Life is full of frustrations, many of which will have been increased or aided by the computer that is displaying this post to you.

Young children, used to their lives being ruled and facilitated by their parents, also have a tolerant, if not fatalistic, outlook on the world they live in: they are rarely masters of their fate and, in consequence, are usually quite happy with life as they experience it (parents, please forgive me for eliding the host of temper-tantrums, hissy fits and incomprehensibly-sourced sulks that you have to put up with; just remember the children playing with the cardboard boxes that the expensive, but now discarded, toys originally came in – I think you get the picture).

The problem lies with adolescents, who are starting to take control of their lives and have responsibility for its successes and failures, but who cannot yet conceive that things rarely go to plan in this sub-lunar sphere.

"I'm going live my life much better than you can imagine, just as soon as you give me an advance on my pocket money"

As adults, we have learned, through long experience, to greet the set-backs and delays that dog our lives with some small degree of equanimity; life is rarely a bed of roses, and even when it is, the thorns scratch us as we recline upon it.  If we do not learn that life is about not sacrificing the obtainable good at the altar of the unobtainable perfect then we will have little joy or longevity in our relationships.

We all have weak spots, and all fall down from time to time.  Especially in things that matter to us.  And, as Catholics, especially in matters of the Faith.

Those wanting to remake the Church in the image of the fads of the last century are a typical example of this: one can expect toys to start describing parabolas from prams if there is a hint of Latin, or someone has the temerity to suggest that “Faith of our Fathers” might be a fitting hymn for a Mass on 22 June.

Unfortunately, this tendency is not limited to the modernists.  In many ways those of us in favour of tradition can be even less ready to stomach imperfections in the rites that we attend: gather any group of traditionalists together and the group will fracture quicker than you can say “Reformation” into those who insist on the 1962 books, those who throw a duck-fit if they hear St Joseph’s name in the canon, those who yearn for the calendar before Bl Pius XII let Bugnini start mucking around with Holy Week in 1955 and so on.  People get frightfully upset if the Mass that they have heard isn’t “right”.

A further example of this tendency can be found in the latest statements from the Wimbledon Papacy, which have been reported on Rorate Cæli. The talk is of a new motu proprio offering the SSPX a way back in to full communion with the Church predicated only on acceptance of the Catechism, putting aside questions about the state of the Church in the wake of VII. This solution would seemingly satisfy a large part of the SSPX faithful, whose problem is with the praxis of the Church, not its doctrinal formulations (after all, ++Lefebvre felt able to sign up to the documents of VII and, as anyone can tell you, they are fairly anodyne). This is seemingly not sufficient for +Williamson, who wants Rome to submit to the magisterium of the SSPX and will settle for nothing less (I may be doing him a disservice if any of our readers are familiar with the goings on in the SSPX milieu and are willing to write something for us on the subject, then please get in touch via the form on the page marked “about this blog”).

These divisions only serve to weaken the traditionalism and fail to see an essential point – we should not presume that we can make the world perfect by our own efforts, we can, at best, be no more than instruments of God’s will (that is not to say that we should not try, only that we should not throw over our works if they don’t meet our wholly unrealistic aspirations: we are always in danger of making idols of our wishes, no matter that they appear to us to be orientated towards the greater glory of God, that is, after all, something for Him to decide).

We need to take the opportunities proffered to us to gain a glimpse of God’s glory here on Earth in the traditional Mass (and, if one is very lucky, in the [very] Ordinary Form) and learn not to be irked by imperfections.  Most importantly of all, we need to give thanks for the priests that serve us, no matter how imperfectly, be friends to them and pray for them.  Let us make the Anima Christi our prayer for them and for each other:

Bosch Crucifixion

Anima Christi, sanctifica me. Corpus Christi, salva me. Sanguis Christi, inebria me. Aqua lateris Christi, lava me. Passio Christi, conforta me. O bone Jesu, exaudi me. Intra tua vulnera absconde me. Ne permittas me separari a te. Ab hoste maligno defende me. In hora mortis meae voca me. Et iube me venire ad te, Ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem te. In saecula saeculorum. Amen

In Newman’s tanslation:

Soul of Christ, be my sanctification;
Body of Christ, be my salvation;
Blood of Christ, fill all my veins;
Water of Christ’s side, wash out my stains;
Passion of Christ, my comfort be;
O good Jesus, listen to me;
In Thy wounds I fain would hide;
Ne’er to be parted from Thy side;
Guard me, should the foe assail me;
Call me when my life shall fail me;
Bid me come to Thee above,
With Thy saints to sing Thy love,
World without end.

This entry was posted in Catholic Prayers, Church Politics, Liturgy, Living Catholic lives. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Purity

  1. teresa says:

    Sometimes I think we should also define what “traditionalism” is, as the Traditio as a theological term refers to the good news we get from the Apostles, in this way, to keep faithful to the Traditio should be demanded from all members of the Universal Church, and every Catholic, as far as he is obedient to the Magisterium, is a “Traditionalist”.

    But today in our usage now, “traditionalism” becomes a word rather to make a division among the faithful, those who go to the Old Mass are called “traditionalists”, in this sense, I myself am a traditionalist, as I attend regularly the Tridentine Mass.

    Again, for some, I am not “traditionalist” enough.

    I think this concept is now more commonly used in an ideological way and I fear it won’t be very much advantageous to the development of our Holy Mother Church which is the Universal Church. A friend of mine, who has a doctorate in theology, said that after each Council certain theological concepts, which had been taken in an unreflected way, become the subject of theological discussion. And as I asked him to tell me which concept became such a subject after the Vat. II, he replied: “the concept of Tradition”.


  2. shieldsheafson says:

    Interesting article. It was this concept of ‘tradition’ that caused me to search out this blog in the first place, having already examined lots of others which only seemed concerned with contradictory and conjectural argument. Being a recent returnee to the faith (40-years absence), I found that part of the ‘tradition’ of the church which is obedience. And I have come to believe that obedience is the mother and guardian of virtue.
    I pray quietly and with humility for a return to the continuity of that tradition which links me to Roman and other Orthodox catholics of the last 20 centuries.


  3. toadspittle says:

    Two quick questions.
    What is the significance of 22nd June?
    Is the picture by Van der Weyden?

    (Clicked on 22nd of June and got More. Why? But delighted to find I share his birthday, as does Dickens, who was highly anti-Catholic.)


  4. johnhenrycn says:

    I agree, Shieldsheafson, this is an interesting article, an excellent one, I’d say.

    While I consider myself a traditionalist, at heart, I do attend the Novus Ordo, because that is all my parish offers, and I consider it an important part of tradition to be loyal to one’s parish. If SSPX is ever brought back fully into the Church, I shall go to their nearby chapel from time to time, and am preparing for the day by learning the Tridentine Rite through books and DVDs; but as important as Latin and ad orientem may be, it is the intensity of the reverence one experiences at Mass that matters most, and that in turn depends upon the very human priest in the sanctuary, whether he be a traditionalist or not.


  5. johnhenrycn says:

    Sigh. Into the spam tin again.


  6. The Raven says:

    Toad, It’s by Bosch

    JH, I’ll see if I can’t change the settings so that you spend less time in the sin-bin.


  7. johnhenrycn says:

    Thank you, Raven, so long as it doesn’t make it easier for the rabidly anti-Catholics to comment here, that would be nice.

    I also meant to say that it was through my reading of The Angelus, the official SSPX quarterly here in North America that I finally gained the courage to make Rome my home, as I’d wanted to do for a long time, which is all the more reason I pray for the day when the SSPX are fully part of us again.


  8. joyfulpapist says:

    I also attend the Ordinary Rite Mass at my local parish. There is an Extraordinary Rite Mass an hour’s drive away, but I’ve never been.

    Am I a traditionalist? Not in this modern coinage of the word. But in every other sense – loyal to the magisterium, clinging to the Rock, faithful to Church teachings, enthusiastic about the expressions of piety developed over the last 2000 years.


  9. Brother Burrito says:

    That is exactly my situation too, one hour’s drive away from an Extraordinary Rite Mass.

    I am tempted to go, but my teenage children retard me. I must dream up some reason to go.

    Pray for my success, please.


  10. teresa says:

    “I found that part of the ‘tradition’ of the church which is obedience. And I have come to believe that obedience is the mother and guardian of virtue.”
    How true!


  11. toadspittle says:

    I’d still appreciate knowing the significance of 22nd June. I presume iit’s something too obvious to comment on. But I’m only a toad.


  12. johnhenrycn says:

    “…the significance of 22nd June.”

    My web footed friend:

    I wondered that, too; but when Raven mentioned Faith of Our Fathers in relation to that date, I patted myself on the back, because “that was Fathers’ Day this year”, I said to myself – except it wasn’t.

    Someone else here (forgive me for not mentioning you by name, whoever you are; but it’s too late to carefully scroll back) has already explained that 22 June is the feast day (Optional Memorial) for St Thomas More. Also for St John Fisher, I might add (having looked it up); but still, I too, don’t quite understand how 22 June figures into this thread.


  13. The Raven says:

    Ok chaps, 22 June is the feast of two great martyrs of the Tudor deformation; Faith of our Fathers references the sufferings of the Church in that period.


  14. teresa says:

    Johnhenry: “I patted myself on the back”.
    Tell me how you managed to pat yourself on the back.


  15. johnhenrycn says:



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