On June 5, I will ordain eight fine men to be new priests for the family of God in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
This is the second class of priests ordained during the pandemic. These new priests, too, will be called to be missionaries to a generation that has seen its certainties and securities disrupted by a deadly plague.
I think history will look back and see that the pandemic did not transform things so much as accelerate trends and directions already at work in the Church and society. Changes that might have taken decades to play out will advance more quickly in the wake of this disease.
Before the pandemic, we were seeing demographic and other changes in the Church resulting in fewer people attending Mass and getting married in the Church, with fewer baptisms, and fewer young people receiving first Communion and confirmation.
At least for a few years, the pandemic will likely intensify these trends, along with other challenges posed by the Church’s position in an aggressively secular society. That includes the trend of the “nones” — the growing numbers of young people who choose not to affiliate with the Church or any organized religion.
The Church will also need to cope with the sharp decrease in the numbers of children being born. This trend, too, has been sped up by the pandemic, with some researchers now speaking of a “Covid baby bust.”
The challenges we face will require us to think deeply in the coming years about our parishes and schools, about our diocesan structures and finances, and about the shape of our mission.
But as I look to the future, I see only reasons for hope.
One beautiful trend that was visible in the Church before the pandemic is what I call the “missionary turn” among Catholics — the growing awareness that every one of us in the Church is baptized and summoned to be saints and missionary disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The vocations of our new priests flow out of this new missionary awakening in the Church. Our new priests are men formed for mission, each having heard and answered Christ’s personal call of Jesus to love him and proclaim his Gospel with their lives….
The above comes from a June 4 story in Angelus News.
He sees “only” reasons for hope? That’s trying to put a spin on a deteriorating situation that nobody believes. Maybe there are some reasons for a slim hope, but there certainly aren’t “only” reasons for hope.
No mention of what he and his diocesan personnel and offices are going to do to get fallen away Catholics back. Maybe he doesn’t know what to do, so he districts from that by leaning on “only” reasons for hope.
“Reasons for hope,” Anonymous?
Yes, when the Catholic Church finally decides to “get real serious” about religious faith, catechetics, and Christian Morality, again– plus, give us a beautiful, holy Mass, very “Catholic,” too– if the Church leaders just hate the beautiful old Latin Tridentine Mass– how about a beautiful, holy, very “Catholic” Novus Ordo vernacular style of Mass– fixed-up to be more holy and more truly, deeply “Catholic?” Anything. And oh, God help us. Excommunicate Biden, Pelosi, Becerra, and all the other horrible “bad Catholics.” Are they all going to Sunday Mass tomorrow– and receiving sacrilegious Communions? God help us. We have almost no “reasons for hope,” currently. Unless God works a great big miracle.
Advice to Archbishop Gomez: Look in a mirror. One of the top reasons for the falloff in practicing Catholics is because of the actions of Pope Francis and far too many of the Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals in the US and numerous other countries, including Germany, Italy and the UK.
Xavier, with all possible respect, a couple of specifics, please.
My friend did.
“From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge — a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so it will lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, it will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. As a small society, it will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members.”
Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI
I always wondered about this, from Cdl. Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict. Why must this happen to the beautiful, holy mission of Jesus Christ– and why must the Catholic Church allow it to happen? — to be utterly reduced to a very tiny, totally voluntary society of individuals, freely choosing their religious responsibilities to Christ? A tiny Catholic Church of just a few highly responsible individuals, no support, all alone– but highly committed– like a highly committed few in a religious order, persevering in a hostile place, like Communist China or Muslim Pakistan?
I see this situation differently! If the Catholic Church had excellent spiritual and moral leadership– with reasonable spiritual and moral responsibilities required of all–watch out. Millions will come to your door– if you are very good. Saints will suddenly arise in their midst, from dedicated practice of the Holy Faith– by the grace of God! And what will you do with all those millions of eager converts? Tell them all you are scared to death of the “intimidating” secularized, sinful world– secularized, and starving for God? Is that what the early Christians told converts in Ancient Rome, when conversion to Christianity was punishable by death?
I’m hunkering down and preparing for the worst. The Church ain’t gonna help me, that’s for sure.
The Mormon Church is the fastest-growing denomination in the U.S. Currently, it is the 4th largest Christian denomination in the U.S., with about 6.5 million members– and about 16.5 million members, worldwide! They have very strong, effective, and practical religious programs, to cultivate a strong and holy church of believers! They also have very good social services for the needy and poor! They are very pro-Traditional Marriage, pro-life, pro-large families, and have many good, strong religious activities for their families to do at home, daily! With plenty of support from the whole church community, for everyone– children, teens, and adults! They have specifics on everything–how to lead a chaste, holy single life, procedures for dating, courtship and marriage, and specifics on cultivating a successful Mormon Marriage, Family and Home, plus specifics on running their programs, schools, colleges and universities, according to their beliefs. They never believed foolishly in “opening their windows and doors to the sinful. secular world”– like the Vatican II Church– that is evil!– and totally insane!! Anyone who is interested, can easily convert, dedicate themselves to their church and its requirements, and do very well, serving God, and seeking holiness! Their church is very practical, with lots of support! If a “rebellious Mormon” becomes a problem, their church tries to bring that member back to the church, and they do all they can. But if that fails– then, the church leaders will hold a special personal meeting with the “rebellious Mormon” and will finally let them know, that this situation isn’t going to work– sorry, you are now being excommunicated! They do this in a very practical way. Next, they let the person know, that if they ever change their minds and want to come back to the church, to come by and have a talk about returning to the church, and practice of their religion. The Mormons are very successful! They also have a strong, unmistakable identity– they know exactly who they are as Mormons, and exactly what they believe, and exactly how they live and do things! Catholics have sadly lost their identity, which the Fathers of Vatican II greatly desired, to foster Christian Ecumensim! If only our Church– the true Church which Christ founded– could “get back up on their ‘Catholic horse’ and go,” and become a huge success, for Christ! We are the True Church!! So sad to always see her now in ruins, having badly “fallen off her horse!”
America has the largest Christian population of the world, and Protestantism is the majority religion. The Catholic Church is the largest single Christian denomination in America– and in the world. The largest Protestant denomination in America, is the Southern Baptist Convention. The Baptists, however, are currently under attack by some of their leaders, who are getting swayed tragically, by “secularist” and “modernist” worldly trends– with similar problems to the Catholic Church. However, the Baptists say that they are working hard, to try to end this problem. Hope they succeed! I have read recently, that Pentecostalism is also a very fast-growing Christian denomination, in the U.S., and is the fastest-growing Christian denomination in the world — but I really have no idea in the world, who they are, what they believe, or what they do– and have never seen one of their churches, nor met one of their believers. Anyway– if these other churches all are attracting believers, hungry for God– can’t the Catholic Church do something, for all their hungry, starving believers– and all the hungry, starving people out there, looking for God– and for a good Church, for themselves– and for their spouses, families, and children, too?? Why is it so doggone hard, to make a really good Catholic Church for us all??
I looked around and said “Why doesn’t somebody do something?” and then I realized “I am somebody.”
Anonymous– laymen really have no power at all in the Church– it is run by the hierarchy of bishops, with the Pope on top of the “Chain of Command.” Canon Law lays it all out, and Canon Law is also all in their hands, to run the Church. But laymen can have a somewhat limited influence in our modern Church, if they are saintly, or are world-renowned, top experts or scientists with important work– or if you are in a modern Church group, with very good persuasive skills– like a powerful, modern group of “feminazis,” (“feminists,” ha, ha.) The Pope, traditionally, has the most power to influence the Church and the world, and to implement important, big changes– he is at the top of the “Chain of Comnand.” (Similar to the secular, hierarchical organization of the military, or a hierarchical organization of a country’s political leadership.)
Lay people have the power of the Holy Spirit. Spread the Gospel.
He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
Yes, they have the Holy Spirit, Anonymous. That’s all. Prayer does work miracles, too! And holiness powerfully attracts and converts people! St. Francis of Assisi faced the same problems of corruption in his church and country. He obeyed Christ’s call, “Rebuild My Church!” And millions came running to follow Christ!
St. Francis of Assisi refused to become a priest, as the priesthood was so corrupt in his day, and closely connected to the Godless rich and powerful!
Based on my limited experience with Pentecostals, they tend to be very emotive and also tend to lack the deep roots that are necessary to ensure proper Christian spiritual development. They also tend to be very anti-Catholic.
As an example, I once had a conversation with a Pentecostal about the Dark Night of the Soul. When I explained what it was, the woman stated, “If this happened to her congregation, they would leave the church.” The unstated reason: The Dark Night of the Senses is about profound, prolonged spiritual dryness: Pentecostalism is about good spiritual feelings.
Sounds like LifeTeen youth ministry is trying to be a Catholic type of Pentecostalism, then.
Good point. My answer is both “yes” and “no.” The “Pentecostal model” is good and recommended for newby Catholics, especially the young. The difference between Catholicism and Pentecostalism is that the typical Pentecostal remains stuck there. On the other hand, as the Catholic matures in faith and spirituality, they need to move from spiritual babies to spiritual adults. If they don’t, they’ll be at risk of being scorched or choked (Ref: Matt 13: 1 – 9)
Steve Seitz– the Pentecostals sound very superficial and not Biblically-based. Are they involved in the “Charismatic” or “Holy Roller” kinds of religious experiences, with wild, crazy “glossolalia,” or “speaking in tongues?” Is that what is attracting people these days?? Not sure. Sounds very silly– and degrading! Not even Biblically-based. Cheap, “feel-good” religion– like “dope-peddling!”
In the late 1960s, a Protestant group called the “Pentecostals” went to Notre Dame U., and got the Catholics interested in being silly “Holy Rollers,” and started the Catholic Charismatic Movement. Is that the same branch of Protestant Pentecostalism that is fast-growing, today?? I respect the rights of people to worship as they truly wish– but I don’t care for the Charismatic style– especially with the priest up on the altar, at a “Charismatic Mass,” “going bananas,” with silly glossolalia. I see this as a pitiful and wrong degradation of the Mass. But again– I respect others’ rights to this! I agree with you, on St. John of the Cross– he had a proper approach to spiritual development. It is very specific, an ancient, “science of the soul seeking God,” a complete transformation, resulting in Christ-like God-union. Not just a few personal “religious emotional experiences,” and that’s all.
I have always loved the Spanish poetry and works of St. John of the Cross, a tremendously brilliant Spanish literary figure during the Golden Age– and a great Saint and outstanding Doctor of the Church. He explains very clearly the soul’s journey to God, all the steps. His works also correspond to what St. Thomas Aquinas wrote of the steps in the soul’s spiritual journey and mystical union with God. Very impressive.
St. Teresa of Avila’s works are likewise impressive; she and St. John of the Cross were very close, as everyone knows. I don’t know if Discalced Carmelites today, still are interested in these two great Saints. Or if there is any further writing and documentation today, of authentic contemplative experiences of great but perhaps still unknown monks and nuns, on this path. Very sad, if this is all just of the past, mostly unwanted since Vatican II.
Only a very few gifted souls are truly called by God to such lofty heights of the spiritual life. But it is all authentic and true– as true as any science. And the few called to follow this pathway, all the way to union with God, who become Saints, are badly needed in today’s tragic, Godless world.
Of course, it is hard to express the things of God and the soul, in mere words, in human language. Wonderful to read the works of gifted spiritual writers, who can explain all of this very well for us. There is so little authentic spirituality left in today’s Church– and we all badly suffer from the loss of it. Also, it is so hard, the loss of the mystical and transcendent, of the realms of God and of Heaven, in today’s New Mass, and in modern Catholic religious culture. I am so sickened, every time I read, or hear a priest or lay leader speak, all about Christ and Our Lady– and now, St. Joseph, during his special year– in terribly crass, degrading, “too humanistic” terms. I see the Holy Family as otherworldly, angelic, pure, very holy, gracefully dwelling in an unseen, eternal, glorious, beautiful state of unbroken contemplative God-union, peacefully and prayerfully making their way through life, with all its problems and triumphs. The Blessed Sacrament, Jesus, lived and grew up in their midst, in the blessed home of the Holy Family.
Yes, Pentecostals are charismatic.
I have an appreciation for Catholic charismatics because they seem to be people who are on fire with the Lord. As long as they progress spiritually, all is well.
I personally hate poetry, but I absolutely love the poetry of St. John of the Cross. It’s the one exception that I have. :)
Catholics were once taught the fundamentals of their Faith intellectually, from Catholic grade school days. Religion was a very serious matter, with lots of reverence and respect for God required, in church. Catholics were taught that Faith is a Gift– a supernatural Gift– from God. It is also a virtue. The regular exercise of the virtue of Faith leads to a deepening of Faith, and a deep conviction that it is all true– and your relationship with Christ will grow. Further than this– is a supernatural Gift in which God blesses the believer with a personal religious experience– and this experience is overwhelmingly beautiful and deeply emotional.
But it all starts with an assent to Faith, after being taught the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith– a decision made to believe. Not all children, teens or adults consciously make that decision, and it may be actually consciously made, at any age. Some say “no ” at any age, and either “just go along with it,” because their family expects it– or else they later leave the Church, when they have the opportunity. Protestant denominations have classes for all ages, children and adults, to learn their Faith, and have requirements for church membership. They have Bible study groups, too. They all seek to grow in their Faith.
But to be a silly “Pentecostal Holy Roller,” deliberately seeking to induce wild, emotional “religious” experiences– which may or may not be truly religious, and truly from God– without proper religious training and Biblical references– is very unusual! Such experiences might be a symptom of mental illness, or else induced by a fake, psychologically manipulative, “quack preacher,” or else dangerously induced by diabolical spirits. Such dubious “religious quackery” is never heard of, except among the illiterate, ignorant, psychologically vulnerable, and hopelessly impoverished! So– where, exactly, is the denomination of “Pentecostalism” growing fast, I wonder?
I wonder if Archbishop Gomez realizes the heterodoxy that plagues the annual Religious Education Congress has failed to attract and retain people to the Catholic Church. It’s like the prelates are wondering aloud of what to do to try to reverse the dramatic decline in membership in the Church while the answer is so clear to many of us. A return to the beautiful traditions that nourished the faithful for centuries, especially the timeless Mass in Latin. Restore sound doctrine and teaching to the Church and the Holy Spirit will touch souls and lead them towards Himself and His Church. 60 years of poor catechesis and a “anything goes” mentality to the liturgy have caused a loss in the sense of the transcendent, which once it is gone, so are the people.
Yes, Clinton R.! That is exactly what we need– a true, authentic “Catholic Restoration!”
Lord, send a revival. And let it begin in me.
We need to use what we have been given. Faith can move mountains. The Rosary, the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, Chaplet of Mercy. Mary, Help of Christians, Mary, Undoer of Knots, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadelupe-yes they are all Mary. They are Mary, showing her love for us. She wants to help us. She wants to convert sinners. Pray to her. Give all the problems to her. We have the intercession of St. Joseph and all the Saints-they want to help us.
Pray for the return of fallen Catholics; pray for people to care more about their souls than their flesh. Pray for practicing Catholics to be sanctified. Do as much as you can do.
Consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
If you have not completed your First Fridays, this is a good month to start.
If I mortal sin do I have to do the first Fridays again?
No, anonymous. You do not have to do the first Fridays all over again in a row, but it is a good idea to go on First Fridays when you can in reparation. All one has to do after committing a mortal sin is repent, make a sincere resolution not do it again and go to confession, If one has harmed someone else, it is right to make restitution in some way if one can — give back or pay for stolen goods, etc.
Actually, it is too late to start this month but you can make a resolution to start next month.
The picture is ironic. New priests in front of windows that depict the minor orders – destroyed by Paul VI, and that now anyone, even layman or laywoman, can do as an official “ministry”.
Catholicism has been cheapened and dumbed down for some time now. Pandemic or not. Should we really be surprised by the sorry state of things in 2021?
Father, I had not noticed what was depicted in those stained glass windows. Thank you for pointing that out.
Eastern Churches still have minor orders.
Does the Latin Church no longer have subdeacons?
(We have our clergy convocation starting tomorrow. It includes bishops, priests, deacons and subdeacons, although not consider a major order, the latter are still considered clergy.)
Deacon Anderson– no more subdeacons in the Vatican II Latin Rite Church. Instead, you will see laymen assisting the priest up on the altar, and doing the lectoring. Especially, all those Catholic laywomen– not even nuns.– up there on the altar. Not very holy. (Abusive, I think.)
Sadly, I thought of this tragic irony too, when I looked at the picture. Untrained Catholic laymen (and especially, laywomen) should not be running around with these cheapened, dumbed-down secularized, “Protestantized” versions of the holy Minor Orders, re-designed as so-called post-Conciliar “ministries.” (I do not like the post-Conciliar new role of the Permanent Diaconate, either– sorry. And their wives and children of the Married Permanent Deacons– No. Never, in my view. Sorry.) You know, the new religious orders and groups of priests dedicated to the old Latin Tridentine Mass, all go through the Minor Orders. The FSSP, the ICKSP, and all of them. Beautiful.
Then stay in your time capsule. The church has moved on at the urging of the Holy Spirit at Vatican II. The minor orders were discontinued and the laity were empowered to be more than mere spectators at a Mass that largely ignored them and diminished their role in the Body of Christ.
Anon., not to worry, we deacons have been around since the beginning of the Church. It was God’s idea, not our own. (See the Acts of the Apostles.) The medieval Church in the West reduced the diaconate to a “transitional” role (a rather modern development for those of us who value ancient tradition). Let’s pray that deacon Saints Stephen, Lawrence, Ephrem and Francis would help all of us better understand the role of deacons.
No, there is no such thing as a “time capsule,” our Faith is authentic and true. And the Catholic Church is not “settled,” with the post-Conciliar reforms. Look at the interests of Abp. Cordileone to bring back proper religious education, especially instruction on the Eucharist– and the desire to reform the roles of bishops, in dealing with “bad Catholics!” You also misunderstand the roles of the priest and laymen. The priest’s role is as our “alter Christus,” the highly trained and ordained holy “middleman” who brings us the Sacraments, from God. No, the laymen are not “priests,” and there have been many post-Conciliar abuses of the layman’s role. The role of the laymen is to come to Mass, to pray, to prepare for and to receive the Sacranents. It is a spiritual role. Sone “dummies” have wrongfully called it a “spectator” role– that is not true! The abolition of the Minor Orders by Pope St. Paul VI had to do with modernizing the new role of the priest, to go with the New Mass which he was to celebrate. Later, the newly “ecumenized” or “Protestantized” Catholic Church would “dumb down” formerly holy clerical roles, to get laymen to be more active– as in the Protestant churches. But being “active” up there on the altar, and less prayerful– does not mean “being more spiritual.” And it really is not necessary for the laymen– but many Church leaders think it makes the laymen feel better.
This reply is to Anonymous’ post of June 7 at 7:48am.
Sorry, Deacon Anderson! Eastern Rite clergy are entirely different than the Latin Rite clergy! I never compare them! In the Eastern Rite, I think the Deacon has a much bigger role, entirely different, than the new, Vatican II “Permanent Deacon” role, in the Latin Rite Church. Eastern Rite deacons and priests may marry before ordination– but not after– and bishops are celibate. The Eastern Rite and all the Orthodox Churches (not in union with Rome) all seem very settled, very stable, deeply spiritual, with very ancient traditions. A much deeper spirituality for everyone– clergy and laymen! The laymen seem very deeply involved, spiritually, in their churches, with no ridiculous moral dissent, such as in the Western Latin Rite Church, which is tragically corrupted by modern culture. The Eastern Rite and the Orthodox Churches (not in union with Rome) perhaps function much better, as they are all deeply connected to their cultures, and they are not corrupted by radical modern changes (like Vatican II) and the evils of the Western world. I would prefer to be born into one of those cultures and branches of Christianity, as they are much better and.more stable and trustworthy. Our Latin Rite Church is just hopeless, to say the truth! Hopelessly corrupted, in every possible way!
“Fewer church weddings, fewer baptisms, first Communions, confirmations” and fewer annulments, not only because of fewer church weddings, but also because of fewer seeking annulments for various reason (such as the hassle or waste of time seeking such), and also of the notorious footnote 351 in Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitae, allowing sexually active remarried divorcees without an annulment sacrilegiously to receive Communion, as well as implying anyone in an irregular sexual union such as fornicators and homosexuals!
Warren Memlib, that is a very irresponsible interpretation.