14 January 2015

Quomodo sedet sola civitas

Well, God is in His heaven
And we all want what’s His
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is

--Bob Dylan, Blind Willie McTell

The absolutely true and (to me, anyway) obvious points made by Cardinal Burke in his recent remarks about the "feminization" of the Church have been well covered already.  The outcry against him has been typical in quality and substance, but it seems far more amplified than usual.  I mean, not just the modernist "Catholic" publications, not just the Washington Post, but every Podunk Iowa Shopper's Journal has posted its horror at the Cardinal's comments.

Why? Because His Eminence hits very. close. to. home.

At the time of Pope Benedict's reported abdication, the news was all about the fallout of butler-gate: the so-called "gay mafia" in Rome, as well as any connection it had with the dossier that was leaked, but the contents of which had not yet been revealed publicly.  The Curia was in revolt?  The Pope was forced out? Were names about to be named?

Then the Pope Francis event happened, and "Who am I to judge?", and suddenly, no more problems with the dossier.

When Cardinal Burke talked about the feminized Church, he lamented the loss of vitality that accompanies the loss of the masculine.  But (and this is my own take, don't blame him) the emasculation of the Church is not only accompanied by harpies in the Sanctuary and diocesan or parish administrative offices, but by the lack of masculinity in the male priesthood and laity.  We are victims of the zeitgeist, victims of the educational system as it stands today, both public and parochial (including the seminaries), and most of all, victims of an emasculated liturgy.

Cardinal Burke correctly links the liturgy with the doctrine of the faith.  Both failures cause and are affected by each other.  Both cause the Church to lose Catholic members.

Those in power cannot really defend the liturgical destruction in any credible way.  They cannot deny that the Mass and the faith are losing their outward vitality.  Yet they must keep criticism of the new Mass under wraps.

Those who love the Traditional Mass sometimes get labelled as "integrists".  It is meant as an insult, that we conflate the Faith with the Mass. It never bothered me, though, because I believe the Mass guards and informs the Faith.  It is the practical bulwark of the Faith.

But just this week it finally clicked that the reverse is just as true. The Modernists and the liturgical revolutionaries are integrists. The novus ordo must exist because it enables the obfuscation of the Faith.  The fact that the novus ordo as promulgated is a valid Mass isn't relevant.  It allows and encourages the ambiguities that allow heresy to fester unseen and unnoticed.

I had to attend a novus ordo funeral this week, and it was typically bad.  I don't mean to say that it was typically bad, but rather that it was typically bad.  There was little to mark it out for particular badness, and that was the saddest thing of all.  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is reduced to a common meal at a community center, MC'd by an aging hippie spouting self-help nuggets, with altar girls in their polyester bathrobes clogging up the Sanctuary.  There of course was no sense that Purgatory is a real thing, that prayers may be helpful for the deceased, or that we are all sinners in need of mercy, in this typical insta-canonization that is the modern funeral Mass.  

Other than the Canon equivalent used (and thank God for the more accurate translations enforced at last by Pope Benedict), there seemed very little about this service that was Catholic.  In the Eucharistic prayer, sacrifice was mentioned, as were prayers for the dead, the communion of saints, and all the rest.  But at every other point the traditional understanding of the faith was undermined or at least ignored.  God is reduced to a mere platitudinous grandfather (or grandmother?) accepting all of the children home for eternal dinner regardless of anything we did here below.

If you believed in the concepts of sin, mercy, judgement, merit, heaven, hell and purgatory going into that Mass, you were still free to believe going out.  But if you didn't believe some or all of that going in, the Mass I saw wasn't going to make you reassess your position for one second.

Thinking about mercy, my brother observed that even one of the favorites of recently canonized saints, the apostle of Divine Mercy, St. Faustina, would have been horrified to witness that Mass. She would have had a hard time recognizing it as Catholic.  And that is the point for the mercy-without-regard-for-truth camp.

And Cardinal Burke is certainly not a man to disregard the truth in pursuit of a false charity.  They are conjoined twins, Truth and Charity.

In my opinion, the Mass as it is now typically celebrated is the bulwark of an obfuscation that allows the modernist to pervert doctrine with impunity.  You want to propound an un-Catholic interpretation of Vatican II, for instance?  You need this Mass. There is not enough ambiguity in the old one.

OK, I rambled a bit.  Sue me.  Cardinal Burke is drawing obvious but uncomfortable conclusions from obvious but previously taboo facts.  That is why he, and you, are being targeted for extinction.

I am reminded of a scene from Brideshead Revisited.  When the private chapel in the Flyte home was decommissioned, the Blessed Sacrament was removed, and the sanctuary lamp extinguished. The pious young daughter, Cordelia, then quoted Jeremias:

Quomodo sedet sola civitas.

How lonely the city sits.

My friends, that is where we are these days.  There will be no progress in restoration of the faith-- the de-feminization of the faith-- until the novus ordo is done and gone.

For the modernists are integrists too.


Matt OCDS said...

"My friends, that is where we are these days. There will be no progress in restoration of the faith-- the de-feminization of the faith-- until the novus ordo is done and gone."

This sort of blanket statement is the ultimate "Chicken or the Egg" argument.

Are most NO's nigh-sacrilegious due to the form, or is it because it's a reflection of the Priest? Or the Congregation? Or is the it the Priest and Congregation that changed, and the Mass is merely a reflection of that? I'm inclined to believe the latter. I've been to NO Masses at small country Parishes in MO and IL that would put your standard TLM to shame with their reverence and piety. Because the people there *wanted that*. My county NO parish is more interested in pseudo-psychiatrist priests that confuse the pulpit with a therapy couch.

It's nice and comforting to bottle up all your problems into one convenient package (IT'S THE NEW MASS!), but if I've learned anything in life, it's that it's never just one problem. It's a mix of interlocking issues that snowball and strengthen each other as time goes on. The current issues plaguing the Catholic Church are a perfect example of that.

Long-Skirts said...


And the Word was made Flesh,
But does that really mesh
With authentic faith and dialogue today?

‘Cause at Eucharistic meal
Which is no big, bloody, deal
We smile and our mistakes are washed away.

We gather round the table
To hear a gospel fable
From Father Bob, the celebrant divine.

Never kneels, he always stands
But he runs to shake your hands,
Then he sits a lot, perhaps a weakened spine.

The ladies and the girls,
Their ministry unfurls,
A Eucharistic minister’s sensation.

With servers and the cantor
They have a playful banter
Then bread and wine, it’s time for celebration.

As the people we all sing
But the bells they never ring
For they took away the Words that made His Flesh…

For a Corpus? That’s too rough,
There’s no need for violent stuff,
That’s as welcomed as a Brit in Bangladesh!

Inocencio Rangel said...

Ut quid, Deus. A prayer of the church under grievous persecutions.
Psalm 73: 3 Direct thy steps to the irreparable ruins: the foe has laid waste everything in the sanctuary. 4 Thy foes have roared in the place of thy assembly, they have set up their emblems as trophies. 5 They are like those who swing the axe in a thicket, 6 and now with the axe and hammer they likewise smash its gates. 7 They have set the sanctuary on fire, they have profaned the dwelling place of thy name even to the ground. 8 They said to themselves, “Let us destroy them all at once; burn all of God’s sanctuaries in the land.” 9 No longer do we see our signs, there is no prophet; and there is no one among us who knows how long it will last.

Barto the Fool said...

To me, it is obvious that Jorge Bergoglio and his party used the Vatileaks events and blackmail to oust Pope Benedict. He got on their hit list not only because he was threatening the gay lobby,but he did two really unforgivable and intolerable things: restoring the rights of the traditional mass, and undoing the excommunications of the SSPX. What happened to Benedict is similar to what happened to Khrushchev. Such things have happened to many papacies and papal elections over the centuries. They're Italians, after all.

Christophe said...

Reminds me of one of my favorite psalms, no. 137, also apropos here: "Super flumina Babylonis illic sedimus et flevimus, cum recordaremur Sion." By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and we wept, as we remembered thee, O Sion.

Michael Ortiz said...

I have served at NO Masses at funerals. It is as you say.

Athelstane said...

There of course was no sense that Purgatory is a real thing, that prayers may be helpful for the deceased, or that we are all sinners in need of mercy...

And it is THIS reality that has been lost, the reality that is not only more fundamental than who serves in the sanctuary, but is also seemingly the most uncomfortable for so many Catholics - and Christians - today. Nearly all of us are Moral Therapeutic Deists. And that is no healthier for women than it is for men, even if it is more offputting to more of the latter.