Friday, 26 April 2013

If the Catholic Church was a patient....................

....Just what would be its state of health?

Well, in England and Wales, any medico making an analysis of Church ills, might well be inclined to declare the patient as suitable for the DNR ('Do not resuscitate') tag.

In fact, we are probably not so far away from having a large ticket tied to our big toe before being sent to the morgue.

But, the cry goes up, "Our parish has welcomers, lots of lay readers, Extraordinary Ministers, a vibrant parish council (is that an oxymoron?) and special services for the children on a Sunday, just what are you talking about?"

The fact is that, in England and Wales, the Church has dropped arches, poor circulation, chronic emphysema, limited vision and, it's overweight, clinically obese, in fact.

It is not quite yet dead but it does require remedial invasive surgery as well as a fitness programme to return it to full health.

To renew and re-invigorate.

Parishes that make the claim that they have a lively programme of church activities may well be telling the truth but they are missing the point, a busy and varied liturgical and social programme is fine but that is not the measure of success; it's only a partial performance indicator.

There are thousands of Catholics out there who are falling through the net and to whom, parish bible reading sessions are anathema.

And there are millions of non Catholics out there who, if presented with the average Diocesan newsletter, would move into reverse gear and put their foot hard down on the accelerator (gas) pedal.

The Church message has not changed; so why the problem?

It all has to do with focus and delivery.

Focus inasmuch that, so I believe, men and women are hungry for real meat and are not interested in  a faux Anglican Church comprising of middle class citizens and delivery in terms of the means that the Church employs to reach out to its existing members and to its potential members.

We have seen the great Anglican experiment of vicars drinking half pints of beer with the lads on a Friday night and then placing their Sunday Worship programme into the hands of a few members of the laity so that liturgy is trumped by nature displays from the primary school children and the Mother's Union clog dancing performance.

That has failed and quite rightly so.
 There is no substance to that just as there is no substance to most Catholic diocesan and parish activities.

Show me a parish with a blog or website that utilises the abundance of material available on the internet.

Where are the Facebook and Twitter entries?
 Non existent, while parish news is carried on poorly printed and highly boring A4 sheets left at the back of the church.

Of course, access to a computer is not available to all, but it is to the masses and full use needs to be made of it.

That's the delivery side, now for the focus.

If you treat the liturgy as a form of Playschool where you patronise and obscure, then it's no wonder that the pews are empty and folk look to the 'new' evangelical faiths.

Summorum Pontificum still applies.

Reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament still applies - stop bowing and start genuflecting.

Apply some rigour to attending church on a Sunday - cut out the chattering before and after Mass. Develop useful activities for the female altar servers ( not church cleaning) and get them off the altar.

Give the Sacrament of Reconciliation sitting in an armchair facing the priest the heave ho and re-introduce the Sacrament of Penance, in a confessional, at regular times.

Reception of Holy Communion in a reverent fashion still applies (in the Roman Rite) - bring back the altar rails, allow the faithful to kneel and to receive by mouth.

Above all else, open up the windows and allow fresh air to blow through the parishes, expelling the low oxygen levels and stale air of the past 50 years of headless chicken church management.

The Gospels are there.

Renewal is still possible; but the spirit needs to be willing.

We need leaders who have spirit and vision and who are inspired by the love of Christ to place us back on track.

Pray for Archbishop Mennini that he will long continue to give us the blood transfusion we so desperately need.


  1. great comment!i couldn't agree more.its about time we became catholic again=bring back the latin mass,bring back the altar rails for holy communion on the tongue,bring back good strong sermons by the priest imploring the people to frequent confession making sure one is in a state of grace before receiving holy communion!!good strong latin liturgical practice as well.just a start-need I go on on?god bless you.philip Johnson.

  2. Well said and yes we have become copy Anglicans when that model already exits? Confusing.

  3. I am deeply grateful for this. It can and should be used as a gentle reminder to our local parish priest. Some will probably scorn it but I'm certain it will cause some soul-searching among some pastors.

    Thanks much again. I'll send this off to a few parishes in the hopes that it will do some good.

  4. And how many heretical clergy and laity are only too eager to give the Holy Church the Coup de Grace? They will fail, of course, but they have and will continue to inflict damage with their poison. May St. Michael pray for and defend the Holy Catholic Church. +JMJ+

  5. Thank you Philip and thank you Aged P, Clinton & Anon.

  6. The Catholic Church was a place [a hospital indeed] for the solace of sinners, where one could work out one's problem in th silence of The [old] Mass. Alas, no longer, with reprobates abandoned in favour of the self-satisfied. "Welcomers" arghhh!

  7. I think most traditionally-minded Catholics are content to leave their local parishes to the superannuated middle-class liberals who call the shots and go elsewhere. My nearest Mass is three-and-a-half miles away, which necessitates getting the car out, and having done that I might as well go the extra distance to avoid Rambling Syd Rumpo and his guitar (believe it or not, his choice of 'Introit' for Advent I was the primary school Easter song "This is the day that the Lord has made", which in case you haven't heard it, bears no resemblance whatsoever to the Gradual "Haec Dies").

  8. I would add one more item to your list and that is to abolish Saturday for Sunday masses.Why do priests persist with this practice? Can anyone explain why? I know that the novus ordo mass has protestantised the church but they ( the anglicans) at least keep Sunday as it should be. We need to pray for Archbishop Menni and all those who are involved in the struggle to restore the traditional mass.

  9. The Saturday evening thing originated in Italy (including the diocese of Rome) in the 1960s so that families could have a day out on Sunday without suffering the inconvenience of having to hear Mass.

  10. Rod and John - I agree regarding Saturday Masses. However, we do attend a vigil Mass once a month as the priest, on the following Sunday, has so many directions to be pulled in, in order to say the OF Mass.
    Given the choice of an EF Saturday Mass or no Mass at all on a Sunday, we elect for the former.

  11. Sixupman - 'welcomers' are definitely for room 101.