Institutional collapse: a fruit of Vatican II?

At Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II Louie Verrecchio posted a provocative piece about Ralph Martin’s recent article about the Church’s institutional collapse since Vatican II.

Here is a taste, and you can read the rest there.   There is some food for thought here.

Dr. Ralph Martin’s recent article in the theological journal Nova et Vetera, The Post-Christendom Sacramental Crisis: The Wisdom of Thomas Aquinas, has garnered considerable attention for its relatively sober assessment of the current condition of the Catholic Church.

“There is something like an institutional collapse going on, evidenced by the vast numbers of schools closing, parishes merging, clustering and closing and the multiple assignments that many young priests now are asked to manage. Besides the institutional collapse, there is evidence of a widespread repudiation of the teaching of Christ and the Church by vast numbers of Catholics,” Martin observed. [The natural law truth about marriage and the Church's careful, accurate teaching about marriage is a case in point.]

The article, especially noteworthy for having been published in a journal that Archbishop Chaput called “an outstanding resource for the renewal of theology in line with the New Evangelization,” certainly deserves kudos. That said, the main reason it has been so well received among traditionalists is simply because Martin states what so many other “new evangelists” are determined to deny; namely, that the visible structures of the Catholic Church are rapidly deteriorating before our very eyes.

Martin makes a number of important observations, but even as he holds a veritable x-ray up to the light, revealing a nasty ecclesial tumor; ultimately, he leaves the disease undiagnosed.

The article begins with a thesis:

This article argues that, given the collapse of a societal consensus that is supportive of the Judaeo-Christian [sic] moral tradition, the Church is facing a sacramental crisis. [Therefore also liturgical.] The crisis consists in fewer and fewer baptized Catholics participating in the post-baptismal sacraments and fewer and fewer of the Catholics who do participate in further sacraments effectively realizing the fruits of these sacraments. [If they don't go to confession, how could they?  If they don't participation in worship pleasing to God, how could they?] Part of the solution to this crisis is to consider carefully the wisdom of St. Thomas Aquinas on how to identify (and remove) obstacles to sacramental fruitfulness.
Martin goes on to cite statistics from an unnamed Midwestern diocese that reveal a problem that is far more fundamentally important: In just a ten year period (2000 to 2010), Catholic baptisms and marriages are down nearly 50%.

So, while it is certainly true that “fewer baptized Catholics” are living a fully Catholic life, and addressing the matter of sacramental fruitfulness is a noble idea, we would do well to concern ourselves first and foremost with the underlying causes that have led to this time when so few are even approaching the sacraments in the first place.

Yes, the two problems of lower numbers and a lack of sacramental fruitfulness are interrelated, but while some may be tempted to get caught up in a chicken-and-egg debate, Martin comes frustratingly close to putting his finger on the actual disease that lies at the heart of the matter:

With the intellectual currents of the Enlightenment, the subsequent anti-religion rebellion of the French Revolution, and the profound intellectual rejection of the Christian worldview symbolized by Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, forces were unleashed in Western culture that eventually led to not only a repudiation of the church-state relationships that had evolved over many centuries but a repudiation of religion itself as a legitimate shaper of culture.
What Martin leaves unaddressed is the degree to which these “intellectual currents” were unleashed, not only in Western culture at the hands of determined secularists, but in the very heart of Catholicism via the Second Vatican Council at the hands of determined churchmen.

Archliberal Cardinal Leo Jozef Suenens hailed the Council, and with no little accuracy, as “1789 in the Church” for a reason:

[...]

There’s more.

I will repeat what I have assert many times here.

No true and lasting renewal of the Church can take place until we revitalize our sacred liturgical worship of God.  The virtue of religion requires this first and foremost.  No other initiative we take in any sphere of the Church’s life will undergo a sound and lasting renewal without also a revitalization of our worship of God.

Reason #4 for Summorum Pontificum.

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164 Responses to Institutional collapse: a fruit of Vatican II?

  1. Maria says:

    Michael Voris have several Vortex since last year.

  2. JacobWall says:

    “every limp-wristed, weak-kneed, kumbaya-style ambiguity” – I love that word “kumbaya-style.” It describes so much of what’s wrong, so concisely. In my parish there’s a nice old lady with a guitar. When she’s away on summer vacations at her trailer, we sing nice old hymns from our hymns (with the unfortunate odd 60′s hymn thrown in, but still from the hymnal,) and the choir sings in beautiful acapella. When she comes back (like her visit last Sunday) the guitar comes out, the choir becomes a band, and we get song sheets – and the ever-present staple of the song-sheets; “Kumbaya.”

    One day – sooner rather than later – someone will have to offend her, and tell her the guitar, song-sheets and Kumbaya have to go. I just wish she weren’t a nice little old lady – that makes it so hard. Like these kumbaya-style ambiguities; they have to go – and it will offend someone.

  3. “If they don’t participation in worship pleasing to God, how could they?”

    And if proper worship is not available in their local parish, how can they properly participate?

    Progressives often argue that proper worship does not guarantee perseverance in faith by all. Fair enough.

    But surely that not the crucial point now. Which is that–as the last forty years have shown–faith will not long survive in the absence of proper worship. So, indeed, the Church will not be restored unless the liturgy is restored.

  4. sw85 says:

    Paradoxically, though, there cannot be even liturgical renewal until there is some kind of preliminary repentance. We’ve all heard the stories of parishioners complaining to the bishop because a priest starts celebrating “with his back to the people,” and the bishop of course giving them a very sympathetic hearing. The average Catholic is at this point so far gone, so utterly mired in Enlightenment-era narcissistic rot, that it does not even occur to them that the Mass is not really about them.

    Speaking of which, Msgr. Charles Pope had a great post about this recently at ADW’s blog: http://blog.adw.org/2013/08/are-we-walking-to-heaven-backwards-a-pastoral-consideration-of-liturgical-orientation/

  5. Emsley says:

    I’m pretty new to all this, so could someone explain to me how Verrecchio’s statements against the Fathers of Vatican II (listed in three bullet points on his page, but not shown in Father Z’s post) differ from the claims of traditionalists such as the SSPX?

    It seems that one could interpret some of the relevant statements from Vatican II rather more charitably than he does, so as to preserve continuity with the previous magisterium.

  6. PA mom says:

    Is this true?
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/08/22/Catholic-Church-Plans-Massive-Push-for-Amnesty?utm_source=contentsharing&utm_medium=linkexchange&utm_term=postion1&utm_content=Catholic-Church-Plans-Massive-Push-for-Amnesty&utm_campaign=foxnews
    It must be the smoke of Satan that would cause the Church to be so focused on anything that isn’t the reasons causing former Catholics to be a significant percentage of the population.
    How about “it’s time to get married” push? “it’s good to take in abandoned children” push? “stand up for persecuted Christians” push? Something NOT on the Democratic Party agenda push?

  7. pookiesmom says:

    Is it really so hard for the Church to acknowledge the elephant in the room, namely that the Mass of Pope Paul VI is an abject and abysmal failure and should therefore be replaced by the Mass all Catholics worshiped in before l965? Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi, right!?

  8. JohnW says:

    The faithful want things in the church to be fixed, but what is the hold up? Why is there so much resentment of things Catholic? I do not know the answer, but have given this a lot of thought. I do know that on August 15,2013 there were over 320 Catholics at the first Mass of a new FSSP Parish!
    Our people are hungry for Tradition for the Old Faith. Let us pray daily for the right changes to come about in our Holy Mother the Church.

  9. Robbie says:

    An earlier comment about the average Catholic being so far gone is quite right. The liturgy is a perfect example. I would suspect 90% of Catholics have never heard of SP nor have they ever seen the TLM. To the average Catholic, the fact our Mass looks a lot like other Christian services isn’t surprising since most believe we’re all just one in the same, with a few variations thrown in here and there.

    It’s clear the implementation of VCII was hijacked, but the net result was the uniqueness of the Catholic faith was lost on the minds of the average Catholic. Rather than being the one, true Church, we’ve become just one of many ways to worship God. Until that view changes, if it ever can now, these problems will continue. If there’s nothing special about the Catholic faith, why make the effort? Why drive past a Protestant Church to get to a Catholic Church? Why be part of any organized religion at all?

    Those who support the last 50 years of changes often fall into the trap of political liberals. When a liberal political policy or issue fails, they claim it didn’t work because it just didn’t go far enough. Often, the same can be said about VCII. Rather than wonder if it was wise, supporters say it just didn’t go far enough. In fact, an Irish priest said something like that recently. He suggested the faith in Ireland was failing because the reforms of the Council hadn’t made it to Dublin yet!

  10. Fr AJ says:

    Robbie, Amen to your post! I’ve been saying this for years. The message many took from VII was there isn’t any real difference between being Catholic and some other church: salvation can be had in any church. Now that has developed into I don’t need to bother going to church since we’re all saved anyhow. I call it the heresy of universal salvation, God loves everyone therefore all are saved.

  11. wanda says:

    Here in my state, which shall remain nameless..we get an email from -blank- Catholic Conference.
    It suggests items for a day of action. Under ‘for the hungry’..work in a soup kitchen, organize a food drive, etc. Great and worthy ideas. Under ‘for the environment’..plant a tree, clean a stream, plant a garden.
    Noteably absent…pray outside an abortion clinic.
    Trees and streams? How about saving the baby humans?

  12. Long-Skirts says:

    Louie Verrecchio said:

    “What Martin leaves unaddressed is the degree to which these “intellectual currents” were unleashed, not only in Western culture at the hands of determined secularists, but in the very heart of Catholicism via the Second Vatican Council at the hands of determined churchmen.”

    THE
    FORGE

    It’s not the teachers
    Their degrees
    It’s about the priests
    Down on their knees.

    Not the classes
    Nor their size
    It’s about the priests
    Destroying lies.

    Not the money
    Not the sports
    It’s about the priests
    Saving the Forts.

    Not the alumni
    Nor their name
    It’s about the priests
    Who led and we came.

    There is no unity
    With perverse
    It’s about the priests
    Universal, diverse.

    There are no curves
    Based on the class
    It’s about the priests
    Confecting the Mass.

    Of innocent souls
    There’ll be no heist
    It’s about the priests
    Forging men for Christ!

    http://www.lasalette.net/

  13. contrarian says:

    pookiesmom,
    The more I look into this, the more I’m afraid you’re right. If we are looking for causes for the destruction, one cannot be seen as unreasonable in seeing this Mass itself (and not, for example, merely an idiotic presentation of this Mass) as an impetus for destruction. Certainly, however, this is not a popular thesis at present, even among those who care deeply about the state of our collapsing church. So one must be diplomatic as to how this idea is presented.
    At any rate, given that this Mass is more often than not celebrated less than ideally (to say the least), it is more difficult to assess your own thesis objectively (vis, that the Mass per se is the problem). It’s must easier to focus on the problem of abuse and idiocy, since that’s what we see–everywhere–before our eyes.
    But one must ask: is mere reverence alone the answer? In a world of perfectly said (whatever this means) Paul VI Masses, assuming the Mass of Paul was otherwise ubiquitous, would we still see this level of destruction?
    Or, one might also ask: how much does the Mass of Paul VI , per se, *lend itself* to the sort of nonsense we all here decry?
    Certainly, smarter folks than me have differing theories and arguments to these questions…

  14. sw85 says:

    @Emsley,

    “I’m pretty new to all this, so could someone explain to me how Verrecchio’s statements against the Fathers of Vatican II (listed in three bullet points on his page, but not shown in Father Z’s post) differ from the claims of traditionalists such as the SSPX?

    It seems that one could interpret some of the relevant statements from Vatican II rather more charitably than he does, so as to preserve continuity with the previous magisterium.”

    Actually the criticisms sound strikingly similar and I agree with you that DH et al. ought to be and can be subject to an interpretation more in line with tradition. Part of the problem with the Conciliar documents, though, is that it is so very easy to give them only a superficial reading that lines up neatly with Protestant, liberal, and modern criticisms of the Church. Problematically, that superficial reading is exactly what most Catholics have heard for 50 years with very little to no correction by clergy, especially bishops. They have come to genuinely believe that “Vatican II changed all that.”

    Which means the poison is now baked into the cake. If we don’t reform the reform, the slow bleed of attrition will continue; if we do reform the reform, then it will alienate the bulk of Catholics who were sold a bill of goods by incompetent media talking heads with the complicity (active or passive) of the Catholic clergy of the immediate postconciliar era, and the slow bleed will become a very fast bleed.

    By purely human standards, we are boned, and nothing short of the grace of God enabling a massive, collective act of repentance can turn things around. Thankfully, he is very generous with grace.

  15. sw85 says:

    @pookiesmom,

    “Is it really so hard for the Church to acknowledge the elephant in the room, namely that the Mass of Pope Paul VI is an abject and abysmal failure and should therefore be replaced by the Mass all Catholics worshiped in before l965? Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi, right!?”

    I foresee at least the potential for a sharpening of the collapse of the institutional Church in the West if that were to happen. I see the laity abandoning the Church in droves and a sizable contingent of priests and bishops schisming (and an even larger contingent of priests, faithful but, well, “JPII” priests) requesting laicization. We will be in an even worse position then.

    We’re really in no good position. If we reform the reform, the Church in the West collapses immediately. If we don’t, the Church in the West collapses eventually. It stinks, but that’s what happens when you make really, really bad decisions for no reason at the worst possible time. Sometimes bad decisions are just bad and there’s no easy way to reverse them.

  16. One part of the question that interests me, but which never seems to be brought up, is this.

    The more tradition-minded will look askance at Vatican II, and say, look at all the mischief it unleashed. But if we accept that premise, there is something else at work. All that “mischief” got unleashed to great degree, not merely because of something either in Vatican II itself, or in the subsequent presentation of the Council, but because of the willing, and often eager, assistance of a significant number of clergy and laity.

    Why did those clergy and laity so eagerly embrace–and promote–that mischief?

    And, for whatever reason they did (stop and read these next words carefully): you cannot blame the disposition of those clergy and laity on Vatican II–their disposition was formed prior to Vatican II

    In short, if you say there was something rotten at work in Vatican II, you have to admit there was something rotten at work in the Church before Vatican II was ever whispered. And that, I think, should be kept in mind when contemplating Blessed Pope John XXIII’s decision to call a council.

  17. By the way, I’m not denying mischief was unleashed. Heavens no!

    I’m just saying that it’s too facile to say, oh, if only the council had never been called.

  18. Sam Schmitt says:

    @Emsley – excellent questions. I think you have to distinguish between what Vatican II actually said and how’s its been interpreted. Also, the documents of Vatican II sometimes speaks in very broad terms (as you might expect from a big gathering involving thousands of participants), and there are some questions it did not decide. Ironically, the SSPX, like many liberals, fail to make these distinctions.

    Looking at some of the bullet points:
    “It was the Fathers of Vatican II who invited religious indifferentism by suggesting that false religions are a means of salvation.”
    Actually they did no such thing. They never said that a “false religion” can save anyone. They did say that people who, through no fault of their own don’t know the Gospel, can be saved (Lumen Gentium 16). This is hardly a new teaching; Pius IX taught something very similar in an encyclical in 1863. As suggested above, this is a general statement, and it’s fair to ask how exactly such people can attain salvation. The document does not answer this in detail. But far from “inviting religious indifferentism” the last part of paragraph 16 (not often quoted) reiterates the need for the missions.

    “It was the Fathers of Vatican II who replaced the Church’s call to conversion with a sentimental plea for religious dialogue and mutual understanding.”
    I’d like to see chapter and verse where Vatican II called off the Church’s 2,000-year-old call for conversion. And how does “religious dialogue and mutual understanding” necessarily mean that conversion is no longer necessary? I will hardly attract my non-Catholic friend to the Church through ignoring him and refusing to understand his position.

    It is certainly true that many people in the Church have used Vatican II as a rationalization for the errors mentioned here, but it is not the case that the documents of Vatican II contains these errors. Certainly the general statements in the documents, like other church documents, need to be unpacked, and sometimes this was done in a tendentious manner to further some erroneous point of view (e.g. indifferentism). But claiming that an ecumenical council taught error is a trap which logically leads to a denial of the faith.

  19. contrarian says:

    sw85,
    Really good points here. To look at your thesis in the specific light of liturgical worship, one wonders what would happen if hierarchical top dogs ‘forced’ work-a-day priests to perform the Mass of Paul VI reverently, if they burned every Gather hymnal, if they jazzed up St. Zwingli’s to make it look more like what a Catholic church should look like, and generally speaking, if they got rid of liturgical ‘abuse’ (but again: what does this entail precisely? no altar girls? Canon law says that’s fine, right?). If, generally speaking, higher ups ‘enforced’ liturgical ‘conservativism’, orthopraxis, and reverence, there might well be a *faster* attrition rate than there is currently. At least at first.

    And certainly, if they were to do away with the Mass of Paul VI altogether (a guy can day dream), there’d be riots in the suburban streets. Heh.

    At first, anyway.

    I guess my uneducated intuition tells me that the attrition would be temporary. For while the hard core purging would cause many folks to huff and puff for a few years, and perhaps even force a schism of sorts, the long-term effects would be good. Kinda like a good bush fire in that sense.

  20. JonPatrick says:

    To what sw85 is saying, it seems to me that we have no choice. The truth has to prevail, even if we lose many Catholics on the way. Basically the Church asks us to put Christ first in our lives, to be in the world but not of the world. That is always going to be a hard thing for people to accept, especially in today’s comfortable world where it is so easy to have Heaven on earth. Even as a traditionally minded Catholic I struggle with it every day. My struggle is helped by the fact there are (a few) like minded Catholics out there who take their faith seriously, and by access to the TLM where I also get solid orthodox preaching. The Church has to move back to its roots whatever the cost, because there is no other choice. Perhaps we will end up with a true Church within the institutional church, which may have to go underground depending on how our politics goes, like the situation in China.

  21. sw85 says:

    @Fr. Martin Fox,

    The Church was certainly in a bad way before VII, sure. Liturgical abuse and modernist clerics abounded. The seminaries were rotten. Etc. But it’s precisely because of these dangers that calling an ecumenical Council was such a silly move. Worse, to the extent the Church recognized there was a problem, they seem to have misdiagnosed it and, to the extent they correctly diagnosed it, they seem to have prescribed the wrong treatment.

    VII may have exposed the cancer at the heart of the Church, but it did so by causing the cancer to metastasize. Was it the best way to deal with the problem?

  22. sw85 says:

    @contrarian,

    Your position is reasonable, but it’s all speculative. We’re in the position now of a man who has been discovered to have late-stage cancer and is contemplating whether a radically invasive surgery is worth it. Does he accept a 50% chance of dying on the operating table next week for a 50% chance of turning things around? Or does he simply hope, exercise, diet, pray, and strive to enjoy the six months or so of healthy life he can have before the cancer claims him, while hoping for a miracle? The Church seems to have elected for the latter course and I dunno if I can blame them.

  23. TimG says:

    “The Church was certainly in a bad way before VII, sure. Liturgical abuse and modernist clerics abounded. The seminaries were rotten. Etc. But it’s precisely because of these dangers that calling an ecumenical Council was such a silly move. “

    John XXIII is now Blessed (and soon to be Saint) John XXIII. Serious question – how do you reconcile that with stating that convening VCII was silly? Thanks.

  24. Cantor says:

    “After hoc, therefore something else hoc.”

    Why is it that Vatican II gets blamed for so much? The Pope did not call the Council into being because things in the Church were hunky dory. And the world in which the Church lives had changed mightily.

    Two world wars, the Cold War, rural electrification, nova suburbia, automobiles, air conditioning, color movies and television, telecommunications, rock and roll music, etc., had been a part of the first half of the twentieth century. Strident calls for world democracy or world communism were heard. Within the Church, there were already problems of liturgy, cohesive teachings, and strained chains of command/leadership.

    In the midst of this, the Pope was guided to call a council to address these issues. Every single bishop who attended had been brought up in the Traditional Catholic way. The results are likely not exactly as most had planned, but they exist in the world. To think that taking us back to an ‘older’ Church will somehow alleviate the problems is farsical at best.

    There are wonderful, worshipful, contemporary Catholic Masses said every day, just as there are rotten, hedonistic Masses said every day. But there are also more outside pressures on people than ever before, and the Church needs to address those issues more directly than it has done.

    As we pray, so we believe. But perhaps that prayer has moved some distance in the direction of social justice, and a bit away from the traditional way of our fathers.

    Yes, the challenges our Church faces today come after Vatican II, but not solely because of it.

  25. sw85 says:

    @TimG,

    “John XXIII is now Blessed (and soon to be Saint) John XXIII. Serious question – how do you reconcile that with stating that convening VCII was silly? Thanks.”

    I’m not sure I see the connection. You are saying “But he was extraordinarily holy!” and I am saying “He made a decision that has since been revealed to be unwise, at a bad time in history.” Holiness and tactical cunning are traits that are, at best, orthogonal to one another.

  26. moon1234 says:

    I have said this many times, but I think it bears repeating. The biological solution will be the ONLY solution to the problems we have today. Those that love the Church will still be with her. Those that seek to destroy the Church from within will slowly be replaced by a younger generation.

    Look around at MOST, not all, but most Catholic parishes today. What do you see? Do the young outnumber the middle aged or old? Are ANY Catholic schools being built or increasing in size?

    Liberals go CRAZY when you mention the biological solution (waiting until they all die off), because they KNOW that those Catholics who have LARGE families will be the ones who provide new Catholics to the Church. MANY of those large families have made a choice to sacrifice worldly goods to be open to more souls for Christ. This openness will NOT be lost on the children. Their upbringing by their parents will be what fosters vocations in the future.

    Just as an aside, when SP was first published we had a very large public Solemn High Mass with the Bishop and several other High Masses a few months later. Each time the bishop remarked how many young people there were at Mass. In just five families at our EF parish there are 50 children to 10 adults. Among those five families are two seminarians and one consecrated sister in a traditional order. This from ONE parish and FIVE families.

    Maybe the situation around me is unique, but we currently have great priests, daily TLM including Holy Week all by diocese priests. I am willing to wait out the “destruction” in order to witness the re-birth of the Church. The course that the current Church is on will lead to all out collapse of the modern Church institutionally. We truly will be back to being a mission Church within the next 100 years.

  27. Robbie says:

    It’s important to mention that the liberal clergy and laity played a big role in the mischief VCII created. But to say something was rotten before the Council seems a bit too much for me. In my opinion, these mischief makers were simply lying in wait for their moment to strike. For instance, those who wanted to change the Mass began plotting to do so as early as the late 1940′s. In essence, these mischief makers simply used John XXIII and his council as a vehicle to push their agenda. They saw an opening and struck with such force the more conservative and aged Curia wasn’t ready.

    And to another point, just because John XXIII is about to become a Saint does not mean his Council and what it produced wasn’t a folly. As Father Zuhlsdorf and others noted when Francis made this announcement, the move may have been as much about canonizing VCII as it was about John XXIII. No one denies John wasn’t a saintly person, but even saints can make mistakes. After all, St. Peter did deny Christ.

  28. TimG says:

    sw85;

    I have a hard time reconciling the idea that John XXIII made such a tactical error…in my simple mind I have always believed that in order to be on the path to sainthood, one has to be in very close communion with our Lord and that the timing for VCII was right but the implementation was corrupted. I frankly also struggle with your follow on statement that holiness and tactical cunning are orthogonal to one another, it seems to me that being holy naturally brings along with it the ability to more fully realize the gifts of the Holy Spirit and that there would be at least some correlation.

  29. marylise says:

    The trashy liturgy most of us endure is an insult to both God and man. Yet what an injustice to suggest that the laity is in any way responsible. No, no, no. A thousand times no. There is not a single lay person in the world who has the authority to change one iota of the public worship of the Church, for better or for worse. Only bishops and priests can destroy the liturgy, and only they can restore what they have destroyed. Even if some lay people have applauded the abuses that have become commonplace, that does not mean they are responsible. They are like children going along with bad decisions made by their parents, finding it impossible to believe their parents have made mistakes and even turned against them. Bishops have engineered the collapse of the Holy Roman Catholic Church in the present age. Documentation for this statement is so abundant as to make it beyond question. Even without documentation, the statement would have to be true by force of sheer logic. Bishops are the princes of the Church and their authority has a supernatural source. They have more power in their baby finger than all world leaders together have in their whole body. Bishops were the leading dissenters against Humanae vitae, they were the ones who shut down all preaching from the pulpit on contraception, they were the ones who ignored millions of anguished complaints from lay persons all over the world about the changes in the Mass, and they are the ones who to this day do nothing in the face of dissent, disobedience and hostility to the Catholic Church on the part of her own clergy. As St. Joan of Arc said before her illegal execution by fire, “Bishop, I die through you.”

  30. ClavesCoelorum says:

    But Father! But Father! What does one do? I’m going to convert to Holy Church but live in the diaspora and have a feeling I will encounter rather unpleasing liturgical abuse. Indeed, when I think of the entire German Church I find it VERY hard to imagine any parish (except for the FSSP) where Mass is said properly and where most people actually believe Church teaching.

    Furthermore, I am not well educated on Vatican II at all, but am compelled by faith to believe it was a valid Ecumenical Council. I just have no idea what the standing of its decrees and declarations are, that is whether they were infallible or not.

    Can anyone help or direct me to helpful resources?

  31. sw85 says:

    Well, I’m only speculating. I am not a saint and never, to my knowledge, have I met one. I imagine they seem like extraordinary people. But I imagine that they sometimes trip, and suffer indigestion, and pick their noses when blowing just won’t do, and doze off at inappropriate times when tired, etc. In short, I imagine sainthood liberates us from the shackles of sin, without at all liberating us from the ordinary foibles and imperfections of a fallen human nature.

  32. sw85 says:

    @ClavesCoelorum,

    “Furthermore, I am not well educated on Vatican II at all, but am compelled by faith to believe it was a valid Ecumenical Council. I just have no idea what the standing of its decrees and declarations are, that is whether they were infallible or not.

    Can anyone help or direct me to helpful resources?”

    The best resources would be the documents of Vatican II. Read them yourself. I think you will find, if you give them a very careful reading, that there is nothing contrary to orthodoxy in them, even if there is definitely a marked break in style.

    For the most part it does not seem Vatican II actually pronounced any new teachings, nor did it intend to. It shunned the dogmatic language which is ordinarily required for an infallible pronouncement of the Magisterium, instead opting for a patient explanation of basic principles in a language and tone imagined to be more amenable to modern sensibilities. Many of the things people normally point to (e.g., religious liberty, ecumenism, etc.) are not really doctrines but prudential applications of doctrine — in other words tactics, not strategy, which can and do change with the seasons.

  33. Gretchen says:

    Tim,

    The Scriptures are full of the human and divine interaction with God of Adam and Eve, Abram and Sarai, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, Peter, the Sons of Thunder, Saul…

    All of them very close to God, all of them making some really bad mistakes. Holiness does not constitute perfection or sinlessness.

  34. TimG says:

    sw85 and Robbie, fair pts made. Thanks.

  35. TimG says:

    Just to clarify…I did not mean to imply that John XXIII was sinless or perfect. Just that I really struggle to think that he had any idea that VCII was going to unleash what the Church has seen the last 50 years.

    Honestly if we were to really think openly….who’s to say maybe he did see what was to happen and it was ultimately a necessary evil (that the Church was corrupt, it needed to be allowed to more fully go down the wrong path before good / just people could see it and start to straighten things out?) I know….that’s probably a rabbit hole.

  36. murtheol says:

    Fr. Z is exactly right. But there is more. The ruin of Sunday is the central reason for the collapse of institutional Catholicism; and the Church is partly to blame. Around the time when the so-called vigil Mass on Saturdays was instituted, the “blue laws” began to fade away. It didn’t take retailers long to recognize there was now a large Catholic cohort available to shop on Sunday. Many Catholics have not attended Sunday Mass in over 40 years. If the New Evangelization is to become more than rhetoric, Sunday must be restored first. There is little point or value in evangelizing anyone when the Lord’s Day is just like any other.

  37. lmgilbert says:

    I cannot really blame this on the Council, but it is typical of what we have suffered in its aftermath and illustrative of why we are in institutional collapse.

    On a recent Sunday the homilist began by saying how delighted he was with a book he had recently been reading, a recommendation from the former Archbishop: Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Gospel by James Martin, a Jesuit. ” He said that it is true that the Gospels nowhere show Jesus laughing, but said he must have at some point. He observed that joy is a critical part of the New Evangelization, something that the Archbishop had also repeatedly emphasized. He said that those of us of a certain age would remember how gloomy the Church used to be.

    But when I cast my eyes back to those “gloomy” years in the fifties and early sixties I remember an old German Monsignor mounting the pulpit Sunday after Sunday like Moses coming down from the mountain. He was a fountain of lava, enormously eloquent, Spirit-filled and holy, pouring out wrath upon our civilization and upon our sins with hard scriptures, Church history, priestly lore, and with total rhetorical competence. Among other things I remember his telling of man who eventually became a saint, and who was set on that journey by discovering one morning in his bed the woman he had been living with dead and with her bowels burst open. Yes, you could say that was gloomy. With such tales and with the Gospel, that old German Monsignor was salt and light in the post-war years in suburban Chicago, and he bore great fruit. During his tenure fourteen priestly vocations came from that parish. Every Mass was standing room only. We were a well-salted and well-enlightened congregation.

    Not only is it true that one finds no instance of Jesus laughing or even smiling in the Gospels, but in Matthew especially he comes across as a very stern figure indeed, mentioning the word Hell on the order of 61 times. He was not a comedian or a humorist but had come from Heaven to save us from Hell with words of fire and light, and with his body nailed to the cross, but unfortunately for us and for our civilization our preachers find Hell to be a very gloomy subject indeed, even indelicate to mention in polite company. They often seem to have very little idea why they are priests in the first place. As a result, we are out of grace, our children are falling away, our schools are closing, our children are not marrying nor becoming priests or religious. We truly have a famine of the word of God. Now we have the New Evangelization. Against this one could hardly object were it not for the fact that its method and content seems only to be, “If we smile, they will come.” It is merely a new riff on the old de-evangelization: the gospel emptied of the cross, of sacrifice, of that salutary “gloom” – the repentance without which no man will see God.

  38. A Sinner 2 says:

    sw85 said: “I see the laity abandoning the Church in droves and a sizable contingent of priests and bishops schisming (and an even larger contingent of priests, faithful but, well, “JPII” priests) requesting laicization. We will be in an even worse position then.”

    We will be in a much better position then. Orthodox Catholics, including JP II priests, will not leave the Church. Those who would leave are the “dissenters” and “progressives.” They need to go regardless, as we now have two separate religions within one Church. It would be better for them to leave voluntarily than to resort to excommunications. But either way it must, eventually, be done.

  39. Robbie says:
    22 August 2013 at 12:00 pm
    It’s important to mention that the liberal clergy and laity played a big role in the mischief VCII created. But to say something was rotten before the Council seems a bit too much for me. In my opinion, these mischief makers were simply lying in wait for their moment to strike. For instance, those who wanted to change the Mass began plotting to do so as early as the late 1940?s. In essence, these mischief makers simply used John XXIII and his council as a vehicle to push their agenda. They saw an opening and struck with such force the more conservative and aged Curia wasn’t ready.

    Robbie, you’re missing the point–which means I didn’t make it well.

    The “mischief” which was unleashed after the council didn’t happen just because of a few mischief makers–if it was a few. They had to find receptive audiences. The mischief was mischievous precisely because it was widespread–meaning it found willing, if not enthusiastic, collaborators among the clergy and the laity. That’s the “rottenness” I’m referring to. What accounts for so widespread a readiness–if not enthusiasm–for such radical change?

    Look, if I come into your home, and you and your family are about to eat your most favorite meal, and I say, “Say, I’ve got some really great food here, something you’ve never had before, but trust me, you’ll like it!” Why–if you were so content with your meal, would you eagerly say, “Absolutely! Take away all this good stuff here, and give us the mystery meat!”?

    This is something I’ve been pondering lately, because what I find, as someone who was born in 1962, and therefore not privy in any way to what life was like before the Council, is that some of the strongest resistance to a recovery of tradition comes from those who say–often with profound horror–”oh no, I lived during those times; I don’t want that back again.”

    Note, please, what I am–and not–saying. My point is NOT that, before the Council, everyone hated the way things were. That’s the claim aggrieved people from then will make. My point, rather, is that it’s so noteworthy to me the intensity of negativity that comes precisely from those who had direct experience with what they associate with “the old days,” as opposed to those who never experienced those days.

    All that tells me that the usual schema (which is advanced with impressive regularity by traditionalist critics of the Council)–namely, that all was well until that crazy council!–is simply wrong. If that claim were true, the mischief-makers wouldn’t have gained much traction.

  40. OrthodoxChick says:

    When I hear and read stuff like this Ralph Martin piece, I just hear the prophecy of P.E. B16 ringing in my head (to paraphrase) that the Church has to become smaller before it will become stronger. That is exactly what we are witnessing. People are leaving, both priests and laity. Once they’ve all made their great exodus, the only ones left will be the priests and laity who have discovered the traditional worship of the Church, and the liberal hangers-on. The former will remain in the Church for the right reasons. The latter will refuse to go, continuing to insist on liberalizing the Church from the inside out. Presently, the latter out-number the former, but the pendulum is finally beginning to swing back to where it started. I’m hopeful that conditions in the Church will be returned to normal again in 50 years, assuming the Lord doesn’t get good and fed up with all of humanity well before then.

  41. TimG says:

    Another perspective of “pre VCII Catholics” is that of my mother / father in law.

    Apparently after the N.O was instituted, my wife tells me her father was so upset he told his wife he would no longer go to church. She told “the heck you won’t” and he went. So the situation for them is 1) they’ve been told for so long that the change was necessary, that they eventually started believing it and 2) the change was so traumatic, they dread chanding back. It’s really a sad situation, these are some of the un-recognized victims.

  42. TimG says:

    Apologies for the spelling error, that should say “changing”.
    Fr. Z how adding about an edit function? I missed this even after previewing….

  43. Robbie says:

    I’m not so sure the Church would collapse quickly if a pope decided the Mass of Paul VI should be replaced with the TLM. If anything, I think Catholics in their 50′s and younger are far more conservative and tradition minded than older Catholics and might relish the change. And let’s face facts. Catholics who still attend Mass weekly, after all of the bad press the Church has received over the last decade or so, aren’t going to suddenly drop the faith because a more solemn and mystical Mass is used.

    To be sure, there would be some loud griping from the “On Eagle’s Wing” crowd and even from the flower power clergy who see the 1960′s and 1970′s as the greatest moment in the 2000 year history of the Church. Having said that, I would like to think they’d take their own advice and stick with the Church. After all, that’s what they always tell the tradition and conservative oriented Catholics.

    We shouldn’t fear a smaller Church either. If some would chose to leave the faith because they don’t like a more traditional approach, then maybe they shouldn’t be Catholics. I don’t like what I see sometimes, but I haven’t decided to take my ball and go home. Instead, I work to change things from within. And to that point, the anecdotal evidence suggests the faith grows when tradition is reintroduced. Just look at the success of the FSSP and the SSPX in France.

    Having said all this, the question is an academic one at best because no future pope is going to erase the 16 documents of VCII or restore the TLM. Cardinal Ranjith or Cardinal Burke could have been elected pope and chosen the name Pius XIII and it’s almost totally unlikely either would have taken such bold steps. Just a few weeks ago, Cardinal Burke mentioned VCII favorably in an interview with Edward Pentin. I suspect that ship sailed when Cardinal Siri was not elected pope in 1963 or at either conclave in 1978.

  44. iPadre says:

    The Church was filled with rot before the Council and the modernists used the social unrest of their time to shift away from the true intent of the Council Fathers and implement their own agenda. You can see some of this in George Weigel’s article The End of the Bernardin Era . Much more could be said, but it would be offensive to some. What we need to do today is focus on rebuilding our Catholic culture. But as our Fr. Z so frequently points out, it can’t be done without a renewal of the Sacred Liturgy. Without the Mass, we cease to be Catholic! Any other form of renewal will be an empty shell and eventually fall to part. All of the programs and gimmicks of the past have proven to be a waste of time, money and effort. Renewal through solid, Catholic Worship is the only answer, because Christ is the heart of the Mass.

  45. contrarian says:

    Fr. Fox,
    Very good point. As someone nearly 20 years your junior, I sometimes scratch my head at some of the antics of my parent’s generation…until I remember these good thoughts of yours.
    I think we need to remember that we won’t be very convincing in our arguments concerning liturgy, etc., if we state our case with the assumption and implication that things before VII were all rosy and great. “All that tells me that the usual schema…–namely, that all was well until that crazy council!–is simply wrong. If that claim were true, the mischief-makers wouldn’t have gained much traction.”
    Exactly.
    It’s a thesis I’m particularly sensitive to as a former Lutheran. I often get the “Everything was AWESOME, and then this nutcase Luther comes along and for no reason whatsoever, starts saying a bunch of crazy nonsense!” line. Not quite.

    Every age has their crazy nut bags. Revolutions don’t happen because of crazy nut bags. They happen because people, who might in the whole be quite wrong, set sail on the nagging intuitions and apprehensions of large swaths of reasonable and intelligent people.

  46. Emsley says:

    @Fr Martin Fox

    I have been wondering the same thing, Father. Do you know if anyone has written anything on the topic, trying to trace how and by what so many clerics and lay Catholics were corrupted before Vatican II?

  47. A Sinner 2 says:

    Fr. Fox said:
    “some of the strongest resistance to a recovery of tradition comes from those who say–often with profound horror–‘oh no, I lived during those times; I don’t want that back again.’”

    Of course. During those times they were told that people sinned and went hell. There were standards of morality. Today, anything goes, in the Church or out. We don’t sin anymore and no one goes to hell. God is our buddy. He’s everybody’s buddy, Catholic or not. It’s so much easier today isn’t it?

  48. Robbie says:

    Fr. Martin Fox

    I don’t disagree with you that the laity was accepting of the changes, but let me offer an example as to why I think that was the case. My grandparents were both devout, daily Mass attending Catholics born in 1914 and 1915. They grew up being told that whatever the Church said or did was to be obeyed. So when the Mass changed, they didn’t question it because whatever the Pope and the Church said was not to be challenged. Their generation believed that total obedience was to be given and if that meant sacrificing cats on the altar (a stretch), well ok.

    To be sure, there were certainly Catholics who wanted to get away from the rigorous life the Church followed, but it was also the 1960′s and every part of life was being challenged. Protests were common, assassinations were common, and authority was disrespected. Society was in collapse. The idea that everything was open to change, whatever that meant, was strong. In my view though, it wasn’t the normal disposition of people and the Church mistakenly played into it.

  49. johnnys says:

    iPadre said….. Renewal through solid, Catholic Worship is the only answer, because Christ is the heart of the Mass.

    There are amazing things being done in unlikely places all connected from sacred liturgy…..

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/bible-belt-parish-builds-gods-kingdom/

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/protestant-south-becoming-a-new-catholic-stronghold?utm_source=feedly

  50. The Masked Chicken says:

    These are deep, deep waters, my friends. There are subtle psycho-theological issues involved, here, that I really debate opening up. Ironically, Ralph Martin was, in part, responsible for bringing the hyper-ecumenical Charismatic Renewal to the church, which has been responsible, in its own way, for weakening the Institutional Church and the devotion to the sacraments. This is not the place to go into why Ralph Martin is so negative in his assessment of things (he has been, for years), but this article is not surprising. I would be surprised if he had any truly helpful ideas.

    This is not a problem of the laity, it is a problem for the laity. It was clerics who brought this about. It was Cardinal Suenens who made in-roads into the Vatican for the Charismatic Renewal, even though he did not have a true handle on its theology, in fact, long before there could have been a true theological understanding. If you wanted to know that something was rotten before Vatican II, the South African preacher, Jesse Du Plessis, in his biography, points out that, as an invited observer at Vatican II and even before, he had contact with one high-ranking Cardinal who had 200 books on Pentecostalism. The ecumenical idea was already well-placed in Vatican circles before Vatican II.

    This could be turned around, over-night, if priests were trained as military men and not psychologists. How did Patton reform the army? First, he had a grand vision. How do priests get a grand vision? Authentic prayer. Mandatory courses in mystical theology have been replaced in most seminaries in favor of pastoral psychology. Second, he set high standards, both for himself and the men under him and he did not suffer disobedience, lightly. Where are the fasts? Where are the long nights in prayer? Where is the do-or-die concern for the salvation of souls that marked a St. John Vianney? One can be meek and still be a leader, but, first, one has to discipline one’s self, then disciplining others is easier. Disciplining oneself must, first of all, mean speaking the truth to oneself about oneself and then acting on it.

    People act as if the Church is not the Truth because many clergy do not act as if it is the Truth. Gentlemen, be willing to die for it. If the world were to wipe you all out, today, because you stood up and spoke the truth, come what may, we would have not a vocation shortage for two men would take your place for every one killed, much would be the strength of your witness. The Church is dying because you are not willing to die. That, is the long and the short of it, right there.

    There is a passage from the movie, Enchanted, set in WW II and the Civil War, which was based on a book by Rumer Gooden called, a Fugue in Time. The old man – a true tragic figure – who had lost everything (especially, the girl) because he failed to act with courage when he could have, had a desperate conversation with a young war nurse who was about do the same thing and throw away her chance to be with her good man who was returning to war:

    “Grizel Dane: I sent him away.
    General Sir Roland Dane (a.k.a Rollo): Then if I were you, I’d go and find him. Don’t cheat yourself of love the way I did. Listen to me! Don’t stop to bargain for happiness, for in one wasted moment, a door may close, a ship may sail, a train may leave, a man may die. Go after him or make your mind you’ll never see him again.”

    People did not leave the Church. You sent them away or worse, you gave them permission to leave. You stopped to bargain for happiness not realizing the little time you had to re-gain their souls, for in one wasted moment the door to their soul might close, their ship might sail away to another church, a train might take them out of your life, forever, and they might die, alone, away from God.

    Dear Clergy, go after them or make up your mind that you will never see them, again.

    We can rationalize the sociology of the flight from religion or the flight from the Church all we want, but the simple fact is that the Church Militant has become the Church Milling Around. What lover is not willing to fight for his beloved, and yet, where is the fight in you for these souls in the pews and those circling the door?

    If anyone believes that they are called to the salvation of souls any less now than before Vatican II, then they have misunderstood what a Council can and cannot do. No Council can remove the red hot fire of love that burns in the bosom of the Church for the salvation of souls, but men can cover up the light of the fire so that all that remains are shadows. If you want that fire to burn brightly again, it is useless to give homilies about bunnies. You can only stoke the fire in others if you, yourselves, catch fire. No guitar version of, “Let the Fire Fall,” will suffice. Lightening doesn’t strike from the sky. It starts from within the Earth and travels outward. Resist yourselves and you will become a conductor of grace.

    The Chicken

  51. Unwilling says:

    “The virtue of religion” see St Thomas, ST 2-2, q 81
    I have seen Fr Z mention it before. A useful concept.

    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3081.htm#article7

  52. Robbie says:
    I don’t disagree with you that the laity was accepting of the changes…

    Yes, but please, please attend to what I’m going to say now!

    It isn’t just about why the laity went along. Understand?

    Why did the clergy go along? Why did so many bishops go along?

    All the bishops were in Rome. They knew, as well as anyone, what they voted for, what was discussed. They came home, and then, what did they do?

    Why were they so ready to make such radical change? Why were so many of them willing to go hard, and run roughshod, over their own clergy and laity, with such radical change?

    Your account of how laity responded doesn’t address this.

    And to say, oh well, the bishops were messed up, doesn’t really rebut my point, but on the contrary, buttresses it: something was rotten before the Council even sat the first time.

    Why?

  53. jacobi says:

    With the passage of time, we can now see that the post-Vatican II period has been disastrous – and I use that word advisedly -for Christ’s Mystical Body on Earth, the Catholic Church. The institutional collapse, which is all around us, is a result of falling number of priests – but also a collapse of Faith and therefore falling number of Catholics. All this has been caused by the rejection of our ancient liturgy and its substitution with a de-sanctified, Protestantised, and frankly banal version of the Mass which has little attraction for either young or old.

    There is much talk of evangelisation. But how in Heaven’s name can the Church evangelise when its members, including, sadly, so many of the clergy, simply do not know, or do not accept their Faith?

    We really need to go back to square one. The first priority is to re-establish catechetics and apologetics, not only for children but perhaps more importantly for adults, and re-sanctify the liturgy.

    Then, and not until then, can we evangelise.

  54. Jason Keener says:

    Everything rapidly fell apart after the demolition of the Sacred Liturgy. The Catholic person’s primary contact with the Faith is through the Sunday Mass. When you see how the Mass has been and is celebrated in the typical suburban parish, it is quite easy to see why Catholics would not be inspired to frequent the sacraments or follow the teachings of the Church. The Church’s problem is a liturgical problem. Once the Liturgy collapses, everything else will, too.

  55. Sissy says:

    Something that gives me hope, in spite of lackluster OF Masses, malcontent sisters, and dissenting priests, is the fact that I was drawn to join the Church anyway. I know many converts who were impelled to seek Christ in his Church, in spite of the current state of affairs. The Holy Spirit is still drawing people to Rome, and God always has a remnant. I don’t give in to despair, even if I have to sing from Gather. ; )

  56. marylise says:

    The Masked Chicken: Ralph Martin strikes some of us as being essentially opportunistic. For years, he and his morose side-kick promoted what amounted to an eighth sacrament, namely, being born again, or, as they audaciously put it, being “baptized in the Holy Spirit.” They have always demanded “enthusiasm” from their groupies. “Enthusiasm” is of course what protestants rely on since they have so little else. Fast forward to the twenty-first century, and, lo and behold, suddenly Ralph Martin discovers St. Thomas Aquinas. It really would be funny if it were not so irritating. No doubt Ralph Martin thinks St. Thomas Aquinas can be used to beef up attendance at his rallies. Hey, if Ralph likes Aquinas, then Ralph must be orthodox, after all! Let’s buy a ticket to his next show and speak in tongues. It’ll be fun. Of course, Ralph Martin is not alone. There are plenty of other protestant-minded lay persons taking advantage of the void created by somnolent bishops. EWTN is full of them.

  57. sw85 says:

    @FrFox,

    What do you think the problem was? The hatred for things preconciliar certainly seems disproportionately to any actual evils committed at the time (which certainly pale to the evils tolerated today), and I don’t imagine it’s based in *nothing more* than the pathological narcissism of that generation, but what is it, then?

  58. jacobi says:

    Fr Martin,
    “In my opinion, these mischief makers were simply lying in wait for their moment to strike”

    Of course there was rot in the Church before Vatican II. It was called Modernism, “the synthesis of all heresy”, and it is still with us today!

    That is why Pius IX issued the Syllabus of Errors and why St Pius X required the Oath against Modernism. That this oath was withdrawn by Paul VI in 1967 is now seen as being beyond comprehension.

    Given this danger, the decision by Pope John XXIII to call a Council for no accepted reason, against advice, and at a time of great turmoil and revolt was naïve to say the least.

    As you say, these mischief makers were simply lying in wait for their moment to strike and Vatican II gave them the ideal opportunity.

  59. backtothefuture says:

    If anybody wants to learn more about v2 and all the madness that came from it, pick up Michael Davies “pope John’s council, and pope Paul’s new mass. Davies was a convert, a devout defender of tradition, and was highly respected, especially by cardinal Ratzinger.

  60. dbwheeler says:

    Fr. Martin, that is what I keep asking…everyone keeps blaming everything on Vatican II but the people who so distorted the traditions and teachings of the Church, who took the proverbial ball and ran with it had all been raised PRE-VII, so what caused their errors in the first place? Why so many radical changes in the early 1960′s? I remember that it was about 1966 when everything just ‘flipped’ over, like an old 78 rpm record and began playing an entirely new song that hadn’t been played before, and there was no going back. It’s like it all was so quickly embraced by so many. Why? Could it have been the murder of John Kennedy? Something triggered a really bizarre shift in thinking and actions, that’s for sure!

  61. sw85 asks (me):

    “What do you think the problem was? The hatred for things preconciliar certainly seems disproportionately to any actual evils committed at the time (which certainly pale to the evils tolerated today), and I don’t imagine it’s based in *nothing more* than the pathological narcissism of that generation, but what is it, then?”

    I don’t know. I keep pondering it.

  62. The Astronomer says:

    “Fr Martin Fox says:
    22 August 2013 at 2:21 pm

    …Why did the clergy go along? Why did so many bishops go along?

    My former friend and confessor, the late Rev. Dr. Malachi Martin had several brothers that were also prominent Irish priests. I read anguished letters between them from the late 1980s where Malachi berated them for acquiescing to the questionable elements of the V2 ‘reforms.’ When he asked them, “Why didn’t you just say NO?!?!” his brothers replied “the one thing our seminary training never taught us was how to say ‘no’ to ecclesial authority.” The pre-1960 Church placed strong emphasis and value on obedience to Authority and when the (quasi-duplicitous) reasoning of “you must do this because the Pope said so…” was used, they saluted and went along.

  63. Archer.2013 says:

    When my mother became a Catholic (we converted together) she started attending a prayer evening once a week that was held in her parish. There was a rosary, exposition, hymns and scripture readings, all followed by tea, biscuits and no doubt a natter too. After several months of this a religious sister of some sort arrived in the parish and was soon put in charge of the Thursday evening prayer group. A guitar was introduced, traditional hymns were replaced with what my mother descibed as “children’s songs” and then they started having exposition and then moved to the parish room (attached to the church) for prayer which involved sitting in a circle and listening to the sister talk about “issues” which were then prayed about. One by one people stopped attending until not many months later Thursday prayer evening ceased and with no one in the church to regularly pray before the exposed blessed sacrament that stopped too. Sister is still around so no one has suggested started another prayer evening because she would be in charge and it would just be more of the same. As my mother and I see it, the Spirit of Vatican II blew in with sister, killed everything off and now hovers overhead waiting to suffocate any shoots of renewal that might break through. I estimate that the Spirit of V2 is going to be hovering around for a good 15 years or so in my mum’s parish. What we don’t understand is why Father allowed this to happen – he will tolerate no criticism of sister.

  64. Fr. Fox,

    You are of course correct in your suspicion that something must have been “rotten” within the clergy and hierarchy before Vatican II for it have resulted in the collapse that followed the Council.

    Just as there was something rotten in late medieval times that led to the Protestant reformation in the 16th century, and something rotten in the early centuries that caused the great heresies to gain so much traction. And more pertinently to the present question, something rotten in the Church in the 19th century that led to Pope Piux IX’s syllabus of errors and the condemnation of “modernism”.

    Indeed, there has been something “rotten” in the human condition ever since the original sin. Nothing really so hard to understand or explain about any of this.

    What happened differently in the 1960s is that Vatican II broke down the institutional controls imposed after the Council of Trent, which had held the forces of modernism in check in the earlier 20th century. Though they had to grow in pervasiveness in many seminaries and among the Catholic intellectual elite, they had little or no influence of Catholic life at the parish level, and the decades immediately prior to the Council were indeed an age of unparallel vigor in faith and Catholic moral life. But after the Council, many who had left the Church to fight it from within exploited the new situation to continue their opposition from within

    The result–of course unintended and unanticipated by most bishops–of the Council was that the dam was broken and a likely minority of dissenters gained institutional control, and were able to impose their own interpretations and objectives, which was ironically possible only because of the still somewhat rigid hierarchical structure of the Church–because obedience had been taught as a virtue of overriding importance, laity obeyed clergy and religious obeyed bishops, many of whom felt (as Cardinal Ratzinger has discussed) that they themselves had lost control, and that what was being imposed by extra-hierarchial groups (national and international liturgy commissions and their like in catechetical and other areas) was not at all what they had intended with their “placet” votes at the Council.

  65. Astronomer:

    Obedience would explain some–some–of the priest reactions. I don’t think it explains the bishops. Much of the madness did not come from the pope.

  66. sw85 says:

    I mean obviously the big red elephant in the room is the modernist movement.

  67. OrthodoxChick says:

    Marylise and sw85,

    I think that the modernist movement and the Charismatic renewal are one in the same. It’s so commonplace in the local N.O. parishes in and around my area, that I really don’t see how people can snap out of it without someone shaking them out of it. My now former N.O. parish has a regular weekly “He is Alive” prayer group with their guitar-playing folk praise in front of the Blessed Sacrament right there in the Adoration chapel. They also have the monthly carpool outings up to Massachusetts for the “Life in the Spirit” seminars. Why they go out into Massachusetts is beyond me. There are plenty of such groups right here in Connecticut. It’s even at the Holy Apostles seminary apparently. It’s everywhere and the only way to get away from it is to run to the nearest TLM parish and don’t look back.

    http://hartfordcharismatic.org/fmUndergrnd.html

  68. PostCatholic says:

    I think you have quoted an instance of causal fallacy. All mainline Christian denominations in North America and Western Europe have been dwindling in adherence in the post-World War 2 era. You can’t blame the simultaneous institutional collapse of the once-mighty Lutheran church in Scandinavia, to pick one analogue, on “Vatican II theology.” External forces of culture are at work; if Vatican II embraced them then perhaps it accelerated their impact. But to think that Vatican II is primarily to blame for the dwindling relevancy of the institution in the culture is an instance of cum hoc ergo prompter hoc. I know you’ve been taught Latin but what about rhetoric? That remains the single most useful seminary course I ever took.

  69. samzabotney says:

    Do we realize that we follow a founder who said ” Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit”?

    Crucifixion and resurrection is part and parcel of the pattern of redemption. This is why the Gates of Hell shall not prevail, not triumphalism.

    Regardless of the good that it had done (or the harm it had caused), the institution of Christendom the world has known since the time of Constantine is dead. What will replace it is in God’s hands.

    My challenge is: Do we have faith to trust the God who raised Jesus from the dead and wait the full three days real resurrection requires, or will we try to force one on the first or second day, settling for a resuscitated corpse instead of new life?

  70. RobW says:

    Ive seen this with my own eyes since coming back to the Church 6 years ago. Most “catholics” dont take the sacraments seriously. My Church doesnt have a confessional, when i confessed it was out in a hallway with people walking around. the woman that sits next to me laughs at the fact that she hasnt been to confession for 40 years. Our Lady is gonna straighten things out though so I have great hope. things will probably get darker before they get brighter however. Pray the Rosary daily. Our Lady was clear at Fatima and Akita, she is God’s avenue of grace and we need to stay close to her.

  71. acardnal says:

    If I recall correctly, Ralph Martin was an early disciple of Cardinal Suenens and the Charismatic movement in the Church. For Martin to refer to him now as the “Archliberal” is amazing. Perhaps Martin has had a change of heart and mind. His latest book is about the reality of Hell and how many people erroneously believe it does not exist and heaven awaits us all.

  72. acardnal says:

    My error: I misread the blog post cited by Fr. Z. It was not Martin who called Cdl. Suenens an “Archliberal” but the blogger.

  73. lmgilbert says:

    Marylise,

    Charismatics are generally irenic souls who would not ordinarily take the trouble to reply to your ill-informed, uncharitable and divisive post, but I have been away from their peaceful influence for thirty years now.
    1) ill-informed
    a) From his page at the Sacred Heart Seminary: “He received his MA in theology from Sacred Heart Major Seminary and has been on the faculty since 2002. He holds a S.T.L. degree from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. and an S.T.D. in systematic theology from the Pontifical Faculty of St. Thomas Aquinas (The Angelicum) in Rome. He received his MA in theology from Sacred Heart Major Seminary and has been on the faculty since 2002. He holds a S.T.L. degree from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. and an S.T.D. in systematic theology from the Pontifical Faculty of St. Thomas Aquinas (The Angelicum) in Rome.”
    b) For the ten years I was involved in the movement, from 1968 through 1977, being “born again” was never part of the terminology, though as for that Our Lord himself uses this very protestant phrase in John 3 when he speaks of Baptism. There was no eighth sacrament, for being baptized in the Holy Spirit is essentially the ex opera operantis side of the Sacrament of Confirmation. It was always presented as the flowering of that sacrament.
    c) Here is what two Dominican theologians discovered in St. Thomas Aquinas concerning the charismatic gifts long before the appearance of the Charismatic Renewal. Are they also protestant minded?

    “Because the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are habits derived from sanctifying grace in the soul, they are clearly distinguished from those casual encounters of souls with the Holy Spirit called ‘gratuitous graces.’ These latter graces do not unite souls to God nor conform them to Christ, whatever marvels they may manifest. They are ‘manifestations of the Spirit . . . given . . .for profit’ ( I Cor 12:7), not to justify those who have them but that they may cooperate in the justification of others. With them the life of God passes through the soul, but nothing remains as evidence of an enduring, indwelling relationship. They have no necessary relationship to personal morals, but are rather of forensic advantage to the Church of God. By them some are able to have knowledge advantageous to others, to confirm that knowledge with convincing proofs, and to offer their knowledge in a way calculated to interest their hearers. Prophecy, miracles, and the gift of tongues are of this category of graces . . . .”

    Walter Farrell & Dominic Hughes. Swift Victory: Essays on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (NY: Sheed and Ward, 1955) 12.

    2) uncharitable and divisive.

    a) You imply he is unorthodox. On what basis? The Charismatic Renewal has enjoyed the approbation of the popes for a long time now, and this includes Pope Francis. Or are they also unorthodox?
    b) You impugn his motives by speaking of tickets and shows. What are you talking about exactly? There are no tickets to a charismatic prayer meeting. It is not a show. Or did St. Paul also have mercenary motives when he said, “I would that you could all speak in tongues, but still more that you could prophesy” (1 Cor 14:5)?

    Your ill-informed and churlish post runs to schism, since you essentially drum Dr. Martin and his fellow charismatics out of the Church. Although I do not attend the EF Mass, I am very sympathetic to the Benedictine Reform of the liturgy. I wish all traditional Catholics well. However, I will say this, if this kind of attitude and talk ever pushes the Church to schism along the traditionalist/charismatic fault line, it is not the charismatics that the pope would suppress. Practically, they do not have a liturgy which can be suppressed; they are a far larger group; they are not peeping and chirping against the traditionalists in the Church. One could wish to see a little more political savvy on the part of people one wishes well, to say nothing of a modicum of charity

  74. steve jones says:

    The problem was WWII and the influence it exercised over European intellectuals in particular. In 1958, when J23 called for a council, Europe was effectively occupied and West Germany no more than a puppet state. In addition to the physical devastation of the country, it had now been culturally destroyed by the CIA’s “Voice of America” project. Thus complete with an American style political system, German youth were now listening to “beat” music and three lapsed catholic musicians from Liverpool plus their drummer offered their services to that effect in Hamburg. German theologians absorbed the zeitgeist and one of them, Karl Rahner, told the Archbishop of Dublin to go home to Ireland as he had nothing to worry about – this council was ‘cosa nostra’.

    In 1965, the idiotic jamboree reached its zenith with the visit of Pope Paul VI to New York whose city’s media had already penned what one of Paul’s successor’s would call “the virtual council”. What somebody had neglected to explain to poor Papa Montini was that three lapsed catholic musicians and their drummer had beaten him to it the year before.

  75. Imrahil says:

    Dear @lmgilbert,

    yet it happens that your Jesuit was right.

    And in fact, what you describe would suffice to explain the antipreconciliar attitude.

    Though the preconciliar Church was not “gloomy” except in countries where we had to compete with the (gloomy) Protestants – read: the United States and the Netherlands; if even there at large. In the meantime 1955 in Bavaria, the movie Die fröhliche Wallfahrt shows a rather ungloomy image of Catholicism. Is Father Brown a gloomy literary figure?

    Being too strict leads to antinomian reactions. The mere thought “why not leave the Church if that does not mean Hell” regardlessly of what truth and what untruth is to the latter – speaks volumes.

  76. marylise says:

    The Second Vatican Council introduced a widespread rebellion against St. Thomas Aquinas, the angelic doctor whose every word smacked of objective truth. St. Thomas Aquinas was all logic, method, reason, coherence and careful argument. He never indulged in ambiguity. Even his mistakes (e.g., hesitation about the Immaculate Conception) arose from logic rather than perverse self-assertion. The modernists had to throw Aquinas overboard before they could get on with their agenda of fuzzy wuzzy groovy good feelings for all. Well, they got rid of him all right. It will take someone more credible than Ralph Martin to bring him back.

  77. The Masked Chicken says:

    “But to think that Vatican II is primarily to blame for the dwindling relevancy of the institution in the culture is an instance of cum hoc ergo prompter hoc.”

    No, it is not the cum hoc fallacy. There have been large shifts in Protestant theology and mad shifts in culture in the past (French revolution, for example) that have had, essentially, no effect on the Institutional Church. The Church has been, largely, insular through all of those changes. It even survived the nascent ecumenical movement of the 1920′s and 30′s without joining the National Council of Churches. It even survived WW I largely intact. In fact, the original intent of Vatican II was to provide theological and moralistic input into the rapidly developing scientific and cultural ebullience that emerged after WW II and the dropping of the Bomb. It wasn’t cultural forces at work that did anything. The Church was messed with from within. Protestant Churches are always susceptible to the prevailing zeitgeist, but the Church has been, largely, immune. Now, the people who mauled the Church from within might have been influenced by cultural and theological forces (mostly, second-generation Modernists), but they, first of all, had to have an in. Vatican II was a dropping of the defenses of the things that had shielded the Church in the past, most noticeably, liturgy and the Church’s relation to the .”Modern,” world. Now, this dropping may have coincided with other changes on the outside world, but there was no causation, there, except by a deliberate few. It was not culture that changed the Church. It was a group of change-agents, to use a common Marxist term. The proof is simple: we can name names. The Mass was a Bugnini production. Music was, at least in the U. S., a Weakland production, etc.

    Yes, WW II cause a rising youth movement (which would have occurred, independent of the CIA), which allowed the change-agents to spread their changes in a favorable climate, but it was the change-agents acting from within that cause the damage. The real problem was that the hierarchy did not slap them down when they had the chance, especially in the area of reproductive theology. If the creator of The Pill (a “Catholic”) had been silenced, immediately, the Church might have resisted the contraceptive mentality. As it was, the change-agent mantra of the, “theology of the conscience,” was all it took to undo everything.

    I suppose that Vatican II exposed the Modernist underbelly, but it did it at a poor time. It would be instructive to go back and read the literature on the eve of the Council to see the youthful naiveté that was brought to it (by 1962 how many of the Council Fathers had been a part of WW II). The Catholic Church was going to teach the world. Instead, we got played.

    The Chicken

  78. Mike says:

    A simple example that confirms a lot of what has been said: my pastor today, on the Queenship of Mary, gave a very nice homily on the “wedding garment” as kindness, as goodness, etc. How we should be prepared for the wedding feast.

    Not a single word about how the wedding garment represents sanctifying grace. Zip.

    Right there is half of the problem, at least: the heresy of naturalism.

  79. Imrahil says:

    Dear @steve jones,

    West Germany was sovereign since 1955 and the German political system was as German as you can possibly be without being a monarchy. The rather fair distribution into states is more German than the Prussian domination we had in the Empire and Weimar times. Federalism is deeply rooted in the German soul (Hitler’s modernist strike to introduce centralism with it proves that National Socialism had nothing to do with respecting the traditions of the Volk). Neither president nor chancellor is or was then elected by popular suffrage. We have no Senate, but a representation of state governments which votes on federal legislation (something again resembling the Empire). No, we have no particularly americanized political system.

    As for the German youth, whatever the advertisment efforts, they listened to the Beatles of their own free-will.

  80. The Masked Chicken says:

    “If I recall correctly, Ralph Martin was an early disciple of Cardinal Suenens and the Charismatic movement in the Church.”

    I know you corrected yourself, acardinal, but I thought I would clarify. Ralph Martin, along with Steve Clark suggested to Profs. Storey and Keefer at Dusquesne University that they attend a Pentecostal prayer meeting in order to gain spiritual power. Cardinal Suenens enters the picture a little bit later after the Renewal hit Notre Dame, if I remember, correctly.

    The Chicken

  81. contrarian,

    You ask

    … is mere reverence alone the answer? In a world of perfectly said (whatever this means) Paul VI Masses, assuming the Mass of Paul was otherwise ubiquitous, would we still see this level of destruction?

    I would humbly suggest that what you and pookiesmom write is not fundamentally incorrect. But as to the answer to your question, I think it most definitely not due to the mere lack of reverence, but rather the variety of uncanonical liturgical innovations that conduce to a lack of reverence taken together, because many of them are antithetical to the focus of the Mass. No matter how much one is intellectually aware that the Priest is speaking to God on behalf of the body of people gathered before the altar, if he is facing that body of people while addressing God, he is sending a thoroughly mixed message. And Benedict XVI demonstrated that there was an alternative to having one’s back to the congregation, by placing the crucifix on the altar such that when he addressed the Lord he was facing the Lord, while still facing the congregation. Clearly the Novus Ordo Mass can be celebrated reverently, and likely is in many places. But the numerous voluntary (and I believe misguided) innovations that were perpetrated by means of what I would characterize as misreadings of the plain words of the documents enabled those who wished to pass off changes that were thus conducive to a diminution of reverence. And all of those things taken together may be sufficient to provide much of the answer.

    It frequently does not take a great deal of distraction to divert the attention of most people from that which is most important, and contemplation and reflection do not come easily to everyone. To cite but one example, myself, attending a Mass that is adorned with unworshipful music (Haugen, Haas, etc.) is a sufficient source of corrosive external dissonance to me that I find it extremely difficult to remain focused on praying the Mass.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  82. Imrahil says:

    in the parenthesis: to introduce centralism: the words “with it” do not belong after that.

  83. The Masked Chicken says:

    “On a recent Sunday the homilist began by saying how delighted he was with a book he had recently been reading, a recommendation from the former Archbishop: Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Gospel by James Martin, a Jesuit. ” He said that it is true that the Gospels nowhere show Jesus laughing, but said he must have at some point. He observed that joy is a critical part of the New Evangelization, something that the Archbishop had also repeatedly emphasized. He said that those of us of a certain age would remember how gloomy the Church used to be.”

    Yeah, I keep meaning to write a book on the theology of humor. I know of the book by Martin, but I haven’t read it. I find that people who write about humor, by-and-large, have no idea of what they are talking about. In fact, I am sure that James Martin does not, because he treats Jesus as in the same class of laughers as the rest of humanity and he is most certainly, not. Back in the day, I wrote a series of long articles on the humor of Jesus for the Disputations blog. Jesus could have, certainly, laughed (we know this because he is recorded to have cried, twice, and laughter is the negative of crying), but laughter is a sub-category of the virtue of hope and Jesus had no hope – he didn’t need it. He had certainty. That is not to say that Jesus was not able to recognize humor. The situation with the woman comparing herself to a dog proves this. In fact, Jesus approves of her answer, so he certainly was able to recognize what we could call trans-world projection in humor theory, since in one possible world, the woman was a dog.

    In any case, the Archbishop is going to have to explain about the saint who refused to laugh.

    The Chicken

  84. sw85 says:

    @The Masked Chicken,

    “Yes, WW II cause a rising youth movement (which would have occurred, independent of the CIA), which allowed the change-agents to spread their changes in a favorable climate, but it was the change-agents acting from within that cause the damage. The real problem was that the hierarchy did not slap them down when they had the chance, especially in the area of reproductive theology. If the creator of The Pill (a “Catholic”) had been silenced, immediately, the Church might have resisted the contraceptive mentality. As it was, the change-agent mantra of the, “theology of the conscience,” was all it took to undo everything.”

    Bingo! The pre-VII response to the threat of modernism was to suppress it; we often hear that VII went the way it did because modernists resented that suppression but it seems to me to have been quite effective. The error was only in discontinuing it.

  85. pookiesmom says:

    I’ve always thought that the Mass of Paul VI is the punishment levied by God on His people for the massive falling away from Catholic teaching on sexual morality both in and out of marriage that started small in the early 20th century and accelerated into a huge rebellion on the part of both clergy and laity, especially after the birth control pill became widely available. Yes, the rot was well established by the time the new Mass was put into place~around l965. Even Paul VI’s commission studying contraception recommended allowing birth control for Catholics!! Andrew Greeley did a big study on American Catholic women and found ten percent of married Catholic women using contraception in 1950; 30% by 1960; 50% by 1965; by 1970 the number was 70% and today over 90% of Catholic women using contraception with divorce and abortion rates mirroring the rest of American society–I would assume the same is true for all the developed nations as well. Along with the collapse of Catholic sexual morality came the collapse of Catholic worship–didn’t Cardinal Burke just recently correlate that same premise? Sexual immorality is so terribly offensive to Almighty God, particularly contraception as it thwarts His creative Love for mankind, to say nothing about all the other evils flowing from contraception. I think the liturgical mess that we find in the source and summit of our lives as Catholics stems from all of the above.

  86. Lin says:

    Robbie…….”Those who support the last 50 years of changes often fall into the trap of political liberals. When a liberal political policy or issue fails, they claim it didn’t work because it just didn’t go far enough. Often, the same can be said about VCII. Rather than wonder if it was wise, supporters say it just didn’t go far enough.”

    That is EXACTLY what our self-proclaimed progressive pastor is preaching every week! He would make a great Luthern!

    Henry Edwards….. On your comment that the Church will not be restored until the liturgy is restored. I agree! Public dissension of members of the Church must be reprimanded publicly. And catechesis MUST be restored to the pre-Vatican II days. Children are NOT going to choose catechism over the beach on Sunday. Catholic schools do not even have the level of catechesis that should be mandatory for all Catholics. I have not attended a Latin mass for at least 50 years. I am not convinced that we have to return to Latin, but priests should take their personality out of the mass and say it according to the rubrics. NO ADLIBING! And NO sappy music where it is NOT supposed to be played! And NO more cumbaya sermons! Drop the sign of peace where our pastor thinks he has to shake hands with everyone at MASS!?! And I could go on! Now I’m ranting like Father Z!!! It is bad enough to have lost many in this culture, but to see our Church trivialized in the MSM! Father Z…….That is why I follow you regularly. I personally need the support you and others on this blog provide. Other than my husband, I only have two others I can talk to about these issues. Thank you, Father Z!

  87. Gail F says:

    Fr. Fox: I think you’re right. I was born only a few years after you and I have noticed the strange, vehement, hatred expressed by some when it comes to things pre-Vatican II. I think maybe PostCatholic is on to something — every Christian group in the West has had the same drastic decrease, as has almost every Jewish group. We blame it on Vatican II (or at least some of us do; I don’t) but what’s Vatican II to them? It’s something bigger, a societal thing. Maybe a kind of rot, one that causde the breakdown of so many other institutions and so many families and the selfish blood-letting going on everywhere now (and I’m not talking about gun violence). I just reviewed Ann Carey’s book “Sisters in Crisis Revisited” and what struck me was how immediate the things we associate with the LCWR today happened. Immediate. They couldn’t have happened if it had taken women years to “come to terms with modernity” or whatever they like to spout. And many of these women were anything but smack in the middle of the culture. But yet it was — WHAM! Off and running. All they’re doing now is exactly the same thing, with no turning aside or reassessment. A stark warning if there ever was one. I think Christ is the answer, but I don’t think we have formulated the question correctly.

  88. dominic1955 says:

    I found a couple things to read to be certainly necessary in coming to a grasp of what happened to the Church in the aftermath of Vatican II. The first one, and by far the most eye-opening was “The Rhine Flows in to the Tiber”. As far as I’m concerned, if you haven’t read this book and you are commenting on anything post-Vatican II, you need to stop immediated and go read that book. The liberals were organized and driven. They didn’t just misinterpret the Council, they positively hijacked it. Like Cardinal Siri said, Vatican II is proof that the Church is a divine institution-nothing else could have survived such an organized onslaught. Nothing holy will ever work in the lock-step manner that Modernists/liberals/progressives (etc.) can and do.

    The second was Iota Unum, which outlined many of the philosophical and theological problems and gave ample examples of idiocy coming from all corners and all levels of the Church. Cardinal Siri’s book “Gethsemane” has a similar theme and was well worth reading.

    The third eye opening thing to read is any of the original schemata prepared for Vatican II and the documents of the Roman Synod of 1959 (which was considered a dress rehersal for Vatican II at the time). Nothing like the gobbeltygook we ended up with.

    Also read some of the articles, books, or studies of the same by later authors of the architects of the liturgical revolution, the ecumenical movement, the Charismatic movement, etc. etc. etc. They lay it all out, kind of like Hitler did in Mein Kampf. They were pretty free with their words after the pressure was off of them.

    Why did everything change so fast and why did so many (including priests and bishops) go along with it. I’d say its demonic, and the reality of sin. Like I said above, the forces of good on earth are rarely even close to as organized, driven, and single minded as the forces of evil on earth. The progressivists, whether among the prelates or their theologians placed themselves in all areas of influence that they could. When the time came, it was like a slip knot-struggling makes it tighter. How did all the strictures against Modernism and other garbage get ditched, seemingly all together. You had the wrong people whispering the wrong things to the right people. No, really, Holy Father, Modernism hasn’t been a problem-never was! The whole thing was way overblown. Now, since we are all so much more adult and whatnot now, lets get rid of the Oath Against Modernism, the Index, etc. etc.

    How did they get there? Well, when Pope St. Pius X strove to crush Modernism, he knew that in reality most of them went underground. Trying to pin down a Modernists on a theological proposition is like nailing Jell-o to the wall and they do not have the false integrity of the original Protestant heresiarchs to draw a line in the sand and tell Rome to beat it. They are like the Jansenists-slimey characters who won’t leave but continue to morph and camoflage their position so as to attempt to escape censure. What is a charitable person to do? If someone seeks forgiveness, says they turn over a new leaf or just need a second chance, its hard for the good orthodox people to throw the book at them and keep the pressure up even if you know they will keep on causing trouble. Heretics have no such sting of conscience, nor do they have a problem lying their way into or out of anything.

    So, where to send an errant cleric? Say Fr. Whackjob is a Modernist, but says he’s changed and wants another chance. Where is a safe place to put him? What if he feels the heat and wants to turn over a new leaf before the axe drops from Rome? Well, what ended up happening was some of them hid out in the liturgical establishment. It was one of the truly weak links in the Church’s armor because people (very unfortunately) did not place much importance in the study of liturgy nor was it under the closer scrutiny of the Inquisition. That is why some of the earlier (later than Gueranger) Liturgical Movement got involved with the ecumenical movement (contrary to Pius XI) and other such things.

    The other thing is bad ol’ peer pressure. I would bet you that had a person sat down with the vast majority of prelates and priests one on one before the Council and asked them anything about theology or liturgy, what they would say would have been orthodox. They were orthodox, but I think too many of them were “company men” and no so much in the mold of a St. Athanasius or St. Thomas Becket. When “everyone’s doing it”, and this is the “new way”, or “Hey, but Rome said so…(not really)”, and when you had plenty of well placed agitators within and without the Church it doesn’t suprise me that things collapsed so fast. Peer pressure does weird things to people, and it really is hard to get anything truly useful done in a meeting (especially one so grand) when its a free for all. Its very easy to be cowed into silence either out of shame or apathy and many of the progressives were more charismatic than the traditionalists. Narcissists tend to be.

  89. Norah says:

    Masked Chicken, you said:
    “There are plenty of other protestant-minded lay persons taking advantage of the void created by somnolent bishops. EWTN is full of them”

    Who are these “protestant-minded lay persons” at EWTN. I don’t think it is fair to make this claim and not name them because you then imply that all lay people at EWTN have this mindset.

    “The real problem was that the hierarchy did not slap them down when they had the chance, especially in the area of reproductive theology. ”

    I remember reading that Cardinal O’Boyle who tried to discipline Charles Curran was not supported by either the bishops on the board of Catholic University or by Rome.

  90. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Norah says:

    “I remember reading that Cardinal O’Boyle who tried to discipline Charles Curran was not supported by either the bishops on the board of Catholic University or by Rome.”

    You are correct. As a matter of fact, as I understand it, Cdl. Boyle was instructed by Paul VI to reinstate Curran and his dissenting cronies three years after the Cdl. had sacked him. (so, that would have been about 1971?)

    Talk about confusing the sheep?! [sigh]

    MSM

  91. Long-Skirts says:

    THE
    LILY

    (“The martyrs were bound, imprisoned, scourged, racked, burnt, rent, butchered – and they multiplied.” St. Augustine)

    No burning tearing
    Scourging skin
    It’s psychological
    All within.

    No rotting flesh
    Or putrid blood
    It’s sterile clean
    No rancid crud.

    For butchered
    Tortured bound up skins
    Reveals the Truths
    Of Bishops’ sins.

    They want it nice
    They want it hushed
    With veins of ice
    Good souls are crushed.

    The silent cold
    Is better yet
    Frozen solid
    Can’t beget.

    For martyred blood
    Reveals the Church
    Blind souls see Truth
    And end their search.

    “We can’t have that!”
    The Bishops say,
    “So let’s ignore…
    They’ll go away.

    Enlightened men
    Don’t scourge the skin
    Enlightened men
    Keep blood within.”

    But they forgot –
    The woman bleeds
    And monthly makes
    A bed for seeds

    Where nice and hushed
    They’ll grow to men
    And seize the oars
    From wrists that bend…

    On Peter’s Barque
    Where blood still flows
    From woman’s womb…
    The Lily grows!

  92. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    I understand why it is that it would appear that many lay Catholics must have been “pre-corrupted” prior to the mischievous implementation of the changes associated with the Second Vatican Council. Else, how could these changes have been put into place?

    I am a few years older than you, Fr. Martin Fox. It’s not easy for people younger than me, and even for people my age, to understand what life was like before the mid-1960s when . . . well ,. . . when the world went mad. (And the world did go mad during the mid- and late-1960s, and has never recovered since then. And no, I’m not referring to the Civil Rights Movement – that was a good thing, like the invention of the Internet and advances in medical science and agriculture.) Lots of good things have happened since the mid-1960s, but nevertheless, for our entire culture, the underpinnings of how the world works, what people’s expectations about life should be, how to manage one’s life so as to best obtain a successful outcome, how to get along with others, where one fits in in the scheme of thing, all of it, has, since the 1960s, been shaken, upended, overturned, brought down, revamped, redefined, and patched back together. To understand the difference, it might be helpful to picture our culture as once being like a enormous hot air balloon in which everybody rode. The balloon was cruising along at an altitude of about 60,000 feet, but then received a thousand knife cuts to the nylon envelope (and the cutters called these “vents” instead of “damage”), and then patched up so that it will remain airborne. Instead of all riding in the basket, lots of passengers are finding themselves hanging off the basket, clinging to rope ladders, trailing along. And now the balloon can remain airborne only with difficulty, in fits and starts, and can achieve altitudes approaching only a hundred feet or so. And this, my friends, is called “progress.”

    What I am trying to say is, all it takes is a few malefactors with box cutters to slice up the balloon in which everyone is riding. And back in the day, if the malefactors were ordinary folk, others would tackle them and seize the knives. But if the malefactors wore nuns’ habits or clerical collars, most of the laity would not dare say or do anything about it except in the privacy of their homes.

    My parents hated the liturgical and other changes put in place in the aftermath of Vatican II. Hated them with a passion. For years, at Mass my father made all of the responses in Latin. He had sung in the choir, but quit when the selections moved away from Gregorian, and after a guitar selection was played, my father at the end of the song and interject a loud, hillbilly cry “i>Eeeww-hah!” to register his disdain. They completely hated and were totally bitter about all these changes. Lots of people were. But in the mindset of the culture in which they had been socialized, the laity just “put up or shut up.” Period. They would complain in private, and act out in little petty ways, like my father; they would parish hop, but they would no more band together and become activists about this, or approach the pastor, or approach the bishop, than they would jam a fork into their own foreheads. You just don’t do that. The suggestion would leave them bewildered. The laity had their place, and the nuns, priests, and bishops, theirs. That’s what I was talking about with the balloon before the 1960s and after.

    The bishops, the priests, and the nuns had all the power in the Church and they knew it. And they shared it with a select few laypeople, as well. And in the aftermath of Vatican II the badduns used their power to nefarious purposes. I remember hearing or reading groans of misery from many, many laypeople in the 1960s and the 1970s, but they felt stuck. I know some people started leaving the Church then. They just stayed at home. Couldn’t take it.

    I don’t know how these older folks managed to keep their faith. I was just a kid, but a precocious and observant one, fascinated by what adults thought and did. Even for me, the transition was difficult. Today, I believe in attending Holy Mass at my parish wherever possible; there’s no Extraordinary Form offered there. I always try to select the Mass which I know from experience will have the least egregious liturgical selections of the five weekend Masses. That’s the best I can hope for.

  93. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Norah,

    I did not make the first quote you attributed to me.

    The Chicken

  94. Athelstan says:

    Fr. Fox,

    Why did the clergy go along? Why did so many bishops go along?

    All the bishops were in Rome. They knew, as well as anyone, what they voted for, what was discussed. They came home, and then, what did they do?

    Why were they so ready to make such radical change? Why were so many of them willing to go hard, and run roughshod, over their own clergy and laity, with such radical change?

    I have pondered this myself.

    Once we conclude that the revolution of the 60′s in the Church was an elite-led revolution, and once we understand the strong obedience instincts of Catholic laity (including so many in religious orders, especially women), it is easy to understand why so many went along. But why did the elites go along? Why the bishops?

    I have, more than once, conducting an idle investigation of where and when so many of the great liberal lions of bishops in America went for their formation. These were men who went through minor and major seminary in the 30′s and 40′s, at some of the most notable institutions in the U.S. – and I wager that few were soaking up Rahner and Schillebeeckx at that point. So what happened?

    I think part of the answer is that many were “institution-building” clerics. They weren’t missionaries, like their forebears of the 19th century, clawing to haul back into the Church boatloads of immigrant Catholics in the face of a hostile Protestant culture. These men inherited a vast system of institutions, with a ready made pool of Catholics to draw on. When you were setting up a new mission parish, what was the first thing you did? Well, you built a school. The church would follow a little later. Not a bad instinct by itself (lots of children being born in the 40′s and 50′s, after all), but…the result was that the men who tended to rise to the top were the ones who were quite good at building churches and schools and hospitals. They were good at raising money. They were good at weaving themselves into their larger American communities, and making themselves accepted by those communities. They tended not to be evangelizers or thinkers, let alone ascetics. They were good at going with the cultural and social flow, which was…not terribly harmful when that culture and society were generally pointed in a decent moral direction. But when that started to change…

    And the result was that not many had strong immunities to bad theology and bad spirituality, at least not when it was presented with some official imprimature – first from reputable schools and journals of theology, and then from Roman dicasteries or USCCB committees. Especially when what those sources were saying was congruent with the rapid changes going on in their societies in these new unsettled times.

    I don’t think that’s all of the explanation, but I think that’s a large part of it.

    And what about those theologians? Well, I have some other thoughts on that, among them what a mistake it likely was to start having most of our speculative theology be done in universities rather than monasteries. But I will save that for another time.

  95. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Imgilbert,

    You wrote, in reply to Marylise,

    “Your ill-informed and churlish post runs to schism, since you essentially drum Dr. Martin and his fellow charismatics out of the Church.”

    Not to be uncharitable, but exactly how much time have you put into studying the subject, yourself in order to make that comment? I have spent seventeen years, working at, essentially, a dissertation research level studying the subject, in consultation with spiritual directors and theologians. I have access to three major theological libraries (one Catholic, one Lutheran, and one Methodist, all attached to major seminaries), a major secular university research library, and Jones’s 20,000+ article bibliography of Pentecostal/Chatismatic writings.

    As a matter of fact, Ralph Martin is simply wrong and has been wrong for almost fifty years on the subject of exactly what the so-called, “Baptism in the Holy Spirit,” really is. In fact, the subject has not received a correct study from within the Church, yet (hint: the modern phenomenon is not the same phenomenon that occurred on the day of Pentecost, so any Biblical analysis is starting from the wrong place – a mistake that the Protestants made and the Church has not yet, corrected. It also has nothing to do with confirmation). I am an expert on the subject (with experience both from within and from without of the movement) and I, actually, do know when and where the modern phenomenon started, why it started, and what it is. In fact, I am a logical expert that the Vatican would call in to assess something like the, “Holy Laughter Movement,” (John Wimber’s Third Wave Pentecostalism) if they wanted to, since I am an expert both in charismatic theology and the neuro-science of laughter. It would have been impossible to do this research back in the 1960′s, when the Renewal started, because the necessary scholarship to understand the origins of the movement had not been done until the 1980′s, starting with Robert Tuttle’s work on Wesleyan Mysticism and Donald Dayton’s historical studies. For all of the theological ink that has been spilled on the subject, actually no one has treated the phenomenon scientifically, approaching it without pre-conceived notions. If they had, a quite different picture might have emerged. Certainly, neither Ralph Martin, nor Steve Clark, nor Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan, nor Frs. McDonnell and Montague did anything like that when the phenomena began to manifest themselves back in the 1960′s. They simply started with the pre-existing Protestant mistake and then went from there. There is one Protestant theologian writing on the topic, today, who is frustratingly close to the truth, but he lacks the Catholic understanding of mystical theology to get to the complete conclusion.

    Since the phenomenon is not the same as on the day of Pentecost, all of the theology about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc., do not apply (okay, some apply, indirectly, but that is not the point), so the analysis of the two Dominican, above, while correct, is irrelevant.

    The Holy See blesses many groups. That doesn’t mean they are officially sanctioned. I’m sure the Spiritual Franciscans received blessings back in the 14-th century from Pope Celestine V before he abdicated, but were, eventually, declared heretical. In fact, the Church cannot approve of the movement without contradicting her own theology and infallible pronouncements. It can certainly bless it, however.

    In my opinion, the Charismatic movement should be run out of the Church – the movement, not the people. I say that after years of study. Both you and Marylise represent the two common knee-jerk reactions to the Renewal, one supportive, the other dismissive. I know many people who have made spiritual progress while in the Renewal, but, facts are facts – the modern phenomenon is based on a defect in faith and that defect, while allowing some room for growth, ultimately contains a barrier to complete union with God in this life.

    I have written about some of the complex history of the modern Pentecostal movement in the comment section of this blog, before, so I won’t repeat it, here. As Walter Hollenweger (the dean of Pentecostal historians) has remarked (paraphrased), “A true contribution from the Catholic side is still wanting.”

    The Chicken

  96. Sonshine135 says:

    If the church returned fully and completely to the old liturgy and we lost Catholics in the process, this would bring to mind the question of whether or not Catholicism was important to them to begin with. How many of us have suffered through a Mass that was not fitting with standing at the foot of the cross? In the end, it was because we knew the church was the one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. If we lose others, it is because they questioned their understanding of what it meant to be Catholic. This “indifference” is what has watered down the faith to begin with. These are the people that think that just because their Protestant neighbor is nice, they too will go to heaven. The gate is narrow, and the field is filled with choking weeds. Time for some pruning. In the end, the pews will fill up again. It took 50 years to get us into this situation. It will take 50 to get us back out. The church is worth it. Our Lord is worth it.

  97. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    I think Athelstan makes some good points.

    I wonder whether to take a vibrant, well-populated church and to bring it to institutional collapse, it is necessary to do anything more than to alienate, offend, and embitter a goodly proportion of the most contributing adult laity, sending them home with no outlet but to gripe to anyone who will listen about how horrible the liturgy is, and possibly, refuse to attend. Naturally these adults will communicate their discontent to the next generation, and they to the next, poisoning, in some cases, their childrens’ minds against the Church. And right away, you have a drop in attendance which increases year by year; in a few generations, you have a profound vacuum in catechesis, in upbringing, in the handing on of what it means to live the Catholic faith, much of which had once been inculcated at home by one’s parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, but once these are embittered and alienated, that stream of socialization dries up.

    I’m sure the role of bishops and theologians as key, too. But a lot of the lay adults were extremely alienated during the 1960s and 1970s. I mean alienated right out of the Church.

    And now yet another, bigger flock of those same chickens are coming home to roost.

    It is to weep.

  98. Lynne says:

    Here’s a useful book…

    One Hundred Years of Modernism: A Genealogy of the Principles of the Second Vatican Council

    “Change” was the buzzword of the 1960′s and ’70′s. When it hit the Catholic Church, its faithful were told to expect a glorious springtime. Instead, doubt and instability have prevailed.

    Where has the destruction come from? All indicators point to the Second Vatican Council (1962 – 65) as its epicenter. To prove it, the author reconstructed a family tree – a genealogy – of Vatican II to uncover the chain of causes that resulted in this Council and its novelties.

    The Vatican II “effect” is related to a heresy going back one hundred years: Modernism. The modernists, actively fought by Pope Pius X (1903-14) and condemned by the encyclical Pascendi (1907), had been working ever since to align the Church with new ideas in philosophy. But their “new ideas” had an origin, too. Following back links in the chain, the author reached the first link: Martin Luther.

    One Hundred Years of Modernism is an everyman’s survey of the history of philosophical ideas from Aristotle’s sane realism to the existentialists’ insanity. In chronological order, from its roots in Luther’s principle of private judgment through its subsequent developments, it shows that modernism, prematurely declared dead after St. Pius X’s reign, revived after World War II and reached the highest levels of the Catholic Church’s hierarchy.

  99. Athelstane,

    Another large part of why some many bishops “went along” in the 1960s is that (like the rest of us) they had little choice. My own home-diocese bishop at the time indicated in published statements his reservations about the direction of the implementation of the Council that was being imposed by various non-hierarchical agencies and commissions, but he apparently had to go along like everyone else.

    Cardinal Ratzinger alluded to this situation at the 2001 Fontgombault Liturgical Conference:

    After the Council there was a new situation, because the liturgists had acquired a de facto authority: all the time, the authority of the Church was accorded less recognition, and it was now the expert who became the authority. This transfer of authority to the experts transformed everything, and these experts in turn were the victims of an exegesis profoundly influenced by the opinions of Protestantism . . .

    Before the Council, and now to a more limited extent, the Church was strictly hierarchical with (oversimplifying a bit) the curia obeying the pope, bishops obeying the curia, priests obeying bishops, laity obeying priests. In the chaos of the 1960s, these clear cut lines of authority were severed. In the liturgy, for instance, the implementation of SC was taken out of the hands of the Congregation for Divine Worship (its title today), and given to the famous consilium composed largely of liturgical experts and activists. Bishops no longer received direct instructions through the accustomed official channels, and thus the bishops simply lost control of the liturgy, to the extent that for many of them it’s probably unfair to say that they merely went along. Like everyone else, they were subject to the decisions of national and international commissions of experts. Hard for some to imagine now, but reality in the anarchy and chaos of the 1960s, when the “spirit of Vatican II” was perceived as a higher authority than one’s bishop, or even the entire hierarchy of the Church.

  100. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    I don’t agree that all this disaster is “the fault of Vatican II.” I was alive back then, and aware. I lived with my parents’ complaints about it. Sunday in, and Sunday out.

    I agree there has been a disaster, but I believe the disaster is the fault of activists who used Vatican II as cover to implement an agenda of their own, an agenda never contemplated and certainly never intended by most of the participants in the Council. It is that agenda that has brought about the disaster we are now living with.

  101. I appreciate the many comments responding to my comments. They include many good observations.

    For example, Athelstan makes a very good point about how many priests and bishops were “institution builders” in the 1950s and 1960s. There’s no question that we had, at least in the U.S., an era where a lot of schools and parishes were built, and–aside from the Council or any other cultural influence–we are living with their decisions. Again, there’s no question that in many, many cases, the men who had to make these decisions were so often guided by practical considerations, with a “get ‘er done” mindset, which is often just what you need. When you combine that with a new architectural wind, that helps explain a particular wave of ugly churches: they were functional.

    But…haven’t we always had to build institutions? Haven’t we always had clergy who would be more in that mindset?

    Maybe one answer is to say we had a “perfect storm” of trends, both within the Church, and in society.

    I have to observe, however, that the oversimplified answer persists, even in this thread. Someone–not too many comments before this one–said, all we need to do is go back to the old liturgy and the old way of catechesis. While that would be an improvement in many cases, I don’t agree that’s the answer.

    No matter how often Blessed John XXIII’s decision to call the council is painted as totally out of the blue, I think that’s also oversimplified. There were, for some time, questions and trends in liturgy and theology that deserved further consideration. And, whether the pope knew it or not, obviously something was at work in the Church.

    Meanwhile, we have this question to ponder. Even if good people didn’t know what they were getting into, and even if you decide that bad, or at least misguided, people were driving hard to create mischief, there remains the fact that the Church is God’s Beloved, and surely He has some compassion on us poor mortals who can’t know or see all outcomes? He knew what was coming, even if none of us did. Do you no longer believe in Divine Providence? I still do.

    An interesting thing happens when–as is pretty much the case with me–ones education in Vatican II starts with the documents themselves, rather than what any partisan says about Vatican II. I persist in my belief that, freed from the clutches of those who — rather openly — want to use the work of Vatican II as a springboard for some further “evolution,” the content of the Council has quite a lot good and useful to offer to the Church.

    Consider just one point, so badly mangled over the years: the invitation to the laity to take a greater role in the life of the Church. Contrast that with the observation offered many times, in response to my question: that the reason people went along with radical change is because of a mindset of compliance and not knowing any better.

    Well, a Vatican II-empowered laity increasingly does not just go along with nonsense, just because a bishop says it. Right? Is it not largely the laity who have risen up against the misbegotten “Spirit of Vatican II”?

    If we’re going to address the crisis in the Church, we need a better answer than “go back.” I say that as one who offers both forms of the Roman Rite in Latin and wears a cassock.

  102. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    “Well, a Vatican II-empowered laity increasingly does not just go along with nonsense, just because a bishop says it. Right? Is it not largely the laity who have risen up against the misbegotten ‘Spirit of Vatican II’?”

    The answer to your question is: it depends:

    Much like a Bolshevik Revolutionary holding a gun to a Russian peasant’s head, and informing him that the peasant now has “power” . . . as in, power to quadruple his production over last year’s harvest.

    Or else.

    That’s not what we really mean by “power”.

    Many of the faithful in the 1960s and 1970s were accustomed to doing what they were told. Period. Now in the aftermath of Vatican II, they were “informed” that they had this right and that one, but they were informed of this often by the very people who were gouging up the liturgy. And it was also clear for all to see that you were empowered to go up against the pastor, and you were empowered to go up against the bishop, but if you had the temerity to dare trying to go up against the liturgist, then you would be taken down harder and quicker than a fattened hog at ham-curing time. Your case would get nowhere.

    If the ordinary was powerless against the authority of a rogue liturgist, what recourse did the laity at the time realistically have?

    Things are very, very different today, in that respect, for which I am very grateful.

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  104. Fr. Fox: “If we’re going to address the crisis in the Church, we need a better answer than “go back.”

    Indeed. And thank you for instigating and continuing this present discussion of what happened in the 1960s. Which, however, as you suggest, may not be really pertinent to how best to move forward from where we are now.

    I speak only as a layman who attends weekly both a well-celebrated EF Mass and a well-celebrated OF Mass. But, even as one who for many years has devoted much time and effort to support and advocacy of the TLM, it is clear to me that for the vast majority of Catholics it would not be best (or even good) to simply “go back” to it, even if it were possible, as it most certainly is not. Rather, the road ahead surely leads through the reform of the reform in the light of the TLM that provides an anchor in tradition.

    Therefore, I might even venture to speculate gratuitously that–as a priest “who offers both forms of the Roman Rite in Latin”–your greater service to Church and parishioners might well lie in exemplary celebration of the normative OF liturgy of the Church.

  105. robtbrown says:

    Fr Martin Fox says,

    Why did those clergy and laity so eagerly embrace–and promote–that mischief
    And, for whatever reason they did (stop and read these next words carefully): you cannot blame the disposition of those clergy and laity on Vatican II–their disposition was formed prior to Vatican II

    Agree. Just to comment on one aspect:

    The Sacramental Theology of Karl Rahner, which has done major damage to the life of the Church, is little else than an updated version of the contractual ST of Suarez that dominated the Counter Reformation Church. The difference is that the contract has been removed, replaced by “experience” (cf German Existentialism).

    BTW, the contractual approach can at best be a minimal explanation of ex opere operato.

  106. Supertradmum says:

    I have spoken with several priests, now in their very old age, who said that they entered the seminaries in the 1950s, well before Vatican II, in order to make the Church more Protestant. Vatican II is a result of earlier changes in thinking, not the start of liturgical changes, and one only has to look at the type of theology taught even between the wars for clarity. Theology was geared already in the 1950s towards ecumenism, the only ideal which many priests and bishops thought would keep Christianity safe from communism and socialism.

    I have often told the history of the twelve experimental dioceses in America on liturgical reform, as I grew up in one. I have only met two priests in my life willing to discuss this real concerted effort to change the Vatican’s ideas on liturgy by manipulating successful scenarios with course and incremental changes.

    My parents, starting before, I repeat, before, and during Vatican II, were part of a diocesan training for the laity. Lay people were divided up into home courses on the history of the liturgy, with built in explanations which would explain changes. Now, I was too young, but babysat my brothers while my parents were part of these classes in peoples ‘homes. The parish priest would go to these meetings. Then, the liturgy was changed in light of this build up and feedback was gathered from the laity. All of it would have been positive, as the people were primed for the changes, which were introduced incrementally.

    The results of these twelve dioceses were sent back to Rome, which then promulgated the changes. I did not realize until fourteen years later, when I moved to Minneapolis as a young adult, and talked to people there, how unusual my parent’s and their fellow diocesan adults’ experience were. I began to piece together this occurrence, but it was not until, forty or so years later, I kid you not, that two priests from widely separated dioceses, were willing to spill the beans on this event-the experimental, incremental changes in the liturgy coupled with courses, which created highly successful feedback for Rome.

    So, the breakdown of hierarchy started in seminary training before Vatican II and the liturgical changes were likewise planned. Vatican II is a result, not the beginning of the undermining of both hierarchy and liturgy.

  107. lmgilbert says:

    @The Masked Chicken

    You write,
    “Ralph Martin, along with Steve Clark suggested to Profs. Storey and Keefer at Dusquesne University that they attend a Pentecostal prayer meeting in order to gain spiritual power. Cardinal Suenens enters the picture a little bit later after the Renewal hit Notre Dame, if I remember, correctly.”

    The Duquesne phase was in 1967. The movement came to Notre Dame later that year, I believe.
    Not until 1973 did Cdl Suenens enter the picture. I was at True House at the time- a charismatic covenant community located just off the Notre Dame campus- when we heard that a cardinal of the Church was coming. He came, and evidently he wanted to get a sense of what the movement was like for the participants for I stood behind him in line for Holy Communion at a Mass in the basement of one of the households.

  108. “you cannot blame the disposition of those clergy and laity on Vatican II–their disposition was formed prior to Vatican II”

    No, of course not. What Vatican II did was to create a unique historical situation in which this disposition could be exploited within to the detriment of the whole Church, from top to bottom, rather than outside it (as in the Reformation) or in smallish parts of it (as in the various earlier heresies).

    It is difficult (at least, for me) to imagine how this could have happened short of a titanic Church event that could convincingly be claimed to have “changed everything”–as indeed it did, in so many ways.

  109. steve jones says:

    @Imrahil

    100,000 women alone raped in Berlin during the first year of occupation. Part of your country still occupied up until the 1980′s. Your cities razed to the ground by an occupying force in the West that was prepared to use West Germany as a potential theatre for a third European conflict. Is it realistic to describe West Germany’s situation as ‘normalised’ by 1962? I can turn on my TV this evening and find an Anglo-Saxon documentary vilifying the German people. An incessant stream of propaganda dating back since 1945. These same propagandists gave us the virtual council to which Papa Ratzinger drew out attention.

  110. samwise says:

    @ sw85,

    Do you realize what you said about Schism? That’s a self-defeating prophecy if I ever heard one.
    Our business is to be about the Father’s business–not predicting schisms and languages for liturgy, etc. The New Evangelization is, as it always has been in the Church, a call to radical (‘rooted’) discipleship in following our Master Christ–unashamed of the Gospel. Are you ashamed of VCII or the Novus Ordo? I am not.

  111. joan ellen says:

    The above comments are most helpful. Long-Skirts thank you for your combining words of the thoughts presented. The Whys and the Whats of the Institutional Collapse of the Church do need answers.
    sw85 says:
    22 August 2013 at 12:18 pm
    @ClavesCoelorum,
    “The best resources would be the documents of Vatican II. Read them yourself. I think you will find, if you give them a very careful reading, that there is nothing contrary to orthodoxy in them, even if there is definitely a marked break in style.” @ClavesCoelorum, I agree with your resource choice. Good priests seem to have no problem integrating VAT II documents into their catechesis.
    @ Fr. Fox, “If we’re going to address the crisis in the Church, we need a better answer than “go back. I say that as one who offers both forms of the Roman Rite in Latin and wears a cassock.”
    @Fr. Fox, thank you. Please keep doing the OF and EF.

    Henry Edwards says:
    23 August 2013 at 10:43 am
    “Fr. Fox:”
    “…as one who for many years has devoted much time and effort to support and advocacy of the TLM, it is clear to me that for the vast majority of Catholics it would not be best (or even good) to simply “go back” to it, even if it were possible, as it most certainly is not. Rather, the road ahead surely leads through the reform of the reform in the light of the TLM that provides an anchor in tradition.”

    “Therefore, I might even venture to speculate gratuitously that–as a priest “who offers both forms of the Roman Rite in Latin”–your greater service to Church and parishioners might well lie in exemplary celebration of the normative OF liturgy of the Church.” @Henry Edwards, thank you for supporting Fr. Fox and the other priests who do offer both the OF and EF well.

    I attend both EF and OF, preferring the EF. I have had to come to realize the reality…that some souls do better with the OF as my soul does with the EF.

  112. GordonB says:

    This makes me think of the years I helped with the RCIA process, it was a (roughly) nine months, and get your “Catholic” Diploma. I can say nearly everyone who started and simply wanted to be Catholic — conversion or no, true assent (although its a spoken assent indeed) or no, they become Catholic at the first Easter Vigil after they began. The RCIA leaders do try to Catechize and lead horses to the conversion water, but the whole notion of the calendar not deciding it (i.e. Easter Vigil) but you. Its just a little too mechanical of a process, at least in the few parishes I’ve seen it done. Its sort of like its modeled on the whole For-Profit-Education racket.

  113. joan ellen says:

    robtbrown says:
    23 August 2013 at 10:51 am
    “Fr Martin Fox says,’

    “Why did those clergy and laity so eagerly embrace–and promote–that mischief
    And, for whatever reason they did (stop and read these next words carefully): you cannot blame the disposition of those clergy and laity on Vatican II–their disposition was formed prior to Vatican II

    Agree. Just to comment on one aspect:

    The Sacramental Theology of Karl Rahner, which has done major damage to the life of the Church, is little else than an updated version of the contractual ST of Suarez that dominated the Counter Reformation Church. The difference is that the contract has been removed, replaced by “experience” (cf German Existentialism).

    BTW, the contractual approach can at best be a minimal explanation of ex opere operato.”

    Thank you for this. How is this best reversed?

  114. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Not until 1973 did Cdl Suenens enter the picture. I was at True House at the time- a charismatic covenant community located just off the Notre Dame campus- when we heard that a cardinal of the Church was coming. He came, and evidently he wanted to get a sense of what the movement was like for the participants for I stood behind him in line for Holy Communion at a Mass in the basement of one of the households.”

    My point was not to provide a detailed timeline, but simply point out that Ralph Martin was earlier in Charismatic history than Cdl. Suenens by a short time. I will have to go back and check my notes (which are in storage), but I seem to remember Cdl Suenens having some knowledge before 1973, while in Rome, but I haven’t looked in a while, nor is the exactly chronology important in this context, only the ordering.

    The Chicken

  115. Priam1184 says:

    The disaster which followed Vatican II is not the fault of the Council per se. Something dark had been building within and among the clergy and the hierarchy for decades and centuries before the Second Vatican Council. That is why Pope St. Pius X was so concerned about Modernism at the outset of the 20th century (50 years before Vatican II) that he instituted the Oath against Modernism. That oath seems to have done no good as the cancer metastasized during the first half of the century while the laity were attending Mass, saying their Rosaries, and think that everything was the just as it had been since the Council of Trent and before. The enemy of mankind does his work in the shadows, and he is extremely patient and will not strike until he feels his moment has arrived. The vagueness of such documents as Nostra Aetate which can be interpreted by some as reaffirming the Church’s Traditional view of itself as the sole Gate of Salvation open to mankind, and by others as seeming to state that the Church is just one of many paths to God is a product of this shadowy work of the preceding centuries.

    Now, we could also see Vatican II as a blessing because it drew all of that darkness out into the open where it cannot long survive, and 50 years is not that long in the life of the Church. So many of the commonplace attitudes and (mis)beliefs of our day and time that have caused so much destruction may be swept away by events in the world over the next years and decades. One never knows how history will take its turns. And another Council could answer all of these questions and end this confusion and eliminate the vagueness if the proper Authority will grant us that gift. We must wait and hope.

  116. Supertradmum says:

    samwise we are already in schism in most Western countries including America, and have been for a long time. If you cannot see it, pray for more clear sight. Teachers teaching heresy in seminaries, clergy still disobedient in the saying of the liturgy, theologians denying hell or that anyone is in it, all are connected to the modernist heresies, rife in the Church. To cling to a heresy is to be in actual schism, whether formally stated or not. Modernism is taught everywhere. And, this list does not include pro-abortion Catholics or those who contracept.

    Any bishop who acts daily as if Rome does not matter, as many American bishops do, is in virtual schism. This is part of the heresy of Americanism. Formal schisms are many, and just wait until those who are disobedient to Rome organize themselves into the American Catholic Church. Same sex marriage will separate out many more. Read this.
    http://supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.ie/2013/08/musings-on-treachery.html

  117. Supertradmum says:

    GordonB, some dioceses in the States are seriously considering a two year RCIA set up. Separates the sheep from the goats, I think. Too bad priests cannot take on individuals, as they still do in some parts of England. But, with so many badly catechized priests, the problems would most likely be the same. I know RCIA directors who teach against contraception who have been told not to do so by the pastors.

  118. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Several times on this thread, the question has been asked, “what is to be done?”

    I have pondered for some time the value of dedicating oneself to pray for the Church, that this is urgently needed. (The prayer, not the pondering.)

    What else?

  119. Supertradmum says:

    BTW, RCIA training workshops in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese begin with Mass in the EF. Not all RCIA programs are the same. I had Adult Faith Formation training in that diocese in 2010, and it was straight down the wicket. Superb.

  120. What else?

    Support and encourage the good and faithful young priests you know who are dedicated to the restoration of the Church. They need not only your prayers but (especially) verbal and tangible support, for they will certainly get criticism and non-support or even opposition from others.

  121. Supertradmum says:

    The Masked Chicken, lmgilbert, some of us do not need notes. Feb. 1967, Martin and others experienced the beginnings of Catholic charismatic renewal, which spread to Notre Dame within a short period of time, creating the community in South Bend, while the similar things were happening in Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Francisco, Steubenville, etc. Cardinal Suenens was as the Notre Dame charismatic conference I think in 1973, but I had seen him at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, when he said Mass there and gave a talk on the Holy Spirit, which could have been in 1972 or early 1973. I was about 23 at the time. Suenens was not in the original Martin group, of course. Charismatic renewal has nothing to do with the Council, but much to do with many of the liturgical aberrations and anti-intellectualism among some Catholics, later. I paraphrase Dr. Scott Hahn; there is one road into the Catholic Church through Charismatic Renewal, and six roads out.

    lmgilbert, we might know some of the same people, then. Although, I would have been in Iowa until I moved to Minneapolis in 1974.

  122. Supertradmum says:

    BTW, Cardinal Suenens played a huge part in the Council, huge and he was big on collegiality and ecumenism, the two bugbears we are still facing. I have an intuition, ironically, that his involvement in Charismatic Renewal may have saved him from becoming an even more progressive prelate than he was already, being a Rahner and Kung man for sure. I have thought that for a long time.

  123. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Thank you, Henry Edwards. Good suggestion. Will do.

    I have begun to think that more and more we Catholics will find ourselves in much the same position as the Christians in Rome in Apostolic times: Priests and bishops – few and far between; consecrated nuns or sisters, ditto, and they often widows living privately in their family homes. Beyond that, no Catholic hospitals, no Catholic orphanages, no Catholic schools or universities, no missions, no clinics, no homeless shelters, nothing institutional at all run by the Church. A few parishes, each with its sanctuary, that’s it.

    Twenty centuries ago, the Catholic laity did more or less everything, apart from, of course, administering the sacraments. And most of what was done was from their homes.

    My word to those who celebrated, “the empowerment of the laity”: “be careful what you wish for. You might get it.”

  124. marylise says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae: God in His goodness has already answered the question, “What is to be done?” He gave St. Thomas Aquinas to the Church as a gift of light. When the hierarchy returns to the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, all things will be restored in Christ and the current crisis will dissolve. St. Thomas Aquinas elucidated three principles, which have been abandoned since the Second Vatican Council. They are: (1) the difference between the whole and the part, and the relationship between the whole and the part; (2) the difference between substance and accidents; and (3) the law of non-contradiction. The crisis in the Church is not primarily moral but intellectual (bad thinking). It will continue for as long as the hierarchy pretends St. Thomas Aquinas never existed. This is why God in His justice does not intervene to save us, as some would hope (e.g., an astonishing miracle or super saint). He has already given us the answer, but we are too proud to acknowledge that a man who died in 1274 understood every key element contributing to the health of the Church and the world. The last 50 years should have been spent developing, perfecting and applying the teaching of the Angelic Doctor. Instead, he was trashed and the hierarchy insisted on getting along without him. It will never work and God has no sympathy with this obstinacy. We will continue to be punished until St. Thomas Aquinas is reinstated as the philosopher the Church calls her own.

  125. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Supertradmum,

    Can’t there be such a thing as “Ecunemism . . . but With Healthy Boundaries”?

    I gather many of the more objectionable changes to Jesus’ Holy Mass were put in place as a result of the input of Protestant (and Jewish) observers. Some didn’t like this, or didn’t like that, and it was changed.

    Look, you are welcome in my home, and as my guest I will see to your comfort with everything I’ve got, but you’d better not tell me that you don’t like the color of my living room carpet or that I need to change my Christmas decorations. Because if you do, I will ignore you.

    That’s what we Catholics should’ve done to kvetching non-Catholic observers. You don’t like it? There’s the door, pal. It’s been real. Have a nice one.

    The very idea that we changed anything for such reasons, I find infuriating.

    Beyond that, talk. Why not talk to our friends and neighbors of other faiths? Just so long as we have a very firm understanding of who we are and what God expects from us, first and foremost.

    A good phrase for us would be, “Sorry that’s a non-negotiable. Buy hey! Keep us in the loop.”

  126. nfp4life says:

    This is an upsetting subject, no doubt. But please be heartened- it’s not happening everywhere!
    Take a look: http://bit.ly/17QUaTv We are blessed to be a member of this parish- and it’s less than an hour away. Deo Gratias!

  127. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Hi, Marylise,

    Thanks so much for mentioning the Angelic Doctor. You are right; Saint Thomas does have many valuable answers to every problem or question.

    I’m embarassed to admit my volumes of the Summa have a light layer of dust on them: Poor housekeeper, worse Catholic. I mean to remedy both this weekend. Thank you.

  128. maryh says:

    I agree with the “absolute obedience” situation which allowed those with authority to run rough shod over the laity.

    But there were two other things going on in the culture at the time, IMHO. One was the elevation of “experts” to the level of demi-gods, not just by Catholics, but by everyone. [The other was what I now consider an all-out "War on Women" which is still going on.]

    During the war, the experts created the atomic bomb, which had the ability to destroy all human life on the planet. Today, we talk about a Muslim controlled world, or total anarchy. When I was growing up, we talked about no more people. During the war, the “miracle drugs”, antibiotics, were discovered and began to be used. And the sixties were also bracketed by the launch of the first satellite by the USSR in 1957 and the US moon landing in 1969.

    So the adults and kids of the sixties had an inordinate belief in the power of science or the “experts.” Giving over the real authority to a panel of liturgical “experts”, and priests and bishops and even the Pope actually putting up with that, makes perfect sense to me in the climate of the sixties.

  129. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    “This is an upsetting subject, no doubt.”

    It is! And it’s been weighing on my heart for months and months. And I bet it has been on plenty of others’, too. This thread is very helpful, actually. A place to learn, a place to share ideas, a place to vent. Very helpful!

  130. Athelstan says:

    Hello Fr. Fox,

    Thank you for the kind reply.

    But…haven’t we always had to build institutions? Haven’t we always had clergy who would be more in that mindset?

    Undoubtedly. I think what I’m trying to assert here is that American clergy in the 20th century were unusually focused on this. But more to the point, I think that the clerical culture in this respect was such that they had less natural powers of resistance to these kind of theological pressures than did, say, the American clergy of the 1860′s – clergy who were still facing the real threat of nativist mob action attacking their churches and their parishioners. They also had more support in this regard from Rome under Pius XI and Leo XIII.

    What springs to mind here are some observations about the dangers of “Americanism” and growing lack of wariness about the same (despite Cardinal Gibbons’ rebuttals) among American bishops and priests as detailed in Russell Shaw’s new book, American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America. American clergy was keen to assimilate their Church into American society, and so they conducted their institution-building more and more with that in mind. American clergy and bishops of the 1950′s felt much “part of America” than their predecessors had in the 1850′s, I think. So when the water started to boil in the late 50′s and 60′s…the frogs were already in the water. And, to varying degrees – there’s always a spectrum at work – some even went along with some degree of enthusiasm with the boiling. Which is to say that i think your observation is correct:

    Maybe one answer is to say we had a “perfect storm” of trends, both within the Church, and in society.

    Especially when you factor in what was happening in Catholic theology at that time, and how it was impacted deeply (and mostly for the worse) by new developments in Liberal Protestantism and secular thought…and a seminary formation (let us be frank) that too often had become a kind of stale, rote neo-Thomism, unable to offer the kind of engagement and resistance to its young priests against some of these more problematic ideas. It was, indeed, a perfect storm, and it swept away vast swaths of the Church at its peak of fury.

    Well, a Vatican II-empowered laity increasingly does not just go along with nonsense, just because a bishop says it. Right? Is it not largely the laity who have risen up against the misbegotten “Spirit of Vatican II”?

    That’s an important point that gets missed quite often. If there’ s one respect in which traditionalists or tradition-leaning Catholics are NOT simply replicating what was happening in 1958, it is this: they’re a far more organized, far less docile bunch. They don’t simply “pray, pay and obey” any longer. Their grandparents, on the other hand, invariably went along with whatever Fr. O’Quinn or Sr. Rita said the Council said we should do, even if that meant receiving Communion in the hand, rearranging the entire Sanctuary, removing the statues, introducing guitars, throwing out the Baltimore Catechism…or, at most, they might sit silently, grumbling to themselves. I think of a story in U.S. Catholic a few years back, “Who Moved My Tabernacle”, which detailed the enormous opposition that efforts to radically renovate the interior of St. Edmund of Canterbury church in suburban Chicago. The opposition won and the plans were shelved, something unthinkable in, say, 1967. Money quote: “The level of rancor has risen drastically in the past five years, say observers, largely because of the Internet. It allows critics to argue their case in word and picture and to organize for action quickly in ways not previously possible.”

    But then I dare say that this wasn’t exactly the kind of lay empowerment that the liberals of the 60′s had in mind. Even setting aside the Internet.

  131. Athelstan says:

    P.S One other thought – if anyone is still reading this far down in the thread combox (which I think is one of the most thoughtful I have seen of late):

    I really do hope everyone takes the chance to read all of Ralph Martin’s entire article – all 18 pages of it – because there’s good food for thought in there, especially about the failures of catechesis in these recent decades – and, most importantly, even much of what we all think of as good catechesis. Note this observation by Martin: “Though the RCIA has greatly improved the initiation process in many ways, it is oftentimes conducted as providing information rather than formation. Frequently there is no significant discernment about the readiness of candidates for baptism, in their intention to live a new way of life and in their desire for the graces and obligations of the sacraments.”

    And I would say that was too true of my RCIA program. Actually not bad, doctrinally; but there was almost no effort to actually form candidates – to learn how to pray, how to do spiritual and corporal acts of mercy. Information, not formation. Something all of us involved in catechesis (especially of our children) that we all need to think hard about going forward.

  132. OrthodoxChick says:

    Supertradmum,

    To read all that you and others are saying about how orchestrated the modernist movement was and how deeply it had penetrated the Church, even before VII, it gives me some comfort and hope about the times we are living in now. It’s really a miracle that more and more Catholics are returning to the TLM and the traditonal teaching and practices of the Church. It is a miracle that it survived the assaults against it in order to be discovered and eventually returned (mostly) to its rightful place by P.E. Benedict 16. The TLM will be our safe harbor in the current storms that are surely going to intensify. Since it does not look as though humanity will be returning to its senses anytime soon, it probably has to happen this way. The world needs a wake up call.

  133. joan ellen says:

    Supertradmum says:
    23 August 2013 at 3:08 pm
    “…Charismatic renewal has nothing to do with the Council, but much to do with many of the liturgical aberrations and anti-intellectualism among some Catholics, later.” Thank you, Supertradmum. I think that in my limited experience this has been my experience.

    The word picture that is emerging for me as a result of these comments, and I thank you all, is that VAT II – before, during, and after was helped by various other people to bring about the collapse. Individually, in movements (such as Charismatic), in programs (such as RCIA), and most especially the loss of the Mass, Rosary, etc., and the loss of St. Thomas Aquinas…and his direction/leadership in thought- logic and reason as marylise says:
    23 August 2013 at 3:34 pm
    “Marion Ancilla Mariae: God in His goodness has already answered the question, “What is to be done?” He gave St. Thomas Aquinas to the Church as a gift of light. When the hierarchy returns to the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, all things will be restored in Christ and the current crisis will dissolve.”
    The Whats. The Whys…disobedience, power, various agendas. The answers…the restoration and promotion of the Mass, especially the EF, and the Sacraments, especially Confession as Fr. Z exhorts us, (Most Christians whom I ask if they believe in the Blessed Trinity answer yes. I then explain that the Catholic Catechism is divided into 4 parts and ask if they believe in the Apostles Creed. Answer again, yes. I say “and we don’t agree on the Liturgy and the Sacraments, but we do agree on the Moral Order, the 10 Commandments, and we do agree on prayer.” Of course this is in general. It is the Liturgy and the Sacraments that divide even Catholics. And as I type this I can see one other thought that needs to be mentioned. We do not agree on obedience to the Holy Father and the Magisterium of the Church. (Please, my dear SSPX friends, please Trust God so that we can worship together.) Support and encouragement of our priests who are leading us as the Church would have them do, as per Henry Edwards. The reinstatement of St. Thomas Aquinas.

    Then there is this:
    Marion Ancilla Mariae says:
    23 August 2013 at 3:31 pm
    “I have begun to think that more and more we Catholics will find ourselves in much the same position as the Christians in Rome in Apostolic times: Priests and bishops – few and far between; consecrated nuns or sisters, ditto, and they often widows living privately in their family homes. Beyond that, no Catholic hospitals, no Catholic orphanages, no Catholic schools or universities, no missions, no clinics, no homeless shelters, nothing institutional at all run by the Church. A few parishes, each with its sanctuary, that’s it.

    Twenty centuries ago, the Catholic laity did more or less everything, apart from, of course, administering the sacraments. And most of what was done was from their homes.”

    How I love these words…”from their homes”… I have been thinking in the last few days…to do just that…such as prepare for a Consecration to the Blessed Mother…at home. And offer every breath, every thought, every word as a prayer, every silence…for spouse, family, others, for the poor souls in Purgatory, for the conversion of poor sinners everywhere, and remind myself “don’t forget the Church”.

    The words “from their homes” remind me of learning alternative health practices. And also remind me of studio apartments, especially for singles and newly weds…built or transformed by Catholic Associations…even loosely formed ones for establishing places to live, but also places to come together as Catholics who are on the same page…perhaps the same sentence, probably not on the same word. Differences will be there.

    Sorry for such a long comment.

  134. joan ellen says:

    I’m afraid my last comment included a ‘rabbi hole’. Sorry.

    One other important answer: “Smile a lot” as Fr. Z told us about many posts ago.

    Athelstan says:
    23 August 2013 at 4:36 pm
    “P.S One other thought – if anyone is still reading this far down in the thread combox (which I think is one of the most thoughtful I have seen of late):” I agree with your word thoughtful, and add the word useful. For example:

    “And I would say that was too true of my RCIA program. Actually not bad, doctrinally; but there was almost no effort to actually form candidates – to learn how to pray, how to do spiritual and corporal acts of mercy. Information, not formation. Something all of us involved in catechesis (especially of our children) that we all need to think hard about going forward.” I couldn’t agree more. I am happy to see this distinction being made so well.

  135. joan ellen says:

    Darn. That is supposed to be ‘rabbit hole’.

  136. av8er says:

    Pootiesmom has it right. Why makes things complicated? Dissecting the social and geo-political influences of the first half of the 20th century and its effect on VII is very interesting but it is crying over spilled milk. Let’s right this ship. She’s listing pretty hard to port (left for you land lovers).
    Pope BXVI emeritus had written that the church would have to shrink. I believe, and I think he did too, it will bounce back and grow. We can’t be afraid of loosing more members in an effort to revitalize the lost sacredness of the worship to God. Doing nothing will not change the exodus out of the church.
    What do we do? Yes, prayer first, but we, the laity need to lean into the church to get her going in the right direction. That means an infiltration of our own. Infiltrate the parish offices, diocesan offices, sign up to teach catechism, RCIA, etc. We can’t plant seeds by flinging them over the fence. We need to get in there. The infiltration mindset is that the EF is not only appropriate but cool!
    Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi

  137. sw85 says:

    @ The Masked Chicken,

    I have some personal interest in the relative merits and flaws of the Charismatic movement, having recently come into the fellowship of some people who are enthusiastic about it. Can you recommend any writings about it (whether professional/scholarly or just personal musings on a blog somewhere)?

  138. GordonB says:

    Supertradmom — Ironic…I’m in the KC area. I didn’t mean to imply that the truth was not taught where is was, I only meant to emphasize that it was more (one year) than conversion based as to when a participant was allowed to become a Catholic. And FWIW forcing a two year process still misses the point… And could keep people of good will away because of the realities of a busy modern life.

  139. joan ellen says:

    pookiesmom says:
    22 August 2013 at 9:23 pm
    “I’ve always thought that the Mass of Paul VI is the punishment levied by God on His people for the massive falling away from Catholic teaching on sexual morality…”

    av8er says:
    23 August 2013 at 8:30 pm
    “Pootiesmom has it right. Why makes things complicated?”

    “We can’t plant seeds by flinging them over the fence. We need to get in there. The infiltration mindset is that the EF is not only appropriate but cool!”

    pookismom does get it. A punishment from God. What does He want? “That they may be one.”
    To infiltrate is a nice approach to this oneness. Yet I have seen where that has happened only to have the infiltrators converted to the non-infiltrators way of thinking.

    As I reflect on the above comments…and I look at the Masses I have attended and the people I have met who attend those Masses I come up with 4 major types of churches currently in the Latin Rite of the Holy Catholic Church…1. The Bugnini (altar girls, communion in the hand, Gather us in, etc.) church, 2. The (rarely) SC church, (Here I think of the St. John Cantius church in Chicago and St. Anne’s in Lawton, MI) 3. The Traditional Church (mostly consists of SSPX type of people who wish to be in communion with Rome, and therefore do not attend SSPX Masses), 4. The Traditional Church lived out as SSPX (not in full communion with Rome). And sub-divisions in each.

    I agree infiltrate. Infiltrate by example. How? The Rosary and Holy Hours are still, thanks be to God, prayed in all 4 types of churches, but not by all. Someones I know are doing just that. (Only a small few SSPX people reciprocate.) Dress (heads covered, dresses and skirts -long skirts and high necklines- for women, and shirts and ties for men) and pious reverence also set good examples. To use the words of Henry Edwards above…support and encourage…more example, more in Church Rosaries, Holy Hours, etc. and then attend them in all types of parishes. The Charitable Smile of Fr. Z we should not forget to include.

    Or perhaps our prayer should be, God willing, that the Holy Father Francis makes the Novus Ordo into it’s own rite, with it’s own Mass, it’s own calendar, it’s own Liturgy of the Hours, it’s own vestments, it’s own church buildings, etc. Then maybe Tradition can flourish again in The Church…in the church of the Latin Rite which so many of us love and appreciate. Then maybe we won’t have to tell the Novus Ordo people what they need to do just as we don’t tell the people in the Byzantine Rite what to do.

  140. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Infiltrate.

    Agreed.

    Attending Mass and Adoration while offering a reverent example is a great idea. There’s a difference, though, between the intentionally conspicuous reverence which says (however subtly or unconsciously), “Hey! look me over! Ain’t I holy? And what’s your problem?” which is extremely bad for one’s own spirituality and offensive to onlookers. (Our Lord would say to such folk, “I won’t reward you for your reverence today in Heaven; you already have given yourself your reward.”) versus the conspicuous reverence which is forgetful-of-self, humble, meek, and simple, a reverence which springs forth from a heart full of love and devotion and an utter and joy-filled setting aside of one’s own desires to attend to His.

    And honest onlookers in the congregation can smell the difference . . . inside of 30 seconds. Ten, if they’re unusually sharp. (It’s amazing what the human brain is capable of!)

    So if you’re going to dress and conduct yourself so as to set an example, important to make sure your dress and conduct pass the smell test.

    To infiltrate into paid or volunteer positions within “the Belly of the Beast:” It’s necessary, I think, to be well-accustomed to sensing and testing God’s will for oneself in the moment, and also to have accustomed one’s spirit to docility to indications of that will. If the good God is leading you into the Belly, by all means go where He leads. But to go charging in of one’s own initiative? Not a smart idea. Good intentions and determination are not enough with which to do spiritual battle against Powers and Principalities. Which is what we are dealing with here. I tried it once. Tried entering the Belly to infiltrate. I totally crashed and burned. In a matter of weeks. Bad experience. Learned my lesson. God is NOT “co-Pilot.”

    I am to be His Co-pilot. If I infiltrate anywhere again, it will be at His prompting. Not my own.

    Pray, pray, pray!

  141. Supertradmum says:

    GordonB, on Charismatics look here at several places. Work your way through and if you cannot find what you want, look at the other talks on this page. http://www.sensustraditionis.org/multimedia.html
    Homilies given by Fr. Ripperger in Kansas City:
    The Spirit of Falsity
    The True Pentecost
    Women and the Natural Order
    How to Make a Good Confession
    Ordinary and Extraordinary Means
    Sacred Tradition
    St. Thomas Aquinas
    Judging and Fraternal Correction
    Teaching Modesty

    Spiritual Theology classes:
    Class One – Grace
    Class Two – Levels of prayer
    Class Three – Virtues
    Class Four – Gifts of the Holy Ghost
    Class Five – Fruits of the Holy Ghost
    Class Six – Temperaments
    Class Seven – Demons
    Class Eight – Demons

    Spiritual Warfare:
    Lesson 1a
    Lesson 1b
    Lesson 2a
    Lesson 2b
    Lesson 3a
    Lesson 3b
    Lesson 4a
    Lesson 4b
    Disappropriation
    Oppressio

  142. Supertradmum says:

    Gordon B…the second one is really good, but there are more.

  143. Supertradmum says:

    Gordon B and all, APOLOGIES, one has to pay a dollar for these talks now. They use to be free. Please go to the website and scroll down for the talk on The True Pentecost for beginners….

  144. joan ellen says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae says:
    24 August 2013 at 8:39 am
    “Infiltrate.

    Agreed.” Marion, I agree with everything you wrote. I would add for the smell test…that for some it is covered up…and when it is uncovered it is…well, never mind. Either way we present ourselves, whether by example or not, whether by initiative or waiting to be asked, or however and whatever, I usually prefer not to venture to say about others which is of God and which is not, for how would I dare to know something that was not told to me, one way or another.
    I do observe, as you obviously do, and am quick to make a judgment sometimes on a person’s intention, if bad, try not to because that is a private matter between that person and God. If good, go for it. No matter what we think, say, or do, we will be criticized by some, tolerated by others, accepted by still others, and downright avoided or ignored by still others. That is just the reality of it. One person may object to how you do things, another encourage you to do more. Sometimes others object because of a lack of charity, sometimes others encourage you because of your usefulness to them. I, for one, am not astute enough to decide which is which, and who is who, so I have to ask God…for His good, holy, and pleasing will. And then try to do it, no matter the cost, embarrassment, etc. The Sacrament of Confirmation is not an easy one to live out. Is it worth the effort? Only time will tell for each individual. I’d rather err on the side of the Sacrament, according to my state in life.
    I sense that what you are saying requires honest, truthful, upfront communication, not a communication that is weasled, misleads, or is avoided. You said “I am to be His Co-pilot. If I infiltrate anywhere again, it will be at His prompting. Not my own.” If you see someone doing the crash and burn thing, and that someone was me, I would hope that you would mention it. I would take your admonition to heart, that does not mean that I would act on it. Or that I was supposed to act on it. Or that I could act on it. Here it is helpful to remember everyone has crosses…in body, heart and soul.

    “Pray, pray, pray!” And here in lies the real answer, according to my best advisors, including God, His angels and His saints, and some others who are in His Church.

  145. joan ellen says:

    Supertradmum says:
    24 August 2013 at 8:40 am
    “GordonB, on Charismatics look here at several places. Work your way through and if you cannot find what you want, look at the other talks on this page. http://www.sensustraditionis.org/multimedia.html
    Homilies given by Fr. Ripperger in Kansas City:”

    Supertradmum, thank you for this link and the list.

  146. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear sw85,

    You wrote:

    “I have some personal interest in the relative merits and flaws of the Charismatic movement, having recently come into the fellowship of some people who are enthusiastic about it. Can you recommend any writings about it (whether professional/scholarly or just personal musings on a blog somewhere)?”

    Oy. I, actually, asked Fr Z. to delete my longish comment on the Charismatic Renewal before it got out of moderation because it is becoming too painful for me to discuss the topic. I know the literature very well, but this is a genuine supernatural phenomenon and one ought not approach the study of its theology and history without having a very good grounding in the Catholic Faith and a sanctity approaching sainthood. Even some well-known Catholic apologists have made a mishmash of a defense of the movement. I would estimate that for every 3 supportive articles, there are, maybe, .25, against (a ratio of 12:1), but then, again, Pentecostal/Charismatics love to write. It is important to read both sides of the issue, however, because there is good and bad argumentation on both sides.

    I was going to write a pretty definitive work on the subject about ten years ago. I wrote the chapter titles and collected all of the research – there are thousands of books and articles going back to the 1760′s that are crucial in tracing the history (although they tend to start becoming repetitious, after a while). I have crates and crates and crates of material in storage. Unfortunately, either God or the Devil (or the results of just plain human sin) might not have wanted me to write it, because, very soon after I started writing, bizzare things started to happen that have made extended periods of concentration almost impossible for me for the last few years. I am lucky to have the strength to teach, these days. When I write, I write, so my current condition is pretty frustrating. For my music doctoral exam (where they lock you in a library with one topic, per week, for four weeks), I typed 76 pages for the first topic in a week, 101 pages for the second week – the third professor limited me to 30 pages on his topic, so I gave him 45 pages of illustrations, in addition – and about 70 pages for the last topic. That’s about 300 typed pages in four weeks.

    I feel the weight of this subject everyday, because the Catholic Church is losing about 4000 people/day, if I remember the statistics, to Pentecostalism in places like South Korea, South America, and India because the Church just doesn’t have a good apologetic to explain why they should not leave. It does no good to tell them that we have the Eucharist and the fullness of Truth. They will claim that they have the Holy Spirit (who is the Spirit of Truth), who talks to them and gives them spiritual power (and they have their own eucharist).

    There are good and bad aspects to the modern Pentecostal phenomenon, so it does no good to paint in blacks and whites, but the central question that has to be answered is: what is the phenomenon, really. A true history only began to emerge during the 1980′s, largely due to the work of Donald Dayton, although its connection to the Methodist Holiness movement was known (but largely forgotten) for years before that.

    Alright, then. The data should speak for itself. Pentecostalism has never been studied in a true scientific fashion, without pre-conceived notions, but it can be done. There is no comprehensive work on the subject that is uniformly objective, although some come closer than others. A must-read is a work by Mnsr. Ronald Knox (sadly, out if print), called, Enthusiasm.

    Knox thought it was his best work. Here is a very thorough review by Francis J. Ripley, from the 1951 Homelitics and Pastoral Review.

    Sadly, Mnsr. Knox ends the book roughly in about 1791, the year of Wesley’s death, which is really the starting date for the modern development of Pentecostalism. I had planned my book as a follow-up to Knox’s book, since it is helpful to have modern Pentecostalism in an historical context and a Knox does this, very well. His study has been superseded in terms of completeness, if not detail, by a recent author (whose book you can’t get outside of Interlibrary Loan from a university).

    So, I would recommend, Enthusiasm, first. It is also useful to own a copy of the Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements by Burgess and McGee

    After that, there are many popular works (many of dubious scholarship) on the subject, both pro:

    Fanning the Flame, by Frs. Kilian McDonnell and George Montague

    and con:

    Counterfeit Revival, by Hank Hanegraaf (the radio, Bible Answer Man),

    as well as scholarly (although, somewhat controversial) books, such a James D. G. Dunn’s work (which I have problems with as an historian, but this is an argument for scholars),

    Baptism in the Holy Spirit: A Re-examination of the New Testament on the Gift of the Spirit

    and Fr. William Most: Errors of Charismatics

    There are many articles in the Wesleyan Theological Journal, which is available, on-line (yea!, because I spend many $$ making hard copies, back in the day).

    Really, though, the best way to proceed depends on exactly what your objective is. Do you want to look at the history, the sociology, the theology, the neurology, the linguistics, popular literature, newspaper reportage? I have material on all of these. More and more of this material is coming on-line.

    The Charismatic Renewal is not responsible for the collapse of the Church as an institution, by any means. It is a manifestation of a type of improper ecumenism of the type not actually sanctioned by Vatican II, although Steve Clark, an early apologist for the Movement, improperly interpreted the Document on Ecumenism to make it look that way (I assume, charitably, that it was due to his youthful zeal). His error was in not realizing that the ecumenical activities shared among Catholics and Protestant which is sanctioned in the document of Vatican II pre-supposes a common theology behind the works bring done (the document envisions feeding the hungry, for example), but Clark, without knowing anything, really, about the theology underlying the modern Pentecostal movement, simply bought into the Protestant interpretation of it as being the same outpouring of the Spirit as on the Day of Pentecost as the Protestant apologists, looking for clues from Scripture, claimed, and, hey-ho, what could be wrong with that? Unfortunately, there is practically no Catholic literature on the subject before Knox’s book and then almost nothing after that, at least not by an author who was not later censured by the Church, until the explosion of works from 1967 on, until about 1985 (when the books begin to become repetitive and the production of new books, smaller).

    I am trying to stay away from too much detail (!), because it really is easy to get sucked into this topic. It is a great detective story, tracking down what happened, when, whom it influenced, and how things went from bring a form of Weslyan Mysticism to something blatantly opposed to mysticism (at least on the Protestant side), what being slain in the Spirit really is (even Cdl Suenens could explain that one), and why Holy Laughter isn’t all that holy.

    Still, it is only a symptom of the collapse, which, by the way, I don’t believe in – unlike the Twin Towers, the girders holding up the Church are made to resist the fires of Hell – although that doesn’t mean that some floors might not collapse or the windows get blown out. We can rebuild. We have, before.

    The Chicken

  147. Supertradmum says:

    joan ellen, You are welcome. Make sure you pay your dollar. Father Ripperger is fantastic. I also used him when home schooling my son for certain lectures at the high school level.

  148. sw85 says:

    @The Masked Chicken,

    Thanks for the resources. I’ll look into them.

    Mainly I’m interested in what the movement actually is. The descriptions of it given to me by its proponents are frustratingly vague 90% of the time and vaguely alarming the other 10%. I am especially alarmed, as you pointed out, by the fact that Charismatic Catholicism seems to me the “gateway drug” that leads eventually to Pentecostalism; when I point this out, my Charismatic friends respond that they are alienated by opposition and contempt from more traditional Catholics, an objection that suggests to me both an absurd level of pride (“my way or the highway”) as well as prickliness (since Charismatic Catholicism seems to enjoy far more influence, representation, and approval within the Church than traditional Catholicism does). And I am always alarmed whenever Catholics start talking and thinking like Protestants.

  149. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Chicken, thank you for your links! “Enthousiasm” does seem like a must-read, for some time.

    Not least, of course, because I am very delighted to see a writer other than Chesterton accept my humble person, quite aptly described as a weaker brother who plods and stumbles, who (if the truth must be told) would like to have a foot in either world, whose ambition is to qualify, not to excel, as an actual brother.

    As for the Charismatic Movement, I was fairly indifferent towards them as long as I never met them, along the lines of “if they want this sort of spirituality of which I know nothing, and apparently the Church approves, why not”.

    I may say that I was somewhat disturbed when I heard someone under apparent charismatic influence say that he shed no tears over the disintegration of the societally-established-Church (I’m trying to translate the word “Volkskirche”) given all the fantastic things he saw in little groups. Disturbed because I love my country and cannot understand how one can be indifferent to whether there is a Church to bless the everyday life of simple church-goers and even non-church-goers.

    Then I was exposed to an actual talk of a charismatic nature… which made some alarm-bells ring. First I did not know what they were alarming about. Then I got it: here was a man actually supposing that one could pass through Baptism, Confirmation and Ordination (he explicitly mentioned the latter two) without ever getting a personal relationship with Christ (whom I call Christ following a respectful theological tradition, but he of course always called by His holy Name). And no, he did by no means give the impression to talk about the occasional obstinate hypocrite who might even make it through Seminary for material reasons without even believing in Christianity; he apparently meant just you and me who did not happen to go through a special procedure not foreseen, let alone commanded, in the general program of the Church. Hulló? Ever heard of “character” or “grace” or “mystical body”? (Though he must have, he was a lay doctor of theology.)

    So much for my rather unscholarly, anecdotal-evidence knowledge about the charismatic movement.

  150. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    I attended several Catholic Charismatic prayer meetings back in the ’80s. Quite a few, at different venues. Often, the rooms were full of hundreds of people. And they prayed in tongues, and the sound reminded me of a symphony orchestra warming up, but with a certain droning quality underneath and “la-la-la-la-la” as top notes. It would go on and on. I didn’t know what to do and felt like an interloper. I prayed for the grace of the Holy Spirit and tried to get used to the sounds. But I never could get my nerves to calm down when I heard those sounds. The experience gave me a bad feeling. So I quit going after awhile, and never went back. I wish the Charismatic movement well, but I don’t think it is for everyone.

  151. marylise says:

    The charismatic movement encourages spiritual gluttony, ingratitude for the seven Sacraments, boasting in public about spiritual experiences, delusions of being a “favourite of God,” preoccupation with feelings, spiritual envy, lack of holy restraint, shocking pride and effeminate fear of the Cross of Christ. It is the opposite of the Marian way of humility, gentleness and patient suffering for the love of God. From several posts, it is evident that the charismatic movement causes emotional pain to its adherents, especially after the initial frenzy wears off. The charismatic movement is an understandable temptation in an era of turbulence in the Church, when sincere individuals may encounter disappointment in parish life. However, the temptation is to be resisted. People who have wasted time on this dangerous movement should not despair. They should simply return to the one true faith, the Catholic faith, and learn to go their way peacefully, in humble and fervent prayer, with their head bowed in the presence of God.

  152. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    If I hadn’t been “a favorite of God”, I don’t know how else He would have put up with me all these years. What mercy He has shown! What patience, what forebearance, what unbelievable solicitude toward a most ungrateful, stiff-necked, block-head who has so often been determined to just go her own wicked way.

    How I wish I could communicate to each and every human person that, yes, he or she is indeed “a favorite” and “a most dearly beloved and cherished” of God.

  153. Fr Jackson says:

    Oh, I get it. It’s OK for Louie Verrecchio to make these sorts of criticisms, but when the SSPX does it, that’s called a “fever swamp.” OK. Got it. [I suspect you don't get it. Criticisms are one thing. We can have discussions and debates in a measured and helpful way. Unhinged spittle-flecked nutties are another. Unbalanced and nearly irrational rhetoric feeds the "fever swamp". However, since I am the benevolent dictator around here, I get to decide what is good or bad, which may depend on how much coffee I have had, the current paralax angle of Proxima Centuari, the dewpoint, and various box scores. In any event, I didn't find anything vicious in what Verrecchio wrote.]

  154. Fr. Jackson, since Mr. Verrecchio is so publicly identified with “harvesting the fruit of Vatican II”, surely he may be permitted (if not obliged) to point out helpfully which of that fruit is rotten.

  155. Fr Jackson says:

    The point here is that one can make such criticisms and still be called “in full communion.” You would have to agree that something doesn’t quite add up…

  156. Fr. Jackson, is it not a simple fact that some who make such criticisms are in full communion, and others who make such criticisms are not in full communion? If so, in what way does this fact not add up?

  157. Fr Jackson says: The point here is that one can make such criticisms and still be called “in full communion.”

    A corresponding point is that, if someone is not in full communion – that is to say full communion that is easily demonstrated and recognizable as such – with the Roman Pontiff and the bishops with him, then steps should be take to correct the situation.

    You would have to agree that something doesn’t quite add up…

    I am not sure about what the “something” is in that sentence.

    As far as voicing problems about Vatican II or any other point taught in the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs, I direct everyone’s attention to the CDF’s Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian. Paragraphs 30-31 are helpful:

    30. If, despite a loyal effort on the theologian’s part, the difficulties persist, the theologian has the duty to make known to the Magisterial authorities the problems raised by the teaching in itself, in the arguments proposed to justify it, or even in the manner in which it is presented. He should do this in an evangelical spirit and with a profound desire to resolve the difficulties. His objections could then contribute to real progress and provide a stimulus to the Magisterium to propose the teaching of the Church in greater depth and with a clearer presentation of the arguments. In cases like these, the theologian should avoid turning to the “mass media”, but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders servite to the truth. 31. It can also happen that at the conclusion of a serious study, undertaken with the desire to heed the Magisterium’s teaching without hesitation, the theologian’s difficulty remains because the arguments to the contrary seem more persuasive to him. Faced with a proposition to which he feels he cannot give his intellectual assent, the theologian nevertheless has the duty to remain open to a deeper examination of the question. For a loyal spirit, animated by love for the Church, such a situation can certainly prove a difficult trial. It can be a call to suffer for the truth, in silence and prayer, but with the certainty, that if the truth really is at stake, it will ultimately prevail.

  158. Fr Jackson says:

    The “something” is the simple fact that the almost-agreement between the SSPX and the Holy See in 2012 was scuttled for exactly the criticism that Mr. Verrecchio is making here, among others.

  159. Fr Jackson says:

    Since you seem to think that Mr. Verrecchio’s statements are in line with the CDF Instruction, I believe that we can also say that points that Archbishop Ladaria Ferrer removed from the SSPX April 2012 proposal would have also been in line with the type of discussion allowed by the same CDF Instruction you quoted. Msgr Gherardini is allowed to make such statements; Mr. Verrecchio is allowed; but very similar things were removed by the above mentioned secretary prelate from the proposed SSPX agreement, and this is why it fell through.

  160. Frank Gibbons says:

    Masked Chicken,

    The Pentecostal Observer at Vatican II was “David” du Plessis, not “Jessie” du Plessis.

  161. The Masked Chicken says:

    Yes, of course it was David. I have his biography. I was thinking of Jessie DuPlantis while typing du Plessis’s name. Given last week, I’m just glad I was typing in English :)

    The Chicken

  162. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear sw85,

    Your question deserves a better answer than I gave, above, since the resources I listed really won’t get you to the answers you seek. They are useful background that many people use, but most of the articles start from a wrong premise (except Knox, who did not live long enough to see Pentecostalism enter the Church). I don’t want to post another wearyingly long comment. If I can find a way to put up a synopsis of the history and theology behind the evolution (the correct word!) of the modern Pentecostal movement (there is no such thing as a, “day,” like Pentecost, where everything came together, at once), I’ll let you know.

    I tried to set up a blog, this morning to store such a file, but I got an error message and the blog never got set up. I don’t want a blog, but since one came with my e-mail, I thought I might set it up as a file repository, but it didn’t work.

    I’ll look into what I might do.

    The Chicken

  163. marylise says:

    The British periodical Christian Order ran a whole issue on the charismatic movement in February 2000. Two articles from that issue are available online. One is written by Hilary Campion who joined the charismatic movement for five years and then got out: “Catholic Pentecostals: The Risk is Too Great.” Steps to the online article are (1) http://www.christianorder.com, (2) Read Christian Order, (3) Features, (4) 2000, (5) February. The tone of the article is calm and polite. However, based on five years of personal experience, the author decided the charismatic movement could not be reconciled with the Catholic faith.

  164. sw85 says:

    Masked Chicken,

    Is there are an e-mail address where I could reach you? I’d like to be kept informed if you do get this blog set up.

    sw85