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NEWS: October 29, 2021
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Bird’s Eye View of the News
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Atila Sinke Guimarães
MERGING PARISHES - At the beginning of October the Archdiocese of Cincinnati informed the public that it is in process of restructuring 70% of its parishes. This means that the present day 208 parishes of that Archdiocese will be bundled and reduced to 60. In November those 60 churches hosting the merged parishes will be announced and the other 148 parishes will be closed or put up for sale.

To avoid the opposition of the faithful, who in other dioceses have appealed to the civil courts to claim their rights over the churches they paid for with their contributions, the Archdiocese has come up with a juridical trick: The merged parishes will initially be considered independent, that is, each one will continue to have its own schedules, activities and financial books. This supposedly will stem the tide of dissent and accustom the faithful to the eventual closings.

Such juridical procedure is being tested as a model to be applied to other dioceses that still have not entered the process of merging/closing.

I believe that such a ruse is not very ingenious and the faithful will not be fooled by it.

An old process that continues

This process of closing churches is not new. It has been going on for more than 20 years. Among others the Archdioceses of New York, Boston, Chicago and Detroit long ago entered this process. More than once we have shown its inconveniences and the harm it represents for the Church (here, here and here).

CHicago Catholics protest against closing churches

Catholics protest in Chicago the closure of their churches - Sun Times

So then, why is the topic of closing churches and merging parishes re-surfacing now in the media and raising public attention? It is because the number of practicing Catholics has dropped drastically in the last two years, which justifies a new progressivist offensive to merge/close parishes and sell churches.

Until 2020, we saw the constant erosion of the number of Catholics assisting at Mass and practicing their Faith due to the failure of the Vatican II "pastoral."

In fact, the Council, with its official "adaptation of the Church to the modern world" made principally through its Constitution Gaudium et spes, alleged it would bring many more persons to the Church than she had before. However, the opposite happened. The post-conciliar Church with its concessions and extravagances did not conquer the masses.

The adaptation of the clergy and religious orders to the modern world resulted in the gradual emptying of the rectories, monasteries and convents. The few candidates attracted to seminaries and novitiates were taught Nietzsche, Freud, Darwin and Marx in their classes instead of St. Thomas, St. Augustine, St. Bonaventure and St. Anselm. The result was that the clergy, monks and nuns, instead of being models of Catholic doctrine and examples of good customs, became the more radical representatives of the Revolution. As a consequence, moral scandals skyrocketed in those institutions: Homosexuality, lesbianism and pedophilia became their shameful trademark.

Doctrinally sound youth avoided the seminaries and novitiates, and the shortage of priests and religious men and women was the predicable consequence.

The Mass, as we know, was reformed to please the Protestants. The laity in considerable measure began to take on the role of the priest. Silence and recollection were banned. Dialogue was installed as an essential part of the Mass. Women entered the presbytery and unduly assumed the roles of lectors and acolytes. Modern music was introduced in the liturgy, bringing on all kinds of abuses.

The result was that countless serious Catholics left the churches. This constant diminution in their attendance at Mass has been reported by all statistics.

To resolve the problem it created, instead of returning to the correct traditional path, the Conciliar Church applied another false remedy. It started to imitate the Protestant Pentecostal and Charismatic movements in their methods and "piety."

Catholic Charismatic movement

Above, ‘Catholic’ Charismatics receiving the ‘Holy Spirit’; below, a woman of the Brazilian voodoo – Candomblé – receiving an orixá

Woman in transe - Candomble
So, we saw a new wave of novelties moving the Conciliar Church toward a cheap mysticism in which the "Holy Spirit" became present at each ceremony producing "conversions" in series… Charlatan-priests attracted idiots convinced that they were entering daily into sublime ecstasies, when actually they were unknowingly experiencing exactly what happens in voodoo rituals when the participants are possessed by their Orixás or devils.

The "Catholic" Charismatic movement brought many "vocations" to the progressivist seminaries. Another scourge entered the scene. These movements generated singing priests and dancing nuns in performances more fitting for circuses, which further increased the desacralization of the Church's ceremonies. At times they attracted enormous audiences of persons looking for emotions. These followers wrongly called themselves Catholics, given that they ignore the most elementary principles of our Holy Faith.

Even this recourse to Protestant demagogy, however, did not stop the ebbing tide in the assistance at Mass.

This continuous reflux of Catholics from the Church explains the several waves of church closings we have already seen.

Latest attempt to kill Mass attendance

To aggravate the situation, an almost fatal blow to the participation of the faithful in Church ceremonies and Sacraments was given by Pope Francis last year under the pretext of avoiding Covid-19.

As soon as the epidemic installed itself in Italy, Francis told Catholics not to go to Mass and instructed priests not to give them religious assistance. Administering Confession, Communion and Extreme-Unction to those on their deathbeds was considered as a possibly contagious situation.

Contrary to the previous customs of the Church in such emergencies, Francis advised Catholics to assist at Mass by televisions, computers, ipads, cell phones or other such modern devises. Regarding Confession, he recommended that the faithful confess directly to God, like Protestants, dispensing with the indispensable presence of the priest.

St George Catholic Church

Only a few Catholics allowed to return to Mass; above, St. George Catholic Church in Baton Rouge

When the most rigorous phase of the Covid panic passed and the Masses reopened, the different health demands made by the religious authorities were so onerous – social distancing, masks, proof of vaccination, etc. – that a considerable part of practicing Catholics did not return to church.

The few who did return could not sustain the financial expenses to maintain the churches with their respective rectories and attached buildings. The result was that a new wave of closures came.

This is what explains why Cincinnati has been presented as a model for dioceses that still have not entered the process of closing/merging churches and parishes. It is a model for this new phase even though the process has been in motion for several decades.

Now, a final indispensable question: Was this continuous erosion of Mass attendance just a accidental fatality, a consequence of the influence of a neo-pagan world? Or was it planned beforehand?

When we know that long before the Council important progressivists such as Fr. Joseph Ratzinger and Card. Yves Congar had already announced a plan to reduce the Catholic Church to a small institution, without grand churches and majestic edifices, made up of small groups meeting in homes or rented halls, we wonder whether the result of this conciliar crisis was not purposely promoted to destroy Holy Mother Church.