Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why Catholic Churches Are Closing
 It's Not Just Demographics


Why are Catholic churches closing so often in the area, and having to combine and reduce the number of Masses just to appear like a "vibrant community"? Let's begin with just a few simple facts, culled from the writings of Pope Benedict XVI. (Copy this and pass it on to priests and parishioners).

1. Because our churches for some 40+ years have been more and more desacralized by priests and parish councils. Fewer of our churches today  possess those contemplative dimensions which had always been a main draw to both Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Catholics are not invited and admonished  to come to visit the Blessed Sacrament, adore Christ in the Tabernacle, light a prayer candle for special intentions (what candles?!) or make the Stations of the Cross during the week, and whenever they can, as an expression of love, penance, and prayer for our beloved dead.

2. Because too many priests no longer preach and teach specifically Catholic doctrines as found in the Catechisms of the Catholic Church;  and so  many priest's sermons  increasingly sound like simplified versions of  PBS'  Mr. Rogers speaking only of an amorphous "love," (or "be nice" theology) while ignoring so much else that Christ taught in the Gospels. Moreover Catholic doctrine is no longer proposed from the pulpit  as the only remedy for the decadence of our culture (with concrete examples, especially as found in the ubiquitous media) nor for the other relevant crises of the human spirit today: hyper-technologies so dangerous to the soul, unjust wars, wanton sexuality and violence,  the specifically spiritual neglect of the poor,  and the moral law.

3. Because the Faithful are no longer admonished to go to Confession and warned not to receive Communion while in a state of Mortal Sin. As a consequence many Catholics do not feel themselves to be sinners at all, and so why get out of bed on Sunday mornings to bring families to Mass at all? How many priests, the Saints say,  will find themselves trembling before the Judgement Seat of Christ for not having exercised their ministry of Reconciliation frequently and piously and telling sinners (all of us!) the Truth about Sin, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory and the Lord's Coming again?!

4. Because while priests rush through the liturgy of the Eucharist, they often drag on and on when it comes to banal sermons  unrelated to Catholic dogmas (longer than the Sermon on the Mount in many cases!), and bad, prolonged singing, superfluous processions and the like. The liturgy of the Eucharist, which is supposed to culminate in the Consecration and Elevation of the Sacred Gifts (The elevation of the  Body and Blood of our Lord when "time is supposed to stand still" for Catholics)  offered to the Father and for our adoration is also and criminally rushed  like lightning---and so therefore almost meaningless to very many, especially the young. What does this say about the priest's priorities and poor theological training?  Is it any wonder churches have been closing for so long and continue to this day? 

Priests of the Church, you can reverse all of this if you have a will to. Or answer to God for souls if you do not will to.

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