Friday, September 18, 2015

Time to Leave the Church?

The Lure of Orthodoxy

When the Bear left the Catholic Church for the Orthodox Church, he was right. The Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church had not been vandalized. He had led his family into true heavenly worship, and a right and rich tradition of the Ancient Faith. Orthodox like to say:
We are what you once were. We believe what you once believed. We worship as you once worshipped. If you were right then, we are right now. If we are wrong now, you were wrong then.
You know, it's true. We didn't have to dread some innovation at Divine Liturgy, or cringe during our Russian priest's homily. When the Gospel said Jesus cast out demons, we got a homily about the demonic, not mental illness. When the Gospel said Jesus multiplied bread, we got a homily about a miracle, not sharing.

There is not a day goes by that the Bear doesn't wish he were still Orthodox.

Rod Dreher is a more well-known person who jumped off the Barque of Peter into the incense haze of Orthodoxy. He was shaken that the Roman Catholic Church could harbor an untold number of homosexual clergy who molested pubescent boys. (He would have put it in the conventional terms of "pedophilia"; the Bear once again insists on the findings of the Jay Report, which tells a different story.) 

Dreher concluded there was something rotten to the core about such an institution. You know, it's true. Orthodoxy, as the Bear is sure Dreher has since learned, has its own scandals, but nothing as horrific as the Catholic sex abuse scandal.

The Church of Wrong

We must fear a cabal of our own shepherds in Rome, as they meet to change the nature of family, to deform the sweet, strong and simple sacrament of matrimony. Our Lord's own words in the Gospel about the impossibility of divorce are given no more weight than a Roman cab driver's chatter. We don't trust the hierarchy anymore. You know it's true.

We have a pope we don't like who is at best habitually imprudent in his speech, and at worst the mastermind behind the very things we dread.

The Novus Ordo mass -- concocted with the help of Protestants and maybe even a Freemason -- bears no resemblance to the mass circa 1563 or even 1962. It only poorly represents a sacrifice, since the priest has his back to the One to Whom the sacrifice is offered. There's a table for a meal, not an altar for a sacrifice. People slouch up and grab a host with their hand without reverently kneeling. We are forced to sing the same Protestantized hymns week after week about Dancing Jesus, or our Journey, as the People, maybe with a band accompanying us while liturgical dancers in gauzy dresses dance around the altar like something out of The Wicker Man. 

Even if the bishop doesn't show up dressed as a clown, or a cowboy, it's still torture to the pious soul. 

Look at the numbers if you want to behold a ruined Church. We have to import priests from Africa because our seminaries are empty. Our parishes are a shadow of their former selves. "Ex-Catholic" is the third largest "denomination" in the country, after Catholics proper and Baptists. If it weren't for immigrants from south of the border, the decimation would be even more obvious. (And many of them become Protestants before long.)

You know all this is true. After Vatican II, the Church imploded. Therefore, it is obviously the fault of Vatican II.

So all that stuff about the Church being "indefectable" turned out to be bunk. Let's face it. The Church is wrong. Wrong about its Mass, which we all know is a feeble pantomime if not an outright offense to God. Wrong about Vatican II. Wrong about the Synod on the Family.

You know it's true. How? You can read Scripture, and exercise plain reason. It is plain the pope, to the extent he is behind this abominable Synod of the Family, is in error.

Leaving the Church

The way the Bear sees it, now that the scales have fallen off his eyes, we have a number of options.
  • SSPX has the real Mass, and strong reservations about Vatican II. So what if the "Church" says they don't have faculties to hear confessions and absolve our sins, and they can't conduct valid weddings. The Bear is sure the "emergency" doctrine or some other technicality will correct any formal defects. Besides, who cares what the "Church" says? We've already established it is wrong. Indefectability is like a bursting bubble. If it's wrong in one thing, it might as well be wrong in everything.
  • Society of St. Pope Pius V. These guys are even more correct than the SSPX. For ex-Catholics who are totally unwilling to compromise, SSPV is like the SSPX, only more so. Think SSPV are cream puffs? There are many sedevacantist groups scattered about, tracing ordinations back to Archbishop Thuc, for those who "don't need no stinking pope."
  • Few of us have a local SSPX chapel. When the Catholic Church starts marrying homosexuals as an "extension of mercy," (which would be wrong) we can just curl up in our lairs, nests, houses, etc. and say a rosary. If we were to go to a Church of Wrong Novus Ordo mass, that would surely be wrong, and probably a sin. So under the current emergency, we'll make do the best we can.
  • The Orthodox Church is the real deal, the Bear can tell you. He's even a tonsured reader, which is a much bigger deal than the Conciliar Church's lectors. Divine Liturgy is exactly that: divine. And no crazy-making pope! (Seriously, think about that.) It's like a living museum of faith, where nothing has changed since  the Great Schism, way before the Council of Trent. Trust the Bear: you'll love it if you love the truth, tradition and a beautiful liturgy. (Yeah, they went wobbly on divorce, but nobody's perfect.)
  • Once you are liberated by recognition of the undeniable fact that the Catholic Church is wrong, you can even explore further afield. Remember, wrong is wrong, and once that bubble bursts, how do you know what you can trust and what is dangerous? If you discover your wife putting cyanide in your coffee once, are you ever going to trust her again? Doesn't it make more sense to understand "the Church" in the broad sense as the invisible community of believers? Evangelicals are Bible-believing (unlike Modernist Catholic scholars) and sincere. They're also growing, so they must be doing something right. The Bear enjoys the music of Casting Crowns and Mercy Me, so he might enjoy an Evangelical service.
These are just some suggestions. Most mainline Protestant churches are pretty dismal, and the Bear cannot recommend them. Maybe some Lutherans, but the Bear has no experience.

Inspirational Quotes: Time to Go

Imagine your life, your personal devotion, free of constant turmoil caused by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Imagine being secure in an enclave of tradition somewhere. Imagine being able to trust. Who better can you trust than yourself, if we're being completely honest? You know what's right. You don't need an erratic gaggle of bishops gabbling nonsense at you. To quote the man who recently had a square named after him in Rome, Martin Luther, “I have within me the great pope, Self.”
Since your majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns or teeth. Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason (I do not believe in the authority of either popes or councils by themselves, for it is plain that they have often erred and contradicted each other) in those Scriptures that I have presented, for my conscience is captive to the Word of God, I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen.
Where will you stand? SSPX? Orthodoxy? Protestantism? Where?

As for the Bear, he stands as a Roman Catholic. He is unimpressed by any argument that proceeds from an alleged error by the Church of Rome. Surely he may be scandalized, but he hopes for the grace to exercise humility and obedience. If the hierarchy messes something up, that's on them. God will not punish the faithful who remain behind to fight, next to Jesus in the tabernacle (if we can find it) during these confusing and frightening times.

If the Roman Catholic Church creates a divorce mill and recognizes homosexual "partnerships" in some fashion, the Bear will be scandalized. He will still stand with the Roman Catholic Church, because he is a plain old Roman Catholic Bear with no hyphens or qualifiers, just a period.

Granted, having his foot nailed to the floor in front of his favorite pew helps.


  1. To whom should we go? We have come to believe you are the Holy One of God.

    1. You can talk "wrong" this and "wrong" that, but at the end of the day, you're either a Roman Catholic or you're not. Traditionalists share with Progressives a fundamental discomfort with the Church in her reality in our time. The Bear isn't advocating some "middle way" between them, just a simple, non-qualifed Roman Catholic period.

    2. In case that was unclear, I was absolutely not disagreeing with you, but the opposite.

  2. The Annulment Mill is one thing - we have been there, done that, 1971-83. It is bad, but it is an abuse, a grave scandal, but not a change in teaching about marriage (even if it does not come across that way, and it's obvious most Catholics, priests included, actually believe otherwise).

    But recognition of homosexual unions, officially, would constitute a moment of truth for the Church, and what we must believe about it. I think it would be hard to say that the gates of hell had not prevailed - or worse, that there is no hell at all. Curling up into a CMRI or SSPV or SSPX Resistance bunker wouldn't really make that problem go away, just make it a bit easier to ignore. A faithful remnant is one thing; a remnant you can fit into a Bed, Bath & Beyond with the entire hierarchy, pope included, gone over the side is something else.

    But I have confidence that this will not happen. The occasional kook modernist priest might improvise a blessing, just like the occasional kook modernist bishop sneaked off to a river barge to "ordain" some women. But the doctrine will not be overturned.

    1. Athelstane is right. People get to caught up in imagining the impossible, i. e. that the Church could actually violate doctrinal infallibility by officially acknowledging gay "marriage" and still remain the Church. God will not let this happen. The Pope might say so in document that is part of the non-infallible (authentic) ordinary magisterium, but that's about it. God promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail. Recite your act of faith daily.

      God bless, Konstantin

    2. Both get recognized as "Posts of the Week."

  3. "A faithful remnant is one thing; a remnant you can fit into a Bed, Bath & Beyond with the entire hierarchy, pope included, gone over the side is something else."

    I think you've forgotten the lesson of Gideon's army. Perhaps reread it tonight...God can do a LOT with a "remnant you can fit into a Bed, Bath & Beyond".....with faith....and faithfulness to His word and His teaching.

  4. From the title of this piece, I was thinking I was going to have to grab a goat and go!
    The Bear's musings on where to go, what to do, help solidify the murkiness in this mess. Obedience to Church (Christ) teaching. Obedience, just like our Lord. Obedience, even unto death on a cross. Thanks Bear.

  5. Susan,

    I think the real problem with that proposition is that we have no real definition of what the gates of hell prevailing would look like. Is all that is required one single faithful Catholic?

    Or are we just deluding ourselves?

  6. I remain a faithful Roman Catholic, taking the sacraments from a Thuc line priest and rejecting Vatican 2. I wish I had figured all this out when my kids were younger as they've now both left the Church---at least the V2 version of it.

    Seattle Kim

    1. Kim, the Bear well knows the heartbreak. Half of his kids are unchurched. But the other half are solid. I respectfully invite you to consider that there was a huge upheaval starting in the 60s, and not just in the Church. It is possible that blaming V2 is a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Neither one of us needs to rehash the abuses of V2, but V2 wasn't in a vacuum. We may never know why our children left the Church. The Bear knows he made mistakes, such as becoming Orthodox. He did that mainly for his cubs, so they would have a solid Church to grow up in. The two most active as altar boys, cleaning the chandelier (by individual glass prisms, taken apart and put back together) are the ones who are solid. It was hard to get them out of Orthodoxy and into the Catholic Church. And heartbreaking. Most Catholics leave the Church.

  7. Very good Bear. Lots of options. How about a nice big schism with two Popes? One Pope is Francis who continues to devastate the vineyard. The other is Pope Burke or Athanasius who work to recover the vineyard. In this scenario I would be with Burke/Athanasius. How about you?

    1. I would stay with the Pope. Why do you think I nail my paw to the floor in front of my favorite pew?

  8. Hey Bear---any Eastern Rite Catholic Churches in your driving range? They are not sede, of course, but plenty of sedes go there because none of their rites (consecration, ordination, Mass) were touched by V2. Although Francis is now sending in some flamer priest (another Volpi to FFI situation?) to bring the Eastern rites up to date. It will be a tough sell and they will dig in their heels.

    Seattle kim

    1. The Bear loves the Eastern Rite liturgy. It's the same Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom the Orthodox usually use. He got to assist at one at St. Meinrad Archabbey when he was taking classes there.

  9. I'm not Greek or Romanian or Russian so the Orthodox and Byzantines are not an option for me. Mother Church has lost her mind but you don't leave your senile mother and you don't leave her when she's insane.

    1. You speak wisely. And we found that the Orthodox Church was very much an ethnic club that we never quite fit into.

  10. I believe Burke is nailing his regal paw to the floor as well. Same for Schneider. They ain't goin' nowhere.

  11. Yeah, exactly, there isn't anywhere to go, and I (along with probably everyone here) have a bad feeling Francis may have a "quo vadis" moment shortly.


Moderation is On.

Featured Post

Judging Angels Chapter 1 Read by Author

Quick commercial for free, no-strings-attached gift of a professionally produced audio book of Judging Angels, Chapter 1: Last Things, read...