Wednesday, March 11, 2015

GOING FORWARD ALL DEPENDS ON ONE THING: TAKING THE RIGHT ROAD!

Yesterday I had to go to a presbyteral council meeting in Dublin, Dublin, Georgia that is (which is a very small agricultural town with a  vastly Protestant majority and  a huge Saint Patrick's Day/festival celebration lasting a couple of weeks).

I went forward to Dublin from Augusta which is about 100 miles. But along the way as I was going forward I missed a crucial turn because the road had been revamped a bit and a land mark telling me where to turn left had had some renovations, so I missed it.

When I realized I was in unfamiliar territory, I realized I had missed my turn and was going forward on the wrong road! I would not get to Dublin on that road! So I had to back up, by making an illegal u-turn, and go back about a mile and turn right on the right road!

Therefore, I think it is okay to criticize Pope Francis for his often un-nuanced preaching about not being able to go backwards, that we must always go forwards. He said this about the Church and the Liturgy this past Sunday when he celebrated the 50th anniversary of the  first hybrid Latin/Italian Mass by Blessed Pope Paul VI.

Hindsight is always 20/20 and certainly from the perspective of 2015 looking back over the past 50 years we can see the good, the bad and the ugly.  Looking back can tell us what wrong roads we took in moving forward!

Pope Benedict gave the right road that few wanted to take moving forward, the road of reform or revision in continuity with our past, in continuity with the Church prior to the Second Vatican Council.

The road so many were taking was a road that leads to a loss of Catholic identity, a loss of Catholic mission and a loss of Catholics themselves. In New York alone 88% of Catholics do not even attend Mass! What road are they on now as they go forward and where are they going? It certainly isn't the road to the eternal Kingdom of heaven.

Pope Francis has great soundbites, but they often leave us perplexed. Simply encouraging us to go forward as though that alone will keep us on the right road is wrong.  It would be better for His Holiness simply to admit that sometimes we have to go backwards and look for the right road to take! Let's back up a bit and look for the right road. Let's make a u-turn and go back and then take the right road forward, the one Pope Benedict mapped for us!

28 comments:

John said...

Amen, Father.

Only, to turn around first one must realize one is lost. Also, you Father, had a goal: to reach Dublin. I often wonder when Holy Father speaks publicly, where is he going with this?



Henry said...

In liturgy as in life:

When you find yourself going down the wrong trail, you must go back and start over at the fork in the road where you took the wrong turn.

JusadBellum said...

If a Pope sincerely thinks a radical change would only help increase the number of Catholics in the pews and improve their participation in the Mass and subsequently improve their faith and moral lives at the same time and so proposes that we all wear bathing suits to the service, stressing how it's dignified for women to wear bikinis and men to wear thongs.... and yet the result is a disastrous collapse in Mass attendance and fervor... then it certainly seems like any rational soul would admit that the 'sincere intentions' and 'good idea' were in error and the wisest course of action would be to return to the previously 'received' version of the liturgy.

As many have noted about the new Missal and Mass attendance, to the degree it approximates the dignity, decorum, and design of the old Mass (incense, bells, candles, men and boys in surpluses, all acting sober and attentive to the awesome spiritual reality taking place.... the more people get into the Mass. The more men attend, the better the singing becomes.

Have you not noticed that "Faith of our Fathers" is almost impossible to not be sung well?

Why do people flock to see the Cathedral or other beautiful old Churches but not to see our 'renovated, hip, relevant, cool, new" churches?

Why do children love to light candles and look at angels and statues of saints and not blocky, opaque, oddly shaped 'modern' art on the walls?

It's because the old Mass was beautiful and spiritual and the new Mass, while licit and valid, is ugly and trite.

I appreciate hearing the prayers in English. Surely a Tridentine rite that had some English wouldn't have been hard to do!

But even so, the numbers are in and the 'experiment' has failed. All the good that was expected to come from the changes has failed to show up.

Paul said...

The road one takes isn't always straight. Sometimes the road taken is a downward spiral -- if one notices.

The permissives think they're moving forward.

I went through Dublin once (if I recall) on the way to Augusta.

Paul said...

JusadBellum,

Isn't that how it often goes with "good intentions". Someone had a "good idea" and whispered it. Eve heard it. Who hears it today?

Is it the road to or the floor of Hell that is paved with the skulls of Bishops?

Henry said...

Though some might argue that a better analogy is that of an old machine that is replaced by a newly fabricated machine. If it turns out that the new machine is not doing the job the old machine did, perhaps the new machine can be retooled so it will function better.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the 2 Oklahoma University students expelled for their vile racist remarks on the "SAE bus" will take Fr. McDonald's advice. Appalling that one of the students graduated from a Catholic high school in Dallas. I question whether fraternity membership is compatible with traditional Catholic moral teachings, like on sex, alcohol consumption, illicit drugs, etc.

Marie said...

I have made not just a U-turn but a complete cycle.


Our parish has reverent Novus Ordo Masses in both English and Spanish. But, bless us, the TLM came to our parish as a result of "Summorum Pontificum."


Because I love Gregorian chant, I took a U and went to the TLM, celebrated in a chapel some distance from the main church, but still a part of the parish.


The TLM celebrant is a retired priest borrowed from another diocese, who travels some distance to reach us, accompanied by a sacristan.


Then manure hits the fan. The sacristan turns out to be a fake priest, "ordained" in the schismatic and heretical "Old Roman Catholic" sect. Urged on by the real priest, this fake priest started to hear confessions and bless sacramentals before our Latin Mass. He claims to be a "self-made" priest who never saw the inside of a seminary and is there as a "spare tire" in case our priest is no longer able to celebrate the Latin Mass.


I called the fake priest out, told him he can't be hearing confessions because he's not a real priest and has no faculties, but he ran to the real priest and said I have insulted him.


Scandalized that three sacraments [Holy Orders, Penance, and Communion] were being desecrated by the fake priest with full consent of the real priest, I complained to the pastor. The pastor then talked with the TLM priest to stop the fake priest what he's doing.


As a result, I was exhoriated from the pulpit by the TLM priest during the homily, accusing me of "insulting a valid albeit illegal priest", hard-heartedness, lacking in charity and compassion, etc.


Again at the communion rail, our TLM priest denounced me as a "horrible person" and refused to give me communion. At that point, the fake priest extended his hand at me and entoned, "I forgive you."


I walked out of the Latin Mass for good and got back to the main church in time for the Spanish Mass.


Thus, I'm back with the Novus Ordo.

Tevye said...

Anonymous, I have a feeling that there will not be a great discussion here about the SAE bus or racist chants. The choice here is to discuss urgent, important things like kneeling or standing or on the tongue or in the hand....black folks hanging from trees is not what it's about.

Paul said...

Hello Tevye,

It's Father's blog -- he chooses the topics and whether or not discussion stays on topic is up to him.

Evil exists in this world, whether we see it or not. Catholic or not. Atheist or not. Rich and poor.

Lynching is murder. Lynching is evil. Lynching violates The Ten Commandments. Lynching violates Christ's teaching. Lynching violates the Catechism. Lynching knows no color or race. There is no excuse for lynching. God knows who is guilty of perpetrating, participating and allowing lynching in each and every case. No one gets away with anything. Ever.

Where would a 20-something learn about the "strange fruit"? In church? Probably not a Catholic Church. Probably not a Synagogue. From educators, activists, parents, uncles, friends, books, TV and music. Probably so.

Why would a 20-something be so thoughtless, so careless, so blind as spew out such heartless, hateful words? Perhaps it is a lack of education and/or perspective. Maybe they don't know what a lynching is. Perhaps the students are numb to the Evils of the world. Maybe they like ISIS beheading videos. Perhaps we a raising a generation of multi-colored, multi-cultural psychopathic monsters.

I would set these students down and have them look and read through a whole book of detailed lynching postcards and the attributed story (if known). Include some photos of lynchings of white, Italian, Catholic and Jewish people. Perhaps some students will even cry. Perhaps they will recognize the horror of what happened.

Do the students realize the people "swinging from trees" were chased down, beaten senseless, mutilated, hung by a noose and often, set on fire? Probably not. But it's not over. Accompanied by a smiling mob, including women and children, a picture was taken and then mailed to friends and family across the country.

There is a difference between attending Mass and living Mass. God and church gets hammered out of society by "freedom" seeking people yet the same people are outraged and stunned when something evil happens.

It's no surprise. Pray that these people and all people recognize their evils and turn away from them.

JBS said...

Marie,

Did you report your concerns and experiences to the bishop?

JBS said...

Lynching is illegal, and the law is enforced. Therefore, there's no need to debate the practice. Fascination with racism, and eagerness to discuss it's evil deeds with others, hardly seems virtuous.

Fascination with pleasing God through right worship and works of mercy is an antidote to evil.

rcg said...

Tevye and Paul, the same reason math is not discussed in the Literature class except as as an adjunct. You could have respectfully asked that be included as a topic from the perspective of religious ethics; poor manners and low intelligence notwithstanding.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marie, indeed if what you describe is true, this should be reported to the bishop as it could well be excomunicatable or censure material for both involved, the illicit priest and the one who allowed it.

I know nothing about the Old Roman Catholic, although there is an Old Catholic group that broke away after Vatican I. I don't think their orders are valid today, though, as they now ordain women.

Tevye said...

rcg, what I said to Anonymous was the same thing that you are saying to Paul and me, that this is not the place where the SAE event will be discussed.

Your snide remark about "poor manners" and "low intelligence" is probably a good indicator of where you stand in both of these areas.

JBS said...

TV,

How is suspecting poor manners and low intelligence a probable indicator that the one suspecting these deficiencies actually possesses them himself?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

JBS - To discuss the sinful reality of racism or lynching does not a "fascination" make.

Racism is an evil that continues to divide our nation, our communities, even, at times, our churches. It is defended by some who, in fact, deny that they are racists at all. It is called a natural thing by those who want to rationalize their racist behavior and language.

Yes, we must promote virtue. But we cannot do so at the expense of calling racism, or any other moral failure, a sin, and calling out as sinners those who try to defend their behavior.

Paul said...

Henry,

If the machine is perfect it does not need retooling as it does not wear down nor can it function better. However, stewards of Christ's Church are not perfect and are subject to being worn down and "retooled" by all sorts of external and internal forces. That is where the battleground is.

Paul said...

JBS and rcg,

I understand your point thus my introduction indicating "It's Father's blog". My post need not have been posted at all, if Father didn't permit it to be posted.

Still, I read an undercurrent of the topic of racism being interjected in the postings in the various topics and realizing that, perhaps, there are lurkers who need to read something reassuring and understanding from a Catholic perspective that the proverbial head is not buried in the sand.

I am hoping that those reading understand that Evil of any kind is not permitted by Christ Church and that by strengthening the stewardship of Christ's Church and living as He intends us to live is the way out of racism.

Marie said...

Dear JBS,
No, I have not [yet] reported the case to the bishop. The first time I complained in a letter to our pastor, he called me and said he himself would report it to the bishop. Meanwhile I did not know that our pastor had talked to the TLM priest telling him to stop the fake priest from hearing confessions.

When our TLM priest vilified me from the pulpit and denied me communion, I wrote another letter to the pastor. He hasn't answered.

Just yesterday I received by mail a card from the TLM priest, asking me to come back and "everything will be fine" if I APOLOGIZE to the fake priest. He said he will then perform a minor EXORCISM on me which will be "good for me."

I kept my silence, and with another letter [my third], I forwarded the card to the pastor. [All my letters have been polite, BTW.]

I haven't heard from the pastor again. Of course he has seen me with other people in the parish, but I felt those were not the proper time to bring up the topic. I'm waiting for him to call me at his convenience just as he did the first time. I thought I'd give him a little time before I myself take the case to the bishop, if necessary. And if necessary, to Ecclesia Dei.

I'm heavily invested on the TLM. I've been trained on Gregorian chant, and before this incident, been alternating with the sacristan in chanting the Propers. It's a small congregation of 20 [not counting children], so I was able to afford to buy a load of "The Parish Book of Chant" and led the assembly in chanting the Ordinary. I bought brass candlesticks, an incense boat, a supply of beeswax candles, linens, and frontals for the altar, and veils for lending to ladies who needed them. I also printed a weekly leaflet of English translation of the Propers. But no, I'm not taking those back even though I might never go back to the Latin Mass as it is.

Meanwhile, I have been told by friends that the fake priest is still wearing a Roman collar and continues to bless sacramentals. That sometimes he wears a monk's habit, complete with a "Saint Anthony-style tonsure" and invites ladies to join his fake "Order of Little Lambs." One of my friends got duped into entering this fake Order as a "nun" and is still sore that the parish didn't screen the TLM-and-fake priest team before letting them into the parish. Needless to say, all these are included in my complaint.

Thank you very much, JBS, for your response to my post. I feel much consoled. God bless you. Although I'm happy to be back to the Novus Ordo, I can't help but feel sad for our TLM.

JBS said...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh,

I think I agree with you, but I'm not sure why it's necessary to chastise people for not commenting upon racism under a post about the 50th anniversary of the first Italian Mass. That said, I personally did comment upon race prejudice under Father MacDonald's March 7th post, and I have done so on other occasions here in the past, as has Father MacDonald and others. Therefore, TV's uncharitable comment seems ill-considered.

JBS said...

Marie,

You really need to report this to the bishop. Just list the facts of what has happened, including what has happened to you, but avoid criticizing anyone. Let the bishop do the criticizing as he takes action.

Marie said...

Father McD and JBS,

Thank you so very much for your advice. [I have maintained my peace and haven't cried until now.]

I think I will now report it to the bishop instead of waiting for the pastor to respond. I will enclose all my letters to show that I have not skipped over the pastor in the process.

I have done research on the "Old Catholic" sect and found they seceded from the Church immediately after Vatican I over the issue of papal infallibility. Thus, when the Pope proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in mid-1800's, they could not, in principle, align their belief with it. They also generally refrain from using the "filioque" and the "Deum de Deo" in the Credo.

Still their clergy in Utrecht [the Netherlands], Belgium, Austria, and Switzerland claimed apostolic succession. That is, until the sect crossed over to the Anglophones [England and the US] when the bishop that brought it there [and here] had himself "consecrated" in a "theosophic" sect somewhere in India. That broke off the succession.

When "Old Catholic" started to "ordain" women, a branch broke away, calling itself "Old Roman Catholic", purportedly believing in the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. It is in this break-away branch that our fake priest claimed to have been "ordained."

Sometime in the midst of this, the early-1900-Phippine-schismatic-church called the "Aglipay church" [pronounced "Ugly-pie", with accent on the "ly"], joined the Old Catholic to form what they call the "Union of Utrecht." As a Filipino, I'm familiar with Aglipayans: They're freemasonic and their "priests" are married.

I also recently [before all this happened] went on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Good Help near Green Bay, WI, the one and [so far only] apparition in the US approved by the Vatican. I bought a book there detailing the story of the apparition. In that book is an account of how, through prayers of devotees, Our Lady of Good Help flushed out Old Catholic infestations plaguing the area in early 1900's. I gave the book to our TLM priest who was happy to read it, in fact gave a homily on it. But he was oblivious to Our Blessed Mother's miracle of purging the schismatics that helped authenticate the apparition.

Our TLM priest continues to believe that the fake priest's Old Roman Catholic "ordination" is valid and that he had stopped him from hearing confessions only because he does not have the faculty.

Thank you again, JBS and Father. God bless you and may He continue to shine His Face on you and this blog.

Paul said...

Marie,

That is an alarming situation. Thank God for your bravery to pursue the matter. We put a lot of trust in our shepherds but sometimes the flock needs to speak up -- especially if they're sleeping. Fake priests goes right at the heart of Christ's Church. No priest, no Eucharist, almost no sacraments (except Baptism and Matrimony).

God bless you.

Marie said...

Thank you, thank you, Paul, for your moral support. I need it.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Tracing the lineage, if you will, of an Old Catholic's ordination can be tricky. There are Old Catholics and then there are Old Catholics. They tend to branch and split and split and branch, so determining just who is and who is not validly ordained isn't always easy, or even possible.

There are, in the Macon area, men using the title archbishop, who claim "valid" ordination in some group connected to "Old Catholics." But that claim is, as Mrs. Slocum would say, "Weak as water!"

The TLM priest who allowed this person to officiate is, from what we know here, clearly in the wrong - the very wrong. The bishop should step in quickly and remedy the situation.

Marie said...

Thank you, Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh. My letter to the bishop [enclosing my three letters to the pastor] will be mailed today.

I am most grateful for your encouragement. Please pray for me. God bless you.

Marie said...

Hello, everyone.

I dug up this old thread because I want to thank everyone who prayed and gave me advice and moral support in my fight against the impostor priest in our Latin Mass and the TLM priest who enabled him.

It has been seven months of back-and-forth communication between my parish, our diocese and me and now we have the verdict: Our TLM priest's faculties have taken away. [I suspect excommunication, but I wouldn't know the difference.]

My complaint reached all the way up to the Ecclesia Dei commission of the CDF in the Vatican and after thorough investigation, they ruled that all my allegations were true.

So I'm back to the TLM, albeit in another parish.

The only downside: The now renegade TLM priest and his fake priest associate have now set up an "independent operation" in the house of one of our parishioners. Your prayers are still requested and appreciated. But I feel I have done my job.

So thank you, Fr. McDonald, Fr. Kavanaugh, JBS, Paul and everybody for your prayers, advice and support. Thank you and God bless you.

God is good.
Marie

I'm now back to the TLM.