Over the past several months I have had an on-going conversation with a very good friend. He is a devout Roman Catholic, who continues to build on his faith every single day. However, he was born after the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) closed. He has only known the “new” ways, the new Mass (now called the “Ordinary form of the Roman Rite”), has never attended a Traditional Latin Mass, nor has he been exposed to most of the pre-Vatican II things that were the cornerstones of the Faith for millions over almost two millennium. Not his fault at all.
Recently in our discussions, often over lunch, we discuss the current state of the Church, the recent scandals, the massive reduction in vocations, the Protestantized belief of so many, and the apparent watering down of so much that made us distinctly Catholic. We inevitably get around to discussing Tradition. This discussion often deals with pre-Vatican II Catholicism as opposed to what grew rapidly following the end of the Council, its pros and cons, the differences between the Old and New Mass, etc. All of these discussions have been fascinating, especially when my friend has spent hours delving into the issues at hand. Like Paul shedding the scales on his eyes, my friend has often stated to me that he can’t believe how much we, as Roman Catholics, have lost these past 40 plus years. So much that was thought to be good following Vatican II, a renewal, a new Pentecost, has often lead to empty churches, empty seminaries, a feminization of much of the current Church, and a loss of men from just about every aspect of church life.
Some of the best books I’ve loaned him have been by the late Michael Davies, a Welshman, who wrote extensively about the post Vatican II debacle. When he died a few years ago, then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote of the great loss to the Church, and to him personally, when Davies past away.
I am often asked by fellow Roman Catholics to explain why I love Tradition, why I love the old ways, the Old Mass, the “pre-Vatican II” Church. I have several ways of explaining, but rarely have I found a finer piece then this look at Traditional Catholicism. Called “Traditional Catholicism 101: A Brief Primer,” it is found on a wonderful web site that I read often called “Fish Eaters” (http://www.fisheaters.com/
It is not too long a read, but it can get a bit detailed when discussing what I, and just about every other traditionalist believes, is the number one problem in the Church today: Modernism, and all that springs from it. Take some time, grab a cup of coffee, and read it. You won’t regret it.
Lastly, when one digs deep into what has happened to us over these past several decades, ask yourself if we are really better off. If you think so, then ask yourself why? For example: If almost 80% of American Catholics attended Sunday Mass before 1965, and only approximately 25% do today, is that a good thing? If, in 1965 (still using the Old Mass) we had approximately 48,000 men in American seminaries and now have about 5,000, is that a good thing?
Just a few things to think about.