Father Z has an interesting mail from a reader whose old priest encouraged the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel after Mass, whilst the new man dismisses the thing as “part of some ultra-conservative agenda”.
I can relate to this as I know a parish where exactly that has happened (the prayer used to be said, and now isn’t), albeit the new man does not appear to be less conservative, rather more afraid of his bishop.
There can be no denying that the prayer to St Michael is radically catholic and, as such, unacceptable to NuChurch. People who recite it must say words like “battle”, “wickedness”, “devil”, “host”, “hell”, “satan”, “ruin of souls” to mention only some parts.
A pagan priest in Francis’ style does not want you to think even for a moment of yourself as engaged in a war, rather in a “dialogue”. He does not like to speak of “wickedness”, much less the one of the devil: he prefers to address the supposed injustices and inequalities in this life. He dares to hope (and is, actually, rather persuaded of that) that hell is empty of human souls, if hell exists at all. He rejects the very concept of “ruin of souls” as referred to the sin of his sheep (adultery, fornication, sodomy), and if something like that must be admitted he prefers to mention it in connection with bankers, oil men, and managers of mining companies.
There can be no doubt that the very invitation to recite such a prayer – nay, the very teaching of it, as the prayer must be, nowadays, taught to your parishioners – is a clear indication of the priest’s desire to engage in exactly that battle the “Francispriest” wants you to forget. In my experience, there are still an awful lot of priests around – Novus Ordo priests, I mean – who have sincere fear of the Lord and interest in the salvation of the souls entrusted to them. But being smart, they recognise that their biggest – or one of their biggest – obstacles lies not in the secular world around them, but in the bishop above them. The prayer to St Michael is one of the ways of calling the souls to arms whilst remaining within the narrow confines of what the bishop considers acceptable, or would not have the nerve to officially discourage. Again, I see this happening – in my frequent Novus Ordo exploration trips – fairly often: a testament, I think, of the good will of many priests, and of the bad will of a couple of bishops.
How to help the good priest in his work? By praying not only for him and for the poor, trampled Church, but also by praying the Prayer to St. Michael with renewed zeal. I recite the prayer every day I see obvious dykes or faggots in the street, which in the modern cesspool known as London is an all but infrequent experience.
Good priests are helped by praying, as is prayer in general.
The more NuChurch does not want us to pray, the more we do.
I was re-reading an old post of mine about the unsung heroes.
The post was written in April 2012, around one year before Pope Castro was disgracefully picked by, probably, uninformed and complacent Cardinals.
You will notice that in those times a different mood was prevalent, and a feeling of clear – if far too slow and timid – improvement was certainly justified.
Three years later, the wrecking ball is working full time, and there is no day without bad news. I can’t, in fact, manage to follow them all, and have not written about the now officially unofficial demotion of the good bishop of Albenga-Imperia, found guilty of being bishop whilst Catholic.
How things have changed. And yet: how things have not changed.
The Church has gone through many crises, both caused from forces outside and inside her earthly structure. She has survived them all, and she will continue to survive them all. Every bishop like Bishop Oliveri (Albenga-Imperia) who is set aside for his Catholicism is like a seed of persecution that will, in time, bear abundant fruit, whilst the works of the evil people who work against Christ will, in time, be exposed and vanified.
So yes, things have changed, and instead of complaining about the far too slow pace of the return to sanity under Benedict we are now fearing a nuclear explosion in October. But not even this is new, and the Arian Crisis or John XXII can be considered analogous situations. The Church who has survived Robespierre, Stalin and Hitler will survive a gluttonous theological (and Catholic) non-entity like Francis. Will there be a lot of (metaphorical) blood on the ground? Yes. But this blood has always been the Church’s fertiliser, and many in the past were the times when the blood was not metaphorical at all.
As we approach Easter, and news of more nonsense from The Most Astonishing Hypocrite In Church History reaches us every day, let us reflect on the Church’s Indefectibility and focus on the wonderful news we will hear at Mass tonight or tomorrow: resurrexit, sicut dixit.
A happy Easter to you all.
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Wheelchairs are, as we are informed, not enough anymore. In his humbleness, the Bishop of Rome cares to be seen by the entire planet whilst he kisses and blesses a poor man, obviously disfigured by a terrible disease. Following the example of the Gospel, Francis does not miss an occasion to put himself in the middle of the street, and be seen by everyone whilst doing good. Very moving, I am told. Perhaps I should check the Gospel on the matter, though, and Francis too.
As we live in an age of easy popularity, forgive me if I swim against the tide and allow myself to be unpopular, fully uncaring of the complaints of the adoring crowds of Francis, The Humble Pharisee. I am truly, truly sick and tired of this kindergarten mentality that refuses to see reality, and prefers to take refuge in bouts of sugary emotionalism completely devoid of any logical content whilst sound Catholicism goes to the dogs. There are bloggers around swooning like girls at the sight of the boy band: look, he did not only kiss the man! No! He imposed his hands on him! Astonishing! Unprecedented! We thought he would say “take the man away from me, he’s ugly!” And instead, this…!
Give me a break.
Do you think that Pope Benedict would have refused to see, or bless, the very same man? What about JPII, JP I, Paul VII? Pius XII perhaps, or Pius XI? Or perhaps is it so, that these were all men who, conscious of the fact that they must disappear as persons so that Christ may appear in the Papacy, would not indulge in public gestures easily – and rightly – seen as cheap shot at personal popularity?
What is more like the Pharisee in the Gospel of a Pope who, instead of sending his Almoner to help around in the most discreet manner possible – as it used to be; so much so, that most people do not even know who an Almoner is and what he does – sends him around to say to the people he helps “this money comes from Pope Francis”, with the unavoidable press echo whenever someone makes the event public? Is it not so, that saying “this money comes from Pope Francis” is an invitation to make it public?
“Pope Francis helps old lady”. And then you are on the press with 200 euros.
Aaahh, the church of V II. The Pharisees would be proud.
The very same mechanism is at work with all the wheelchairs, and the poor disfigured people. It is as if this were the first Pope who has compassion.
Wake up, for heaven’s sake. Refuse to be part of this circus. Read again what Jesus said about the Pharisee who puts themselves in the middle of the road, and say it out loud. With all their shortcomings, Paul VI, JP II and Benedict XVI had a sense of dignity completely absent from this Twitter Hero, this Dalai Lama in White. This papacy is degenerating into a marketing circus of the cheapest sort; a circus meant to promote one man, whilst orthodoxy is considered “narrow-minded”. If you think of all the times Jesus expresses himself with great fury, you have no doubt whatsoever whether Francis would have considered Him narrow-minded…
And don’t tell me Francis doesn’t want this. He isn’t blind. He sees the cameras. He sees the photographers. He knows what will happen. He clearly follows a plan, enacted countless times already. If you still haven’t got that Francis is more attracted to photo-ops promoting his image than Bill Clinton was attracted to curvaceous interns, you are beyond hope.
Oh for a Pope who does his job seriously; speaks rarely but sensibly; can teach and admonish instead of spreading lies and confusion; and is interested in being hated by the wrong people, and followed by the right ones.
Will I see a decent Pope again before I die? Perhaps not. But I will not silently accept this obscene circus that degrades the Church every day to the promotion of one man, and seeks to prostitute Her to the whims and the fashions of this world.
Let us not obsess about abortion, or sodomy. Let us swoon about Francis’ latest media performance instead.
An old priest sits on a bench in his garden, and thinks about the past. It seems like yesterday. A “nuChurch” was being born, and there was a widespread hope that this new approach to things would cause the Catholic faith to expand everywhere, facilitate reconciliation with non-Catholics, and increase the number of vocations. Guitars were being strummed, and tambourines beaten to the rhythm of the new times.
He was then starting his priestly activity. How proud he was of himself! He felt the epitome of the “modern priest”, so different was he from his old colleagues. He sees himself again, a young man devoid of any severity of demeanor, fully anti-authoritarian, concerned with social issues, friend of the people, friend – particularly – of the young. The young were, in those times, everywhere, the be all and end all. They were the bearer of a special wisdom, of a fresh, unquestionable truth. How proud was he to be one of them, a rebel like them in his own way; the bearer of a fresh wind, and of a new truth. How could anyone not be comfortable with such a chap? How could such a new priest not greatly help not only the cause of Catholicism, but the explosion of vocations? A priest in sweater and jeans…. what is nearer to the young than that? He felt in the middle of things, shaping a new world, shaping a new Church, making everything new. He thinks of himself in those time and a sudden question freezes him and causes him to shudder on his bench: where was heaven in all that?
He sees himself now, forty years later. He still wears sweater and jeans whenever he can, but he is now old and all that was natural in the past now feels increasingly uncomfortable, out of touch, even weird. The tambourines have started to become silent some years ago, and are now increasingly considered a ridiculous remnant of a very stupid past; and the guitars are so Seventies, only old people who were young in the times of “the Mamas and the Papas” can tolerate them in a church. He knows his parishioners, and knows who are the ones liking the guitars. They are the people like him, who were young in an era of mad, wild dreams and don’t want to awaken to the sobering reality of their utter and complete failure.
He reflects sadly on what everything has become, and must now admit that “nuPriest” was a spectacular fiasco. Many of his colleagues who got out of the seminaries in those years cannot even read Latin, let alone celebrate the old Mass. He can, but is afraid to. Many of his colleagues cannot, but don’t even want to. He sees them now with the eyes of the world outside, and realises that their refusal to come back to the past lets them appear such useless tools, such remnants of a past age of error, such ridiculous dotards as not even the old priests of his youth ever did. The sweater and jeans look increasingly more out of order to a growing number of his parishioners, particularly the younger he once so worshipped, and considered “the future”. The number of parishioners itself has been greatly reduced and consists now largely of grey-haired people; people who were young with him and have become old with him; like him, facing the smiles of the younger generation for whom a guitar in the church is a sacrilege, and a priest must be dressed correctly and according to the rules. The old people still want the guitars, poor souls, and he doesn’t want to embitter their last years. He is an old man, having patience with other old men and knowing that the young think the same of him: a relic of a past age of foolishness, a man whose retirement will be commented with half words of barely concealed satisfaction, and knowing smiles.
He reflects on the paradox of the “youth mania” of his young years. His generation, with its worship of everything young, should in fact be the first to admit failure now that the young clearly refuse their ways. It doesn’t happen, though, and those who were celebrating “the young people” in the Sixties and Seventies now seem to think that the young people are wrong, and the old people right; the same old people who have lived an entire life in the celebration and exaltation of youth. What an irony, and what a tragedy.
His ilk is dying. Not many young men followed the call for the “modern” priesthood. Worse still, a non indifferent number of those who did decided to do so for unspeakable motives, as the word started to go around that modern seminaries were a paradise for homosexuals, and an easy way to make a living whilst enjoying – if one was clever enough not to give scandal – impunity. He has known several of those priests, as they started to get a less and less infrequent appearance in the Seventies and Eighties. He knew, and he knew that they knew, and that they didn’t care of either him, or everyone else suspecting. Nuchurch allowed them to do so, provided they didn’t shout their perversion from the bell tower.
In time worse still emerged, with the explosion of cases of pedophilia, largely among those very same homosexuals who, having infiltrated the Church with one abomination, were now completing the devil’s work by humiliating her with another, even more terrible one. He felt humiliated, but he still couldn’t see the link between homosexuality and pedophilia. He didn’t realise that Satan will not stop half way, but will want the whole enchilada of abomination and perversion and destruction. He now does.
He used to be, and to be called, a “modern priest”; but he has now become old, in all possible meanings of the word. His model of “priesthood” is now considered obsolete and inefficient; not only is he aware of his being considered the same “methuselah” the young people of his generation accused old priests of being; worse still, he is aware of the ridicule now slowly but surely surrounding his way of doing things; a ridicule the old priests of his youth never had to fear, because they were surrounded by an authority he never claimed for himself. He belongs to an ilk who will die with his generation, and will be remembered as an unprecedented catastrophe.
In the meantime, he clearly sees the Church growing in another direction. In the evening of his life, he must acknowledge that those who grow and attract young people to the priesthood are those with a completely opposed model, those who want to create the same type of priest he wanted to destroy. Conservative orders are on the march, whilst those who don’t want to change (the Jesuits, the Franciscans) have transformed themselves in hospices for failed sixty-eighters, pathetic shadows of their former self, echoing a social, feminist message that even to him – a priest in sweater and jeans – now sounds so ridiculously shallow. Even those whom he used to call “schismatics” – with a certain joy, and feeling so superior, and thinking them a small bunch of nutcases soon to be cancelled by the sheer force of time – thrive. He has just learned that the FSSPX is building a new, much bigger seminary in the US as the old one can’t accommodate the explosion in vocations. If they had told him as much when the SSPX bishop were consecrated he would have laughed very loudly. He was just plain wrong. He was wrong all the time.
How things have changed! The SPPX doesn’t know where to put their seminarians, even if all those young priest can count with a certain suspension a divinis the day they are ordained. But they believe in what they do, that much he can clearly see. They do their thing with a conviction and sureness of purpose that he never had, with a faith he has started to lose a long time ago and is now uncertain and almost shameful, with the energy of those who want at all costs to repair to the damage the he, and his, have caused.
He is old now, and will soon retire. The young priest who will substitute him will be, that much he fully realises, very different from him. He will wear clerical garbs at all times, and perhaps even a cassock. He will stop every one of the post V II innovations he is still keeping; soon, there will be no EMHCs – two old ladies, bitter and petulant; he is almost glad at the thought of their displeasure, but then refrains and recites an hail mary for them -, no altar girls – other two old ladies, poisonous old feminists, worse than the first! – no modern hymns; obviously, no guitars; he himself let the tambourines go a long time ago, and the old parishioners complained……
The entire world he wanted to create, the entire church he wanted to re-shape is going to die, one innovation at a time. NuChurch is old, and tired. She looks ridiculous in the eyes of a growing number of faithful, and he knows these faithful are more Catholic than he ever, ever was.
His older parishioners, they don’t see that. They still buy the “Tablet” (that he never had the gut to take away, though he has been long embarrassed by it), wave their arthritic arms, sing their hymns with a feeble voice, desperately want to feel young, and to feel right. They don’t want to understand, and he has no courage to try to make them understand. He must admit to himself that he is too cowardly to tell them that they are all wrong, that they always were, that the whole “spirit of Vatican II” was a huge failure, that – as they have said all their lives – the youth are right, and the methuselahs are wrong.
He reflects on his conduct, and shudders. Is he being charitable, or is he being accessory to their sins? Will they go to hell? If they do, then…… – he will go with them! Most assuredly he will! He who has carefully avoided – even when he started to realise it himself – to tell them they were wrong, how will he be able to escape punishment? He, a priest, the first responsible for their souls!! He is terrified now, and can’t stop the tears.
He must change, that much he now realises. Whatever damage he has done in the past, he must do his best to undo it, even if only for a few months, or a couple of years. He must start to speak clarly, to speak Catholic, to speak….. like the old priests of his youth did! He will have to apologise, to say that in his effort to be charitable, he was being an accomplice. He will have to. He will start to talk of those things he always carefully avoided: the last four things; the works of mercy; the sins crying to heaven for vengeance; the Vesper; the Sacred Heart of Jesus; the Immaculate Heart of Mary; the Rosary…… – oh Lord, the Rosary!! How could he keep the Rosary from his sheep! And what has he given to them instead? Guitars, talk of social justice, and stupid hymns! He has told them to be nice to the milkman, and tolerant towards the grocer, and a friend of the environment!
The tears are unstoppable now, he almost can’t see when he gets up and runs to his bedroom, kneels in front of the picture of the Sacred Heart – the picture his old mother had given him; accepted from him as an act of patient kindness – and cries convulsively, shattered, now completely surrendered, wrecthed and miserable as he never felt in his life.
And there, kneeling and crying, he slowly feels the sweetness of his wretchedness, and the grace of his sorrow. He understands, whilst still crying, that his worst day is his best too. A new beginning has been given to him, a late repentance, a shot – nay, the last shot at redemption.
He continues to pray, more composed now. As he prays, he begins to see in front of him the new old priest he has now become, and the new parish he will now give shape to. He will ask for his retirement to be deferred and will start to do things properly, old altar “girls” or no old altar “girls”. They can cry and complain as much as they want. He knows that he has now stopped to be a coward, and that God’s grace has given him the gut to be a true shepherd.
He stands up; dries his tears; and smiles.