The Great Salvation Sale
The first time, I thought I hadn’t heard correctly. I’m a Foreigner, you know, and all that.
The priest ( a Novus Ordo priest; worse still, a Franciscan) went on blabbering as to how we have already been saved and the only think we have to do is to rejoice in the Lord, and that kind of stuff. “Sit back and relax, it’s all good”-wannabe theology for the gullible.
I knew this was a Franciscan and therefore I’d have to make allowances for the underlying heresy of their thinking, but I thought in some way some part of the homily which (perhaps; in a way; so to speak) maintains what Catholicism has always held might not have been understood correctly by me. The prevalently sixty-eighter audience (you know the type) seemed rather pleased with both the priest and themselves.
Then there was the Jesuit from that beautiful church located in that well-known locality in the outskirts of London. The Gospel reading of the day included one of Our Lords’ (actually rather frequent) mentions of Hell, and in order to avoid the sensitivities of the present to be “hurt” our man hastened to point out that when Jesus spoke about Hell he meant we should not be happy with second best (or with imperfect choices, or the like; I don’t remember the exact words, but I certainly remember their exact meaning). That left me breathless; but again, this was a Jesuit, and they know how to do heresy in the oiliest of ways. I was angry and upset, but not surprised.
Recently – at another one of those NO churches where yours truly occasionally attends to in order to take the temperature of modern everyday, wannabe cool Catholicism – it happened again, and it was not pleasant. Also, this time as soon as I smelled the theological rat I went to extraordinary extents of concentration, so I can tell you I am positive I am reporting about the homily very accurately.
Frankly, what I heard was somewhere between scary and satanic.
The Church was very well-frequented, I would call them between 350 and 400 without any doubt, and we are talking of one mass. The priest performed the longest homily I have ever heard, and at some point I thought he wanted all the people on the pews to fall asleep so as not to hear what he was saying; or, alternatively, that the good Lord had made the man so in love with himself the pewsitters fall asleep before they can be attacked by the father of lies.
I was not asleep, though, and actually I got increasingly more nervous as the never-ending blabber went on. The main points:
1) We are all saved when we are baptised, and we are saved because we are baptised. I awaited eagerly for some qualification of this statement. It did not come. The logical thinking (insofar as such a thinking can be called logical; it is actually very stupid) was as follows: Christ came to save us – when we are baptised we are saved – Jesus and the Church are there to ensure we are all saved – therefore all those who are baptised are saved – let us rejoice and be oh so good to the neighbour’s cat.
You’d think there would be the smallest caveat about damnation, mortal sin, hell, the lot. I don’t say an open reminder (that goes clearly beyond these people), but I listened with the acutest attention in order to try to spot one small hint.
It did not come.
The day I die, I hope I’ll have a better hand of cards than this chap has today.
2) The strangest kindergarten vision of humanity was depicted. It can be summarised with these concepts: we are all saved – but we are imperfect – therefore we fall short of what the Lord expects from us – so we are sorrow for our imperfections – and we march in charity toward the end of our life which is, of course, salvation, see 1) . The idea people might be, or desire, or do evil was not even contemplated.
Once again, I was eagerly awaiting for one word referring to confession. One only.
Nothing. Nada. Nil Return.
Basically, the chap blabbered about for twenty minutes and the only result he clearly achieved is to endanger the souls of those who were still awake by clearly prospecting to them a salvation already achieved several decades ago and which, therefore, doesn’t need confession or knows what to do with the very concept of mortal sin. Which, in this pervert logic, makes sense: if you think you are saved because you’re baptised, then there can be no place for mortal sin, and there is no need for confession.
It would sound like Protestantism, but I doubt even Protestants are so shallow and stupid. It is like the announcement of the Great Salvation Sale: just answer one or two short questions and you are qualified to profit from the unbelievable occasion Our Lord has in store for you.
This happened on a sunny April morning in the Year of the Lord 2012, 50 years after the opening of that Glorious Work, the Second Vatican Council.
Whilst I don’t like Luther at all, there’s one favourite saying of him I actually rather like: the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. If the fruits are so egregiously bad, the tree of V II can’t be that good, either.