CatholicScout Ponders: Traditional Mass attendance plateaued – Over focus on the Mass

Continuing the series of posts CatholicScout Ponders: Traditional Mass attendance plateaued – really? and why?. I originally commented briefly on the reasons why Mass attendance in the UK seems to have plateaued. I pointed to our historical response to threat, and how there seems to be a mass instinctual response which is hindering growth.

In the next post, CatholicScout Ponders: Traditional Mass attendance plateaued – Elitism, I commented on some of the different manifestations of Elitism within Traditional Circles. Young Fogies, Supremacists, Misers and Old Money Catholics.

This article focuses on, what I believe is, the third cause of the stagnation that seems to be occurring;

Over focus on the Mass

I have often witnessed, it’s all about the Mass. Mass. Mass. Mass.

Montage of photos of the Latin Mass

 

People, Priests, groups and organisations attached to the Traditional Rite can often suffer from this over-focus.

What is this over-focus? Partly, I think may be the vestiges of the pre-Vatican II clericalism. That negative clericalism, a mindset that put the Priest as a career. His job; to offer Mass. This clericalism was also a mindset in the laity, saying his job is to say Mass. The focus was the action of the Mass.

Partly, I think it may be connected to my first point, an instinctual reaction. The Mass is the Public Worship of the Church. It is the single most visible action that she conducts. The attack on the Traditional Mass after the Second Vatican Council provoked a reaction. The reaction was an over-focus on protecting the Mass.

What are the consequences of these actions? Well, the loss of the things that surrounded the Mass. Devotionals, the other Sacraments, Spiritual Direction, the list goes on and on.

The problem is, that the Mass by itself, is not enough. And here I come to a theory of mine. I repeat, a theory. I theorise that the implementation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in Diocesan Churches (in England and Wales) has had an inoculating effect.

Wikipedia to the rescue: Inoculation “Inoculation was a historical method for the prevention of smallpox by deliberate introduction into the skin of material from smallpox pustules. This generally produced a less severe infection than naturally-acquired smallpox, but still induced immunity to it.”

The smallpox we are talking about is Catholic Tradition. Not just the Mass, the whole thing. The way of life.

Translated: The implementation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in Diocesan Churches (in England and Wales) worked for the prevention of the spread of the Traditional Catholic way of life, by the deliberate introduction into Novus Ordo parishes, selected material from Catholic Tradition (i.e. The Mass). This generally produced a less severe infection, than exclusivity to the Traditional Catholic way of life, but still induced immunity to it.”

Of course, His Holiness Benedict XVI never intended Summorum Pontificum to be used as a tool in this way. But Satan whispers in the ears of those that don’t want to hear Truth. I think that the selective manner of implementation in English and Welsh Dioceses, has been shrewdly and maliciously turned into a tool for immunisation to the “disease” of Tradition.

Just offering the Mass is not enough. It’s all or nothing. You can’t do all of Novus Ordo and all of Vetus Ordo. It’s one or the other. As the Lord says:

No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other.

Matthew 6:24

Of course, back in the day, they understood that. Pope Pius XII in his Encyclical Mediator Dei pointed out:

It should be clear to all, then, that God cannot be honoured worthily unless the mind and heart turn to Him in quest of the perfect life, and that the worship rendered to God by the Church in union with her divine Head is the most efficacious means of achieving sanctity.

The Pope says it’s the full thing. Conversion of mind and heart, and the worship rendered to God by the Church in union with her divine Head. Notice, he doesn’t say “the worship rendered to God by the Church in the Mass…”. It’s the full thing. Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Eucharist, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Extreme Unction. Along with, Divine Office, preaching, catechesis, education, devotions, Rosary, Prayer, parish life, family life, priest life, religious life, spiritual direction, and on. EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING according to Tradition.

That and only that is as the Pope says “is the most efficacious means of achieving sanctity“.

The Mass by itself, is an island. It is stark, naked and cold. And if it is parachuted into a Diocesan parish alongside Novus Ordo Mass, with all the sacraments and parish life according to the “spirit of Vatican II” it’s no wonder that people will wonder “Sure, the Traditional Mass is beautiful, but I feel so alone”.

So what is the solution? The solution to the instinctual response, the solution to elitism, the solution to over-focus?

These I will answer in the next post.

P.s. If you can think of other reasons that put you or other people off the Traditional Mass, list them in the Comments box below!

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CatholicScout Ponders: Traditional Mass attendance plateaued – Elitism

Continuing on from the post CatholicScout Ponders: Traditional Mass attendance plateaued – really? and why?. I commented briefly on the reasons why Mass attendance in the UK seems to have plateaued. I pointed to our historical response to threat, and how there seems to be a mass instinctual response which is hindering growth.

This article focuses on, what I believe is, the second cause of the stagnation that seems to be occurring;

Elitism

This is a hard subject to put into concrete terms. There are different manifestations

Young Fogeys

There are the “young fogeys”

Yes, there is even a handbook! This is a group of young (usually male) Catholics who spend a little too much time (and money) copying the other young fogeys, that they see at certain Churches that attract a young fogey audience.

Audience is the right word here, for “show” is fundamentally what it is all about. The Churches which attract these people put on a “show”. The young (usually male) Catholics put on “show” too.

The problem is that if you are not putting on a “show” according to the young fogey criteria, then “your not in the club”, chap. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of very good and kind young fogeys, who do are very “inclusive”. What I am pointing out however, is that I suspect that the elitism that is actively and passively projected by this group can put people off the Mass. “I don’t have tweeds and speak “Rah” – I don’t feel welcome“.

Traditional CAtholic supremacists

There are the “Supremacists”, or the “old boys club”. In some way, they could be the modern “Traditional Catholic Scribes and Pharisees”.

What am I not talking about here is the group described in Leviticus 19:32

Rise up before the hoary [meaning: gray] head, and honour the person of the aged man: and fear the Lord thy God. I am the Lord.

I am not talking about our many, many good, holy and much needed brothers and sisters who are advanced in years.

I am talking about a strata of Traditional Catholics who perceive the Traditional Mass as their patrimony, their property to defend (and advocate) as they understand it. This is the group of Traditional Catholics who think that if they are not involved, the world is going to collapse and the Traditional Mass is going to disappear.

I have heard of people calling them “Rad Trads”, the “Fruits and nuts”, but I think that’s probably a bit unfair, and probably isn’t quite the group I am describing. And I need to be careful, I’m not on some anti-intellectual agenda here. It’s okay to be an intellectual, it is okay to be well read. It’s not okay to use those things as a separator between “us and them”.

A lot of people, me included, have taken offense at Pope Francis’ pointed remarks about Traditionalists, but maybe this is the group within Traditional circles that he is referring to. The modern day Traditional Catholic Scribe and Pharisee.

Traditionalist Supremacists have a difficult time stepping down from their pedestals and helping a newcomer through the Mass. The Traditional Supremacist will use “high Church language”, which the average Catholic won’t understand in the slightest.

Our Lord preached against this group in Luke Chapter 14: 8-11

When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honourable than thou be invited by him: And he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee, Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place; that when he who invited thee, cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee. Because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.

They tend to be quite homogeneous and often will be found in groups, associations and even some organisations. Some symptoms of this group can be (any combination or all);

  1. Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.
  2. Unquestioned belief in the morality of “the cause”, which causes such Supremacists to ignore the consequences of their actions.
  3. Rationalising warnings that might challenge the Supremacist assumptions.
  4. Stereotyping those who are opposed to the Supremacist position as weak, evil, biased, spiteful, impotent, or stupid.
  5. Self-censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent Supremacist consensus.
  6. Illusions of unanimity among Supremacist members, silence is viewed as agreement.
  7. Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the Supremacist group, couched in terms of “disloyalty”
  8. Self-appointed members who shield the Supremacists from dissenting information.

The elitism projected by this group can put people off the Mass. “my thoughts are not appreciated here, I’m not welcome

Misers and OLD MONEY CAtHOLICS

Money is an age old problem, and no group is free of it. Despite Our Lord pointing out;

You cannot serve God and mammon

Matthew 6:24

Here I am not talking about the necessary steps one needs to take to make a living. I am talking about two groups: Misers and Old Money Catholics.

I probably don’t have to explain why misers can put people off – there is nothing quite so off putting as someone who does have money, but does not give of his excess to support his Parish or help his fellow poorer parishioners.

Old Money however, needs some explaining. Wikipedia on Old Money: “The term typically describes a class of the rich who’ve been able to maintain their wealth over multiple generations, often referring to perceived members of the de facto aristocracy in societies which for historical reasons lack an officially established aristocratic class.”

So in England and Wales, for around 500 years it was illegal to be Catholic. The only publicly professing Catholic families that remained were rich land owners who could pay the fines. This effectively wiped out de jure Catholic aristocracy in England and Wales, apart from some very wealthy families (like the Stonors and the Fitzgerald-Howards).

There is today a class of rich Catholics who have been able to maintain their wealth over multiple generations, and are perceived as members of a de facto aristocracy (because formally it was illegal). My concern is, that there are examples of this de facto aristocracy in Traditional circles, which I think may be contributing to why people are put off the Traditional way of life.

How? Well, it’s one thing to have the blessing of inheritance, it is another thing to live off the fat. In some way I think that people can perceive these individuals as doing nothing for their bread. St Paul talks about them in 2 Thessalonians 11-12:

For we have heard there are some among you who walk disorderly, working not at all, but curiously meddling. Now we charge them that are such, and beseech them by the Lord Jesus Christ, that, working with silence, they would eat their own bread.

It goes back to the command issued to Adam as he was cast out of the Garden of Eden – Genesis 3:19:

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.

Now I’m sure some Old Money Catholics will have some beef with what I say here. “But I sweat hard working for the SVP, or the Order of Malta, or this that and the other” – I hear them say. The problem is, that while they are doing plenty of volunteering. That volunteering isn’t paying for their bread. They are observed by others who are earning a wage, which is paying for their bread, and that is off putting.

The Old Money Catholic may well indeed say “ah, those plebs, they are just resentful, that is their problem, not mine”. Well, yes and no. Our Lord talks about being an occasion of sin, and condemns the misers, and just remember Second Thessalonians…

Miserliness and Old Money often go hand-in-hand, and for some reason miserly people and Old Money Catholics seem inordinately attracted to the Old Rite. I don’t know why. Maybe something to do with prestige?

But I do think that these two money issues are a major stink in Traditional Catholic circles. The elitism projected by this group can put people off the Mass. “Over there seem to be the Rich people, who don’t give a penny. Over there seem to be the people who have never sweated for their bread. No place for me here.

N.B. Don’t get me wrong I am not a Communist, putting forward the idea of revolution to redistribute the wealth of the rich to the poor. I am a staunch Distributivist. Not heard of Distributivism? Then you probably have never read Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical Rerum Novarum, which condemned both Communism and Capitalism.

I will give my thoughts on the solution to these problems in a future post.

CatholicScout Ponders: Traditional Mass attendance plateaued – really? and why?

There has been much talk of the second springtime for the Church since the Second Vatican Council. Much talk, but little to no concrete evidence. I have heard people talk of the vibrancy of the Church in Africa, the Far East and in Central and South America. But here in the UK things are grim, to say the least.

joke about people leaving after "opening up the Church"

Mass attendance in the Novus Ordo is declining sharply (along with vocations, marriages, baptisms etcetera). But what about the Traditional Mass? Surely the stalwart Traditionalists are increasing, and people are being attracted to the depth and spiritual richness of the Traditional Rite?

Well, in the United Kingdom, the answer is “not really”. Sure, since the promulgation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum by Pope Benedict XVI, there are a lot more Masses in England and Wales. Mass attendance at the Traditional Rite, rose slightly after the promulgation of the Motu Proprio, but it is common knowledge that it has now largely plateaued.

One thing for sure is that the Traditional families attached to the Traditional Rite, are far more observant of Holy Mother Church’s teachings, such as those regarding fecundity. So there is a phenomenal fecundity in the Traditional communities, in comparison to Novus Ordo communities.

And there is a trickle of people being attracted from the Novus Ordo to the Traditional Rite, which, for sure, is the working of the Holy Ghost. But it is also fair to say, that logically, there isn’t the “boom” of attendance and appreciation that many Traditionalists expected.

In the UK, I think we are blessed with the Latin Mass Society (LMS) which organises many public events with the Traditional Rite, but from what I can see is that a lot of them are very poorly attended. Why? Where are all the Trads? What can be done to change this?

One thing which struck me, was how often I have come across people saying “with Summorum Pontificum, the LMS should not need to exist”. For sure, after Summorum Pontificum the LMS had to rethink it’s existence, and I think (correct me if I am wrong) they changed their constitution to reflect that. But I think that public organisations like Federatio Internationalis Una Voce, or the Latin Mass Society, do have an important role to play.

So why do I think that Traditional Rite Mass attendance has plateaued in the UK?

  1. Recusant mentality
  2. Elitism
  3. Over focus on the Mass

Recusant Mentality

Recusant mentality is two things: It is an instinctual response to a perceived threat, and it is a historical pattern in British Catholicism.

So firstly, instincts. What is the threat? We live in an age of unprecedented information. We find out what the Pope has said, quicker than the Vatican dicasteries themselves.

We get information (news) almost instantaneously, the problem is that the information comes directly to us, leaving us with the temptation to interpret those ourselves. Or worse, listening/reading other people’s private interpretations of events.

Of course, because we Baptised Catholics suffer from concupiscence, the tendency in our private interpretations is towards to pessimistic. There is all kinds of catastrophic interpretations of current events within and outside the Catholic Church.

The threat is our negative, or catastrophic, interpretation of the information fed to us by media. This perceived threat triggers our instinctual response. Fight or flight. For us British, we hunker down (flight) and fight off all comers (fight).

Let me be the first to say however, that I am not saying that we should walk around whistling in the dark, pretending everything is okay. Things are definitely not okay. For this reason I keep reminding my readers:

poster saying "keep calm and be holy"

What I am pointing out, however is that there seems to me to be a mass instinctual response to the signs of the time. Instinctual responses are not rational responses. I will address my thoughts on how to correct this problem in a future post.

More on Elitism in the next post!

Synod on the Family 2014 – Déjà vu?

Hans Memling's Painting of St John's Apocalypse

I have been living by some sage advice given to me: “Stop worrying about what is happening in Rome, and get on with being holy in your day-to-day life”.

Being holy in my day-to-day life is about trying my best to live by the Commandment that Christ left us recorded in the Gospels (John 13:34). I fail regularly. Thanks be to God for Confession!

That being said, I commented on a post by Dr Shaw, and would like to share it here. I think that this is important.

Dear Dr Shaw,

Thank you for your thoughts on the matter of the Synod, the attempts to undermine the perennial teaching of Christ and the likelihood of further attempts in the future.

I would like to highlight a little statement that you wrote which I think is very important – “But it is possible that, with the approval of the Supreme Legislator, Canon Law could cease to say what it says today about the reception of Communion, which gives the teaching on indissolubility some practical implications. It could cease to implement Divine Law in this respect.”

You then go on to hypothesise how that could manifest, but I would like to add one for your consideration. The introduction of a “theory of a just communion for divorced and remarried couples“. This method already exists in both canon law and the catechism, to get around perhaps the most difficult subject that Christ taught authoritatively – violence.

The future synod could produce a theory. In doing so, the Theory, while being just a Theory, would in effect override the original perennial and immutable teaching of Christ.

And I agree, doing this has horrendous effects on the Church and her efficacy in the world.

Respectfully,
CatholicScout

 

Joseph Shaw
Can you give an example of how this method has been used in the past?

 

catholicscout
Dear Dr Shaw,
Thank you for asking.
I am aware of only one example of the introduction of a theory as a means to mitigate the teaching of the Divine Lawgiver.
The theories found in Cicero’s work De Officiis were imported by Saint Ambrose in his work De Officiis Ministorum, to mitigate the teaching of Christ (in particular His teaching during the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5, Lk 6), the questioning of the Pharisees regarding the greatest Commandment (Mt 22, Mk 12, Lk 10), and most importantly the New Commandment given to the Disciples at the Last Supper (Jn 13)).
The theory put forward in De Officiis Ministorum, was developed further under Saint Augustine in his work De Civitate Dei. The theory continued to grow and develop. Saint Thomas Aquinas writes about it in the Summa Theologica (Secunda Secundae Partis, Q.40).
That theory now finds it’s place in all the Catechisms (usually referencing De Officiis Ministorum). For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2307-2317).
It is unique because it is the only theory (that I am aware of), that appears alongside dogmatic declarations.

I find it interesting that these two issues are found within the same chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. The issue of violence and enmity is dealt with by the Divine Redeemer as born testimony in the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 5:21). The issue of the Indissolubility of Marriage is dealt with almost immediately after (Mt 5:31).

There are quite a few interesting coincidences between the introduction of Just War Theory, and the latest attempt to undermine the Indissolubility of Marriage.
In the first case of the introduction of a Theory to undermine Divine Teaching;
There was an outside pressure (Roman Society), and a corresponding interior “lobby” (of which we only have Saints Ambrose and Augustine recorded).
The “loophole” was introduced covertly, not by a Papal exhortation, but rather by an Archbishop (ref: De Officiis Ministorum.

I hope that helps.

Respectfully
CatholicScout

This isn’t a Vatican II repeat, although there are elements of the tactics used. Anyone who knows their history will know that the Second Vatican Council was undermined by a predetermined effort from a minority group. I’m not going to analyse all of the tactics used. But the Synod on the Family is strikingly similar to the events of the Second Vatican Council and the introduction of De Officiis Ministorum into the corpus of Catholic teaching.

We need to be aware, that we can’t claim that this hasn’t happened before.

Christ’s teaching regarding violence and enmity has been buried. By a theory from an Archbishop.

Christ’s teaching regarding the Indissolubility of Marriage is being threatened with being buried, by very similar means.

Mass. Prayer. Rosary.

CatholicScout Responds: Chesterton: Is War Irrational — or is Pacifism Feverish?

On the international traditional Catholic newsblog, Rorate Caeli, there was a post titled “Chesterton: Is War Irrational — or is Pacifism Feverish?“.

One of my readers has asked for my comments on the post.

Firstly, let me just clear the ground, Rorate Caeli is an outstanding blog, and I highly recommend it for keeping the pulse on Catholic News. However, I must swiftly point out that the contributors to Rorate Caeli are human and fallible. In this particular case, both the contributor and the original author are very wrong.

In the first case, the contributor (NewCatholic) is attempting to use G K Chesterton’s rant against 1915 pacifists, essentially as a Call to Arms for modern-21st Century Catholics to support homicidal violence in the Middle East (and elsewhere no doubt). The contributor here visibly demonstrates what I have mentioned in previous posts – the strong tendency that exists among Traditional Catholics towards “justifiable homicide”. In Traditional Catholic circles the theory of a “Just War” after almost 15 centuries of inculcation, has for them become dogma. Those that suggest otherwise are anathema.

Traditionalists will point out that Just War theory was supported by Saints Ambrose (d.397), Augustine (d.430), St Thomas Aquinas (d.1274) and so on. There are even Traditionalists with whom the appeal to Scripture and the Divine Lawgiver would be lost on. There are even some Traditionalists that believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ would kill humans in war (if it were just). There is one thing common to these and all other Christians who hold similar ideas:

Their perception of reality is incongruous to historical fact. They are deluded.
The fact that Saints were deluded too, shouldn’t be too much of a shock either, since Canonisation is simply saying that the Saint is in heaven, not his/her works.

The contributor is doubly wrong in using this quote from G K Chesterton for advocating “Just War” on a Catholic blog, because they quote G K Chesterton writing an article on “May 29, 1915“. G K Chesterton became a Catholic in 1922. At the time of writing this article G K Chesterton was a heretic…

The contributor is triply wrong in using a quote from the Anglican G K Chesterton, because Pope St Pius X, who died from grief at the outset of World War One, both warned the world and condemned the onset of war. Pope St Pius X, the person the contributor should have quoted, said before the onset of World War One:

Truly we are passing through disastrous times, when we may well make our own the lamentation of the Prophet: “There is no truth, and there is no mercy, and there is no knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1). Yet in the midst of this tide of evil, the Virgin Most Merciful rises before our eyes like a rainbow, as the arbiter of peace between God and man.

In the second case, G K Chesterton, a man of great renown and later on in life of great holiness, he is a fallible human being, just like you or I. In the case of this particular rant, he is most certainly wrong on several counts. Let us assume for a moment that the Anglican G K Chesterton had written this article about me. I respond as follows:


Dear esteemed sir,

In response to your article in The Illustrated London News, May 29, 1915.

Your argument that Pacifism is morally wrong, is correct, if by Pacifism you mean doing nothing in the face of evil. Firstly, I am not a “Pacifist”. I am a Christian who believes that Christ Commanded us not to commit homicide. However, Christ did not Command us to do nothing in the face of evil. Christ showed us a way to confront the power of evil, with the power of Good. He showed us the Way to return good for evil done, and to be “obedient [to His Commands] unto death, even to the death of the cross” (cf. Phil 2:8).

Christ’s Way of returning Good for evil, is the only morally pure and right course of action. War, homicide, violence are condemned by the Messiah.

If now we talk about Gospel Non-Violence (having put away the notion of Pacifism), I can assure you sir, that I believe that Christ Commanded His followers (and His Church to teach all future generations) to “love one another, as [He] has loved [us]” (cf. Jn 13:34). I believe that His New Commandment is absolutely binding to all who claim to be His disciples, just as the Commandments of Old were (and still are) to the Jews. I believe that there are no exceptions, no clauses, no excuses, and I believe that the Church and her Saints were, and are, wrong in suggesting otherwise. I emphasise “suggesting“, because let me remind you, the Church has never infallibly proclaimed the Theory of a Just War to be Dogma.

There is no moderation in my position, because there is no moderation in Christ’s position (as born witness by Sacred Scripture and the first three centuries of Christianity). Just because there are few of us that hold such a fundamentalist position, does not undermine the fact that it is supported by the Fathers of the Church, the Apostles and God His-Incarnate-Self.

Since our salvation rests on the Saviour of Mankind, and since He showed us the Way to Eternal Life, please, esteemed sir, point out to me where Christ said that there is such a thing as “wars that are right and wars that are wrong”. Christ didn’t pronounce judgements and commandments about many things (such as those things that were already absolutely anathema at the time – like contraception, abortion, sodomy etc.), but he did pronounce judgements on killing, violence and harming others (things which were at the time considered justifiable). War is simply an extension of the killing, doing violence or harming of a single human being.

Since Christ did condemn the killing, doing violence or harming of a single human being, how do you sir, justify that doing it to hundreds, thousands, tens or hundred of thousands, or millions, can be right?

The Way of Christ is one of obedience. Obedience to His Law. Not to man’s. It is not easy, but the reward is Eternity.

Yours Sincerely,
CatholicScout.


Lastly – please pray for us dear Gilbert Chesterton, that we don’t use your words to send our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters off to war, to kill other peoples’ brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.

CatholicScout Replies: LMS Chairman: Young people and the Traditional Mass: a response to ‘T-C’

Excellent post Dr Shaw.

The demographics are our most important and powerful resource.
At New Rite events, such as Youth 2000, the female to male ratio is very high.
At Old Rite events, such as the YCA retreat, conversely, the female to male ratio tends to be very low.

Much has been said about the “femininity” of the Novus Ordo, as opposed to the “masculinity” of the Vetus Ordo. I don’t think that the stereotyping of male and female spiritualities should be omitted in your deliberations, rather to remind people that the constant teaching of the Church has been that male and female are different. Female being at their core more nurturing (read touchy-feely or emotional and tangible). It is natural that they find satiation in the New Rite youth events.

As you and T-C pointed out, the problem is a massive lack of Catechesis coming from the people in positions of power – the PP, the Bishop, the Pope etc.

How often do you hear from the pulpit that “we should strive to remember that the Fathers of the Church have always pointed out that the emotional is juvenile and immature, and that spiritual growth is away from the emotional and tangible, through the intellectual, to the mystical and intangible.”?

My experience of young women at Traditional youth events (as compared to those attending New Rite youth events), is that they tend to be much more “mature” in their faith and as people.

While my experience of young men at vaguely-Charismatic youth events (in comparison to their Traditional counterparts), is that they are much more immature in their faith and as people, and that their motivation for being at such events, in truth, has much more to do with the young women that are there, rather than getting to know, love and serve God more.

No youth event is entirely free from that motive, of course, but it seems remarkably more apparent at New Rite youth events.

But to conclude, I would add to T-C’s and your remarks, that the solution to the problem is Authority, Bishops attending Traditional youth events and instructing their Dioceses to support and encourage young people to attend them. Bishops to start diocesan-wide catechesis based on Traditional Patrimony rather than the newer touchy-feely washed-down stuff.

Bishops? Bishop, one Bishop, to start with. Someone willing to stand up against the status quo, put his head above the parapet, someone like Bishop Athanasius Schneider.

Respectfully,
CatholicScout


 

There is much more that I would like to write on this subject. I have been to a lot of youth events. Youth 2000, pilgrimages, World Youth Days, traditional youth events and on. I have a lot of experience in this area.

One area however, that I do not have experience in, is SSPX youth events. I have on occasion witnessed SSPX youth at prayer vigils in London. But I have never had the need to attend an event associated with the SSPX.

Now why do I bring up the Priestly Society of Pope Saint Pius X? Well, my belief is that our fundamental position as Traditional Catholics (and here also read Traditional Catholic youth), is completely subverted, compromised and perpetually eroded, by the absence of visible magisterial authority supporting it.

The Priestly Society of Pope Saint Pius X have Bishops, who have teaching authority par excellance. The Institute of Christ the King or the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter have fantastic preaching, but they are completely underminded by the Bishops whose Dioceses they reside within.

Within the Priestly Society of Pope Saint Pius X (I assume), the youth will all be instructed to attend Traditional youth events, where a level of decorum and morals will be held, which is probably unparalleled even within the Traditional circles of YCA or Juventutem, no matter how much the Traditional Priests associated with those movements try.

The only great difference, is where Tradition has a strong foothold, such as in France, there we do witness what Traditional youth events can be like. But again, I don’t have the experience of SSPX events to compare them against.

What I reduce this down to is an issue of magisterial authority. Bishops. We need to somehow break the “magic circle”, the “old boys” of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy and get a Bishop who is willing to be Contra Mundum.

Are Abortion and Capital Punishment equally bad? – Q&As on Gospel Nonviolence 4

Woman caught in Adultery, condemned to death, Jesus forgives.

A good friend asked:

Do you think that abortion and capital punishment are equally bad? I think that capital punishment, if we could not properly imprison a dangerous criminal, would be justified.

Okay, this is a sticky question, so first let’s set some precedents.

  • Firstly, God is creator and He loves His creation infinitely.
    Nothing that His creation does can reduce, or change that love.
    So God loves the unborn child, just as much as He loves the serial-murderer.
  • Secondly, God is infinitely just, and being the Creator knows His creation perfectly, hence He knows what is perfectly good for His creation. Those things that are perfectly good for us, His creations, are the Laws. Prefigured in the Old Testament Laws, and confirmed and clarified by God Himself in the incarnate Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity – our Divine Redeemer Jesus Christ – and recorded in the New Testament.
  • Thirdly, God in His infinite Love created us free. However, if we do something which is bad for us, that has consequences.

Having set those principles, let’s break the question down.

  • The subject of Abortion is a human being incapable of defending itself. That human being did not originate from itself, or by pure human means, but by a singular act of Love by the Divine Creator.
  • The subject of Capital Punishment is a human being incapable of defending itself. That human being did not originate from itself, or by pure human means, but also by a singular act of Love by the Divine Creator.

Okay, onwards.

  • The action of Abortion, is the killing of that human being by other human beings (directly or indirectly).
  • The action of Capital Punishment, is the killing of that human being by other human beings (directly or indirectly).

The difference between Abortion and Capital Punishment, is that some people think that the victim of abortion is not guilty of wrongdoing and therefore does not warrant the death sentence. These same people think that the victim of Capital Punishment is guilty of wrongdoing and therefore does warrant the death sentence.

The problem for these people, is that it is impossible to reconcile this opinion, with the actual Gospel records. According to the Old Law, adultery was a crime punishable by Capital Punishment, death. Christ was presented with a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery, and Christ did not cast a stone.
He also taught His disciples (not just His Apostles), to do the same.

The question is then, what would Jesus do? What would Jesus do with a maniacal serial killer?
He’d shoot him in the head. He’d inject him with salt solution. He’d pull the lever to electrocute him.
Sound like the Lamb of God to you? Sound like Someone who is described as All Loving? Does it remotely sound like the God that we adore or would want to adore?

Not to me.

Infanticide is a horrendous crime, and made all the worse to us because we perceive the innocence of the child.
Homicide is a horrendous crime, but sometimes the horror of that to us, is mitigated, because we perceive it as “just” or “the right thing to do”.

Those perceptions are not the same to the Author of Life. By His living example He murdered no one, not even those who “deserved” to die. He is the Way, not our perceptions, nor what the world tells us is “the right thing to do”.

He never gives up hope.

Do I think that abortion and capital punishment are equally bad? I think homicide is always and in every case an unjustifiable and grave evil. The perpetrator of the crime, be it a medical professional, or the government by proxy, are always and equally guilty of that crime, regardless of motives.

The excuse of “if we could not properly imprison a dangerous criminal” is untenable. There is always a way to imprison or deal with a dangerous criminal in a way which does not involve homicide. Just ask yourself “what would Jesus do?” and then if your fresh out of inspirations go ask Him yourself in Adoration. The one place, where He Who Is, shows the whole world, Who is the most vulnerable – “will you kill this man Lord?”.

My position is just that of the Gospels. It is very, very, very hard for me, fallen human being, to accept and comply with this position. But by God’s grace, I can use my intellect and will to consent to this.

Despite, the difficulty, I do.

Please listen to the following audio files for outstanding responses to classic Questions and Answers regarding Gospel Non-Violence:

  1. Cleansing of The Temple
  2. What if Someone Is Going to Kill your Wife or Children?
  3. Just War/Just Revolution Theory
  4. Violence in the Old Testament
  5. Christians in the Military/Police
  6. Surely this Is a Purist Gospel?
  7. What about Hitler?
  8. Buy a Sword? Luke 22:35-38