A recent trip to the Twin Cities for the Annual Remnant Forum Conference reconfirmed this editor's zeal to preach the truth despite the cries that I must be 'going off the deep end.' One look at the parish where I was weaned on my Faith was enough to convince me that the route taken over the past 40 years has been of no avail in converting souls to Jesus Christ. The parish school which once staffed the excellent and dedicated teaching nuns of St. Joseph of Carondelet with the pastoral direction of the Missionary Fathers of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate has given way to the secular morose we find in so many Novus Ordo parishes. No longer is there a parish school but rather an ecumenical/secular venture with New Horizons Child Care occupying many of the classrooms which are also shared with Bethany Academy whatever that is. One thing for sure it is not Catholic!
Gone are the two or three Masses daily. In fact there are no Masses on the pastor's day off. After all, since so many priests today consider their vocations merely 'jobs' how could the faithful expect him to have to work on his off days? Back before the Vatican II reforms no one ever heard a priest refer to saying Mass as 'work.' Rather, 'privilege' and 'honor' are what we heard. And we wonder why vocations are practically nil today? The beautiful old, but too small Church of the Assumption - the same sacred edifice where I received my First Holy Communion a day after kneeling for the first time in the Confessional nook to the side of the Altar - had been torn down long ago. In its place was a modern generator building and a modern garden of the stations. No trace of the church built by sweat and blood by European immigrants, many of whom were buried in Assumption Cemetery. In fact, the old cemetery was all that bridged the past and as I slowly drove through the old graveyard names and faces flashed back into my memory.
I couldn't help but think as I said a few prayers for the souls of the faithful departed that they were blessed to have been called home before their beloved Church had become such an enigma. What would those stout uncompromising Roman Catholics say today if they could remark on the trend the Church has taken over the past 40 years to accommodate the world? I shudder to think knowing their deep piety and resolve to live as strong Catholics.
This malaise was not restricted only to my home parish. The great Basilica of St. Mary's, a beautiful old architectural wonder that shouted Roman Catholic inside and out today only says it outside. Inside the gay liturgists have seemingly taken over, redesigning the crypt area beneath the church. Today it is called the undercroft. Undermine might be a better term. The display of streamers spoke only too clearly that the agenda had nothing to do with practicing Catholicism. Oh, and try to find a Tridentine Mass in the Twin Cities. There are none in Minneapolis despite the fact it is the largest city in the state. And in St. Paul there was always St. Agnes, which has long been famous for its orchestral Latin Masses. Recently St. Augustine Church was granted the Latin Mass. Many lauded that, but when you realize that the same Mass was being said at Immaculate Heart of Mary is just a few miles away you begin to realize what is truly going on. You see IHM is a SSPX chapel and yet it was packed by Catholics starving for the Tridentine Mass, something Pope John Paul II had promised in his motu proprio "Ecclesia Dei" in directing the bishops to make readily and generously available the Tridentine Mass to those who desired it. That was thirteen years ago and yet you can count on one hand - sometimes on one finger - in most dioceses where the Tridentine Mass is "allowed" today.
And speaking of the Society of St. Pius, I had the opportunity to visit St. Thomas Aquinas seminary for a few hours while in Minnesota. As I arrived the sixty-plus seminarians had just finished the mid-day Office of None in the magnificent chapel and were in their refectory for nourishment. It gave me the opportunity for some spiritual nourishment by kneeling in prayer at the foot of the altar at the communion rail and drinking in the reverence and awe of the Blessed Sacrament present on the altar front and center. Later, as I was leaving there were a vast majority of the students - most in cassocks and cinctures playing volleyball on the lawn despite 40-mph winds that put the wind-chill in single digits. If they had their druthers I'm sure they would rather have been in the warm and toasty climes of the building, buffered from the wind. But they were there because the schedule called for it. It is all part of their conditioning for the priesthood - a life of prayer, penance, service and sacrifice. Yes, volleyball could truly be called a penance. Sacrifice is also a word and concept so often neglected over the past 40 years, yet saints for nearly 2000 years marked 'Sacrifice' as an enduring necessity in everything they did. Sacrifice builds character, sacrifice enhances virtue, and sacrifice denies the devil.
Sacrifice is the essense of what we must do. First, it has taken sacrifice to stand strong for Traditionalism. Anyone who knows us knows we are not in this for the money or glory, only as servants of God in fulfilling His Holy Will. That is our only motivation. Lord knows it is not the popular route we have traveled by embracing the Traditional stance. We know we may lose many good and close allies because of it. We already have as I will detail later. However, we cannot let that deter us from the Truth. Those Truths are not something we discovered overnight, but over a long period of time. Contradictions from Vatican II reforms, releases from the Holy See and even some Papal policy called into question 'why?' and, to answer those questions we did further research in order to defend the Holy Father's position and the post-conciliar Church. However, the more we researched the Sacred Deposit of Faith and past Papal proclamations as well as past Councils, specifically the landmark Council of Trent, the more we realized the modern Conciliar Church was veering from the doctrines we were weaned on. It was not the same Faith saints and sinners for centuries had lived and died for. That was a shock. To be sure of our
findings we researched further, cross checked and referenced to make sure that the unbelievable was plausible or even possible. Sadly it was.
So the next question confronting us: what do we do? Do we continue in the same direction we had been going by praising everything that came out of Rome without comparing it to the perennial Magisterium of the Church? We realize now that the main reason the Church is in such a sad, unfertile state today is because so many of us bought whatever was said. This gullibility began with John XXIII's move to let in "a little fresh air" - aggiornamento to Paul VI's assurance that tradition would not be tampered with through the changes of the Mass from the Roman Rite established by the Church for centuries to the New Order of the Mass that indeed was new and did tamper with tradition - if not try to eliminate it altogether.
We had so hoped that John Paul II was biding his time waiting to separate the wheat from the chaff, but the longer his pontificate goes the worse the situation gets with no sign of curtailing those who are out to destroy the Church. Know this: we love John Paul II dearly and pray for him daily. Few websites out there elevated him higher than we did, naming him the first among the Top 100 Catholics of the 20th Century and calling for the moniker John Paul the Great. Nevertheless, despite all these kudos we had never really read everything from the Holy Father. Being as busy as we were, we relied on what we received from news sources reporting on the Vatican. Time had not afforded us the luxury of delving deeper. God stepped in and allowed my pinched nerve to flare up this past summer. That translated into putting on a summer hiatus issue and allotted us time to truly do research, to read everything we could on encyclicals, Church and Council documents, catechesis, Scripture and other works that would help clarify the conciliar conundrum.
It was then that the ambiguity hit us squarely in the eye. The more we read, and there were volumes to research and read, the more we realized how the longer this charade went on, the more were being duped. Our fears first came to the surface after the apologies last year. We wondered about the saints who had died for causes the Pope was now apologizing for. Why all the compromising with Lutherans, Jews and Moslems? Why the promise to the Orthodox to no longer proselytize? It didn't make sense. It went against what Jesus Himself commanded in Mark 16: 15-16. "Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not, shall be condemned."
Those are the Son of God's words, not ours. Yes, we believe in obedience to the Holy See, to the Vicar of Christ. Always have, always will. However, when that conflicts with Christ Himself then in obedience to God Himself we must respectfully resist man's agenda - be it secular or religious. There are enough incidences that convinced us we must tread carefully in our praise and be honest to our readers. You see our mission in life is to never deceive one soul. In retrospect because of our promotion of the Holy Father and his policies we feel a moral responsibility before God to convey the Truth. That truth includes not going along in order to get along. That is the path so many, including many in the Vatican, have chosen to take - to compromise with the world. We know for a fact the bishops of the United States have done this because they are afraid to speak out and take action. Could it be that the Roman Curia and even the Bishop of Rome was also afraid? As much as we tried to allay our fears with balance that these were unfounded, everywhere we turned we found contradictions and a watering down of the Faith. Could we just stand by and let it erode?
The elevation to the cardinalate of two of the most dangerous men in ecclesial ranks - Karl Lehmann and Walter Kasper signaled a huge red flag. Not only that, but, like John XXIII did in promoting all the dangerous men whom Pope Pius XII had censured and exiled, now the Holy Father was giving these two German prelates influential positions. These two men were the most liberal of the German Episcopate. They had vociferously defended the abortion certificates issue that the Pope had called them to task for. And their reward for defending sin? They were awarded with the red-hat. There's no other way to say it but that it would seem the Holy Father caved to some kind of pressure. How else can anyone rationalize it otherwise for now they, along with an alarming number of progressivist cardinals, are only a heartbeat away from being the next Roman Pontiff. That is not a good sign for Holy Mother Church.
Add to this the on-going talks between Cardinal Hoyos and the Society of St. Pius X and the admissions by the Vatican of the truths surrounding the subterfuge of the 'excommunication' of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the fact every priest has always had and still has the right to say the Tridentine Mass and we can see present Rome getting caught in the lie once more. Time after time we see contradictions of the current Magisterium of the Conciliar Church with proclamations and decrees set in stone by the perennial Magisterium of the Church. Who then do you believe? That is where discernment and truly knowing your Faith is so vital.
One has to wonder if the fathers of Vatican II ever envisioned that their schemes (after all the prepared documents were called schematas) would be examined so thoroughly because of the availability of the internet. While many of the progressive liberals tried to purge the Church of doctrines and proclamations that they knew would contradict the direction they were trying to take the Church, the internet has been a veritable gold-mine of preserving these documents so all can see what the perennial and infallible Magisterium of the Church proclaimed as Dogma and upheld as doctrine and law. Prior to this last decade most of these documents could only be found in Catholic college libraries or the Vatican and few could even venture there. This explains why the wisdom of holy Popes has seemingly been ignored or suppressed. Point of fact, whatever happened to Pope Pius IX's unflinching Syllabus of Errors or Pope Saint Pius X's demanding Oath Against Modernism or uncompromising Pascendi Dominici Gregis encyclical? Do you ever wonder? I mean if it was a grave danger during the pontificate of two of the holiest Pontiffs since Pope Saint Pius V, you just know it has reached epidemic proportions today. And yet nothing is said against modernism. The same with communism. Pope Leo XIII, St. Pius X, Pope Pius XI, and Pope Pius XII spoke out strongly against the curse of the hammer and sickle, but after the Pact of Metz, fashioned by Paul VI when he was still an archbishop and encouraged by John XXIII and continued by his successors, the plea from Our Lady at Fatima has fallen on deaf ears.
And we wonder why the world is in such a sorrowful state today? The Blessed Mother has told us in an approved apparition what we must do, what the Popes must do. I had thought consecration of her Immaculate Heart to Russia had been done, but there is nothing to verify it was done in union with the world's bishops as Our Lady asked.
Considering the severity of her messages at the Cova and the content of her purpose, the release of the Third Secret last year is mere pabulum and a cover-up. That is not just us saying that. There are currently rumblings within the high echelons of the Roman Curia that it was. Yes, there is dissension in Rome as well and well there should be for to conceal the truth is tempting God. It calls into question the very thing St. Pius V emphatically said that any tampering with what had been set in stone would "incur the wrath of God."
The sad facts are that there have been plenty of tampering and twisting of the truth for the advancement of the modernists' cause - one world religion. The Holy Father's call for ecumenism is tragically playing right into their hands. Whether he knows that or not we don't know. We do realize he is suffering from Parkinson's Disease and that there are those within the highest ranks of the Curia who do not have the good of Holy Mother Church in mind. We would hope and pray that he is infirm enough that perhaps he doesn't realize what he is saying, how he is compromising the Faith in order to be accepted by Moslems, Jews, Protestants, Buddhists, and what not. Yet no one has been able yet to explain that at age 66 he allowed a statue of Buddha to be placed in the sanctuary of Assisi and worshipped by all, directly defying God's First Commandment that I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before me. This is what many call the 'Spirit of Assisi'? The earthquake in 1997 takes on greater significance in light of the blasphemy that occurred in the tranquil town of Assisi in 1986.
Add to this the nebulous agreement with the Lutherans a few years ago on justification, the Pope's participation in the synagogue, praying with wiccan worshippers, new agers, kissing the Koran and the recent pronouncement that Islam and Christianity have the same God. The last I looked Moslems do not believe in the Holy Trinity. To deny the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity is to deny God. It did not help John Paul II's cause that he openly praised avowed pro-abort Kofi Annan who has authorized the killing of countless innocents in the name of 'family planning.' His condoning of the UN chief does not bode well for the Sanctity of Life. Yet, because it is the Pope we are supposed to ignore these facts and acts, assuming because he is Pope he is infallible. Have we become so anethestatized that we do not see the contraditions promoted by His Holiness to past Pontiffs, proclamations and Councils? There are obvious questions and yet, like ostriches with their heads in the sand, so many blindly refuse to acknowledge that the buck must stop at the top, even as it is becoming more and more obvious in this last year. Folks, the last Pope who spoke infallibly was Pius XII in 1950 when he proclaimed the Dogma of the Assumption. We must have holy obedience to the Supreme Pontiff, but not blind obedience - especially when it contradicts what the Church taught up until Vatican II.
Some have accused us of knowing more than the Pope. Oh, Heavens no! However no one has accused us of not knowing our Faith and that is the salvific factor we fall back on. Once a person truly knows their Faith then they will realize that is the true path they too must follow no matter how many might disagree. That is our position. We also must rely on Paul's words in Galatians 1: 8-9, "But though we, or an Angel from Heaven, preach a gospel to you beside that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so I say now again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? If I did yet please men, I should not be a servant of Christ."
On that note I want to keep our readers informed of the transition within our parent ministry of MIR-A-CALL Center. We have evidently not pleased some of our Board of Directors by the transition to Tradition and we understand that. Again, we are not out to please men. Yet, it still hurts for we are losing six dear, generous, honest people who have been good friends and, we hope and pray, will remain our dear friends despite our disagreements. We extend to them our grateful thanks for all they did in helping us.
After a decade with us, one couple on our Board of Directors has officially notified us of their resignation, "We have prayed a lot about this decision and believe we should not be involved in the direction your ministry is going. We have had over ten years of close friendship and don't want that to end." Cyndi and I concur with that for friendship is precious. Yet we cannot compromise the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church and must take that direction, however unpopular it might be even to close friends. Two other couples on the Board will also be resigning for the same reason. If everyone agreed with us there'd be a Tridentine Mass in every parish. We know that is not the case. Therefore this is normal attrition. We accept and respect their position. They are still dear friends and it is not unusual for boards to change when there is transition.
So also with this apostolate. Those positions will shortly be filled by Traditional-minded persons of respect, but that is really a moot point since the Board of Directors was formed when MIR-A-CALL Center was an entity that was involved in transactions from publishing a subscription-oriented publication that involved high output in costs and salaried employees as well as the responsibility for building a chapel and refuge in the mid-nineties. At this editor's insistence that was shut down when it was discovered others had funneled funds for their own agenda rather than the purpose intended. Had we been worried about how others would view us we would have kept it going and covered it up. It would have been quite simple to do, but it would not have been simple to answer to God for that kind of behavior. And so we did the honest thing. For seven years up until 1998 I received a salary authorized and directed by the Board during the years I published A Call To Peace. Shortly after we phased out the newspaper at the end of 1997 all salaries ended. I am solely responsible for The DAILY CATHOLIC and have been for four years and have received no salary whatsoever. Therefore there really is no purpose for an active Board of Directors since the limited expenses are documented and accounted for solely through donations. We are strictly a mendicant ministry. We trust solely on God's Mercy and Providence to keep going. That is why donations from our readers are our only means of keeping this publication on-line.
In addition, because six dear people, who were on our Board, have been inactive for the past four years as to any responsibilities or duties because there has been no necessity for it, Cyndi and I can appreciate their fear of association with our stance if they have not read everything we have made available on-line. If they had read the documents and documentation we have presented, I doubt very much they would have ever resigned. We accept that, though we are disappointed they did not read the material we are making available. But we can understand and appreciate they are busy people and being untethered from association with The DAILY CATHOLIC will keep them free from criticism or ridicule. Despite the fallout from a number of conservatives who acknowledge all the abuses but refuse to believe responsibility begins and ends at the top, our readership has not suffered as much as we anticipated. We are still read in over 100 countries and averaging over 20,000 hits a day despite the fact we have cut it back to one packed issue a week with daily headlines.
While in Minnesota I visited our Spiritual Director who is on the Board and he is in understanding of the Traditional stance we have adopted as is our legal counsel who is fully supportive through his own meticulous research as well. We quite understand those who want out. It happens. I daresay had I been in their shoes a few years ago I too would have been shocked at the Traditional stance, yet God allows each to see in His time. Had we discovered a few years ago what we read with our own eyes we might not have believed it either if it were merely told to us rather than proof provided. But the proofs were overwhelming and we realized the only way was to return to the Truths and Traditions that were tried and true. Yes, it hurts to lose six good members on the Board. What would hurt more is to lose six good friends. I hope we can remain that and agree to disagree.
That was also the case with four writers we carried up until our transition to Tradition. Before doing so we notified all writers as to our stance and asked them if it would endanger their position with their parish or diocese if they continued with us. We realized it was a sensitive issue for Sister Mary Lucy Astuto who wrote for us since 1990 because she was trying to establish certain things within her diocese and working with other bishops. The same with Joe and Jane Dalton who, at the time, were in negotiations with various dioceses regarding their Pro Life Communications. For them to be associated with our stance would endanger their position. Pat Ludwa and I agreed to separate as friends and agree to disagree. I have the utmost respect for and gratitude to all four writers and, because of that, have left them in archives and in our Port2001 page so our readers can still access their writings if they wish. Agreeing to disagree comes with the territory. I daresay there were many famous saints who chose that course. I challenge anyone to throw the first stone who hasn't had a disagreement with someone. It's part of life. And life is what it's all about - eternal life.
I can assure you eternal life is the motivating factor in our decision. During the conference Tradition-minded speakers like Michael Matt, John Vennari, Atila Guimar„es, Michael Davies, Gerry Matatics, and Christopher Ferrara and many more reaffirmed that being Traditional is a lonely position. There are no visions of grandeur in taking up this stance. Christ Himself assured us of this in Matthew 5: 11, "Blessed are you when men reproach you, and persecute you, and speaking falsely, say all manner of evil against you, for My sake" and John 15: 20, "If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you also; if they have kept My word, they will keep yours also." There are a slew of Scriptural passages we could cite on why we need to remain true to all that came before Vatican II. Probably the most telling passages come from Mark 13, specifically verse 22-23, "For false christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Be on your guard, therefore; behold, I have told you all things beforehand."
Interesting that Our Lord speaks of "even the elect" being led astray. It is not beyond credibility since the Church has had popes who have been led astray in the past and still survived. To admit that the Church is hurting throughout and not admit that quite possibly the problems point to the top is to be a canoe in the desert. Without water there's no way to move. Christ assured us that without the water of Baptism we cannot be saved. We must be baptized and believe (cf. Mark 16: 16). Two vital requirements for salvation! Baptism is the easy part; for many the toughest part is believing!