Monday, December 28, 2020



I firmly believe the hierarchy of the Catholic Church needs to sincerely repent for the manner in which Vatican II was implemented. 

Don’t blame the cultural upheaval for what has happened in the Church. Poor management of Vatican II is the primary culprit. Don’t blame Vatican II, but blame the bishops who implemented it and continue the same path over and over again with the same results, a smaller, and often less faithful, Church.

In a matter of less than five years, from 1965 to 1970, the entire culture and edifice of the pre-Vatican II Church had been dismantled intentionally by the hierarchy and they called it renewal and a new springtime for the Church. They used the triumphalism of the pre-Vatican II Church and the authority they had accrued since the Council of Trent to dismantle all that Trent had promoted and quite successfully. 

In other words, pre-Vatican II methods were used to implement the spirit of Vatican II. 

And now in the Covid-19 age and it causing the dismantling of the post-Vatican II weakened Sunday and Holy Days of obligation to attend Mass, many are asking if Catholics will return to Mass once the obligation to attend is reinstated. 

What will the bishops do about it? They’ll blame Covid 19 not their leadership.


December 27th, 2020|Categories: Parish Life

Will people ever come back? Father Raymond de Souza has some less-than-consoling thoughts in the National Catholic Register:  For many


ByzRus said...

"Sister Janet", if you can get her to put her guitar down, would never agree that there's a problem.

Regarding attendance, let's be real, the obligation light switch was easily turned off at the beginning of COVID. When the obligation light switch is turned back on ("Hey, starting next Sunday, it's a sin to miss mass!") those who have longed for a reason to no longer attend aren't likely to come back. It will just be those who truly want to be there.....hint the TLM church might start becoming more visible.

Anonymous said...

Our bishop put the obligation back in place last summer. The people come when they find it convenient. The "obligation" does not move them. They were doing this before the Covid problems. And as for the "obligation" for Holy Family Sunday following Christmas. We usually have three Sunday Masses. If we just had one, we still would have had a half empty church.
This is the way it is.

Tom Marcus said...

Father, this might be the best and most significant post you've ever composed.

The culpability for the postconciliar debacle lies at the feet of our bishops. They pushed the losing agenda and continue to do so in the face of overwhelming evidence that their program is nothing more than managed decline.

They repeat the mantra of "renewal" as Catholic schools close, Catholic parishes shrink and close and faith and sacramental life diminish before our eyes. They have substituted a false obsession with "social justice" to replace faithfulness to the 10 Commandments and the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.

Vatican II calls for a greater voice for the laity and what have they done? They have treated us with condescending contempt and imposed their pre-packaged vision of the Church upon us under the deceptive paradigm of "building consensus".

They give their devotion and our money to the enemies of the Church. They publicly reward the worst examples of "Catholics" in political life (Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, etc..).

And they have shown their hand by their slobbering attention to the "inclusive" agenda of pushing homosexuality--and we ALL know why this is so important to them.
And worse than that, they are so depraved that they are incapable of feeling the shame that their individual perversions cry out to Heaven for.

And what do they do to the laity when we DO exercise our voice in the Church? They silence us. They lie to us. They tell us that there is "no demand" for the EF. They unilaterally work against the magisterium by imposing unauthorized limitations on Summorum Pontificum. They brazenly lie to us about what Vatican II calls for.

And every six months they gather at 5 star hotels in cities many of us can't afford to visit so they can bloviate with each other about nonsense that is utterly irrelevant to their vocations as our pastors. And they do it on our dime.

And in their hearts, they hold us in contempt. Their actions reveal it.

To be fair, I am not putting this on all bishops. Some bishops are wonderful men who take their vocations seriously. Most are semi-competent executives who manage their dioceses with a modicum of concern for the faithful and a great deal of concern for finances. But too many are hirelings, or, worse yet, selfish. And a select few, powerful bishops are downright evil.

Yes, the failure of the postconciliar Church falls squarely at their feet.

And they couldn't care less.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Don’t blame the cultural upheaval for what has happened in the Church."

It is impossible to view the upheaval in the Church as a phenomenon isolated and distinct from the upheaval in the culture at the same time. It is precisely this misdiagnosis that has led to misdirected "cures" for what ails us.

If the disruption we experienced in the Church had not been paralleled by similar turmoil in other organizations big and small, we might conclude that the problems were the result of entirely internal issues. The reality is that most, if not all, major institutions in Western society faced similar uproar, which in many cases continues to this day.

ByzRus said...

Fr. MJK,

I mostly agree with you that the cultural upheaval of the time effected any/all organizations. However, the Church is obviously not Kiwanis, the local Moose Lodge, or the struggling symphony orchestra. It would seem that it should be more immune to the cultural shift a given time. If it was not, which appears to be the case, what went wrong and how was a timeless organization allowed to become so beholden to current whims and trends?

The Russian Orthodox Church, the embodiment of the preservation of tradition, does seem mostly immune after so many years of repression as it is currently enjoying explosive growth. Yes, their audience is mostly a homogeneous peoples who seem very nationalistic but, it nonetheless has eschewed secular cultural encroachment with a remarkable degree of success. Additionally, the Eastern Churches also seem to better intertwine religion and culture - perhaps the reason for the acceptance and growth experienced in Russia as well as Eastern Europe. It's part of their everyday lives even if the churches aren't packed every single Sunday (yes, this sounds like a conflicting statement).

If the Roman liturgy, the beginning and end of your average pew sitter's church experience, hadn't been so radically altered (including art, architecture and music - the experience of the senses), and the framework hadn't been laid for subsequent alterations coupled with the "preferences" of the priest/celebrant, I suspect things would not be as dire as they are becoming. There would be more belief in the true presence, more loyalty, more urgency to attending e.g. "I WANT to go. I NEED to go." as opposed to the current attitude of many, "I HAVE to go".

Did things need to be changed 50+ years ago? Yes! The 20 minute mumbling mass, the optics of mile long capes, buckles on special shoes and how much one's alb/surplice looked like grandma's lace table cloth, among other things, perhaps needed to be examined. Perhaps a papal mass with the court had become too complicated to realistically sustain, and for what besides the pomp and circumstance that usually accompanies such an office. Perhaps some vernacular was needed to be to make praying the mass more accessible and easily followed. To me, these are all peripherals, the core of the Roman experience, the mass itself, wasn't broken. The result: The love of this tradition of ours, the need to protect it and pass it along to the next generation as their spiritual inheritance, has been greatly diminished. I don't think we can blame this failure wholly on cultural shift within society which negatively effected Kiwanis/Moose Lodge/symphony orchestra etc. Something much larger and more negative occurred, a failing at an institutional level, both at that time and through the intervening years between then and now.

The "yes men" that now occupy too many thrones around the world would do well to recognize this, cut their losses by agreeing that the "renewal" was a failure, then charting a new course. If they don't, fine. Business as usual. Like so many of us who post here, I likely have more years behind me than in front of me worry about experiencing the large-scale impact of what's already happening on a smaller scale. I have no authority or empowerment besides prayer to effect large-scale positive change. Glad I won't have to answer for it either.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Father McD, you state the obvious, but you'll never get an apology. It's kind of like observing that Henry VIII's declaration of himself as the head of the Church in England paved the way for the destruction of Catholicism there (albeit after he died), or Mao orchestrating the "Cultural Revolution" in China paved the way for the introduction of Communism there.

When someone destroys a system in order to introduce a new system, they don't apologize for doing it. They did it on purpose, and they are happy with the result. Or don't you get it yet?

God bless.

Jane Moneypenny said...

November USCCB Meeting - Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel 3.5 stars $103.00/night at

The Bishops have been meeting at this hotel in Baltimore for over a decade.

Previously they met for many years at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Woodley Park in Washington, DC. 4 stars $130.00/night in

When organizations make large bookings at hotels with conference facilities they recieve a 15%-20% reduction in rates. When such organizations have long-term contracts with a specific hotel or hotel chain, the reductions can be greater.

Anonymous said...

The Vatican has disgusted many a Saint, and destroyed lesser folk, throughout history. The latest memorium to Latinist expert Fr. Reggie makes it even clearer. I love Mother Church and the chair of St Peter, but many of its denizens undoubtedly are burning in hell, or will be.

Anonymous said...

“On every front, then, the Council redrew the boundaries of what had seemed till 1959 a fixed and immutable system. For some Catholics, these changes were the long awaited harvest of the New Theology, the reward of years of patient endurance during the winter of Pius XII. For others, they were apostasy, the capitulation of the Church to the corrupt and worldly values of the Enlightenment and the Revolution, which the popes from Pius IX to Pius XII had rightly denounced. And for others, perhaps the majority, they were a bewildering stream of directives from above, to be obeyed as best they could. Many of the older clergy of the Catholic Church found themselves sleep-walking through the Conciliar and post-Conciliar years, loyal to an authority which called them to embrace attitudes which the same authority had once denounced as heresy......”

Eamon Duffy, (former) Reader in Church History and a fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Even acknowledging the upheaval in much of the world’s culture during this era, did the Council and the Catholic bishops who implemented it really have to redraw so many boundaries, and did there have to be so MANY bewildering directives from above and was it really necessary to have so VERY many ordinary priests and Catholic laypeople “sleep-walking” through these years loyal to an authority which called them to embrace attitudes which the same authority had once denounced as heresy?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"It would seem that it should be more immune to the cultural shift a given time."

Why would you think this to be the case?

Anonymous said...

From “A Concise History of the Catholic Church” by Thomas Bokenkotter (pp 366-367) :

“.......the Council showed a much greater regard for the historical dimension in the Church’s faith and life. In place of the non historical Scholastic theology, with its emphasis on immutable ideas and essences, which since the days of Thomas Aquinas characterised Catholic thought, Vatican II manifested an openness to the totality of Christian and human history and fully recognised the historical conditioning that has affected every aspect of its tradition; even its sacred books.....were now viewed as intimately involved in human history.....
‘Liturgical forms and customs, dogmatic formulations thought to have arisen with the apostles now appeared as products of complicated processes of growth within the womb of history’ (J Ratzinger, 1966)......The use of the historical-critical methods of research was countenanced by the fathers, who finally faced squarely this portentous issue first raised by the Modernists.”

(p 401) “......One way of looking at the current crisis of authority is to see it as the travails of a Church still trying to make the transition from a classicist to a historical conscious world view. The classicist mentality viewed the Church as moving through history but more or less unaffected by history. The historically conscious point of view, however, acknowledges how much institutions, governing precepts, and basic ideas about religion and morality are shaped by history and therefore how relative they are. This historical consciousness became a dominant feature of European culture in the 19th century. Many Catholic officials, however, saw the historical method as a lethal threat to the Catholic Church’s whole system of supposedly immutable doctrines.......they fell back especially on scholastic philosophy with its facade of immutability. The battle with the Modernists largely revolved around this issue.”

Thanks to Hegel and Marx, many leading modern European thinkers (including many modern Catholic intellectuals - and many Vatican II theological experts and advisers and bishops) came to believe that all ideas and concepts (including Catholic beliefs and morality) have to be regarded historically, as embedded in ways of life; as never timeless and unchanging, but embodied in societies and institutions, in historical realities that change.

However, I believe the core Catholic beliefs and morality are timeless and unchanging and when strongly held and practiced by enough Catholics have, not only saved the souls of individual believers, but had a good, healthy and positive impact on societies and peoples in various cultures and nations in different historical eras.


ByzRus said...

"It would seem that it should be more immune to the cultural shift a given time."

"Why would you think this to be the case?"

Because I'm Eastern Catholic. We, like the Orthodox that follow the byzantine tradition, do not tinker with the liturgy absent having an organically evolved reason for so doing. We don't do it, think about it, or yearn for it. We just accept that the tradition is to be cared for and the liturgy is not ours to experiment with. It's just a different mindset that requires one to view the world through an Eastern Catholic/Orthodox lens to appreciate.

Example: Being 115 years removed from the high point of the migration of our people to the U.S., people are no longer able to read Cyrillic, speak Slovak, Rusyn, Ukrainian and Russian and, therefore, few understand Church Slavonic the way many once did. 70 years of communism resulted in: the arrival of few newer immigrants, people being cut off from their families, intermarriage and post-war anti-communist patriotism (why some churches built during that era have calligraphy on the walls in English, not Cyrillic - not American enough). This is why the vernacular was introduced.

Anonymous said...

It appears you can't shame Father Beanovich

Tom Marcus said...

OK Moneypenny--you got me on the hotels. But you know as well as I do that these bishops sure aren't going to settle for the Motel 6! My point is, they live very comfortably and waste a lot of money on these largely pointless gatherings and it's always paid for by...guess who?

Anonymous said...

Fr K @3.41PM,

The Catholic Church would have been more immune to the cultural shifts in the 1950s to the 1970s if more modern Catholic theologians and more modern Catholic bishops in that era had not been so theologically modernist. Also, the Catholic Church would have been more immune to those same cultural shifts had more Catholic leaders and Catholic theologians from the 1950s to 1970s rightly regarded the Catholic Church as not merely another human invention - yet another ‘product of complicated processes of growth within the womb of history’ - but as a divine institution. To sum up, the Catholic Church would and could have been much more immune to modern cultural shifts if more modern Catholic bishops and theologians had still REALLY and actually fully BELIEVED the core traditional Catholic beliefs regarding the nature of the Catholic Church itself.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your entire post, and Tom's comment "Father, this might be the best and most significant post you've ever composed." Vatican II was used as an excuse or tool to purposely dismantle the Church, and rebuild it according to the design of a few influential cardinals. The spirit of dismantling could not be missed. If some had their way every Church building built before Vatican II would have been replaced. I cannot agree that the changes were done to meet the cultural upheaval of the time, The Church before Vatican II was built to withstand cultural storms. The 1960's was not the first "cultural storm' the Church had been through. The Church foundation was of rock not marshmallow, and it was that rock solid foundation that the new architects wanted replaced. I also don't think "the Spirit of Vatican II" should have ever turned into a derogatory comment. Pope Benedict was trying to guide the Church back to the true Spirit of that Church council. Sadly the leaders of the Church turned Catholicism into a quasi-religious secular globalism. Regarding the reopening of the Church after the COVID shutdown, the beginning of a liturgical cycle might be a good starting point. It would be great if Easter Sunday officially reopened the Church.

Tom Marcus said...

Yep. "Solve et Coagula"

John Nolan said...

There have been many social, political and cultural upheavals in the last five hundred years, for example the Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era, the impact of nationalism in the 19th century, the world wars and totalitarianism of the 20th. The Catholic Church did not only survive them but arguably emerged in a stronger position. Even on a superficial level, were the 'swinging 60s' more revolutionary than the 'roaring 20s'?

The world of 1924 was very different from the world of 1914, yet the Catholic Church did not respond by hitting the self-destruct button, which she appears to have done in the 1960s. In 1971 the Catholic historian John Eppstein published a short book entitled 'Has the Catholic Church Gone Mad?' which although accurate was more a description of the then current state of affairs than an in-depth study of how it came about.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"I cannot agree that the changes were done to meet the cultural upheaval of the time,..."

That wasn't what I suggested.

The changes that were codified at Vat 2 were in the making for, maybe, 2 or three generations prior to the event. This wasn't something that was done to respond to what was happening in the West after the end of WW2.

In the area of ecumenism and interreligious relations: John XXIII was ordained a priest in 1904 and a bishop in 1925. Early in his career he became friends with Bishop of Cremona, Italy, Geremia Bonomelli. Bonomelli had written a long, supportive letter to the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh in 1910. Such a thing would have been unheard of at the time, as was the participation of Cardinal Gibbons in the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. Roncalli was impressed with Bonomelli's outreach to Protestantism and as his career continued and he was nuncio to Turkey (Islam) and Greece (Orthodoxy) from 1934-1944, the ideas he had about ecumenism and interreligious relations matured.

My point is that the ideas of Vat 2 weren't a "thing" that came about or even began due to the cultural changes that unfolded after WW2. These had been coming of age for some considerable time.

Anonymous said...

“The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine - but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.”

Hilaire Belloc.

Anonymous said...

Fr MJK at 6.54pm,

Why could there not have been some MODERATE changes in the area of ecumenism and inter religious relations without the following:

- a new ecclesiology which holds that that the Roman Catholic Church is some sub-set of the Church founded by Christ. A new ecclesiology that contradicts Pius XII’s Mystici corporis Christi and other papal documents.....

- an inappropriate emphasis on the “dignity of man” , which can at times seem to ignore original sin and and the need for supernatural grace....

- a departure from the traditional belief that the Church and the world are at variance with one another to some degree, and that the Church has enemies....

- and especially without such a revision of the Mass liturgy of the Roman rite which, many claim, de-emphasises the central Catholic doctrine that the Mass is a true sacrifice and that the bread and wine are changed through transubstantiation into the body and blood of Jesus Christ........and what did secular cultural shifts have to do with specific decisions re the Mass to strip away important prayers, to have the Mass more centred on the congregation rather than on God and to omit certain Bible readings that mention subjects such as hell, miracles and sin.....and to make the Mass seem to millions of Catholic people less beautiful and spiritually edifying?

Why in the mid 20th century, and not in past times of social and cultural upheaval, was it necessary for the Catholic Church to undergo what many regarded and many still regard as a “veritable revolution”?

Anonymous said...

Fr K,

Unlike other times, the Catholic Church chose badly in the 1960s, moronically one might say. The Church is a rump of Her former self and clerics ignoring the collapse do so at their peril

Anonymous said...

I note Fr K aka Bean etal does not even attempt to take on Tom Marcus’ observations because he can’t since he fits in with that corrupt crew

Anonymous said...


You sure covered a lot and summarised a lot there regarding the “veritable revolution” of Vat II and it’s aftermath. I look forward Fr K’s or possibly Beanovich’s response. And I love that old Belloc quote, too.

Anonymous said...

Fr K, why was it so NECESSARY, c. 1965 to 1975, for so very much change, so very much "reform" and so very much bringing up to date, and so VERY much "dialogue" and so on to occur in such a very short period of time? What happened was so pastorally insensitive to change so much so quickly without, seemingly, any great concern for the faith and feelings of millions of devout Catholic believers.

And also, to treat average Catholics as total idiots who could be fobbed off with often disingenuous claims that what was taking place was always merely a "development in the Church's thinking", "shifts in emphasis" or "teaching old truths in new ways" etc.....anything at all except being honest and transparent with what was taking place in those crazy years.

Anonymous said...

Reality is the thing you run into when your beliefs are false. The beliefs that the changes outlined in 7.39pm above and other 1960s and 1970s reforms and changes would lead to a wonderful, new flourishing Catholicism were wrong, or have been shown to be so very wrong by the reality of the serious decline of the Catholic Church since 1970. Most Catholic bishops since approximately 1970 have been in serious denial. The reality of the Church’s decline since c. 1970 should repeatedly still be put to them! As it should continually be still put to Catholic bishops what, 50 years of experience tells us, is NOT going to halt this decline.

Helen P.

Anonymous said...

Sorry that this is off topic, but I can recommend "Pope Francis announces a yearlong reflection on 'Amoris Letitia' and family." - At

rcg said...

I do wonder if the leadership of the Church from about 1955 through 1980 were in some post WWII funk and were punishing the Church for the sins of the Europeans. When I read Fr Kavanaugh I see that we reached the limits of God’s power in the 1960’s. Ecumenism is merely the confession of Christ’s mortality and the equivalence of any ethos with good intentions. I have heard that preached from the pulpit. The modern Church condemns buying indulgences but offers to pay the camel’s toll in solar cells, bull gas, and vaccines. We have lost the sense of the sublime. As much as I would mourn the loss of the buildings and art, I would trade it all for one man of Faith.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

John Nolan nails it. The Interpretation of Vatican II as implemented by most bishops and religious orders has been a disaster. There is no acknowledgment of this. Pope Benedict came very close and his agenda is the way forward, not Pope Francis’ agenda which is madness for the most part because it is a reversion to the 1960/70;s mentality. He has practically reversed John Paul II and Benedict’s legacy of moving us forward with true renewal in continuity.

The post Vatican II Church is a toothless tiger, incapable of hurling anathemas where they are needed. It is a feminine ethos not a masculine one, coddling rather than disciplining. Discipline comes only when the public outcry is too great to contain or ignore, take Chile for example or Becciu.

Pope Francis also confirms what I heard in the 1960’s and 70’s. Those who had some sanity in the Church of that time told us that only discipline was changing, not doctrine or dogma or morality. Others, though, the progressives of the school of thought that Pope Francis is a protagonist stated doctrine and dogma could change and Vatican II changed it. This was especially applied to the liturgy and its doctrines and ecclesiology both responsible for the state of things today. Today though, the code word for progressives isn’t changing doctrine but “development” but no matter the word it is change. The God of surprises comes to mind, a favorite meme of Pope Francis.

In other words, the decline of the Church will continue until Pope Benedict’s vision returns and takes hold. God willing, this will occur because if it doesn’t, we will be as irrelevant as the Episcopal Church and liberal Protestantism in general.

Anonymous said...

Fr A,

Are you not concerned about being labelled an "anti-Francis schismatic" like Michael Voris and Taylor Marshall?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anon 7:39 -

"...a new ecclesiology which holds that that the Roman Catholic Church is some sub-set of the Church founded by Christ. A new ecclesiology that contradicts Pius XII’s Mystici corporis Christi and other papal documents.....

- an inappropriate emphasis on the “dignity of man” , which can at times seem to ignore original sin and and the need for supernatural grace....

- a departure from the traditional belief that the Church and the world are at variance with one another to some degree, and that the Church has enemies

As to point one, neither Vat 2 nor any subsequent teaching of the Church makes this assertion. Pope Benedict reaffirmed what has always been taught in "Dominus Iesus - On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Churst and the Church

As to point two, I've not seen any teaching of the Church that ignores Original Sin or the necessity of grace. Can you post a link to such?

As to point three, what doctrine are you referring to?

"and what did secular cultural shifts have to do with specific decisions re the Mass to strip away important prayers,"

I don't suggest that secular/cultural shifts had anything to do with the reformation of the liturgy. Those shifts do, I suggest, have a great deal to do with the decline in mass attendance and the rise of the "nones" that we have discussed on this blog.

John Nolan 6:34

"Even on a superficial level, were the 'swinging 60s' more revolutionary than the 'roaring 20s'?" I would say yes, most definitely.

The "revolutionary" aspect of the changes in Western Society since the end of WW2, which had their origins in the Enlightenment, have been substantially different from past upheavals. Much has been written about what has been called the "Evolution of Individualism," the shift from a "we" centered approach to society to an "I" centered approach. Underpinning and supporting this shift is the unmatched increase in personal wealth and the ensuing consumerism and materialism that Pope John Paul II warned of often in his speeches to Western Society.

"In principle and in fact, materialism radically excludes the presence and action of God, who is spirit, in the world and above all in man. Fundamentally this is because it does not accept God’s existence, being a system that is essentially and systematically atheistic. This is the striking phenomenon of our time: atheism, to which the Second Vatican Council devoted some significant pages. Even though it is not possible to speak of atheism in a univocal way or to limit it exclusively to the philosophy of materialism, since there exist numerous forms of atheism and the word is perhaps often used in a wrong sense, nevertheless it is certain that a true and proper materialism, understood as a theory which explains reality and accepted as the key-principle of personal and social action, is characteristically atheistic." JP2, 13 Aug 2015.

This is what I see as the fundamental difference between past societal revolutions and the one in which we are now living.

rcg 7:46 "Ecumenism is merely the confession of Christ’s mortality and the equivalence of any ethos with good intentions."

This is simply not the reality or the goal of Ecumenical or Interreligious work.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see how far the Church has fallen apart in the US, just watch "The Bells of St. Mary's" or "Going My Way," both filmed in the 1940s. Back then, even Hollyweird took Catholics and the Church seriously, portraying it sympathetically and full of goodness.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

ByzRus 4:25 p.m. - The cultural/societal shifts I speak of are not much related to changes in the liturgy. They are changes that have impacted the people in the pews. All of us, to one degree or another, live in and are impacted by societal values. "The Church" is the folks who are Baptized into Jesus Christ, and those people have been changed by the cultural values they have chosen to follow. The primary being the rise of radical individualism in what has been described as a shuft from a "we" centered society to an "I" centered society.

Anonymous said...

A couple things that you did not mention regarding Vatican II. One is the collapse of religious orders, with an emphasis on the dwindling religious that are not involved in missionary work. Related is the mingling of missionary groups with secular government. Casual observation suggests many missionary organizations are largely involved in receiving and distributing government money according to rules dictated by government. Something newer is Pope Francis and his Popes Mission directly soliciting moneys, one must wonder if that money collected is matched by federal government money. It would give reason for a papal interest in politics.

Anonymous said...

Fr K,
Regarding what you wrote above about Vatican II, and disagreeing with other people here, would that be what you regard as your correct beliefs about what you hold to be objective facts; or would it be what you regard as merely, or fundamentally, your own subjective views and opinions, your personal, subjective interpretation of events and your personal perspective etc?

Do you honestly believe it can’t be seriously argued the Church, or many in the Church, in the Vatican II era, reversed past teaching on religious liberty, the ecumenical movement and collegiality, for example....?

Anonymous said...

Fr. K is like the crooks in Home Alone - he keeps getting beat (by John Nolan) but keeps coming back for more punishment. Serious issues there

Anonymous said...

Will no-one rid us of this turbulent and meddlesome (Fr K/Bean) priest?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Do you honestly believe it can’t be seriously argued the Church, or many in the Church, in the Vatican II era, reversed past teaching on religious liberty, the ecumenical movement and collegiality, for example....?"

I do believe that we have not reversed the Church's teaching on religious liberty, the ecumenical movement, and collegiality.

Anonymous said...

Turbulent priest?

Turbulent- characterised by conflict, disorder, or confusion; not stable or calm.

The Turbulent personality type: Where Assertive individuals (their opposite number) tend to be calm, relaxed and free from worry, Turbulent types are more likely to be self-conscious perfectionists, concerned about their abilities or about how others perceive them...


Anonymous said...

CNN unintentionally has two pictorials on the effects of Vatican II. In one is the beautiful abandoned churches of Europe. The second is the still used Pantheon. Subliminally CNN is illustrating the rise of the pantheon and the fall of the Church:

Inside Europe's stunning abandoned churches

The Pantheon: The ancient building still being used after 2,000 years

Anonymous said...

"Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" (also expressed as "troublesome priest" or "meddlesome priest") is a quote attributed to Henry II of England preceding the death of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1170."

Anonymous said...

Fr Kavanaugh,
I’d really like to be sure about what you stated above. Are you saying you honestly believe “we” (by the way, does “we” mean some, many, most or all Catholic priests in our era?) do not have a really quite VERY different approach to the ecumenical movement and a significantly VERY different understanding of both religious liberty and collegiality than the Catholic Church’s past position on the ecumenical movement and the Catholic Church’s teachings on religious liberty and collegiality, say from 1846 to 1958?

Sometimes, at least occasionally, to claim that after 1965 X, Y and Z are a “development” of the Church’s past teaching is really like saying 2+2=5, don’t you think?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anon 1:47 -

"We" means the Church. I could have easily have said, "I do believe that the Church has not reversed its teaching on religious liberty, the ecumenical movement, and collegiality."

You have substantially changed your question.

Now, you have gone from, "reversed past teaching on religious liberty, the ecumenical movement and collegiality, for example....?" to "..a really quite VERY different approach to the ecumenical movement and a significantly VERY different understanding of both religious liberty and collegiality than the Catholic Church’s past position on the ecumenical movement and the Catholic Church’s teachings on religious liberty and collegiality, say from 1846 to 1958?"

"Reversed" is not "quite different approach" or "very different understanding."

ByzRus said...

Fr. MJK,

Thank you for your reply. I appreciate your thoughts and find them to be understandable. However, and again from an Eastern perspective, we believe all that is needed comes from the liturgy. Given this, we are being fortified to such an extent that counterculturally, we are able to ward off "I" centered tendencies remaining "We" centered as a churched community of believers.

From a Divine Liturgy perspective, one ending starts us on the path toward beginning the next. "We", therefore, take that fortification, however countercultural it might now be, into the societies in which we live, work and interact with others. In other words, our "orthodoxy" is always with us.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...


I agree that the liturgy should help us develop and maintain a "we" centered approach to life, one that is countercultural, even radical. (Try preaching that concept and see how many complaining letters to the bishop get written about you!)

I would suggest, however, that this has not happened. Other influences, however, have had a greater effect on us for a variety of reasons. Rather, like many in society, many who attend mass or Divine Liturgy have grown more and more self-centered over the years since the end of WW2.

If I am not raised to see myself as a servant to others and if I am not, then, living for others, I am not going to see a need to attend a religious service - this extends over many religions, Christian and non-Christian - that encourages and empowers me to put the needs of my neighbor ahead of my own. This is why I argue that the changes in the liturgy have not been the dominant or even a substantive determinant on attendance at mass or on membership/participation in other "we" centered organizations, and why a return to an older form of liturgy is not going to alter our current situation.

Worship in a setting that speaks of sacrifice - the sacrifice of Christ to the Father or the sacrifice I am called upon to make for the Common Good - is not what people are seeking. Rather, they seek affirmation of their "I" centered lives and don't want to be challenged.

Anonymous said...

This is what Father K voted for:

Biden spent his Senate career upholding the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer dollars from directly funding abortion. Now, he opposes Hyde.

Prior to Vatican II, Father K would not have dared. Spare us your sanctimonious crap

ByzRus said...

Fr. MJK -

100% agree. Thank you for your insight.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I would add, so as not to seem to be placing all blame on parents who should be raising good, "We" centered children, that from the moment a child has access to a screen - TV, phone, computer, etc - the culture is working to turn that child into an unhappy, "I" centered consumer.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote in his book 'Morality': "Advertising is constantly inflaming our discontents. Advertising is the “organized creation of dissatisfaction. Happiness is good for us, but it is bad for business. Hence we have to be induced to see it as always lying just around the corner, immediately after the next product we buy. A consumer society, in short, encourages us to spend money we don’t have, on products we don’t need, for a happiness that won’t last."

Sacks continues: "Gratitude encourages the savoring of positive experiences. It bolsters feelings of self-worth. It helps people cope with stress. It inhibits invidious comparisons with others. It encourages moral behavior – grateful people are more likely to help others. It tends to dissipate negative emotions such as anger. And it counteracts the hedonic treadmill. Gratitude is the opposite of the mindset of a market-led, consumer society. It is about satisfaction with what we have, not hunger for what we do not have."

ByzRus said...

Thank you again, Fr. MJK.

John Nolan said...

Fr Kavanaugh is surely right to point out that some of the currents which surfaced at the time of Vatican II were discernible at the beginning of the 20th century. It did not help that an exaggerated fear of Modernism stifled Catholic theology and the repressive measures authorized by Pius X were applied indiscriminately to orthodox and heterodox alike. This atmosphere was to persist during the reign of Pius XII, who (significantly) canonized his predecessor a mere forty years after his death, thus setting an unfortunate precedent.

By 1958 the desire for change was there, but it was by no means universal even among the hierarchy, and notably absent among the laity. However, the common people can revolt (and are generally put down) but to engineer a revolution you need a small cadre of individuals in positions of influence with a determined agenda and a ruthless ambition to succeed. The only problem is that those who start revolutions are rarely able to control what they have unleashed.

We're not just talking about a precipitate decline in Mass attendance; the thirteen years between the close of Vatican II and the death of its architect and driving force Paul VI witnessed a collapse in ecclesiastical discipline, with the exodus of thousands of priests, the collapse of the traditional religious orders (the Jesuits embracing heresy was particularly ironic), a dramatic rise in cases of clerical sex abuse which peaked in the mid-1970s, and wildly experimental 'liturgies' which even a radical transformation of the official liturgical forms could not keep pace with.

The one attempt to defend traditional moral teaching (Humanae Vitae) was an abject failure, with bishops in effect telling their flocks to ignore it and 'follow their consciences'. In the United States the easy availability of 'annulments' enabled Catholics to divorce their spouses without too much bother.

The 'violent' stage of the revolution has long passed, but has left a lot of damage in its wake. Despite the current dysfunctional papacy, there have been significant counter-revolutionary developments which could not have been foreseen in the 1970s.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Thank you John for that excellent synopsis. The implementation of Vatican II sticks in my craw. Every silly thing I experienced as a young person, and beginning around 1968 or so was attributed to what Vatican II wanted. We heard more about Vatican II than we did about the Most Holy Trinity, the Blessed Mother or anything else.

Vatican II's implementation caused many polarization, but the main one was the negative treatment of those referred to as "so pre-Vatican II" not a term or endearment, but backwards and ill informed. That group eventually became so alienated they became less engaged in the Church and complained bitterly about this, that and the other. This in effect rubbed off on their children and children's children causing total disengagement from the Church as we see today.

The progressive segment became like reeds blowing in the wind and grabbed onto any novelty, especially liturgical, sexual and individualistic. Follow your own conscience was made for them and it confirmed their peccadilloes and without guilt.

But not being well grounded in Catholicism, even a progressive version of it, they soon petered out and so did their children and children's children.

Today we have the head of the Bishops in Germany leading the Church there into schism, the liberal version of Archbishop Lefebrve. But the Germans want a post-Catholic Church that capitulates to the dictatorship or relativism. I doubt many Catholics in Germany will follow. They will continue to dramatically bleed members and not even a faithful minority will be able to save it.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John Nolans writes: "...collapse in ecclesiastical discipline, with the exodus of thousands of priests, the collapse of the traditional religious orders..., a dramatic rise in cases of clerical sex abuse which peaked in the mid-1970s..."

All of this was accomplished by clerics and religious who had been formed took place in those who had been formed under the old style discipline and the old style liturgies.

"This in effect rubbed off on their children and children's children causing total disengagement from the Church as we see today."

When asked why they don't affiliate with any religion, none of the "children's children" who make up the "Nones" say they want or miss mass the Extraordinary Form or Gregorian chant or the so-called fiddleback vestments.

The reasons they say are "very important" are
"I question a lot of religious teachings"
"I don't like the positions the churches take on social/political issues."
"I don't like religious organizations."
I"I don't believe in God."
"Religion is irrelevant to me."
"I don't like religious leaders."

(Pew Research, August 18, 2018)

Two years earlier Pew asked why those who had been raised in a religion had given up the practice along the way. Again, none of the responses gave any indication that matters liturgical were the reason for leaving or a possible reason for return. That data is here:

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Those who became disengaged beginning after Vatican II, whether progressive or traditional handed on disengagement, which is basically a loss of Catholic identity and purpose, meaning belief in the Triune God and the Catholic Church Jesus founded.

Nones today don't miss anything from the Church, progressive or traditionalists. There are disengaged from it all, nothing will bring them back except an act of God. If they come back, they more than likely won't want progressive reed swaying but something more substantial like the FSSP offers or traditional parishes like mine.

So you miss the point of the Pew research. It is based upon a loss of faith precipitated by the alienation from the Church of both progressives who are never pleased with the progress of the Church and traditionalists who are never pleased because of being denigrated as pre-Vatican II by the Church they loved and supported prior to that occurrence. It's the children of these Catholics whose children's children are the nones. They have no basis in Catholic identity to be engaged.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"There are disengaged from it all, nothing will bring them back except an act of God."

I don't agree - at all.

First, it won't be the Extraordinary Form or Gregorian chant. That's an idea you have advanced repeatedly. "The teenagers thought it (the EF) was awesome!" Sure they did. They also thought the last pop concert they attended was awesome, the last video game they played was awesome, and the last teacher they had who graded a tough exam on a big curve was awesome.

Research from the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois. "But according to a study conducted by researchers at Benedictine University in Lisle, there is a simple way to bring many former Catholics back to the Church – ask them. A personal invitation from a parish priest or parishioner was the most frequent response given by 575 lapsed and drifting parishioners who were the subject of a survey that also asked why they had stopped attending Mass, what changes could their parish make to prompt them to return, and what would they like to say if they could communicate directly with their bishop."

If nothing but an "act of God" will accomplish the goal, then the idea of evangelization goes out the window. Or, a parish can begin to implement a program to evangelize or re-evangelize the "fallen-aways" and the "nones." It might look like this:

1. Befriend people.
2. Share faith stories .
3. Retell the Christ story.
4. Invite to conversion.
5. Bring into community.
6. Call to discipleship.
7. Call to stewardship.

It's hard work. It is frustrating work. It's long-term investment work. It's work that won't be accomplished by becoming fluent in Latin (no aversion, John, just unnecessary), or by paying gobs of money to install altar rails and/or stained glass windows. That may have been a draw in earlier times, but it seems that circumstances and people today are very different.

John Nolan said...

Fr Kavanaugh quoted Jonathan, Lord Sacks, who was Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013 and who sadly died of cancer last month, aged 72. He will be missed by many people of all faiths and none.

Anonymous said...

Pew Research? LOL!

Fr K continues to ignore that young people comprise the majority of people attending the EF. Young people are drawn to authenticity rather than the ersatz

ByzRus said...

To me, this has developed into one of the better conversations that we've had on this blog. John Nolan as well as Frs. AJM and MJK have all made excellent points. Keeping practicing Catholics and encouraging lapsed Catholics/nones to "Come and See" will be a challenging balancing act with fewer vocations and more limited resources.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John Nolan - I've read several of Rabbi Sacks' books and listened to his talks on YouTube. In Advent, I used his last book, "Morality," as the basis for an adult ed series.

He died just before we began the series. Only then did I learn that he had had cancer twice before, and the last recurrence was only diagnosed a month before he died.

His was an amazing intellect - one of those minds and souls that comes around only once in a great while.

May the angels lead him into Paradise.

John Nolan said...


Rabbi Sacks was able to combine traditionalism with a commitment to inter-faith dialogue, which never led him down the path of relativism. He was critical of, and was criticized by Liberal and Reformed Judaism, notably for his outspoken opposition to same-sex civil marriage. He showed it was possible to be both orthodox and broad-minded.

On the other topic you raised, few people these days are fluent in Latin, in the sense that they can speak and write it with ease, and can extemporize Latin verse. So you are correct when you say that fluency is not necessary. I certainly don't possess it, though I confess to a twinge of envy for those like Boris Johnson who do.

ByzRus said...

On the Eastern side of the fence, I too do not possess fluency in our liturgical language, Slavonic. I'm functional in a basic way and can in a labored way can read Cyrillic (which has come in very handy reading signs and labels when I go to one of several Russian grocery stores in my area!). I love the language and could listen to it being chanted for hours. I acknowledge, however, that at least in the United States, it will neither be a tool of evangelization nor will it lure back those who have strayed.

Fr. MJK,

Via the cited research, you rightly point out the effectiveness of simply asking/inviting people to return. At my parish, we have successfully reengaged people this way. It's very budget friendly as well.