The unbearable lightness of decline

I prefer blogs to Tweetstorms, so I’m taking the liberty of reformatting the latter as the former:

Just had a terrible encounter with what George Weigel calls Catholicism Lite. I won’t name the parish. I prefer the Old Rite, obviously, but even according to the rubrics and standards of the new, this was shoddy and irreverent.

  • The Confiteor was not said (it’s too awkward, I suppose, to confess to the Blessed Virgin and the saints?).
  • The moral instruction in the homily, such as it was, amounted to: We’re all good but we can all try a little harder.
  • When crossing before the Tabernacle, priest and parishioners gave, at most, a little hasty nod.
  • And I’m sorry but I can never get used to the Creator of the universe being handled casually by parishioners, male or female.

Remarkably, the pastor spoke of a vocations and Mass-attendance crisis in the diocese. But he couldn’t connect the dots between the unbearable lightness of his liturgical practice and this crisis. Look at the places that are thriving, Fr., I thought. They offer reverent liturgy, whether Latin or vernacular, Old Rite or New.

When the Church sets high expectations in Sacramental life and offers hard teachings, the people will rise and follow. But when Catholicism makes no demands, when it shuns our Lady and the saints and 2,000 years of Tradition, of course the people fall away.

I agree with Weigel: Catholicism Lite will not last. It’s dying. The priests who offer it are always, always in their 70s+. And there’s no reason to despair. Go to Tradition-minded parishes and you see packed pews. This is reality.

(Sohrab Ahmari, in a Tweetstorm beginning here)

As always, I feel awkward-but-compelled to blog on matters involving the not-my-Church based in Rome. For better or worse, it is what people think of in the U.S. when someone refers to The Church. Its scandals generally are imputed to western Christianity generally—and I fully intended to say “generally” twice (though “western” was a mistake).

It’s tempting to say that “the same thing happens in any church that gets lax,” but it strikes me as especially grievous when a contender for the title “The Church” sleepwalks though its service/Mass/Liturgy, and as insulting to Rome to say “it’s just exactly the same with liberal Methodists and Presbyterians, too.”

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“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.