In the old days, traditional Catholic practice allowed for people to arrive before the Gospel and to leave after Holy Communion or during its distribution of Holy Communion and still fulfill their Sunday obligation. This was touted as an exception but allowed nonetheless even though I was taught prior to Vatican II that good Catholics arrived at Mass about 15 minutes early for prayer and adoration and remained until the priest departed the sanctuary (usually by the side sacristy door).
Thus the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church allowed for "bad" Catholics to fulfill their Sunday obligation with a shorter Mass by coming late and leaving early; it was codified!
Because of the lengthy fast in order to receive Holy Communion, most Catholics did not go to Holy Communion on Sunday, not so much because they were in mortal sin, but chose, without sin, to break the fast and not receive Holy Communion. "Bad" Catholics could fulfill their Sunday obligation by coming late and leaving early, were not stimatized as mortal sinners since even the holy, good and pious Catholic seldom went to Holy Communion either and all that was required was the Easter duty, meaning a Catholic must go to Confession at least once a year and receive Holy Communion during the Lenten/Easter season.
Thus pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism was way more tolerant of "bad" Catholics allowing for minimum requirements for them which encouraged Sunday Mass attendance in a very inclusive way for these less than disciplined Catholics.
Thus prior to Vatican II, bad and good Catholics went to Mass (if only partially for the bad) which meant that up until the silly liturgical theologians tried to purify the Church of these less than perfect Catholics and their allowed for bad practices were told they had to come at the start of Mass and remain until the end because Vatican II did away with fulfilling one's obligation by arriving right before the Gospel and leaving at Communion time.
In the pre-Vatican II days, nearly 95% of Catholics, good and bad, went to Mass, but once perfection was touted after Vatican II, the majority of these bad and good Catholics gave up altogether and today we have only 12% to 25% more or less attending each Sunday of the good and bad Catholics since liturgical reformers ran off all the other good and bad Catholics with banal and irreverent liturgies that all had to experience in its miserable totality!
Today, with fewer and fewer Catholics attending Mass in the 50 years following the reform of the Mass and the reform of Catholics, we have a priest quoting the pope who said that it takes 100 years to implement reforms of an ecumenical council. Fr. Anthony thinks and evidently Pope Francis thinks that all we need to do is 50 years more of what was tried for the last 50 and its dismal results and somehow by magic we will get good results!!
So, in 50 year, be prepared to see about 1% of Catholics attending Mass with about a third of those still leaving Mass early and coming late!
Mental illness involves doing the same thing over and over again and getting bad results but thinking good results will eventually happen. (Think of liberal orders who reformed themselves out of business and continue with their same stale reforms thinking that eventually people will join them.) It is time to be more inclusive of lax Catholics and less rigid toward them or we will lose everyone!
READ FR. ANTHONY'S TAKE HERE
Below is a money quote from him. What do you think? :
Be it noted: leaving after Communion is entirely compatible with a deeply “traditional” Catholic piety and understanding of priesthood, sacrifice, and real presence. Leaving Communion fits quite well with a “sacred” and “reverent” liturgy conducted in Latin. Centuries of history suggests that there is even a sort of inevitability about the liturgical culture and the resulting lay practice. There is a reason why the liturgical reform happened, and there is a reason why the magisterium (Pope Francis) considers it “irreversible.”
And a half century of liturgical renewal since Vatican II shows that thingism, quantityism, dispenserism, and obligationism have amazing and distressing staying power, even as the form of the liturgy is now more communal, scriptural, and imbued with the paschal mystery.