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.