Give Us That Old Time Religion
Remembering a time when churches cared enough to safeguard faith and morals.
By Christopher Orlet
Whether one is God-fearing or not, conservatives should be heartened by a recent story in the Wall Street Journal headlined "Traditional Catholicism Is Winning." Just when it seemed that decades of sex abuse scandals, creeping secularism, and the popularity of private forms of spirituality, charismatic sects, and megachurches had knocked traditional religion down for the count, here is news of a revival of sorts.
The authors, Anne Hendershott and Christopher White, joyfully report that there were 467 new priestly ordinations in the U.S. last year, up from 442 a decade ago. Boston's seminary, I am told, had to turn away applicants. And, for the first time in memory, a new seminary is opening in the U.S. (in North Carolina). Meanwhile the number of American Catholics has climbed to 77.7 million, up from 50 million in 1980. All this would seem to suggest that traditional religion's obituary was penned somewhat prematurely.
Why this sudden and surprising return to orthodoxy? My guess is many of these young seminarians have been left cold by the decadence, empty materialism, and skewed values that abound in contemporary society. Perhaps they seek something more meaningful than a desk job, a commute, and a McMansion in the suburbs.
Behind this small attitudinal shift is the figure of Pope Benedict XVI, a strong proponent of tradition in all its forms. Some Rome watchers see great significance in the pope's recent lifting of excommunication from four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X. These bishops reject Vatican II and its so-called reforms that were supposed to help the Church "embrace modernity." (Modernity, phbltt! Who needs it? What has modernity done for anybody?) Naturally, those liberals who demand the Church reflect "contemporary values" despise this pontiff, while he is greatly admired by those who think the Church should not sell out to every new ideological fad. the rest
The Vatican and the Sisters
The bells of St. Mary’s haven’t been ringing for some time now.