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"Renewal of Vatican II" Update

Cardinal Ambrozic Hails "Revival"  —  35% go to Mass!

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Zenit has just reported what has to be one of the most amusing examples of the "renewal" of Vatican II ever to come across my desk. On July 14, 2002 Zenit published the boasting of Toronto’s Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic that "Mass attendance has been increasing in Toronto, a rarity in the West. The lowest level of attendance was registered in 1994, when 33% went to Sunday Mass, and 5% attended only twice a month."

And now? Why, the figure of 33% weekly Mass attendance has increased to a whopping 35% percent! And percentage of those who attend Mass "at least once a month" has skyrocketed from 5% to an astounding … 12%. That means that - hallelujah! - 47% of Catholics go to Mass at least once a month. "Studies by neutral sociologists state this," Cardinal Ambrozic proudly declared.

So, Cardinal Ambrozic is proud of a situation in which 65% of the Catholics in his care fail to attend Mass each Sunday as required by the law of the Church. And one wonders what "studies by neutral sociologists" would tell us about the adherence of the average Catholic who does go to Mass - "at least once a month" - to such Catholic doctrines as the divine prohibition of abortion as murder, the intrinsic evil of contraception and the indissolubility of marriage.

Ambrozic’s comments about Toronto’s once-vibrant Catholicism at the time of his immigration from Slovenia are revealing: "It was 1948 and the Catholic Church was of solid Irish tradition. Then the waves of migration began, first with the Italians, Portuguese and Polish, then with the Latin Americans and Filipinos. Sometimes I wonder what the dominant spirituality will be in the future, but it is a question that is impossible to answer."

He wonders what the "dominant spirituality" will be in the future? This is "impossible" to answer? One would think that as a Cardinal, Ambrozic would be determined to see to it that the "dominant spirituality" in the future will be the one true religion. Silly me. I am thinking with a "pre-Vatican II mindset." The Cardinal, however, views this as a matter of unpredictable sociological trends which at the moment happen to favor a return to "predominant religions," rather than the working of God’s grace through the priests of His one and only Church: "Studies point to a general return to predominant churches: Anglican, Presbyterian and Catholic, and a decline of the sects." Anglican, Presbyterian, Catholic, what’s the difference?

Ambrozic even regards the rise of Islam as something positive. When asked if he was worried about it, he replied: "Worried? No, Islam, with its ‘seriousness with God’ is not just negative, as secularization isn't, with its attention to human rights. In these months we have seen that, for the Muslims of Toronto and, naturally, for the Protestants, the Pope today is a father, a great religious leader, not a danger." So, Islam is OK, secularization isn’t half bad either, and the Pope is a "great religious leader" who is a "father" to the Muslims, the Protestants and the Catholics too. What’s the difference? We’re all just one big happy, pluralistic family under a pluralistic Pope who no longer poses a "danger" to non-Catholics. As Ambrozic puts it: "We are a complex country and a complex Church. We live together as in a large family in which at times it costs us much effort to understand one another, but it continues to be our family."

So, say goodbye to the Church militant in Toronto and hello to the "renewal" of Vatican II - in which 35% Mass attendance is hailed as a great revival, and the Pope is reduced to the "father" of all religions. And be sure not to miss World Youth Day. No doubt the whole Toronto "family" will turn out to see the Pope. After all, he no longer poses a "danger" to those who reject his teaching on faith and morals. Heaven help us.