Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Yes, Virginia, That Was an Earthquake (And No April Fool's)

From the Facebook page of St. John's Cathedral, Boise:
damage to cross over north transept from last night's earthquake.
I had to laugh at the headlines in the immediate aftermath reporting an "apparent earthquake."  Nothing "apparent" about it.  As a veteran of many major earthquakes, including the horrific Northridge Earthquake in 1994, I am here to tell you it was pretty unmistakable.  And it was unmistakable to people who felt it all over Idaho, and also in Montana, Washington and Canada.  My first thought, when I realized what was happening, and saw the window glass in my front room window rippling, is that my house might not have been either built with earthquakes in mind or seismically retrofitted.  My second thought was an impulse to call my mother, followed immediately by the recollection that both of my parents are dead.

Quite honestly, even in the midst of the dire events of this Lent, an earthquake was the last thing I was expecting.  It has been 25-plus years since I was last in an earthquake.  Yes, I have always known that there are occasionally earthquakes in Idaho; in fact, two children were hit and killed by falling masonry in Idaho's last big earthquake in 1983.  But nevertheless, I figured, naively, that I was getting away from earthquakes when I moved from California to Idaho in 1995.  Idaho, though volcanic in origin, is not one of your notoriously earthquake-infested states.  The ground in Idaho has always felt safe and solid -- at least as safe and solid as the ground can feel anywhere on earth.

Not anymore.  One more security blanket has been taken away.  Our confidence in one more earthly thing has been shaken -- literally.  

This earthquake coincides with the release to a wider public of the news that, several weeks ago, Idaho's bishop issued a decree forbidding priests to celebrate the Novus Ordo ad orientem, to provide kneelers or Communion rails to parishioners who want to kneel for Holy Communion at Novus Ordo Masses, or to introduce into the Novus Ordo any elements of the traditional Mass.  But that was actually the first of a series of Lenten blows to come out of the chancery.  The next was the initial response to the coronavirus, which was to forbid the faithful to receive Communion on the tongue at Novus Ordo Masses.  Then came the closing of Masses to the public.  Then, immediately following the governor's stay-at-home order, came the bishop's order to lock up all churches, effectively shutting down perpetual adoration, which had been taking place at no fewer than four parishes in the Boise metro area, and the expanded availability of the Sacrament of Penance that some parishes had instituted.  

Now, this concatenation of events has gotten me seriously thinking.  I strongly believe that we are in the midst of a great chastisement that has been coming for a long, long time, and that it consists not only in the pandemic and other natural disasters, but also in the almost entire deprivation of the Mass and the Sacraments in vast stretches of the globe.  For this men and their abuse of their powers are responsible, but God has obviously allowed it to happen, or it couldn't have happened.  I believe part of the reason He has permitted all this is to expose the utter impotence of trendy modernism in the face of catastrophe, and what a catastrophe modernism is in and of itself.

Yet I also feel the all-pervasiveness of this modernism that doesn't leave me untouched.  Modernism denies the supernatural.  When I look at all the signs, I am tempted to dissociate the supernatural from it all, and to think that only the banal and worldly is what is real.  I am tempted to think I am only seeing what I want to see, or only what fits in with my narrative.  I worry about reading things into events that aren't really there.  

On the other hand, it makes sense that we in Idaho should feel some divine wrath.  The rest of the country thinks of Idaho as a very conservative state; but this does not take account of the state of the Church in Idaho.  The hobnailed boot of liberalism has been on the neck of the Boise Diocese for a very long, long time.  The modernist Old Guard has been very complacent here, and thus very arrogant, for a very long time.  One of them, former Father William Thomas Faucher, the great liberal editorialist and wreckovator of parish churches, felt complacent enough to amass a gigantic stash of child porn of a character so vile and so violent that the detectives working the case characterized it as the worst and most sickening stuff they had ever seen.  Faucher felt complacent enough to take pictures of himself urinating on a copy of the Code of Canon Law, and to boast online to his pervert pals about urinating in a chalice.  In jail, he felt complacent enough to publish a newsletter to his supporters and give a newspaper interview in which he predicted that his legacy would not be as a child pornographer.  At his sentencing, he felt complacent enough to give an almost twenty-minute speech blaming his porn and drug addiction on being sidelined by the late former bishop, and asking the judge, with a straight face, for probation so that he could "help" others understand the evils of child porn.  And in the aftermath of his being sentenced to 25 years fixed, the remaining Old Guard still felt complacent enough to carry on business as usual, to include trying to put the kibosh on the small grass-roots steps toward regaining tradition that were inspired by horror over the Faucher affair.  

But business as usual has now been brought, forcibly, to an end.  Whether we try to go back to it is going to depend on whether or not we have learned anything from all this.

St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, pray for us.
St. Rocco, patron against plagues, pray for us.
St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, patron against earthquakes, pray for us.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Weighed Down by Chastisement

Pope Francis gives Urbi et Orbi blessing (livestream screenshot)
This is my first Sunday feeling the full effects of what has been aptly described as God’s interdict.  Since Idaho’s stay-at-home order was issued, our bishop locked up all the churches, and even the SSPX had to suspend Mass at its local chapel.  So, for the first time in many years, I stayed home from Sunday Mass.  There were no Sunday Masses I could go to.

To still keep holy the Lord’s Day, I watched the live-streamed traditional Latin Mass out of the FSSP parish up in Coeur d’Alene, following the propers in my hand missal and making a spiritual Communion.  I made up my mind some time ago that I will not attend the Novus Ordo Mass any more, unless there is no other way to fulfill my Sunday obligation.  In this crisis, during which I cannot attend any Mass at all, and therefore have no Sunday obligation, I nevertheless had my pick of live-streamed traditional Masses.

One tries to see the good in this abnormal and unsettling time — during which one feels weighed down by the fact that God has permitted everything that is happening, and that we have more than deserved it — though we will not really be able to fully comprehend all that is happening, while it is happening.   One thing that seems to be happening is the rediscovery of the power of tradition, and the exposure of the Church’s great modernist experiment as a colossal fraud.  When things get real, the “pastoral accompaniment,” the new-world-order globalist tripe, the secularist jazz, the hippie-dip theology, get tossed out as the irrelevancies they truly are.  We saw this on Friday during the Pope’s extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing.  Admittedly, I do not know much Italian, and I chose not to watch a feed with a translation, so I, like probably many others, am going by what I saw.  I saw that Pope Francis brought out, not the idiotic and blasphemous Evo Morales commie “crucifix,” but the ancient plague Crucifix (though, inexplicably, this was left out in the rain).  I saw the salus populi painting of the Blessed Mother, said to have been made by St. Luke himself.  I saw Eucharistic adoration, with traditional trappings, and the very moving three-fold Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament over the city (Urbi) and the whole world (Orbi).

Has the Pope, with this blessing, now done enough to lift God’s censure?  At this writing, the censure continues.  Is it sufficient reparation for the veneration of Pachamama idols at the heart of Christendom on earth, or for the awful sellout of Catholics to the communist Chinese government, or for the clergy sex abuse scandal?  That is only for God to decide.  Has it benefitted the Church?  I think so, even if it is not a cure-all.  God can use even devils as His instruments for good.  It is worth meditating on the fact that the blessing happened at all.  Since Pope Francis is not a fan of bestowing blessings, or of traditional Catholic things in general, this Urbi et Orbi blessing struck me as an example of how, sometimes, the graces of office assert themselves in spite of the office holder.  It is a proof that God is in charge, not mere men.  And since I believe this is an incident in which the graces of office asserted themselves, I believe it is therefore a proof that Francis, not the former Benedict XVI, is in fact the true Pope.

We have had a thousand years’ worth of confusion packed into the last seven, ever since that fateful day when Pope Benedict XVI abdicated and lightning struck the dome of St. Peter’s.  Maybe another salutary effect of the current chastisement will be to put an end to that confusion.  Maybe Francis is the Pope who will be moved to finally consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union with all the world’s bishops.  That seems to me something worth praying for.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Working from Home: Day 1

Today was Day One of working from home under Idaho’s stay-at-home order.  Because my job constitutes an “essential service” under the order, I am not obliged to work from home as a matter of law, and there may be times when I will have to leave the house and put in a bodily appearance at work.  I was in fact reluctant to work from home, because women are not very good at compartmentalizing, and it is already hard enough for a woman to keep home life separate from work.  On the other hand, the county would like us to work from home as much as we can, and there are some technical things to rehearse and work out before we go live with virtual court next week; besides which, the respite from the commute will save me a few bucks in gas money.  So I opened up my roll-top desk and set up my work laptop, and Legal Eagle Beagle Ltd. was in business.

Though this is the first time I have worked from home, it is actually not the first time I have worked at home.  From time to time I have a motion or a brief to get out that requires some intensive research and writing, or I have a trial that requires some intensive preparation: then it is good to work on these projects surrounded by pleasant and familiar things.  But today many of the daily business activities that I normally do only at the office took place at home.  These activities stayed in one room that is actually set aside as a study, so I could still compartmentalize somewhat; and I could also look out the window at the pleasant spring weather.  Except for a couple of virtual meetings to test and practice with the software we are using to stay connected to the office and the court, there was no face time with colleagues.  In our line of work, we depend a lot on each other’s input and advice.  There was, however, plenty of face time with Scarlett the Cat, my furry, four-legged co-counsel.  At the end of the business day, with no huge projects demanding immediate and continued attention, the laptop was powered off and shut up in the roll-top desk, out of sight until tomorrow morning.

Thus passed my first day in this strange new reality that leaves us in our comfortable surroundings but has brought out our inner Howard Hughes, turning us into reclusive germophobes, and about which we cannot seem to have a rational discussion that doesn’t end in hysteria and recriminations.  It’s hard to see the whole picture when you’re inside the frame, and I don’t quite grasp the whole concatenation of circumstances that led us, suddenly, to this pass.  I do know I am more dismayed by the reaction to the coronavirus than I am by the thing itself, and by the fact that there seem to be many people complaining that the government has not gone nearly far enough in curtailing our freedoms.

And there are two things that frighten me.  The first is that, for our slide into the moral sewer, we have merited this plague, and worse; the second is the inescapable fact that a just God has permitted this, on a global scale.  

Will we learn the lessons He is trying to teach us?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Only in a Godless Society...

...is the care of souls not considered “essential” activity for purposes of a stay-at-home order.

This afternoon, the governor of Idaho announced a stay-at-home order to combat the coronavirus, effective at 1:30 p.m.  The order bans public gatherings of any size, including for “faith-based” purposes, which naturally rules out worship services.  It defines essential businesses and services for which one may travel.  This does not include the services of priests and clergy.  This means that priests and clergy who are out caring for their flocks in violation of the stay-at-home order are subject to misdemeanor charges.

During World War II, persons entrusted with the care of souls were considered essential to the war effort.  That’s why ministers, priests and rabbis received “C” mileage ration stickers.  They entitled the bearer to more gallons of gas per week than persons working in the military industries and bearing “B” stickers, who got up to 8 gallons a week.  The average shlub got an “A” sticker, which entitled him to up to 4 gallons a week.

In what sense are the services of priests “non-essential”?  There really is such a thing as hell, and people do go there.  Persons nearing the end of their lives are in the greatest danger, since the attacks of the devil intensify at the hour of death.  They need all the help they can get.  That is what priests provide, via the Sacraments.  Yet it seems clear that if today we brought back these old ration stickers, priests would only rate an “A” sticker, if they got any sticker at all.  Already we are hearing stories about people dying without a priest.

Will our bishops courteously yet firmly and persistently demand exceptions for priests making sick calls and administering the Sacraments?

The chastisement deepens.  

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Coincidence?

On March 22, 1970, Palm Sunday, the Novus Ordo Missae was first permitted to be used in these United States.  (It did not become mandatory until the First Sunday of Advent, 1971.)

On March 22, 2020, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, the public celebration of the Novus Ordo Missae is effectively almost entirely suppressed in these U.S.A., and in much of the rest of the world, as we labor under what one priest has aptly described as God’s Interdict.

It appears that the only public Masses now being offered are the traditional Latin Masses offered by the Society of St. Pius X (at least where they are not prevented by the civil authorities).  Although the Society has less than 700 priests worldwide, it has actually increased the number of Masses in order to have fewer people attend each one.

Notice also that the Fourth Sunday of Lent is Laetare Sunday, the midpoint of Lent, when special signs of joy are permitted in the liturgy to encourage the faithful in their Lenten penance.

So, on Palm Sunday, when the Church commemorates Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem in order to undergo His Passion, she entered into the eclipse of the traditional Mass and the rise of the New Mass, in which she would become all but unrecognizable.  Exactly 50 years later, the public celebration of the new Mass is all but completely shut down, leaving only the public celebration of the traditional Mass.

Coincidence?

According to St. Padre Pio, with Divine Providence there is no coincidence.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

What Does It Mean?

Masses all over the world are becoming scarce.  Dozens of dioceses all over these United States are suspending public Masses.  Just yesterday afternoon came the announcement that public Masses in the Diocese of Boise are suspended, at least through Palm Sunday (though the Cathedral parish is vastly increasing the availability of confession and Eucharistic adoration).  A few dioceses are taking the intermediate approach of carrying on with public Masses but dispensing the faithful from the Sunday obligation, or at least dispensing certain categories of people from the obligation.  The Society of St. Pius X is more or less following this middle course, though they intend to add Masses in places where their chapels are full, so that fewer people will attend each Mass.

I can only give my own, non-authoritative opinion as to what this all means.  I think it means there is an immense lack of faith and a failure to see this crisis in a supernatural light.  Some bishops in Italy, where hundreds are dying every day, have actually come out and denied even the possibility that this plague is a scourge of divine chastisement calling for repentance, conversion and propitiation.  Even some good priests say they think this is not a chastisement, despite obviously recognizing the many reasons why we so richly deserve a chastisement.  A time like this calls for an increase, not a decrease, in reception of the Sacraments and in offerings of the Propitiating Sacrifice.

Yet God, without Whose consent nothing happens, is permitting the shutting down of the Sacrifice and the restricting of access to the Sacraments even during a pandemic.  This, frankly, is a chastisement in itself, and one that I think is even more frightening than the coronavirus itself and rightly described as apocalyptic.  We should ask ourselves why God would strip us of the Mass and in some cases the Sacraments in a time of contagion.  I fear that one answer may be that, so far from propitiating God, we have actually been making the occasion of our worship a means of aggravating our guilt.

Are our hearts far away from Him, even while we honor Him with our lips?  There seems little enough to distinguish us from non-Catholics.  The Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research arm, says that, according to a 2011 study, 98% of Catholic women have used contraceptives at some point; 87% were currently using contraceptives; and 89% of Catholic women who have never married have had sex.  The Church has never changed her teaching on contraceptives or sex outside of marriage.  According to a 2015 Pew Research Center report, a quarter of Catholics have been divorced; 44% have lived in concubinage; 62% favor Communion for those who have divorced and remarried without an annulment.  Even our own clergy, up to the highest levels of the Church, have been outspoken proponents of Communion for the divorced and remarried, which the Church has never endorsed and cannot endorse.  A 2019 Pew study found that only 31% of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  Most of these do not know the Church’s doctrine of transubstantiation; but 22% of Catholics do know it but reject it.  Is God putting the kibosh on countless multitudes of unworthy and sacrilegious Communions?

What about general irreverence in church?  The noise levels inside a Catholic church surpass anything that went on even during the crazy seventies, when all sorts of excesses ran riot in the liturgy.  The last time I was present at a priestly ordination in my diocese, several years ago, people were literally whooping and yelling inside the cathedral, during the Mass, as if they were at a football game.  No one corrected them.  (Now I come to think of it, we have had very, very few priestly ordinations in this diocese since then.)  Many of us, who do not have the excuse of having just come in from hard and unavoidable labor, appear at Mass dirty and smelly, dressed like slobs, or dressed immodestly.  Maybe God got tired of looking at tramp stamps and butt cracks and cleavage and flip flops inside His house, and smelling B.O. and listening to inane sports conversations in front of the tabernacle, and tossed us out until we have straightened up.  Wouldn’t we throw people out of our houses who came over only to behave disrespectfully and ignore us?

Also on ice are bound to be a great many Masses offered by perverted and corrupt priests and bishops, such as those who, to our shame, have been exposed in recent years, and by priests who preach errors and heresies from the pulpit.  Yes, as St. Thomas More explains in his Dialogue Concerning Heresies, a bad priest does not make for an invalid Mass; but nevertheless, he also argues that it would be better to have fewer Masses than more Masses offered by bad priests.  “For though God of His goodness, however bad the priest may be, well accepts the oblation of Christ’s holy Body for the sake of other folk,” says Thomas, “He yet is highly displeased with that priest’s presumption.  And we ought never to seek our own well-being with our neighbor’s harm.  And we should, as a duty to God, rather forgo the profit that we ourselves might attain by a Mass than see His Majesty disreverenced by the bold presumption of such an odious minister as He has forbidden to come around Him.”  It is worth reflecting on what the effect is in the diocese when an evil priest is uncovered and brought to light.  Do we collectively, as a local church, put on sackcloth and ashes and try to make reparation and do justice?  Or is it business as usual?

And then there is the Mass itself, as celebrated in so many places.  We quite fail, on a constant and ongoing basis, to offer to God the best that we have.  We replace Latin with the vernacular; we replace chant with guitars and tambourines, badly played; we replace polyphony with Broadway show tunes and campfire ditties.  Consider the following from a paean to ourselves, often trotted out during Lent, in which God only gets a couple of passing mentions:
We reach out to those who are homeless/To those who live without warmth/In the coolness of evening we’ll shelter their dreams/We will clothe them in mercy and peace.
What does this morass even mean?  And then there is the gender ideology injected into the Palm Sunday Gospel reading of the Passion, where the liberal liturgists assign all the male lines to female readers, while a multitude of able-bodied men stand around mute.  Whom do we seek to please by this gender-bending?  Is God pleased?

I am among those who think depriving us of the Mass and shrinking the visibility of the Church in a time of pestilence is a failure on the part of the bishops, and the result of our experiment in bringing the Church into line with the modern world.  But whatever guilt bishops may or may not incur in this is swallowed up by the realization that none of this could have happened without the permission of Almighty God.  God has allowed this to happen for a reason.

God loves us infinitely, as though each of us were the only person who ever existed, and He sent His Son to die to unlock the gates of heaven that were closed against us on account of sin.  But He is not required to put up with our crap.

We would have no chance of making it to heaven if He did.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Church of Cut and Run

OR: We Could Sure Use Some Toxic Masculinity Right About Now

Six and a half years ago, in this space, I complained about the effeminacy of the Spirit-of-Vatican-II liturgy and how it is designed, not to fire us up and fortify us for battle, but to make us docile and complacent and fattened up for the slaughter.  Now, fifty-plus years into this project of mushifying the Mass, the Sacraments and doctrine, we are treated to the entirely predictable spectacle of many of our shepherds turning tail and running from the coronavirus.  The same Church that holds the divine promise to prevail even over the gates of hell itself has been taken over by hirelings and turned into the Church of Cut and Run.

The Church of Cut and Run has been ceding all kinds of territory to the devil for years.  48 years ago, William F. Buckley, Jr. commented on how difficult it was for Catholics to oppose abortion while their bishops palled around with pro-abortion legislators.  Catholic bishops have backed down and even defected to the other side on issues like contraceptives, abortion, divorce, adultery, homosexuality, “gender” ideology,  socialism, subsidiarity and the rights of parents.  The result has been a popular culture that is basically a sewer, and a society that is increasingly hostile to the rights of Catholics.  The Church of Cut and Run has proven itself to be all but useless when it comes to defending its flocks against the forces of secularism.  In an age when even good people are brought up to value creature comforts over the spiritual life, it has gotten away with this.

But now we have a new situation.  Now our creature comforts themselves are threatened.  Now we have a contagious disease going around; and we, who failed to feel the sting of God’s wrath in the many spiritual chastisements He has sent us over the years, are now starting to feel it in the threat to our bodily health.  Worse than the disease itself, from which the vast majority of patients recover, is the panicky response to the disease.  Everyday life in many places is interrupted.  Groceries and toilet paper and other supplies are hard to find amid waves of panic-buying, even though there is no evidence that these items are in short supply.  Many of us have just plain gone off our nut.

And how are the bishops responding? Many are using the pandemic as an occasion to strike down beloved traditions and guaranteed rights of the faithful, like receiving Communion on the tongue.  And many are abandoning their flocks altogether by locking up churches and depriving them of the Mass and the Sacraments.  Italy, whose bishops have effectively imposed a self-interdict, is probably the most striking example of this.  Some of these bishops are actually justifying this by pooh-poohing the idea that the pandemic is a sign of God’s wrath.

How fearless, how manly is the Spirit-of-Vatican-II Church!  Fortified by decades of insipid liturgies, solipsistic hymns and effeminate preaching, the kinder, gentler, nicer, welcoming, accompanying Spirit-of-Vatican-II shepherds head for the hills at the first sign of danger, leaving the flocks to foot it as best they can without the consolations that once were offered by the hide-bound, rigid, doctrinaire clergy and stern, habit-wearing nuns they mercifully replaced.  How fortunate we are to have now a diluted faith that no longer pricks our consciences or stirs us to zeal for God and souls.  What great stead that stands us in in the face of every danger, both spiritual and temporal!

And the coronavirus, though dangerous to certain classes of people, like the elderly or those who are already in poor health, is nevertheless not to be compared with the Black Plague, which wiped out at least a third of Europe’s population.  But what if we did get a new Black Plague?  If a relatively mild disease like coronavirus is enough to blow “pastoral accompaniment” all to hell, what would a new Black Plague do?

But for all the efforts of the Church of Cut and Run to destroy every last vestige of the evil, hate-filled, fear-mongering pre-conciliar Church, who is it that is actually stepping forward manfully to take charge of the pandemic, care for the sheep, and, above all, propitiate the wrath of God and bring about repentance and conversion?  That would seem to be the tradition-minded sector of the Church that we have been taught for so many years to execrate.  New generations of hide-bound, rigid, doctrinaire clergy and stern, habit-wearing nuns are rising up, tired of pablum and impotence in the face of spiritual dangers and itching to take the fight to the enemy.  The tradition-minded priests, many of whom have been busy training themselves up in the old rite, are offering votive Masses for deliverance from death in time of pestilence; breaking out the Rituale Romanum and putting real holy water into the hands of as many people as possible; holding Eucharistic processions; opening churches; and making sure their people have access to the Sacraments.

Meanwhile, the bongos-and-tambourines “accompaniment” crowd is nowhere to be seen on the field of battle.  To salve their spotted consciences, they don’t even acknowledge that there is a battle.  And “accompaniment” has been proven to be nothing but a weak-tea, crybaby substitute for the fearless, “toxically masculine” self-sacrifice of a true shepherd.  Have we ever been presented with a starker contrast between who in the Church packs the gear, and who doesn’t?  Have we ever been faced with clearer proof that the aftermath of the Council has been an utter disaster, and that the Barque of Peter desperately needs to change course?

And have we ever been faced with clearer proof that the liberal prelates that have bullied us for so many decades are nothing but paper tigers?  Who says they can’t be beaten?  It’s time to get our own courage up, pick up our rosaries and our Bibles, and play our part to turn the tide.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Disorientation

Some Catholics, in common with the Protestant revolutionaries of the 16th century, hate Mass celebrated ad orientem.  Some bishops have gone as far as to forbid their priests to celebrate the New Mass ad orientem.  But I submit that that orientation in the Mass whereby the priest faces the people not only goes against century upon century of tradition, but is inherently disordered.

First, versus populum makes the priest the center of attention, instead of God.  That makes no sense, when we are there to worship God.

Second, the prayers of the Mass are addressed to God, not to the people in the pews.  How do you like having somebody turn his back on you and face someone else while he talks to you?

Third, it gets even worse.  Since the Tabernacle behind the altar contains Jesus in the Eucharist, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, every time the priest bends over at the altar, while facing the people, such as to kiss the altar, he is raising his rear end to  Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

Ever think of that?  Let this sink in.

Every time the priest bends over at the altar while facing the people, he is brandishing his butt at God.  He is directing his derrière at the Divine.  He is mooning the Messiah.  He is flashing the vertical smile at the Almighty.  (Don’t talk to me about the layers of vestments: God knows and sees what all is underneath those, right down to the racing stripes.)

Has this ever, in the two-thousand-year history of the Church, or during the millennia of the Old Covenant, ever been an accepted method of paying God the respect He is due?  How does it make you feel to be suddenly confronted with someone’s great big ass, whether they intended to point it at you or not?  And, since God made us in His image and likeness, why should we think He likes that any more than we do?

There are those who might think the solution to this problem would be to remove the Tabernacle to some other location, and continue to have the priest celebrate Mass facing the people.  But the removal of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament from His place of honor inside His own house is only a further progression of this whole disorder.

If Jesus cannot have the place of honor inside His own house, with nobody sticking their butt in His Face, it is that much harder for us to give Him the place of honor in our hearts, in our lives, and in society.  And when Jesus is denied His rightful place, the inevitable result is strange times like the ones we are now living in.

Friday, March 06, 2020

When Superman Refuses to Fly

So what are our shepherds doing about the coronavirus?  Among other things:

- No Communion from the chalice. (GOOD, should cut down on the use of lay Communion ministers, though certain exceptions are needed)
- Thorough washing of Communion vessels (Rome has previously ruled that this must be done by clerics)
- No hand-holding during Our Father and sign of peace (YAY!)
- Empty out holy water fonts (FAIL)
- No Communion on the tongue (ILLEGAL)

Some of these measures are prudent.  Some are welcome as purges of inane ‘70s accretions in the liturgy.  Some have nothing to do with stopping the spread of disease and are exercises of raw power, with the coronavirus as an obvious pretext for trying to quash traditional devotions and set modernist abuses in concrete.

This set of responses to the coronavirus is a bad sign.  Do our bishops really think these worldly precautions are sufficient?  Some of them don’t address the problem at all; none of them come close to bringing to bear all the powers at a bishop’s disposal.  Why aren’t bishops:

- Organizing processions?
- Using the Rituale Romanum to mass-produce holy water and exorcised salt and get them into the hands of as many people as possible?
- Imposing deprecatory blessings against plagues?
- Offering votive Masses against plagues?

Surely, the worst thing to do in a time of plague is to get rid of holy water!  Since a lot of priests use the Book of Blessings to make holy water, or even just make up their own blessings, maybe the absence of that water isn’t much of a loss; but real holy water, in which some exorcised salt is mixed, is meant to drive away disease!  Look at these passages from the blessings of salt and water out of the Rituale Romanum:
God’s creature, salt, I cast out the demon from you by the living God, by the true God, by the holy God, by God Who ordered you to be thrown into the water-spring by Eliseus to heal it of its barrenness.  May you be a purified salt, a means of health for those who believe, a medicine for body and soul for all who make use of you. 
O God, Who for man’s welfare established the most wonderful mysteries in the substance of water, hearten to our prayer, and pour forth Your blessing on this element now being prepared with various purifying rites.  May this creature of Yours, when used in Your mysteries and endowed with Your grace, serve to cast out demons and to banish disease.  May everything that this water sprinkles in the homes and gatherings of the faithful be delivered from all that is unclean and hurtful; let no breath of contagion hover there, no taint of corruption; let all the wiles of the lurking enemy come to nothing.  By the sprinkling of this water may everything opposed to the safety and peace of the occupants of these homes be banished, so that in calling on Your Holy Name they may know the well-being they desire, and be protected from every peril; through Christ our Lord.
These sacramentals are immensely powerful!  Or don’t we believe that anymore?

In the traditional Mass, there is a votive Mass for Deliverance from Death in Time of Pestilence.  It is founded on the belief, naively abandoned in our time, that plagues and pestilence are the scourges of God’s wrath for our sins.  For some reason, in the middle of the bloodiest century in human history, we came up with the idea that there is no need to appease God’s wrath.  We even got the zany idea that we can treat with God as equals.  How is that working out for us?  Why don’t we go back to praying like we used to in the Introit and the Collect and the Postcommunion for this votive Mass:
Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy covenant and say to the destroying Angel: Now hold thy hand, and let not the land be made desolate, and destroy not every living soul. 
O God, Who willest not the death of the sinner but that he should repent: welcome with pardon Thy people’s return to Thee: and so long as they are faithful in Thy service, do Thou in Thy clemency withdraw the scourge of Thy wrath. 
Graciously hear us, O God our Savior: deliver Thy people from the terrors of Thy wrath, and assure them of that safety which is the gift of Thy mercy.
These are extremely powerful spiritual weapons that only our priests and bishops can give us.  Why don’t they?  Is it because they don’t believe?

It is as if Superman is refusing to fly.

Friday, February 28, 2020

This.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider has published an essay today on the question of who has the right to judge a heretical Pope, and whether Benedict XVI is still the true Pope.

A big theme of this essay is something Bishop Schneider has stated before: that there is no human solution to a crisis like the one we have now under Pope Francis.  He thinks the Bellarmine Option, as it is coming to be known — that the cardinals can declare a heretical Pope to be self-deposed, and then go on to elect a new Pope — is a no-go on several grounds.  To what he says, I will add an opinion of my own.  If the Bellarmine Option were valid, it would probably never happen anyway, because by the time we get a heretical Pope, we’ve already got a largely corrupt and compromised set of cardinals.

Just because there is no human solution to this crisis, that doesn’t mean there is nothing for us to do.  Bishop Schneider:
The Church is ultimately not a human but a divine-human reality. She is the Mystical Body of Christ. Attempts to resolve the current crisis of the papacy which favor the opinion of St. Robert Bellarmine with its concrete solution, or take refuge in the unproven theory of Benedict XVI still being the only true pope, are doomed to fail from the start. The Church is in the hands of God, even in this most dark time. 
We must not be lax in proclaiming Catholic truth and warning and admonishing when papal words and actions clearly harm the faith. But what all true sons and daughters of the Church ought to do now is launch a serious world-wide crusade of prayer and penance to implore a divine intervention. Let us trust in the Lord’s words: “Will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?” (Luke 18:7).