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Author Topic: Mass Attendance History  (Read 1812 times)
sictransit
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Posts: 50


« on: March 28, 2007, 05:53:PM »

I had a question for some of those interested in modern Catholic history. I was just reading a book by Fr. Andrew Greeley about mass attendance and devotion in the wake of Vatican II. In one particular chapter his thesis was that a drop in church attendance in the early 70s was a result of Paul VI's Humanae Vitae as opposed to any of the liturgical reforms started by Vatican II. He says that attendance then began to increase again in the mid to late 70s as it became clear that most Catholics rejected the Church's teaching in Humanae Vitae. Does this argument sound convincing? Is he being a little too simplistic in his argument? My criticism is that the liturgical reform really went into full swing at around the same time as Humanae Vitae, so he might be making a logical error of cause and effect. Any thoughts?
 
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Domina Frivola
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2007, 06:10:PM »

I think it would be false to say there is one cause.  Look at the world, there are causes everywhere.

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Tradglad
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2007, 06:21:PM »

I would agree many left over many things.Just look at the 60's themselves.

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batteddy
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2007, 06:21:PM »

Why would Humanae Vitae drop off mass attendance? Because Catholics suddenly no longer agreed with the Church and felt bad about using birth control?

Let me tell you something, Fr. Greeley...even before Humanae Vitae reaffirmed it...there was never any doubt among Catholics that birth control was wrong. They knew the Church taught that from time immemorial. It's not like Humanae Vitae was something new, that the ban on birth control was a surprise and the final straw of "opression". Catholics knew the Church always taught that, so why would it change how Catholics felt?

Of course, one thing my Political Science teacher said (and it seems generally true historically) is that Revolutions do not happen when people are oppressed or in poverty. They happen when people's expectations for more freedom and prosperity rise...only to be disappointed.

Perhaps Vatican II built people up thinking that the Church would now change and give them more "liberty" and when Humanae Vitae made it clear that the Faith was not going to change...THEN they rebelled, their expectations shattered.

Could be. But I doubt it. I think it was the free and easy feel-good attitude of the whole accursed era.
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sictransit
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2007, 06:27:PM »

His argument was that Leo XIII didn't touch on contraception in his treatment of family life, so people did not anticipate this. I have also read elsewhere that many American Catholics assumed that "the pill" would be accepted by the Church. I thought maybe because of "the spirit" of Vatican II, people expected a more permissive attitude from the Church.
 
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HMiS
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2007, 08:18:PM »

It is certain that the sudden drop in Mass attendance and the overall loss of faith were caused by a very complex combination of factors. The factor of cultural craddle Catholics "angered" by Humanae Vitae can be neglected, as especially in the decadent western countries most clergymen simply ignored Paul VI's encyclical and continued to support dissident opinions. At least in France, the Netherlands, Spain (after 1975), Germany (after 1968) and England this was sadly the case.

The huge drop in Mass attendance however happened during the Council already and the ten years after it.

By the cultural liberal and cultural-Marxist revolutions which swept western societies, the youth was incited to "cast of" religious affiliation and things considered mortal sins at once became "hip", sadly enough many teachers, student unions and even many religious sisters and priests accepted those positions and some even left their posts for that Revolution.

At the same time for the more serious Catholics, as opposed to the cultural pillar Catholics who increasingly were alienated by them being indoctrinated into the new revolution's morality and religious opinion, were increasingly confused and confronted with theological timebombs and atomic bombs in Vatican II and the "Catholic" media. All of a sudden church leaders "de-affirmed" the dogma of Outside the Church no Salvation, of the existence of eternal hell, of the necessity of confession, of the only way of salvation being Our Lord Jesus Christ. Then shortly after those inner theological confusions came the big tsunami wave of the liturgical reform "in the spirit of Vatican II". The center of their faith was done away with and reformed to a political human self-affirmation exercise at worst or a protestantized ever evolving and changing Mass at best.

The constancy was lost and in it many faithful, like thousands of priests and religious brothers and sisters who apostatized and joined the cultural revolution (prepared for it by theological modernism and political infiltration since the late 1940s), lost their Faith and Faith practice.

The serious Catholics just sought other ways, as the pluralist and anti-dogmatic "evolutionary truth" concept sold to them as being the teaching of Vatican II, while being affirmed not morally but certainly theologically by a liberalizing and ecumenizing Vatican apparatus, is not acceptable to a logical, rational mind of a serious human person seeking eternal truth - which by nature must be unchangeable.

Remember: most bishops were replaced with "modern" and "contemporary pastoral" ones and many priests were confused after the Mass was taken from them by those supposed to guard the treasury of the Church. All went within 10-15 years.

At the same time wealth and growing welfare systems took away existential fears and questions which normally lead people to seek meaning in life and afterlife, whereby the quest for a still authentically Roman Catholic bishop was not as attractive to western-decadent "ever more alienating" Catholics as it was for French Catholics during the 1789 and 1793 Revolutions.

Remember, in the early 1970s Ecône was very far away, especially for Spanish, Mexicans, South Americans, yes even for Dutchmen and Italians and Englishmen. After the rise of it after 1976 the greatest damage was already done. The elderly with a steadfast Faith often lacked mobility and financial means to support the traditional movement. And Rome in some countries wished to "take away" the "Lefebvrian sentiment" among some by appointing "conservative" Novus Ordo bishops, like in Roermond Bishop Joannes Gijsen, a Dutch bishop currently bishop of Reykjavik, Iceland.

This is how things developed. The remnant of Roman Catholics was again divided over the liturgy, and even among traditionalists among them, there were huge conflicts over phony and fraudulent "apparitions" (apparitionism) like those in Palmar de Troya, Medjugorje, San Damiano etc. etc.

The uncertainty and the revolution inside Rome and the Holy See were the main causes for the confusion and subsequent falling-away of the faithful. Also the dissolution of eternal truths by local bishops and priests dedicated to the "Reform" (=Revolution).

Humanae Vitae merely affirmed what was already Roman Catholic teaching since ages. Even HV was more liberal than previous regulations, as it also permitted Natural Family Planning for minor causes, forbidden previously. It was turned by liberal "Catholic" activists "inside" the Church and parish structures into a symbol against that which was in need to be despised and combatted against by demonstrations and activism, but in the eyes of the average Catholic, it was of minor importance - especially as in the west many priests continued to support the anti-birth pill and condoms, at least tacitly.

An important factor might have been after 1968 that anti-Catholic myths, black legends and crypto-socialist atheist propaganda was introduced into the media and especially at schools, which caused another reinforcement and support for the already large confusion and existential doubt among many (former or in the process of apostatizing) Catholics.

The elderly who were not exposed to these indoctrinations of the liberal/leftist cliques however rapidly are dying out. They continued to attend Masses, even if very bad, out of custom and because of their fear to be disobedient to God and the Church. They just did not swallow everything and they did not internally support the liturgical revolution, by the hierarchical system of the Roman Catholic Church of all the ages before - which not even allowed calling into question personal actions of priests sadly - prevented them from starting a restorative movement in all parishes. They just went along externally, not internally.

The internally spoilt and ruined generation is that of those born in the mid 1940s and the late 1940s. The later generations simply do not know the Faith anymore, or only a caricature or some home or granny remnants of it. But the 1940s children once had the Faith, but lost it during the revolutions.
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Dilexisti
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2007, 08:33:PM »

Fr. Andrew Greeley ranks with Frs. Richard McBrien, Charles Currran, Matthew Fox, and ilk, as one of the progressive and liberal clergies in the Church.   He is also a novelist who pens yarns of the "spicy" stuff (read:  meant for bedroom reading), and one of his books is about Jesus and His relationships with women ("Jesus: A Meditation on His Stories and His Relationships with Women" -- which of course again there's the inevitable lie about Mary Magdalen and Jesus).  What does Greeley know or care about Church attendance?

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DesperatelySeeking
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Posts: 2,417



« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2007, 09:46:PM »

I think the assertion that Humanae Vitae (or any papal encyclical) caused a decline in Mass attendance is predicated on the false assumption that it would have been widely noticed, much less read, by the general Catholic public.

In the "Fish Eaters bubble" we're surrounded by like-minded people who take the practice of the Faith pretty seriously....but, c'mon, who thinks the Vatican website suddenly crashed from an overload of people trying to access Deus Caritas Est?
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mojomama
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2007, 10:49:PM »

Quote
I think the assertion that Humanae Vitae (or any papal encyclical) caused a decline in Mass attendance is predicated on the false assumption that it would have been widely noticed, much less read, by the general Catholic public.
 

Oh it was widely noticed, all right.  Everyone knew that the question was under study for months in advance, there were articles about it in the Catholic periodicals well in advance, and the "general Catholic public" was all over it.  That was no false assumption, it was a matter of historical fact.
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HMiS
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Gender: Male
Posts: 6,172



« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2007, 10:57:AM »

The emptying of the churches took place notable - according to Dutch statistics - from 1964 to 1968 at the highest rate. During the council and before H.V. Only liberals blaim H.V. for the emptying of the churches, while in fact this happened beforehand. In the 1970s and 1980s demographic extinction of pre-conciliar solidly Catholic generations did the rest to Mass attendance.

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„Ja, Ja, wie Gott es will. Gott lohne es Euch. Gott schütze das liebe Vaterland. Für Ihn weiterarbeiten... oh, Du lieber Heiland!” ("Yes, Yes, as God wills it. May God repay it to you. May God protect the dear fatherland. Go on working for him... oh, you dear Savior!") - Clemens August Cardinal von Galen, his last words.
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