Thursday, September 10, 2020


 Christmas Eve, 2019 and Easter, 2020; what will Christmas Eve be 2020?

There has been an interesting exchange between Fr. Z, who is far from a heterodox Catholic and the lay theologian and university professor, Massimo Faggioli. (Faggioli is the Italian word for "beans" and thus Fr. Z refers to him by the English translation of his last name). 

Dr. Faggioli castigated the new Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin for celebrating Confirmation in the Extraordinary Rite and then remaining for the Celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the same rite. The bishop presided in choir dress and Fr. Z was the celebrant. 

But this is what Fr. Z says (and it is his opinion) about orthodox Catholicism:

Confirmation with the older, traditional Rite has been going on all this time.  It is now much more frequent because more and more people are choosing to attend the Traditional Latin Mass and they want traditional Confirmation for their children.  Also, more and more bishops are finding it opportune to administer Confirmation in the older Rite and they are generous with their time and effort.

This is simply a normal pastoral activity of bishops that shouldn’t surprise or disturb anyone.

Also, it will become more and more prevalent in the future, I predict.

A demographic sink hole has been opening up underneath the Church for a long time.  COVID has accelerated the sink hole.   Large numbers of Catholics in name and baptism only will fall through that hole not to be seen again anytime soon.   The Church’s landscape is going to change.  I think that a few groups will remain strong in the Church, including Traditionalists (who are having lots of children, who are dedicated and generous with their money) as well as converts from a more Evangelical background and also some charismatics who have strong Eucharistic and Marian devotion.   These groups will find each other out of necessity.  There will be some friction, but I think something amazing will grow out of it.  And what binds them together will the TRADITIONAL LATIN  RITE, not the Novus Ordo.

My astute comments:

I have had experience with all the groups Fr. Z states which I highlight in blue. When I was pastor of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Augusta and vocation director as well (1991-2004), there was/is a large charismatic  ecumenical community with most of the Catholics attending my parish. Most of the Protestants converted to Catholicism too, evangelical Protestants.  The Catholics were very orthodox in their faith, believed in Humanae Vitae and had many, many children. The only fly in the ointment was their liturgical sensibilities and spirituality which was Pentecostal Protestantism/worship and praise. But in terms of belief in the Most Holy Eucharist, the Sacrifice of the Mass and the other sacraments and Church teaching they were ORTHODOX! They just like a more charismatic experience of these in style and music.

The children of the parents who began this charismatic community in about 1970, though, wanted even more orthodox and traditional Catholicism.  As pastor of Most Holy Trinity, I emphasized authentic Catholic identity and providentially, Pope John Paul II issued the new Catechism of the Catholic Church as I began my pastorate and the charismatic community embarked on a study of it which helped lead to the re-Catholicizing of the Protestant Pentecostal leaning founders and original members. 

This community (Alleluia Community, google it) has provided more vocations to the priesthood as well as the Church of the Most Holy Trinity than any other deanery and parish in our diocese. As it concerns Most Holy Trinity, not all the vocations were from the Alleluia Community. Since the mid 1980's MHT has provided at last 15 to 20 candidates to the priesthood (both diocesan and religious) and female religious orders. 

But what is truly fantastic is that the priests ordained for our diocese over the years from Augusta's charismatic community are also celebrating the EF Mass and eager to do so. 

Let's briefly look at Traditionalists and another group Fr. Z fails to mention (home schooling families), these too will keep the Church going with fidelity to Mass and the Church and her teachings. 

Anecdotal evidence from the Savannah deanery shows that the EF Mass celebrated each Sunday at our Cathedral-Basilica saw immediately after parishes reopened, a return to normalcy in terms of the number attending Mass and even more now than before the Pandemic shutdown. Our diocese reopened Pentecost Sunday which was the last Sunday of May.  The same can't be said of the Ordinary Form Masses either at the Cathedral or other parishes in the Savannah deanery.

My last point is this. Prior to Vatican II when there was more unity among Catholics, most Catholics were very orthodox and there was about 90% of all Catholics attending Mass each Sunday and the Mass was never criticized as post Vatican II Catholics would do to it, we had vocations galore from rank and file parishes. We didn't need "new movements" to provide these vocations. The parish was the primary source for vocations. 

That has changed. Rank and file parishes are not providing vocations, new movements are, like Traditionalist parishes, parishes with the EF Mass, parishes with charismatic communities and now home schooling families who network with one another. 

And finally, these new movements are conservative politically. They will not vote for anyone who is pro-choice and they will not belong to a political party that supports abortion on demand and the killing of a born child after a "botched" abortion where the baby lives.  


ByzRus said...

Due to COVID, bishops turned off the switch that regulates the obligation to attend. When turned back on, tepid Catholics, who have gotten used to not having to attend, won't likely return. As this has never happened before (that I'm aware of), a fair question would be how can the switch be so easily thrown? Previously, it was sinful to not fulfill one's Sunday Obligation. For 6+ months now, it hasn't been a sin. Next Sunday (if a given diocesan switch were to be thrown back this week), it is again sin? "Get real" will be the response of many! The era of cultural Catholics will likely get underway.

My parish, though very small by Roman standards, has enjoyed majority attendance without the obligation. Those that haven't been attending are elderly and justifiably afraid to join a gathering. Though mostly invisible to and ignored by the Latins, the Eastern Churches will likely be ok longer term.

Православный физик said...

Nope, they won't...