Tuesday, April 16, 2024


An Italian study poses some conclusions as the why there is a catastrophic decline in the practice of Catholicism in Italy. You can read a summary of that study HERE.

In part, it states that women are ceasing to practice Catholicism the way more so than men in Italy. I am not sure this can be blamed on the liturgy, but on progressive Catholicism’s bowing to secular secularism and promoting an anthropology of marriage and Holy Orders at odds with Catholic identity. Women are told that one day they can be bishops, priests and deacons and that the LGBTQ+++ ideology will triumph over traditional Catholic morality. 

We know in liberal Protestantism which approves of all these things, especially in the inverted image of Catholicism found in the Anglican Communion, that approving of all of this has not stopped the bleeding numbers leaving that communion but increased it. They have no identity as a Christian communion any longer compared to more traditional and orthodox forms of Protestantism.

But the study also blames the revision of the Mass and the loss of Catholic liturgical identity. I found this part rather fascinating:

Exploring the possible causes of such a catastrophic abandonment of Catholicism in a land which lies at the heart of the Church, the Roman professor surmised that among the likely causes are the liturgical abuses and upheavals to which the Church in Italy has been subjected. He particularly pointed to the “progressive spectacularization of Vatican liturgies that has occurred over the past three pontificates” in Rome, as well as the liturgical innovations with which Italian clergy have scandalized faithful Catholics.  

“Many of the nominally still highly institutionalized and centralized (‘liturgy-centered’) rituals may now have been transformed, in part or entirely, into ‘performance-centered rituals.’” Diotallevi wrote. “For Catholic liturgies, a push in this direction may also have come from the progressive spectacularization of Vatican liturgies that has occurred over the past three pontificates, from the substantial deregulation of increasingly large sectors of ‘Catholic’ liturgical offerings, as well as from many of the solutions adopted by clergy during the lockdowns that have recently taken place to counter the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The public liturgical abuses that Italy has seen in recent include a Mass sacrilegiously offered on a surf board, in the water, at the beach, with the priest bare-chested, an outrage that prompted local civil authorities to consider charging the priest with the crime of a public offense against religion. Another priest offered Mass at a park in a rainbow “pride” stole and a skin-tight cycling outfit, and joked when hosts were blown by the wind onto the ground after the consecration. 

My own experience with the Modern Mass and my own changing attitudes about it are somewhat summarized in the quote above. Music is horrible and there is no tradition of Catholic music as it constantly changes. Gregorian chant is rare in the Modern Mass. Contemporary sounds constantly changing are prevalent. Liturgies are sloppy and banal. Homilies long and dismal. 

But, where the liturgy is “done well” this means you have what is written above. The Mass is “spectacularized” with triumphal music, loud instrumentation, trumpets, tympani and cymbals. I have heard this for ordinations and weddings. It’s all veneer and no substance. 

I can compare that to a EF or OF Mass celebrated with only Gregorian Chant for the propers and parts of the Mass even if the core parts of the Mass are in the vernacular.  The Traditional chanted Mass is sober, filled with spirituality and devotion and not geared toward shallow entertainment and music used to excite hormones.   

The Traditional Latin Mass bespeaks of Catholic identity now lost in the Modern Mass. The Modern Mass is so Protestantized that many can’t tell the difference between a Catholic Mass, an Anglican or Lutheran liturgy. Catholics attending a Lutheran or Episcopal Liturgy would say that there are no differences. Most Catholics now receive Protestant communion when attending a Protestant liturgy/service. And they like their music better. 

And now some Catholic parishes are trying to imitate the music and style of worship of the Non-denominational churches. Praise and worship music which is fad oriented and constantly changing and like a rock concert or any other kind of concert is mimicked in the Catholic Mass. Anyone immersed in this nonsense in a Catholic Mass would feel at home in a non-denominational setting and more than likely to prefer the Protestant version of their service verses the “catholic” one. 

Everything that progressive Catholicism has touched has ended in disaster. Think of the once great women’s religious orders who through synodality dumbed down their life, community, habits and charisma and became a collation of individuals doing their own thing, living alone in apartments and no longer identifiable as religious sisters or nuns. 

That was done to religious life is now on steroids as it concerns the Church in general, synodality, that will accelerate the demise of the Church already declining in so much of Western Europe and Italy in particular. And yet this pope and his progressive cardinals and bishops gleefully go forward with their destructive policies never looking backwards to the evidence that progressivism is the cause for the decline and fall of this particular Roman Empire. 


Bob said...

As for where things have gone wrong in institutional religion, I could make a good case that Christianity started to go wrong since Constantine, and the general acceptance of the religion, which meant large masses of people were being brought in without proper spiritual catechesis, and which only accelerated with the expansion of Christianity into Europe and mass baptisms of rulers and entire peoples. There formerly was a very, very lengthy process of intense GUIDED prayer and fasting for converts as shown in oldest surviving catechisms, before they ever were baptised, confirmed, and admitted to communion.

I could also make the case that all which kept the religion going at all past that point from a spiritual perspective was the rise of the chains of monasteries draped across Europe. Much the same could also be said for the Eastern Churches. And of course, even those worthy influences were fleeting as various monasteries had various levels of proper spiritual practice which inevitably devolved to rote observance and lax practice, leading to a life of relative wealth and ease (and many cases of debauchery), where some new order/leader would get back to basics and start all over again. 

Meanwhile, the masses were often left to own devices and given only rudimentary basics of the faith, with very little instruction on a true spiritual life, and often left with only pius superstition. Granted, there have been many holy members in that class, the majority known only to God, where beautiful churches and rites were their helps while providing a proper place for contemplative delving...but, those people were always a small minority, very often supplied no help, and no few of them also ran afoul of Church authority when they strayed through lack of proper guidance, leading also to the institutional Church having a deep suspicion of any spirituality at all past the Breviary, Missal, and later Ignatian Exercises, which was throwing the baby out with the bath water.

That has carried forward to today, where the Faith has largely trundled forward helped only by those relatively few holy consecrated and lay members, and otherwise powered only by cultural and ethnic allegiance inertia, slowing all the while, until it has finally stopped and the wheels have fallen off.

And, today, with the changes in the Church, no more beautiful rites or churches, shifting doctrines catering only to worldly concerns and essentially zero spiritual catechesis, is it any wonder things are imploding in what has become essentially an institutionalized sacramemt dispenser?

William said...

""And yet this pope and his progressive cardinals and bishops gleefully go forward with their destructive policies never looking backwards...."" They don't get it, they really and truly don't get it. They've eyes and don't see and they've ears and don't hear. 'Tui amoris in eis ignem accende!'

Nick said...

I heard that, amidst the collapse--er, restructuring--of the Archdiocese of Baltimore from 60 parishes to 21, the Vatican has denied a renewal of the permission to have a Latin Mass at a parish church in Hagerstown.

Why the Vatican (Roche, Max "Beans" Faggioli?) is so intent on shutting down one of the few things that "works" is beyond me. I'll do no more than reiterate my theory that the Western Church is in such a pitiful state in part due to the fact that too many of the successors of the apostles, rather than being vigorous and zealous with the Holy Spirit, are superannuated, out-of-touch middle managers who simply would've been fired if they were in some secular line of work, for being content to manage the decline and their failure to keep the basics of the business running.


Bob said...

I got a chuckle out of the study author assertion that of those claiming weekly attendance that some of them were lying as to attending the re-presentation of the self-sacrifice of the Christ.

Is someone who would lie about that, or who says the ancient Churches got it all wrong regarding anything at all, actually a Catholic or even Christian? This is the failure of all such studies, where they cannot even define what it is that they study, except in cultural/ethnic terms....actual practice? why, that is only a very small subset in their studies.

The actual Church is much smaller than assumed, even by itself, and always has been and will be.

Bob said...

Nick, that is quite correct, and even though my first above post was speaking of the past with this quote, "which inevitably devolved to rote observance and lax practice, leading to a life of relative wealth and ease (and many cases of debauchery)", the same applies today with what seems a majority happy to hold offices in what they see as only a self-referential sacrament dispensing service station and living much better than the majority of the flocks, and having far more security at any age than the flocks.

Meanwhile, vast sums of money collected and spent on those not of their flocks, when a father or shepherd first duty is to own family or flock, first, and any surplus past that spent on others, or they are failure as father or shepherd.

monkmcg said...

Does the "study" mention anything about 70+ years of active homosexual clergy? If not, it is just more blather. The Lavender Mafia is at the root of many of the "progressive" problems and those who refuse to address it are part of the problem.

Bob said...

As for a critique of worship music, most all distracts from the Mass past choir monks/nuns who know how to chant in their subdued intricate manner where it not blasting out and distracting from the Mass.

Most local "schola" blare like megaphones as them mostly local opera and broadway style singers...

and we have all the other admittedly beautiful sacred music composed by court and Vatican artists, professional composers for wealthy burghers and royalty, and all generally overpowering and distracting, full orchestras and gigantic choirs, the music not really made to heighten worship, but far more to impress the audience and more a bragging rights thing for composers and their financial backers.