04 April 2016

The Pieces are in Place

Good morning to you all. I want to write a brief something about my perception of recent Church affairs. I figured writing now would be best, before the exhortation is laid on us, and before any news is broken on the SSPX-Rome intrigue.

You can use the metaphor of a chessboard set up with pieces in place; you can use the metaphor of a stage decked out before the curtain rises. Anyway, it has seemed to me that this is where we are.

Of course the lens can zoom out or in-- and let's not go all the way back to Vatican II, or the Protestant revolt, or the Fall of Man.  Let's focus on the time from Benedict's election.  His attempts to reverse the undeniable disintegration of the Church since Vatican II and the persecution of the Mass, sometimes bold and most times not, were met with the opposition we see enthroned in the Vatican today. We have a Pope who chastises Catholics for practicing their faith as their ancestors did and in conformity with 2,000 years of organic growth.  Yet this same Pope has granted implicit faculties for SSPX absolutions in the Year of Mercy and seems poised to regularize the SSPX outright.

Benedict simply acknowledges reality-- that the traditional Mass has never been abrogated-- and clears away any excommunications on the Bishops involved in the 1988 consecrations, and is effectively deposed.  Francis makes concessions to the SSPX on administrative matters, grants faculties, and perhaps more sweeping things to come, and is unmolested. Only Nixon could go to China, and only Francis can regularize the SSPX, it seems.

The emotional roller coaster that has characterized the fight to support restoration of the faith in the last pontificate, and to defend it in the next, has been exhausting but informative. Though at the cost of the peace of mind a Christian ought to have, and at the cost of the harmony that makes it "pleasant when the brethren dwell in unity", we have learned who will, and more importantly who will not, stand up for the faith when it costs something. Parties who we might have assumed were natural allies really weren't.  Oh well.  It is nothing more than what Our Lord promised us, and certainly nothing compared to what he experienced.

At first, the joy of being part of a seeming reawakening and strengthening of the faith was exciting. It looked like growth was inevitable. Then the shock, dread and horror of the abdication and conclave, the outcome of which looks now to be not the '60s liberals' last stand, but seemingly their victory march. Since the first synod at least the mood became one of gallows humor-- an effective device for camaraderie, but a weak one, and short lived.

And right now. Right now.  It seems to me that there is nothing to say, write or do. Except pray.  The stage is set. Those who would wake are awake; those who would sleep are not wake-able. Something this way comes. Wicked, likely, but...

Christ is not asleep. Christ reigns. We must have total confidence in him. This is not the solution of Pollyanna.  No, it is more real than anything else. His disciples ran away during His passion. Let us not run away. To that end, I attached an excerpt from yesterday's entry in Divine Intimacy:

[Referring to the Gospel of doubting Thomas:] Thomas' doubt confirms us in the faith, for as St. Gregory says, "His disbelief was more useful to us than the faith of the other Apostles." If he had not doubted, no man would have "put his finger in the wounds of the nails, nor his hand into the side" of Our Lord. Jesus had pity on the tottering faith of the Apostle, and on ours, too; and He allowed him not only to see Him, as He had allowed the others, but also to touch Him, thereby permitting Thomas, the incredulous, to do what He had not permitted Mary Magdalen, the most faithful one. From this incident we derive a better understanding of God's ways. Whereas He gives sensible consolations and more or less palpable signs of His presence to souls who are still wavering in the faith, He often leads by very obscure paths those who have irrevocably given themselves to Him and on whose faith He can count. [...]... He often refuses to the strong what He grants to the weak. [...] Faith such as this is more meritorious for us, because, being founded solely on the word of God, it is entirely supernatural. It shows greater honor to God, because it gives Him full credence, without demanding any proof, and because it perseveres even in obscurity and in the midst of the most disconcerting events-- even when it seems that heaven is closed and the Lord is deaf to our groanings.

Such a strong faith as this is certainly the fruit of divine grace, but we must prepare ourselves to receive it, both by asking for it in prayer, and by exercising ourselves in this same faith.


Pete said...

I am with you that there is nothing more to say or do. We can only pray for God's mercy and that the Holy Spirit guide the Holy Father et al back to the Faith.

Scott Woltze said...

Two words: Papa Sarah.

And he'll have the Holy Spirit behind him. Good but difficult times are ahead. Soon the Church will fully re-enter the battle for souls.

Fr. Andrew said...

Reminding me of JRR Tolkien's theory of the "Eucatastrophe" the good catastrophe.

Remnant Clergy said...

God will intervene with the illumination of conscience in the not too distant future to wake up everyone. I agree that there are too many currently unwakeable ostriches.