Buzzfeed Polls Catholic Readers

Buzzfeed is the quintessential Millennial website. They are snarky, feature easily digestible news stories, put everything into lists, and enjoy interactive polls. As much serious material the site has, it has the same amount of crude material and two times the amount of nonsense. Needless to say I’m no stranger to them.

The other day I came across one of their patented interactive polls titled How Sinful Are Your Catholic Opinions Compared To Everybody Else’s?Where the author, who probably was raised nominally Catholic during the late 90’s (like most Millennials), poses a serious of questions for Catholic readers to answer.

FAITH ALIVE
Photo: “Jesus Jams” | Allentown, PA diocese website

At the time of this post 65,000 people took the poll, hardly an insignificant sample size. I feel safe assuming that the majority of the people taking this poll were between 18 and 35 years old. We are getting about as good of a cross section as one can get of mainstream Millennial Catholics in America. Below are the results with commentary.

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So 77% of Catholics reading one of the most popular websites on Earth are former Catholics either officially or practically. Think about that. It’s no surprise, I see it with my peers and I understand why. The majority of Catholics our age have witnessed the liturgy as a banal exercise in kumbaya community togetherness with ugly music, vestments, and architecture. Along with pastors who give vapid and childish homilies, many Baby Boomer parents poorly taught authentic Catholicism to their children while also ignoring much of the faith themselves. These were the people who codified the mindset of the 1960’s sexual revolution by popularizing no-fault divorce, civil remarriages, and contraception. The decades following the 60’s have been utterly disastrous for the Catholic Church because of how the Church attempted to fit in with both the culture and fellow protestants.

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So, the majority of 65,000 American Catholics reading Buzzfeed never go to Mass. ::facepalm::

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Almost all the people who go to Mass regularly seem to also try to assist during the liturgy (which is what I take “listening and concentrating” to mean).

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I’d imagine the reason for 41% choosing the Filet-o-fish instead of the 24% that seems to try to take their faith seriously is because they were responding what they should do rather than what they do do. More importantly, one of my favorite parts of Lent is the Filet-o-fish deals McDonald’s runs. Man I love those. It’s one of the biggest arguments to returning to year-round Friday meat abstinence in fact!

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It’s unfortunate the author and majority of readers likely are basing their thoughts on awful hymns cryogenically frozen in the 1970’s, sung by people who have no business singing. Yuck!

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Not bad…over half of the practicing Catholics seek a more reverent reception. Trying to be optimistic here!

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Aside from the sign of peace being distracting in the liturgy and cheesy, no one likes it! Priests don’t HAVE to invite the congregation to do this you know! It’s entirely optional.buzzfeed10

So, are those the 24% that go to Mass regularly too? I’d imagine that most of the 76% say that only because the popular news media paints it that way for them. “B-b-but Pope Francis doesn’t judge people!”…”Benedict never kissed babies! Right?”.

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I’m generally in the 85% on this. Announcements at the end of Mass are jarring and obnoxious. Often they are also abused by having laypeople come to the ambo to discuss, at length, any such sort of things. I get it though; in many of the Catholic-lite® parishes, since many parishioners don’t care that much about their faith, they don’t care that much about the parish. This means the best time to get the attention of the congregation is when they have no choice but to listen. Give the congregation a reason and urge to care about the parish, and they will outside of Mass. Really, everything can be fixed by the liturgy! ☩

Cor Jesu and Today’s Catholic Renaissance

For the past year or so this blog has discussed much about the reemergence of more traditional Catholicism, especially among the Millennial generation. We have discussed more seminarians practicing and learning the TLM; more young parishioners requesting more reverent liturgical practices; traditionally-minded parishes booming with young families, and more people once again embracing the beauty found in traditional Catholic art, architecture, music, and prayer.

Today’s younger Catholics (let’s say 35 and under) are embracing elements of their faith that have been ignored for decades. Not impressed by the stripping of liturgical, artistic, or architectural beauty during the 80’s and 90’s, these younger Catholics are now at the age where they are able to fill decision-making roles and beginning to have influence within their community parishes and organizations. They can start the process of carefully putting Humpty Dumpty back together again whether they are laity or clergy.

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Cardinal James Harvey gives Mass at Cor Jesu | Arise Milwaukee

For months now, people have recommended to me Cor Jesu (Latin for “Sacred Heart of Jesus) in Milwaukee. Cor Jesu is an event geared towards Catholics in their 20’s and 30’s throughout many dioceses in at least the Midwest (perhaps it’s nationwide). I was told that it’s a great place to see firsthand (along with wherever the TLM is offered or course) the sort of modern-day Catholic Renaissance happening among the Millennial generation. In Milwaukee they offer Cor Jesu every Wednesday evening at a beautiful parish just blocks away from UWM–the state’s second-largest university–and people cannot get enough. But why?

I finally was able to check it out this past week and I was blown away. Allow me explain my experience…

To begin, it was at St. Robert’s, a beautiful and traditionally built Catholic church. While the church no doubt suffered from some of the sacred minimalism that has plagued American parishes since the 70’s (curved pews, some icons removed, altar rail ripped out, etc) it’s still gorgeous–a perfect setting for the evening.

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The altar boys are purposeful and serious at Cor Jesu, something foreign in many parishes now. The procession demands the attention it deserves | Mission Milwaukee

The event begins at 7pm every week with an hour of Adoration and confessions. I arrived on time and was greeted by a very pleasant college-aged woman handing out booklets that included some hymns and prayers (Latin on the left, English on the right for many). The church’s lights were dim with candles placed around the sanctuary and altar. The effect of this was peaceful, prayerful, beautiful and reverent. The celebrants and altar boys processed in for exposition. There were at least three [young] priests and at least four college-aged altar boys. The main celebrant, a great priest I was already somewhat familiar with, had beautiful traditional vestments on. The altar boys wore traditional cassocks. Movements about the altar were purposeful and reverent, especially during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Adoration.

I was stunned by the amount of younger, especially college-aged, Catholics there. There were groups of girls kneeling in prayer (many were very pretty…FYI GUYS). There were handsome young men standing in the lines for confession. There were people seemingly on dates (perfect way to get an evening started) kneeling down and bowing before our Lord as they entered the pew. In fact, there were Catholics of all ages but I’d say about 50% were in their 20’s with 20% being in their 30’s and the rest being older. I’d imagine that if school were in session even more young Catholics would be there.

During the exposition and benediction of Adoration, Latin prayers were chanted. Also during adoration was dramatic and beautiful music. Admittedly some of it was more “contemporary” music, but I will attest to the fact that it was done very tastefully and reverently with about half of the hymns chanted, something many choirs at parishes would never consider–fantastic!

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Cardinal James Harvey gives Mass at Cor Jesu on July 30, 2015 | Mission Milwaukee

The Mass that followed at 8 o’clock was excellent too. Fr Jacob Strand led the Mass with beauty and reverence. He incensed the altar, the Sanctus and Agnus Dei ordinaries were in Latin(!), his homily fit well with the day’s readings and was tied into the life of Saint Andre Bessete (whose feast day it was)…let’s just say he didn’t ‘go through the motions’. It was, by far, the most impressive daily Mass I have ever witnessed. Another interesting observation is that during Communion (offered only by priests) all the younger people I saw (even though I try to make it a point not to be distracted during this time) received on the tongue; a point I think is glaring in contrast to the style of Catholicism many of us Millennials grew up with.

To end my gushing, the night was fantastic. If there is a Cor Jesu offered close to you, I highly recommend checking it out…especially if you are in your 20’s or 30’s. I also cannot recommend it enough for someone who is looking to introduce a friend or family member who isn’t sure about the Mass or Catholicism to the faith…it shows that there are in fact many young Catholics (who are totally normal), that priests actually do something unique and holy on the altar, and convey that the Sacrifice of the Mass is something not of this world but of Heaven. It provided excellent witness to fallen-away Catholics who might have become jaded by the decades of less-than-serious, felt-banner parishes featuring horrid music and Communion reeking of ordinary, scaring away younger Catholics only to leave very old parishioners and a deep sense of antiquity. Wow, that was a mouthful. This is the faith we need to be showing our friends, family, and neighbors. This is the type of thing that will make a difference.

What a great way to spend a weeknight.

Let’s help Cor Jesu grow in popularity by sharing it and bringing people to it! And, to the Milwaukee Diocese, specifically Archbishop Listecki, great job setting this up and please continue putting effort behind this event.

The featured photo at the top is Fr. John Burns from Milwaukee exposing the Blessed Sacrament. Photo Credit: Arise Milwaukee

Latin Mass Returns to St. Charles Borromeo

St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia offered Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the first time in presumably decades after young seminarians started requesting it from the current rector. Apparently they will now hold a Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) at least once a week. It’s really interesting to watch the interest in the TLM spreading worldwide.

The following photos are from the seminary’s Flickr page and occurred on the Feast of St. Martin of Tours.

 

Pope Francis Validates SSPX Confessions

800px-SSPX_Mass-255x383The pope’s September 1 letter hit the worldwide news in a big way. The letter discussed some plans for the upcoming “Year of Mercy”, starting on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (12/8). He mentioned how all priests will have the ability to absolve anyone who has cooperated in the action of abortion. This confused a lot of Catholics in the United States (including myself) who assumed priests always had this ability. In fact, most priests in the United States have been given this ability already through their respective bishops–something not as common in other parts of the world. Of course, our media reported on this very poorly, adding to the confusion. You can read about it more here.

But there was another part of the letter that deals with the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). Pope Francis dropped this bombshell in the final paragraph of his letter:

A final consideration concerns those faithful who for various reasons choose to attend churches officiated by priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X. This Jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one. From various quarters, several Brother Bishops have told me of their good faith and sacramental practice, combined however with an uneasy situation from the pastoral standpoint. I trust that in the near future solutions may be found to recover full communion with the priests and superiors of the Fraternity. In the meantime, motivated by the need to respond to the good of these faithful, through my own disposition, I establish that those who during the Holy Year of Mercy  approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins.

This is a huge deal. For anyone who doesn’t know who SSPX is, they are an organization that started in 1970 by Archbishop Lefebvre in response to the Second Vatican Counsel and the changes in the Liturgy that followed. Currently they are in over 60 countries, with 600 valid priests, hundreds of chapels, scores of schools (K-12), and nearly 10 seminaries with the main one in Switzerland. Since Pope Saint John Paul II excommunicated Lefebvre and his four new bishops for illicitly consecrating them in 1988, here are some milestones leading up to where we find ourselves at today:

  • 2007 – Pope Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum, liberating the Traditional Latin Mass (extraordinary form) for the first time since 1970
  • 2009- Pope Benedict XVI lifted the 1988 excommunications placed by Pope Saint John Paul II
  • 2009 – Conversations on bridging the gap between the Vatican and SSPX took place, ending in 2011 and resurfacing a couple times in 2012
  • 2014 – Pope Francis allows SSPX priests to hold Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica (video below)
  • 2015 – SSPX holds a large public demonstration and Mass in response to a “Black Mass” being held in Oklahoma City (video below documenting the event–worth watching)
  • 2015 – Bishop Schneider (Kazakhstan) said in an interview: “To my knowledge there are no weighty reasons in order to deny the clergy and faithful of the SSPX the official canonical recognition, meanwhile they should be accepted as they are.”

So what of this letter? Well, it’s interesting that Pope Francis–seen by many as a progressive or “liberal” pope (a term I disagree with)–has been making some of the biggest strides to reconciling a group that is, conversely, seen by many as traditional and “conservative” (I will point out again that I disagree with these terms when it comes to Catholicism). Now he is using his authority to validate the absolution of their confessions in the upcoming ‘Year of Mercy’. Their Masses still remain valid yet illicit.

He also made a point to add “I trust that in the near future solutions may be found to recover full communion with the priests and superiors of the Fraternity”. This could very well come in the next year. Why would Francis give them the ability to validly absolve people through the sacrament of Confession and then remove that ability exactly a year after? That would be ridiculous.

It has already been pointed out that the Latin Mass has been flourishing under Francis;  that, along with the recent events, means that Francis in indeed no obstacle to the Traditional Latin Mass–something that was feared by some early on. This entire situation is very interesting.

There is no doubt they are not a schismatic group because anyone involved in a schism is automatically excommunicated–they are not (and the now-lifted 1988 excommunications were for a different reason). They are simply not in full communion with the Roman Church due to their odd and “irregular” canonical status which many attribute simply to a situation that was blown out of proportion. However, I must caution that I do not know everything about SSPX history meaning I do not consider myself informed enough to form a solid opinion of the situation.

St Peter’s Basilica Mass:
Oklahoma City Black Mass Response:

Jimmy Akin’s 12 Things to Know and Share on Francis’ Letter