There is More to the Church's Western Decline than Vatican II...
|The whole Church has suffered from the anti-life zeitgeist|
The Catholic Church knows that, to a fallen World, including all baptised in Her, the glamour of evil can appear far more attractive than the pursuit of virtue and the love of God. The Church began as a small, persecuted minority and it is highly likely that at the End of Her earthly pilgrimage, the Lord will find Her rather as he first founded Her - a relatively small, faithful, persecuted minority, albeit nearly worldwide. Our Blessed Lord hinted at this when He said, "When the Son of Man returns will He find faith on Earth?" We have to assume that Our Lord meant faith in Him, since, as the next Assisi meeting will demonstrate, there are many and varied faiths on Earth and there is plenty of 'belief' in the World, but Christ, here, is talking about His Church.
Prior to watching an hour-long presentation entitled 'The Cost of Abortion', presented by Michael Voris of 'Vortex' fame, made in 2008, while looking out of my window, I wondered who, in Brighton, thanks to the contraceptive and abortive era that continues apace, I might have seen walking below had they been conceived and allowed to be born. I imagined a friar or two wandering past my window, a few nuns walking back to their convent, maybe a group of priests who live in community out for an evening meal who walk by my window to whom I shout, "Hello, there, Fathers!" in my best 'Mrs Doyle' accent.
Many Catholic commentators blame Vatican II for the lack of vocations, the lack of Catholic identity, the lack of large families that, alone, can produce armies of priests, brothers, nuns and generations of lay married Catholics to come. It is said, and it might be sadly true, that hoards of people lapsed in the wake of liturgical changes. Still, that didn't stop me and many others I have met converting to Catholicism who were perhaps unaware of the liturgical changes that took place. No, perhaps more destructive than the liturgical menopause was the whole Church's response to Humanae Vitae, the encyclical of Pope Paul VI (every traddie's favourite papal poster dartboard) that condemned the contraceptive and abortive zeitgeist that had been unleashed on Europe and the United States.
As Voris makes clear, especially with regard to abortion (though the same argument runs for contraception), every time someone who was meant to be born, isn't, the rate of people who were meant to be here, but aren't, rise exponentially because the World has been denied not just one generation, but also the generation of people to whom those children themselves would have conceived and who would have been born. Voris takes a map of the USA and starts removing entire States of people ("Nevada, South Dakota" etc) who were meant to be here, and are not. He examines it in terms of the economic suicide of stopping generations of consumers and their children and their children's children (etc) from paying into the public purse and consuming, buying cars and houses etc. He basically works out that for all the Americans who were meant to be here, but are not, there would have been be so much more consuming and tax paying going on that the figure would eventually mean that all Americans would be able to live tax free for 14 years. Now that's what I call an American salesman! The most important thing that Voris says is that of all the abortions which have taken place in the US since Roe Vs Wade, half of those tens of millions people would have been women.
The Lord's command was for Christians to be 'in the World, but not of it'. At some point in the 1960s and onwards, the wholesale rejection of 'the VII Pope's' exhortation to the Faithful to reject modernism in terms of its truncated vision of family life and the artificial regulation of conception and birth, led to a Church that is 'in the World, and of it'. This we see exemplified in the form of print with such dissenting magazines as The Tablet. One note of optimism that can definitely be sounded in respect of the 'Bitter Pill', is that its contributors are not only getting 'long in the tooth', but, having embraced the contraceptive age, feminism and homosexuality, they probably also find it hard to produce large families of liberals onto whom they can pass their liberalism. As Father Ray Blake says today, "Tabula delenda est!" I read one article in The Times recently which, having gathered some statistics, revealed that the ilk of Richard Dawkins and Stephen Fry are not long for this World, because atheists don't have large families and that therefore atheists are will soon be due extinction from the species. Only the fittest, those religious types, who have large families, will survive. Perhaps, after all, atheists are a genetic blip in humanity. All talk, no trousers - much like myself, unfortunately, at the time of writing.
Still, the Church, in the West, at least, is indeed in no place to mock now, because 'the spirit of the World' - because of the Church's rejection of Humanae Vitae, from Bishop to lay person - is now the 'spirit of the Church'. Only in pockets of traditionalists, a proportion of whom, it has to be said, appear to be committed bachelors, is the 'spirit of the World' rejected. Voris says that "a civilisation that kills its young will not survive" and that is true. Equally, however, the same goes for the Church, the members of which either or both kill its young and/or contracept habitually. Think of all the doctors, nurses, teachers, musicians, artists, builders, plumbers, architects, journalists, lawyers, midwives, gardeners, pot-hole fixers that would be here today had the contraceptive and abortive industries not throttled the soul of the United Kingdom.
The outcome is strikingly similar for the Church. Think of all the priests, nuns, married persons, large families, full churches, church building projects, missionaries, Catholic school teachers, holy Bishops, doctrinally sound theologians, religious brothers and sisters and Saints the Church would have today, if Catholics, after the 1960s, upheld the Church's teaching in this one vital area. You can argue, if you choose, that the Second Vatican Council 'opened up the windows of the Church' only to allow only a stale stench in, but even the smell of incense at a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form cannot cloud exactly what that awful stench is. That foul stench is the stench of the aborted children, by both surgical and medical means, and their never-to-be-born children and their never-to-be-born children of the Catholic Church - entire generations of Catholics who were meant to be here, but who are not, who are meant to be here, but who are not, who in the future would have been here, but who will not, along with those who were meant to be conceived, and their offspring, but were not. Contraception and abortion has decimated the Catholic Faith to a point at which it is nearly irreparable.
The Church relies on converts in order for its growth in the West because Catholic families no longer replace themselves. The Catholic family is in decline, largely due to contraception and abortion, and, worse than that, not only are the Catholic families of today's generation smaller than that of their grandparents, but due to the high degree of secularisation within the Church, even at high levels, due to the rejection of Humanae Vitae and due to the de-sacralization of the Church, the Catholic Faith has not been passed down to nearly two generations of Catholics. Those who lapsed in the 1970s, 80s and onwards didn't pass the Faith down to their small number of children. What chance of those children passing the Faith down to their even smaller number of children, in receipt of a threadbare catechesis in Catholic schools? Unchurched and uneducated in the Faith, what does the future hold for the Church's children in the West? It really doesn't look good, yet liberal publications like The Tablet cannot see the decimation of the Catholic Faith for what it is, even though they espouse those very moral evils that have vastly contributed to it!
It is astonishing that the Philippines are now where we were in the 1960s - astonishing, that is - that it has taken them that long to reach the threshold of death, a bridge over which we crossed long ago, only to see the Faith be blown up from the inside, like some suicide bomber walking into a Church armed with nothing but bags and bags of contraceptives and abortifacients. At all costs, the Church in the Philippines must be encouraged not to make the same mistakes as us and to oppose the Government's decisions to impose upon their populace the same anti-life culture that has wreaked such demographic chaos in the West, for, it is not just a recipe for demographic suicide for wider society, but the rapid, near fatal decline of the Church.
Perhaps Vatican II did re-orientate the Church to face West, rather than East, to lose a sense of the sacred and set up loads of 'clown Masses'. Yet, there is no specific reason why someone couldn't like 'clown Masses' and have a large family. Humanae Vitae wasn't taught, neither was it accepted by large swathes of the Church. The liberal 'freedoms' that exploded upon the West in the 1960s, in the family as well as on the Sanctuary, left whole areas of the Church in the West vacant, as well as pews, empty, whole areas of the Church, indeed whole Churches, convents and seminaries, just like Ushaw, empty, lonely buildings where countless young men were meant to be, but weren't, men who aren't and never will be. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa, indeed.
Things couldn't get much worse, could they? Well, yes they could, for those are just the problems of the Church. For, if euthanasia, voluntary or compulsory ever comes into force in the United Kingdom, it won't just be because it has become a fashionable idea, born out of moral relativism. It will be because generations have aborted and contracepted the very generations of people who could have given long term care to the elderly, sick, mentally ill and whoever is deemed 'unproductive' in future. For the World, the Culture of Death could lead to a civilisation which, already, is not worthy of the name.