Monday, June 17, 2019


My two seminarians and I had dinner at our parishioner's home Saturday. They are homeschoolers with several children and one on the way.

The discussion turned to the scandals. I mentioned that "we" meaning the parents and us were very aware of things because we are social media and blog/news nerds. I wondered aloud about Most rank and file Catholics though.

It is hard for me to know how enraged my laity are. They are busy with family and making ends meet and the army families worry about a lot more than Church politics and institutional  ineptness.

I can't really tell if my Mass attendance is down because in the last several years it always fluctuates and in the last three years our Offertory is up, not dramactically but up none the less.

No one has come to me enraged or told me they are done with the Church. No nasty letters either.

I have counseled some parishioners over the years abused by priests and that certainly gives me a perspective that every priest should have!

But I know too that so many laity have experienced sexual abuse from mild to unspeakable from family members and acquaintances.

Just how engaged and enraged are rank and file Catholics?


Dan said...

The sexual issues bother me, but I understand it. The seeming heterodoxy and apparent lack of faith in Francis and his minions OUTRAGES me.

rcg said...

If things are quiet you should consider messing in your pants. People are quiet because they stopped caring and see the Holy Mother Church as a failed alternative to government programs, Joel Osteen, and yoga.

When you are in a fight for your life, quiet is not good.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I think the laity for the most part react as you and I have said to each other, Allan. "When will this end?"

It's a feeling of frustration and powerlessness that can leave us disenchanted and somewhat angry.

TJM said...

I am up in Quebec and seeing the results of Vatican Disaster II firsthand. Once uber Catholic Quebec has closed many magnificent churches and most no longer go to Mass. The sexual scandals were a late contributor.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the faithful Catholics find complaining to clergy to be an exercise in futility and sometimes an invitation to ridicule, or perhaps even worse to be met with expressions of learned helplessness. Run of the mill indifferent Catholics probably attend mass primarily for social reasons so the crises only effect them if they are somehow personally affronted by it, by say by pointed preaching making them face the reality of sin, or by other people making them uncomfortable by their association with an abusive patriarchal mess. In any event they need something to break the spell of conformity to superficial religious practice in order to alter their habits of attendance. Hence the temptation for clerics to not break the comfortable spell with good preaching or proper mass music. In such an environment run of the mill Catholics are unlikely to complain, even about the scandals, as long as they get the feel good fix. Just my opinion of course

JDJ said...

"When will this end?"

It will not end, nor should it. Just as the holocaust, the evil is too great, too widespread, and the consequences in the victims’ lives too horrendous. Shame on us if we don’t understand that lesson. A girl who had an abortion once asked her sister: “When can I just forget about this and stop apologizing?”. Her sister answered: “Never in this lifetime.”.

Does the average rank and file Catholic feel enraged? Probably not for many reasons, some of which Anon listed. Just not enough connection to the Faith to react. Does a more serious Catholic feel enraged? Oh, yes. Just ask. We will never stop feeling the horror of betrayal by our hierarchy and sorrow for our Church. We have the choice of moving on, and we do it locally. But we will never forget. And we will never again trust like children.

Paul McCarthy said...

Father look at the last three years of the Bishops Appeal. Those silent cowards are who I hold responsible and so will Our Lord.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of people are outraged, still. Most people aren’t outraged by things that don’t affect them personally. Others are outraged by everything. Pray for discernment.