Monday, November 18, 2013
There are traditional Catholics everywhere. They are sitting in the pews at your local Novus Ordo parish, where they are easy to spot. Most of them, though, eventually find a place where the Tridentine Mass is offered. Some of these places are within the various societies and establishments "officially recognized" by the Church. Other trad Catholics, for various reasons, attend Masses at other chapels not "recognized" by the Church but where they can receive the Sacraments and practice their Faith. And while everyone has made their decision based on prayer, thoughtfulness, and information, there is an awful lot of name calling and accusations thrown around in real life and in the blogosphere.
Considering the state of the post-concilliar Catholic Church, it's a real shame that traditional Catholics insist on stoking the tensions between them. The criticisms reach such heightened levels sometimes that many Catholics just simply begin to avoid each other out of fear of having to discuss "Faith issues." In spite of the one thing we can all agree on---that the post-concilliar Church is a danger to one's faith and quite possibly a new religion---the disagreements and divisions actually keep us from being able to make any real headway in the restoration of the Church.
Generally speaking, it's like a dysfunctional family rivalry. Those traditional Catholics who attend the Tridentine Mass under one of the official "legal" wings of the Church, like the FSSP or ICK, often totally reject those people who attend SSPX chapels by labeling them schismatics. Then there are the SSPXers who don't trust any priests except their own. Both of those groups reject and avoid those Catholics that openly challenge the validity of the person who is the Pope. And all of those often lament that the independent priests with private chapels have gone off the deep end. It has become a nasty mess of bickering, attacking, fighting, and down right shunning. It's worse than an episode of Survivor or Big Brother and nothing good comes of it.
You see, our salvation is at stake here. This is not about sitting on committees or singing in the choir. It's not about feeling good or important or finding your sense of belonging. It's not even about the Mass. It's about our Catholic Faith. If we lose that, then we lose everything, especially our place in Heaven. Isn't that what the devil wants after all? A generation ago, people knew where to look for their Catholic Faith. They could go to any Catholic Church and find a good, holy Catholic priest. They could send their children to Catholic schools and they could trust the nuns would teach them the Faith. But those days are gone for good. Now one must look for the Faith. One must know what it truly is and recognize if their priest or bishop actually has it. It's a crisis like that of St. Athanasius' time. How was the Church restored then when 95% of the priests and bishops were heretics? Did the "trads" in those days bicker and fight over who or who was not the Pope or whether or not their church was official?
Isn't it the same in our modern day? It's no secret that the post-concilliar Catholic church is infused with Modernism, which, as Pope Pius X told us, is the synthesis of all heresies. Everyday we hear a priest orbishop spouting some Modernist drivel, yet we are afraid to call them out. Our Pope openly professes Modernist thinking and we are afraid to say so for fear of being disobedient. We are afraid to leave our Churches where our children are loosing their faith, where our altars have been ripped out, where many no longer believe Christ is present in the Eucharist, where our priests are teaching us lies, where our very souls are in danger. We are afraid to be disobedient to our priests, our bishops and our Pope.
Unfortunately, traditional Catholics are no better. They criticize and condemn each other. They refuse to engage in real discussions, or consider the possibility that their priest or group is compromised or questionable. We must absolutely stop this bickering and in-fighting. Instead, we must do better to help each other find and keep our Faith. We can not do this if we are constantly fighting and accusing each other of not being real Catholics. How much could we accomplish together, how many souls could be saved if we just tried to work together?
In reality, it's not about where we attend Mass. It's about the Faith! Your cathedral may have a large group of young families and beautiful music, but without the Faith, they are just noisy makers. Your chapel may have monks and nuns still in habits, but without the Faith, they are just men and women. Your church may have a vibrant priest, nice vestments, and a marble altar, but without the Faith, these are just props. We must know our Faith. We must be prepared to fight for it, defend it, and be willing to hide it among ourselves to keep it. Let us never forget the Japanese Catholics who hid underground for over 200 years without clergy, without the Mass, without schools. They had only their rosaries, their scapulars, and their Faith!
Our Lord promised that the devil would not win this battle. The Church will survive. Of that we can be sure. But where is the Church? Where are the people of Faith? That is for you to search, to seek out, and hang on to as if your eternal life depends on it. After all, it does.
Viva Cristo Rey!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
St. Athanasius, pray for us!
Martyrs of Japan, pray for us!