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"Springtime of Vatican II" Update

Catholics Now Trail Protestants in Church Attendance

by Christopher A. Ferrara

The "Springtime of Vatican II" just keeps getting colder. On December 16, 2003, Gallup News Service reported that "After dipping to an all-time low in the wake of the recent sex abuse scandals afflicting the Catholic Church, weekly church attendance among Catholics appears to be on the rebound. However, historical Gallup Poll data show that Protestants have now clearly overtaken Catholics in church attendance, for the first time in Gallup polling history."

The Gallup report notes that in the wake of the homosexual priest scandal (from February 2002 to March 2003), weekly Mass attendance by Catholics dropped nine points to 35%, "the lowest measurement since Gallup began asking the question in 1955." While the percentage rebounded to 45% by November 2003, "Protestants’ levels of church attendance, meanwhile, remained fairly stable during this same period." Church attendance among Protestants is now at 48%  —  three percent higher than among Catholics.

Indeed, the Gallup report further observes that "the 45% figure among Catholics is 29 percentage points lower than the 74% recorded when this question was first asked in 1955." On the other hand, "Protestants’ church attendance is actually slightly higher in November 2003 (48%) than it was in 1955 (42%)."

Simply incredible. Catholics, who have the opportunity to attend Holy Mass and receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord Himself, are less interested in church attendance than Protestants, who receive only grape juice and bread. And notice that the steep declines in Mass attendance began in 1960. As the Gallup report notes, throughout the 1950s "Weekly church attendance was at 74% among Catholics and 42% among Protestants." Nor can it be said that the declines in Church attendance among Catholics were merely part of a general social trend toward loss of faith. As the Gallup report notes: "By 1969, church attendance was down 11 points from 1955 among Catholics, and 5 points among Protestants." That is, the decline in church attendance among Catholics was more than double the decline among Protestants.

Here, then, is the "Springtime of Vatican II" in a nutshell: Catholic attendance at church has plummeted, while Protestant church attendance has actually increased. No wonder Our Lady of Fatima wished the Third Secret to be revealed not later than 1960, because "it will be clearer then."

What do these sorry statistics tell us about the much-vaunted "reforms" of Vatican II, especially the new liturgy of Paul VI, that was supposed to increase the participation of the faithful at Mass? The data tell us that the post-conciliar experiment in novelty is a catastrophic failure, producing exactly the opposite of the effect it was supposed to have. And now Catholics, whose religion has the fullness of revealed truth and whose worship has the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, are less interested in going to church than Protestants. What an indictment of the utter folly of the conciliar "renewal."