Sunday, October 23, 2005

My Latin Mass morning

This morning I went to Mass at St. Therese of the Child Jesus Church in Parma, OH. I planned the journey out so that I would get there in time for confession before Mass; I left the house at 7:15, confessions at 7:45, Mass at 8:30. I didn't count on passing my exit off rte. 71. I approached the church at 8:10, which meant that I was still early, but everyone else must have been thinking the same thoughts as I, for the parking lot was very full, as well as the church. When I got there a woman came out of the confessional and she was the last one. Father had to get ready for Mass. Oh well.

Getting there when I did meant that I sat on a folding chair in the back of the church. Forget about kneeling; my knees can barely stand it when I get to use a kneeler. Armed with my trusty missal I was ready to follow along, but I was lost immediately. In a small church like St. Peregrine's it's easier to see what's happening; here it wasn't so easy. So I watched, and prayed, and wished that I had gone to confession so I could recieve communion.

On the way home I perused the bulletin. It contained the usual announcements about coffee and snacks, as well as several paragraphs about "Traditional Catholic Standards." To receive Holy Communion at St. Therese of the Child Jesus Church, one must:
  • "Be validly baptized in the Roman Catholic Church." OK, makes sense. "Anyone who was baptized after 1970 must speak with one of the priests before receiving Holy Communion." Hmm, now that I don't get at all.
  • "Hold all the teachings of the Catholic Church." That makes perfect sense.
  • "Be in the state of sanctifying grace, having made a good confession to a traditional Roman Catholic priest." This is now becoming a big problem for me. I will admit that it bothers me to no end when I go to confession and receive a penance like "go plant a flower" or something, but if the priest is validly ordained, and he conducts the sacrament in the proper way, then I receive absolution. Sometimes I would rather have the ultra-penance that a traditionalist is more likely to give, depending on the sin, but the absolution is still the same.
  • "Therefore, if a Catholic in the state of grace attends only the traditional Latin Mass, and fulfills all the traditional Catholic conditions for the worthy reception of the Blessed Sacrament, then he or she is welcome to receive Holy Communion at St. Therese of the Child Jesus Church." Oh well, guess that leaves me out. Although I prefer the traditional Latin Mass I don't go to it only. I can't go that far.

I almost spit out my Cherry Coke when I read the next section. "NOTICE: In the name of holding fast to the Traditional Catholic religion, some unfortunate priests have received Holy Orders, notably episcopal consecration, from dubious and non-Catholic sources. Among these dubious sources is Archbishop Ngo dinh-Thuc... St. Therese of the Child Jesus Church is served by priests of the Society of St. Pius V, who condemn the schismatic sacrileges at the root of the Thuc line of bishops. The (SSPV) has nothing to do with such groups, and does not recognize such groups, their churches or their clergyman as Roman Catholic."

Well if that isn't the pot calling the kettle schismatic? Here we have a group of priests calling an Archbishop schismatic, when most of them were ordained by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who himself could be considered "schismatic." I have admiration for Archbishop LeFebvre and the stand he took, but let's face it, he did consecrate four bishops against the will of Pope John Paul II. Necessary? We'll never know at this point since LeFebvre and John Paul II are both dead. Whether John Paul II was definitely going to give the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) a bishop to carry on their work or not is knowledge lost to the sands of time. But even if it was necessary it was still an act performed with the lack of permission. So these priests were ordained by LeFebvre; they broke away from the SSPX to form their own society and have one of their priests consecrated a bishop; and they're going to point the finger at the Thuc bishops and call them schismatic? Boy, that's just great. They mention three "Thuc bishops" in particular, and all three of them coincidentally (or not) used to be priests with the SSPV who broke away.

Was it Andy Warhol who once said that in the future every traditionalist priest would be a bishop and have his own organization for 15 minutes?

The "traditionalist movement" (if there is such a thing) deserves credit for keeping traditional Catholic devotions and practices alive. Without Archbishop LeFebvre, there would be no indult for celebrating the Tridentine Mass. But when do we just suck it up and stop splitting? My marriage has been pretty bad for about four and a half of the seven years I've been in it, but that doesn't mean I have the right to split and start a new one. The Catholic Church is in crisis; no one can deny that. But if Jesus is to be believed (and I think He is), then the gates of hell will not prevail.

I just need to be on the right side of those gates.

4 Comments:

Blogger Ron Hatton said...

This is one problem I have found in the "Traditionalist" movements in the Roman Catholic Church. Everyone is constantly measuring everyone else against their own standards of orthodoxy. Priests are measuring the laity. The laity are measuring each priest they come upon. The laity constantly fight with other laymen on what is orthodox and what is not. Scrutinizing every bishop and archbishop and everyone who was ordained by them takes up so much time and energy. Since many "traditionalists" borderline on calling every Pope since Pius XII a heretic, there is no real centrality to the movement. Everyone judges everyone else. The "orthodoxy police" run rampant. The moment that even an "orthodox" priest or bishop does or says something that someone else doesn't like, he is vilified and placed on some sort of blacklist. So yes, the Roman Catholic Church is going through a lot of turmoil, but one would be hard pressed to find unity even within the different factions that exist. Times like this, I am glad I am a Byzantine Catholic.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Inquisitor Generalis said...

Haha, right when I read those rules, I knew you had been to an SSPV parish. They're strict.

5:30 PM  
Blogger KOZ said...

Why Roman Catholics are swaying towards the traditional movement is simple. They are tired weak sermons, where the priest only speaks for dollars. Where are the talks about hell? I guess the lights are all green? The faithful should be guided to Heaven not lead to the darkness. Pedophilias & Homosexuals are the norm in the seminaries. I once read that new seminarians are required to watch pornographic movies to desensitize.
As for safe havens in the eastern rites such as Byzantine, well, here too the Novus Ordo has established it ill roots. Married Priests have never proven fruitful to our faith.

12:07 PM  
Blogger lauberd said...

Dear sirs,
As long as the Bishop and priest have been validly ordained, offer only the traditional sacraments, teach the ordinary magesterium that all Roman Catholics always and everywhere have believed for 2000 years and recognize the Pope is the royal priest Pope as monarch a 100% guarantee by Christ of salvation and make no communion with Vatican council 2 than I am good. Divine governance is the role of the priests and does not involve the laity.

5:49 AM  

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