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As Sultan Obama’s amnesty decree becomes official ( see here), the Deus Ex Machina (DEM) blog is returning to yesterdays post titled “The Funding Model”, which highlighted the “new” source of funding that the Catholic Church and the rest of BIG RELIGION is presently enjoying from providing ” US Government funded service to illegal immigrants” entering into the US. (see here) Hence the title of the post “The Transfer Window”. But more on that below.
Today, DEM will deal with the Funding Model itself.
As we wrote yesterday,
Historically (and I mean historically), the Catholic Church was funded with alms giving. With the advance of modern society, different funding models arose. In the US, parishioners would not only support the Church through the Sunday collections, but in some cases leave part of their inheritance to the Church as well.
And we suggested that a funding model not based on Church attendance, with the resulting contributions flowing into the collection plates, deprives the Church of the necessary “sustainability” component in any long term economic and financial planning. (There, I used those words.) And when we are speaking about the Holy Roman Catholic Church, we need to consider funding models with an eye for the long term, as in “end of time” long term.
To reinforce the point above, please think about this extreme hypothetical situation dear reader: the Russian Monarch is overthrown, the Communists come to power, the Communists stop all government funding for church organizations and thereby church has an immediate cash flow problem.
See what I mean?
If we dear reader, don’t like extreme hypothetical examples, besides who likes “extremes”, we can examine a real life example. A good case in point is the situation in Germany with the infamous Kirchensteuer or the church tax (see here) and the creative ways in which the German bishops are trying to lure the Pew Sitters back. (see here and here). But I will leave the specifics to a future post. You need to trust me on this one. 😉
On an aside, in the second link, Fr. Z asks “Why is it that truly weird stuff comes into the Church from Germany?”. Hopefully this post will help answer this question, or at least point the good Father in the general directions. But I digress…
But getting back to the situation in the US and since we have identified and explained the problem as per the above, let’s try to transition into what a solution could possibly look like.
To use a professional sports analogy, the problem above reminds one of new management who is hired to take over the operations of a losing sports franchise in an attempt to turn them around. In our simple world example, the management would have two options:
1) Go out and pay for talent to give the franchise an immediate boost in order to turn the team around. Maybe through the transfer window? Hence the title of this post. For our example, let’s call this the USCCB option.
2) Invest in the young talent that it has in its organization knowing that in the longer term, those young players will provide the team with a stable base, and stable gate receipts for years to come. Let’s call this the SSPX option.
Now let me explain the reason behind the labeling of those two approaches. First reason being that the bishop of Rome just simply loves “to label”. Second is that it will allow us to transition into the suggested solution to the problem that we are trying to resolve.
The USCCB Option (as in the US Conference of Catholic Bishops).
The USCCB appears to be in a situation in which it is trying to rebuild its client base, to use a vulgar economic term. It has an abysmal track record with the “New Springtime” and “spirit of VII” strategies collectively known as the New Evangelization. From what it would appear, the USCCB has tried to implement a “quick fix” solution. This quick fix solution revolves around the premise that if the US Government opens the southern borders, i.e the “Transfer Window”, than those individuals coming across will most likely be Catholic, as per the percentages of the country of origination (see here), which will in turn raise the attendance in the church, which in turn will create new Pew Sitters, which will help with the cash flow problem.
Now I have not seen this in official Church documents to this effect, but observing what is happening, I would say that there is a high degree of correlation between ‘some ‘ Catholic bishops ‘flaunting if not outright breaking” US federal laws (see here and here) and those same bishops’ economic situation in their dioceses and parishes.
If the above is not true, please prove me wrong!
The SSPX Option (as in the Society of St. Pius X)
On the other hand, the SSPX appears to be “investing in young talent” to use the sports metaphor. It has never accepted the New Evangelization since the Old Evangelization has kept the franchise winning for 1930 years! And even when the franchise decided to commit collective suicide, and the SSPX still played ball the old fashioned way. And now, the SSPX have a growing base of dedicated Faithful who fill their pews and are raising the next generation of Pew Sitters in the mean time.
You want proof that what I have written is correct?
Two examples from two different countries on two different continents that are in the same situation due to accepting very bad management decisions. First from our new friend from Northern California writing on the Lamentably Sane blog, shares with us the following (see here):
The local FSSP parish is the exception to most of the rules, but there’s definitely a shortage of singles at the typical Novus Ordo parish. Whenever I attend the Novus Ordo on Sunday, it’s mostly a sea of white hair interspersed with a few young families who have very young children or recently baptized infants. Unmarried young adults between the ages of 18-29 are virtually nonexistent. I don’t think it’s a phenomenon restricted only to a few parishes in northern California. It’s a cliché now: good Catholic boy or girl is an altar server, attends all of the classes, receives all the sacraments, goes off to college, never darkens the doorstep of a parish again until sometime in their mid to late thirties, if ever.
And now, from Paris France, Father Z shares with us this observation (see here), along with pictures of some really ‘nice’ food. On an aside, it’s a European thing, calling food ‘nice’. But I digress…. His passages can be broken down into the respective models:
The SSPX Model
I went to St. Germain des’Auxerrois this morning for the 9:45 TLM. It was a sung Mass.
Afterwards, I spoke with whom I assume to be the parish priest. He recognized me right away (as often happens). We couldn’t chat long, because he wanted to greet people after Mass, but I think I may be on for their Thursday evening TLM. I still need a place for daily Mass but… I brought my Mass kit, complete with the SPORCH travel altar cards.
The Mass itself was well-attended, some 150+ and the majority of them young. There were quite a few families with children. Alas, they use for Mass a tiny versus populum altar, which is pretty cramped for the TLM. There is a grand altar in the sanctuary, however. A choral group sang for the Mass and there was good congregational participation in the sung responses.
The USCCB Model
Then, across the river and a brief visit to Saint-Séverin. Mass was just concluding and it was still pretty full, even after the rush of people leaving immediately after (I presume) receiving Communion. I saw a lot of gray hair and not many children or strollers. The modern glass in the ambulatory is horrific, by the way.
These strollers I see today… they look like something engineered by the European Space Agency to land on a comet.
…or to get the hell out of Dodge. 😉 [Ed. Note}
And finally, as I was reading through the above, a though came to mind. Do you, dear reader think that there might be a “general principal” that is underlying the Restoration of both these parishes; the FSSP parish in Northern California and the parish of St. Germain des’Auxerrois in Paris, parishes which happen to be in two different countries on two different continents, but applying the same remedy to the problem?
Further observation, could this “general principal” be considered falling in the category of a “universal law”?
If the above two questions are answered in the affirmative, could it be possible that we are observing the work of “divine intervention” in both these parishes?
On an aside, I’ve heard it said somewhere that the Holy Spirit is tasked with protecting the Bride of Christ? 😉
If the answers to the three questions are in the affirmative, then would it not necessarily follow that a certain bishop of a major Italian metropolis might need to “tweak” his personal magisterium?
Give all the above, and on a much more practical level, the positive answers to the above questions should go a long way in helping us assess who has the more “sustainable” funding model.