A comment some time ago induced me to reflect on another hopefully unintended consequence of V II: the plenary indulgences to go.
Apparently, in hospitals the last rites are not really “last”, and people collect them as I collected model cars when I was a child. To the Last Rites is obviously connected the possibility of a plenary indulgence, and I can’t imagine someone thinking he can receive them every few days does not also believe that a plenary indulgence is a very easy matter.
The brutal fact is that in their assault to the Church, the generation of VII has not spared even this sacrament; which, like pretty much everything else, has been trivialised and made similar to a small tale for the very young or the very old.
Therefore, you can bet few priests will treat this sacrament other than like a kind of benediction routinely given to old people, and fewer less will explain to said old people a plenary indulgence was traditionally considered not an easy matter to obtain. This fundamental mistake will then forcibly lead to others, as very ill people form already in this life a strong consciousness of their own impending canonisation, and this thinking then transmits to their relatives; with the very probable result that the departed discovers he was not canonised after all, and his relatives do not pray for him.
Lastly, and also taking inspiration from the comment found in my comment box, this warped thinking warps the entire concept of Purgatory; then if purgatory is so astonishingly easy to avoid, then it cannot be so bad either. Again, the trivialisation of everything Catholic introduced from Vatican II extends to Purgatory.
If you ask me, the recovery of sound Catholicism must also go through a recovery of old thinking in what concerns everyday life: fear of The Lord, seriousness of sin, seriousness of the punishment merited by sin, necessity of honest work towards our salvation, etc. The fear and trembling must get in, and the self-canonisation must go out. When this happens all the other pieces fall into place, and we understand the logic behind indulgences and Purgatory in a way the mentality of the “I want it all and I want it now” will never allow us to grasp.
Fear of the Lord. Judgment. Purgatory. Hell. I do not even hear these words anymore. They are simply disappearing from the public consciousness; another sign of the progressive de-Christianisation of the West we who live in England see in such a traumatic way in these days.