Thursday, January 23, 2014

Once we had millions of Evangelists

I say the Old Mass for a variety of reason, many aesthetic, some spiritual but the ultimate reason is one of justice. It isn't simply a matter of 'What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too', it is deeper than that. It hits at the very heart of the what the Church is about, what Christ is about. 
I am glads my friend Fr Hunwicke has had the courage to put his finger on what the issue really is, it is about 'Truth'. Justice and Truth are partners. Fr Hunwicke dares to say:
Summorum pontificum confirmed juridically that the Latin Church had lived for some four decades under the dominion of a lie. The Vetus Ordo had not been lawfully prohibited. Much persecution of devout priests and layfolk that took place during those decades is therefore now seen to have been vis sine lege. For this so long to have been so true with regard to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which lies at the heart of the Church's life, argues a profound illness deep within the Latin Church. And the Big Lie was reinforced by multitudes of Little Lies ... that the Council mandated reordered Sanctuaries ... that the Council mandated exclusive use of the vernacular ... The de facto situation created by the Big Lie and the Little Lies combined ought not to be regarded as normative. Its questionable parentage must give it a degree of provisionality, even (perhaps especially) to those who find it comfortable to live with. The onslaught upon the Franciscans of the Immaculate suggests that there are those, high in the Church's administration, who have still internalised neither the juridical findings of Summorum pontificum nor its pastoral call for harmony.
Christians cannot compromise with Truth, we cannot live with Untruth or compromise with it, there can be no co-mixture with Truth and Lies, we are either searching for the Truth and exalting it or crucifying it:
Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
Earlier in the same Gospel he had said:
I am the Way, the Truth and Life. 
We cannot compromise with the Truth, if we are to be taken seriously as witnesses to the Truth. We cannot compromise with the Truth if we are to be credible witnesses.  There can be no worthwhile evangelisation unless it begins and ends in Truth and unless the evangelisers are believable. Personally, I believe that the 'misson' of the Second Vatican Council was to find a way to express the Truth in the modern world, however in the interpretation of the Council's teaching a fracture was introduced between the Church's practice and prayer, and the Church's belief. The fracture meant the Church lost its credibility, hence our churches emptied. We became seen as 'hypocritical'. We lost the sense of  'noble simplicity' which comes from the basic premise of the Catholic Church that Jesus Christ is God, God founded the Church and promises to be with it until the end of time, hence you can -and must- trust the Catholic Church, the Church ceased to be immediately intelligible, the greater Truth was obscured by lesser truths. 

In practice it meant that theology, and everything else, including liturgy, became the realm of the specialist, for example the Missal might say 'the priest turns to the people' but the specialist tells us that the priest is already facing the people, so really the plain meaning of the text means something other than it says. The same of course happens with scripture, Jesus says ..., and the Tradition and practice of the Church has always understood him to have  meant.... but the the specialist says something totally different. Take for example salvation and the necessity of Baptism and Holy Communion, or the inviolability of marriage and the impossibility of re-marriage after divorce, Jesus says one thing and Cardinal Maradiaga tells Abp Mueller to 'lighten up'.
We once had millions of Evangelists, now we have few, if any. Evangelism and catechesis have become the function of the specialist. The great problem is that grandmother sitting at the kitchen fire with her grandchildren could no longer be trusted to pass on the faith she had received from her grandmother. The Faith, the Truth, is no longer clear, no longer the possession of the ordinary holy believer in the pew but is something handed down from the specialist Cardinal or Archbishop or Pope or theologian. It should be the possession of all Catholic Christians and therefore must be certain, unchangeable and rooted, above all it must be obviously True. The Truth cannot be recognised in an institution where lies are normal, or where jargon or obscurity replaces ordinary speech.
True Evangelisation can only be achieved by a radical commitment to the Truth.


Cosmos said...

This is the heart of the problem. Everything else is secondary.

Православный физик said...

Hope you don't mind if I share this at my blog, this is very important.

Delia said...

So true! It's the Truth that enables us to 'go out to the margins'. Without it, Evangelism will die. I fear that 'being pastoral' so often means 'muddling through'.

Unknown said...

Where lies abound either through mis-information or dis-information the house is build on sand, shifting sands! Continually shifting sands!!!! Who is in schism? who is true to orthodox Rroman Catholic teaching? Where does the Novus Ordo lead us when it is built on lies,

Deacon Augustine said...

Amen and amen!

philipjohnson said...

fr.a great and true piece indeed.sad times for holy mother church.does the present pope even talk about absolute truth anymore or should we all engage in di
alogue.?god help us and god help holy mother church. philip johnson.

Jacobi said...


I have thought for a long time now that specialists, especially those with degrees in theology - except priests of course – should have a stone around their necks and caste..... ,

But no, that’s a bit unkind, and in any case would be against Health and Safety regulations.

Long-Skirts said...


We are St. Joan,
Philomena, Campion
The Faith in its whole
Is what we do champion.

We are St. Margaret,
Pearl of York
Where the bowels of the Faith
They tried to torque.

We are Sir More,
That's Thomas the Saint
Whose reputation
They could not taint.

We are vocations
Large families and kneeling
Adoring His presence
It's not just a feeling.

We are descendents
Of Tradition and beggin'
To stop all the men
Who are turning us pagan!

We are the poor,
Uneducated ones
But in faith well-informed
The heretic shuns.

And when we are told,
"Don't kneel anymore."
Since we don’t contracept
We birthe and IGNORE!!

polycarped said...

Great post Father - thank you for hitting nail on the head.

Liam Ronan said...

Do not despair, Father Ray. I sense we are reviving the dynamic evangelization Catholicism went through in the 1970's and which served us so well.

Catholicism was so much easier to dance to in those days.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

God bless you for True talk, Father. People respond to Truth. People want to be challenged out of awful lies; people being lifted out of lies into the Truth is the whole point of the Church and being alive. if we are unconvinced of God's right to pass on the Truth to each generation, we are we?

'we are either searching for the Truth and exalting it, or crucifying it.'

as Deacon Augustine said: Amen.

p.s. thanks for the 'Kneelers', long skirts.

Childermass said...

Father, you put your finger on it. What you describe is exactly why my entire family fell away from the Church in the 1970s and 80s (I grew up unchurched and had to convert to my family's centuries-old faith!).

My father was very pious, but the chaos and lies and constantly shifting sands destroyed his faith in the Church. It ceased to be divine for him and became a man-made institution in which changes could be made by any priest or pope on a whim. He was traumatized by the destruction of the Mass. In the end, as he says today, since he could no longer trust a man-made Church desperate to keep up with the times, he found that he could only trust the Bible. Now he's a Baptist.

Most of the rest of my family just drifted away to irreligion. They saw right through the post-conciliar circus of novelty and determined that the Church's leaders simply didn't believe in Catholicism, so why should they?

I noticed recently that a local church is advertising a new Friday evening "Informal Mass" with a "more relaxed feel". How nice. To a non-Catholic looking in, the idea of the Mass being the re-presentation of the true sacrifice of our Lord and God on the Cross, the piercing of the veil between heaven and earth, the source and summit of our whole lives, looks like a preposterous idea. And why would they believe it when we don't seem to believe it ourselves?

Childermass said...

I do sometimes feel like we are living in some post-revolutionary communist state in which NewThought and NewSpeech replace truth. Words like "renewal" and "pastoral" take on positively Orwellian connotations as they are used to destroy our Catholic traditions with an iron fist.

And you always get the sense that the Church's authorities are pulling the wool over our eyes. Consider the Anglophone bishops' cruel and unconscionable saddling of their flock with a gravely deficient translation of the Mass for over FOUR decades until Popes JPII and Benedict forced them to replace it. Think of the damage done to people's understanding of the faith for two generations. But no acknowledgement of this when the new translation was rolled out; judging from the hierarchy's tortured explanations for the change, you'd think we were just switching ice cream flavours.

The impression given is that the Mass and the Faith just aren't very important.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

'lighten up', said the Cardinal. re - your Mass observations, childermass, how more lite-rite can the liturgy go without losing the tether to the truth all together? it can be bit harrowing at some Masses trying to remember what the Real purpose is. especially when the guitar and the bass have a mini-jam during the Consecration for the next song.

Nicolas Bellord said...

To-morrow Saturday 25th January at Westminster Cathedral there will be a "Day with Mary" from 9:45a.m. onwards (Mass at 10.30). The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate usually help with organising this and sometimes one of the Friars are there. It would be a good way to show our support for them by attending. Further details at:

GOR said...

All very true, Father, and recent decades have been difficult to live in for all of us trying to reach Heaven. We can lament a long list of obstacles that have been put in our way and wring our hands.

However, it all comes down to me – that is, to each of us individually. Are we any different from our forebears? Are our trials any more than theirs? Granted, with today’s overload of information that we all receive, it seems like the ‘weight of the world’ is upon us.

But is it any less than that faced by the early Christian martyrs who lived in fear of their lives on a daily basis – the Romans, Corinthians or Ephesians? Or by later Christians assailed and conflicted by the heresies. persecutions and divisions of their day – not to mention today’s persecuted Christians in lands not that far from us?

St. Paul’s admonition to the Romans holds true for us still. Who or what shall separate us from the love of Christ? How we answer that will determine our fate…and show our Faith…and evangelize.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

the new evangelisers; on the bones blog a commenter, who's father is not long for this world took him to a priest for an 'emergency' confirmation, he ' told us both "ever since Vatican II, and pope Francis is making it even better, there is not a need to be Catholic to get to heaven. As long as you have good will, heaven will be assured. I wont confirm because when you pass away, heaven is in reach as long as your of good will. Pope Francis is making things so much better".

is he really morally permitted by the Church to refuse?!

akp5401 said...

Absolutely excellent. Thank you Father.

polycarped said...

Childermass said: "...why would they believe it when we don't seem to believe it ourselves?"

Absolutely. This is it.

Lynda said...

Many priests teach and preach something that is opposed to the Catholic Faith. Most of the priests where I go to confession reject the fact of mortal sin and the prohibition on receiving Our Lord when not in a state of grace. I was given this spiel again just yesterday and told to go away and contemplate on the fact that Holy Communion is food for the sinner (he seemed to be referencing the Pope's words recently reported) and one ought not not receive because of one's sins. I did not try to argue against this as this was in confession, and I'd experienced this on a couple of previous confessions from this same old priest. So I just said, "yes, Father" and afterwards prayed that he would stop telling people falsehoods inimical to their salvation.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

This is partly to back up points made by chldermass and viterbo. See the response of the late Claudio Abbado, and of the audience, at the end of a performance of Mozart's Requiem in 2012:

Sadie Vacantist said...

Fr Hunwicke wonders from where the lie started? The first victim of war is truth and Vatican II is a post-war initiative. We are living through a World in which the USA, in particular, is attempting to maintain the order of things established in 1945. The purpose of the Council was to bring the Church into line with that vision.

I watched "13 Assassins" for the first time last night. An at times, breathtakingly brilliant, Japanese Samurai movie. The Japanese intellectuals who created it seemed to have far more robust understanding of natural law, honour, truth, service and 'church' militant than anything I have experienced in the Catholic Church these last 50 years.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

there's nothing lacking in that silence. thanks for the link Fr. Sean.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

Lynda: your a brave soul for returning to that confession gauntlet. I heard a homily online on the feast of St Raymond - a great confessor. the priest noted that there was 6000 people in his parish ( no doubt only a portion went to mass) but only 7 people, the same 7 people, bothered with confession. He added that after a few years, for priest, confession could become a little like one of those unpleasant jobs like taking out the trash. maybe the Pope should insist on retreats for confessors and confessees, so long as there's no standing in circles holding hands. It was heartening to read the effort Fr Tim (h' of continuity blog) went to to provide privacy and access for people going to confession.

George said...

Sadie, hit the nail on the head.

This is about the triumph of New Rome (America) over Holy Rome. And... any time Holy Rome goes down it's an inside job. She can only be taken down from the inside.

Fr Ray Blake said...

THERE is only one Rome! bruised and defile as she is also also the spotless bride. 'Spiritual' or 'pure Rome' smacks of heresy, an ecclesial monophytism, it leads immediately to sedevacantism.

Fr Ray Blake said...

THERE is only one Rome! bruised and defile as she is also also the spotless bride. 'Spiritual' or 'pure Rome' smacks of heresy, an ecclesial monophytism, it leads immediately to sedevacantism.

George said...

I agree with you father. There is only one true Rome. But there has always been an Imposter Rome too. Constantinople, London, now New York. The Imposter Rome wants to dominate True Rome. The Imposter Rome has infiltrated True Rome, like the Greeks infiltrated Troy. This fact doesn't make True Rome any less true, it only makes it weak, battered and bruised, as you said.

Unknown said...

Please. Anyone?Is the below correct? ....

If so, how can we say that the Mass of the ages was never suppressed or abrogated?

Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship, Notification "Instructione de Constitution" of 14 June 1971:

3. Continued use, in whole or in part, of the Missale Romanum in the 1962 editio typica, as emended by the 1965 and 1967 decrees and of the Breviarium Romanum formerly in use is allowed, with the consent of the Ordinary and only in celebrations WITHOUT A CONGREGATION, for all those who because of their advanced years or illness find serious difficulties in using the New Order of Mass in the Roman Missal, the Lectionary for Mass, or the book of the liturgy of the hours. ..."
(From Documents on the Liturgy 1963-1979, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1982, ISBN 0-8146-1281-4, page 545).

Lynda said...

Never lawfully suppressed or abrogated. It was, of course, actually suppressed.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Lynda.
Just in case anyone does not wish to fall into the same pit as me (arguing that the TLM was never suppressed, based on BXVI's claim). The TLM was absolutely, no wriggle room at all, officially suppressed by the Church. Forcing me to admit that the SSPX did indeed keep the flame burning in the darkness - they also spawned a heresy or two as well, we should say e.g,. Sedevicantinism

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