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Leaven In This World “As for Me and My Household, We Will Serve the Lord”

September 24, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

“But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24, 15
I recently had occasion to think about the rebuilding and renewal of our holy Church that is indeed underway, in so many places, at the same time that so much bad news about our Faith floods the airwaves, finds its way into headlines and is abundant online.
For two years I have spent a week in September training fellow priests in the offering of the traditional Latin Mass. We are blessed to be hosted by a kind pastor in coastal Delaware and to stay in accommodations provided by a generous benefactor. This year we conducted our practice sessions in a sanctuary newly centered around the Eucharistic presence of Our Lord, due to the restoration by this same pastor of the tabernacle to its rightful place of honor in its’ center. As I instructed in the offering of the traditional Rite of Mass one day during our training week, men of the parish were working at the same time to remove the small tabernacle box in the wall on one side of the sanctuary which had served for decades as the place of reservation for the Blessed Sacrament. In its place they hung a large image of the Divine Mercy.
As they did their work of restoring proper devotion, and we did ours to further propagate the immemorial liturgy of the Roman Church, I could not help but think at the same time of the many other places around the world where the same renewal of faith and devotion is taking place. While it is true that there is very bad news of scandal, crimes and cover-ups on the part of those to whom we properly look for pastoral guidance and holiness there are so many other individuals of all vocations in our Church whose faith and good works abound and inspire us to imitation.
We’ve now heard and read many of the details of the filth in the Church which Benedict XVI warned us about in his meditation for the Via Crucis in Rome years ago. No need to repeat it here. Every day a new op-ed comes out, such that as by Fr. Michael Orsi published in the Washington Times on September 19, or an article such as the one by Anne Hendershott in National Review which I read on the same day. Orsi counsels angry and scandalized laity to speak up and protest the mismanagement, neglect and crime perpetrated and covered up by bishops as well as priests. He urges them to sign petitions, show up at meetings and even withhold donations, such as Legatus recently did, in order to make their voices heard in the effort to bring about reform and renewal. Hendershott commented on the pattern detectable in the fact that a number of the recent cases involving homosexual bishops or those who promote them or cover their tracks, are interconnected through the Archdiocese of Washington, to include the National Shrine located there. She makes the point that, unlike ancient Rome which connected the provinces to the capital by a system of roads but ensured they did not connect with each other in order to circumvent the potential for rebellion, today the faithful are connected by an information superhighway which makes it more difficult for those who would cover up crimes in the Church to keep unflattering secrets or salacious details from the laity while the offertory funds continue to flow in the other direction unchecked.
Whenever heads are on the block and crowds are in the streets demanding blood there are those who counsel a caution characterized by silence or inaction more akin to abject fear. My family over the years has urged me to avoid speaking out in print or online and other priests have counseled a prudence so cautious that it would at times entail my neglect of the basic responsibility I share with every priest to protect the flock no matter the cost. We will always have the overly cautious self-preservationists among us.
The role of the shepherd does not involve personal preference as to which of the wolves he will or will not engage. No, the responsibility of the priest as pastor is to protect the flock from any and all threats. What he would speak from the ambo in his parish church he must be prepared to shout from the rooftops. If we are sincere about reform we must use all the platforms at our disposal to get the message out.
If we are met with anger, opprobrium, or calumny from the powerful who would intimidate or threaten in order to perpetuate cover-ups then suffer thus we must. When we forget that the measure by which we must live is our Lord who offered His body unto death on the Cross to save us we have only ourselves to blame for the darkness under cover of which evil grows and threatens to envelope us all. Final evil casts both body and soul into Gehenna. If we would be saved we must “work while it is daylight.” The whole truth Christ teaches is the only source of light which can be trusted to guide us from here to the eternity found only in Him.
The Lord Himself is the reason why every priest whose priesthood comes from Him and exists to serve Him faces the choice, whether he likes it or not, as to whether or not he will serve the Lord. There is no middle way. Our priests who will not squarely face the homosexual plague and the cover-up in the Church, and call for radical reform as necessary, become part of the problem. Each one of us, laity and priests, become part of the solution as we reform our own lives at the same time that we demand greater holiness from our bishops.
The stark reality before us in the Church leaves no one untouched and demands that we choose which side we will be on. The crisis made undeniable by the constant flow of new details, to include retirements and investigations on the one hand and denials and stonewalling on the other, make demands upon us. This war in the Church came to us, we did not bring it upon the Church. It is now joined and by its nature makes it impossible to stand on the sidelines. There is no fence or neutrality because the choices are clear: reform or status quo ante. Anyone who chooses not to act or to remain silent opposes the cleaning of the Augean stables that the Church has now become in many places.
Each of us must maintain a guard over body and soul, keeping ourselves pure. Life is a gift over which we do not have ultimate control coming as it does from God and ending at his pleasure. We can pray for long life and even live with expectation of such if we so choose. But we must be ever ready to render an account to God for every day of that life. We must stand before the Judge of all to answer for our choices either good or evil and then to face the consequences. Yes, it is true that upon death we will stand alone before the Creator. But “no man is an island,” and our Faith demands that we also take responsibility for our neighbor. Evangelization and care for souls, after the model of the Good Samaritan, is commanded by the Lord. The Lord warns, “If you are lukewarm I will spit you out of my mouth.” He demands we choose good or evil, life or death. In these times when it seems “the days are evil” this is as true as ever.
The Pope is doubling down on the competing creed of environmentalism, warning about the “emergency” of plastic bottles in the world’s oceans, while remaining silent on the danger of Cardinal McCarrick roaming loose while he was responsible for being aware that he was a pedophile predator and corrupter of priests and seminarians. If Viganò and others knew, he could have chosen to know about this monster. He has refused an apostolic visitation of the U.S. even after our bishops requested it, and doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to try McCarrick or laicize him. What do I tell parents in these dangerous days for the survival of the Catholic Faith, when our institutions are shot through with apostates in Catholic clothing? Homeschool your children, keep your home as a holy monastery of insulation against the world, venture out to interact with the local parish to attend only the traditional Latin Mass. Form friendships with like-minded Catholic families to protect your children and better enable courting when they come of age. Be careful about reading anything published after 1962. Carefully check out any causes before giving financial support, especially if Catholic.
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever. @MCITLFrAphorism

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Right now the most likely path toward reform in the Church-- intervention of government authority-- could lead to disaster. If only a “morally intrepid few” bishops, here and in Rome, could call for and make public acts of repentance, we might yet avoid that danger.

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