I realize that it's been almost a month since I've posted on S.U.D. Part of the reason is because of my daily life, which is eating up most of my time between a girlfriend, an odd-hours Monday-Friday Part Time job in afternoons, and my other ministry commitments, outside of the Extraordinary Form.
However, I'll be up front, part of me is becoming torn apart spiritually with all the garbage going on in the Church, some of it wondering what the Holy Father is saying at times to Traditionalists (and what he intends), which also includes the ongoing war between Catholic Traditionalism and the "Novus Ordo Church" as some traditionalist radicals coin it. It is eating at my heart and soul, and permanent spiritual damage has been wreaked upon me while I have ventured into the Extraordinary Form.
While a decent number of adherents to this form of the Roman Rite are good, honest, and LAW ABIDING Catholics who aren't hypocrites, sadly, enough of them are giving everyone a bad wrap, and needless to say, their actions are closing the doors fast on the Extraordinary Form, now that, to quote Fr. Z, "the cutest fluffiest Pope Evah" (read: "Liberal" dissenter ally who is truthfully not one, but now a tool of the liberals) is in power. Those ``Trads Behaving Badly`` (herein, TBBs,) are the ones with their websites and positions of power, who are really ruining it with diocesan offices, and just about everyone in the Church. In turn, Liberals and even neutrals/Orthodox Novus Ordo Catholics, are turning into the very enemies they claim them to be, and in return the TBBs just keep being jerks to everyone around them. Sadly, good young people like myself are turning away from the Mass they love, or worse, once loved, because of their stupid shenanigans.
However, those of the "Novus Ordo"/"Francis Cheering squad"/"Neo-Catholics"/whatever you call them, are also being hypocrites as well in certain cases by giving into the accusations that Trads make of their behavior over the past 50+ years and simply uphold what the clergy/laity have done to them. They are reacting just as brash and rude as their "enemies" or the people they are not supposed to be, those darn TBBs. By doing so, they only harden the mindset of the TBBs to continue what they are doing, and for those like the SSPX to continue being justified in their radical positions and never come into communion with Holy Mother Church. Guess they forget "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Sulam."
All in all, it is making for a truly, spiritually sick environment in the Catholic Church, one that will overwhelm the field hospital, or destroy the road to the hospital whereby the patients will be unable to be treated. Yesterday, and today, that happened with a number of bloggers: 1 Traditionalist priest, and 3 mega phenom "Neo-catholics" or moderates in the Church, here, here, and here. To all of you, and any other blogger or reader, I write this plea for a ceasefire, a truce, peace, anything. Please listen to what I have to say, and harden not your hearts. My plea is in Courier Font, and quotations are in Verdana Font:
To the Catholic bloggers of the Blogosphere, and the "fighters, soldiers, generals" etc. of the liturgical war on both sides, Novus Ordo or Latin Mass,
I am a casualty, collateral damage, caught in the middle of your bickering, your volleys of detraction and/or slander, your apologetics, and/or whatever you are saying on line, and in person.
I came to the Extraordinary Form seeking to enhance my growing spirituality, after starting to part ways with a Novus Ordo parish that was choking my soul. When I first came to the EF, I was aware of the havoc that liberals had wreaked on the Church in the last 50+ years in the "Spirit of Vatican II." However, I was also introduced to the Trads Behaving Badly (herein, TBBs), who were doing their own damage to the Latin Mass and hence, traditional Catholicism. Eventually, in my Archdiocese, I became the target of these TBBs, because I rejected what the TBBs stood for, and the malicious behaviour I was witnessing before my eyes. Based on my experiences, I sympathize with the views of bloggers like Mark Shea et al., for I know first hand what sins and horrible works can come from such people.
Because of what was dealt onto me, I am comfortable at only one parish of 2 with the EF, and Masses organized by one Latin Mass group. The other parish and Latin Mass organizing group in my archdiocese contains the presence of those TBBs at their Masses. Although through my blog and my selective EF serving activities, I have tried to provide a counter presence to the counter-Catholic witness in the Latin Mass/Traditionalist Movement, it has been out-massed by these TBBs and the bad examples of others on the internet. These players still dominate the scene, and after 2 and a 1/2 years of witnessing this, it's safe to say that things, at least in my Archdiocese, are not going to improve anytime soon.
What I have experienced at home though, is sorely being echoed now throughout the mainstream Church in the papacy of Pope Francis. Granted, yes the Church is supposed to reach out to the poor, but it seems that social justice has become the sole focus on a wider scale, at the cost of anything "liturgical" or Theological/Doctrinal. Worse, Francis has not been careful in his words and off-the-cuff comments. Such words have made many question who his intended targets of his fervorinos and messages are, and what the true feelings of Jorge Bergoglio to traditionalists are, despite him being the Bishop of Rome. Worse, it is giving people more ammunition to hate Traditionalists and the Latin Mass all over again, and to remain stagnant in their own ``Cafeteria Catholicism``. Francis has even changed positions in his Vatican dicasteries for more neutral or ``Francis-like`` bishops, and the JPII/B16 ones are being weeded out. What message is that sending to a young guy like me? That EF/Latin Mass/Traditionalists are hated in the Church again???
It also doesn't help when just because one priest decides to make a joke out of the situation with the "Evangelii Gaudium Neopelagian quote", that a number of bloggers who are the "neutral" or "neo-caths" or whatever you get called, all gang up on the priest. A priest no less! Laypeople ganging up on a priest!!! Fraternal correction of a person, is one thing, but what I have witnessed was more on the side of disrespectful, and displayed poor example for a young person like myself to follow. If I was any young buck with no liturgical/theological background at all, I'd think it's open season on priests. To the credit of one of the moderate bloggers, he did rewrite his title of his post seeing it was imprudent and crude.
What I witnessed in these last two days, sickens me even more, because this is the exact same "ganging-up" and harassing behaviour that I have seen the TBBs do online and in person to good Traditionalists, Novus Ordo Catholics of any age, and anyone that does not fit the TBBs' views of Traditionalism. What a number of bloggers have shown in this scenario with the coffee mug Fr. Z created, and perhaps to some extent Fr. Z, clearly goes against the Gospel of Christ, when he is teaching his disciples about piety, the virtue of Humility, and its counter vice of pride, the Devil`s key sin. Recall Luke 18:9-14 when the Pharisee boasts of all the works he does and how Christ replies in verse 14 ``... for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exhalted.`` It is in both`s sides postings and the commentators who did not exert prudence and temperance with what they wrote, I feel this is all I am seeing: Pharisees who are simply on one side or the other of the narrow road, slinging bombs and bullets at each other and accusing each other of spiritual infractions against Jesus, while I, trying to walk in the middle, am being blown apart and/or ridden with bullet holes.
Both sides, you have forgotten that the true enemy in all this, is the Devil. Via those changes, ushered in with the "spirit of Vatican II", I am sure both of you can agree that much spiritual devastation has been brought upon the laity and clergy of the Church, and to our beautiful and sacred Catholic Liturgy (especially the Roman Rite). As His Holiness, Pope Francis quotes in his new book Open Mind, Faithful Heart" in Chapter 12: Testing and Temptation: ".... The devil is intelligent. He knows how and where to tempt people. Saint Ignatius describes him as a militant commander who is attempting to conquer and plunder his objective ... the enemy of human nature prowls around and from EVERY SIDE probes ALL OUR THEOLOGICAL, CARDINAL, AND MORAL VIRTUES. Then at the point where he finds us weakest and most in need in regard to our eternal salvation, there he attacks and tries to take us" (SpEx 327) .... if he attacks something, it is because he recognizes that it is dangerous ...."
Satan knows that the Latin Mass, Catholic Traditionalism/Orthodoxy, and the Hermeneutic of Continuity of Vatican II, flies in the face of his consolation prize after losing to Christ when He died on the cross: Your souls. And he wants EVERY LAST ONE of them NOT to join Him in Heaven. It also throws a wrench into the Devil's current game plan he has enacted, which has succeeded quite well the last 50+ years. He has pried many souls away from the salvation Christ offers in the Church, with what he's done in liturgy, hererical and/or misguided "catechesis", catholic education, etc. Therefore, with the rest of you who can smell his obvious "traps," He must use a different weapon: Pride, via the twisting of your religious zeal into an ugly, sinful weapon. Yes, our Holy Father might not prefer that Latin Mass over the Novus Ordo, but while our Holy Father has a different goal with his papacy vs. Benedict XVI and John Paul II, the devil is using this liturgical war to every extent to get the fewer, remaining soldiers who love Christ and his Church in these times, to "kill each other" and their own souls, with "friendly fire."
Everyone ... this friendly fire is exactly what is killing desire in the faithful to not be lukewarm, including embracing proper Catholic teaching, Traditional Catholicism, and/or the Latin mass. This includes us young people.
If all I see are Trads, hated by liberals and balanced Catholics, and our Pope and those who are "in the middle" are saying non-positive things concerning Trads, and the TBBs are justified in their behaviour, then why should I bother participating in the Latin Mass?
If the modernists/neutrals/"good" Catholic bloggers act the same as the TBBs, and it's a "Francis or bust" culture, then why should I be part of any Catholic community that doesn't practice love, but rather, conform or be hated? Isn't our Holy Father against regimes and governments who act like dictatorships? Because that's what I feel like I am seeing here with the Fr. Z issue: A Pope Francis or TBB Dictatorship is the only way to go.
Further, if what the neutrals are doing is just the same as the TBBs, then what else am I supposed to feel but justification, that the institutional Church is corrupt and hypocritical? My generation (80's onward), hates the hypocrisy of the generations before us and in our secular/religious institutions.
Please everyone .... I beg you ... Traditionalist, Orthodox Novus Ordo, or whatever side you take in Traditional Catholicism/
Liturgy or Forms .... please stop the behaviour you are doing online. What hope can a young person like myself have, to even bother with the Latin Mass, or even Catholicism in general, if even our better exemplars (you,) are no different than those hypocrites of our Faith among our family, friends, instructors, and Church clergy? How can I keep being a leader in youth ministry, and try to encourage my tweens/teens to even weekly Mass, when the institutional and ONLINE leadership in the Church keep failing us?
We hate what is still going on at the ground/parish level in 2013. Many of us reverts have found/renewed our Catholic Faith thanks to your work and examples. But today, you have demonstrated the opposite, and become purveyors of despair in trusting the Church. You, bloggers, myself included, even though we mostly are not clergy, are a PART OF SHOWING PEOPLE WHAT THE TRUE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS, WHETHER YOU THINK SO OR NOT. We are responsible for being those Saints in the sneakers and jeans Francis has asked us to be. It's time again to do that, properly.
If you want to selectively quote me, bash me, criticize, or repost what I have said, do whatever you must. But please realize what I am saying. Please think about the next generation, and how we are looking up to you to give us the guidance we never got from our clergy and "role models", and more often than not, continue not to get with regards to our Faith. We need saints, not Pharisees, Trad or not. Give us hope and a place to turn to in these trying times.
Sincerely, with sadness, Julian Barkin, of Servimus Unum Deum .... trying to be a good, young, practicing, Faithful, Somewhat-Traditionalist, Catholic.