A timely and interesting interview by Aleteia’s John Burger with the well-known New York priest:
Father George Rutler is administrator of both Holy Innocents and the West Side Church of St. Michael, which also was passed over by the reorganization plan. Father Rutler, author of Principalities and Powers: Spiritual Combat 1942-1943, and other works, spoke with Aleteia this morning about spiritual issues in the background of the archdiocesan reorganization.
Obviously, church/parish closings/mergers are not a new phenomenon, but in your view, what are some of the factors that lead to situations like this?
Among the factors is a decline in Catholic life. One statistic I was given recently is the Catholic population of New York City is just about the same as it was 70 years ago. There’s not a decline in Catholic population; there’s a decline in Catholic life, and there are all kinds of reasons for that.
I think there’s a great deal of dishonesty and denial on the part of some people who engaged in the fantasy that we were entering a new springtime of the faith. (My comment: at the highest levels and from bishops and clergy my age and older, much older!)
The aggiornamento of Vatican II was supposed to bring in tons more people; it did just the opposite. So long as people refuse to admit there were mistakes made a generation ago — in catechesis, liturgy, addressing the real problems of secularism — they’re never going to make any real reform...
...The primary fact is that most Catholics aren’t practicing the faith. Mass attendance in New York is about 12%. You’ve had about a 50% drop since the Second Vatican Council. Nobody will address that. They’ll acknowledge the fact, but they will not address the fact that there were some serious mistakes made in the last generation.He also goes on to address the priest shortage. Read it all.
It would make a good study on why New York City, which is so culturally vibrant — sort of tormented and perverse in many ways, but vibrant— has such spiritual lethargy.
And then there is this from cpptom whose post-Vatican II reality is the reality for the majority of Catholics today who are post-Vatican II! He posted this comment on my post below:
My final comment: Catholics, hierarchy, lowerarchy and laity who are my age and older, much older, must swallow their pride and admit the truth about their implementation of Vatican II and its deliterious effect upon the Holy Catholic Church here and elsewhere.
The resurgence of the 1970's mentality is most troubling given what the 1970's did to the Catholic Church. I pray this is the last deep breath of a generation about to expire which continues to be in denial about what has happened the last 50 years and the reasons why and who against logic itself think their 1970's ideologies and ways of discerning and making decisions will still lead to a new springtime for the Church!
Pope Benedict was wise enough to know his generation screwed the Church up. God help us if we don't heed his prophetic voice and the "reform in continuity" agenda of authentic restoration he initiated.
Based on this evidence alone, I would say that the last 50 years have been a resounding failure of Cathechisis and transmission of the faith. Because not only were 5 members of my family lost to the faith, but so are their children.
We need to change what we are doing...we need to actually be Catholic instead of talking in nice generalities we need to get back to the brass tacks: The sacraments, the last 4 things, actually talk about sin and the teaching of the Church, and the living of the faith.
The post Vatican II era has been a jumbled mess, let's admit we aren't smarter than the Church Fathers, and our ancestors and stop thinking we know better. It isn't so, because we've busted the Church.