The Journey to Truth |
How I became an Authentic Roman Catholic
The conciliar church is the naked church. There are millions of stories of those who cling to a new institution which cannot see that their emperor is not wearing any clothes. This is just one of those stories of one who had the courage to go against the grain, to upset the apple cart, and cry out to the blind-obedience robots of the Novus Ordo Village what is so obvious: You're going the wrong way! Righting his path, John Gregory shares his difficult, but definitive journey to Truth that, like so many, will, undoubtedly, lead back to the catacomb churches for, as he has discovered, the truth can never be altered and never is at the Altar of the True Sacrifice of the Authentic Roman Catholic Church.
"I was still under the impression that JPII was a good Catholic man and that he was doing the best he could, though my impression of Paul VI was waning considerably. Ultimately, when all the evidence presented itself and I was able to sort it out, I have concluded that JPII was even worse than Paul VI for he was given much more time to make things right, and he did not. Some might say 'perhaps he did do his best,' but when you examine his words and deeds, really examine them, you can see, as I discovered. that he certainly was not a good Catholic. That was one of the most painful revelations in my journey to truth. I suspect that very point about the 'pope' has been a major obstacle for many in not being able to go further in their journey. They're stuck in neutral, realizing something's wrong, but not willing to find out the truth for fear they would have to change their ways and thinking. In other words, that life of ease would come to an end in the way they knew it. It's called a comfort zone and many don't want to leave it."
During this Lent when we are on a journey toward purging our lives of sin and conditioning our bodies, minds and souls, I would very much like to share my conversion to the true Faith in the hopes that it may inspire at least one more to cross the bridge of reality that leads to truth.
I will be brief as possible with the background and with the actual transformation without neglecting the vital information that led to this conversion.
I grew up a nominal, small, Novus Ordo family raised by two wonderful, loving parents who had me baptized eighteen days after my birth on September 26, 1965. These parents made sure I went to Mass (sic) every week (Saturday evenings) and spent lots of money so that I could go to a “Catholic” school.
Together with my other sibling, my sister, I grew up thinking I was a good enough Catholic, you know, fulfilling the minimal requirements of weekly Mass, Confession at least once a year and a healthy (sic) respect for God. At least compared to the kids in my neighborhood I was a pretty good guy. Realistically I was like anyone else in that I was headed straight for hell unless I could legitimately claim invincible ignorance.
Nothing perceptible was happening to me spiritually (apart from feeling like I was floating after my first Confession at the age of seven) until 1986 when, for a reason I cannot recall, I started wearing the Brown Scapular. Shortly after that, I started praying the rosary somewhat regularly, and, by the early 90’s, I started to take what I perceived to be Catholicism seriously, due in part to my joining the Legion of Mary and meeting up with people my age. For the first time in my life, I felt I was with people that took their faith very seriously and lived their lives accordingly. This was a rather refreshing change in that all my friends, up until that time, were delinquents, and most came from broken homes.
A large reason why I started to take my faith seriously shortly after I met my conservative Novus Ordo friends was because I learned what the Church taught regarding abortion and contraception. I was very pleased that there was a place one could go, if one were so inclined, to find ultimate truth and answers to the “confusing” questions of the day – for this truth was from Christ Himself infallibly teaching through the Church He founded on the Rock of Peter.
From there I started going to daily Mass (sic). I started reading and listening to all the conservative Novus Ordo materials and lectures I could and became one of those conservative Novus Ordo types, you know the kind of Catholic that believes in such things as intrinsic truth and moral absolutes and that sort of stuff. I learned (you will notice I had not learned anything distinctively Catholic, to speak of, at home or at “Catholic” school), to some extant, how not to be a relativist and started to grasp the concept of logic and the place it holds over mere emotion.
But I was still naïve; VERY naïve. I was under the impression that the "clown" I thought to be pope at the time was the epitomé of Catholicism. I beg you to excuse my use of the word “clown” I use the term, not judging the inner disposition of the man, but in comparison to the preconciliar popes, whose writings I later familiarized myself with and having done that I now use the word clown, when describing the words, writings and actions of the man who claimed to be pope for over a quarter century knowing I could accurately use words more derogatory than the word I have chosen. And, after all, who turned things more into a circus than John Paul II?
I saw the blindness all around me. I saw it in my parents, I saw it in my friends, I saw it in all my elder co-workers (I was a young pup at the time). I was rather disillusioned having finally seen the light, that all these people who should know these things have become willfully blind to the obvious facts that they once firmly believed - such things as the evilness of contraception - and how they now have no outward opinion on the matter. Why were my elders not as excited about the truth as me? Why did they never teach me this truth? Why do they claim to be Catholic and practice contraception? Why don’t they go to Confession but once a year, if that much?
I guess I was always a rebel, and God has a knack for taking your misguided energy and applying it to a good cause (see Saint Paul and Saint Augustine). I would stand up for what I believed in and be willing to take the unpopular stand if I thought I was right in doing so. I was a blind fool, but I had courage and wanted to do the right thing, and knew that it mattered more what God thought than what other people think. Being under the illusion that God was this nice guy who had the “boys will be boys” attitude, I lived more of a "fun" life than a pious, committed Catholic life. It takes time to realize the error of our ways and I was no exception to this.
So the rebel in me felt the need to challenge my elders on the issue of contraception and I was often met with silence or emotional responses lacking any semblance of logic. I wonder if this was the type of response the 12-year-old Jesus got at the Temple when speaking with His elder experts.
I could see, all around me, how people my age were raised in a very worldly sort of way, and I saw the consequences of this worldly way of thinking which they were taught to embrace. I wanted children to grow up knowing that sex outside of marriage was wrong, and that contraception was a mortal sin, and I wanted their parents to know and admit the same thing.
But that is the doctrinal side of my conversion. As I mentioned earlier, I started going to daily “Mass” in the early nineties and for reasons the readers of this site are familiar with, I became somewhat disillusioned with some things going on in the liturgy. As with contraception and other “confusing” teachings of doctrine I had to get to the core of the problem with the liturgy. Why were these adults (priests) who should know better doing and allowing the things they were doing and allowing pertaining to the liturgy? Why did it seem that they did not know better? Were not some of them raised at a time when this nonsense was not going on?
Well I mentioned earlier my fondness for John Paul II and I figured none of these abuses had anything to do with him. In fact I “knew” that he was a light in the world to guide me through all this chaos. My interest in the subject of contraception led me to read Humanae Vitae by Paul VI (I was reading all these “conservative” Novus Ordo periodicals and I had not heard of Casti Connubii by Pope Pius XI. Even though I was referred to Humanae Vitae countless times, never a peep about a much more concise and uncompromising encyclical before Vatican II). So I read every encyclical JPII wrote as I considered them to be the next best thing to scripture – the Sacred Tradition of the Church Christ founded on Peter and the blood of the martyrs. I later found out that Sacred Tradition is equal with Sacred Scripture but that is a different story.
I mentioned earlier that I was still naïve as I was growing in my understanding of the Catholic faith, I mention this because in my naiveté , first of all I believed that I “knew for sure” that JPII was in fact a pope, but after, and, as a result of that, I assumed whatever he wrote in his official capacity touching on faith and morals to the world was infallible (and this is one thing I was right about, if he was in fact pope). Having read the Bible a few times and having read all of JPII’s encyclicals in the “light” of “whatever he writes is true” I was convinced (not because of his writings because I did not fully understand a lot that he wrote but because “I knew” that whatever he wrote was true, whether it made sense or not and, besides, all the “conservative” “experts” kept proclaiming his greatness, so ultimately I eliminated a cause for the problems in the Church as any good conservative Novus Ordinarian would and that is the pope) that the problems we were having in the Church had absolutely nothing to do with the man himself. Evidently, the good confused people of Novus Ordo land never heard of the saying "The buck stops at the top."
So I went through the 90’s as a conservative Novus Ordinarian having absolutely no idea what the dogmatic Council of Trent infallibly taught or what the preconciliar Popes taught. Yes, I was one of those: one of those going on blind obedience, one who couldn't see that the emperor wasn't wearing any clothes.
I am here today to tell you that you cannot be a Catholic if you do not know what the Council of Trent taught or the preconciliar Popes passed down. Without the foundation of the Faith, firmly upheld and soldified at Trent, you can be anything else, and I mean ANYTHING, but you cannot be Catholic.
It took me a while to realize that because, having become an “expert” in my funny new New Order world, I started to learn of varying distinctions between “Catholics.” Primarily there were the liberals and the conservatives. Initially my thought was that the conservatives were right and the liberals were wrong. Later I clarified this position by adding a third label to Catholics and that is the term “orthodox”. You had your conservatives, your liberals and your orthodox. The orthodox were the conservatives. Considering myself an orthodox Catholic, labeled conservative by the liberals who were the majority, I latched onto the “beacon of orthodoxy” EWTN. Yes, they would sort this mess of grown-ups with childish faith - not knowing good and evil and priests not knowing proper liturgical practice for me.
This was, for a temporary time in my life, a place of refuge for me, a place where the people there “felt my pain,” they knew what it was all about, and they were going to do their part to fix it, or so I thought.
As I was progressing in my authentic understanding of true Catholicism I was becoming more and more “conservative”. I was subscribing to periodicals such as Adoremus and becoming more “picky” with which “Mass” I would attend. Plus, by this time I had heard of the “indult." You know, the "indult" was the result of Ecclesia Dei which, were it not for Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, there might not even have been that to serve as a bridge between the new aberration and the old rite. At the time I looked at the "indult" as that thing where JPII was so nice that he “allowed” us to have that old Mass if we were still attached to it so those knee-jerk traditional reactionaries could be appeased and stop “disobeying” “Peter”. While, as I later learned, the "indult" was really a stop-gap desperate measure to demean the Society of St. Pius X and put them out of business, if you will, it has backfired on the modern Vatican apparatchiks for the Society and many other Traditional orders and independents have spread whereas the "indult" has been compromised and under the thumb of the New Order bishops who, as I can see today, have no intention of appeasing those who want to worship as Catholics always did prior to Vatican II.
I do not have to describe what my first Catholic Mass was like to readers of The Daily Catholic and how much different it is than the new order thing they refer to today as "eucharistic celebration," not to mention the reverence of the priest and people and the modesty and appropriateness with which the people dress and conduct themselves.
This awakening led to me being
turned on to such periodicals as the Wanderer and the Latin Mass Magazine and learn how terrible the bishops were and how wonderful the Pope was as I further moved onwards in my quest for truth regarding the root cause of all the seemingly avoidable problems found so readily in what I still thought was the Church. I was still far from understanding how the “indult” was a God-given right of all true Catholics and how the new service, far from being appropriate for our times, may not even be valid as I still alternated my Sundays between a Latin ad orientum Novus Ordo with a great polyphonic choir and homilist and the “indult” which the Novus Ordo priest rushed through.
In fact, as of yet, I was not aware of how the rite for ordination had been changed, or the rite for all the other sacraments, or the consecration of bishops, or the renunciation of the tiara by the “pope,” or the abolition of the Oath against Modernism. I was merely aware of how that powerful Saint Michael Prayer has been abolished at the end of the new service for no apparent reason. Looking back, I, probably like so many others in retrospect, should have asked more questions earlier.
It took a spark to ignite my curiosity and that came when reading
Monsignor Klaus Gamber’s, “Reform of the Liturgical Reform” with forward by Cardinal Ratzinger so it couldn’t be one of those kooky traditional things I had been warned about. That was one of the fixtures of the propaganda against Traditionalists by the conservative clan of Novus Ordinarians: beware of the evil far-right Trads or integrists. I often wonder how many are prevented from attending the True Latin Mass because of those threats and slander. Anyway, through this book, I learned precisely what the Conciliar popes did to the Catholic Mass and this was an essential component of my wake-up call.
I was now coming to grovel with the fact that a pope could do questionable things or imprudent things not touching on faith or morals. I already knew that they could sin and have private false opinions and even public false opinions not binding on the faithful; but that they could even make a complete clean break with Tradition regarding her most prized possession – The Perpetual Sacrifice (I was forced to assume that the Mass had nothing to do with faith and morals) - and still claim to be Catholic. I was growing very slowly, but obviously, I had a lot yet to learn.
I was still under the impression that JPII was a good Catholic man and that he was doing the best he could, though my impression of Paul VI was waning considerably. Ultimately, when all the evidence presented itself and I was able to sort it out, I have concluded that JPII was even worse than Paul VI for he was given much more time to make things right, and he did not. Some might say "perhaps he did do his best," but when you examine his words and deeds, really examine them, you can see, as I discovered. that he certainly was not a good Catholic. That was one of the most painful revelations in my journey to truth. I suspect that very point about the "pope" has been a major obstacle for many in not being able to go further in their journey. They're stuck in neutral, realizing something's wrong, but not willing to find out the truth for fear they would have to change their ways and thinking. In other words, that life of ease would come to an end in the way they knew it. It's called a comfort zone and many don't want to leave it.
Regarding the new mass, I had been led to believe that Paul VI made some sort of blunder; you know the rational we've all been fed that he did not really have any control over, and that JPII was traditional, having no idea that he was in fact a modernist, and, more accurately, one of the key leaders of the modernist revolt. I had brought a lot of garbage with me from conciliar circles, and I was fast becoming aware of the fact I had been deceived as to the real differences between the True Mass of the Tridentine Rite and the new mass made up by man; and yet, I still believed at this stage in my transformation process that the new mass was good, albeit a far less perfect (certainly nothing to become “schismatic” over) offering to God than the true Mass. But that hadn't taken priority in my life yet. It was coming, but oh so slowly and stubbornly.
Somewhere during this time I came across Pope Pius XI encyclical on Christian Marriage entitled Casti Connubii and become a huge fan of it; making that my user name on a single’s site. Even at that point, I had not yet done any thorough comparisons between preconcilar and conciliar papal writings. I was, if the term is appropriate, a 'surface semi-traditionalist.' That being said, there was a debate in Latin Mass Magazine between Janet Smith and John Galvin on the Catholicity of Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae when compared to the aforesaid Casti Connubii. I was captivated by the debate and became an immediate admirer of John Galvin, who had written on the topic of pre and post conciliar writings in a way that I had never heard expressed before. John would later play an integral role in my conversion to True Catholicism.
True, I had learned that not only were the problems within the Church the results of some overzealous liberal lay people, but the result of bad priests and bishops as well; not only that, but I had learned that even popes could, did, and do authorize unCatholic things in their official capacity as “pope.” This should be a red-flag to all even if they consider such aberrations officially “Catholic.” Actually, they can’t consider such Catholic, but it would be some time before I became fully aware of this and convinced.
Those rusty cogs in my brain were starting to turn. I kept thinking, "
Well, well, well, if Pope Pius XI writing is so much different than Paul VI on the same topic how would other preconciliar Papal writings compare with conciliar papal writings?" Hmm. I want to point out here that I am not talking so much about style, which is also different in that it is so much clearer and to the point, but as regards to the substance of the message. That is something so lacking in conciliar and postconciliar documents: substance! But at the time, I was not quite ready to delve into that yet. I was still trying to learn, quite sincerely, how bad the new Mass was and why, and how many bad, unCatholic things a pope could do and teach to the world in his official capacity as pope regarding faith and morals and still be pope. Also, I was struggling with the question of whether disobeying a pope was a sin, even a mortal sin. Did all Traditional Catholics go to hell like Archbishop Lefebvre as we were mistakenly led to believe? Needless to say, I had a lot to learn.
It was not too long after, that I was firmly convinced as to the evilness of contraception and all willful spilling of the seed. That realization translated into my being onslaughted by “conservative” “catholic” types about how necessary Natural Family Planning (NFP) was for the modern orthodox Catholic family. NFP? What was that? Oh, it was when you used charts and thermometers and stuff like that to plan; or more commonly, avoid, your pregnancies. I had to ask: "How did Adam and Eve plan their pregnancies?" Maybe after the fall they retained a part of the preternatural gifts that allowed them to plan their pregnancies without charts or thermometers. But don’t worry I was told, if you get married you will be force-fed at the pre-marriage meetings all the stuff you would need to know about the topic of NFP otherwise they would’t let you get married. They? Oh really? Well, I thought, I had better brush up on that because I didn't want to speak out against contraception without knowing the full story. This whole ordeal had been going on within me before I read the John Galvin piece in Latin Mass Magazine. Now I had progressed a bit on that issue by the time I read that, but still had a ways to go. In fact, I had been publicly questioning some EWTN “experts” on just that issue with unsatisfactory results, and, by coincidence, John and I would get each others' e-mail address through that forum.
My curiosity and search for truth took over, and I did searches on the Q&A portion of EWTN’s forums, searching for anything asked by John. I wanted to go to school on his logic by reading all his questions and the responses with a particular interest. The questions are what were captivating for me, and slowly but surely I realized these so-called “experts” obviously could not answer him without dancing around the issue. We came to find out that we both asked numerous questions regarding the Mass and contraception that were never responded to at all, obviously because, if they had given the correct answers, they would be admitting too much about the state of the new church. To be truthful would have forced them to admit that Vatican II is not orthodox, that the new mass is of questionable validity and that the conciliar popes were considerably different than the preconciliar popes at the very least. I then realized that if they lied frequently enough about these topics, someone would catch on. So there were certain controversial questions touching on tradition that they would avoid with a 10-foot pole. You can’t get in trouble if you don’t say anything. Isn’t this the tactic of sodomite bishops and priests? The fact that the EWTN experts were afraid to answer certain types of questions became very obvious to me.
It became obvious to me that EWTN - this so-called beacon of orthodoxy - had something to hide regarding the state of the Church from the faithful. But why? The only deduction had to be because they were mindless robots of the new order hierarchy as much as I was. That is why. Surely they would not lie on purpose. There is humility and humble obedience and then there is down right stupidity, plain and simple. Unfortunately, the new order conservative types have opted for the latter.
So John and I started corresponding in e-mails; my intent, apart from coming to a deeper understanding of reality, was to pick his brain so I could better understand the confusion. I chose him not just because he obviously had a much firmer grasp of the situation and the truer grasp of the Faith than I or the EWTN experts ever did, but also to get him “back on track” because I thought perhaps he was one of those schismatic disobedient "Trad types." You know the "type": The sort that is too critical of the pope, the new mass and Vatican II; the kind I can sympathize with but the type of person that nobody, not even an “ultra-conservative” like Cardinal Ratzinger can please. You know the category of people of which I speak, where everything the pope does or says is wrong and it is all Vatican II’s fault; those knee-jerk reactionaries with their misguided anger scandalizing all the “loyal” faithful. That is who I thought I was dealing with in John Galvin and I was hoping to “straighten him out” by giving him a good hearing and acknowledging the valid points he made, while raising any objections to his responses. I had done this time and time again with protestants on various aspects of the faith and they could never logically refute me, This gave me the confidence to go at it with traditionalists, particularly Sede Vacantists, as well as those who went to those “unapproved” Masses whether SV or not in the past. In my brashness and zeal, I felt that they, too, did not seem to have the time, patience, or knowledge to soundly refute me either, but John did.
John took each and every objection I had as well as objections from friends far more knowledgeable than I on the topics of Vatican II, the new mass and the popes. I might point out here that John never claimed to be a Sede Vacantist; likewise he never claimed not to be Sede Vacantist either. At the time, I thought his comments were his over reaction to the crisis within the Church and he turned it on its head. I would take his responses and share them with conservative/traditional friends I had, and asked them what they thought. They would say he was wrong, but never could they adequately explain why. It was the EWTN expert dilemma all over again. If he was so wrong, why couldn't anyone prove it? Having convinced me that Vatican II was a big part of the problem, I re-read the Vatican II documents. I did so the second time very carefully; not with a drone-like automatic pre-conceived acceptance of everything they say must be true because it is infallible type thinking, but with a critical study-like attitude that compared it with the traditional writings I had read in my journey to truth. This was a very interesting process for me, and it was at this time that I wrote my second article, Trick or Treat or Threat, some time before I actually submitted it for publication, for, at this time, I was not even aware of The Daily Catholic website.
It was not too long after my re-reading of the Vatican II documents that I was 100% convinced that, yeah, we can definitely lay, at least a partial blame on Vatican II for our dilemma in the Church.
I started subscribing to more traditional periodicals like the Remnant and Catholic Family News and read a book and a booklet called, “The Great Façade” and “We Resist You to the Face” respectively and these were a significant part of my conversion process as well as Gamber’s “Reform of the Liturgical Reform”. It was in the first two above mentioned writings that I “learned” that a pope can be resisted and does not have to always be obeyed and this is where I learned in detail of many of the unpopish and unCatholic things JPII said and did and these writings provided the source of the various (“erroneous”) heretical quotes from the above “pontiff” many of which came from encyclicals. I learned about the “State of Emergency” and “Supplied Jurisdiction” and how the faithful have a perpetual right to the true Mass, Priests, Bishops and Sacraments. And I finally became convinced that I could go to that “Independent,” heretofore “schismatic,” Church in my area without putting my soul in peril. Yes, I actually learned this from modern Rome itself. Indeed the Church I attend is independent – not independent from Eternal Rome but independent from the modern heretical Rome that heads the great façade of false Catholicism.
This Mass at that church was the final breakthrough in my conversion to Authentic Roman Catholicism. Sure, I had been to numerous True Masses before, but there was something different about this first Mass at the “bad” Church that I attended on a week day just to see what it was like. From that Mass in October of 2004 onwards, I have never gone - and never will go - to a Novus Ordo again. I used to go every day to the Novus Ordo, up until that day - that day of my epiphany. Not only that, but I will never to go to an “indult” again. Why? That is a good question. At the time I still thought that the “indult” was just as legitimate as the “schismatic” Mass but something in me would not let me go to the “indult” again. Very shortly, after my first True Mass at the “independent” chapel,I caught myself saying, “I will never go to an indult again, even if the Mass at this chapel comes to an end.” The Mass was not much different than the “indult.” It was said a bit more reverently, but I don't think that's what did it for me. In fact, I am not sure what it was about that Mass that abolished the Novus Ordo and “indult” from my life, though the silence and the way the people - particularly the women - dressed, made an impression that even the “indult” could not match, but that was not it either. I cannot put my finger on it but there was something distinctly CATHOLIC about my first True Mass and all the others I have attended since. It was that day, after almost 40 years of wandering in the Novus Ordo desert, after my Baptism, that I became irrevocably, an authentic Roman Catholic again in practice and commitment.
As a post-script I would like to recommend Griff Ruby’s book “The Resurrection of the Catholic Church” as a book that has padded and filled in the gaps pertaining to my knowledge and lack there of in regards to the great eclipse of the Church and how and why the True Church has been forced underground once again. I also recommend “Denzinger” and “The Council of Trent” books for those who take the eternal destination of their soul seriously. As one who has taken the journey, I continue on it, determined to know my Faith as well as I can so that I can help others find the same wonderful conclusion I have on their own journey to Truth.
"Catholics who remain faithful to Tradition, even if they are reduced to but a handful, they are THE TRUE CHURCH" Saint Athanasius, "Apostle of Tradition" AD 373