Friday, November 15, 2019


Of course since I don’t have a brain, I don’t know! But somehow I can’t help but thinking this might help!   —Scarecrow, The Wizard of Oz

There are many reasons why people, young, middle age or old, are leaving the Church. The Church's credibility is shot because of the sex abuse scandal, a scandal that is like the energizer bunny, it keeps on going!

Thus who wants to be a part of a Church whose leaders are so corrupt to have tolerated the kind of mercy shown to abusers while neglecting the abused and thus perpetuating the abuse? I don't. It's disgusting.

But let's keep in mind what brought about this sad state of affairs, mercy, unbridled mercy and the thought that the Church could stop abuse through therapy and reintegration, accompanying the abuser and giving him as many chances as possible to get his act together. It is kind of like Pope Francis' view of mercy and what the Church can do, like stopping climate change through human initiative.

Be that as it may, how can we keep people from leaving the Church even though so many of her leaders are clueless and corrupt?

This is my opinion:

1. Shift faith away from bishops and priests and their charisma to Jesus Christ and His Splendor of Truth that calls sin, sin and to go and sin no more.

2. Teach that the Catholic Church is the True Church founded by Jesus Christ and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her.

3. Recover Pope Benedict's vision for the liturgy and give young people an energetic experience of the Mass and the Church's popular devotions but in a traditional way.

4. Recover the mystical experience of the EF Mass in the OF Mass through well done Chants, energetic music that is NOT secular sounding or sounds like Broadway ditties with religious words.

5. Allow each and every Mass no matter how boring or poorly celebrated, to have uniform practices such as ad orientem for the LIturgy of the Eucharist and Kneeling for Holy Communion.

My final opinion:

If nothing else is done at least, pray God, that bishops will have some common sense and insist on ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion received on the tongue with a paten below the communicant's chin to assist in the recovery of the mystical aspect of Mass and the focus on Jesus Christ who alone is all Holy and not sinful or corrupt let alone compromised.

If a Catholic believes that the Catholic Church is the True Church founded by God Himself and that Jesus Alone is Holy and we are simply called to perfection in heaven which begins in this life, and that each Catholic has some kind of mystical experience at Holy Mass and in our popular devotions, how can anyone then become a none or done with the Church?????????


Dan said...

Believe me, it's not just the sex abuse scandal. The 'faith abuse' is also driving people away. Under Bergoglio, the 'faith' doesn't seem so very different from the Greta's and Gore's.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Bishop Barron offers these ideas for bringing people back to the Church and for keeping young people in the Church:

FIRST, Bishop Barron recommended that young people become more involved in the work of justice, as young people resonate with the Church’s outreach to the poor and the needy. “We have a very powerful tradition around doing the works of justice, and young people like it,” Bishop Barron said. “I think we should lead with it.”

Bishop Barron said that studies show that the more involved young people are in the work of justice, the closer they stay to the life of the Church. He was careful not to present this as an alternative to the Church’s sexual teachings, but rather as a complement.

The SECOND method for bringing back the unaffiliated, Bishop Barron said, is leading with beauty. Today, young people don’t like being told what to do and think, but what’s so attractive about using beauty is that “I’m not telling you what to do, I’m showing you,” he said. What does this look like concretely? This could be, he said, the beauty of churches or, perhaps less conventionally, the beauty of websites. “This is how most people find us,” he said.

THIRD, the Church has to stop dumbing down the Faith, Bishop Barron said. We now have at least two generations that have received inadequate catechetical formation, he added, and many questions remain unanswered.

“We have a very smart tradition, but we have not communicated that effectively to our young people,” which leaves a lot of their questions unanswered, he said. Providing good answers to tough questions is a major part of accompaniment, and this includes nonjudgmental listening, and then, at key moments, teaching.

FOURTH, Bishop Barron recommends turning every parish into a missionary society. “The young people typically aren’t going to come to us,” he said. “We have to go out to them.” Parishes must become places that send people forth.

Finally (FIFTH), Bishop Barron recommends creatively using new media to reach the masses who have become disengaged with the Church. “Using this tool, which didn’t exist even 10 years ago, we can now reach into their world,” he said. “We should invest a lot of time and money in getting really good people to work our social media.”

This person should be someone who can use this tool effectively — that is, someone who knows the culture, knows how to reach it, but also knows the Catholic tradition.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

All very good but if they aren’t experiencing beauty and mysticism at Mass, they can experience all that and more at the Salvation Army or in government service and the Salvation Army doesn’t even require baptism let alone Holy Communion. The good bishop epitomizes the cluelessness of the bishops.

Victor said...

Fr McD:
The key is the experience of God, to hear His silent voice in our hearts, to see His presence through the beauty of the created world. The Novus Ordo liturgy by design works against that. It mainly addresses the dry intellect and not the hearts of people.

Cardinal Sarah has been saying similar things to yourself for some time, such as in his latest book. Yet he is probably the most reviled cardinal by the moderns (aka "progressives").

TJM said...

Bishop Barron is another squish. No sale

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think my generation (both clerical AND secular) has failed the Church’s primary mission and goal which is to save souls. Too much focus on material comfort (both clerical AND secular) and “accompaniment” without any real focus on what that might produce. There are many factors to blame/explain this twentieth-century phenomenon: the horrifying fears and privations produced by WWI, WWII, Korea and Viet Nam, unending racial conflicts, the explosive sexual revolution spurred by mass production of BCPs (as Paul VI predicted) name a few of many influences. The “good ole days” weren’t always so good.

Truth—the impact of society on Church has always and will always exist. But the challenge to save souls under the pressures of the times will likewise always be our mission, both clerical and secular. Despite my personal liturgical predilections (I love the EF but have no local access to it), Liturgy wars complicate the challenge and undermine the efforts by good people to further the mission of saving souls.

Rather than continuing to fight Liturgy wars, I would much prefer an honest and specific appraisal of what “accompaniment” entails and obligates us to believe as faithful Catholics. Thanks.

Dan said...

Here's an idea. How about the beauty of actual Catholic teaching and theology?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Conceptions of "beauty" and "mysticism" vary, sometimes a great deal.

Beauty for some means polyphonic chant, brocade fabrics, rococo decorations, and intricate lace.

For others it is congregational singing, plain worsted fabrics in rich colors, simpler décor, and the elegance of unadorned albs and surplices.

One size doesn't fit all.

Mysticism - union with the divine - also comes in different flavors. Franciscans and Cistercians develop mysticism, but in very different ways. In beginning the journey toward union with God, St. Jerome's words are wise: Start by "praying the way you can, not the way you can't."

As with beauty, there is not one "mysticism" that is beneficial to all. One may experience union with the Divine at the OF or the EF, in solitude in the midst of a nature preserve, or in the act of feeding the hungry at a soup kitchen.

In all things, may God be glorified.

Dan said...

Or in bowing to pachamamas. Why bother evangelizing (not proselytizing) anything? Anyway, I wasn't speaking of externals, I was speaking of the intellectual beauty. Thomism and such.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

How to keep young people? Make sure they understand the answers they seek to their most profound, sometimes unarticulated, questions about life have valid answers given by the Catholic Church.

They don't believe because because the Church does not answer their questions. Questions like, Why should I believe in this when everyone I know who doesn't believe in it seems perfectly happy? How can I fit in with people who do not believe these things? How do I know I even have a soul, or that there even is a God?

In catechisis to this group, one has to begin to assume these questions are in their minds and they are not saying them out loud to adults. They are seeking these answers, even if they don't say so.

What is needed is to educate teens in good, solid Catholic teaching that tells the hard truths about the slow motion destruction of human life without God, using examples of how these things have played out for individuals and societies. This will initiate discussions that will begin to bring many of their questions to the surface so they can be addressed.

Once they become young adults they will be facing lots of challenges to their Faith. By then it's too late to try to provide answers to those challenges, because they are out in the workforce already, being influenced by the world.

And finally, they must be taught to pray. They must be told part of being Catholic is to pray every day. They must be told a spiritual life without prayer is like an appliance that isn't plugged in. No prayer, no plug into God, no spiritual life.

Typically people in this age group are desperate to figure out how to become adults and lead a good life. They are idealistic and ready to take on hard challenges, internal and external, but they have to have a worthy goal.

Bishop Barron sounds like he wants to tap into that desire by steering them toward "justice" issues as the worthy goal. Isn't that nice? Very earth bound though.

What they need is to learn how to work with God for their own sanctification, beginning with practice of virtues, so they may do HIS will in the world and in their lives, and so God's justice may be made manifest in their work, whatever it may be. THAT is a worthy goal.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

"Bishops will have some common sense..."

Golly, that is not exactly a vote of confidence in the bishops overseeing our roughly 190 dioceses (in the United States), or your own.

The Eastern Orthodox stand for communion, and that is fine with me. But if folks want to kneel, let them do so. My knees are not what they used to be!

Anonymous said...

"leading with beauty"

The beauty of truth.

The beauty of majestic liturgy.

Taste should not distract us, as modernity has given only McDonald's hamburgers for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

One thing is for sure, everywhere, we see a recovery of the old that has been lost. It would be ashame if the world "got it" before the Church. Young folks want what was lost: Strong Gods (God), real religion, truth, and transcendent beauty. Notre Dame de Paris lasts. Mid-century modern won't.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Make sure they understand the answers they seek to their most profound, sometimes unarticulated, questions about life have valid answers given by the Catholic Church."

Exactly, Bee. The same questions have been asked in every generation. We do have to find a way to help the current questioners see and understand the truths offered by the Catholic faith.

"Bishop Barron sounds like he wants to tap into that desire by steering them toward "justice" issues as the worthy goal. Isn't that nice? Very earth bound though.

It's not earth bound at all. "You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God."

Doing justice puts us in touch with God, it connects us with the Divine (mysticism) since we are doing what God does.

Barron also makes it clear that justice issues don't trump others moral issues, "He was careful not to present this as an alternative to the Church’s sexual teachings, but rather as a complement."

Православный физик said...

No amount of catechesis will fix what is undermined by virtually every Mass. Allow me to reflect on things that can keep people in the west. (Not in any particular order)

1. Clean thy House

If there's one thing youth do hate, it's hypocrisy. Get rid of those that cover up abuse. Teach the Faith, more importantly, live the Faith. Enforce the laws that are actually on the books. Use the authority one has...It sounds simple because it is.

2. Don't undermine the catechesis

In short, similar to the first point what one sees in the Liturgy shouldn't be the opposite of what one learns. (Restoring Kneeling for Communion and Ad Orientem would help). Return to the scriptural propers, etc.

3. Stop elevating prudential judgments to dogma

the last point, the USCCB needs to stop elevating prudential judgment issues to dogma. What I mean....stop with the pointless statements, and focus on the Faith. No more statements on gun control, whatever agenda on climate, policy x, y, z. No more repeating the DNC talking points

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Gun control and climate statements are focusing on the Faith.

They are presented to the public, Catholic and otherwise, to show how Christianity is meant to do exactly what you state in your #1 - "...more importantly, live the Faith."

When we treat the environment as God does, that is, as good stewards of the gifts we have received, we are living the faith. When we reject the seduction of violence, in particular, the violent use of guns, we are living the faith.

Православный физик said...


I respectfully disagree

Every person has the right to defend themselves. A gun is a means by which one can defend oneself. It's not an absolute matter whether one should, or should not have a gun. I've lived in both sets of populations when I was in the US. I've seen both sides. In a less populated area, in situations where law enforcement is far away, there's a very good reason to be armed and prepared for a situation.

Even in light of the previous point, someone who follows the laws, wouldn't dare think of harming another person. Gun control punishes those who actually follow the law and not those who don't. One can't use legislation to fix what requires a heart change. Back in my home state yesterday there was a shooting at a school. The person who did the shooting was 16 years old. In California, there are some of the strictest gun laws in the country. It's illegal for a 16 yea old to have a gun, possess a gun, and most certainly bring it in a school. Nothing the shooter did was legal. Yet people want to talk about gun control when those who follow the rules aren't the problem. It's rather ridiculous to me. Someone can have a differing opinion than me, and perhaps be right. That's why it's a matter of judgment versus absolute right or wrong.

On the 2nd point, the fact that we need to care for creation isn't the point. It's how that creation is to be taken care of is the matter of judgment. The funny thing is they've given differing alarms in differing decades. When I was growing up, it was the Ozone layer shrinking was the alarm. Now and days it's not the ozone layer, but they speak of the warming of the environment with some kind of arrogance in my opinion as to if they're in control. Energy just changes from one form to another, and this can explain much of what is happening. .I'm all for recycling and minimising waste....but not for "saving the earth" (The earth has a Saviour, and His name is Jesus Christ)....rather, the efficient use of resources....which we should be doing anyway...People can think differently than me about this, and they'd be okay too. Hence a prudential judgment.

Anonymous 2 said...

Bishop Barron’s suggestions seem very sensible to me, as does Father Kavanaugh’s commentary on them. Father Kavanaugh’s point about mysticism deserves much more attention. To supply the needed mystical dimension the Church will take more than the Miracle of the Mass. This may indeed be at the heart of it but there is so much more that is needed, and this “more” must be emphasized to combat the seductive but soul-destroying technological, technocratic, and atomistic worldview of Modernity.

Much nonsense is written about “prudential judgment.” Aristotle and St. Thomas would most definitely disagree with it. To them referring a matter to prudential judgment absolutely did not mean that one person’s judgment is as good as another’s but that the wise person’s judgment is better than the unwise person’s judgment. Not to see this is another modern error. Consequently, it is quite appropriate for the Church to address matters of “prudential judgment.” If we then want to challenge the Church’s position on such matters, we must offer persuasive reasons, not willful assertions. The following article by Mark Shea explains all of this quite well:

Anonymous 2 said...

Correction -- Editing error in third sentence, which should read: “To supply the needed mystical dimension will take more than the Miracle of the Mass.”

Dan said...

Yes, I can certainly understand why NOW for most Catholics, the Mass doesn't provide the needed mystical dimension. But the question remains, if the Mass is what it claims to be, SHOULD humans be looking for mystical fulfillment elsewhere? And I wonder what it is that the Church could do to bring back the mystical at Mass? Hmmm...

Again too, crappy catechesis.