My response to a reader comment shocked me.


Remembering simpler times. Were they really better?

by Doug Lawrence

Responding to a recent comment about the teachings of the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church, I wrote:

I lived during the era of the pre-Vatican II Church, so I’m an eye-witness.

Way back then, 75% of Catholics attended Mass every Sunday. Urban renewal projects had yet to break up and disperse faithful Catholic communities. Contraception and abortion were not yet central issues of the day. The clarity of Catholic teaching was superb.

The quality of Catholic schools was excellent and the tuition was easily affordable, even for families with many children. Catholic churches were beautiful. Men and women religious were numerous, orthodox, and wholly dedicated to their work.

The liturgy was traditional, Latin, and quite adequate. The seminaries had yet to be liberalized and feminized, so there was an abundance of good priests available to serve the needs of most parishes.

In those days, the Catholic Church was respected, all around the world. We had a strong Pope in the Vatican, no nonsense bishops running most of the dioceses, and Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen proclaiming Catholic truth to the masses every week, on network TV.

Of course, there were a few “bad apples” and scandals, even then. But the pre-Vatican II church knew how to properly handle them.

Then there was Vatican II … somebody put the radicals in charge … the church tore itself apart, lost its focus, along with much of its good sense, and with a few exceptions, things have been going downhill ever since. 

Were things really that good, back then? Comments, anyone?

Thanks to Cathy for the original comment!


  1. Doug, we must be contemporaries, as I share your frame of reference.

    It is quite tempting to look back at the pre V-II era as the good old days of the Church, where the kinds of problems that are now endemic in the post V-II era were rare exceptions. Tempting, indeed.

    However, I doubt that such recollection is accurate. My experience growing up old-school Catholic was good as, apparently, was yours. However, reason tells me that the evils and dysfunctions that followed the council did not spring forth overnight fully-formed. There had to have been a period of malignant ferment and gestation. Things just don’t suddenly turn that far south on such a cosmic scale.

    My reason and the gut feelings based on it are supported by some very limited research-type reading that I have done, along with some anecdotal evidence from clergy of the preconciliar period whom I respect.

    Indeed, the destruction and chaos wrought by V-II seems precipitous and without foreshadowing. However, so does a bursting dam, if the heavy rain occurred far enough upstream.

  2. I am 56 years old and I was there experiencing mt “First Sacraments” exactly at the time of VaticanII! Everything changed right after my First Communion! Then our beautiful Church was torn down and replaced with 60’s trash!
    We were told by the Nuns “we were NEVER to touch the host!” Sounds so primitive now/ with altar servers and our own hands!

    People do not like change…..and this type of change is earth shattering. The seeds were planted way in advance of Vat II for some time! Ecumenism was the goal….get more people back to Mother Church…but at what expense?

    I am glad, I did not see the changes, I was in the birth of the “Great Change!”
    What I cannot accept is ecumenism with False Religions!
    Seeing the Pope kissing Quran and showing great respect for these religions that do not believe in the Trinity!
    1John 2:22
    For those that don’t believe the Son and the Father are not the same….they are Antichrist!

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