Friday, November 30, 2012
JUST WHAT IS TOO MUCH CATHOLIC?
I don't think that it is on a grand scale, but it is happening here and there and being reported on the blogs. What is it? It is the rediscovery of our historic Catholicism that dates well before the Council of Trent and remained in place until approximately 1965.
After the Second Vatican Council and for many academics, clerics and religious, the interpretation of the documents went far beyond a literal reading of these to what was called the "spirit of the council." Even as a teenager I remember hearing about the spirit of the council and that even when we thought we had implemented what the Council wanted, that we had only scratched the surface. I often wondered what the heck else was going to change if after all the changes we had already made, we had only scratched the surface.
In the short span of less than five years, from about 1965 to 1970, we saw the following culture of Catholicism dismantled.
1. From an all Latin Mass to an all vernacular Mass
2. From Ad Orientem to facing the congregation
3. From a good translation of the Tridentine Mass into English from a dumbed now new order of Mass into very poorly translated Latin Mass into English
4. The discarding of habits and collars by priests and religious
5. The mass exodus of priests and religious from supposed life-long vows and promises and the marriage of many of them
6. Wholesale scandal in the priesthood and religious life with those in authority not knowing what to do or worse yet looking the other way
7. The discarding of the musical treasury of the Church especially of chant in all forms but also exquisite other forms of music for cheap, trendy fads associated with popular culture
8. The closing of Catholic schools, hospitals, convents and houses of formation and seminaries as the dramatic drop in vocations developed very clearly after the dismantling of traditional Catholic culture and prayer.
9. The loss of popular devotions as the Mass in all kinds of creative and dumbed down forms became the only prayer experience for a new and future generations of Catholics
10. The loss of Catholic authority in the areas of faith, morals and Church law
11. The loss of Catholic identity as ecumenism and interfaith dialogue seem to indicate that it really didn't matter what religion you joined as all are equal and all will get you to God
12. The decline in Mass attendance from a peak of about 90% prior to the Council to about 25% today
When looking at the recovery of Catholic tradition as it concerns the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in its various solemnities, one commenter, YTC, summed it all up:
"The liturgy in those videos is so deliciously Catholic I can hardly stand it!"
Now I have a confession to make. As a pre-teen and teenager, I felt in that period following the Council from about 1965 to 1970 that I was being turned into a Protestant by the Catholic Church as all the changes and the forays into ecumenism seem to indicate that the Protestants had it right and we Catholics had it wrong and the only way to Church Unity was by the Catholic Church becoming Protestant.
Obedient Catholic that I was and the fact that the Tridentine Mass was suppressed after 1970 and there was no option for Catholics who wanted to remain thoroughly Catholic during that period, we all went along with what we were told was the Holy Spirit, like a new Pentecost, causing all of this to happen to the Catholic Church.
The clearest sign to me of the triumph of Protestantism over Catholicism in the very Catholic Church that I belonged, as a poor dumb Catholic at the time, was the charismatic movement that took off like wild-fire in the late 1960's and well into the late 1970's, although it began to wain, thanks be to God, in the 1980's. In my opinion, the worst form of Protestantism had infected millions of Catholics in the form of the charismatic movement, which too was called what the Holy Spirit wanted for the entire Church.
Many were embarrassed by their Catholic heritage as are way too many today when they see the resurgence of the Tridentine Mass or even the Ordinary Form Mass celebrated in a Tridentine Way.
What the hell happened to us Catholics in the last 50 years and why did we abandon so much that was of our Catholic identity, not only in externals, which are important too, but more importantly in areas of real substance?
Were we duped?