Thanks be to God, there are still a few faithful bishops with backbone left in the Church. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, California – of all places! - is one such bishop. I think it’s fair to say that he’s not only holding the line, but pushing back. This good man could definitely use our prayers.
One of California’s most significant Latin Mass communities worships at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Oakland’s lower hills. On Sunday, we were privileged to witness the baptism of our godson’s baby sister at this venerable old church. A glorious day. Please forgive the amateur photography; the place is more beautiful than my poor photos let on.
Watch this to the end. Louie Verrecchio’s prediction for the fallout of the October Synod is precisely my own. Because I’m an optimist. It’s the best possible outcome barring divine intervention of the most dramatic kind (and it will still be a catastrophe). Although we need to remember that, for Modernists, belief in “collegiality” is only a matter of convenience – a means to an end. When collegiality fails, Modernists are fully capable of delivering autocratic authority with an iron fist. Pope Francis has yet to be tested in that regard.
If you work in corporate America, I’m sure you’ve been to a few meetings like this.
I can’t help it … could this be a metaphor for the Second Vatican Council, with Anderson representing the losing council fathers?
Whether or not one agrees with Abp. Lefebvre’s course of action – there is room, in my view, for a legitimate difference of opinion here – it cannot be denied that he was faced with an almost impossible dilemma. Those who argue against the 1988 consecrations and the continuing resistance of the SSPX, if they want to be credible, need to demonstrate an informed understanding of the scope and magnitude of the crisis. A good start might be Abp. Lefebvre’s “Open Letter to Confused Catholics” (the entire book can be read online here), published in 1985:
When I was a child the Church everywhere had the same faith, the same sacraments and the same Sacrifice of the Mass. If anyone had told me then that it would be changed, I would not have believed him. Throughout the breadth of Christendom we prayed to God in the same way. The new liberal and modernist religion has sown division.
Christians are divided within the same family because of this confusion which has established itself; they no longer go to the same Mass and they no longer read the same books. Priests no longer know what to do; either they obey blindly what their superiors impose on them, and lose to some degree the faith of their childhood and youth, renouncing the promises they made when they took the Anti-Modernist Oath at the moment of their ordination; or on the other
hand they resist, but with the feeling of separating themselves from the Pope, who is our father and the Vicar of Christ. In both cases, what a heartbreak! Many priests have died of sorrow before their time.
What a heartbreak, indeed. We face the same difficulties today. Something important has to “give” no matter the choice we make. It might seem that the archbishop sacrificed the principle of obedience to the Holy Father in order to preserve orthodox doctrine and liturgy. But did he really sacrifice obedience? Is the Holy Father truly served by obedience that so radically undermines the Catholic Faith? The “obedience” required of everyone at the time looked more like wild rebellion and infidelity. In most places it still does. It has been said that cloaking rebellion under the disguise of “obedience” was the devil’s masterstroke. Would-be critics of the archbishop and his actions first need to struggle with this reality before passing judgment.
A blessed feast of the Annunciation to all.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre died on this day in 1991. The Annunciation represents a glorious beginning, a new season of hope. It seems that Heaven wanted to emphasize a new season of hope in the death of this “great man of the universal Church”. Because of his work, all was not lost, the devastation was not complete, and there is hope for future generations. We who, 23 years later, enjoy the privilege of assisting at the ancient Latin liturgy owe Archbishop Lefebvre a tremendous debt of gratitude.
He could have chosen another path. Obedience would have been easy. He could have kept his beloved Mass, his old fashioned spirituality, and perhaps even his priests and seminary for a time. He would have been praised universally for his humble obedience. He would have enjoyed the society of Rome and might even have been made a cardinal. He would have died in concord with the pope, without enduring the malicious taunts of “schism”, and without the bitter grief of “excommunicate” affixed to his name. He was precisely the kind of Catholic for whom schism and excommunication held the greatest terror. But then, if he had chosen this easy path, he would have left us nothing – and countless despairing souls would have been lost. Instead he placed the glory of God and the salvation of souls over his own good name and reputation. He chose tribulation over comfort, calumny over praise, and the death of an exile – “on the existential peripheries”, if you like – in order to pass on the treasures he had received.
All of the canonically regular traditional orders owe their existence to Archbishop Lefebvre.
All of the Ecclesia Dei communities owe their existence to Archbishop Lefebvre.
Summorum Pontificum would not exist but for Archbishop Lefebvre.
Indeed, the Society of Saint Pius X serves as perhaps the most salient check on Modernism in the Church, as they are virtually the only clerics who can speak out publicly without fear of reprisals.
And yet, for all of these gifts, ungrateful men who should know better - men who are undeniable beneficiaries of Archbishop Lefebvre’s great sacrifices – continue to wage a relentless campaign against him and the Society he founded. It’s not enough for such men to disagree; they must discredit him entirely. They exhibit all the signs of envious souls who, lacking his courage, must assuage their bad consciences.
Here’s an interesting map showing religious adherence in the United States:
The scale reads as follows:
Dark – 75% or more
Med Dark – 55% to 74.9%
Medium – 45% to 54.9%
Med Light – 35% to 44.9%
Light – 0% to 34.9%
The first thing to understand is that “religious adherence” is defined as those who identify with a church or religious denomination. It does not include everyone with religious beliefs. Nor does it represent attendance at religious services. For example, religious adherence in the United States is reported at 50.2% , while 42% attend religious services at least once per week, and anywhere from 71% to 92% (depending on which poll you believe) report a belief in God. Religious adherence would seem to be a good proxy for a minimal degree of religious commitment.
The “light” counties seem to be concentrated in the western and northwestern states. It’s interesting to track how this plays out politically. Far northern California is the least religious area of the state, but also the most politically conservative. Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and Arizona share this unlikely admixture. In my neck of the woods, the sentiment leans strongly libertarian which translates into GOP politics most of the time – a phenomenon that is common in the western states. The intellectual framework of libertarianism has always been atheistic, though some have tried to Christianize the movement. Despite the low rate of religious adherence in far northern California, I would guess that well over 60% of my neighbors believe in God – probably more than 80% once you get out of the city – and although they don’t identify with a specific religious group they are generally respectful of those who do.
It’s interesting to observe that religious adherence doesn’t always translate into a virtuous society or culture. Witness Memphis, New Orleans, and New York City. Another surprise: there’s a lot of “light” in West Virginia, Virginia, and Eastern Kentucky. I typically think of Appalachia as very religious, but things seem to be changing fast.
Whenever I begin to despair about California’s frightening godlessness, it always helps to look at Europe. Here’s a sobering map of belief in God in Europe:
Now, that makes me feel better. California, which boasts 62% believing in “God or a higher power”, looks positively fanatical when compared with Great Britain, France, Germany, and Scandinavia! We’re doing slightly better than Spain; we seem to be on par with Italy and Ireland; and we’re a little behind Poland and Portugal when it comes to religiosity.
Zippy Catholic has written an important piece explaining why the “pastoral exception” of communion for the divorced and remarried, as promoted by Cardinal Kasper and not-so-subtly endorsed by Pope Francis himself, is vicious cruelty, not kindness. Zippy is a thorough and comprehensive thinker, and his words don’t lend themselves to snippets or sound-bites, so please read the entire article.
“It is obvious that the PE [editor: 'pastoral exception' for selected divorced and remarried Catholics] would be cruel and vicious toward Catholics who are in irregular situations and are putting forth the effort to try to do what is right. This is not merely theoretical. Implementing this proposal would kick the most vulnerable of penitents — those who are leaning heavily on the Sacraments and the unchanging doctrine of the Church to remain continent in the face of overwhelming pressure to do otherwise — right where it hurts. The PE would completely undermine all of the support that they have. These are real people we are talking about, not policy abstractions, and they are among the most spiritually vulnerable of the Christian faithful …”
Cardinal Burke: “There are many difficulties with the text of Cardinal Kasper, and I say that openly.”
Let’s all take a moment to thank Our Lord for Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, who isn’t going to be silent about the defections of his fellow cardinals from Christ’s teaching on marriage. He must be suffering a great deal at this time.