Wednesday, May 13, 2015


We all know that in the bad old days prior to Vatican II, in this country about 90% of all Catholics attended Sunday Mass. It's 11% in some major northeastern metropolitan areas today. Catholics either came to help offer the Holy Sacrifice in union with the priest, to celebrate the Mass or simply hear the Mass or to be bodily present for the Mass even if that meant they came just in time for the Gospel and left as Holy Communion began.

Certainly a significant number of the 90% were only cultural Catholics and came because it was the norm for Catholics to do so. They were fulfilling societal expectations about keeping holy the Lord's day. In many places in the USA this was legislated with blue laws that kept many businesses closed on Sunday.

The technical nones of that period would sacrifice their nonehood and go to Mass to please their families or what they felt was good for them due to societal expectations. The Mass may not have had any real discernible impact on their daily lives though, except for the fact that they went to Mass and certainly the Holy Spirit must have had something to do with it and their hardened heart wasn't so hard as to refuse the beckoning.

The nones who went to Mass did not feel that it was necessary to receive Holy Communion as so many really pious and holy people didn't receive either but mostly because they weren't able to fast; they ate before Mass which meant they couldn't receive Holy Communion--no sin in that though. There was no mentality about feeling excluded at Holy Communion time if one didn't approach the altar railing even for a redundant blessing.

Today the nones at heart have no desire even to attend Mass even if that means coming in time for the Gospel and leaving as Holy Communion begins. And on top of that if someone were to drag them to Mass or they simply stopped in to see what it was all about again, for nostalgic purposes, say at Christmas or Easter time, they would receive Holy Communion with the rest of them, popping the Host in their mouth without a thought as to whether "it" brings them health and salvation or condemnation. They'd pop the Host in their mouths as they walked out the door.

And what about parishes that only celebrate the Sacraments: baptism, confirmation, daily and Sunday Mass, confessions, anointings of the sick and Holy Matrimony? What about their bad preaching? What about no youth programs apart from lousy CCD classes? What about no social outreach other than what individual Catholics might do on their own to help the poor? What about no friendliness or fellowship activities?

What about those parishes? I would say that salvation is being offered despite the miserable state of things if the sacraments are valid which in most cases they would be. Isn't that the rock bottom foundation? Isn't that sufficient? Is that what we need for our salvation?

1 comment:

mordacil said...

I just read this interesting article from a protestant blogger who points out many of the same problems with Chrtistianity in America so often analyzed here on your blog.

The writer even goes so far as to say

"And this is the problem with Christianity in this country. Not just inside our church buildings, but everywhere. It often has no edge, no depth. No sense of its own ancient and epic history. There is no sacredness to it. No pain. No beauty. No reverence. Or I should say Christianity has all of those things, fundamentally and totally, but many modern Christians in every denomination have spent many years trying to blunt them or bury them under a thousand layers of icing and whipped cream and apathy."

Whatever has happened to thsoe who profess to follow Jesus Christ has affected all of them over the past 50 years.