31 July 2018

Cardinal Omalley Passes the Buck

More blatant arse covering by one of 'Uncle Ted's' enablers.

From Church Militant

After The New York Times reported that Boston's Cdl. Sean O'Malley had been contacted as early as 2015 about former Cdl. Theodore McCarrick's sexual assault of seminarians, O'Malley issued a public statement denying knowledge.
"Recent media reports also have referenced a letter sent to me from Rev. Boniface Ramsey, O.P. in June of 2015, which I did not personally receive," O'Malley stated. "In keeping with the practice for matters concerning the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, at the staff level the letter was reviewed and determined that the matters presented did not fall under the purview of the Commission or the Archdiocese of Boston, which was shared with Fr. Ramsey in reply."
This is a squalid and shameless exercise in bureaucratic buck passing, shrouded in evasive legalisms and the Clintonian manipulation of language.Tweet
C.J. Doyle, head of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, had strong words for O'Malley.
"This is a squalid and shameless exercise in bureaucratic buck passing, shrouded in evasive legalisms and the Clintonian manipulation of language," he told Church Militant. "The Cardinal omits mentioning if he was told by Kickham [his secretary, driver and closest aide] of the contents of the letter."
Doyle continued:
We are supposed to believe that when a cardinal who is one of the Pope's closest advisers receive a letter exposing both depraved immorality and the abuse of power and office by another member of the Sacred College, his secretary does not inform him and argues jurisdictional issues to do nothing. Pontius Pilate was more candid than this.
Rod Dreher, writing in the American Conservative, called O'Malley's response "world-class buck-passing," saying, "The fact that his response is to issue a lawyerly denial, and a press release promising that this time, he's going to get serious — it's scarcely credible."
And in a series of tweets, Catholic author Michael Brendan Dougherty wondered just how O'Malley knew.
He also challenged the cardinal to speak less like a bureaucrat and more like a shepherd.
Doyle recommends starting over from the ground up.
"I believe the reform of the hierarchy may require a Napoleonic solution," he said. "The First Consul insisted that the entire French hierarchy resign as a condition of effecting the Concordat restoring Catholicism in France. They should all go."
"Any organization may be afflicted by egregious incidents of personal misconduct," he said. "When that organization is incapable of policing itself, when it is unable or unwilling to punish offenders, when it refuses to expel miscreants, and when it lacks the will to reform its corporate culture, then the institution is itself corrupt. Such is the case with American Catholicism today."
Watch the panel discuss institutional corruption in The Download—Complicit Cardinals.

The Moment Before the Storm

My suggestion? Not one more penny to this den of vipers, this coven of false shepherds! Contribute only to your Parish in such a way the Diocese can't get their hands on a penny, contribute to orthodox and Traditional Orders, Institutes and charities. Check Regina Magazine for their suggestions for 'Safe Spaces for Catholic Money'.

And, literally! For Christ's sake, whatever you do, not one penny to Peter's Pence! Starve the Head and the vile, evil, corrupt Members will die!

Fight back! the Venerable Archbishop Sheen said it was up to the laity to save the Church. Man up, Rosaries in hand and RESIST!

From One Peter Five

I’ve been sitting at my desk for the better part of three hours, skimming through news and social media, trying to get a sense of things this week.
It’s not entirely clear to me what I should say. In my entire lifetime as a Catholic, I don’t think I’ve ever seen or felt anything like this. There is a groundswell building in the Catholic world, like the beginning of a scream that starts deep in the gut and begins forcing its way upward. It is a feeling of countless voices beginning to rise in pure, unmitigated outrage.
This afternoon, I spoke to someone who has been in Catholic media far, far longer than I have. He echoed this sentiment, saying that he, too, had never seen anything like it.
I am searching my mind for an analogy that fits, and what comes to mind is the kind of thunderstorm one gets on a late summer afternoon, where the bright sun begins to give way to thick, dark, roiling clouds that nearly turn the day into night. The kind of sky that tells you on an instinctive, primal level that you’d best get indoors. The lightning hasn’t broken loose, but the early deep-throated growls of thunder can be heard from afar. The hail and drenching downpour haven’t begun pelting everything in sight, but the air is electric with their promise. What will become tree-bending gusts of winds are for the moment only hinted at, the tips of branches rustling gently, leaves turned up to show pale undersides.
We are in the moment before the storm.
More accusations against McCarrick — and others — are beginning to come forth like the first fat droplets of rain. In a new story I read this afternoon about the accuser going only by his first name, James — the boy who claims he was molested by a young Fr. McCarrick when the child was only 11 — there was a heartbreaking passage:
It was the start of an abusive relationship that lasted well into James’s adulthood, said James, whose story was first reported by the New York Times. He said it drove him to alcoholism as a teen. He is now long sober but said the abuse has haunted him since.
“What he did to me was he ruined my entire life. I couldn’t break the hold. I couldn’t live up to my ability — to stay employed, married, have children. I lost all those opportunities because of him,” James said. Breaking into tears, he said, “I try to be a really good kid every day.”
Imagine it: a 60-year-old man still thinking of himself in terms of trying to be “a good kid” because the abuse he began suffering at age 11 never allowed him to escape that moment in time. My heart aches for that child.
You know who it doesn’t ache for? The papal henchmen:
Vatican representatives Greg Burke and Paloma García Ovejero did not respond to several requests for comment.
I wonder what it feels like to sell your soul. It can’t be pleasant.
Meanwhile, the Honduran Bishops, rather than addressing the concerns of nearly 50 of their seminarians alleging serious problems with homosexual activity in the major seminary at Tegucigalpa, have chosen to attack them – even in the immediate wake of the resignationof the sexually abusive auxiliary bishop of that diocese, Juan José Pineda Fasquelle, CMF. According to a report from CNA, the Honduran bishops issued a statement yesterday attacking those who came forward, saying that “it is evident that there are weeds and evil, especially, in making ‘anonymous’ reports;’ in airing them, mixing in facts, suspicions and interpretations; while ignoring the monitoring given to the challenges that arise.
And further, they asked everyone to “increase your prayers for our Major Seminary and avoid any kind of speculation which fails to respect the dignity of bishops, seminarians, the formators, and that of all of us who with limitations and failings seek to carry out the Lord’s work.”
It has the fingerprints of the villain, Cardinal Maradiaga, all over it.
And considering his pull in Rome, perhaps it should be unsurprising that even the Spanish section of Vatican News got in on this, joining the Honduran bishops in accusing “American media” of publishing “a series of news attacking the Honduran church, and the cardinal” and spreading “infamies against the Major Seminary in Honduras”. It sells the line given by the Honduran bishops, which asserts, “With complete certainty and truth, we affirm there does not exist, nor has there existed, nor ought there exist in the seminary an atmosphere as presented by the aforementioned National Catholic Register report, in which the impression is given that [the seminary] institutionally promotes and sustains practices contrary to morality and the norms of the Church, viewed with complacency by the bishops”.
Clericalism. Clericalism again and again. Not the good kind of clericalism, that constitutes a reverence for the sacramental priesthood and its sacred functions, but the kind that makes moral monsters feel superior and untouchable because they have been ordained. The kind of clericalism that buries abuse and misconduct.
Meanwhile, the Farrells and Wuerls and Tobins of the Church continue to deny everything they almost certainly knew about McCarrick. In an interview with the Catholic Standard — the archdiocesan paper for Washington, DC — Wuerl also says:
There is understandable anger, both on a personal level due to the charges, but also more broadly at the Church. Our faithful have lived through such scandals before, and they are demanding accountability. I believe the actions taken by Pope Francis clearly reflect an understanding that we must move swiftly to address claims of any form of abuse or serious breach of trust by ministers of the Church, no matter who they may be or what position they may hold. Acknowledging such grave breaches of trust and seeking forgiveness open the doors for healing.
Understandable anger? No, Your Eminence. You don’t understand the anger. You don’t know what’s going through the mind of every Catholic mother and father who have to consider leaving their child alone with a priest, not knowing if he’s part of the “network.” Altar boy practice? Summer camps? The confessional? Are they ever safe?
And what about the priests who have nothing to do with this? How angry do you think they have a right to be for being associated with this and under suspicion because the bishops either refused to rein in the perversity in their dioceses or were actively involved in it? How many of them have spent their priesthoods dodging unwanted advances from fellow priests and wary glances from parishioners at the same time? How many have faced retributive action from active homosexuals higher up the ecclesiastical food chain because they won’t play along? Maybe they’re past anger. Maybe they’re just despondent. Maybe a number of them have even sought solace in other things that do not build up their priesthood or the Body of Christ because they are completely isolated and powerless and ready to give up hope.
And lets not pretend the “actions taken by Pope Francis clearly reflect” anything except that he continues to be willing to protect his own. We’ve covered the cronyism on this here before. We’ve been doing it for years. I won’t repeat it now.
The doors aren’t going to open for healing, Your Eminence, until the entire Church has been gutted and the infestation cleansed with fire.
And this is all before the interim grand jury report drops next monthfrom the Pennsylvania Supreme Court –  a report that will reveal information regarding findings about sex abuse in six out of eight Catholic dioceses in the state.
A report that is supposed to identify THREE HUNDRED “predator priests” – although some are fighting to have their names redacted. The Pennsylvania Attorney General is asking Pope Francis to help the truth come to light.
Does anyone really think he will? Do we think the “healing” can start while the wounds are still being inflicted? This has only just begun.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather see churches torn down stone by stone and be forced to worship in someone’s basement than to allow a single one of these predators another moment of cover.
The storm is almost here, and its ferocity will be a marvel to behold.

Confession Should be Outlawed, Says Chair of Indian Women’s Commission

Vile BJP Hindu 'nationalism! India's Federal Government is led by PM Narendra Modi's violently anti-Christian Bharatiya Janata Party. Modi is also a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a paramilitary group involved in anti-Christian riots and other religious violence.

It seems this is just a less violent way to attempt to destroy the Church on the part of Modi and the BJP.

From the Catholic Herald

Under canon law, priests may never divulge details of a confession,
even under threat of death (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

The Indian Church has condemned the idea as 'absurd' and 'ignorant'
India’s Catholic Church has led a chorus of protest over a demand to ban Confession from the chairwoman of the National Commission for Women.

“This demand is absurd and it displays ignorance about the sacrament of confession,” Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, President of Catholic Bishops Conference of India, told Catholic News Service.

“The tenor of the demand shows they do not understand the meaning nor do they have respect for religious freedom,” the cardinal said following wide media coverage of the demand from Rekha Sharma, commission chairwoman.

Sharma said that “priests pressure women into telling their secrets,” noting that the commission had heard testimony about one such case. “There must be many more such cases and what we have right now is just a tip of the iceberg,” she said in calling for the end of the Church practice of confessing sins.

The call came after five Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church priests in Kerala state were suspended from ministry, including at least two who had sex with a married woman.

The scandal erupted when an audio clip of a telephone conversation, purportedly between the woman’s husband and a Church official, went viral on social media in June, ucanews.com reported.

It was alleged a priest had sex with the woman after threatening to break the Seal of Confession to reveal to her husband that she had confessed to having a relationship with a priest in her parish before she was married. The priest hearing the confession allegedly video recorded having sex with the woman and passed the information and video to another priest, who also used it have sex with the woman.

The woman’s husband said he learned of the incident after he found a bill for a five-star hotel in his wife’s name and she admitted what had occurred.

The commission’s demand “betrays a total lack of understanding of the nature, meaning, sanctity and importance of this sacrament for our people; and also an ignorance of the strict laws of the Church to prevent any abuse,” Cardinal Gracias said.

“Such a ban will be a direct infringement on our freedom of religion guaranteed by the Indian Constitution… I am confident the government will totally ignore this absurd demand from the commission,” Cardinal Gracias said.

The cardinal urged the commission “to pay attention to empowerment of women, their capacity building, prevention of domestic violence, organizing rescue systems, and so on, instead of dabbling in religious matters about which it understands nothing.”

The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council branded the commission’s call “unconstitutional.”

“It is an attack on the Christian faith and spiritual practice,” the council said. “We strongly feel that the recommendation is unwarranted… We suspect communal and political motives behind this unconstitutional interference into the internal spiritual affairs of the church.”

Cardinal Gracias told CNS that there seemed to be a “contrived attempt” by Sharma to discredit the Church by making such a “shocking demand.”

Alphonse Kannanthanam, a Catholic politician hailing from Kerala and the only Christian minister in Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s cabinet, denounced Sharma’s call as well. 

Draft Only: Plenary Council Submission

This looks like a blueprint for the destruction of the Church in Australia! Granted, it's only a 'draft', but if this is the draft, I think we can make a pretty good guess at what the final decree will look like.

The very first point, 'Focus on what was encapsulated in Vatican II' is a recipe for disaster. 'What was encapsulated in Vatican II' has led to the collapse of Mass attendance, conversions, vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life, and many other problems.

Point three, 'Reinvigoration of parish life so that the parish is an inviting place for everyone, reflecting God’s love'? I know how to do that. Introduce Tradition! The most vibrant, family centred Parishes I've ever attended have either been Latin Mass Parishes, or solidly orthodox NO Parishes.

Point ten is almost funny! 'Greater focus on youth.'? Been there, tried that, and drove the youth out of the Church. Yeah, sure! Like the 'Teen Masses' I used to attend at St Peter's Cathedral when I was in my 50s. A bunch of 'kewl' musicians in their 60s playing 'hip' songs and so few 'youth' that I was often asked to help with the collection.

The rest are a mishmash of attacks on the Priesthood, embracing the 'Watermelon' (Green on the Outside, Red on the inside) communist ideas in Francis' Laudato si, calling for more 'lay participation', including that all important 'participation by women' in the life of the Church.

However, the final point is worth re-reading,
The Plenary Council itself needs urgent consideration so that its purpose is properly articulated, its membership is understood and the role of the laity is properly explained. There is a sense in which people believe that the laity will not really be involved in meaningful decision making in the Plenary Council and will have merely a focus group role. The whole process is too long because many issues need urgent attention now. A woman should be appointed co-chair of the Plenary Council or, if this is not possible under Canon Law, a woman should be appointed deputy chair.
The last time I checked a Plenary Council, also called a National Council, was a gathering of a nation's Bishops to address problems in the Church under their care. Laypeople have no role in such a Council. But, as we've seen, since their aim is to destroy the Church in Australia, they want the lay modernists, heretics, and anti-clerical left-wingers to lend a hand!

(BTW, don't bother clicking on the link to the original article. The Archdiocese deleted the page within days of posting it, because actual CATHOLICS were commenting on it. Can't have that, now, can we?)

From the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn

Note: The following text is only a DRAFT. If you have any comments, please email plenary@cg.org.au

Plenary Council Draft Submission of Those Who Attended Listening and Dialogue Sessions Conducted by Central Deanery of Archdiocese in June 2018

The four listening and dialogue sessions conducted by the Central Deanery of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn on 19 and 21 June 2018 were attended by nearly 300 people.
The sessions started with those present considering the question “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”
While all of those present responded differently, or with different emphases, to that question, the response in general terms may be summarised as “God is asking us to explore ways to reinvigorate in the Australian Church the sharing of the Gospel message”.
In the discussions, particular matters which individuals considered the Plenary Council should consider are set out in the attachment to this submission. Some of those matters had a greater level of support than others.
[Plenary Council submission template limits the response to 500 words but permits extra material to be set out in an attachment. The below text is the proposed attachment.]

Matters the Plenary Council Should Consider

  1. Focus on what was encapsulated in Vatican II, ie, the dignity, vocation, role and responsibility of laity, and work towards being a true synodal church, with unity in diversity and structures to reflect a synodal church. Forming and empowering parish and diocesan pastoral councils should be part of this. Canon 514 (which heavily emphasises the bishop’s role in diocesan pastoral councils) should be reviewed.
  1. Focus on developing a more inclusive church. God’s love is inclusive. The church has spent too much time excluding rather than including, eg, women, LGBT people, the divorced, people of other religions. Except in remote dioceses, the church fails to engage with indigenous people. Many people who have drifted away from the church feel intimidated to return by past traditions of the church.
  2. The church taking deliberate steps to be more visible in the community and the media, not afraid to be providing answers to the big questions about life and death and spreading the Christian messages of salvation, forgiveness and compassion.
  3. Reinvigoration of parish life so that the parish is an inviting place for everyone, reflecting God’s love: children, young families, the elderly, across ethnic, gender and economic lines. With the move to larger parishes, smaller communities within parishes need to be promoted, as in the early church, communities of faith which can reach out to the wider community. People yearn to belong to caring communities. Home masses and community prayer should be encouraged. Family groups should be reintroduced.
  4. Whether the top-down structure of the church is right for today and whether more authority should be delegated (principle of subsidiarity). There should be greater emphasis on the role of priest as pastor, with administration to be carried more prominently by the laity. Each diocese should be required to have a Human Relations plan, based on the sacraments and pastoral care services.
  5. Re-introduction of the third rite of reconciliation.
  6. Taking steps to change the culture of clericalism in the church. The clergy must be required to undertake ongoing training.
  7. Instituting greater openness in the process for appointment of bishops.
  8. Taking steps to ensure that women are involved in key decision making roles in the church. Women deacons and women chaplains should be considered.
  9. The ordination of married priests.
  10. Greater focus on youth. Providing regular platforms for participation of youth in the church. The liturgy, including its language and music, should be reinvigorated to make it more welcoming for youth. There should be more talking with youth, not talking at them. In giving their homilies, priests need to be able to talk with children. Mechanisms should be explored to ensure the church is accessible to youth on line, in schools, at sporting events. The church needs to make more use of digital technology, promote peer to peer youth ministry and promote youth retreats and conferences so the young can meet God in their hearts. Church groups, eg, St Vincent de Paul Society, need to be made more welcoming to youth participation.
  11. Supporting authentic, faith-filled teachers in schools. There needs to be greater emphasis in schools on teaching the tenets and framework of the faith.
  12. A more active social justice stance from the church, more dialogue from the pulpit, more promotion of involvement by the laity in social justice matters. Church leaders should embrace and promote “Laudate Si” (sic), recognising its emphasis on the need to combat climate change as a fundamental social justice issue.
  13. Ecumenism needs to be reinvigorated. Leaders of other Christian churches should be invited to provide advice to the Plenary Council, especially on matters of church governance. There should be an ecumenism commission in every diocese charged with responsibility for embracing dialogue with people of other faiths.
  14. Using the recommendations of the Royal Commission as a learning and teaching mechanism to show leadership to the world. All recommendations of the Commission relevant to the Catholic Church need to be responded to. Each parish should be asked to consider making an apology to victims of abuse and their families, with a symbol of contrition, eg, memorial plaque, planting a tree. Bishops must not delay any longer the release of the TJHC report.
  15. The Plenary Council itself needs urgent consideration so that its purpose is properly articulated, its membership is understood and the role of the laity is properly explained. There is a sense in which people believe that the laity will not really be involved in meaningful decision making in the Plenary Council and will have merely a focus group role. The whole process is too long because many issues need urgent attention now. A woman should be appointed co-chair of the Plenary Council or, if this is not possible under Canon Law, a woman should be appointed deputy chair.

Vatican Secretary of State Praises Modernist Cardinal Bernardin

One of Francis' chief toadies praises a man who was a disaster for the Church.

Bernardin was a disaster for the Church in Chicago, presiding over the loss of 25% of the Priests in the Archdiocese. He was a disaster for the Church in the US, presiding over the 'Bernardin Machine', controlling the USCCB and Episcopal appointments in Church in America. And, he was a disaster for the Church Universal, devising the heresy of the 'Seamless Garment of Life', which has led to a devaluing of the Magisterium in general and confusion in the anti-abortion movement in particular.

From Gloria.tv

During his holiday stay in Trento region, Italy, Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin extolled at the end of Sunday mass in Tonadico, the late Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin (+1996) whose parents emigrated from this village.

Parolin called Bernardin who was the leading modernist in the U.S "the great Joseph Bernardin" according to LaVoceDelNordest.eu (30 July). He went on claiming that Bernardin was a "great shepherd but then, above all, he suffered so much."

Bernardin was a hero of the anti-Church media. During Bernardin’s reign (1982-1996), Chicago Archdiocese lost almost 25% of its clergy.

In Bernardin's final weeks, President Bill Clinton awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His funeral mass was presided by his good friend, radical Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Bernardin was accounted for setting up the «Bernardin Machine» which controlled the U.S. Bishops’ Conference and almost all episcopal appointements.

The Bernardin ideology consists in not defending or preaching any Church teaching deemed "controversial" [by the oligarch media] and by using disciplinary measures almost exclusively in order to persecute faithful Catholic priests.

Chevalier Charles Coulombe on Federal Reserve & Immoral Inflation?

Who owns the Federal Reserve Bank is one of my favourite trick questions to ask Americans. 90+% of people will answer immediately, 'The Government', to which I respond, gleefully, 'Wrong-O!'

As the Chevalier points out, it is a private corporation. Don't believe it? Find the phone book from any of the cities that have a Federal Reserve Bank. Turn to the 'Blue Pages' with government listings. You will search in vain for the Fed. Then turn to the regular Yellow Pages, where you will find it after Federal Express, and before Federal Signal Corporation, two other private corporations.

Why Liturgy Really is the Key to Everything

Mr Skojec says,
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not a meal. It is a holocaustThe priest does not set the table for a supper. He places the Victim, butchered and bloodied, upon the altar of sacrifice, because by His death He conquered death — the eternal death of sin — and by His rising He restored us to eternal life.
I could not agree more, which is why in discussions of the non-existent 'vocations crisis' I point out that there is no lack of vocations to the Sacrificing Priesthood. There are many men, as the overflowing Traditional and orthodox Diocesan seminaries prove, who are willing to forego marriage and a family to stand at the Altar of God and offer the Sacrifice of the Son to the Father.

There are not many men who are willing to forego marriage and a family to be celibate social workers and presiders over the 'community meal'!

This is the essay Mr Skojec references in his Why Do People Have A Problem With the Novus Ordo?

From One Peter Five

There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, He would have given it to us.
– Saint Jean-Marie Vianney
The first time I walked through the doors of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, I was overcome. This greatest treasure of Christian architecture impressed upon me an incredible and awe-inspiring feeling of smallness. As I passed from the sunny piazza outside into the cavernous interior of this church of churches, I was swallowed up. Here, in this majestic testament in stone and marble, gilt and gold, to the overwhelming glory of God, my insignificance became clear.
No religion in the history of the world has ever inspired such temples; no pagan deity could claim the outpouring of human innovation, craftsmanship, and achievement that has been made manifest in the service of honoring the True God. The quantity and quality of architecture, artistry, music, poetry, and theological exposition that have been brought forth into the world by twenty centuries of Catholicism stagger the mind. There is no greater source of inspiration than He who gives us everything – our lives, our talents, our joys, our eternity. In honoring Him through the finest works of our own capacity for creation, we are merely returning all we are and have to Him from whom it was received. “Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration” (Jas. 1:17).
It is only fitting, therefore, that God commands us to worship Him. We are created to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this world in order that we may be happy with Him forever in Heaven. But do we believe that to fulfill these precepts on our own terms is sufficient? Is God not exacting in what He obliges from us? Is He not a jealous God, in the appropriate sense of the term – expecting that which is His due, which is to say no less than our very best?
It has always been so. Most people know the biblical story of Cain, who murdered his brother Abel, but not many could tell you what drove Cain into a killing rage. It was envy – envy that arose because Abel’s worship was more pleasing to God than Cain’s own.
Abel was a shepherd, and Cain a husbandman. And it came to pass after many days, that Cain offered, of the fruits of the earth, gifts to the Lord. Abel also offered of the firstlings of his flock, and of their fat: and the Lord had respect to Abel, and to his offerings. But to Cain and his offerings he had no respect: and Cain was exceedingly angry, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said to him: Why art thou angry? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou do well, shalt thou not receive? but if ill, shall not sin forthwith be present at the door? but the lust thereof shall be under thee, and thou shalt have dominion over it.  And Cain said to Abel his brother: Let us go forth abroad. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and slew him. – Genesis 4:2-8
“Why art thou angry?” asked the Lord. “why is thy countenance fallen? If thou do well, shalt thou not receive?” When Abel sacrificed to God, he brought forth his very best. He sacrificed his firstlings, giving to God not just the best of the flock, but their fat, which is to say the most highly prized portion of their substance. He wasn’t holding anything back; he wasn’t keeping the parts he really wanted for himself. It was an outpouring, an emptying of self, his supplication before God pleasing in its totality.
We don’t know what Cain offered – only that he gave of some “fruits of the earth.” We know, too, by God’s words to Cain, that his sacrifice could have been pleasing if he had been generous. It is clear, therefore, that not all sacrifices offered to God are seen by Him as equal.There is a distinction between worship that is pleasing to Him and worship for which “He has no respect.”
It is not selfish of God to demand our best. Not only has He given us every good thing, and not only does He hold us in existence every moment we draw breath, but He “so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting” (Jn. 3:16). Whereas God sent the angel to stay Abraham’s hand (and spare the life of Isaac), He allowed every cruel torture that was perpetrated against His own divine and perfectly innocent Son until Christ’s ignominious death on the Cross. This chalice of suffering, as Christ Himself put it, was drunk “to the dregs.” There truly is nothing more precious to us than the Eucharist, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ crucified. God loves us so much that He gave us this unspeakably selfless gift to accomplish our redemption. There is nothing more great, for if there were, it too would be ours, such is His love for us.
But do we treat this gift as the greatest gift there is? Do we honor the Eucharist as the most precious thing in the universe? Do we recognize that this gift of God’s Self demands one of our own in return?
Every liturgy places us into this cycle of self-gift anew. God gives us the best He has, and He asks for the best we have in return. But we truly have nothing to give that can compare to what we have been given. So in the absence of a sufficient gift, God gives us Himself to give back to Him. He even takes our place as the offeror – by becoming both priest and victim. Every priest who stands at every altar is subsumed by Christ; it is Christ Who consecrates the Most Holy Sacrament of His own Body and Blood, Christ Who offers and is offered to the Father on behalf of us poor sinners.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not a meal. It is a holocaustThe priest does not set the table for a supper. He places the Victim, butchered and bloodied, upon the altar of sacrifice, because by His death He conquered death — the eternal death of sin — and by His rising He restored us to eternal life. The Mass is not, truly understood, celebrated; it is offered to Him whose Divine wrath must be appeased for all of our great and many sins. The Victim is not only perfect, but beloved, and as God looks upon Him, and us who receive Him, He pours out His mercy upon us as Christ poured out His blood.
When we go to Mass, it is the most intimate experience of God we will ever encounter in this life. We come to the altar to participate in a mutual outpouring of self. He gives His all to us, and though this is infinitely more than we can return, we nonetheless give our all to Him. Whereas a husband and wife cling to each other to become one flesh in the imperfect union of the marital embrace, God allows us to consume Him so that He may literally, physically, become one with our bodies and our souls and, in so doing, may consume us. It is a breathtaking experience.
Once we begin to truly understand the nature of the Mass and our purpose there, it becomes possible for us to recognize how important it is that it be conducted in a fitting manner. Though the Mass can be said to have been made for man, it was made so that he might have a fitting means by which to honor Our Lord. The object of our worship is God, not ourselves. This is why any Mass where man becomes the center of attention or the principle focus is a dangerous inversion.
Some argue that the shape of the liturgy does not matter as long as Christ is present. It is true that whenever Christ is made present, the sacrifice being offered is perfect, but that does not mean ourworship or understanding of the sacrifice is. Christ’s Eucharistic presence is accomplished through divine action. It is Christ the Priest offering Christ the Victim to the Heavenly Father by the power of the Holy Spirit. What we see taking place upon the altar is a glimpse of the inner life of the Blessed Trinity, the love and interaction between Divine Persons that takes place by no merit of our own. As the priest prays in the Quam Oblationem of the ancient Roman liturgy:
And do Thou, O God, vouchsafe in all respects to bless, consecrate, and approve this our oblation, to perfect it and render it well-pleasing to Thyself, so that it may become for us the body and blood of Thy most beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
It is God Who makes the oblation pleasing to God, and this is possible because it is God Who is the oblation.
What we bring to the liturgy, what we offer to God is our honor, reverence, supplication, contrition, adoration, and praise. “A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:17). The priest who consecrates the Eucharist does so not by some power he possesses, but by one that possesses him:participation in the One True Priesthood of Christ.
“When I say the Mass,” a young traditional priest once told me, “I am a slave to the liturgy. The Church tells me where to stand, how to place my hands, when to genuflect, when to kiss the altar…I am gone, and it is Christ who acts through me.” The priest’s offering is one of humility, of reverence, of the emptying out of self. “Judge me, O God,” he implores at the foot of the altar, echoing the words of the Psalmist, “and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man; for thou art my God and my strength…”
We, too, come as humble supplicants, with a receptive and attentive disposition. The liturgy happens independently of us, but it draws us into its mysteries and grants us heavenly gifts, thereby perfecting us and propelling us toward Heaven. We unite our prayer with the priest, who prays on our behalf, who performs, in virtue of his union with Christ, what we cannot.
It is the most important and beautiful thing this side of Heaven.
It is therefore inescapable that a proper understanding of liturgy grounds us in a correct knowledge of our place in the universe. Liturgy that emphasizes Our Lord’s Sacrifice and places us mentally and spiritually before the Cross on Calvary humbles us and makes us receptive to our absolute dependence on God for all good things, especially our salvation. Liturgy where priest and people alike are oriented toward Heaven and where sacred things are veiled and shrouded and reverenced in an appropriate way teaches us who we are — and what duties we have — in relation to Him from Whom all good things come and in Whom we must trust when we have no choice but to walk by faith rather than by sight. Liturgy should make us feel small, like entering the great edifices of Christendom.
The attack on the liturgy that we have witnessed over the past half-century can be understood as nothing less than a diabolical attempt to strike at the heart of our most important and intimate connection with Our Creator — and also to confuse and disorient us through this loss of perspective. We have been given over to idolatry – the idolatry of self, such that we see the world only through the lens of our own desires. Christ’s sacrifice has been replaced with food and fellowship, His altar of oblation turned into a table, His priesthood adulterated by those persons who intrude upon the domain of the priest but do not possess the ability to act in persona Christithe universal orientation of priest and people toward God turned inward so that we are, in essence, all just talking to ourselves, and nearly every act of reverence for the sacred has been stripped away.
Christ remains present in this reinvented, banalized, man-centered liturgy, but He is ignored, forgotten, abused, and upstaged. Like Cain, we no longer offer God our best, but keep it for ourselves. Anyone who attempts to offer God what He deserves, like Abel, is met with envy, contempt, and even violence.
The crisis in the Church is manifestly a crisis of selfishness and anthropocentrism. It is the fruit of this new idolatry. We have come to believe that we know better than God what is best for us. The Second Vatican Council tells us, “[A]ll things on earth should be related to man as their center and crown.” We must reject this. All things on Earth should be related to Christ as their center and crown. We are not worshipers of man; we are worshipers of Jesus Christ! Of the Blessed Trinity! But if our liturgies fail to hold God as our object of adoration, is it any wonder that we have become obsessed with ourselves? We talk incessantly about how we “feel” about liturgy and what we “get out of it” and whether it “moves us” – but for Whom are we there?
The architects of the Church’s “new and improved” liturgy knew exactly what they were doing. And they have been successful. They have, with a single stroke, moved the entire liturgical edifice of the Church to a foundation of sand. And now that this edifice is crumbling to the ground, and the faith along with it, they swoop in, telling us that the other truths of our faith are nothing more than “ideals” too hard to live up to, that because things have strayed so far, we must now find ways to accept and work with situations “as they are.” By destroying our understanding of our relationship with God through the central act of prayer of the Church, they have undermined all else besides. Now, after half a century of demolition, they are dismantling what’s left of the faith almost unopposed.
Those who have come to terms with the crisis in the Church will occasionally raise the question, “Why can we see what’s happening when others can’t? Why does God seem to be showing this to only a handful of us?” Could it be that it’s because of what he said to Cain? “If thou do well, shalt thou not receive?
Someone recently wrote to me concerning the level of denial among fellow Catholics about what’s happening in the Church: “It’s only attending the Latin Mass,” she said, “that has allowed the scales to fall off my eyes.”
It is not too late. Do not lose your way, fellow Catholics. Do not be deceived. Good liturgy — and by that I mean holy, reverent, God-fearing liturgy — will change your life, even if you have to make difficult sacrifices to have it. Is there anything more important to you than your salvation, or that of your children? If you don’t have a good Mass to attend, move! If you can’t find a Traditional Latin Mass, turn to the East, which has been largely ignored by the demolitionists!
The saboteurs had one shot, and so they struck the one form of the liturgy that would affect the greatest number of Catholics. They gave it all they had, but as God would have it, it was not a killing blow. God is still truly worshiped. And we are obliged for His sake and for our salvation to join in that true worship. No more excuses.
While it is true that good liturgy alone will never be a panacea, there is nonetheless nothing more powerful you can do for your faith, for your understanding of what is happening in the world, for the good of your soul and those of your loved ones, than to stop, without delay, attending a liturgy that was designed to separate you from the very Sacrifice it is supposed to commemorate. You cannot drink poisoned water without ill effect, no matter how thirsty you are, or how resilient. It does not nourish; it emaciates.
The new paradigm is collapsing on itself even now. It will be abandoned in our lifetimes, a husk of what it once was — or else rendered unrecognizable to anyone with faith as it becomes, like the Arian churches of the 4th century, the exclusive domain of the enemies of Our Lord.
The liturgy is the key to our entire understanding of what we face, of who we are, and of what we must do. There may well be no other way to weather what is coming. More importantly, it is our most essential interaction with God. We have a duty to find a place where the priest and the people worship God in a way that is fitting and pleasing to Him. Once it is found, flee to it. Cling to it. Do not worry about the hardships you must endure to accomplish this, for God knows these things, and He will bless you.
Be reminded of your place in the universe. Be subject to Him Who rules it. Love Him with all your heart, mind, and strength, and adore Him as He deserves. It’s a decision you’ll never regret.