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Reading this article on William Luse’s blog has gotten me thinking more and more about some recent events.  The article, actually an interview transcript, is from 1981 and reproduces a conversation between William F. Buckley and Malcolm Muggeridge.  In this conversation, Muggeridge discusses his reasons for not being Catholic (he did eventually convert, but that is beside the point).  His reasons for not becoming a Catholic, despite his belief in purgatory, papal infalibility, the Creed, his own admiration for the saints, his own opposition to contraception, etc., is that he did not see the Church as actually believing what it said about contraception.

This is quite problematic.  This problem is not one of simple, conventional hypocrisy.  That kind of hypocrisy is easily resolved: a man with the highest and noblest of principles will undoubably fail to live up to them at times.  Some people try to make this an excuse to abandon those principles altogether, but it is fairly transparent that this is incorrect.  The shock at discovery of hypocrisy comes from the failure, not from the thought that one would have such principles to begin with.  The hypocrisy that Muggeridge seems to have seen is different.

It is a lack of moral honesty.  Muggeridge saw a Church that taught against contraception–with a wink and a smile.  A Church where officials were concerned with making sure that their own alleged beliefs were not carried out.  It is not that the priest in question, who wanted Muggeridge to allow the distribution of contraception, believed that contraception but failed to live up to that believe.  Rather, he did not believe that it was wrong to use it, and he attempted to subvert the very principle that he, as a Catholic priest, was required to believe.  In short, he was a liar.

Now, when Obama spoke at Notre Dame, I had a conversation with a formerly-Catholic agnostic who has shown a great respect for the Church and Her teachings in the past.  This agnostic told me that she no longer thought that the Catholic Church was “good at all.”  Though in fact many bishops did speak out against Obama’s speaking at Notre Dame, this fact did not erase the reality that the many priests at Notre Dame did not do anything to stop Obama from speaking there and receiving an honorary degree.  In fact, they brought it about.  For someone who is not already a member of the Church, but who respects the Church for Her stance against abortion, this is a crushing blow to that respect.  Suddenly the Church is not an organization that opposes abortion, but an organization that can’t get its act together and that talks out of both sides of its mouth.

I have, and I’m sure any readers who might happen upon this post have, met priests and other “officials” in the Church who do not believe and even who act against what the Church teaches.  These are not hypocrites who fail to live up to their own high standards, but rather hypocrites and liars who try actively to undermine the truth.

I am not saying that they are “not real Catholics.”  That is an easy dodge of the issue.  They are real Catholics.  Some of them have studied, gone to seminary, and been ordained.  Some are even trusted by the Church with sensitive issues like the religious education of children.  Yes, they are heretics, but they are Catholics to themselves and to the world.  Thus, it is vitally important that when we discuss Church issues with anyone, that we remain true to our Catholic principles.  Little, weaselly words like “well I don’t agree with the Church on everything ” (perhaps you mean an issue like who to appoint Bishop of San Diego or something) is heard by the non-Catholic listener as “it’s okay to disagree with the dogmas and doctrines of the Church.”  By accepting the name Catholic and receiving Holy Communion, we acknowledge the truth of the Church’s teachings.  If we believe otherwise, we are creating a scandal, whether we wish to do so or not.

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I recently heard it suggested that what those of us who love the Traditional Latin Mass really need is a worldwide Traditionalist diocese, that would give us our own friendly bishop(s?) our own set of priests, our own parishes, and ultimately would circumvent the many problems that occur within the “mainstream” church.  It is certainly an appealing idea: we look at the status of the Eastern rite Churches and sometimes feel almost envious.

However, I maintain that as Traditional Catholics we must hope for the older form of the Mass to be fully embraced by the Latin Rite of the Church.  In my opinion, if every Latin Rite parish in the world had a TLM, we would be much better off.  However, this will not be accomplished by having our own seperate diocese.  We need the mainstream church, and the mainstream church needs us.  A Traditionalist diocese would not foster growth in the Traditionalist movement: new Catholics would almost all come first into their local diocesan structures, and some few would “discover” our existance later on.  In effect, by creating a Traditionalist diocese we would give those who dislike Catholic tradition a great gift: our complete marginalization from the life of the rest of the Church.

Before the mass was changed, every Latin Rite parish had the TLM.  Now, there is a new form of the Mass.  I do not believe that it will go away, and it certainly won’t and shouldn’t go away by being supressed by the Pope.  However, what we can hope for is full equality within our own rite of the Church.  Latin Mass Parishes, like those of the FSSP, are excellent and should be encouraged with prayer and financial support where possible.  However, we should also be encouraging (in the same ways) diocesan priests who wish to add a TLM to their already busy schedule of masses in the parish.  We should hope that someday the parishes around us will all have the TLM, and that the average Catholic is frequently nourished by the rich spirituality and tradition of this form of the mass.

Thus, while I am fully supportive of personal parishes for the TLM (which would then free other priests to start TLMs at their own parishes) I find the idea of a “personal diocese” overly seperatist.  I fear that it would foster greater division (in the minds of regular Novus Ordo attendees) between “trads” and “regular Catholics.”

If anyone has any thoughts on this matter, please discuss in the comments: I would love to see what others think on this issue.

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Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the PentecostMass at St. Anthony of Padua in Fresno.  I greatly regret that I don’t have any pictures to post, but some of the ushers were taking pictures which will hopefully be on the Latin Mass Society’s website soon.  Also, they might end up in the Fresno Bee, as I understand the usher was going to send some to them.

What really struck me as I was at Mass was how easy it is to understand, at the Tridentine Mass, that the priest is not acting as himself but rather as Christ.  The vestments and the ritual take away his individual personality.  This is actually a good thing: he returns to being himself, a humble man, for the sermon, and then after mass when we all talk to him and thank him for saying mass for us.  However, during the mass and especially the consecration you can see that he is not simply behaving as a man, he is acting as Christ.

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It seems that in my hiatus from blogging Fr. Darren Zehnle tagged me for a couple of memes.  Allow me to give my answers here, before any more time goes by without answering them.

First up, Five Things I Love about Jesus:

1. The fact that he saved us from damnation.

2. The fact that he came to earth as a real man, not as some apparition, like a pagan god.

3. The way he prayed, even though he was already God.

4. That he can make us saints.

5. That he loves us more than we could possibly love him.

 

Then, a book meme (my favorite type!)

One book that changed your life:  Tolkien: Man and Myth by Joseph Pearce.  I read this my first year of high school, and I wonder whether I would have become Catholic without it.  I had already read The Lord of the Rings, and this book taught me that Tolkien was Catholic.  It made sense to me that he would be, and after that I always felt that if I were to become a Christian, I would be a Catholic as well.

One book that you’ve read more than once: The Lord of the Rings is an obvious answer, but it’s true.  I’m re-reading it currently, in fact.

One book you’d want on a desert island: If I could get something like The Complete Works of All Catholic Authors then I might be almost satisfied.  Otherwise, I don’t really like the idea of being stuck on an island without books.  I want to be a little like Atrus from the Myst video game: my deserted island would have an ornate, well-stocked library.

One book that made you laugh: Stories of Our Century by Catholic Authors, an old book from Image books that I picked up at a used book sale.  Some stories were serious, some were funny, some were sad, but they all gave me a slightly humorous look at what a Catholic culture might be like.

One book that made you cry: I can’t think of one right now.  Usually books make me happy or angry (in a constructive, let’s fix this kind of way).  I don’t usually get too sad from reading books…maybe I should read more novels.

One book that you wish had been written: Rule Hibernia. An alternate history where Ireland remains independent (perhaps Brian Boru is not killed at Clontarf) and allies with Spain, and this alliance competes with the British-Portuguese alliance for control of the New World.

One book that you wish hadn’t been written: Anything that started a false religion.

One book you’re currently reading: Dumbing Down Our Kids by Charles Sykes.  Given that I want to be a teacher, this book is filling me with desire to change the way the education system works.  Also, desire to homeschool any children I may have in the future.

One book you’ve been meaning to read: Manalive by G.K. Chesterton.

Now, I will tag anyone who reads and wants to play.  Feel free to put your answers in my comments if you don’t have a blog of you own.

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Engagement

Here we are in Monterey where I proposed to Catherine.Hello everyone, I realize I have not blogged nearly enough lately.  However, I wanted to let everyone know that I am now engaged to Catherine, about whom I have posted before.  We will be married in December of 2009, at Mission Santa Clara.  Thankfully, given the usual state of the liturgy at the Mission, it is “bring your own priest.”  We have spoken to Fr. Angel Sotelo, who celebrates the TLM in Fresno on alternate Sundays and who was recently mentioned on Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s blog.  I am very happy to have everything set up, and I am looking forward to the wedding.

I think this probably says something about meeting online through a Catholic website.  Catherine and I have immensely helped each other spiritually, and I doubt I would have met her or anyone like her had I not had access to the internet.  So, I believe quite strongly that certain “modern” methods can be used for very traditional and Catholic goals.

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Hello to anyone who still happens to be reading this.  I am going to try to blog more now…I have been very busy, but I am now starting a different program in school and a different job, which I hope will free up some additional time for me to blog.  I hope to at least be able to post enough each week to keep a sustained readership (stable group?).  Anyway, I should have some new posts coming up soon.

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Fr. Ragheed Ganni

Perhaps some of you have heard of this new martyr, Fr. Ragheed Ganni.  At Mass last Sunday, the priest, who is from Ireland, discussed the martyrdom of Fr. Ganni.  Apparently he knew him (Fr. Ganni went to the Irish College in Rome, and spent time in Ireland at Lough Derg).  I encourage everyone to read this story, and to remember the names Fr. Ragheed Ganni, and the three subdeacons killed along with him,Basman Yousef Daud, Wahid Hanna Isho, and Gassan Isam Bidawed.  All were killed in odium fidei and thus should all be saints in heaven now.  I would encourage prayers both for and to them.  And pray to Our Lady of Lepanto for the defense of Christendom, wherever Christendom may now be found.

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