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Wednesday 26 March 2014

The Forgotten Past Has Been Romanticized

The more I speak with young people who were not born until after Vatican II, the more I realize that many people have a romanticized view of the pre-Vatican II Church.

I remember well the old Church and can assure people that many of the things which create unpleasant feelings in liturgies or among Catholics had counterparts in the pre-Vat Church.

Did people complain about priests? Yes!

Did people complain about the music? Yes!

Were people critical of dry sermons, or sermons which were without scholarship? Yes!

Did people complain of sermons on raising money? Yes!

Priests were less engaged in the daily lives of their parishioner on some levels. For example, priests in certain urban or rural communities could visit the parishioners and bless houses, but in some areas, the priest shortage began before Vatican II.

Priests rarely talked about politics. If they did, it was about communism and socialism as evils in general.

Priests did not talk about sexual matters at all. Things like adultery or the growing promiscuity of the larger culture were not mentioned from the pulpit. Nor were books or movies discussed from the pulpit.

At daily Mass, most priests did not have sermons at all.

Where there were large religious orders, people saw nuns and monks more than in rural areas, or highly protestant areas. Some people today say that there daughters have never seen a nun in a habit. That is tragic.

But, there have always been areas where nuns were scarce. To romanticize that America was highly Catholic is not to look at the real history of the Church here in the States.

This country has always been Protestant first.

People also romanticize about how active the priests were in leading groups.

To be fair, there were more lay leaders in activities pre-Vatican II than now.

Men's and women's groups were found in every parish. Now, most parishes do not have Altar and Rosary Societies, or the Sodality of Mary, or the Children of Mary, or the Legion of Mary, or the Holy Name Society.

The laity were not sheep, but active members of groups, including financial groups which aided in fund raising and being accountants in churches.

Some men and women in my diocese when I was a child were Benedictine Oblates. Some were Third Order Carmelites.

It is the liberalization of some of these orders which led to the laity not pursuing membership.

In my own family, over 100 hundred years ago, the laity published and wrote for two Catholic magazines, help found a grade school, help found a large monastery, organized international Catholic charities, wrote Catholic novels, and gave generously to the building of churches.

To think that priests were the only movers and shakers in the "old" church is just not true.

The laity have become less involved in church life, rather than more so. 

And to believe the priest had responsibility for every detail of parish life is just a myth.

A priest or two or even three could not do all the things people think priests did pre-Vatican II.

And, there is only one Fulton J. Sheen....

Do not romanticize the past. Do not burden your priests with unrealistic expectations. Do not think that the laity should not be very, very active in the Church.

Make sure you understand Catholics will suffer under the Orthodox.

Are you fighting the wrong battles? Could be a sign of spiritual sloth.

Lay people are in the world to make the world holy. We are called to convert, to evangelize those who are falling away. We are the salt of the world.
Christ said this of us:

Matthew 5:13-16


13 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.
14 You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.
16 So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
But, too many Catholics are not being salt or light. The main reason for this is the lack of their own holiness. The mediocre cannot be salt or light.
A second reason has been the clericalization of the laity, a theme on my own blog in 2007 or so. Too many lay people want to be seen being Eucharistic Ministers, or readers.
But, the third reason is more subtle. 
The vast majority of the laity are picking up battles which are not theirs to fight. We are not clergy, we do not work in the Vatican or have influence in the chancery offices.
We are not privy to what goes on in the deanery meetings regarding priestly formation.
We are lay.
So what fights are the laity picking up which are not their "business" and what fights should we be fighting?
One, wherever we live or work, our first job is to evangelize or re-evangelize our siblings and co-workers. We should be honest, and defend the Church when we can. We should not be accepting evil. We should be reaching out to the unbelievers.
When I had my own house, no unmarried couples stayed as guests in the same room. That is a decision of a real lay Catholic.
When I had my own house, and it was Friday, only fish or vegetarian dinners were served. That was showing solidarity with the entire Church, and under my watch as the cook.
As a teacher and a tutor, I only spoke the truth. I never inflated grades or compromised the Faith.
That is what we as lay people are called to do. Be salt in the world.
It is not our job to tell bishops or cardinals what to do. Can we pray? Yes.
Example. Too many lay people waste time working on the consecration of Russia. Folks, this is not our business, but the Pope's and the bishops'.
Example. Too many lay people waste time praying for changes in the Church regarding apparitions. Folks, this is not our business, but the bishops' and the Pope's.
They have their area of authority and we have ours.
The fact that the lay men and women in the Church are weak is the fault of the faithful laity.
I see this weekly.
Why are not Catholic men and women talking to others in the congregation about the evils of Common Core and not having kids in the public schools? Why are they not presenting the need for home schooling if there are no independent Catholic schools in the area not using Common Core? Your children's involvement in education is your business, primarily.
Why are Catholic men and women accepting discussions about petitions to Rome on topics the bishops and Pope need to decide, rather than talking about things we can do daily to make the Church strong?
Why are Catholic men and women not supporting pro-life candidates actively? Why are the laity not running for office when some can afford this?
Why are Catholic men and women not steering their peers away from yoga classes, Reiki, chiropractic procedures, certain occult books their children are reading, and so on?
Why are Catholic men and women not telling Catholic home schoolers not to use protestant books, which are slanted against the Church; parents continuing to give money to those publishers which hate the Catholic Church?
Why are men and women not speaking to those in the TLM who are calling Francis a fake Pope, which he is not, but our true Pope?
Why are men and women at the TLM saying that the NO is invalid, when it is not? Why do some not receive Communion at the NO, giving bad example and being holier than Rome?
Why are men and women pretending that members of their own families are not exhibiting evil, those who are living in serious sin, and not just sexual, instead of facing this and dealing with this?
Why are parents not teaching their children the Faith in the home, not disciplining, not forming the children in the virtues?

Why are Catholics not boycotting stores like Starbucks or brand names like Pepsi, one of the biggest supporters of PP? Lay people buy things and need to lead in boycotts, not the clergy. One of my TLM priests relied on me to give him boycott details.

Why are so many of the laity not studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or not reading such documents as Jesus Christ, Bearer of the Water of Life? 

Why are the laity wasting time with old forms of groups which do not speak to the times and not forming new groups?
To be a lay person is hard.

To not follow Rome is to be a protestant, either on the left or on the right.
We are the Church Militant, not the Church Pansy.
It is easier to concentrate on things not under our authority than to deal with things that are. But, this is spiritual sloth.
Think about this. If you are not acting like a lay person, not living up to your baptismal vows, even though you are attending the TLM, your own soul may be in danger for not living out your vocation.
The Church is not a democracy, folks. It is a hierarchy. And the lay life is not that of the clerics.

Prayer for the Beatification and Canonization of Father John Anthony Hardon

Almighty God, You gave Your servant,
Father John Anthony Hardon of the Society of Jesus,
the grace of religious and priestly consecration after the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Through Father Hardon,
You provided for your Flock an extraordinary teacher of the faith.
You entrusted Father Hardon into the loving
care of the Blessed Virgin Mary
whose counsel, "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5)
he faithfully followed and whose intercession he unceasingly invoked.
If it be Your holy will, please grant the request I now make,
calling upon the help of Father Hardon,
so that his heroic sanctity may be recognized in the whole Church.
I ask this through Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who
with You and the Holy Spirit, is one God forever and ever.

All favors granted should be reported in writing to :
The Father John A. Hardon, S. J. , Archive and Guild
4440 Maryland Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108-2402

Please pray to him that the obstacles keeping me from England are removed. Thanks.

What part of this does this government not get?

 "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Grumpy STM time

Please, trads, do not let your little children eat in Mass. There is no need for this.

The Cheerios brigade has invaded out Traditional Latin Mass. I cannot understand this.

Feed the kids in the car, or before you leave for Mass.

I think the problem is that there is a certain generation of parents who have not learned appropriateness in certain locations.

I took my son to plays when he was five; to concerts, earlier than that, as he started violin at three.

No one eats at a concert or a play.

Why at Holy Mass?

Is it laziness on the part of the mums, or is it the belief that a three year old or a six year old cannot go without food for two hours?

I am really shocked that this is happening at the TLM.

I grew up pre-Vatican II and no kids ate in Mass, except babies with bottles or nursing babies.

What is the problem? one today or rather, yesterday

Recently, I have seen that the seminaries have turned from true spiritual direction to psychology. One sem told me that the discussions in spiritual direction involve to much “understanding” sin but not dealing with repentance.
Are we raising another generation of priests who do not know how to deal with sin because they themselves are not taught the road to holiness in the seminaries? I have seen this here in the Midwest, where some directors do not lead the young men into prayer or fasting, leading to metanoia, but merely to the so-called “pastoral”. This type of direction depends on the seminary.
To find an excellent confessor is rare because of the lack of sensitivity towards sin and repentance not being emphasized in some seminaries. We need to pray for holy priests in training. Without that, more mediocre priests will be leading the laity astray.
Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

Prayers, Please

Now that both eyes are "done", I am experiencing the time wherein I have no glasses that work for two weeks. Also, some not too serious complications on right eye-so keep me in your prayers.

It snowed here again, and we are all waiting for warmer weather. This winter has been long and difficult for many.

Am waiting for answers to prayers!

Cardinals have returned to the area.