So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Identity, Fidelity & Mission

I know you are but what am I?

That retort, which might be a typical one for an elementary age schoolboy, frequently finds a place on the lips of adults who fail to behave as they demand their own children should.

A recent experience has convinced this blogger that some childish brains in adult bodies employed by the Church are simply incapable of distinguishing between the fiction made up in their own minds about the common spiritual life and the actual liturgical heritage of the Church.

How is it that people can become so enamoured in an ideology—i.e., progressivism or liberalism—that they think themselves so liberated and broadminded, yet their responses to any challenge of their opinions sound more like mere arrogant affirmations of their own positions and smack of condescension toward their partners in dialogue? That condescension is particularly obvious when liberals encounter those who promote the Tradition of the Church. Said "liberated" souls, far from referring to the liturgical and theological norms of the Church (unless, of course, the norms seemingly allow for flexibility that they can exploit to some unfortunate end), follow an anti-intellectual course even while accusing their opponents of lacking an appreciation of theological, liturgical and historical nuance. When cornered, those who identify as liberals or progressives demonstrate little if any consistency with regards to the application of reason and principle. The tendency among liberals or progressives is, when challenged, to defend themselves, perhaps even at the expense of fair play and the dignity of another, by attempting to elevate feelings above the facts of history and Tradition.

Confronting Ignorance

How is it that (far too many) Catholics who should be custodians of Apostolic Tradition have become so blithe toward Tradition that they marginalize the best of the Jewish heritage which was restored and elevated by Jesus Christ the Lord Himself? It seems awkwardly and oddly true, then, that those who are given to innovation and rupture reveal themselves as mere anti-semites. They reject the Tradition received through the Jews which Christ, Himself being a Jew born under the Law, purified and entrusted to His Church of the New Covenant. The innovators or progressives fear the mere mention of the word Tradition. They attempt to triumph their narrow, fallacious views over the Lord's fulfillment of the Law and elevation of Tradition. For indeed, the Lord did fulfill the Law. He most certainly did not abolish the Law (St. Matthew 5:17)—not one stroke nor letter of it (St. Matthew 5:18).

What must we do?

So, for those rightly enamoured in joyful orthodoxy, what are we to do to help the anti-history liberal-progressive (c)atholic return to the Apostolic narrative? How might we contain the sophistry of the liturgical anarchists and at the same time share the illuminating news of truth, goodness and beauty—the transcendentals—with our brethren who are addicted to relativism and the wide gate that leads to perdition or, for that matter, those who, frozen in some conspiracy, will not recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit in the legitimate development of doctrine so well attested to by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman?

This we must do!

We must be better informed about and formed in the truths of the Faith in order to meet the challenge posed by liberal (c)atholicism. We must be completely disposed to the grace of God and be willing to confront the sophistry which attempts to excuse the madness of sin by pitting mercy against God's loving truth and which attempts to empty God's loving justice of meaning.

How must we be?

We, ourselves, if we hope to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ the only Saviour of mankind, must embody charitable zeal and share the Church's teaching with indefatigable joyful orthodoxy. If we respond to the call to intimate loving communion with Jesus Christ and His Church, and hand on the Apostolic Faith with complete fidelity to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass—by loving, praying and living the Mass—we will, then, be effective agents for change in the Church.

Dignity of the Mass; our dignity.

By promoting the dignified celebration of the Mass, lovers of Tradition put Christ first in their lives. Rescuing the Liturgy from abuse by the liturgical innovators (wreckovaters) requires trust in the Holy Spirit Who is the principal agent of liturgical restoration and renewal. The Holy Spirit reminds believers that the person and action of Christ is the foundation of the Sacred Liturgy. By purifying the Liturgy of the mad attempts to appropriate it for whatever partisan ideological gain that the many misguided people want to impose, lovers of Tradition rightly assert that the Liturgy belongs to Christ. We belong to the Liturgy; the Liturgy does not belong to us. Christ is the principal actor in the Liturgy; we belong to Him. The Liturgy is entrusted to us by Christ so that we can belong in the Church. The sacraments are for our well being and eternal health; the sacraments are not ours to manipulate. The sacraments are the real presence of Christ among us. We would do well to emulate our ancient brethren who zealously defended the sacraments from harm.

By promoting the right celebration of the Mass according to the example of orthodox Church Fathers, not according to the weird imaginings of the 'Spirit of Vatican II' crowd, lovers of Tradition show trust in the Lord Who will renew the Church according to His will. In other words: save the Liturgy, save the world.

Is evangelization as simple as getting the Mass "right"? Yes, brethren, it is. The Holy Eucharist is, after all, the source and summit of the Christian life. How can we invite people to communion with the Church founded by Christ upon Saint Peter, the Church founded for the sake of the salvation of souls, if the Mass becomes an obstacle to their salvation? Well, not the Mass per se. The mode of celebration of Mass, if corrupt, makes the Mass more like a wall than a stained glass window through which the Light of heaven can shine into the hearts of souls who thirst and hunger for righteousness.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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