Saturday, October 18, 2014

General Thoughts

Better thinkers and more diligent observers than I have already picked over and dissected the particulars of the Synod and its emanations.  Herewith some general thoughts about what is going on right now in the Church and the world:

-- I have said many times before, and continue to maintain, that the majority of Catholics simply do not have the Catholic faith.  This includes priests and bishops, as well as Catholics who attend Mass every Sunday.  Too many Catholics are so busy trying to make friends with the world that they no longer feel obliged to believe the content of the Deposit of Faith.  The most worrisome ones are those who still keep up the appearance and external observances of Catholicity.  They will be the most impervious to repentance.

-- The current corruption in the Church set in more than a century ago, though it is only in the last 50 years or so that it began to be obvious. I think the attempt to bury the traditional Mass was the lancing of the boil. The beauty of the liturgy had covered up the fact that we were worshiping with our lips and not with our hearts. Once that was taken away, the infection was set in front of our faces.  Yet this did not make us recoil in horror and repent. Instead, we rejoiced in the exhilaration of finally having our own way, as opposed to doing things God's way. Now, we are practically in a state of prostration, though there are still many who don't see this. But the reality is that evil is having its hour, both in the Church and in the world at large. We are so overwhelmed with evil that we try desperately to spin things that come out of Rome as harbingers of reform. We hail the tiniest victories as great successes and a sign that things are getting better. Yet these soon get swallowed up in the status quo ante, and before you know it, we are back to square one.  Proverbs 27:7: A soul that is full shall tread upon the honeycomb: and a soul that is hungry shall take even bitter for sweet.

-- This chastisement in which the Church finds herself was never going to play itself out until we got a Pope imbued with the "Spirit of Vatican II."  Let us face the fact that Francis is that Pope.  Francis can no more sink the Barque of Peter than could the most decadent and corrupt of the Borgia Popes; but he can -- and does -- give us a very rough ride.  That Pope Francis does not get the effects of what he does and says is frankly laughable.

-- The Pope Francis effect, incidentally, is an example of one disastrous consequence of the current spirit of experimentation born of self-will, namely, the cult of Personalities.   As long as doctrine and liturgy are givens, it doesn't matter nearly as much who occupies the Throne of Peter -- or, for that matter, who is bishop or pastor. But after half a century of tinkering with the liturgy, with doctrine also seeming to be "changeable" and "evolving," personalities take on an exaggerated importance. The same thing happens in secular society when the rule of law is undermined. That is how we get tyranny in secular society, and how we get chaos in the Church. When Liturgy ceases to be a given, the impression is created that Doctrine is also no longer a given; and when the givens disappear, so do vital checks on the behavior of those in authority.  Thus we find ourselves constantly on the edge of our seats, wondering what new shocks our superiors are going to administer to us, and hoping and praying for slightly less sadistic new shepherds.  We need to repent of our self-will and submit ourselves to the givens, and then personalities will shrink back down to their proper insignificance.

-- Meanwhile, the bishops, priests and laymen who are without the Catholic faith are openly declaring themselves, thinking -- wrongly -- that Pope Francis has sung a new church into being and ushered in the Age of Aquarius.  The great sifting of men is well underway. 

-- Bringing to mind the stanza from the Dies Irae, which our betters have tried so hard to bury along with the bodies over which it should always be sung:

Inter oves locum præsta.
Et ab hædis me sequestra,
Statuens in parte dextra.

With Thy sheep a place provide me,
From the goats afar divide me,
To Thy right hand do Thou guide me.

Things are so bad that only God can turn them around. We are long past the point of being able to rely solely on our own efforts. We must amend our lives, pray and do penance. Then, when the Holy Spirit does make His move, we will not need to wonder whether things are starting to turn around. There will be no doubt.


  1. "When Liturgy ceases to be a given, the impression is created that Doctrine is also no longer a given; and when the givens disappear, so do vital checks on the behavior of those in authority"
    Thank you, Anita!
    I remember well that about 1963 (when I was 19) my home parish, St. Bridget's in north Minneapolis, started having "dialogue" Masses, during which the congregation said the responses to the Mass prayers. It was still in Latin, then, as it had been in the entire living memory of anyone present.
    In the fall of 1964, at the Newman Center at the U. of Minnesota, I remember that the Mass was in English, and part of the music for the Mass was the Gelineau psalms, one of which began "Y-----, I know you are near." This was the "ecumenical age," and the Jewish student center was a block away.
    After Mass I approached the lead guitarist, who had been very active in music at my former high school, and I mentioned to him that we might have an occasional Jewish student drop in, and if any did, they would be shocked to hear the sacred name of God pronounced out loud, because a pious Jew will never do that.
    He said to me: "Bob, this is the way it's going to be around here. If you don't like it you can get the hell out."
    This was about my first introduction to "progressive" tolerance.
    The liturgies at Newman went from bad to worse ... I remember one fall day in 1968 when "George" and "Harry" showed up in business suits rather than their clericals, gave us a talk on "demythologizing and remythologizing," and more of same, piled higher and deeper.
    In short I agree totally with your analysis and here are some examples from my life to tell you why.

  2. I love your St. Thomas More novena! My family and I pray it and I pass it along to others whenever I can. I can't, however, say that I agree with what you're saying in this entry. It is obvious that preserving the traditions of the Church are very important to you, and with that you have my support. I don't, however, think that Pope Francis is the antichrist you paint him as. Didn't Jesus, Himself, step into the "Church" of His day and make radical statements and turn the established order of practice on its head? Your comments paint you as the Pharisee to his Christ, upset that his followers are breaking off the heads of wheat and eating them on the Sabbath. The Church needs to repent of factions who have misunderstood Vatican II and led groups of people in the wrong direction. But she also must repent of bureaucratic accretions and politics that have distanced her from the actual message and person of Christ. Yes, we must get rid of the saccharine music and personal tweaks to the Mass that have become ubiquitous, at least across the US. But we also must purge ourselves of the bitterness and hardened hearts of conservatives who have thrown out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak, and have essentially turned against the poor, the prisoner and the sick to focus solely on abortion - the only evil they deem worth fighting. Everyone else, according to their way of thinking, has brought suffering on themselves.

  3. Dear Holiness Project:

    I'm glad you are praying and propagating the St. Thomas More novena. However, your accusations against me are unjust. I never once referred to Pope Francis as the antichrist, nor even came close to implying such. And no, Jesus was not a revolutionary radical. On the contrary, He said that he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. He also said that until heaven and earth pass, not one jot or one tittle of the law would pass, until all was fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-18). He shook up the scribes and the pharisees to the extent they had abandoned what He came to fulfill.

    As for claiming that conservatives have turned their back on the poor, the prisoner and the sick to focus on abortion, you clearly wield a pretty broad brush yourself. With this wave of your hand, you summarily dismiss all conservatives regardless of the facts, which you utterly ignore. (I, for instance, happen to be a public defender -- an occupation at which I will never grow rich, and for which I get looked down upon and called every name in the book.) As for the notion of focusing "too much" on abortion, here is St. John Paul II on that very subject:

    The right to life means the right to be born and then continue to live until one's natural end: "As long as I live, I have the right to live.” The question of conceived and unborn children is a particularly delicate yet clear problem. The legalization of the termination of pregnancy is none other than the authorization given to an adult, with the approval of an established law, to take the lives of children yet unborn and thus incapable of defending themselves.

    It is difficult to imagine a more unjust situation, and it is very difficult to speak of obsession in a matter such as this, where we are dealing with a fundamental imperative of every good conscience – the defense of the right to life of an innocent and defenseless human being.

    Therefore, I must repeat that I categorically reject every accusation or suspicion concerning the Pope's alleged "obsession" with this issue. We are dealing with a problem of tremendous importance, in which all of us must show the utmost responsibility and vigilance. We cannot afford forms of permissiveness that would lead directly to the trampling of human rights, and also to the complete destruction of values which are fundamental not only for the lives of individuals and families but for society itself.

    And here is the link: