Thursday, June 29, 2017

Discontent in the Age of Francis

It seems to me …

On a macro level we have three broad forces cold war engaged with each other, each looking to dominate the others. There’s Christianity, which I associate with Western Civilization. There’s Modernity or what is known as Leftism, Progressivism or Liberalism (as exemplified in the United States). Then there’s Islam. We can nitpick, and perhaps I am overgeneralizing, but this seems to be the current state of Planet Earth in the early part of the twenty-first century.

Now, salvation aside, one thing I seek in a religion is a way to view / address / and possibly take a stand against the world. Approaching the half-century mark, I’ve had my successes and my failures, I’ve had my tango with hedonism and materialism, I’ve constantly had to come to grips with telos, or purpose, as in, “what’s mine?” Twenty years ago I began the slow movement towards reverting to the Catholic Church, and by and large, under the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict, I’ve gained some comfort from this, more than I ever did from hedonism, materialism, or any other ism.

Some, but not much. The primary drivers of this lack of fulfillment are twofold:

* The Catholic Church’s stance toward Modernism and Islam

* The contemporary Catholic mass

As for the first, again, consider my question of the last couple of days:

Is the Church converting the world, or is the world converting the Church?

What is the answer to this question? What do you think?

If the Church is not converting the world, why not?

It seems to me that the world is converting the Church under Francis, with Francis’ willing and active participation. Studies are out there showing a decline in numbers of those who attend liberal protestant churches. So now the Catholic Church decides it wants to liberalize and protestantize? (More on this topic in the next post.)

And Francis’s answer to Islam is – what, exactly? Certainly the polar opposite of Urban II’s. Open your arms, your doors, your borders wide for the Islamic horde. In the name of compassion. It remains to be seen what will become of Europe in twenty or fifty years, but I do not think I am being hyperbolic if I believe it may turn majority Muslim.

So I see my Church cooperating hand-in-hand with the advance of Modernity and Islam.

The second area that has gnawed at me for months and years is the Catholic mass. Specifically, the Novus Ordo mass, the mass created in the wake of Vatican II. Gone were the traditional masses in Latin, with the priest facing the altar, reenacting Christ’s sacrifice for us, for mankind. Incense and sacred music. Now we have the priest facing us. We have protestant hymns. We have drums and guitars. Goofy hippie Picasso Jesus art. Bad architecture regarding new houses of worship. We have “faith communities.” Communion in the hand. Flips flops, sneakers and jeans, sports jerseys. Sermons on being nice: Thou shalt be nice, for nice are the children of God.

Where is the mystery, the awe, the reverence, the transcendence? Who would give his life for this post-Vatican II claptrap? Thomas More, John Fisher, and nearly a thousand others went to the gallows in the English persecution because Pope Clement VII would not grant Henry VIII a divorce to marry Ann Boleyn. Guess Clement didn’t have as enlightened a view of divorce as Francis does. Again, who would give up his life for the Church of Nice?

So, week after week, month after month, I see the Church changing before my eyes, capitulating to the world, playing weak pawn moves to aggressive piece play by Modernism and Islam on the global chessboard. I see a disrespectful mass that is at best a teaching moment for the masses tossed aside, at worst a deliberate sacrilege of Our Lord’s sacrifice. I read books about Buddhism, Hinduism, way-out-there Protestant cults, searching for something – anything – that might help the world make sense or give me a fighting chance against it, but Christ calls me back time and time again.

What is to be done? What can be done?

More later …

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