Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Lesson for DOR

From Gabriella's Blog ...

The conventional wisdom of the critics holds that a church attracts more converts by conforming to its members than by challenging its members to conform to the church. They argue that in today’s post-Christian culture, the narrow, rugged path of orthodoxy is simply too tough to travel. Since most people have already abandoned that path, the church’s only hope for survival is to follow them down the broader, more comfortable superhighway of theological and moral relativism.

Such conclusions are dominant in public discussions of the Church’s future. They are also dead wrong. As the case of mainline Protestant churches so aptly demonstrates, the liberalization of sexual mores and the dilution of doctrine amounts to institutional suicide for those churches.

By following the siren song of cultural accommodation in the hopes of appeasing disgruntled members and attracting new ones, liberal Protestant church leaders have seen their pews emptied, their Christian witness compromised and their cultural influence diminished. Their members, meanwhile, have fled to churches that defend traditional faith and mores.

A study conducted a few years ago by the Glenmary Research Centre verified this trend. Researchers found that between 1990 and 2000, the congregations that grew fastest were socially conservative churches that demanded high commitment from their members — a category that includes the Traditional Catholic Church, as well as some evangelical and Pentecostal churches. Socially liberal churches, meanwhile, were hemorrhaging members at the fastest rate. As the centre’s director, sociologist Ken Sanchagrin, explained to The New York Times, “the more liberal the denomination, by most people’s definition, the more members they were losing.”

Gabriella's assertion that "Socially liberal churches ... were hemorrhaging members at the fastest rate,"  is perfect description of what's been going on here for years.

DOR has lost over 25% of its weekend Mass attendees in just the last 8 years.  Furthermore, there's ample anecdotal evidence that many former DOR Catholics are now Evangelical Christians of one stripe or another.

The DOR experiment with 'progressive' Catholicism has clearly been a failure.

Now if only Bishop Clark were honest enough with himself to realize this.

5 comments:

Dr. K said...

Sounds about right.

Even look at the schismatic Spiritus Christi. They went from 3,000+ in 1998, down to 1,200 (where they remained for a number of years), down to 750-950 today.

~Dr. K

Gabriella said...

Thank you Mike :)

Do you have a 'traditional' parish in Rochester (with the extraordinary form of the Mass)?

It would be interesting to see how much this has grown in comparison to the more liberal ones.

Here in Italy we also have a big problem, Mass attendance is dying out fast except for the extraordinary form Mass where, since the Motu Proprio, there has been a huge increase especially amongst young people.

Why are the bishops the only ones not to notice this? Why are they still going around wanting us to believe that we are living a new 'Springtime of the Chuch'?

Dr. K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
In the choir loft said...

Gabriella,

Commenting on what Dr. K wrote about the EF of Mass. Yes, we have the Mass at St. Stanislaus each Sunday at 1:30 and that is the major problem -- the time. I suspect if we had the Mass at a more convenient time, say 10 or 10:30 a.m. we would easily double what we have now. We get about 130 average per week.

For instance today at Mass, we had at least 12 to 15 new young faces, mostly from colleges in the area.

If I could answer any other questions, please leave them here.

God Bless.

Gabriella said...

Thanks.
It's general in the West: the Extraordinary Form and the more orthodox Novus Ordo are either stable or increasing in attendance.
The interesting point is that this applies more so to the US than to Europe where statistics show that those who have left their church because of liturgical craziness and wish-wash doctrine have abandoned church-going completely.
Another interesting aspect are the seminaries: the traditional ones have a waiting list, the modern ones can count their seminarians on their fingers (at least here in Europe).