Getting Closer to the Truth – Protestant Services or the Novus Ordo?

‘If in the records of the Church it is deservedly reckoned to the special credit of its first ages that the multitude of the believers had but one heart and one soul (Acts 4:32), there can be no shadow of doubt that this immense blessing was due to their frequent meetings at the divine table; for we find it recorded of them: They were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles and in the communion of the breaking of bread (Acts 2:42).’ – Pope Leo XIII ‘Mirae Caritatis

As stated elsewhere on this website, the key to happiness and freedom is knowing and loving the truth. To gain knowledge of the truth, the truth must be presented clearly. When the truth is presented thus, one is more likely to assent to it, love it and follow it. The following study, presented below, is a scientific investigation into whether a Protestant service or a Catholic (Novus Ordo) Mass is more likely to help people to love and follow the truth. I post this study here as the soul and intellect are nourished on truth and where one goes to honour and receive Truth Himself will have a significant impact on one’s psychological well being.

Forming one’s moral foundation: A Protestant service or a Catholic Mass?

The following article examines the moral attitudes of Protestant and Catholics and the effect of attendance at their respective ‘services’ on these attitudes.  This is done by looking at data from the World Value Survey and European Value Survey.  While this article outlines a scientific investigation, it is written in a slightly more informal style so that it can be understood by those not familiar with reading scientific publications.  The author hopes that enough information is provided, and methods clearly explained that this study can be critiqued, and the results verified by any researchers who wish to review what is shared here. If the reader wishes to have access to any further data/tables/results or has any questions about what is shared below please contact the author at: truthandfreedomtherapy@outlook.com 

‘If you love me, keep my commandments’ (John 14:15)

Introduction:

                   One of the core missions of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, was to help us lives that were highly moral so that we could earn eternal happiness.  He exhorts us to be perfect (Matthew 5:48), to love one another (John 13:34), love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) and to be meek, merciful and just (Matthew 5:3-10). He tells Christians to be virtuous and let this light shine as an example to the world (Matthew 5:15).  He says that people will know His followers by their fruits (Matthew 7:16) and He says that those who love Him will keep His commandments (John 14:15).

                  During our recent times, there has been a falling away from the message of Christ and a decline in love for God.  This is reflective in our behaviour and also in our attitudes towards His commandments.  This is strikingly obvious in the breaking of the fifth (‘Thou shalt not kill’) and sixth (‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’) commandments. Over the last number of decades, abortion and euthanasia have been legalised in many countries and in countries where it is not yet legal, more accepting attitudes towards these two sins have developed.  In relation to the sixth commandment, sins of impurity are becoming more and more prevalent.  This is particularly true in relation to the atrocious sin that is homosexuality (For a great insight into why ‘atrocious’ is only one of many appropriate words for this sin, see: ‘The Book of Gomorrah’ by St Peter Damian (1)).  It is become fashionable in countries, which used to be Christian, to have ‘gay pride’ marches and it is now legal in many countries for homosexuals and lesbians to ‘marry’. 

                  So what can stem this tide of immorality?  The answer is Christianity. True science only supports this position and the greatest of Catholic minds, such as that of St Augustine, St Thomas, St Bonaventure, nobly and, decidedly, defeated the so-called intellectuals of their time.  In our modern ‘scientific’ times, ‘scientific’ arguments which supposedly refute the Faith are nothing but ‘sham’ science. This was outlined neatly over a 100 years ago by Harvard Professor of Anatomy, Thomas Dwight, ‘One of our greatest curses has been the atheistic popular lecturer, the purveyor of sham science on one hand and the hater of religion on the other. He spreads abroad the wildest theories as established facts, clamoring that the whole social fabric, religion and all, should be remodeled to suit the new revelation. He does not know whether there is a God or not; but he does know that man came from an ape. There is no certainty that our senses tell us the truth, yet there is no knowledge but from observation.  An idea is nothing but a glorious sensation, idiocy is a reversion, crime a disease, free will a delusion, religion an emotion.  The mischief that such men do is great indeed.  The young man sees the popular lecturer praised and flattered.  He is dazzled by his plausibility and brilliancy.  The plain fact that his hero is but a quack does not occur to him.’ (p. 26-27) (2).  These words from 1911 are even more relevant today than they were then. In these times of mass confusion, there is much blindness and scientific quackery.  So where can you find good shepherds to teach and guide you on the straight and narrow path of Christianity and help you to live a good moral life?  There have been many theological and philosophical discussions and arguments about false teachers and false shepherds throughout the last number of centuries.  This study is not going to enter into these theological discussions (‘The Catholic Encyclopaedia’ (3) is a great guide for those looking to find answers to these arguments and it is worth studying the warnings from the Epistles of St Paul about false teachers as they are as relevant today as ever they were). Rather, the purpose of this study is to draw people’s attention to data from the social science field that can give evidence for the best route on the short and narrow path.  Subsequent to presenting and analysing the data, the results will be discussed, and conclusions drawn from this. 

The Rationale for This Research:

                  This question about whether it is better to attend a Protestant service or Catholic Mass to inform one’s moral attitudes became of interest to the author after observing the difference in opinion on abortion amongst Protestant and Catholics during the abortion Referendum campaign in Ireland in 2018.  Many Catholics and Protestants came together for the prolife campaign.  People who called themselves ‘Catholics’ had a wide range of divergent opinions on this issue and this was apparent even amongst Mass going ‘Catholics’. (This has become even more evident once the results were announced in the Referendum with many Catholics voting for the removal of the eighth amendment from the Irish Constitution, thus legalising abortion in Ireland (4)). It became obvious during the campaign that many Protestants had stronger stances against abortion than many Catholics.  There were complaints during the Referendum campaign that the Church was being too quiet on this issue and not guiding its flock properly.  As stated above, once one’s eyes are opened, by the grace of God, and once one has studied the current problems in our world, it is clear that Christianity is the key to bringing people back to the truth.  But who are guiding people to the truth and correct moral attitudes? Tragically, as a Catholic, the question must be asked: is it Protestant ministers or Catholic priests?

                       The author wished to look at data objectively to try to find the answer to this question.  The data chosen to achieve this was from the World Value Survey (1981 to 2014, see: www.worldvaluesurvey.org). These surveys collected data from people on a range of social, political and religious issues.  Since 1981, there have been 6 waves, i.e. collections, of data completed.  This data is open to the public. (The collection of data for the seventh waves, 2017-2019, is under way). These surveys provide a wealth of data on moral views and opinions from across the world.

Preliminary research:

                        Based on what was observed during the abortion Referendum campaign, it was decided, first, to examine how many Mass going Catholics were in favour of abortion. This was done to obtain an overview of moral attitudes amongst Mass going Catholics (Please note: the author does not wish to pass judgement on individuals who voted for abortion as one does not know how much they knew about what they were voting for.  Many voters may have thought that they were voting for ‘women’s rights’, ‘women’s liberty’ or ‘healthcare’ but I write ‘voted for abortion’ here as this was what was voted for.  The author also believes that the sinfulness of the act of voting for abortion should be pointed out to people as this is the charitable thing to do as works of mercy include instructing the ignorant and admonishing the sinner). The author was aware of many Mass going ‘Catholics’ who voted in favour of abortion, but no study or research was found indicating the views on abortion of Mass going ‘Catholics’.  Pew research from 2016 (5) indicated that Catholics in the USA had less opposition to abortion than some Protestant groups, e.g. Evangelical Protestants, but this gave no information on Mass attendance.  Using data from Ireland from the European Value Survey (EVS, 2008 – see: https://europeanvaluesstudy.eu/), the author examined the percentage of weekly Mass going Catholics who believed abortion was sometimes acceptable, i.e. they scored 2 or more on the question outlined in figure 1 below.  (Note: The focus is on Ireland (2008) in this preliminary research but data from around the world from 2010 to 2014, which shows the deplorable state of the beliefs of weekly Mass going Catholics, is included for the interest and reference of readers)

Figure 1: Question on justification of abortion:

‘Please tell me for each of the following actions whether you think it can always be justified, never be justified, or something in between’:

 Abortion:                                Never justifiable                        Always justifiable                  

                                                 1      2      3      4       5       6       7      8       9      10

Table 1:

Percentage of Mass going Roman Catholics (‘RCs’) who believe abortion is ‘never justifiable’:

% ‘RCs’ in country % of ‘RCs’ that go to Mass weekly % that believed abortion is ‘never justifiable’ (v204 = 1) of weekly Mass going Catholics
New Zealand (12) 13 21 80
Brazil (80) 53.1 44.3 78.2
Colombia (119) 61.5 53.5 77.9
Trinidad and Tobago (87) 20.2 44.3 68.2
Ghana (60) 13.5 85.6 67.9
Ecuador (65) 49.9 49.3 67.9
Ireland (Note: 2008 –  EVS) 81.6 49.3 65.2
Mexico (100) 69.7 50.1 64.2
Argentina (44) 70.2 16.7 63.6
Chile (26) 64.9 25.5 60.1
Peru (54) 74.5 40.2 59.8
Zimbabwe 21.3 84.4 59.6
Poland (20) 94.2 55.3 58.4
Belarus 10.6 30 58.3
Nigeria (143) 19.1 92.3 56.5
Philippines (87) 69 61 56
Uruguay 23.8 14.6 54.5
South Korea (33) 15.8 59 51.4
Germany (8) 27 20.4 50.9
Lebannon (103) 23.1 56.7 48
Australia (12) 22.9 18.8 43.5
Spain (35) 73 16.7 42.6
United States (31) 22 41.5 41.8
Slovenia (19) 65.4 21.3 30
Netherlands (8) 17.7 12.8 30
South Africa (69) 16.3 70.3 26.3
Singapore (75) 6.1 73.3 23.9
Rwanda (133) 55.7 74.3 21.4

The table above indicates that many weekly Mass going Roman Catholics believed that abortion was ‘justifiable’ in some instances. In Ireland, 10 years before the Referendum on abortion, over one-third (34.8 per cent) of weekly Mass going Roman Catholics believed that abortion was justifiable in some instances.  By 2018, the Irish Times reports that 68 per cent of those who voted in favour of abortion in the Referendum were Catholic and many justified this by citing ‘freedom of conscience’ (4).  While Irish Catholic bishops and priests mainly remained silent after the result, some Protestant writers, seeing these results, questioned whether the Catholic Church was guiding people correctly with one writer pointing out that almost half of those Catholics who voted ‘yes’ went to Mass weekly or monthly according to exit poll surveys (6). One Protestant writer lambasted Catholic leaders for leading people astray (6).  While this Protestant writer did not understand the fundamentals of Christian/Catholic teaching, i.e. he erroneously believed in salvation through the Bible alone, he did point out some  of the modern errors that have crept into the minds of the Catholic hierarchy and he did rightly point the blame at local Catholic churches and its clergy for how and what they have taught their attendees about Christianity.  So these initial results raise an important question, i.e. do Protestants have a point?  Do attendees at Protestant receive better Christian moral formation than Catholic Mass goers? 

It was decided to examine the relationship between attendance at Protestant services or Catholic ‘services’, i.e. Mass (see figure 2 below for wording of this question in the survey) and moral attitudes and then compare the two.  The relationship between how important God was in one’s life and Protestant or Catholic attendance was also examined.  This was examined as Our Lord clearly states, ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments’ (John 14:15).  How important God is in your life is a sign of this love and while some people may have a distorted conception of God, scores on this question are negatively correlated with acceptance of immoral behaviour, i.e. the more important God is in your life the less likely you are to justify abortion, homosexuality and euthanasia and other sins (see footnote 1 on this point).

Figure 2:  Question on religious service attendance:

V145.  Apart from weddings and funerals, about how often do you attend religious services these days? (Code one answer):    

1  More than once a week     2  Once a week     3  Once a month     4  Only on special holy days      5  Once a year     6  Less often     7  Never, practically never

Main Research:

Method:

                        To begin with, average scores were examined on the importance of God and the attitudes towards homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia of Protestants and Catholics from across the world (see figures 2 and 3 for an outline of how these questions were asked).  Answers to questions on homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia were chosen as these are current major political, social and cultural battlegrounds in most Western countries. 

Figure 2: Question on the importance of God:

How important is God in your life? Please use this scale to indicate. 10 means “very important” and 1 means “not at all important.”

Not at all important                         Very important

1      2      3      4       5       6       7      8       9      10

Figure 3: Questions on attitude towards homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia:

‘Please tell me for each of the following actions whether you think it can always be justified, never be justified, or something in between’:

Homosexuality:                    Never justifiable                        Always justifiable                  

                                                 1      2      3      4       5       6       7      8       9      10

Abortion:                              Never justifiable                        Always justifiable                  

                                                 1      2      3      4       5       6       7      8       9      10

Euthanasia:                           Never justifiable                        Always justifiable                  

                                                 1      2      3      4       5       6       7      8       9      10

The following tables provide a general overview on data from across countries:

General overview – scores:

Table 2 (i): Average scores for importance of God in one’s life:

Importance of God (From 1 ‘Not at all important’ to 10 ‘Very important’) Roman Catholic Evangelical Protestant
1981-84 7.66 6.85
1989-93 8.34 8.65
1994-98 8.27 9.45 7.03
1999-2004 8.76 9.54 9.54
2005-09 8.44 7.74 8.47
2010-14 8.34 7.79 8.91

(ii) Average scores for justifiability of homosexuality:

Justifiability of homosexuality (From 1 ‘Never’ to 10 ‘Always’) Roman Catholic Evangelical Protestant
1981-84 2.04 2.38
1989-93 2.89 2.59
1994-98 3.32 2.09 3.98
1999-2004 3.52 2.77 2.53
2005-09 4.35 4.64 3.57
2010-14 4.26 4.59 2.56

(iii) Average scores for justifiability of Abortion:

Justifiability of abortion (From 1 ‘Never’ to 10 ‘Always’) Roman Catholic Evangelical Protestant
1981-84 3.09 3.82
1989-93 3.3 3.28
1994-98 3.09 1.63 4.13
1999-2004 2.79 2.53 2.69
2005-09 3.44 3.78 3.47
2010-14 3.24 3.18 2.63

(iv) Average scores for justifiability of euthanasia:

Justifiability of euthanasia (From 1 ‘Never’ to 10 ‘Always’) Roman Catholic Evangelical Protestant
1981-84 3.08 3.92
1989-93 3.37 3.88
1994-98 3.98 2.18 4.81
1999-2004 3.58 2.94 3.32
2005-09 4.12 4.07 4.01
2010-14 3.27 2.48 3.25

                        Please note: From here on, Protestants and Evangelicals are grouped under the heading ‘Protestant’.  These two groups of Protestants were chosen as they provide the largest samples to compare against Catholics, i.e. there were at least 90 people in the Catholic and Protestant (‘Protestant’ or ‘Evangelical’) groups in each country (see Appendix for list of countries examined in each wave).  This study was designed to assess whether attending Catholic or Protestant (of any large denomination and in this case, ‘Protestant’ or ‘Evangelical’) ‘services’ was more conducive to one’s correct moral formation.  From here on, the word ‘Protestant’ is used to refer to Protestants and Evangelicals. 

Overview of results above:

Table 3 (i): Higher score for importance of God in one’s life (marked ‘X’):

  Protestant Roman Catholic
1981-84   X
1989-93 X  
1994-98 X  
1999-04 X  
2005-09 X  
2010-14 X  

(ii) Higher score for justification of homosexuality (marked ‘X’):

  Protestant Roman Catholic
1981-84 X  
1989-93   X
1994-98   X
1999-04   X
2005-09   X
2010-14   X

(iii) Higher score for justification of abortion (marked ‘X’):

  Protestant Roman Catholic
1981-84 X  
1989-93   X
1994-98   X
1999-04   X
2005-09 X  
2010-14   X

(iv) Higher score for justification of euthanasia (marked ‘X’):

  Protestant Roman Catholic
1981-84 X  
1989-93 X  
1994-98   X
1999-04   X
2005-09   X
2010-14   X

An examination of the results in table 3 (i) to (iv) highlighted the following:

They show how Protestants rated God as more important in their lives than Catholics, with 1981-84 being the only time that Roman Catholics rated God as more important in their lives than Protestants.  It also highlighted how Protestants were more likely to be against homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia than Catholics across most samples. 

General Overview – Correlations:

                          Next, it was decided to examine the effect of ‘service’ attendance on the importance one gave to God in one’s life and one’s attitudes towards homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia.  The overall pattern is outlined in table 4 below:

Table 4 (i): Higher correlation: Importance of God and ‘service’ attendance (marked ‘X’)

  Protestant Roman Catholic
1981-84 X  
1989-93 X  
1994-98 X  
1999-04   X
2005-09 X  
2010-14 X  

(ii) Higher correlation: ‘service’ attendance and justification of homosexuality (marked ‘X’):

  Protestant Roman Catholic
1981-84   X
1989-93   X
1994-98   X
1999-04   X
2005-09   X
2010-14   X

(iii) Higher correlation: ‘service’ attendance and justification of abortion (marked ‘X’):

  Protestant Roman Catholic
1981-84   X
1989-93 X  
1994-98   X
1999-04   X
2005-09   X
2010-14   X

(iv) Higher correlation: ‘service’ attendance and justification of euthanasia (marked ‘X’):

  Protestant Roman Catholic
1981-84   X
1989-93   X
1994-98   X
1999-04   X
2005-09   X
2010-14   X

An examination of the results from table 4 (i) to (iv):

They show that attendance at Protestant services was more likely to increase the importance people placed on God than attendance at Catholic Mass across most years.  It also shows that those who attended Protestant services were less likely to justify homosexuality, abortion or euthanasia compared to Catholics who attended Catholic Mass across most years . 

The pattern indicates that Protestants rate God as more important in their lives, rate homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia as less justifiable compared to Catholics.  It also highlights that attendance at Protestant services strengthens these beliefs compared to attendance at Catholic Mass. However, as these measurements are taken from across a range of countries and as they are comparing people who may grow up in divergent cultures, it is hard to draw any definite conclusions from them. It was decided to look at data from within countries to examine the difference in moral attitudes between Protestant and Catholics and what impact attendance at ‘services’ had on these attitudes. 

There were 6 different waves of the World Value Survey to examine.  The results of this investigation are outlined below:

Table 5: Scores in relation to importance of God and how justifiable homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia are:

1981-84:

In 3 of 4 countries, Roman Catholics rated God as more important in their lives than Protestants. 

In 3 of 4 countries, Roman Catholics saw homosexuality as more justifiable than Protestants.

In 2 of 4 countries, Roman Catholics saw abortion as more justifiable than Protestants.

In 2 of 4 countries, Roman Catholics saw euthanasia as more justifiable than Protestants.

1989-93:

In 2 of 3 countries, Roman Catholics rated God as more important in their lives than Protestants.

In 3 of 4 countries, Roman Catholics saw homosexuality as more justifiable than Protestants.

In 0 of 4 countries, Roman Catholics saw abortion as more justifiable than Protestants.

In 0 of 3 countries, Roman Catholics saw euthanasia as more justifiable than Protestants.

1994-98:

In 9 of 12 countries, Roman Catholics rated God as more important in their lives than Protestants. 

In 10 of 14 countries, Roman Catholics saw homosexuality as more justifiable than Protestants.

In 6 of 14 countries, Roman Catholics saw abortion as more justifiable than Protestants.

In 8 of 14 countries, Roman Catholics saw euthanasia as more justifiable than Protestants.

1999-2004:

In 2 of 9 countries, Roman Catholics rated God as more important in their lives than Protestants. 

In 9 of 10 countries, Roman Catholics saw homosexuality as more justifiable than Protestants.

In 8 of 10 countries, Roman Catholics saw abortion as more justifiable than Protestants.

In 5 of 9 countries, Roman Catholics saw euthanasia as more justifiable than Protestants.

2005-09:

In 5 of 20 countries, Roman Catholics rated God as more important in their lives than Protestants. 

In 13 of 19 countries, Roman Catholics saw homosexuality as more justifiable than Protestants.

In 11 of 19 countries, Roman Catholics saw abortion as more justifiable than Protestants.

In 12 of 19 countries, Roman Catholics saw euthanasia as more justifiable than Protestants.

2010-2014:

In 3 of 16 countries, Roman Catholics rated God as more important in their lives than Protestants. 

In 15 of 16 countries, Roman Catholics saw homosexuality as more justifiable than Protestants.

In 11 of 16 countries, Roman Catholics saw abortion as more justifiable than Protestants.

In 5 of 6 countries, Roman Catholics saw euthanasia as more justifiable than Protestants.

Pattern emerging (within countries):

Importance of God: In 47.1 per cent of countries analysed across the six waves from the 1980’s to the 2010’s, Roman Catholics rated God as more important in their lives than Protestants.  In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Roman Catholics rated God as more important in their lives than Protestants but in more recent surveys, i.e. since 1999, this has changed decidedly so they now rate God as less important in their lives than Protestants across most countries. 

Homosexuality: In 74.7 per cent of countries, Roman Catholics were more likely than Protestants to justify homosexuality.

Abortion: In 49.9 per cent of countries, Roman Catholics were more likely than Protestants to justify abortion.

Euthanasia: In 51.5 per cent of countries, Roman Catholics were more likely than Protestants to justify euthanasia.   

Overall pattern: The evidence above suggests that Roman Catholics are more likely than Protestants to view homosexuality as justifiable while the importance of God in their lives and attitudes towards abortion and euthanasia show similar scores across both groups.  More recent surveys, i.e. since 1999, suggest that Catholics rate God as less important in their lives than Protestants and that abortion and euthanasia are more justifiable amongst Catholics compared to Protestants in most countries. 

Next, it was decided to look at the effect attendance at Catholic Mass had on the moral attitudes of Catholics compared to the effect attendance at Protestant services had on the moral attitudes of Protestants.

Table 6: Correlations – number of countries where attendance at the Catholic Mass had a stronger relationship with the importance of God in one’s life, i.e. as Mass attendance went up, importance of God went up, and a more negative relationship between Mass attendance and justification of homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia, i.e. as Mass attendance went up, justification of homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia went down, compared to attendance at Protestant ‘services’:

1981-84:

In 2 of 4 countries, there was a stronger positive correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and the importance of God in one’s life

In 2 of 4 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying homosexuality

In 1 of 4 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying abortion

In 3 of 4 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying euthanasia

1989-93:

In 1 of 3 countries, there was a stronger positive correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and the importance of God in one’s life

In 1 of 3 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying homosexuality

In 2 of 3 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying abortion

In 1 of 2 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying euthanasia

1994-98:

In 3 of 12 countries, there was a stronger positive correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and the importance of God in one’s life

In 4 of 14 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying homosexuality

In 10 of 14 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying abortion

In 9 of 13 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying euthanasia

1999-2004:

In 5 of 9 countries, there was a stronger positive correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and the importance of God in one’s life

In 5 of 10 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying homosexuality

In 6 of 10 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying abortion

In 5 of 10 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying euthanasia

2005-09:

In 4 of 20 countries, there was a stronger positive correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and the importance of God in one’s life

In 6 of 19 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying homosexuality

In 8 of 19 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying abortion

In 7 of 19 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying euthanasia

2010-2014:

In 6 of 16 countries, there was a stronger positive correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and the importance of God in one’s life

In 6 of 16 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying homosexuality

In 7 of 16 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying abortion

In 3 of 6 countries, there was a stronger negative correlation between Catholic Mass attendance and justifying euthanasia

Pattern emerging (within countries):

Importance of God: In 36.9 per cent of countries analysed across the six waves of data, attendance at Catholic services is more likely to increase how important God is in one’s life than attendance at Protestant ‘services’. 

Homosexuality: In 61.5 per cent of countries, attendance at Protestant services is more likely to reduce how justifiable one views homosexuality compared to attendance at Catholic Mass. 

Abortion: In 51.9 per cent of countries, attendance at Protestant services is more likely to reduce how justifiable one views abortion compared to attendance at Catholic Mass. 

Euthanasia: In 44.8 per cent of countries, attendance at Protestant services is more likely to reduce how justifiable one views euthanasia compared to attendance at Catholic Mass.   

Overall pattern: The data suggests that attendance at Protestant services is better for healthy moral formation compared to attendance at Catholic services.  The data shows that Protestants see homosexuality as less justifiable than Catholics since the earliest data was collected in the early 1980’s.  The data also suggests that Protestant service attendance has reinforced this attitude towards homosexuality more so than attendance at Catholic Mass has done for Catholics.  It must also be noted that attendance at Catholic services shows no effect or is positively correlated with an increased justification of homosexuality in many countries in these samples (See table 2 below).  In relation to impact on attitudes towards abortion and euthanasia, no obvious difference is detected between attendance at Protestant services or the Catholic Mass. The data also suggests that attendance at Protestant services is more likely to increase how important one rates God in one’s life compared to attendance at Catholic Mass. 

Table 7: Pattern of correlations between Catholic Mass attendance and increased justification for homosexuality:

1981-84: 4 of 4 countries: attendance at RC Mass is correlated either with increased justification of homosexuality (2 countries: Finland, Hungary) or there was no significant negative correlation, i.e. less than .1 (2 countries)

1989-93: 2 of 3 countries: attendance at RC Mass is correlated either with increased justification of homosexuality (one country: Nigeria) or there was no significant negative correlation, i.e. less than .1 (1 country) (Not asked in South Africa)

1994-98: 6 of 14 countries: attendance at RC Mass is correlated either with increased justification of homosexuality (one country: South Africa) or there was no significant negative correlation, i.e. less than .1 (5 countries)

1999-04: 5 of 10 countries – attendance at RC Mass is correlated either with increased justification of homosexuality (2 countries: South Africa and Uganda) or there was no significant negative correlation, i.e. less than .1 (3 countries)

2005-09: 13 of 19 countries – attendance at RC Mass is correlated either with increased justification of homosexuality (6 countries: Zambia, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Rwanda, Netherlands, Guatemala) or there was no significant negative correlation, i.e. less than .1 (7 countries)

2010-14: 7 of 16 countries – attendance at RC Mass had no significant negative correlation with justification of homosexuality, i.e. less than .1, in 7 countries

Overall, in 62 per cent of countries analysed across six waves of data, attendance at Catholic services is associated with either having no effect on one’s attitudes towards homosexuality or is positively correlated with increased acceptance of homosexuality.  In order words, attendance at Catholic services has no effect on one’s attitudes towards homosexuality in the majority of countries and, in some countries, attendance at Catholic services is associated with an increase in the likelihood that one will believe homosexuality is justifiable. This positive relationship between attendance at Catholic services and increased justification of homosexuality is seen mainly in poor, conservative, non-Western countries, e.g. South Africa.  This suggests that there is a relationship between the Catholic Mass and the promotion and acceptance of homosexuality in traditional cultures. It suggests that the Catholic Mass is not a moral bulwark against the homosexual promotion that is emanating from Western culture today but that it is part of the problem.   

Summary of results:

The above data suggests that being Protestant and attending Protestant services, is more likely to lead one to rate God as more important in one’s life and develop moral attitudes in line with the teachings of Christianity, particularly in relation to homosexuality, than if one calls oneself a ‘Catholic’ and attends Catholic services.  There is some evidence, when examining the data from across countries, to suggest that Protestants see abortion and euthanasia as less justifiable than Catholics and that attendance at Protestant services is more likely to reinforce these beliefs than attendance at Catholic services.  However, when looking at data from within countries and comparing these, there is no clear difference between the effects of attending a Catholic Mass or a Protestant service on attitudes towards abortion and euthanasia.  Overall the data suggests that Protestants see God as more important than Catholics.   In saying all this, the correlation could be in the opposite direction, i.e. those that rate God as more important in their lives and see homosexuality as unjustifiable are more likely to attend Protestant services.  Either way, this data suggests that either Catholic ‘services’ do not have as strong an impact on correct moral formation, particularly in relation to homosexuality, as Protestant services, or that Catholic services are attracting those who justify homosexuality more than Protestant services.  The data suggests that attendance at the Catholic Mass has no major impact on attitudes to euthanasia and abortion compared to attendance at Protestant services; that attendance at Protestant services has a greater effect on how important one rates God in one’s life than attendance at Catholic services; that attendance at Protestant services leads to less justification of homosexuality than attendance at Catholic Masses and that attendance at Catholic Masses has no effect on attitudes towards homosexuality in many countries and increases justification of homosexuality in some countries.

Discussion:

These results are a shocking indictment against the claims of the Catholic Church that she is the one true Church, that the Church is the earthly shepherd guarding her flock from immorality and that her sacraments are the greatest source of grace in the world.  Analysing this data, what are we to make of Pope Leo XIII’s statement on the Holy Eucharist in his encyclical, Miroe Caritatis (7), where he says that the Holy Eucharist helps keep men away from moral corruption and that, ‘In the most admirable Sacrament, which is the chief means whereby men are engrafted on the divine nature, men also find the most efficacious help towards progress in every kind of virtue’? If Protestant ‘services’ are more efficacious at guiding people to virtuous moral standards, which this data suggests, and giving them a firmer moral foundation than attendance at the Catholic Mass, what are we to make of Pope Leo XIII’s claim and the further claims of those Catholics who insist that Protestants are in error and that their services and false preaching should be avoided? As any informed Catholic knows, reason and the Catholic faith are completely compatible. So if the scientific data is showing us that Protestants are closer to the truth than Catholics on moral issues, that Protestants rate God as more important in their lives than Catholics, and that Protestant services have a better impact on moral formation than Catholic services, what reason can there be for this?  The purpose of this life is to know, honour and love God (8).  Catholics and Protestants can agree on this.  If someone wanted to know how to do this the first thing one would suggest is that they need to keep His commandments and make Him the most important person in their life.  The data suggests that the most likely way of achieving this is by going to Protestant services rather than Catholic Mass.  This is a startling revelation and a huge change from previous times.

Catholic moral standards slipping:

Previously to our current times, those who called themselves Catholic held their moral standards up as beacons of light to the dark corruption in the world. Even Protestant ‘bishops’ recognised how great the Roman Catholic Church was at being a leading light in the moral issues of their times.  As Protestant Episcopal Bishop Burgess of Long Island, once reflected: ‘The RCC [Roman Catholic Church] has stood like a bulwark against divorce. It has stood for the inviolability of the marriage-tie and unity of the home.  Because of that it is in the world today one of the greatest forces for progress and Christianity’ (9, p. 365). Even one of today’s most prominent non-Catholic psychologists, Professor Jordan Peterson, recognises the role that the Catholic faith plays against dangerous political ideologies: ‘Peterson said religion in general and Catholicism in particular stand as a perpetual bulwark against ideologies of the political left or right, which is why the Catholic Church is now under attack by those ideologies’ (10).  Today, ‘Catholics’ appear to have fallen away from the high standards Our Lord expected of us.  Years ago, there was a clear distinction between Catholics and Protestants in terms of their moral attitudes and piety.  Catholic writers could defend the Church and the Faith by pointing out the fruits of the Faith, e.g. the piety and devotedness of the Catholic faithful, to its detractors. In John L. Stoddard’s book, ‘Rebuilding a Lost Faith’ (11), where he recounts his conversion to the Catholic Church, he gives an example of speaking to a Protestant friend about how the pious example of Catholics gives evidence of its fruits and goodness – ‘It is well to remember that in no country in the world are women so chaste and above reproach as in Ireland, although no land is more devoutly loyal to the Catholic Church than is the ‘Island of the Saints’ (p. 115).  This was written in the early 1920’s.  Can the same be said of Irish women who call themselves Catholic today, especially after many of them voted to legalise abortion? Overall, those who profess to be Catholic are no longer the shining examples of piety nor do they appear to be the principal bulwark against the moral relativity and subjectivism of our current times.  The evidence suggests that Protestants are more conservative in their moral attitudes, particularly when it comes to homosexuality, and more pious in their attitude towards God.  Protestants are now often the ones leading the charge when it comes to issues like abortion, LGBT and homosexuality.  Once great Catholic countries, like Ireland, now look to the USA, for examples of strong pro-life leaders and anti-LGBT rights campaigners, many of whom are Protestant.  There are Protestant ministers and writers pointing out the hypocrisy of those who call themselves ‘Catholic’ and the lack of moral conviction of its teachers and shepherds (6).  Those, Catholics, once called our ‘enemies’ are now called our ‘allies’ as Catholics join Protestants in opposition to abortion.  But in all our ‘prolife’ enthusiasm, are we, Catholics, not missing something? 

Fighting and dying for nothing?

Why is it that Protestant ‘services’ are now more influential on moral attitudes than the Catholic Mass?  Is it better to send people to Protestant services rather than the Catholic Mass so that they can develop a sounder moral foundation?  If the answer is ‘yes’ to this question then Catholics have to ask ourselves the following questions, lest we experience cognitive distortions and inconsistencies in our thinking – If Protestant are closer to the Christian truth then: were our Catholic brethren wrong when they criticised Luther and Calvin so much for taking people away from the truth, when the evidence today suggests that they are actually closer to the truth than ‘Catholics’? Was John L. Stobbard wrong to say that, ‘The devil played a great role in the life of Luther’ (p. 99)?  Was Frank Duff and the Legion of Mary wrong in trying to convert Protestants and were they wrong for picketing a Protestant run medical service, ‘The Medical Missions’ that tempted Catholics to deny the faith to receive this ‘free’ service? (12) Was Frank Duff wrong again when he said, ‘If a person can claim to be the mouthpiece of a Church or any great body, he has placed himself on a footing far superior to that of the individual. Each Protestant is only entitled to talk for himself. The only thing on which they enjoy unity today is that they are not in agreement with the Catholic Church.  Protestantism has become an almost total negation.  It is a good working rule to reason that Protestants are all painfully aware of this, are unsatisfied with their position, and would seize at anything which appealed to them as Truth. Try to give it to them’? (13) Were countless Catholic scholars wrong in defending the Mass from Protestant attacks, when attendance at the Mass actually doesn’t produce any better fruit, in terms of better moral formation and more piety, than the Protestant services? Were counter-Reformation saints, like St Francis Xavier and St Philip Neri, mistaken in their defensive zeal for the Catholic Faith?  Were Catholic martyrs who refused to attend Protestant services in the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries in the UK and Ireland wrong to give up their lives for the defence of the Mass, seeing as though Protestant services inform people better in Christian morals than the Catholic Mass?  If one is to seriously weigh up what the evidence shows these questions must be asked. But, of course, the answer to the questions raised here is an emphatic no. The poor Protestants have been lost since Luther, Calvin, Henry XIII and company rebelled against God’s Church and the one true Faith.  They have not become any less rebellious or relativistic in their beliefs as they continue their slight into subjectivism.  It is just that we, Catholics, have become worse in our morality and more fractured in our beliefs as we slide into relativism. We have dipped so low in this regard that evidence is beginning to show that Protestants maintain higher moral standards than us. 

As a Catholic, the author believes that the Catholic Mass is the most precious gift and source of grace that Our Lord has left us. As St Francis de Sales outlines in his book, ‘Introduction to the Devout Life’: ‘Holy Mass is the sun of all spiritual exercises, the mainspring of devotion, the soul of piety, the fire of divine charity, the abyss of divine mercy and a precious means whereby God confers upon us His graces’ (14). However, as a researcher, who believes one should follow what the evidence shows and give advice to others based on this evidence, the evidence presents some questions.

So how is it that, according to the evidence, the Mass has no difference in effect or less effect on proper Christian moral formation than Protestant services? The evidence demands an explanation.

Explaining the discrepancies:

There is something that is missing or not quite obvious when we examine this data.  This missing part helps to explain why it is that attendance at the Catholic Mass is less effective at helping people develop a Christian moral foundation than Protestants. This is the gigantic elephant in the room. This is the revolution that has happened in the Church over the last 60 years and the attempts to distort and change the Catholic Mass and the Catholic Faith. The data presented in this study can be taken as presenting the attitudes and beliefs of Catholics who attend the New Mass. It also gives an insight into the effects of the New Mass on moral formation. (Note: The Traditional Latin Mass was not available in most of the countries cited during the different periods when data was collected, it still is not available in many of these countries and attendance at the Traditional Latin Mass is roughly estimated at 0.5 per cent of overall Catholic Mass attendees (15)). We can confidently assert that the question in the World and European Value Surveys about Catholic ‘services’ is referring to the ‘Novus Ordo’ Mass.  The data suggests that attendance at the Novus Ordo is not helping people to be formed correctly in the Catholic faith. 

This revolution in the Church has been so effective that we can now see that Protestants who attend Protestant services are more likely to be closer to the truth on certain moral issues than Catholics who attend Catholic ‘services’. Some people may argue that it is the lack of preparation and reverence of each individual Catholic for the reception of the Blessed Sacrament that is causing the moral decay amongst Catholics.  This may explain some aspects of the data, but further examination must be employed to see what is really going on (See ‘footnote 2’ for further expansion on this point). 

Where have Catholics gone wrong?

With the above evidence showing that Protestants are receiving better moral formations than Catholics the question must be asked, ‘where have Catholics gone wrong?’  One of the major causes for this deviation can be traced back to the radical changes in the Church in the 1960’s.  Scholars such as Romano Amerio (9) have outlined how there were attempts to make the Catholic faith more acceptable to the world. In this process, there was more focus on honouring man than honouring God.  One of the most significant changes was the change in the Mass.  There have been reasonable and justifiable accusations that the Mass was ‘Protestantised’. This is confirmed by many Protestant scholars who found the New Mass acceptable to them.  Amerio, quoting his sources, points out the following in his book, ‘Iota Unum’: Max Thurian of the Protestant Taize community believed that one of the fruits of the new Mass would probably be ‘that non-Catholic communities will be able to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with the same prayers as the Catholic Church: theologically it is possible.’ (La Croix, 30 May 1969); Brother Roger Schultz (Itineraires, No. 218, Dec 1977, p. 116) said that ‘The new Eucharistic prayers have a structure corresponding to that of the Lutheran Mass’ and ‘In Pope Paul’s New Mass, M. Davies has shown that the new Roman rite is similar to, and sometimes identical with Cranmer’s Anglican Mass produced in the sixteenth century’ (p. 651). The changes in the Church, with the most central one being the changes in the Mass, have led to huge confusion in the understanding of the Faith amongst Catholics and a rapid decline in the moral behaviour and piety of Catholics.  This has become so bad that those who call themselves Catholic are no longer renowned for their moral, upstanding way of living or their piety.  However, the changes have not just ‘Protestantised’ what people see as the Catholic Faith, it has led to Catholics being more immoral in their attitudes and seeing God as less important in their lives than Protestants. Looking at the trend in the data presented above, it is likely that Catholics will become more and more accepting of immorality, especially homosexuality, at a quicker rate than Protestants. Instead of those who profess to be Catholic being the ‘salt of the world’ (Matthew 5:13), it will be Protestants that will hold up moral standards.  This is a crazy situation for Catholics to be faced with.  Is this what Catholic martyrs who were killed in their defence against Protestantism lay down their lives for? No, this cannot be right.  So, what is the solution so Catholics can get back on the right track and be what we were meant to be?  Instead of holding up Protestants as examples and referring people to a Protestant service, where the data suggests they would have a better chance of forming their moral attitudes correctly, we need to know where can Catholics go and direct people to so that they will receive a solid moral formation and foundation in Christianity? 

Conclusion

‘Lex orandi, lex credenda, lex vivendi’ (‘as we worship, so we believe, so we live’). 

The answer lies in a return to the authentic Catholic Faith.  What is central to this is the Traditional Latin Mass.  A recent study (16, 17) highlighted the difference in moral attitudes and behaviours between those who attend the Traditional Latin Mass and those who attend the Novus Ordo Mass.  The disparity in views is striking.  (I would recommend that the reader check out the table at: https://liturgyguy.com/2019/02/24/national-survey-results-what-we-learned-about-latin-mass-attendees/comment-page-1/)

It can be argued that those who take strong moral stances against homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia are more attracted to the Traditional Latin Mass rather than attendance at Traditional Latin Masses being responsible for strengthening one’s moral attitudes. However, this only suggests that those who are closer to the truth about moral attitudes are attracted to where the Truth Himself is given the reference He deserves.  Whatever the causal relationship between the Traditional Latin Mass and moral attitudes, this study, along with the data presented above, suggests that attendance at the Novus Ordo is taking Catholics further away from the truth than attendance at Protestant services.  This is particularly true of the more recent surveys in this study, i.e. since 1999, which show that Catholics are more likely to justify homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia and rate God as less important in their lives than Protestants.  The author suggests that this effect is due to the passing away of a generation who were brought up with the Traditional Latin Mass.  Along with this, the changes that have occurred in the Catholic Church has meant that a younger generation of Catholics has never experienced the Traditional Latin Mass or been catechised properly in the Faith.  Catholic societies were reliant on those brought up strongly in the Faith to hold up the moral standards of society but, sadly, this generation is slipping away to be replaced with one that has not been given the necessary foundation that they need to find and stay on the straight and narrow path. 

‘Prove all things; hold fast that which is good’ (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Evidence points us in certain directions. The above information is an outline of what the objective empirical evidence says.  It has not been an attempt to explain, from a theological or philosophical point of view, why the Traditional Latin Mass is essential to the Catholic Faith. Many works have been published on this subject and readers are invited to examine these for themselves (The book, ‘The Incredible Catholic Mass’ (18) is highly recommended in this regard).  This study has outlined what the figures say. These are not easy to dismiss or explain away. By sharing this information, the author hopes that people will evaluate and carefully consider what is presented and the implications of this.  The world needs Catholics to be the light that shines brightly and to be the salt of the earth.  Catholics have certainly lost their savour over the last 60 years but there is a way back. It is not joining a Protestant sect or going to a Mass that does not teach or guide people towards the Truth. If the above evidence and results are taken seriously, there are two options for those who wish to steer themselves and those around them to the truth: it is to accept the evidence that shows Protestant services are a safer place for Christian moral formation than the Catholic Mass.  By implication, this also support the conclusion that Protestant heretics, like Luther and Calvin were right all along, that the Catholic writers who defended the Church against Protestant errors and heresies wasted their time and that the Catholic martyrs who died defending the Latin Mass died for nothing;  OR it is to admit that there is a serious crisis within our dear Mother, the Catholic Church, and that the way to combat and defend our Mother is to once again go back to the precious milk, i.e. the Latin Mass and the true teachings of the Catholic Faith, that she nourished our Catholic forefathers on for many hundreds of years. It is to rid ourselves of a disastrous innovation, i.e. the Novus Ordo, and all the changes that came with it, that is doing more damage to the souls of Catholics than Protestant heretics are doing.  We must challenge that which is sending people astray and ‘hold fast that which is good’.

The evidence indicates that the Novus Ordo is more damaging to souls and the morality of individuals, and therefore, society than Protestant services are.  If the author has not made this clear, it is at least hoped that the reader will seriously reflect on what is shared here and the implications this implies.  This appeal is made to both Catholics who find themselves drifting confusedly along in the current crisis and non-Catholics who have rarely, if ever, had the experience in our current times of experiencing the majesty, grandeur and splendour which is the Latin Mass and the Catholic Faith. As Pius X lamented, ‘How many are there that hate Christ and abhor the Church and the Gospel through ignorance rather than perversity…It cannot be agreed that faith is quenched by the growth of science: it is more truly quenched by want of knowledge.’ (19)  The reader is encouraged to acquire this knowledge and research more about the Catholic Faith so he may discover the divine goodness that the Catholic Faith and Holy Mother Church holds out to the world.  (References are given below for those interested in pursuing this).  The Catholic Faith is not accurately known by many in our world today.  As Pope Leo XIII says in his encyclical, Divinum Illud, (May 4, 1897) (7) ‘The more clearly and fully the good is known the more earnestly it is loved’.  It is hoped that this study has helped to show the crisis Catholics are currently facing and its ultimate goal is to help make the good more clearly and fully known. 

END

Footnote 1:

Data taken from the Irish surveys (1981 to 2010) of the European Value Survey during this period suggests that there is a negative correlation (-.38) between how important one rates God in one’s life and justification of immoral behaviours, i.e. as the importance of God goes up in one’s life, one is less likely to justify immoral behaviours.  However, the data from this study above shows that, worldwide, the importance that Catholics give God in their lives has remained stable since the 1980’s, while there has been an increased justification of immoral behaviour, such as homosexuality (table 3).  It is evident that there are many Catholics who rate God as very important in their lives who see abortion, homosexuality and euthanasia as justifiable. Data from Ireland from 2008 (from European Value Survey 2008-10 examined by author), shows that 30.1 per cent of those who gave God a rating of 9 or more out of 10 for importance in one’s life believed that abortion was justifiable sometimes. This implies that these Catholics have a wrong conception of God and what is offensive to Him.  This, again, reflects a lack of accurate knowledge of the Catholic Faith and erroneous understandings of the moral teachings of the Church.  As the intellect informs the will and one’s conscience, this results in many Catholics who believe that God is important in their lives also believing that abortion, euthanasia and homosexuality are acceptable. People must follow their conscience.  This leads to many of them making voting decisions based on erroneously informed consciences.  This is evident in the examples of people who profess to be devout Catholics, e.g. Minister Josepha Madigan, who were also leading campaigners for the legalisation of abortion.  This mainly shows how poor formation in the Catholic Faith is today. There is a responsibility on each individual to inform their conscience on moral matters but there is also a grave duty on Catholic shepherds, i.e. priests and teachers of the Faith, to make sure they help to correctly inform the consciences of those souls they are responsible for.  This has not been happening.  The discussion section of this study gives some reasons as to why this is the case.

Footnote 2:

Some Catholic writers who support the Novus Ordo Mass and many of the changes that have been made since the 1960’s have argued that the problem with the decline in morality amongst Catholics is due to Catholics not receiving the Blessed Sacrament reverently enough or not preparing properly for receiving Him, e.g. not going to confession beforehand so they receive the Blessed Sacrament in a state of mortal sin.  This is a sacrilegious act as St Paul points out in his first epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor 11:27-30).  This lack of preparation and reverence for Our Lord could cause spiritual blindness and moral decay amongst Catholics. This preparation and reverence are extremely important and they can explain why some people drift away from the truth and experience spiritual blindness and moral decay. However, this is not the main reason why we are seeing such moral decay amongst Catholics, as will be explained. It must be noted that every Protestant service is a sacrilegious act and everyone who partakes in this service is partaking in a profane act that is offensive to God.  Without judging individual intent or culpability, objectively by attending these sacrilegious services, Protestants commit a grave sin by not giving God the honour He is due.  So without being able to give a conclusive answer on which sin is more offensive to God, i.e. a Catholic receiving Our Lord in a state of mortal sin and/or irreverently or a Protestant attending a sacrilegious service, it seems reasonable to suggest that both acts could lead to similar levels of spiritual blindness. Given this, one would still expect to see Catholics maintain higher moral standards than Protestants as the whole truth is only available within the Catholic Church where it should be taught, revered, followed and honoured.  This is not what the evidence shows.  It shows that despite attending sacrilegious services, Protestants still show higher moral standards than Catholics.  The argument that the decay in the moral standards of Catholics is mainly due to irreverence and ill preparation is not reasonable.  In addition, this argument points the problem at the faithful rather than at the real problem, i.e. attempts at radical changes in the Mass and other aspects of the faith since the 1960’s.  It takes the spotlight off those shepherds who either instigated or went along with these changes and who led their obedient flocks astray.  All of us, Catholics, could prepare ourselves better for the reception of the Blessed Sacrament and show increased reverence for Our Lord. We will all be judged individually on how much we knew, honoured and loved God during our lifetime. Catholics may be genuinely disgusted and distraught at the behaviour of Catholics they are seeing around them and want to guide people back on the right track by admonishing their behaviour. However, Catholic writers who fail to point to the gigantic elephant in the room, i.e. the radical changes in the Church and the disastrous fruits this has produced, and would rather speculate on the subjective disposition of their fellow Catholics and point fingers at them, fail to realise the impact that external factors can have on the faithful and on their beliefs.  The Latin maxim informs us, ‘Lex orandi, lex credenda, lex vivendi’ (‘as we worship, so we believe, so we live’).  Catholics are in a position where we are dependent on our shepherds to teach us how to worship so we can know what we should believe so we would then know how we should live.  God has designed it like this as Pope Leo XIII, quoting St John Chrysostom, explains in his Apostolic Letter, Testem Benvolentioe (7), ‘God in His infinite providence has decreed that men for the most part should be saved by men; hence He has appointed that those whom He calls to a loftier degree of holiness should be led thereto by men, ‘in order that,’ as Chrysostom says, ‘we should be taught by God through men.’’  The problem is not the divine structure and system, i.e. the constitution and hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church, that Our Lord gave us when He ascended into heaven.  The solution is not Protestantism and subjectivism.  The problem lies in the fact that the radical changes accepted and promoted by many shepherds are leading the Catholic faithful astray. Until this problem and the radical changes are acknowledged and corrected more and more of the flock will continue to go astray with devastating and eternal consequences.

References:

  1. Bougis, E. (2015) ‘Book Review: The Book of Gomorrah by St Peter Damian’. Available at: https://onepeterfive.com/book-review-the-book-of-gomorrah-by-st-peter-damian/ [Accessed 28/08/19]
  2. Dwight, T. (1911) Thoughts of a Catholic Anatomist. New York: Longmans, Green & Co.
  3. Knight, K. (2017) ‘The Catholic Encyclopaedia’. Available at: http://newadvent.org/cathen/ [Accessed 29/08/19]
  4. McGarry, P. (2018) ‘Conscience takes priority over church teaching, says Catholic Catechism’. Available at: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/conscience-takes-priority-over-church-teaching-says-catholic-catechism-1.3518377 [ Accessed 28/08/19]
  5. Masci, D. (2016) ‘Where major religious groups stand on abortion’. Available at: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/06/21/where-major-religious-groups-stand-on-abortion/ [Accessed 27/08/19]
  6. Nate (2018) ‘Abortion and the Irish Referendum: Does The Catholic Church Support Conscience Over Biblical Doctrine?’ Available at: https://christianjournal.net/church/catholicism/abortion-irish-referendum-catholic-church-support-conscience-biblical-doctrine/ [Accessed 28/08/19]
  7. Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII. Rockford, Illinois: TAN Books
  8. Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Available at: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/prologue.htm [Accessed 02/09/19]
  9. Amerio, R. (1996), Iota Unum: A Study of Changes in Catholic Church in the Twentieth Century. Kansas City: Angelus Press
  10. LifeSiteNews (2016) ‘Prof who refuses to use gender pronouns points to Catholicism as bulwark against extremism’. Available at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/prof-who-refuses-to-use-gender-pronouns-points-to-catholicism-as-bulwark-ag [Accessed 02/09/19]
  11. Stobbard, J. L. (1923) ‘Rebuilding a Lost Faith – by an American Agnostic’. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne
  12. Villarrubia, E. (2013) ‘An Army for Our Lady: The Legion of Mary’.  Available at: https://catholicism.org/an-army-for-our-lady-the-legion-of-mary.html [Accessed 02/09/19]
  13. Duff, F. (1956) The Spirit of the Legion of Mary. Dublin: John S. Burns & Sons
  14. St. Francis deSales (1994) Introduction to the Devout Life. Rockford, Illinois: TAN Books
  15. Pope, C. (2016) ‘An Urgent Warning About the Future of the Traditional Latin Mass’. Available at: https://www.ncregister.com/blog/msgr-pope/an-urgent-warning-about-the-future-of-the-traditional-latin-mass [Accessed 28/08/19]
  16. Pecknold, C. (2019) ‘Traditional Latin Mass attendees more devout and orthodox, study says’. Available at: https://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2019/02/27/traditional-latin-mass-attendees-more-devout-and-orthodox-study-says/ [Accessed 29/08/19]
  17. Williams, B. (2019) ‘National Survey Results: What We Learned About Latin Mass Attendees’. Available at: https://liturgyguy.com/2019/02/24/national-survey-results-what-we-learned-about-latin-mass-attendees/comment-page-1/ [Accessed 29/08/19]
  18. Von Cochem, M. (1997, original 1704) The Incredible Catholic Mass. Charlotte, North Carolina: TAN Books
  19. Forbes, F.A. (1992) Pope St. Pius X: (1835-1914).  Rockford, Illinois: TAN Books

All quotes from the Bible taken from the Douay Rheims Bible – see: http://drbo.org for an online version of this.

Pius XI quote, at start of article, taken from ‘The Spirit of the Legion of Mary’, p. 56-57.

Along with many of the books cited above, e.g. ‘Iota Unum’, ‘The Incredible Catholic Mass’,  the following books are useful for those wishing to know more about Catholic spirituality and the Traditional Latin Mass:

Appendix:

Countries examined in this research, i.e. countries that had sufficient sample sizes (n=90) of Protestants and Catholics to compare groups:

1981-1984:

Finland, Hungary, Mexico and South Africa

1989-93:

Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland

1994-98:

Australia, Colombia, El Salvador, Germany, Hungary, South Korea, Latvia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Slovakia, South Africa, Switzerland, USA

1999-2004:

Albania, Canada, Peru, Puerto Rico, South Africa, South Korea, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania, USA

2005-09:

Australia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Guatemala, Hungary, Netherlands, Rwanda, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, USA, Zambia

2010-14:

Australia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Germany, Ghana, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Trinidad & Tobago, USA, Zimbabwe

Note: there may be a discrepancy between number of countries listed here and the number of countries cited in the results section. This is because the 4 questions (importance of God, attitudes towards: homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia) were not always asked in each country