The truth, if the prelates can shoulder it, is that the loss of Catholic faith we are witnessing in the Synod process should have been expected. At the Second Vatican Council and afterward, the church itself contributed to the worst spasm of iconoclasm in the history of Christendom. The past had to be destroyed. The council called for the revision of all the laws that governed the material objects of Catholic worship, from altars to images to tabernacles to baptistries. Shortly afterward the entire Mass — the central act of Catholic worship — was re-written according to shoddy, ideologically motivated scholarship.
Theologians like Karl Rahner substituted new theologies for the Mass that specifically suppressed any understanding of it as a propitiatory sacrifice. Across the world, altars and altar rails were smashed, statues and confessionals thrown in the dump. Thomas Cranmer, a leader of the English Reformation, must have laughed from his grave.
A novice student of religious studies can recognize what happened. If all the physical and verbal aspects of worship are changed, and the very rationale of the act is changed, then you are not reforming a people’s religion, you are substituting a new one in the old one’s place.
This act of substitution is in the language of Rahner’s writing on the Mass, where the priest becomes a mere “presider” — or worse, a “president” — and the church becomes an “assembly.” And so, quite naturally, most Masses in most modern churches have exactly the wan atmosphere of a high school assembly. The church now puts sanctimony in the place of sanctity, therapeutic self-acceptance in the place of holiness, “participation” in the place of devotion, and love of man where once was the love of God. Ultimately, man is substituted for God himse