With the sudden, tragic collapse of the I-35 W Bridge spanning the Mississippi between the Minneapolis Loop and the University of Minnesota main campus, many things come to the mind and heart. The first thought has to be a prayer; a heartfelt plea for mercy from the Lord above on those whose lives were suddenly ended in a flash of steel, smoke, and water suffocation; a heartfelt hope that they made their peace with God in that instant when their lives flashed by their eyes before all they had lived for vanished in the vanities of the world, engulfing them in the forces of nature in the swift current of the mighty river and crush of girders sandwiching helpless victims in their vehicles. We can only offer our prayers, condolences and compassion to those left behind to sort out the aftermath of their lives in light of all that happened.
Hopefully, as He usually does, God will bring good from this catastrophe. How? That is left to His providence and permitting will. Why the heartland of the upper Midwest? Why not? I don't say that facetiously for my roots are there. I was born not many blocks from that bridge at old Swedish Hospital which was torn down to put in the new I-35 W Freeway in the 60's. I say that because no place in the world is safe and that is because the world can never be our refuge, but only our hospice, a short stay before we move along to our ultimate destination: Heaven.
But that is where the presuming begins for without the assurance of the Faith, salvation is nigh unto impossible. Catholics for two millennia were relatively positive they could attain salvation, but not without working it out, as Saint Paul reminds us, with "fear and trembling" (Philippians 2: 12). Too many forget that fact, thinking that God was just kidding when He established His Laws on Sinai, when He became incarnate as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and offered His very last drop of blood on the wood of the Cross in expiation for the sins of man past, present and yet to be born. That would include you and me and the billions who breathe today. You are alive, reading these very words and I am as well, having written them, by the grace of God. He is our Creator Who brought us into the world and can take us out at any second. Our Lord told us that very clearly in the Gospels, all four in fact. In St. Matthew 24: 42-51, He said,
"Watch ye, therefore, because you know not at what hour your Lord will come. But this know ye, that if the master of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly watch, and would not suffer his house to be broken open. Wherefore, be ye also ready, because at what hour you know not, the Son of man will come. Who, thinkest thou, is a faithful and wise servant whom his lord hath set over his family, to give these meat in season? Blessed is that servant, whom, when his lord shall come, he shall find so doing. Amen, I say to you, he shall set him over all his goods. But if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My lord is long a coming: And shall begin to strike his fellow-servants, and shall eat, and drink with drunkards: the Lord of that servant shall come, in a day that he expecteth not, and in an hour that he knoweth not : and shall separate him, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
That passage is followed by Chapter 25 which deals with the ten virgins, five of whom did not have their lamps lit. How many, who plunged to their death or were crushed beneath concrete and steel, had their lamps lit as they left solid turf beneath the pavement and headed out over the river, with the bridge going down the last thought in their minds. No doubt minds were everywhere but on God as they drove along. It's part and parcel of today's society. God and the holy Faith He established are squeezed out of the equation in an ever increasing godless society where political correctness and tolerance of diversity and perversity rule the day. But God will not be mocked or forgotten. We all know what happened to the five foolish ones who were caught unawares when the hour arrived. The door was shut on them and what was Christ's response to their pleading? "Amen, I say to you, I know you not." (St. Matthew 25: 12).
How many who perished in the river or ceased breathing anywhere else in the world have been confronted with the same words, "I know you not"? Oh, the horror of such words and the sudden realization that they blew it. Life is over and their concept of Heaven wasn't what they thought it was. They bought into the Modernists' version, bought into the Protestant lie that all one needs to do is say the words "Jesus, I am saved" and it is fait accompli. Au contraire, for without sacramental grace, well, it's mighty tough sledding as in, to mix metaphors, trying to get a camel through the eye of a needle. But then, the pentecostals and evangelicals all think they're going to be raptured up and taken away from the chaos. Really? Yeah, they've forgotten about Christ's Second Coming and are focusing on when they're leaving. Evidently they've forgotten our Lord's words above.
True, we do not know the mind of God and cannot presume on His Mercy or Justice, but He has given us a practically failsafe blueprint on what we do know and can know through His Church founded upon the Rock of St. Peter . Yes, that same Simon Peter who we commemorated on his feast of St. Peter's Chains on the very same day of the calamity in the Twin Cities. He willingly embraced the chains of a prisoner, accepted whatever martyrdom God so chose for him. He had learned his lesson pre-Pentecost when he had denied his Master three times. Through the loving compassion of the Mother of God, he repented and humbled himself. Judas Iscariot, on the other hand, despaired and his pride was too great to flee into the forgiving arms of Christ's most holy Mother Mary. But Peter, strengthened by the Holy Ghost, knew his denial was a one-time mistake that he learned from. He knew the grave responsibility he was charged with when Christ bestowed on this first Pope of the fledgling Church He established. Peter, along with countless Christians throughout the ages, willingly gave their lives rather than offending our Lord, never again denying or compromising their Faith, not one iota.
Compare that faithfulness, that unstinting resistance to sin and error with the slackers who occupy the holy offices today. We all know they don't belong there. But because we and our parents and, yes, grandparents were not vigilant enough, they have slithered from between the rocks into the very foundation of the Church. Those who say this is impossible, well, evidently they have not been paying attention to what two notable saints said, particularly Saint Alphonsus Liguori, the holy Doctor of the Church who founded the Redemptorists and whose feast we celebrated Thursday, and Saint Francis of Assisi, the humble founder of the Order of Friars Minor. They both foretold these very times, this very crisis in the Church. Yea, Christ Himself presaged the "abomination of desolation" (St. Matthew 24: 15) as did St. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2: 10,
"And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish : because they receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe a lie." and in 2 Timothy 4: 3-5.
"For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears : And will turn away indeed their hearing from the truth, but will be turned to fables. But be thou vigilant, labor in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil thy ministry. Be sober."
Sobering thoughts indeed, and sober and somber is the mood today everywhere as the images of that bridge haunt our imaginations. What if we had been on that bridge? What if? Would we be ready to meet God? If not, we've got work to do, beginning by seeking out a true priest and confessing our sins and receiving valid absolution. Then, let go of the comfort zone and seek out the only "safe places" in the world, those chapels and priests who celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as it was before the conciliar "popes" tinkered with the divinely-ordained sacraments and rubrics in the 60's and beyond. The safest bridge to cross is the one that spans from the conciliar climes back to the pre-Vatican Catholic Church which, yes, still exists even though the barbarians within the gate are doing all they can to sabotage it with the Trojan Horse called Summorem Pontificum. But all the Motu jackhammers cannot jar our faith if we are firmly fixed on knowing our Faith in order to keep our Faith.
That brings me to another analogy. To this editor that bridge is symbolic of the counterfeit church of conciliarism. Just as I was on the tail end of the last years of the pre-Vatican II era in the late 50's and early 60's, I was, in reality, relatively complacent in the Faith, comfortable in my comfort zone that if it wasn't broke, don't fix it. And Catholicism, to my naive mind in those euphoric days of my youth was just fine, thank you. I had been raised in the true Faith and had very little to fear. There were so many Catholics, with parishes every few miles, that in grade school at Assumption parish in the mid 50's, I thought most of the world was Catholic. I realized as I grew into adulthood that this was a total misconception and in my carefree college days that false perception totally vanished as I was engulfed by materialism and educated in the ways of the world. I felt impregnable.
I wonder how many who entered that bridge Wednesday evening at rush hour felt that same false sense of security. They were building that bridge during my collegiate years, first while I was away at Our Lady of the Ozarks College for two years attaining my A.A., and then while attending the College of St. Thomas on the St. Paul side of the Mississippi farther south of the collapsed bridge, and my final year matriculating at the University of Minnesota. Yep, I'm a Golden Gopher, u betcha ski-u-mah, with Maroon and Gold ink in my veins. Prior to that, while a 'Tommy' at the institution named for the Angelic Doctor which so contradicted my seminary training (V2 had already infiltrated the 'Catholic' campuses by the mid 60's and the college president, a Monsignor was so liberated by V2 that he ran off with his secretary. Ah the "fruits" (take that any way you want) of Vatican II were evident from the begininng!), I always used the Lake Street Bridge, much, much older and still standing. For the U of M, I took the Washington Avenue Bridge from the West Bank Campus where I was taking Logic and Logistics Classes to the main campus and Murphy Hall, seat of the Journalism and Public Relations Departments; or when attending other classes I took the Tenth Street Bridge, also much, much, much older (built in the 1930's) and the one you see parallel to the collapsed freeway bridge south of the St. Anthony Dam in aerial shots of the disaster.
I can remember from the early sixties through 1966 envisioning how great it would be when that I-35 West bridge was finished. It would save so much time and hassles. I could zip, zip here and zip, zip there. You have to remember that I grew up before the Interstate system was put in place. While freeways and tollways were being built in the east and in Los Angeles, in the Twin Cities we were plodding along on two lane highways with intermittent stoplights at major thoroughfares. Unfortunately, the planners did not have the foresight to realize the new highways needed more lanes and longer access. I swear to God the exits and entrances have very little easeway, and, frankly, I'm amazed that, over the years, there have not been more accidents in merging with traffic. Of course, Minnesotans are among the most polite of drivers in the country - and, yes, Tom, the slowest - so possibly that plays into the equation in cutting down casualties.
But it was the casualty of seeing the bridge totally collapsed, as if it imploded in on itself, that helps one put things in perspective as I watched film of the implosion, taking all with it to the depths of the Mississippi. That included whoever dared to tread its terrain at that particular moment of 6:06 CDT on the first day of August when mosquitoes, the Minnesota state bird, and the stifling humidity force many to the lakes up north to escape the heat. We can be grateful that more were not killed in this catastrophe. You see, God is merciful. There could have been 50,000 or more killed in the Twin Towers on 9-11 six years ago, but only 3,000 perished. I'm not lessening the severity of it, but think of the lives spared in so many disasters: Katrina, the Florida and Gulf Coast Hurricanes, floods, fires. God is trying to tell us something and we all know what that is: "Come back to Me before it's too late!"
Again, that very bridge prompts me to think of the counterfeit church of conciliarism. The Second Vatican Council was the new shiny girders being lowered into place before the concrete was poured into the rebar forms, already weakened by the diluting of Trent toughness. Everybody was excited because this bridge was something "new." Few took notice that there were no central pillars bracing it. Defying the laws of gravity, just as the progressivists defied the constituted evangelic traditions, they stretched it to its limit and beyond.
But because it was convenient and in tune with modern times, most everyone embraced it and raced for it. Is this not what happened when the changes came down in the late 60's? Altars were sacked for the table, sanctuaries were gutted of the sacred and in its place the profane: banners and bare walls. Off came the veils and women dared to enter God's house in the garb of men - slacks. They ignored the words of the the Apostle Paul to Timothy
"In like manner women also in decent apparel, adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety, and not with plaited hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly attire. But as it becometh women professing piety, by good works. Let the women learn in silence, with all subjection" (1 Timothy 2: 9-12) So much for following sage advice. "I am woman, hear me roar" knocked down the doors of decency demanding equality and more. Where the holy tabernacle stood, now stood the seat of man. Masonic in every way and so few of us really understood or could pinpoint the exact problem, but we knew this new way of the Church was structurally deficient, especially when the second crop of "bishops" came on the scene and the scandals began back in the seventies and eighties, well before the "tip of the iceberg" was uncovered in the late nineties. Guess what? That iceberg is still there! So also the bridge. Or it was. In 1990 a report surfaced that the I-35 W Bridge was structurally deficient. Whoa! Structurally deficient means one shouldn't use it. But no one was warned as they relied on borrowed time.
Why is that? One theory I propose is that the generation following the last great generation (World War II) became soft. Given luxuries and conveniences that their parents didn't have, they squandered their goods just as the servant of the Gospel squandered his talents. To cut corners, they rationalized that cheating was okay if the means justified the end. This gave way to cramming one's way through school assignments and tests. No longer did people want to know the intricacies of the subject matter, know the causes and effects, the whys and wherefores of these ideologies being taught. Just drink it in and accept it, like it or not. In order to cope with this change in approach, teachers conformed, lowering themselves to the students' level rather than raising them up. Soon curriculums reflected this dumbing down of America in all areas. But, as a famous cartoon caricature Alfred E. Newman would say, "What, me worry?" We had it all. And we wanted more. "Greed is good" was the cry as the revolution of the sixties gave way to the me generation, none other than our own children who we spoiled even more than we were spoiled. The more we poured out praise on them, the more they reveled in the false sense of self- confidence. Everyone gets a trophy, no child left behind. Bad, shoddy work? Praise it. Psychologists became the new authority and we bowed to their "expertise."
I could have told many that while I was attending college, the most mixed up students were the psyche majors, and now they were calling the shots! Translate this to the work force. Demand for wages increased and the Democrats fell right in line for it was politically expedient. Unions flexed their muscle and received outrageous wages and did less work, shoddy work, if you will. This is reflected today in the vast bureaucracies of the government where the Peter Principle (where one has reached his or her level of competency and continues to climb, unable to handle the new responsibilities and becomes a hindrance more than a help) became the norm rather than the exception. Red tape tied up infrastructures and to get around it, more corners were cut. The quality of work and craftsmanship fell off drastically as quantity was offered up on the altar of advertising, the answer to the American dream. That was one vehicle in which the serpent slithered right into our living rooms. The television. I won't go into that right now, but Dr. Thomas A. Droleskey has written numerous articles on the one-eyed monster that has mesmerized civilization into caving to values and vigilance. The more they saw, the more they wanted. Unreasonable expectations crowded credit card bills. Pay later was the cry and, boy, are we paying today. And we are growing fewer as the effects of 35 years of Roe vs. Wade hits home. Do you think maybe if abortion were still illegal there might have been enough competent engineers and craftsman to take pride in their work and assure that bridge was stable? Just a thought, but one we should take very seriously for there is a trickle down effect to the calamity of human sacrifice and soon we'll be called to task for our negligence and indifference with more disasters and ultimately when we stand before our Supreme Judge. It's only getting worse. In fact, for the last 40 years they've been pushing the envelope and finally it has become too much. It can't hold up under the crush and will collapse, soon.
As human nature is wont to do, every time one goes across a bridge or under it for awhile, they'll think of the I-35 collapse. I know I have second thoughts about the current crop of bridges being built here in Spokane for the new north-south highway that will most likely be obsolete before it opens...if it ever opens. I tell you the ancient Romans built roads faster than the slowpoke construction workers on the government contracts in Washington State. I use that word "workers" carefully, since, on my way to and from holy Mass in having to drive three miles out of the way - thanks to the incessant detours to get to the Mount - I seldom see many of them working. Usually there are seven or eight of them standing around in orange vests watching one person working on something. No wonder it's taken two years to carve out five miles thus far! They're not even half-way done yet! So much for progress. The early pioneers would put them to shame. Speaking of pioneers, it's interesting to note that just as Spokane was founded by a Catholic priest - Father Pierre De Smet, so also Minneapolis (Greek for "City of Lakes") was founded by Father Louis Hennepin. Ah, the Catholic influence! Yeah, the French got it right, back then! Now, well despite all its ills, France is still the seat of the most Traditional Catholics so the eldest daughter of the Church must still be doing some things right, no thanks to the visible hierarchy in place who usurped the churches and chanceries. The same goes for Italy and Rome as far as the illegal takeover. I kind of doubt whether the proud Romans of Constantine's time would have let that happen. And the Romans of old? They built roads that would stand up to all kinds of obstacles, including potholes, something they haven't figured out yet in Spokane as the collective revenue for realignment shops can attest to. Do you think they're in cahoots? Nah, uhmmmmm. Maybe.
And speaking of cahoots, anyone thinking the Motu Proprio Summorem Pontificem, BeneRatz' latest bait and switch splash can work needs to take a course in basic road building, better yet, how to just cross a road. That's what the chicken did. The why is always "to get to the other side." Chicken? Hmmm. Ring a bell? Cluck, cluck. Okay, fine, but to switch metaphors again, those who are jumping their traditional ships and closing up the guns of resistance by joining the pirates in Modern Rome, think about this: What happens when you get to the other side and realize you're on the wrong side? Think about it. I especially invite in all Christian concern and caring Michael Matt and the Remnant Staff, who are headquartered not that far northeast of the I-35 West Bridge north of St. Paul, to remember that realization whenever they think about this catastrophe. Think long and hard before you wave that white flag so high and enthusiastically to Father Joseph Ratzinger and his minions. How long will God allow the bridge of conciliarism to stand? Even more concerning: Will there still be a bridge to return to Tradition? Serious things to ponder.
As I said earlier in referring to modern society: For the last 40 years they've been pushing the envelope and finally it has become too much. As we can see, the I-35 W couldn't hold up under the crush and collapsed. It was a disaster waiting to happen as are so many other bridges in America. The latest report by civil engineers should alert us all that 27% of the bridges in America are structurally deficient with more fatigue cracks than you can shake a roll of duct tape at. That's at least 78,000 bridges across the United States! This percentage is much, much, much, much higher in the conciliar church which is buckling under the stress of Modernism and no amount of duct, Scotch or packing tape (Not a bad idea if you think about it: packing, as in leaving. Heck, we'll help 'em pack and clean up after 'em. Just take those banners and Mess tables with you.) can mend the conciliar corpse.
We've learned that there was construction underway on the I-35 West Bridge, had been for several weeks. Why, in fact, did you know there were 40 jackhammers jolting the structure throughout the days leading up to the collapse? Do we still wonder why it fell? So also with the counterfeit church of Conciliarism, Ecumenism, Humanism, Modernism, Religious Liberty and Globalization. For forty years Catholics have been jolted by the "jackhammers of heresy" tearing away the foundation of their Faith, slowly but surely numbing their sensus Catholicus. Stress fractures were showing but the bureaucracy of the Modern Vatican prevented orthodox engineers from inspecting, let alone doing something about it. Ecclesiastical engineers of orthodoxy such as Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani and Cardinal Anthony Bacci and Archbishop Geraud des Lauriers (author of The Ottaviani Intervention) and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre among a few others warned the bridge-makers that the fabric of the faith introduced by Paul VI was structurally deficient for souls. In true Modernist fashion, not wanting to hear the truth, they ignored the strong admonition and plodded on, going out of their way to discredit those very ecclesiastical engineers of orthodoxy. Because of the modern mind and convenience factor, the vast majority went along with whatever developed. Come hell or high water, they raced back and forth pell mell across that bridge just as the conciliar "popes" crossed from heresy to Catholic-speak and back to their heretical views almost every day. Keep 'em guessing was the motto as the years went on. Souls were stressed and fell away. Quality was forgotten. Those who had put in their own blood, sweat and tears, not to mention their hard-earned money in building brick by brick with true old-world craftsmanship and pride the magnificent churches in the late 1800's and in the early 1900's would have turned over in their graves if they could have seen these masterpieces dedicated to God gutted, in many cases wrecked and torn down. In their place, mausoleum-type gymnasiums with theater seating honoring man and his accomplishments. More novelty upon novelty was the sign of the times. Churches became lodges and temples. The Masonic way was adapted and adopted. Slowly but surely the villains were revealing themselves with their braggadocio and daring. Still conciliar catholics went along with the chicanery, poring tons of money into the coffers while the "bishops" coughed up excuse after excuse that they were doing all they could while they winked and played musical chairs with homosexual pedophiles, covering for them and forsaking souls, many times because they were already part of the "homosexual collective" as Randy Engel documented in her tome The Rite of Sodomy. Still the duped stayed with this novel bridge that was ready to buckle.
Of course, that is because few were around to warn them. Oh, they had tried. As the bridge continued to sag under the weight of the diverse novelties, the cold winter and heat of summer belied the "New Springtime." But those few voices in the wilderness crying out, pleading for the rest to get off the conciliar bridge, were consistently drowned out by a new layer of concrete hastily thrown down. At first it was the Ecclesia Dei compound laid over to mask the decaying structure beneath. That stayed for a few years until it became weather worn from neglect. Seeing that all the warts would show and there wasn't enough toll bridge funds to cover it, the new Chief Engineer decided on a plan to lure in more revenue. A Motu Proprio it was called and it was promised that it would blend with the rebar and steel and make it one with the new structure already in place and so stressed out that it was sagging. But Benedict , the new Ecumenical Engineer in place at the Conciliar Construction Company in Rome, knew but refused to alert the faithful that it was unsafe for their souls to use that bridge. After all, he was one of the original architects of this bridge and it would reflect on him if that bridge was closed down.
Oh, if they want to close it down after he's gone, that would be fine with him, but he has strayed so far into the heretical lane that he actually believes his new superglue Motu Proprio will meld as one. Is he a madman to think that? Maybe. Is he sincere in his endeavor to unite both rites? Only in the sense that it will fuse with the other Protestant rites and Jewish customs in one big hodge-podge called the One World Religion. Will he succeed? Definitely not for Christ has promised His protection and this crisis where the true Church has been in eclipse will pass.
But what every Traditional Catholic knows and fears, will they be able to help those trapped on the bridge? Not if they keep fighting among themselves, a sad reality that keeps us divided in our theological position camps. In addition, Traditional Catholics won't be able to come to the aid of their brethren on the conciliar bridge if they won't be heard by those who blindly blather on and go rushing toward the bridge "because everyone else is" or "well, he just has to be the pope" or "we couldn't be without a true pope for 50 years." And so they cave and surrender their fortresses. "It's yours, your Holiness, destroy it as you wish." Ah, yes, all must obey the wizard behind the curtain. No, folks, we aren't in Kansas anymore, nor are they who attend the Novus Ordo in a Catholic state anymore for the state of sanctifying grace has long been washed off by the elements of the world and without true priests to absolve sins and confect the Blessed Sacrament, well... up the river without a paddle with the devil's debree floating towards them as they scream for help only at the last moment. Will it be too late?
We hope not. Like the noble Minnesotans who showed their salt-of-the-earth Midwest mettle in an emergency situation so nobly, Traditional Catholics will always be there to help rescue survivors. Other than that, short of screaming it from the rooftops, Traditional Catholics can only stand on those older, safe and firm bridges, those which were built years and years ago when the Faith was strong; those bridges, like the Tenth Street Bridge next to the modern freeway bridge now in the water. Those old bridges still standing were braced with supportive pillars and arches that, even back in the dark ages before the enlightenment of conciliarism, were built to withstand the stress of weather and wear. So also for Traditional Catholics the foundation of the Pillars of their bridges are built on rock - the Rock of Peter. Traditional Catholics know that the pillar of the Holy Eucharist - the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Soul and Divinity - and the Pillar of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will always hold up the bridges of true Catholicism no matter what the ol' devil throws at them.
Why are their bridges so safe? Because they are braced in the same way the ancient Romans built their bridges and why true Roman Catholics emulate their engineering acumen: the Keystone. Without the keystone, the bridge will collapse. We can learn much from the Romans of old, known as master bridge-builders with their aqueducts, some of which still stand today; yes, in ruins, but they still stand. We can learn even more from the Romans of our Faith who forged the paths and bridges to every corner of the earth in bringing the true Faith to all creatures throughout the centuries. They didn't compromise. They didn't coddle heretics. They didn't pander to Protestants and pagans. They didn't patronize Pantheists. They didn't ape the agnostics and atheists. They didn't dialogue with unbelievers. No, they prayed and persevered. They were willing to give it all up in a New York minute, or a Minneapolis minute, or any minute for the love of God. They knew their bridge might sway, might even shake, but would never topple because it was bolstered by the Keystone of Faith. If that Keystone is missing, then the same fate awaits more bridges no matter the religious denomination for they will indeed be like the I-35 W Bridge today: Bridge Under Troubled Waters.