Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Childish Church

Having spent part of February, most of March, a few days in early April and another bunch of days two weeks ago in the hospital, my mind in those boring surroundings had often wandered into thinking about my fellow everyday average Catholics and how they can manage during these days of "diabolic disorientation".  What is coming down the pike at them, and how will they (and we) cope with it? Catholics who attend reverent liturgies and take their faith seriously will hopefully withstand much of the storm; but what of these others, those whose experience of Catholicism is an occasional parish pancake breakfasts and a puerile liturgy?

Do our fellow Catholics, the majority of them, like being treated like burbling infants in their daily parish life?  How will that help them when the final hurricane really hits?  I worry about them.

When the balloons descended from the Vatican to mark a ceremony for peace some time ago I knew that we were now finally in what can only be called the Childish Church.  "Infantile" may be a better word but for now childish will do.  And events since then have only strengthened that view.  The old ways of virility, prudence and simple reverential reserve are gone; clown noses and balloons and huzzahs have replaced them.

[Some have offered the suggestion that after the infamous (but very telling) 2014 release of the doves, who were suddenly set upon and attacked by ravens and a seagull - which many have said is an omen if ever there was one - it was a better idea to avoid any repeat of this sudden horror by exchanging the doves, a sign of peace, with something more in keeping with the mentality that currently thrives in the Church:  Balloons.  What does the average Catholic, or non-Catholic for that matter, think of all this?]

I really do worry about these souls, those who know nothing of Catholicism but its recent bastardization by the Modernists.  When the calamity hits, will they remain Catholic, even in the loose and nominal state they are accustomed to being in?

Often the faithful are treated like children, certainly in the general tenor of worship.  We are given sweets instead of nourishment, and if we should raise questions about why we are being asked to shake hands, give kisses of peace, take the Host as if it were a cookie, and from a layman at that, we are patted on the head and assured that all is right with the world.

I admire anyone today who could be attracted to a Church that has become so tawdry and low-class as Catholicism has become in too many eyes.  Balloons and light shows on the Vatican are the cheapest of Hollywood tinsel, while the Low Class Department is well represented by such sterling disappointments as Timothy Dolan and Blaise Cupich.  The converts who come in from time to time must be truly extraordinary people to be able to see through this fog, overlooking the jolt-heads in the hierarchy and recognize what is at the heart of Catholicism, Jesus Christ.  The young men (God help them) who want to be priests - and I'm talking of true vocations - who can live through the hell of modern seminary life and emerge Catholic with their tattered vocation still intact are men to be admired, helped and most of all prayed for.

The average man-in-the-pew who can still remain Catholic after every Sunday - forgive me, I mean every Saturday night - Mass, a Mass which in most parishes is an insult to their intelligence, is also someone to be admired, helped and prayed for.  An average Mass today is a veritable pinnacle of imbecility.  Real men must squirm through this drivel; real women must wish to sink in the pews hoping not to be noticed.  But the shallow, the intellectually vacant or those who just go with the flow, or those - God please help them - who find this stimulating - have absorbed this maudlin mush and have adjusted their religious points of view accordingly, to be current with the prevailing winds blowing icily from Rome, and without a care in the world.

I wonder how we can be of help to these people.  And I wonder how we can cope, too.

To keep sane in these circumstances there are a few things that everyone must do and certainly there is no need for me to spell out to readers here what those things might be.  But I believe one of the primary actions we must think again about engaging in is best described in these remarks from author James Larson:

"The Rosary is our refuge in the Days of Final Deception.
It has frequently and rightly been said that the heart and soul of the rosary is meditation on the fifteen mysteries themselves. This proves a great sign of contradiction to many people. Such meditation is a function of the intellect – of discursive thought and reasoning. It requires a state of concentration on specific facts and concepts which it is impossible to maintain during each Hail Mary recited one after another, decade after decade, mystery after mystery, day after day, year after year. And this is true even with the employment of something like a scriptural rosary. The mind – and the heart which follows it – has a tremendous difficulty being attentive in any really deep way to what might seem endless repetition. This can lead to a great deal of ennui (boredom, weariness, and discouragement). Thus the guilt which I think so many of us experience in relation to our praying of the rosary. We know, at least intuitively, that in order for Our Lady’s Heart to be our refuge, it needs to be that our hearts are engaged with Hers. This becomes very difficult for us to affirm in the midst of dull repetition, distraction, and torpidity. Yes, we initiate and say the rosary with some basic good intention towards God and Our Lady, but this becomes deeply vitiated if we do not somehow find a way to engage our mind, will, and affections beyond this basic “saying”. It would in fact seem very indicative of this problem that good Catholics often speak about “saying” the rosary instead of praying the rosary.
I would suggest therefore that the rosary is far more than just meditation, even though such meditation is integral and necessary for its recitation. I would be very skeptical about any method of praying the rosary which does not, at least in the beginning of a decade, focus at least briefly on the particular mystery and its meaning. But the rosary is a prayer which should engage all the many faculties of our soul, all the way up to and including those moments when these faculties become passive, but fully alert to the infused action of God.
I believe that the key to this deeper engagement is the Hail Mary itself. St. Louis de Montfort wrote, “St. Augustine, surpassing himself as well as all that I have said so far, affirms that in order to be conformed to the image of the Son of God all the predestinate, while in this world, are hidden in the womb of the Blessed Virgin where they are protected, nourished, cared for and developed by this good Mother, until the day she bring them for to a life of Glory after death….” The first part of the Hail Mary, in which we pray “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus” is not only an act which acknowledges the Incarnation of Christ, but should also be that moment when all our faculties, and especially our simple affection of childlike surrender, follow Christ into the Immaculate Heart of Our Mother, which is her spiritual womb."
If these indeed be the "final days of deception" then the above words are vital.  The rosary will keep us sane.  It will help us withstand everything that is hitting us.

If we sit in stunned silence while Blaise Cupich gives Communion to blatant homosexuals, or Timothy Dolan gives them a cheer and a clapping hand, and we know that Rome doesn't seem to care at all about these outrages, there is the rosary to turn to.

And as I have been charitably reminded from time to time, grace is something we should not be unmindful of.  Brother Andre Marie has a point when he writes:

"Let us never forget the availability of grace and its absolute necessity in the process of conversion and perseverance. When people say things like “you have to just trust that things will work out,” or “God still runs the Church,” etc., it is easy to dismiss them as being pietistic and ignoring the gravity of the situation. Sometimes, those who make that statement are naive about the machinations of perfidious men who are not worthy of trust. If our hope were in men, it would not be a theological virtue. We trust that things will work out in the Church — as in, her saving mission being achieved — not because of men, but because of the promises of Christ."

So, to persevere in such a time as this we still have the gift of God's grace.  In the paragraphs above I referred to those who can still enter the Church, become priests or try to live as Catholics as special people we must pray for.  I need to quickly add that these are not the only ones who need prayer. Souls who are aware of the malignancy that is eating at the Church and the world and who do cling to the pious practices of the eternal Faith are also in need of prayers.  I am aware of many of the evils that are gnawing at Christ's Mystical Body yet I am not so stupid as to think that I am somehow above those who don't see these evils and are perfectly happy with what Catholicism looks like today. I wish to live my remaining days on earth as a Catholic, the same wish I would have for everyone else.

"The Church is bloodied and humiliated today by Her enemies, external and internal, but her unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity are still to be seen for all who have good will."

Brother Andre is correct to remind us of this.


Wolverine said...

So much truth in your post. My wife and I consider celebrating our usual Sunday obligation N.O. Mas as an act of extreme mortification/reparation.

Last Sunday I sat through the most of Mass, raging at the Crucifix-less white washed sepluchre sanctuary and attending habit-less aging Dominican sisters, with our adopted teenage daughter, who my wife and I suspect could have a call to consecrated life, who is fascinated and intrigued by consecrated life while unaware of the apostacy taking place all around us.

Lord have mercy on us!!

Anonymous said...

Very important to realize that Our Lord is there. Being abused, ignored, disrespected, and treated downright sacrilegiously quite often, but there, as patient and meek as He was in Jerusalem two thousand years ago when He accomplished our salvation.

He is there - both for us and for them.

It is a great opportunity to both practice virtue AND make reparation.

Doing so is probably the only way to turn this around.

JTLiuzza said...

Wolverine said, "My wife and I consider celebrating our usual Sunday obligation N.O. Mas as an act of extreme mortification/reparation."

I am blessed to have a superb diocesan Gregorian Mass each Sunday in my diocese. Deo Gratias. On the occasion when a Holy Day of Obligation falls mid week, there is no option other than the vile N.O. mass.

I go because I must but it is more for me a penance, God forgive me. That despicable, man centered, protestantized abomination turns worship into punishment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article. I too wonder how can anyone not lose their faith at the circus the Mass has become in some places. It is a penance for me to go to the N.O. Mass which is the same throughout the diocese. They even took the kneeler out as they were a "fire hazard". So I'm on the floor at the kneeling parts and the only one not clapping (when it's someone's birthday, anniversary, from out of town),
not chatting away before, during and after Mass, the only one not laughing at Father's attempt at comedy, nor do I raise and join my hands for the Our Father. It's sooo hard to go to Mass but it's been the rosary and the promise of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart which gives me courage to keep going.

JayJay said...

Lovely photo. And the ladies' punishment for engaging in silly liturgical dance: they will become traditional Catholics and have to look at this photo and be eternally embarrassed for being such stupid a**es.

JayJay said...

Wolverine, Personally I don't think attending a N.O. is an heroic act - but that is certainly your call. I went to a Tridentine Mass offered by a retired Jesuit (the good kind), for many, many years until his death. His considered advice regarding attendance at N.O. Masses : "Stay at home and say your rosary". But a Mass without a crucifix? I would wonder about the correct intention of the celebrant. Stay at home and say your rosary!!!

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