Why we are not being fed.


#1

Ever since Vatican II, the laity have complained that they are not being fed, that is, they are not being taught doctrine. I totally agree.
In my opinion, this is the primary reason for the falling away of most Catholics from the faith and for the ignorance of most Catholics today.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the liturgy is the priviledged place for catechizing, (teaching) the people of God.
1074. “The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows.” It is therefore the privileged place for catechizing the People of God.
Thus the Church agrees that the homily should be a primary place of teaching doctrine.

It seems that the bishops of this country don’t agree.
My contention is that it is the bishops of the United States themselves who are responsible for for this lack of teaching by priests.

The bishops came out with an instruction on what priests should base their homily on, after Vatican II. It is called,

                          "FULFILLED IN YOUR HEARING,   THE HOMILY IN THE SUNDAY ASSEMBLY” Bishops' Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.       I quote on page 18
   "Nor does the homily primarily concern itself with a systematic theological understanding of the faith.  The liturgical gathering is not primarily an educational assembly."

These few lines express the whole tone of the document. The whole document is against a systematic explanation of the Catholic faith, based on the catechism, during the homily. The whole document is more or less directing the homily merely to be a commentary on the readings, instead of Catechesis.

This document is the highest instruction by the Catholic bishops of this country on the homily.

This came out long before the Catechism and naturally a priest, or those who instruct priests on the content of the homily would use this document.

It is my contention that the reason Catholics quit going to mass after Vatican II and the reason Catholics are so ignorant is the direct result of this horrible document published by the bishops of this country which directed priests away from teaching (Catechizing) the basic doctrines of the Catholic faith during the homily.

Does anyone agree or disagree.


#2

“Liturgy” means “public work.” The first part of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word is the public work of the Church in teaching Christ’s message. In ancient times, the first part of the Mass was called “the Mass of the catecumens.” It’s purpose was (and is) to educate.

No, we are not being fed.


#3

There are probably many different reasons why Catholics fall away. Perhaps problems with the liturgy or catechesis are one, but I am sure others such as the pressures, influences and attractions of secular life, or the inflexibility to change and reform, or dissatisfaction with their experience, or simpler and less formal styles of worship, or a hunger for a deeper spirituality and intimacy to the Real are all factors. Many conservative Catholics are no doubt also put off by what they see as excessive reform and pluralism in the church, while those who are more liberal in orientation leave because the church seems to act in a totalitarian fashion, demanding one believe or adhere to all teachings and doctrines on pain of mortal sin.

I think the CC is having real problems because of a number of main reasons:

  1. The extreme changes that have happened in society and the world in the past century have happened too quickly for the church to properly adapt.

  2. The church has become a lot more conservative and authoritarian since Vatican II, especially in its rigidity on things such as divorce and remarriage, contraception, women’s ordination, homosexuality, and on other matters, while society has grown far more open, liberal, and permissive. The inflexibility has driven many away into churches where the teachings are more flexible, or else away from the Christian faith altogether. The crackdowns on dissenting and questioning theologians and philosophers from the Vatican has made things worse. The Church in my view desperately needs to reform itself in some of its doctrinal positions, especially in sexual morality and social ethics, if it is to remain relevant to the 21st century world.

  3. The church has not really responded properly to the challenge of modern science. Many theological ideas are still stuck in the framework of medieval scholasticism, which is totally irrelevant to the modern cosmos and our understanding of it. The Galileo affair also still leaves a massive stain on the relationship between religion and science in the West, and the split continues and widens with devastating consequences to theology and religion especially.

  4. Pedophile scandals: The Church has been very badly damaged worldwide by this, in terms of its reputation and also financially, especially in Ireland and the U.S. The Church has not really adequately acknowledged the problem as it should have done, nor has it opened itself enough to public scrutiny on the matter. Its secrecy has done enormous damage to its standing and trust in the community which cannot be emphasized enough.

  5. Declines in mass attendance: In many countries, fewer than 20% of Catholics attend Mass. There is an urgent need to make the Mass, Eucharist, and other sacraments more relevant and vital to the lives of Catholics.

  6. Mysticism and Spirituality: The CC since the Reformation tended to downgrade or overlook the spiritual traditions it had. As many people are hungering for meaning and transcendence in the West, but are being very attracted by Eastern religions or by Islam, the Church urgently needs to reform and promote its mystical theology and spirituality to all levels, from the highest to the laity. This is probably the best chance the CC has for making itself more relevant to the Post-Christian, globalised era.

  7. Social justice: The church, while doing wonderful work in this area, needs to do more, especially in the Third World, where most Catholics now live and will live in the 21st century. The excessive repression of liberation theology by the CDF no doubt hindered a great chance the CC had to reach out to the poor and marginalised in the third world.

  8. Inter-religious dialogue: This was very positive until the disasterous regression we saw in Ratzinger’s later term in the CDF, especially when he issued ‘Domius Iesus’, which in my view is a very narrow-minded and insulting document to those of other faiths. His handling of Islam also leaves much to question, though there has been some improvement in more recent times. As Hans Kung rightly said, the world’s religions must learn to live in acceptance and peace with one another, or else there is not much hope for the world.

I am sure if the Church could address all of these things in an effective, open-minded and flexible manner, it could do a great deal to stem the tide of those who are leaving as well as win the hearts of those who are on the outside. Trying to retreat itself into a small enclave and make itself a pure fortress of holiness and purity against a competitive world in which Islam and Buddhism are spreading rapidly along with atheism and secular humanism, will only end in its decay and downfall.


#4

I agree that the homily should teach the Catholic Faith. I’m not old enough to remember the old Rite of the Mass, but did go to one two years ago while on Retreat. I do not remember a “Teaching Homily” during this Mass? I believe that the Homily was created for the New Order of the Mass. There seems to me that there was no “teaching” during the Mass prior to Vatican II either? Maybe we just have not gotten it right yet and need to re-define the purpose of the Homily. I have been involved in “feeding” (catechizing) the masses of laypeople for nearly 15 years. I does not seem to matter when, or where, we have the “meal” (adult catechesis), or what stuff we bring (topics, speakers). They are too busy to bother to come. The old “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” A new version is “you can lead a Catholic to Catechesis but you can’t make participate!”


#5

This is incorrect. Traditionally, the homily followed the Gospel. The homily would begin with English translation of the epistle and Gospel reading, and then some sort of exhortion. When I attended Tridentine mass (the only liturgical form I knew, besides the Byzantine Rite, until very recently), the homilies were often very conservative, but fairly applicable to the day. Things like “Vote for Kerry and go to hell”, though we had a very holy but very conservative, old, and colorful Priest.

I still remember when he talked about inappropriate dress at mass. He said “some of the women think it’s too hot in summer. What they should be thinking of is how they’ll be dressing in a much warmer place.” He’d do this by pointing out at us and scowling.

But in one-on-one he was one of the most loving and forgiving people I knew.


#6

What is incorrect? That I’m not old enough to remember the old Mass or wasn’t paying attention a few years ago?


#7

Lets make this clear, before Vatican II, priests were instructed by the bishops of this country to make their homilies catechetical.

I quote from “Catholic Sunday Preaching” by Father McNamara
"The obligation to follow the schedule might differ from diocese to diocese; but the total impression is that the bishops wanted a strong, if not exclusive, program of **catechetical homilies. "
**
Father notes in this book, which can be found online, that most bishops wanted the priests to teach the entire Roman Catechism over a period of 3-5 years.

The bishops were only doing what the council of Trent wanted.

But after Vatican II, the document published by the Catholic bishops in this country,
“Fulfilled in Your Hearing”, changed all that. No longer were priests required to catechize, but only comment on the readings.

There was no directive from Rome to change the practice of catechizing on Sunday !!

Thus the reason Catholics are no longer being fed is because of the bad bishops in this country, who only want commentary on the readings.

Since the readings say nothing about going to mass on Sunday, Catholics no longer think it is important to go to mass.
Since the readings say nothing about abortion, Catholics have abortions and vote for pro-abortion politicians.

Since the readings say nothing about living together before marriage then Catholics live together before marriage. And studies show that those who live together before marriage usually get divorced by their third anniversery.

The readings say nothing about contraception.

Thus Catholics contracept. Studies show that couples who practice natural family planning have a less than 3% divorce rate. Those who contracept have a 30-50% divorce rate.

Thus marriages break up, with the resulting misery, increase in crime, suicide, etc.

All this because the bishops no longer require a systematic catechesis during the homily, but instead they only require a commentary on the readings.

The people complained over and over and over that
"we are not being fed".

The bishops ignored the people.

Thus Catholics left the Church and art still leaving the Church and the ones who are left pick and choose which doctrines to follow. The readings do not teach doctrine. The bible does not teach doctrine. The bible is salvation history. Only after doctrines are taught can we see them in the bible.

When the apostles went to preach the Gospel, they did not do so by reading the bible to the people.
The apostles did not preach and teach by reading scripture.
If a pagan asked St. Paul to tell him about Jesus, St. Paul did not pick up one of the Gospels and begin reading from the beginning. He taught doctrine instead.
None of the apostles taught doctrine by reading scripture then commenting on the readings.

They taught the Catholic faith by explaining the articles of the Creed, the Sacraments, Commandments and prayer, just like the priests did before Vatican II.

Thus, the reason for the sad state of the Church today is because of the instructions of the bishops who now only require a commentary on the readings instead of teaching the Catholic faith which comes from the apostles, who learned it from Jesus.


#8

I may be blessed with a better than average parish but I find that the homilies where I am are feeding me very well.

I feel sorry for those who feel that they are not, but I also seem to recall that there is a measure of responsibility placed upon us as faithful Catholics to attend to our own knowledge of the faith and of the evangelism and catechesis of our own families as well. Please correct me if I am wrong on this.

If we are responsible for our own training in the faith as well then being here at CAF is an appropriate thing to do. I believe that there are an abundance of resources available today for those who are either not being fed or are hungry for more.

The Catholic Home Study Service
offers excellent courses for anyone who wants to better know their faith and there are other sources as well.

Once we begin to feed and grow then it behooves us to volunteer to assist in RCIA, Sunday School classes, and any and all other ministries where we can share our knowledge of the faith with the rest of the Body of Christ.

I don’t think that I agree that there is a “sad state of the church today”. I think that’s a generalization that does not hold true. Also…things are changing for th e better. If we quit :crying: and be about Our Father’s business.

Frankly, I have no time to lament the lack of such things because I’m busy doing all I can to do exactly what I just said. :slight_smile:


#9

My pastor is a master of the short short sermon. If he preaches for 10 minutes, he’s preaching long. Yet every sermon he preaches leaves me thinking and inspired.

Also, I don’t wait for people to feed me - I go out and feed myself.
There are plenty of wonderful books and resources for any Catholic like me who is serious about her faith.


#10

I recall the pre-Vatican homilies (we called them “sermons” back then") quite well. The ones I experienced were all catechetical. They seemed to have a one year cycle. I heard so many expositions of doctrine year after year, that it seemed I could recite the sermons myself. I knew of some priests who did the equivalent of teaching a one year theolgy course from the pulpit.


#11

Well, there are a number of reasons for the state of the Church today.

There is the woeful state of ignorance of the vast majority of lay Catholics, who were taught nothing about the Faith in their youth, other than “God is your buddy” and “If you were a flavor of ice cream, what would it be, and why?”

There is the Novus Ordo Mass, which was never envisioned by Vatican II, was designed by a committee, and is rarely celebrated properly; what you get are “clown Masses”, “teen Masses”, “polka Masses”, “dance Masses”, “rock Masses”, “dog-and-pony-show Masses”, but never, never, never, (heaven forbid!) a Latin Mass, in any form, dating from before 1970. All too often, these liturgies are either condensed, embroidered, or concocted, taking a bit of this, a dash of that, eliminate this, change that, sprinkle in this, add water, and stir—and voila! You have a Mass.

There is the pathetically hideous state of Catholic hymnody in most American parishes, which would drive anybody who isn’t a devotee of Woodstock to distraction.

There are the sexual scandals—and the constant, never-ending underlying seam of the clerical homosexual subculture (the nasty little secret that nobody likes to talk about) which gave rise to them.

And there are the numerous things the American church concerns itself with—things like “social justice”—to the detriment of the actual core of the Faith itself. These things are good and noble, but are not (or at least aren’t supposed to be) the main slant fo what the Faith is all about.

Finally, you have the entrenched culture of dissent within the Church, the idea that you can pretty much do whatever you want, as long as you believe in it passionately enough, and still be a “good Catholic”.

In my humble opinion, 98% of this development can be laid at the feet of the American bishops, who allowed this mess to grow, like a disease, over the last 40 years. The culture of the US church is what I’d call “Catholic Lite”: don’t rock the boat, don’t “offend” anyone; we’re all happy here! See, God is all sweetness and light and nice, warm, fuzzy feelings—we don’t really subscribe to those awful old concepts like “judgement” and “responsibility” and “consequenses for your actions” and certainly not “eternal damnation in hell” any more. (I mean, after all, God is your buddy, remember?)

When was the last time you heard a homily about hell? Or even more telling, when was the last time you heard a homily about abortion, fornication, adultery, greed, sloth, pride, or any of the other seven deadly sins, with the appended warning that "if you do these things you will go to hell"?

Thought so. Neither have I.


#12
  1. The church has become a lot more conservative and authoritarian since Vatican II, especially in its rigidity on things such as divorce and remarriage, contraception, women’s ordination, homosexuality, and on other matters, while society has grown far more open, liberal, and permissive. The inflexibility has driven many away into churches where the teachings are more flexible, or else away from the Christian faith altogether. The crackdowns on dissenting and questioning theologians and philosophers from the Vatican has made things worse. The Church in my view desperately needs to reform itself in some of its doctrinal positions, especially in sexual morality and social ethics, if it is to remain relevant to the 21st century

I think further bringing political correctness into the RCC would be a huge step in the wrong direction: the mainline protestant denominations that have liberalized are all declining. The fundamentalists and evangelicals are all growing. (why bother getting up early on Sunday to go to a church that doesn’t believe anything?)


#13

I think it’s absolutely inarguable that where liberalism and libertinism has taken hold in mainstream denominations membership has declined and where orthodoxy holds sway membership has grown. Just look at the Episcopal Church and the Pentecostal Church for your examples—the former, politically correct, is living strictly on old money from the time when it was the dominant Protestant church in America, while the latter, as hellfire-and-brimstone on matters of salvation as you will find, is growing by leaps and bounds the world over.

The Catholic Church is likewise growing stronger as it sheds the liberal fads of the 60s and 70s. One surely cannot argue that the Catholic Church has declined under John Paul II or Benedict XVI.


#14

What should we do, then – ignore Christ’s prohibition of divorce? Accept contraception and abortion? Ordain women (despite our lack of authority to do this)? Ordain openly practicing homosexuals?

Where would that leave us?


#15

I agree totally.
I don’t think I have ever heard at a Sunday mass, in my entire life
, that fornication and adultery are sins that will cause us to lose our salvation and end up in hell.
If the consequences of mortal sin are not taught, then the idea of sin loses its seriousness. Sin becomes a “mistake”, instead of something that separates us from God, possibly for eternity.

But, I am putting the cause for the lack of teaching about mortal sin, and all the other Church doctrines at the bishops who put out that **horrible, evil document **called:

"Fulfilled in Your Hearing"
by the
Bishops’ Committe on Priestly Life and Ministry
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

This is an official document of the Catholic Bishops that instructs priests on the content of the homily. This is what priests or those who teach priests would normaly follow when they learn how to give homilies.

This is an evil document.
This makes commentary on the readings, or even worse, what the “peoples wants”, associated with the readings the primary focus of the homily.

This totally contradicts the teaching of the Church that the liturgy is the priviledged place for Catechizing the people of God.

This totally contradicts the primary duty of priests, which is the proclamation of the Gospel to all.

The Church teaches in Evanelii Nuntiandi, and the General Directory for Catechesis, that catechesis, or teaching doctrine, is an essential part of proclamation of the Gospel.

The bishops seem totally and absolutely lost when it comes to this point. They have seem to have no idea that Vatican II changed nothing when it comes to Catechesis and the homily.

Again, why should Catholics go to mass, when the scriptures are virtually silent on this subject of going to mass and the bishops make commentary on the scriptures as the primary method of proclaiming the Gospe.

The Scriptures are silent because Scripture is salvation history.
Scripture is NOT a “sure norm for teaching the faith”.
Scripture is NOT a catechism.
Faith does NOT come from reading scripture.
The four Gospels are narratives of the life of Jesus. They are NOT summaries of the Gospel the apostles taught and preached.

Faith comes from believing the Gospel the apostles TAUGHT, and the Gospel they taught was the Catholic faith.

Jesus said those who believe the Gospel they preached would be saved.
Jesus did not say those who believed the gospels they wrote would be saved. The gospels they wrote are narratives of the life of Jesus. They are NOT summaries of the Gospel the apostles taught and preached.

The apostles did NOT proclaim the Gospel by reading salvation history (scripture) then by giving a commentary on the readings.
The poor mass attendence, the ignorance of Catholics today, the high divorce rate, the high abortion rate, the pro-abortion politicians, all stem from this document of the bishops that changed the homily from one of teaching Catholic doctrine, to only commentary on the readings.

It is NOT Vatican II that changed things for the worse. It is this document of the Catholic Bishops that totally changed the Gospel message the priests give at the homily.

Again, St. Paul and the apostles did NOT proclaim the Gospel by reading the scriptures then by giving a commentary on the readings. They proclaimed the Gospel by TEACHING CATHOLIC DOCTRINE.

If priests fail to teach Catholic Doctrine in a organized way, it is NOT their fault. It is the bishops who have misled almost all of them with this evil document.

We must demand the bishops correct their error and come out with new directives in compliance with the teachings of Vatican II and the Popes.


#16

This is incorrect. About the rest of what you said, I do not know.


#17

Ok, so the Old Mass had a homily. Like I said I was not really old enough to remember. I still don’t remember one at the MAss I attended a few years ago. Can it be omitted on weekdays or at Low Mass?

Thanks


#18

Gosh, I’m blessed. Our priests preach such pithy homilies that people get up and walk out in protest.

A few years ago, one of our new priests did a homily about contraception. I missed it, darn, but those who were there told me that people not only walked out, they walked out mad!

I was talking with my pastor a few weeks ago. He’s a jovial giant who is beloved in our parish. He is one of the people responsible for my conversion to Catholicism because he said once that he is the pastor of EVERYONE in the parish, not just the Catholics. I was very touched by that comment.

Anyway, he greeted me with his usual big bearhug and said, “We’re living in a wonderful time in Church history!”

Lifted me up to heaven!

I definitely think we need to be circumspect and discern evil in the Church and in OURSELVES, and ask the Lord to help us get rid of evil.

But I think we should stop being such negative nellies, adopt the enthusiastic attitude of my pastor and just get busy doing the work of the Church and the Lord.

Why would anyone want to join the Catholic Church when Catholics walk around talking about the “crisis in the Church?”

There’s a saying that is going around our parish (showing up on t-shirts, cakes, buttons, etc.)–“It’s great being Catholic!” I agree wholeheartedly!


#19

It can be and often is omitted at daily Mass. Where I go, there is usually no homily on weekdays unless kids from a neighboring school are present. When there is a homily/sermon, it is always a form of teaching. I appreciate it. On Sundays there is always, always a sermon/homily, and even more instructional.


#20

Episcopalian (and in precipitous decline like they are)


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