The 2nd Vatican Council, and much more its aftermath and application, by and large have been a disaster for the Church, a disaster at once pastoral, intellectual and institutional.

As a result of this disaster the popular Catholic life that had existed was in large part destroyed.  Although Catholic culture is much broader than simply the reception of the sacraments and catechesis, it depends upon such formal elements of Catholic life. Without them it cannot last.

It is thus hard to envisage any ready way out of our present situation, since both the formal and the popular sides of Catholic life have been affected.  So how can we respond to that situation, in which the Church neither enjoys the patronage of any powerful government nor commands widespread enthusiasm and loyalty on the part of the Catholic people at-large?  In such circumstances how can the Church and Catholic life be maintained, nourished, and extended?

Sadly, the measures that can be suggested to achieve this end seem woefully inadequate.

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Detroit’s abortion rate is nearly 40 percent. Is it any wonder that nobody lives there anymore?

The staggering nature of Detroit’s abortion rate is mirrored in the city’s infant mortality rate. In 2010, data from the National Center for Health Statistics showed Detroit’s infant mortality rate to be 13.5 deaths per 1,000 live births—the number 1 worst rate in the United States, a ranking it shares with Cleveland, parts of which have an infant mortality rate that exceeds that of some third-world countries.

Even if abortion and infant mortality did not cause Detroit’s collapse, I don’t know how the events cannot be correlated. Living by principles that destroy life is simply and obviously unsustainable. Infant mortality and abortion alike claim the lives of innocent human beings—human beings who, had they lived, perhaps could have saved Detroit.

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Buchanan: Though the number of U.S. Catholics has risen by 20 million since 1965, statistics show that the power of Catholic belief and devotion to the Faith are not nearly what they were.

Thirty-seven years after the end of the only church council of the 20th century, the jury has come in with its verdict: Vatican II appears to have been an unrelieved disaster for Roman Catholicism.

Liars may figure, but figures do not lie. Kenneth C. Jones of St. Louis has pulled together a slim volume of statistics he has titled Index of Leading Catholic Indicators: The Church Since Vatican II.

His findings make prophets of Catholic traditionalists who warned that Vatican II would prove a blunder of historic dimensions, and those same findings expose as foolish and naive those who believed a council could reconcile Catholicism and modernity. When Pope John XXIII threw open the windows of the church, all the poisonous vapors of modernity entered, along with the Devil himself.

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Things are bad all over … but at least Catholics have hope, rooted in God’s truth.

We live in something of a meritocracy, and our rulers believe they are by far the most enlightened and well-informed people who ever lived. For that reason they feel entitled to make the aspirations of the present day, or what they consider such, the compulsory standard for public life. They view the claim that there are principles that transcend those aspirations as the sort of thing that led to 9/11, and treat the past as worth considering only as something to escape from or a foreshadowing of the glories of the present.

Nonetheless, a variety of conditions, from the state of education and the arts to that of political discussion, makes it evident that Western society is growing less and less able to think clearly and effectively. That’s a big problem, and one that’s hard to deal with, because it is difficult to cure oneself of mindlessness. Still, we should do our best to understand what’s going on.

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How to Survive the Fall of Western Civilization. (The Catholic Church has experienced such things, in the past.)


Four Horsemen

At Mass last Saturday morning, the priest stated during his homily: “We are experiencing the decline of Western Civilization.”

Sunday’s Gospel reading continued the end-of time theme warning of the return of Christ.

“There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (Luke 21:25-26).

Is our worst nightmare upon us as we watch society undermine and ridicule our Catholic values?

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