This article from Crisis Magazine reminds us that we cannot forget them.
The 1960s were extremely hard on the Catholic Church. The damage done by relativism, contraception, abortion, no-fault divorce (summed up as the Sexual Revolution) and Cultural Marxism has resonated for five decades. When dissident priests such as Fr. Charles Curran advocated for a distorted version of social justice in Catholic colleges and universities, the prophetic teaching of Humane Vitae and the true intent of the Vatican II documents were mutilated by the secular media as well as by many Catholic writers and theologians who misused their skills to attack the kingdom of God.
At a time when sound catechesis and evangelization could have impacted the largest generation of high school and college aged Catholics in the history of the US, misinformation, confusion and outright heresy prevailed in many classrooms and too many Catholic churches across the country.
“Catholic” schools have now churned out hundreds of thousands of graduates who have little or no concept of what the Church actually taught, much less the sound reasoning, science and scriptural basis for her teachings. Some of these graduates are now tenured teachers, department chairs at colleges and universities, some are in the hierarchy of the Church in the US, and some are at very high levels of our state and federal governments. Many more are the parents and grandparents to generations who received their catechesis and evangelization through the words and deeds of people who live lives of little or no witness to an orthodox Catholic faith.
Some faithful Catholics made it through the 1960s, 70s, and 80s with a firm and authentic Catholic faith, but as we look back on the decline of Christianity in the US since 1960, we see that these Catholics are the exception to the rule. Yet these faithful Catholics have been our lifeline to orthodox Catholicism.
In 1965, there were about 46 million Catholics in the United States and 55 percent of whom attended Mass on a weekly basis. Today, we have about 73 million Catholics in the country and only 23 percent of us attend Mass on a weekly basis. If you do the math, you will find that there are over 8 million fewer Catholics at Mass this weekend, than there were on the same weekend in 1965. If you compare today to 1950, the numbers are even more depressing. Some sources say the weekly Mass attendance in the 1950s was more than 70 percent.
Catholicism has been on a 70-year slide in the US. We have more people who identify as Catholic than at any time in our history, but we have less than ½ of the sacramental marriages and baptisms we had in 1965. There has also been a 37 percent decrease in the number of priests since 1965 and a 75 percent decrease in religious sisters (nuns). If the American Catholic Church was a publicly traded company on the stock exchange, our shares would be extremely cheap if they had any value at all.
Retrieved April 12, 2018 from https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/vulnerable-church-can-not-forget-enemies