Saturday, October 21, 2017


Empty churches and bare ruined choirs:

The Church of England (Anglican there, Episcopal here) does not have Humanae Vitae to blame for its decline in church services. It does not have a strict moral code to blame either as it accepts divorce and remarriage and full communion with their sect. There is no distinction between male and female in the vocations to their ministries and marriages. Acceptance of worldly standards for sex prevails.  Yet this denomination is declining so rapidly one wonders if it will exist in any meaningful way in the near future.

On the institutional level this sect has moved so far away from orthodox Christianity signified by full communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that we can say there is an institutional loss of Faith that leads their members into a personal loss of faith substituted by a bogus faith and on many levels. Who wants to make a lifetime out of that when simply being secular is so much easier and you don't have to go to church on Sunday and ruin most of the day.

For Catholics, the decline is blamed on halting Vatican II with Humanae Vitae and a conservative reiteration of gender policies and sexuality. Catholics now prefer secularism and this affects their Mass attendance as well as the other sacraments to include marriage and Holy Orders.

Yet Pope Francis seems to want a type of liberal ecumenism that will correspond with what the Church of England has accomplished since it did away with natural law when it comes to gender and sexuality. Liberal Protestantism is not fundamentalistic and thus is preferred by Pope Francis over evangelical Protestantism and what John Allen once dubbed Catholic Evangelicalism or Evangelical Catholicism.

Thus we will see the Francis Effect leading to a further decline in  Mass attendance, RCIA programs and the other sacraments to include Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders. I think this is already happening in four short years. Our RCIA at St. Anne's in Richmond Hill is down from last year and significantly, maybe just a blip in the scheme of things? I hope so.

But this is what is happening to the Church of England and it is happening in the Catholic Church and all of it is a result of institutional and individual loss of authentic Catholic Faith, either partial or full:

Church Attendance in the CofE: 14% Decline in 10 Years

Over at Catholic Herald, Stephen Bullivant gives his analysis – as usual for him, incisive and witty – on “Statistics for Mission,” the annual report from the Church of England. Here’s a taste of the sobering data:
Between 2006 and 2016 (not in itself a vast span of time): “Usual Sunday Attendance” has fallen by 14 per cent (and 23 per cent, even more worryingly, for children), Easter attendance by 17 per cent, baptisms and “thanksgivings” by 15 per cent, marriages and “services of prayer and dedication” by 21 per cent, and funerals by a striking 28 per cent.
And here’s Bullivant zeroing in on the essentials:
Sadly, this year’s report – in contrast to last year’s – doesn’t tell us the proportion of Anglican parish churches that either have a toilet and/or moonlight as a Post Office.
Bullivant thinks the Catholic Church ought to follow the CofE’s lead and see what our data looks like:
I dunno… call me crazy, but I’ve always thought it’s better to know what precisely it is we’re up against.
A commenter's observation to the article above: And of course, CofE ordains women and is more accepting LGBT+ people. I am not making a statement about the desirability of any of CofE policies or doctrines but pointing out they are not doing anything to stop the decline. People are just finding it difficult to believe in a personal God, divine revelation, and any institutional church (whether liberal or conservative). 
Of course, the Catholic Communion is having it’s own difficulties. Take a look at Pittsburgh. Mass attendance has dropped over 40% in 16 years. On the upside, in 2000 there were 730 mass attenders for every active diocesan priest. In 2016, there were 658 per priest in Pittsburgh.


TJM said...

Blaming Humanae Vitae for loss in Church attendence is a joke. Humanae Vitae was promulagated in 1968, 4 years after the destruction of the Mass began. People were already voting with their feet. I had two uncles who were faithful, Church going Catholics. They became so enraged with the deforms, they stopped going to Mass, LONG, before Humanae Vitae. The jackasses in Rome and in bishop "conferences" unleashed the whirlwind with their ill conceived deforms. I remember one of my parish priests telling me (I was an altarboy) that these changes were coming way too fast and would result in people losing their faith. But the nutty pastor rammed them through with little, if no, preparation.

rcg said...

Raw Data: We have ~80 families in our diocesan FSSP Parish. Two weeks ago we had confirmation for 22 young people. We have at least two young men in seminary. We had one young man drop out of Seminary last year. He is now an officer in the USMC.

FWIW, we also brew our own beer, distill our whisky, cure meat, raise milk cows, chickens, wheat and barley, and all sorts of vegetables. Our parishioners range from manual labourers to polyglot university professors, Oxford educated editors, to polymath former military and law enforcement who run or own businesses. We were placed in a drug infested neighbourhood and have heard gunfire outside the church during Mass. We operate a food pantry and are setting up community gardens and have a drug rehabilitation encounter group meeting in our basement. I have no doubt that there are alcoholics, drug addicts, and people with same sex attraction in our parish. That is not what defines us. We are in the Lord's Battle up to our necks and would be bored witless with anything else.

Gene said...

Besides, who in the Hell wants to listen to a bunch of tepid homilies on feel good social issues, self-improvement, and stewardship?

TJM said...


Precisely. The looney heirarchy made themselves irrelevant. They should have done us a favor decades ago and quit the Catholic Church and joined the Anglicans, their true spiritual home

Joe Potillor said...

I'd blame the change in Liturgy, far before I'd blame HV....If the hierarchy aren't going to take the Faith seriously, why should we laity? Orthodoxy may well have its problems, the Liturgy and the Faith are not among them.

Dialogue said...

HV merely repeated traditional teaching on nuptial fruitfulness. Apart from addressing "the pill", which was itself new, there was nothing new in the document. If Catholics who love the apostolic tradition will keep having lots of kids and attending the EF Mass, then the Church will survive even as Modern Catholic families fade away. HV and the EF will save the Church in the West.

BTW, the Church of England is my favorite British comedy!

Henry said...

I was there--as an aware adult pew-sitter--in the 1960's. In my part of the world, at least, it was the abrupt gutting of the liturgy--not Humanae Vitea, not societal change, not change in catechesis, not anything else--that precipitated the abrupt loss of Catholic identity.

The Mass had been the rock of faith, literally its "source and summit". So when the liturgy disintegrated, Caholic faith and identity inevitably crumbled in its wake. As has study since then has convinced me was precisely the intent of the so-called reformers.

Mordacil said...

I would love to be part of a community like rcg describes. But due to my circumstances I settle for "urban-homesteading" (we have chickens and a garden) and trying to find a reverent mass when possible.

Anonymous said...

Sadly---I think this was an article in a recent edition of Our Sunday Visitor, the Catholic newsweekly---over half of British under age 30 claim no religion. Rampant secularism. Not that things are that great in America or in the RC Church for that matter---even in my parish at 30327, attendance at the main 10am one does not seem to be what it used to be---mostly full, but in days of old (maybe 10 years ago) standing room only. Some blame the decline on changes in the liturgy, but a lot probably came from the mid to late 1960s mentality of "question authority"---antiwar demonstrations, takeovers of college campuses, race riots---and then in 1972, the takeover of the national Democratic party by the McGovernites, which has resulted in the Democratic party being wedded to the abortion lobby and same-sex marriage crowd. Even our president, who many evangelicals admire, is more likely to be found on the golf course than in church on Sundays.

Daniel said...

RCG, your community deserves congratulations on your hard labors and good works. (Not least of which is the brewing and distilling). Helping other, bettering the community, living by example, taking the word into the world. These are the essence of Catholicism for me.