As I have been reading Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s book, Christus Vincit, I am struck by the similarities between his experiences and mine.

Although we come from very different parts of the world, we were born just a couple of months apart in 1961, at the end of an era in the Church. All through the sixties, changes kept coming. I remember receiving my First Holy Communion in 1968, kneeling at the altar rail of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glenview, Illinois. Our family relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, the next year, and shortly thereafter the marble rail at the church we attended was removed, leaving large holes in the floor and wall.

I don’t remember having religious objections at the time, but even as a boy of nine I wondered why beautiful marble would simply be discarded. My mother had a marble table I admired, and I was always told to be careful around it because it was special. Seeing a marble altar rail ripped out and stacked behind the church for disposal looked to me to be an act of vandalism and senseless destruction. Something was wrong in the Church.

Speaking with my paternal grandmother, “Nana,” also led me to think that something was wrong. She visited often and then lived with us during my teenage years. Nana was a devout, traditional Catholic and missed the old hymns, the Rosaries, the Latin, and the quiet during Mass. She was not one to directly criticize the changes — and especially not priests — but her laments made a deep impression on me because I thought her a holy woman.  ….

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