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Like a New Columbus . . . The Church Must Replant The Faith

June 24, 2020 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


Our annual Corpus Christi procession has grown in size and grandeur in the ten years since I resurrected it. Now akin to a spiritual army in battle array, with banners flying, priest and faithful advance triumphant and victorious upon the field of engagement against an unbelieving world. This is a far cry from its dried and neglected roots after years of desuetude.
Processions, and anything beyond the mere Sunday obligation to attend Mass only, had been forgotten or relegated to the increasing number of “options” that seemed to promise a new and exhilarating freedom from obligations generally after the malaise that came with the advent of the “new and improved” Church of Vatican II.
The freedom of Christ had become confused with a supposed freedom “from” Christ. When the practice of the faith atrophies down to the mere obligatory the process is not a static one. That which does not grow withers and dies. Devotions, and even some sacraments such as Confession, began to fade into the background as vestigial memories.
A kind of spiritual materialism prevailed. The visible signs of bread in Communion and oil in Confirmation were thought to be something to “have.” This while the invisible aspect of forgiveness of sins through absolution was thought no longer necessary.
Some grumbling among townies was reported in those first years as we ventured one Sunday each June beyond the walls of the church. This chatter went along the lines of: “The other priest didn’t do that.” Reminders of their unbelief annoyed those who preferred the faithful restrict themselves corporately within the four church walls.
The “new” tradition as judged an “anti-tradition” with the ministry of the new priest, who in fact was reintroducing old things. Suspected as I was of wrongdoing, I was merely implementing once again the one obligatory procession of the entire liturgical year. What was in fact required had been erroneously judged to be discarded and a no longer desirable exertion in the cause of “mere” salvation and worship of the living and true God.
Such is the uphill battle required for replanting the faith after half a century of neglect and rejection.
The parish had atrophied into a sacramental mill. The gleeful scuttlebutt among obligation-averse parents was that here was a place finally that didn’t expect anything beyond bodily presence for a few Sundays a year in the pew and at classes in the hall. In return for which each child gained lifelong freedom following Confirmation. The Church year began to morph into a mirror of the school year, with summers off and a kind of “graduation” from church that was timed to coincide exactly with the academic one.
With regularity, each family disappeared the Sunday after the sacrament was conferred upon the youngest child, never to appear again except perhaps at family funerals. This mode of operation, in fact a neglect of the spiritual good of the people, tended for years to produce the image of well-being as the families that migrated through the pews were replaced by others.
But the shrinking of Catholic families began to reflect the decline of families generally, Catholics having successfully achieved finally the status of being “like the others,” proudly parading the two children carefully limited by “faithful” use of the now-believed-to-be licit contraception.
By the time Corpus Christi occurred in June each year, all of the families who still had children at home had granted themselves “vacation” from Sunday Mass. Parents were actually blocking the transmission of traditions to their own offspring.
A rebellion resulted as I took increasing leadership over the religious education program, directing that classes continue through June and include the Corpus Christi procession. The last remaining three families suffering the woes of ecclesiastical jail until their children would finally be freed by Confirmation, joined forces as one and quit the classroom one year in April, the date they had decided upon as the correct one for concluding the academic year.
That episode sounded the death knell for the “spirit of Vatican II” contingent. At least that portion of it under age 50 or so. It is the one group now least likely to return to Sunday Mass now that COVID-19 restrictions have been somewhat limited.
In the beginning I led the few who remained, primarily seniors, in a circle around the church for the outdoor procession on the Feast of Our Lord’s Body and Blood. In the intervening years the gyre has widened to include the waterfront dock where we celebrate benediction on an elaborate altar before returning to the church to conclude the procession. Many families now participate, including many of the children, who now number at last count to be at least 77. This number is constantly growing as many of our mothers continue to bear offspring beyond the socially acceptable number of 2.1.
Those who march have the will to fight for and spread the faith, first to their own children. Their will to engage in battle is predicated upon the Traditional Latin Mass which they attend exclusively. This has been the seed of rebirth and new growth in the parish.
The many who no longer form their lives around the faith have lost hope in eternal life, the most devastating crisis possible for the human person. Without Christian faith, the West will fail. The death throes have begun in the disorder and iconoclasm of the forces of darkness and unbelief in places like Minneapolis and Seattle, where Christian faith has largely been thrown off as restricting chains.
The same anti-Christian forces that intimidated the so-called conservative justices into including sodomy under the protection of a 1964 civil rights law have openly used fear and intimidation to advance their evil cause. The laws of the land are falling under fear of threats to the families even of the standard bearers of supreme justice.
When the forces of evil have thrown off the weapons of light in His word and sacraments, they resort to physical violence to impose their will. This is the violence visited by the same forces on our cities and who are demanding the eradication of policing, which will be the last obstruction to their conquest.
The disorder of intimidation and physical violence is the last and most effective weapon of the anarchist forces of destruction.
Laws are a threat to the Godless whose lack of creed makes every act acceptable. In their base calculus, wants trump needs and duties. These are the anarchists of the CHOP zone in Seattle where BLM protesters have established a Muslim-style “no go” zone, as now seen in many European cities. A brave black woman evangelist named Bevelyn Beatty preached to the mob there, urging them to reject Joe Biden as he is no friend to blacks. It’s unlikely she got through to them, however.
Within our parishes, abuses in the name of Vatican II “ecumenism” took the evangelical zeal out of the Catholic Church mission. As increasing numbers become unbelievers a remnant will be left to carry the faith onward.
The Church and the family have already experimented with retreating within the walls of the monastery under the COVID shutdown. Families stayed home and ordered in what they needed beyond the necessities obtained on limited authorized trips to some, though not all, stores. Home-schooling and teleworking increased the sense of social distancing from the storms beyond the four walls, as well as the threatening virus.
The Church on the other hand shut down too much in some instances, preventing any and all access to sacraments as well as corporate worship, even in danger of death in a most extreme and misguided zeal for complying with social strictures.
When vandals took over Europe, the Christians retreated behind monastery walls. We now have a choice before us. The family may have to indeed retreat more and more within the walls of the home, a kind of monastery akin to COVID life, with increasingly fewer forays into the outside world minimally for work, food, or medical needs.
The Church must shake off the false “ecumenical” malaise that imposes a kind of indifference to unbelief. No, like the annual Corpus Christi procession, the Church must take up the arms of the word in traditional sacraments, Scripture, and the prayer of the Mass, and advance like Christopher Columbus once again to claim new lands for Christ and His Kingdom.
No greater or more necessary gift can be conferred upon the darkness and disorder of the modern world than saving the light and grace of Christ the Truth.

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