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You Will Know Them by Their Fruits

What are the clear results of the reforms of the Mass that were given to us by Paul VI? Many claim the Novus Ordo and the "Vatican II" rules of the Mass are automatically good, and the results will come if people will only give in to it. A big problem, truly (but not the only one), is that fewer and fewer Priests celebrate the Novus Ordo according to the rules. There are a few places where the Novus Ordo is celebrated exactly as the rubrics say (as in Ad Orientem, using Latin regularly, no ad-libbing, etc.); maybe at least a couple?


The expected results, though, what were they? Those who brought us the Novus Ordo expected a massive renewal of the Church, a deepening of the faith, and a large influx of converts. Have any of these happened? Well, sorry to say, not really. What the Church has had is an increase in heretical teachings, and moral compromise. Catechesis has gotten worse and worse, to the point of where many Catholics do not know what the Church teaches in many areas. Although there have still been some converts to the Church (it is still the Church Jesus founded, even with all her blemishes), even larger numbers have left the Church than before these "reforms" were begun (the statistics say it is something akin to losing five Catholics for every one convert received).


So then, if we will "know them by their fruits", the fruits of the reforms approved after (not by!) Vatican II are fairly unpleasant. Those places where the reforms have been fully implemented have steadily declining attendance, lack of participation, failing education, a dearth of vocations, and an increasingly superficial faith among the majority of both the laity and the clergy. What is seen in Germany today (which is hard not see as an apostasy), is what we can expect elsewhere if nothing is done to stem the tide of modernist compromise.


Where do we see growth? I mean true growth, not just turnover and replacement. It is not in the average diocese in America. The reports I have heard from many Priests (those who would agree with this article and those who would not) is that those places where the faith is adhered to in totality, the Mass is observed with reverence and honor, and both clergy and laity are expected to live a life of holiness (observing all seven sacraments faithfully); these are the places where spiritual growth and life is found in the Church (even when--or especially when--they are persecuted for doing so).


I do not have all the statistics, I speak only from second hand references, but it is not only just one or two places where this is true. I do know that the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is growing. Holiness is increasing, vocations are up, and the people are being nourished in their faith. This is not to say that we are working contrary to Vatican II (as though we rejected it), but that we are a bit more concerned with the historic practices of the Church than with any kind of modern innovations (that are proving to be outright harmful to the faithful). It is these very modernisms that are having the exact opposite effect of what their intent was. Only someone who was dishonest about the current situation would deny this.


I am not about to attribute motives to anyone (God is their judge, not me). Yet, if we just take the behavior of many Bishops and Priests (i.e. their fruits) we will see that they still believe that more and more modernism will eventually help things. In fact, lately it appears that many clergy would rather see a smoking crater filled with salt and bleach (as one Priest said) than to have a reverent and traditional practice of the Mass going on in their diocese. "Just one more new idea and people will get it!"


Take this to heart: your soul is eternal; it will reside somewhere for all eternity. What you do now will make all the difference. Are you taking advantage of the grace of God and living a life of holiness? How you worship and the "culture" of the ecclesial community you are a part of makes all the difference. I cannot decide for you what to do or where to go, but I can tell you (out of love for your soul) as St. Paul did: "do not be deceived, bad company ruins good morals" (1 Corinthians 15:33). We know them by their fruits; go where there is good fruit.

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