REASON #1883 for Summorum Pontificum!

We need a fuller, wider more dedicated implementation of Benedict XVI’s great gift to the Church, Summorum Pontificum.


Via CARA on Twitter:

Together with a shored up, cleaned up, and above all faithful use of the Novus Ordo, we can start a lasting revitalization of every sphere of the Church’s life. That MUST begin with a revitalization of her sacred liturgical worship.

If we all do our part, we can turn attrition around.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Amos says:

    Look at that “new” evangelization go.

  2. The Masked Chicken says:

    One reason that the Christian, non-Catholic groups are growing in terms of religious services is that many Christian religious services are nothing more than social gatherings with the power of positive thinking messages. Their concept of sin has very little consequences. Many Christian groups do not have penitential seasons and have no fasting, either. Who wouldn’t want to be told they are fine, just the way they are?

    One reason why fewer people attend Catholic services is that we do not socialize as much and we, occasionally, talk about sin. Until we get rid of the rationalization of sin as psychological eccentricities, we will not see much of a return to Catholicism among people who want a psychology of ease . Also, Catholicism makes rational arguments and does not require the existence of a singular book that may be interpreted according to any minister’s fantasies to solve all of its problems, but, rather, puts its faith in a Church who ratifies the truth of things, including that singular book.

    This data is not surprising, at all, but it makes one almost infinitely sad to think of how we got here.

    Could we change this? Yes, but not without the Cross and not without a greater realization of what Christ really did on the Cross. Non-Christian just will not teach their congregation that Christ’s sacrifice must be our own.

    The Chicken

    The Chicken

  3. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    The argument them is that this is the New Springtime?

    We haven’t gone far enough?

  4. Dan says:

    Chicken, It is the curse of the of trying to be a Catholic Community instead of being the Catholic Church.

  5. Mike says:

    Chicken, I think I mostly disagree with your comment. I do not think the pews are empty because of priests thundering on about sin and hellfire. I am sure that happens but in my experience it is exceedingly rare. I think attendance is sparse for the approximate opposite reason: the rank-and-file thinks that going to Mass every Sunday (and Confession etc…) is unnecessary. Why do they think this? Because they have rarely if ever (in the last half century) been taught anything else. In fact, the message they receive is very much about avoiding hang ups (now know as being rigid!) and being non-judgmental. And they see their priests and bishops (and the Holy Father) expressing (I am generalizing here) zero urgency for or interest in bringing non-Catholics into the Church. So they think, huh, if you don’t even need to be a Catholic or to avoid sin or do much of anything else to be saved, well, I might as well spend my Sundays doing something more productive than listening to a song-a-long of “On Eagles’ Wings”. And yes there is the “prosperity gospel” thing but there are also plenty of very full Evangelical churches where sin is preached about (see, for example, youtube for videos of Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson preaching). Mike

  6. RichR says:

    I think it is going to take more than simply introducing beautiful EF Masses in parishes. Without doctrinal awareness, transcendent ritual will be meaningless. On the flip side, if we have excellent formation but uninspiring corporate worship, then there is an obvious disconnect in the parish life.

    There is an order of how to form a parish and get to the level that the people actually embrace spirituality. Our parish is going through this right now, and it is a wonderful thing to watch. They are doing Bible studies, retreats, and opportunities for community growth. From there, we have moved into the growth of personal prayer skills. Sacramental development comes next. Finally, evangelization skills to share the faith. Only after they have matured can you start on a lot of the liturgical stuff. If you start out with Latin ritual, people respond poorly because they have no discipleship at all. The people that DO want a Latin Mass are typically middle aged adults who were denied good formation as a child and discovered their Catholicism in college. They are already discipled and can appreciate traditional liturgy.

    I would say, “Disciple the Church goers, then they will hunger for good liturgical worship.”

  7. chris_R says:

    When I first saw this chart, I have some strange thoughts go through my mind — most Protestant services I knew as a child were the New Mass so yes, one would think that we need more New Mass, not less of the old. That was my initial impression from the post but I knew that wasn’t square, either, as bad or false worship is bad or false worship and we pray as we believe and believe as we pray.

    My father’s side of the family was Catholic and few in number while my mother’s side was Protestant of all different denominations. I know more non-Catholics who go to services than Catholics who attend Mass, and I remember, as a child in the 1960’s and a teen in the 1970’s, when going to Protestant services for events on my mother’s side, that looked like and felt like the New Mass was already in place — it was as if the Catholics were “catching up” with and matching Protestantism and popular American beliefs (any religion is as good as any other, you pick the one you want) when the New Mass and such came in — in fact, many older Catholics I knew in the 1960’s were relieved with Vatican II as the felt that their civil beliefs now matched their spiritual lives and no longer had to pretend living two different philosophies.

    Gathering from my Protestant family members, they were there because they picked the church of their own liking and would simply find another if they didn’t like the new pastor or whatever so sure, the attendance would be higher percentage-wise but faith actually very weak as one core belief of most Protestants is Luther’s “believe all the more, sin all the more” and that shield of belief which acts as a “Salvation Assurance” policy whereas the Catholic is 100% solid in his faith and thus willing to die for it while never being 100% certain, with fear and trembling, about his salvation. Also, my Protestant cousins always saw Catholicism as a “harder” religion with unnecessary elements (e.g. Confession.)

    The Traditional Latin Mass is necessary to fully match up belief in all aspects of the Catholic faith and then folks will find a solid, permanent home for which to grab and hold onto instead being on rough seas with a rudder-less ship of Protestantism.

  8. Justalurkingfool says:

    A sound liturgy will not even begin to restore my faith.
    The damages are far too profound.


    [Small of heart.]

  9. edwar says:

    Thank you, RichR! You made some very important points in your comment. I’m assuming that your parish is nowhere near me (I’m in NJ) but if there are any resources online regarding the type of formation that your parish is doing, I would much appreciate if you could comment further and provide some links.

  10. Elizabeth D says:

    In my experience Catholics have no orientation to evangelization at all and in my opinion that is one of the problems. When I say evangelization I mean that has to include outreach beyond the four walls of the church building to those who have fallen away or who don’t have it yet. If we don’t personally believe the Faith is worth sharing and other people’s souls are worth saving (and that everyone needs the salvation that comes through Jesus and His Catholic Church) then how strong is our faith anyway? How credible is it that we believe what we profess if we don’t care enough to witness it in public, to try to attract others to it, to teach and preach to the public, to give a personal invitation and Christian love and friendship? To me it seems like the Church is largely in maintenance mode, and mere “maintenance” or stagnation in the spiritual life never means growing and often means backsliding and falling away. There is lip service sometimes, but an absence of leadership and strong formation about that.

    Let me be honest, I think that reverent celebration of the Novus Ordo, and Confession, is of far larger importance for keeping people on track in the Christian life than the spread of the TLM–lovely though that is to have as an option.

  11. Charivari Rob says:

    “G.I.” and “Silent”?

  12. Ben Kenobi says:

    Eye opening. Thank you Father Z for posting the numbers.

  13. Imrahil says:

    Dear Karl,

    from the tone of what you are writing here, the thing the Church were to do to, as you call it, “restore your faith” is drag your wife back to you, using fetters if necessary.

    Which the Church won’t; which the Church would not, could not, even if everything were all right.

    Give it a break, and remember there’s a price in Heaven for suffering injustices without losing one’s Faith.

  14. JonPatrick says:

    In the past the faith was passed on through families and reinforced by community life that revolved around the church. At some point for many families they stopped passing on the faith and the post WW2 movement of people to the suburbs broke up the old communities based around neighborhood and ethnic group. Now for most people the chain was broken a generation or two back and there is no faith to pass on, or only a weak MTD version of it (just be a good person).

    Given that we are basically starting from scratch, where do we go from here? There have been some comments that downplay the role of the Traditional Latin Mass in lieu of better doctrinal awareness. But how do you reach people to begin giving them this awareness? Are they going to attend some instruction on a weekday evening when there is so much else going on to distract? Perhaps the Mass itself is the better instruction at least initially.

    Another aspect is trying to form communities, such as the talked about “Benedict Option”, to help restore some of the community reinforcement that we had years ago.

  15. Kerry says:

    From a Dec. 13, 2016 article by David Clayton at NLM, (with whom this writer strongly agrees about the ‘music’, its content and banal tonality):

    “Why has church attendance dropped off so dramatically in the last 50 years? There are a whole
    range of reasons, I am sure, and nearly every article in this blog addresses the issue in one form
    or another, but if you ask me one of the main contributory factors is the music that is generally
    heard at Mass. And in my opinion, it is the style of music offered by the most common pew
    missalettes that is contributing most powerfully to that decline.

    I am talking about a style of music that seems to have started to develop around the late 1960s,
    and sounds to me like a sort of fusion of American folk (vintage 1967), 19th century pop classics,
    Broadway musicals, with a hint of Victorian hymnody thrown in for good measure.
    Whatever you call the genre, it is responsible, I believe, for many fleeing the pews.
    Before anyone writes me to say how much they like the music they hear each Sunday, or tell me
    how high is the quality of the pianist or band that plays, and how heartily those in the
    congregation that do attend join in, I want to say one thing: my argument is not based upon
    the assertion that this is bad music. I do have strong opinions on that, but my personal taste has
    no bearing on the conclusion that I draw. My argument is that the whole philosophy that has
    contributed to the composition of such music is fatally flawed and causes the damage.
    So, for argument’s sake, let us assume that the music we hear in Mass is of the highest quality
    within its genre. I would say that it would still have the same effect, which is to drive most people
    away from Mass. And I would say the same even when the standard of the musicianship is of the
    highest order, and the choir consists of the best trained professional singers.
    The problem, in my opinion, lies in the whole ethos that underlies the creation of music for the
    missals. The goal, it seems, is to connect with people by giving them music that is derived from
    already popular forms. The problem with this approach is that it can only connect to those people
    who actually listen for enjoyment to that style of music out of church. But today’s western society
    is so fractured that tastes vary hugely, and there is no style of secular music that has universal
    appeal. As a result, whichever style we choose, and however well it is done, it can only ever hope
    to appeal to a small part of the population. The rest will be driven away because they do not like it.
    So, if we create music that appeals to those who were young in the late 1960s, it will be detested by
    those who were young in the 1970s (like me) and all people who are younger.”
    (Our parish Priest once suggested about lagging faith, “Perhaps if there was more widespread suffering”)

  16. Stephanus83 says:

    Looks like us millennials are actually getting more religious with age. One percentage point isn’t a lot, but growth is growth!

  17. Ocampa says:

    I hate these groupings. These cutoffs are largely arbitrary. I was born in 1983, and I have a lot more in common with my cousins and older siblings born in in the “Generation X” (which is what I was told I was part of when I was still a child) than I do with some 18 year old graduating high school, or even someone in their mid 20s.

  18. jflare says:

    I’ll admit to being slightly surprised by the last two classifications as well. It looks like they generally assumed roughly a 20-year time period, a few slightly more, a few slightly less. Interesting because I’d generally understood generations to be about every 25 years. Based on that, I’d understood Gen-Xers like myself–born in ’74–to follow the Boomers. I’ve also thought Gen X could apply as late as 1990. I notice they don’t include a Generation Y, which supposedly follows Generation X, but precedes Millenials. It all becomes quite messy. Generation X was supposedly one of the roughest generations in some time, expanding on the worst of the Boomers’ cultural traits. Then Generation Y was theoretically worse than this. Part of the problem though was that Millenials were supposed to be those who came of age within several years of the change of the Millenium, which louses up the generational math.

    I follow your line of thought, except that I think you give too little credit to a well-offered Mass. I have been hearing about the various means of “outreach” since my teens, most of this winds up as what is alleged to be “relevant” to teens. …Most “relevant to teens” ideas wind up being relevant to pretty much nobody.
    I don’t entirely disagree with you regarding a reverently offered Novus Ordo, except that for my experience, finding a reverently offered Novus Ordo can actually be more difficult than finding a traditional Mass, not less difficult. I switched to a FSSP parish parish over a year ago precisely because the parish I attended before was no-kidding the only parish I could find which seemed to offer Mass reverently. Most others were pretty…blah. Beings I was assuming then that I might need to move to another metro area within months, I had switched to become better acquainted with the TLM, mostly so I’d be able to find a workable parish.
    It’s plausible, I suppose, that a diocese or archdiocese with a larger population might have more priests, thus a better chance of more liturgically accurate–and usually younger–priests. Thus a more reverently offered Novus Ordo might be more likely. For all that may be, I find that my best bet for a reverent Mass remains with the TLM because there’re too many in the Ordinary Form who simply don’t care that much. …Or who wish more to be “innovative” than to be rubrically accurate. Most priests I have come across have little interest in also explaining WHY rubrics are important. They’d rather take a more “accommodating” approach. In doing so, they generally alienate much more than they appeal.
    As a result, I think we will not see the Church become stronger until our clergy offer the traditional Mass more frequently. Passionate lay evangelism won’t help much if the clergy promptly…well, don’t support a more vigorous presentation of Catholic faith.

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