of a storm of competing influences that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to believe that they can commit to anything, that anything is true, that any relationship can last. In this they are being practical and observant — that’s what they see all around them.

    The Novus Ordo is not to blame. The way the N.O. was developed and carried out was influenced by all these factors and reflects Western culture. The SPPX etc. seem to be doing better because they attract a disparate group of people who are revolting from all manner of things, and these groups give them a place to go.

    My hope is that we can fix this. My fear is that some sort of terrible event — a plague, a war, etc. — will fix it for us. What we in the West are doing is suicidal, a culture cannot go on forever this way. Something else will take over and restore normality.

  90. Supertradmum says:

    Catholic Coffee, you wrote

    Supertradmum, I assume you do not advocate getting married to anyone you can get to marry you just in order not to stay single?

    Not quite, but in the harsh times which will come very soon, women in the Church will need protectors. Now, I have seen men in three categories and written on this at length in the past. Men are either predators (none of this blog), peter pans, or protectors.

    In times of war or famine or horrible disruptions of society, which will come soon, women suffer the most and, of course, children.

    I do think men must step up to their protector roles, and choosing not to coast in a semi-adolescent state, is called growing up. Men can be priests, monks, brother, husbands, fathers–all protector roles.

    Maybe a few John Wayne movies would teach the doubtful. Of course, I grew up only one generation away from the men who settled the prairies, so my view is one of hoping the protectors come to the fore.

    Our good priests are our protectors and the religious protect us with prayers. Not bad vocations, those.

  91. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Supertradmum,

    So you think, today, Hallie should remain with Tom Doniphon rather than leave him for Ransom Stoddard?

    As for children’s literature, we do have got to treat Peter Pan as an ought-not-to-be, and Jim Button (“of what use can you be?” – “never say that again! once we’re on journey, you’ll see well enough of what use I can be”) as model.

    That said, I think the problems with most of the Peter Pans, at least in intention, is not that they don’t want to protect, but that they don’t find someone to protect. A woman can turn a Peter Pan into a protector by letting herself be protected. Now, this is no “blame on the women”. It’s quite true that this leaves the perhaps hardest job out. But still.

  92. robtbrown says:

    NB: The restoration of Latin liturgy has nothing to do with the 1950′s. In fact, the great advantage of Latin liturgy is that it favors no time or place.

  93. The Masked Chicken says:

    Pretty simply, almost all vocations that are concerned with Truth or have a truth standard are tanking. There is a shortage of priests, but there is also a shortage of graduate scientists. No one wants to look truth in the face, anymore. Lawyers don’t argue for truth, anymore. They argue to win. Legislators do not pass laws based on truth. They pass laws based on what appeals to the masses. The truth has become an easy commodity to be bought and sold and it is so very malleable.

    Why?

    This retreat from the truth even affects verbal communication. Precision in language is going the way of the newspaper. We have more comedy clubs, not because people need cheering up, but because it is so darn easy to make jokes in a language where there are five meanings for one word. At no other point in history could the documents of Vatican II been written, because language, even Latin, has the ability to restrain minds that had become used to living with ambiguity and uncertainty.

    It is said that the first casualty of war is the truth and it has been the increasingly fast tempos of war in the last century that have made the deliberateness of thought that is needed to grasp and retain truth vanish.

    In the old, black and white Outer Limits, David Macallum, playing an artificially evolved man had
    two interesting things to say about this retreat from the truth (the episode is called, The Sixth Finger). The episode aired just as Vatican II was going on:

    “The human race has a gift, professor. A gift that sets it above all the other creatures that abound upon this earth. The gift of thought, reasoning, understanding. The highly developed brain. But the human race has ceased to develop. It struggles for petty comfort and false security. There is no time for thought. Soon there will be no time for reasoning and man will lose sight of the truth.”

    “Amazing, isn’t it, the things that endure the ravages of time and taste? This simple prelude, for instance. Bach will quite probably outlive us all… Man produces little that is lasting–truly lasting. It’s understandable. Fear, conformity, immorality; these are heavy burdens. Great drainers of creative energy. And when we are drained of creative energy we do not create. We procreate; we do not create.”

    Life has become a procreation of truths. What do people go to see in movies these days? Illusion. Special effects. What do people watch on t.v.? The created illusion of reality (the special irony of reality t.v.). What do graduating college seniors demand (demand!) when they start working – a company car and an expense account – the illusions of success. People living together, unmarried. create the illusion of relationship. A Eucharistic minister or a woman priest creates the illusion of sacred Orders.

    When a child cannot get what he wants (not needs), he makes it up. What is it that whole societies want, but cannot get, today? A sense of security. One cannot search for the truth if one is always afraid to face it. Ironically, security is not to be found in this world, only in the next.

    We have fewer priests and fewer scientists and fewer seekers after the truth, today, because we have become enveloped in a psychology of ease. We don’t want to master Latin. Latin is hard. We want the liturgy in our language. Why should we learn the language of the Ages. Our little this-world-language is good enough. Why should we learn to chant. Why can’t I sing those songs I hear on the radio? If I don’t want to have kids, why can’t I still have sex?

    The principle problem that plagues us from Vatican II is not that it fiddled with the Truth or changed this or that liturgical practice. The principle failure of Vatican II is that it made Catholicism too easy. What woman is worth wooing who lets us get our way with her?

    That is the real reason we have lost the priests. In the 1960′s (and you can hear the drums beating, before) man lost his bravery. War will do that. He wanted ease. Only in a century fractured by two world wars could a Vatican II have occurred. The Council Fathers were not blind to this. In Guadium et Spes, they even wrote:

    “10. The truth is that the imbalances under which the modern world labors are linked with that more basic imbalance which is rooted in the heart of man. For in man himself many elements wrestle with one another. Thus, on the one hand, as a creature he experiences his limitations in a multitude of ways; on the other he feels himself to be boundless in his desires and summoned to a higher life. Pulled by manifold attractions he is constantly forced to choose among them and renounce some. Indeed, as a weak and sinful being, he often does what he would not, and fails to do what he would.(1) Hence he suffers from internal divisions, and from these flow so many and such great discords in society. No doubt many whose lives are infected with a practical materialism are blinded against any sharp insight into this kind of dramatic situation; or else, weighed down by unhappiness they are prevented from giving the matter any thought. Thinking they have found serenity in an interpretation of reality everywhere proposed these days, many look forward to a genuine and total emancipation of humanity wrought solely by human effort; they are convinced that the future rule of man over the earth will satisfy every desire of his heart. Nor are there lacking men who despair of any meaning to life and praise the boldness of those who think that human existence is devoid of any inherent significance and strive to confer a total meaning on it by their own ingenuity alone.”

    And, yet, when science emerged during the Renaissance and materialism grew rampant, did the Church hold a council to address that Modern World? In what era could the Church not have held such a council? Have we really made a transition to such a brave new world that the Church needed a council to point it out?

    History was only split once and that by the Lord of History, Christ. This so-called New World is the still the same Old World,just played out in Technicolor and stereo. Yet, the current Church still insists that the New Evangelization is not the Old Evangelization. Well, I ask, when did the Old Evangelization stop? When did man become something other than sinful?

    Sorry, for such a long comment, but we don’t have priests, today, because we don’t have the idea of love being a Cross, of love being a sacrifice, of the truth being something to die for. Love has become as vague as the truth it rejoices in. Wherever love is preached as hard, wherever truth is preached as beyond ourselves and worthy of pursuing, wherever suffering is given purpose, there will be priests.

    Science is not to blame for this. One can, still, find God in scientific studies, but only if he dares. Even science is coming under scrutiny, today, for cooking the books. Why should we expect theology to be any different?

    What we lack, today, is a vision of the Truth. Proverbs 29:18 says,

    “Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he.”

    This does not refer to the vision of a leader, but, rather, the vision of Christ. Where there is no vision of Christ, the people perish. If men do not have a vision of Christ, how can they become priests? When the, “Modern World,” of the Renaissance occurred, the Church did not give them a new vision, but reminded them of the Old. They reminded them of the old Christ. I fear that the fallout of Vatican II was to let a new Christ slip into the picture. He is a Christ of the easy. What person would want to give their life and die for an easy Christ? Vatican II did not re-define Christ. The world of men did that, but there can be no marriage between the Church and the World. The Church, in preaching something old and something new, borrowed the exuberance of the world and forgot her memory of the blue sadness of Original Sin. Man will always take the easy way out, if you give him the chance. It is the duty of the Church, of the priest, to make sure that this life is not so easy that the next life becomes impossibly hard. If love is not hard, now, there will be no easy vision of love, of God, later. There will always be the Dark Night before there is the Dawn of Light. You can’t walk forward pointing the flashlight so that the light shines on yourself.

    You want the simple reason why there are fewer priests? There it is. People prefer to walk in darkness, even while holding onto the light. Vatican II is a valid Council, but the liberal agenda of its day wound up pointing it in the wrong direction and what we held as secure became insecure, what we held as truth became illusion, what we held as the new future became the same past. You want more priests. It’s simple. Just tell young men to open their eyes and look. If that doesn’t convince them why we need priests, then they really cannot see, even in this millisecond before annihilation, that in the darkness of illusion into which this world is falling, it is really only the Priest who is is capable of holding the Truth in the palm of his hands.

    The Chicken

  94. The Masked Chicken says:

    Should read:

    At no other point in history could the documents of Vatican II been written, because no language, even Latin, has the ability to restrain minds that had become used to living with ambiguity and uncertainty.

  95. robtbrown: I wrote “not admitted to a dental school”. Why would you assume I limited that to a certain country? Ok. So we are talking about someone who has tried to get admitted in the US (or wherever he’s from) at least 3 times, then in Chile, the Philippines and Lithuania – still without success. I agree: dentistry is not for him then.

    robtbrown: The invitation is from the Church No. The invitation is from Christ personally. The Church only okays it by admitting and training the candidate. We have seen a lot of what happens when the Church invites people who were not called by Christ, ordains and even promotes them (the Renessaince popes come to mind).

    robtbrown: If I didn’t have a vocation, why did God let me get ordained? And if I did have a vocation, why did He let me fail to persevere? Because we have free will. Never mind vocation – God lets us go to Hell, too, if that’s what we want.

    Supertradmum: in the harsh times which will come very soon, women in the Church will need protectors. I’m not quite sure I follow, Supertradmum. I believe you live in the UK, just like I do, and here the general level of protection people get via the legal system has been steadily rising. Even less do I understand why women would need protection in the Church?

    robtbrown: the great advantage of Latin liturgy is that it favors no time or place. It does favour, on the other hand, those who know Latin. Hence those who can read. Hence those who went to school… Those who can afford books… Those who have a safe place anywhere in their life where they can store a book…

  96. robtbrown says: I wasn’t aware that Bugnini was a layman–or Rahner, Schillebeeckx, and Kung.

    They started out as laymen, and came from families of laymen, as all priests do. The formation of priests begins in the family, with parents. That is why, if we suffer a plague of bad priests, the laity bear a burden of responsibility. But if you take another look at what I said, I’m pretty sure I did not let priests and religious off the hook, either.

  97. CatholicCoffee says: Supertradmum: in the harsh times which will come very soon, women in the Church will need protectors. I’m not quite sure I follow, Supertradmum. I believe you live in the UK, just like I do, and here the general level of protection people get via the legal system has been steadily rising. Even less do I understand why women would need protection in the Church?

    She’s talking about the personal protection and shelter that a woman enjoys who is surrounded by the love of a husband or a father or a brother who is personally invested in her well-being. We have tried to replace this with secular institutions, and these institutions, being impersonal, are not capable of providing it.

    CatholicCoffee further says: robtbrown: the great advantage of Latin liturgy is that it favors no time or place. It does favour, on the other hand, those who know Latin. Hence those who can read. Hence those who went to school… Those who can afford books… Those who have a safe place anywhere in their life where they can store a book…

    This is palpably untrue. Any number of persons who were poor, uneducated, illiterate, refugees or children down the centuries have been nurtured by the Latin liturgy, and even become saints. Even a priest is not required to be an expert Latinist to be qualified to say the Latin Mass. An intimate knowledge of every syllable of the Mass is a wonderful thing, but not necessary to worship God and reap the benefits.

  98. Supertradmum says:

    ditto Anita

    I think home schooling is a great hothouse for vocations

    Catholic Coffee, you are living in
    some fairyland Talk to modest ladies who live near Westbourne Grove.

  99. Supertradmum says:

    sorry on phone…I know many, many trad and conservative unmarried Christian women, young and old, who meet with rudeness and even derision in certain parts of England from certain groups. I myself experienced two very hostile encounters, one in the summer of 2012 and one in Feb. of this year, merely by walking where certain men were coming in the opposite direction and would not move for me. In the first case, I was forced off the sidewalk into the puddle in the street, and in the second case, I was almost pushed onto tube tracks by three youths. I shall not mention what group these men belonged to, but it is the same religion as indicated by their comments as well as dress and female companions in burkas in one case.

    We need knights, and if anyone thinks differently, they do not live in the England I know and still love.

  100. Gratias says:

    Thank you Supertradmum, Masked Chicken and others for you powerful insights. From these posts we see the unease that is now pervades the Catholic world. The Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution, freemasonry, Darwinism, Communism and now Homosexual activism have the common thread of attempting to eliminate our Catholic Church. The Reformation of Vatican II is still being implacably implemented and has arguably been more effective than the Protestant one.
    One antidote is to help build the EF liturgy.

  101. Supertradmum says:

    Agree Gratias & gratias

  102. robtbrown says:

    Miss Anita Moore, O.P. says:

    robtbrown says: I wasn’t aware that Bugnini was a layman–or Rahner, Schillebeeckx, and Kung.

    They started out as laymen, and came from families of laymen, as all priests do. The formation of priests begins in the family, with parents. That is why, if we suffer a plague of bad priests, the laity bear a burden of responsibility. But if you take another look at what I said, I’m pretty sure I did not let priests and religious off the hook, either.

    It’s not a matter of not letting priests and religious off the hook–they’re the ones who caused the problems. And I have a hard time believing that Bugnini got the idea of Protestantizing the liturgy from his family–also that Rahner didn’t come from a good Catholic family.

    We know that the current problems in the Church originated in Northern Europe, so it makessense to say that the cause is found in the culture rather than in the family. This was the area where Protestantism began, flourished, and left behind secularism as it was dying. The Germans are probably the most scholarly people in the world, but Germany has never produced a great Thomist the status of Spain’s Ramirez or France’s Garrigou-LaGrange.

    (The library of the German OP House of Studies in Walberburg, sold recently, was famous, and the archdiocesan seminary of Cologne has a major research library.)

    That notwithstanding, it is known that the family of Paul VI was politically liberal.

  103. robtbrown says:

    CatholicCoffee,

    I agree: dentistry is not for him then.

    Which of course contradicts your assertion that human effort can never be for nought in pursuing a secular occupation.

    No. The invitation is from Christ personally. The Church only okays it by admitting and training the candidate. We have seen a lot of what happens when the Church invites people who were not called by Christ, ordains and even promotes them (the Renessaince popes come to mind).

    Your approach disregards the Mystical Body of Christ and all but eliminates the Created Grace found in concrete experiences (e.g., the Gregorian Chant and observation of the Holy Rule of Fontgombault).

    Because we have free will. Never mind vocation – God lets us go to Hell, too, if that’s what we want.

    My point explicitly referred to men of good will.

    It does favour, on the other hand, those who know Latin.

    Which is of course why Latin was commonly taught to students in Catholic schools.

  104. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    “Germany has never produced a great Thomist the status of Spain’s Ramirez or France’s Garrigou-LaGrange.

    Saint Albert the Great (+ 1280 A.D.), son of the Count of Bollstädt, in what is today Bavaria, Germany, may, in some sense, qualify as a great Thomist, having been the professor, mentor, and guide of the Angelic Doctor (Aquinas) himself while Aquinas was a student at the University of Paris, and afterwards, followed his great teacher to the Studium at Cologne. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that:

    It was but natural that (St. Albert) should have grown to love his distinguished, saintly pupil (Aquinas, who predeceased him), and it is said that ever afterwards he could not restrain his tears whenever the name of St. Thomas was mentioned. (By then an elderly man), something of his old vigour and spirit returned in 1277, when it was announced that Stephen Tempier and others wished to condemn the writings of St. Thomas, on the plea that they were too favourable to the unbelieving philosophers, and he journeyed to Paris to defend the memory of his disciple.

    Albert and his late pupil, of course, prevailed at the hearing.

  105. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Marion Ancilla Mariae,
    thanks for that. Wanted to say the same thing in some time, but that would’ve been rather partisan.

  106. Sword40 says:

    In our parish “cluster”, our priest was just assigned three other small parishes. So that is now a total of 9. He has one parochial vicar and one retired priest to assist on weekends, a school and a hospital.
    The wife and I have ceased going to the local OF parishes and now travel 50 to 120 miles for the EF Masses,(depending on the weekend).
    Our EF priest was telling us that there is really no help within the next 5-10 years for Diocesan parishes. He said things were a little different with some of the Societies and Orders.

  107. robtbrown says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae et Imrahil,

    Albertus Magnus was a great man but not a Thomist. Albert’s Light Metaphysic slanted toward neo-Platonism even though he was also interested in Aristotle. It was St Thomas’ De Ente et Essentia that provided the ontological foundation for Universals (e.g., Humanitas) without affirming their separate existence (cf Porphyry’s tree). This work provides a basis for his synthesis of Platonic Participation with the Four Causes of Aristotle. ‘

    BTW, I was praying at St Albert’s tomb in Cologne a few months ago. I was told then that St Thomas was ordained a priest in Cologne. Never heard that before, and I don’t think Weisheipl makes mention of it.

    A book I recommend is Edward Booth’s “Aristotelian Aporetic Ontology in Islamic and Christian Thinkers’. In the STL cycle I had a course of the same name taught by the author.

  108. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Robtbrown,

    I’m sorry I can’t agree with you, for Albert’s own actions on this subject spoke far louder than any technical analysis of his own writings.

    I refer to the fact that any theologian in his seventies or eighties who travels on foot from his home in Germany to Paris in order to defend the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas before an ecclesiastical tribunal would qualify as nothing other than A THOMIST!

  109. robtbrown says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae,

    It wasn’t a matter of defending what St Thomas had thought and written, but rather what he had not. The theses in the condemnations were never held by him. Most were taken from the Averroists, against whom St Thomas had fought.

  110. Bill Foley says:

    There are many reasons for a lack of priestly vocations.

    St. John Eudes wrote that the laity get the priests they deserve; I would add lack of priests too. CONTRACEPTION is one major reason for the dearth. The homeschooling families give me hope; I have friends in Atlanta who have 11 children; 2 are priests and 1 is a contemplative nun.

    Christ told us to pray for laborers in the harvest. Are we doing this? Are we striving for sanctity?

  111. Therese says:

    Thanks, Di, for posting The Beautiful Hands of a Priest. This is a genuine favorite, and we may have to reprint it. (Please, dear God, let a restored America become an Ireland for poor Europe.)

  112. cl00bie says:

    I remember when I took the Sacraments class during my formation for ministry, we were told that a solution to the lack of vocations was “Communion services in the absence of a priest”. For my final exam, we were asked to write about a sacramental problem and I mentioned this.

    I explained that “Communion services in the absence of a priest” was not the solution to the problem it was the cause. By allowing these services, you are minimizing the importance of a priest for young men growing up in the church. By doing this you are responsible for causing the very problem you purport to solve.