Monday, December 30, 2013

The seventy-five percent

News articles and opinion pieces discussing the continuing controversy over Eastside Catholic's radical decision actually to act like a Catholic school for once (and not an "...exclusive private school in the Catholic tradition...") have made mention of a curious statistic: the claim that at least seventy-five percent of the students at the school are protesting against the school's decision to fire the "married" gay administrator and demanding that not only the school, but Church teaching as well, should change at once to suit their totally erroneous ideas and heretical notions.

Why is "at least seventy-five percent" a curious statistic?  Because it closely tracks to the number of US Catholics who don't show up for Mass on Sundays, a number that is actually around 76 or 77 percent.  Only twenty-three or twenty-four percent of Catholics in the United States of America bother to haul their hindquarters out of bed on Sunday mornings (let alone popping in to a local parish on Saturday night) to fulfill the Sunday Mass obligation--and let's just remember that failing to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation without a valid reason for your absence (such as illness, the care of children, an unprecedented ice storm such that your pastor can't even make it to Mass himself, etc.) is a serious sin, which, under the usual conditions, can be a mortal sin--you know, the kind that could keep you from making it to Heaven.

I am not claiming that the students engaged in the silly, nitwit protest over Church teaching at Eastside Catholic are among the seventy-five percent of Catholics who don't make it to Church on Sundays, of course--some of them may still show up, either because their parents expect it or because they earnestly believe that they will "reform" the Church from within, and dream of such stupid things as a female priestesshood and other vanities.  Or maybe Mass attendance is just a habit they haven't yet "outgrown," as some of their peers on the protest line most likely already have.  What I am claiming is that I would be radically surprised, should diocesan Catholic schools ever survey their graduates to find out how many of them still attend Mass on Sundays within ten years of their graduation, if the number was even as high as twenty-five percent.

It is one thing--a scandalous thing, to be sure, but one thing--if in a post-Christian nation which is openly hostile to religious faith seventy-five percent of the people steeped in narcissistic autonomy with a side of soul-deadening consumerism fall away from the practice of their faith.  It is another thing altogether if Catholic parents are paying for Catholic education as a counter to that corrosive culture only to discover that their children are being handed the scorpions of trendy approval and protests in favor of the Mortal Sin of the Week instead of the Bread of Truth, with the result that their children fall away at the same or even higher rates than the rate of those who didn't receive the "gift" of a diocesan Catholic education.  When paying anywhere from five to twenty thousand dollars a year for a Catholic education produces as many heretics as the public schools produce, why should anybody sign up for diocesan Catholic education at all? 

The media is focusing on the obnoxious loud ignorant students whose words are as embarrassing as their actions, but the kids I'm concerned about here are the twenty-five percent, the ones who go quietly to Mass with their families and ponder a religious vocation and keep informed about Church teaching and go on Confirmation retreats even when they know more than the retreat leaders ever will about the Catechism already--and who know quite clearly, and can even express articulately, why "gay marriage" is an ontological impossibility that no clear-thinking Catholic can ever support.  Because they, the twenty-five percent, are the real future of the Church.