The Thin Lavender Line

This evening I read this piece on the Roman Catholic Man site and the truth seemed to be coming off the screen in powerful, almost physical waves as I read it.

I recommend reading it, and this is not a review of it. But in reading it certain things occurred to me. It is the position of the Traditian Order that we are about promoting the whole faith, and that anything that happened at Vatican II is just the smallest part of that, and almost certainly not the best of it (if its mission was to bring people into the Church from the surrounding culture, it was, after all, a dismal failure). For that reason we welcome those who love the traditional Catholic faith, and focus on tradition, despite the fact that few of us are SSPX or sedevacantists (actually I’m not certain if any of us are at the moment). As a result, sometimes people, even members, feel that our tone is against Vatican II, but other than the liturgical reforms and the subsequent replacement of Latin with the vernacular, we are not. We simply take no position on the matter. We are a lay apostolate, in no way connected with the leadership of the Church, and choose to focus on what we have made our mission: tradition.

It does not seem, though, that the modernists (See Am I A Modernist?), progressives and the lavender mafia within the Church have taken such a balanced position. If you listen to what they reference, how they talk, what they emphasize and what they build their arguments on, it seems that to them the Church itself was born in the mid-1960s with little to speak of before then. Moreover, if you listen carefully, some, perhaps many, seem to have a disdain for tradition–almost as if it is their personal cause to wipe it out.

A true treatment of this topic would take endless pages to research and cite, and I do not have the desire to take it that far. But I do invite you to listen more carefully, read a bit more between the lines, when you follow the modern leaders of the Church. See if they cite to the Church fathers, to the Bible, to Jesus at any length, or is it almost always Vatican II? What is it about their Church’s tradition that they don’t like? What are they trying *not* to say. I suspect that if you pay attention and ponder all of this, you will come to embrace Church tradition all the more, as we do here in the Traditian Order.

On Confirmation

The second sacrament associated with initiation into the Catholic Church is the Sacrament of Confirmation. In order to understand Confirmation, it is useful to understand Pentecost. The word “Pentecost” is a Greek name for the Jewish feast of “Shavuot” or “weeks”. Shavuot is a feast that was celebrated 49 days after Passover (i.e. on the 50th day). Hence the Greek name “Pentecost” which means “fiftieth.” The Feast of Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. Following from this, it may be said that the Sacrament of Confirmation is a personal Pentecost, whereby the Holy Spirit comes upon the individual.

The word Confirmation is defined as being “strengthened with”. That is to say, that Confirmation builds upon and strengthens the baptismal sacrament by drawing the confirmand deeper into the divine life of God. In addition, the confirmand is provided with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are enumerated as wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. The gifts are based on the characteristics that the Messiah would possess (see Book of Isaiah 11:2-3). These gifts were initially given to the apostles (see John 7:39 and 20:22), who later would impart these gifts on others as depicted in Acts 8:14-17.

In accord with apostolic succession, the bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation. The bishop will extend his hands over those who are to be confirmed, pray that they may receive the Holy Spirit, and anoint the forehead of each with holy chrism (an oil) in the form of a cross. Holy chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balm, consecrated by the bishop. Oil was used in the Old Testament to anoint priests, prophets, and kings. To be so anointed is to become a member of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9). So it is with Confirmation that the confirmand becomes a member of the body of Christ. In anointing the person, the bishop will normally speak, “I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and I confirm thee with the charism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Having been freed from the binds of original sin by the Sacrament of Baptism, Confirmation unites us more closely to God and binds us more perfectly to His mystical body, the Church.

Be careful when criticizing clergy

First of all, let me make clear what I do not mean with the title: heretics, schismatics, idolaters and criminals must be persecuted and prosecuted by the Church, and we must strive to uproot any stain that is in the Immaculate Body of Christ that is the Holy Mother Church.

With that in mind, we must never forget one of the most important aspects of our hierarchical faith: clergy (priests, bishops, cardinals, the very Pope, a lot of monks and friars and, in an analogous way, deacons) are ordained. They have been given a higher position in the perfect society that is the Church not because they are friends with somebody, or because they have money, or because any merit, but because God Himself has deemed it so.

Of course, sadly, not all ordinations are a product of a true vocation, but most are and, in any case, we laity do not have the means nor the authority to discern their hearts: God will judge them more strictly and harshly than any layman could ever dear hope for, for they have responsibility not only their own souls and the souls of their relatives, but in a certain sense, over all existent souls.

Saint John the Baptist had the privilege of touching the head of the pre-resurrected Jesus Christ. Priests touch and hand Him down in his glorious body every day. The greatest ranks of the angels must cover their face in the presence of God, and their greatest tasks are transmitting messages from God. A priest (and that’s truer of a Bishop or of the Pope) truly speaks in God’s name, making His Will known to men. The Holy Virgin Mary, the Queen of Heaven and the most powerful creature in existence does not match the power the lowest of priests holds: all she can do to forgive sins is, indeed, providing a priest to do it.

Are there bad and evil consecrated men? Yes, there are; there have been, and there will always be until the very last day. We must criticize all public sin, and we must head to our known theologians and priests to fraternally correct public mistakes. But we must handle attacking them with carefulness, for we would be attacking Christ Himself.

Now we are living a time of tribulation (and trust me: I am but a fairly new seminarian and I already am overwhelmed with all the information laypeople do not know: there is an actual war, nothing figurative here, going within the Church, and normal people neither know nor desire to know it), and I do love the Church, and it pains me very deeply when a person that is supposed to be another Christ (alter Christus) acts against Her: those actions must be censored and dealt with the closest authority according to the principle of subsidiarity. The actions must be showed as evil, the words are to be fraternally corrected, and, if applies, the man must be denounced as a public sinner or criminal. But that’s all.

Their status as sinners/criminals notwithstanding, they are and will always be priests of our Lord. There is absolutely no creature that has the ability to erase the marks that ordination imprints on the soul: the highest action we are allowed to do is excommunicating and anathemising them (apart from the secular actions tribunals must do if there have been crimes), but nothing else. And what about if those in power do not perform those actions? Then we pray to God, for He is the only Judge, and we trust in His words, for he affirmed that “[there may be one, two or a thousand rotten apples. Nevertheless,] the gates of Hell shall never prevail against the Church.” Bad times pass, bad people die, and each sin of any ordained man (including Seminarians that have received some order) is worth thousands of normal sins.

 

 

A seminarian’s reflection…

Without a doubt, these atrocious acts of sexual immorality committed by priests and bishops are the principal and direct cause of the grave scandal which the whole Church is suffering in our nation at this time. But why is it that these priests or bishops commit such acts which betray not only their priestly character and office but human nature as a whole?

Is it only a question of human weakness? There is a saying that I believe further enlightens this problem: “Where there are problems of chastity, there are problems of obedience.” These immoral acts which are the cause of scandal are fundamental acts of rebellion against God’s law. Men who repeat these disordered acts are no longer men who fear God and no longer desire to respect the teaching authority of the church. These men’s sin has become their way of life, thus making them their own god.

Some argue that this problem is due to priestly celibacy. They are partially right, but for the wrong reasons. People that make this claim seem to have a very narrow-minded worldview on the importance of priestly celibacy and a lack of trust in this church discipline. However, I fully recognize that priestly celibacy (especially in the 60s-70s) unintentionally provided a shelter for some devout gay men to hide their sexual orientation and become accepted in the communities that they love. At a time of “love” and “freedom” the priesthood easily attracted men who desired to live a double life. By attempting to forgo sex for the rest of their lives in an attempt to get closer to God they believed their problems would simply disappear. Because the church denounces homosexuality altogether, I’m sure some devout gay men pursued the celibate priesthood as a self-incentive to avoid sex with men, which they believed could help them avoid damnation.

There are two major flaws with this mode of thinking that I believe led many homosexuals to pursue holy orders: 

  1. The failure to recognize or admit you have disordered feelings of sexuality and thus should not present yourself for the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ.
  2. The false hope that because you place yourself in such a high office it will somehow eradicate your deep-seated tendencies and problems at ordination.

Both of these problems would have been recognized by either seminary formation or their spiritual directors if these men were honest going through formation. However, it is more and more apparent that the majority of these men are not honest but rather tend to be very deceitful and manipulative.

I think it is wrong to say we have not moved at all in the right direction in eradicating this problem. To be accepted as a seminarian is a much more strenuous process. We are required to go through many evaluations based mostly on human development and also forced to go through at least two psychological evaluations during seminary before we receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. However, I am quick to agree that we are simply not moving fast enough. This is mostly because this era of either gay clergy or homosexual-sympathetic clergy are now in seats of power. They protect each other and avoid addressing the real problem.

So what can we do?

I think we need to face the fact that no matter how loud we yell the church hierarchy of today will not remove gay clergy unless they have offended. Period. So here we are waiting in this limbo for either another accusation to arrive like the McCarrick situation or for these men to die out. It is indeed a hard tribulation to swallow.

However, it is important we continue to show our dissatisfaction with the current situation as best as we can. I think this is first and foremost with God in prayer and sacrifice. There is a favorite quote of mine from St. John Vianney (Patron of Priest) which I believe can apply to this:

[to a priest who was complaining about a sinful state of an affair his parish was in]  “You have preached, you have prayed, but have you fasted? Have you taken the discipline (a self-imposed scourge)? Have you slept on the floor? So long as you have done none of these things, you have no right to complain.” 

This adage can definitely be applied to this situation. This is the cross of our time. We must not forget our duty to pray and suffer for our Church the beloved spouse of Christ and Her Ministers. We must be men, grounded in prayer ready to fight for justice. Raise your children with their future vocations in mind. They will help be the priest, nuns, and families needed to help rebuild what we know to be true. Pray for the clergy of the church most especially our bishops. Also, pray for those ordained who do struggle with homosexual tendencies. And lastly, please pray for vocations and pray for seminarians that are willing men able to stand up against evil and be ardent protectors of our Holy Mother Church.Station 3 Artist

St. Peter Damien,

St. Alphonsus Liguori,

St. John Vianney,

Venerable Fulton Sheen, Ora Pro Nobis

Holy Mother of God, Ora Pro Nobis.

Son of God, Miserere Nobis

 

 

Topic: The Failure Of Embracing The Culture

Every progressive cleric, the modernists in the hierarchy, and even most of the framers of Vatican II decades ago, seem to rely on the same assumption: If the Church were more like the culture, more people would join us. That is, if we embrace the increasingly libertine values of the post-Christian society around us, they will love us and fill the pews of our parishes.

The problem is not just that this is a lie, but that it is the flashy label on a vial of poison. Never has this worked. Parishes that pursue it see declines in attendees and in their coffers. Diocese that de-emphasize the traditions of the Church end up selling off buildings to stay afloat, and the Church as a whole which has been heading in this general direction for decades is less than 10 years away from a financial crisis far worse then the one it is in now, due to a steady decline in parishioners and revenue, and the loss of those who joined the Church back when it knew what it believed.

Alternatively, parishes, diocese and orders grow and thrive where they embrace the great traditions of the Church, the language of the Church, the supernatural nature of the Church, and the role of correcting, not enabling, society’s sins.

Why is this, and what lessons should the Church draw from it?

Anti-clerical art?

“Anti-clerical art is a genre of art portraying clergy, especially Roman Catholic clergy, in unflattering contexts. It was especially popular in France during the second half of the 19th century, at a time that the anti-clerical message suited the prevailing political mood. Typical paintings show cardinals in their bright red robes engaging in unseemly activities within their lavish private quarters.”

Funny enough these were seen as scandalous back in the day, however a couple of these pieces I really like and wouldn’t mind having myself! I especially like the one of the monk and the cardinal burning heretical books!

What you guys think?

On Sacraments.

Sacraments. The word itself can often conjure up a sense of the mystical and the transcendent. The etymology of the word sacrament strengthens this sense. The English word sacrament is born of the Latin word, sacre, and may be translated as sacred or hallowed. From the Greek translation, we get the word musterion, which we translate into mystery. These two ancient languages provide us with a working definition of the sacraments as a sacred mystery. Finally, Saint Augustine provides us with an essential definition of the sacraments, “Sacraments are outward signs of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification”. The purpose of sacraments is to, “Sanctify, to build up the Body of Christ and, finally, to worship God. Because they are signs, they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it” (see the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council).

The Catholic Church enumerates seven sacraments, all of them instituted by Jesus Christ.  Nevertheless, the process of accepting these sacraments was slow. It was only over time that seven major rituals came to be accepted as sacraments. These seven sacraments officially named in 1215 at the Fourth Lateran Council, would not be officially codified until the Council of Trent (1545–1563). Over time these seven sacraments were further divided into three categories: initiation, healing, and service. Over the next few weeks, I will attempt to discuss each of these sacraments, including their origin and significance.

Baptism.

Naturally, the first sacrament to discuss is that of baptism, (from the Greek and meaning to be plunged or immersed in water). Baptism is the sacrament most associated with entry into the Christian faith. Nevertheless, its origins may be found in the Jewish ritual known as “tevilah”, which is based upon the priestly rituals in Leviticus. Specifically, these rituals were used for the purpose of spiritual cleansing. This was considered necessary before one could sacrifice in the Temple. This cleansing was also considered a form of repentance and it is in this vein that John the Baptist would baptize. Repentance was necessary for the forgiveness of past sins, but even John the Baptist understood that this was insufficient and that the One who was to come after John would “baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11).

As mentioned earlier, baptism is a sacrament of initiation. The theologian and author, Tertullian observed that much like the oath taken by a soldier, which begins the soldier’s life in the military, so too the sacrament of baptism initiates the Christian into the mystical body of Christ, which is the Catholic Church. Moreover, it is in baptism that we are cleansed from original sin, thereby reinstating our status as adopted children of God and heirs of heaven, a status lost at the Fall.

The basis for baptism as it relates to salvation is most clearly articulated in the Gospel of John. In John 3:3, we read, “Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. To be “born anew” is to die to the flesh, which is infected with original sin, and be born into the spirit, the effect of which is to restore the grace lost by original sin. So while baptism is often defined negatively by stating that it takes away sin, it should also be understood positively, by restoring the Grace that was lost by original sin. From this, it becomes clear that the cleansing of original sin makes baptism necessary for salvation since original sin would act as a barrier to entry into heaven.

Finally, the mention of the word baptism often conjures up the image of a priest pouring water from a baptismal font on to the head of a baby. However, the Catholic Church distinguishes between three types of baptism. The first is the most common, that of baptism by water. The second type of baptism is that of the baptism of martyrdom. This is a baptism of one who dies for the faith before he has had a chance to be baptized by water. The third type of baptism is the baptism of desire. This is a baptism of an individual who expresses a sincere desire to be baptized, but dies before he is provided with an opportunity to be baptized by water.