Some who comment on this blog have no historical recollection of what the Church was like prior to Vatican II, warts and all.
I think the greatest problem with the pre-Vatican II Church was its paternalism (a negative, I am not referring to being fatherly or motherly, which is a positive). This paternalism was placed on steroids in terms of authoritarian tendencies and to keep adult baptized Catholic child-like and by this I don’t mean having the faith of a child, in the positive sense as Jesus describes it, but stunting the growth of Catholics in terms of their relationship to the clergy both the higher and lower “archy” as well as the Religious.
What the pre-Vatican II Church did very well and the post Vatican II is a miserable failure was to build strong Catholics with a strong faith built upon the basics of the Catechism. In this country it was the Baltimore Catechism. The Liturgy and all the sacraments were no nonsense, not based upon the cult of the personality of the celebrant and there was uniformity in styles of celebration.
Thus there was uniformity, clarity and clear lines of authority when that authority was exercised in service to the Faith.
After Vatican II and overnight, a tightly run institution with a beautiful liturgy, sacramental system, doctrinal apologetic, discipline and culture developed over centuries starting with Jerusalem, then Europe and the rest of the world, collapsed.
The greatest sign of this collapse began with so many who left the priesthood and religious life only a few years after Vatican II and those who stayed sowed misery, crime, tragedy, victimization, confusion and dissension in parish life, corrupted parishes and built kingdoms on their personality alone, not the perennial magisterium of the Church.
As a result of this, parishes began to decline, laity’s commitment to the obligation of Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation waived and religious education in parishes was abysmal. Catholic schools once staffed by an abundant number of priests and religious became lay operated and the quality of Catholic identity suffered.
Vocations from normal parishes to both the priesthood and religious life which had been in abundance prior to Vatican II collapsed as well.
Today, the only groups in the Church providing vocations and with some sense of the Catholic culture and community and Catholic life are the new movements, Charismatics, Home Schoolers and the Traditional Latin Mass Communities/parishes.
As well, normal parishes with beautiful OF Masses, clear teaching and strong community are also providing vocations.
But your normal parish? Not at all.
What these new movements and traditional parishes which celebrate the new missal have in common is that they are more like pre-Vatican II parishes were and thus we see where growth in strong Catholicism occurs.
To deny this is to be like an ostrich with his head in the sand, or an aging hippie Catholic from the 60’s who desperately wants to return to the 1960’s and thinks that mentality will bring about the new springtime for the Church. But that barque has sailed, crashed and sunk and no matter what salvage action is taken it will not sail again but only sink again.