What Does Opposition to the Traditional Mass Really Signify?

On the 14th September, 2007 we commemorated the seventh anniversary of the implementation of Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum. Whilst it was welcomed with great joy by a large portion of the Catholic Church, there have been obstacles placed in some other areas over its implementation. New Liturgical Movement explains the significance of opposing the Traditional Latin Mass, and why this should not be so.

BY PETER KWASNIEWSKI

At the ordination of priests dedicated to the usus antiquior: Bp. Marc Aillet, June 28, 2014

At the ordination of priests dedicated to the usus antiquior: Bp. Marc Aillet, June 28, 2014

In the post-Summorum world, the ancient Roman Rite can no longer be considered forbidden, dubious, marginal, or obsolete. It enjoys equal rights of citizenship with the Novus Ordo: two forms of the Roman Rite—one called Ordinary because most recently promulgated and more widely used, the other called Extraordinary, the usus antiquior, deserving respect for its venerable use—with each able to be freely celebrated by any priest of the Roman Rite, no special permission needed. One would think that, as a gesture of reconciliation at the heart of the Church, the two forms would be flourishing side by side, with Catholics everywhere privileged to experience both of them offered reverently and beautifully.

But this is still far from the reality, and, sadly, there are still far too many bishops and priests who oppose the traditional Mass, tether it with burdensome conditions, or resort to power politics to ensure that its supporters are duly warned and penalized for their rash embrace of our Catholic heritage.

As we commemorate today the seventh anniversary of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, whose provisions went into effect on September 14, 2007, it will be both edifying and sobering to consider the meaning Joseph Ratzinger himself attached to opposition to the traditional Mass. What does it mean when someone opposes this Mass, or those who celebrate it, or those who cherish it as a form of prayer dear to them?

In the book-length interview Salt of the Earth, published in 1997, Ratzinger said:

“I am of the opinion, to be sure, that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It’s impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that. A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden, and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent. Can it be trusted any more about anything else? Won’t it proscribe tomorrow what it prescribes today?” (176-77)

Ten years prior to Summorum, he was placing his finger on the crux of the matter. If the liturgy that was the Church’s holiest and highest possession for centuries, the object of total reverence and honor, the means of sanctification for countless Catholics, is suddenly forbidden, and if the desire to worship as our forefathers did is treated as wrong, what does that say about the Church herself, about her past, her tradition, her very saints? Truly, her credibility vanishes entirely, her proclamations become arbitrary diktats. Was there something fatally flawed, all this time, with our central act of worship? Were all the popes of the past who lovingly cultivated this liturgy mistaken, were all the missionaries who brought it around the globe misguided? Could they say, in the words of Gatherer, son of Vomiter, “I have not learned wisdom, and have not known the science of saints”? (Prov 30:1, 3, Douay).

In God and the World (2002), another of those splendidly insightful and doctrinally robust interviews which now, in retrospect, make for such wistful reading, Ratzinger returned to the point:

“For fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters, it is also important that the proscription against the form of liturgy in valid use up to 1970 should be lifted. Anyone who nowadays advocates the continuing existence of this liturgy or takes part in it is treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here. There has never been anything like this in history; in doing this we are despising and proscribing the Church’s whole past. How can one trust her present if things are that way? I must say, quite openly, that I don’t understand why so many of my episcopal brethren have to a great extent submitted to this rule of intolerance, which for no apparent reason is opposed to making the necessary inner reconciliations within the Church.” (416)

Here we have language strikingly akin to what we will find five years later in Pope Benedict’s Letter to the Bishops that accompanied Summorum Pontificum. Once again, we find the telltale insistence on possessing the right attitude towards the undying and life-giving heritage of the Church. The liturgical rites that arise from apostolic seeds in the Church’s sojourn through history are the fruits of Him who is the Lord and Giver of Life, and they cannot, in themselves, either die or bring death—nor can they be legitimately prohibited.

This would explain why Pope Benedict XVI, in Summorum Pontificum, says that the traditional Latin Mass “must be given due honor for its venerable and ancient usage” and, in the Letter to the Bishops, adds:

“What earlier generations held as sacred remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.”

The giving of due honor, which translates into the actual celebration of the rite, is not an optional matter, and this is why we should politely refuse to allow ourselves or our fellow Catholics to be categorized as people with certain “preferences”: “Oh, you prefer the old and I prefer the new.” No, it goes beyond preferences to the very structure of the Catholic Faith: those things that are venerable and ancient must be given due honor; what earlier generations held as sacred must be sacred—and great!—for us, too; it is incumbent on us to preserve these riches and to make sure that they occupy their proper place in the life of the Church today.

Again, a sign that we are reading Pope Benedict correctly is that the clarifying instruction Universae Ecclesiae goes out of its way to emphasize these points. In fact, section 8 of this document is striking in its uncompromising simplicity, its total lack of hedging qualifications or loopholes:

“The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum constitutes an important expression of the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff and of his munus of regulating and ordering the Church’s Sacred Liturgy. The Motu Proprio manifests his solicitude as Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church, and has the aim of: (a) offering to all the faithful the Roman Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, considered as a precious treasure to be preserved; (b) effectively guaranteeing and ensuring the use of the forma extraordinaria for, given that the use of the 1962 Roman Liturgy is a faculty generously granted for the good of the faithful and therefore is to be interpreted in a sense favorable to the faithful who are its principal addressees; (c) promoting reconciliation at the heart of the Church.”

At the ordination of priests dedicated to the usus antiquior: Bishop James Conley, June 14, 2014

At the ordination of priests dedicated to the usus antiquior:
Bishop James Conley, June 14, 2014

With these points established, we can readily see why any move to obstruct or diminish the presence of the usus antiquior in the Church today would only cause great harm and long-term damage.

First, it would be an act and a symptom of disobedience, which is never blessed by God and always punished by Him. More specifically, it would constitute disobedience to Pope Benedict XVI’s legal provisions in Summorum Pontificum (and their clarifications in Universae Ecclesiae), as well as to St. John Paul II’s well-known statement that “respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962.” As has been demonstrated above, it is not enough to refrain from bad mouthing the traditional sacramental rites; they must be known and loved, re-introduced and promoted, studied in seminaries, offered generously to the faithful as a precious treasure.

Second, and more profoundly, divine worship goes to the heart of a person’s spiritual life, that which is most intimate and cherished. Any refusal to share the treasures of the Church, any heavy-handed restrictions on what is already available (or should be available), can only provoke anger, disappointment, and mistrust, hurting the Church’s unity, which is a fragile good of enormous value. Certain bishops, priests, and laymen may have no great love for the Extraordinary Form themselves, but they ought to recognize and respect the sizeable minority of Catholics who do, and appreciate that depriving them of it, or begrudging it to them, is pretty nearly the most offensive thing that could be done—rather like slapping a man’s wife, mother, or grandmother. To be blunt, those who sincerely want peace and mutual understanding had better act generously or they may end up with another ecclesiastical Cold War on their hands. Who wants that?

It does not require a degree in nuclear physics to see that a significant and growing number of Catholics are flocking to parishes and chapels where the traditional Mass is being celebrated, and with their (on average) very large families and strong commitment to homeschooling, the future belongs to them. In 1988 there were about 20 weekly Sunday TLMs; today there are over 500. There is no reason to fight this movement, and every reason to support it.

In spite of the anxieties of some who find it difficult to give peace and mutual coexistence a chance, the Extraordinary Form is not a problem for the Church, and, as Ratzinger/Benedict helps us to see, never could be a problem in and of itself. Instead, one may encounter unfortunate traditionalist attitudes that alienate or provoke—and, to be quite fair, this cuts both ways, since the promoters of the Novus Ordo frequently exhibit offensive attitudes of their own, such as a peculiar fusion of theoretical liberalism and practical totalitarianism. The thing to do is not jealously to limit and control the usus antiquior as if it were a dangerous addictive substance, an approach that only fuels those unfortunate attitudes, but to teach and model a right attitude, receiving with open arms, with humility and childlike simplicity, all that the Church herself gives, so that it becomes something normal and natural, not something forbidden (and thus, perhaps, more alluring?), controversial, or divisive.

Let us give the final word to Pope Benedict, from his Letter to the Bishops of July 7, 2007:

“I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: “Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!” (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.”

GRACIAS-TIBI-BENEDICTO-XVI

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26 Responses to What Does Opposition to the Traditional Mass Really Signify?

  1. mkenny114 says:

    Excellent article! Also, I have read many testimonies from priests to the fact that learning the Tridentine rite has not only broadened their pastoral capabilities (in that they are able to offer it as well as the NO) but has deepened their appreciation and reverence for the Mass overall. Here are a couple of other articles that touch on this, and that complement the essential points made in the article above:

    http://liturgyguy.com/2014/09/14/the-pastoral-necessity-for-priests-to-know-the-latin-mass/

    http://liturgyguy.com/2014/08/23/seminarians-and-the-latin-mass/

    Like

  2. toadspittle says:

    “Paul was certainly speaking in another context,”
    So, which form of the Mass would Paul be more familiar with?
    (or should that be “less unfamiliar”?)

    I must admit the ordination pictures look… (the rest of this comment has been deleted by a Moderator.)

    Moderator writes: You can keep those slanderous opinions to yourself, thank you very much.

    Like

  3. Mary says:

    Those who oppose the Tridentine Mass are antichrists who are against it because they are children of the devil who oppose everything holy. The enemies of the church got control of the sanctuary. But Catholic theology which teaches that Freemasons and heretics are automatically excommunicated and not members of the Church will set you free.

    Like

  4. kathleen says:

    mkenny114 @ 11:38

    Yes Michael, me too. I have also heard many enthusiastic testimonies from priests who were either very young, or had not even been born, pre-Vatican II, so who had no prior experience of the Extraordinary Form, but who once having discovered it and learnt how to celebrate it, fell in love with its outstanding beauty and holiness! The great Fr. Tim Finnigan and (I think) Fr. Z were two of these priests!)

    Thank you for those two great links from ‘Liturgy Guy’. His articles are always first class.

    On the New Liturgical Movement site, from where the article came, there are lots of fascinating comments people might find interesting as well. One commenter perceptively points out, that as ordinations to the diocesan priesthood have fallen considerably in western nations, but are climbing in the traditional orders who celebrate the usus antiquior, the logical consequence for the Catholic Church of the future in the West will be a smaller Church, but a far more faithful and devout one, just as Pope Benedict predicted. (But from this ‘small seed’, the Church will surely then grow and expand and finally recover Her former glory.)

    Like

  5. Just this Sunday I attended Latin Mass for the first time since my reception into the Church (for the first time at all, in fact).

    These days following the experience I am left most “haunted” by:

    1) The memory of the long silence (from the point of view of the congregation) which fell as the priest consecrated. Understanding in this silence and in my passive role as witness to the sacrifice the meaning of a spirituality (belonging to this rite) which imitates those who watched the crucifixion from a distance. This was the silence of Calvary.
    2) A troubling of my heart now with certain new-born nostalgia for a place and time of prayer which will not be my ordinary one (this Mass is only once a month and a bit of a drive away).

    Like

  6. johnhenrycn says:

    “…Catholic theology…teaches that Freemasons and heretics are automatically excommunicated…”

    Mary, I accept that freemasonry is not something Catholics should approve of, but I do so more as a kneejerk reaction to the concept of freemasonry rather than as a well thought out position. The 18th Century philosopher Joseph-Marie De Maistre, who was probably more Catholic than the Pope, was also, whilst being so, a freemason.

    ” Maistre’s association with Masonry was not really incompatible with his Catholicism. Despite papal condemnation, these eighteenth century clubs were often frequented by priests and bishops as well as Catholic noblemen.”
    http://www.cchahistory.ca/journal/CCHA1967/Lebrun.html [Just before Footnote 60]

    Anyway, George Washington, a great man by most accounts, was also a freemason.

    I’m looking for a condemnation of freemasonry in the latest (second edition) revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as promulgated by St John Paul, but can’t see any reference to it in the index.

    Like

  7. toadspittle says:

    ” George Washington, a great man by most accounts, was also a freemason.”
    So Ben Franklin and was Mozart. “The Magic Flute” is all about it. though don’t ask me how.
    Hitler didn’t care for them.

    (Surely that was a libellous opinion? Mr(s) Moderator? Although I meant it as a compliment.)

    Like

  8. toadspittle says:

    I humbly accept the rebuke of 12.28 yesterday, and vow not to repeat such a scurrilous suggestion. However, does it not strike anyone else that these displays of untrammelled ostentation and flamboyance might be doing the image of the Church more harm than good?
    Probably not.
    That the current Pope seems in agreement, counts for something, surely?
    The incontestable solemnity of the Latin Mass is one thing.
    But surely a little (all right, a great deal) less lacy surplices and gold filigree chasubles wouldn’t hurt?
    Does it attract the sort of person whose actions we end up regretting being linked with?
    I don’t know. But you see what I’m getting at.
    “Less is More” and all that.

    Like

  9. kathleen says:

    @ JH

    Hmmm, I can only imagine that De Maistre was totally unaware of the dangers of Freemasonry (described as “a naturalistic religion that espouses indifferentism”, i.e. that religious identity is unimportant) and of its total incompatibility with Catholicism!

    From ‘Catholic Answers’:
    Masonry is a parallel religion to Christianity. The New Catholic Encyclopedia states, “Freemasonry displays all the elements of religion, and as such it becomes a rival to the religion of the Gospel. It includes temples and altars, prayers, a moral code, worship, vestments, feast days, the promise of reward or punishment in the afterlife, a hierarchy, and initiation and burial rites.”*

    Masonry is also a secret society. Its initiates subscribe to secret blood oaths that are contrary to Christian morals…

    Historically, one of Masonry’s primary objectives has been the destruction of the Catholic Church; this is especially true of Freemasonry as it has existed in certain European countries.”

    *In other words: it can fool one into thinking it’s harmless, but its exterior belies a sinister interior.

    The Popes of the Catholic Church, aware of the dangers within the Freemasonry code, have adamantly condemned it from its very beginnings. There are numerous Church documents warning the faithful of this absolute incompatibility of being both a Mason and a Catholic. This link mentions some of them.

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  10. GEOFF KIERNAN says:

    Toad: As usual you do yourself a huge disservice. The lace surplices and gold ‘filigree’ chasubles come from a finer and more innocent time . A time when such things did not infer what you try to infer.
    I see it as an attempt by God servants to extend to their God the highest praise in the most efficacious manner and in the best way they could.
    “…untrammelled ostentation and flamboyance…doing the church more harm than good…”
    Think for a moment of the attention you would pay to the things you consider precious …EG a family photograph, the grave site of a loved one. In this instance and at this level I feel sure you would ensure every thing was done to preserve and enhance the ‘sacred’ for you.
    Have the honesty to afford God’s servants the same privilege.

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  11. kathleen says:

    Geoff, that was a brilliant response to Toad!

    It came just as I was wondering how to explain to Toad (for the hundredth time) that our immense love, adoration and honour of God will necessarily lead us to offering to Him, for His greater glory, of all that we hold most beautiful and dear. But you have said it far better than I could have done. 🙂

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  12. toadspittle says:

    Very good examples, Kathleen – I wouldn’t put pictures of loved ones in vulgar, ostentatious frames, and would make sure anyone I loved wasn’t buried under a nasty, flashy stone.
    Of course we all have very different ideas about taste.
    It’s just that what’s shown here is a bit Over The Top for me. Clearly not so for you.
    “The lace surplices and gold ‘filigree’ chasubles come from a finer and more innocent time.”
    Wouldn’t argue with that. But that time has passed. You could say the same about slavery and Womens’ Sufferage. I suppose.

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  13. toadspittle says:

    Sorry, Kathleen and Geoff – got your responses mixed up, I now realise.
    I’m honest in what I say here, Geoff. The Latin Mass itself is one thing.
    …How it’s presented is another.
    But I’ll say it again – it’s ultimately nothing but a matter of taste.

    Whose side do we think Pope Francis would be on?

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  14. GEOFF KIERNAN says:

    Toad, at 1125: “Wouldn’t argue with that. But that time has passed.” Its called Tradition Toad. Tradition along with the Scriptures is the essence from which the ‘Bride of Christ’ sprang. What has personal taste got to do with it???
    I feel anyone who chooses to dice Tradition has little regard for the present and even less for the Future.
    That is a curious comparison you make between the Church and Slavery/women suffrage . Don’t quite understand that… What has one got to do with the other?
    “Whose side do we think Pope Francis?”… Good question given what has happened to the Franciscan Friars.

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  15. GEOFF KIERNAN says:

    Addendum to my last… “I wouldn’t put pictures of my loved one in vulgar….. or bury them under a nasty flashy stone”
    Nor would you put the photographs in the rubbish bin or bury your loved ones in a dung heap I’ll wager.

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  16. toadspittle says:

    Are those the only alternatives, then, Geoff?
    No nice, simple, elegant, ungilded frame for Mum’s photo?
    As to gravestones – well that’s a whole nother topic, I suggest.

    To explain : Slavery and women being denied the right to vote were once time-honoured Traditions. We can throw in child labour, if you like – and criminalising homosexual activity.
    Rather like when Churchill tried to “modernise” something in the Navy, he was told,
    “That goes against the traditions of the Royal Navy.”
    “The traditions of the Navy, Sir, are rum, sodomy and the lash.” was his reply.

    Like

  17. mkenny114 says:

    Just as an aside to the debate about what is tasteful/appropriate with respect to worship, etc, I would like to share an example of some other liturgical traditions:

    http://scalaparadisideus.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/the-liturgical-chants-of-the-armenian-apostolic-church/

    It contains two examples of the rite of the Armenian Apostolic Church – who, unlike the Armenian Catholic Church, is not in communion with the Holy See. Given that this is the case though, I think it is probably (though am open to correction on this) fairly representative of the rites of the many Eastern Catholic churches which are in communion with Rome, and thus illustrates the great breadth and depth of liturgical expression that exists within the Catholic Church.

    I am about half way through the first one now, and it has a really haunting quality to it, and it is impossible to mistake it as anything other than deeply reverent, sacred music (something which cannot unfortunately be said for the way the Novus Ordo is often celebrated).

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  18. mkenny114 says:

    P.S. Kathleen, I certainly agree – the TLM certainly does seem to draw people in to a much greater extent (and this is no surprise really, given that the way the NO is often celebrated is no different to your average Protestant service, and sometimes decidedly less reverent!) and I very much agree with Pope Benedict’s prediction as well.

    In fact, this idea of a smaller but more devout Church is a good model on which to reflect, as I think it can become all too easy to think that because Western societies have discarded the faith of their fathers that all is lost, whereas a.) the Church worldwide is still growing, and there are very exciting prospects as to where that will take her in the future; and b.) this is something that is very much part of the Church’s way of being – the mustard seed, the leaven, etc.

    When Saint Benedict started his ‘project’ all those years ago, I am sure he didn’t have any idea that it would lead to the restoration of Europe and the flowering of a new Christian civilisation – all he wanted to do was to be faithful to his calling. But simply by being faithful, and patient, the dawn of a newly baptised Europe, reunited by common spiritual values after the fall of the Roman Empire, arrived. Similarly we must always keep our eyes on the long term, knowing that it will often be for others to reap what we sow, and that the Church has its roots in one who died but then was risen.

    ‘Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.’ This is the context in which I think we have to see our current travails.

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  19. An older individual said to me recently, “Yes, I know that the Novus Ordo Mass is a real Mass, a valid Mass. I know that intellectually. But in my HEART, where I think it counts, I FEEL that it is the traditional Latin Mass that IS THE MASS.”

    An emotional, illogical argument? Perhaps. But I know what he means. And I agree with him.

    In fact, I feel exactly the same way.

    Like

  20. kathleen says:

    Toad claims: “Slavery and women being denied the right to vote were once time-honoured Traditions….”

    Traditions? More likely laws of the land – secular laws of secular governments – if that’s what you mean by ‘traditions’.
    This has nothing to do with the Catholic Church, who has always been opposed to slavery, child labour, and to defending the value of women and true femininity (shown most vividly in her love and honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary.) From the creation of Adam and Eve – “Man and Women He created them…” – i.e. of equal value, the Church has been the greatest advocate of women. Whilst in the words of Our Blessed Lord: “Render unto Caesar, etc.” the Catholic Church has held her own teaching often in direct contradiction to some of the unjust laws of the state (like that of all types of human slavery and trafficking.)

    That some members of the Church have not always abided by her teachings? Well, that has always been the case since sin entered the world – don’t we all know! 😉 However the Church has often stood alone in her proclamation of people’s dignity and human rights, generally against enormous threats and dangers from the reigning opposition. (Btw, the UN Declaration of Human Rights stole most of its points from the teachings of the Catholic Church, but it has refused to acknowledge this blatantly obvious fact!)

    Toad, your very twisted bias of the teachings and history of the Catholic Church, is becoming steadily more flimsy and repetitive. Couldn’t be that you have some sort of hidden grudge, could it?

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  21. kathleen says:

    Michael @ 17:55

    That’s a fantastic comment, that brings up some really important points.
    One of them – that it is our duty to reap what others will sow – is one that I keep trying to remind myself when I feel despondent to see so many betrayals taking place in the Church in the West, and in the wreckage of our Christian heritage in Western societies in general. But the spark of the fire of the Holy Spirit is still there among many traditionally-minded Catholics, including growing numbers of young ones who will carry the Church forwards with faithfulness into the future.

    And as you (and Robert) infer, when the faithful are ‘fed’ the sublime and holiest ‘food from Heaven’ in the Traditional Latin Mass, virtue and devotion will likewise increase. It will take a long long time, for we have lost so much in the downward spiral of the last century or two… but we must never lose hope that the Church will not recover from this time of trial and purgation.

    Even the evils of Islam, growing and spreading in its cruelty and violence, will be vanquished one far off day.

    “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph”, Our Lady of Fatima told the little visionaries in 1917, just when the ‘rot’ was settling into Western nations. The Immaculate Heart of Mary, so closely linked to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is the triumph of Our Blessed Lord and the whole of Heaven over the forces of evil.

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  22. Kathleen:… Your last paragraph at 19.53… The promise that Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will eventually prevail is all some have to hold on to. Given the state of the Church and world at this time. From now until the nearing 100th Anniversary of Fatima (2017) will prove very defining in the scheme of things.
    immaculate Heart of Mary Pray for us.

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  23. toadspittle says:

    “Toad, your very twisted bias of the teachings and history of the Catholic Church, is becoming steadily more flimsy and repetitive. Couldn’t be that you have some sort of hidden grudge, could it?”
    “Hidden grudge,” Kathleen? When did I ever hide it?
    But it’s not a grudge, more a lifetime of reservations, shelved for many years, which thanks to the patient and loving care of CP&S, I’m able to examine in detail.
    As to “bias,” that invariably means having a different opinion to the other chap.
    Of course Traditions, such as blatantly discriminating against Catholics in Britain – were often enshrined in laws, as you perceptively point out.
    Some traditions are rotten and ought to be discarded. In my opinion. Others not. We should, however exercise tolerance of other people’s opposing views, wherever possible.
    Yes, sometimes it is not possible. As with ISIS.
    However, I tolerate the vagaries of the Catholic Church, and it tolerates mine.
    This is civilisation at its finest.

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  24. kathleen says:

    “thanks to the patient and loving care of CP&S…

    So glad you see it that way Toad! 😉
    And not forgetting the equally “patient and loving care” in dealing with many of your questions and statements shown by some of our loyal regular commenters too.
    Very nice honest comment from you… Bodes well for Jabba’s imminent visit to “The Peaceable Kingdom” I’d say. 🙂
    __________

    @ Geoff

    Thanks Geoff, but I would add that Mary Immaculate is in reality only echoing Her Divine Son’s words that “the gates of Hell will not prevail against it” (the Church). She will survive till the end of time on Earth no matter how small She may become, or how many holy martyrs will shed their blood in the process, or how ever virulent the Devil and his minions’ attacks on Her might be.
    The Church Militant grows and wanes… and then will grow again. The Church Triumphant reigns forever.

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  25. mkenny114 says:

    Thank you Kathleen. It is hard to keep the ‘long game’ perspective, and I too constantly have to remind myself of the larger context within which everything we do takes place! But it is definitely a useful thing to remember that changes for good in the Church (whether they be the restoration of what was lost, or new though faithful expressions of the Faith in other environments) do often take time, whereas changes for the worse are bound to take effect easily, because they are in concert with the spirit of the age – it is, as the saying goes, easier to float downstream than to swim against it!

    So to focus on the (relatively) small but significant movements is a good thing because they will be the seeds of something that, whilst we may not see it, will really have the most effect on what the Church of the future will be like. All the innovations and distortions of the Faith that have occurred over the last few decades will, I am sure, be no more than a sorry footnote in the Church’s history 🙂 As you say, the gates of Hell will not prevail!

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