While arguments — intramural combat — erupt within Catholicism, we seem to miss the main and urgent issue: the lack of vibrancy at far too many Masses, the homilies that dull our young (and not-so-young), and have dearly cost us church attendance. Here is a simple fact: most people stop going to church if they don’t feel anything, if they are not fed. In far too many parishes, this is precisely the case.
One can transcend innui through devotion, of course — pray internally in a way that bring the Mass alive, for alive it is: even the most “boring” liturgy has the True Presence. But prayerfulness — on the part of the priest as well as the conregation — is important. [At the top if a photo at one church taken as the bishop fervently prayed, for the Mass, from afar.]
In Pittsburgh — which has 600,000 alleged Catholics — the vast majority no longer practice their faith. Since 2000, Mass attendance has plummeted by more than forty percent, as have Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, and Holy Matrimony.
That’s not a politics-style “who-is-conservative-who-is-liberal” crisis, which seems to divert so many (and cause so much division). It’s an existential one.
But in Pittsburgh, the bishop has responded in the way every bishop needs to respond. Let’s go to the videotape.
As KDKA-TY in that city recently reported: “If you think Catholicism is dying, the Saturday Night Festival of Praise at St. Albert the Great in Baldwin might make you think twice. It’s a raucous, hand-waving affair that doesn’t even look Catholic at all. ‘Anyone who thinks the church is dead, I invite you to the Diocese of Pittsburgh,’ Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese Bishop David Zubik told the crowd. It’s a gathering that’s risen from the ashes.
“What we’re trying to do in all of this is to light the fire again of faith, and it seems to me that one of the ways we can do that is bringing people together in a much closer relationship,” said Bishop Zubik.
Under Bishop Zubik, the entire diocese will undergo a reorganization of parish consolidations. “Call it a radical surgical procedure,” said the report. “there will be bloodletting, churches will close, schools will be shuttered, but the bishop says in the end it will save the patient.”
Either the Church resurrects, or it has a bleak future. Legaism and certainly traditonalism have their place. For certain. But get too legalistic (and caught up in internal warfare), and you get nowhere.
We believe it will resurrect, the Church — if the mystical, if the charisms of Christ, of the apostles, if the supernatural once more predominates — chasing away for good the deceptions of “enlightenment” philosophy and the dull cudgel of theology and ritualism that is practiced from the mind but not from the spirit.
Let us pray with the heart (whether the Rosary, whether other forms) instead of arguing over what in the grand scheme of things may end up being petty issues.
“Just as drying out caused the shield to be more vulnerable to a fierty dart [in ancient Roman times], dry churches produce dry shields and leave the Christians more vulnerable to a hot attack from the adversary,” write Christian authgor Perry Stone in a new book, There’s a Crack In Your Armor. “If not practical applications of the Word are taught, and the atmosp[here is dead and boring, it is a dry church. Our shields must be regularly anoiunted by solid and practical teaching.”
Not a fashion of “catachesis” that dulls the sense.
This is hardly to say every Mass has to be filled with hand-waving. In fact, there is likewise a need for quiet Masses of devotion where the attendees are allowed to pray deeply without musical (or other) distractions. The use of Latin can bring holiness.
The issue is prayer: until folks in the pews are participating in an authentic way, as opposed to simply sitting there, and standing on cue, with no input from their inner soul, the Church will continue to empty, as folks either stray to pentecostal-style places or simply become “nones” (no religion).
[Note of the photo from the mailnag: ”
Dear Friends, please see attached, the picture being sent was taken at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Pueblo, CO during the Chrism Mass of 3-29-2012. Bishop Fernando Isern, an American born Cuban Priest and Bishop of the Archdiocese of Pueblo, CO, at the time, unfortunately he was not able to attend this mass. While the mass was being said he was hospitalized in Florida after having returned from a trip to Cuba. He was the first Cuban American Bishop to have visited Cuba since the Castro Regime take over and most likely the first Cuban American Bishop ever to have done so. Interesting the light in the cathedral as it shown during sunset through a stained glass of Jesus, and as Bishop Isern lay in a hospital bed in Florida. It is said he was in deep prayer during this hour.
Elmer A. Villalon, DMD
What gyrations there are, in Catholicism. A roller-coaster! At the same time that a good number of Catholics are concerned that the Pope is so liberal as to be toying with heresy, here come two stalwart conservative archbishops — one a cardinal — defending aspects of the papal document, Amoiris , that is causing such trepidation.
We know and share the concerns. Many who view this website express fears that the Pope is too liberal and taking it onto unsteady turf. On the other end is those who are harshly condemning the Pope, importing the current way of domestic political dialogue — that is, shouting; angry retorts — into this realm. That likewise concerns us. The issue here: divisiveness. Is the Pope as liberal as some fear, or does he simply express himself in a manner that is more “open” and makes many uneasy? We’ll have to see what results. On the one hand, there is the papal document
|Dear Mr. Brown,
I’ve been keeping a spiritual journal over the years, and I wish to share with you my latest entry. Feel free to share this, but I wish to remain anonymous.
November 12, 2017
This morning while at mass, when Fr. Michael held up the large Host at the consecration I saw a vision in the Host of a tall object, (possibly a building), which was uneven or jagged at the top. I had no idea what it was that I saw at that time, but later in the same day, as I was praying the rosary, and I received an interior vision of that same image I saw earlier in the Host, along with the words,
“Tower of Siloam
As I continued to pray the rosary, these words repeated themselves over and over until I wrote them down:
Luke 13, 1-5
“At that time some people who were present there told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them-do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!
November 13, 2017
Today I received further words which summarized what I received from the Lord yesterday,
“A call to repentance”