Tag Archives: Church Crisis

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.

 

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

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.”

Setting the Record Straight on What Catholics REALLY Believe!

Confused about some of the perplexing pronouncements being issued from press conferences in aircraft or even papal documents?  You’re not alone!

There has been quite a bit of “churn” over the past few years, and the tempo seems to be increasing daily.  What has the Catholic Church always taught about things like divorce, homosexuality, the legitimacy of other religions, or even the death penalty?  If you’re attempting to follow the news coming from Rome (whether through official press releases, established news organizations, or the blogosphere), it’s small wonder if you reach the troubling conclusion that doctrine is “up for grabs” and subject to modernization.

Well, it isn’t.  If you want some reassurance on that point, read on.

It’s only eight pages, but if the last few years have left you feeling confused or uncertain about the true teachings of the Church, you owe it to yourself to read   Declaration of the Truths Relating to Some of the Most Common Errors in the Life of the Church of Our Time.”

Read New ‘Declaration of Truths’ Affirms Key Church Teachings in the National Catholic Register.

If you want to purchase a hard copy (might make a dandy Christmas or birthday gift), you can pick it up for just a few bucks at MarianCatechist.com.

Resisting the Pope: Is it time?

Wow.

I thought we had hit rock bottom in 2018, but boy, was I wrong.  2019 has been one whopper of a year when it comes to inexplicable and hurtful actions by our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

With a sad smile to my sedevacantist friends, yes I still do call him my Holy Father.  Abusive as my spiritual father may be, I still need to pray for him.  It’s difficult to simply pray for “the intentions of the Holy Father,” because I frankly mistrust his intentions.  What I do pray for is his conversion.  For his return to orthodoxy.  For God to mold him into the man He truly intends for him to be.

And, in the meantime, I will–to whatever extent I am able, pathetic though it might be–resist the Holy Father when he’s wrong.

It’s difficult for me to put into words the pain and sense of betrayal I feel when I consider how Pope Francis has led our Catholic Church.  Perhaps you feel the same way.  May I recommend the Open Letter to Pope Francis penned by Michael Matt of The Remnant newspaper.

You can read the letter at the link above, or you can hear it in this moving video:

What the..? Can ANYONE explain this to me with a positive spin?!

Can ANYONE explain this to me?  On the eve of the Amazon Synod, this happens…
———————
Pope Francis received James Martin, S.J., in a 30-minute private audience in the papal library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace this morning, Sept. 30, in what is seen here as a highly significant public statement of support and encouragement for this U.S. Jesuit.

Father Martin is well known as a public speaker, author and for his pastoral
ministry to L.G.B.T. people.

Full Article can be found in the magazine America published by (of course) the Jesuits. Seriously, readers: somebody explain to me how this is a good thing for our Catholic Faith?

Can Somebody Tell Me What’s Happening Here?

Just listened to the Holy Father’s announcement about a big global conference in 2020:

Pope Francis has announced he is hosting an initiative for a “Global Pact” to create a “new humanism.” The global event, set to take place at the Vatican on May 14, 2020, is themed Reinventing the Global Educational Alliance. 

The Pope is inviting representatives of the main religions, international organizations and various humanitarian institutions, as well as key figures from the world of politics, economics and academia, and prominent athletes, scientists and sociologists to sign a “Global Pact on Education” so as to “hand on to younger generations a united and fraternal common home.” Pope Francis is calling for the creation of an “educational village,” in which “all people, according to their respective roles, share the task of forming a network of open, human relationships.”

Here’s my question for anyone who cares to comment: If you didn’t know who was saying these words, would your first assumption be that the speaker was:

  1.  George Sorros;
  2.  The Secretary General of the United Nations; or
  3.  The Vicar of Christ?

I’d love to hear your comments!

The source for the above excerpts is, of course, the one and only LifeSite News.  Well-done to you, as always, Mr. Westen!  You can read the entire article by Diane Montagna (one of the best writers they have!) here: Pope Francis invites religious, political leaders to sign ‘Global Pact’ for ‘new humanism’

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-francis-global-education-pact

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