ASK FATHER: A soul in anguish about the state of the Church. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

Dear Father,

I feel [unsafe] going to Church, which I unfortunately cannot bring myself to do. I firmly believe in the Catholic Faith and all of its traditional teachings. However, going to Mass anywhere has proved to be such a discomfort to me, that I fear I may never go again. I feel gravely uncomfortable attending Mass in the company of those priests who are themselves racked with limitless perversion and heresy, and I feel completely hypocritical for listening to them. Half of them appear to be homosexual, and I can’t bear the thought of touching their hand, much less by that same hand, receiving Holy Communion. Also, due to recent scandals regarding the Seal of Confession, I do not entirely trust the Clergy to absolute secrecy.

Least to say Father, I feel quite lost as a Catholic, and experience only feelings of disgust and affliction in the company of other Catholics, especially priests. You will tell me to go to Confession, which I have tried, many times over. What I am telling you is that I am disillusioned, and I am afraid that such disillusionment is irreparable. I do not feel compassion or understanding in this Church which has become a circus for pseudointellectuals and neofeminists. I wish I could feel right at home, but I don’t I’ve entertained thoughts of becoming Orthodox or even Anglican, but I can’t bring myself to do so; I believe, from a chiefly historical point of view, that the Roman Catholic Church is the True Church, Established by Christ. I also cannot escape a deep sense of faith to that end. But when I think of the Catholic Church I believe in and love, I do not see it in the one which currently claims the title. There appears to be a complete dichotomy between the two; it is as if the Catholic Faith were divorced from Visual Representation (i.e. church buildings and everything institutional that we can visibly see). I would greatly appreciate your wisdom and guidance. I have long read your blog, and have for you nothing but the deepest respect.

I get it.  I really do.

I am not sure that a long, systematic answer will help as much as a few bullet points with thoughts as they occur to me.

You might take these – one at a time over as many days – and reflect on them.

  • The Church was established by Christ, God, as our ordinary means of salvation.  As Lumen genitum reminds us, anyone knowing and believing this who refuses to enter the Church or stay within, cannot be saved.
  • The Devil is really good at being an Enemy.  The Enemy is relentless and knows how to hit us where we are weak.  Use the sacraments and sacramentals and ask your Guardian Angel for help.
  • Some pundits would have you believe that nearly every other priest is some sort of deviant.  That’s simply not true.  Are there deviant and weird priests?  Of course there are.  The Church has been systematically infiltrated.  Again, the Enemy is really good at being an Enemy.  That said, even the wickedest, weirdest, or most wearisome priest confects the Eucharist and absolves your sins.  Father gives you the creeps?  Even disgusting leeches and maggots have their salutary use in medicine.  Sometimes they are all you’ve got.  And then they are a blessing.
  • Yes, I will tell you – and everyone else – to go to confession, but not because of what you have written here.  Go to confession when you are aware of mortal sins you haven’t confessed.  However, I’ll remind everybody that an effect of the Sacrament of Penance is also to strengthen us against temptations.   And you, sir, are being tempted.   The Enemy has gotten a crowbar into your head and he’s prying away, trying to get you to distance yourself from the means of our salvation, Holy Church.  Fight temptations to avoid the Church.  There’s merit and grace in that fight.
  • If the situation of the Church where you are is truly that corrupt, if it’s really the case that you can’t find a good parish or chapel, maybe it’s time for you to move.  “But… but… but… that would be hard!”  Of course it would be hard.  On the other hand, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.”  Sometimes you have to make the hard call for the sake of your immortal soul.  Life is short and eternity is… well… not.  Is it worth it to stay where you are when you might relocate?  To put it another way.  You’ve been spotted by the Enemy, pinned down and are under heavy, well-directed fire.  If you stay where you are, you’re toast.  Pick up your weapon and get out of your foxhole.  A hail of small arms fire might get you, but your present position is mortal.  But…  if it truly isn’t as bad as all that… then, again, pick up your weapon and get out of your foxhole.   We need you.
  • I am convinced that even wicked and stupid priests take the Seal of Confession seriously.  When it comes to the Seal, at least, they are like different men and God is strong in them when it comes to keeping their mouths shut.  Another phenomenon I’ve noticed – and many priests can have the same observation to me – we amazingly seem not to remember the content of 99% of the confessions we hear.  It’s a mystery.
  • What do you suppose priests to be?  All priests are unworthy of their calling.  He doesn’t choose men who are worthy.  He chooses those whom it pleaseth Him to choose. God chooses and uses us anyway.  It has ever been so.  While He was still alive, 1/12th of the bishops sold the Lord and 10/12ths ran away from the Cross.  What hubris infects us now to think that today’s priests are better than they?  We only know and have more stuff, now.  We aren’t any more worthy than they were.  And they had Christ face to face every day!  We, unworthy, see Christ as if through the dark glass.  This is one reason why the traditional Mass is so helpful.  It constantly reminds the priest, and the people, about who he is and who he isn’t.  From the very beginning of Mass he declares himself a sinner and begs for your forgiveness.  To you, friend, and to all, please forgive me, unworthy, in the place of all and every priest who has ever been stupid, wicked and low.  Don’t punish yourself by staying away from the Church due to my sins and those of my unworthy brethren.  Try to see, instead, the love and might of God at work even in us unworthy sinners.  That’s His way of doing things, and we must submit to this unfathomable plan.  Help us to be better.  We are for you, in the manner of priest and also the victim offered.  If I tell you to “man up”, then please help us to “man up”.
  • Mother Teresa of Calcutta wrote in her spiritual diary that she endured decade upon decade tormented and anxious, with no consolations, persevering in a ceaseless dark night of the soul. Thérèse de Lisieux also suffered from a sense of abandonment at the end of her life. At the Lord’s tomb Mary Magdalen in anguish cried, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”  Such suffering is permitted by God, who at times withdraws consolations and hides, to purify and test and strengthen our love.  No pain, no gain, pal.  Maybe it’s your turn to suffer for the sake of your soul and even for the unseen good of others if you can offer it back to God.
  • You were probably confirmed.  Call upon that indelible mark!  Ask God, explicitly as a confirmed man, to strengthen you in your trial.  Use that sacrament. That’s what it’s for!  Never forget that the Holy Ghost’s mark is now forever in your soul.  If you haven’t yet been confirmed… what the heck are you waiting for?!?
  • If I can say it in such a publicly private space as this, I often avoid certain kinds of gatherings of priests.  I have in common with most of them that we are both carbon-based life forms and that we have been ordained.  And, for decades they have both demonstrated to me that we have little in common and they have let me know precisely that they see me that way too.  I think many of them don’t belong to the same religion that I embraced when I converted.  Again, the Enemy is really good at being an Enemy.  Division is both a powerful weapon and sign of enemy activity.  The impulse to withdraw must be resisted.  The Enemy must not be allowed that terrain.
  • Our Savior suffered during His Passion from beatings so bad that he was hardly to be recognized, fulfilling what Isiah wrote: “his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of men”.  If our Lord suffered that way, then His Church too will suffer that way in her own Passion.  I think that is what has begun.  The Church again enters her Passion.  Think of the holy women, Mary, and Christ’s newly ordained priest John who did not flee, who ran from the garden but who remained at the horrifying, saving Cross.
  • A cardiologist friend has a good response to those who grumble about their prescribed treatment.  “Do I have to take these pills forever?”, they mew.  “No,” she says, “Just until you die.”  We weren’t promised a bed of roses when we were baptized.  We who are Christ’s disciples will all drink at least some drops of the chalice He drank on Calvary.   It is our task to be faithful, brave and persevere.
  • Connected to the previous points, of all the possible universes God could have created, He created this one and not some other.  He knew every one of us before the creation of the cosmos, and He called us from nothingness into existence in this particular universe at this particular time according to His unfathomable plan.   We have a role to play in God’s economy of salvation.  We have to trust that we are exactly when and where God wants us to be.  We have been born into troubling times.  This is our battlefield, not some other theoretically ideal battlefield.  It’s ideal for us because it’s ours and this is the one God gave us.  If you want to stop feeling “unsafe”, then review the exigencies of your Christian, Catholic vocation, trust in God’s divine providence (He knows what he is doing) and, get into the fight.
  • I wrote elsewhere that maybe you should move.  Maybe.  But maybe you are the one needed to help others where you live to deal with what you are dealing with, faithfully.  Faithfully.  Even though and precisely because it hurts.  Faithfully.
  • I will pray for you and I will fast for you and I will do penance for you.  I will put you into my chalice at Mass to be transformed by God into the upright, confirmed, convicted man, filled with the Holy Ghost, you can be.

 

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35 Responses to ASK FATHER: A soul in anguish about the state of the Church. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

  1. Spinmamma says:

    Thank you for that comforting and bracing encouragement. I, also a convert, have come to the determination that, no matter what, I am not leaving our sick Mother alone to be torn and ravished by the many diseases of postmodernism with too few to speak truth to power. How blessed we are, dear Father Z, to have clerics like you to strengthen our spines and comfort our hearts, and take their sacred vocations as shepherds seriously. As we are in your prayers (how grateful I am for that) , you are in ours. And now I will add the sick at heart reader to my prayers, that we may remember that our Lord has overcome the world, which truth the Holy Spirit reminds me when I, too, am on the edge of despair.

  2. mysticalrose says:

    I do not feel any repulsion for the clergy — my diocese is very blessed in this regard. But I completely understand the feeling of a dichotomy between the Holy Catholic Church and what is operating these days . . . in the Amazon and elsewhere. My faith has been shaken to the core. Your comments are helpful for a good many of us, Father. Thank you.

  3. Anneliese says:

    I understand to a certain degree what this person is going through. I too have been compelled not to attend Mass. I love the Church. These recent scandals make me love the Church even more. I would never leave it for any denomination. But I don’t feel welcome in the parishes in my archdiocese. Most of the parishes are run by the parish councils rather than the actual priest. Many parishes that still have a school attached aren’t very welcoming to single middle-aged people, which is the group I belong to. More and more are offering “centering prayer” instead of an old fashioned bible study or rosary group. And then there’s the popular bongo and guitar sets that are mainstays in a lot of parishes. Go over to Life Site. Even my bishop is in support of wayward dissenting priests (AUSCP) by celebrating Mass for them today.

    It’s getting harder and harder today to be a traditional orthodox Catholic. We’re now heading into the “Lord of World” phase of the Church.

  4. philosophicallyfrank says:

    Hi Father, I am in a similar situation and my remedy is that I am moving to a Franciscan Senior (I am 80 years old) Living facility “Marian Village” in Homer Glen, Il.. It’s too bad there aren’t Monasteries that don’t take in us old folks who are healthy enough and could cover our costs. It will take every thing that I have if I don’t live more then 12 years; but, to save my soul; it will be well worth it for the Catholic environment and orthodoxy.

  5. hilltop says:

    Reverend Father,
    I have been visiting your superb blog for years and years. This posting is simply the very best I have read. Thank you.
    And I will pray for you and I will fast for you and I will do penance for you.

  6. MB says:

    To Fr. Z’s reader – I get it too.

    Thank you, Fr. Z, for your fatherly support of us during this dark hour.

    Something else to ponder: “…towards the end of the world, and indeed soon, because Almighty God and his holy Mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs.” St. Louis de Montfort attributed this quote to St. Vincent Ferrer. Times of darkness are also times when spiritual greatness is to be had! Let’s not miss the opportunity we have here.

    Accept the Eucharist from the hands of any priest, no matter how wicked he may be, and say to yourself, “Lord, I would swim any cesspool to get to you.”

  7. Akita says:

    Dear Fellow Catholic,

    I have only part-time access to the Mass of Ages with its sublime transcendence. (The sung St Thomas Aquinas sequence for the Feast of Corpus Christi is surely one of the most beautiful things this side of Heaven!)

    That being said, I am otherwise stuck in a suburban parish setting with the Novus Ordo said in a gymnasium. I grew very weary and despondent listening to “homilies” on the brilliance of Karl Rahner and other dubious takes on the Faith, the endless chatter, the kissing during the sign of peace and the caressing by men of their honey’s exposed scapulae throughout Mass, the immodest dress, the altar girls, the banal (Taste and See) music, etc. The supremely repellant then occurred—I recently noted worshippers bringing Starbucks to Mass.

    I discovered a solution. I attend the Novus Ordo there in Spanish. The music is still horrid but I can’t understand the homily. The congregation is markedly more reverent. I take my Edmund CampionMissal and contemplate the readings and gospel of the Old Calendar. I immerse myself in the Latin as well which is a source of endless awe. I hold a rosary and get in a decade or two during the petitions and passing of the collection basket. This has helped maintain my sanity. I was told that one meets the requirement for assisting at Mass by staying until the sacred vessels are cleaned and stored. I’m in the parking lot by the time the recessional hymn is screeched.

    God Keep You.

  8. Sue says:

    Thank you for this, Father.

  9. Gaetano says:

    I understand your feelings. I have had the misfortune of knowing and living with terrible priests and even predatory priests – including an infamous one named in the movie Spotlight.

    The one thing I can say is that not one of those men abused the Seal or discussed the contents of a Confession. Ever.

    To a man, every priest I’ve ever known has said that one of the graces of the Sacrament is that they forget what is said in Confession. Our sins are also amazingly boring and unimaginative. Skip Mass, lying, cheating, anger, infidelity, pornography, inattentive to needs of others, etc. It’s the same stuff over and over. Often many of the same things the priest struggles with.

    The grace of the Sacrament is there, no matter how awful the priest is. Do all that you can to go.

  10. Charles E Flynn says:

    Suggested reading:


    Manual for Spiritual Warfare
    , by Paul Thigpen

  11. aroc981 says:

    As a young woman discerning a vocation, I can really relate to this and I struggle with these same sentiments. I think the worst part is just how isolating it can all make you feel, especially if you’re stuck in a really bad parish (and I mean bad.. You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve seen !!!) with no alternative.

    I love Father’s advice, and I agree. And aside from just knowing that you’re not actually alone, and that there are lots of Catholics struggling rn, I always find comfort in scripture. Especially the psalms. Just today I was at vespers and psalm 136 really spoke to me (137 in some bible translations), “Super Flumina”.

    It goes as follows: “Upon the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept when we remembered Sion. On the willows in the midst thereof we hung up our instruments. For there they that led us into captivity required of us the words of songs. And they that carried us away said: Sing ye to us a song of Sion. How shall we sing of the Lord in a strange land? If I forget thee O Jerusalem let my right hand be forgotten. Let my tongue cleave to my jaws if I do not remember thee, If I make not Jerusalem the beginning of my joy. Remember O Lord the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem, who say: rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. O daughter of Babylon, blessed shall he be who shall repay thee thy payment which thou hast paid us. Blessed is he who shall take and dash thy little ones against a rock.”

    Sometimes, to me at least, it feels like we’re also captives in a sort of Babylon of our own. And that what we hold most sacred and holy is often made a mockery of (as the babylonians mocked the songs of zion), even within the church, unfortunately. But we can’t let that stop us from turning to heaven and looking back to tradition for the answers, like the Israelites in this psalm, and knowing, like them, that the enemy’s already been defeated.

    God bless you :)

  12. Blaise says:

    I feel for sometimes correspondent. Sometimes it seems that the concept of “ex opere operato” cannot survive the people we see profaning the sacred priesthood. But this is not true. And we must thank God that it is not.
    Fr you are right to allude to the dark night of the soul we laity can suffer in the face of the way the Church seems to be heading. Is this our Gethsemane? Perhaps but let us not be the ones to abandon the Lord. Rather remember his words to those bishops at his last supper just hours before the agony in the garden “remain in my love”.
    Thank you for your encouragement in the face of a great deal of discouragement.

  13. tho says:

    Very thoughtful, and your reply was the same. From my own experience, there is hardly a family, or an individual, who hasn’t been touched negatively by the nonsense that we have endured since VII. The church has never been perfect, only our founder Jesus Christ embodied that. Hang tough, and keep walking the path that Jesus laid out for us.
    I remember reading about the trials of Flannery O’Conner, when she went to the Iowa writers workshop. She said that homesickness was her constant companion, until she found the Catholic church in that city, as soon as she entered homesickness left her, and she attended mass every chance she had. In the, I think, two years that she was there she never met the priest or any parishioners, but she still felt right at home. Those were the days.

  14. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    God bless you, dear soul, in your search for certainty and peace. As difficult as this is for you, how beautiful to see your fidelity throughout the turmoil we all experience.

    And thank you so much, Father, for your brilliant answer.

  15. Stepheno says:

    Thanks for sharing Father. You nailed it. He’s pinned down and needs covering fire. You response helps us all.

  16. Orlando says:

    Ditto! Father Z best blog post ever! I will be printing this out and referencing frequently. I could have written you that same email. Christ chose us for this battle, knowing we are weak and easily tempted , but he chose us anyway. We can either accept this reality and fight or give in to the enemy. Either way we are choosing Him or him. Not a hard choice to make .

  17. Beltway Catholic says:

    This poor man’s feelings undermine him. The Devil manipulates feelings to divide us from God. “All priests are…” is a great accomplishment of the Enemy of our salvation during these days because it usually functions to demoralize our efforts and excuse vice. And if reputations are demolished along the way, so much the better for the Ancient Liar.

  18. Diane says:

    Wow. That was excellent Father. Thank You. I’m saving your response! God Bless You.

  19. Unwilling says:

    Bad though it be, I am not thinking about the problems of priests involved or advocating homosexual stuff.

    I am wondering what it felt like to be a Catholic in England when Henry/Elizabeth, Cromwell (etc.) required churches to function blasphemously, heretically. When tolerance eased up later, that did not mean Catholics could go back to the churches of their childhood (or ancestors); no, they had to find places to worship in that were free of the State Religion. It would be wrong to take part in a ritual that was purposely a denial of the Truth. You might think they had the consolation of knowing that at least in Rome and Spain etc. the True Church existed and had clear (Tridentine) doctrine, that Catholicism existed in places perhaps far from home. But for us, the defection is not so much a matter of place. Even in Rome the pollution pours, in Ireland, in France. Where to move to that is safe from the oppression of the defectors? When a new bishop is needed, we hold our breaths.

  20. bartlep says:

    Beautiful and heartfelt letter, beautiful “spiritual direction response” and many wonderful and supportive comments.

    After an absence of 35 years from the Church, I happened into a local Catholic Church and heard a homily by a young priest. He said that leaving the Church, for any reason, was “spiritual suicide”. I felt like I was the only person in church and that he was speaking directly to me. That day was the beginning of my journey back to the Church and the beginning of my Formation (something I lacked, despite 9 years of Catholic education).

    I too will print your response, Father, and will forward this posting to many of my very orthodox friends. We all get down from reading about all the perverse and corrupt issues in the Church.

  21. Gab says:

    Thank you Father Z for your response. It’s a keeper.

    And thank you to the reader who wrote to Father asking for advice. Through your suffering, we have been further enlightened.

  22. Ms. M-S says:

    Something more than one letter called forth that rant. More than one person needed to read your words. There are no accidents. This reminds the rest of us to do our work in our turn.

  23. JonPatrick says:

    Try to find a parish that offers the Traditional Latin Mass, the Anglican Use (i.e. under the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, not the Anglican Church), or an Eastern Rite parish. Even if it means driving 2 hours to attend Mass it is worth it.

  24. Ellen says:

    One of the best things I’ve read in a very, very long time. I am blessed to be able to go to a very orthodox chapel close to me and the Mass my parish is not that bad, just kind of slip shod. I’ve been to some Masses that made me want to cry and run out and I thank God it hasn’t gotten that bad here.
    I’ll pray for the questioner and I will pray for priests even more.

  25. jflare says:

    If I may be so bold, …I suspect that I would share much/most of your struggle should I be between 20 and 30. Heck, I fear my niece (and elder god-daughter) DOES struggle with most of it too; she’s about 19. In fact, though not as strenuous as this, I recall a faith struggle during my later 20’s after having found a traditionalist parish. Learning more about why they existed raised several serious, troubling questions about what I’d learned about faith til then.
    Fr Z obliquely mentioned how the traditional Mass…offers greater aid in faith. I will second that notion. Though I originally moved to a FSSP parish mostly to become better acquainted with the traditional Mass, I had lots of incentive. For my experience, …too many at the average Novus Ordo parish fuss entirely too much about “rights” in Mass; they wind up placing too little emphasis on genuinely offering praise, honor, and glory to God.
    I will suggest finding a parish operated by FSSP, ICK, or another organization which offers Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Or, check if a priest in your diocese does so.
    And, frankly, …continue to read this blog! Fr Z has done a marvelous job of providing (myself and others with) excellent food for thought and faith for some time.
    And, to steal shamelessly from the Marines (I was Air Force): Semper fidelis!
    (They usually shorten it to “semper fi”.)

  26. Kevin says:

    Our Lord is present in the Tabernacles of our One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Knowing that Jesus is present for me always…is enough for me. One positive from all the confusion of the past 5-6 years is my prayer life has increased!

    Thank you Fr. Z for everything!

  27. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Jesus, I trust in you.

    No matter how bad things get, Jesus is on our side. And no matter how stupid the church or nasty the priest, Jesus is waiting for us there.

    And sheesh, He has to be there with the nasty priests all day and night! You can go home! Brings new meaning to the old French expression, “the Prisoner of the Tabernacle.”

  28. Servant says:

    WOW!

    Fr. Z, I know you were inspired when you wrote these points. You’ve just helped a ton of people. It’s easy to be good…when being good is easy. But…when it’s hard, well, that’s when the really good stuff shines through.

    Pax Christi

  29. Toan says:

    Fr. Frederick Faber’s poem, The Right Must Win, has given me great encouragement in the last two years. Good lines:

    “Thrice blest is he to whom is given
    The instinct that can tell
    That God is on the field when He
    Is most invisible.

    Then learn to scorn the praise of men,
    And learn to lose with God;
    For Jesus won the world through shame
    And beckons thee His road.
    ..
    As He can endless glory weave
    From what men reckon shame,
    In His own world He is content
    To play a losing game.

    Muse on His justice, downcast soul;
    Muse, and take better heart;
    Back with thine angel to the field,
    And bravely do thy part.”

    The whole poem is great…search for it in Google Books and you’ll find it. Also see The Will of God, by the same Frederick Faber, which is also super helpful.

    It took me time to figure out what he must have meant when he said, “muse on His justice”. Why should musing on His justice help the downcast? I think it helps in two ways. First, terrible clergymen will, if they don’t repent, pay for their wrongdoing. Maybe hell, or, if they repent, real suffering in purgatory. Wanting that justice isn’t mean. It’s fair. It recognizes the reality that people have the dignity of being moral agents. They’re not slugs that don’t have the dignity of being blameworthy and deserving negative consequences. What seems to be our human tendency, though, is to think, “Father (or Bishop) so-and-so gets away with so much sin and seems to be getting along just fine, while I’m trying to be good and suffering.” It’s a double injustice, and we’re tempted to envy the evildoer for all the pleasure they get, with few apparent consequences. Well, God is just, and we just aren’t thinking long-term enough. We can be encouraged that indeed, the dire consequences are coming for these people. It’s just a matter of time.

    If they repent and receive mercy, though, they will be in a position to do an amazing amount of good. Think of one “gay lobby” bishop that repents: how many documents might he have access to, and how much information might he be able to share with the world about the rest of his former buddies? He could surely bring down some former co-conspirators. I think it good to pray that that the members of the “gay lobby” repent and cause the downfall of the whole lobby.

    Second…On the flip-side of justice, God will make your faithfulness worth your while. Imagine winning a trillion dollars; God’s reward will be better. You, in being faithful and sacrificing yourself to God when it’s hard, will receive greater rewards in Heaven. Maybe your way of storing up treasure in Heaven is to receive our Lord and God in the Eucharist from filthy hands. Let’s say it feels like touching a filthy toilet bowl. But if God permits Himself to touch the filthy toilet bowl; how can we, who are so much less worthy, object to touching it also? In doing so, we’d become more like Christ, in that we’d be willing to touch the things Christ Himself touches. Would we not receive great reward in Heaven for making the sacrifices Christ makes?

    TLDR: The evildoers will pay, and if you abide in Christ, He will make it worth your while many times over. And meditate on Faber’s The Right Must Win and The Will of God.

  30. fishonthehill says:

    I’m so sad and sorry to hear so many of the faithful suffer in this way.
    It only solidifies what I have and must continue to do as Pastor of souls in my corner of the world.

  31. teachermom24 says:

    Thank you all for your responses (esp Fr Z!). This helps me realize I do not have it as bad as many (most?) places. Yet, every Mass at my NO parish is still a struggle and I long for those opportunities when I can assist at the TLM where I do not have to struggle.

    It seems the NO church cannot survive long. Thinking back to a previous post about the backward-looking NO vs the forward-looking TLM, I do not see how NO can survive much beyond the next generation. I do not see how my own parish can continue long based on demographics alone: half the number of children since we came just 10 years ago, elderly dying off and not being replaced (very few children of these elderly are still Catholic), no vocations . . . I have long maintained we are all going to have to move nearer to one another just to have access to a Catholic Mass. We are going to have to rebuild Catholic communities and neighborhoods.

  32. Semper Gumby says:

    Outstanding letter and reply.

    “…a circus…the True Church, Established by Christ.”

    Yep, since the days of Simon Peter, Calvary, and Pentecost the Church has experienced circus and wilderness. From “Death on a Friday Afternoon”:

    To prodigal children lost in a distant land, to disciples who forsook him and fled, to a thief who believed…to the whole bedraggled company of humankind He had abandoned Heaven to join, He says: “Come. Everything is ready now. In your fears and your laughter, in your friendships and farewells, in your loves and losses, in what you have been able to do and in what you know you will never get done, come, follow me.”

  33. Liz says:

    Thank you for writing this, Father. It did much to renew and encourage me. I will pray for that particular reader, and you and all of the priests on our list are included in our Sacred Heart “novena” (The Litany of the Sacred Heart) that we are saying every day in the month of June. God bless and keep you.

  34. Wonderful response, Fr. Z, totally resonates with the experiences of so many. One small point: the reluctance to go to Mass strikes me as a particular attack of the devil. The constant use of “proper” holy water for blessing oneself (“proper” as in exorcised & blessed salt, then exorcised & blessed water, then the two mixed & blessed) is a great help in lifting the feeling of reluctance!

  35. Transportsjoie says:

    Thank you for lifting my spirits, as I could completely relate to your post. It is so helpful to know that we are not alone in our struggles.

    Thank you, Father Z, for this post which has helped me immensely today, after a difficult weekend of Mass attendance Saturday PM and Sunday morning. I knew I should have braved the bus and train rides to Toronto’s Holy Family (Oratory of St Philip Neri). It’s more than worth whatever ordeal is necessary. Superb post that I am sharing.