Church Decline After Vatican II?
#21
(07-23-2015, 06:49 PM)richgr Wrote:
(07-23-2015, 05:53 PM)GangGreen Wrote: The perfect storm at the perfect time. The Church was given what it deserved and it fell even harder than it otherwise would have. Is the NO culture of the Church, the so called Church of Nice, not what that generation and even today's deserved? The 60s and 70s were a time of pure rebellion from all that is traditional values.

Only the young and the few wise of the elders realize that the remedy lies in tradition. I wonder if VII never happened and the Church declined anyway what the future hope would be.
I really wonder what it means to say that the remedy lies in tradition. As Renatus has noted, since we no longer live in a traditional culture but a consumerist one (I use the word consumerist; I don't know what RF would call it), tradition itself becomes a matter of consumer preference. I choose this time period, this style, this liturgy, this theology, instead of that. There are certain obvious limits to this--we can't choose something the Church has clearly condemned in the past (no traditionalist does this of course). But the problem still arises: which tradition?

And even when we ask that question, we presuppose a condition in which no tradition is a given, but that is the very definition of tradition: that which is given, handed on as it were. To ask "which tradition?" betrays the fact that we must at some point artificially choose a tradition to resurrect and nurture. Who is to decide this?

You might think I'm being dramatic or exaggerating, but it is, in my mind, one of the fundamental problems among traditionalist communities: the internal and external divisions are delineated precisely by the differences of which traditions are given preference. Hilary White's "Neo-Catholic" makes sense only in light of putting a larger emphasis on different traditions than the so-called Neo-Cats. And imagine trying to get one single chapel of traditionalists to agree to a unified value or principle! Get 10 traditionalists, or even 5, to agree on the proper relation between Church and state, what the best form of government is, on the nature of the liturgy, on how to reverence the pope, such as Pope Francis, on the relation of science and doctrine, faith and reason, on the political implications of sanctity, on how to take back society, on the best form of economy. You will find only disagreement and perhaps radical disagreement.

I don't know what it means to call myself a traditionalist, so I have mostly avoided it. This is not to say that I don't value tradition, but my impression has often been that tradition is offered as a solution to compartmentalization when in fact tradition becomes simply another compartment, another option among other equals, or a political ideological tool to advance a provincial Catholicism or perhaps a not-so-subtle form of conservative Americanism in the guise of Catholicism.

I find myself returning along the lines of formerbuddhist's thinking--sanctity is the solution. "Sanctity" of course is an abstract concept, the practical implications are not clear, but I think to myself in this way: what is the purpose of a return to tradition? It is a return to the true faith. What is the purpose, the entire essence of true faith? Salvation. And what is salvation but sanctification? Without this proper orientation and I would say subordination of tradition to the goal of sanctification, everything becomes a mere "external appearance," surface-level piety--your 1950s hypocritical rector.

Imagine trying to get a whole chapel to agree on real sanctity in their entire families--cutting off the evil things, proper governance, opening yourself up to complete vulnerability, total charity towards each other, admitting wrongs, forgiveness, patience, etc. I imagine the uproar would be far more violent than any call to embrace a particular tradition. The Lacanian in me (I know Renatus will roll his eyes at this!  :LOL: ) suspects that tradition often becomes one more unconscious justification to avoid pursuing true sanctity. As long as I defend tradition, I am justified, I don't need to be a saint. But then...what is the purpose of tradition, and what is tradition supposed to do? It loses its very raison d'être: sanctity

Much food for thought in all this!

Some excellent things to think about,especially about compartmentalization. That's a real danger,perhaps more today than ever when both inside and outside the Church it's become the norm to separate our religious lives from our daily lives. There's also the very real danger of using our forms of prayer,our chapels,our art, our music and our abstractions about theology as coping mechanisms, as distractions or as means to put up walls and shut people out. I cannot speak for anyone else here but I see myself slipping into this at times.

We can forget-- as Dr. Rao's book Black Legends puts it so well-- that the Incarnation is supposed to shed light on and transform every dark corner of public and private life. Somehow we have to integrate our faith with our lives, not just as individuals but as a church. There were eras in history when this integration seemed to be more the norm than today,hence our tendency to look on,say, the high middle ages with such melancholy and nostalgia. Somehow we have to find that integration today in our own time but it's not easy.

There's a passage in Dark Night of the Soul where St. John speaks of even our devotions and our favorite rosaries getting in the way of union with God. Giving up our distractions and tearing down our walls is hard,and can only be done with much grace and heroic efforts on our part. Maybe our time is a Dark Night of the Church that mirrors the dark night of our souls. I don't know, now I'm getting off track here!
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#22
(07-23-2015, 06:49 PM)richgr Wrote:
(07-23-2015, 05:53 PM)GangGreen Wrote: The perfect storm at the perfect time. The Church was given what it deserved and it fell even harder than it otherwise would have. Is the NO culture of the Church, the so called Church of Nice, not what that generation and even today's deserved? The 60s and 70s were a time of pure rebellion from all that is traditional values.

Only the young and the few wise of the elders realize that the remedy lies in tradition. I wonder if VII never happened and the Church declined anyway what the future hope would be.
I really wonder what it means to say that the remedy lies in tradition. As Renatus has noted, since we no longer live in a traditional culture but a consumerist one (I use the word consumerist; I don't know what RF would call it), tradition itself becomes a matter of consumer preference. I choose this time period, this style, this liturgy, this theology, instead of that. There are certain obvious limits to this--we can't choose something the Church has clearly condemned in the past (no traditionalist does this of course). But the problem still arises: which tradition?

And even when we ask that question, we presuppose a condition in which no tradition is a given, but that is the very definition of tradition: that which is given, handed on as it were. To ask "which tradition?" betrays the fact that we must at some point artificially choose a tradition to resurrect and nurture. Who is to decide this?

You might think I'm being dramatic or exaggerating, but it is, in my mind, one of the fundamental problems among traditionalist communities: the internal and external divisions are delineated precisely by the differences of which traditions are given preference. Hilary White's "Neo-Catholic" makes sense only in light of putting a larger emphasis on different traditions than the so-called Neo-Cats. And imagine trying to get one single chapel of traditionalists to agree to a unified value or principle! Get 10 traditionalists, or even 5, to agree on the proper relation between Church and state, what the best form of government is, on the nature of the liturgy, on how to reverence the pope, such as Pope Francis, on the relation of science and doctrine, faith and reason, on the political implications of sanctity, on how to take back society, on the best form of economy. You will find only disagreement and perhaps radical disagreement.

I don't know what it means to call myself a traditionalist, so I have mostly avoided it. This is not to say that I don't value tradition, but my impression has often been that tradition is offered as a solution to compartmentalization when in fact tradition becomes simply another compartment, another option among other equals, or a political ideological tool to advance a provincial Catholicism or perhaps a not-so-subtle form of conservative Americanism in the guise of Catholicism.

I find myself returning along the lines of formerbuddhist's thinking--sanctity is the solution. "Sanctity" of course is an abstract concept, the practical implications are not clear, but I think to myself in this way: what is the purpose of a return to tradition? It is a return to the true faith. What is the purpose, the entire essence of true faith? Salvation. And what is salvation but sanctification? Without this proper orientation and I would say subordination of tradition to the goal of sanctification, everything becomes a mere "external appearance," surface-level piety--your 1950s hypocritical rector.

Imagine trying to get a whole chapel to agree on real sanctity in their entire families--cutting off the evil things, proper governance, opening yourself up to complete vulnerability, total charity towards each other, admitting wrongs, forgiveness, patience, etc. I imagine the uproar would be far more violent than any call to embrace a particular tradition. The Lacanian in me (I know Renatus will roll his eyes at this!  :LOL: ) suspects that tradition often becomes one more unconscious justification to avoid pursuing true sanctity. As long as I defend tradition, I am justified, I don't need to be a saint. But then...what is the purpose of tradition, and what is tradition supposed to do? It loses its very raison d'être: sanctity

I know I'll look like an absurd mad man for citing too much frustrated Anglo-Catholics, but I think Pickstock is right on the this: after criticizing the VII reforms she says ”A genuine liturgical reform, therefore, would either have to overthrow our anti-ritual modernity, or, that being impossible, devise a liturgy that refused to be enculturated in our modern habits of thought and speech”.
I also tend to think about the monastics, because they were in the same spot we're in: trying to flee general decadence of society they built communities where virtue could flourish. Even if not as bad as we late antiquity was a time of atomisation and general loss of tradition.
That's why I insist in separation, even though it might not sound as cool as being “contemporary”. The only way to escape modernity is to refuse it with firmness. You point out some practical problems, and I don't know how to solve them, that's why it takes a saint to do these things (we know St. Benedict emphasized obedience and hierarchy to curb the more contentious monk; and indeed, this lack of agreement is only a reflection of the lack of a clear ordinary magisterium). In the end we will have to form our own traditional communities and forms of life, maybe some religious order should arise (maybe some ecclesia dei society? But alas, one cannot expect much of them; maybe the FFI? Nah, within the space of one pope it turned into a buzz).

Now, I realize the paradox implicit in this: to form a tradition. Well, this is the paradox of Christianity (that apparently went over MacIntyre's head): we choose to be Benedictine or Franciscan or Jesuit or Dominican, etc. We also choose to be baptized—we choose to be inserted into the tradition, so we choose tradition. Does this make of it merely a choice among choices? Does, in the end, my will prevails and I determine what is good? Well, no, after placing life and death before us God said: choose life that you might live (Deut. 30,19) What is this? A commandment? But not only can we choose between the good and the bad (and thus we can indeed refuse grace, contra Hart), but we can choose which community we belong: Benedictine, Franciscan, etc.
I don't want to elaborate more on this freedom of choice because it sounds dirty to me. (Btw, notice that this is, in a perhaps more sinister way, implicit in any talk about liturgical reform: how can we, as if outside the tradition, construct it? That's why BXVI insisted on organic development and whatnot).

Maybe you can respond a bit to this last paragraph so that I can think a bit further.
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#23
(07-23-2015, 08:23 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: That's why I insist in separation, even though it might not sound as cool as being “contemporary”. The only way to escape modernity is to refuse it with firmness. You point out some practical problems, and I don't know how to solve them, that's why it takes a saint to do these things (we know St. Benedict emphasized obedience and hierarchy to curb the more contentious monk; and indeed, this lack of agreement is only a reflection of the lack of a clear ordinary magisterium). In the end we will have to form our own traditional communities and forms of life, maybe some religious order should arise (maybe some ecclesia dei society? But alas, one cannot expect much of them; maybe the FFI? Nah, within the space of one pope it turned into a buzz).

Now, I realize the paradox implicit in this: to form a tradition. Well, this is the paradox of Christianity (that apparently went over MacIntyre's head): we choose to be Benedictine or Franciscan or Jesuit or Dominican, etc. We also choose to be baptized—we choose to be inserted into the tradition, so we choose tradition. Does this make of it merely a choice among choices? Does, in the end, my will prevails and I determine what is good? Well, no, after placing life and death before us God said: choose life that you might live (Deut. 30,19) What is this? A commandment? But not only can we choose between the good and the bad (and thus we can indeed refuse grace, contra Hart), but we can choose which community we belong: Benedictine, Franciscan, etc.
I don't want to elaborate more on this freedom of choice because it sounds dirty to me. (Btw, notice that this is, in a perhaps more sinister way, implicit in any talk about liturgical reform: how can we, as if outside the tradition, construct it? That's why BXVI insisted on organic development and whatnot).

Maybe you can respond a bit to this last paragraph so that I can think a bit further.
Regarding your first point about separation, the "Benedict Option" seems to be exploding here in America among the conservatives recently; I'm not sure how it is where you are. I engaged a very insightful commenter about reminding the conservatives that the "Benedict Option" is fundamentally eschatological rather than merely social and natural, and to forget its orientation towards sanctity would be to fall into St. Augustine's discussion in City of God about the failure to achieve happiness here on earth:

Quote:For how can a life be happy which is not yet saved? That is why the apostle Paul. . .says, 'For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope. For why would a person hope for what he already sees? But, if we hope for what we do not see, then we look forward to it with patience.' Just as it is by hope that we are saved, therefore, so it is by hope that we are made happy; and, just as we do not yet possess salvation in the present but look forward to salvation in the future, so we do not yet possess happiness in the present but look forward to salvation in the future, and we do this with patience. For we are in the midst of evils, which we ought patiently to endure until we attain those goods where everything will afford us inexpressable delight and there will be nothing left that we have to endure. Such is the salvation which, in the world to come, will itself also be our ultimate good. But these philosophers refuse to believe in this happiness because they do not see it; and precisely for this reason they try to contrive for themselves, here in this life, an utterly false happiness based on a virtue which is as fraudulent as it is arrogant.

[XIX, 5:] The philosophers also hold that the life of the wise man is social, and this is a view that we much more fully approve. For we now have in hand the nineteenth book of this work on the city of God, and how could that city either make its start or proceed on its course or reach its due end if the life of the saints were not social? But who could possibly enumerate all the grinding evils with which human society abounds here in this mortal condition? Who is adequate to weigh them all up?

There perhaps is a "problem of choice" in choosing to become Dominican, Franciscan, diocesan, married, celibate, etc. if these are not genuine traditions, but remember that all of these are organic traditions within the Church. We receive all of them and are born into all of them in the sense that we are born into the Church through baptism, and the Church contains and hands on all of these. In one sense we "choose" these, but choice here is never arbitrary in the same way it is for a liberal. Choice is always oriented by the good and towards the good and is conditioned by our own temperaments, talents, and ultimate vocation. God chooses us or calls us into one of these traditions and not another ("You did not choose me. I chose you" Jn 15:16; "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I sanctified you" Jer. 1:5). Our choice is active insofar as it is cooperative, but it is not indifferent and does not exist in a vacuum.

So we receive tradition, but are always free to reject it or accept it. This choice has no bearing on tradition but only our place with respect to tradition. If enough people reject tradition, however, there is no longer anyone to hand it on. Tradition therefore must present itself as a good, because it is indeed a good, and that good must attract the will rather than the will determining itself blindly and independently, a will to power.

The paradox of choice seems to enter in more in our present time, when the most fundamental traditions of the Faith are endangered and when we grow up being told that there is no tradition, when our choices do seem to exist in a vacuum rather than a stable social context that conditions our pursuit of the good. I think the modern catechism actually has a very good reflection on the notion of how faith is necessarily personal and communal and is linked with tradition and (not incidentally) motherhood:

Quote:166 Faith is a personal act - the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone. You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life. The believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our love for Jesus and for our neighbor impels us to speak to others about our faith. Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith.

167 "I believe" (Apostles' Creed) is the faith of the Church professed personally by each believer, principally during Baptism. "We believe" (Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed) is the faith of the Church confessed by the bishops assembled in council or more generally by the liturgical assembly of believers. "I believe" is also the Church, our mother, responding to God by faith as she teaches us to say both "I believe" and "We believe".

I. "LORD, LOOK UPON THE FAITH OF YOUR CHURCH"

168 It is the Church that believes first, and so bears, nourishes and sustains my faith. Everywhere, it is the Church that first confesses the Lord: "Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you", as we sing in the hymn "Te Deum"; with her and in her, we are won over and brought to confess: "I believe", "We believe". It is through the Church that we receive faith and new life in Christ by Baptism. In the Rituale Romanum, the minister of Baptism asks the catechumen: "What do you ask of God's Church?" And the answer is: "Faith." "What does faith offer you?" "Eternal life."54

169 Salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother: "We believe the Church as the mother of our new birth, and not in the Church as if she were the author of our salvation."55 Because she is our mother, she is also our teacher in the faith.
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#24
I don't follow these discussions among conservatives—too many long, boring texts. I suppose my point is that we are closer to late antiquity than to the middle ages. And the Desert Fathers, St. Benedict and even St. Augustine (in some thoughts he entertained early in his conversion) didn't think they were bringing about the eschaton when they isolated themselves. This is simply to mistake monasticism with modern cults. Also that we create a community where virtue can be practiced is not the same thing as 'conservative' liberation theology, for we are not trying to engineer a society so as to change human nature—rather, the point is, in sanctity we pursue the common good.
Where I live everybody is a Catholic, so obviously we are very diverse. But one good thing is that we don't have this secret phobia of looking like the Prots (Protestantism only gained some presence here on the last two decades, and most of us are from nations untouched by this revolt: Portugal, Spain and Italy). So the serious Catholics (the so called practicing Catholics) are not, in general, afraid of just exiting mainstream society: yes, by law we cannot homeschool, but there is this absolute zero respect for public and private schools; Catholics, while they can use the democratic structures in place they are very skeptical of them (the Prots are way more politically engaged); we're also not afraid of not watching the perverse soap operas or TV in general, and actually criticizing them. Of course, if everybody is a Catholic the serious Catholics are a minority, so of course this group that can exit more or less easily is a minority among Catholics—but then again, the rest are just nominal.

Also, there is a tendency among conservative/traditional first Catholic second to complain about the loss of the sacred (I say this in part to respond to you and to one earlier point unaddressed), but the sacred is not this abstract idea or this thing in society—like one would have the legislative power, the executive power, the sacred power and the judicial power, etc. No, the sacred is an action of God, so if one wants to see the sacred one should go to Mass, to visit the saints and to be a saint (to let God act in you).
If there is a loss of the sacred in society it means society need saints. Where does the Church goes when it need saints? To the religious (so, again, my point about the necessity of something like monasticism). But we need some sort of dealing in our modern context.

Finally, your description of the relation of tradition and choice does not account for the beginning of the traditions: St. Benedict was not following a Benedictine tradition when he wrote his rule; the Desert Fathers were not following the tradition of themselves when they went to the desert; even St. Augustine when he went to his country house was not following a particular tradition (he was just inspired by them). The same goes with Francis.
One might say they were within the Church. Yes, of course, one will not discard the Traditions, but that's not what we're talking about—we don't want to create sacraments or a new religion, but rather ways of living that are, in some sense, traditional (that doesn't abandon history and can be handed down). One might also point out that it takes a saint to do this. Well, yes, that's what I've always said.
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#25
(07-23-2015, 04:41 PM)SaintSebastian Wrote: That's one reason I am of the opinion that had Vatican II happened even 10 to 15 years earlier (including even the liturgical reform) and promulgated the exact same documents, you wouldn't have seen the same nuttiness.

I agree with this, particularly.

It seems obvious that Leo XIII and St. Pius X saw the symptoms coming and afflicting the priesthood even then.  The World Wars were absolutely devastating, particularly WW1 which took entire generations of prospective clerics and faithful and accelerated the evisceration of the moral compass of Europe in all of their institutions.  WW2 only completed the devastation.  The Cold War against the atheistic Communists and Soviet threat in particular and the slow spread of socialism filled the void left by the relatively rapid fall of the aristocracy and monarchy which leaves us here... to face the menace of Islam once again without the unity or graces of Christendom that beat it back the last time.  The US was insulated from the pure carnage of the war to its citizens but never as grounded to traditional institutions as Europe.  The creeping statism of the central behemoth has since slowly eroded the Federalism taken for granted before.  Yet, the US system presumes Christian ethics to mitigate the natural excesses of capitalism as well as representative government.

The Council was itself trying to avert the disaster.  We can well argue from hindsight but inaction is usually fatal itself, though the post-Conciliar period implementation was itself almost worst than doing nothing.  That the Consilium ram so wild without explicit Papal authorization for so much of its wreckovation, to say nothing of anything ex cathedra, makes it an easy scapegoat, though too simplistic.  The questions of the reformers were not necessarily bad.  What is essential to the faith?  Their complete disregard to the natural organic development and how we got what we had, was at best reckless.    Not everything since the Council has been bad.  The pendulum swings back, but ever too slowly, particularly as we see the obstacles within and threats without.  We have to buck up, fight the good fight, keep the faith and weather the storm.  Lead by example, with charity and fortitude. 
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#26
(07-24-2015, 10:15 AM)Renatus Frater Wrote: I don't follow these discussions among conservatives—too many long, boring texts. I suppose my point is that we are closer to late antiquity than to the middle ages. And the Desert Fathers, St. Benedict and even St. Augustine (in some thoughts he entertained early in his conversion) didn't think they were bringing about the eschaton when they isolated themselves. This is simply to mistake monasticism with modern cults. Also that we create a community where virtue can be practiced is not the same thing as 'conservative' liberation theology, for we are not trying to engineer a society so as to change human nature—rather, the point is, in sanctity we pursue the common good.

[...]

Finally, your description of the relation of tradition and choice does not account for the beginning of the traditions: St. Benedict was not following a Benedictine tradition when he wrote his rule; the Desert Fathers were not following the tradition of themselves when they went to the desert; even St. Augustine when he went to his country house was not following a particular tradition (he was just inspired by them). The same goes with Francis.
One might say they were within the Church. Yes, of course, one will not discard the Traditions, but that's not what we're talking about—we don't want to create sacraments or a new religion, but rather ways of living that are, in some sense, traditional (that doesn't abandon history and can be handed down). One might also point out that it takes a saint to do this. Well, yes, that's what I've always said.
Eschatological was a poor choice of words on my part; I meant it more in the sense of the final destiny of man rather than the end of time.

And I figured you would bring up the origins of the traditions, but I was too lazy to go any longer in a single post.  :P I also thought I had adequately addressed what you had brought up, so I didn't want to go further than necessary. But since you bring it up, I would say two or three things on this point:

1) all of these men did not make choices in a vacuum or choose one equal option among many as a consumerist would do (and not simply because their choices were more limited in their times; it has nothing to do with what amount of choices they had)--rather they were called by God and formed in temperament, talent, and vocation to a specific situation that, paradoxically, formed the seed of a general spirituality into which many others, due to similarity of temperament, talent, and vocation, could afterwards follow, whether in regular religious orders or third orders. I don't remember who said it, but I recall reading that one could consider the sanctity of the founder has having a perpetual influence on the growth of the religious order, like a fountain from which streams an abundance.

2) all of these men did not make their unique contributions to the development of Christian spirituality in a vacuum either; they were all influenced by the spiritualities that they were born into and appreciated; this case is especially evident in Augustine, the Carmelites, and Dominic. And the spirituality of the earliest Christians was obviously Scriptural and liturgical, and this had a clear influence on the rest of tradition, for these are perpetual sources of spirituality which it must return to. See Fr. Jordan Aumann OP, Christian Spirituality in the Catholic Tradition: http://www.ogilvieinstitute.org.uk/docum...dition.pdf

3) To avoid infinite regress on this issue, we must ultimately return to Christ Himself, who said:

All things are delivered to me by my Father. And no one knoweth the Son, but the Father: neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal him. (Mt 11:27; Lk 10:22)

The Father loveth the Son: and he hath given all things into his hand. (Jn 3:35)

Tradition begins with the eternal procession of the Word, and from Christ we receive the entirety of the faith and tradition as in a seed (and from this one could go into Newman's development of doctrine, for example). The same applies to spirituality, for Christ, being the perfect man, contains the fullness of spirituality that over time would clearly distinguish itself into more particular spiritualities to fit the circumstances of men and times. Hence even the unique developments of tradition do not occur in a vacuum of pure choice but occur in the encounter between man and God and the unique transformation and perfection of nature by grace, and this encounter, as the catechism points out, is always communal and individual, a cooperative choice with grace.
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#27
Well, alright, I don't think there's I disagree with you on any of these points. My own conviction that any of such things must start with a saint, and as I expressed elsewhere my conviction that a Christian society, say that of the 11-12th century in Europe, must necessarily be the fruit of many anonymous saints. So, there's a big debate going on right now here whether education can solve social ills. Well, yes it can, if it is education for the higher virtues (not the Jesuitical education for civil virtues or the contemporary education for social control/hedonism), and this can only be taught by someone who has these virtues—by a saint (much like that speculation on that little Kierkegaard's text, Philosophical Fragments).
I guess I just wouldn't want to restrict God's action today. As Chesterton noted, on St. Francis age, the Church was already this millennial institution, very old and full of traditions. That didn't stop God from raising St. Francis and creating the Franciscan spirituality. And we do need someone to teach us virtues again.

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#28
(07-24-2015, 03:43 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: Well, alright, I don't think there's I disagree with you on any of these points. My own conviction that any of such things must start with a saint, and as I expressed elsewhere my conviction that a Christian society, say that of the 11-12th century in Europe, must necessarily be the fruit of many anonymous saints. So, there's a big debate going on right now here whether education can solve social ills. Well, yes it can, if it is education for the higher virtues (not the Jesuitical education for civil virtues or the contemporary education for social control/hedonism), and this can only be taught by someone who has these virtues—by a saint (much like that speculation on that little Kierkegaard's text, Philosophical Fragments).
I guess I just wouldn't want to restrict God's action today. As Chesterton noted, on St. Francis age, the Church was already this millennial institution, very old and full of traditions. That didn't stop God from raising St. Francis and creating the Franciscan spirituality. And we do need someone to teach us virtues again.
I didn't think we were arguing at all but just bouncing ideas off of each other. It has been a good digression from the topic of the thread but still related to it because we're talking about solutions. Sorry if I gave you that impression of arguing.

I agree that it very well could happen that God will raise up new Saints who will establish "new traditions" of spirituality in response to our present circumstances. I would only add that whatever that ends up looking like, it will not be so radically different that we cannot see traces of influence from all that the Church already contains in a hidden fullness, but it will be different enough that we will be able to say that these are Saints for our times and hopefully for the future as well.
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#29
By the way, just to clarify what I said, I'm not dissing the existing traditions or spiritualities at all. I myself am, literally, formed by the Benedictines, and there are folks where you can see a sort of beauty in their lives even today, who will be, God willing, those anonymous saints, like the multitude of anonymous monks that formed Christian Europe.
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#30
(07-22-2015, 11:46 PM)richgr Wrote: http://www.gallup.com/poll/117382/church...tants.aspx

I had heard recently that Mass attendance dropped rapidly before Vatican II and before the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI, so I looked up the Gallup Poll data and found confirmation in that. This data throws me for a bit of a loop because the repeated narrative says that it was Vatican II and the new Mass and the culture of the '60s that caused the decline.

If you look at CARA's information on the number of priests and religious over the past 50 years, the number of diocesan priests in the US remained relatively stable until after the 1990s, but in the entire world, the number decreases after the '70s, and everywhere the number of religious declined quickly after the '60s. http://cara.georgetown.edu/caraservices/...stats.html

Msgr. Pope also goes over CARA's statistics on the average number of priests per parish in the US here: http://blog.adw.org/2013/08/welcome-to-1...er-parish/

And the number of priests in England and Wales peaked not in the '50s, but in the '70s: http://www.drgareth.info/CathStat.pdf

Msgr. Pope says that priests spiked during this time due to bringing in priests from Europe. It's also curious to note that for those above 40, there is only a steady decline in attendance since the '50s in contrast to the sharp decline of those younger than 40, especially from 1950-1980.

Does anyone know why Mass attendance was declining rapidly since the early '50s? Are there other statistics out there as well on these issues?

A EF priest told me the Church population will decline to a smaller group, but it will rmain more steadfast and cohesive against the
the worsening decadence of the world which will become stronger.
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