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?

6 comments:

Joe Shlabotnick said...

Yes, we were duped.

We were duped because of our clericalist viewpoint
"If Father says it's OK, it must be OK"

We were duped because we were lazy
"Well, that'll sure make Fridays easier"

We were duped because of our attitudes
"C'mon! Do you think God REALLY cares whether we use a condom or pill?"

We were duped because of our worldliness
"At least we can bring our Protestant friends without feeling so self-conscious now"

We were duped because our comfort was more important to us than our respect for God
"It's great to see Father talking to everyone in the pews before Mass. Why did we ever need to whisper anyway?"

Ultimately, we were duped because we wanted to be. And we were all too willing.

BachFanIV said...

As one who was raised Protestant and in the last few years discovered the Catholic Church, I have felt as though I was only told a half-truth about my faith and what Christianity is supposed to be as I was growing up. I suppose it makes me slightly more sensitive when I see things blatantly Protestant being either embraced or paraded around by Catholics, within Holy Mass or other liturgies. This sort of thing is not right. The identity I find within TLM is the same I find in readings of the saints, the mystics, in councils defending against heresies such as Protestantism.

I sometimes think of the parable of the wedding feast where the original guests declined to attend and strangers came instead, of the one guest who was not dressed properly for such an occasion, and how that guest was cast out. It seems, especially in recent Church history with the issue of interpreting V2, we have thrown out the wrong guest.

I long for the faith, and for all that is offered in Holy Mass. I pray the Church, in the New Evangelization will rediscover its truth and heritage.

Anonymous said...

Picture #2 - When did Senator Mitch "My number one priority is making sure president Obama’s a one-term president." McConnell become a priest?

Henry Edwards said...

"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."

Well, not quite all of "us". A fair number remained faithful to Church and the Faith they had learned in catechism and liturgy, and waited (if in forced silence) for the restoration they were confident would come in God's time, and many are still alive to support it in this time of joy that has indeed come to us.

Anonymous 5 said...

Joe,

The changes were fast, and they were as disastrous as they were fast. As a result, people who genuinely are opposed to the Spirit of VII warn against equally fast corrections, attributing the disaster not only to what was changed but the speed at which it was changed.

But does this not put us in a Catch-22? If we change back fast, then (goes the argument) we make the same mistakes the dissenters did in the 1960s and 1970s. But if we go slowly, do we not continue to lose vital aspects of our Catholic heritage, our link to little t traditions, our awareness that there even is such a thing as a Tridentine Mass, through the aging and death of the pre-VII generation? Obviously _some_ people will remember what Religious habits look like and that priests used to say the Mass ad orientem and in Latin. In terms of perpetuating these memories, the motu proprio didn't come a day too soon. Several months ago, a family friend who had lost his spouse asked me to come out and lead the family in a Rosary. The reason? Of the 7 or 8 family members there, all of them cradle Catholic and at least some of them regular Mass attendees, NONE of them knew how to say a Rosary or anything about the theology/history behind it. Read that again and tell me how we need to correct the problems gradually. We are losing souls as well as our heritage. As you can tell, I have no patience with the argument that fast change must automatically be bad change. And the forces of status quo--in our case the modernists--usually resort to counselling slow and gradual change to preserve what they have (in this case defective liturgy and widely-disseminated heretical theology). That makes opposition to fast reversion to orthodox liturgy immediately suspect in my book.

Another Catch-22, this one even worse: the modernist heretics stole a huge march on us by leveraging the "Father knows best" attitude that Joe mentions. It was one of the most crucial keys to their success: whenever a relatively small group of revolutionaries wants to destroy the system, it MUST have the acquiesence of the masses, and getting them to reflexively defer to authority is one of the best ways to do that. If I'm right in my above analysis and we try to regain our Catholic culture by saying "Father knows best" when he says we must go slowly, the problems are perpetuated--especially if the Father in question is a modernist who is fighting a rear-guard action to save the revolution. But if we openly criticize Father,and the hierarchy with him (as I admit I do as much as I believe I can without actually rejecting the hierarchy's authority), doesn't that perpetuate exactly the spirit of rebellion that modernists wanted to foment?

Anonymous 5 said...

A note to the above post, which I deliberately want to make separate: "Father" in my above post is a generic "Father," not Father McD. I have the occasional difference with him, but I don't believe him to be a modernist revolutionary heretic. :-)