Thursday, July 10, 2008

"...[VII]...was very successful at taking apart and exposing ... that old 1950s Catholicism..."

By Brian Kopp

On the eve of WYD 2008, some "religious" commentators in Australia are having a fit over the return of traditional Catholic piety:

Concerns old Catholic traditions could repel youth

This is a transcript from PM. The program is broadcast around Australia at 5:10pm on Radio National and 6:10pm on ABC Local Radio.

EDMOND ROY: As the Catholic Church's leadership attempts to deal with modern day problems, the upcoming World Youth Day celebrations has highlighted the revival of some of the Church's older traditions.

One of the more unusual practices has involved the bones of long-deceased Italian saints that are now on display for pilgrims at two Sydney churches.

While some Catholics are revelling in the presence of these relics, others are raising concerns the emphasis on older traditions could repel younger Catholics from the Church...

PAULA KRUGER: The worshipping of relics has surprised Rod Blackhurst, a lecturer in philosophy and religious studies at La Trobe University.

ROD BLACKHURST: The cult of relics and so forth is very specifically Catholic, and many people thought that the second Vatican Council had effectively marginalised or done away with a lot of that, but there seems to be revival of those things.

PAULA KRUGER: Why would that be making a comeback in this day and age?

ROD BLACKHURST: Yeah, that's an interesting problem and an interesting question. I'm really not sure. But, one thing is certain is that contemporary religion seems to be very polarised between liberal elements and a return to more conservative and traditional elements.

And so we are seeing a return to those more traditional forms of worship, what you would effectively call medieval forms of worship, side by side with more liberal and modernising elements.

PAULA KRUGER: The Second Vatican Council or Vatican II was an attempt to modernise the Church and move away from the biblical literalism of the past. So the young Catholics of today may not be aware of some of the older traditions that existed before the 1960s.

Dr Paul Collins is a former priest and author of Believers: Does Australian Catholicism have a Future?

He says many Catholics have grown up with a greater emphasis on social justice than saintly relics.

PAUL COLLINS: Well, they certainly haven't seen them I'd say, especially if they went to Catholic schools where the emphases would be quite different. I do think to some extent that this reflects much more the kind of religiosity of the organisers of World Youth Day, rather than the mainstream Catholic Church.

They would claim, you know, in their defence, that they were doing … that they were kind of maintaining the emphases that came through from Pope John Paul II, who I suppose is essentially the founder of World Youth Day.

But nevertheless, I think for Australian Catholics, and I think for Australians generally, these are kind of, you know, odd things that are different that people find a little hard to fit into any context and don't make much sense to them.

PAULA KRUGER: But Rod Blackhurst says the resurgence of relic worship and more pious ceremony may be what some Christians feel they need.

ROD BLACKHURST: The liberal agenda of the Second Vatican Council was very successful at taking apart and exposing the limitations of that old 1950s Catholicism that people from that generation would know.

But they weren't particularly good at replacing it with things. And so that there's a yearning amongst young people to go back and experience those things which they felt that had been lost and that perhaps were valuable.

PAULA KRUGER: So, a kind of spiritual element or a mystic element?

ROD BLACKHURST: Yeah, certainly a mystic element and a less of an emphasis on sociological and political religion. More mystical as you say and more devotional, yeah.

PAULA KRUGER: The relics of the Italians saints and blesseds aren't a permanent fixture in Australian religious life and will return to Italy after World Youth Day festivities.

So..."the emphasis on older traditions could repel younger Catholics from the Church..."

Wasn't that the tired cliché they pulled out just prior to and following the publication of Summorum Pontificum? The same one that has been proven wholly incorrect by the enthusiastic attendance at Gregorian Rite masses by our youth, and the swelling of traditional religious orders by those same younger Catholics?


Anonymous said...

Not at all sure that Collins isn't right. I just don't see an enduring interest in relics or linguistic relics among young people. We have to give them a more meaningful religious vision than that!

I found this on another site:

"Honestly, what is so great about the Latin Mass? We have a couple opportunities for the Latin Mass in our diocese which are very poorly attended. The reason is, 95% of Catholics don't want it, understand it or see a need for it. While the Latin Mass may be a very Sacred and moving thing for a small group of people, most really don't see a need for it or understand why it is such a big deal. Personally, while the Latin Mass was meaningful and appropriate at one time, I don't think it is worth the energy trying to make it something that everyone should love and demand. The truth is they don't. I don't think Jesus wanted the Sacredness of the Last Supper and his offering of Himself in the Eucharist to become something so complicated, so distant, so removed from people and commemorated in a language that no one understands or speaks. Jesus spoke simply and directly. He used liturgical symbols, gestures and words that didn't need too much explanation. "Noble Simplicity" Keep the most important thing, keeping the most important thing, the most important thing."

Chironomo said...

This may be a new tactic... I am preparing an article right now reviewing an article that appeared in "Today's Liturgy" titled "Avoiding The Golden Calf". The jist of the article is that teens interested in the Traditional Mass and in Traditional devotions may be "worshiping the liturgy" rather than worshiping God. Yes, that's what they are proposing. Then, the even more absurd claim is made that this might chip away at gains that have been made in evangelizing Youth with music and worship that "speaks to them"... honestly, I'm not kidding...the TLM is now being equated with the Golden Calf in Exodus. Will they stop at nothing?

Chironomo said...


Anecdotal statements abound for both sides of this argument. Tell this to the thousands of Youth involved in Juventutem. You will get thousands of replies in the contrary to the one you presented. I have yet to attend a traditional Mass where the young are not present in significant numbers. Complete with mantillas (for the ladies), rosaries in hand and obviously joyfully filled with the Spirit of God. This is not a "fad".

Brian Kopp said...

teens interested in the Traditional Mass and in Traditional devotions may be "worshiping the liturgy" rather than worshiping God

Well! Thank the Earth goddess Gaia that no one in the post-conciliar church ever made a false god out of the "spirit of VII," and its liturgical and theological novelties, huh?

The damnable hypocrisy of these sandalistas is mind boggling.

Chironomo said...


I hope you will take time to visit my site in the next few days to read my review of this fascinating article I mentioned here. It is truly unbelievable. I currently have a review of the article by Bp. Herzog of Alexandria La. on "Sing To The Lord" which breaks new ground in advancing an agenda. We really have to keep on top of these guys, I'll tell ya!

mfranks said...

I love how these people spin this:

"The worshipping of relics..."

It's exactly the same Protestant positioning of the relationship of Catholics and Mary, the Mother of God.

These people need to get the facts straight - no one is worshiping Mary or Relics. There is a big difference between veneration and worship.