A Must Read. Important post at the UK’s @CatholicHerald today.

There’s an important post at the UK’s Catholic Herald today.  It has to do with the


I’m always going on about how, for success, every initiative we undertake in the Church has to start in and go back to our sacred liturgical worship.  Of course chronologically we do all sorts of things at the same time.  However, logically, worship must always have precedence.

Chad Pecknold, a smart and gifted writer, tells of his visit to a Native American reservation in Arizona, the spiritual care of which has been entrusted by Bp. Olmsted to a new group of Franciscans.

The article speaks to the devastation that socialism has wrecked on those poor people.   It quite rightly underscores what Leo XIII taught about the importance of private ownership of property does for human development and thriving.   On this reservation, things are owned collectively.  Hence, the lack of motivation to improve their lot.

However, these Franciscans are working to renew the spirit of the downtrodden people there through restoration also of the Traditional Roman Rite.

Here’s his peroration.   Do read the whole thing over there:

It’s tragic to see the devastation. It’s like the trail of tears has never ended. But with the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit I saw a glimpse of hope for these people. Not material hope mind you, since the tribe is immensely wealthy while the people still live in true material and cultural destruction — a lot like the so-called post-Christian West. What I did glimpse, though, was a greater interior hope. Seeing the Eucharistic sacrifice at the heart of the mission, and faithful friars radiating God’s presence in the midst of their suffering, I suddenly felt joy that the image of God, so beaten down, could find a sanctuary, an oasis, life-giving water, even in the desert of desolation. I had hope that these people could be raised up, not by their tribe, but by the City of God in their midst.

And that is surely what will happen, especially because these friars have their liturgical heads screwed on in the correct direction.  Ad orientem and ad maiores.

This is what is needed in parishes, too.

A little while ago, I finished reading Ken Follett’s series about the building of a fictional cathedral in England beginning with Pillars of the Earth.  There’s lots of sheer stupidity about the Faith and goofy, tendentious “history” applied, but one thing was well captured: how the town and wealth and well-being and progress and human flourishing grew up around that cathedral and monastic community.

In Pecknold’s article this too:

St. John’s is the parish where the friars live a different kind of common life. It’s an oasis. A sign of contradiction. They wake up chanting the psalms, and go to sleep chanting the psalms. God is their common life, and so truly there is tranquility of order in the midst of devastation. They are now building a beautiful medieval chapel for the friars within their cloister, inspired by the one in Assisi.

You can feel in advance what will happen.   Spirits will be lifted, through elbow grease and grace.  Liturgical life will power it all.  Life in general will improve.

Pray that the Powers That Be leave these Franciscan Friars alone!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Robin says:

    This is fantastic! thank you so much, Father!

  2. oldCatholigirl says:

    I guess this is a dumb question, but here goes: If the tribe has lots of casino revenue, and yet most of the people live in squalor (and I know what you mean–we drove through that area of the country quite a few years back, but it sounds like it’s even worse now), where does the money go?

  3. MikeRogers says:

    I read the “Pillars Of The Earth” to, it helps if your going to write a novel in which the Catholic Church is a central character, than you should know something about that Church!
    The authors only contact with Christianity is that he was brought up in the Plymouth Brethren, that says it all.

  4. Felipe says:

    The Ancient Roman Rite is the most glorious. “Tried and True,” centuries have witnessed the success of this “form” of the Mass. It’s our patrimony, our inheritance and it has survived persecutions only to be kept hidden from the beneficiaries of such honorable Martyrs and Saints. It boggles my mind why Churchmen are so hesitant to allow the beautiful worship of God in this manner. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    God bless these Franciscan Friars, Bishop “Into the Breach” Olmsted, and this community.

    The community in Pecknold’s article is beset these days with opiods, alcohol, abuse, and probably tribal politics. (oldCatholicgirl: this may briefly answer your question). Though, Pecknold’s observation that food distribution has been reduced from a warehouse to a truck is heartening- fewer people are dependent on food allotments and are making their own way.

    Pecknold’s point regarding socialism is solid, there is a fair resemblance between tribal leadership and a central planning committee. That said, tribal leadership can be a mixed bag- from competent to corrupt- regardless if the tribe is located in the U. S., Middle East, or elsewhere.

    Socialism is hostile to religion and private property. Socialism drains self-esteem, self-reliance, personal initiative, critical thinking, and ultimately the soul. Sacred worship, elbow-grease, and grace will be crucial for the future of this community in Pecknold’s brief article.

    Yesterday was Memorial Day. God bless the WW II Navajo Code Talkers and all, regardless of tribe, who died for this country. Apache scouts for the US Army were awarded Medals of Honor back in the 1870s. Marine pilot Pappy Boyington (half-Sioux, maybe full Sioux) said of his two years in a brutal Japanese POW camp: “My health improved because I was sober.” At least three Cherokees who fought in Korea and Vietnam (I think one was a SEAL) have won the Medal of Honor.

    Then there is Navy destroyer captain and Medal of Honor winner Ernest Evans (half-Cherokee and one-fourth Creek) whose remarkable story is told in “Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.” In 1944 near the Philippines he led a valiant but doomed effort to save several U.S. aircraft carriers surprised by an overwhelming Japanese fleet when he led a charge of several U. S. destroyers against numerous Japanese big-gun battleships.

    And while we’re at it, God bless Potawatomi Archbishop Chaput, author of “Strangers in a Strange Land.”

  6. Semper Gumby says:

    A Navy buddy observes: “Captain Evans was half-Cherokee, one-fourth Creek, and all American.” Good point, indeed he was.

    Eternal Father strong to save
    Whose arm has bound the restless wave
    Who bids the mighty ocean deep
    It’s own appointed limits keep
    O hear us when we cry to Thee
    For those in Peril on the sea

    Oh Christ whose voice the waters heard
    And hushed their raging at Thy word
    Who walkest on the foamy deep
    And how amidst the storm did sleep
    O hear us when we cry to Thee
    For those in Peril on the sea

    O Trinity of love and power,
    Our brethren shield in danger’s hour.
    From rock and tempest, fire, and foe
    Protect them wheresoe’er they go.
    That evermore shall rise to Thee,
    Glad praise from air and land and sea

  7. Katherine says:

    I taught school on the Navajo Res in the late 1980s in St. Michaels, AZ, near Window Rock (Diocese of Gallup).

    The Navajos are great American patriots, fiercely so. And in the mist of a poverty few Americans could swallow, they are joyful people. I learned a lot about living a full and happy life there—that material wealth has nothing to do with it.

    Also, having grown up in east coast suburbia, it was ironic to me that modern Indians dress like proverbial cowboys—big hats, pointy boots, large belt buckles.

    A beautiful and almost empty Franciscan mission was within walking distance. I did not really know my faith at the time, but the few brothers at the mission struck me as garden variety creepy. They had a lovely old abbot who seemed to me a holy and virtuous man from a bygone era. Oh, what a beautiful Holy Mass would have done for all of us back then!

  8. Katherine says:

    Hey, you probably saw the link to the performance of “Eternal Father Strong to Save” that Fr. Z included in a different post. I have to say that the link was a disappointment to me. Once you have heard those words sung by all male voices at the Naval Academy Chapel (and countless other military chapels), female voices are like fingernails on the chalk board…well, that’s one female’s opinion anyway.

  9. Semper Gumby says:

    Katherine: True, versions of “Eternal Father” vary, but a quick poll of the guys around here approve of them all. I do know what you mean though, sometimes one is in the mood for chant from Norcia, sometimes from Gower.

    As for Indians and cowboy-wear they probably recognized a good thing. Cowboy hats and boots are helpful for a day in the saddle, I keep both at a friend’s ranch for use when I visit.

    As you note, an empty mission can be a forlorn place. Deo Gratias for the Franciscan Friars in Pecknold’s article. By the way, there was some sort of kerfuffle yesterday about Pecknold’s article. Apparently the Socialist-Catholics (they might refer to themselves as “LeftCaths”) were up in arms (a little fun here: on the warpath, beating the drums of war) about Pecknold’s criticism of socialism.

    Rather than seeing the good, the “Left-Caths” chose petulance and, before you know it, Pecknold and everyone who is not a “LeftCath” is a racist (or maybe a Capitalist pig). Deo Volente, one day these young hotheads will learn the world is not so black and white, and that there is more to life, far more, than rancid socialism.

    The Friars have released a Facebook statement about Pecknold’s article. It states they “weren’t aware of the article, did not see it prior to publication, and the short article’s views do not represent the Friar’s views.” That’s fair.

    Pecknold’s response, I’m told, is one sentence: “The Friars are doing what they need to do to preserve the peace for anyone offended.” That’s fair.

    Anyway, insightful article by Pecknold.

    One more note. I had a Marine in my platoon who saw tribal leadership up close and personal as a boy- in this particular case he was not impressed. Eventually, this young man had enough of war and the Middle East, so he collected his Honorable Discharge and became a police officer (no doubt due to his own accomplishments and not the letter of recommendation he asked me to write to his prospective Police Department).

    And yes, Katherine, a beautiful and holy Mass can work wonders.

  10. Katherine says:

    Semper Gumby, I always appreciate what you have to say. Thank you for putting your viewpoint out there.

  11. Semper Gumby says:

    Katherine: Thank you, ma’am *tip of the cowboy hat* for being a schoolmarm to the little ‘uns.

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