Sunday, April 29, 2012

Study in America Magazine: Why People Leave the Catholic Church and What They Want

Hello All.

Still need to get myself to hunker down and change the posting on the SSPX part II. Unfortunately it won't be until a bit later this week. I just finished 4 straight days of shifts and 3 of them are night shift (booooo!!!) and I got only a brief respite till tommorow's night shift. Those just kill me and I sleep in for 5-6 hours immediately after the following day. I might as well conisder the whole day lost.

Anyways I was scouring the blogs I usually read last week, and I found this link from a friend of mine on another Catholic blog (sorry, can't reveal the blog else it's obvious who I am. I don't think he knows I blog under a pseudoname, but I want to keep it that way):

This article has a bishop who did a study in his American diocese in Trenton, New Jersey, from fallen away parishoners. Hopefully he asked a lot more people than the Jersey Shore Snookis and Situations out there. lol! ok it was a corny Jersey Shore joke. Then again, maybe it would be interesting to ask each of them about their collapsed faith lives. We do know Snooki a.k.a. Nicole Polizzi was an altar server as in a Youtube Video on her personal channel, she said she "used to hold the candles and the book for the priest."

But I digress. While reading the article above, I couldn't help but read the articles featured reasons as to why they fall away from a few direct statements in the survey. There were many more items to break apart in the 2nd half of the article with regard to what people want in the Church, but I chose to focus this post on the first 1/2 with reasons why those people left the church, and my commentary in blue text. As always, this is from the viewpoint of a young adult, Roman Catholic, male layperson in Canada who received a private Catholic high school education (more truer to Magisteriam Teaching) and has been a Catholic revert for 2.5 years now.

Reason 1: The Church hierarchy is corrupt and evil!

".... One respondent wrote: “I separated my family from the Catholic Church and turned to an alternate religion for a while and then returned knowing I had the right religion but the wrong people running it.” Several chose to specify that they separated themselves from “the hierarchy....”

Alright, here we have a case of "I left the Church cause the idiots running the show are corrupt." First let's get the rough stuff out of the way. Yes, the instiutional Church has screwed up, as you have seen some occasions here on YCRCMB. What I meant by the institutional church is: the liberal or weakly-catechized teachers of Catholic schools, the numerous lax or liberal priests, the religious brothers and sisters (Fr. Z. will sometimes refer to the sisters and the "Magisterium of Nuns"), your parents, etc. Many people in the wake of the "Spirit of"/misapplication of Vatican II" took all sorts of liberties with their positions in power. Furthermore, yes we've seen priests in financial and even sexual scandal or bishops who have failed to uphold even Canon Law. Disgraced and likely lacized Raymond Lahey is the most recent example to mind here in Canada. So sorry if you sadly got one of these priests, teachers, or even your parents, who failed to teach you the authentic true tenets of the Catholic Faith.

Now, does this mean that the whole Church is bad???? No. As a whole, Christ in Matthew 16:18 vowed to Peter when he infomred him he would have His teaching authority (knowing he would die on the Cross), that ``the gates of Hell shall not prevail against [the Church] when it comes to providing us the means of spirtual salvation. Further when we look at the individuals in the Church in positions of power, when they screw up or are corrupt all the way to the Popes themselves (e.g. the Medici line of popes), the Church will still be there for us and theologically and spiritually remain intact till His Second Coming (a.k.a. the end of all existence). If it has survived corruption before, it will continue to survive, and be the spiritual link to our salvation despite what happens in its physical walls and organization.

In addition, all throughout our salvation history including the Old Testament, God (and Jesus once the Word Made Flesh existed) used ordinary, sinful men, to carry out God's love and desire for our selves to unify us with him. In the OT, think of for example, king David, whom was one of the most, if not the greatest, king(s) of Israel of all time. He sent poor Uriah to die in battle to claim his wife for himself (Uh David? hello? I think there is a commandment of those big 10 about coveting your neighbour's goods???). Once a prophet came and chided him did he finally realize "Oh no!!!!". Yes even this great king was flawed. And look at the Apostles themselves. They were all sinners, heck Matthew was even a reviled tax collector, and they were the big 12 who carried out Christ's authority and began what is the awesome Catholic Church. Also don't forget, of those sinful apostles, two of the four Gospels were written by a member each, including that reviled tax collector.

Reason 2a, b, c: Female roles, Peer involvement, and Spiritual Mentorship

" One 23-year-old woman said: I felt deceived and undervalued by the church. I didn’t understand certain things and found no mentors within the church. I just stopped going because my community of friends and family were no longer in the church ... 

2A, "DEPRECIATION OF WOMAN": Man, this is a much larger kettle of fish when you deal with the Church and feminism. I won't tackle the ideaology in depth, other than to say that thanks to 2nd wave radical feminism, it has misled both sexes (incl. men in supporting this) to believe in more than just human rights and true equality for women, including misandry (man-hating) and a passion to rule the world and punish all men or those who won't go along with their agenda. Now this woman is by no means shown to be a radical feminist, or a feminist at all for that matter, but I have to adress her deception and undervaluing. I also am sorry for this young woman, that with the liberal wave of the "Spirit of Vatican II" came a lie in the form of women infiltrating every crevice of the Church and taking over it like a rebellion, and the poor examples of conduct shown by her role models of both sexes. Maybe even being told of things like womynpriests and even a woman pope.That was not the truth and you should have not been even led to believe such a thing. Blame our stupid higher ups and the "Magisterium of [pantsuit] Nuns" for that one, and us laity for just going along with that.

I will say, however, that the Church does have many positive roles for women. One of the better fruits of Vatican II was the opening of liturgical "ministries" once held by minor orders to the Laity. This young woman, and yourselves too any female readers, can actively get involved in the Liturgy. Because of an indult (indults are supposed to be "special priviledges" not the norm in the Church) that got widespread to a point, Pope John Paul II had to be prudent and for the sake of civility, he made altar serving available to women in Churches and dioceses that allow it (some bishop's don't or pastors in their parishes don't and the bishop OKs this.) So one could be a female altar server. There are other lay ministries in the Mass, like extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, and lectors that PROCLAIM the Word of God. Also there are female sacristans, directors of religious education/catechists, and even pastoral associates. If you want to be somewnat more valued as a young person in the Church, show them you mean business!!!! Turn the tides and show them you love your Mother Church and the Holy Father and Want to make a good, positive, orthodox difference in your parish and keep it alive! Also as a side note, there have been many female saints and some powerful writers such as St. Joan of Arc, St. Hildegard of Bingen (,  Mother Theresa, and Alice Von Hildebrand who've made their mark so to speak on the Church's history as key figures (and Saints!). A modern day Catholic phenom or example is Dr. Janet Smith. Also, John Paul II has adressed this modern state of Women in the Church in a very heartfelt letter here:

2B, "No Mentors": I partially disagree with the respondent on this one. Where I disagree is that there are many good mentors in the Church, even if they are not in traditional roles. We tend to think of mentors as simply the priests, bishops, or nuns. While laity cannot provide traditional spiritual direction or deep counselling (high school and hospital chapliancy seems different from that,) mentors or role models in the church can extend to people we don't think of normally: the sacristan, the head of a ministry such as lectoring, the youth minister, maybe even the parish secretary or humble Ms. Lumen Christi who goes to her weekly Mass, prays the Rosary daily, and has her wits about her with regards to the true teachings of the Catholic faith while looking after her children and grandchildren in her spare time! Just because there aren't a lot of clergy to look up to, or a lack of clergy who are traditional and don't espouse worldly values, it doesn't mean there are a lack or good mentors out there. Also if its true Church knowledge you are looking for, there's laypeople doing apologetics and teaching it right (e.g. Catholic Answers, Fr. Z) on the Internet, and maybe even your own diocese (though that can WIDELY vary according to what your bishop ``allows`.`) If it really is that bad, then thanks to today's technologies, go out there and find out the Truth for yourself! Thanks to the marvels of the Internet and other technology and cheap printing, the true Catholic faith in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium or other good solid literature is one order away, or one is just a click away from the Vatican's/Popes of present and pasts' major writings on Also, you are not alone. There are lonesome good faithful Catholic youngsters out there too if you know where to look. They are also amonst the pews.  I'm sure they'd love a friend like you too and also to feel not alone out there. That's what I did myself to revert, though a youth ministry helped me start to get there. And if you have the guts, go be that mentor! Go get the training and form that youth minsitry (a lot of hard work required though, so be firm in commitment!) Change the outlook on things! Finally, there are more traditional orders of nuns and priests springing up in correlation with the New Evangelization, and even the average seminarian or priest of the John Paul II and Benedict XVI generations is becoming more sound and reliable as spiritual mentors. Why if your local seminary allows contact with those seminarians outside of the parish in their practicum year, maybe a seminarian could be your mentor! They are relatively young too!

2C: Peer Involvement: I 100% support this woman's statement on it. For high schoolers, and even more so young adults who aren't married, the institutional Church overall, sucks, when it comes to reaching this age group. It seems still the big focus is: Getting those sacraments pumped into kids` spiritual veins like some sort of vaccine up to Confirmation age, Marriage, and seniors. They are the institutional Church`s biggest "clients/consumers" to use crude business terminology. Sadly this approach makes it much harder for youth to appreciate the Church, and when their parishes or communities (including univerisities) have nothing to offer or what is offered is rather POOR and uninviting like my univeristy years were, it`s either tackle the world alone with whatever little Catholic Faith you got, or ``join the party`` of the secular, amoral, hedonist culture of the world and do whatever you want (and hopefully nothing serious will befall you .... ). However, there are efforts being made to incorporate youth into the Church`s daily life again. In the wake of declining parish populations and a slow but steady revival of Church theological and spiritual orthodoxy, parishes and dioceses are waking up to realize this group needs to be sought out as they are LOSING the youth to the world, flesh, and the Devil (if priests even acknolwedge his existence to begin with). Numerous parishes are even getting in there and dealing with pre-teens as, to paraphrase the EDGE (TM) youth ministry program that deals with Gr. 6-8 pre-teens: These kids are at a precous stage in their physical, mental, and especially spritual development as young Catholics. They are metaphorically ``on the edge`` and if we don`t reach out to them in this ever increasigly aggresive secular world, we may lose them forever and they won`t remain in the Catholic Church .... and likely never desire to come back. This idea even extends to the teenage years and especally for young adults prior to marriage years. Even good young Catholic men and women like myself, can fall after that stage, even if they got a `better upbringing` in their youth and teens. Once they hit university, if they aren`t strong enough to hit the wall of secularism that smacks them in the face, or stay within a supportive Catholic parish/community, well you get the picture. Therefore, youth ministries of varying degrees are emerging. Now, not all ministries are equal. Some are organized programs like LIFETEEN(TM) and EDGE (TM) needing large bodies of people in a core team (priest, youth minister, leaders), while others are one to few person gigs with a less structured focus meeting less frequently. Also, not all ministers are theologically conservative, depending on their background, personality, and even what they are studying in their post-secondary Catholic school. This is where you gotta do your research and find one that will help you to love the Church (including its teachings) and also enhance your personal spirituality. However, for this survey respondent in particular, it was even much harder for her, as those people she looked up to bought into the secular culture of the world and gave her poor example to live up to as a Catholic. Sometimes, you just gotta bite the bullet and go against the grain of those you know, and YOU be the shining example of the faith, that ``light of the world, the salt of the Earth`` to your family and friends. You be the catechist, you be the ``New Evangelization`` in your actions and knowledge of the faith and maybe you will call your friends and family back to the spiritual arms of Mother Church (she is a mother in a sense, the ``Bride of Christ.``). As a last note, do look around your city and parish for youth ministries and even singles communities of Catholics, or even Catholic dating services, if you are seriously considering marriage yourself. Just be careful which one you use. Ì recommend the one promoted on Catholic Answers, as that one is not a secular dating site, nor is it geared towards extreme ultra/rad-trad Catholics either.

Reason 3: THE LITURGY!!!!!!: ``“I tried different Catholic churches in the area because I just didn’t seem to be getting anything out of the Mass, especially the homily.” Another person said, “I stopped going regularly because the homilies were so empty. And whenever the church wanted to raise money, they dropped the homily and talked money.” There were many complaints about the quality of homilies as well as about poor music at Mass.`` [My text is now red colour as I'm going into Fr.Z rant mode]

AHHHHHH!!!!! If there is any one thing that ticks me off as to making people leave parishes, it's this. Priests and higher clergy (Deacons included), the homily is not the time to express your wishy-washy liberal sentiments or to promote social justice causes. It is also not "me" time to say something that makes you feel good nor joke around (though I'd make an exception for using it as a literary device to introduce your topic of necessity). The homily is the time to make sense of the Liturgy of the Word's readings to the congregation, to tell "the moral of the story" as it were from the mouth of Christ himself, and even to relate Christ's teachings to modern day life, and that may include reiterating Catholic teachings (yes, of THAT CATECHISM) and even apologetics as well. People crave those good, solid homilies they can take home, even just one nugget of spiritual umph to nourish their souls and minds, geared towards the objective truth of the Lord. They also are in a world of constant flux and are relying on YOU to tackle those issues, like that YouTube kid who says he loves Jesus but hates organized religion. We hate when you abuse the message of Christ to promote your latest church fundraizing campaign DURING THE MASS (unless you also teach us a theological lesson about the necessity of a parish building and its centrality to our faith) or even replace the homily with a "guest speaker" from the local diocesan charity that also deals out money to pro-abortion side arm divisions (knowingly or unknowingly). If you have to announce this stuff due to the commands from the bishops (an every Mass this Sunday kind of thing), the proper place in the Ordinary Form is before the dismissal, and in the EF prior to the "continuation of the Gospel" before the Homily. However you could also have people optionally listen after a Mass, and you don`t waste time with the uninterested early self-dismissal people either.

Finally, your homily might be ALL the Catechesis that a kid or adult will get in their whole week. No, you CANNOT TRUST the separate school systems as they are under the thumb of the government who gives them most of their funding or teachers who teach under the guise of ``tolerance`` and ``anti-bullying.``  They must obey whatever the government dictates or suffer financially, and that might include promoting social justice causes that contradict Church teaching. Worse, not all your teachers that work in those systems are Catholic. And the ones that are? I dare you to quiz them on their basics: What is the Trinity? What is the Mass? What is the Eucharist? What are the 7 Sacraments? Do they know what Sin is? Is there such a thing as Sin? Many would not be able to give a straight answer I'd bet you. Also, if the school administration and teachers are brainwashed socially and liberally beyond reasoning, the minute you step foot and mention SIN of any kind or a teaching on the big issues like papal infallability, abortion, euthanasia etc. I guarantee you will likely not be let back in to that school. Therefore clergy, you got only one shot a week to teach these people something about the true Faith. If you don't want to and espouse a "Jesus loves everybody" message, they'll find NOTHING UNIQUE about the Catholic faith vs. the other faiths out there, or worse will think you aren't serious about your position and are just "sucking on the power teat" as it were. Now if they like that kinda "lukewarm" thing, fine, but maybe you should look ahead to the future 10-20 years down the road when your donating parishoners die and the collection baskets thin out because the next generation isn't giving a lot and not having enough children (or none if they are contracepting), and the next two generations are leaving/have left the parishes after Confirmation. Just saying!

In fact, I'm personally switching my parish for the Novus Ordo, as this above is one of the reasons. At least at the new N.O. parish I'm seeking has priests that give good traditionally-minded hiomilies, one of them leaning more on solid catechesis and spirituality while another excels at applying the Gospel and LOTW to the modern world. That's the stuff I crave baby!!! And it seems this young woman does too.

The Liturgical Music
Now to tackle music. Music's purpose in the liturgy is outlined here in the Papal Instruction Liturgicam Sacram " 5. Liturgical worship is given a more noble form when it is celebrated in song, with the ministers of each degree fulfilling their ministry and the people participating in it" (I, 5). In other words, it is used as an accompanyment to help lift your soul and help you be in a prayerful mood for the Mass and be able to particilate in it more fully. This document, BTW, was issued by the Vatican II pope, Paul VI. Let's look further into this document: "60. The new melodies for the vernacular texts certainly need to undergo a period of experimentation in order that they may attain a sufficient maturity and perfection. However, anything done in churches, even if only for experimental purposes, which is unbecoming to the holiness of the place, the dignity of the liturgy and the devotion of the faithful, must be avoided." (V, 60) I post this with regard to that fodangled new pop-ish stuff and those tunes of the 60's and 70's in your parents' days where pop hits were turned into Churchy songs (or in the worst cases even used) as well as some of the new genres like "praise and worship." What can we take from this? Look, there is leeway for experiementation and development of new sacred music in Church history. But that does not give you the right to incorporate whatever music you like in the liturgy, just to be "in with the times." If we want secular garbage we'll get that off YouTube and we don't need it elsewhere. We young people can't stand when adults try to "cramp our style" so to speak.

Also accompanying that paragraph is this: " .... Musical instruments can be very useful in sacred celebrations, whether they accompany the singing or whether they are played as solo instruments. "The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem in the Latin Church, since it is its traditional instrument, the sound of which can add a wonderful splendor to the Church's ceremonies and powerfully lift up men's minds to God and higher things." "The use of other instruments may also be admitted in divine worship, given the decision and consent of the competent territorial authority, provided that the instruments are suitable for sacred use, or can be adapted to it, that they are in keeping with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful."[43]" (VI, 62) Secular instruments and elements might be okay, but have to be assessed as to whether they are or are not geared to the liturgy. Also, just by their sound/nature, some instruments are clearly poorly suited or not at all for the liturgy (e.g. drums, electric guitar when it's not electrically changed by an amp to sound acoustic, and even acoustic guitars to some extent) should be either cautiously used or not at all. The Church, the choir loft, and especially the sanctuary, is not suitable for a rock concert! Sadly there's that territorial authority thing  (cough, bishops, cough) so em if you get a liberal one, well don't be suprized to find the aging hippie band or the folk choir with a guitar at the parish. As for the LIFETEEN/EDGE rock group bands, well I'm mixed. I say the best thing is, well fine let them have their band playing P and W music (if they have to have a band at all for those Masses) but do introduce them to Gregorian Chant and other better Church music to see the gamut of "allowable" music and read to the youth the document above, as well as some of the Vatican II stuff that also speaks with regard to the liturgy. Practically, Is there a schola or a choir school/cathedral they can take a day/eve trip to see? Maybe a secular choir that performs classical/baroque pieces out of musical respect or reverence?

Now you might say, what about the corny music that passes for liturgical ``hymns``? Well likely they got by thanks to your bishop cause of this: "54. In preparing popular versions of those parts which will be set to melodies, and especially of the Psalter, experts should take care that fidelity to the Latin text is suitably harmonized with applicability of the vernacular text to musical settings. The nature and laws of each language must be respected, and the features and special characteristics of each people must be taken into consideration: all this, together with the laws of sacred music, should be carefully considered by musicians in the preparation of the new melodies. The competent territorial authority will therefore ensure that in the commission entrusted with the composition of versions for the people, there are experts in the subjects already mentioned as well as in Latin and the vernacular; from the outset of the work, they must combine their efforts." (V, 54). So in a nutshell, if the bishop is lax and lets this stuff by, well too bad if your pastor okays it use. This is where you have to let your bishop and pastor know you don't like what they do. If they don't listen, you have every right to walk and register at another parish that does respect the Church's liturgical tradition and has music that elevates your soul in the liturgy of the Mass. You also have the right to take your money and put it into the hands of competent musical ministers or choirmasters, and withhold it if your parish is screwing with your ability to truly worship Christ in the Mass in a proper, liturgically correct, manner. It is your hard earned money after all. Also one can protest with their feet: The Church CANNOT deny you your sacraments as long as you are not excommunicated (with exception to reconciliation likely at the hands of the bishop), so you can go to any Catholic Church and attend their Mass, including ones with all the smells and bells and Gregorian Chant if your home parish keeps singing "Gather us In" from that Gather hymnal and "Send down the fire".

My point is, well, the lady has a valid point! Not all this kind of modern stuff is liked by our generation, and we do like the traditional uplifting Church music. We want music that lifts our souls to participate more fully in the Mass, and if you aren't doing it parish X, we have the right and we will go to parish Y that has that unless we are, like "whatever." though we likely won't come back for a long time or never if we have that attitude. You can't deny us our sacraments and kick us out for our liturgical musical preferences. Furthermore, not everyone is moved by your type of music (though not everyone, even some faithful young Roman Catholics, are moved by Gregorian Chant and actually are moved by Praise and Worship or other forms of liturgical music). My point is, move with your feet and your wallet if you can't stand the bandstand.

Alright rant mode OFF. Unfortunately the liberal/mainstream media has made a mess in the minds of many average people with this one, Reason # 4: ".... The scandal surrounding the sexual abuse of minors by clergy was mentioned often. One man said that what did it for him was “the bishop’s refusal to list pedophile priests on the diocesan Web site and his non-support of the effort to lift the statute of limitations for bringing sexual abuses cases forward in the courts"

Well I cannot stand for this person's diocese. However, generally, those priests and bishops who have done anything like this, you've made the Church worse and you deserve the criminal and civil and Church penalties you get. Even Canada is not immune. It is generally known that some of the nuns and priests who took care of Native Canadian reserve school and residences, treated the Natives with abuse of multiple kinds. Also, recently a bishop from the Maritimes, Raymond Lahey, was found with pornography with his computer in 2009. So there's no shortage of stories even for Canada. However, generally, as a whole, the majority of Church clergy do not engage in this kind of activity. In fact this can be applied to every major profession in modern society. The expression is "a few rotten apples spoil the bunch". Now, I will not perform apologeitcs on the Church sex crisis in this post in detail as it's been extensively covered by other Internet and media apologists. For Canadians, the best arguments I can recommend are found in the works of Michael Coren of Sun Media TV, especially "Why the Catholic Church is Right." He tackles the issue with a whole chapter RIGHT FROM THE START of his book. As for the rest of you viewers you can also view Michael Voris' video series on this matter in his little 6-10 min daily faith blurb called "The Vortex" on youtube. Search for Michael Voris, Vortex, and sex scandal or crisis in Catholic Church. I believe he did the weeklong series at the beginning of September in 2010 when the 2nd wave of the crisis hit or was still at high tide?

And this is where I will retire. I could spend many a day on this portion of the survey and more, but this mind has other things he'd like to devote his time to. Enjoy the read, and as always, my blog rules are in effect, so think before posting.

Pax Tibi Christi, YCRCM.

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