Sunday, October 14, 2012

WHO TO BLAME FOR THE NONES? A DAY OF JUDGEMENT FOR LIBERAL BISHOPS (AND DEACONS, PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS AND LAITY)

Progressive, academic Catholics on the Day of Judgement:


Damian Thompson--The London Telegraph

MY COMMENT FIRST: It is absolutely astounding to me that smart people who call themselves progressives and some of them are young, don't see the handwriting on the wall and that progressiveness and Catholicism are two words that don't go together and when forced together both die and as sociology shows are dying, except liberal Protestantism is the one dying the fastest. Evidently we should go beyond Catholicism and say that Christianity and Progressiveness don't mix and both die in trying to mix them! Damian Thompson sums it up best in the last paragraph of his article below and I absolutely agree with him and this is where "Ivory Tower, academic Catholicism taught at places like Collegeville, MN compared to the actually lived, hit the road conservative Catholicism diverge into two roads and there is only one road that is not a dead end and it is the road that is not progressive:

"None of this should surprise us. When religions come under attack, they attract believers who invest in their more dogmatic, countercultural teachings – and who deliberately raise the degree of tension between themselves and society. There are few things more countercultural today than Bible-based evangelicalism or strictly orthodox Catholicism. For decades, Liberal bishops have droned on about how they wanted to draw young people back to church. But I don’t think this is what they had in mind."

Now Damian Thompson's article on Judgment Day:

"The strangest thing happened last week, though few people noticed it. America officially ceased to be a Protestant country. According to the Pew Forum, the percentage of Protestants has dropped to 48 per cent, down from 53 per cent in 2007. That’s a huge shift."

He goes on to write: "But, before Catholics start punching the air, let me point out that the percentage of Catholics has been flatlining for years at 22 per cent. The big jump is in unaffiliated Americans, including atheists – up from 15 to 20 per cent. These “Nones”, as pollsters call them, are laying waste to the religious landscape of the United States. And Britain.

Here’s the question that intrigues me. Once the old, routine churchgoers have died off, and now that “None” is the default position for liberal-minded young people, what will the churches of the future look like?

We’re beginning to find out. More to the point, the clapped-out Anglican and Catholic bishops of the English-speaking world are finding out, too – and it’s giving them nightmares.

Those youngsters who once went to church out of obligation are now spending Sunday mornings in the supermarket or the gym (body worship is a flourishing faith). That means that the only young people in the pews are true believers who really want to be there."


If you’re a “go-ahead” bishop, vicar or diocesan bureaucrat, this is a scary development. You’ve spent your career reducing the hard truths of Christ’s teaching – such as the inevitability of the Last Judgment – to carbon-neutral platitudes. Suddenly, the 20-year-olds in your flock are saying: no thanks, we’ll take the hard truths. Eek!

In the Church of England, young evangelicals are embarrassed by the thespian agonising of Rowan Williams, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury. If there’d been a hand-wringing event at the Olympics, he’d have shattered all records.

In the Roman Catholic Church of England and Wales, the disconnect is even more stark. Young Catholics take their cue from the traditionalist Pope Benedict XVI, rather than from dreary bishops who only occasionally wake from their slumber to mumble something about renewable energy. (Remember Jack in Father Ted? You get the picture.)

Also – and I can’t tell you how much pleasure it gives me to report this – the Vatican has pulled a fast one by appointing two new diocesan bishops, Mark Davies of Shrewsbury and Philip Egan of Portsmouth, who are in tune with conservative youngsters rather than an English Catholic bureaucracy run by crypto-Marxist megabores trained in the public sector.

Bishop Egan has only been in his post for a few weeks, but already he’s been telling orthodox young Catholics what they want to hear: that they should adore the Blessed Sacrament, advertise their faith by making the sign of the cross, and even keep a rosary handy in the car. Cue barely suppressed shrieks from the old guard in Portsmouth, whose “director of liturgy”, the composer Paul Inwood, writes cod plainchant decked out in the harmonies of a 1970s cocktail lounge.

None of this should surprise us. When religions come under attack, they attract believers who invest in their more dogmatic, countercultural teachings – and who deliberately raise the degree of tension between themselves and society. There are few things more countercultural today than Bible-based evangelicalism or strictly orthodox Catholicism. For decades, Liberal bishops have droned on about how they wanted to draw young people back to church. But I don’t think this is what they had in mind.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of a true event I witnessed in another diocese. One parish had a young adult group that was quite orthodox, and very devoted to both apologetics and pro-life work. For one of their meetings, they invited the bishop for a Q & A session. From the get-go the bishop tried to control what kind of questions he would take, but eventually, they got around to asking him uncomfortable questions about some very "progressive" and unorthodox things that they had witnessed in the diocese. These young people didn't want the to put the bishop on the "hot seat", they just wanted his take on what they had witnessed. A week later, the bishop grumbled to some others about how "agenda-driven" this group was. In another instance, the Latin Mass Community asked this bishop if he would confirm their young people at a special Mass. When the bishop arrived for the Mass and saw how many young people wanted to be confirmed the traditional way and how crowded the place was, he was very upset and later had his aides inform the group that from now on, they would have to have their kids confirmed in a regular Novus Ordo parish. So when I hear about how bishops lament about bringing back young people, I take it with a grain of salt. What DOES attract young people is orthodoxy and tradition , yet some bishops would rather shut parishes down than allow THAT kind of thing to be re-born.

John Nolan said...

In Victorian England Anglo-Catholics (with regard to the Church of England) and Roman Catholics (with regard to society as a whole) had to be counter-cultural. This is even more true in a post-Christian society dominated by aggressive secularism.

One of the silliest comments by a bishop in recent years was by Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, who told the Catholic Herald that young people had no concept of saving their souls but were passionate about 'saving the planet' and so 'youth liturgies' had to concentrate on serious sins like putting too much water in the kettle.