Sunday, December 30, 2012

WHY ARE CATHOLICS NOT ATTENDING MASS AND BECOMING PROTESTANTS OR WORSE YET, "NONES?"

Let's face it, Houston we have a problem, or maybe we should say, Rome we have a problem. Catholics no longer attend Mass in the same high percentage that they did following World War II through the 1960's. In that period and in this country, about 90% of Catholics attended Sunday Mass regularly. It was much lower in Europe though, but still approaching 40% in places like secular France.

I am not sure that there has been any real sociological studies done to show why this has happened but certainly common sense and a sense of the history of the Church and world in the last 50 years qualifies people such as myself who is now 59 years old or as some sarcastically remind me, in my 60th year, can proffer some analysis from experience.

So these are my candidates for the reasons in the decline in Church attendance.

I. Prior to Vatican II in this country, lay Catholics knew the basics of the faith (those who were educated and could read)and they gleaned it from the Baltimore Catechism that taught them the very basics. However, they were also biblically illiterate compared to Protestants.

II. Bishops and priests were very authoritarian in those day and the emphasis was more on obligation rather than love. I'm not criticizing that, for obligation is a part of love and the two must go together. In post Vatican II times that only emphasized love as a feeling, an emotion, obligation has been jettisoned leading to a variety of maladies such as divorce and leaving the Church and not taking care of one's commitments and responsibilities.

III. After Vatican II there was a separate cultural upheaval against authority in this country and in Western Europe. Rebellion was the name of the game and respect for authority was compromised. This reach an apex in this country in 1968 with the Vietnam War and men burning their draft cards, escaping to Canada to resist the draft and the outright rebellion of the a significant number of priests and bishops toward Pope Paul VI and Humanae Vitae. Pre-Vatican II Catholics who saw their clergy rebelling gladly joined in lock step with them in a pre-Vatican II sort of way and these rebellious clergy used their clerical stature from the 1950's to rally this rebellion, the truest form of clericalism. This is a turning point!

IV. While the initial reforms of the Mass imposed in a pre-Vatican II authoritarian way were mostly well received, and these were the associated with the 1965 missal that was the Tridentine Mass, but had much of it in English, although the Roman Canon was still in Latin with its elaborate rubrics, problems soon arose and almost immediately with the type of new music thrust onto the Mass, primarily banal folk music and the stripping of churches of their magnificent pre-Vatican II altars and accouterments and moving the tabernacle out of sight or to a side altar. "Ironing Board" altars came into vogue with two rinky dink candles on it--it clearly had the symbolism of dumbing down the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

V. The 1973 missal led to more experimentation and iconoclasm of the Mass and the loss of traditional piety, reverence and respect in the church building for the presence of God as the presence of people was over emphasized, what is now called the horizontal to the detriment of the Vertical! The universality of the Mass was greatly compromised and the Mass was different not only from diocese to diocese but parish to parish in the same city and unrecognizable in terms of from which the new Mass came, namely its Tridentine counterpart that became forbidden as though there was something radically wrong with it and its theological and spiritual thrust.

VI. Pre-Vatican II Catholics who loved and respected the Church (my parent's generation and some of their non-rebellious baby boomer children) were completely confused and disgusted with many of the reforms of the church that initially looked promising when done conservatively but became caricatures of themselves as time progressed, especially the rampant disregard for traditional Catholic obedience, piety and reverence. The Baltimore Catechism was through out for touchy-feeling catechesis, what many now call vapid coloring book Catholicism.

VII. Many pre-Vatican II Catholics stopped practicing the faith by the late 1970's (my parent's generation out of disgust) and their children stopped practicing out of rebellion and a fierce individualism when it came to faith and worship as well as morality.

VIII. Those who remained in the Church became detached from anything authoritative as they thought things would continue to change. Two generations of post Vatican II Catholics saw priests and nuns get married, Catholic schools closing and religious education in total disarray.

IX. By the 1980's word was getting out about the sexual promiscuity of some of the clergy and religious especially in the 1960's and 1970's. Most unbelievable was the abuse of children and teenagers by priests. Many lay Catholics refused to believe the reports coming out or downplayed its significance. But scandals kept being reported in both the religious and secular press.

X. After the turn of the century, the Boston Globe brought the true proportions of the scandal to light in the USA (it had already happened in Canada) and then other countries experienced it in Europe, first in Ireland, then Belgium and other places.

Clearly this sex abuse scandal is more deleterious to Catholicism and the practice of it compared to anything that preceded it but more than likely was/is a part of the liberalization of the Church and the refusal of bishops to properly manage not only their dioceses but their priests and make hard decisions about firing them when they egregiously were unfaithful to their promises, to their Church, to their parishioners and most of all to their God.

XI. Because of the very poor experience of the Church Catholics had for the past 40 years, many succumbed to secularism, individualism and contempt for traditional Catholic beliefs and morals. 80% have stopped attending Mass and many of them have become Protestants as unbridled ecumenism blurred the distinctive truths of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church by many ecumenists was no longer seen as the one, true Church.

XII. But it brings us to the final analysis. The Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief and traditional piety and reverence for Catholic Prayer was greatly compromised by universal decree of the Second Vatican Council and for its unfounded "spirit" subsequent to it. Yes, the banal changes in the Mass and its music and total confusion of what the Mass is remains at the root cause in the decline of church attendance and the weakening of the Catholic Church and the immorality of clergy and laity or now we must say their amorality.

But as Pope Benedict has said, success is not our goal but faithfulness and we might have to become a smaller church in order to be a faithful Church. The reform of the reform in continuity as well as the restoration of the Tridentine Mass are strokes of genious from His Holiness and shows that we can't show contempt for that which preceded Vatican II, espcially for the traditional Mass and still have an authentic renewal of the Church, Her Faith, Her Morals and Her Laws.

The Law of Prayer is the Law of Faith. If the law is compromised as it was in the spirit of Vatican II the faith too is seriously compromised.

22 comments:

Pater Ignotus said...

"...the banal changes in the Mass and its music and total confusion of what the Mass is remains at the root cause in the decline of church attendance..."

There's that assertion once again. But, once again, it comes with nothing but opinion as its basis.

There are NUMEROUS sociological studies that do a good job explaining the changes in our culture that have led to, among other things, the toxic individualism, which you allude to, that has, in turn, led to lower mass attendance.

Begin with "Habits of the Heart" by Robert Bellah, et al.

Father Shelton said...

"...the initial reforms of the Mass imposed in a pre-Vatican II authoritarian way were mostly well received." In these words you describe what is for me the most puzzling feature of that era. The changes were mandated, which implies the recipients of the mandates had no choice but to accept them. How, then, could Paul VI and the bishops of that time have evaluated how well the initial changes were received? The laymen of the time understood "well received" to only mean "obeyed". What tools were employed to measure the spiritual effectiveness of the changes, beyond the raw tool of measuring obedience? And, did the manner in which later changes were introduced really differ that much from the mid-Sixties? Were new methods used by the pope and bishops to measure the effect of the changes upon the fidelity of laymen?
I do think laymen could have halted the more extreme nonsense by refusing to cooperate with or fund it, but they did not know they had this power at their disposal. Will future generations learn this lesson?

Father Kevin Estabrook said...

Reverend Father.
I started reading your blog last week or so, when Father Z. over at WDTPRS referenced your blog.
So very impressed!
I've added you to Google Reader so i never miss an update and emailed some brother priests a link to your recent post of the video on the difference between secular and sacred music.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Thank you Father Estabrook! And Father Shelton I think you hit the nail on the head as it concerns the obedience of Catholics immediately following Vatican II and the liturgical reforms. No one asked their opinion as they do today and most would be most humble in their obedience to the Holy Father, to an Ecumenical Council and to their priests. This obedience was used by unscrupulous priests and bishops to shove the "spirit" of Vatican II or its very loose interpretation down these obedient Catholics throats.

james Ignatius McAuley said...

Pater Ignotus,

What planet do you live on? One can sum everything Father McDonald said up in the phrase of an elderly client of mine, back in 1999 -- "[e]verything that we had been taught about the mass, the priesthood,and the Church, what to believe and what to respect, what was holy and what was sin, was suddenly thrown out the window. How can they who did this ask us to now treat them with respect when they act disrespectfully to God? How can they expect me to take them seriously when they have acted contrary to what they once taught us? They ask for respect for me and yet they act disrespectfully to God? They ask for money from me and yet they destroyed the altar my grandparents built with their hard earned money!" I have heard variants of this over the years, often involving the phrase "[] them!"

Is this individualism? No, it is reality, buddy! In the political and business world, anyone who acted the way the Church as acted would have been fired and thrown out of office.

So, it is individualism when you destroy the altar that was built with the heard earned money of prior generations and want to use their money to replace with something ugly, in the name of Vatican II?

Is it individualism when we were taught that only the priest could handle the sacred species and now we have hordes of EMHCs running over sanctuaries like rats?

Is it individualism when we were taught to receive it on the tongue and that receiving it on the hand was wrong, and suddenly it is allowed?

Is it individualism when a priest lectures us on something and practices otherwise, such as shacking up with a fellow priest and the bishop does nothing?

Is it individualism when the priest runs off with a married member of the congregation and those who report on it are thrown under the bus?

Wake up, Pater Ignotus and face reality. Call an ace and ace and a spade a spade. When you die, and face your personal judgment, you know that these excuses you parade will not fly before God. If I spoke to my clients the way you speak on this site, I would be out of business in no time!

Pater Ignotus said...

James Igantius - First, I am not your "buddy."

Second, your first paragraph is inflammatory rhetoric, nothing more. No, "everything" we were taught was not thrown out the window. Hyperbole doesn't help in this conversation.

Third, if your parents or grandparents thought that "their hard earned money" bought them an altar or candlestick or boiler that would remain eternally in use, the error was theirs, not the Church's.

The notion that "This is the way it is and cannot, for any reason whatsoever change" is not a Catholic notion, let along a liturgical principle.

I don't plan to face my God with excuses, but with the unmerited grace He has, in his love, given to me.

If you think I should be out of a job, write a letter to the bishop, sign your name, and send a copy to me.

Pater Ignotus said...

Why do Catholics leave? A few answers:

http://ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/unusual-study-asks-former-catholics-why-they-left-church

Henry Edwards said...

"...the initial reforms of the Mass imposed in a pre-Vatican II authoritarian way were mostly well received."

Any such blanket statement is quite misleading. I was actually there then, in the 1960s. Old enough to be one of the first generation of elected parish leaders, well-informed as member of a university faculty group of Catholic scientists and philosophers that met regularly to discuss what was happening in the Church, with one foot in a liberal university parish who bishop was a spirit of Vatican II leader and the other in my home parish whose bishop strongly felt that this "spirit" misrepresented the Council he had attended, myself yet young enough to still be here to remember all this today.

Some recollections: A good many Catholics were, indeed, initially happy with the vernacular; especially those who were less educated and/or less committed to the liturgy of the Church, those who attended Mass mainly as a Sunday obligation. Then as now, only a minority of lay Catholics had the sophistication of Catholic blogosphere participants today, but a majority of these more mature Catholics, especially those more committed to the liturgy--who followed the Mass with their missals and perhaps attended daily Mass--had deep forebodings about the changes being made; though my parish was the leader in liturgical innovation in our archdiocese and was touted as being "entirely on board", as parish member probably elected because my doubts were known, I knew that a majority of my fellow parishioners shared them. For many if not most priests and religious then, their duties under pain of mortal sin--such as the lengthy daily Office in Latin--had been an onerous burden, of which they were so glad to be relieved as to dispose them to openness to all change. But for all of these--lay and clerical--the underlying bedrock was obedience to the Church. Priests and lay alike were uninformed as to what the Council had actually done; no translations of conciliar documents were generally available, so press reports held sway, and these (then as now) uniformly reflected the most progressive view of things, one that we now know was strongly skewed. Finally, as Cardinal Ratzinger has pointed out, the hierarchy itself lost control of events, which were determined instead by extra-hierarchial commissions and organizations whose representatives were ubiquitous at parish and diocesan levels, exercising leadership over local pastors and even bishops, claiming (and in many cases having) backing in Rome --though largely extra-curial, as we now know; for instance, the Vatican never ordered the removal of altar rails, the jack-hammering of high altars, etc., as these reform circuit riders universally claimed.

In summary, even though the bag was very mixed, because of the fact that open dissent from perceived Church leadership was then (unlike now) unthinkable, the only voices loudly heard and therefore recorded for reference today were those largely in support of unbridled change, even though I believe most of those in my own rapidly vanishing category recall a silent majority who either opposed it or had deep misgivings.

qwikness said...

I think it is because of Liberation Theology. I think the line had been blurred and folks drifted from the ethics that the Church taught without any direction from weak episcopal leadership toward the state ethics which being democratic followed the way of the world. I think people woke up and found themselves on the side of the state and won't be budged, pushed or lured back to the Church. I think strictness and exact demarcation of right and wrong must be clearly defined. Those lost may be lost, lost forever. The New Evangelization would be to include regaining those children of this lost generation.

Anonymous 2 said...

In his point XII Father refers to “total confusion of what the Mass is.” This certainly_approaches_the heart of the problem but I wonder if it is, in itself, the actual heart of the problem or whether it is rather a symptom of, and part of, a larger and even more fundamental problem.

Specifically, I wonder whether the heart of the problem is a larger metaphysical confusion and whether what is needed is not only a re-enchantment of the Mass but a re-enchantment of the world that seeks to overcome the disenchantment resulting from our achievements in science and technology, as manifested in both the material world and the social world, and from our associated human hubris.

Please do not misunderstand me here. This is not intended as an anti-scientific statement, a neo-Luddite statement, or a radical environmentalist statement, although it certainly has scientific, technological, and environmental implications. It is intended rather as an existential musing that questions our self-understanding and asks whether we need to recapture a necessary humility that properly recognizes the Creator, the awesomeness of Creation, and our responsibilities as stewards of Creation and its many gifts, remembering always that we are ourselves part of Creation and of those gifts. Once we get_this_right, perhaps the rest will follow.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Did the Church ask our opinion regarding the English translation and its subsequent changes...not to my knowledge yet the laity have obediently followed. When was the last survey you took regarding the many changes at St Joseph. How many people just show up and follow along no matter what direction you celebrate or language or posture? I am afraid we will be obedient as well when VIII roles around...fewer maybe, but just as blindly obedient.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Obedience is not a dirty word although the baby boomer generation thinks it is. I think we should obey Vatican II and the bishops and pope who are the Magisterium in the areas of faith and morals.
I also think that the Church clearly teaches we are not a democracy nor is the church, diocese or parish run as a democracy. Taking a survey is one thing for the pastor to address concerns but it is not meant to be a vote on this that or the other. the same with pastoral councils, they advise the pastor, give him insights to what others are thinking so that the pastor can confirm what is good and challenge what is bad, such as thinking that everything in a parish should be by vote.
So, I would say that if one has a problem with legitimate changes or options offered to people then that is something they will have to deal with. But if I start inviting every person, Catholic or not, to receive Holy Communion, call the bishop and write the pope. If I start forcing people to receive Holy Communion in the hand or to stand or to come forward even if they don't want to come to Holy Communion, write the bishop and the pope. I would have clearly gone beyond what I am allowed to do by Holy Mother Church and canon law. Yes, canon law is important too, as much as baby boomers hate law and think only love counts.

Anonymous 2 said...

I would like to amend the final paragraph in my earlier comment so as to change “the awesomeness of Creation” to “the awesomeness and mystery of Creation.” Recognizing the “mystery” of Creation, including the “mystery” that we are, is an important element conducing to the necessary humility. I claim no credit for this idea. Instead, I am indebted to a dear friend and colleague of mine for helping me to see this.

Gregorian Mass said...

Amen...

James Ignatius McAuley said...

O.K. Pater Ignotus, Lets call your bluff, and give us your real name and address, what diocese you are in, and your Bishops's name. But, will I send a letter? No. That would do no good. After all you need, like me, prayers more than anything. Anyways, I would more likely send you something nice.

AS for the reasons listed in the NCR article (re gays and divorce/remarriage), frankly, I have not heard anyone state me one of these as a serious reason in 20 years. These are excuses, people want the Church to condone their sinful lives and cease condemning the sin.

Again, I wonder about you -- I have been a lawyer and practiced in 27 states and ultimately the reasons for leaving were deeper that divorce, gay marriage, etc. All too many times I have been told stories about the liturgically abusive actions of priests.

YOu state, "[no], "everything" we were taught was not thrown out the window. Hyperbole doesn't help in this conversation." Off course, we know that, Pater, but this is not hyperbole, this is what so many older people expounded in my presence to me, including many friars of the Holy Name Province, since I was a boy in the 1970s. As a lawyer, I have to actually listen to people and how they speak.

This is a funny way of twisting what I said - "Third, if your parents or grandparents thought that "their hard earned money" bought them an altar or candlestick or boiler that would remain eternally in use, the error was theirs, not the Church's." No one imagines that Pater, that times will remain in "eternal use" but sacred items that are still usable should not wantonly destroyed. Its bad public relations, bad business,it is not "green" but wasteful of resources, and show a callous disrespect and total disregard of human nature.

We know, Pater, the liturgy can and will continue to change, but the manner the change was undertaken, and the continuing atmosphere of disrespect and liturgical abuse in so many places has a corrosive affect on how people view the faith. Sure, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says nothing new, but ultimately, for many people, it is just words printed on a piece of paper. People fundamentally react to what they can see, touch, taste, smell, and hear. If a priest speaks about the real presence, but his parish has removed the altar rail and ruthlessly enforces, with its horde of EMHCs, the reception of communion in a hand, his actions speak louder than words. To claim their is no corrolation between such actions and the increase of disrespect for, and lack of understanding of, the holy Eucharist is preposterous. To claim the increase of disrespect for and lack of understanding of the holy Eucharist is due solely to a lack of proper catechesis is preposterous and laughable. Even my Protestant clients have commented to me that the Catholic Church "really doesn't think communion is holy anymore, because they sure don't act like it is." But, hey, that is probably just inflammatory rhetoric.

But, as a lawyer who runs his own business and has to earn my own money, I can not afford to live in the la-la land of excuses, but cold brutal reality. If I ran my business the way so many priests run their parishes, my family would starve and I would be a pariah.

Anyways, the best thing I can do is pray for you, and so I will. Perhaps you could remember me when you say mass.

Happy New Year!

Anonymous 5 said...

Back after a hiatus during which I had to build a new computer. :-)

First: I think I would have to disagree with the statement in Fr. McD's first point that Catholics were (are?) biblically illiterate compared to Protestants. If it's true, it's true only in a narrow sense. Verse-slinging Protestants have memorized the text, and where it's located, which very few Catholics did (do), and to that degree I'll agree with Fr. McD's statement. But the very fact that they're Protestants show that they don't understand what they're reading or quoting. If they really understood it, they'd instantly rush to become Catholic. But the Bible is hard to understand like that on your own, which is why Holy Mother Church teaches us what it means.

Becoming more conversant with the text is all well and good, but it must go hand-in-hand with ongoing catechesis. I, for one, vote for far more exegesis in homilies as a start. This is one thing Protestants do in their sermons that is almost totally lacking in Catholicism. When reading the 1 Samuel passage in context last Sunday--the whole chapter, and not just what was read at Mass--I understood it much better than I had done when hearing the reading out of context and in isolation. IMHO, this is something that the homily should address on a regular basis.

Second: I would characterize things in Fr. McD's second point differently. Yes, obligation is part of love, but he implies that love must involve at least some feeling or emotion. I disagree. Love and emotion can be conjoined, but they are separate things. To the degree that his statement is true--viz., that it used to be about obligation--The proper understanding of love is that you understand and accept the reason for the obligation. In other words, you're taught more of the theology and reasoning behind the obligation. Then, with this background, you engage in the obligation more willingly. _That_ is the better definition of love, and what VII should have aimed to develop, rather than the insipid mess that resulted.

Pater Ignotus said...

James Ignatius - I am Fr. Michael Kavanaugh, Holy Spirit Church, Macon, Georgia, in the Diocese of Savannah. Of course you will not send a letter, not because it will be of no use, but because you are a Barcalounger Barracuda - all bluster.

I have listened, too, to people in the 27 years I have been a priest. Not once has anyone who has left the Church told me it was because "they" changed the mass. We have very different experiences, it seems. Even when you read the reasons people give for leaving, you magisterially state that those are not the "real" reasons. It amazes me how many people are able to read minds.

Replacing an altar or buying new chandlesticks, or is not "wanton destruction" - that is more useless hyperbole. Replacing an unattractive wooden altar with an elegant marble one, as was done at Fr. McDonald's parish, was a very good thing, in fact.

Receiving communion in the hand does not affect in any way the Real Presence of Christ, nor, I would suggest, the peoples' understanding of that Presence.

The best thing I can do for you is challenge your baseless assumptions and pray for you.

James Ignatius McAuley said...

"{A]ll bluster"? Oh you silly! I will send a letter - to you personally, and why not?

I love how you switch gears - like an insurance defense attorney -- I say one thing and you take it out of context! So let me clarify, destruction including tearing out of altar rails, lecterns, pulpits, ambos, altars, stained glass, painting over frescos and mosaics.

Yes, I do question the reasons provided in the NCR report for people leaving. These people have already chosen a lifestyle that is not morally correct. Having been tempted by adultery and having faced up to it (Sure, i could have left my wife and kids and joined the those divorced and remarried Catholics insisting that the Church must change or i would leave), but I went to confession instead and faced spiritual reality. I conformed to the Church's teaching, I did not expect the Church to conform to mine lifestyle. So, had I left my wife and remarried, would you support me in demanding the Church change her teaching and allow me to receive communion?

"Receiving communion in the hand does not affect in any way the Real Presence of Christ, nor, I would suggest, the peoples' understanding of that Presence." I disagree, liturgical practices affect liturgical belief, or otherwise Luther and Cranmer would not have made the changes they did to the mass.

Baseless assumptions - no, empirical fact. At one time I copiously documented these sort of things, but frankly, it became too much to haul around. And much came from one on one conversations with clients, including ex-priest (yes, we know about the indelible mark on their souls) and ex-nuns. You can challenge me, but they are not assumptions.

Thank you for the prayers, I will happily reciprocate.

But, be assured, I will write you personally a letter. I sent one out to Father McDonald the other day with a belated Christmas gift for him. I once sent him the set of Pius Parsch's The Church's Year of Grace. Did you ever read Parsch? Wonderful books from a holy man.

Pater Ignotus said...

James Ignatius - Don't bother sending me a letter unless you send it to our bishop outlining in detail why you think I should be sacked. If you send it to me alone, I won't read it.

You do not "question" the reasons people gave for leaving the Church. You wrote, "I have not heard anyone state me one of these as a serious reason in 20 years." So, if you have not heard it, it cannot be true. That's an interesting theory, but not convincing.

Luther and Cranmer changed the mass because they did not believe what the Catholic Church taught. They did not change the mass in order to change people's beliefs. Read what they wrote at the time the changes were being made.

James Ignatius McAuley said...

Father Mike,

Why should you be sacked? I never said you should be sacked, and yet you are quite insistent on it -- you have created a persecution complex for yourself. You are in sunny Georgia, so cheer up! I would not waste my time with such a letter. Rather, I will send you a cheerful missive.

Let me make a distinction -- I have had people say they left the Church over gay marriage, but in the need it is not a reason, but a justification for their behavior.

I have read in the 16th Century English the works of many of the English reformers, and I must respectfully disagree with you. Read the Order of Communion of March 8, 1548, for example, or note that the 152 Prayer Book removed the word "altar." You can even look up Martin Bucer's reasons for communion in the hand and not the mouth.

You never answered me about Parsch, come on, have you read him or the great Gerald Ellard?

Cheer up Father Michael, and a big hug to you. You can have the last word here, as I have to put my kids to bed, but I will send you a cheerful letter. If you do not read it, it does not reflect badly on me, but you. So good night and God bless!

P.S. And yes, Father MacDonald's new altar is lovely, and I like his argument on the unitary nature that there is really one, not two altars.

Pater Ignotus said...

Jimmy Iggy - I do not have a persecution complex, and I know that I am enjoying God's special grace to be a resident of the 13th colony, the largest state east of the Mississippi, and the largest diocese (land area) in the same territory.

You said "When you die, and face your personal judgment, you know that these excuses you parade will not fly before God. If I spoke to my clients the way you speak on this site, I would be out of business in no time!" Not only do you presume to suggest I should be "out of a job" because you don't care how I speak to clients, you presume to know the mind of the Lord and how I will be judged.

There is one altar in St. Jospeh church. The altar is the place where the sacrifice is offered. Not where it was offered in the past, but where it is offered today. The reserved Sacranment is not the equivalent of the offering of the sacrifice.

Good Father McDonald does come up with interesting ideas at times....

The word altar was removed because the Reformers did not believe a sacrifice was being offered. hence, there was no need for an altar of sacrifice.



Joseph Johnson said...

"There is one altar in St. Joseph church." Actually, while the main altar (the newest one) may be the primary place where the sacrifice is offered at that church it is not the only one (unless something has changed from three or four years ago when I attended a Tuesday afternoon Extraordinary Form Mass there). Correct me if things have changed since then but don't you still use the side altar on the Gospel side of the church for the Tuesday EF Masses? If this is still the case then there are two altars currently being used in the same main church (not in a separate day chapel) at St. Joseph church in Macon, Ga.

Given the fact that we now have two forms of the same Roman Rite and that the EF is governed by its 1962 rubrics and norms there is nothing improper about having and still using multiple side altars in a historic church which still has them (as with St. Joseph in Macon) or in a newer parish church that is exclusively dedicated to the EF.