Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Pauline Mass or Traditional Latin Mass?

I attended the indult traditional Latin Mass (1962 Roman Missal) at St. Joseph's some time back to learn more about the traditional Latin liturgy. I found it difficult to follow, even with a missal in hand, but the overarching order of the Mass was quite similar, so that helped. A Catholic with an attention deficit problem would have been lost. There was no responses by the parishoners. The altar boys said the responses instead. I've heard from many pre-Vatican II Catholics that often Catholics got into the habit of simply saying their private devotions during the Mass (eg. the Rosary). I don't suppose this was the optimum level of participation in the Sacred Liturgy that the Church was going for.

I believe the Traditional Latin Mass can be likened to "solid food," catechetically speaking, and if you're not ready for solid food, the catechetical value is non-digestable. The Pauline Mass of Vatican II is more like "milk" in comparison. Yet, from my perspective, most of the Catholics in the pews could not digest "solid food" which is precisely why we needed the "milk" the Pauline Mass offers. In both cases, the supernatural and salvific grace of the Blessed Sacrament is the same.

We probably have all heard about how bad the Catholic Church has gotten after Vatican II, as though Vatican II ruined a perfectly wonderful Church. Yet, since a significant number of the priests involved in the sexual abuse scandal were raised, catechized, attended seminary, and were ordained prior to Vatican II, I believe blaming Vatican II for the "smoke of satan" that has entered the Church is rather absurd. Consider also the orthodoxy--or lack thereof--of those such as Fr. Charles Curran and Fr. Hans Kung. I don't suppose the kind of "orthodoxy" that the Traditional Latin Mass established in these kinds of dissenting priests is something to brag about. Nor did the "solid food" of the traditional Latin Mass prevent the bishops and other priests and nuns from leaving the priesthood and religious life when Humanae Vitae was promulgated by Paul VI in 1968 (some marrying just weeks after leaving the priesthood). No, I suspect the heresy of modernism to have been rather well established within the Catholic Church prior to Vatican II. Blaming Vatican II as a cause for the continued effect of modernism in the Church, while popular among my traditionalist friends, is rather unconvincing. The most we can say is that Vatican II, sadly, didn't put an end to modernism. Yet, Nicea didn't put an end to Arianism. But at least Nicea tried. I don't believe Vatican II even tried to put an end to modernism, and I think it should have.

Some interesting statistics to consider regarding the Catholic Church of the past 100 years...

From the Catholic Encyclopedia(1909) "Statistics of Religions", Table VIII:http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14275a.htm

In 1909, Catholics comprised 18.7% of the world population. Non-Catholic Christians comprised 20.8% of the world population.

Ratio of Catholic/Non-Catholic Christians: 0.900

From Encyclopedia Britannica's "Adherents of All Religions by Six Continents - Mid- 1995": http://www.zpub.com/un/pope/relig.html

In 1995, Catholics comprised 16.9% of the world population.Non-Catholic Christians comprised 16.8% of the world population.

Ratio of Catholic/Non-Catholic Christians: 1.008

It's seems all of Christianity has dropped 5.8% as a percentage of the earth's population in the past 100 years. In the same period, Catholicism has dropped 1.8% as a percentage of world population, while Greek/Oriental Orthodox have dropped 4.9%.

In other words, the drop in Catholicism is significantly smaller than both Orthodoxy and non-Catholic Christianity overall.

Why the drop in Catholicism? Catholics having less children than they used to? Doesn't seem as big a drop as I would have guessed over the past 100 years.

However, the ratio of Catholic/Non-Catholic Christians has increased over the past 100 years.

Do you think Vatican II has had an effect in converting some non-Catholic Christians to Catholicism? Wasn't that the intent?

Now, if we could next tackle the modernism problem, I think we would make St. Pius X smile upon us from heaven.

God bless,



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