My faith in the Church

demolition_churchIn the last few months, we have all read about many of the disasters leading up to and flowing out of the synod on the family. During my lifetime, there are volumes of events and situations in the Church that have been disastrous. As a young boy, my family attended St. Anthony’s Church in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Every Sunday, the church was filled to overflowing. People lined the aisles along both side aisles all the way to the front of the church. The narthex was also filled and people were on the steps right down to the sidewalk.

Today, it is just the opposite. Most parishes have fewer people than they had for daily Mass back then. Children are often dropped off for Religious Education and picked up right after, never entering the church for Mass. Churches with the best attendance have a school, and it is expected that they attend Mass regularly. Many of the children that come on Sunday disappear after received 1st Holy Communion and Confirmation. Some parishes have full pews, because they have cut back on their Mass schedules and with few Masses it gives an appearance that Mass attendance hasn’t decreased. But in most New England parishes, all you have to do is compare the hair color and you get the right picture of the situation.

Along with the drop in Mass attendance is the drop in baptisms and weddings. The Rhode Island Catholic reported: “In 2012, of the 11,655 live births recorded, only 3,228, or 28.14 percent were baptized Catholic. For the same period, of the 6,695 couples who sought marriage licenses in Rhode Island in 1975, 3,458, or 51.65 percent were united in Catholic ceremonies. In 2012, only 16.26 percent, or 1,043 of the 6,412 couples tying the knot were wed in the Catholic Faith.”

Funerals Masses are also on decreasing greatly. A few years ago, I anointed a gentleman who attended daily Mass. I was shocked to learn a few weeks later, that he was buried without a Mass of Christian burial. Just scan the local obits, and the picture becomes clear. Many of the “Catholic” names no longer list a Mass of Christian Burial. The non-practicing family have no place for the Church in their lives, so they have a service in the funeral home and don’t even think of the Mass. The poor deceased is deprived of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for their soul.

Why has all this happened? There is not just one reason, and I will only list a few. 50 years of nonsense from the pulpit didn’t help. Priests who didn’t want to offend anyone talked about how much God loves us and how much we must love one another in every homily. The 70’s idea of the “newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other.” Nothing about becoming holy. Not a word about personal responsibility. And, God forbid they talk about the horrors of abortion and artificial birth control. The message was love, love, love to the point of being nauseated. And quite often, it wasn’t real love at all, because because it left out commitment, long suffering, and sacrificing for the other.

The priest scandal of our times has helped destroy peoples faith and empty our churches. Bishops and priests who knew about the depraved behavior of the few has soiled reputations of every good priest for at least the next 100 years. There were personnel who shielded bishops from people who had real needs and grave problems. Some bishops isolated themselves and refused to listen to the cries of wounded people. Priests who tried to help were sent off to the Siberia of their diocese.

Liturgical abuse caused (and in some places still causes) many wounds. A blind eye was turned as priests acted like clowns, tinkering with the sacred, turning the Mass into a show of self adulation, and sacrilege. Fabricated prayers, cheap & secular music, and every one can imagine was not beyond reality. The whole “celebration” into a theater. And element of surpass gave something new each week to keep the attention of the people. Many got bored and left. There are better entertainers, with more talent, far and wide.

And now, before our eyes, we see the fulfillment of the messages of our Lady at Akita( 1973): “Cardinals opposing Cardinals, Bishops against other Bishops.” There is so much confusion coming from some places in the Church, that the laity no longer know what to believe about marriage, the family, homosexuality or anything else.

But, despite it all. Despite some bad bishops & cardinals, pedofile priests, poor catechesis, crazy Liturgies, and a world-wide apostasy of the Catholic faith,  my faith in the Church is strong and will grow stronger because of it all. Jesus warned us of trials and tribulations. He left us one, very important promise that can reassure us in these difficult time. “Thou art Peter, and it is upon this rock that I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mt 16:18)

So if your disillusioned, don’t worry about men who waver. They will come and go, but the Church is here to stay. If we haven’t destroyed the Church by now, nobody can! This is the Church founded by Jesus Christ. Persevere, He’s cleaning His house. And in the end, She will shine brightly!

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About Fr. Jay Finelli

Father Jay Finelli is a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence in the state of Rhode Island. He is a webmaster, podcaster, and blogger. In his free time, Father is an avid Live Steam enthusiast.

Comments

My faith in the Church — 4 Comments

  1. I have made some of the same observations that you have, Fr. Jay. Holy Mass attendance, children being dropped off for Religious Education yet never attending Holy Mass and lukewarm, politically correct “talks” from the pulpit. Ski trips, family weekend getaways, basketball games and sleepovers all trump attending Holy Mass by my students.

    My 5th grade CCD students don’t understand the concept of sin (I am not permitted to use the word “Mortal” when teaching about sin and I have been told to only use the phrase “serious sin”), the necessity of the sacrament of Confession, the Eucharistic Fast, reverence in God’s House, and even chewing gum and messing with their cell phones during Holy Mass. When I try to instruct them properly, parents complain to me and if I stand firm, I am accused of “making this stuff up as I go along”. They complain to the Pastor who asks me to back off on “traditional” teachings and to just follow the textbook. The textbook is protestant in nature at best and is written to the tune of “let’s all get along and love one another”.

    The parents are indifferent to their responsibilities of educating their children about Catholic teachings, tradition, the Holy Sacraments, Holy Scripture, the Saints, etc. Attending Holy Mass for many is simply something to do when there’s nothing else going on. We tried an adult education program at my Parish (which I have since left and stopped teaching at) and three people came to the first session. I prepared one hour talks on 20th century Saints, The Holy Sacraments, the symbols and titles of our Holy Mother Mary, the Precepts of the Church, basic Liturgical Latin and one or two other topics. My work now falls on deaf ears. I’m frustrated that I spent an enormous amount of time fulfilling the requirements to become a Certified Catechist in my Diocese (the Diocese of Manchester) and I was limited to how I could teach the faith to the point that I left my Parish.

    So, I do understand your comments, Fr. Jay and things can only get better as I believe we’re either at or near the bottom of the slope. I keep my faith in our Lord and I continue to “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry”!

  2. Father:

    Regarding your assessment of our Church, I sadly agree. There is little more to be said. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen said it succinctly: “People today want a Christ without nails.” To further quote this great man, “nothing meaningful ever enters the world without substantial struggle and sacrifice.” Until we embrace these truths, the decline will only continue. However, I believe there are signs of hope. In their unhappiness, people will continue to search for answers and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and our Church, they will find the inner serenity and peace they so desperately need in the love of God and service to others. We must also remember that this period of time, as painful as it is, is only a short time in history. God always has the final word and the future has yet to be written. Let’s keep praying!

  3. The rotten fruits of the Second Vatican council and the Novus Ordo Missae being imposed on Catholics of this generation are obvious! We are reaping them and it’s undeniable! The heresy of Modernism has swept through the Church and still is and it is leaving devastation of every kind in it’s wake! Sacrilege is being committed at every Mass where Communion in the hand is allowed! Particles of the Sacred host are falling from hands onto the floor or God knows where to be trampled on. The Church floors are vacuumed or swept and put into bags or dust pans and thrown into the trash and brought to the city dumps, where Jesus Christ,Body ,Blood, Soul, and Divinity resides as well as in the Tabernacles!! Are our hearts broken yet?! The DOGMA of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus which every Catholic is BOUND to believe is denied in favor of a false ecumenism which preaches not “conversion”,but convergence with false religions! At least some people can remember a time when the Church flourished, my youngest memories of Mass as a 5 or 6 year old is guitars and tambourines and songs from Godspell! I could go on and on, but my hands are tired! USQUEQUO DOMINE??!! How Long O Lord?!!

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