|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.