Author Archives: cybercatholic

Responding to Beijing

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been abusing the entire world (and Christians in particular) for some time now.  We all know the stories of persecution, and the recent heartbreaking (and utterly perplexing!) pact between the Holy See and Beijing…and the resulting acceleration of church demolitions, arrests, and persecutions which were, of course, the inevitable result.

And now we have this new scourge which the CCP has unleashed upon the world.  The CCP Virus (which those who consider themselves woke insist on calling COVID-19) has killed hundreds of thousands and brought Western societies to a standstill and the world’s economies to their knees.

In two short years, the world will gather in Beijing to publicly thank the CCP, adore them, and heap praise and prestige upon the Butchers of Beijing.  Why?

Is it time to say “enough’s enough”..?  #BoycottBeijing2020

The SSPX Slugfest

Right around Easter Sunday 2020, Catholic social media erupted into chatter (often quite contentious) over the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX).  A well-known Catholic online personality, Dr. Taylor Marshall, reported that he had attended Easter Sunday Mass with his family at a SSPX chapel near his home.  This brought an immediate reaction from Michael Voris at Church Militant, Timothy Gordon, and other prominent Catholic online commentators.  For a week we saw a raging battle swinging to and fro over the legitimacy of SSPX.  Then, Church Militant released a mini-documentary reporting on alleged serious cases of sexual abuse from SSPX priests and subsequent attempts at coverup on the part of the parent organization.  Whether or not these allegations have substance is not yet clear at the time this article’s posting, but the firefights now raging in response to the Church Militant’s SSPX video are intense and brutal.

Hank Igitur (an obscure yet non-prominent Catholic online commentator in his own right) offers the following observations:

Readers wishing to better understand both sides of this heartbreaking story are encouraged to visit the following sites:

Church Militant‘s short documentary describing the abuse allegations.

SSPX.org statement on the Church Militant article here.

Regardless of the outcome, or where the truth lies between the Church Militant and SSPX positions regarding these allegations, one thing seems pretty certain:  the devil is laughing at us.

 

A Prayer to Our Lady in this time of Plague

Can you spare 90 seconds to offer a prayer to Our Lady?

Can you afford not to???  The Stella Coeli prayer is a powerful supplication!

And while you’re at it, why not seek St. Michael’s intercession as well?

Remember our priests in prayer as well!  This clip from a Spanish film reminds us that our shepherds stand firm (despite the attacks raging around them) when offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:

Catholics: Hold Fast!

Two fists held close together. On each knuckle a letter is tattooed. The words "Hold Fast" are spelled out across them.

After years of scandal and controversy, it’s easy to forget how heroic so many of our priests are.  We must support them and pray for them.

And we, Catholic brothers and sisters, must remain brave ourselves, and firm in our Faith!  Tribulations are coming.  One could easily argue (Wuhan Virus, anyone?) that they are here already.

#CatholicsHoldFast

Did the Modernists just get a nasty surprise?

8 APRIL UPDATE – It would appear that the answer posed in this article’s title may well be “no.”  We’re hearing now that Pope Francis** is setting in motion yet another “commission” to study the question of female deacons.  The good news from the Vatican just never ends, does it?  Who knows where this will go, but in the meantime it seems purposely designed to keep the “churn” and general rate of chaos high among the Faithful.  The Trads are getting their chains yanked, regular Novie Catholics are getting their chains yanked, and maybe even the Modernists are getting their chain yanked.  What is the purpose of all this?  Seems like classic Peronista tactics, which I guess shouldn’t be surprising this many years into this pontificate.  

We simply must keep praying for our Church, for our Pope (whether or not he considers himself the Vicar of Christ) and that Our Lady will soon clean house in this troubled, chaotic and pretty messed up human component of the Body of Christ.

Oremus!


** Formerly known by the very accurate title “Vicar of Christ.”  You may have heard that this august title has fallen out of favor with the former Cdl. Bergolio.  The term has been relegated to a historical footnote in the current edition of the Vatican Yearbook.

Original (prematurely optimistic) article:

Today–12 February 2020–is the day the much anticipated/dreaded Papal document on the Amazon Synod came out.  We were all bracing for the worst sort of news when it came to married priests and lady jungle deaconesses, but instead the document says something rather different.

Here is the text of tweet made by EWTN’s Raymond  Arroyo:

The Pope’s final Amazon document is a shock and a wakeup call to progressives who have sought “revolutionary” change in the Church. Pope Francis has reaffirmed the tradition of ordaining celibate men, and ruled out ordaining women. Expect a ferocious response.

Does that mean we’re out of the woods?  Probably not.  As many online commentators–each with much deeper thought processes and way larger numbers of followers–have been warning, the whole idea of adding married priests and/or female deacons into the post-Vatican II Church was never the objective.  Rather, the goal was to move the Catholic Church in ever closer alignment with the secularist goals of the UN and the likes of Jeffery Sachs, George Soros, and of course little Greta.  The climate and environment are the real threats to mankind, and globalism is the only solution.  The salvation of our souls and the methodologies used to obtain said salvation is a back-burner issue.  And I’m afraid that while the current (and let us not forget temporary) leadership in Rome works ever harder to make the Church the UN’s favorite NGO, the issues of married priests, lady deacons, and eventually full-on priestesses is far from settled.

Still, isn’t it delightful to think how disappointed all the Modernists are at this moment? All of the coquettish hinting that the door was open for massive new changes and innovations to the priesthood.  Oh, how they must have been anticipating it!

This pope is a master of weaponized ambiguity, and no mistake.  Most of that ambiguity has worked to the advantage of the Modernists (think Amoris Laetitia).  Each odd little statement he makes at an audience or airplane presser is like a little hand grenade of weaponized ambiguity tossed into the foxholes of Faithful Catholics with devastating effect.  You “progressive” theologians, priests, bishops and laity have loved lobbing those grenades at us.  But every now and again, one of those ambiguous hand grenades might just blow up in your own face.

 

 

 

Why I’m no longer attending my Latin Mass Parish weekly

“Take it, lad. You need it more than I do.” – Chaplain George Rentz, giving his life jacket to a seaman following the sinking of USS Houston during the Battle of Sunda Strait, 1942.

Commander George Rentz was a Chaplain aboard USS Houston, a cruiser sunk during a fierce naval battle with superior Japanese forces in the dark days of 1942. Clinging desperately to a hopelessly overloaded piece of wreckage with several other sailors, he relinquished his spot of safety.  Giving his lifejacket to a young seaman with those words, he pushed away, treading water for a while before his strength gave out and he sank below the waves, joining 800 other men from Houston who perished that day. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his action, the only chaplain so honored during the Second World War.

George_S._Rentz-colorrentz

Commander George Rentz was a Navy Chaplain who laid down his life for a fellow Sailor following the sinking of their cruiser in 1942.

Please God that he has received a far greater reward.

Rentz’s words became one of a handful of famous naval sayings which (along with better known phrases like “Don’t give up the ship” or “I have not yet begun to fight”) my Naval Academy classmates and I were ordered to commit to memory over 45 years ago.

It’s funny how those words stick with you. Thinking about it now, those three phrases (which I shouted with gusto as a sweating frightened Midshipman 4th Class whenever prompted by an upperclassman) can apply to us Catholics of a traditional/orthodox bent during these troubling and apocalyptic times for our Church. And surely 2020 will be a year as dark for our beloved Catholic Church as was 1942 for the U.S. Navy, the year Rentz laid down his life.

Hopefully, nobody reading this will be scratching their heads wondering why I lament the state of things in our Church. If you don’t know the situation, you simply haven’t been paying attention. For the rest of us, perhaps those three phrases will seem like good advice.

“Don’t give up the ship!” – I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I’m abandoning the Barque of Peter, no matter how hot the battle.

Don't Give Up The Ship

The original battle flag flown during the Battle of Lake Erie now hangs proudly in the rotunda at the U.S. Naval Academy. Those fighting words from the War of 1812 ring true for us Catholics today!

“I’ve not yet begun to fight!” – The enemy is demanding our surrender. Far from complying, we’re about to renew the battle with fierce determination.

“Take it, lad. You need it more than I do.” – Well, maybe this one isn’t as clear. Let me explain.

My response to the desperate battle facing us is nowhere near as noble or heroic as what that chaplain (only a month away from full retirement) did amidst one of the fiercest naval battles of World War II. It’s really pretty trivial and cheezy in comparison.

Instead of giving up my lifejacket, I’m giving up my seat at my FSSP parish.

Huh?

My FSSP parish is small. When FSSP was granted permission to have a parish in my city, the small run-down church had been closed and abandoned, stark evidence of Catholicism’s post-Vatican II continual collapse. After three years of effort (including some pretty serious engineering), the building had been restored to its former beauty. The high altar was in place, and all vestiges of the Novus Ordo experiment were gone.

And our little parish began steadily growing. It wasn’t just cranky old timers incapable of “getting with the times,” as the Traditional Mass’ detractors like to paint us. Nope. More and more young families came through our doors. In ten years our little outfit produced five vocations.

The growth was steady but manageable. Then came the Summer of Shame.

When it became evident how rampant the scandals, how deep the rot, how Modernist the hierarchy, and how big the mess confronting our Catholic faith, attendance at my little parish exploded. We ushers saw more and more new faces every week. There were more and more new families showing up. They were curious first-timers, and they had questions which we tried to answer, always encouraging them to come back.

Overflow TLM

Taking it to the streets: Undaunted, Catholics unable to find a seat at the Latin High Mass carry on.

And, boy, did they come back! Our job as ushers, of course, included finding seats for our parishioners and visitors. These days we look less like ushers and more like those famous Japanese train conductors who have to pack passengers like sardines! Our three FSSP priests laid on additional Sunday Masses to alleviate the strain, but the crowds kept growing. We’re now at the point where if you don’t show up for Mass at least a half hour early, you’re not going to get a seat…at least not in a pew inside the church.

During good weather (which is abundant in our state), we leave the double doors open and set up two rows of folding chairs under a portable canopy. People sit outside, peering in and listening to the homily broadcast on exterior speakers. During the parts of the Mass where you’re supposed to kneel, they kneel uncomplainingly on the concrete sidewalk. We’ve taken two of our classrooms and made them overflow rooms where the Mass is relayed via WiFi onto large screen displays.

Station workers push a passenger into a crowded subway train at the Ikebukuro station on the Marunouchi line during rush hour in Tokyo

These Japanese train conductors have the makings of excellent ushers at my parish’s wonderfully overcrowded Latin Mass!

A first-time visitor to our parish shouldn’t be forced to watch from such disadvantaged locations, so it isn’t uncommon for parish “regulars” to give up their pew for a visitor.

Such is the state of our little Latin Mass parish.

The good news is that we’re not the only place in our city where the Mass is offered in the Extraordinary Form. Two much larger parishes have brave priests who offer the Latin Mass at least once a week, offering their parishioners the opportunity to attend the Extraordinary Form in addition to their regular Novus Ordo Masses. I say these priests are brave for two reasons: first of all, they haven’t had the extensive training which Latin-only outfits like FSSP, ICKSP, and SSPX seminarians go through. The Latin Mass is beautiful, but certainly difficult for a man not trained from the ground up in saying it. Secondly, our city is home to one of the more liberal bishops in America. So far, he has been tolerant of these pre-1969 Masses being said by his diocesan priests. That, of course, could change at any moment.

I’ve attended these Latin Masses, and they are growing as well. They’re both said in very large churches, so there’s still plenty of room. I’d put the attendees at a Novus Ordo parish Latin Mass at about (this is a very unscientific wag) 40% Traddie and 60% Novie. Many, many families are being exposed to the old rite. It’s good to have a significant number of Traddies in the pews there. We act as guides of a sort, I guess. If you’re a Novie Newbie and are struggling to keep up, it’s helpful to keep an eye on the people wearing mantillas and sporting those massive black missals. When they kneel, you kneel. Ain’t nothing wrong with that!

I’ve also struck up a friendship with the pastor of one of these Novus Ordo parishes. He’s a wonderful guy, orthodox in his theology and eager to bring authentic Church teachings to his people. I love encouraging and supporting him. Due to logistical imperatives (dealing with chronically ill family members), my wife and I have been attending separate Masses on Sunday in order to always have somebody at home. She’s been going to this Latin Mass at the big Novus Ordo church for a couple of years now.

Now, I’m doing likewise.

I’m still a member of my FSSP parish, and continue to support them financially. I still plan to get there at least once a month. But I think it’s time to give up my pew there to make room for that next confused and battered Catholic who stumbles through the door in search of the genuine Faith which seems to be evaporating before our eyes in far too many places.

To that Novie looking for a pew where they can experience the full beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass, I gladly say, “Take it, lad (or lass). You need it more than I do.”

Three reasons why bishops won’t excommunicate pro-death Catholic politicians

Meme shows Archbishop Becket asking why Cuomo hasn't been excommunicated. Cardinal Dolan tells Cuomo not to worry, because he's convinced everyone that excommunication "isn't a thing" anymore.

Editor’s Note:  This article was originally published in early 2019.  We’re re-publishing it now to coincide with the recently concluded annual March for Life.  

Sorry, Your Eminence.  Despite your best efforts to downplay the scandal, excommunication very much remains “a thing!!”   It is considered a harsh remedy for the salvation of a soul in desperate danger of damnation, but it is still very much a tool which a caring shepherd can use in a situation like this.

Notwithstanding our silly little meme which opens this article, why haven’t our bishops acted to excommunicate notable (and notorious) Catholic politicians who actively support infanticide and abortion?  Here are three reasons.  You might find Reason #1 hard to take, but please consider it.

Reason #1:  “It’s not ‘pastoral.'”

“Pastoral” is one of those handy post-Vatican II buzzwords that can mean pretty much just about anything the priest, bishop, or trendy theologian using the word wants it to mean.  In its most common use, “pastoral” appears to mean “we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”  If you pair this word up with the equally-potent term “mercy,” you have a powerful incantation which permits you remain inactive, even if public figures in your diocese are actively defying Church teachings, committing egregious mortal sins, and encouraging everyone around them to do likewise.

“We must show mercy.  We must be pastoral.”  That’s number one on on our hit parade.  Upon further considerations, that really isn’t a reason, so much as it’s an excuse.

Mercy is absolutely essential to our salvation, there’s no debating that point.  What is conveniently overlooked by so many of our modern theologians, prelates, and celebrity priests is the fact that mercy as a concept is meaningless if it does not remain paired with the concept of justice.  A person who sins (that’s all of us) will be subject to the Divine Justice unless they are saved by the Divine Mercy.  Mercy manifests itself through the sacrament of Reconciliation:  you acknowledge your sins in the confessional, you show true sorrow and perform penance, and you are once more under the protection of Mercy because you’re once more in a state of sanctifying Grace.

In His earthly ministry, Jesus showed true pastoral care and mercy towards His lost sheep by living among them, sharing meals with them, and calling them to repentance.  When He was dining with publicans and sinners, he wasn’t “accompanying them on their journey.”  While he was eating with them, He wasn’t affirming their present lifestyle; he was calling them out of it.  And in his preaching, Jesus made it abundantly clear what would happen to their souls if they failed to turn away from sin; if they failed to repent and follow Him.

He reminded them of the reality of hell, and of the horrifying consequences of dying in a state of mortal sin.  He offered them a way out of this eternal damnation which they had earned, if only they repented and accepted His gift of salvation through the Cross.  Now that’s being pastoral!

That’s what excommunication does:  it points out–in no uncertain terms–the state of danger a person’s soul is in as a result of mortal sin and calls that person to repentance.  And not only the person who is the object of this public call to repentance…an excommunication serves as an exhortation for all of us to repent, confess our sins, and to avoid the types of sins which have produced this grave set of circumstances for the public figure who is the object of this harsh remedy.

Bishops and cardinals:  you want to be pastoral?  Then call your people away from sin through whatever means necessary–including excommunication–in order that they may benefit from Christ’s divine Mercy!

Reason #2:  They don’t want to upset the applecart.

These bishops have a pretty good racket going.  They’re respected (well, maybe not so much these days), they’re considered pillars of the community, and they perceive themselves as being beloved of their people.  If they’re a big-city bishop, they’re probably rubbing elbows with the rich and famous.  They’re accepted by the local glitterati, and just might be considered a major celebrity in their own right.  They’re like the unpopular kid in school who suddenly finds themselves accepted by and hanging out with all the kids in the highest rung of the social ladder…jocks, cheerleaders…heck, they might even get chosen to have a big role in Homecoming!

And, equally important, there are those financial considerations.  Dioceses and archdioceses are big money operations.  Many of them receive government money to engage in social and charitable work.  These are not insignificant sums.  Initiating a God-vs.-Caesar type of conflict by excommunicating a very powerful politician could have some very serious financial implications.

And that’s unfortunate.  The role of a bishop is first and foremost to defend his sheep and do everything they can to help them get to Heaven.  When their excellencies and eminences look into the mirror each morning, they’re supposed to see shepherd willing to lay down his life for the sake of his sheep staring back at them.  Instead, too many of these men instead see the CEO of a charitable NGO (non-governmental organization) with obligations to “the bottom line”…and that vision informs all their actions.

Yes, there are certainly going to be consequences to a public excommunication.  Reason #2 means you’re more concerned with the temporal consequences than you are with the eternal ones.

Reason #3:  Moral cowardice and/or lack of supernatural faith.

Lacking the guts to do the right thing and call a Catholic politician who is endangering their own soul (and countless souls around them) to Judgement and everlasting fire…what can that be called other than cowardice?  This ties in with Reason #2 to a great extent; something as profound as a public excommunication is going to have consequences.  If the fears of earthly retaliation (social, political, economic) are strong enough, the prelate fails to act…even if he knows in his heart he is doing the wrong thing; knows in his heart that souls are in danger but he simply can’t muster the courage to do the hard thing…the right thing.

Pray for these men.  They are like the Apostles who dearly loved Jesus, but fled in terror from Gethsemane when confronted with the specter of temporal suffering which would arise from remaining at their Savior’s side.  They love their Lord, and may yet find their backbones.  Pray for them, support them, and encourage them to do the right thing.

And the other component of reason number one is a most terrifying theory:  what if these men simply don’t believe that it matters?

Has their faith been deadened to the point where they really don’t believe in the consequences of personal sin?  What if “mercy trumps all” dominates their mind to the point where they completely disregard justice?  Have they convinced themselves that there truly is “a reasonable expectation that all people go to heaven,” and–that aside from Hitler and people who throw plastics into the ocean–nobody will merit everlasting punishment?  It almost seems as if some of them are acting that way.

Pray for these men as well.

And, by all means, pray for the souls of those who promote, procure and perform abortions, as well as for those who support or assist them.  They–along with us–are being called to accept God’s eternal Mercy, but if they reject the gift of the Cross, what happens then?  “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3)

Your Excellencies and Eminences, listen to Hank Igitur in this video.  He’ll explain it to you…

 

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