Category Archives: Traditional Catholic Values and Beliefs

Did Pope Francis Wreck the Mass? No!

Three priests at altar performing New Mass. One has clown makeup.

The problems which plague the Catholic Church predate the rise of Bergoglio to the Chair of Peter by a generation at least.  Is the Latin Mass under threat?  Yes.  Is the Novus Ordo Mass beset with flaws and subject to all manner of abuse?  Yes.

Is it the fault of Pope Francis?  Nope.

Check out this very informative video by Michael J. Matt.  He lays out the problem very well…

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.

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…

 

It may not look like it, but we’re winning!

Recreational Vehicle with the words "The Traditional Roamin' Catholic"

From a vehicle storage lot in an unknown location, Henry (you can call him Hank) Igitur kicks off a new video series for CatholicCyber-Militia.com.

In his inaugural video, Hank gives a shout-out to the “scores” of subscribers (he’s an optimist, that Hank) and shares an article from Michael Matt.  What he doesn’t share is what may (or may not) be lurking in the contents of his coffee cup!

Like it?  Hate it?  Confused and/or bored by it?  Let us know what you think of this new feature!

The Sea Battle That Saved the West (Oh, yeah, and it was Catholics who fought it!)

The Battle of Lepanto (7 October 1571) was a naval engagement in the waters off southwestern Greece between the allied Christian forces of the Holy League and the Ottoman Turks during an Ottoman campaign to conquer the Venetian island of Cyprus.  The battle marked the first significant victory for a Christian naval force over a Turkish fleet and the climax of the age of galley warfare in the Mediterranean.

The above summary can be found at  Britannica.com .    What this secular article won’t tell you is that this victory was won (against pretty daunting odds) through prayer and the intercession of Our Lady.

Pope Pius V, a Dominican prelate before his elevation, did what Catholics have always done in times of acute danger: fly into the arms of the most powerful Mother of God. As a follower of Saint Dominic, he knew the most effective means of imploring her help was through the recitation of the Holy Rosary. He ordered all monasteries and convents in Rome to increase their prayers for the impending battle and organized rosary processions in which he, as sick as he was, participated.

As the Christian fleet sailed toward the great clash of cultures, Mass was celebrated and the rosary recited daily on each vessel. This heartfelt request for divine assistance resulted in a crushing defeat of the Ottomans at Lepanto that ended their dominance in the Mediterranean.  (Source:  TFP Student Action )

The battle of Lepanto is not well-known in the English speaking world, owing in no small part to the effects of the Black Legend.  Lepanto was fought during the reign of that anti-Catholic monster, bloody Queen Elizabeth I of England.  A victory by a Catholic fleet was not going to get much positive press in Elizabethan England!

A few centuries later, however, it was an Englishman who helped to set the record straight.  On the eve of World War I, G.K. Chesterton wrote what some consider to be the best English language poem of the 20th Century.  If you haven’t read or listened to his epic Lepanto, you really ought to!

Brandon Vought says the following of Lepanto:

The great G.K. Chesterton wrote a poem about these events, appropriately titled “Lepanto”, which I’ve enjoyed several times. I must say, after devouring all of Chesterton’s novels, poetry, short stories, and the majority of his essays, I think “Lepanto” is my favorite piece of his writing. I’m not alone. Hilaire Belloc, Chesterton’s good friend, considered “Lepanto” not only Chesterton’s greatest poem, but the greatest poem of their generation, staggering praise from the usually reserved historian.  (Source: https://brandonvogt.com/why-you-should-read-g-k-chestertons-lepanto-today/ )

The YouTube video below is a dramatic reading by Tom O’Bedlam of Chesterton’s Lepanto.  With all the nonsense our kids learn in so-called “Catholic” schools these days, if only a brief block of time could be set aside to teach them this piece of literature, how it would strengthen their faith!

G. K. Chesterton on the re-emergence of paganism in the West

Cover of the book "Heretics" by G. K. Chesterton. The cover shows a gargoyle from the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Great quote from the amazing G. K. Chesterton in his book Heretics

My objection to . . . the reassertors of the pagan ideal is, then, this. I accuse them of ignoring definite human discoveries in the moral world, discoveries as definite, though not as material, as the discovery of the circulation of the blood. We cannot go back to an ideal of reason and sanity. For mankind has discovered that reason does not lead to Chesterton Heretics Book Coversanity. We cannot go back to an ideal of pride and enjoyment. For mankind has discovered that pride does not lead to enjoyment. . . . If they like, let them ignore these great historic mysteries—the mystery of charity, the mystery of faith. . . . But if we do pursue, as a society, the pagan ideal of a simple and rational self-completion we shall end where Paganism ended. I do not mean that we shall end in destruction. I mean that we shall end in Christianity.

Liturgical Gimmickry

Balloon masses.

Clown masses.

Hootenanny/Rock Band/Jazz Band masses.

Liturgical dancing.

Not exactly the same image as the description of King David dancing before the Ark of the Covenant, is it?

And, unfortunately, guess who was presiding at the Mass?

Hey!  Liturgical “Innovators!”  Know what might be fun?  How ’bout doing a Mass where it is a supernatural event wherein God Himself is made present (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity) among us?  And everyone actually behaves as if that’s really happening?  Wouldn’t that be a novelty?  Whadd’ya think?

Tango Mass2

Yeah, but still…

Two pictures. The left is of a priest at a traditional Latin Mass facing the altar and elevating the Chalice. The picture on the right is of a Novus Ordo Mass with the priest facing forward while four young women perform a liturgical dance.

Traditional vs Novus Ordo MassDuring the recent spate of dangerously high winds and unpredictable wild fires that threatened southern California, I wanted to stick close to home in case things got dicey.  So instead of going to my regular Latin Mass parish (which is about an hour’s drive from my rural home), I attended some masses at Catholic Church in our nearby small town.  One of them was reasonably decent, with some good traditional singing (they did the Gloria in Latin, which was a very pleasant surprise!) and a dignified rendition of their Novus Ordo liturgy.  That was on December 8th, and I thought to myself, “Well, that wasn’t too bad!  It certainly wasn’t a Traditional Mass of the Extraordinary Rite, but it was done with reverence.  Yeah, not too bad.”  When I wen t to the same parish for the regular Sunday Mass a few days later, I got clobbered by some full-on “Church of Nice” kind of stuff:  Whacky songs, applause, a platoon-sized contingent of Eucharistic Ministers, and an altar woman (she was far too old to be termed an “altar girl,” which is disturbing enough in its own right; but this alter server had a braid of partially greying hair traversing half way down her back.  It was just plain weird!).  At communion, I knelt to receive the Blessed Sacrament on my tongue, and it became embarrassingly evident that I had chosen the wrong line.  Eucharistic Minister Number Three of Five had no idea how to administer the Sacrament in the time-honored manner, and we came very close to having a Eucharistic fumble.

Following communion but before the concluding rite, therewas the inevitable parade of lay people to the pulpit, each with a vital announcement to make, each little speech being met with enthusiastic applause.  Sufficiently brutalized, I sought refuge in the side room reserved for the Blessed Sacrament (no tabernacle on or anywhere near the alter in this church, of course, built in the 90’s according to whatever liturgical-architectural whims were prevalent at the time).  My intent was to say a Divine Mercy chaplet there, with a little peace and quiet.  The tabernacle in this room was of heavy industrial design, looking as if it was meant to contain dangerous radioactive waste rather than the Real Presence.  As Mass concluded with a rousing “going forth” ditty, the inside of the church erupted into a cacophony of happy voices as the parishioners greeted each other heartily at the top of their lungs and caught up on important personal goings-on of a significance far too important for them to wait until they had entered the lobby area.

Was the Mass I attended valid?  Yep.  Definitely.  Was it, in my personal opinion, done in poor taste with less reverence than should be shown by faithful Catholics?  Yes.  Can they do better?  Yes, they can!  I’d seen them do a better job just a couple of days earlier.

May God bless those good people.  I wish them well.  And it makes me all the more grateful each and every time I step into my own parish church!

IMPORTANT CAVEAT:  The picture accompanying this article (the one with the liturgical chorus line) was NOT taken at the parish I visited.  It wasn’t that whacky..!