How often must we encounter the total disbelief in God?
There are statistics regarding how many believers in God have diminished over the last several years. Their numbers may not appear to be too low, but look at the attendance for regularly scheduled church services. During the past 15 or 20 years new churches built within the Roman Catholic church were constructed with seating capacity of around 600 persons. Go back 30 or more years and the capacity was up to at least 1,000 or more. Now these behemoth structures, on the average, have a diminished attendance and plenty of empty seating. There is a similar attendance problem in many protestant congregations as well. When many churches were built it was difficult to find a seat on most Sunday Masses and at times someone would be saving certain seating capacities for family members who were late arriving. Now you could reserve seats for almost as many as you would like.
Today, if you attend services it is an eye-opener to see more than 50 to 100 parishioners at any particular time and when you notice several hundred it is a sign of renewed hope that people are returning to their faith.
One has to wonder whether there is something during the liturgy that has turned people’s attention away from the standard or traditional format to a more modern concept that entertains rather than brings us closer to Jesus Christ. We have a couple of relatives who have done exactly that, seeking a rock and roll type of approach instead of a more subtle type of adherence to ritual with meditative intentions.
Music that is leaning to the younger groups in our society is well and good, except when the total format of worship leans so far in that direction that there is no room left for periods of reflection on the Trinity, Sacraments, and a need to allow God some quiet time alone with the penitent. That synopsis appears to be drawing some away from the traditional church.
I suppose that cradle catholics who have remained close to the church teaching will not be too easily drawn away. After over 80 years in the church my adherence to what I grew up with remains an adhesiveness that is difficult to separate from. Of course Holy Orders has a lot to do with it as well. But, there are some clerics that have been swayed to leave. That scenario is also similar with staunch catholics doing the same. Answer? I don’t know, and a lot of those in the hierarchy don’t have an answer as well.
The understanding that in the latter days the church will experience a dropping away from the church as well as support of justice, law and order, and perhaps some attributes that will change the attitudes of many whom we trusted to leading the rest of us to a society filled with anarchy.
We who struggle to keep the support of our traditional church must not allow new thoughts sway our adherence, such as dissuading our sacramentals and realistic worship of the Blessed Sacrament. These, in spite of modern thoughts of a new type of worship should not become an approach to Christ that represents everything opposite of the real presence of Christ in the church, in our individual lives, and in the wonderment of a real saving presence that never leaves our tabernacles. A true and living Christ is always there and he awaits our real belief in visiting him as often as possible.
Ralph B. Hathaway, A belief in the real presence of Christ.