GRIFF RUBY'S STRAIGHT STUFF (oct10str.htm)


October 10-30, 2004
Annual Fall Hiatus Issue
Sunday-Saturday
vol 15, no. 176

A Journey to Truth

or     So, Who is this Griff Ruby, Anyway?

    "It was in 1991 that I encountered my first traditional Catholic correspondent. She had been a nun (Sister Mary Cecilia) teaching Kindergarten for the traditional Catholic school under the very controversial Francis Shuckardt, but she since left that group at the urging of Home Aloner/Conclavist Ken Mock and became a Home Aloner herself. While I could never buy the Home-Aloner contention that there is no Catholic Church left (other than some very few scattered lay believers), she did manage to point me to a number of very good books on Catholic Theology (Catechism of the Council of Trent, Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, Vatican I, "The Church Teaches" by the Jesuit Fathers, etc.), published mostly by TAN books, which at last gave me the solid grounding I have longed for. She also told me where to at least get a look at what the Tridentine Mass looked like, namely her ex-congregation up at Mount Saint Michael's in Spokane."

    Born in 1958, though I had a cradle, I was not a "cradle Catholic" for I was raised without the luxury of a Catholic upbringing. It took a lot of time to find religion and learn "the ropes" regarding it. As a result, I have found that it is far easier to teach something I once did not know than it is to teach something I knew from the beginning - that is because I can still understand what it is not to know something, and therefore, hopefully and prayerfully, I can present something more useful to the reader or hearer than otherwise possible.

The Jehovah's Witness Years

    The first religion I encountered was that of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Coming from an utterly atheistic background, this was great progress as I learned a lot about the Bible (reading it straight through for the first time in my life), and many basic things that still hold up despite my subsequent discoveries as to their errors. What the Jehovah's Witnesses seemed to give me was an idea of God which did not offend my basically humanistic sensibilities, and yet furthermore a God who would soon bring about a far more sensible world. What I actually gained was an appreciation for the Bible, and such concepts as God, Creation, Accountability, the End of all things, the Virgin Birth, the Inerrancy of Scripture, Jesus and His death for us, Sin, Forgiveness, and Evangelism. Even my subsequent discoveries as to the methods of manipulating their sources (Biblical and scholastic and theological and psychological) showed me much of the science of forensic examination of all information. To see through the lies one must understand the nature of lies and their essence, how and why they are done, and made to seem persuasive. As I learned of their lies and saw them for what they were, I learned additional things regarding the Gospel as actually presented in Scripture and believed by the Church. I learned about the Trinity, the Incarnation, the nature of man, the judgments of God, and so forth.

Evolution toward the Evangelicals

    Soon after, on the night of April 26, 1980, I presented myself to a local Evangelical Church to "give myself to Jesus." I had learned from the books against the Watchtower Society that there was a different, but still cohesive understanding of who God was and what He is doing contained in Scripture, which I had not seen in my Watchtower days. Although it left much to remain beyond my understanding, I had discovered the fundamental point that any religion I could completely understand was therefore only a man-made religion and as such not a religion coming from a greater source than man. The Watchtower religion had seemed real to me because I could understand it completely, but "Bible Christianity" showed its far greater reality in that I could not understand it completely. I longed for something truly infinite.

    Then I began regularly attending the Evangelical church, and learning from an extraordinarily wise and insightful pastor, for which I am grateful. Steering clear of divisive topics, he nevertheless found much to say of great value and interest, and much of what he taught holds up extremely well even today, in view of everything I have learned since. I cannot think of a better place for a new Christian to have gone. (Would even the pre-Vatican II Church have impressed me as much? I was in need of far more basic lessons than even their most basic. For example, what authority actually was, which Catholic catechists take for granted, presupposing that the listener already knows).

    And then one day the pastor left, having built up his congregation from scratch and now finally deciding to go to Seminary for the first time. During my sojourn with the Jehovah's Witnesses, my schooling gradually fell off and for three years I did not attend anywhere, but in 1980, I began gradually returning to college, first with a single class, then two as a part-time student, going back to part-time work, then as a full time student by early 1981. I changed my major to Computer Science, having first gone in as a declared Philosophy major, but continued to take some classes in Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Anthropology, and to audit others. I also frequently attended discussions held at the Robert Maynard Hutchins Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, a well-known "think tank" temporarily run at the time by future Congressman Walter Capps and conveniently located on the UCSB campus.

The Pentecostal Pause

    I finally graduated in 1984 with a degree in Computer Science, having also done a Senior honors thesis in Parallel Processing. During that period, after the departure of the Evangelical pastor, many of my friends in his church began going over to first one, then another more Pentecostal church. The Pentecostal movement intrigued me with its claim to miracles, signs and wonders, so in due course of time I followed these friends over to the one, then the other Pentecostal church. The more time I spent with them, the more I saw that there was very little if anything miraculous there, and an awful lot of drummed-up enthusiasm all caused so as to "make" God do something. Jesus worked all of His miracles out in the open, in the streets, the gates, the countryside, and on the water, and that around faithless and unbelieving crowds, but Pentecostals today can only work in an enclosed room full of wildly screaming, gyrating, swaying and swooning believers, just so that maybe they might squeeze out some marginal "miracle" or two.

The Baptist Blip

    By the time I had graduated, the Pentecostal fire had burned out of me as I began taking refuge in a quiet, conservative Baptist church. Soon after graduation, I began my current career as a computer engineer at Vandenberg Air Force Base. I then attended a small independent church which was mostly Evangelical, lightly Pentecostal, and where the pastor was solidly established in the Bible, and also knowledgeable in the early Church Fathers. After about a year, the pastor of this church decided to "graduate" to the missionary field, and once again I was without a mentor. They were not affiliated with any denomination and so had some difficulty finding a new pastor, and the ones they found were no better than being without a pastor. It was then that my attention began to be turned to Catholicism.

Separating the wheat from the chaff of the Novus Ordo

    No one else I knew of seemed to have a truly Christian sexual morality, except the Catholics (and so far, Novus Ordo types as well, but I knew nothing then of the distinction). With extreme difficulty I had to break off an engagement to a girl I dearly loved because her morality was contemporary Protestant, and she wanted to use a contraceptive. That, plus the fact that Jesus called the bread at Communion His Body (not merely a symbol or metaphor, etc.), and an increasing appreciation for the Blessed Virgin Mary caused me to enquire at what I thought was the Catholic Church. Fortunately, the local Novus Ordo parish still had an arch-conservative Pastor who had been permanently installed back in 1955, and who had maintained a substantially Catholic atmosphere there despite his having gone over to the fake new liturgical "forms." The elderly Novus Ordo (but still Catholic-at-heart) Priest, Msgr. Andrew McGrath retired and went back to Ireland shortly before I completed my training, but the new incoming Pastor, Msgr. John Rawden, was also staunchly conservative, and finished my training. Despite my having been baptized two times before (Once by the Jehovah's Witnesses on July 1, 1978, and again by the Evangelicals on June 18, 1980), Msgr. Rawden scrupulously insisted on giving me a conditional Baptism on May 3, 1986, which given his staunchly conservative and "old school" approach, explicit teaching on Baptism (which he gave me during his part of my training), and his admission (later on when I became aware of these issues and asked him) that his intention was "to do what the Church does," leaves no room to doubt that I have a valid Baptism. He also confirmed me that day with the same intention, and while there is room to doubt the validity of Novus Ordo Confirmations in general, by all evidences I can see this one seems to have took for it is as Christ said in John 3: 5, "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

    I promptly began making myself useful serving in the choir as accompanist, youth group, anti-abortion marches, Confirmation class, and later on joining the Legion of Mary and the Knights of Columbus. I definitely leaned towards the Conservative side and against the Liberal side. Had I known of traditional Catholicism I would have promptly joined it instead, but this seemed as close to it as I could get.

    The first "Latin Mass" I ever saw was a Latin Novus Ordo, said by Msgr. Rawden in 1987 to commemorate the 75th Anniversery of the (once Catholic, now Novus Ordo) Parish, La Purisima Concepcion. I had already picked up the fact that the Mass had been previously said in Latin, and was quite anxious to see such a thing. This was during the week so I took time off work to attend it, and everything was in Latin, even the homily. But it was only a one-shot event.

    It was in 1991 that I encountered my first traditional Catholic correspondent. She had been a nun (Sister Mary Cecilia) teaching Kindergarten for the traditional Catholic school under the very controversial Francis Shuckardt, but she had since left that group at the urging of Home Aloner/Conclavist Ken Mock and became a Home Aloner herself. While I could never buy the Home-Aloner contention that there is no Catholic Church left (other than some very few scattered lay believers), she did manage to point me to a number of very good books on Catholic Theology (Catechism of the Council of Trent, Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, Vatican I, "The Church Teaches" by the Jesuit Fathers, etc.), published mostly by TAN books, which at last gave me the solid grounding I have longed for. She also told me where to at least get a look at what the Tridentine Mass looked like, namely her ex-congregation up at Mount Saint Michael's in Spokane.

Catholic at Last

    In August of 1992, I went up to Mount Saint Michael's in Spokane and saw my very first traditional Latin Tridentine Mass. A year later I went again and saw another such Mass, and then also visited the SSPX Priory in Post Falls, saw a couple Tridentine Masses there (partaking of a traditionally consecrated Eucharist for the first time), and learned where the SSPX could be found closer to my home (still three hours driving away). Over time, I took in any traditional Latin Mass I could find, averaging almost one per month, and spending considerable time reading every traditional Catholic book and periodical I could find. I really had no personal life then, my job and this reading being all that I did for seven years.

    One thing that had become clear to me however was that, while traditional Catholicism was indisputably the true and authentic continuation of over 1,900 years of Catholic and Christian history, the fragmentation that had occurred made it difficult to even assess the size let alone the scope of the traditional Church today, or even to be able to know who to trust. I recall wishing at the time that there could be some sort of "Who's Who" book of all the players in this whole movement so as to introduce me to the movement as a whole instead of what particular pieces I had happened across. As we all know, there was no such book, and my desire to learn of it was such that rather than merely complain over the lack of such a book, I would dig and do research and take time and do pilgrimages to as many players as are still alive or at least contact them, and spend however many years it would take to learn the extent of it and the true relations each player has to the others. Even at my original visits to the church in Spokane I recall pointing out to one of the nuns there how good it would be for all of us traditional Catholics to be able to get together. She wanly agreed, obviously having given up any hope of that and now only doing what she could to save her soul and those in her care. So I began subscribing to every traditional Catholic periodical I could find, indeed all those listed in my Bibliography, and reading them cover to cover, no matter whether I liked the article or not, and often being pleasantly surprised by the consistent message of holiness I found in all cases. I also tracked down as many books as I could find, reading them as well. This voluminous reading also included a tremendous amount of prayer and meditation on what I was reading and finally learning about the Catholic Faith, and about the current efforts to preserve tradition.

The Challenge

    One day after Mass at Fr. Dominic Radecki's church in Newhall, I was speaking with Richard Jamison (who had recently made his "The Vacancy" video) and I mentioned that I was working on a book to document this entire movement, showing support for it all and seeking to provide a basis for it to unite. He responded that theologically there are such sharp disagreements that had to be resolved or else my book would be a mere superficial history of little use or value. I agreed that there must be some sort of theological consensus that can be made and followed and which would provide my book with the structural backbone needed to tie it all together. His response was along the lines of "Yes, that would be nice, but I really don't think that's possible." But at the time I already had the germ of an idea as to how this really could be possible. With that, he had thrown down a gauntlet, a challenge for me to meet.

    After my initial fantasy of having or writing the "Who's Who" book, in time my understanding grew and I began several drafts of books that in the end were abandoned as I learned more. Finally, in September of 1996, I finally began work on what would become my final and published book about traditional Catholicism today, entitled The Resurrection of the Roman Catholic Church. [Editor's Note: See review of this work at Book Review.] Much of my older research proved useful for historical and biographical details that I wove into the final edition for which the first full-length draft was completed in the middle of 1998 (and expanded and updated this year). By this time, my original insight had matured from a way to explain all traditional Catholicism from sedevacantist through SSPX to Indult to being an understanding as to what exactly it is that has been going on all these years. Taken in the framework of all the dogmatic teachings of the Church, it really explains the whole thing.

    It is my hope and desire in future installments here in this column, which I have chosen to call "Griff Ruby's Straight Stuff", to be able to explain this insight and share it with all who hold to the authentic Faith and Church. But I want to talk about other things too. I make no claim of fancy degrees after my name nor of any Divine revelation (apart from that revealed to all and available to all through Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterial documents of the Church), but rather hope and attempt to make what I have to write stand on its own, either with reference to other known documents and teachings, or else from pure logic and forensic evidences and deduction. If anything I write is found or proved wrong, I will gladly revise or even withdraw it for I remain a humble searcher of the fullness of the truth on this short journey called life.

Griff L. Ruby


Griff's book is available from iUniverse.com Books for $26.95 or can be read on-line at www.the-pope.com We at The Daily Catholic strongly urge you to share it with all you can for that could be the gentle shove that moves your friends back to where the True Faith resides forever, rooted in the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church as Christ intended and promised.


    Griff Ruby's STRAIGHT STUFF
    October 10-30, 2004
    Volume 15, no. 176