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Do Not Mess With Sacred Tradition

June 2, 2021 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. JAMES ALTMAN

As a preface to this meditation, here is a short but decisive quote from a meme someone recently sent to me: “The number of followers you have doesn’t make you more important. Hitler had millions. Jesus had 12.” The brilliant point of that meme, dear family, is as I repeatedly have said: Jesus does not need numbers, Jesus needs only a few faithful. It is the lesson of Gideon. Gideon started with 32,000 men, and God whittled them down to just 300. Gideon had just 300 men to face over 100,000 Midianites. But, as St. Paul put it so succinctly: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). So let us always remember that when it all looks really, really bad out there, Hitler had millions, Gideon only had 300, and Jesus only had 12.
This brings us to the sharp point: We do not mess with our Sacred Tradition. It is a bad idea. In fact, it is an unholy idea. So why is it that in so many dioceses the faithful have been denied the observance of Ascension Thursday on Ascension Thursday and must observe it on the following Sunday? Why is this so when we know, for a dogmatic fact, that Our Lord ascended on Ascension Thursday, 40 days after the Resurrection, and not the conveniently following Sunday? We know that Ascension Thursday is described in two Gospel accounts (Mark 16:19 and Luke 24:50-53) and referenced many times throughout the New Testament (beginning with Acts 1:2). In fact, we know that Ascension Thursday is one of the oldest feasts of the Catholic Church, in which, for over 1,600 years, Ascension Thursday was observed by Catholics everywhere. Ascension Thursday became one of 10 universal holy days of obligation with the publication of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, and until very recently, was observed throughout the U.S., without exception.
Here is something you can take to the bank, as the saying goes — take it to the Eternal Bank. The reason for the change all boils down to one word, and one word only: convenience. And dear family, a life of faith based on convenience will go to hell the very second it becomes inconvenient.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Just getting up on Sunday and going to Holy Mass — which only is a small part of keeping the Lord’s Day holy — just getting up and getting ready to go to Holy Mass in good clothes — “church clothes” as we called them when I was a boy — just getting up, getting dressed up and joining together with other Catholics in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass — has become so inconvenient that even before the fear-demic, 75 percent of baptized Catholics did not even bother. Now, since fear-demic, with the church lockdowns, the latest Pew research shows about 80 percent of Catholics do not believe in The Holy Eucharist.
Dear family, if I did not believe that right there, in that Tabernacle, is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ Our Lord, guess what — I am not coming here on Sunday either. But, now watch dear family, and listen closely: If I do believe that there in the Tabernacle is the Real Presence, then nothing — absolutely nothing — can keep me away from The Holy Eucharist, no matter how inconvenient.
And here is a memo to every bishop of the Catholic Church who locked the faithful out of Almighty God’s Catholic churches and who essentially denied the faithful of Almighty God’s sacraments:
Being fed to the lions, being burned at the stake, being tortured, beheaded and slaughtered without mercy — that is inconvenient — not whether I catch a cold from a virus from which virtually 100 percent of people under the age of 70 recover nicely. In fact, dear family, all the media-hyped fear which constantly lies to us about the Truth that the CDC finally admitted – that only six percent of the alleged COVID deaths were, in fact, deaths from COVID. Understand that this means that not 500,000 but only about 30,000 are true deaths from COVID.
And yet, some tyrants at the top have bankrupted our country and our culture and did so out of a fake media created fear — and, assisted by many in the Church — they have undermined our lives of faith and made us nonessential.
Dear family, as you well know, I am in the most vulnerable class of people. I’m older, I have had bad lungs since birth, and I had a heart attack 18 months ago and spent five nights in Mayo’s Cardio Unit and three months in cardio-rehab. Despite this vulnerability, I got the dreaded virus sometime in the last nine months and did not even know it! I never lost my sense of taste nor smell and I did not miss a single day of serving you. Not one. A couple months ago, Mayo tested me twice over three weeks and confirmed twice that I had the antibodies! Now, contrary to the prior fear-demic narrative that the antibodies only were good for about three months, some recent real and actual science has indicated that my antibodies are good for a lifetime!
And here’s the best part: My God given immune system is way better than anything — way better than any science experiment can stick in my arm. Thank you, Almighty God — for giving me, and every other human made in your image and likeness, an immune system specifically tailored to fight off such things as the COVID-19 virus.
Memo to them all. I am not divisive for speaking this Truth. Those leaders who divided the Catholic Church between faith and fear, between sheep and goats are the divisive ones. For decades, shepherds have destroyed our Sacred Tradition through such things as “transferring” Ascension Thursday to Sunday — out of convenience.
But again, dear family, again and as always, you do not have to take my word for it. Again, for over 1,600 years, Catholics always and everywhere celebrated Ascension Thursday on Thursday, and every Catholic knew it was a Holy Day. Further, one hundred percent of Catholics knew that failure to keep the Lord’s Day holy, with Holy Mass being just a part of it, was grave sin. Period.
But not now. Oh no. Not now, when Catholic churches were closed, even as tons of people at a time strolled into Walmart — even as the Planned Parenthood abortuaries, liquor stores, and marijuana stores stayed open! Whatever else may be said about any of it, dear family, if dozens of people can run into Walmart at any given time, we, the faithful, can come to Church because our Church actually is essential.
So explain it, if you can — if you even dare to try — shepherds of the Church — how you divided the Church between those of us who knew it was essential, and those of you who did not. But do not even bother trying to explain it to us, the faithful.
Explain it to the martyrs, those fed to the lions, like St. Ignatius of Antioch who proclaimed the Real Presence 1,900 years ago. Explain it to every martyr who died for the Holy Eucharist, like St. Tarcisius, a mere boy who was attacked and beaten to death while trying to bring the Holy Eucharist to Catholics condemned to die because they were Catholics, about 1,800 years ago.
Explain it to 14-year-old St. José Luis Sanchez Del Rio, whose feet were flayed before he was forced to walk to his dug-out grave and who, just 95 years ago, was slaughtered for proclaiming Viva Cristo Rey.
Dear family, be clear on one thing. I did not divide St. James the Less Parish, and I did not divide the Catholic Church. I would not even know where to start. Truth divided the Catholic Church, as it always does, between the courageous faithful and the cowards. And to their eternal discredit, the cowards of the last half-century, and the cowards of the last fourteen months, have decimated the number of faithful in the Catholic Church — just like Pope Leo XIII warned us, just like Our Lady of Fatima warned us, just like venerable Fulton Sheen warned us, just like Pope John Paul II warned us.
As always, you do not have to take a single word I say as proof, because not only do we have all those warnings, we have the proof that’s in the pudding, when now more than 75 percent of the baptized do not even bother to inconvenience themselves to come to Church on Sunday.
Lions, fires, torture, beheadings, and slaughters — those things are not convenient. And memo to those who cannot seem to get dressed up in their Sunday best — that inconvenience does not even begin to compare.
Stealing our Ascension Thursday and putting it on a more convenient Sunday — that is the convenience that destroys faith. That exactly is why Jesus the Lord — who had a very inconvenient Good Friday — asked a question of each one of us here today: “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8).
Dear family, we are not the divisive ones. We, who continued to do everything we could do to receive sacramental grace over the last 14 months, we are not the divisive ones. Rather, we know who the divisive folks are.
So let us, in whatever time Almighty God allows us to be together, let us always keep the faith no matter what — faith in the Dogmatic Truth handed down to us unchanged and unchangeable for 2,000 years. Let us keep the faith in Dogmatic Truth handed down to us by the martyrs. And let us realize that we few have been divided by that Truth just as surely as Jesus will divide us from the goats on Judgment Day.
Let us, as St. Paul told us to do: “Stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours” (2 Thess. 2:15). But we do not even have to look back so far for instruction such as this. Pope Benedict XVI said, quote: “Being an ‘Adult’ means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today’s fashions or the latest novelties. A faith which is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature. It is this friendship which opens us up to all that is good and gives us the knowledge to judge true from false, and deceit from truth.”
God bless you all and keep you safe in these dangerous times.

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