This cri de coeur comes from a comment under another entry.
And what recourse do we laypeople have? Do we just have to sit around and remain silent because we do not have proper authority to speak up?
Priests and bishops are doing and saying every crazier things right now.
What to do?
In the religious services for the important eschatological feast of Tabernacles in the ancient Temple service in Jerusalem, there was a moment when one priest had to pour water from the pool of Siloam simultaneously as another poured wine into two drains near the great altar. It happened in about 95 BC that a Maccabean priest with Sadducee leanings poured the water on the ground instead of the prescribed place. The outraged people pelted him with their fruit offerings, his bodyguards intervened and, at the end of the day, 600o Jews had been killed in the Temple. That’s how they reacted to liturgical abuse.
In the time of the Arian controversy, people rioted in the streets over theological terms such as homoousios and homoiousios. That’s how they reacted to theological ambiguity.
In Augustine’s time in North Africa, a translation of Scripture with which the people were unfamiliar (Jerome’s!) provoked civil unrest. That’s how they reacted to sudden innovation.
These example serve to show how important the Faith was to people whose lives were still integrated, before faith and .. well… the rest of life were sundered and compartmentalized as they so often are today.
While no one around here will advocate physical violence in the face of heterodoxy or the sheer cowardly ankle-grabbing of some clerics in the face of secular pressure, lay people do not have to simply sit on their hands and worry.
I have been advocating for some time now that you start to form small “base communities” to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other helpful catechisms and sources. It’s one thing to scratch your head and wonder if something is right or not. It’s another to know the content of your faith well. I gave a conference a while back at the end of which, during some Q&A, a sincere and clearly pious woman made a couple statements about something being in the CCC that simply is not in the CCC. Sincerity is not the same as being well-prepared.
And once you are well-prepared, and you know your sources, and you know how – this is important – how to look things up, the start asking questions. Start asking and keep asking. If you don’t get answers, ask and ask and ask, Catechism in hand. If you get a question that is inadequate, go back and ask more questions. Don’t let your priests or bishops off the hook… not for a moment. Be the “troublesome widow” at their closed door. They are, after all, ordained and placed precisely with the mandate of teaching and explaining the Faith for the sake of the salvation of souls.
Read, review, study the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
US HERE – UK HERE (There are many editions. Look around.)
I am a huge fan of Kindles (US HERE – UK HERE), but you should also have the BOOK, the material volume which you can hold in your hand and write in. Get the book, which you can flip around in and hold spots in with a couple fingers as you cross check.
Read it. Pick it up. Read portions every day.
Withhold money from bad groups and institutions and send it to better, more worthy ones like the ICK and FSSP. And speak out, too. Lay people don’t have to worry about the bishop shipping you out to some hole in the wall parish so you are free to openly criticize when it is warranted. And of course, support those priests and bishops who are solid.
I understand folks who are upset by various developments in our time, but all I can suggest is to stick to what sits in front of you. Most people, most Catholics, in history, would have had very little information about what was going on with priests and bishops in other places, or even what the Holy Father was up to. Their salvation did not depend on being up to date on all these matters. The same is true for us.
As a parish priest, I have plenty, plenty, plenty to do without reading a single article online. And while I do read those articles, and I do have concern for various things at work around me, in the meantime, none of these circumstances is having much effect on my duties. I am offering Holy Mass as I ought to be, praying my office, praying my other prayers, and trying to carry out my other duties.
That is my suggestion to others, including lay people. Yes, I know, many are frustrated by how their priest offers the Holy Mass. Make the best of it. Your endurance of things that you oughtn’t to have to endure is meritorious if embraced the right way. And your children will learn far more from your good example, than they will be deformed by anything else.
Thank you Fr. Fox for your Priesthood and all you do. We need more Priests….
And thank you Fr. Z for your Priesthood!
I have to give a strong ditto to Fr. Fox. (He is a fine priest from my diocese).
The media-saturated world we live in does have its advantages, of course, but it does also tend to make us worry disproportionately about things beyond our control or outside our sphere of life.
I am generally an advocate of staying in one’s own territorial parish (unless abuses get quite intolerable) but most of the lay faithful who educate themselves can find like-minded people, parishes with holy priests who are good confessors, places with solid faith formation opportunities etc. even if they are outside your parish with just a little effort. And of course can help each other pray and study together to live a life of true Catholic discipleship.
These good opportunities may not be right around the corner, but for most Catholics they are accessible.
In addition to Fr. Z’s sound advice of “ask … ask … ask ,” I also say write thoughtful letters (never anonymously and always charitable, but truly expressing your concerns). I mean old-fashioned snail-mail letters, not emails. [Yes, yes and yes!] They tend to be taken seriously by most priests, even liberal or lazy ones, because they represent an investment of time. It is also easier to proofread before sending something you might regret (a real temptation in instant-communication such as emails).
Those of us raising children have another consideration. The children have a right to an authentic Catholic culture being passed down to them (even if it skipped a generation) and we have a duty to provide it. This really changes the equation when one is determining if the family needs to go outside the territorial parish.
Honest question: if the Pope changes the catechism what then? There have been requests to do this from Cardinals and bishops.
Honest question 2: if Catholic officialdom starts to teach contradictory things then is it not licit to seek refuge where the traditional Faith is taught? Or pick the lesser of two “evils” modernist Catholicism it Eastern Orthodoxy or Catholic traditionalism?!
I don’t know what the answer is. I’m a convert of the JP2 era. I’m in my late 30’s. I’m not a “traditionalist” but the Church I thought I knew seems to be evaporating before my eyes. All the catechism quotes in the world won’t help if they change the official catechism. Then what?
rmichaelj- Agreed. When the formation of children hangs in the balance, what children see at Mass is sometimes even more important than what their parents teach them. Some parishes are just not “safe” liturgical/catechetical environments for children.
Let people flock to what works. Perhaps market forces will adjust. What works will grow and what doesn’t work will die.
@chantgirl, regarding “what works will grow and what doesn’t work will die”, are you or is anyone else who frequents this site familiar with the Church of the Nativity in the Archdiocese of Baltimore?
That parish is the subject of the book “Rebuilt” and just six weeks ago began using a new state-of-the-art $15 million church building and parish complex that was funded entirely by the parish and its supporters.
As the pastor tells the story in “Rebuilt” he studied what was succeeding to attract people to Evangelical mega-churches, such as Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, to try to rebuild his dying parish. He and his youth minister decided to revise the parish experience and the Mass to incorporate the formula for attracting people that has worked for Evangelical churches. What that has meant for the celebration of Mass at Nativity is abhorrent.
The parish streams its Sunday Masses on the internet all day long but only on Sundays, so you have to tune in to watch a live stream of a Mass or its rebroadcast when it is actually being streamed. What you will see is a slick, high-tech auditorium-like church with giant video screens on each side of the sanctuary and stage lighting throughout the space. A praise band positions itself in a line in the front of the stage (sanctuary) for every song it performs, and the music is overwhelmingly contemporary Christian rock. The Eucharistic prayer is the best thing about the Mass: the Sanctus is chanted in Latin, as is the Agnus Dei, and that part of the Mass is more authentically celebrated. The rest is an appalling, fast-paced show of contemporary music, video and lighting that clearly overlaps with contemporary Evangelical models of worship.
But the parish is thriving, growing and raking in the money. What works will grow and what doesn’t work will die? It appears that the Church of the Nativity’s model is working to attract people. Whether it will last long is another matter. For now, though, it is working.
I encourage everyone reading this message to check out a video live stream of Nativity’s Mass this Sunday because it is very educational as an example of following liturgical rubrics yet abusing the spirit of the liturgy:
Maybe Fr. Z would even be interested to watch a Mass for purposes of analyzing it and commenting on it.
I don’t share Fr. Fox’s position. Making the best of it and enduring is how we got where we are when some committee thought it would be a good idea to devise a new liturgy. Most lay people just sat and endured it. What to do? I sure don’t know but I am fed up with enduring the craziness.
There is a magnificent, thriving FSSP Chapel in Pequannock, New Jersey along with a Catholic School because a group of good Catholics over 40 years ago did not simply sit and “endure it”.
In an age where they were completely abandoned by the hierarchy, they started an independent Traditional Chapel and a traditional Catholic school for their children.
Those were rocky years and there were no other options available to save the souls of their children.
The founding Pastor was a Franciscan priest still in good standing with his community, on leave with permission of his Superior; and the Diocesan Bishop was graciously silent and non-confrontational about the chapel being in his diocese.
When the founding Pastor died, the FSSP priests (who did not exist at the time of the Chapel’s founding) came in and the Chapel now enjoys a resoundingly wonderful relationship with the Bishop of the diocese.
In fact, the Bishop just celebrated a Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Diocesan Cathedral for the first time in decades, with the priests of the Chapel, in order to commemorate the rededication of the Cathedral following its restoration.
The Chapel is growing by leaps and bounds – especially in the last few years as things get worse and worse – and has produced several wonderful vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
This Chapel would not exist if it had not been for a group of lay people who said “Enough!”
What is God asking of the rest of us, both priest and lay people alike, not to mention our Bishops…?
It is clear, now, where the long succession of betrayals are leading; we can no longer simply endure. It is time to mount a constructive filial response for the sake of our children and future generations.
Those who do not receive from God any clear understanding on how they might be called to help preserve and transmit the Faith, can simply and heroically live the message of Fatima of prayer and sacrifice, while striving to find a Catholic parish that nourishes their souls rather than beats them down (of which many of us have had frequent experience).
And, as Father Z instructs, educate oneself assiduously on the teachings of the Faith so one is prepared to reject error when faced with it and preserve the Faith in themselves and in their families.
That being said, we should all hold ourselves in readiness to do something for the love of God when He should so inspire us.
The first law of the Church is the Salvation of Souls.
Buy a copy now before the current Vatican changes it.
For me, the current situation is deja vu all over again. I watched the post-Vatican II meltdown and responded by dropping out for 20 years. This time, I will stay and fight. The first battle will be against sin in my own life. Then I will seek out other like-minded Catholics and work with them to preserve the Faith in our families. I am fortunate in knowing several faithful priests. I will go to confession regularly. I will say the rosary every day and increase the time I spend in prayer. The Holy Cross will be my weapon of peace.
Rock on I hear ya. Sounds like a solid plan. Might steal from you. Maybe the Divine Office, old style? To me it is going to be the Traditional Latin Mass that will be the core of the real renewal.
I have been thinking about this issue for a long time.
At almost any other point in history, what Fr. Fox proposes – to do the work in front of you, would have been the right thing for the laity to do in order to make their best contribution to the life of the Church. For most of history, the laity relied on clerics to teach them about morality, to distribute the sacraments, and to decide theological questions. There were a few exceptional periods where the laity had to step up because of the problems in ecclesiastical circles, such as during the Avignon Captivity, but for the most part, information about theology has flowed to the non-specialist laity through their parish priest and it has flowed to the parish priest through the bishop.
The, so-called, “Modern Age,” (oh, how I hate that term), starting from about 1880 (although an argument could be made for anywhere between 1750 and 1820) has introduced a new element of relationship with the laity to the wider Church, due to the influence of Modernism. Modernism and the present crisis in the Church is not a problem, principally, in theology, but in philosophy, whether natural (which we know, today, as science) or speculative (which we know, today, as merely philosophy) and how it is to be utilized within theology. Make no mistake, Modernism was as much a creation of the laity (heavily influenced by Protestant thought) as it was of the clergy. Thus, the laity has a vested stake in the whole crisis, both in everyday living and in refuting it. The whole mess from the inception of Modernity until the present is one long unresolved issue, with a Council in the middle of it.
When the West re-discovered Aristotle and the Scholastics applied his ideas to theology, one could say that classical theology reached its zenith, much as with Newton, classical physics reached its foundational end. What Modernists failed to realize, which is ironic, given how much they idolize science, is that science, for all of its supposed advancements, requires that there be a consistency between the old and the new, that quantum mechanics and General Relativity be reducible to Newtonian mechanics in the limit of size and speed. If the so-called development of a doctrine is not reducible to Tradition in the limit of everyday experience, then it is not a true development of doctrine. A merely forward-looking doctrinal change is like a tumor growing independently from the body. In every case of, “situational,” doctrinal change, there is a disconnection with the past that will invalidate it and lead to a contradiction. I wish I could write an analysis of AL that showed its real problems, but who would publish it, eh?
Enough of this lamenting. This is not the Medieval Age, when communication among learned men could take months. This is the Internet Age when communication takes place in an instant and everybody is his own expert on everything. The laity IS involved in this mess, like it or not. It is the laity that are getting divorced and re-married; it is the laity who are seeking Communion. What can the laity contribute to resolving this mess, other than bad examples?
Now, that depends on who you are and what your skills are. Everyone must pray, do penance, and strive for holiness. This, alone, may save the Church, but there are other specific things that different people can do. I will make a few comments.
1.. Everyone should know the fundamentals of the Faith and how to defend them. Read the Catechism and discuss it. For those who can afford the time, read the widely available Catholic apologetics literature. Practice apologetics in small groups, similar to the British Catholic Evidence Guild which Sheed and Ward ran during the 1940’s.
2. As an historian, I have to say that the Benedict option proposed by Rod Dreher is not likely to succeed in the modern era, because, unlike in St. Benedict’s time, society is too connected, to exposed, these days compared to Italy in 500 A. D. Where Benedict had the time and luxury of privacy to develop Western Monasticism, there is almost no privacy these days nor the ability to truly detach from society. Living off the land is impossible for all but the few. If society decays enough, it will hunt down believers (see: China) and the books you thought you were preserving will become your accusers.
3. No, no, no, mes amis, this is asymmetric warfare: we are the puny laity against the Organization (that may be a little to tin-foil hatty). Oh, there is much we can do (mustache twirling, optional). In its day, Modernism was the puny foe engaged in asymmetric warfare with the Tridentine Church. We must study its engine of chaos to see how it rose to dominance. and how to short-circuit it.
It rose to dominance because:
a. They got people into respectable positions in academia (even if some got dismissed, the damage was done, the ideas got introduced)
b. They tended to work by obfuscation – they dressed like the other side and acted like the other side, on occasion
c. They set up projects that looked like they were working for the betterment of the Church, but the end results were used for the opposite – they hid their weapons in plain sight
d. They set up their own publishing organs – journals for academics and the public
e. They piggy-backed on the growing public appetite for novelty and the amazing
f. They couched their findings in the language of science and pitted one type of experience against another
g. They stressed the power of the individual to form the basis for development of doctrine (see: Protestants)
h. They introduced their ideas as if they were natural
i. They used almost no large data sets, but used small sets, impossible to prove wrong
j. They pretended to be empirical, but ignored the idea that theories must be subjected both to experiment and to having criteria that falsifies them
k. They joined the growing social justice movement in England (why do you think contraception started there?)
l. They had an overarching goal to change the Church, even if they slightly disagreed amongst themselves
m. They were able to place change agents in seminaries
n. They took advantage of the instability that the World Wars created to solidify their positions
o. Their position took advantage of the morality of the stronger side not to crush them, completely (although the Tridentine Church tried, but it had its hands full with other matters during the World Wars)
p. They took advantage of the growing secularism and anti-clericalism in Italy and France
So, what can we do? Oh, heck, who knows who may be reading this? Should we give away our secret plans :) Oh, why not.
4. What can the laity do?
a. Collect data. Do unimpeachable science. Where are the numbers used in coming to the conclusions of the Synod on the Family? One really good data set would have demolished any emotional argument. Don’t use emotion – use data.
b. Read about propaganda, how it works, how it is used. Become really skilled at detecting slithering arguments
c. Know your history. Sad to say, but much of the work of the Modernists that were so respected in their day would be regarded as the work of dilettantes, today. It was poor history that got us Ad populum worship. Don’t let it past. Put all things to the test. If you have the time and expertise, refute the work that claims the Church was other than it has always been
d. Do not withhold funds from your Church. Some of it is vital to help the poor and don’t give he bishop ammunition to retaliate. Go to an orthodox (not Orthodox) church and give a lot of time and money
e. Start translating old works, even if you must use Google Translate and make them available for free on the Internet
f. Write good Catholic fiction and publish it for free on the Internet
g. Form clubs for boys and girls in the Church, like Lego building or teaching sewing
h. Start Catholic debate clubs at bars, like the Socrates Cafe clubs
j. Start a Catholic recreational site on the Internet
k. Do not try to win a debate with a Modernist – their language is too slippery. Take each of their claims and accept it as true and ask, “and, then, what?” This will frustrate the Modernist because they have no true endgame. Their doctrine develops based on the moment.
l. Know your science. Know its limitations.
m. Support orthodox Internet sites and become a Patreon subscribers to Catholic YouTube sites
n. Teach someone a new Latin word, each day, be it a friend or co-worker or child (for whom it can become a cool secret language)
o. Be cheerful, even in the face of difficulties. It has made saints (see: St. Edith Stein)
p. Learn how to throw a monkey wrench into a Modernist discussion by mentioning a truly obscure fact and innocently asking how their theory applies to that (I mean, if there are more divorces during cold weather, should we, really, be working to stop global warming?)
q. Learn to use misdirection. Read the Foundation Series by Issac Asimov. We need an Encyclopedia project to look like we are doing one thing when we are doing another.
r. Learn some philosophy, so you can say, innocently, “That is so Stoic and you know what happened to them.”
s. If you can learn some logic, use symbols, nothing terrifies a Modernist like mathematical symbols
t. I’m sure you can think of many more things to do. The point is that Modernists got where they are by never retreating and always advancing. In whatever you do, always try to advance your own holiness and that of the Church
5. Finally, a word about suffering. If you are undergoing some trial, be it temporary or permanent, offer it up for the Church, with a smile. It will gain merit for you, frustrate the Devil, and confound your enemy. The greatest asymmetric weapon we have is suffering, for, you see, we are willing to give our suffering to God as our crown of glory and those who are trying to destroy the Church only want theirs to end or be relieved (see: Euthanasia).
The Church will survive. There is much for the laity to do. Vatican II asked for the laity to be the wind and those who thought it would lead to the destruction of the stability of the Church might, one day, be sorry that they reaped an unexpected whirlwind.
Thank you Father.
Amen. Thank you, Father.
I define what works as what helps my family and I (and others) live a life faithful to avid, growing in holiness. Personally, I like the small country parish size better (assuming all other considerations being equal). Somewhere along the lines of 75 to 100 families. It makes for a better interaction between priests and laity, but is large enough for the work to be spread around so people don’t get burned out or possessive of certain duties. I would feel lost and anonymous if I went to a cathedral for daily/weekly mass.
But more important than size, is the amount of humility that a parish/chapel displays. It has always been my experience that true holiness resides where there is humility. Note: humility does not require one be naive or a pushover.
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@jfk03: what a beautiful, inspired and generous plan. By doing this you will prepare yourself to be used by God as an instrument in every way possible in your life and circumstances….follow His lead as He inspires in prayer and through the movements and promptings of grace!
Never fear where He might lead – He always outdoes us in generosity and loyalty and guides every step of the way!
Sawyer- When I said “what works” I was thinking more along the lines of what works to advance people in holiness, what will help people make it to Heaven. That is, where the pure, unadulterated faith is offered. People who are looking for truth will only be satisfied when they find truth. The flaw in what you describe is that worship is being altered to appease man, instead of fulfilling its primary purpose of honoring God.
Thank you Father.
I sadly watched a video of the Mass celebrated at Church of The Nativity in Baltimore. I could not watch the entire Mass though as a few minutes was enough.
It was like turning on the tv and watching a mega church evangelical praise and worship. It made me very sad to see the Sacrifice of The Mass being abused in this manner. Sad and shocked.
RE: Church of the Nativity
Manipulating people’s emotions can and will bring in large crowds. However, it is just manipulation and there is nothing authentic about it. The large problem with doing this is that true encounter with God is done in the silent spaces, the journey into the desert, and looking inward in contemplation of He who Is.
The Missionary Mandate of the Church becomes distorted when the powers that be only think about the numbers. Rebuilding the Church does not mean getting more people in the pews and such a mentality can lead to a large population but unhealthy spirituality. Rebuilding the Church means returning to preaching Christ Crucified and offering true a dignified worship of the Father, with the Son, through the Spirit. Let God figure out the number of people in the pews, focus on preaching and glorifying His Holy Name.
“Brush the dust off your sandals…” I and mine assist at the SSPX Masses and have been supporting their schools for years where our children and now grandchildren are ensconced in a Catholic life, daily. Everyone should try to go to the Masses where there are the truly traditional Priests, God has not left us orphans. Deo Gratias!!
(or “fool me once, shame on you”)
In uniformed plaid
Adults went mad
Priests danced round
Nuns turned hip
All jumped ship
His boat ashore
Through the Sanctuary
Jesus loves you
God is dead
So who You are?
Eat the Bread
Will feed your head
All were Virgins
Tell what’s happening
What’s the buzz
What never was
But one Bishop
Stood up straight
Gainst Hell’s gate
Took the Cross
Plugged the hole
To stop Priest loss
And to this day
Green fields, no dream
From Catholic families
And along the
River banks they line
Rosaries in hand
For both Tiber and Rhine
We believe in God
The Virgin…the Creed
If this flow continues
Your waters will bleed
But not with Christ’s
Most Precious Blood…
Of sin-scabbed mud!
Manipulating people’s emotions=a short yet slippery slope to idolatry.
A few other commenters suggested waiting it out. Well, that seems to be an unstable plan when we are talking about the the very core of our Catholic life. It is wrong to sit idly by when people’s souls will be harmed. Pray, sacrifice and do what you can but don’ t sit and wait…
All. We must do only what heaven has asked. Everything else is secondary. Pray the rosary daily, make reparation to the IMH (via the
first five Saturdays) and we (the pope with the Bishops) must consecrate Russia once for all.
I literally registered to agree with Fr. Fox. There are good things happening at my parish which is connected with the University of Florida. The students are learning reverence. FOCUS is bringing Greek (Fraternity/Sorority) students into the faith. This in spite of issues with Church leadership. I was the one in my marriage who was on the verge of despair but my wife correctly pointed out the good fruits that are occurring because of St.JPII and BXVI (all the whole deposit of faith).
It is a Novus Ordo type parish but lots of students look like they are on their way to pressing for the fullness of the faith. They are against skin deep niceties and Victorian Era Christian pleasantries, but the faith of our fathers.
1000% agree with Michaelj.
I will not submit my children to the frequent dilution and sometimes outright pollution of their faith.
This is why my wife and I left our local parish, and then pulled our kids from the “Catholic” grammar school.
To neglect this is child abuse.
I support traditional orders, (financially when my circumstances allow,) Sees with solid seminaries, as well as my UGCC parish from which I actually receive Sacraments regularly. If another Catholic rite in your area is more orthodox (gotta watch the small o there ;p ) that might be another way to “vote with your feet” if every parish in your rite is problematic. Not saying the Eastern Rites and west are totally interchangeable, (not by a LONG shot,) but I’d rather hear about an obscure Eastern Father than Fr. Martin SJ any day of the week =-p The Ukrainian parish I attend has more Latin trads than you might expect.
I suppose I made my point badly. I am not merely talking about “enduring.” I am suggesting that there are things happening elsewhere, about which we can do little, while there are things within reach about which we can do much more.
Roger that Father. I know I spend way way too much time reading about the current crisis and getting both frustrated and angry. My time would be better served on my knees.
Being from Baltimore, I would urge a note of caution about the Church of the Nativity and its REBUILT model.
Yes, it’s a big parish. It gets good foot traffic. Of course, it’s in a favorable suburban part of town, too, but…
They have an awful lot of churn there. So much of the focus is on getting new people on the door that long-standing members often feel disfavored. More than a few have felt squeezed out.
Andrew, I share your concern as the church that mostly observed the historic doctrines seems to be evaporating as I watch. I converted Easter 2005 and was very concerned when I saw the candidates and the reaction of those dissenters from historic catholic teaching to b16’s selection.
And a sure way to just “study the Catechism” faithfully is to invest time with the Marian Catechist Apostolate, in La Crosse, Wisconsin. See them online. It was founded by the saintly Fr. John Hardon, and The Catholic Catechism he wrote pre-dated the Church’s official one. The Catechism study course he wrote was called for by John Paul II, in order to teach Mother Theresa’s nuns. That was all the endorsement I needed to start the course! Oh yes, and Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke was asked by Fr. Hardon to take over the group upon Hardon’s death in 2000. He still heads the apostolate. So you can’t beat that authority.
My wife and I are in a dilemma. We were both married before and I swam the Tiber about 12 years ago. It had a strange, strange turn of events that cascaded over decades. Starting as a protestant and feeling short-changed MANY years ago among a family that was rather anti-Catholic in the midwest, I finally escaped to the Protestant Episcopal Church of the USA and felt better with a more liturgical church service on Sundays. But the PECUSA was in the throes of change and MODERNITY. Then a decade or two disappeared behind me and I found myself reading more history and stumbled into the “English Reformation.” Soon after reading at some length about the changes in England and reading from Cardinal Newman, I found myself at a “Midnight Mass” on Christmas Eve. In Washington, D.C., there is an old downtown church (St. Mary’s) that continues the Latin Mass. So on Christmas Eve at St. Mary’s the Holy Spirit whacked me over the head and tears appeared. We continued to attend Sunday Latin Mass there for a couple of years, found one out in the suburbs and then moved after several years to a smaller, distant suburb with a Latin Mass. Truthfully, we went to several parishes with a Latin Mass before finding the weekly Latin Mass in our own town. It was not well advertised–sort of hiding in plain sight.
We have moved again. The last few weeks before the move were involved in preparing for that move. And I was coming under the spell of the new Pope and quit attending. The move is mostly done, after many weeks, but it is hard to get back into the groove and it will mean driving some longish distances. The local parish has a good new assistant who does the Latin Mass beautifully, but there is no regular “mass of the ages here.”
The state of the “Christian churches” today is shocking, but the culture in the USA is just as shocking and unfortunately, modernism has changed the USA so much, it is hardly recognizable. It is also shocking to me to see Donald Trump (I voted for him) as our leader, but so many other directions into “diversity” have occurred over the past 50 years or so–we are hardly recognizable. I continue to feel more at home at Father Z’s blog than in the outside culture.
Thank you Father Z and your followers, who help me maintain my sanity in my “declining years.”