These good, obedient people, who have contacted me, from Australia, from Britain, from Germany, from New York, from Minnesota, and many other places, tell me that they are completely marginalized and alone in their remnant status.
Thinking about this problem and the loneliness of so many excellent Catholics, who are praying and doing penance for the Church, I have come to the sad conclusion that the virtual community, as much as it helps me, fails most Catholics who are on line.
Yes, these Catholics can write to me and Michael Voris, or Father Z., and say, "I am so glad I found you, as I was feeling so alone."
But, the truth is, these good people are physically alone.
The virtual community has created some real community in some areas. I know this personally and am very glad of this. But, for the most part, those who have sought fellowship through twitter or the blogosphere remain separated from real Catholic community.
This fact not only grieves me, but shows me the depth of the problem of the smallness of the remnant.
When people in large metropolitan areas cannot find respectful, valid, or legal liturgies, cannot find real Catholic schools, cannot find a spouse, cannot find a spiritual director, I am saddened and realize that this situation will spread and become worse.
The isolation of real, practicing Catholics has not changed because of the virtual communities. Yes, we know we are not alone, but like those in Australia who write to me, miles separate people from meeting and becoming real brothers and sisters in Christ.
I have been more fortunate than most, in that the virtual community has brought me great friends and some benefactors. My Christian lady virtual friend who is purchasing bedding for me is one example. Yet, I would love to be in a real, daily Christian community. One reason I have wanted to stay in Europe is that I have found such groupings and miss those friends in Christ deeply.
It takes time to build on the ground, intentional communities. It takes energy. Yesterday, I spoke with a good Christian man who desires community and has lived in a wasteland of liberal Catholicism too long. He wants to pod. I had a note from a good woman who desperately wants community in her area and is praying for a young priest whom she thinks has the capacity to help create such in her city.
But, time is running out in some areas of the world. In America, only one crisis, either man-made or from weather, could shut down all the highways and put the entire nation under travel restrictions. We saw this in New York only weeks ago. Our movements will be curtailed and those who desire real community may never experience such friendship in the Lord.
I have tried for a long time on this blog to encourage community. I have failed in my attempts to inspire people to move, to seek out like-minded Catholics, to truly sacrifice personal comfort for the greater good of a community.
I have a friend who was in a famous Protestant community for most of his life. He told me one time, years ago, that community was very hard, but worth it. He left in order to marry someone outside the community, but the experience of friendships in the Lord mark him as someone who understands the Early Church.
I was in community for seven years. Again, I left it in order to pursue graduate studies and move out into the world, where God was calling me. I do not regret leaving that community so long ago, as that was God's Will for me, but I have never found anything like it in my travels. I also experienced and help create community when home-schooling, and when helping to set up real Catholic schools. It seems that the desire for community was more alive from 1971 to 2001, than now. I hope the desire in some hearts becomes reality.
I know that those in communities will be able to survive, spiritually, in the coming months when the Church faces the biggest challenge since Arianism once the Supreme Court passes same-sex marriage. As an excellent priest told his congregation when Great Britain passed the law years ago, "Your children and grandchildren will face a different world than you have had. You have no idea what is coming."
He was and is correct. The Church in America will split over this new decision. Many bishops will uphold the decision and decide to work with evil. Some bishops will stand up for the true teaching of Christ and His Church and be persecuted. Fines will be followed by church closures, bankruptcies of local dioceses, and the splitting of parishes.
Those Catholics who are isolated now will be more so then. I cannot inspire those who do not see or do not want to move into areas where there are communities already. I have failed in this task online.
Sadly, too many of the TLM communities are under attack or are facing dropping numbers in certain areas owing to changes in priests or the natural movement of people. In some cases, those who are attending the TLM do not want community. I have friends in TLM groups who have been trying to set up communities since before the Summorum Pontificum. They, too, have failed to inspire others with the vision.
As I go into a place where I shall be more isolated and far from my small communities, from those few I have met who want to build real friendships in the Lord, but who cannot find others who want to do so, I am saddened. But, I must and do trust in Divine Providence.
For those who are succeeding in this endeavor, please write to me on this blog so I can share the good news with others. Some people who have contacted me are willing to move, but do not know where to go.
One of the tragedies has been something I first encountered in 2006, and this is that too many Catholic married couples are not of one mind on this topic. So many wives have told me over the years that they have wanted to move into real communities, but their husbands have not been open to this prospect. That a couple is not of one mind on the building of the Kingdom of God is a tragedy and causes great suffering for those who have had to give up their vision for friendships in the Lord.
The so-called splendid isolation of those who refuse to consider community may be based on fear, selfishness, sloth, or, more likely, consumerism and status. One must die to self to join others in building community. But, in my opinion, community is a necessity, not an option.
Pray for me that I can join those I have friendships in the Lord again. I miss all those with whom I have shared community, J, J, C, C, C, K, S, M, M, S, M, T, D, Fr. C., and others--a remnant, indeed. I pray for you who desire the building of the Kingdom of God on earth.
I pray that those who have hesitated no longer do so but act. I pray for the couples who need to come together in vision. I pray for those single people who have desired lay community life in the great urban ares, in agricultural towns, in mountain villages, and remain isolated with their God. I pray for myself and others who are old and have not found the support they need in parishes which ignore the elderly and shun those who are poor. Pray for me that I can return to "my people".
May all my readers on this virtual community discover or build physical communities before the curtain of darkness falls on our lands.