USCCB meets. They talk about the “nones”. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

How many times have I written it here?

Nothing we undertake as a Church, this plan or that project or this resolution to form a committee or action item, will succeed unless it flows from and returns to our sacred liturgical worship.

I watched the USCCB stream when they were talking about what to do to keep young people in the Church.

Guess what they didn’t talk about.

There’s a story at LifeSite which has reaction of young people about what has kept them in the Church: the TLM.

If we get our liturgical worship of God wrong, then everything else we do will fail.   We build on sand.  Put another way, familiar to long-time readers here, everything we undertake in the Church must begin with liturgical worship and must be brought back to liturgical worship.

If the virtue of justice governs what is due to human persons, since God is a qualitatively different Person a different virtue governs what we owe to God: religion.  The primary way in which we individually and collectively fulfill the virtue of religion is through our sacred liturgical worship.  If we screw up on the virtue of religion and our sacred worship, then all our other relationships will be out of harmony.  We have to get our worship right.  This is so intimate to who we are as Catholics that I constantly say: We Are Our Rites.

And because we have an individual and collective vocation not just within the Church (ad intra) but to the world around us (ad extra), we might say even “Save The Liturgy – Save The World”.

If we don’t know who we are, what we believe, how to act on it and have thin to no strong supports and sources in our sacred worship of God, then we will be ineffective across the board.

Why should the world pay any attention to us if we don’t know who we are?

Why should young people stay?

Not many reasons I can think of, given the state of worship and of preaching in the average suburban parish under the aging aegis of the 80’s formed clergy.  80’s and others.

We must MUST revitalize our worship of God and the way to do that is through the gift – the foresighted and farsighted gift that Benedict XVI gave us in when he implemented Summorum Pontificum.  And this is why that gift is so feared by those who think that we can do it on our own, who reduce the supernatural to the natural.

This is a huge issue, friends.  We need the TLM more and more and more in our parishes.

Again, we are our rites.  Change them and you change our identity and, hence, our impact in the world around us (as in “Save The Liturgy, Save The World“)… not to mention our path to salvation.

We Are Our Rites.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Nones as in “March July October May….?” Does that mean we can expect a return to the Julian Calendar and a pre-Christian dating system?

  2. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Why are there so few bishops who behave as if they understand this point, which you’ve made for as long as I’ve been reading your blog?

  3. Gab says:

    Sadly there seems to be only a handful of Bishops and Cardinals who are still true to the Faith and who get where we are heading.

    “‘THE MOST EVIDENT MARK of God’s anger and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world are manifested when He permits His people to fall into the hands of clerics’ who are priests more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds.

    Instead of nourishing those committed to their care, they rend and devour them brutally. Instead of leading their people to God, they drag Christian souls into hell in their train. Instead of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world, they are its innocuous poison and its murky darkness.” – St John Eudes.

  4. Dismas says:

    Today’s bishops are primarily early 1970’s seminarians, and all the baggage that comes with it.

    To deny the Faithful of their glorious faces in ad populum worship, to reject the majestic splendor of felt and burlap banners, to deny the efficacy of “Gather Us In”, to deny the profound dignity of polyester Episcopalian vestments, etc. is tantamount to apostasy. As far as many of them are concerned, TLM is a worse fate than being a “none”.

  5. tho says:

    Father you, as always, hit the nail on the head. If I had the ability to express the truth as well as you do, I would start writing pamphlets, like Thomas Paine. Common Sense would be a good start.

  6. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    Bishops: Young people, what makes you stay Catholic?

    Young Catholics: The Latin Mass.

    Bishops: Seriously, what’s the reason?

    Young Catholics The Latin Mass!

    Bishops: You can be totally open and honest with us, why do you stay?

    Young Catholics: The Latin Mass…

    Bishops: Shall we take out our guitars and sing “Gather Us In”? Would that help you tell us what keeps you Catholic?

    Young Catholics: Sheesh…

  7. The Masked Chicken says:

    Yes, this is a liturgical problem. One of the Prime reasons for the loss of faith among the Nones, is that they are having too much premarital Sext. This is an example of the influence of private judgment starting with Matins Luther. There are many other secondary and Terce causes, of course, but no one can give Laudes to the bishops for their cluelessness. Let me make this Verper plain: you, dear bishops, are the problem.

    Seriously, after fifty years of waffling on moral matters, including a shift to emotion-based theology, what did the bishops expect?

    Nones don’t want to be constrained by rules of conduct. They might be willing to believe in a God as long as He stays out of their way, but expectations? Whoever said there would be expectations? These are kids who grew up in permissive, often broken, families, told by their teachers that they were perfect little snowflakes who were good just as they are. They have been coached and brainwashed to deal with moral questions by situation ethics and to question any and all societal structures and established cultures as being patriarchal and oppressive. Unless these kids are rescued society will continue to slide towards increasing depravity and control. I am afraid that people will have to be willing to go to jail and disobey stupid immoral laws before society will change.

    There is a saying that to a man who only owns a hammer, everything looks like a nail. While slavery was bad, not all social problems are a form of slavery. Not all people who feel oppressed are worthy of being legislatively appeased.

    Among college students two broad classes of Nones exist: the scientists, who lack a firm metaphysical foundation, and the artists, who base everything on feelings. Ultimately, what is missing is that form of reasoning known as common sense. The modern education machine has substituted scientism for the first type of student and Critical Theory and Cultural Marxism for the second type of student.

    The Nones need to re-cultivate a sense of the transcendent (how many of these people can even stomach classical music?) and a fear or at least awe of that transcendent. St. Edith Stein said that, “everyone who is searching for truth is searching for God, whether they know it or not.” The Nones are not searching for truth. They are comfortable living with lies. Until they become uncomfortable with living an inconsistent life of shifting meaning, they will continue to be group paradoxically composed of singlets, the N-ones. It will be a lonely life and it is that loneliness that will either drive them back to God or to suicide. The Nones are desperate people, only they don’t know it.

    The bishops can fix this, but they must be willing to do what needs to be done. They won’t. It will be the laity that will have to fix this mess and I suspect that blood, either literal or figurative, will be spilled in the process.

    The Chicken

  8. SanSan says:

    fully behind you Fr. Z.

    The TLM community must do the work.

  9. While I won’t pretend to be as erudite as some here…I know what I see with my eyes: at the EF Masses I attend, while there are still folks my age (let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that I can qualify for the senior discount, barely, on NJ Transit) who are in attendance, probably more than half (and this is counting noses, so, not a ‘scientific’ survey) are younger than 40, and fully 1/3 of those are children.

    The local OF Mass? Flip the percentages around; along with the average age/gender of all the ‘ministers’ that wander into the sanctuary to “do stuff” during Mass.

    The more I attend both forms, the more I’m realizing that the revitalization of our Faith will not come from the people (mal)formed in the imposition of the 1960s-80s zeitgeist, but by the men, women, and children who KNOW that they were denied their patrimony and are intrinsically drawn to transcendent worship and practice.

    I believe that the OF is something you watch…the EF encourages you to BECOME a part of. I haven’t fully fleshed that thought out, though, but it’s (to me) the difference between watching a movie and actually having a properly-assigned role in its production. In one, you are really a spectator, the other a true participant.

  10. Ann Malley says:

    Careful, Father. Your blog may soon feature in the LIST OF FORBIDDEN BLOGS.

  11. FrAnt says:

    Young Latin Mass Guy, The last response from the Young Catholic should have been, “Bye.”

  12. veritas vincit says:

    There is a great deal of difference between a reverently celebrated Norvus Ordo Mass (I have been privileged to have attended some) and an NO with insipid music and liturgical “innovation.” In the meantime, any validly celebrated Mass has the Real Presence of Our Lord in the sacrament of His Body and Blood.

    I have not been able to attend a TLM, but I have been able to observe the silence from many of our bishops and priests on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church, which I suspect is at least as culpable for young people not coming to church. After all, if they never set foot in the church, the liturgy doesn’t matter much.

  13. AlanLins says:

    Go check out the USCCB Facebook page. There was a question posed recently asking young people why they stayed in the Catholic Church. Surprise, surprise, surprise. There were quite a number of respondents who answered the TLM was the reason they stayed.

  14. The rise of the “Nones” is usually read as the American version of the European secularization process. I.e., that modern “scientific” world views and consumerist individualist economics means loss of otherworldly religious belief and practice. The MSM linkage of the Nones with “agnosticism” and even “atheism” is a version of this.

    A recent piece by David Brooks, “The Age of Aquarius, All Over Again!” in the NYT suggests that the phenomenon of the Nones has, in the U.S. context, not been marked by a decline in “belief,” but rather in beliefs in all sorts of things that were considered the silly fringe in our more churched past. It is worth a read:

    It set me to thinking about the supposed quote of G. K. Chesterton: “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, rather they believe in anything.”

  15. MitisVis says:

    The very idea they have to ask, and then ask the wrong question is a clue. The question is why are they leaving. The unchangeable truths and challenges of an infinitely Holy God are what dictate such strong belief in the young and old alike. Seems if they knew and believed what solid Catholics did they could answer their own question.

  16. Patrick71 says:

    Family and friends complain about liturgical abuses and hokey masses. I say “come to the Latin mass with me on Sunday.” or “go to the High Mass at such and such parish next Sunday.” Eyerolling ensues.

    Then siblings complain that old Boomers sneer at them when their toddler children make the slightest noise. “Come to mass with me. There are more children than adults at mass sometimes.” Eyeroll..

    They’ll give in eventually.

  17. Hidden One says:

    On a day-by-day, brick-by-brick basis, it is the authentic charity of EF attendees and supporters that succesfully increases our numbers.

    On a day-by-day, brick-by-brick basis, it is the failures of charity of EF attendees and supporters that does the opposite.

    When the EF-haters and those unfamiliar encounter loving EF-lovers to the point that that becomes the stereotype… we’ll become the majority.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  18. arga says:

    So what’s to rant about? Ever since the McCarrick fiasco, it’s been hard for me to take the bishops seriously. My expectations are practically nil. They are the biggest ad intra obstacle to the holiness of the faithful because they cannot teach the truth.

  19. Gab says:

    veritas vincit says: “There is a great deal of difference between a reverently celebrated Norvus Ordo Mass …”

    True. I have been to such Masses and in my experience have found out that the (usually) young priests who offer the sacrifice of the Mass in a very reverent manner also say the Latin Mass. And yes both forms of the Mass are valid, but as Fr Ripperger explains, there are more graces and more prayers offered by the priest in the TLM. I prefer the Latin Mass as I can pray and think and contemplate on matters spiritual. The NO mass is a bit too formulaic in that I must respond parrot-style with little time to do any private prayers or contemplation. When I returned to the Church I got accustomed to the NO mass but after a few months felt that something was missing, it felt hollow. It certainly didn’t seem to be the same NO mass of my youth (I was raised on the NO mass). So I went to a TLM and it struck me how serious it all was, reverential as well. I prefer the TLM and have never looked back and it always amazes me how many young singles and young families go to the TLM in comparison to the NO mass.

  20. Charles E Flynn says:

    What’s going to bring the ‘nones’ back to the Church?
    By Matt Hadro
    June 14, 2019 Catholic News Agency The Dispatch 0

  21. MaHrad says:

    I read many of the responses to the USCCB’s poll. There were so many “TLM” and “solid catechesis” responses that if felt like I was reading your blog. It made me hopeful, but then I wondered if the bishops were just going to cherry-pick the few answers that they were looking for in the first place.

  22. carndt says:

    A great article to bring it all into perspective.

    As a former Tea Party leader I sat many a time with a Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots. I said that the TPPs would not get enough power because they were avoiding the third rail. I was specifically talking about the social issues of abortion, homosexual issues, destruction of religion and the family. I was told it would scare people away if religion or social issues were part of the 3 legged stool of limited government, debt free future, economic freedom.

    But Trump won on people wanting a SCOTUS to uphold LIFE. To be heard as Christian people that carried their Bibles and their guns.

    To fail to have Christ as our first leader and the Holy Ghost as our grace to carry on we will lose.

    We MUST be ACTIVISTS. We were put here at this specific time in history to ACT. Stop the flow of money to the Church on every level. Demand to speak to your bishop. Form on going protests.
    Support TRUTHFUL MEDIA like Fr.Z,, Lepanto Institute,, One Peter Five.

    The very heart and soul of the Catholic Church is hurting.
    -Demand that there is a TLM said every Sunday(at minimum) in your parish.
    -support a religious order that celebrates the TLM( by physically attending and or financially)ICKSP, FSSP, etc
    – request frequently for homilies on abortion, mortal sin, examination of conscience and frequent confession, the Rosary and how it it a mighty weapon, etc
    – frequent confession times
    – Tabernacles moved back to the center of the Altar
    And the list goes on. I am a thorn in my parish. But I do not give up. I WILL NOT GIVE UP.
    Our freedoms are being taken away all around us.
    Be a sheepdog NOT sheep.
    Keep praying and as Fr. Says- Go to Confession!

  23. TonyO says:

    1. Masked Chicken, that was a GREAT comment. Thanks.

    2. Yes, the NO can be said reverently, and beautifully. I have attended many such, for example at Thomas Aquinas College. Even so, I have to say that (a) the number of them that are reverent and beautiful and DON’T have any Latin involved tends toward 0. (b) Typically the reverence and the beauty is influenced by a priest trained on what Mass is supposed to be through the TLM. (c) Even so, there can be no doubt that the construction of the NO happened under the influence of men who repudiated the reverence and beauty of the TLM, and set out to get rid of things that they could get rid of, and the result has positive defects in comparison to what COULD HAVE been produced by a Commission really intent on the reform that should have taken place. (d) the TLM as it was often said pre-1969 did indeed have places where it could bear improvement, and we are therefore unjustly being subjected to the wrongful and artificial “choice” of (i) a NO formed by destructionists or (ii) a TLM that 98% of the bishops of 1964, formed by the pre-VII Church, said needed to be improved.

    3. Pray for the Church: not only do most of the bishops not “get” what is driving ordinary people away, THEY are responsible for the selection of new priests and bishops. Unless something intervenes, we will proceed to get even more of the pap and drivel of modernist “Catholic lite”. There is no doubt that eventually Christ will intervene, but at what cost will that eventuality arise? The loss of still more generations? The reduction of the Church to a mere handful of faithful? The persecution of the faithful by the wolf-like bishops?

  24. Charivari Rob says:

    I read a lot of USCCB responses, too – Until I despaired of (lack of) Christian charity and stopped for the sake of my own well-being.
    Yes, there were many “TLM” and similar responses. There were at least as many other answers, too, but at least two problems.
    First is “why do you stay?” is only half of what needs to be asked (at best). We need to talk with those who have left and understand why they did. (and those people aren’t likely to be reading the USSCB Facebook or certain blogs)
    Second is the animosity and vitriol in the replies. Tired, spiteful, (and somewhat inaccurate) tropes aren’t going to win anyone’s hearts or minds!
    People need to show and live the truth & beauty of what they profess If they don’t, they’re not likely to convince anyone of anything positive.

  25. hwriggles4 says:

    I wonder how much time our leadership spends in the trenches with boots on the ground, or on the manufacturing floor. I am a substitute CCD teacher, and several teenagers have told me they do not like to attend Masses that try to be “cool” or to “entertain. ” The last several years I have noticed more priests getting away from things like squirt guns, clapping and hand gestures during music, excessive hugging, and questionable attire. Glad to see several priests putting their foot down. I also find teenagers, particularly boys, are more attentive in a church that looks like a church and not something like a spaceship, a bank building, or a warehouse.

    I have also heard other youth say that some turn offs to youth ministry were cliques (I remember this from my teen years where kids would be your friend at church or youth group but pretended not to know you at school) and too much emphasis on socialization (in my teen years 30 years ago, social justice and things like don’t do drugs, as well as social activities were the majority of the program, not catechesis – I learned more catechesis during the Ad Altare Dei for Scouts than I did in years of CCD). Several of the youth programs are on Sunday nights, and quite a few high schoolers are catching up on homework on Sunday night. (Seriously, my Protestant brethren tell me they sometimes have to deal with cliques in their churches too).

    I urge leadership to look at which state funded colleges have a growing and active Catholic presence (i.e. full Sunday Masses at the Catholic Student Center or students flocking to a parish not far away) and why the place is packed while others are empty or non existent.

    Let’s listen to those in the trenches.

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