Recollections of a World That Is No More

Pius XII pic 2

There are fewer than ten years separating the ages of my wife and me, a difference hardly worth mentioning in a marriage of more than thirty years.  Yet the distance between the two worlds we grew up in, the forces that shaped the cultural and religious horizons of our two lives, remains so vastly different that one might almost think we’d lived on separate planets.  The backdrop to the world that framed my childhood and youth, an expanse of stage no happier than which can be imagined, was wholly and uncomplicatedly Catholic.  Nothing I did escaped the benign, omnipresent reach of the Roman Catholic Church.  From the old priest who first gave me Jesus in the Eucharist, to the young Sister who prepared me to receive him, Catholic smells and bells seemed to be in evidence everywhere in that long ago Golden Age.  Nearly all the friends I found in the neighborhoods of my childhood were Catholic, their noise and numbers echoing across the lawns and driveways of a halcyon world where we and countless other large Catholic families lived and played.

If it is true that we are no better than deposed kings and queens, beguiled by memories of a kingdom whose loss we are forever trying to assuage, then why wasn’t I told?  Because it never crossed my mind that I’d lost anything.  How accurate, then, is the world I’m describing?  Was there no worm in the apple?  Indeed, there was.  Under that cloudless sky of fifties Catholicism, there were hidden neuralgic points, a thousand or more tensions and discontents that, simmering ominously beneath the surface of all those outwardly quiescent Eisenhower years, would soon enough blow the blooming roof right off the cathedral ceiling.  We were on a collision course with the 1960s, from the wreckage of which an entire world would be lost.

One mustn’t forget, however, that even before the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, the worm had long since insinuated its poison.  For all its pre-lapsarian pretensions, the sixties did not alter the basic human equation, which is that we have all been pockmarked by Original Sin.  A doctrine that, as Chesterton once said, has never needed defending.  If anyone cares to doubt that, just look in the nearest mirror.  Only one of us, we Catholics believe, was spared complicity with evil.  Our Blessed Lady, whose innocence reaches right down the bottom of her being.  “The serpent,” reports St. John of Damascus, “never had any access to this paradise.”

And yet the time of the sixties struck many of us as singular in its sheer destructive sweep, leaving those who recoiled from its vibrations in a state of more or less permanent shellshock.  And no doubt the blast from that past moves me to idealize the period just prior to detonation, causing me to throw an unreal halo over the years of my childhood and early youth.  But I do not want to press the point.  In fact, what I believe about that faraway place and time, and will insist upon saying until my dying day, is that despite the convulsive and far-reaching storms destined to come, not a whisper of that distant trauma touched the shores of the placid little world I lived in and loved.  Everything seemed to have been nailed down most wonderfully back then, the whole majestic show organized and sustained by this immensely Roman Catholic Thing that had been running the universe for what felt like forever.  From the pale Pius XII in the Vatican, to the apple-cheeked Sister Flavia in the parochial school cafeteria, the world I knew was bound by authority figures it would never occur to me, or anyone else for that matter, to question.  For all that I was a cheeky child, and I’ve no doubt the record of my villainy in classroom and schoolyard has been duly documented by the nuns I’d succeeded in vexing all my grammar school years, it never would have dawned on me that I was the hapless target of a cruel and corrupt system.

I am perfectly prepared to concede, however, that others may draw upon a very different set of memories.  For instance, the novelist and critic John Gregory Dunne, who, coming of age in the 1940s, found the nuns at his school to be so frightful as to evoke the savagery of “concentration-camp guards.”  Brandishing their rulers, he recalls, they would repeatedly rap them across the knuckles of their wretched charges.  “The joke at St. Joseph’s Cathedral School in Hartford, Conn., where I grew up, was that the nuns would hit you until you bled and then hit you for bleeding.”

Maybe I was just a weird kid, but immersed in that insular Catholic world some ten or so years after poor Mr. Dunne, I was positively bird happy when surrounded by the sisters; and never more so than in the darkened sanctuary serving the 6:30 am Mass for the holy women who taught me everything I know.  Of everlasting importance, that is, beginning with the certainty of who made me (God), and why (so that I might know, love and serve him in this world in order to be happy in heaven with him forever).

But, alas, this was most decidedly not the world my wife was fated to enter.  Not only had the roof been blown away in the great storms then sweeping the Church after the Council, but so much of the dust and rubble that settled in its wake seemed to have buried something of the ancient faith as well.  Ersatz substitutes were popping up like poisoned mushrooms all over the place, leaving great big bishops and priests and nuns—a heaping swath of the laity as well—to be swept up in the awful swirl of post-conciliar chaos and confusion.  Even God himself appeared not to have survived the terrible simplifiers, an entire legion of new theologians having solemnly pronounced his passing in both the learned and popular press.  The Death of God became a regular feature, it seems, of magazines like Time and Newsweek, whose iconoclastic style matched the nuttiness of an addle-headed age.  (“Presumably,” as Kierkegaard acidly announced a century earlier, “God waits in the lobby while the scholars upstairs debate his existence.”)   Perhaps Marx was right, after all, when he predicted that with the coming of modernity everything solid would inevitably melt into thin air.

This was the setting in which my dear wife’s generation was expected to find and nurture the inheritance of the Apostles and Martyrs.  Ensconced in an elite Catholic Academy for the daughters of well-heeled suburbanites, presided over by nuns so unsure of their own vocations that instead of catechizing their students on the truths of holy religion they constructed collages adorned with images of Che Guevara and the Berrigan  Brothers, this was the Brave New World whose outline of bleak despair would drive not a few of my wife’s classmates to drugs and suicide.  Here was the look of Catholic lite for the next forty years.  Here amid the chic and stylish, the upwardly mobile Catholic middle class, were the beginnings of what years later the writer David Foster Wallace, himself a suicide, would describe as “Neiman-Marcus Nihilism.”  If the future belongs to those who show up, here was a party that nobody would show up to celebrate.

Well, the silly season soon gave way to an almost endemic sense of ennui, or boredom, which sent great numbers of priests and nuns out of their rectories and convents (not infrequently together) in frantic search of the nearest fleshpot, paid for out of jobs snapped up in the secular city.  Meanwhile, back in the suburbs, marriages and families were imploding faster than anyone could say Hugh Hefner or Betty Friedan, to cite but two icons of the hour that helped dismantle the structures of faith and morals.

So how does one escape the mindset of an age that has lost its mind?  Has jettisoned even its soul?  Where does one turn for oxygen at a time when the air having turned dangerously and terribly toxic, people everywhere are gasping for breath?  The only enduring solution, of course, is to turn to Christ, from the intensity of the encounter with whom an entire world can be rebuilt.  But along the way back toward God, one has got to take ownership for the mess one has made.  An accounting, in other words, of what went so disastrously wrong on the cusp of what we’d all been so confidently promised—from Good Pope John who convoked the Council, to the least chancery bureaucrat breezily charged with implementing its reforms—would be a new and blessed Pentecost for the Church and the world.  Because what followed upon those high and heady days was an attempted high jacking of the Church herself, which proved ruinous to great sectors of her institutional life.   It was certainly no exercise in hyperbole that moved Pope Paul VI to pronounce balefully on the “smoke of Satan” having penetrated the hallowed precincts of the Church.   So why did it happen?  And is there any hope of recovery?

My own theory is that amid all the materialism of modern life, the ever expanding comfort zone of bourgeois culture, a world unwilling to set limits on the pursuit of appetite and pleasure, a terrible forgetfulness of God began, as a result of which too many Catholics found themselves unprepared for the excesses if the sixties.  There were no more reserves, as it were, of heroic sanctity on which they could draw.

Is there a way out?  Certainly there is and Pope Francis, the latest in a series of wise and holy popes, has given us the road map.  In his remarks this past July to the young people of the world, who had come to Brazil to reconnect with Christ and the Church, he urged them (and urges us) to heed the advice of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  When asked what needed to change in the Church, she replied that the starting point is always and everywhere the same: the soul of each human being whom Christ came to redeem.  “This woman showed determination,” the Pope exclaimed.  “And today I make her words my own and I say to you: shall we begin?  Where?  With you and me!  Each one of you, once again in silence, ask yourself: if I must begin with myself, where exactly do I start?  Each one of you, open his or her heart, so that Jesus may tell you where to start.”

Regis Martin

By

Regis Martin is Professor of Theology and Faculty Associate with the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He earned a licentiate and a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. Martin is the author of a number of books, including Still Point: Loss, Longing, and Our Search for God (2012) and, most recently, The Beggar's Banquet (Emmaus Road). He resides in Steubenville, Ohio, with his wife and ten children.

  • lifeknight

    Oh, those wonderful days! I can certainly relate! Now our biggest challenge is to keep our children away from the “toxic” air of the world.

    • jacobhalo

      The only way to do that is homeschool children and don’t have a TV. You almost have to live in a cave like St. Antony of the Desert.

      • NR

        I disagree with this wholeheartedly. It is the people breathing the “toxic air” of the world that need Christ most of all, and that need the faithful witness of Catholics who aren’t afraid to live their faith in a world that hates it. We are avoiding our Catholic duty if we retreat into a self-contained Catholic bubble to raise our children…they need to see the world without Christ, and to know the truth of Christ, and be raised to bring Christ’s truth to the “toxic” world in which we live (of course, I am not speaking here of monks, or others whose vocation is prayer and seclusion, but the rest of us who are called to live in the world).

        • Jenny

          I hear this a lot and I understand the logic behind it. But, we are to take care of our own souls and our salvation first and then concentrate on the world. The same goes for our children. The fact is that children are still learning about the faith and life, still gaining confidence and grace needed to survive in this toxic world. It doesn’t make sense to put them in an environment that is toxic when they are still vulnerable and impressionable all for the sake of bringing Christ to those who don’t know Him. That is a job for adults.
          I’m not sure what you mean by a “Catholic bubble”. As a Catholic homeschooling mother of 6 children, my husband and I seek to keep the toxic sewage of progressivism and atheism from our children as much as possible. How do we do this? Through homeschooling, frequent mass attendance and confession, no cable television or inappropriate music in the home, stocking our bookshelves full of virtuous books on the lives of the saints and other virtuous books and videos, just to name a few examples. How do our children interact in the world? Through playing outside with the neighbor children, sports teams and other extracurricular activities, co-op activities, etc. In this environments, my children may have the opportunity to bring Christ to others, which is fantastic.

          • Jenny

            After reading over my post, I also want to add that we don’t homeschool out of fear. We homeschool because we feel it is what God is calling us to do. It is the best option for our family. It is the “better way” for us, so to speak.

          • NR

            Jenny, God bless you and your children and family. As I’ve said, I am called to celibacy, so I yield in judgement to those who raise families. My point is was in response to the idea of having to live “like St. Anthony in a desert.” I think that is a bit extreme. I am not against homeschooling, and am certainly not against the wonderful spiritual practices that your family practice. My only point is that I hope that children first see and experience the evil in the world while they are still under the guidance of loving Catholic parents.

            When I say “Catholic bubble,” I am referring to people who have been raised in a beautiful Catholic family, attended a strong Catholic high school, proceeded to a genuinely Catholic university, and get to the age of 22 or 23 without ever seeing or experiencing any of the evil in the world. Then, they get their first job, and it’s like seeing the world for the first time. How do we love the poor if we’ve never met a poor person? How do we learn to love the sinner and hate the sin unless we’ve seen the damaging effects of serious sins and addictions? How do we bring Christ to atheists if we’ve never known any atheists?

            • Blah Blaah

              Hello, NR. You wrote about young people who see evil in the world ‘for the first time’ when they get out in the world after a thorough Catholic formation at home, in school and at university. On the one hand, you kind of describe me, though the ‘evils of the world’ first really hit me in the eyes when I went to a secular university after 12 years of Catholic school (where catechesis meant making collages, but that’s another story). I’ll tell you how the evil of the world hit me: it hit me as EVIL, pure and simple. I had no doubts about it: I KNEW it was wrong. Drugs, fornication, racism, cheating, stealing, divorce, political graft, gay sex being ‘good’. I was stunned to see that the world was filled with people who could react to these things with complacency or with genuine openness (in some cases) as though what was clearly unnatural could be considered ‘good’ for anyone. I was convinced by people I met to have many doubts about the moral truths that had been instilled in me at home and at school. and even to doubt the existence of God, but there was always a sort of ‘brake’ on my own behavior that kept me from doing the worst of what I learned to accept as acceptable. Had I had better education in the faith, I’m sure I would have been better equipped to know – and explain – why evil was evil.

              Your own experience actually illustrates the point Jenny is making and argues against your conclusion. You were plunged into an atmosphere of immorality BEFORE you were well-formed in the faith, BEFORE you had a thorough Catholic upbringing and higher education, BEFORE you were mature enough to resist temptations from attractive peers. You were 16! It is a very rare 16-year-old who can be plunged into a vat of immorality and come out not only untainted, but, by his holiness, purify the whole vat! In short, it’s BECAUSE you were not protected from those evils – kept out of that environment until you were strong enough to resist it – that you succumbed.

              Parents will stand before God and account for their choices in raising the children he entrusted to them. They will have to answer to GOD if they let their children go out into a toxic world when they were too young, too immature and too lacking in self-restraint to be firm in their faith and make strong choices for good.

              Your argument that parents should expose children to evil is contrary to the Gospel. Christ warned that anyone who scandalized a little one (read that as harming their innocence) would be better off dead.

              It’s ridiculous to imply that a child who has a beautiful Catholic family, goes to Catholic school and university has ‘never met a poor person.’ I went to Catholic schools for twelve years, and like most of my classmates, our family was not rich (in part because of tuition bills for 6 kids over 20 years apart in age). We collected canned food for the poor, for example. We donated items to the St Vincent de Paul Society (and while there, saw people worse off than ourselves). We had relatives who were – compared to us – ‘dirt poor’. But we didn’t have to look beyond our own parish – our own Catholic school classroom – to see people worse off economically than ourselves (kids wearing shoes too big for them with newspaper stuffed inside the toes because they had to wear an older child’s hand-me-down shoes, for example). Catholic children have many opportunities to feed the hungry at soup kitchens, adopt a third-world child, etc. What makes you think they will never encounter the poor until they ‘go out into the world’ as adults?

              How do we learn to love the sinner and hate the sin? By living in a family with other people in it! Didn’t you have siblings? Didn’t your parents make you apologize and ask forgiveness and ‘learn to get along’? I come from a big family and that’s where I learned that even though we all have our faults, we all love one another fiercely and will do everything to repair a rift in the family. Do you imagine that the faults in the family don’t include things like drugs and alcohol addiction? Then you must not know many families in the real world, because you can find those things in good Catholic families, or living next door. I have an alcoholic brother; the big Catholic family next door also had an alcoholic brother. The neighbor across the street was an alcoholic. Our neighborhood park was where the kids (including two of my brothers) met to buy, sell and do drugs (in a quiet, ‘safe’, white, working-to-middle class 1960s housing development in California). What on earth makes you think that in a ‘good Catholic family’ one never sees sin or has to learn to love sinners while hating the sin? It doesn’t have to be something as dramatic as drug addiction. If your celibate life involves life in a community, you will very quickly learn that even among cloistered monks and nuns who spend all day between work and prayer focused on God, there’s plenty of opportunity to ‘love the sinner while hating the sin.’ It’s learning to get along with your annoying little brother – and love him anyway – that makes you able to love the alcoholic or drug addict or fornicator and love him anyway.

              As for not being able to bring Christ to atheists if we don’t know any atheists, it’s a pointless remark for several reasons. First, not all are called to bring Christ to atheists through direct contact (I would make a lousy apologist, despite being a successful teacher and catechist). Children in a good Catholic home can simply be told that atheists exist and be taught to pray for them – the simple purity of an innocent child’s prayer is a powerful thing. But it’s highly unlikely that a 12-year-old Catholic child is going to ‘bring Christ to an atheist.’ Far more likely that the atheist (often public-school teachers) will attempt to take your child away from Christ and undermine his faith. Not a risk a responsible parent would want to take.

              In short, you need to rethink your position, because all of your questions at the end of this post have real answers which are not what you suppose, and because your experience as a 16-year-old is the best evidence I can think of for protecting our children from evil until they are ready to face evil, resist it and overcome it.

              When children are ordained priests or are ready to be married and become parents or be trained as theologians and or act as exorcists, children will be ready to go out into the world and battle evil. Until that day, let’s let them be children who are being raised up to the time when they are strong and mature enough to take on those roles. They will have fifty or sixty or more years to relieve the poor, deal first-hand with the effects of serious sins and addictions and bring Christ to atheists. Why throw them into the harsh brutalities of life when they are too tender to survive the experience with their hearts and souls intact?

            • MT

              Homeschooled children will inevitably be aware of the world. The ‘smoke of satan’ is everywhere, there is actually no escape from it and beside no good parent wants to hide their children from realities of life BUT we can mitigate our current socities most negative aspects through homeschooling and help our children to discern properly the difference between the wheat and the chaff of our world today. They are up against the subtlties of a particular ‘mindset’. We are not talking devil with horns here but the insiduous and deadly train of ‘received wisdom´ of a very fallen society.
              Build them on the foundations of true faith in Christ and these young people will be surely equipped to be in the world (and function in it well) but not of the world. In other words, they will know how to guard themselves from its negative thrall. No parent, however vigilant will ever be able to fully protect their child from the world or from life but we can do much to equip them to deal with and overcome all the knocks and wounds and joys and victories, the sorrow, sufferings and the glories of it. Only in Christ can Man be fully human and fully alive. St Ireneaus.

          • musicacre

            Thanks, I was about to say the same thing; I think alot of people are theorizing that have no idea about homeschooling. I’ve also heard many times that Catholics should put their kids in the public system so they can “witness’ to others. You know where that went. Of the families I know that did that, their kids no longer practice their religion. I happen to know these particular parents were very anxious for others to see they were being noble, sharing their enlightened children.

            The mistake of course is that they think their children are not vulnerable because they have the beginning of faith. What they don’t have is the kind of maturity to ignore daily, constant bad example. That takes age. The parent has to decide what kind of influence they want their child to have for the majority of the day. It’s very hard to constantly live in a situation where you can’t fit in, hence the big relief to give in to peer pressure. It’s all about age-appropriateness. My older 4 have no problem having all sorts of friends in and out of the faith, and even helping, counselling, giving advice and encouraging others to go to church. Now that they are university age. They are prepared and realistic about their faith. One is even in the military, part time and very popular as a go-to person for advice. He is very strong in his faith and I’m proud of him. I don’t get how anyone thinks they are so shielded they can’t function, what kind of logic is being used? My kids are very comfortable with adults any age and often find their friends in university that went to public schools are more backward socially, because they are so USED to relating to JUST their age group. Bottom line, we put our trust in God to help educate our children at home, and he opened doors we never dreamed of. They have a strong base of faith that I feel will withstand the storms to come, because they weren’t exposed to the raw power of evil at an early age. (Yes, I know some people are exposed to great evil early in life, but that was always seen as a DISADVANTAGE way back when, precisely because it’s damaging…) One educator at a homeschooling conference many years ago used plants in a greenhouse as an example; how the gale force wind could destroy a tiny plant outside, but if you let it grow strong inside and then put it into the elements when it is strong, it would have a chance to withstand the gale. Other examples are helpful too, like the case of a slimy pond. If you go into it, something will stick to you. If you know the school is corrupt, with poor teachers or curriculum, just stay away from it!

            I pray all parents get a chance to prayerfully consider home education for their children!

        • jacobhalo

          The bible says that we should in the world but not of the world.

        • tamsin

          It’s a permeable bubble, at my house. A bubble… open to the world?

          It’s my responsibility as a parent to monitor what comes into the bubble.

          My kids are NOT hothouse flowers, by the way; that’s not the intention.

          • tom

            The Doctrine of Osmosis? Saint Osmosis?

        • JC

          Every one is different. You do what you do best to preserve and strengthen your and your families faith. You do no good entering the sesspool unless you, yourself (your Faith), are shielded and hopefully unaffected by it. Thats what monastisism is all about. A waining-faithed Catholic needs to bolster his/ her faith first. Do what it takes to build your faith. I don’t know anyone who is able to live in a Catholic bubble. It sounds great though.

        • lifeknight

          Children deserve to be sheltered from evil. If as an adult they choose to evangelize and have the formation to do so, then so be it. Throwing them out into the world before they are ready and expecting them to be missionaries is a exposing them to the toxic waste that they may not be able to withstand…

      • lifeknight

        Agreed. Children are our “garden” and no decent “gardener” would expose tiny seedlings to a snow storm or hurricane. Kids eventually HAVE to function in the world, however, shielding their childhood from the evils which other children consider within the spectrum of normal, is the job of a parent. Oftentimes this entails homeschooling, lack of cable TV, and close supervision of the internet. It also means a healthy balance of activities with other children.

        It is a BIG job!

        • NR

          Allow me to clarify my position:

          I was raised in the post-Vatican II Church under JPII and Pope Benedict. I was raised by a loving Catholic family, but fell away from the Church for a couple of years. Now, I also have been blessed with a celibate vocation, so I will admit that I do not have much authority when it comes to raising children.

          However, my own experience would tell me that it is important that children not be too sheltered from the reality of evil in the world. As I mentioned, I was raised by a faithful, loving, Catholic family. That being said, I was a musician and began working within the music industry at age 16, surrounded by drugs, selfishness, sexual immorality, greed, exploitation, and many other horrendous evils. Not having been exposed to this before (by this, I mainly mean exposed to what these evils are and why they are evil), I was extremely vulnerable and I fell into that lifestyle hook, line, and sinker, and I would not have been brought back out had it not been for faithful Catholics who, in the midst of the filth, lived holy lives for Christ.

          Certainly, parents should watch over their children and try their best to make sure they stay free from these evils, but the evils should not simply be ignored. They should be discussed and exposed for what they are: evils. What better way than to bring a child (I speak here of children who are of around high-school age, not younger) to pray outside of an abortion clinic, or to serve the homeless (where one can learn so many lessons, both from those who are living a heroic life, and those who have not led a heroic life), etc, etc.

          I know far too many young adults who, despite a strong Catholic upbringing, were unable to handle the temptations of the world when they were forced to face them. For me anyway, it wasn’t until I saw and/or experienced the effects of drugs, over-indulgence of alcohol, contraception, pornography, fornication, adultery, etc, that I was able to understand and know in my heart – beyond just believing because somebody told me – that they were wrong.

          The most important lesson, in my opinion, for our children is to teach them to pray. If our children know how to pray (by this, I mean not just the Rosary and the Mass, but Lectio Divina, Ignatian Meditation, have a certain understanding of what the Carmelites and the Trappists mean by contemplation, how to pray a Holy Hour, etc), and are taught to love the Eucharist, they will withstand temptations. If they know how to pray, love the Eucharist, and have seen first-hand why grave evils are grave evils (again, I do not mean that they are guilty of sin, only that they have been exposed to it’s consequences in a tangible way), then it seems inconceivable to me that they will not become saints.

          My experience is that, once somebody develops a strong prayer life and love of the Eucharist, the temptations that are in society become significantly less. It’s difficult to view much of the trash on TV now and not view it as horribly empty, compared with the Gospel. It’s difficult to see the disordered lives of many who have not yet received the grace to know Christ and not see that they are empty.

          The bottom line is that the Gospel is Truth, and if people (children or adults) come to this understanding, then no temptation will stand in their way of God. And if they should fall, they will be assured of the infinite mercy of God, and they will run towards that mercy.

          • Kate

            I think one of the best ways of exposing children to the evils in the world without having them directly experience them, is through well-chosen, well-written good literature. I’m not talking about moralistic, preachy books, but good quality literature that tells a good story.Teenagers should be reading (or be read to during family reading time) great works which relate the human condition with lives of vice and virtue told from a healthy worldview. There are many of these great works – from Ancient writers to Shakespeare to Flannery O’Conner, Willa Cather, Sigrid Undset, Charles Dickens, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and many others. There is also the opportunity of discussing these books with young people which helps in their maturing process.

            • Adam__Baum

              Make no mistake, they will have to confront evil. Without adequate preparation, they will either succumb to it or be exhausted or dispirited by it.
              Most of us will at some point, run into “mudane” evil- i.e, gossip, Machiavellian workplace politics. Some of us have seen darker places, in my case working in a Correctional facility, itself a necessary academy of evil.
              You know your experiencing evil when you see (or even hear first hand) of the the physical assaults and rapes-or how yellow floor mops must be restricted in male facilities due to the possibility of their misuse as an aphrodisiac, but it’s the insidious evil, the futile abuse of process, the filing of frivolous grievances, all in the full knowledge that they served as nothing but rebellion that quite frankly, has a diabolical character.
              Although it was depressing at the time, I don’t regret my experience-I’m much more realistic about the nature of humanity now.

              • Blah Blaah

                You can – and MUST protect your children. Joseph protected Jesus from Herod. And Jesus was God; our children are rather more vulnerable. It is a lie to say that you can’t protect your children. You CAN protect your children from the trash that’s on TV – no TV in the home. You can protect your children from having bad ideas – fill their heads with good ones. You can protect your children from bad people: keep them out of your home and your kids under your eyes.

                Just because there’s poison in the world, that doesn’t mean you’ve got to put a drop in the baby’s bottle to get them acclimated to it.

                I think many adults – perhaps especially adults who have seen the really ugly underbelly of life – have the idea that you can’t protect your children and therefore don’t make much or any effort to try. It gives them a ‘pass’ from having to be vigilant and maybe sacrifice some of their own vices or indulgences to protect the kids. Or maybe they’ve just lost their own innocence, don’t know how to get it back, and thus have no real sense of how beautiful and precious it is in their children.

                Some parents have the mistaken idea that to ‘prepare’ their children they have to expose them the ‘hard facts of life.’ Those parents have no idea how they crush the souls of their children. How deeply they wound them.

                All human beings have an inborn desire for 5 things: 1. unconditional love; 2. absolute truth; 3. perfect goodness/justice, 4. perfect beauty, and 5. a sense of being truly at home. These desires and longings are most pure and undiluted in children; they get tainted as we get older, even twisted and distorted. Too many parents who are embittered toward life have lost all hope of those things, and crush the hope in their children by exposing them to everything that is ugly, often in the name of ‘toughening them up’.

                Too often, since those 5 longings will only be fulfilled in heaven, parents kill the longing for them in their children all in the name of ‘preparing them for the dark, sick, twisted, ugly world that they will have to live in.’ We close off the child’s longing for heaven by too early and too emphatically by teaching them that in this world they won’t find unconditional love, truth, goodness/justice, beauty and a sense of real belonging (home).

                Wherever possible, give unconditional love; encourage devotion to absolute truth; practice goodness/justice; foster a love of beauty and a sense of belonging in your home. Encourage your child’s longing for heaven; do everything to prepare your child for heaven (see NR’s ideas above) and your child will be as prepared as s/he needs to be for this world (as NR’s testimony above points out). All while being as protected as possible from what is harsh and brutal in this world. Never in the name of ‘preparing’ a child, squash a child’s innate longing for heaven – for love, truth, goodness/justice, beauty and home.

                • Adam__Baum

                  I agree with you, and perhaps I wasn’t very clear. When I said “you can’t protect them”, I didn’t mean leave them exposed, either to evil or to ignorance of it.

                  • Blah Blaah

                    Yes, reading your other comments, I can see that it’s unlikely you would mean ‘expose children to the evils of the world.’ I think it was your context that led me to my response, because it was an embittered person who had seen a lot of ugliness who exposed me – when young, vulnerable and with an especially sensitive nature – to ugliness in order to ‘teach me what life is really like.’

                    It seems difficult for people who have seen a lot of ugliness to come out of it without being harmed or tainted by it (I was just incidentally reading something alluding to that this morning in 2nd Peter; and we know that – for example – abused children, for example, often grow up to be abusers). But then again, it depends on the strength and depth of a person’s faith before they enter into the negative situation.

                    Sorry for any misinterpretation.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      No problem.

            • disqus_NvJwtmmluz

              I’d like to add an author to your list—Oscar Wilde. His books, “The Selfish Giant” and “The Happy Prince” are excellent stories for young people.

              • jacobhalo

                Oscar Wilde said the best way rid of a temptation is to give into it. Of course, he was being facetious.

                • quisutDeusmpc

                  Considering his profligate life (he was a notorious libertine), I had rather think he was relaying his own personal experience.

            • theorist

              The Bible has a lot of disgusting evils in it as does history. So just by teaching kids these two things, religion and history, you can tell them about the evils of the world. However, you must always teach them to put faith in reason and conscience and tradition and with these three tools to ascend to paradise. Also learning must become a way of life and not just a compartment of it. Only when one can question the existence of God can real faith take root. Finally, never fall into the deluded skeptic’s contradiction of doubting your own doubt or perceptions.

          • lifeknight

            I believe formation is key. One can never totally shelter the children from the world no matter what you do. They have to OWN their Faith and have the prayer life you recommend.

        • musicacre

          It’s a big job, and sounds intimidating when one talks about it, but we should let people know that taking one day at a time, it’s actually easier in the long run.(To homeschool) Less confusion, more family cohesion, less money spent for the latest styles, less de-programming to do (or none at all…). We didn’t have a TV all those years, just one for movies…and many activities with a homeschooling group, etc. After 23 years I’m still homeschooling, since the two youngest are still school-age. The lack of cable doesn’t seem to have affected the older kids’ abilities in university to get high marks and make lots of friends. With hindsight I know the only reason we’ve been successful is putting it all into God’s hands and absolutely trusting. Period.

      • Jenny

        The homeschooling conference that I attended this summer had a speaker, a very holy priest, who talked about how our home should be like a cave where our children are nurtured and protected from the world.

    • tom

      Every “Catholic” mom has 1.7 kids, so they’re aren’t many kids to monitor.

      That’s the PROBLEM.

      • jacobhalo

        What does 1/7 of a kid look like? lol

        • Adam__Baum

          .142857

          • tom

            Exactly. Thank you, Adam.

  • Blah Blaah

    “Erzatz substitutes were popping up like poisoned mushrooms….”

    Make that ‘ersatz’ for the sake of this English instructor once instructed by an uncompromising religious sister (not a nun – those are cloistered) – May God rest her soul and restore her high standards.

    Sometimes ‘the world’ seems so overwhelming, so complex, so spoiled, so evil that we can lose heart – or get into endless wars with fellow Catholics in comment boxes – about which aspect of the Church most needs fixing (music? liturgical abuse? finances from the Vatican down to the parish? ineffectual priests? priests who are ‘too conservative’ or ‘too liberal’? sexual abuse scandals? bad public relations? what Pope Francis REALLY meant? and on and on). I think all those debates and arguments are part of the ‘smoke of Satan’, blown in our eyes to keep us focussing on ‘the other guy’s fault’ instead of doing as Mother Theresa and the Holy Father and John the Baptist said: begin with oneself. Repent and believe in the Gospel.

    Watch the news less – pray more.
    Worry about the world less – be a light to the world by your love and mercy more.
    Find fault with the Church less – examine your own conscience more.
    Long for the ‘good old days’ less – repent and make atonement for past sins more.
    Debate with others online less – instruct your children and godchildren – by word and example – more.

    It’ll be a start; leaven in the lump.

    • disqus_NvJwtmmluz

      Thanks, I needed to hear this.

      • Marie Berns

        Good advice. Thank you!

  • jacobhalo

    Regis, they were wonderful days. If Vatican II wanted to “Update” the church (which it didn’t need) It should have tried to bring the modern world into the church instead of vice-versa.

    • dudeman1144

      I think that was actually the intention. V2 often gets dragged out as the whipping-boy for the abuses of the last 40 years, however almost none of them were authorized by the actual TEXTS of the council. E.g. — the council said Latin should stay, and that Gregorian chant be given “pride of place” in the liturgy. That’s the real V2…

      • jacobhalo

        I’m pretty sure I’ve read that the they wanted to bring the church into the modern world. I’ll have to look that up.

  • John O’Neill

    Thank you Regis for a reminder of how terrible the post Vatican II church was. I still have nightmares when I remember the liturgical dancers, the clown masses and the nuns running around with left wing slogans attached to their new wardrobes. How horrible to see that shining Church on the hill being brought down to the gutter. So many priests preaching the new gospel of doing your own thing, so many nuns rejecting their vows and either leaving their convents or turning the convents into sorority houses for the geriatric. I did not leave the church I just dropped out of any activity and community with this new group of hippie Catholics. God did send John Paul II and Benedict XVI to us and brought me back into a fuller communion with the Church. I am still not sure of Francis I and have an underlying fear that he may be a throwback to the Vatican II crazies, hope I am wrong. However I realize that the Church which is not a building will survive in the hearts of so many faithful Catholics, many of whom I met back in the silly season of singing and dancing nuns many who held on to the Faith. Faith of our Fathers burning still in spite of fire and dungeon and a clergy overflowing with dialogue and change.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Some of us are old enough to remember the Pre-Vatican II Church, so well described by Maurice Blondel, fifty years before. , “First, the scholastic ideology, which still exclusively dominates, includes the study neither of religious psychology nor of the subjective facts that convey to the conscience the action of the objective realities whose presence in us Revelation indicates; this ideology only considers as legitimate the examination of what objectively informs us about these realities as designated and defined. Moreover, and especially, everything is instinctively resisted that would limit the authoritarianism born of an exclusive extrinsicism. And, without formulating it, the conception is entertained according to which everything in religious life comes from on high and from without. Only the priesthood is active before a purely passive and receptive flock.” Hence, anything “that would hinder this spirit of domination, everything that would recall the role of this interior hearing (auditus interior) of which St. Thomas did not fear to speak, would be pitilessly blasted (foudroyé).”

      It was the Nouvelle Théologie that began to correct this false emphasis and the Second Vatican Council that effectively destroyed what Cardinal Henri de Lubac called “the dualist theory that was destroying Christian thought.”

      • slainte

        Those who accept extrinsicism would likely reject Our Lord’s prayer as insufficient because it was taught to us by the first activist Catholic priest Jesus Christ, and its frequent recitation provides us with certainty and comfort while denying the faithful an active role in its formulation.

        So too the Mass, first offered by the activist priest Jesus Christ, as a ritual to be unified with Him. The first Mass did not involve dialogue, rather is was a divine monologue by the first pastor leading His flock toward salvation.

        Prayer and the mass are the mindless rituals and mechanistic practices that extrinsicism would eschew because they denired an active role to the laity, even though Jesus in His divine Authority instructed us to partake of them and assured us that He would be present in and through them.
        The latent spirit of Christ is present in these acts which do not involve an activist laity.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          But the celebration that He enjoins is intended to reveal His saving and redeeming work, taking place through and in the midst of the people called to be His own.

          As St Augustine says, “”He gives us His body, to make us into His body.” Likewise, St. John Damascene says, “”Because we partake of a single bread, we all become a single body of Christ, a single blood, and members one of another, being made of one body with Christ.” The focus of the Fathers on the gathered community is striking

          • slainte

            As a single unified body of humans subsumed in Christ, we are called to obey the structure He ordained, the prayers He prescribed, the clerics who are His successors, and the form of the mass revealed through the Divine Law. By obeying His will, not ours, we share in His love and mercy and discover true freedom.
            Modernism is halted by Obediance to God’s ways and is made possible when the creature replaces the Creator as the epicenter of the Church.

            • quisutDeusmpc

              “…the structure He ordained…”

              The Church is not a structure it is a living organism: the mystical body of Christ, His Bride, our Mother. We accept the hierarchical structure, the prayers, the clerics, we worship in the Mass, not out of a rigid, blind, authoritarianism but a loving adherence. This requires encounter…relationship. The time of pay, pray, and obey because we say so is, thankfully, over. We are not automatons, we are persons (the image and likeness of God). Persons pay, pray, and obey because they are first loved and then love in return (cf. Rom. 5: 6, 8 & I John 4: 10, 19). The clericalism of a Spellman “ist verboten” – the clergy sexual abuse crisis hopefully has disaffected any romantic notion of a totalitarian clergy. The Holy Father Pope Francis is a wonderful example of the new evangelization – a living witness (the Greek word that is translated “witness” is actually martyr) like John Paul II.

              • slainte

                “…The clericalism of a Spellman “ist verboten” – the clergy sexual abuse crisis hopefully has disaffected any romantic notion of a totalitarian clergy…”
                When a Pope falls out of favor because of a weakness in his humanity or he advances a faith position for which we disagree, do we then relegate him to the status of “totalitarian clergy” and claim the right to disobey?
                To obey may indeed be a matter of loving adherence, but it is also a duty and obligation incumbent upon all Catholics notwithstanding the popularity of the pope’s infallible positions.
                The same loving afherence should also be accorded to the persons and teachings of pre Vatican II popes, including Pope Leo XIII, Pius IX, and Pius X.
                .

          • Oremusman

            Mass can be offered by a priest by himself in private. There is no community of the ‘people of God’ that is essential to any particular offering of the Holy Sacrifice.

            Being incorporated into the divine mystical body is not something the Fathers intended to be translated into inclusive people-centric worship celebrations.

            Pope Pius XII spoke out against antiquarian primitivisms for a reason. And the past 45 years have yielded an abundance of squalor under the guise of ressourcement machinations and inclusiveness to make the people of God feel better about themselves.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              Oremusman

              Missa cum populo remains normative; thus, Can 906 provides, “A priest may not celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice without the participation of at least one of the faithful, unless there is a good and reasonable cause for doing so.”

              Information about the growth and development of “private masses” can be found in Fernand Cabrol and Henri Leclercq’s monumental Dictionnaire d’archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie

              • Oremusman

                So the priest has to have a server under standard circumstances. Not exactly gathered community or being in the midst of the people.

                • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                  As with so much in the realm of liturgy, it is symbolic. The single server has a representative function

                  • Oremusman

                    Sure, and we can do away with the server, and having the priest offer the Holy Sacrifice completely alone, where he also serves as the symbolic representative of the faithful community.

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      One could, but the mind of the Church is expressed in the holy canons and modern liturgical practice, reverting tot he ancient usages of the undivided church

                    • Oremusman

                      Bringing me back to the foolishness of senseless antiquarian primitivisms and turning liturgy over to those who would use the past as a guise to make worship their ecumenical playpen.

                • quisutDeusmpc

                  The standard is Christ. Did Christ celebrate the “Last Supper” alone? No, amongst the assembled apostles. Did Christ offer Himself on the Cross alone? No, between two representative members of the Church (the tare and the wheat) and in the company of His mother, St. Miryam; the beloved apostle, St. John. You both sound like we are back in the neo-scholastic musings pre-Vatican II that relied on the 16th-18th century interpretations of Suarez, et al. Christocentric. What DID Jesus do? He did not celebrate the Mass alone.

                  • slainte

                    The Mass is a re-enactment of the sacrifice of Christ at Golgotha for the salvation of our souls, not a celebratory meal. The latter is a Protestant interpretation, not Catholic.
                    Jesus’ death and resurrection was not a co-dependant exercise shared with two convicted criminals for whose sins, among others, he died. He was the first to die and rise again. By His death and resurrection, He defeated sin and death. Jesus, fully divine and fully human, was not then nor will He ever be one among many.
                    Just as He died for the salvation of souls, His Church continues to exist under the guidance of the Paraclete to save the souls of humanity.
                    Jesus leads; we the flock follow. He appointed the Pope as vicar of His Church on earth; we are called to obey. The infallible teachings of former popes remain as true and vibrant today as when they were written centuries ago. They also serve as an ever present guide to Christ’s present day vicar to avoid error.
                    The Church’s tradition was, is, and ever shall be, relevant to understanding Catholicism while serving as a constant and unremitting thorn in the side of evolutionary Modernism.
                    Are you Protestant?

                    • slainte

                      Re-enactment should read re-presentment.

            • quisutDeusmpc

              The Passover was NOT a private meal, it was a communal one. ALL of Israel was required to slaughter the Passover lamb, paint the blood over their doorway, eat the meal, flee Egypt, pass through the Jordan into the Promised Land. Is it a sacrifice? YES. Is it a communal activity? YES. Is it a meal? YES (The book of Revelation is quite clear that the “wedding feast of the Lamb” is to be a communal festivity, which precedes the “Ite missa est” (the abrupt departure from Egypt through the Jordan into the Promised Land). Your “ressourcement” is too superficial, too shallow. Proceed from the 21st THROUGH the 15th, through the 12th back to the 1st century AND then KEEP proceeding back to ancient Israel, THEN you will understand the roots of the Passover Seder become “renewed” covenant of the Church.

              • Slainte

                Jesus said to eat His body and drink His blood, but the Jews who were gathered in each of their respective homes at the first Passover did not (in fact, could not) drink the blood of the sacrificed male lamb. The blood was painted on the door frame and thus unavailable.

                The failure to drink the blood is a major omission of paschal theology and the suggestion that it is related to the sacrifice of the Catholic mass.

        • quisutDeusmpc

          I do not know if you realize it or not, but Jesus Christ existed 1,200 years before Thomas Aquinas and 1,565 years before Tridentine Catholicism and its conceptions. Jesus Christ was a Jew of the 1st century A. D.. What Leonardo da Vinci represented as the “Last Supper” was actually a Seder meal (the ritual representation / participation in the Exodus and the deliverance from Pharaoh, Egypt, and slavery). If you would bother to do some biblical historical research in Exodus and Deutoronomy and some Jewish liturgical research of the Passover Seder you would get a h ll of a lot closer to what it was that Jesus actually participated in. Jesus employed the Seder as a covenant, in the same way that the engagement and wedding ceremony precedes the consummation of the conjugal relations. The blood from that Passover sacrifice was them painted over the door in protection from the angel of death that visited Egypt that killed the firstborn son (an icon of Satan defeated), allowing there escape from Egypt (an icon of the world), and passing through the Jordan escaping the advancing Egyptian troops (an icon of sin). All of which was the consummation (It is finished) of the Passover sacrifice / meal (the covenant vows). So much scholastic / Tridentine hand wringing / weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. JESUS is always the key. His person, His actions, His words, His history (Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law, I have not come to destroy but to fulfill. Fulfill what? Get away from Greek & Roman categories and get into the Jewish history, and mindset, and lived experience of the People of God of Israel (THAT is ressourcement). Then you can begin to understand the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and the Novus Ordo Mass (THAT is aggiornamento). I highly recommend two outstanding works by a Catholic theologian who bothered to study with a very learned Jewish rabbi to understand his Catholic roots (Pope Paul VI said, “We are all spiritual Semites”. After all, our Lord and Savior is Jewish, as is his mother, the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God, St. Miryam.):

          “Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile” by Dr. Brant Pitre; and Jesus and the “Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper” by Dr Brant Pitre

          • Art Deco

            There is no such thing as ‘Tridentine Catholicism”. Their is the Christian faith, borne by the Church founded at Pentacost.

            • quisutDeusmpc

              Au contraire….much of what is taken for granted as the ONE faith, is a result of development over time and this is natural and good. When a seed is planted in the ground it does not “remain” eternally a seed. The capsule is burst and roots and a shoot develop. It is the same thing, but also changed and this is good. The shoot becomes a sapling, the same seed, the same shoot, but changed. The sapling becomes a young tree, which becomes a mature tree. Jesus Christ told the apostles He would inspire the Church with His Holy Spirit and did so at Pentecost. But the apostles, in addition to starting the Church, continued, for example, to frequent synagogue and Temple in the 1st century AD (Go…first to Jerusalem, THEN to Judea, THEN to the uttermost parts of the world). Jesus HIMSELF “fulfilled” the Law by worshipping God in the Temple, celebrating Yom Kippur and Passover (the “Last Supper” was a Passover Seder). Don’t kid yourself. The Catholic Church of the 1st century developed into the Nicean-Chalcedonian Church of the 4th century. Do you say the Mass in Aramaic (Jesus did)? Do you say it in Greek (the Church in the 1st-early 4th century did; it was the “lingua franca” (the universal/kata’holos) language of the Empire. Greek died out because the Empire was split between Rome and Constantinople with Latin BECOMING the universal language in the west and Greek remaining the universal language in the east (imagine that change and development). The Christian conception of God as trinitarian was hammered out at Nicaea (against Arius/Arianism) and the Church’s understanding of Christ was hammered out in Chalcedon (against Nestorianism, Eutychianism, Monophysitism, Monothelitism, and Sabellianism) in the 5th century. There is reform of the liturgy under Gregory the Great in the 6th century. Don’t fool yourself. The Council of Trent was a reaction to the Protestant revolution. Never before had a council officially delineated which books were the “Bible” but did so because the Protestants were trying to remove books from the sacred Scriptures. It was at Trent that the council officially proclaimed the “seven” sacraments. Things change and develop over time. This is a GOOD thing. It is natural. Trees grow, limbs grow old and die and fall off and new ones grow and bloom and bear fruit. It is the same, but different. It is NOT “either the same OR different” (that is the Protestant false dichotomy). It is BOTH the same AND different; that is the Catholic way, because Christ is BOTH divine (immutable) AND human (subject to change – he went from being a baby in a manger to a youth in the temple to a grown man subject to death, to a resurrected one no longer subject to it). Get rid of that “either…or…” false dialectic and embrace the “both…and…” of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church (Do you say Mass in Aramaic? Greek? Latin?…..no, English. a development of “Vatican II” Catholicism).

              • Slainte

                Does He who is absolute Truth progress?

          • slainte

            QuisutDeusmpc

            Pope Pius XII in his enyclical “Mediator Dei” (1947), stresses the expiatory sacrifice of the Mass for the salvation of souls through the Cross….an explicit rejection of Paschal Theology’s historical, memorial, celebratory “resurrection focused” meal.
            The following passages demonstrate a Catholic faith radically centered on Jesus.

            78. “…..For though, speaking generally, Christ reconciled by His painful death the whole human race with the Father, He wished that all should approach and be drawn to His cross, especially by means of the sacraments and the eucharistic sacrifice, to obtain the salutary fruits produced by Him upon it through this active and individual participation, the members of the Mystical
            Body not only become daily more like to their divine Head, but the life flowing from the Head is imparted to the members, so that we can each repeat the words of St. Paul, “With Christ I am
            nailed to the cross: I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me.”[74] We have already explained sufficiently and of set purpose on another occasion, that Jesus Christ “when dying on the cross, bestowed upon His Church, as a completely gratuitous gift, the immense treasure of the redemption. But when it is a question
            of distributing this treasure, He not only commits the work of sanctification to His Immaculate Spouse, but also wishes that, to a certain extent, sanctity should derive from her activity.”[75]

            79. The august sacrifice of the altar is, as it were, the supreme instrument whereby the merits won by the divine Redeemer upon the cross are distributed to the faithful: “as often as this commemorative sacrifice is offered, there is wrought the work of our Redemption.”[76] This, however, so far from lessening the dignity of the actual sacrifice on Calvary, rather proclaims and
            renders more manifest its greatness and its necessity, as the Council of Trent declares.[77] Its daily immolation reminds us that there is no salvation exceptin the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ[78] and that God Himself wishes that there should be a continuation of this sacrifice “from the rising of the

            sun till the going down thereof,”[79] so that there may be no cessation of the hymn of praise and thanksgiving which man owes to God, seeing that he required His help continually and has need of the blood of the Redeemer to remit sin which challenges God’s justice.
            80. It is, therefore, desirable, Venerable Brethren, that all the faithful should be aware that to participate in the eucharistic sacrifice is their chief duty and supreme dignity, and that not in an inert and negligent fashion, giving way to distractions and day-dreaming, but with such earnestness and concentration that they may be united as closely as possible with the High Priest,
            according to the Apostle, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”[80] And together with Him and through Him let them make their oblation, and in union with Him let them offer up themselves.

            81. It is quite true that Christ is a priest; but He is a priest
            not for Himself but for us, when in the name of the whole human race He offers our prayers and religious homage to the eternal Father; He is also a victim and for us since He substitutes Himself for sinful man. Now the exhortation of the Apostle,
            “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” requires
            that all Christians should possess, as far as is humanly possible, the same dispositions as those which the divine Redeemer had when He offered Himself in sacrifice that is to say, they should in a humble attitude of mind, pay adoration, honor, praise and thanksgiving to the supreme majesty of God. Moreover, it means that they must assume to some extent the character of a victim, that they deny themselves as the Gospel commands, that freely and of their own accord they do penance and that each
            detests and satisfies for his sins. It means, in a word, that we must all undergo with Christ a mystical death on the cross so that we can apply to ourselves the words of St. Paul, “With Christ I am nailed to the cross.”[81]

            http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_20111947_mediator-dei_en.html.

            • quisutDeusmpc

              Pope Pius XII’s “Mediator Dei” embraces not only the sacrificial and the memorial (the word “anamnesis” means remembrance – it is not just a passive calling to mind, but an active memorializing wherein we enter into the historical events ourselves as an active participant; participating in the Upper Room and the cross as covenant and consummation; dying with Him to Satan, sin, and death; and celebrating the wedding feast of the Lamb in communion. I am all for investigating papal encyclicals to gain insight into the liturgy, and the Eucharist, and the living out of our catholic lives, however, it is important not to absolutize any one encyclical and make it so ineffably transcendent that it so diminishes the historical / immanent dimension. Pope Pius XII wrote “Mediator Dei” in 1947 – prior to the Second Vatican Council, and prior to the Novus Ordo Mass. The encyclical was highly influential at the Council (perhaps so much so that the first Constitution that was addressed was “Sacrosanctum Concilium” on the liturgy and the Eucharist), and along with the liturgical renewal that had begun in the late 19th century, for example with the German Benedictines, called for reforms to the liturgy and to the Eucharist to encourage the laity to move from a merely passive role, to a vibrant, active participation according to their gifts and abilities.

              Do I believe the Mass is a sacrifice? Yes. Do I believe that the laity should just extrinsically participate in the rubrics and not also attempt to interiorly participate with their whole hearts, and minds, and souls? No. It should be both an extrinsic participation that is part and parcel of the interior/spiritual one. Do I believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is also memorial, participation, and communion? Yes. We are not Protestants. We do not embrace a false dichotomy of “either…or…” but the Catholic embrace of “both…and…”. The Eucharist is memorial, presence, covenant, sacrifice, communion, participation, and mission – among other things. I am not interested in so absolutizing one aspect that the others fade into non-existence. Nor am I interested in an internecine “pissing contest” where we talk past each other to showcase our individual understandings.

  • Oremusman

    We certainly should start with ourselves, but we cannot end with ourselves. Sidestepping the problems and errors of Second Vatican Council, and engaging in outright denial about Pope Francis does not help matters, Regis Martin.

    Our new pope has acclaimed the false religions of the world as offering us the treasures of their diversity. While expressing concern bordering on contempt for Catholics who uphold the fullness of tradition and have the temerity to count rosaries as being pelagians, restorationists, triumphalists, and apparently ideologues as well.

    This is but one example. They are appalling. Does this not appall you, Regis Martin? If so, why no mention of it? If not, then why wax poetic about a bygone era if the novelties and inanities of our time don’t acutally seem to bother you too much?

    Neo-Catholics can ignore and tap dance around the council and our most recent popes all they want. None of this behavior changes the truth: the human dimension of the Church is in a shambles. And it could not have happened without the gross neglect and de facto complicity of our most recent popes.

    • Howard Kainz

      Be more specific: What error or errors of Vatican II are you referring to? When and where did Pope Francis say that false religions are offering us treasures in their diversity?

      • Oremusman

        “Each
        of you, dear friends, carries a life story that speaks of drama and war, of
        conflict, often linked to international politics. But each of you carry above
        all a richness of humanity and religion, a richness to be welcomed, not feared.
        Many of you are Muslims, of other religions, and have come from different
        countries, from different situations. We must not be afraid of the differences!
        Fraternity makes us discover that they are a treasure, a gift for everyone! We
        live in fraternity! ” – Pope Francis, September 10, 2013 address at Jesuit Refugee Service soup kitchen in Rome

        As for what has come from the council, Pope Benedict XVI has said that not only does Dignitatis Humanae give unbelievers the natural right to be free from restriction so that they can publicly proclaim and spread their doctrinal errors, the state doesn’t even have the competency to recognize the one true faith – all of which flies in the face of what the Church has authoritatively proclaimed since it has been addressing the subject.

        In ecumenism, calling for unity while failing to call upon schismatics and heretics to repent and renounce their errors and return to the one true Church is defective. Saying we have the closest of ties to schismatic churches that operate under the guidance of satan and are sunk in grave errors is an error.

        There are other matters that could be raised.

        • dudeman1144

          Can you quote exactly where the text of the council’s documents authorizes these things?

          Here’s a quotation from the council’s decree on Ecumenicism: “Christ the Lord founded one Church and one Church only. However, many Christian communions present themselves to men as the true inheritors of Jesus Christ; all indeed profess to be followers of the Lord but differ in mind and go their different ways, as if Christ Himself were divided. Such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages the holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature.”

          That’s what the actual TEXTS of Vatican II say… It annoys me when people drag out V2 as a whipping-boy for everything bad that happened in the past 40 years. It demonstrates a “post hoc ergo propter hoc” type of reasoning.

          • Oremusman

            The primary scandal, dudeman1144 is not the divisions, lamentable though they are, but the material heretics and schismatics who persist in their errors and refuse to repent and return to the one true Church. This is the kind of artifice Second Vatican employs. When it’s not outright contradiction with the past tradition, it’s a subtle shifting of focus and emphasis, which themselves are in effect a break from the past.

            But very well, dudeman1144, if you want to deal with actual texts, then let’s do that:

            “so, on the contrary, all other societies arrogating to themselves the name of
            church, must necessarily, because guided by the spirit of the devil, be sunk in
            the most pernicious errors, both doctrinal and moral.” From the Catechism of Trent, authorized by the Ecumenical Council of Trent

            “These Churches, although separated from us, possess true sacraments, above all
            by apostolic succession, the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are
            linked with us in closest intimacy.” From Second Vatican Council

            Please proceed to demonstrate how these two teachings are non-contradictory, seamlessly integrated with each other, and espouse the same doctrinal stance.

            • Howard Kainz

              The citation from Trent was a response to Protestant dissidents, while the Vatican II citation refers to Orthodox churches which have Apostolic succession and valid sacraments.

              • Oremusman

                Please, Prof. Kainz. The citation is very clear that it applies to ALL churches and communities outside of Catholicism. It says nothing about Protestants alone, or that Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox are not under these indictments. Trent also condemns those who reject indulgences. That applies to all who reject them, not just Protestants.

                So that’s the implicit, convoluted message of Second Vatican? The Protestants are under the guidance of satan, but not the Eastern schismatics and heretics? That’s ludicrous, even by Second Vatican standards.

                And what about the pope’s creative view of non-Christian religions that you were asking about? There’s your Nostra Aetate in action at the papal level. Are we suppose to believe that is what the Church has always held, everywhere and by all?

                • Howard Kainz

                  The Vatican in the 2000 document Dominus Iesus clarified the issue. Orthodox “sister churches” are in a completely different category than Protestant churches. They have a valid priesthood, a valid Eucharist, etc. Protestants do not. You seem to be pointing to a general statement in the Council of Trent as the final voice of the Church, which never needs updating.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              The catechism was published in 1566, three years after the last session of the Council of Trent, so could not have been authorised by it.

  • AZTran

    My childhood memories are identical even though I grew up 10 years later. My neighborhood was entirely Catholic and the average family had 4 kids. A family with 3 kids was small, a family with 5 or more was on the biggish side. There were no “play dates.” We ran free and the boys played only with boys, not because we were told to (no parent told us anything when it came to our play), but because girls weren’t on our radar screen nor we on theirs. In the summers we played baseball morning and afternoon on an improvised field that was half in a park and half in the street. It both annoys and saddens me to see “co-ed” Little League. It is so obviously something dictated by liberal parents.

    One thing that is striking about Flannery O’Connor’s letters is O’Connor’s keen awareness in the 1950s of the prevalence of beliefs that we associate with the 1960s. . Many are familiar with her well known quote, “If you live today, you breath in nihilism … it’s the gas you breathe. If I hadn’t had the Church to fight it with or to tell me the necessity of fighting it, I would be the stinkingest logical positivist you ever saw right now.” Her letters are replete with other similar comments. So, yes, the seeds of the 1960s were planted before the 1960s. They date back to at least Descartes, and before that to Adam and Eve.

    • John O’Neill

      Flannery O’Connor was and still is an wonderful voice of Catholic Faith and life. I recall her statement in an answer to the snarky Mary McCarthy, the leader of the sophisticated ex Catholics from New York City, who commented on O’Connor’s quaint belief in the ancient symbol of the divine presence, O’Connor replied to her that If it is only a symbol then “the hell with it”. The pretentious ex Catholic McCarthy did not know what to say to that.

      • tom

        When “Catholic” women won’t have babies and vote for abortion rights religiously, the end is properly near.

        Thank you, ladies.

        • jacobhalo

          Ask these so-called Catholics if they would tell Jesus that they don’t believe in some of his teachings.

        • Fravashi

          Is it any wonder women have left the church in droves given the bald misogyny displayed by barbaric Catholic men? YOU are an unadulterated example of why the Catholic church is suffering collapse, because some of its men are so vicious and primitive invertebrates, blaming women for all the church’s failings when it is entirely male administered. .

          • Art Deco

            I will have to write your doctor to tell him the thorazine dose he prescribed was subtherapeutic.

            • Mt

              What is happening here? Did you not read the above article? Was your comment REALLY necessary. What happened to ..’and they’ll KNOW they are Christians by their LOVE?’ Can we not let go of our selves to indulge in this kind of insult?

          • tom

            So, you’re proud of America’s return to paganism with 55,000, 000 dead babies….and counting? Do ya prefer drilling the brain or burning with saline?

          • JFD

            its called common sense. Men and women are equal in dignity but have different natures and roles in life. Men may play a greater role in law enforcement and maintenance of public order, but women naturally play a greater role in the influencing of children, propagation of faith, and maintenance of morality, particularly sexual morality. Denial of this fact plays a contribution to the collapse of an ordered society.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              JFD

              We must not stress the different “natures” of men and women to the point of making them separate species.

              St Augustine points out that “the woman too, who is female in the body, she too is being renewed in the spirit of her mind, where there is neither male nor female, to the recognition of God according to the image of him who created her (Rom 12:2, Eph 4:23, Col 3:10, Gal 3:28). Bodies are male and female: minds are not.

              • quisutDeusmpc

                “Bodies are male and female: minds are not.”

                This last statement is problematic. Soon to be saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body discouraged a separation of “minds”/spirits from our bodies as if one might say, my body is male, but I (my mind/my spirit) is female. Perhaps you are suggesting our spirits immediately created by God are neither male nor female. I am not sure that such a speculative statement can be made. St. Gregory of Nyssa once stated, to the effect, That which is not assumed is not saved/deified. So, just as our souls are united to our bodies from the moment of their immediate creation and the simultaneous conjoining of our father’s spermatazoa and our mother’s ovum; so Christ, the Divine Logos, is immediately joined to His human nature from the moment of St. Miryam’s “Fiat”. It would seem there is not a moment when we are not either “male” or “female”. Otherwise we open the Pandora’s box, “Well my body is female, but I (my mind/my spirit) is male.”

                • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                  QuisutDeusmpc

                  St Augustine also says, “Some people have suggested that it was now (Gen 1:27) that the human mind [interiorem] was made, while the human body came later, when scripture says, ‘And God fashioned man from the slime of the earth’ (Gen 2:7); so that where it says ‘He made’ (1:26), it refers to the spirit, while ‘He fashioned’ (2:7) refers to the body. But they fail to take into account that male and female could only be made with respect to the body.”

                  “That which is not assumed is not saved/deified” is true, which is why he says expressly, “Women, after all, are not excluded from this grace of renewal and the refashioning of God’s image, although their bodily sex symbolizes something else.”

                  “Well my body is female, but I (my mind/my spirit) is male,” would be meaningless, for St Augustine says, “the spirit of her mind, where there is neither male nor female.”

                  • quisutDeusmpc

                    The words of the ‘Formula of Union’ agreed upon by St. Cyril of Alexandria and the Antiochene bishops in 433 AD that was canonized by the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon 451 AD (I would hope you would recognize the difference between an individual saint’s interpretation of a passage in Genesis and another saint’s agreement with a group of bishops that is then enshrined in an ecumenical council):

                    i.) “…we confess the holy Virgin to be Mother of God, because God the Word was made flesh and became man and FROM THE VERY MOMENT OF CONCEPTION united to himself the temple he had taken from her.” [Denziger-Schonmetzer (DS) no. 272].

                    ii.) Origen’s theory that the soul of Christ (i. e. the human soul) pre-existed the creation of his body was condemned by the provincial Council of Constantinople in 543 AD, as was the opinion that the body was first formed and only later united to the soul of the Word. (DS 404, 405).

                    iii.) The Fathers:

                    St. Fulgentius of Ruspe: “…no interval of time can be reckoned between the beginning of the conceived flesh and the arrival of the Majesty being conceived.” (Epistola XVII 7)

                    St. John Damascene: “As soon as there was flesh, it was flesh of the Word, animated by a rational and intellectual soul.” (De Fide Orthodoxa 3,2) Patrologia Grecae 94, 985C-988A.

                    iv.) The liturgy of the “Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary” in the Byzantine Rite at Compline:

                    “For God empties himself, takes flesh, and is fashioned as a crature, when the angel tells the pure Virgin of her conception…” (The Festal Menaion, c 1969).

                    v.) Pope John Paul II:

                    “The first moment of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God is identified with the miraculous conception that took place by the power of the Holy spirit when Mary uttered her ‘Yes’.”
                    (L’Osservatore Romano 2 July, 1987).

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      Which leaves quite untouched St Augustine’s assertion that the mind is neither male nor female.

                      Indeed, he also says, “the human mind, in which the human being is made to God’s image and which is a kind of rational life, has two functions: the contemplation of eternal truth and the management of temporal affairs; and that thus you get a kind of male and female, the one part directing, the other complying; it is still the case that the mind is only rightly called the image of God in that function by which it adheres in contemplation to the unchangeable truth. It is to symbolize or represent this point that the apostle Paul says that it is only the man who is the image and glory of God; ‘but the woman’, he says, ‘is the glory of the man’ (1 Cor 11:7)”

                    • quisutDeusmpc

                      I would have thought St. Thomas Aquinas above had shown, “The person is the possessor of the complete nature of the species.” (ST I, a 75, 4, ad 2; ST I, 1, 29, 1, ad 5). One’s mind then, one’s spirit is conjoined to a particular sexed body. It may then be said that ‘this’ mind is ‘this’ sex; and ‘that’ mind is ‘that’ sex as it is the whole of the complete nature of the species that makes one a person. “Hypostasis” or “personhood” is that wherein humanity images God. One’s mind does not exist independent of the person who is a conjoined human body and a rational soul.

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      St Augustine thought otherwise.

                      He says that only that only that “function [of the mind] by which it adheres in contemplation to the unchangeable truth” is “rightly called the image of God.” This is his teaching, both in the Literal Commentary on Genesis (3:22) and in the De Trinitate (12)

                      Standing seven centuries closer to the Apostolic source, I prefer Augustine to Aquinas where they differ, just as I should prefer the Ante-Nicene Fathers to those who came later.

                  • quisutDeusmpc

                    Since the mystery of man (i. e. humanity; male and female) only becomes clear in the light of the Word Incarnate (cf. Gaudium et Spes no. 22) we move from the Christocentric focus from varied, authoritative voices, to how man “images” Christ’s Incarnation in her/his conception:

                    i.) St. Maximus the Confessor:

                    If man is essentially a whole, then he must be a whole from the beginning: the genesis of body and soul must be simultaneous. ‘This’ soul is defined in relation to ‘this’ body; ‘that’ body in relation to ‘that’ soul. Each must therefore, belong to the other from the outset. After all, even after separation in death, they do not loose their reference to each other. (Ambigua 2, 42).

                    ii.) St. Thomas Aquinas:

                    The soul alone is not the self. A man is something composed of soul and body. (Summa Theologia I, a, 75, 4). The soul separated from the body is not a man. (ST III, a, 50, 4). The person is the possessor of the complete nature of the species. (ST I, a 75, 4, ad 2; ST I, 1, 29, 1, ad 5). The rational soul is infused by God as soon as the body is ready to receive it. (STI, 1, 100, 1, ad 2).

            • Clare

              Uh…Why does the maintenance of sexual morality fall on us? So…fornication is the woman’s fault because men are…you know…weak…and it’s women’s responsibility to be responsible for men’s choices…Oh, thank goodness I’m Catholic and not your religion, JFD.

              • tom

                Just don’t murder 55,000,000 babies, Clare. Don’t applaud those who do, or any other murderers. Feminists dance with Death.

                • Clare

                  Huh??? I’m confused, tom, by your statement. Are you assuming I’m a secular feminist? I am not. I am Roman Catholic and have been on the sidewalks in front of abortion mills with Rosary in hand. If you choose to cheat on your wife, please don’t blame the mistress or your wife or the model on the billboard sign. You made your own choices there is what I’m saying.

                  Do I believe the model on the billboard sign, the mistress, the wife will be held accountable for her offenses against chastity? Yes, I do. But men will be held accountable for their offenses as well. It’s called adulthood. We are body and soul integrated into one. Faith is to mature just as the body and mind mature. The whole notion that women are responsible for men’s sexual choices is a Protestant idea, Calvinist, I believe.

          • TM

            Are you falling for the devil’s divisive tactics here? Your ire is probably understandable but surely as followers of Jesus we must adopt the stance of ‘detachment’ when our fellow sinners come out with such comments as above. Forgive it and spite the evil one for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Bless those who curse you…even our beloved enemies.

        • MT

          What did Pope Francis say? Start with yourself. You have fallen into the classic attitude that Adam adopted….blame! Take the moat out of your own eye first…or better still, look up at Christ and let HIm do it for you. Foolish person!

    • Declan Kennedy

      I have to admit that I have never read any of her works. You have pushed me to search out her books. Many thanks.

  • Tullius

    Wait. What about all the wonderful and abundant fruits of Vatican II and the new Mass?

    • jacobhalo

      I’m sure you are being facetious.

  • NE-Catholic

    Regis, thank you for an evocative, shared memory of life as it once was. My sister recently shared her ‘memories’ of abusive religious sisters in the Catholic school we both attended. I was a year behind her, and our memories were radically different. I don’t recall ANY physical abuse, I do recall being told that the classes the the years before ours (which was my sister’s) – were so much better behaved, so much more dedicated to studying, so much easier to handle and teach – ad infinitum. Fortunately, having siblings both older and younger – I recognized this as being the intended motivational malarkey that it was. I emerged a better student and neither emotionally nor intellectually scarred.

    Finally, I was whole-heartedly with you until your last paragraph. I remain very cautious about the current Pope, he is clearly unconcerned about the lack of clarity in his communications. The general sloppiness in strongly aticulated statements that allows them to be so misconstrued or misrepresented in translation is unsettling. He is a the POPE not some diocesan spokesman. What he SAYS matters. Apparently, he is very comfortable tailoring his messages on morality and teachings to his audiences. He tells atheists that ‘individual conscience determines good and evil’, he says claims in statements to a pro-life group that abortion is wrong and not to be tolerated, he tells another that the Faithful spend too much time worrying about abortions (this while we have 2000/day in the US!). I understand tolerance, compassion, charity and love of our fellow man. I don’t understand moral relativism, socialism, social ‘justice’ and pandering.

    • dudeman1144

      While I share some of your concerns about the pope, you are misquoting him here. He didn’t say that conscience determines good and evil. His words (in translation) were: “Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them.” This is exactly what the catechism teaches as well: “1800: A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience.” Could he have elaborated further on how conscience must also be shaped by Christ and His Church? Sure. Did he say what you said he said? No, he didn’t. He didn’t say we spend too much time worrying about abortions, he said: “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.” Not quite the same thing, is it? If we actually want to reduce abortions — and this is undoubtedly what the pope wants, too — then we need to explain why abortion is wrong, in context, and not simply condemn it, although there is a time for condemnation as well. Charges of socialism are totally unfounded and unfair.

      Again, while I am not extremely enthusiastic about the new emphasis, faithful Catholics have a responsibility to attempt to meet him halfway and not twist his words.

      • Jenny

        We don’t want to reduce abortions–we want to eliminate them. There is no need to explain why abortion as wrong just as we don’t need to explain why rape is wrong. Abortion is always evil and always wrong in every circumstance. Period. Dot. End of discussion.

        • dudeman1144

          We would have to start with reducing them. Do you want to convince people and win them over, or do you just want to be right and self-satisfied?

          • Jenny

            Would you say the same thing about rape? Would you proclaim that we need to start with reducing the number of rapes that occur or would you flat out say that it is wrong? I have no interest in winning over those who think it is ok to kill unborn children. I have every interest in protecting those unborn children.

            • Adam__Baum

              Jenny:
              Google Dr. Bernard Nathanson (sen?)

              • lifeknight

                RIP. He would have been the first to say all abortions are wrong. He had to be shown via ultrasound the reality of the humanity of the preborn. He knew before then, however, that it was an act of pure evil.

                • Adam__Baum

                  Agreed. His senses and educated mind were perfectly capable of grasping the reality of it, but until his heart was opened, he was perfectly capable of ignoring that reality.

            • James_Kabala

              Can we really do the latter without the former? Wasn’t it better that St. Paul stopped persecuting the Church because he realized it was wrong, rather than if he had stopped persecuting because the civil authorities arrested him?

            • tom

              Dudeman and Jenny…you’re both on the same side, against our Trotskyites in power across the form Western Civilization. It’ll take centuries to rebuild what the Marxist dialectic has done to human kind.

          • Adam__Baum

            One of you is discussing the journey, the other the destination. It’s all good.

          • lifeknight

            Unfair to Jenny. She speaks a natural law truth that is also in the Catechism.

        • Adam__Baum

          We don’t want to reduce abortions–we want to eliminate them.
          I agree, but I suspect it will always occur-the murder train left with Cain and Abel and it’s been getting “high clears” from humanity ever since. Before we stop it, it will have to be slowed down.

      • Oremusman

        So we’re supposed to meet him halfway with this? Where’s the twisting with this?

        “Each of you, dear friends, carries a life story that speaks of drama and war, of conflict, often linked to international politics. But each of you carry above all a richness of humanity and religion, a richness to be welcomed, not feared. Many of you are Muslims, of other religions, and have come from different countries, from different situations. We must not be afraid of the differences! Fraternity makes us discover that they are a treasure, a gift for everyone! We live in fraternity! “

        • dudeman1144

          Yes, he could be suggesting that religious differences are a treasure. That’s wrong, yes. Islam is not a “treasure,” and us infidels don’t, actually, live in fraternity with Muslims — not by our choice. It’s possible this was just sloppy and that he meant different perspectives on life are valuable (which is true!), not that Islam is a valid religion.

          But that was just one part of the speech. While I share your concerns, I don’t think the pope really thinks that Islam is just as good as Catholicism. I think it was just a matter of trying to be charitable leading to sloppy phrasing. Is it necessary to focus so much on these slip-ups?

          • lifeknight

            AGAIN, the Pope is not speaking clearly! Someone who has connections out there must get him to write his thoughts down. He cannot be a “loose canon” Pope. Souls are at stake here.

            • dudeman1144

              Fair enough.

            • quisutDeusmpc

              Jesus made some rather “loose canon” statements (I will destroy this temple and raise it on the third day – to the 1st century People of God of Israel, the temple was sacrosanct, it was the place that the Spirit of God descended and rested over the ark of the covenant in the Shekinah glory – the glory of the cloud by day and the fire by night; or how about the statement regarding “eating His flesh and drinking His blood” that made many of the disciples disgusted and left Him – to the 1st century People of God of Israel the “life is in the blood” and the conception of “drinking Christ’s blood” smacked of human sacrifice and a ritual practice in contravention of Tanakh). Souls were at stake then, as well, but Christ did not pull his punches and molly coddle based on what the reception may or may not be (“Woe to you scribes, hypocrites”, the scourging with the chords in the temple, the “Get behind me Satan” to Peter for his comment regarding his refusal to let Christ go to Jerusalem to be crucified; the “O ye of little faith” to the Apostles in the boat during the storm). I think the Holy Father Pope Francis is more like Jesus Christ’s Vicar than he is being given credit for. The four Gospels recount that Jesus Christ did not write a single word down (except perhaps his writing in the dust with His finger during the ordeal regarding the woman taken in adultery). It is not according to our preconceived notions of what he should or should not be doing, that he must conform, but to the Person and work of Christ.

              • lifeknight

                I guess I am a simple-minded Catholic. Just give me the straight facts: contraception, abortion, “marriages for homosexuals”, are MORTAL SINS. If the Pope wants to reduce focus on these grave sins, then I am confused. The sheep need clarity—not confusion. Instead of having an atheist or secular journalist tell us what the Pope says, I suggest a Papal encyclical?? Writing cannot be as distorted………at least I hope that is true.

                • quisutDeusmpc

                  If you want the straight facts, then read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the sacred Scriptures. Listen, the Pope is not only the source of unity in the Church, he is an evangelist who is reaching out to atheists, Muslims, Protestants, etcetera. Consider that over the centuries religion has been a cause of wars between peoples instead of a source of unity: Muslims vs. Catholics (the Crusades); Protestants vs. Catholics (the wars of religion of the 16th-18th centuries); the historic nations that comprised “Christendom” (Italy, France, England, Germany, etc) at each others throats (WWI & WWII). One of the things that Pope John XXIII wanted to reflect on in the Council was how religion may have played a part in this by an exclusionary mentality over the centuries and in stressing commonalities instead of differences [i. e. a charitable attitude instead of an arrogant, indifferent triumphalism (e. g. "My religion is better than your religion, and I will only accept you if you convert")]. The same “straight facts” still exist, it is a change of focus (a reaching out with good will with the purpose of drawing people in – the “new evangelization”).

          • Oremusman

            The pope may well think Islam is not as good as Catholicism, but that is irrelevant. Let’s keep our eye on the ball.

            He’s saying that Islam, however inferior, has value, worth, and treasure for humanity like all other non-Christian religions, especially including the points where they depart from Catholicism. In reality, they are all evils that are against the common good of humanity. Period. How about the pope talking about evils? He could do that – if he really believed it. And we should recognize what he is saying instead of thinking we have to desperately come up with creative, strained explanations for what is inexcusable.

            This isn’t sloppy phrasing or slip ups. And he’s not the first pope who has spoken in such a disturbing manner in the past 40 years. Notice how no pope before Pope John XXIII spoke like this. How did some 260 popes over 1,900 years manage to avoid these slip ups? Answer: it’s because they didn’t believe these things, and they would never dream of even thinking them, let alone let them pass from their lips.

            But now we’re in the hip Second Vatican milieu so why should we be so surprised???

            It is error, and it is gravely sinful. Is it so necessary for you to refuse to recognize scandal that is being paraded right before your eyes? What doctrinal horror will it take for you?

            • dudeman1144

              Fair enough.

            • tom

              I think he’s afraid of fanatics blowing up St. Peter’s. There are over a billion of these wild-eyed fiends around. thye keep having kids…lots of kids. That’s POWER for the next century. That’s why Europe and the US don’t matter anymore.

              • Nestorian

                Fiends??!! Demonizing your enemies in words is always the first step in justifying horrific political programmes whose aim is to exterminate them wholesale.
                Muslims are human beings, not fiends, and God loves them all, just as he loves every human being without exception. And He calls us to love everyone as well, including our enemies.

                • tom

                  Then, go to Cairo, Mecca or Damascus and get chased down a street and stoned or slaughtered, Nestorian. Their Book shows they’re fiends. and their actions prove it. When they behaved in a semi- civilized manner, we’ll gladly add an “r” to fiend.

              • quisutDeusmpc
            • Howard Kainz

              Popes are infallible under certain rare conditions, but not omniscient. I suspect that no recent pope has ever studied the Koran and the hadiths. Islam has the title of a “religion” but it is a very different kind of entity.

              • Nestorian

                If you read your Vatican I carefully, Popes are infallible whenever they want to be. All of the conditions for a papal statement to be infallible are fully determinable by the pope himself. This is a direct consequence of the fullness of sovereignty he enjoys, and the logically closely related fact that no other earthly agency has any say with regard to when a pope is or is not infallible. It is entirely up to him.

                • tom

                  No. The Pope’s infallibility is restricted to his teaching faculties. the Holy Spirit precludes error when the Pope invokes infallibility as an imperfect vessel of the Lord.

              • tom

                It’s heresy with blood-curdling add-ons.

            • quisutDeusmpc

              All truth is God’s truth. We descend from a common ancestor – Adam. We only became separate at the confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel. We are all equally God’s creation. Any and all “thems” that you can dream up, are just as upheld by God’s creative and redemptive Word as any and all “us”-es you can dream up. “260 popes over 1,900 years” believed the way they did because they thought that they were responsible for the reunification of all men – They are not, God is. Because they believed that it could be accomplished by coercion and force – It can not, it must be done by winning hearts and minds. The Pope and the Bishops in communion with him constitute the Magisterium – not you. Isn’t that the very thing Martin Luther did – fancy himself the judge of popes and councils. Is that what you are about?

          • jacobhalo

            The pope should tell it like it is. Islam is a false religion, period.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              Jacobhalo wrote, “The pope should tell it like it is. Islam is a false religion, period.”

              Then the pope would be contradicting an ecumenical, most holy and inspired council, in which the bishops of the Catholic Church spoke with one voice the same heavenly utterances of the gospel, for the Second Vatican Council teaches us that “The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

              Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.”

              • jacobhalo

                The Muslims reject Jesus (God) as the Messiah. ” He who rejects Me rejects the one who has sent Me.” The only way to the Father is through me.” He who believes and is baptized will be saved. He who is not is already condemned.” Yes, Islam is a false religion, no matter what these non-courageous popes say.

                • quisutDeusmpc

                  A bit of historical perspective: the purpose of religion is to bind us back to God, and to our fellow man. LOVE thy neighbor…that includes one’s “enemy”. Religion had been used as a source of war between Muslims & Catholics in the 8th-15th centuries, between Protestants & Catholics in the 16th-19th centuries, and during the 100 years leading up to the 21st century between the countries which historically had comprised “Christendom” in WWI, and WWII. Soon to be saint John XXIII stressed that one of the reasons he had called for the council was to stress commonalities and not differences, for he was concerned for the part that religion may or had played in history in the wars between peoples. This is not downplaying theological distinctives but stressing our common concerns and heritage as human beings: we all need water, food, clothing, shelter, family, faith and we share a common ancestor in Abraham, and a common Scripture in Tanakh.

                  • jacobhalo

                    I’ll agree with some of that, but you can’t have a pope kissing the Koran or inviting other religions to worship their gods in St. Francis church in Assisi.

                    • quisutDeusmpc

                      You, of course, have heard of diplomatic protocol. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” So heads of state, will humbly submit to the conventions that the clerics or people of that religion do, as a gesture of friendship and a humble sign of respect. It does NOT mean that somehow the Pope or Catholicism or the sacred Scriptures are subservient to, or less than, or inferior to the an imam, Islam or the Q’uran. You have probably seen the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury kissing the papal ring or the Pope taking the Archbishop’s hand and kissing his ring. This does not make either inferior, it is an ambassadorial / diplomatic protocol that tells us (the common layman) to have respect for and be civil to those of other religions.

              • Howard Kainz

                This exhortation offers an interesting contrast with the Koran, which in Sura 9 states that war must be waged against Christians and Jews until they become subject people.

              • tom

                Let’s say a prayer for all the Christian martyrs being raped and murdered by Muslims, communists and Hindus all around the globe…daily. They don’t play nice.

            • quisutDeusmpc

              Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 841; Lumen Gentium no. 16; Nostra Aetate no. 3.

    • Adam__Baum

      I wonder if in fact it is “sloppy”. Too many times, it actually is careful-but in a way that presumes that the construction of those words will be from the vantage point of a theologically literate and sophisticated person, as if he’s addressing some conference of theologians.

  • Barbara Jude

    Regis, your article was both very well written (okay, with the possible exception of one little type-o) and thought provoking. All of us of a certain age have recollections of that time when the goings-on in the Church got, to quote Alice in Wonderland, “curiouser and curiouser.” We need your voice. Keep writing.

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  • Frodo

    Great article.

    It is interesting that disaffected Catholics speak of getting rapped on the knuckles by the nuns.

    I went to a public school in an affluent suburb and was in elementary school in the late 50′s and early 60′s. I vividly remember my 4th grade teacher in public school rapping students on the knuckles. She was not Catholic. I know this because she would mock the children being excused early for Catholic religion classes (yes, that used to happen also).

    So if you had a religious that disciplined with a ruler to the knuckles – GET OVER IT. I had the same treatment during that time in the public school.

  • hombre111

    Good job. Construct a blessed world that never really existed, then construct a straw man and knock it flat. Dr. Martin, I am about ten years older than you, and so what you saw as a child and youth I saw as a youth and young adult. Fortunately for me, I did not grow up in the bliss of a Catholic ghetto, but in a world where Catholics were the distinct minority. Buried under non-Catholic relatives, my Catholicism was not something I could simply take for granted. Within that context, I experienced the Church as truly my mother. It was only later that I discovered that “mother Church” was a bunch of old men who thought they had all the answers to every question and problem. In the middle of the experience of a real mother Church, my older brother and I became priests, and my oldest sister became a nun. And we all agreed that, without Vatican II, we could not have persevered in our religious vocations.
    You put the exodus of priests and nuns down to “boredom.” Having lived through it, we saw men with priestly vocations but no call to celibacy leave for marriage. From my sister’s point of view, many immature women had joined the convent as a place to hide out. The Council exposed them for what they were. Also, the convent gave women only a couple of choices: teach or work in a hospital. With the Council, these women saw their other choices. For instance, my sister went from parochial schools to work in Israel, Africa, and Bangladesh, then back to parish ministry among adults in the United States.
    Just attended a deanery meeting, where I am the old priest in the midst of younger priests. I saw those “Pope John Paul priests” wrestling with the same problems we wrestled with for so many years. Same lack of effective answers, same struggle with youth and questioning adults. When they are as old as I am, will they proudly announce that they found the key to making their parishes into Christ factories? Doubt it. And there will be a generation of younger people to call their ministry times of chaos and confusion.

    • Art Deco

      my Catholicism was not something I could simply take for granted.

      Pity your parishioners couldn’t either.

      And we all agreed that, without Vatican II, we could not have persevered in our religious vocations.

      A thousand pities…

      • hombre111

        Ad hominem comments deserve no answer.

        • Adam__Baum

          Neither does calumny, but you got one.

        • Blah Blaah

          So we should all stop answering your ad hominem attacks on your superiors (when you were a young priest) and John Paul II.

          You get more twisted and perverse in your comments the more you go on.

    • Jenny

      “It was only later that I discovered that “mother Church” was a bunch of old men who thought they had all the answers to every question and problem.”
      Father, it is the above statement is one of many that sounded alarm bells in my ears. It smacks of the progressivism within the Church that has led so many souls away from the Church and has led to the lukewarmness displayed by so many Catholics. I am much younger than you–born in 1977–and I have only been a Catholic for 12 years, and even I can discern that this struggle with youth and questioning adults and this “struggle and chaos” that you speak of are a direct result of the very brand of Catholicism that you seem to advocate. People want truth; people want reverence and majesty and splendor and grandeur. Clearly, I’m not old enough to have lived in the time that Dr. Martin describes but I’ve heard and read about it and about how this diminished way of life has led to a lack of vocations to the priesthood and religious life for starters.

      • hombre111

        The lack of vocations is happening NOW. The John Paul II priests have been running things in my diocese for about ten years–which is less than the time that the Vatican II held sway before Pope John Paul began to pull it to pieces, finally leaving the Church more divided than he found it. Before he died, he appointed every bishop on earth, all of them in his own image and likeness. That means that the anti-Vatican II forces have dominated for at least thirty years. The Council, which was reversed so quickly, still gets blamed for everything. As I have told my Pope John Paul priest confreres numerous times, it is on you now. Stop trying to blame the sixties. The baby boom generation is retiring. Now we have generation x,y, and z. You have the youth, the energy, and the supposedly moral superiority. Get busy and create heaven on earth.

        • Adam__Baum

          So, this is what is meant the “smoke of Satan”.

        • ColdStanding

          What got reversed? Can you be more specific by naming exact policies? Do you have access to the plans as to what the full implementation of the “aggiornamento” was supposed to look like had it not been dismembered (in the womb? aborted?)? Perhaps some artist’s conceptions?

        • Art Deco

          The demographic collapse of the religious orders began at a very discrete moment: in 1965. The implosion in ordinations to the secular clergy was less pronounced, but commenced at the same time. Pretty neat trick for John Paul’s visitation of the seminaries in 1981 to have effected a retrospective injury.

          Everyone here is aware of the geographic distribution of vocations. This has been well understood for a dozen years or more. The dioceses with ample vocations are in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain areas, presided over by such men as Bp. Fabian Bruskewitz. The Diocese of Rochester under Matthew Clark was down to three seminarians at one point.

          The best service you could offer the faithful would be to stay away from them.

          • hombre111

            Actually, the seminaries were full until the early to mid seventies. I visited my old seminary with pictures of the men in the different classes. The ordination class of ’74 was twice as big as my class. But the philosophy classes had shrunk dramatically. You could see in ’76 that only a handful were ordained.

            In the middle of all this, Pope John Paul stands condemned as a blind man. In 1979, it was clear that we were in a vocation crisis. But it was not clear to many influential American bishops, or in Rome. What in the world were all the bishops telling the pope on their reports and in their required visits.? A cardinal bishop in Indonesia dared tell the truth, and he was demoted.

            Talk about being behind the curve. In his usual posture as benevolent dictator, Pope John Paul told the bishops they could not even discuss other alternatives. And so, under Pope John Paul, from 1979 to the present day, the collapse of vocations began. In my diocese, 43 to 45 priests try to minister to 180,000 people in 65 parishes. This has become the new normal. No…further loss of priests is the new normal. And this is institutional insanity.

            • Art Deco

              Actually, the seminaries were full until the early to mid seventies.

              There were 49,000 seminarians in the United States in 1965. There were about 9,000 in 1978.

              • jacobhalo

                Another fruit of Vatican II.

            • Blah Blaah

              What are you talking about? You write:

              “A cardinal bishop in Indonesia dared tell the truth [that there was a vocations crisis, presumably], and he was demoted.

              Talk about being behind the curve. In his usual posture as benevolent dictator, Pope John Paul told the bishops they could not even discuss other alternatives.”

              The pope is told, ‘There’s a vocations crisis’ and he refuses to discuss ‘other alternatives.’ This doesn’t make any sense. Other alternatives to what?

              As for the decrease in vocations, maybe talk to someone who works in the area. I have a friend who is assistant novice-master in a Franciscan province in Europe. In the past three years they’ve seen a drop in vocations. He told me that he is certain of the reason: he and all his brothers are not living out their vocations in such a way that shows a joyful love of Christ, the Church, and their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

              Maybe instead of giving a post hoc ergo propter hoc argument (JPII was elected, vocations went down, thus JPII caused it), you can look to your own sour, bitter, faithless generation for being so UNATTRACTIVE that you drove men AWAY from the priesthood, instead of attracting them to it. You are at best ambivalent about your vocation; at worst bitter and negative about it. No wonder your generation didn’t inspire vocations.

              The amazing thing is that you are so bitter and spiteful that you cannot even SEE the fact that the priests you do have are young, faithful, full of enthusiasm – and were drawn to the priesthood by the beautiful example of JPII. Too bitter and spiteful to rejoice in more vocations. Instead, you do everything to discourage them and make them feel hopeless in their vocations.

              God have mercy on you. You are one sad man.

            • tom

              When seminarians are more interested in Broadway shows than football or baseball…there’s a problem. Most of the playing fields went to seed BEFORE the seminarians and priests left.

              • hombre111

                One of the seminaries I attended began to allow the seminarians to go off campus. That seminary still flourishes, with its well used gym and athletic fields. The other, strict stay-on-the-campus seminary I attended severely punished, by the Archbishop’s instructions, a seminarian’s well-meaning mistake. Within a four or five years, that seminary was gone.

        • Art Deco

          While we are at it, the Roman-rite diocese in which I was living published some data in 2004 which included metrics on the frequency of accusations against priests according to ordination cohorts. Priests ordained prior to 1930, one accused. Priests ordained after 1980, two accused. Priests ordained during the years running from 1960 to 1969, 19 accused. Nationally, the cohort with the most intense concentration of suspected pederasts was the 1970 cohort. Neat trick for JP ii to have inspired so many latent homosexuals to enter the major seminary in 1963.

          • Adam__Baum

            Perhaps the pervasiveness of particular pecadillo among that cohort is why “Hombre111″ is so permissive and accepting of it.

          • hombre111

            Thanks for the interesting statistics. I belonged to the 60-69 cohort, and can only speak for that group. First, just a word about our preparation for celibacy. A study from just after that time revealed how immature we were. The seminary did everything it could to keep us boys. And so, at age 26, I can say I emerged 26 going on 18, at a time when young men of 18 were dying in Vietnam. We were trained to be parish priests. Celibacy was virtually unmentioned until after we received subdiaconate and were formally committed to celibacy. But even then the discussion was very brief. It was simply the price we were expected to pay for the privilege of becoming priests. If my classmates were like me, they entered the priesthood resolved to suck it up and be celibate, but with no spirituality to help them live celibacy as a charism of the Spirit. Also, it was a bad assumption to believe that, just because a man had been ordained, he was a celibate. He had promised to be a celibate, but that is more of a journey, the way marriage is a journey, where a person gradually achieves commitment and full maturity.
            That said, I think we were touched by the growing permissiveness of the 60′s. Maybe narcissism would be a better term. Probably the most frustrated among us were the several homosexuals, who were in a psychological double bind. One of the heteros in our group acted out with a girl of sixteen. The homosexuals began to flirt with, and achieve, personal disaster and disaster for young boys. Our bishop at that time refused to believe reports about some of his priests.
            The tragedy of sex abuse was bad, really bad. Worse was the reaction of the grey bureaucrats, many appointed by Pope John Paul, who pushed the thing under the rug. When the problem emerged in 1985, diocesan newspapers, monitored by their bishops, had nothing to say. Only the National Catholic Reporter followed the thing in full. By the 90′s, all of the bishops were men appointed by John Paul, and only a few of them had the wisdom and guts to act proactively (my bishop among them). By 2002, when the Law case broke, everybody was a John Paul appointee. And to a man, they refused to resign or take any personal responsibility for what they had done. Only the priests were punished.

            • Adam Baum

              “heteros” ??
              Wow.

            • Art Deco

              A study from just after that time revealed how immature we were.

              Old fools were once young fools.

              • Blah Blaah

                Right on!

            • Deacon Ed Peitler

              You might consider not reading the National Catholic Reporter. I think it only adds to your intense dislike for JPII and rejection of Church authority. You deserve to live out the years of your priestly ministry with joy; reading NCR will only further demoralize you.

              • Art Deco

                You deserve to live out the years of your priestly ministry with joy;

                We do not deserve a whole lot in this world, Deacon. Just wish hombre111 a quiet life. The Catholic faithful deserve to be free of his presence in an responsible position.

            • Blah Blaah

              You just damned your own generation – a generation that had no influence on them by John Paul II, who was behind the Iron Curtain at the time. Everything you describe of how bad your formation was – all the sexual abuse, etc. – happened after Vatican II and before JPII. But somehow you want to blame it all on JPII because bishops he appointed inherited a rotten bunch of ill-prepared, sexually immature priests and didn’t know what to do about them, so they did what the secular world told them to do: give them psychological counselling, accept their confessions and move them to a new place to start over again (don’t forget, that WAS the advice given the Church by the ‘experts’ of the time).

              Your illogic is amazing: the apples were rotten before John Paul II became pope, and the bishops he appointed did nothing to stop the apples from being rotten – so it’s all on JPII and his bishops.

              Sounds like they didn’t teach logic in the seminary, either.

              You want to try again?

            • Art Deco

              The priests were punished because they were the offenders. As for the bishops, the problem is as follows.

              In the Diocese of Syracuse, to take one example, the median lapse of time between when a supposed molestation occurred to when the complaint about it hit the bishop’s desk was 25 years. Retrospective complaints complaints about molestations occurring between 1949 and 1980 numbered about 60. The number of complaints actually filed during those thirty years numbered no more than 5.

              The vast majority of complaints were fielded by one bishop, James Moynihan. He was inaugurated in 1995 and there were next-to-no real time complaints against clergy during his twelve years as bishop. What is anyone supposed to hold him ‘responsible’ for, inheriting a priest corps shot through with perverts? By the same token, about 3/4 of the accused priests were ordained by one man, Bp. Walter Foery. Bp. Foery retired in 1970 and the number of complaints known to have been filed during his 33 years as bishop are in the low single digits.

              It has never occurred to Rod Dreher or Leon Podles (to name two examples) that it is verry challenging to come to a satisfying conclusion about a contention when your information set consists of a single affidavit filed 10 or 15 or 30 years after the fact.

              It is quite one thing to insist on Bernard Cardinal Law’s resignation. He put John Geoghan back in parish work multiple times over a period of about 7 or 8 years and was a perfect dithering nincompoop concerning Paul Shanley. Since the chancery was aware of Geoghan’s abuses as early as 1980, Cdl. Madeiros is implicated as well (and actually behaved worse than Cdl. Law). Abp. Sheehan was the seminary rector who approved Rudy Kos’ admission in spite of a letter appended to his previous application advising he was not to be admitted and in spite of persistent efforts by the former Mrs. Kos to wave red-flags in front of the seminary. Abp. Matthiesen of San Antonio supposedly would ‘go shopping’ at the Servants of the Paraclete funk hole in Jamez Springs, N. Mex.

              These men were these men. It is difficult to see how Bp. Moynihan’s challenges and conduct have much to do with the sort of misconduct delineated above.

              • hombre111

                In 1985, the disaster was clearly spelled out in a report commissioned by the bishops themselves. They buried the report and the two priests involved were demoted. But the report was leaked to the NCR, which published it in full. So, the cat was out of the bag, and the vast majority of bishops ignored it.
                In the early nineties, the issue surfaced again and the bishops were on notice. That was when my newly named bishop pushed some solid reforms. But other bishops, like Skylstad of Spokane, did nothing. Skylstad was on his way to becoming president of the national bishops’ group, and his diocese ended up paying millions.
                But other bishops were still caught napping in 2002, like Law. In the meanwhile, the European bishops ignored what was happening in the United States, never imagining that it could come home in their dioceses. And so, the scandal in Europe, beginning with Ireland. And in the midst of all of this, Rome was just looking on, including the barely sui compos Pope John Paul, who actually promoted Marciel Macel, head of the Legionnaries and one of the worst of them all. All of these were John Paul men, picked to be grey bureaucrats whose only interest was protecting the image of the institution. That was great work.

                • Art Deco

                  Where was the data? The date was not there.

                  The author of the report, a certain Fr. Doyle, has made so many bizarre and unsubstantiated public statements that even a figure such as Leon Podles has suggested the bishops had reason to disregard him.

                  • hombre111

                    The bishops were hiding the data. Somehow, the bishops’ committee got to the facts and predicted it was going to cost the Church more than two billion dollars and utter loss of credibility. Spot on.

                    • Art Deco

                      What data?

                      Fully 85% of the complaints in Syracuse hit the bishop’s desk after 1984. They had little to hide. Doyle never knew squat.

                    • hombre111

                      Information about one bishop does not an argument make. Doyle and company revealed the issue straight on, and were punished for their efforts. If the bishops had taken them seriously and acted then, we would not be holding our heads down in shame.

                • accelerator

                  Actually have to agree to a degree here. No one really stepped up to the plate. But then, that would suggest a problem going all the way to and the the Council After all, despite protestations, Both JPII and Ratzinger were Vatican II men to the bone, writing VII documents themselves. How you or others can pose them as anti-Vatican II mystifies me. They essentially WERE the Council in terms of demographic profiles.

          • tom

            Good point.

      • lifeknight

        Go Jenny. You are a Catholic “chosen” (as opposed to born) for battle. Eloquent and straightforward. Have tons of children and educate them in the Faith.

      • Adam__Baum

        Over the years, as I’ve watched converts take roles of action and vigor in the Church, I have regarded them and their conversions as great gifts for those of us who are to apt to laxity. Welcome home.

    • Adam__Baum

      “I am about ten years older than you”

      “mother Church” was a bunch of old men who thought they had all the answers to every question”

      The irony in those two phrases is just so delicious.
      Why not lecture us on economics, now.

      • Art Deco

        Wormwood, collecting a check and benefits while remaining uniformly
        insubordinate and disloyal and using your position as sinecure to
        indulge your abberant social fantasies is not a “vocation”.

        Game, set, match. Can I have your permission to have that printed on palm cards to hand out to annoying clergy?

        • Adam__Baum

          As long as your annoyance comes from pronounced and persistent hetorodoxy, granted.

      • tamsin

        Wait, did anybody ever determine that hombre111 is a priest? I thought it was an open question.

        • Adam Baum

          Given that this is a pseudononymous poster, we have no way of confirming the veracity of his claims. Therefore, one of two things is true:
          1.) This poster is not a Priest, and misrepresents himself.
          2.) This poster is a Priest, and posts rebeliously, scandalously and vexatiously. In this case, he would be obtaining his income from some Diocese under false pretenses, but ccontinuing to occupy an office where he has dispensed with the vows he took when ordained.
          Either way, the effect is the same, unless mitigated by some mental infirmity- a fraud.

        • Blah Blaah

          He says that thanks to Vatican II he and his siblings persisted in their religious vocations; he says that he had poor formation in seminary (and isn’t that obvious?); he says he revisited his seminary; he says that he’s one of the oldest priests among JPII priests. Read his first post.

    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      What role does the Holy Spirit play in the lifeblood of the Church? You seem to place far too much stock on man to safeguard the Church while at the same not making provision for the fact that all the work of the Church is through the Spirit in Jesus Christ. Let’s give credit where credit is due. One of the problems with the post Vatican II Church is that it all quickly devolved into: “It’s all about us.”

    • tom

      The Church is 2000 years old and is promised to last into eternity. It’s just not in the former Western Civilization anymore. Bad priests and communist infiltration didn’t help. As for those who left, that’s good. They should also be praised for their service. They gave more than they received.

      • hombre111

        It isn’t communist infiltration. As Walter Bruegerman pointed out in his “Prophetic Imagination,” It’s the Church’s wholesale acquiescence to a materialist consumer culture that is tearing the Church down. Don’t know how to fix that because, alas, I play my part in it.

    • accelerator

      The John Paul era allowed vocations to collapse? Interesting interpretation over which many would disagree. Priestly vocations but no call to celibacy? That’s if you assume the two can co-exist. As usual, one’s reading of the facts is inseparable from her or his worldview. Yours does not sound too much like that of what most people would call “Mother Church,” despite your protestations. As to “proudly announc[ing] that they found the key to making their parishes into Christ factories,” somehow you sound a bit sarcastic there. I just wish more priests had that as their aim. No era is perfect, but if you expect anyone to swallow the whopper that the post-conciliar era has been good for the Church, you need a but more ammunition that your sister traipsing off to Israel.

  • barbieahayes

    Dr. Martin, thank you so much for the work you do to bring the truths to us Catholics in the square. I am so pleased that you write so much for us. I have also been listening to you on EWTN. It would be a tragedy if your voice was only available to the students at Steubenville. I attended Catholic grammar school in the 1960′s and did not feel the modernism of the post Vatican II perversions until junior high. I didn’t know about the Council in my youth, but saw our pipe organ in the choir loft (and a few rows of side pews) give way to an electric piano/synthesizer and tambourines. Instinctively I did not like the changes, and since I played the organ for the Sunday Mass, they had to deal with me climbing the steps to the heavenly loft while eschewing the new and shiny ivories, lol.

  • George Albinson

    opening sentence: of my wife and I > of my wife and me

  • Thomas C. Coleman, Jr.

    Thanks for this one Dr. Martin. I am 64, so most of my spiritual and doctrinal develpment took place before the Council. My father helped me memorize my Latin, which I had already been learning since 4th grade with a diaglot Missal. Even though the majoirty of our neighbors in our Califorina town were Portestants, there were so many transplants from the great Catholic population centers of the East coast and so many immigrants from Mexico that we still lived steeped in the beatuy of the sacred. When I look at the wreckage around me I must conclude that it is not too melodramatic to say that what was is gone with the wind. I have not read the other respones, so I must apologize if I am raising an issue that others have already adequately addressed. To put it bluntly, this state of affairs was not an accident. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of there having been two councils, a real and a virtual one, the latter of which he attributed to false staements made by the media about what the Counil Fathers had promulgated. I believe that we have sufficient evidence and testimony to decalre that the media people were merely repeating lies that were systematically fed to them by memberes of a sinister cabal who were intent from the beiginning on replacing the Church founded by Our Savior on the Rock of Petere with a counterfiet church organization that would cast doubt on all Church teaching and inculcate several generations of Catholics with the belief that the mission of the Chruch was not Eternal Salvation but the creation of aworker’s parpadise on Earth that would be marked by collectivism and sexual anarchy. We have the testimony of Bella Dodd and others. Does anyone really think that it is merely a coincidence that in 1947 Dr. Dodd, after returning to the Church, predicted that 25 years from then, 1972, no one would recongize the Catholic Church? We are dealing here with the greatest and most sinsiter of evils–Satan working through Marxism and the other perverse systems of thought. It is fitting that we should address these matters druing the Marian month of October. If we are unable to name the enemies we are powerless to do battle with them. This situation did not come about by accidnet and will be not be undone by inaction. Sometimes the actions that we must take will arouse the ire of people who have been trained up the priesthood and above during the years of blindness. So be it! We must not be silenced.

  • Christian LeBlanc

    I’m 56. Ditto my South Louisiana childhood.

  • tom

    When “Catholic” women won’t have babies and vote for abortion rights religiously, the end is properly near.

    Thank you, ladies.

    • Fravashi

      When Catholic men do not take responsibility for respecting women as holy and equal mates before Christ, the end is surely near. Thank you, Catholic men who blame women for all that is wrong in a church that is entirely administered by men, for driving so many women from the church.

      • Clare

        Fravashi- More men have abandoned the Church than women and each adult is responsible for his/her own choices to leave. In fact, more women are canonized Saints than men. I’m in full agreement with you that men are responsible for their own sins but I’m tired of Catholic women who expect Catholic men to be just like us. Men have their own spirituality, their own way of explaining God’s influence on them. For example, when I thought I was called to the convent (I am not) about 10 years ago, the spiritual director of the men’s group said, “There are only two kinds of people in this world–saints and saint-makers. I’m a saint-maker; you’re gonna hate me.” In the convent, we talked about becoming Saints using different language. I can’t remember now how we phrased it but it was less about evoking images of combat and more about growing in love. When I talk with Catholic men who have had conversion experiences, their language evokes images of God doing something like dropping a metaphorical brick on their heads or punching them between the eyes or something like that. I wouldn’t ever use violent language to describe my own experience. This is because men and women are wired differently.

    • Clare

      tom- When “Catholic” men stop using their wives as sex toys and both spouses stop viewing sex as a toy and when both spouses understand that our bodies are not objects that our souls just float around in aimlessly, there will be more babies and men as well as women will vote pro-life religiously. From being involved in pro-life, women often vote for abortion out of self-protection and men often vote for abortion to continue to have sex without consequences.

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  • jacobhalo

    I remember my childhood pre-Vatican II, when no salvation outside the church was in force, which was reinforced by quotes from Jesus such as, “He who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” “Go forth and preach to all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. He who believes and is baptized will be saved. He who does not believe will be condemned.” You will never hear a pope or cleric utter these quotes from the pulpit. Why? because it goes contrary to interreligious ecumenism.Today’s form of ecumenism was explicitly condemned by the perennial magisterium of the Church, summarized in Pope Pius XI’s encyclical, “Mortalium Animos.” Supposedly, no doctrine was changed during Vatican II, but you could have fooled me. P.S. Another quote from Jesus. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. The only way to the Father is through me.” Jesus does not say one of the ways, He says the only way. Since Jesus is the founder of the Catholic Christian church, “No salvation outside the Church” is backed up by the above quotes.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      jacobhalo

      No doubt, you will recall the Encyclical letter of Bl Pius IX to the bishops of Italy, dated August 10, 1863 – “We and you know, that those who lie under invincible ignorance as regards our most Holy Religion, and who, diligently observing the natural law and its precepts, which are engraven by God on the hearts of all, and prepared to obey God, lead a good and upright life, are able, by the operation of the power of divine light and grace, to obtain eternal life.”

  • Tony

    Thank you, Regis.
    I was a small boy in the late 1960′s, so I really grew up in the next decade, when the poisons began to appear everywhere. How strange and sudden was the change? I’ve recently come upon a book written for Catholic youth, published in 1964, in which the most pressing “sexual” question for teenagers was whether and under what circumstances kissing was permissible.
    That’s 1964. In ten years, a classmate of mine would be bringing to school a copy of the “novel” written to capitalize upon the most infamous porn movie of the decade.
    Yes, I know that the 1950′s were not perfect, and that they harbored the seeds of their destruction. And yet — isn’t that what we can say about any age? If that age falls under our condemnation, what could possibly qualify as a “good” time?

    • R. K. Ich

      I’m not surprised that one age rebels against the prior one, but what is telling about this tug-of-war is precisely *what* is being challenged or overturned. The change-inducing philosophy is vastly more interesting than the yawn-worthy observation that everything changes. In the case of Vatican 2 and its aftermath, I find it scary that the council fits almost like hand in glove with the current of the culture in some areas. As somebody else on this board mentioned, there is a rhetorical precedent set in V2 not ever seen in councils prior, a language of accommodation that lends itself to serious abuse or misunderstanding (if not outright contradictory to prior councils). Vatican 2 is by far the hardest thing for me to swallow, indeed the biggest obstacle to my joining the Roman communion.

  • Maria

    This was a beautifully written article that went…nowhere. There is absolutely no attempt at resolution or even a thesis? I expect more from Crisis.

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  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    In the 1950s and 1960s, I spent about three months a year in a supposedly Catholic country, France.

    A few old families treated a minimum of Catholic observance as a point of family honour; a decided minority of the middle class, especially its female members, were regular church-goers; the working class was almost entirely indifferent or hostile to the Church

    • slainte

      You cannot measure the Godliness of the traditional church by the failings of its imperfect members.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        No, one cannot use it to measure the godliness of the Church, but one can use it to illustrate why it was crying out for the reforms that the Second Vatican Council introduced.

        A pretty good idea of what was needed can be gathered from the writings of the greatest French theologians of the preceding fifty years – Henri Brémond, Joseph Maréchal, Marie-Dominique Chenu, Henri de Lubac, Yves Congar, Jean Daniélou, Claude Mondésert, Louis Bouyer and others.

    • Art Deco

      IIRC from statistics I have seen, about 20% of the population attended Mass on a weekly basis in France ca. 1955. To take another metric, the Christian democratic party (MRP) scored an average of 16% of the electorate during the period running from 1945 to 1966. After 1966, there were Christian democratic components in a series of larger parties, as there is today, but no free-standing Christian democratic party. As we speak, about 3% of the population of France attends Mass on a given Sunday. By some accounts, about half attend SSPX or FSSP services.

      The Church was more vigorous sixty years ago in France.

  • jacobhalo

    The next article should be “Recollection of a Church That is No More.”

  • Larry Peterson

    I, too, attended grade school in the 50s. I was indoctrinated into the faith by the Ursuline nuns. They did a good job because I love my faith to this very day. For many of my other friends, it did not stick. (My take on the matter). Bottom line–as Dr. Martin defers to our new Pope Francis, so do I. WE must begin with ourselves, especially someone like me who always thought he was following Christ even while thinking that my peers, who had found different direction in their faith, had failed their God. Who the hell did I think I was passing judgement on them. Maybe I was the one who had failed HIM. Therein lies my rebirth. That is where I stand 44 years after the launch of “meism” at Woodstock. I have come full circle and have been blessed because I know I have inwardly been a pompous shmuck. I accept it and I have confessed it. Now I do the best I can to listen to the truth in my heart. It is quite the challenge. But—”The Truth Shall Set You Free”. Amen.

  • lifeknight

    Well, I’d say Dr. Martin’s memories have generated a lot of comments and topics related to the initial article. Congrats on a multitude of comments.
    I don’t care what anyone says……it was better back then.

  • Peadar Ban

    Dear Dr. Martin,

    Thank you! I long ago grew tired of hearing men and women my age go on about the tortures of a Catholic Education in the paradise of the 1950′s; a Golden Age to my way of thinking. I was, as you were, “bird happy”, then. (I love that phrase!)

    And, I am weary unto death of the carping about everything Catholic I hear today. There is very little mourning and weeping. There is an awful lot of carping and griping, while the load goes un-lifted.

    I do not care at all how you “feel” about something, even less what you think of it. I would like to see you do it, if not cheerfully, at least faithfully is what I think about the problem and the people who are it.

    Did youngsters 10, 20, 30, 40 years younger than me know what they missed, they would go about weeping. The fault is not in our stars. It is where it was, always, in our hearts.

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