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(LifeSiteNews) — Hollywood celebrity and pro-life advocate Patricia Heaton recently shared her conviction that priests should not cut homilies short to attract Mass-goers but honor the sacred character of the Mass and give “spiritually challenging” sermons.

In response to the advice of heterodox priest Father James Martin that homilies and Masses should be kept short, Heaton replied on X, “This is more than sad. When the clergy treats the mass as a chore to get finished as quickly as possible, they should step away.”

Martin had shared his opinion in response to a blog post by Cardinal Timothy Dolan suggesting that priests cut Mass times in order to keep attendance up, since Catholics reportedly claimed in synod “listening sessions” that one of the top reasons people are no longer attending Mass is because they are too long.

Heaton maintained, by contrast, that it is not really the length of the Mass, but the way it is offered, that makes a difference in attracting and keeping Catholics.

“The Mass is the opportunity to receive the actual body and blood of Christ. When you surround that miracle with bad 70s music and shallow, childish homilies that aren’t intellectually stimulating or spiritually challenging, you lose people,” Heaton wrote on X.

As evidence of this, she pointed to the significant number of Catholics who are flocking to and long for the Traditional Latin Mass. The desire for the TLM and a “return to orthodoxy and tradition” was especially highlighted by young Catholics at this year’s World Youth Day.

“The reason that so many Catholics are asking for traditional and Latin masses is that they are seeking to experience the sacred wonder of what God did for us over 2000 years ago,” wrote Heaton, alluding to the refrain of Latin Mass-lovers that they are drawn to the TLM because it honors, with vivid detail, the sacred nature of the Mass, a re-presentation of Christ’s offering of Himself to God the Father.

Heaton further decried the suppression of the Latin Mass by Pope Francis and his clerical allies through restrictions such as those imposed by Traditionis Custodes.

“It is mystifying that Pope Francis and others seek to squash those who yearn for a true experience of Christ,” Heaton said.

Statistics suggest that the replacement of the Traditional Latin Mass with the Novus Ordo Missae, which is so drastically different from the TLM in its content and tenor that it has been frequently called the expression of a “new religion,” has been largely responsible for a decline in Mass attendance worldwide. 

French historian Guillaume Cuchet recently published an analysis of the “collapse of practice among Catholics in France,” hypothesizing that the cause of the collapse was the Second Vatican Council. Cuchet shows that 1965, the year the Second Vatican Council ended, marked the beginning of the “collapse” of the practice of Catholicism in France.

Evidence certainly points to a seismic shift in the Catholic Church after the Council. While 75 percent of U.S. Catholics attended Mass weekly in 1955, that figure had dropped to 50 percent by the mid-1990s and had further dropped to 39 percent by 2014-2017. 

Moreover, a 2014 study found that Catholicism in the U.S. had experienced a greater loss than any other religion.