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Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Victims of Vatican II: American Catholics Leave the Church in Record Numbers

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Church membership [in the Archdiocese of Detroit] is down 22% since 2000. Marriages blessed by the Church are down 60%. Baptisms, down 55%.

Since 2000, half the Catholic schools in the archdiocese have closed and the number of parishes has dropped by almost a third through church closures and mergers. The diocese has 30% fewer priests than in 2000, and 60% fewer nuns.

Remember that these numbers only capture the decline from 2000 on. The 2000 numbers had already dropped dramatically since 1960, a time 5 years before the Council was promulgated in 1965. The article depressingly continues:

About 41% of American adults raised as Catholic are no longer Catholic, according to the 2014 Pew survey.

By comparison, 55% raised in a mainline Protestant denomination and 35% raised as evangelical Protestants no longer identify with their childhood religion.

While the Catholic retention rate is about average, what’s more problematic for the church is the lack of converts, said Smith, the Pew researcher. While 13% of Americans are former Catholics, only 2% are Catholic converts -- a 6-to-1 ratio.

“Other religions have a much more favorable ratio," Smith said.

Among former Catholics, half have joined another religion and about half are “nones," according to various surveys.

francis in blackIn an age where the Pope says “proselytism is solemn nonsense” and actively discourages Catholics from attempting to convert anyone, are these statistics really surprising? Then again, when the faith of millions have already been destroyed by Church authorities tolerating all sorts of pernicious errors, sacrilegious liturgies, heretical religious instruction (if any), and sex abuse of minors for decades, do we expect them to want to share the Faith? For as the old Latin saying goes, “nemo dat.” One cannot give what one does not have.

The Catholic talking heads interviewed in the article mostly blame the culture of the modern world for the decline. But who was it that opened the windows and doors of the Church to the toxic influence of the modern world? As we recall, it was John XXIII who said that Vatican II must, “open the windows and let in the fresh air." Well, nearly 60 years later, that “fresh air” is blowing souls right out of the Church.

It is a shame that the Neo-Catholics interviewed simply cannot make the obvious connection so many Traditionalists have made before them. That far from protecting the faith of Catholics against modern errors and temptations and helping to spread the Faith, Vatican II and its reforms opened the Church up to the modern errors and temptations and fed Her sheep to the wolves.

Some of Vatican II’s victims are described in the article. One tragic case is that of Gloria Emmons. Her life, as described in the article can be divided up into distinct phases. Phase one is Pre-Vatican II:

Growing up in metro Detroit in the 1950s and ’60s, her devout Catholic family was surrounded by other devout Catholics. Everybody went to church on Sundays. Nobody ate meat on Fridays. Almost every home had a statue of Mary.

Then the 70’s and 80’s following Vatican II, clinging to the practices of the Faith she was brought up in, as it began to crumble around her:

Emmons attended Catholic schools through college. She married in the church, sent her two sons through Catholic schools and the family attended weekly Mass for years.

And finally the fruits of Vatican II take effect. The fruits of attending a devastated liturgy week after week, liberalized Catholic schools, heretical teachings from the pastor, etc. over decades of JPII finally lead to the following:

[T]oday, Emmons describes herself as an “ambivalent” Catholic.

“There are lots of conflicts” between Catholic doctrine and contemporary values such as equality for gays and women, said Emmons, 65, who lives near Kalamazoo. “As we move forward as a society, they stare you in the face."

Emmons still considers herself Catholic. “I still love the Mass,” she said.

But she no longer belongs to a local parish, and when she attends Mass nowadays, it’s typically to accompany her 93-year-old father to his church in Oakland County.

As for the next generation, we see the full fruits of Vatican II take hold in the “Francis Effect”:

For Emmons’ sons, former altar boys now in their 30s, the estrangement with the church has gone even farther. Both sons now reject Catholicism. One son is gay. The other son married another graduate of Catholic schools, but the couple didn’t have a church wedding and haven’t baptized their children.

“I’m close to my father’s priest, and I’ve talked to him” about her children’s loss of faith, Emmons said. “He said he’s seeing the same thing" among his congregation.

Sadly, Emmons story reflects the story of millions more victims of Vatican II strewn about our nation and the world. Their Faith was slowly eroded and weakened over the decades even as they dutifully participated in local parish life. There, they attended the weekly folk Mass where they received Communion in the hand from lay Eucharistic Ministers, got married on the beach by Fr. Kev, had their babies baptized by Deacon Bob in the hot tub baptistery, and sent their kids to CCD where they were taught about the merits of women priests by Sister Pat.  What could have gone wrong?

The article continues to try to analyze the problem:

 “There are a whole lot of societal factors converging together," said Mary Gautier, a CARA senior researcher.

“Younger people today are less likely to get married," she said. "If they do get married, they’re unlikely to get married in a church. Everybody wants a beach wedding.”

Birth rates also are down, and when women do have children, they are less likely to have been married in the Church or be married at all -- which makes it less likely the child will be baptized.

young people leaving church

Now imagine that. Younger Catholics are less likely to get married today. Why might that be? Could it be the U.S. annulment factory that ran rampant under JPII and has recently been turbo charged by Francis’ recent Motu Proprios? And what of Francis approving Communion for those living in adultery in Amoris Laetitia?

Catholic marriage used to mean a lifelong indissoluble union between husband and wife that provided stability. If today, a couple gets married in their Novus Ordo parish, one of them could literally leave the other, civilly marry the homewrecker, and then receive Communion from Fr. Kev in front of the faithful spouse at their family parish until the annulment comes through. Is it any wonder Catholic youth see this state of affairs and figure it isn’t worth it? They may wonder where the adults are in our Church who are supposed to be enforcing the rules to protect their marriages.

As for birth rates, Vatican II infamously inverted the purposes of the marriage. The Traditional teaching that procreation was the primary end of marriage and the unitive purpose was secondary. Vatican II put both on the same level, yet listed the unitive first and never stopped emphasizing it. Even Council Fathers predicted what would happen. As Archbishop Lefebvre recalled:

Marriage has always been defined by its first aim which is procreation and its secondary aim which is married love. Now, at the Council they sought to alter this definition and say there was no longer a primary aim, but that the two aims of which I speak were equivalent. It was Cardinal Suenens who proposed this change and I still remember Cardinal Brown, the Master General of the Dominicans, getting up to say, “Caveatis! Caveatis!--Beware! Beware! If we accept this definition we go against all the tradition of the Church and we pervert the meaning of marriage. We do not have the right to modify the Church's traditional definitions.”

…all that is said about marriage comes back to the false idea expressed by Cardinal Suenens, that conjugal love--which was soon termed quite simply and much more crudely “sexuality”--comes at the head of the purposes of marriage. Consequently, under the heading of sexuality, everything is permitted--contraception, family planning and finally, abortion.

The article continues:

In short, Catholics are less likely today to stay in the church out of habit or social pressure, Gautier said. “They want a faith that is meaningful for them. If a pastor can’t provide that, they’ll find it elsewhere” -- or eschew religion all together.

For the Vatican II Church, which gambled its entire legacy on providing a more “meaningful faith” to people, ridiculing the Pre-Vatican II practices it saw as rote memorization of doctrine and outdated archaic liturgies this news should come as a death blow. For the biggest criticism they laid at the feet of Tradition, that it no longer “spoke” to modern man, and that modern man found no meaning in it and couldn’t understand it, has been shattered. Instead it is the insipid, weakened, compromised, milquetoast Neo-Modernism and barren, minimalist, childish and condescending liturgies that have so killed the Faith of “modern man” that he is jumping ship in record numbers. As all of us can attest, the “faith” we find in so many parishes today is not meaningful at all and thus it is so easily jettisoned as something completely useless and a waste of time.

In order to be meaningful to anyone, the Faith being offered must have meaning to begin with. And Neo-Modernist faith does not. In fact, it is not faith at all. The Neo-Modernist faith ascribes to a mythical god who is not just, who punishes no sin, no matter how egregious, who works no real supernatural miracles, who is merely a representation or allegory of vague concepts, and who is to be used as a mascot to help attach religious significance to merely naturalist and humanistic concerns. Those who were poisoned by this “faith” were right to leave it. Their only mistake was not replacing it with the true Faith it is obscuring. The answer to this exodus is not some desperate attempt to be even “more relevant” by infusing more of the same poison, but to make these people aware of the true Catholic Faith that most of them have never even experienced despite growing up as Catholics in the modern era.

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Yet, do those in charge of restoring the Catholic Faith in Michigan realize this? Sadly, the answer is no. What do they blame the mass exodus from the Church since Vatican II on? You guessed it. Traditional Catholicism (aka Catholicism itself). Now that Vatican II has created de facto apostates out of its faithful, the answer of the Archdiocese of Detroit to its self-created exodus is to listen to and “welcome” these apostates and water down Church teaching to appease their newfound anti-Catholic sensibilities.

Father Steve Pullis, director of Evangelization, Catechesis and Schools for the Archdiocese of Detroit, states, “It’s not about a membership drive or the number," Pullis said. "We’re about bringing hearts to Jesus.”

Do you ever notice that when Neo-Catholics are faced with unprecedented statistical decline it is never about the numbers? Is this a pre-emptive lowering of expectations as Fr. Pullis knows very well the efforts he is about to describe have no chance to work as they are based on flawed premises?

His vision also includes encouraging congregations to find ways make Mass a more meaningful experience through “radical hospitality," better use of music and more dynamic homilies.

In addition, [Archbishop] Vigeron has promised “practical help" to ensure priests provide empathetic pastoral care and present homilies "meeting people where they are at and avoiding ‘truth bombs’ that will only turn them away.”

Those are approaches are backed by research, according to Gautier, the CARA analyst.

Priests "can do real damage” in driving people away from Catholicism, she said.

“Any parish who wants to attract people needs to work on hospitality and making people feel welcome,” Gautier added. “The research we find is that people are looking for a sense of welcome and a sense of belonging" in a church.

Yes, you read this right. The answer to the mass exodus from Catholicism in Michigan is through avoiding “truth bombs,” engaging in “radical hospitality,” “better use of music and more dynamic homilies,” and placing a large “All Are Welcome” rainbow flag in the front of the church. In other words, use all of the tactics the mainline Protestants have been using over the last 60 years, even though they have lost more members than all others.

For the Vatican II Church, which gambled its entire legacy on providing a more “meaningful faith” to people, ridiculing the Pre-Vatican II practices it saw as rote memorization of doctrine and outdated archaic liturgies this news should come as a death blow. For the biggest criticism they laid at the feet of Tradition, that it no longer “spoke” to modern man, and that modern man found no meaning in it and couldn’t understand it, has been shattered. Instead it is the insipid, weakened, compromised, milquetoast Neo-Modernism and barren, minimalist, childish and condescending liturgies that have so killed the Faith of “modern man” that he is jumping ship in record numbers. As all of us can attest, the “faith” we find in so many parishes today is not meaningful at all and thus it is so easily jettisoned as something completely useless and a waste of time.

Also, didn’t we already “improve” the music for the youth? Don’t they now have rock masses at most parishes? Don’t we already have priests dancing around and yelling out motivational speeches at Mass? Aren’t most parishes now called “Catholic Communities” who would “welcome” even alien invaders from Mars? Have any of these millennials ever entered their local Novus Ordo parish and had the smiling, crop-haired, pant-suited old women who hang out there tell them to beat it and get lost? Is this really the reason why youth are leaving the Church in Michigan? Apparently the Archdiocese thinks so.

In conclusion, the Vatican II religion has, as even John Paul II was forced to admit late in his life, lead to a silent apostasy. Except the silent apostasy is now getting more vocal. In the case of poor Ms. Emmons, the transformation is complete. Emmons, a tragic victim of Vatican II, now in her 60’s, currently believes in almost none of the Church’s moral teachings on sexuality and has sadly gone full Martin Luther:

For years, Emmons and her husband centered their lives around St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Kalamazoo, where their children attended school and Emmons’ husband was on the school board.

It was a warm, tight-knit, loving community, Emmons said.

That changed in the late 1990s with a new priest, Emmons said. “He was a young guy, but he was a 1950s-style priest" with rigid ideas.

Emmons and her husband looked for another parish, but “they didn’t seem that friendly.” Meanwhile, Emmons said, the sex-abuse scandals, the church’s role in banning gay marriage in Michigan, the efforts to limit access to abortion and contraceptives, the treatment of women as “second-class citizens” all took their toll on her…

Part of the problem, she said, is the new crop of young priests, who tend to be much more conservative. “It’s not the 1960s, ’70s or ’80s," when liberals felt at home in the Catholic Church, she said.

But for all her disillusionment with the institutional Church, Emmons said she still prays and still takes comfort in Catholic rituals. She’s dismayed that her sons have lost their faith. She’s especially unhappy her grandchildren are not baptized…

Still, she said, she understands why her sons no longer attend church. Her gay son stopped going to Mass after a priest “went on a rampage about gay marriage," Emmons said.

The judgmental stances of the Church are especially galling considering the sexual-abuse scandals, which has undermined the church’s moral authority, Emmons said. And she scoffs at the idea a celibate, all-male priesthood can offer effective insights on marriage and family life.

It’s not the relationship with Jesus that has changed, but her relationship with the church, she said. “People now realize they don’t have to go through a priest to have a relationship with God."

The bottom line is that Ms. Emmons, over the decades since Vatican II, no longer holds the Catholic Faith. The only thing that will bring Ms. Emmons and her family back to the Catholic Church is a conversion of heart and soul that can only happen with God’s grace. Her parish priest telling her the truth in charity can assist in this goal. What will never assist Ms. Emmons in coming back to the Catholic Faith however, is confirming her in her errors, or worse, attempting to change the Church to accommodate her errors.

Please pray for Ms. Emmons, her family, and for all victims of Vatican II including ourselves; that God may give us strength and wisdom to know what we can do to help His Church and to help save souls in this time of unprecedented crisis.


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Last modified on Sunday, May 12, 2019