|St. Charles Borromeo, a true shepherd,|
ministers to plague victims in Milan.
It didn't take me very far into the document before I laughed sardonically and rolled my eyes. In fact it was the third paragraph:
Many of the faithful appear to have had their faith and their desire for the Eucharist strengthened by such a long separation.
I don't think so, just judging from the sparser attendance at my local novus ordo parish since Wuhan and the bishops' kowtowing to Caesar. But that's a subjective observation of one small faith community.
So let's take a look at a recent survey conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) which interviewed several thousand young Catholics between the ages of 18 and 35 from all over the country.
Young people are the future of the Church; they are the ones who will be forming Catholic families for the next generations. If they lose the faith, they will take their children, their grandchildren, and subsequent generations out of the Church with them. Or, on the other hand, they will form them so badly their children will leave later out of indifference and the belief that all religions are the same, a syncretism encouraged by the false ecumenism promoted since Vatican II.
So should we be encouraged by the results of the survey?
America Magazine (a Jesuit organ which I read holding my nose) summarized the survey for those who don't want to slog through its almost 200 pages. Their summary includes these facts. While only 8% of youth said their faith was weakened by Wuhan, almost three quarters said they could be good Catholics without going to Mass every Sunday. A majority (54%) never watched an on-line Mass when the churches shut their doors. Loss of the Mass? Hey, more time for interacting with their smart phones! According to surveys, millennials get most of their information from social media. Think about that for a minute. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Susan Wojcicki (YouTube), etc. are forming the minds and hearts of our youth. Social media is the idol in the temple.
What, one might ask, ever happened to the Church's teaching on mortal sin and the Commandment to keep the Sabbath holy? While the moral obligation to attend Mass has been restored in most places, young people obviously absorbed the message that Mass isn't really all that important. The rot was already widespread; two thirds of Catholics don't believe in the Real Presence. The bishops' cowardly actions just made it worse. No surprise when so many of our shepherds said, as Cardinal Wilton Gregory did in D.C., that their primary mission is the health and safety of the flock. Salvation of souls? Meh! Not that important. All of the bishops could have done what the SSPX did -- offer Masses at local fairgrounds or in parking lots. For the most part, they didn't.
Frankly, the only place I've seen people eager for the Mass (with a few exceptions) is among traditionalists. Despised by Pope Francis and many others as Catholic deplorables, many never missed a single Sunday Mass, going out of the way and traveling long distances to give God adoration. These are the people who refused to accept dioceses' default position of NO MASS FOR YOU! and attended fairground and parking lot Masses when that was the only option.
The bishops do point out that among the "many whose desire for the Eucharist [was] strengthened" (I question the accuracy of that!) are "others, [who] having lived without Mass for so long, may have become discouraged or accustomed to life without the Eucharist."
The document goes on to discuss the importance of the communal celebration, words that ring a little hollow considering the speed with which the bishops shut, and often locked, the church doors.
The next section of the bishops's document discusses sin, but I'll continue that in another post. In the meantime, consider whether your own parish has seen a return of the flock to Sunday Mass. I suspect my experience in my local novus ordo parish is similar to what's happening elsewhere. There are indeed full churches with mostly unmasked congregations. You'll often find them at the Latin Mass. These folks aren't immune from the virus; they just aren't terrified by it. They know that physical death is not the worst thing that can happen to us. They put the health of the soul above their physical health. And as for receiving the Lord of the Universe in their hands -- they just won't - not because they are holy, but because they aren't!
Isn't that what all of us should do? If you want to understand why receiving on the tongue and on the knees is the proper attitude for reception, read Peter Kwasniewski's book, The Holy Bread of Eternal Life. I just bought it for a priest friend. It would make a great Christmas present for your pastor.
Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us.