A while back, I posted a comment on the post of a young man who had, quite properly, praised the work of those orders, fraternities and institutes set up under the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei“. He left out diocesan priests.
A few days ago, I posted about the conference held in Rome for the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum. There was, quite properly, fulsome praise for the same orders, fraternities and institutes. They left out diocesan priests.
They also left out all of South and North America, but that’s another issue.
The orders, fraternities and institutes do great work. However, the real gains will be made when the older, traditional form explodes out of those small settings into mainstream parish life. That will happen when more diocesan priests take up their banners and run forward.
Priests of the orders, fraternities and institutes may experience a little local opposition from neighboring parishes and they may be watched carefully by the bishop. However, they are where they are because the bishop said they could be. Also, they have the full support from their own superiors.
Priests of dioceses, on the other hand, can face fierce opposition from their diocesan brethren as well as something akin to persecution from their bishops even for using a little Latin, preaching about Communion on the tongue, fostering only altar boys, making moves toward ad orientem worship even in the context of the Novus Ordo. Let them implement Summorum Pontificum and… well….
The challenges of priests of orders, fraternities and institutes can be great, but, I submit, they are AA-Ball compared to the Major League obstacles faced by the garden variety, unsung diocesan priests who simply desire to be Roman Catholic in an increasingly hostile and volatile terrain.
Today I read a piece posted by Fr. Hunwicke at his fine and thoughtful page, Mutual Enrichment, which touches on the very points I’ve been making.
The aetiology and mechanics of Fear [Aetiology is the study of the origins and causes of things.]
I [Fr. H] have taken out a very moving Comment from the last thread; and I reproduce it here, with one or two personal details omitted, so that I can comment on it. My words express only my own views.
“There is another territory to be heard; the diocesan clergy, and I can testify to the fear out there. I feel it myself; … I entered the diocesan priesthood from Lutheranism [As did I!] … my decision to sign may come with danger … Unfortunately, we live in times of great venality and danger for those who just express simple orthodoxy. Going this next step is necessary but fraught with peril. Cosmas and Damian, Cyprian and Justina, pray for our courage.”
Fear, my dear Father? You’ve certainly put your finger on it there. Perhaps you, like many of us, have spoken with brother priests who work in Rome, and who talk a great deal about the atmosphere of fear which pervades the clergy who serve the Holy See. [To which I can attest.] And, at the risk of breaking secrets, let me tell you about the most striking experience I personally had while we were preparing for the publication of the Correctio: clergy who agreed with it wholeheartedly but feared to take the risk. (But, thanks be to God, the signatories have now risen to 147.) [One of the things that struck me about the sneering dismissals from the critics of the Correctio was that they, too, knew that thousands would have signed were it not for fear of the brutal lashback that would have come from their overlords.]
“Nobody spoke about him with boldness (parrhesia) because of fear …”(John 7:13). However, “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear”(I John 4:18).
Fear is quite beautiful, isn’t it, as a Satanic operational strategy? The Enemy disseminates Fear. He fills good honest men with guilt because they feel too fearful to do what they know they should do. And then, when the Correctio is published, his ministers sneer as they answer the journalists’ questions, and glibly point out how few signatories there are. As Marco Tossati has put it, “Belittle, label, marginalise”.
God, our most sweet Creator and Redeemer, works by Love, by the Blood of Christ which streams in the firmament. It is the Enemy who does his work by Fear. Since early in this pontificate, it is Fear, on wings of vituperation, that has cast its shadow.
As the Enemy realises that the Love of Christ is proving too powerful for him, his fury may very well urge him to even greater acts of violence. There may be more to endure before we are finished with it all. But it will be no match for the splendour which will radiate from the right hand of Mary (Fatima, Third Secret).
This is no time to lose our nerve.
Dear diocesan priests… dear brothers….
Do. Not. Lose. Your. Nerve.
We must be ready to take some hits now.
Learn the Traditional Form and begin catechizing your flocks about our patrimony and about the virtue of religion, about Mystery, about the Four Last Things.
The queue is ON.