Sunday, November 2, 2014

Would the Bear Be Tempted by the SSPX?

There's an old expression among Bears, "As crazy as a Bear in October." The explanation would probably only confuse you, and it's not October, but Mass today was pretty crazy-making.

First of all, raucous laughter and loud talking before Mass was distracting, as usual. The Bear figures most of it could be eliminated by putting everyone over the age of 50 in a sound-proof room at the back. (Maybe expand the cry room, since we don't need that, anymore.)

We had a candlelight procession for all parish members who had died the preceding year, which wasn't so bad, but had a pop-devotion vibe, like when candles and stuffed animals sprout at the site of a fatal car accident.

The homily took a nail in each foot for the Bear to get through. One part was literally straight from St. John's at Collegeville reflections: Purgatory Lite. 

Archbishop of Chicago Blase Cupich was once asked to explain Purgatory to a confirmation class. He turned to one girl in front, and said, "You know, you're such a wonderful person!" The girl, predictably, blushed, providing an object lesson for Archbishop Cupich. "You see, she's blushing because she doesn't think she deserves that praise. Purgatory isn't a place of punishment. It's a place where God tenderly convinces you that you are worthy to be in his presence!"

So, Purgatory is not about satisfaction for our sins, but learning that, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!" I was always good enough to be in Heaven, I just didn't realize it!

During the part about today's Gospel of the sheep and the goats, Father talked about "the Great Reformation," and praised Martin Luther.

And so, the Bear found himself asking, is "nailing your foot to the floor in front of your favorite pew and dying there" just brave talk? If the SSPX were across the street, would he not be tempted?

Of course he would. We seem to be in a situation where the official Roman Catholic Church has the authority, but not the sound doctrine, while traditionalists have the sound doctrine, but (in the case of the SSPX) not the authority. 

The answer is this. We were never promised that the Mass would remain personally fulfilling to us in its externals. That the church would be a prayerful place, that bishops wouldn't be buffoons, or that priests wouldn't preach nonsense. We were promised that the gates of Hell wouldn't prevail against the Church, that's all, not that there wouldn't be hardship, skirmishes, battles, sieges or even occupations. 

We are blessed by an abundance of sound teaching, and must take responsibility for our families' religious education. We must do our best at Mass, and pray quietly on our own. The Mass remains, in essence, the Mass, and we try to focus on its central reality, no matter what obstacles are put in our way.

As for those Gates of Hell, there are those in high places who think that they are so very clever by not touching the dogma. They go out into the peripheries to sow confusion and weaken discipline. They are out-smarting themselves, though. The heart of the Church remains sound. One day, in God's good time, the disfigurements of our brief day will be healed, just as promised.


  1. It's hard, isn't it? Pray. Pray. Pray. I have to keep in mind, regardless of what they are doing, I KNOW what I am doing and why. Just keep keeping on. But, yes, I can skip over to an EF at Log or even St Francis de Sales from time to time.

    The procession you speak of are these newly made-up rituals b/c the people KNOW they're supposed to do reverent solemn stuff at mass. It's been lost to us, so that have to create new rituals. Ours was not too bad today. I did not hear purgatory mentioned, however. We listened to a reading of each name of a parishioner/loved one who died this past year in lieu of petitions. There are routine blessings of some segment of the population and welcoming newbies which are annoying at mass at our parish. Not to mention the awful music.

    1. Interesting about the new folk rituals we are devising to replace the Mass. It reminds me (again) of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, where the kids do the "tell" of Captain Walker in an effort to keep a few garbled shreds of their past alive. We are a ritual-doing species. We had a pretty good one; I reckon somebody figured it was TOO good. So, we do the Sunday "tell" instead (complete with mandatory audience participation).

    2. We are so very fortunate up here. Our rector wore black vestments for All Souls, preached an absolutely beautiful homily on Purgatory, and used the Roman Canon for Requiem Masses for the Eucharistic Prayer. The only discordant note came from our boomer Music Minister (quelle surprise), who seems determined to sabotage these old-fashioned solemn or penitential Masses with entirely inappropriate and banal modern liturgical "songs". (She drives me to distraction with her heretical Ash Wednesday selections.)

      After Mass, as I shook hands with our priest, I pointed to his black chasuble and said, "If I predecease you, you're wearing THAT."

  2. Just to make you feel better, we have an old Holy Franciscan at our parish. He stated that all of us should make sure that the Priest at our loved ones funerals NEVER say they went straight to heaven. They should talk about sin and the need for the living to repent lest they go to purgatory or worse, to hell.
    Seems he knew a Priest that was called to cover a funeral mass for a man in a different parish when the Pastor was on vacation. The Priest told of how wonderful the man was and how the congregation could know that the man was at peace at the moment of his death and woke up to see the eyes of Jesus in heaven.
    As the Priest spoke, a few people began to giggle, then more and so on. Finally, a man ran up to the Priest and whispered the truth.
    The deceased had died of a Heart Attack on top of a Prostitute.

    1. That's pretty good :-) While the Bear does not expect to go out in a similar fashion, his sons know what to do -- NO instant beatification, but assume that the Bear, if he makes it into Purgatory, he has done so by the skin of his teeth and is in dire need of prayers for his soul. (Also, put the blog to bed, should it still be going on that hopefully distant day.)

  3. Modern liturgical craziness seems to get worse on special occasions. I hope next week goes back to requiring only one nail.

  4. Also, how was John Allen's talk yesterday? I read his columns regularly, but have never seen him in person.

    1. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend after all. After what came out of the Bear's mouth today in Church, it is probably just as well to avoid public occasions of possible controversy. (Well, that will be a confession he hasn't heard in awhile, I bet.)

  5. Let me ask you this....are you really so sure that this consecration is valid? It's not just proper form and matter (as regards the latter, can you be so sure with an apostate such as this priest clearly is, that he hasn't played fast and loose with the matter?), but is also concerns the priest's intention to do what the Church intends. If he doesn't (and I'd lay money that this clown doesn't), you're cooperating in a form of idolatry, under a form of pride that masks itself as piety.

    Lefebvre will one day, in Church time, be raised to the Altar.

    1. Hi, Susan,

      I have no doubts about the consecration. My doubts are about the soundness of the teaching presented, and I have no doubts at all about the "remembrance" mummery -- it's just weird in the same way so much else is weird these days. (I think Pete nailed that.)

      If God is a God who requires Catholics to crack that puzzle every Sunday, in Masses celebrated in His Church, by His priests, under his "brand," then he's already got me on some other technicality.

      As a matter of fact, yes, I'm sure about the consecration, as sure as I can be about anything. He does tell Protestant visitors they can't rake communion, for example, and his goofiness never touches the sacrifice itself, but confines itself to homilies and the occasional novelty. Other than all THAT... lol I like him.

      If I thought it depended on the magnificence of the liturgy, or the reverence with which it was celebrated, or the details of posture and gesture, or not making my head explode, I would never have reverted from Orthodoxy. And what I learned there was that there is always a group down the road who are MORE magnificent, and MORE reverent and MORE observant of details: the Old Orthodox, the True Orthodox, the Old True Orthodox.

      That is a rabbit hole I refuse to go down again. PAX

    2. Pax indeed Bear...I don't mean at all for you to get your knickers in a wad. I just mean to be a voice of sanity pointing out a very spiritually dangerous IS a form of idolatry, pride, and ultramontanism. The calumny against the SSPX, for being no more/no less than what Catholics had been for 2000 years, is really out of control. Without them there would be No FSSP, No Ecclesia Dei, No Society of Christ the King. They have been allowed to not only survive, but to flourish as a living splinter in the fetid souls of the Kasper types, by the grace and will of God. THEY ARE CATHOLIC; in communion with (albeit imperfectly) with the Church. They are not the Orthodox, who reject seem unable or unwilling to make that factual distinction, perhaps because of the mistake of your past in joining with the latter.

      I was once a detractor of them, but after the unspeakable eye-opener of the past 2 years, let's just say I've taken off my "if the pope says the sky is green, the sky is green!" glasses. The Lord is using them in ways we can't fathom; and if you are willing to be really honest, I think you must come to the inescapable conclusion that they have been the ones truly standing up for Christ, His Saints, His Church, and His Mass through out this nightmare era of increasing lio....they've been proven out to be right.

      Don't get me wrong....I'm still in the pew of my NO parish because the insanity hasn't reached far into my diocese. But make no mistake also that if it did/does, and my parish priest were pulling the stupid, blasphemous disrespect for God, His Altar, His Mass, His flock that yours does (by your own writing, and that's all I've got to go by), AND if there were an SSPX chapel across the street praying the Mass as it should be, respecting God and His Mother and His Saints, I would RUN across that street, taking my wallet with me, and asking God for forgiveness that I'd cooperated in the disrespect against Him for so long.

    3. To the extent anyone cares about my opinion on the SSPX, I find them to be a source of sanity, and the fact that they're there is good for the Church. I think they are a factor of calculation in the same way the German High Seas Fleet was in WWI. Of course, it was never going to take down the British fleet, but influenced wartime policy just by existing. I think the Vatican is afraid of provoking the SSPX.

      It is interesting that now we are having bishops telling Catholics they can't go to the SSPX. By now, I think anyone who believes much gets done without Pope Francis at least knowing about it is naive.

      I'm not against the SSPX, I'm for it. I just prefer to be part of the ordinary presence of the Church. God knows I'm not good enough even for that. If it means I have to put up with candles and teddy bears in front of the altar once a year, that's okay. I'm beginning to think my parish is unusually weird.

  6. RED

    Vestments of red,
    Altar cloth too,
    Martyrs who bled,
    Did this for you.

    Gold Tabernacles,
    Veiled in red's hue,
    Martyrs in shackles,
    Hung for this view.

    Red mums full bloomed,
    In water and brass,
    Martyrs consumed,
    Burned for this Mass.

    Red rays of sun,
    Rose-streak the nave,
    Their suf'ring done,
    Now, red, we must crave!

  7. I was able to attend a TLM on Saturday, All Saint's day. The traveling priest who graciously comes to the parish to offer the Sunday TLM spoke about the Communion of Saints and it was wonderful Catholic teaching. On Sunday at my parish I could not understand what the Polish priest was saying.


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