Thursday, 2 October 2014

A Challenge To 'Modernising' Catholics

As I tried to say in my previous posting, I am not and have never been a ‘holy’ priest (I readily admit my need to be more prayerful, humble, patient, self-sacrificing and industrious). There have been times of poor witness in my priesthood; times when my clerical collar was ditched, my conversation poorly guarded and my challenge of souls in immoral situations not as robust as it ought to have been (N.B. robust does not mean harsh, it means clear, as well as gentle). But I try to be prayerful and patient, humble, industrious and instructive. And I do hold to The Faith that was handed on and seek to transmit it to others –though it doesn’t always go down well even within the Church. Why? Because we are awash with a tendency to diminish Truth for the sake of not hurting people’s feelings or appearing oppressive. Within this sea of ‘pastoral sensitivity’ there are islands of orthodoxy and compassionate orthopraxy, but these islands are isolated, and often the subject of derision and even oppression (“No, you cannot have a Traditional Mass”; “no you cannot defer baptising the baby of a cohabiting couple until they are married”; “no you cannot require youngsters to be regular Mass attendees before they have First Holy Communion or Confirmation”).

I want then, to speak of two kinds of Catholics: Catholics of Tradition (Traditional Catholics) and Catholics of Aggiornamento (Modernising Catholics). Both groups are, I believe, well intentioned and sincere. Traditional Catholics however, labour under an oppressive prejudice from ‘modernising’ Catholics who seem to think the Church only became a ‘good’ Church at Vatican II and that all that went before must be suppressed in order for the ‘good, Pastoral Church’ to flourish. We find such Modernising Catholics at all levels of the Church. For such Modernising Catholics all that matters is being ‘nice’, and ‘non-judgemental’. They are ‘nice’ (pleasant; unchallenging, tender-hearted) in the hope that by their human encounter with others ‘a spark’ may be ignited; they are ‘non-judgemental’ so as to avoid oppressing people (or for fear of offending the political and social establishment?). The opposite to ‘The Church of Nice’ is not the ‘Church of Offence’; it is a Church of Truth, clearly yet respectfully declared.

I wonder where such Modernising Catholics get their nonsense. Being ‘nice’ with people does not hand on the Faith: the Faith is a Revelation of Truth, not an emotional encounter. The favourite adage of the Modernising Catholic (that “faith is caught, not taught”) harbours a significant error, since Our Lord sent us to teach all nations, not ‘be nice with all nations’: “He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk16v16). One believes a statement, and experiences an emotion. Teaching Truth in a cordial manner is not excluded, of course. In fact I recommend it. But hoping people will ‘come to faith’ or ‘have a spark ignited’ because we are nice is near nonsense; being nice with people establishes human communion, not communion with God who is Truth.

Further, ‘not judging’ is dangerous when it conveys to people the idea that they can be saved by ignoring the Divine Law as summed up for us in the Ten Commandments. Today, the third and sixth Commandments (Keep holy the Sabbath; Thou shalt not commit adultery) are simply ignored by the world -and minimised by the Modernising Catholic. It’s interesting to note that while Modernising Catholics are unwilling to say adultery is wrong in all its forms (cohabitation, infidelity in marriage, civil marriages after divorce, homosexual acts) and will only designate those who fail to keep the Sabbath Holy as ‘resting Catholics’ instead of lapsed Catholics, and they prefer to speak of serious sin rather than mortal sin (which expresses death of the soul). They don’t make excuses for offences against the seventh commandment (from which springs the social obligation not to defraud the labourer of his wages). Could this not be seen as indicating that their priorities are corporal rather than spiritual; their goals earthly rather than heavenly?  No wonder the Traditional Catholic is anathema to the Moderniser.

The hypocrisy of Modernising Catholics is disturbing. They claim to be inclusive yet they have no hesitation in being rather brutal with Traditional Catholics (note the way the FFI are being treated by the ‘pastoral’ Church). Yet Traditional Catholics simply want to worship in the Traditional Catholic way, and hand on the Catholic Faith as it was received. Truly, whether the Modernising Catholic is a Pope, Bishop or Priest; a Deacon, Religious or layman, it is hypocritical to wax lyrically about being ‘pastoral’, non-judgemental and ‘inclusive’ while marginalising or oppressing your fellow Catholics who simply want to continue doing all the Church has ever done and saying what she has always said.

In these days of Ecumenism, Modernising Catholics rightly insist that we treat our separated brethren with respect. As such, it is unacceptable that the same Catholics disparage, reject or sideline the SSPX (and Traditional Catholics who have full union with the Holy See). As Robert De Piante said, "We believe what you once believed. We worship as you once worshipped. If we are wrong now, you were wrong then. If you were right then, we are right now". I venture to add: if you say you were wrong before, you have admitted you are unreliable: how can anyone trust you now? How can you even trust yourselves? 

So come on, you Catholics of the ‘Pastoral Church of nice and non-judgememtalism’; liberate your fellow Catholics from the derision and unjust oppression you heap upon them. I repeat something I have been saying for the last 25 years: Follow the word of God in scripture as uttered via the voice of Gamaliel: “If this [Traditional] plan is of God, you will not only be unable to overthrow it, but you may find you are fighting against God." (Acts 5v39). If Modernising Catholics truly think Traditional Catholics are wrong, they must demonstrate the courage of their conviction: they must give Traditional Catholics full and complete freedom to worship and teach as they will; they must humble themselves before God and allow the Holy Ghost to show which style of Church pleases Him most, permitting Him to bring increase where He will and to withdraw from where He will (I cannot help but note here the dearth of vocations and the precipitous fall in Mass attendance in the ‘Pastoral Church of Nice’). Are you a ‘Modernising Catholic’ convinced of the modernising aggiornamento; afraid to give Tradition full and complete freedom? Then you instinctively know what the Holy Ghost is saying and where He is leading, and are fighting against Him. Beware...


  1. It really is diabolical how the establishment clergy shun and reject the SSPX while at the same time entertain and court heretical sects and false religions. There is something rotten in the church of nice with its adulterous bishops (Conry the latest). With it's attempt to adapt the discipline of admitting adulterers to Holy Communion it shows just how far they have gone down the 'broad road'

    1. Thank you Paul.
      I once said that if the local Methodists needed a place to worship we would not hesitate to offer them the use of our churches, but that the SSPX, who retain our entire Tradition- are anathema and to be kept out at all costs. I regard this as real, active oppression not only of sincere 'separated brethren', but of our own selves from our own roots, without which no vine can survive. Yet 'by their fruits you shall know them: the SSPX continues to thrive; the Official Church continues to die bit by bit with the closing of convents, seminaries ,parishes etc. And yet we continue to cut away at our roots. The future will see the official Church reduced to a seed, but that seed will only grow if it recovers it roots.
      God Bless

  2. Concerned Grandparent4 October 2014 at 17:20

    Not only are the authorities continuing to cut away at the Church's roots but they are daily pouring weed-killer on the roots when continuing to sanction heretical RE books in our schools. The Catholic faith as taught for centuries has been replaced by an insipid vacuous form of religion which has jettisoned the essential tenets of the faith in favour of a humanistic worldly fellowship.
    An example of the sheer drivel that our children are being exposed to is found in the final 'hymn' at a school Mass in this diocese within the past week. Although it was a school Mass it was held in the parish church with a number of adults attending. The first and third verses are as follows:

    Autumn days when the grass is jewelled,
    And the silk inside of a chestnut shell,
    Jet planes meeting in the air to be refuelled,
    All these things I love so well.

    Whipped up spray that is rainbow-scattered,
    And a swallow curving in the sky,
    Shoes so comfy though they're worn out and they're battered,
    And the taste of apple pie.

    And not to forget the chorus:

    So I mustn't forget,
    No, I mustn't forget,
    To say a great big
    Thank You.
    I mustn't forget.

    What chance does a child in a Catholic school have in absorbing the faith if this is the banality of teaching they are being subjected to? And what are our shepherds doing in allowing this drivel to be foisted on our children?

    1. Thank you for your comment, Concerned.
      I have never thought of the weed killer analogy but it seems to me you are right. Your experience of school Masses echoes my own; sad to say the infantile manner of celebrating Mass with children seems to have formed the way we celebrate adult Masses, and not the other way around. To be honest, one reason i favour Mass facing the tabernacle be prescribed for every priest is that it limits his tendency to become an entertainer. I can't begin to tell you the rubbish I have seen in the celebration of Mass over the years. The children need a reverent Mass, altar-facing -and catechises that hands on the Faith rather than one which tries to give them a vacuous 'experience' of God.
      God Bless.

    2. A radio four programme this morning interviewed a number of Catholic families to ascertain their views on the synod. The interviewer asked a young boy if he was looking forward to making his first Communion. The child replied that he was"looking forward to tasting the bread and wine". To some folk this response may have seemed cute. To me it seemed sad and reinforced the woeful lack of sound Catholic education.

    3. Thank you, Joseph.
      This demonstrates the atrocious state of formation in the faith that our youngster are getting. I wouldn't worry though; this kind of Church is dying out by its own hand (closing parishes, schools, convents, seminaries more and more frequently), at which time we will be left with the SSPX, the FFSP and the ICRSP et al.
      God Bless.

  3. Wouldn't it be a hoot if the reason why the FFI, Cardinal Burke, and the Opus Dei Bishops are being corralled at the same time that the Vatican is meeting with the SSPX is because Pope Francis will give traditionalists a "New Rite"?
    I know, but I can dream, can't I?

  4. Thank you, Netmilsmom.
    Whether the modernisers know it or not, they may be building such a coral: a unity between traditional Catholics that will be the seed of the Church in the future when the Church of Nice has closed it last convent, parish and school. I don't think that's a dream -it may be the desire of the Holy Ghost. Although we don't need a 'New' Rite; the Ancient Form (new to every generation as they come to life) is all we need!
    God Bless.


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