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"Francis Effect" analysis: Confessions in sharp decline Why? Saint Thomas Aquinas explains
rorate caeli ^ | 3/07/14 | New Catholic

Posted on 03/07/2014 6:46:17 PM PST by ebb tide

Rorate Caeli

"Francis Effect" analysis: Confessions in sharp decline
Why? Saint Thomas Aquinas explains

As we first reported yesterday, Pew's poll on the first anniversary of the new pontificate revealed several stagnant trends, both in Catholic self-identification and church attendance. Jeff Culbreath has a particularly sharp analysis of one trend that cannot be overlooked: one that went sharply down.

Nearly six in 10 American Catholics in the poll said they expected the church would definitely or probably lift its prohibition on birth control by the year 2050, while half said the church would allow priests to marry. Four in 10 said it would ordain women as priests, and more than two-thirds said it would recognize same-sex marriages by 2050. Large majorities of American Catholics said they wanted the church to change on the first three matters, and half wanted the church to recognize same-sex marriages.

This is highly significant. Pope Francis is wildly popular, but that popularity seems to be rooted in what is perceived as a papal blessing for moral laxity and doctrinal indifference. Furthermore, the pope appears to be encouraging false expectations that the Church will soon be changing her moral teachings. Also significant is that Pope Francis seems to be having a negative effect when it comes to the most fundamental disposition of the Christian life – repentance.
As for confession, only 5 percent of Catholics said they went more in the past year, compared with 22 percent who went less.

Let’s be clear: enthusiasm for Pope Francis is directly correlated with a sharp decline in Catholics going to confession. Before Pope Francis, the numbers were already dismal with only 26 percent of Catholics confessing even once a year – the bare minimum. That Pope Francis has influenced Catholics in this way should not be a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. The Holy Father has consistently lambasted what he calls “rigorism”, “legalism”, and “small-minded rules” but without specifically identifying which rules he has in mind. Following the Second Vatican Council, many Catholics have come to view the requirement to confess mortal sins as just another a “small-minded rule”, and Pope Francis appears to have confirmed them in this perspective. His own dismissal of rules he doesn’t like, such as his washing the feet of a Muslim woman on Holy Thursday last year, also sets a powerful example.[Source.]

How to explain this apparently strange disconnect, especially regarding confessions? How is it that despite so much talk of confession in theory, in practice this is the only part of Catholic life in America that has collapsed so low in one year that its downward movement was measurable in the poll? We could try to explain it, but why do it, when we can leave it up to the Saint of the Day, the Common Doctor:

[S]hamefacedness is fear of some disgrace. Now it may happen in two ways that an evil is not feared: first, because it is not reckoned an evil; secondly because one reckons it impossible with regard to oneself, or as not difficult to avoid.

Accordingly shame may be lacking in a person in two ways. First, because the things that should make him ashamed are not deemed by him to be disgraceful; and in this way those who are steeped in sin are without shame, for instead of disapproving of their sins, they boast of them. Secondly, because they apprehend disgrace as impossible to themselves, or as easy to avoid. On this way the old and the virtuous are not shamefaced. (S. Th., II-II, q. 144, art. 4)

If there is no "fear of disgrace," in this life or in the next one, out of a sense of acceptance or normalization of sin, even if that sense is unwarranted, a major psychological incentive disappears, and with it the urge to confess.

Since usually the path to conversion is a longer one (and, perhaps, considering the very large total number of nominal Catholics, statistically difficult to measure by polling in the United States), it will take some time before the effect is noticeable there, too. We tend to believe there is bound to be a smaller inclination to join the Church if there is an increased sense that the future of one's soul (if one believes in an immortal soul...) is not affected by one's religious beliefs and practices.


TOPICS: Catholic; Worship
KEYWORDS: confession; francis; mass

1 posted on 03/07/2014 6:46:17 PM PST by ebb tide
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To: ebb tide

In my very humble opinion , the RCC should not and will not change most of these moral teachings. There is already a church that serves those seeking a catholic type experience without the moral teachings There’s no need of another one. And more to the point , most of these teachings have Biblical.grounds. I believe both that the church must stay loyal to scripture .....and that it is up to people to change their conduct to conform to church teachings rather than having the church water down or abandon its moral teachings to meet and /or endorse the “ lifestyle choices “ of some people in today’s secular society. So, all these polls aim the wrong way. The question rather is whether or when will the errant parishioners decide to follow church moral teachings.


2 posted on 03/07/2014 7:12:40 PM PST by faithhopecharity (")
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To: ebb tide

bump


3 posted on 03/07/2014 8:55:21 PM PST by BlatherNaut
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To: ebb tide

You can’t blame the lack of Catholics going to confession on Pope Francis. Those who say they don’t go, haven’t darkened the doors of the confessionals in YEARS!


4 posted on 03/07/2014 10:33:36 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: faithhopecharity

Why is artificial birth control such a terrible sin?


5 posted on 03/07/2014 10:35:31 PM PST by IIntense
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To: SuziQ
You can’t blame the lack of Catholics going to confession on Pope Francis.

Maybe not, but you can blame a heck of a lot of it on Vatican II and its rotten fruits -- putrefying over the last half century.

6 posted on 03/07/2014 10:37:49 PM PST by steve86 (Some things aren't really true but you wouldn't be half surprised if they were.)
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To: IIntense

For the same reason that abortion is such a terrible sin. Others may elaborate.


7 posted on 03/07/2014 10:39:54 PM PST by steve86 (Some things aren't really true but you wouldn't be half surprised if they were.)
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To: SuziQ
I never heard that Pope Francis caused a decline in confessions (reconciliation). And what does "darkened the doors" mean?

Catholics who eschew the confessional have their own personal reasons. That does not automatically make them bad people. I know plenty of non-Catholics who never "darkened the doors" and are good, moral people.

For years my own Dad was one of them and he was a devoted husband and father.

Thanks to a 4th grade nun, I was devastated to be told that he would not go to heaven since he wasn't baptized in the Catholic church. As I matured I realized this was nonsense, and damaging to me. Why would a loving God turn away a hard-working men just because he wasn't baptized a Catholic?

Of course,you are free to believe what you want, and so are those who think otherwise.

I don't mean to be confrontational; I only want to get across that no one has all the answers.

8 posted on 03/07/2014 11:06:14 PM PST by IIntense
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To: SuziQ

Perhaps not, but some folks have taken his ‘who am I to judge?’ comment and run with it. One Italian journalist made the astonishing claim that Pope Francis had abolished sin. Is sin has been abolished, what’s there to confess? Now, of course, the Vatican issued a swift denial. But there is a very real perception out there that Pope Francis’ attitude is basically ‘following your conscience; it’s all good!’


9 posted on 03/07/2014 11:12:27 PM PST by irishjuggler
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To: IIntense

Hi. This short essay may answer your question (RCC view): Www.catholic.com/tracts/birth-control. It is one of those things that the Catholic Church has preserved in its teachings while the Protestant community has largely departed from it in the last half- century or so. See what you think. Best regards, fhc.


10 posted on 03/08/2014 12:17:14 AM PST by faithhopecharity (")
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To: IIntense

Artificial birth control reduces the marital act to a selfish sterile event that intentionally removes the life giving power of God from the center of the relationship.

In a larger social context, it is hypocritical to enable sterile fornication, while condeming homosexual acts. Both are united in their sterility and refusal to create life.

I say this as a great sinner who likely has you beaten in needing God’s foregiveness.


11 posted on 03/08/2014 1:39:57 AM PST by rwilson99 (Please tell me how the words "shall not perish and have everlasting life" would NOT apply to Mary.)
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To: steve86

But according to Francis, the fruits have been “enormous”!


12 posted on 03/08/2014 5:43:50 AM PST by piusv
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To: faithhopecharity

“The question rather is whether or when will the errant parishioners decide to follow church moral teachings”.

The answer is actually fairly obvious: right after they’re taught to follow those moral teachings. You pose the question in a manner that suggests that the parishioners are actually being taught such moral teachings.

Really?


13 posted on 03/08/2014 5:46:17 AM PST by tomsbartoo (St Pius X watch over us)
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To: faithhopecharity
In my very humble opinion , the RCC should not and will not change most of these moral teachings

Up until now, I thought the same. At this point, although I am not seeing official changes to moral teaching (and here I am not referring to the changes that did in fact happen at Vatican II like false ecumenism and religious liberty), I am seeing words/actions or lack of words/inaction by members of the hierarchy that lead Catholics and others to believe teaching will change/has changed.

Does it really matter what the Catechism states if the leaders do things that say something different? Or not do or say something that clearly teaches the official party line? If bishops give communion to public pro-abortion politicians, does it matter that the official party line is abortion is evil?

14 posted on 03/08/2014 5:55:46 AM PST by piusv
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To: piusv

Excellent point. Alas


15 posted on 03/08/2014 6:00:01 AM PST by faithhopecharity (")
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To: rwilson99

Very well stated.


16 posted on 03/08/2014 9:18:52 AM PST by onedoug
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To: rwilson99; onedoug
Very well stated.

Agreed, very well stated.

In a world (imagined) where sexual pleasure would be impossible unless it resulted in the conception of new life IN WEDLOCK, I don't suppose people would be fornicating much.

17 posted on 03/08/2014 9:25:59 AM PST by thecodont
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To: rwilson99; mlizzy

Pperhaps in some locations. But churches who have 24/7 Adoration will have long lines at the Confessional. Our priest has to add hours every week.

Also those churches with 24/7 Adoration have a higher number of young men and women called to the priesthood and consecrated religious life.


18 posted on 03/08/2014 9:26:29 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: piusv
If bishops give communion to public pro-abortion politicians, does it matter that the official party line is abortion is evil?

And how about that glorious send-off for Ted Kennedy? The message sent to the faithful by members of the hierarchy who toady to pro-abortion politicians is "do what I say, ignore what I do". It's sickening to observe bishops and cardinals allowing complete latitude to powerful pro-aborts and militant gay pastors, obscenely overpaying diocesan bureaucrats and funding leftist causes while expecting the faithful to quietly pay, pray and obey. On the bright side, there is still a remnant of sincere Catholics capable of being scandalized by the blatant hypocrisy of "Let's not use the Eucharist as a weapon" - doublespeak for "let's not rock the boat with the leftist politicians among whom we want to curry favor".

19 posted on 03/08/2014 1:44:50 PM PST by BlatherNaut
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To: SuziQ

Sure I can. He’s just boasted that he robbed a corpse and is not remorseful.


20 posted on 03/08/2014 5:00:40 PM PST by ebb tide
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To: Salvation

Plus my archdiocese has added for Lent the Monday night confessions.


21 posted on 03/12/2014 3:52:28 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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