Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Priest, His Dignity and Obligations

Quoting from chapter two of Saint John Eudes’ book, The Priest, His Dignity and Obligations:

The greatest effect of God’s mercy, the most precious grace He bestows upon mankind, is to send worthy priests, men after His own heart, seeking only His glory and the salvation of souls.  The greatest blessing that God bestows upon a church, the most single manifestation of divine grace, is to have a saintly shepherd, be he bishop or priest.  This is indeed the grace of graces and the most priceless of all gifts for it includes within itself every other blessing and grace.  What is a priest after God’s heart?  He is an inestimable treasure containing an immensity of good things.

The priest is an archangel and a prince of the heavenly militia, waging constant war against the devil who strives to drag countless souls into the depths of hell.

On the other hand, the most evident mark of God’s anger and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world are manifested when He permits His people to fall into the hands of clergy who are priests more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds.

St. Gregory the Great says that priests and pastors who stand condemned before God as the murderers of any souls lost through neglect or silence.  Instead of preventing offenses against His Majesty, such priests become themselves the first to persecute Him, they lose their zeal for salvation of souls and think only of following their own inclinations.  Their affections go no farther than earthly things, they eagerly bask in the empty praises of men, using their sacred ministry to serve their ambitions, they abandon the things of God to devote themselves to the things of the world, and in their saintly calling of holiness, they spend their time in profane and worldly pursuits.

What a terrible responsibility to be a priest or bishop.  The awesome weight of the salvation of souls can only be born by the grace of God.  Let’s pray for our clergy and hope they come to the full realization of their sacred calling and respond accordingly.

 

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When Will It Get Any Better?

Seems that I start many posts with a question? The trouble is finding the answers.  There are answers but no one seems to want to go down that road.

I sat through another banal, boring Mass this last Sunday morning.  Why don’t I go elsewhere to Mass you say? (another question)  I really don’t have that option for reasons irrelevant here but suffice it to say I and mine are shackled to a particular parish at this time in our lives.  It has been my home parish for all my life and for that reason I feel an attachment and a sincere concern for the people and the parish as a whole.  But enough of that.

To get to the heart of the matter, it is entirely incomprehensible that anyone with a modicum of religious sensibilities would be drawn to this parish (or for that matter several others in the area) by anything other than desire for some kind of social interaction or the need to fulfill their Sunday obligation.  Thank goodness the Church requires our attendance at Sunday Mass or there would be many more church closings than there already are.  If you doubt this check out the attendance at a holy day.  The holy day obligation seems to be a little too much for many Catholics.

Beauty is one of the main attractions of the Catholic faith.  Architecture, ceremony, and music all contribute to the beauty of the Church.  Music and ritual are inextricable parts of the liturgy.  Why, why, why do we have such abysmal music?  Why do we keep singing St. Louis Jesuit music?  Why don’t we at least make an attempt to employ the chants of the Church?  The Church tells us that the music of the Church is a “treasure of inestimable value” and we totally ignore it, making no attempt whatsoever to employ it in the liturgy.  Instead we have banal, insipid ditties shoved down our throats every Sunday by wanna be liturgical musicians.  And to be frank (I know), the rendering of these mostly forty year old banalities does not even do them justice.

The fault for the most part is not on the part of the “musicians”.  The priests and, ultimately, the bishop are to blame.  They have taken the misconstrued concept of “full, conscious and active participation” and the “priesthood of the people” to mean that the laity are to be given full reign to do as they will and they, as clergy, are not to meddle in this ‘sacred’ realm of the laity.  The clergy, for the most part, have no or little musical training or sensibilities and they almost certainly across the board have no sense of the music heritage of the Church.  It obviously dates back to seminary formation or the lack thereof.

And so we are stuck with plodding melodies of aged ditties centered on anthropocentric themes banged out on profane instruments that would never make it into anyone’s top 100 hits.  And we are forced to endure them every Sunday ad infinitum.

God help us.

I see The Remnant Magazine has welcomed a new contributor.  Although the title of his premier post at The Remnant brings to mind a rather morbid image, I can relate to the article in that it brings home the point of some of what is going on in the Catholic Church today and also expresses some of my frustrations with my fellow Catholics.

He begins with a definition:

  There is an amusing investing term called a ‘dead cat bounce.’ It follows from the idea that “even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height.” A dead cat bounce refers to a temporary recovery from a prolonged decline followed by a continuation of the downtrend.

He then proceeds to relate the term to the current situation in the post conciliar Church:

In 2005 the Catholic Church elected Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI and created a short term rally. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued motu proprio Summorum Pontificum freeing up the Old Mass. As a beleaguered Catholic heavily invested in the Church, I allowed myself to believe that perhaps the worst was over. Even though none of the fundamentals had changed, I bought into the foolish notion that we had hit bottom and that it was all uphill from there. It might be slow, it might be painful at times, but the progressives who had systematically sought to destroy the Church for forty years were getting old and would soon die off. Young people seemed to increasingly embrace tradition. Time was now on the side of tradition.

Boy was I ever wrong. I bought into the Catholic version of the dead cat bounce.

In reality, the Church was thoroughly infiltrated and infested with progressives from top to bottom. Their quiescence during the early years of the Benedictine pontificate did not signify that they knew they were defeated, quite the opposite in fact. It was merely a tactic of the moment by a nefarious group of modernists that had been playing the long game since some fifty years before Joseph Ratzinger was even born.

Within a few short years, they had effectively ground Pope Benedict’s papacy into nothingness and ultimately Pope Benedict just gave up. The dead cat bounced. The decline continues unabated and in many ways has picked up speed, progressive gravity working its freefall magic.

My frustration comes from what I view as a complacency by some of my fellow Catholics with this situation and their willingness to accept it ‘as the way things are’ and their “what can we do about it attitude”.  The article continues:

For me, the turning point was the closing years of Pope Benedict’s papacy when I realized that in many dioceses the Pope’s signature achievement, Summorum Pontificum, was simply a dead letter, like it never even happened. That modernist progressivism was much more entrenched in the Church than I had assumed. My opening eyes moved to Japanese Manga cartoon size during the first two years of Pope Francis’s pontificate.   Modernists, sensing their moment, have come out of the woodwork. Even some prelates I thought mostly reliable have firmly established their modernist bona fides. We now have Cardinals openly opposing Cardinals, Bishops openly opposing Bishops. We have the top hierarchy of the Church, with a few notable exceptions, openly and publicly debating how to get around the very words of Jesus Christ so that they can institutionalize the sexual revolution in the Church that has only tacitly accepted it the past fifty years.

The depth of the crisis makes itself more manifest every day and I don’t think it will get better any time soon. I don’t know how far our heavenly Father will allow His Church to go down this road, but I suspect it is a ways more. But as Catholics, our supreme focus should be on saving souls by preaching the Gospel. But we must face the fact that much of the new navel–gazing anthropocentric Church is no longer interested in doing that. To change that, it is necessary to support all those Catholics in the middle as they grow in their unease and understanding of the nature of this crisis and that its only solution lies in tradition and the restoration of all things in Christ.

Yes, we need to pray and offer reparation but we risk the ire of our Lord if we do not speak out and expose the malaise that is infecting the Church today. Its so easy to shrug our shoulders and say “what can I do?” and granted, our efforts by themselves may never produce fruit but, non the less, we still must make that effort.

” Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 7:21

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Dialogue

“And in this Mass let us pray for the teachers, for the doctors, for those who teach the people of God that they would not be closed in on themselves, that they would dialogue, and so save themselves from the wrath of God, which, if they do not change their attitude, will remain upon them.”   Pope Francis, April 15, 2015

Hmmm? Dialogue? Did Jesus dialogue?  Did the apostles dialogue?  Seems to me that the conveyance of the truth is the nobler, more sure way.  Dialogue by definition means a willingness to compromise; to give and take.  The Catholic Church has the absolute truth as presented by Our Lord Himself.  To dialogue on matters of the Faith would mean to capitulate the truth.  To dialogue with heretical sects and non-believers is nothing more than to give credibility to their “beliefs” and to act if they have some modicum of truth in what they believe.  I am not saying that dialogue, when used to pursue a common good, is not of merit but, as far as matters of faith are concerned, dialogue is a surrender to some other belief and I fear that we will be held accountable if, as Catholics, we don’t unceasingly proclaim the Truths of Christ as put forth by His Holy Church.