Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Time is running out. I only have childhood experiences of the Catholic Church prior to Vatican II. But there are older Catholics out there, especially former nuns and priests who have first hand experience as adults of what the pre-Vatican II Church was like, both the good things and not so good things and they need to be interviewed. So do lay Catholics of this age.

Then we need to know how the rapid, overnight, changes in the Church (which, yes I know reflect the rapid  major sociological changes in the secular world concerning institutions and political leaders and human sexuality) affected the Church in both positive and negative ways.

I have my own anecdotal reflections as a child, teenager and then as an adult in a very liberal 1970's seminary and I have friends who have had similar experiences as I in different parts of the country and in different seminaries.

My perceptions and then actual first hand experiences as an adult:

1. As a child, I saw the Church as a child, strict, uncompromising and disciplined. Clergy and religious were placed on pedestals because from the layperson's point of view they lived completely different lives that entailed so much discipline, sacrifice and prayer. I also know, that as a child, religious life very strict and different from the lay person's life but in our actual interactions with nuns (my experience as I did not know brothers) there were nice nuns, mean nuns and indifferent nuns. There were happy nuns, depressed nuns and sick nuns (physically and mentally). But there was discipline to keep order in religious life despite the good, bad and ugly.

2. After Vatican II, the discipline disappeared overnight and recklessly and so did the visible signs of sacrifice, meaning the nuns I knew removed their habit and wore secular clothes, some left relgious life to marry priests and other men in the transition, and others moved into apartments, wore make-up and drove nicer cars than my father owned. And they seem to make a complete flip flop not only in their way of life but what they believed and political issues seem to be more important that Church teaching and an other-worldly lifestyle.

3. There was liturgical chaos and silliness in my parish and other parishes and a lot of discontent and polarization in the laity about the changes, some hating it, some indifferent and others loving it and wanting the Church to go beyond the strictness of the pre-Vatican II Church in all things.

Yes, pre-Vatican II Catholics who accepted its asceticism, strictness and discipline with a uniform Latin Liturgy, nuns and brothers in habits, priests in cassocks or clerical clothes, believed they had to accept it because the Church simply did not change, now realized after Vatican II everything and everything could change and one could live one's life with reckless abandon and not feel guilty about it but find support for immorality from the clergy and laity, a heavy yoke or burden had been cast off by Vatican II and individualism and make it up as you go reigned and all based on self-fulfillment and actualization.

Yes, the yoke of discipline, strictness, sacrifice and an otherworldly lifestyle collapsed over night and those who did not have personal freedoms in the pre-VAtican II CHurch but joined that lifestyle nonetheless and sometimes as young as 13, knew what they were joining because that was the way it was. But after Vatican II these same people now saw they could have their cake and eat it too and live like anyone else in the world in that period of time but use the respect, love and support that lay Catholics had of them prior to their new found freedoms and reckless abandon.

4. I do know as an adult in the 1970's seminary that my particular seminary was completely different in 1976 than what it was in 1968. 1968 was the last year of strict discipline, sacrifice and obedience demanded by the rector and faculty, a long tradition for that seminary going back to the 1700's so much so that the Navel Academy in Annapolis modeled its discipline on my seminary's discipline.

5. Bishops lowered their standards for seminary candidates by 1976 and those priests formed in the strict seminary prior to 1968 did not know how to cope with new freedoms as supposed celibates and when rules were relaxed they lived an adolescent lifestyle.  So yes, a strict seminary or religious order creates problems when their discipline and sacrifice are thrown out the window for ill-prepared priests and nuns.

We need to know what happened in the post-Vatican II CHurch compared to the pre-Vatican II Church. That is the root of the current crisis in the Church, a complete disregard for the discipline, structure, sacrifice, asceticism of one era for the mirror opposite of the post Vatican II era. 


Dan said...

Going back to a time of actual Catholic identity and thinking and belief sounds nice, but I think the entire heiarchy lacks faith and believes themselves obligated to push the Church into a direction that will make the Church unrecognizable in a short while.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It is clearly the aging bishops, priests and theologians, currently navigating the ship who desire a return to what Blessed Paul VI articulated prior to his own depressed recognition toward the end of his life that Pandora's box had been opened.

But there is another large group of aging bishops, priests and theologians and an even larger group of younger ones who are in Pope Benedict's camp who are sober about Vatican II and its problems.

TJM said...

Father McDonald,

The lefties in the clergy don't want to know because it would indict them and highlight their manifold failures. I think the young clergy and laity will ultimately right the ship

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...


It may be, but, as they say, be careful what you wish for.

A "scientific" way isn't going to admit anecdotal evidence. It is not going to admit as evidence: "I know someone whose mother told her that her sister told her she'd stopped going to mass because the Church dropped Latin."

It's also not going to admit as evidence those explanations that rely on the Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy: (A) Latin was dropped from the mass (B) The numbers attending mass then fell dramatically (C) Therefore, dropping Latin caused the numbers to fall dramatically.

If it is a scientific methodology, the investigators will have to come up with scientifically testable hypotheses. Question: "Why do candles covered with a bell jar go out while those covered with a bell jar but with a green plant under the jar keep burning?" Hypothesis: Something the green plant produces keeps the candle burning. Result: Plants produce oxygen which is necessary for combustion.(Joseph Priestly is credited with discovering oxygen, but others had done so previously. Priestly was, however, the first to publish the data. He gets the nod.)

We already have a pretty good collection of professionally accumulated data on why people aren't going to mass and it rarely has anything to do with the language employed or the ritual being followed (EF vs OF vs Eastern vs Polka Mass...)

Knowing that I am repeating myself, a good place to start developing an understanding of a number of phenomena in our contemporary Western culture is Robert Bellah's "Habits of the Heart - Individualism and Commitment in American Life." (1985)

Without an understanding of the need for community (radical individualism), participating fully, actively, and consciously in a parish, whether EF, OF, or Eastern, is going to be seen as unnecessary. That same faulty understanding of our human nature has led to massive declines in all sorts of organizations and groups that serve the community - Jaycees, Sertoma, Lions, Knights of Columbus. Without a sense of belonging to a community, a person is less likely to develop a sense of empathy for others since he/she feels no bond with them, resulting in not hearing a call to a priestly or religious vocation which is all about serving the community to which one is bound.

Note: I don't think the mega-churches that draw thousands are better at building real community. They offer "quick fixes" and "cheap grace" too often. In our "instant gratification" society, this is what draws people in.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

FrmjkI am not speaking of isolated incidents, but a paradigm shift in the Church that led to the collapse of the paradigm prior to Vatican and to the impotence of the Church, meaning clergy and laity, to stand up to secularism, modernism and sexual morality. I am speaking of a loss of pre Vatican II Catholic identity for an ambiguous post Vatican one in rupture with what most Catholics understood up to 1965.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Fr. McD said, " could live one's life with reckless abandon and not feel guilty about it but find support for immorality from the clergy and laity, a heavy yoke or burden had been cast off by Vatican II and individualism and make it up as you go reigned and all based on self-fulfillment and actualization."

This is only part of the story. What isn't known or mentioned is the outcome of the lives of the religious and laity that believed the "rules" could be broken with abandon and there were no consequences.

One of my brothers spent a few years in the seminary in the late 1960's. For reasons I still don't know, and that he never wanted to talk about, he left. A couple of years later he announced he was getting a nun who left her Dominican order!

They married and had two kids. But she was never happy. Never. Maybe that was just her personality, and always had been. She suffered the disappointment of her parents, especially her mother, and resented losing the special status and admiration she had from her mother she had while being a nun. She felt her mother never showed happiness for her, and did not embrace her sons as much as she embraced other grandchildren. She refused to become a part of our family, and was cold and distant and even hostile to my parents and the rest of us.

The bottom line is that these people who broke with the rules and laws of the Church suffered the same consequences in their personal lives as does anyone who lives that way. Mankind, it seems, still hasn't learned that God revealed the true and good way of life that leads to a settled heart and sense of stability and grounding, even in the most difficult times of our lives. Keep the rules and precepts (the Commandments and laws He revealed) and you will find a path of hope and deep peace in your heart. Break them and woe and disaster enter the deepest part of your heart. (This is what, I believe, plagues many active homosexuals: they think the heartbreak and unhappiness they experience is due to non-acceptance or rejection by "straights," but in reality, their woe is caused by sin.)

The sad part of all this is that people who did want to live according to the precepts and laws of the Church, which were established and implemented over the course of thousands of years, were prevented from getting the support THEY needed from the Church. It is they who suffered the most. As God would have it, those who held fast to their Lord were able to sustain themselves with very meager portions, and suffered great sorrow and distress from family, friends and Church leaders who had joined "the world." And young people whom the Holy Spirit inspires to follow His way, cannot find it. This is the greatest tragedy of the changes to the Church.

Such as it is. God is not mocked. We will reap what we have sown.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

I believe it is fairly obvious that all of this is due to Satan's infiltration at the Vatican.

TJM said...

By any objective measure: number of vocations, converts, charities it sponsors, and percentage of Catholics attending Mass on Sunday, Vatican Disaster II was an utter and complete flop. Only the contumacious and willful refuse to acknowledge that.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I'm also speaking of a paradigm shift, but one that was much larger than what we experienced in the Church.

That shift is what Bellah describes in "Habits of the Heart." It is something much larger than "Catholic identity," but certainly includes secularism, modernism, and sexual immorality.

To treat this as a narrow phenomenon - something that we Catholic experienced and others did not - will, I suspect, lead to a misdiagnosis and an inadequate plan for renewal.

Dan said...

Father, what are your thoughts on the utter silence of Francis, and others - who could call on Francis to say SOMETHING, about the mess in Germany?

The is no reason other than a lack of Catholic faith that prevents non-Catholics from converting. I find myself in disbelief that anyone in the Catholic heiarchy would encourage inter-communion.

This, rather than any sexual scandal, gives me great concern.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Dan, A protestant receiving Holy Communion is allowed by current canon law but it is very strict. The Protestant must believe what we believe about the bread and wine actually becoming the Body and Blood of Christ--in other words no mere symbol. It is Christ.

Secondly, the Protestant can't get to his own Church, maybe there isn't one around.

Thirdly and most important, the local bishop is the only one who can give permission on a case by case basis once a priest submits a request to him.

I made a request only once in my priesthood and our bishop granted it and on a regular basis for an elderly Episcopalian nun in Augusta, Ga.

I fear that what the Germans are doing is going to be sold as "a development of doctrine" in order to expand what I mention above. In fact, many priests in my lifetime and at least one or two in my diocese have done this in the 70's and 80's and 90's, allowed protestant spouses to receive Holy Communion at their wedding and on a regular basis when they attended Mass as a couple. One priest also gave blanket permission to Episcopalians to do so in the 70's and 80's until he was told by his bishop not to do so any longer.

I do find the silence of Cardinal Burke recently to be interesting and I wonder if there isn't an order for him to be quiet. Who knows.

TJM said...

Kavanaugh, LOL - the Church caved to popular culture when it didn't have to. And the results are devastating.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

FrMJK, I agree that there is a huge secular paradigm shift that Bellah articulates. My question which needs a scientific probe, if that is possible, is the following:

Would the paradigm of the pre-Vatican II Church better situate Catholic, both clergy and laity, to go against the current of what Bellah describes or to phrase it differently, does the post-Vatican II paradigm seduce Catholics to agree with the secular trends because secularism is the greatest formative agent in their lives, not the Church. The Church can change and must get with the times. You here that from many Catholics today who would never have said it prior to Vatican II (for the most part).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

But more pressingly, and certainly more disturbing, is the acceptance of sexual immorality, be it "normal sex of the heterosexual type" or homosexual sex of the most perverse kind to include "rings" of homosexuals acting in concert in the clergy, both higher and lower and the tacit acceptance of it if it is considered consensual and in the extreme not consensual. While there was abuse and sexual acting out prior to Vatican II, I don't think it was as systemic as it is today. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am.

There is a very disturbing story about what went on in a Chilean seminary in today's Crux which mirrors what is reported in Honduras. Most disturbing about the Honduras reports is that the bishops there are mad at the National Catholic Reporter for reporting it--more silence and secrecy and we know best mentality.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

National Catholic Register, not Reporter.

Anonymous said...

Father, you say that a Protestant can receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church. Then you go on to outline the circumstances. How come, I as a Catholic, if I were not in the state of grace, could not receive Communion, but a Protestant could? They obviously do not go to Mass regularly, maybe they have violated the sixth and ninth commandments, maybe they have divorced and remarried a couple of times or are living with their "significant other?" I just don't get it.

Dan said...

Yes, it is supposed to be strict, but all of canon law is disregarded by the bishops.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

I am amazed, truly amazed, that in spite of the observable and undeniable disaster in the Church that is evident in every parish, in every diocese, in every country, liberals and progressives still look for every reason to explain it except the changes implemented by Vatican II. It seems they will never accept that as the reason.

Hundreds of years from now historians will be able to face the truth, and name it. Until then we'll just have to suffer with people in denial, like alcoholics who refuse to believe it's alcohol that's bringing about their destruction, even though everyone else can see it plainly.

God bless.

John Nolan said...

I would take issue with the term 'scientific'. Vatican II was an historical event and its antecedents and consequences need to be evaluated according to historical criteria. As Fr Kavanaugh quite correctly points out, anecdotal evidence is not much use to a scientist, but to an historian it is of considerable value; he must of course decide how credible it is, which is one of the reasons history is an art rather than a science.

Fr Kavanaugh, also correctly, warns against the logical fallacy of arguing 'post hoc ergo propter hoc'. Historians are of course aware of this, but it is part of their remit to deduce causes from consequences. The consequences are verifiable (e.g. the French Revolution began in 1789) but the causes are many and various, short term and long term, and although a particular event may be verifiable, its relation to the outcome is usually a matter of speculation. In particular, because something happened, there is a common tendency to see it as being inevitable.

However one looks at it, Vatican II was a revolutionary event. To downplay it as a purely 'pastoral' Council is to completely misunderstand it. Trawling through its documents in search of orthodoxy or heresy is also beside the point. Within two years of its conclusion Ralph Wiltgen's book 'The Rhine Flows into the Tiber' told much of the inside story, and there has been any amount of analyses since. Even while the Council was sitting, there was acute awareness amongst the laity that they were living in revolutionary times, and significant and unprecedented changes to the Mass, beginning in 1964, reinforced this.

It is tempting to make comparisons (mutatis mutandis) with other revolutions. John XXIII's calling of the Council is analogous to Louis XVI's summoning of the Estates-General (although the Church was hardly in crisis in 1958), and the Küngs, Rahners and Schillebeeckxs of the nouvelle théologie may be compared to the 18th century French 'philosophes'. Revolutions have a habit of running away with themselves, and Vatican II was no exception. They are also followed by counter-revolutions (JP II, Benedict XVI) but in the last resort the ancien régime cannot be fully restored. Bonaparte derived his legitimacy (such as it was) from the Revolution.

Just as European statesmen in 1815 could not turn the clock back to pre-1789, we cannot replicate the Catholic culture of the 1950s. However, the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, so secular comparisons are only of limited value.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

You ask, "Would the paradigm of the pre-Vatican II Church better situate Catholic, both clergy and laity, to go against the current of what Bellah describes or to phrase it differently, does the post-Vatican II paradigm seduce Catholics to agree with the secular trends because secularism is the greatest formative agent in their lives, not the Church?"

It seems you have developed your hypothesis, needing a shift of only one word: "The paradigm of the pre-Vatican II Church WOULD better situate Catholics, both clergy and laity, to go against the current of what Bellah describes."

Having arrived at an hypothesis, what process (experiment) might you suggest to test it?

James Ignatius McAuley said...

Father Allen,

Father Mike is correct that there is a limited value to the statistics that I scientific approach would provide - we have heard the same stats over and over again about the decline and fall. We all know that the stats state the obvious, that there has been no "new springtime." I will grant that many goo things have happened that would not have taken place before the council, such as Paulist press's Classics of Western Spirituality series.

However, John Nolan, father Mike is correct - many groups like the Knights of Columbus, masons, Lions, Elks, have literally fallen apart in the last 50 years up here. But, I agree, we have to recognize this is fundamentally a spiritual battle, that is affecting secular society, too.

Handwringing, whining, and finger pointing have gone on long enough. It is self evident that there is a problem when a bishop (or bishops) issue a statement that is approved by the Diocesan lawyer or insurer, but barely make a reference to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Father Mike, we need to go deeper than Bellah. We need to go back to the men like John Cassian and Evagrius of Pontus. The disasters of the 60s and 70s had their roots in the 20, 30s, 40s and 50s. It did not happen in a vacuum. The habits had already been changed/compromised by the secular world, so that when the storm came, the edifice crumbled. You witnessed it. By the grace of God, you and father Allen survived.

I have to travel a little over an hour to attend Divine Liturgy. It is a good example for my children. My two daughters sing as cantors and my son serves with me. I have associated in their minds that the faith is worth making a sacrifice for. Perhaps when we had suburban churches all over the place, we made things too easy and people became complacent. Or, perhaps things were made too easy. When the practice of the faith does not challenge or inspire one, there is a problem.

Anyways, I get to go on pilgrimage this weekend to see my Patriarch. I will remember you all. And, everybody, say a prayer that I have a good confession.

Anonymous said...

Frs. McDonald and Kavanaugh, this reflection seems to overlap somewhat your own analyses but adds some interesting considerations.

Anonymous said...

You cant separate the Church from history, and you have to look at more than Vatican II. The Ford model T, WW 1, WW 2, the Protestant reformation, the birth of mass media and television, modern air transportation, the Korean war, the Vietnam war, Woodstock, South and Central American politics, Modern Medicine,the collapse of the USSR, advances and trends in all levels of education; all played some role in church dynamics. I recall at one time in history "the Sunday drive" was quite a thing.

TJM said...


Vatican II was an unmitigated disaster unless your goal was to marginalize the Catholic Church. The Springtime has turned into a bleak, desolate Winter. Doing nothing, likely would have been a better course of action at that time in our history.

From a personal perspective I was VERY happy with the status quo in the Church in 1962 and I lOVED the Roman Mass as it was. Unlike the mythical, ignorant Catholic fake catholics like to tell us about, I could chant, by heart, 5 Latin ordinaries by the time I was 10 (take that, Bishop Trautperson). I admired and respected my parish priests and the sisters who were my teachers.

The secular world gave the Catholic Church grudging respect, even Hollywood, which produced such movies like The Cardinal. In retrospect, the 1960s was the worst possible moment to hold the Council. I could have picked a decade out of a hat, and almost any would have been a better time to convene the Council than the 1960s.

But when I see young, newly ordained priests, celebrate their first public Mass in Latin, I know that the Church of Christ will survive unto the consummation of the world.

Anonymous said...

For the first time in a long time, I am seeing true dialogue ( rather than sparring) beginning to develop between our host and FrMJK, and am delighted with the careful input being generated. This will encourage other commenters to do likewise. Thoughtful, carefully-stated opinions will always produce good dialogue. Thank you.

Michael Dowd said...

Perhaps there is no better example of the effective use of propaganda in the history of civilization than the revolution that took place in the Catholic Church following Vatican II. What we have now is a Catholicism that has usurped by Modernist (Masonic) thinking that would hardly be recognizable by pre-Vatican II Catholics. Catholicism is slowly becoming a New World Order (Communist) political movement as seen by progressive positions taken by the USCCB and especially Pope Francis, loss of the sense of sin and reverence, loss of vocations, massive failure in Catholic observance, etc.

Some of the slogans and methods used to pull this off are:
---Referring to Catholics as the People of God.
---Establishing the "preferential option for the poor".
---The Novus Ordo Mass in English with the priest facing the people, communion in the hand along with other means of desacralization.
---The emphasis on Man vs. God
---Ecumenical dialogue and the idea that "all are saved"
---Homosexual clergy with little faith.
---Support of Socialist political initiatives.
---Communist infiltration in the clergy.

For more on this see:

And now for a note of optimism. Yes, Christ is outside looking at us through the very dirty windows of the Church wishing to assist. Let us begin to clean and repair our Church windows so that better see the direction He wants us to go.

Victor said...

Fr K:
There must have been some scientific polling done during those years when the new vernacular Mass was introduced. They are still in archives somewhere. Or, maybe many were suppressed. Let me explain this last remark.

I recall watching a typical TV news report done locally in which people were asked right after experiencing their first such Mass what they thought of it. It was not "scientific", but did reveal an obvious pattern. A good portion were not sure, almost half did not like it, and only a small minority liked it. Now, if you were a profit based corporation and you had that response to your new product, I think you know what would happen to that product, and pretty quickly, and heads would roll. But the response in the Church was: "It does not matter what you think; what matters is what is good for you." That response continues to this day. It is clearly an ideological response showing the height of clericalism not ever seen before, a defensive one in support of Vatican II, a massive failure in its goals.

If I were to ask you for a TLM at your church would the response be "No, because it does not matter what you want; what matters is what is good for you."? Maybe your priority would be the salvation of my soul so you would bend backwards to accommodate me. But, sadly, that has not been the case for all these years since the Council, even with Summorum Pontificum. Indeed, even some suggestions of Cardinal Sarah on improving the NO were ideologically rejected by so many in the hierarchy because, "It does not matter what he wants; what matters is what is good for the people." And we all know who determines the "good" here, and it is certainly not the Holy Spirit.

TJM said...


In other words, the clergy (most of the clergy) is invested in failure.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"People of God" is a biblical phrase. See Judges 20:2 and 2 Samuel 14:13.

The "preferential option for the poor" is also biblical. See Deuteronomy 15:7-8, Luke 4:18-19, 1 Corinthians 8:11, Matthew 25:31-26 and many others. See also Rerum Novarum, Octogesima Adveniens, and many others.

I have been engaged in Ecumenical work and dialogue for almost 30 years and have never heard a Catholic contend that "all are saved."

What, specifically, do you see as "socialist political initiatives?" Feeding the hungry? Housing the homeless? Giving drink to the thirsty? Comforting those in prison?

One more note: "The Wild Voice" web site includes the following "interesting" item: "Pope Francis the Bible False Prophet, along with Cardinal Tagle, makes the gesture of the 'devil horns' in the Philippines"

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Victor - I don't know if the data exists from the early 1960's, or even if the questions were asked. If the data exists, I don't imagine anyone is "suppressing" it.

We do have more current data about why people don't go to Church, Catholic or otherwise. "Nones," when asked, said they don't identify with a religion because 1) they don't agree with the teachings, they don't like the church's stand on political/social issues, 3) they don't like religious organizations [in general], 4)they don't believe in God, 5) they find religion irrelevant, and 6) they don't like religious leaders.

Of non-practicing Catholics (unaffiliated and those who joined other denominations) who cited reasons for leaving, only 8% noted "Religion drifted too far from traditional practices such as the Latin Mass." Data here:

My priorities are teaching, preaching, and praying. These are priorities of the ordained. The priorities of a bishop are to teach, to govern, and to sanctify.

Anonymous said...

One thing I do remember from that timeframe when V2 was implemented was the rapidity of the changes. One week it was English, the next a new altar . Quickly the communion rails were removed. The nuns talked of the need of new churches, according to them the old structures didn’t meet their needs. The time period was all about change. I didn’t understand it in grade school, and I don’t get it now. The old Church always appeared to be grounded in prayer. I remember old people sitting in our school Church praying, even if a mass wasn’t scheduled. There were always racks and racks of votive candles, with well over a hundred burning. Today Church seems like a high school pep rally for old folks.

TJM said...

Well 8% leaving the Church for drifting too far from traditional practices such as the Latin Mass is still a significant number. Moreover, the study is from 2009 some 40 years after the fact, so it tells us nothing as to the reasons why people began drifting away in 1965. If you lost 8% of your current congregation with their donations, you would be pretty upset.

As to the most current data, it has limited value, because the Church has done a dismal job articulating its teachings and doctrine since the Council, so the ordinary layman or woman has no real point of reference as to what they are in disagreement with.

Michael Dowd said...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said.. "People of God", etc

The devil quotes scripture quite well as we know from the deceptions of Vatican II which has nearly destroyed the Church by turning it into a Man oriented organization for the improvement of our physical being. This orientation is essentially Communistic. Vatican II became the platform for the subversion of the Catholic faith which we find personified in Pope Francis whose election is questionable and whose statements are confusing if not heretical. We must return to traditional orthodox Catholicism to save the Church. Vatican II was a catastrophe for the Church and must be abrogated in it's entirety.

I am surprised Father that you could find anything defensible about the current state of the Church especially considering the weakness of the Bishops to confront rampant homosexuality in their diocese.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Michael - If the Church cannot quote Scripture, then it must stop having Scripture readings at mass and in the celebration of the Sacraments.

Using "People of God" is not some Communist plot, unless you think the authors of Judges and 2 Samuel were Communists.

Teaching a preferential option for the poor is what Jesus did. I suppose you think he, too, was a Communist.

There is nothing "questionable" about the election of Pope Francis, unless you believe, as you certainly seem to, in cockamamie conspiracy theories, mountains made of mole hills, (THE POPE AND THE CARDINAL MADE THE DEVIL SIGN!!), etc.

Did you get that notion, too from "The Wild Voice" or maybe from Alex Jones?

That I defend the Church should come as no surprise to you.

Michael Dowd said...

"That I defend the Church should come as no surprise to you."

Unfortunately, you've got that part right As for the validity of your defense of the Church my answer is a clear no. An orthodox Catholic cannot listen to Pope Francis and not be disturbed. If you are not disturbed then you are effectively a Protestant.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Michael - I defend the Church's teaching because they are the Church's teaching, not because I am or am not "disturbed" by Pope Francis.

Your reliance on "The Wild Voice" which, among other claims, maintains that Pope Francis is Satan incarnate, that he is a false prophet, that the "all-seeing" eye on the Great Seal of the United States was put there by the Illuminati, and that the Washington Monument, and all obelisks, are idols to the sun, probably makes you a little more inclined to be disturbed than I might be.

Michael Dowd said...

Father K. Re: Wild Voice. I never heard of the Wild Voice before attaching the article to my original message and do not expect to look at it again. I am however a fan of The Remnant Newspaper, Hilary White the Catholic writer, and One Peter 5 blog and Crisis Magazine. I believe they have the truth about the Church. I am attaching an article from the Crisis Magazine blog today by a priest whose story is a sad commentary on the state of the Church today.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I would agree that the essay by "A Catholic Priest" is a sad commentary, but it seems to me to say more about the author than the state of the Church.

Two of my seminary classmates - both good men with good hearts - had serious disagreements with their respective bishops over actions the bishops were or were not taking in particular circumstances. (They were serious matters, but neither involved anyone's sexual behavior or heresy.)

Each man's bishop had chosen a course of action that, to him, the bishop, seemed appropriate. My classmates disagreed and said so publicly. These were not doctrinal matters, but matters of prudential judgment regarding how to deal with a problematic person and/or situation. My classmates could not accept the bishop's decision. Sadly, both chose to leave the priesthood and both have married. One works as a psychologist in a state prison and I don't know what has become of the other.

I know of another circumstance in another nearby diocese in which a newly ordained diocesan priest adamantly refused to celebrate the NO mass in his first (and only) assignment. When the bishop - who is RATHER conservative - explained that the priest's role was to serve the people, and celebrating the NO was a requirement for doing that, the newly ordained remained obstinate or, if you prefer, rigid. No coaxing, no argument would sway him. The priest remains, to my knowledge, unassigned.

The qualifications for bishop are "Can. 378 §1. In regard to the suitability of a candidate for the episcopacy, it is required that he is: outstanding in solid faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence, and human virtues, and endowed with other qualities which make him suitable to fulfill the office in question;..."


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...


When it comes to disagreeing with your bishop or to criticizing him, there are two venues. One is behind the closed doors of the bishop's office and the other is anywhere else. Behind those doors you can be as loud, as angry, as much in opposition as you want. But once a bishop has made a prudential decision on his course of action, that's where it ends.

Now, being a fan of The Remnant, you may well have concluded that the vast majority of American bishops are worthless, or worse. There I will most certainly disagree with you. (The Remnant heaped praise on one of my former seminary classmates who was given to wearing his cassock and biretta all over town. The words were something like "If this is the type of priest coming out of seminaries today, then the Restoration cannot be far off!" That fellow is long gone, having left the priesthood under, shall we say, a cloud.)

Having worked as our former-former- bishop's administrative assistant/secretary for four years, I know that A Catholic Priest's assertion that the greatest good for a bishop is to address as few complaints as possible simply is not true. Most lay people and a good many priests don't know what goes on in the bishop's office, who he meets with, or what complaints he addresses. Some of the complaints are frivolous- "Fr. X doesn't hide the tabernacle key in a sufficiently secure location." Some are, of course, more serious.

The presumption is that a bishop has the wisdom and prudence to fulfill the requirements of his office. His take on how to proceed in a given set of circumstances may not be to the liking of some of his priests. Some may vehemently oppose the bishop's decision. But, as "A Catholic Priest" seems to misunderstand, the BISHOP is the one who gets to make the decisions. This comes along under the promise of obedience a priest makes at his ordination.

"Bishop, you must agree with me and take the course of action I espouse!" is not a wise, or prudent, or humble approach for any priest.

So, "A Catholic Priest" should come to terms with his station in life. If he is, one day, called to the Office of Bishop, I hope by then he has come to terms also with the limitations of hierarchical authority and gained a lot of wisdom in how to apply that authority. St Pope John XXIII is said to have said, "See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little." Now, I am not suggesting that a bishop should overlook heresy or sinful behavior among his priests. But he ought not to be a overzealous martinet, either.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

A CORRECTION: It was the Wanderer (which is trash), not the Remnant, that praised my cassock-wearing classmate.

Michael Dowd said...

Thanks Father. I appreciate your comments and point of view. To me Vatican II is a catastrophe for the Church and must be abrogated in it's entirety. The result of Vatican II is that most Catholics have become unwitting Protestants.