At Crisis there is a piece by Eric Sammons from January which echoes what I have been writing about, what I call the “demographic sinkhole” that has been opening up under the Church for some time now. The “beige” will fall through this sinkhole and vanish from our churches. As a matter of fact, our churches will disappear as well. COVID-1984, which I am convinced is also literally cursed, has accelerated the opening of this sinkhole. And don’t rule out open persecution.
I have a sense that only the stronger identity groups will remain practicing and vibrant and they will find their source of strength in traditional worship.
Sammons’ piece is entitled “Will Catholic Ever Return to Mass?”
His prognostication is less than rosy. As he points out, in the 70’s 55% of Catholics in these USA went to Sunday Mass. In 2019 that dropped to about 20%. Now… around 5%, given that virtually all dioceses forbade going to Mass for some time. Once things open back up again… if they are ever allowed to…
The question that currently hovers over every chancery and rectory in America is this: will they ever come back? Will the Catholic Church in America see a return to pre-2020 numbers, which were already quite dreadful, but weren’t as catastrophic as now? No one knows the answer to that question, but I don’t think Church leaders should have high hopes.
As I’ve detailed elsewhere, the Catholic Church in America was facing a demographic collapse before the Age of Covid. Since 2000, the number of infant baptisms—one of the best indicators of the health of the Church—has plummeted more than 40% after it had remained relatively steady from 1975-2000. And there were no signs that this trend was reversing before 2020. Now add to that the following realities: (1) our bishops, whether intentionally or unintentionally, have signaled to the world that attending Mass is “non-essential;” (2) lifelong Mass-going habits have now been broken; and (3) many parishes are so vigorous in their COVID-19-restrictions that they’ve become less welcoming than an East German Stasi house call. Add it all up, and you’ve got a recipe for empty churches.
A recipe for empty churches.
And yet, where Tradition is tried, things look a lot brighter.
But don’t worry, dear readers, our inventive and committed leaders will find the right combinations of programs and pamphlets and reassuring declarations which will inspire all those lapsed Catholics to return and will win over new flocks of converts. The key will be to make the Church more attractive to the secularized by secularizing the Church. That’ll do it. We have to make sure people know how committed we are to saving the planet from climate change, diminishing the differences between world faiths, and, you know, making sure we don’t discriminate based on our many genders.
You might check out Sammons’ suggestions. They are grim, but they may be realistic.
Orrrr… we can keep doing what we are doing.
Maybe it’s time to stop marginalizing and persecuting those who desire traditional expressions of the faith.