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The signs of decay in the Church were evident well before Vatican II

The Church was just not ready to face the changes the 1960s threw at it

By on Friday, 31 August 2012

The opening of the Second Vatican Council in October 1962 (AP)

The opening of the Second Vatican Council in October 1962 (AP)

In the uplifting homily which Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury gave to the Latin Mass Society pilgrimage to Walsingham on 26th August, he reminded his listeners that “In October this year our Holy Father Pope Benedict invites us to celebrate a “Year of Faith”, fifty years after the solemn opening of the Second Vatican Council. The central aim of the Council was the transmission of the Church’s faith amid the new and rapidly changing conditions of our time. The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council Blessed John XXIII declared on that October day “is this, that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously”.

Bishop Davies continued, “As the Latin Mass Society, as the faithful attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, as pilgrims to Walsingham, we accept together with enthusiasm the call of the Second Vatican Council in all its authentic teaching and the invitation to this “Year of Faith” to which the Holy Father calls the whole Church.”

Bishop Davies is right to show his loyalty support for the Council of 1962-1965 – even though he, as well as his listeners, knows full well that an almighty turmoil within the Church actually followed in the wake of the Council. This turmoil, especially in the field of catechetics, has been documented for years in The Flock, the newsletter of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, edited by the redoubtable Mrs Daphne McLeod. The latest edition is on my desk with the ironic headline, “Fifty ‘Glorious’ Years?”

Daphne writes that before the Council “the Catholic Church grew and thrived… Missionary work grew too… Many excellent spiritual books were written [which] show how well the teachings of the Church were known and loved by Catholic before 1970, in sharp contrast to what Pope Benedict calls the ‘widespread religious ignorance’ found among most Catholics today…”

The newsletter continues in the same vein, with all the statistics of a thriving Church before the Council, and with sub-titles such as “How Vatican II was hijacked”, “The fruits of Vatican Two”, “How we got “Modern Catechetics” and so on. I don’t doubt that much of this analysis is correct and I don’t want to challenge her account. But there is just one question that niggles me: if the Church was so strong before the Council, with its “crowded churches for Sunday Mass and for the non-obligatory Rosary, sermon and Benediction, plenty at weekday Masses, packed seminaries and noviciates, as well as a steady stream of converts” etc, how did it collapse so quickly when the Council ended?

I know it is considered very bad form to bring Germany between 1933 and 1945 into an argument, but I’ll do it anyway. I have been reading a fascinating book by the well-known German historian, Joachim Fest, entitled Not Me: Memoirs of a German Childhood. Fest’s father, Johannes, a principled, Catholic headmaster of a Berlin secondary school and a political supporter of the Weimar Republic, loathed the National Socialists, refused to join the Party and thus lost his teaching post in 1933. His son reflected in these memoirs, that although he and his milieu had been brought up with “middle class and civic virtues” in a cultured and Christian European country, nonetheless “inwardly this stratum of society had decayed long before, so that I was brought up in accordance with the principles of an outmoded order.”

His own family might have held onto civilised and Christian values, but as a whole the German middle class – the class that traditionally, in any society, tends to run the institutions of local and national power – had “decayed”. Thus, he writes, it was “hopelessly unprepared” for the dictatorship that followed in 1933.

All right, it is a far-fetched analogy – but a Jesuit priest friend who has recently died aged 95, Fr Hugh Thwaites, answered my niggling question in much the same way that Joachim Fest did when he looked at his father’s generation; Father told me he could see the signs of decay in the Church in the 1950s, well before the Council got going.

Unlike Daphne McLeod, he felt Catholics in general did not really know their faith and were going through the motions of religious practice out of habit and unthinking conformity; it was not a living faith. That saintly man, Frank Duff, founder of the Legion of Mary and given the honour of being a lay observer at the Council, was more damning in his judgment of the complacency of Catholic Ireland in the decades before the Council was called.

On might ask: was the Church prepared for the “new and rapidly changing conditions” of the 1960s and beyond?

We all hope a purified Church will now rise from the ashes of the past. Bishop Davies mentions the coming “Year of Faith”. The CTS, certainly one of the hopeful signs of a renewed Catholic apostolate today, compared with its faded booklets in the porches of parish churches in the past, has produced a “Year of Faith Prayer Book”. It includes prayers to the Trinity, Our Lady, the saints and for the Church and the world. Our country, which has lost its moral compass, needs many prayers as we know. Action has to begin in prayer. Using the “Year of Faith Prayer Book” would be a start.

  • JabbaPapa

    It varies from diocese to diocese.

    The catechism boils down to a man made rule book to control the RC membership.

    pffff cripes, what a heady mix of paranoia and D.I.Y. religiosity !!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QJKL72QRSDWKYKUJG62PC3COCI Agusti

    It is truth, my mother and old people told me many times that the crisis began far before the CVII, even in the Spain of Franco. Actually, Saint Josemaría, the founder of Opus Dei, many years before the CVII told hat he  was very worried for the church because he wasn’t able to find any catholic in the culture industry (theater, cinema, painting, so on).

  • Viking

     It is irrelevant that negative forces were at work in the Church before VII. The point is that VII failed to deal with those problems and even made them worse.

  • Charles Martel

    My father, a convert in 1961, told me he felt like suing the Church for misrepresentation. He had suffered for his faith in the early years – lost a job because he couldn’t take part in school prayers in his protestant school. A few years later we were being encouraged to do this very thing. Just before he died he told me ‘I pray every day for the return of the Old Mass to our altars’.

  • Charles Martel

     I adhere to all the dogmatic teachings of the Church necessary to qualify for the title ‘orthodox Catholic’. I don’t bother myself much with Vatican II because life is short. The documents are verbose and ambiguous. Will I burn in hell for not giving my enthusiastic assent? Or for not reading them?

  • JabbaPapa

    Will I burn in hell for not giving my enthusiastic assent? Or for not reading them?

    Assent is required — not enthusiasm ;o)

    And no, you are NOT required to read them — the only Vatican II doctrines that could be described as “required readings” are (as far as I know) those that are also found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    There was no “human error” with the Mass “translations”!

    Do you REALLY think the men, including the six protestants, who made up the New Mass, didn’t have any translation resources? God in Heaven!

    Get real, man. The NO was a DELIBERATE copy of Cranmer’s Meal Service with all Catholic prayers deliberately removed! Bugnini, the NO’s main architect, WROTE that this was their aim!

    I know it’s difficult to face up to, but the ability of the NO Catholic to imagine there has been no Revolution and that there is no Crisis is quite unbelievable. 

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    CM, my attitude exactly. Vatican II is not necessary for Salvation. 

    All that is was contained in the Church from the day of the death of the last Apostle and Vatican II added nothing we need. 

  • JabbaPapa

    I have fulfilled my Sunday Obligation for several years at various churches run by the Society. Your assertion is a total falsehood: I have not heard it once, ever. Not once.

    Speak for yourself, but it’s on average about twice every month that I come across some enthusiastic SSPX supporter (never a priest) claiming that all non-Catholics without exception are destined for Hell.

  • JabbaPapa

    Jews would fall under “interreligious dialogue” not ecumenism

    Yes — exactly !!!

    It would be nice if more of these ecumenism-bashers were to understand the difference…

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    You mean the Compendium to the Catechism.

    The Compendium corrected the multitude of doctrinal errors found in the Catechism itself, which was truly a “Vatican II” document (as the Hierarchy never fail to tell us; and like the Vatican II documents, it was full of “difficulties” as you call them). 

  • Andrew

     There has been Revolutions since the begining of time.All because of the Fall of man-the result of this is our inclination to  sin, in error indeed/truth /speech and action etc(This is Catholic teaching and everyone knows it or should)

    The church teachings are infallible, as it is protected by the Holy Spirit.We,unfortunately are not due our inclination to sin.Error is a result of it-whether we face up to it or not,is due to our Obedience to Almighty God`s Divine will,but we can follow  our own will too,this is were the problem starts.

    No point in blaming others,they were other factors involved with the changes in V2, many Catholics at that time said changes were needed.The Mass was NOT one of those changes that were needed,however it came as a result of it,unfortunately.However the NO Mass is a valid Mass,because God is the one that changes the the bread and wine.Not the 6 men,or Cranmers book.God is much more powerful than men.

    I   attend NO services and I believe the Revolution.Yes, there is a crisis,but it began before the V2.Many good Catholic Scholars believed that too.

     Try to remember not to use Our Lord`s name in anger.(This is said in charity)

    Pax

     

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    You enjoy your Revolution then Andrew. But allow us Traditionalists to enjoy remaining Catholics.

  • Andrew

     I know all about the Revolution- All those that study the Catholic Faith will.(“If Revolution is disorderthe Counter-Revolution is the restoration of Order”)Those are words written by an Author of the Counter Revolution. If I was one of those against the Counter-Revolution Theory, why on earth would I have read his book?

    Anyway,for the record. I  am simply trying to do God`s will.A Catholic will always put God`s will first,regardless of what others think of him.This means one should only worry about what God thinks about you,not others.

    I   dont put labels on people-this shows disrespect to the human person.To be Catholic is striving to be Christlike.I seriously doubt labeling others as a Modernist-Traditionalist is Christlike,do you?

  • Andrew

     I
    know all about the Revolution- All those that study the Catholic Faith
    will.(“If Revolution is disorder the Counter-Revolution is the
    restoration of Order”)Those are words written by an Author of the
    Counter Revolution. If I was one of those against the Counter-Revolution
    Theory, why on earth would I have read his book?

    Anyway,for the record. I  am simply trying to do God`s will.A
    Catholic will always put God`s will first,regardless of what others
    think of him.This means one should only worry about what God thinks
    about you,not others.

    I   don’t put labels on people-this shows disrespect to the human
    person.To be Catholic is striving to be Christlike.I seriously doubt
    labeling others as a Modernist-Traditionalist is Christlike,do you?

     

  • JabbaPapa

    There was no “human error” with the Mass “translations”!

    This is correct — particularly and especially as regards the translations into the English.

  • JabbaPapa

    You enjoy your Revolution then Andrew. But allow us Traditionalists to enjoy remaining Catholics.

    cripes, people going on about “revolution” give the creeps to us simple converts and orthodox people too !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    You mean the Compendium to the Catechism.

    cripes — if we’re to be ultra-pedantic, I mean “the current up-to-date edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church” — which obviously includes such addenda and errata that you describe.

  • Cafeteria R.C.

    Those with close minds are in for a shock when the changes that will come soon. The good holy honest cardinal that just died, read his last words of wisdom. Most RCs in the western world are cafeteria catholics like it or not. Look on the bright side of life.

  • awkwardcustomer

    That is a very sad story.  But not uncommon, unfortunately.  I knew another pre-Vatican II convert who was left distraught by the changes.

  • Cafeteria R.C.

    Fides_et_Ratio, you still cannot read what is printed without adding to it with your closed mind views but you fit right in with the wilted fig leafs that will be blow away by the winds of change. Bear in mind what the good honest holy cardinal that just died said. Look on the bright side of life.

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    No, the people who say such things can both see a spade and call it one.

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    Nevertheless, Jabba, infant baptism by itself wipes out the guilt due to Original Sin. Your post should have that clear. 

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    You have dogmas and you have infallible doctrine: the teaching on freewill is not, I believe, a “dogma”.

  • Cafeteria R.C.

    Bear in mind the words of the good honest holy cardinal that just died. The wind of change is coming. Look on the bright side of life.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    The bright side is that young priests are much more faithful to the Pope than old priests. The dissidents are geriatric.
    Orthodox lay movements continue to grow, while Marxist Liberation Theology continues to shrink.
    CMSWR grows, while LCWR diminishes.
    More than half of the cardinal-electors have been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, so the College of Cardinals is even MORE orthodox than the College that elected Ratzinger in 2005.
    The TLM is slowly growing, and even the freaking SSPX is close to reconciling with the Church.

    At this rate, it looks like the next Pope will be named Pius XIII.

    Deo Gratias!

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    It is you who failed to answer my question.

    And the bright side:

    Young priests are much more faithful to the Pope than old priests. The dissidents are geriatric.Orthodox lay movements continue to grow, while Marxist Liberation Theology continues to shrink.CMSWR grows, while LCWR diminishes.More than half of the cardinal-electors have been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, so the College of Cardinals is even MORE orthodox than the College that elected Ratzinger in 2005.The TLM is slowly growing, and even the freaking SSPX is close to reconciling with the Church.At this rate, it looks like the next Pope will be named Pius XIII.Deo Gratias!

  • JabbaPapa

    The bright side is that young priests are much more faithful to the Pope than old priests. The dissidents are geriatric.

    Exactly !!!

    Besides, Café Catholic is slandering the memory of this clearly orthodox Cardinal by attributing his own errors to the recently deceased of good memory.

  • JabbaPapa

    That is true.

    It is effective, notwithstanding its conditionality.

  • JabbaPapa

    Try and look at his orthodoxy, instead of projecting your own rebellions into his words.

    There’s no reason why a Café Catholic couldn’t be an orthodox one — except if that Catholic refused it.

    Revelation is by its very nature orthodox.

    We receive the Truth — not debatable theories.

  • Parasum

    “You have it backwards — the doctrine teaches that ALL of the saved will
    be in the One single Celestial Church of the One God ; irrespective of
    whether they were in the Earthly Church or not in their lives.”

    ## Have you read what Eugenius IV said in the Bull “Cantate Domino” ? Here is the relevant section of it:

    “It [= the Catholic Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart “into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and
    his angels” [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have
    been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body
    is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of
    the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and
    other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce
    eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”

    ## This is little more than a repetition of the Creed of Lyons II in 1274, also a Council of re-union. Are people simply to ignore past doctrine ? If so, then we could drop not just “unecumenical” stuff, but also basic Christological affirmations. The Apostles’ Creed, the Creed of Nicea-Constantinople, “Cantate Domino”, the Syllabus of Errors of Pius IX, are all of doctrinal weight & value; they cannot be  consigned to oblivion without drawing the CCC & the documents of V2 after them. At least verbally, your words contradict those of Eugenius IV. A vague dismissal of his words is not good enough; I want reasons why I should agree with you, but not with him. There are several courses open to you:

    1. To show that you are not contradicting the meaning of what he says;

    2. To show that his words don’t have the authority as dogma traditionally accorded them.

    4. To show that what he said, even if of dogmatic authority, is cnot contradicted by your argument, but allows room for it.

    3. To show that he was wrong, and that this understanding of his words is well-founded, and not a position taken purely to allow the rather different doctrine now taught to be true.

    5. To allow that he was right when he spoke, and that the different doctrine now taught is also right, despite the seeming collision in meaning.

    There may be other alternatives, but whether there are or not, past doctrine cannot simply be treated as though it had never been taught. There is nothing to be said for treating current doctrines as though they had always been taught – it is a fact, not a “Trad” invention, that what Eugenius IV says is not the same as what the CC today teaches, or allows as not unorthodox. The difficulty in “squaring” the two is genuine, not feigned, & it arises directly from
    comparing the two doctrines.

    A further point: are we to interpret past doctrinal pronouncements & beliefs in the light of the present, or the present in the light of the past ? And how do we tell which vantage-point is the right one ? We can’t think any old thing we like, whether it is the teaching of a Pope or not; Popes are as much if not more obliged to be faithful to the Deposit of Faith as the least Catholic child. A lot of what happens doctrinally today is possible only because  Rome has changed its theological method; & this has not (1) been made explicit to the non-theologians among us (= almost all of us); (2) been without consequences on what we non-theologian Catholics perceive the Vatican to be up to. If changes in Catholic theological method allow positions to be held or taught
     that would have been impossible in the past, someone ought to say so.

    The words of Eugenius IV are quoted in Denzinger’s Enchiridion of Creeds & Definitions. This does suggest they are of high authority. That they were neither a damp squib nor a private notion of Eugenius IV, but represented the authentic doctrine of the Church, is clear enough from Fr. Sullivan’s book “Salvation Outside the Church?: Tracing the History of the Catholic Response”. Unless solid reasons can be given for denying the accuracy of his interpretation of them, he has shown that until about 1863 (IIRC), the saying “Outside the Church, No Salvation” was understood in its strict sense.

    The doctrine of the Church today is very different from that which preceded it. It needs to be *shown* to be right, because the previous doctrine is “in possession” – so if there has not been a rupture in doctrine, those who deny there is a rupture have a moral  & pastoral duty to do more than deny it. They need to demonstrate several things: 1) that the continuity is a genuine continuity in the life & relation of the doctrines concerned; 2) that it is complete continuity & not continuity in only some aspects of the doctrines alleged to be continuous; 3) that the theological outlook in the Church that brought about the present doctrine is in full agreement with the mind of the Church before the alleged development; 4) that the present doctrine is not an alien body inserted into the Catholic faith from without; 5) that the present doctrine flows from the Apostolic Deposit of the Faith. The onus of proof in theological discussion is on those who innovate, not on those who “keep what has been committed to” the Church.

    If one or more of these requirements is not necessary, that too needs to be demonstrated. Since the matter is certainly among those that belong to Catholic theology, even though not limited to it, theological arguments & methods are needed if it is to be fruitfully discussed. Theology is not dogma – but neither is it good to omit giving properly theological attention to theological matters. To ask for a theological demonstration of this alleged continuity of doctrine is a way of building up the  Church, a service to it – not a refusal to listen to it.

  • Parasum

     Of course not LOL

    They are among 32 OT characters or groups of characters named as Saints in the Roman Martyrology. I know this because the 1966 “Book of Saints” edited by Monks of St.Augustine’s Abbey, Ramsgate – ther are more recent editions – includes entries on them. They are listed as being in the then current edition (of 1954 ?) of the Roman Martyrology; the RM has quite recently been revised, so whether they are in that, IDK.

    I knew a Carmelite who offered the 1962 Mass – he always included Elijah in the Saints named in the Canon; as one would expect .

    The Eastern Rites (& at least one Lutheran Calendar – which is on-line) are much more generous than the Roman Rite in commemorating OT Saints. Aug.1 used to be the feast of the Maccabean Martyrs, as a look at an old edition of Butler’s “Lives of the Saints” will show; it’s fairly easy to get the five-volume edition second-hand.

    IMHO, we in the Latin Church should make far more of the OT Saints.

    Question answered ?

  • Parasum

    Good try, but not on target.

  • Parasum

     “So, to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in a prayerful and reverent silence equates to being ‘dumb and idle’, does it?”

    ## No: but the 1962 Mass is as open – in its own way – to  being attended in wrong ways as any Mass offered using  the revised Missal. There is a long history of this. Liturgical abuses were not invented in 1969, or in any year after 1962. They differed in kind from the abuses to which the revised Mass is liable, but they were just as real.  The  Missal is not Divinely protected from being abused – it is “at the mercy” of the offerer, the Church, & any other circumstances that influence the celebration of the Liturgy, regardless of its form. If the Bible can be liable to abuse, why should the Liturgy be immune to abuse ?

  • Parasum

    And some of (what certainly appears to be) the fruits of V2, are good.  That particular test is very difficulty to apply – the verse refers in Matthew 7 to people. Maybe this test doesn’t work if applied to anything else. If the test in the verse doesn’t work when applied to  thing X, maybe it was never intended to be a test of thing X.

  • Parasum

    How does one prove deliberation & intent ? Sometimes, well-meaning people do a huge amount of damage. That X is damaged very severely can be a fact, without malicious intent being a, or the, cause. 

  • Parasum

    When “associating a valid Teaching of the Church with false interpretation and sinful acts by the modernist wing” is not corrected by the giving of a proper & authentic interpretation of what has been falsely interpreted, those who are not given any reason to think the “false interpretation” is regarded by the Church Authorities as false can scarcely be blamed for drawing the logical conclusions. If the CAs do not bridle heretics & rebuke errors, they have only themselves to blame if some Catholics think they approve of what they don’t rebuke. If a clown liturgy or some similar monstrosity  is tolerated or celebrated  by a bishop who remains in good standing with Rome – what are Catholics who are scandalised & appalled by such evils (for they are evils) to think ?

    If there are schismatic bodies objecting to post-Conciliar developments, the blame is not all on one side. It’s not enough to be satisfied with identifying a schism – one ought to go further, and ask what Christian values they are trying to preserve that the Church is failing to foster. The Church admitted at V2 that the responsibility for the Reformation splits is not on one side alone – why can this not be true of every other split in or from the Church, before & since ? To admit the CC’s behaviour has been less than “stellar” at times does not in the slightest prejudice her holiness; so that’s not a problem.   

  • Parasum

    As Father Cormac Burke (O.D.) explains in his book “Authority and Freedom in the Church” [1988], there is more than one kind of authority. He points out that all Catholics have authority in various things & ways.

    That the Magisterium has authority, does not justify the conclusion that *only* the M. has authority. It has magisterial authority, of a different kind from the magisterium of theologians: both are realities, both have work to do in the Church, but they serve in different ways. Whereas the bishops are Divinely designated witnesses of the Faith, & the judges of what is Catholic doctrine, the function of the theologians could in principle be – & used to be – discharged by the bishops. Theologians investigate, study & discern the raw matter of theology; bishops discern & judge the value of the theologian’s works to the well-being of the Church & its mission.    
     
    The M. has no authority to tell Biblical scholars how to study Hebrew, because it has no competence in matters of language. Highest authority =/////= only authority.  If Christ, to Whom all authority in heaven & earth belongs, is not wronged by having committed a share in His authority to Peter, & to others as well, why should it be any wrong to the episcopal M. for it not to be alone in exercising authority in the Church ? “Authority” is not even quite what Christ exercised – he taught with *exousia*, which is both power & authority; & he did so in order to preach “the Good News of the Reign of God”, which is a Kingdom & Reign of Righteousness and Peace. This limits, modifies & qualifies the ways in which those in the Church can exercise authority in the Church. The Church’s character regulates the character of authority, & its exercise, within the Church   

    See also: http://www.cormacburke.or.ke/node/34

    Nothing & nobody is free-standing or independent in the Church, but everything in the Church is inter-connected for the good of everything else. Every doctrine illuminates & illuminated by the others; all re-inforce, explain, nourish all others; just as all of us are “members of one another”. Similarly, the Body of Christ is a *body*, a complex & rich communion of people related & united in Christ – it’s not a pile of unrelated body-parts. So Catholics are not obliged to adopt a sort of “Papalist positivism”, or any other kind of positivism, for Catholicism is meant to make sense, and to supply a vision of reality satisfying to mind and heart alike. If the Wisdom of God is truly the origin of Church, for it not to reflect the Divine Wisdom would be a miracle in itself. So the Pope is not an oracle, whose utterances must be harmonised so that none of them are inconsistent. Slot-machine theology (= ask a question, get an answer, forget about the whys & wherefores) is an anorexic approach to Catholicism. It provides knowledge on individual points of doctrine, but not understanding of the big picture. For people to besatisfied with scraps when a full meal can be had, is a great pity. 

  • CAFETERIA R.C.

    The breeze of change has started by the R.C.s voting with their feet. The wilted fig leafs, their controls and pompous costumes  will soon be blow away for good that will cause a rebirth of truth of Christ’s church. Amen.

  • Greg100267

    For goodness sake, if you’re going to run a story like this which at the very least begs an acknowledgement of some statistics why don’t you include some?

    I will: regarding 1914, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1994.

    • (Regarding 1914) • From the ‘Catholic Year 1914′ (within ‘The Catholic Who’s Who and Yearbook 1915′ [Burns & Oates]), P. 516, edited by Sir F.C. Burnand:

    “Statistics compiled by the Rev. James Hughes, show that the diocese of Liverpool (sic) stands highest in England in its Catholic population with 371,000, Salford second with 295,000 and Westminster third with 256,000. The conversions in Liverpool during 1913 are computed at 1,110.”

    -

    • (Regarding 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 [where available] and 1994) • From ‘The Catholic Directory 1967′ (Burns & Oates), Pp 790-794; also from ‘The Catholic Directory 1995′ (Gabriel Communications), Pp 688-90 

    - Estimated Catholic population of Liverpool diocese (sic) in 1966 = 522,671 (up from 1914)
    - Estimated Catholic population of Liverpool diocese (sic) in 1967 = 530,000 (up from 1966)
    - Overall in 1966 = 4,000,695 (up from 1914)
    - Overall in 1967 = 4,048,400 (up from 1966)
    - Overall in 1994 = 4,413,165 (up from 1994)
    - Priests (secular) in 1966 = 5,096 (no comparison record available with 1914)
    - Priests (secular) in 1967 = 4,957 (down from 1966)
    - Priests (secular) in 1994 = 3,523 (down from 1967)
    - Priests (religious) in 1966 = 2,791 (no comparison record with 1914)
    - Priests (religious) in 1967 = 2,854 (up from 1966)
    - Priests (religious) in 1994 = 1,888 (down from 1967)
    - Convents (women) in 1966 = 1,249 (no comparison record available with 1914)
    - Convents (women in 1967 = 1,265 (up from 1966)
    - Convents (women) in 1994 = 1,279 (up from 1967)
    - Baptisms (up to 7yrs) in 1964 = 137,673 (no comparison record available with 1914)
    - Baptisms (up to 7yrs) in 1965 = 134,055 (down from 1964)
    - Baptisms (up to 7yrs) in 1994 = 75,529 (down from 1965)
    - Marriages in 1964 = 45,592 (no comparison with 1914)
    - Marriages in 1965 = 46,112 (up from 1964)
    - Marriages in 1994 = 19,741 (down from 1965)
    - Adult conversions in 1964 = 12,348 (no comparison available with 1914)
    - Adult conversions in 1965 = 10,308 (down from 1964)
    - Adult conversions in 1994 = 5,198 (down from 1965)

    By any reckoning the Church in England & Wales was still growing in most respects and aspects between 1914 and 1964. The actual Catholic population of the countries continued until 1995 as per the above figures and, I believe, is even higher today according to official figures from the Bishops’ Conference with the figure most likely being somewhere around the 4.7millions mark, increases of some 300,000 since 1994 and roughly a million since the mid-1960s. However, an underlying internal erosion has clearly taken place at the same time concerning the numbers of priests, baptisms, marriages and conversions. The apparent anomaly (i.e. that there are more Catholics in England and Wales now than there were a century ago, but far fewer numbers of priests, baptisms, marriages and conversions) may perhaps be explained when one considers that the population of England and Wales circa 1911 was 36millions, whilst the 1911 census recorded the figure at some 56millions.

  • http://twitter.com/Furry_Aminal Lee Porter

     I regret that I can only *like* this the once. If only more people realised the nonsense behind the idea that we should tolerate falsehood.

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    And let’s not forget the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Eastern European, African and Caribbean Catholics. 

    Without them, the figures would be even more atrocious. 

  • Sweetjae

    Unwarranted, misrepresented, misdirected, uniformed diatribe. If a valid Council of the Church and Papal authority that ratified it can not protect the Church from errors, then what will stop anyone into believing that other past Councils had erred too? What are your parameters beside your own standard?

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    Rather an important matter to be pedantic about, no?

  • JabbaPapa

    Not really, given that it should have been obvious to you at the outset that this is what I meant in the first place.

  • JabbaPapa

    You seem to be blithely unaware of the quiet but powerful tide of orthodoxy that is swelling in the bay…

  • JTLiuzza

     Exactly right, Viking.  I think it’s common knowledge that the rot was already in place pre VII.  But VII was the event that allowed the dam to break by the use of squishy ambiguous language which allowed the “spirit of  VII” to be implemented like a deluge on the Church and Her faithful.

  • 2_Armpits_4_Sister_Sarah

    In 1962 Hollywood, the greatest director in the World was a Catholic – John Ford. His contemporaries Hitchcock and Capra were also Catholic. As for the UK, the two greatest writers of their generation were Greene and Waugh that’s before we start talking Tolkein. Someone has written below of Escriva’s fears for the future but surely the saint was speaking in code. 

    I suspect he feared persecution but from where, how and from whom? Those questions remain off limits for now (trust me – it’s a waste of time going there). If, however, the economy of the USA completely collapses under the sheer weight of debt then the Americans might start putting two and two together and asking the pertinent questions.
     
    Escriva understood all this happening sixty years ago.

  • Parasum

    “Unlike Daphne McLeod, he felt Catholics in general did not really know
    their faith and were going through the motions of religious practice out
    of habit and unthinking conformity; it was not a living faith.”

    ## What does that tell us :( ?  That says everything. Didn’t priests tell the faithful that without a living faith Catholics would collapse ? If not – why not ? What else are homilies for ? Did Ireland send its best clergy abroad ? *If so*, maybe that weakened the Irish Church.

    “That
    saintly man, Frank Duff, founder of the Legion of Mary and given the
    honour of being a lay observer at the Council, was more damning in his
    judgment of the complacency of Catholic Ireland in the decades before
    the Council was called.”

    ## On a happier note, events after V2 tested a Protestant criticism: that if given the opportunity, the clergy would desert their calling and even the Church. That so many did not, and that vocations continue – even though so much in the Church has been laid bare – seems to answer that criticism,  &  the notion that people can be Catholic only out of ignorance: unlike people in the US, who are Protestant and well-informed; or rather, well-informed because Protestant.

  • Parasum

    Orthodoxy is not enough. Hell is probably stuffed with Catholics of flawless orthodoxy. But there is no place in Hell for those who persevere in charity.  Peter was asked “Do you love Me ?”, not “Do you believe all the right things ?” There have been orthodox bishops before now who were not exactly wonderful as pastors. St.Gregory the Great wrote an entire work for the benefit of the clergy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastoral_Care

    Book One here: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/36011.htm

    “even the…SSPX is close to reconciling with the Church.”

    ##  1. A miss is as good as a mile

    2. Sometimes, a very small number of issues can be an insurmountable obstacle.