Monday 30 June 2014

Current Events in Latin America: The Catholic Church and its decline in Latin America

Given this was to be our first substantive post since returning, we were going to address the events since 2013.  But an interesting set of data on the current events in Latin America covers the decline of the Catholic Church in Latin America - or as others would have it - the collapse of the faith in Latin America, which has been the subject of a post at Rorate Caeli.

Go over there and have a look at the data which comes from Corporacion Latinobarometro's "latest survey of religion in Latin America, real eased on 16 April 2014".  Despite what Rorate calls a "document released to honour the first year of the pontificate of the first Latin American pope, the study has an upbeat tone in the introductory remarks about the strength of religion and of Catholicism in Latin America.  Nevertheless the graphs and statistic present a wholly different story, at least as far as Catholicism is concerned".

Go over and see for yourselves.  What was of interest to us was:

(1) if is curious that anyone might suggest that the level of baptisms would give a reliable indicator of the state of the faith of any population

(2) Rorate is correct to suggest a better measure is "self-identification"

(3) however, it can't be correct for anyone to suggest that mere self-identification is that reliable either, given the often (a) poor formation of so many who classify themselves as Catholic; (b) the outright rejection of basic tenets of the Catholic faith by people who still self-identify as Catholic.  We don't think, by the way, that Rorate is characterising this as a reliable measure.

(4) to give an idea of the scale of the decline: in Nicaragua 47% self-identify as Catholics (down from 77%) and in Honduras 47% down from 76%. These countries dropping to these levels in the space of a single generation, when they were formally overwhelmingly Catholic, they are now majority non-Catholic

(5) The mass conversions of Catholics to Evangelical Protestantism, and - to get to the focus on this blog  - the suggestion that the influence of the Evangelical-style worship which has crept into Catholic liturgy, in fact facilitates and complete movement into Evangelicalism and leaving the Catholic Church behind.

The last is of particular interest: it highlights the dangers in borrowing and developing a "style" of worship that is not rooted in Catholic tradition and, it seems to us, justifications for it that include some concession to "what the people want" or "what attracts people" is misguided, precisely because these "styles" have no foundation in Catholic liturgical tradition.   And this affects the Novus Ordo rather than the Vetus Ordo.

Sunday 29 June 2014

We're Back

Well, it has been awhile and a lot has happened, but we will be returning to this blog and giving our observations on events and liturgical matters.

It has been a tumultuous time since the sede vacante - it always is, isn't it? - and the time that has elapsed has given us cause and pause for thought about the direction of things, including things liturgical, which is the subject of preference for this blog.

There is much we could comment on, and will, but let us start by re-affirming our prayerful loyalty to His Holiness Pope Francis.  Ad multos annos!

We already prayer for the now Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, for whom we pray that there is consolation and support from all in this unique service His Holiness maintains for the Church and the People of God.