Lifesite has a very good interview with Cardinal Willem Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht. You can read the full interview HERE.
But this is a brief excerpt:
LifeSite: What is the state of religious practice in the Netherlands, and of faith itself? This is basically the same question as the one relating to the Catechism: you said that many people who are now 50 or 60 years old do not know much about their faith. Has the way Catechism is taught to children been changed?
Eijk: Yes, there has been a turning point. As I said, the crisis broke out during the period when I was a student at a high school in Amsterdam, between 1965 and 1971. In 1965, all students at my Catholic high school still went to mass on Sundays with their parents. Moreover, it was something you didn’t argue about. In 1971, in the final year of high school, there were only two of us. So you see how quickly all this happened. A whole generation of young people was then willing to wage war on Sunday mornings to refuse to go to church. They decided en masse: “We will no longer go, we will walk out of the Church.” Don’t forget that these are today’s grandparents. They have not passed on the faith to their children, let alone their grandchildren. That is the situation we are facing. This situation is also revealed by the number of Catholics. In the year 2000, there were still more than 5 million Catholics in the Netherlands. By 2015, there were only 3.8 million of us left: you can see the rate at which the figure is falling. Older Catholics are dying; and now, more than 50 percent of the time, Catholic parents no longer have their children baptized. It is impossible that the number of faithful will not decrease. According to statistics, some 17 percent of Catholics attend church from time to time. It can be, for example, at a funeral, because you know the person, and of course you go. But if we look at the real participation in Sunday Mass, it has collapsed: it is currently between 4 and 5 percent.
MY COMMENTS: We all have nostalgia for the days that all students and their parents went to Sunday Mass. This was up until about 1965.
But by 1971, the year I graduated from high school, in the Netherlands and many other places so few attended Mass. "A whole generation of young people was then willing to wage war on Sunday mornings to refuse to go to Church. Don't forget these are today's grandparents. They have not passed on the faith to their children, let alone their grandchildren!"
We have to deduce from this that Catholic formation was highly authoritarian prior to Vatican II and there wasn't much internalization of the truths of what was memorized. Once the yoke of authoritarianism and eternal damnation was removed, so was the practice of the faith.
What accounts for this superficiality in the pre-Vatican II Church??????
The Vatican Council gave the impression that all that went before it was no longer relevant. The new Pentecost Church was the true Church with all the answers for the modern world since it was now part of it.
It it pretty obvious that if the kids were told that what they were taught and believed was no longer to be believed, they told the Church where to go, or, rather, they did not bother to go back the fake church, the church that can change its beliefs through overnight whims.
Indeed, was not the Church wrong for 1,500 years with its clerical based Mass, according to J. Jungmann and the liturgical movement who were instrumental in changing it to an assembly based Mass as if it involved no change in doctrine? And you wonder why the kids never bothered to go to the New Mass.
It goes back to "development of doctrine" doctrine......
I won't argue. I just believe (now) that this can be used to ultimately scrap anything resembling Christianity, much less Catholicism.
I would have to say that, for a good many of us, in both the pre and post Vatican II Church, we had teachers who preached a good game, but did not live it in front of us. A bad example does more damage than we realize. One of the problems for us Catholics over the centuries is that we have to constantly remind ourselves that our faith includes an actual RELATIONSHIP with God. With so many rules, devotions, rituals and other things to do (all wonderful--that's not the problem) there is always the temptation to reducing what we do to merely "going through the motions". I suspect that when so many people were told that everything before the Council was irrelevant--a damnable lie--many decided to stop bothering with going through those motions.
I witnessed priests cussing and telling off-color jokes. That very much confused me.
The clergy are instrumental in weakening he faith especially among the young and the emotionally immature. What I mean is that when teaching and preaching the faith they never connect the difficulties of daily life with the teaching of Jesus Christ; but especially when preaching, settle for abstract concepts ignoring the difficult things like the consequences of sin, abortion, adultery, the personal responsibility we have for electing bad politicians, etc.
Then of course acting silly at Mass does all kinds of damage. Bishops permitting music that should never be played anywhere let alone at Mass allows the faithful to intuit that Catholic worship is just for spending a happy-clappy 30-45 minutes before we go into the parish hall for coffee and doughnuts. The clergy must act like they are about some serious and important business. Until they do nothing will change.
The faithful are guilty too because they settle for the present situation. We must all repent!
"The Vatican Council gave the impression that all that went before it was no longer relevant."
There is nothing in Vatican Two that gave this "impression." Nothing.
I randomly chose the Vatican Two document "Dei Verbum" and looked to the footnotes. The sources cited are
The Gospel of Matthew
The Epistle to Diognetes (ca 150)
The First Vatican Council
The Second Council of Orange
The Council of Trent
St Iraneaus "Against Heretics"
Pius XII, apostolic constitution, "Munificentissimus Deus"
Pius XII, encyclical "Humani Generis"
Pius XII, encyclical "Divino Afflante Spiritu"
Leo XIII, encyclical "Providentissimus Deus"
Benedict XV, encyclical "Spiritus Paraclitus"
St. John Chrysostom "In Genesis"
Pius XI, encyclical 'Mit Brennender Sorge'
The Gospel of John
Instruction "Holy Mother Church" edited by Pontifical Consilium for Promotion of
St. Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah
St. Ambrose, On the Duties of Ministers I
If this is giving the impression that all that went before is no longer relevant, then, Houston, we have a problem.
As one who is a cusp Catholic, much of pre-Vatican II Catholicism, while certainly clear and unambiguous, was based upon obligation to do this, that and the other. Love was not often heard, nor a personal relationship with almighty God, it was about rules and regulations. A hot dog on Good Friday would send you to hell. Any so-called mortal sin could send you to hell if you did not repent and go to confession before you died.
In other words, you could have lived an exemplary Catholic life, slip up, commit adultery for the very first time, die in the act and be condemned to hell for that one infraction. This is pastoral rigidity no?
If you committed suicide, no funeral for you!
Then Vatican II emphasized practicing the Catholic Faith out of Love for God rather than mechanical obligation or fear of hell.
And those who bought hook, line and sinker into the more rigid obligation/ fear of hell model felt duped but also liberated. Why go to Mass, I will love him my way!
And thus pre-Vatican II popular Catholicism collapsed as a house of cards over night.
Anonymous @ 8:40
Whether or not the V2 documents referenced magisterial documents from the past is not the issue. The issue is the impression that was given to the faithful by priests and bishops, as well as other Catholics carrying authority (eg professor Gregory Baum)that the Catholic Church was now, following V2, in a new Pentecost, starting from the very beginning, and disregarding all that ensued thereafter until 1962-5 when the Holy Spirit supposedly stepped in to rescue the Church. I suggest it was the spirit of Vatican 2 that did this, but that spirit was not holy by any means but a product of the euphoric post WW2 times of pride.
After 1600 years, why was the Mass in need of being "restored" all of a sudden, of going back to the first 300 years Christianity, as if we knew well what went on then despite the dearth of facts, as opposed to historical opinion of what went on then based academic theories of 20th century thinking (eg Jungmann, Bouyer, and Bugnini)?
Example is the best teacher. The one thing that made an impression on me and still does to this day is the good example of the sisters who taught me in elementary school. These were religious who were spiritually formed pre-Vatican II. Long after I had forgotten much of the Baltimore catechism, their good example, loving concern,spiritual demeanor, and the living of a vocation which meant no small sacrifice on their part, made a lasting impression on me and this was a surety that the substance of what they taught would penetrate my heart, mind, and soul and remain within me.
You nailed it. Even Amoris Laetitia references Catholic sources, while ending up with a non-Catholic result. The devil can quote scripture too!
"After 1600 years, why was the Mass in need of being "restored" all of a sudden, of going back to the first 300 years Christianity,..."
The Mass was not unchanged or unreformed for 1600 years. During those centuries changes and reforms were enacted.
The Novus Ordo is not the Mass of the "first 300 years of Christianity." Just as the Mass prior to the post-Vatican Two reforms was based on the framework of some of the earliest celebrations of the Eucharist, the Novus Ordo Mass is based on the same foundation.
"In other words, you could have lived an exemplary Catholic life, slip up, commit adultery for the very first time, die in the act and be condemned to hell for that one infraction. This is pastoral rigidity no?"
I guess, but the rigidity is justified. Saying that such a person could go to heaven would be a lie.
"Then Vatican II emphasized practicing the Catholic Faith out of Love for God rather than mechanical obligation or fear of hell."
I would rather have a lot of obligations that, over time, transform into serving God through perfect charity (like how imperfect contrition should ideally become perfect contrition) than try to pursue an ideal at all costs that result in the loss of people's salvation. Most people are ordinary folk, not saints. Most will not attain perfect contrition or do things out of love for God until later in life, if even then. What does the Church do in the meantime? It is pastoral cruelty to insist on an ideal (doing all for the love of God) that most may never reach, while also refusing to mention the obligations we have as Catholics, even if the motivation to fulfill these obligations is less than ideal. The perfect love of God as primary motivation isn't necessary for salvation; however, obeying the Church of which we are members, is.
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