Stephen Bullivant has produced a wonderful book. Mass Exodus is a masterly and authoritative analysis of the statistical decline of the Catholic Church in Britain and America (and in other parts of the Anglosphere).
Whilst Bullivant does not lay the entire blame on the effects of Vatican II, he persuasively demonstrates that the reforms often attributed to the Council were a major contributory factor. With the legendary Peter Berger he agrees that there is little or no evidence that the use of Latin (or indeed Cranmerian English) was alienating for the laity. But both were axed with a clerical ruthlessness which is difficult to explain. With the legendary Mary Douglas he agrees that the removal of other cultural markers (such as fish on Fridays) weakened a sense of loyalty and belonging. God, he points out – in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries – has no grandchildren. Converts are no more than a tenth of those abandoning the Church.
What the book does not say, because of the limits Bullivant has set himself, is that the numerical decline of the German Church is as disastrous and precipitate; but that in the Bergoglian Church German theology is in the ascendant.
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