Tuesday, May 22, 2018

SSPX Mass: My Firsthand Experience

Ascension Thursday  I was afforded the opportunity to attend Holy Mass at St. Margaret Mary, the SSPX chapel in my area.  Prompted by a series of questionable events at my parish and the ignorant ranting of a well intentioned Catholic on Facebook, I decided to find out firsthand just how "schismatic" and extreme these pariahs of the Church really are.  Actually it was my wife who was more eager to investigate the SSPX and considered this to be the perfect opportunity.

The SSPX chapel was a 28 minute drive compared to the 20 minute drive to the diocesan TLM, so not much more of an inconvenience.  A municipal sign reading, "Catholic Church" pointed to a side street where St. Margaret Mary's could be located.  In a quiet residential neighborhood, stands a modest white church building.  The parking lot was a little over half full 15 minutes to Mass.

We ran into a few people as we entered, it was a typical quiet Catholic interaction.  The Holy Rosary was being prayed as we entered.  About midway in a pew was open and we took our seats.  Every woman was wearing a veil, while my daughters have always veiled my wife decided to veil for the first time since she did not feel self-conscious here. The interior was typical of any pre-Vatican II church, with a High Altar and Communion Rail.

The Holy Sacrifice of Mass was no different than what I was used to, everything was by the book and the priest's sermon was good but nothing worth remarking about.  Overall Mass was very similar to the diocesan TLM as were the lay faithful.  Actually I saw a few familiar faces - some formerly from my parish.  Afterwards we spoke briefly with the people we knew but the youngest was tired so we headed to the van.

We had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman who worked for Lifesite News, he noticed our bumper sticker and introduced himself.  He introduced me to the SSPX priest who was still chatting outside.  He was a younger man wearing his cassock and seemed normal enough.  Considering all I heard about these "extremist" priests, I tried baiting him with a well deserved negative comment about Francis - he quickly rebuffed it, defending the pontiff.

After we left my wife decided to post our visit on Facebook, something I actually discouraged her from doing, but she did anyway which I was really okay with.  Nobody from our parish commented or "liked" the post, which came as no surprise.  I warned her that few people in our parish had a full understanding of the SSPX situation, that the default reaction would be negative.

For me it was a moment long in the making.  I have desired a first-hand SSPX experience for about 10 years now.  I have endured more than a decade of propaganda and flat out ignorant comments from well meaning - yet misinformed Catholics, none of which had any first-hand knowledge themselves. 

After Divine Mercy Sunday's painting of a man St. Thomas would not call Jesus (now a permanent fixture), St. John Paul II The Great (peace be upon him) parish retreat, and enough SSPX bashing - I can finally say that I have been to an SSPX chapel, prayed Holy Mass with the priest and lay faithful, and walked away feeling very much in full communion w/ Rome.

I would describe the entire event as surprisingly normal and Catholic - if you are a tradition loving Catholic.  Certainly I would have no qualms attending regularly if I felt the need.  As I have said before, we are all one Mass away from being SSPX.  For those who belittle the SSPX in hopes of driving people like me away from them, know that you are doing the opposite.  For the worship of God in Holy Mass is what matters most to me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Negative Effects of Private Revelation

Why is it that the vast majority of private revelation warn of great chastisements to befall the world?  The narrative is that God is angry and Our Lady is holding back the hand of God who has basically decided to destroy the planet.  In many of these matters Our Lady is said to come as an "apparition", in others an "inner locution".  The messages always contain warnings of a coming chastisements unless the world converts.

I believe that private revelation happens, but I believe the vast majority does not come from God.  In many instances I believe it is imagined or people are manipulated by demonic forces.  The Holy Bible and sound teaching plays second fiddle to messages from a host of sources with little to no credibility.  Many of the well known instances of private revelation over the last 50 years have turned out to be completely false.

These false messages demand unrealistic devotions and warn of incredible punishments.  What always struck me as odd, was how God supposedly sent a message via extraordinary means - only to be stymied by Church officials or some other scapegoat?  Human limitations are applied to what is supposed to be Divine.  St. Faustina's demonic-looking portrait of Christ for example, why didn't the painting turn out better?  False demonic apparitions and outlandish stories serving only to distract Catholics from working out their salvation. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

The Condition of My Rigid Condition

On Sunday my family and I attend the Holy Mass in the "Extraordinary Form".  We have made the decision to avoid the Novus Ordo Mass whenever possible.  My wife and I are raising 6 children currently, and we do not want 4 of them to lose the faith.  That's right, there is only a 33% chance that children of Novus Ordo Catholics will attend Mass regularly as adults.

Lately it seems "rigid" Catholics are on the defense with even the pope condemning adherence to traditional unchanging Catholic beliefs.  The negative sentiments of this papacy have trickled down to the parish level and are now inflicting their intended targets.  I'm talking about a spiritual disaster of nuclear proportions - the current pontiff.  Like a nuclear bomb there is fallout, and the effects after the initial blast are just as devastating.

Like most reasonable Catholics I dislike the current reigning pontiff and believe he loves Catholicism about as much as Barack Obama loves America.  Such opinions have put me at odds with Catholics who believe dissent is not on option.  Worse yet these Catholics have started to pass judgement on people like me who hold opposing views.  I'm lucky if I even get a feigned smile in passing once they learn of my views.

At my parish you will find a pastor who is very friendly to tradition.  He has done more to revert the Novus Ordo to something closer to what the V2 father's envisioned than any priest has in my lifetime.  But offering a version of the Novus Ordo liturgy that resembles the traditional Latin Mass has had unintended consequences.  Latin Mass Catholics are given little consideration about decisions that effect the parish or academy because they should accept the Novus Ordo in it's current form.

I'm not going to judge them, but I don't understand it.  On Holy Thursday I brought my family to a Mass I thought was going to be a TLM and it was Novus Ordo but Ad Orientem and it mimicked the Latin Mass as well as possible.  Still I found myself standing around doing nothing more than a few times and succumbing to distractions like the "sign of peace" instead of praying.

I stopped this blog a while back because I wanted to be accepted by my fellow parishioners - more than a few who became aware of this blog.  I ended up removing years of my old posts too.  I can't even share my opinions on  Fakebook without being bullied into a state of contrition by friends and family.  This very post was written a year ago but never published.  So this is still the state of things.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Why I Skipped My 20 Year High School Reunion

Yup it is 20 years since I graduated high school.  I swear the 10 year reunion that I skipped feels like it was just 2 or 3 years ago!  I strongly considered going but after following the Fakebook group for almost a year I know skipping it was the right decision.  Only a few of my former friends attended and looking back they were not good friends.  I literally had nothing better to do that day but it was very empowering to stay home instead - because my life is so much bigger than K thru 12 and clearly anyone who I admired agreed.

The Humbling Effect of Unrealistic Expectations

Because I choose to worship God almighty via the Traditional Latin Mass does not make me a living saint. I have been presented with the truth of the One True Faith and I accept it as brilliant, compassionate, and completely fulfilling - full of Truth.  But as a Catholic I am still highly susceptible to my concupiscence. 


Monday, July 3, 2017

The Traditional Latin Mass Is Not For Me

Empty churches and closing schools are the norm for the Catholic Church these days.  Gimmicks like Vacation Bible School (VBS) or protestant evangelization programs (ALPHA) do nothing to prevent most Catholic children from turning into apostates as adults.

Recently a woman told me she and her husband attended mass regularly, paid for 12 years of Catholic education for her two children, and one was even active in the parish youth group growing up. She lamented how both are apostates now but she isn't sure what else could have been done? 

My suggestion that returning to traditional practices including the Traditional Latin Mass branded me a "Pharisee".  But why?  I spent more than 20 years in the Vatican II Novus Ordo world and I lamented over the loss of faith among my friends and family!  So when I finally had enough God answered my prayers and I discovered all that existed before Vatican II.

After more than 10 years of praying the Traditional Latin Mass  I can truly say that my life has been transformed in a way that it otherwise never would have.  I have 6 children now and it's because of.. dare I say.. my traditional Catholic faith.  Central to this faith is being pro-life and upholding Catholic teaching on sex and marriage.  Anyone who upholds these hard teachings understands what I am saying, the rest honestly cannot relate.

The consequences of rejecting Church teaching (Christ's teachings) are legion.  Who knows if this women suffered from infertility or if modernist ideas malformed her Catholic faith?  Yet she soundly rejected all things prior to Vatican II for herself and expressed no recognition that any of the nonsense from the last 50+ years was to blame - despite her children's loss of faith.  

When I was younger I never would have said the Novus Ordo was not for me.  It was all that I knew and I was thoroughly propagandized against pre-Vatican II beliefs.  But I spent decades in the Vatican II Novus Ordo church, and I have seen the bad fruits - the loss of faith among my friends and family.  I asked God what else could be done?  His answer was the Traditional Latin Mass.

After 10+ years of TLM worship I still thank God almighty for opening my eyes and allowing me to recognize Catholicism in the TLM like it cannot be found elsewhere.  I had no choice for more than 20 years and I endured the Novus Ordo at times with much doubt.  So before you tell me the Traditional Latin Mass is not for you, realize that decades of comparison carry far more weight. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Babies & Toddlers At Holy Mass

A parish with no crying is a parish that is dying.  Personally I could care less what someone without any children thinks about how distracting my children are during Holy Mass.  My wife and I do our best to keep the little ones in line and the baby goes to the back if he starts crying.  What I have learned over the years is that my children are not that distracting and bringing them every Sunday is the right decision.

I used to marvel at how a family of 6+ children could manage to sit quietly in the front pews during the long quiet Latin Mass.  In Novus Ordo land the front pews were mostly empty.  I would like to pretend that the large families sat in back but honestly I did not see families with more than 3 or 4 kids when I was younger - maybe they were leaving the babies and toddlers with the grandparents!?  Either way no example existed in my life for what to do or what to expect. 

Now I have 6 children going to Holy Mass every Sunday and for the most part they behave.  Long gone are the days of dragging the 3 year old back into the pew.  Long gone are the days of dragging the 5 year old to the stairwell for a stern talking to.  The older children set the example for the younger ones it seems and we as parents have done this before.  We don't always get to pray all of Holy Mass, the kids don't always behave.. but they do most of the time now.

Like most Catholics we sit in the same spot every Sunday.  We are surrounded by other younger large families with young children.  I never notice their kids crying or misbehaving - though I know they do cry and misbehave!  When the kids in front of me start bouncing around it makes me smile, I don't let it upset me.  The idea that disruptive children ruin Holy Mass seems to be a modernist error.  Holy Mass is not all about me, sometimes I don't get to pray, sometimes I leave embarrassed and frustrated, but I wouldn't have it any other way.