Posted by: fvbcdm | February 17, 2014

Feast of the Founders of the Servite Order (17 February 2014)

Since I spoke yesterday both at Mass and here on the daily message about the declining numbers at Mass, I would like to pursue that idea again today. In the latest issue of the magazine America there is an article by Father Andrew Greeley on the same topic. I am not a great fan of Father Greeley, but he is a good research analyst and most of his conclusions in that area valid, I think.

He asks the same question: why don’t Catholics attend Mass as much as they used to? And he answers: they no longer think that they have any serious obligation to do so, and that obligation is not backed by any serious sanction. People of my generation were raised to believe that we are bound by a very serious obligation to attend Mass every Sunday and that the penalty for failing that obligation was mortal sin, which could result in the eternal loss of one’s soul.  Most Catholics under the age of 50 no longer believe that. They have simply decided that that is not true.

And what caused the change in viewpoint? Father Greeley points to the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI in 1968 in which the pope upheld the traditional teaching that contraception is immoral. The contraceptive pill had recently been invented and many people, both married and otherwise, were using it so that they could enjoy sex without the possibility of a pregnancy.  A sort of groundswell of interest in the morality of it had begun, and many people assumed that the pope would speak on the morality of the pill and other forms of contraception, and give them his blessing.  But he didn’t. He upheld the traditional teaching of the Church: contraception is illicit, immoral, and sinful. This statement of his resulted in massive disobedience on the part of many Catholics, which is still going on. And if they are going to disobey the pope and the Church in matters of sexual morality, why not in terms of religious obligations like attending Sunday Mass? So we now have a large percentage of Catholics who take the law into their own hands and do as they please in terms of moral or religious obligations.  This is a very dangerous philosophy, since it totally denies the authority of Christ which he gives to his Church: whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.  And to deny the authority of Christ and disobey it puts one in the position of living in defiance of the Redeemer who will come at the end of our lives to judge us.

Let us be aware, my dear friends, of this spirit of disobedience and defiance which walks abroad in our land and our Church these days. Regardless of how many people adhere to it, it is still very wrong and can lead souls to perdition.  Let us give our total loyalty and submission to Our Divine Lord, His Church, and His vicar on earth.  That way, we walk in the path of moral rectitude and have nothing to worry about when the moment of judgment comes.  Thank you for allowing God to love you.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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