Saturday, June 13, 2015

Catholics Leaving The Church and the Need for Vatican II: Part 1

When I was growing up in the 50's and 60's, Catholic churches were packed every week for Sunday Mass. There were 5 to 6 Masses or more, and the pews were filled for all of them. There were long lines for confession on Saturday. Many Catholics defined their lives by their neighborhood parish.

However, as we are all well aware, all churches in western society, including Catholic churches, have been emptying out for the past 50 years. Religious belief and practice now play a very minor role, if any role at all, in most lives. Many conservative and traditional Catholics say it is not rocket science to figure out what happened in the Catholic Church. These people tell us that before Vatican II, when people were held to a "stricter standard" and "knew" Church teachings, the Church was strong. Then the Second Vatican Council happened, which many feel watered down Church teachings, and that caused a mass exodus out of the Church.

A typical response to the situation was laid out by Father John Zuhlsdorf, who did a blog post in August 2013 entitled, "Institutional collapse: a fruit of Vatican II?" [HERE]. Father Z quotes from an article by Louie Verrecchio, a bomb throwing traditionalist who writes his own blog entitled "Harvesting the Fruit of the Vatican II" and who has all but completely denounced Pope Francis as a heretic. In fact, a couple of weeks ago Verrecchio called for the bishops to denounce Pope Francis as a heretic and recently posted an article on his blog entitled, "Pope Francis Hates the Catholic Faith". That should tell you everything you need to know.

In any event. Verrecchio based his article cited by Father Z on another article written by Dr. Ralph Martin who succinctly describes the current situation of the Catholic Church in the West:
"There is something like an institutional collapse going on, evidenced by the vast numbers of schools closing, parishes merging, clustering and closing and the multiple assignments that many young priests now are asked to manage. Besides the institutional collapse, there is evidence of a widespread repudiation of the teaching of Christ and the Church by vast numbers of Catholics."
Verrecchio agreed with Dr. Martin's assessment but complained that "he [Dr. Martin] leaves the disease undiagnosed."

Verrechio then gives us his diagnosis:
With the intellectual currents of the Enlightenment, the subsequent anti-religion rebellion of the French Revolution, and the profound intellectual rejection of the Christian worldview symbolized by Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, forces were unleashed in Western culture that eventually led to not only a repudiation of the church-state relationships that had evolved over many centuries but a repudiation of religion itself as a legitimate shaper of culture.
What Martin leaves unaddressed is the degree to which these “intellectual currents” were unleashed, not only in Western culture at the hands of determined secularists, but in the very heart of Catholicism via the Second Vatican Council at the hands of determined churchmen.
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