- Those who love beautiful liturgy and who sacrifice much in enabling the worship of God in the beauty of holiness (Ps. 29:2) are persevering and thriving despite insults hurled at them by impudent sons of the Church.
- The Pope revels in impromptu interviews on airplanes, or morning talk shows, yet won't entertain questions offered in humility and charity by his own cardinal helpers, questions that merit timely answers that can help protect the People of God from error and the loss of their souls. He calls for unquestioning obedience, yet offers little or none himself to the charity of confirming the brethren in the Truth.
- Too many people question the integrity and intentions of the Four Cardinals, for example, who offered the Successor of St. Peter their dubia hoping that the Vicar of Christ would help relieve the confusion of many who share reasonable concerns about how a certain papal document is prone to misuse.
- Pope Francis' recent dressing down of the cardinals was a compelling but confused, contradiction-filled diatribe that pitted his own virtue against that of others while failing to encourage a most basic piety: humility to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead of authentic humility, we get 'How dare you question my agenda?', and 'I and my agenda are above my own criticism.' That agenda, for all its noble goals, is an empty one because of the inclusion of the idol of Gradualism (called "discernment" in the Holy Father's list). The kind of gradualism, that is, which "accompanies" sinners by turning a blind eye to obstinate sinners receiving Holy Communion. While Pope Francis has rightly drawn attention to the authority of the Office of Peter, his realization of the power of the Office is almost risible given his disdain for continuity (with the magisteria of his predecessors) and simple clarity.
- Pope Francis has undermined his own reform in many ways, not the least of which by acts such as the publication of the "new Statutes of the Pontifical Academy for Life (...) which controversially state that members of the academy will no longer be required to sign a declaration saying that they uphold the Church’s pro-life teachings. (Pentin)"
- The Pope is surrounded by influential clergy who appear to take delight in making demeaning statements about Catholics who take seriously the words of Christ. The accusers call faithful Catholics names like pharisees, idolaters and heretics. The pope, speaking in his weekly sermons and audiences, seems to approve of the attacks on faithful Catholics whom he calls "rigid". Soft heart, hard head? Agreed. Soft headed—no.
Like fishermen who read the skies and the tides for favourable conditions, or read the same and then know when to retreat to a safe harbour, faithful Catholics must fast and pray and read the signs in the Church which point, it seems, to a change of tide and/or weather, a larger confrontation, perhaps, between those who keep the Lord's commandments and those who do not and will not.
Where is our safe harbour? Mary, for one. She says to her children, “Do whatever he (Jesus) tells you. (John 2:5)” What is Jesus telling us to do? Keep His commandments.
The Ground War
We must stay close to Jesus. Attend daily Mass and Sunday Mass and you will hear the Word speaking in and through Holy Scripture. Receive the most precious Body and Blood of our Lord and Saviour. Go to confession. Read the saints, especially the writings of Pope Saint John Paul II. Listen, also, to voices of faithful shepherds who call us out of mediocrity to heroic virtue and trust in the grace of God to help you live a life of charity and peace.
- “Faith and Reason are like two wings of the human spirit by which it soars to the truth.”
- (Quoting St. Augustine) “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and Alleluia is our song.”
- “Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
- “I plead with you! Never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.”
Those who love their beige churches, grey theology and cozy piety are enjoying a few lingering moments gifted to them by current events. Let them have their party. The next pope might not be so accommodating. (We can always hope and pray for an African pope! Please God, no more Jesuits.)
The hollow heart hates art.
Catholics who love Jesus and practice the charity of beauty may be strengthened by Pope St. John Paul II's words of consolation and challenge:
Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it.― Pope St. John Paul II (The Great)
Catholics who give birth to beautiful liturgy are doing something beautiful for God. Cheap fabrications tend to proceed from those who themselves are spiritually impotent and slaves to banality and ugliness.
A theologian who does not love art, poetry, music and nature can be dangerous. Blindness and deafness toward the beautiful are not incidental; they necessarily are reflected in his theology.—Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI). The Ratzinger Report (p. 130).
As grateful disciples, then, we must continue to pray for the bishops of the Church, especially Pope Francis, who has widened a rift in the Church that has been developing since the turbulent sixties and seventies. The key to determining whose actions are right and whose are wrong will be the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. No true disciple of the Lord could profane the Mass and claim that his works of mercy make him righteous in the eyes of God. The Catholic both/and applies: both reverent, choosing the better part, and charitable to his neighbour. Arguably, the Spiritual and Corporal Works of mercy are graceless unless grafted to the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of the Christian life. Where is a heart of love for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the thoughts, words and actions of those who avoid the reverent celebration of the Divine Liturgy and preach to others that they, too, should treat the Lord so badly?
Non vosmet ipsos defendentes carissimi sed date locum irae scriptum est enim mihi vindictam ego retribuam dicit Dominus.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Romans 12: 9-21
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.