Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Capitulation and the Anglican Church

Here's the problem. If you take second fiddle to every possible other activity, no one will ever let you have the first chair. Christendom set aside Sunday as a day for God. Letting soccer (football) and grocery shopping replace church attendance is appeasement. There will always be new realities to "modern life" that an ecclesial body can bend to.

"An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last." - Winston Churchill

(The Telegraph) - Sunday morning is an inconvenient time for church services because people are busy shopping and doing DIY, the Church of England has admitted.

Worshippers are increasingly turning their backs on the centuries-old practice of attending worship on Sundays because of other leisure and social “commitments”, it said.

The admission came alongside new figures showing that attendances at midweek services in cathedrals have doubled in a decade while numbers in the pews in parishes on Sundays continue to fall.

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Reverend Adrian Dorber, said many people still crave quiet reflection, but are seeking out less “pressurised” times in the week to worship than Sunday mornings.

He said weekends are now “very committed” for most families in an era when life is “run at the double”.

The rise in cathedral congregations suggests many people are drawn by the formality and relative anonymity of a larger place of worship.

The figures show that the number of adults attending cathedral services rose by a third in the last decade to 30,900 last year.

Attendances at midweek services rose even faster with the number of adults doubling to 15,000.

Yet attendance at Sunday services in parishes has halved since the 1960s to below 800,000.

Speaking on behalf of the Church of England, Mr Dorber said the fact that midweek cathedral services were likely to be “reasonably short” was also part of the attraction.

He said: “People often squeeze them in to very, very pressurised lifestyles, whereas at the weekend you have got commitments with children doing sport, shopping, household maintenance.

“Life is run at the double these days and weekends are very pressurised and very committed.

“Taking out half an hour or an hour during the week is much more negotiable, it comes out of much more discretionary time.”

The Dean of York, the Very Rev Vivienne Faull, said cathedrals offered people the chance to join services on their own terms.

“We do have the opportunity of allowing people to come in from the edges.

“If I take a eucharist at 12.30 in the middle of the week in the nave at York Minster there will be a lot of people who just slide in the sides.

“It is very difficult just to slide in to a parish church because everyone in the village is watching.”

The growth in formal midweek services in cathedrals has been matched by a shift away from traditional Sunday services in more informal congregations, including some which meet in pubs, school halls or members’ homes.

Within the Church of England, the “Fresh Expressions” movement – a joint enterprise with the Methodist Church - has started almost 2,000 alternative congregations in less than a decade.


  1. This is just pathetic. The Roman Catholic Church did some things akin to this but never on this level.

    1. The Low Mass. Originally only used for private masses and ferial weekday masses, this somehow caught on by the 17th Century as the Mass of Sunday. By the mid-twentieth century, there were millions of (mostly American and Irish) Catholics who had no idea what a "High Mass" was as they sat quiet in the pews, flipping through their missals while the priest mumbled on the altar in butchered Latin.
    2. The Saturday Night Vigil and its abuse. Having a Mass on Saturday night was a good way initially for nurses and some with demanding jobs to still make it to Mass. However, many people used it who didn't need it in order to have a "free" Sunday. As if anything could be more free than giving yourself to God in Liturgy/Mass!

    Plus, the whole "obligation" penalty - while it had good intentions - meant that Roman Catholics went on Sunday just because they had to, not because they wanted to. Combine all this and you get the 30 minute quick Low Mas of the 1940's and 50's.

  2. Better than not going, Bollocks. I confess I sometimes go only because I have to; then I am very glad to be there. I don't know about your caricature of the way mass was before as I was only there once or twice as a child with my grandparents as a small child. I had the impression of something mysterious going on, though. I had to be restrained from going up to communion with other kids my age (since I was not baptized, and my parents were not raising me Catholic-or anything.) Something about it must have called to me.
    Certainly low mass in the EF now is not like that. But then it is a self selected group.
    For me it is the NO which I go to only for the bare bones reason that it is the mass, it is the sacrifice which makes Christ present in the world. I go to it when I don't get up early enough to go to Divine Liturgy or the EF. But I go. I go. Sometimes only because of the obligation, and then something takes my breath away, even in that setting, and I remember what it is. I really think it shows poor understanding of human nature to put down the mass obligation.

    1. Apologies if you misunderstood. I have the bad habit of coming off cantankerous. Understanding the context of my perspective might be of some help.

      I grew up in the $$PX where a stale Low Mass in bad Latin was the norm. I moved in my teen years to the FSSP where things were much better. I found the Greek Catholics as an adult and found, for the first time, what it was to love being at the liturgy and looking forward to it every week.

  3. It was so very inconvenient for Jesus Christ, having to be nailed up on that cross for a whole Friday afternoon, while everyone else was busy preparing for the special weekend.

  4. I would like to learn more about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how it affects me today. I want to find some church services in my area so I can learn more about why I am here and what my mission is as a human on this earth. I read the Bible as a kid, but I still have a lot of questions regarding Christianity. The sooner I can find a church to learn more, the happier I will be.