The Heart of the Matter: Full Churches, Empty Souls

Part 8 of 14 – This series of columns is based on the work of Fr. Chad Ripperger that analyzes the spirits of the past six generations and how those spirits have affected the Church.  We only ask that you consider whether his descriptions are true in a general sense, even if they do not describe you or people you know.

In the wake of World War II, life in America grew in material prosperity.  Physical comforts increased, jobs were plentiful, housing developments sprang up like wildflowers, and businesses flourished.  And there was a corresponding boom in the churches, as it seemed natural to want to give thanks to God for the peace and prosperity that followed the war.  The Catholic Church in America may have reached its high point during the 50’s.  No one was complaining that the Mass was in Latin or that the priest faced God as he prayed.

But there was something missing in this abundance and success.  The soul became less important than the body.  Acquiring wealth became more important than gaining a heavenly reward.  The “Greatest Generation” became like the prosperous farmer in the Parable our Lord told: This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. . . But God said to him, “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”(Luke 12:18)

The generational spirit of indulgence was eating away the moral fiber and faith of those who never learned the lesson of their earlier suffering.  Fr. Ripperger comments,

In order to maintain discipline, to maintain orthodoxy, to maintain the good of the Church, self-denial and embracing the Cross was necessary. Instead, the indulgence of “embracing the modern world” was given pride of place. It is arguable that the “Greatest” Generation is one of the worst generations in the history of the Church, for Modernism (one of the worst heresies – if not the worst heresy – in the history of the Church) was permitted, promoted, and embraced under the eye of this generation. And what of their children?(all quotes taken from Latin Mass magazine, summer 2012)

So Jacob ate and was satisfied, Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; you became fat and gross and gorged. They forsook the God who made them and scorned the Rock of their salvation. (Deuteronomy 32:15)