I was gladdened to see Bishop Robert Barron’s tweets of anger about the Pew survey. Watch the attached video. (You will also be happy to hear the Pew survey didn’t shock the bishop.)
I wish, though, his excellency had addressed the real cause of Catholics losing their faith: the ugly and sacrilegious farce that is the Novus Ordo (or Ordinary Form) Mass.
Here’s Bishop Barron’s initial tweet. I urge you to watch the video attached.
It's hard to describe how angry I feel after reading what the latest @pewresearch study reveals about understanding of the Eucharist among Catholics.— Bishop Robert Barron (@BishopBarron) August 6, 2019
This should be a wake-up call to all of us in the Church.
Watch this video for more…https://t.co/wQUcoBvqHZ
It’s The Mass, Stupid
(For Susan from the Parish Council, I’m not calling Bishop Barron stupid. I think he’s a genius, even if I have problems with some of his teaching. I thank God we have him.)
No reasonable, sane person observing a typical Catholic Mass would assume the participants believe Jesus Christ, man-God, perfectly human and perfectly God, is in their midst.
A reasonable person might assume that the people like to talk about this Jesus. But, if this Jesus is really Christ the King, it’s inconceivable that His followers would dress, speak, and behave as they do at a typical Catholic Mass.
No reasonable human being would conclude that Jesus is present in the flesh at a Catholic Mass. (Insane people might, but let’s worry about the regular crowd.)
Since most Catholics are sane, 75 percent of Catholics have concluded, based on the structure and behavior of the Mass, that the Eucharist is merely a “symbol” of Jesus, not His actual Body and Blood. And, again, given the nature of the Novus Ordo Mass that most Catholics attend, this is a perfectly reasonable conclusion. (I’m confident that a survey of Catholic priests, answered honestly, would yield nearly identical results.)
And it’s the Church’s fault. (Maybe even the demonic goal of some in the Church.)
The New Mass Is Just Plain Ugly
As I wrote in Don’t Trust Father Don Draper and At Least They Go, Catholics don’t believe that bread and wine become the true Body and Blood of Christ because the Church treats the Body and Blood of Christ like flavorless Cheez-Its and Kool-Aid.
People lose their faith because bishops, priests allowed the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to become a low-budget, amateurish sideshow, complete with crappy music, hideous set pieces made of felt, and masters-of-ceremony (aka, priests) dropping bad jokes as they ad-lib a sacred script because, they believe, they’re better playwrights than the divine author!
Most (and by “most,” I mean just about all) Novus Ordo Masses border on the blasphemous. Just some of the symptoms:
- Communion in the hand
- Communion dispensed by lay people
- Unordained people handling the Sacred Vessels
- Profane music throughout the Mass
- Liturgies that barely conform to approved forms and rubrics
- Priests acting like megachurch ministers
- People wandering around the sanctuary during the Mass
- People showing up to Mass in athletic shorts, halter tops, “do-me” dresses, baseball uniforms, and flip-flops
- Unnecessary conversations in the nave of the church
- Not one, but TWO (count ‘em, TWO) uncomfortable glad-handing episodes including one while the Real Presence is really present
- Tabernacles hidden on the sides of churches
- Churches that look like Pringles Potato Chips (and worse)
I could go on.
Fix the Mass, and Belief Will Return
Bishop Barron rightly laments the Church’s abdication of its duty to teach. (Pope Francis has effectively banned theology and catechesis, favoring, instead, a soulless and Godless “evangelization.” Evangelaztion of what? Who knows.)
Bishop Barron rightly blames the clergy, theologians, apologists, CCD programs, and RCIA leaders for the near-total lack of knowledge and faith in the Church in America.
But the bishop doesn’t go far enough. So I will.
Let’s start with every pope since John XXIII. They all contributed to the dumbing-down of theology and the corruption of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Only one, Benedict XVI, made an attempt to restore some sacredness to the Mass, and he quit before the job was done. The current pope seems bent on Lutheranizing the entire enterprise.
Then, let’s look at the parish liturgists who choreograph these carnivals of mayhem. Why does a Catholic parish need to hire a failed off-off-Broadway director to desecrate the unbloody recreation of Christ’s Passion, death, and Resurrection? The Mass is the Mass. It is the most perfect sacrifice creatures can participate in. It needs no embellishments, trapeze acts, dancers, or giant slides to improve. If you hire someone to tweak the liturgy, tweak they will. Eventually, they’ll arrive at the travesty that is most Catholic Masses today. Fire the liturgists and stick to the script.
Now, let’s look at every parish that fails to provide its parishioners with, at least, one Traditional Latin Mass each Sunday. The 1962 Latin Mass was never retired. It’s always been available. There’s no excuse (besides laziness or faithlessness) for every priest not to know the Latin Mass. (I have heard two priests in the last year “brag” that they don’t know a “word of Latin.”) Catholics who assist with just one Low Mass will immediately recognize that this Mass seems more important than the Masses they’ve attended since childhood. This Mass is sacred. This Mass is holy. This Mass might involve a miracle—the miracle of ordinary bread and wine becoming the Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ. Contrast is everything.
At the Latin Mass, the lay folk won’t get to prance around the sanctuary taking selfies with the Host. Instead, they’ll partake in the most perfect sacrifice a human can witness on this earth. That’s a much higher honor than getting to read the Epistle or flipping Communion to your neighbor while exchanging pleasantries about the kids’ volleyball game Saturday night.
Get Real Mad, Bishop Barron!
Bishop Barron says he’s angry that 75 percent of Catholics admit to disbelieving a dogmatic teaching of the church. (They’re very close to technical heretics, by the way. Very close.) He should be angry. And embarrassed.
Traditional Latin Mass Catholics have been angry at what Bishop Barron’s brother bishops have done to the church for 50 years.
We are sick of being angry, and we don’t want Bishop Barron’s anger. We want change. Hard change. Even if it means losing the lukewarm (temporarily).
We want Bishop Barron to turn around and face east. We want him to use his powerful pulpit to warn that the New Mass is a scandal that leads the faithful into doubt. We want him to save our bishops, our priests, our parishes, our people, and our Sacred Church.
Bishop Barron might be the only man alive with a following large enough and loyal enough to restore a demonstrated belief in the Real Presence of Christ on the altar.
And we will follow a righteous shepherd. In Christ, we are and want to be sheep.
Reverse the Descent
The Church is in free-fall right now, and everybody knows it. And it’s been in free-fall for most of the last 50 years. Saint John Paul II might have slowed the descent, but we’re still headed down fast. And we’re accelerating our descent every day of Pope Francis’s dictatorship.
I believe Bishop Barron is an honest and faithful man. I believe he has the talent to proverbial grab the USCCB they Roman collar and shake some sense into it.
Yes, the Church has many problems besides the Mass, but the Mass is the most important. It’s the one contact Catholics have every week. It’s our one chance to witness Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. It’s the only vessel we have to participate in HIs holy sacrifice. And it is the source and summit of Christian life.
I pray that this Pew survey awakens the giant within Bishop Barron and opens his eyes to destruction wrought by the Novus Ordo Mass.
Fix the Mass and the Church will rise again.
Lex orandi, lex credendi!