“There will be some friction points along the way, but they will begin to integrate.   That’ll be something to see.”

I have long observed that a demographic sinkhole is opening up under the Church here in these USA.   The fact is that lots of “nones” will stop even pretending to embrace the family religion.  Also, the inexorable movement of time is applying the “biological solution” to us all.  We will lose a lot of seasoned Catholics and, with them, their financial support.  Their children are already going and gone.

Corona lockdown melodrama has accelerated the opening of the sinkhole.  I suspect that quite a few people who barely went to church will disappear pretty much for good.  A stronger Church and stronger bishops would have made a little difference, however.  The weakness we showed, however, did huge damage.

That said, many traditional Masses kept going and traditional priests found creative ways to keep things going.  This did not go unnoticed, either by the rank and file nor by the powers that be.

I still believe that as the sinkhole widens, two main groups will stay strong, those who want Tradition and also those who are converts from an evangelical background along with charismatics with sound devotions.  These groups will find each other.  There will be some friction points along the way, but they will begin to integrate.   That’ll be something to see.

Thus I come to my point.  I saw a really interesting story that dovetails with what I describe above.

From Faithwire:

‘God Is Gonna Use Her’: Meet the Incredible McDonald’s Worker on Mission From God to Pray With and Inspire Customers

A Mississippi McDonald’s worker inspires customers and her community daily by sharing her faith — and prayer — with those who visit her restaurant.

Brenda Wilson’s story emerged after a photo of her impromptu prayer with a customer gained traction on social media. Now, she’s explaining why she takes the time to pray with those she encounters.

“Because all things are possible through Jesus Christ. If I didn’t have God, ain’t no way these folks are going to stand here and let me pray through the drive-thru and hold up their times,” Wilson told WLOX-TV. “We have times that we have to go through, but he allows me 15 seconds with each one that I pray with. It’s like, when they leave and have tears in their eyes, I know God touched your heart.”

She said she feels led by God to offer these prayers — and others agree.

A customer named Dylan Brooke shared a Facebook message last month detailing a recent interaction with Wilson, and it inspired thousands.

“She stopped me while I was going to get my drink and told me God told her she needed to pray for me right then and there,” Brooke wrote. “I’ve been silently struggling with a few things lately and having a hard time figuring it all out.”

Brooke said Wilson “got on her knees” and prayed over her struggles — issues she knew nothing about but was somehow still able to offer comfort. The customer said she “left in tears.”

“She hit every spot. Word for word, every issue. She knew,” Brooke wrote. “God works in mysterious ways.”

Wilson told WLOX-TV, while she now inspires others, her own life experience came with severe challenges. As a child, she was abused and faced difficulties that caused her to wonder, early on, if there even was a God.


Never underestimate the power of an invitation.

Fuse this sort of evangelical zeal, this level of personal skin in the game with the stability and clarity that is founded in the Traditional Latin Mass…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I believe all that you’ve said, Father. Remember our beloved “German Shepherd” said we would have a smaller Church, but maybe he also said a stronger one. I can identify with all these characteristics you describe also. Raised in the 50’s, couldn’t be more traditional than my family. Then part of the Charismatic Renewal for about 10 years or more, I retained all that I learned: deeper prayer life, inner healing, the courage to pray for others, the charisms of the Holy Spirit that should be alive now, etc. But I am now full circle back to my roots while retaining all that the Charismatic education gave me. (The woman in your story is exercising the gift of knowledge the Holy Spirit may give someone, knowing things He tells you to help someone else.) May we all keep growing spiritually!

  2. Dave P. says:

    I’ve seen growth at St. Stanislaus here in Milwaukee the last two years. I joined just before COVID, and the rest of my family joined because of COVID, along with many others. Attendence jumped from 600 to 900, making necessary another Mass. And you can’t walk six feet without running into hordes of small children. And if you go back fifteen years, when the Latin Mass Community took over St Stanislaus, attendance has tripled, from 300 to 900. And there would be more, were it not for Sunday Latin Masses offered in Sheboygan (50 miles north of Milwaukee), Kenosha (40 miles south), Elm Grove (in Waukesha County, just over the line from Milwaukee County), and Lomira (50 miles northwest).

  3. jboyne says:

    Father, something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently – do you think this eventual renewal will have full-fledged tradition at its center? And by that I mean the TLM, all the old devotions, etc as they were 70 years ago? Or will it have a sort of hybrid, the often-described-but-less-often-seen “reverent NO” with traditional elements and a return to old practices but with newer applications? I’ve just been wondering what it would take for the Church to say, “Yep, we made a mistake and need to go back to where we were.” I get the feeling it will be more of a “Let’s course correct and re-implement old stuff slowly.” If I recall correctly, BXVI said that a hard stop on the NO and a return to exclusive TLM would not be ideal, and it should be more of a gradual change. The recent Mass of the Ages episode used the visual of a tree that then had several of its thickest limbs hacked off. New limbs won’t grow in their place, but other limbs will grow and strengthen the tree in ways the original ones maybe didn’t. It’s a bit difficult to articulate what I’m thinking but it’s something I’ve been trying to make sense of for some time.

  4. Dan says:

    I have see you write this many times “…as the sinkhole widens, two main groups will stay strong, those who want Tradition and also those who converts from an evangelical background along with charismatics with sound devotions. These groups will find each other.”

    I believe it! I have seen this in our own parishes. I am a member of a men’s prayer group, the group contains Ultra conservative rad trads like myself and very charismatic members as well and many who are just looking for their Catholic faith. While the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end when the charismatics all want to lay hands on a fellow member to sing prayers for healing or something. that is rare and they are all very faithful Catholics (although the friction points are clear.) I can see this point. Covid brought our Sunday attendance down by 25% or more, however daily Mass attendance remains strong and fairly consistent with pre-covid members. A strong indication we have basically lost those that were not really there to begin with.
    I think for those who have left there could be some benefit for them as well, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Maybe totally denying themselves something they never knew they needed to begin with will start a conversion of their hearts.

  5. Francisco12 says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Father. this sort of evangelical zeal can definitely be combined with the stability and clarity found in our traditional Latin Rite. I would say this is EXACTLY what apostolates like St. Paul’s Street Evangelization is doing. I’ve been able to go out with this one specific team, and a blog post from one of the recent outings speaks to exactly the kind of evangelical zeal we need in reaching souls, which you’ve shared with us here, Father:


  6. jboyne says: full-fledged tradition at its center?

    Ten years ago when someone I know said that, eventually, the NO would dissolve and the TLM would remain, I brushed it off. Now, I’m not so sure. NO demographics are not going well. TLM’s are, and the persecution will help. It is not going away.

    Will it be like 70 years ago? No! Thanks be to God. It will be BETTER! And we will not take it for granted.

    We’ve learned a great deal in the last 70 years. We can implement something great.

    What we have to learn to do is rein in some of the outliers, the real loud mouths, who think they are helping, but who are not.

    I heard a few things in Rome about the genesis of Traditionis custodes and the connection with certain visible Americans. If it hadn’t been for them, we might not have seen TC at all.

    But we did and now we have to live with the consequences.

  7. Ceile De says:

    Father, I hope that you can elaborate more on the genesis of TC. It seems to me though that before the sinkhole engulfs them, those with institutional power will stop at nothing to forbid the TLM and tradition. A cardinal told us directly the goal is to ensure anybody attached to it is formally placed outside the church. How do we survive post sinkhole when we are formally outside the church at that point due to the last juridical act of the old guard?

  8. Suburbanbanshee says:

    1. Maintain a Church-obedient attitude, even when bad bishops and bad decisions are going on.

    2. Don’t take any bad teaching onboard yourself, and don’t let it drive you into a frenzy.

    3. Remember that there were a good few saints who actually got excommunicated, for doing nothing wrong, and who had to live with that, without going into a frenzy. Which is part of why they are saints.

    Like Apponius says in his Explanatio of the Song of Songs, in Book 4 —

    “He shows love in Himself, rather than the terrifying aspect of the sight of Him. Even so did Our Lord Christ turn out to have come at His First Coming – ‘Behold, He Himself stands behind our wall, looking up through the windows, looking far in through the lattices. And my Beloved speaks to me.’ (Sgs. 2:9-10, VL)

    “Behold Him Who is crucified – Who held fast the fainting Church with the ‘right hand’ of His Godhood – that is, He held fast the mourning Church with the ’embrace’ of His consolation to the Apostles, when He was buried according to the flesh (Sgs. 2:6)….

    “He spoke to them through the Prophet Isaiah: ‘Is My Hand not able to deliver?’ (Is. 50:2, VL) …

    “But it can also be understood in this way: that it is the Church enclosed within a wall – fenced in, on account of the dread of persecution. There, when the Message of God would have seen the soul scared off by too much dread, He acts as He usually does; and by comforting her, and increasing the warmth of her faith, He will speak to her, removing her dread – even as, after His Resurrection, He brought great confidence and great joy to His terrified Apostles, cast down by too much fear, by entering when ‘the doors were shut’ (John 20:26), and by saying, ‘Peace be with you. It is I. Fear not.’ (Lk. 24:36)…

    “He spoke to the Church in the Apostles concerning when He was rising from the dead, when He comforts them, saying, ‘Have confidence. I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) And ‘All power is given to Me in Heaven and on Earth.’ (Mt. 28:18) And ‘Do not fear those who kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul.’ (Mt. 10:28) For there are also other persecutors of the soul.

    “Indeed, [the Church] has invisible enemies who attack her invisibly and incessantly, encircling her within the enclosure of her mind.”

    Apponius was talking way back in the day, when there was still pagan persecution, and when he had no idea what storms were about to break on the Empire where he lived. But the Church got through that, and she will get through this too.

  9. Suburbanbanshee says:

    And Apponius’ next point was that the Bridegroom’s next verse calls the Bride to make haste and come — out of the enclosure of fear, division, and sin. Outside the walls, the Church can see fully the Sun of Justice rise, with healing in His wings. By trusting Him, we can dare to follow Him.

    (And without falling away and getting lost, to the left or the right of the Way.)

  10. Mike says:

    On the demographic sinkhole, a report from the field:

    I’m visiting family in the Boston suburbs. I’m also going to daily Mass at my local parish—the one I was baptized in, and received First Communion in (1968).

    What a difference from my DC-area parish. At daily Mass there, yes, mostly at the 900 there are retired folks, but lots of young moms, and guys my age too. Here in the Boston area? 9/10s of these lovely folks look 70 and older. The priest prays the Rosary with everyone while kneeling on a kneeler in the sanctuary. He’s dry as toast, but hey, man, he’s kept the course. Sort of reminds me of a ship’s captain, a big fellow who doesn’t suffer fools.

    So some real good stuff, but the elderly are the majority here. (I’ve seen this a few years ago at another parish here–my 22 year old daughter with me was the ONLY one there her age or so.

  11. Jones says:

    Interesting I’ve been reading books by protestants on being open to the gift of children and no birth control. Some with 11 children. It’s convicted me even though I fully accept the Church’s teaching on the family. Proponents of being open to life in all forms matter alot to.

    The praying over others thing I thought you couldn’t do because of an authority issue per Fr. Ripperger. But praying together with others is very important.

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