Wasn’t Debbie, in her response to Joey, referring to a specific situation 'back in the 1960s? Not today? And while I am not going to claim causality because I personally think it’s multifactorial, the fact remains that belief in the Real Presence was much higher even in the 1960s than it is today.
My 88 year old mother was mentioning to me just yesterday (and she goes to an OF parish where she’s visiting and finds the young priest very devout) that over the last couple of decades, even in very reverent and fine OF parishes, the atmosphere in the churches is much different from that of her girlhood and youth. She said, "The sense of the sacred is just. . .gone’. Even in a church full of stained glass and statues and candles, ‘happy’ people, etc., one is just walking into a building; a pretty building, a pleasant atmosphere, conviviality, lots of fellowship etc. . .but no real sense of "God’s House’. It’s more like the house of the really nice people who are always the first to volunteer for community events, but the whole focus of the people is on ‘community’. The people could be Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, whatever, and the atmosphere is based on what the community finds comfortable. That’s why if the community likes ‘smells and bells’ it’s there; if the community likes burlap and bare, it’s there; if they like an ambience of service then the focus is on tangibles (boxes of food set up in back, sign up sheets for rallies, lists of ‘projects’), if they like a ‘diversity’ approach there’s the labyrinth, centering prayer, ‘ecumenical services’ etc.
But God? The God of our Catholic forebears, whatever ethnic/cultural/socioeconomic status as known in any Catholic Church in the U.S., Europe, S. America, etc. and whose presence was still so remarkable that even today Hollywood evokes it by flashing a screen of a church interior from 1940 or before because that’s what even the most ‘progressive Catholic’ knows will be recognized AS "Catholic looking’. . . the presence of THAT God my mother and her contemporaries, and I and mine, and my children and theirs. . .is harder and harder to discern. . .