I can’t believe I only just found out about this one. In a rare flash of insight and self-reflection, Msgr. Charles Pope wrote an article for the National Catholic Register about how the numbers for Latin Mass participation seem to have stagnated and how Latin Mass communities need to actively evangelize to increase their numbers and their clout.
It seems that a ceiling has been hit. The Traditional Latin Mass appeals to a certain niche group of Catholics, but the number in that group appears to have reached its maximum.
Some traditional Catholics I speak to say, “If only the archdiocese would promote us more,” or “If only the bishop would celebrate it at all or more frequently.” Perhaps, but many other niche groups in the archdiocese say the same thing about their particular interest.
At the end of the day, for any particular movement, prayer form, organization, or even liturgy, the job of promoting it must belong to those who love it most. Shepherds don’t have sheep; sheep have sheep.
And once again we are back to the fundamental point: numbers matter. Groups that seek respect, recognition, and promotion in the highest places need to remember that numbers do matter; it’s just the way life works. If we who love the Traditional Latin Mass want to be near the top of the bishop’s priority list, we’re going to have to be more than one-half of one percent of Catholics in the pews
Something I forgot to mention in my previous entry on the loves and hates of the conservotrad blogosphere/message board world is the fixation on perceived anti-Catholicism. The Catholic Answers group was originally founded as an apologetically organization to defend Catholicism against the critiques of Protestant fundamentalists, but now they’ve also branched out into defending the church against the so-called “New Atheists.” Consequently, the posts that aren’t about sex or liturgical abuses tend to be about how an erstwhile conservotrad can defend the Catholic church against the latest ecclesiastical scandal. Having participating in many of these threads, I think that the Catholic Answers Forum (CAF) moderators need to just pin a sticky thread entitled, “How do I respond to scandals in the Church?” that would have a single post that reads, “There are no scandals in the Catholic Church; the secular media is anti-Catholic and wants to make you think there are scandals to damage your faith.”
I’ve always been the kind of person who has an obsessive need to know things, a trait that is probably due to Asperger’s Syndrome. Hence, when I decided to convert to Catholicism back in 2005, I read everything I could get my hands on, especially blogs and message boards. These two sources formed a crucial part of my “Catholic education,” so to speak, because I had become convinced that the most of the parishes in the archdiocese were “unorthodox” and would obscure or leave out the “Truth” as I understood it to be. However, as I have mentioned before, these blogs and message boards fed into my pre-existing problems with debilitating anxiety.