Over the course of the last couple of decades, there has been a growing mentality in the Catholic Church that I would like to coin as “Low Expectations Catholicism”. By low expectations, I mean the average Catholic is willing to settle for far less when it comes to different aspects of the Catholic faith.
There are many examples in the Catholic Church today that demonstrates the laity’s acceptance of a crisis that has gone on for far too long.
The Catholic Church, especially the Catholic Church in America, has been witnessing a decline in the faith for the last 50 years or so. Moreover, the laity has become lukewarm to the crisis at hand that they celebrate what would have been red flags to the Church only a handful of decades prior.
As a Church, we have become acclimated to such low expectations that we have forgotten how high the bar is actually set. There are several instances where the faith has succumbed over these last few decades, that it is crucial we examine them and shed light on them. Several examples that come to the top of my head and I will elaborate further in follow-up posts would be specifically the attitude of the clergy, the sharp decline in vocations for both priests and especially nuns, and the removal of reverence in the Liturgy.
As an example to whet your appetite, when it comes to the clergy, we are so used to poor priests, bishops, and Cardinals, that when we find a prelate who is better and more “orthodox” than your average prelate, we rush to their defense and lift them up on a pedestal. Unfortunately, since they are only slightly better than their colleagues, when they err and their error is pointed out, those Catholics who have lifted him upon this pedestal will rush to his defense and accuse those who point out the error as being too traditional.
Likewise, when it comes to vocations, when a diocese has a “50-year record high of five new priests” there are posts of jubilee that everything is looking better. However, it wasn’t too long ago that five new priests were the expectation for every four or five parishes within a diocese of over a hundred.
Finally, the Novus Ordo has been celebrated so illicitly with all types of novelties that when a priest does celebrate the Novus Ordo with some respect to the GIRM and the rubrics, that we consider that a “very traditional” Mass, when in reality, it is still illicit, just not as much as the average Novus Ordo.
I will be going into further detail on each of the above examples in their own respective posts, as there is much to discuss in relation to each. In the meantime, if you can think of an example in which the Church has settled for low expectations in other areas of our Catholic faith, please feel free to drop a comment and I would be happy to comment on it.