April 7, 2019

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New Mass by the Numbers

New Mass by the Numbers

I prefer the Latin Mass of 1962 (and a thousand years before) for at least 12 reasons listed here. My last reason for loving the Latin Mass (which I failed to list in that blog post) seems important: how American Catholicism has changed since the inception of the new mass in about 1970. So I turned to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostalate for the numbers.

Catholicism is dying in the United States.

While our descent into a dull, meaningless spiritualism may be a few years behind that of western Europe, it’s clear that Catholicism in America has collapsed since 1970.

The Priest Shortage Began With the New Mass

total priests

Fewer men are willing to become priests. Perhaps because of the sex scandals that have plagued the Church for the past 35 years, young men today avoid the seminary. And many qualified young men who apply to the seminary are rejected because of their piety and orthodoxy.

priestless parishes

The shortage of priests has led to a remarkable increase in the number of parishes without a resident priest.

Catholics Leaving the Church in Droves

While mainline Protestant churches have seen similar declines, those churches have not overhauled their liturgies. The Catholic Church did, and it didn’t help.

Former Catholics

Even if the new mass wasn’t the cause of people leaving the faith, you can’t say the new mass helped.

Most Catholics Don’t Attend Mass Regularly

Unlike most Protestant denominations where attendance at Sunday services is recommended, Catholics are obliged to attend Mass every Sunday and holy day of obligation under penalty of mortal sin.

Since the new mass, weekly attendance has fallen in half, from 48 percent in 1970 to 23 percent in 2017. That means over two-thirds of Catholics commit at least one mortal sin every week.

empty pews

Catholics Want More

Along with the new mass, which is intended to be a form of entertainment, the Catholic Church encourages priests to make holiness seem easier. But if there’s nothing special about getting to heaven–if there’s no need to join our sufferings to Christ’s–we might as well go to Walmart.

People want a challenge, frankly. Before he died on the cross, Jesus did a whole lot of preaching. And laid down some hard demands on people. He made it sound like getting to heaven was a challenge, but a challenge worth the effort. Like SEAL training.

If the goal of the new mass was to make life easier for Catholic laity and clergy, it succeeded. You really don’t have to do anything to be a faithful Catholic these days. But you might go to hell.

If the purpose of the church is to win souls for Jesus, the new mass is a complete failure.

Some will accuse me of longing for the past. They’re right. When it comes to the liturgy and church teaching, the past worked far better than the present.

Restore the faith.