In the continuing story of the resurgence of Roman Catholicism, Newsweek online reports on an orthodox Catholic frat at Franciscan University: Knights of the Holy Queen. Many on the Catholic right have long argued the church's decline began with Pope Paul's misguided reform of the Holy Mass in 1968. During the 1970s, Catholic dioceses and parishes in the Western world purged their sanctuaries of Christ, the Crucifix, the Blessed Mother, God, prayer, reverence, and holiness, replacing these "relics" with worship of the profane, the creature, the created. The Church put the created before the Creator, man above God, our passions above His Passion. In the process, she swelled the pews of evangelical and fundamentalist Protestant sects which preached a bit more fire and brimstone, even if their theology was sophomoric.
Now, thanks in part to John Paul the Great's so-called conservatism, a new generation of young Catholics has taken up the crozier of the Christian warrior. These young folks can see the disconnect between the Church's true beliefs, as expressed in the Catechism, and the lives of modern Catholics, especially the Baby Boomers in America.
As Newsweek's story puts it:
But now, as the generation raised under the more orthodox Pope John Paul II comes of age, some young Catholics are searching for a more rigorous form of faith. They're reviving old rituals and hewing to strict doctrine. Franciscan University, with 2,300 students in the old steel town of Steubenville, Ohio, is a haven for these faithful. This is one of the few colleges in America where a "Hail Mary" isn't just a last-minute football play.
The Newsweek story goes on to cast doubt on the numbers and longevity of the Stuebenville types, hinting that the Church at-large isn't ready for their kind of reconversion to the Way of the Cross. I disagree.
In the past year, more than a dozen churches in some of the most liberal dioceses in America have restored Christ on the Cross and the tabernacle to the center of the sanctuary. (In the 70s, it became fashionable to replace the Crucifix with a dove and move the tabernacle out of view.) This trend continues. Morevover, the empty refrigerator churches, such as the one near my house, are beginning to fill up with iconography reflective of Christian desire to be reminded of those who led exemplary lives, and of the One who died that we might live.
Now, if only we could inspire a reconversion of our Baby Boomer priests.
Michael Moore (no, not that one) at LiveJournal has a great apologetics examination of Newsweek's many errors.
Of course, Jay Anderson scooped me as usual.