Surviving and thriving in the Demographic Disaster we face as a Church. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

The article I read at Crisis, to which I will soon turn my attention below, has the ring of truth.

But first, some scene-setting.

In these USA, we as a Church are like band of adventurers on the march towards a long-desired destination.  We have swamps and storms and enemies to face at every turn.  Sometimes we are forced on horribly high and perilous paths only to find tenuous bridges over chasms heading towards tunnels filled with orcs or forests with hypnotic spiders.  The voyage takes its toll on our numbers.

And, soon, a big drop in numbers will result when the inevitable battle takes place.  A heavily-armed force named Demographics is coming at us from the other direction.  We will soon collide.

The number of people saying they are or pretending still to be Catholic will soon plummet.  The number of diocesan priests and religious will shrink as the Biological Solution catches up to presbyterates and orders.

This is the state of the question after decades of both purposeful and systematic corrosion of Catholic identity as well as erosion through neglect and incompetence.  Europe is worse and Latin America is incomprehensible.

When the demographic collision happens, and it will, only the strong and disciplined will survive.

Right now, who are the strong?  Traditionalist Catholics, for sure, and probably also those of a more charismatic bent.

Those who are attracted to traditional worship are strong, hard-identity Catholic.  They are young and they are having lots of children.  Back in the day, friends would say to me that the Novus Ordo would fade away and all that would be left would be the TLM.  I pretty much scoffed at that claim… then.  Now, I’m not so sure.  Look at the demographics.  Also, strong, are those next-generation young people who have inherited a saner and sounder charismatic approach.  They pray the Rosary and attend Eucharistic Adoration.  They are informed and they love the Faith.   Among seminarians these days a high percentage are open to or eager for tradition, even to the point where the bumfuzzled swotters on the Left are ringing their hands.  The religious orders attracting postulants are imbued with Tradition.

When the wreckage is sorted, I think these two groups – charismatics and trads – will be well-represented among the survivors.

Yes, some nasty critters will survive, too. They always do.

And, the charismatics and the trads are also, it seems, to me, being drawn into the same path through the gravitational pull of which I have written many times over the years.  More on that to come.

Now to the article I mentioned at the top.

At Crisis – of increasing value – there is a piece by James Baresel entitled: “Will Catholic Charismatics Embrace the Latin Mass?”

My considered opinion is, yes. They will.

Thus, Baresel:

Determining how much of a broad trend such examples represent is at best difficult. And there is no denying the existence of an intra-charismatic dispute between those friendly to the old liturgy and to ritual formality and those who idealize effusive spontaneity. But the fact that the former attitude has a strong foothold among leading figures and institutes of the charismatic movement, and a stronger one among the younger generation than among the older one, seems to indicate that support for the old liturgy and ritual formality is likely to at least slowly spread within the charismatic movement as time goes on.

Baresel explains why he thinks this will happen.  Along the way he explains a trend in the charismatic side.

You would do well to go over there and read the whole thing.  Before you do, however, I’ll add another point.

Baresel admits that his experience is anecdotal.  Okay.  The plural of anecdote is “data”.  I’ll add some data of my own that dovetails with what he wrote.

Baresel happened to mention Franciscan University at Steubenville and several people who have seemingly moved toward traditional worship.  He wrote:

“Through them I learned that Ralph Martin, one of the charismatic movement’s founders, was entirely receptive to those who wished to embrace the old liturgy. “

I was recently at a conference for priests held by the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology run by Scott Hahn, et al.  It was terrific.  Of course there was a degree of Steubenvillianism in it, as you might imagine.  You would think that many of the priests attracted to such a conference would perhaps be on the more liberal side of liturgical worship.   I think that was the case with older guys: you can tell a lot from the style of their albs and stoles when they concelebrate (which I did not).

But the younger priests…! During the course of the conference dozens of them introduced themselves and said that they read this blog and that it was helpful in this or that way.  They wanted to know how I worked it out with the organizers to celebrate the TLM, etc.  They talked about what they are doing in their parishes: quiet forward movement toward traditional worship with real successes.  They were solid, zealous and pragmatic.  This, in an event that came out of a certain milieu.

One of the speakers at the conference I attended was none other than the aforementioned Ralph Martin.   He now teaches at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit.  Moreover, I know that for years many students at Steubenville have desired and attended the TLM, one way or another.

Look.  There are also market forces at work here.  As demographics shift in the Church, lots of people who have written books and speak and teach see what’s going on and they adapt.  I am in no way suggesting insincerity.  They are genuine and they are learning and being influenced by what they learn.  Believe me!  As a convert – and the impact of converts on the Church today is huge – I get it.  And by convert I mean both formal and interior, reverts and those who have had ongoing deepening of the gift they were given from their families.  Conversion must be ongoing if it is truly conversion and not just role-playing (aka hypocrisy). It takes a long time to convert.  As a matter of fact, it lasts until your final breath.  And there is a great deal to discover in Holy Church’s treasuries.

Coming into the Catholic Church, or recommitting, is like coming into a vast store of riches, like finding the hoard hall under Erebor, the Lonely Mountain.  Imagine the time it takes to explore it and benefit from new discoveries.  A small band, converts all in the large sense, enter in wonder.  Some track in one direction in the great cavern and find this or that treasure while others clamber off in another direction.  Eventually, after one awesome revelation after another, they come together again and point and say to each other simultaneously: “You have GOT to see what I found over there!”

And mutual enrichment begins.

The treasury, by thy way, has been guarded by a dragon who wants to keep it away from all of us.

Let’s beat the dragon, claim the treasure, and together build what it can build.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    The other day a priest in his early 60s mentioned to me that he would like to learn the TLM.

    He is a Jesuit.

    There is hope and it’s not just coming from the young!

  2. dbonneville says:

    In 20 years, the average diocesan parish (fewer but larger parishes):
    Saturday 5pm: NO (Ad orientem with Latin propers)
    Sunday 8am: TLM
    Sunday 10am: TLM
    Sunday 12:30: NO (Ad orientem with Latin propers)

    The NO will become the refuge for octogenerian boomers and doltish Gen Xers, which is kept on simply for mercy :)

  3. Facta Non Verba says:

    Please pardon my lack of knowledge here. What are the characteristics of “charismatic”? How would I know if I were at a Mass offered in a charismatic style?

  4. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    My own parish recently, our priest spoke in the homily of the ordination of a couple new priests, and then our priest said they would be the last ordinations for a long time to come because there are no more seminarians in our seminary.

    And that is just the beginning.

    People have been talking about this coming demographic collapse in the church for years now, and they’ve been ignored. I don’t even think being told on their deathbeds that there are no priests available to administer Anointing of the Sick will wake certain people up in their final moments on this Earth.

  5. BrionyB says:

    I have generally been wary of the charismatic renewal (it just doesn’t “look Catholic” to me, and I worry that it tends to mistake the emotional experience for a spiritual one), but I’ve been forced to reconsider a little recently. “By their fruits you will know them”, and there’s no doubt that this movement is promoting genuine, heartfelt devotion, and appealing to faithful young people in a way that the mainstream modern church struggles to do. I agree there may be some mutual enrichment between this and the “trads.”

    The author of the Crisis article says that charismatic worship is about a “spontaneous, informal, and emotionally effusive approach to prayer”. At first glance, that sounds diametrically opposed to the TLM. But it’s not. It fairly well describes the TLM experience from my point of view as a lay person. Yes the TLM (rightly) has very precise rubrics for the priest and for the “action” in the sanctuary. But the lay person is left to pray and participate as he sees fit (though admittedly he’s normally expected to do so a bit more quietly than at a charismatic gathering, I suspect!)

    What does stand out in stark contrast to both approaches is the “marching in lockstep” of the conventional Novus Ordo: now stand up, now sit down; now listen to this, now recite that in unison. It’s boring and flat, and it leaves very little opportunity for emotional or spiritual inspiration, for spontaneous prayer or contemplation of the mysteries. No wonder people are turned off.

  6. exsquid says:

    There are a great many of those of us who attend a Novus Ordo out of necessity or for a variety of other reasons and who are devout, strong Catholics. Sure the “trads”, I really hate that term, will most likely survive the collapse of the Catholic Church in the Americas but it is foolish to think they are somehow superior to the rest of the faithful.

    One major problem on the horizon is that of a lay Catholic finally realizing he or she is being fed a load of cow manure and rejecting the Pope and many Bishops, this clearly goes against everything we seniors were taught back in the forties and fifties. I’ve been contemplating just how much abuse and false teaching I have to witness before I take that step, a step which if wrong could mean damnation. We need guidance and we need it now, what if’s and just waits don’t cut it anymore.

  7. Gil Garza says:

    The gravitational pull of the TLM pulls those in the Charismatic movements inwards towards Christ. Eventually, Charismatics realize that everything they have been yearning for as believers (and so much more!) can found in the TLM. I believe that young people and especially young families will make TLM communities a welcome home for those searching.

  8. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:


    I don’t think anyone claimed that those who attend the traditional form are “somehow superior to the rest of the faithful”, except in the sense that once they’ve found the tradition forms in all their beauty and depth, they naturally want to share this and don’t want to leave it for lesser things. They leave, as St. Paul did, and as St. Francis Xavier did, to bring the truth which they have received to those who desperately need it.

  9. Antiquorum says:

    I was raised in a very Pentecostal family and stayed until I was in my early twenties. Grandfather was a preacher, holy rollers, the whole 9 yards. My parents and brother are still heavily involved in this movement.

    I look at the Catholic charismatics, and all it does is terrify me that, what I left in the Pentecostal church appears to have made its way into the Catholic church. There’s an article by Fr. Scott Gardner SSPX, who in summary, calls the charismatic movement a “blighted tree bearing poisonous fruit.” It’s a good read and Fr. Gardner lays out the doctrinal problems with the movement very well.

    If people want to be faithful Catholics, then be a faithful Catholic. Why do you have to embrace what look to be protestant practices? That just seems contrary to your goal of being a faithful Catholic.

    [I suspect you didn’t try to engage even a sliver of what I wrote, above.]

  10. Gab says:

    My dear Mum, (may she rest in peace) was a devout Catholic and also attended Charismatic prayer groups. Returning to the Church after decades of absence, I attended NO Masses and also went to one Charismatic prayer group and found that it was not for me. And later realised the NO Mass was also not for me. From then on I “discovered” the TLM and am so very grateful.

    Fr Ripperger, in one of his conference talks, warns about the Charismatics and the “laying of hands” on others by anyone other than a priest.

    Ah well, each to his/her own.

  11. exsquid says:

    At 75 years old and reasonably well educated I recognize snide when I read it.

    I was raised and educated in the pre V-II Church of the forties and fifties, was an altar boy and as such learned all the Mass parts in Latin, we didn’t have prayer cards. I am fully aware of the beauty and spiritual strength of the TLM. The simple fact is there isn’t a TLM available in many areas, possibly most areas. How to fix that? Well the laity can petition and if their parish clergy back them up there is a chance of getting an occasional TLM. Such support by parish clergy is apparently fraught with political danger from all that I’ve read. Until such time as the Church allows (encourages) the TLM anywhere and everywhere we are stuck in this two party system of Liturgy and movements such as the Charismatic will continue as the laity seek to fill the vacuum left by the “spirit” of Vatican II.

  12. Antiquorum says:

    My intention wasn’t to be sour, but to raise concerns I and others have. It is nice to win something I suppose.

    And yes, I did read your article as I enjoy your writing very much. I also went over to the crisis article, and he is cautious about the movement. I just think we’re playing with fire with that movement.

    [Think… THINK… about where we are. Think about what is happening. We can let the perfect be the enemy of the good – the Trad Disease – or we can adapt, improvise and overcome. Enough of the negative BS. Our brothers and sisters and Catholics. We are all finding treasures. Let’s share them and move forward.]

  13. chantgirl says:

    As a teenager I attended a weekly Catholic charismatic youth prayer group. To be sure, there are very real spiritual dangers in the movement (groups which do not have a solid priest chaplain see the worst of these dangers as people can get carried away). However, at the time it was really the only organized Catholic youth prayer group in the area, and I have to say that the majority of the people SINCERELY loved Jesus and were willing to follow Him wherever He would lead them. Many of them have married and are raising big families and are involved in their parishes. With the right catechesis, I believe many of these JPII Catholics could be won over by Tradition.

    The sticking point is obviously the Mass. When people understand that the Mass is more about worshiping God in the way He has shown us He is worshiped in Heaven, and less about people in the pews being filled up with religious consolations and emotions, they have an easier time embracing Tradition.That’s not to say that God doesn’t give beautiful consolations within the context of the Latin Mass, because He absolutely does.

    I was initially won over by the Latin Mass by its undeniable beauty, but I stayed because I was shown what the Mass actually meant. Show charismatics how the Mass of the Ages corresponds to the Bible, especially the book of Revelation and the religious practices of the Jewish people, and you will see them embrace Tradition.

  14. Deborah Y says:

    I received a B.A. in theology from Steubenville and was even a member of a Charismatic Community for many years. What I found most compelling about the charismatic movement was the unflinching embrace of orthodoxy and traditional morality in the ranks, especially in the rejection of artificial birth control. It’s only since discovering the TLM that I’ve finally found another group of Catholics that are as reliably orthodox.

    Time to unite the clans!

  15. Pcito says:

    I’m pastor of what I call a “demographic parish”. IOW, it accurately reflects what is happening demographically and, in a sense, is ahead of the curve and thus has predictive value of what will be happening elsewhere in the US, soon enough.

    The future in the US? Hispanic. Thirty years ago, our parish was a few hundred Anglo families (“Anglo” is the imprecise term we use to describe mainly white Americans, not meant to offend). Even then, it was slowly declining (as reflected in the declining birthrate from the 70’s onward). Now, we are 90%+ Hispanic, 4000+ families. My Archdiocese was maybe 5% Hispanic thirty years ago, now it is 50%+. And during that time our Anglo population doubled (Catholics emptying northern parishes to move south).

    What is interesting is the “Americanization” of the Hispanics. Generally, as they settle and become more inculturated, they have fewer children. They have more children than their Anglo peers, but fewer than their parents and far fewer than their grandparents. I have seen this reflected in our baptisms. Ten years ago, it was more than 600 per year (about 98% Hispanic), now we are in the low 400’s – the decline is attributable to the end to peak in-migration and the declining birthrate among Hispanics. I expect that number to “regress to the mean”, i.e. it will eventually reflect the overall US Hispanic birthrate, which will, in general, be slightly higher than the Anglo population. (Side note: the decline in Hispanic birth rate is more due to education than the embrace of the American sexual ethos of the 70’s – educated women delay childbirth to their late 20’s, early 30’s, and thus have fewer children.)

    Sacramentally, of note also is what I call the “retention rate”. I’ve been here long enough to see the kids I baptize reach First Communion age. Statistically, 80%+ of the Hispanic kids I baptize are still there seven years later to make their First Communion (the rest either move or fall away). And the Confirmation numbers are coming up too, tripling in 10 years. Among Anglos, from my own observation in different parishes over the decades, a 30% “retention rate” would be a generous estimate. Yes, Hispanic Catholics are far more likely to retain their faith… if the Church is there for them.

    The big danger here and elsewhere to the Catholic Church in the US is simple: ignoring the Hispanics. I have seen this on a micro-demographic scale in various parishes over the years. Welcome them, reach out to them, integrate them, give them an authentic, complete sacramental parish life, and the parish will thrive and grow. Or, as I have seen in some places, “Hispanic Outreach” is assigned to a subcommittee of the parish council. The “outreach” parishes congratulate themselves when they have a full Spanish Mass offered by a visiting priest, but fail to see that there are ten times that many Hispanics living in the parish boundaries who are dying on the vine with no access to a complete sacramental life. In my experience, unattended Hispanics usually end up as “fallen away” or cultural Catholics (they call me when their abuelita is dying), but a growing number of them fall prey to the sheep stealing of the Pentecostals.

    I am no fan of the loopy theology of Pope Francis, but he does get some things right. Commenting on the parable of the lost sheep, he said that the problem today is not that there is one lost sheep in a flock of 100, but that 99 are lost. He says it’s so much easier for us to stay at home and care for the one sheep, but that’s hardly being a true Shepherd. (See his Address to the Participants of the Ecclesial Convention of the Diocese of Rome, 17 June 2013.) While my parish is fully bilingual and thriving, we still go out to the trailer parks and “colonias” to celebrate Mass in Spanish in garages and tents and trailers and open fields. Still a lot of work to do.

    I can’t really add anything to the discussion about the TLM. I can only say this: for every one time the topic has been brought up, I have been asked 10,000 times, “Padre, puede confesarme?” It would be a very sad thing if the many young tradition-minded seminarians and priests in the US don’t also speak Spanish, else, they’ll be left caring only for the one sheep who didn’t get lost.


  16. mthel says:

    I think I might have posted this personal story in a comment on this blog some time ago, but the story is especially apt here. One of my good priest friends was very involved in the local Latin Mass parish during college – was there nearly every Sunday, said the rosary in Latin, etc. He eventually entered the seminary, and while we kept touch, we didn’t see each other as often or keep up as much as we would have liked. Finally, when it was time for his ordination, my family to flew into his home diocese and had dinner with him in the days beforehand. It was here that he revealed his first Mass would be at a charismatic parish.

    Needless to say, I was stunned to learn of this news and asked him why the change of heart. His explanation was very simple: The charismatics and the traditionalists (for lack of better term) actually have a lot in common: They are both very strong in their beliefs and devotions and faith. They don’t care what the world is telling them, they want to go out and convert the world. They both often feel ignored or even looked down upon by much of the rest of the Church. They are both growing, especially with the young.

    But then I asked my friend how he could go from a Latin Mass to a charismatic one, and he simply said: I found what I was looking for at both – no one was there forcing me to stand, sit, dance, sing or respond at either one. At both places, I got to pray how I wanted, when I wanted, without any sideways glances or looks of disapproval – at one, I can pray silently, and the other loudly, but at both, it is me praying my way, and I love both groups for that.

    And I was suddenly left less surprised. I had never thought about how little time there is for self-prayer in the NO, and had never considered the two groups could actually hold so much in common. While the charismatic movement still feels a bit weird to me, I have a much stronger appreciation for them, and a feeling that us traditionalists should look for as many ways as possible to work with the charismatics. We need each other.

  17. veritas vincit says:

    As a convert who entered the Church via the charismatic renewal, I’m happy to see Father Z (as well as Crisis) give the charismatic renewal its due, alongside renewal of the liturgy. Yes, the renewal has had its excesses spinning off in questionable and even heterodox directions (I was briefly involved years ago in one such group). As an import from Protestant Pentecostalism, the renewal’s relationship to core Catholic doctrine was initially tenuous. But as the renewal has matured, that is changing. To Franciscan University of Steubenville and Ralph Martin I could add EWTN.

  18. Geoffrey says:

    “When the wreckage is sorted, I think these two groups – charismatics and trads – will be well-represented among the survivors…”

    As an orthodox Roman Catholic who falls into neither of these groups, I am not sure what to think…

  19. G1j says:

    My first experience with the Charismatic Movement was a Healing Mass 8 years ago. Unfortunately it was not a good experience. A priest speaking in tongues which sounded so fake and put on it was embarrassing. Laying on of hands and being forced to be “Slain in the Spirit” was just over the top for me. Maybe things have changed, but I’ve never taken my family back to anything with the Charismatic moniker attached to it. As far as TLM…The closest one is 92 miles away. That just isn’t feasible. Our NO Mass is a 50 minute, in and out, no reverence, no silence, Haas and Haugen filled train wreck that we have to attend to fulfill our obligation. We want a reverent, slowly prayed Liturgy with enough silence to actually be able to embrace what we are partaking in. Not Eucharistic Prayer II every week and every minute of the Mass filled with noise. Unfortunately there is nothing even remotely similar to this within driving distance. Our Pastor takes care of 5 Parishes within the county. All are the same. The neighboring county is even worse and I hate to use the term “liberal”. We just have nowhere else to go. I know my family can’t be the only one which feels this way.

  20. Marissa says:

    It would be a very sad thing if the many young tradition-minded seminarians and priests in the US don’t also speak Spanish, else, they’ll be left caring only for the one sheep who didn’t get lost.

    The FSSP runs the St. Junipero Serra Institute, a Spanish immersion program for any priest or seminarian.

  21. TRW says:

    The demographic collapse within the Church will definitely lead to a melding of the seemingly disparate groups that exist within Her. The kookier elements among the Tradionalists will continue to go off into sedevacantist-land and the zanier charismatics will easily be drawn to protestantism. Maybe there will be a natural curbing of some of the more self-referential and seemingly indulgent tendencies of the charismatic movement. And maybe some of their zeal can inspire us all to be more fervent in our prayers and devotions. IMHO, in time there will be an allying of all the faithful that truly love the Church and her authentic Teaching and Tradition. It seems natural that there would necessarily be more Latin, more ad orientum at OF masses and more zeal in general, because in the not-too-far-future, the majority of practicing, mass-going Catholics will probably be almost exclusively those that uphold orthodoxy. In the West, so-called “cultural Catholics” will go the way of the dodo. The unrelenting assault on all things religious by a secular, relativistic, anitnomian mindset means that the only Catholics that will have any “reason” to stay in the Church will be those that understand and are willing to defend the sacraments, ecclesiology, apostolicity and divine constitution of the Catholic Church. Most are already drifting away into atheism, agnosticism, eastern spiritualities or protestant “feel-good” services. Anyone without a supernatural love of the Church grounded in at least some knowledge of Divine Tradition will likely see no reason to stay. When everything seems to be imploding within the Church, it’s easy to forget that His Spirit is always at work and will continue to bring together all those who love Him and His Church.

  22. I read this week that the US birth rate has fallen to 1.7 children per woman. Now I find myself in the ironic position of mother to a large family. Of two! Lest you think we have not been obedient to Holy Mother Church, know that I have suffered with fertility issues throughout our marriage, and our last pregnancy ended in miscarriage. We would have gladly welcomed more. I have always been a bit self-conscious around my Catholic homeschooling friends regarding the size of our family. But we are blessed and I am at peace as my fertility wanes. We really cannot overestimate the effect that biology will have on us all in our lifetimes. Not only will the traditional and charismatic Catholics survive, so will the observant Jews and Muslims. That shall certainly make for adventure!

  23. bobk says:

    It’s difficult to see the confluence of TLM faithful with “charismatic” (what can be more charismatic than the eucharist?) laymen. The one is as united to the form of the liturgy as anything, the other simply not. It is made up as you go along. I don’t see how people can get along who use Latin for a set order and those who may begin to use a “language” that is utterly undefined, saying they know not what for an undetermined time. As a test case: Has anyone ever heard someone (and is that someone typically or not the celebrant?) say something in an unknown language and subsequently had it interpreted as “It is of paramount importance that you go to confession and receive communion regularly”? How often does the Holy Spirit in free flight worship actually act like THE ancient christian worship is essential?

    [I warmly suggest that you read the article to which I linked and which spurred my own post.]

  24. Woodlawn says:

    James Baresel. When I read that name it sure sounded familiar. He’s the fellow who recently got himself banned from The Remnant for writing a hit piece on Fr. James McLucas and the SSPX for Church Militant.

  25. ejcmartin says:

    In Canada we have campus ministry that leans to the Charismatic. They do a great job of bringing young people to, or back, to the Church. I understand that Confession and Adoration are a big part of their evangelizing process. In our small city we are blessed to have a EF Mass once a week and I have noticed some of the campus ministry people attending. We even have a young man, who through the campus ministry converted, began to attend the EF Mass and now serves. So from our small microcosm of an anecdote it appears that yes, Charismatics can certainly find themselves gravitating to the EF Mass.

  26. Here’s another “anecdote” to add to your “data”: I am currently pastor of two small rural parishes just outside Kansas City. The two parishes together total no more than 250 families. The younger families in the parishes homeschool their children – and these are the large families in the parishes. One couple are both Steubenville grads, and they often attend the EF Low Mass (currently offered only on weeknights). They are also very supportive of a recent shift to Ad-Deum (our church actually faces the occident!) worship and an even more recent addition of kneelers to provide that as an option for the Faithful to receive Holy Communion. The husband is currently working with FSU to develop a distance learning curriculum. This morning I drove out to a nearby field where another group of parishioners were conducting a Fathers & Sons campout. I set up for a field Mass, Ad-Orientem, this group would have been entirely happy with Mass in either the Ordinary Form or the Extraordinary Form, but I wasn’t sure what the situation would look like (in the field) so I brought the gear for O.F. and celebrated in Latin except for the Propers. Some of these families are people who were also fairly active in the charismatic movement when they were younger.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  27. Hidden One says:

    In the history of the Church, we find numerous reform movements, some big and some small, some long-lasting and others less so. None of them have been perfect. Some improved with time, having started poorly; others deteriorated.

    Until one can accurately articulate the good in a movement not one’s own, one has little if any business in criticizing it.

    The charismatic movement is not faultless. Neither is the traditionalist one. But anyone can be become sour on one or the other (or both) by attending to each movement’s faults, real or imagined, present or outdated, and not looking f9r the good in them.

  28. bobk says:

    Well, Father, I read as you warmly suggested. The author sounds hopeful I hope he’s right. I’m not involved. I know a Greek-American priest whose family is from Corinth. He has always cautioned people about idealizing the Church there and particularly about charismatic things. He uses the very old adage that the Corinthians got in the New Testamen the way Pilate got in the Creed. I wish these folks very well, they sound like they have careful and concerned clergy.

  29. UPDATE

    A reader sent me this:

    Thank you for much for your blog, and more importantly, giving your life to the Church. I loved your post about how the Charismatic and the TLM Catholics will come together. I would consider myself a charismatic Catholic. I’m 31 years old. And I am very interested in the Traditional Latin Mass. The only thing that holds me back is accessibility. There are no TLMs in my area and I feel like I’d be lost if I went to one. I also feel like my husband would have a negative reaction. Then there is the older, more liberal generation who are completely baffled by people like me. Yes, we love the Holy Spirit and are charismatic. We also love tradition. When I talk about wanting to make our Masses more engaging and beautiful I don’t mean that I want to change them like the hippies did. I mean that I want Latin hymns, smells, bells and real art. I think the true Charismatics (who love the Church and respect authority) and the Trads are on the same page and will come together. We just have to stop letting some of the older generations set the lines between us–they think we are somehow opposed to each other. They don’t get it. I’m glad you do.

    Again and again, I am receiving affirmations of what I wrote, above.

  30. Gab says:

    I’m going to stick my neck out here … as I said above, my dear Mum used to go to Charismatic prayers and she loved it. I went once and found it not to my liking, not that I could tell you why. Later I heard Fr Ripperger warn about some charismatic prayer groups. Basically, if you’re talking in tongues and you have no idea what you’re saying, then it’s not from the Holy Spirit. Also, if someone else understands you, it’s still not from the Holy Spirit. He talked about the “laying of hands” by anyone other than a priest as not a good idea. Apparently he and others had have cases where people had to have exorcisms and the reason went back to charismatic groups. That’s all I can recall about his conference on the matter.

  31. edwar says:

    Thanks Father Z for your post, and the link to that article.

    Thanks also to Padre Cito (Pcito) for your comment.

  32. johnwmstevens says:

    I suspect that it will be the middle path that comes to be.
    In terms of the liturgy, I suspect both the OF and EF will remain, but that they will slowly converge a single abstract form, and that slowly the people who remain in the Church will bring the OF into conformance with Vatican II *actually* said.

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