Friday, 10 July 2015

Smelling of the Sheep

I am a known to be a Traditional Catholic in both morality and liturgy, but I have never claimed to be faultless in either area.  In terms of liturgy there were times in the early years when I walked among the congregation to preach; when I moved the Pax to the end of Mass, and had more than the necessary number of EMCH’s on the sanctuary. Only when Redemptionis Sacrametum was promulgated and the people asked for oddities like danced communion processions and pop sings did I realise we have gone dreadfully wrong and produced a liturgy that was designed to entertain; one that kept the congregation occupied as though they were small children.

In terms of moral sin I have a critical tongue; I should be less slothful and more prayerful, though I have not committed what many consider to be the worst of sins. I have not, for example,  committed murder; I have not broken my vows of celibacy with man, woman or child, I have not taken part in violence or bee involved in theft. Being a Traditional Catholic I am often viewed, it seems to me, as someone who does not live in the ‘real world’ (as non-believers have said to me) and do not ‘smell of the sheep’ (as liberal Catholics might now say). That could not be more wrong; such ignorant views are highly irritating. I am Traditional because I have seen the ‘real world’ at close quarters and been deeply affected by it.

The truth is I have lived among the ‘smelly sheep’ all my life. indeed, every single one of my siblings is divorced, a much-loved cousin has been in a cohabiting homosexual relationship for over 40 years, and 90% of my nephews and nieces have fallen prey to the drug culture with all the crime, family disturbance and illness that goes with it. I must then, smell of the sheep more than any other priest I know, yet the assumption that I am Traditionalist (and ‘rigorist’) because I don’t know the ‘real world’ or ‘smell of the sheep’ appears to continue.

I am aware that the smelly sheep can converse and joke with people, and that they regard this as ‘being sociable’, but they are inherently anti-social in that they ignore the law and take meds and drink that destroy family life by their irascible, agitated, and dysfunctional behaviours while destroying their own mental and physical health. They are living examples of the Culture of Death.

What most Catholics mean by ‘we must “smell of the sheep”’ means ‘to walk alongside them  in their difficulties and find ways to help them out’. I walk with such sheep unavoidably, and I do seek ways to help them out, but that does not mean telling them that their second or third marriage; their cohabitation or their drug abuse are simply a weakness that can be absolved and knowingly, willingly continued while they receive Holy Communion.  That does not help them out of the s....t; it keeps them there. This is exactly what the so-called ‘Kasper Proposal’ would do, and it is not what God wants for them and it is not what I want for them. I am disturbed that so many clergy do.

I want for them a stable relationship that is based on love, not lust; marriages that do not result from an ‘accidental’ pregnancy; an intellectual ability and a will unclouded by the haziness and distortions of drug abuse so that they can make truly free choices. Sadly, so many are involved in drug abuse and non-marital relationships that there is a kind of mutual affirmation among them that where they simply tell each other they ‘are OK’; that they are just ‘like everyone else’ (which is true), and that I am just ‘a religious nut or bigot’ (which is not true). It is sad that so many Catholics  -even among the hierarchy- appear to think the same.

Today’s problems of marital breakdown, homosexual activity, drug abuse, thieving what they think they have a right to have etc, arises from an evil seed: that seed is the lie of Satan that ‘life is about being happy’. ‘God wants you to be happy’ he tells them, then puts pleasures in front of their faces that distract them from authentic happiness (which is a state of being). He presents to them the passing pleasure of free sexual activity, highs from substance abuse etc., with the result that they go from pleasurable experience to pleasurable experience without the ever knowing the happiness of the stable relationship, or the freedom of clear-thinking free from the haziness and distortions of drugs. 

Society must get back to marriage between a man and woman wherein their offspring are cooperatively cared for by both progenitors; we must get back to helping the sheep to seek happiness rather than passing pleasure (which is self-indulgent hedonism) because such self-indulgence disturbs both the family and society. The Church must raise her voice for the family at the Synod, not further undermine it by seeking ways to get around it. It is not that I (or any other traditional priest I would think) do not want to smell of the sheep; it is that we don’t want the sheep such as my own family to smell of anything but the odour of sanctity.

24 comments:

  1. Father,
    When I was young and at least three Sunday Masses the norm and all full, the congregation were not all saints, but Mother Church embraced them, they included smelly sheep. Dogmatic in the pulpit, Charitable in the Confessional and the queues were long.

    Not only has The Faith been lost, through lack of teaching, but also Conscience, which has been of no benefit to the secular world. Has it?

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  2. Very well said father. Here here. God Bless

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  3. Thank you, Father, for this wonderful homily, for defending the Sacrament of Marriage and the Latin Mass.

    You have all the credentials to be of the "smelly sheep" assuredly, but unfortunately it is probably true that you are also looked upon as an impostor, of sorts, because you are Traditional? Because you don't embrace all the modernism that you experienced but rejected it "in toto"?

    You were privileged with being given a choice to make when the proverbial "line in the sand" was placed before you concerning your priesthood, no less so than I and many other divorced spouses were in the question of our marriages. We have never regretted our decision and nor, thankfully, have you.

    May Our Lord continue to Bless your vocation and the Souls you minister to.

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  4. You are absolutely right. We must get back to the correct teaching on the good of Marriage and reject all this modernist nonsense coming from the Protestantised clerics led it seems by Kasper and Marx. Lets hope the Synod has a good authentic Catholic outcome.
    God bless
    Paul .

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  5. Could not agree more with the above post. However, the Hierarchy's all important mission is not to smell the sheep, but to feed and lead them, seek out the lost and strays and bring them back. The reason for the Church's existence is the salvation of souls, not being a presence and affirming Catholics and the world in its sin. Before society will get back to the sanctity of marriage between and man and a woman, the hierarchy have to get back to the reality of understanding marriage in the priesthood and the great family that is the Church. I have written for Into the Deep at stoneswillshout.com/wp about Priestly Fatherhood on page 6. No matter what Catholics say about you Fr Gary, remember as a servant of holy Mother Church, your bride, you have to answer to God for the spiritual children you have brought into the world and the Christ's flock charged to your care. The buck stops with the father of the parish family, and you are a faithful and responsible priestly Father.

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  6. Father,

    I don't consider myself traditional, just ordinary and orthodox. And I have been around and seen it all, one way or another. Nothing new, just the same old stuff only more and more pushed these days by commercial lobbies anxious to make the last penny out of sin, and justify their own depravity by pretending it is "normal".

    It has always been so, but until now the Church has stood against this. Now we have something new. Relativists within the Church are trying to bend the Church to the world instead of the other way round

    Under a false concept of mercy they will try to destroy the Indissolubility of Marriage, the Real Presence and Ordained Priesthood, and there chosen field of battle is the Synod on the Family.

    They must not be allowed to win.
    .

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  7. Thank you Father for your wonderful example of what a Catholic priest should be, and teach. You're a rare commodity - and all the more treasured because of that. God bless you.

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  8. Utter bilge. I a gay man. I don't take drugs. I don't commit mortal sins. I don't tell others how to live. I do not think your post helps anyone bar you

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    1. Thanks for commenting James,
      I think the post has not been as easily understood as I thought it would. It is simply saying that the Synod must stand up for the natural family and with it, the stability of society and persons. In my experience, those who use drugs cannot make unaffected decisions (I know this from biter experience of family and friends whose drug use clouded their mental acuity); its is saying that non-marital relationships spring from lust rather than love (hence sex begins early in relationships these days), and that God wants more for us than the passing pleasure which comes from a drug-induced high or sexual experience (heterosexual or homosexual).
      I have to say that the homosexual lobby has induced folk to tell others how to live: it forces them by law to hire out rooms to homosexuals when it is against their conscience to do so, and takes to court those who for reasons of conscience do not want to be a photographer or bake a cake for a homosexual ‘marriage’.
      Having close family members who have drug abuse problems; a homosexual cousin and a homosexual friend, and several family members who engage in sex outside of marriage, I witness the problems of these lifestyles first hand and give support where I can when things go wrong. There is no judgement of them as persons; only a judgement of how their actions are damaging the stability of their lives. As such with genuine heart I can say to you as I do to all my commentators, God Bless you.

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    2. Dear James

      I, as an homosexual man, can only agree with Father. I cannot renounce my condition, or attraction to men; but five years ago I looked at my life, four relationships and umpteen sexual experiences and wondered: why am I not happy? What is missing? Why do I not have a partner? I realised that the life that I had been leading was hedonistic, selfish and left out God. I came back to Holy Mother, the Church, guided by the Holy Ghost, and strive, strive, and strive to be a good Catholic, putting God my Creator first, and me last. I wear my sexual orientation as a trial. I fall, not with others but by myself, as we all do, but I thank God that I found Tradition and the TLM. Now I strive to know and live my faith with resource to the sacraments. I will not get married, as I don't find that attraction; so my lot is to be a single man following the precepts of the Church and the faith as best I can. Prayer is my motor and I beg God my salvation: the Holy Rosary and the brown scapular.

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    3. Dear Paul,
      Thank you for a courageous comment. I believe God is richly blessing you and your efforts to be faithful, and will help you keep the motor running. I do hope that you have good, supportive friendships within the parish; a solitary, lonely life is not required by God, and as a celibate man I can say that good friendships relieve the danger of isolation. Friendships with our siblings, cousins, nephews, nieces etc, where attractions are less than likely, can be very fulfilling. I will pray for you and all those in your situation.
      God Bless.

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  9. James, your post makes no sense. You'll have read the comments above and must therefore agree that Father's post does help others, as it affirms God's love and God's law, of which we hear so little these days. The fact that you don't like His law doesn't negate it.

    Patricia

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    1. Thank you, Patricia.
      I hope my post has indeed been helpful. I think James just read all he comments through the lens of one issue.
      God Bless.

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  10. "...yet the assumption that I am Traditionalist (and ‘rigorist’) because I don’t know the ‘real world’ or ‘smell of the sheep’ appears to continue."

    "...and that I am just ‘a religious nut or bigot’ (which is not true). "

    Now, don't you worry about that Father. Not at all. Keep on going.

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  11. Fr Dickson, have you ever thought of using deliverance and Exorcism to free these homosexuals you know and convert them to heterosexuality. To free their logos in the light of Christ. Because it is the logos that is distorted, or lied to by Satan. The same thing happens when the logos is impaired through, as you say, drug taking, hedonistic lifestyle, alcoholism and sadly I think depression too. I think Satan using sadness, or depression is particularly cruel and parasitic of the Devil to hurt a soul through this.

    Personally, I think that homosexuality is demonic and that some souls have wounds that the Devil further exacerbates by pouring his pus into them. Meaning that the wounds are the root cause. I think that some people's wounds are so deep, they either forget these wounds or are blind to them.

    Remember that in Genesis it says that God "made them male and female". Satan is so jealous of mankind he will destroy them.

    Many priests seem only to condemn the homosexual acts, but they never want to convert the homosexual soul to heterosexuality. They do not want to free the gay logos. Why? I don't understand why. I think the Catechism is flawed on this. It is this inherent determination of the Catholic Church to only condemn these homosexual acts and not actively seek out to convert the homosexual that I believe will ultimately bring down the Church. If the Church only condemns the homo-acts, then there is nothing to stop a gay priest saying Mass as long as he doesn't act out. I think this will lead to a corrupting of the parishes and the people of God. Demons jump.

    I don't know who put together the old Penny Catechism, but it was crystal clear what the Church thought of homosexuality, by calling it a 'sin crying out to heaven for vengeance'. Also the person who brought together the sins of homosexuality, murder and 'defrauding people of their wages' under this 'sin crying out to heaven for vengeance' was enlightened, because you do see people loose their jobs, ie CEOs, people have to make a wedding cake or be prosecuted, maybe close their business if they don't want to put up homosexuals in their B&B. Also 'defrauding people of their wages', means they can't afford to have a larger family, or they will contracept, or worse, murder by having an abortion. Also with the homo-sex act there is the sterility.

    In all honesty, I don't want to cause trouble for you, so you don't have to put my comment up.

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    1. Thank you.
      Exorcism and Deliverance are quite specialised, but that is not the problem: many of those who would need it would also refuse it -hotly!
      I do hope that in not condoning the act they also advice the person on the danger in which they place their immortal soul and encourage then to be guided once again in their 'life-style choices' by the Gospel.
      God bless.
      God Bless.

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  12. In all honesty, if I were to smell like a sheep, I'd have a bath to get the smell off. Kind of just like going to Confession.

    So 'much for smelling of the sheep'.

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    1. Thank you.
      Many sheep shower regularly, just not always those that actually need to!
      God Bless.

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  13. Fr i have attended your latin mass. Although i have not been while you have said mass. For me being only in my 30's it is the only latin mass i have been to except in the vatican. I know no latin at all but it truely is a fantastic liturgy... why did we get rid of so much history and a rite that worked for nearly 2000 years..... it begars belief. I have only just discovered your blog and i think its fantastic it gives me so much hope.... i am what i call a floating catholic... one week i will be in one parish and the next i will attend mass elsewhere for me the catholic church is universal but in my travels your church is so wonderful with its high alter etc.

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    1. Father Tully and I share the offering of this Mass, with my health meaning it is now almost always offered by Fr Tully.
      There are many floating Catholics today with easy transport; I'm happy you floated here and have found the Church's ancient form of worship.
      God Bless.

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  14. Hello Fr Dickson
    It's James again. I find your view in some of your replies rather insulting and prejudicial. As for the rely that suggests I and others who were born homosexual ought to be exorcised is totally against Church teaching

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  15. Thanks for commenting James.
    I cannot see where my replies are insulting or prejudicial. I think society has taught folk to become over-sensitive and see insult and offence where there really is none. You are right however, that the Church does not say to exorcise homosexuals, though isn't prayer for the removal of any temptation not an asking of the Holy Ghost to protect us from a temptation and take it away? And isn't all that conflicts with the Gospel and afflicts mankind the work of the enemy from below? The Church does not accept the LGBT idea that their orientation/predicament is a blessing; clergy who do are in conflict with the Church's Tradition (which is a vehicle of Divine Revelation). If you write to me at my email address I can give a more complete reply. Comments, like Tweets, don't easily facilitate discussions.
    God Bless.

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    1. You are in a better position than me to have a public seminar on this in your diocese. I'd happily attend. Perhaps you would share your views with families of gay people and see what their theological understanding is.

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