Sermon: “Poor Quality Catholicism” – A Traditional Priest Hits Home… Did It “Hit” You?editor
A reader in England alerted me to this sermon, available online, so thank you, John.
Father Sebastian Wall (pictured left) is a priest of the Society of St Pius X; he is the Society Prior in Scotland, serving the SSPX churches in Glasgow and Edinburgh but he also supplies at the Gateshead church fairly regularly. Click on the image, or click the link below, to hear him preach a hard-hitting sermon in which he offers some specific examples of “poor quality Catholicism” – I saw myself in there. Maybe you will, as well (not see ME, cheeky! You know what I mean…) Share your thoughts – what part of this excellent sermon hit home with you?
To hear the sermon, click here
I enjoyed Father’s folksy style, which almost conceals his blunt, pointed assessments of the state of the modern Church. I believe they call it “an iron fist in the velvet glove.” His reminder – that we can do nothing about the storm in the Church except to awaken the Lord in our souls and hold fast to the path set down by Him – will no doubt not sit well with many in the traditionalist camp, especially among the legion of columnists who make their living condemning the daily scandals from Rome, and condemning those who perpetrate the scandals.
I wasn’t in the Church when the revolution occurred, so from my 20/20 hindsight I don’t think I’ll ever understand how such un-Catholic drivel that fills the Vat. II documents, whether in vague disguise or not, made it past the bishops. I was told by a local Monsignor years ago that most of them had no idea why they were in Rome, and just wanted to get it over with and go home.
Well, if that is true, Your Excellencies and Eminences, believe me, it shows.
I’m a bit puzzled by your comment about “many in the traditionalist camp, condemning scandals from Rome and condemning those who perpetrate the scandals.”
Is that not what we are supposed to do, what Catholic Truth is doing all the time?
My understanding is that it is the duty of Catholics (clergy and laity both) to correct doctrinal errors – though laity cannot legally correct them if they come from clergy – but not to condemn the source of those errors. Condemnation is a juridical process reserved to the Church – including condemnation of scandals.
(For an excellent example of a proper correction, see Bishop Schneider’s new article regarding the Pope’s already infamous statement about God willing a plurality of religions: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/bishop-athanasius-schneider-issues-statement-on-controversial-document )
However, the overwhelming tone of the traditional and neo-conservative Catholic blogosphere is personal condemnation and ridicule, with a strong helping of sarcasm on the side (I myself am guilty of said sarcasm). In this I include not only the off-the-rails bloggers such as L.V., A.B, and H.W., but even M.M and C.F. As a result, I find myself reading fewer and fewer blogs lately. Aside from this blog, I’ve found the healthiest approach to be that featured on Lifesite News and 1P5, and perhaps Rorate Caeli as well.
As for Catholic Truth, we can and always have published corrections, but they are always the corrections and condemnations of error by past Popes and Councils, and/or citations from the Catechism, not personal corrections I am not aware of any personal corrections or condemnations which originate from either Editor’s lightning-fast fingers or from the bloggers here.
(BTW, in describing CT as “we,” I’m referring to the fact that I’m on the CT payroll, as witnessed by the lengthy string of zeroes on my paychecks…)
Well, Catholic Truth has long been criticised for its “tone and style” – never a factual error, never any false allegations, so I have to plead “guilty as charged” to the use of some satire (aka sarcasm) in our newsletter and, I’m sure, in many of the posts penned by my fair hand on this blog.
It has always interested me, I must add (if a tad sarcastically) that those who lecture me/us about charity and the lack thereof, show a decided lack of charity themselves towards our unworthy (and we’ve never denied it) selves.
My response to such critics is, simply, don’t read us, if they don’t like our “tone and style”. Personally, unless a publication contains crude or bad language (there’s one in England which I stopped reading for that reason – it seems to specialise in both) I have no problem with a touch of sarcasm. It beats thumping the living daylights out of certain people in high places! I remember once, some years ago, our then Media Officer telling me that he met a priest-reader in the street who slipped him a generous donation and noted that the one criticism of the newsletter from his fellow priests and the hierarchy being its “angry tone and style”. Father opined that we are ENTITLED to be angry seeing the way the Faith has been taken from us this past 50 + years. Exactly. There is, in my humble view, something really wrong with people who understand what is going on, and take the laid back “God will deal with it all” approach. Why are they not LIVID? Every time I have to drive into town to get to Mass, I feel outraged that I have to do that. Having grown up with the church a stone’s throw away, I now have to cross the country to fulfil my Sunday obligation. No. We are WELL justified in being angry. WELL justified.
I know, RCA Victor, that I’m preaching to the already converted but I jut want to stress, for the sake of any passers-by who may be in doubt, that every Confirmed Catholic – as a Soldier of Christ – has the duty to correct error AND to reprimand those responsible, including prelates and that even publicly, as Canon Law allows. I don’t have the exact canon to hand, and you would be more than a little sympathetic if you knew WHAT a day I’ve just had (think car breakdown, think…well…think just about everything that could – and did – go wrong!) And add to Canon Law, the Spiritual Works of Mercy, addressed to every one of us, not just the clergy, which include instructing the ignorant and admonishing the sinner, and it should be clear that each of us, Baptised and Confirmed Soldiers of Christ MUST condemn error and correct those who are causing confusion through the spread of false teaching(s)…
Now, I know that YOU know this, so I’m really only clarifying this for those who just might misinterpret your very charitable comment. You are totally correct in that there must be NO personal condemnation and ridicule, but the line must be drawn at what I now think of as the “doctor” line; that is, just as it would be madness to tread carefully and be polite about a murderous doctor, like the infamous English Dr Shipman who killed at least 200 if not more of his patients, a man who just begs to be ridiculed in the context of his dismally failed professional life, so – it seems to me that – for example – when St Catherine of Siena told the Pope to rid the Church of “bad priests” who “poison and rot that garden” (the Church), she was not being personally accusatory but referring to the profession of priesthood, brought into disrepute by those who fail, publicly and in a grave manner, to live out their vocation with integrity.
I’m rambling again – hope this makes some kind of sense.
I’ve never been put off by your tone and style, or anyone else’s on this blog (except for trolls), and I suspect that those who throw that accusation at you have no other possible objection to the truths of the Faith being contrasted with the errors and heresies of the hierarchy. Can’t contest the substance, so demean the style, and/or the writer, says A.D. Hominem.
I think part of my problem with the Catholic blogosphere is that I rarely, if ever, see an admission from Catholic lay columnists that this period we are enduring is our chastisement (I’ve mentioned this before). In other words, these corrupt clergy are vessels of election to administer God’s wrath upon us. Revolutionary men, said St. John Eudes, are God’s punishment for the sins of mankind.
No, instead of that, it’s always anger at what everyone else is doing wrong. What about what we’ve done wrong? Sure, be angry; sure, correct the error and expose the scandal, but let’s put this in the proper context and identify the cause by looking in the mirror. Since when are we as pure as the driven snow? How come we’re not angry at ourselves?
Meanwhile, just to throw in a sidebar, I wish everyone would stop calling this the “crisis in the Church.” This is the Passion of the Church, paralleling Our Lord’s Passion. It’s much more gravely serious than a mere “crisis.” Besides, when was the last time you heard someone refer to “Our Lord’s Crisis”?
You are correct, I would argue, in your references to the Passion of the Church, and in highlighting the claim of great saints that bad priests are a sign that we are suffering a chastisement, because, according to, for example,St John Eudes, God permits (but does not give us) bad priests as a sign that he is angry with us for our sins. However, that is the spiritual analysis of what is happening as a result of the faithlessness of the clergy because it seems very clear indeed that the cause or roots of what IS manifestly, a crisis in the Church, is the loss of divine and Catholic faith, primarily in the souls of priests. The crisis in the Church is a crisis in the priesthood. We cannot, logically, refer to the “Passion of the Church” without reference to the causes and roots of that Passion, which is, essentially, the infidelity of the popes, bishops and priests – as forewarned some 300 years ago, at Quito, when Our Lady spoke of the loss of the moral sense, which would be all but wiped out in the 20th century, and that “the one who should speak out will fall silent.”
In short, I think we need to beware of creating a false dichotomy between the practical effects of this “crisis” in the priesthood and thus in the wider Church, and its (un)spiritual roots and, indeed, the spiritual remedy. Obviously, if priests and bishops and popes had been more spiritually attuned and thus aware of the dangers of the “reforms” being inflicted on the Church in the middle of the twentieth century, the crisis of faith in the priesthood, and thus in the wider Church, where confusion and doubt spread as a result of the crisis in the priesthood, would have been averted.
Perhaps too, if people like me had not taken so long to respond to the so-called reforms of Vatican II, perhaps if we/I had been more spiritually attuned to the unbreakable relationship between Scripture and Tradition and had recognised the break with Tradition more quickly, we/I would not have supported this break for so long, thus inflicting increased suffering on the Mystical Body of Christ.
All the “ifs and buts”, however, don’t change the fact that those chiefly responsible for the widespread apostasy today, are the priests, bishops and popes who have flirted with the world, and misled the faithful to the point where one Pope, Saint Pius X, was moved to write his own warning encyclical On The Doctrine of the Modernists to alert Catholics to the dangers to the Faith coming from within the Church, notably from priests and the alleged “educated” class, and another, Pope John Paul II, to write, for the first time ever in the history of the Church, an encyclical letter to the Bishops of the Church, Veritatis Splendor specifically warning them of the dissent from moral teaching which was spreading like wildfire and actually spelling out what they had to do to remedy this scandal – among other things, telling them to remove the name “Catholic” from any institution failing in fidelity to the natural moral law. That really HAs been taken seriously by the Bishops, hasn’t it… she said sarcastically…
And so, while I agree with you that it is probably very true that none of us in the Catholic blogosphere pay sufficient attention to the spiritual roots and remedy of this crisis in the priesthood and the Church, I think it is a mistake to think that, by this measure, we ought not to comment on the actual crime scene before our eyes. I know you are not really saying that but I just want to make the point, as the pencil said to the sharpener…
It is perfectly legitimate, for example, for me, as one unworthy soul and amateur editor, to acknowledge my own inferior spiritual life while still lamenting the fact that our hopes were dashed after being raised by the Cardinals (Burke et al) who threatened a public correction of Pope Francis in light of his grave errors against the Faith. It is perfectly legitimate to ask and keep asking where are those with the major responsibility and, – more to the point – who have access to the pontiff… Where are they and why are they not acting to help end the scandal of a bad pope who is leading people astray?
The objective criticisms levelled against these churchmen, some of whom are going along to get along, in this time of suffering within the Church, are perfectly legitimate and need not imply any failure to appreciate the deep spiritual malaise in souls, ordained and lay, which are stoking the fires of the current dire state of the Church today. I keep thinking of the many converts being lost because of the scandals, so,while acknowledging the truth in what you write about the Passion of the Church, I would not separate that truth from the truth, manifest to the entire world, that the Church is in crisis – a deep crisis which was rooted in the loss of divine and Catholic Faith in the souls, first of the ordained and now in the souls of the laity, to the point where we are now living through the (not so) “silent apostasy” of which Pope John Paul II spoke.
Typing full speed so hope this makes some kind of sense.
PS No zeros deducted if you disagree with me, by the way, but if you’re hoping for an Easter bonus… tread carefully 😀
I’m placing my reply at the bottom, to avoid narrow columns…
A very good sermon, and I agree that the “folksy style” almost conceals his blunt assessments of the state of the modern Church.
One thing I would query, though, is his reference to some Catholics “disliking” others in a parish. I’ve always understood that we are not obliged to like anyone, just as we can’t help our thoughts, as long as we show them charity when required. I can think of people I’m not too fond of in our parish but if they needed my help I would help them, if it was in my gift to do so.
That’s a very good sermon, I agree. I could see myself in there as editor hints, LOL!
I thought Father’s assessment of the Church post-Vatican II very piercing, the “iron fist in the velvet glove” as RCA Victor says. It’s hard to hear what he says about the new Mass but there’s no denying that the Church has been in terminal decline since its introduction.
The bit about the in-fighting in churches is interesting but I see it from a different angle. Sometimes, priests refuse to do their duty by correcting certain parishioners who often take it upon themselves to give instructions, tick people off, and so on. That is frustrating, but I suppose in a perfect world we would all just put up with it. What I can’t work out is, do priests want to avoid dealing with these pastoral issues because they want to be popular or because they think it’ll be less divisive? I think these conflicts only fester when they are not dealt with.
All in all, a very useful sermon indeed, and way above the quality of sermons in the average parish.
I do agree about “certain parishioners” – every parish I’ve ever belonged to has had a small group who rule the roost and the priests daren’t do anything about it. It’s a weakness in the characters of priests, I always think, because they want to be friendly with everyone, I suppose for the best of reasons. If parents did that, though, family life would be impossible! Someone has to be “the boss”!
How lucky the SSPX congregations are in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Gateshead to have such sermons.
The thing is, one of my friends in Glasgow said to me, unless you have a car or a lift into town, it’s extremely difficult to get to the SSPX church. It’s in an awkward part of town, and it’s a long, uphill walk from the bus stops or train stations. That is true, so, if Fr Wall wants to see his congregation shooting up, he needs to buy new premises with good public transport links.
I found his sermon very thought-provoking, and it definitely beats the ten minute, unchallenging chats on offer in the rest of the churches these days. It’s good to know there are priests who do preach hard-hitting sermons like that and actually mention the crisis in the Church head on.
Heavens, above, a priest who actually prepares his sermons! I LOVED it!
Also, his sense of humour, being “optimistic” that the people would remember his previous sermon on the same topic, LOL!
Father definitely prepares his sermons – and some of the less Gospel-greedy among us, groan (I’m told!) when they see the server placing a pile of papers into the pulpit before Mass begins 😀
A lot of what the priest says does definitely apply to me, I’m ashamed to say, especially the bits about living in comparative luxury – even from how people lived 50 years ago – and not really renouncing the world, just in words, not in deeds. He sums it all up really clearly with the words “poor quality Catholicism” – that’s me, truth be told. It really is different from the kind of homilies on offer in most parishes, where the priest sticks to speaking about what the people in the Gospel story were thinking or understood at the time of Jesus.
I can see myself in Fr Wall’s good sermon and it gave me much to think about.
Living in Glasgow and not being a car driver, I travel by bus to get to Mass. Due to a slight change in route I now must get off one stop earlier, giving me a longer walk and as you say part of it is uphill. At least it helps in keeping to some degree in keeping fit. Though will add there is someone who often gives me a lift to get home, which is much appreciated.
Going back to the years surrounding the time when St Andrew’s was bought, there were individuals who most likely thought that were problems with where the Church was situated, and openly said so at the time.
It’s a pity those people were not heeded who pointed out the problems with the location of the church even at the time of purchase, because, but for that (insert adjective) location, there would have been double, even triple the congregation YEARS ago – as one of the old-timers pointed out to me only last Sunday. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have asked me to let them know when the church is re-located as they may be able to attend – right now, without personal transport, it’s just not possible.
And any parent of any teenager these days will tell you that it’s hard enough getting them to go to Mass a few streets away, without having a marathon journey on their hands on the one day in the week when public transport is thin on the ground, if you will excuse the pun!
Assuming my car doesn’t let me down, then, see you on Sunday! 😀
Goodness, you folk should consider yourselves lucky having ANY available chapel within reach by whatever mode of available transport. Some of us have round trips of hundreds of miles!
That’s true but if there is a choice between choosing an awkward location and a much more accessible location – and we are talking about a city, remember – then the obviously common sense thing to do, not to mention pastoral, thing to do is choose the, er, more easily accessible location… But then, I’m a simple gal…
The part of Glasgow where the SSPX church is, is very hilly indeed and there are elderly people, using walking sticks and some who have serious health problems, e.g. lung trouble, heart trouble, which struggling to get up steep hills doesn’t help. Personally, I would sooner travel hundreds of miles round trip in a car than walk up one of those hills from Sauchiehall Street to Renfrew Street, LOL!
It’s why so many people don’t attend there, even though they would love to. It’s not being weak or wimpy, it’s about genuine health risks.
I thought this was an excellent sermon from Fr Wall. We are lucky to have him.
If I understand your post correctly, you are imputing the Passion (OK, Passion/Crisis) of the Church primarily to the loss of faith among the clergy. If I got that right, I’m going to go out on a limb (without a saw) and say that, while the Crisis has indeed been caused by clerical apostasy, that leaves open the question of what caused the clerical apostasy. My answer to that is to go further up the food chain, and propose that God’s permissive will has allowed the clerical apostasy as punishment for the sins of mankind. The worst sort of punishment, in fact, according to the saints.
For a comparison, your paradigm would have Judas as the cause of Our Lord’s Passion. He was certainly the proximate cause, but the remote cause was that the fallen human race was engulfed in sin and needed redemption. (BTW, I had to go look those terms up, since I’ve never understood them before, and St. Thomas Aquinas leaves my eyes glazed over…)
Likewise, apostate Catholic clergy, in my opinion, are the proximate cause of this disaster, but the remote cause is that we are being punished for our sins, not just theirs, and they are the means of our punishment.
On that subject of our own culpability, I’ll return to the issue of Catholic cyberspace, which is not exactly overflowing with humility. For example (once again, I’m not referring to this blog):
1. “The Synods are rigged frauds!” (cyber-applause)
2. “Pope Francis is a heretic!” (cyber-applause)
3. “Amoris Laetitia is tearing the Church apart!”(cyber-applause)
4. “The bishops are spineless and corrupt!” (cyber-applause)
5. “The clergy and the hierarchy are a ring of homosexuals!” (cyber-applause)
All these symptoms of apostasy are certainly worthy of correction (#2 being subject to an actual trial) but…
1. “This crisis is our chastisement.” (crickets)
2. “God is mightily displeased with us.” (crickets)
And I’ll end with this question: do we traditionalists think we should be exempt from God’s justice just because we are preserving Tradition? I’m afraid that is the attitude underlying all the finger-pointing applause in the 5 points above, as confirmed by the eerie silence regarding the 2 points below that.
We’re certainly at cross purposes here – I’d no idea you were making the general point that the reason we have an imperfect world and faithlessness is because of our fallen human nature. Of COURSE that is always true, that is ALWAYS the root case of everything that is wrong in the world and the Church. I had no idea you meant that. I have not been in the habit of expressly blaming Original Sin – aka “the sins of mankind” – every time I am writing about any wrong-doing although I know that is the cause of all sin – our fallen human nature, prone to sin. But the fact is – taking your own example of Judas – Judas still had his free will. He was not pre-determined to betray our Lord. We are not pre-determined (although we are pre-disposed) to sin, so we have to take responsibility for our actions. The fact, however, that I commit personal sins, bearing in mind that any Catholic worthy of the name must be having recourse to the Sacrament of Penance seek absolution and reparation (I was in the confessional this very morning!) cannot be given as the explanation for my bishop’s negligence and faithlessness in specific instances. C’mon! If you think that, don’t blame St John Eudes. I’d wager that that is NOT what he meant!
As for “we traditionalists” – I don’t how you missed it, but missed it you have; I do not EVER describe myself as anything other than a Catholic.
When explaining myself to those outside the Church who express puzzlement at the state of play, I explain with a broad brush comment that in recent Church history there has been a huge crisis (sorry!) and so now the teaching of Christ and the authority of His Church is being challenged by some within the Church so that now there is a broad division between those who go along with modernism and those of us who stick to the traditional teaching of the Church. I fall into the latter group but all that means is that I have not changed my beliefs, I adhere to both Scripture and Tradition. I don’t have any other name but “Catholic” – not even ROMAN Catholic 😀
Finally, I don’t visit the kind of blogs to which you refer and I am all too well aware that I am certainly not exempt from God’s justice, which is why the thought of my personal Judgment is before my mind on a daily basis, so I would simply exhort you not to visit those blogs where they are cyber-applauding scandals. That’s bad. We lament the scandals and we discuss them with a view to ensuring that our readers know and understand that they ARE scandals, in the hope of preventing people from being led astray. That kind of education-in-the-Faith approach is very different from (if I’m reading you correctly) actually taking some kind of superior pleasure in what is going on, or, more accurately, what is going wrong, in the Church today.
Apologies for misinterpreting your original post(s). Hopefully, we’re on the same page (literally) now! 😀
Editor & RCA Victor,
That all makes sense – now I get what both of you were meaning, LOL!
I’ve discovered sure-fire way to increase traffic on a particular thread: make myself unintelligible! 🙂
Anyway, I wasn’t saying that our sinful human nature excuses the corrupt hierarchy…nor did my complaints apply to this blog. I was, however, lamenting the fact that the Catholic reader of blogs and articles will rarely, if ever, come across the mea culpa that this dark era, in addition to being a crisis, is also our chastisement.
The reason I’ve been wondering about this is that I’ve heard numerous traditional priests, within the SSPX and otherwise, describe this era as both the Passion of the Church and the Minor Chastisement. But in looking around in current-news-Catholic cyberspace (lay writers, that is) for confirmation of this, I come up with…..zilch. On the other hand, I have come across a few penitential responses to the Angel of Fatima’s calls for penance – but not very often.
What I do come up with is a lot of private judgement and finger-pointing, which, as I’ve already said, has caused me to reduce down to a bare handful the number of sites I visit every morning.
So having said that, I await the spilling of beans regarding the future of the CT blog, to which you mysteriously alluded recently….or should I go out and purchase one of these?
You’re much too humble! It’s not that you are “unintelligible” but sometimes – and this happens even in oral conversation, so the written is much more susceptible to misunderstandings/mis-readings – we can be at cross-purposes, in essence agreeing but apparently saying different things.
However, I think I’ve nailed it, I think I can safely say that we’re about to (drum roll) see the light 😀
Firstly a clarification to excuse my mis-reading of your “chastisement” comments, which mis-reading is very likely rooted in my awareness of the fact (and irritation) that “traditional” priests – generally speaking, and certainly in my own experience – do not encourage lay people to put on their suits of armour, so to speak, and fight as Soldiers of Christ to challenge the heresies etc around us. I’ve heard so many sermons which end with “well, all we can do is pray” (affirming the majority in their apathy) that I think I’ve tended to read your quotes from “traditional” priests in that light…. anything except “fight to defend the Faith under attack, as the laity did in the 4th century Arian heresy”, if you get my drift.
However, that said, I think I have to be honest and say I have been forgetting something important – and ironically, something I often say in conversation and sometimes get a “shock horror” response for saying…
And it is this: the “chastisement” is self-evident – it is, in fact, that God has withdrawn His grace, in very large measure, from His Church, which is why we have a pope who can preach heresy and priests and bishops who can follow him, without, apparently, giving it a second thought. In THAT sense, clearly we are being chastised; when God withdraws His grace, it’s not because He’s pleased with us.
I hope that is what you mean, in essence, and if not… I give up!
To answer your final question – no need to buy a crystal ball 😀
I “mysteriously alluded to the future of the blog” because I’ve had quite a few representations against the decision to close it in July and I’ve firmly shut my ears to all pleas. Just one argument against closure hit home and it touched my conscience (ever so slightly!)
Maybe I should make that the subject of a competition… What do you think? Will I simply tell you that argument, or can you (or anyone else who reads this) guess? Let’s compromise. Here’s a few of the arguments which have been put to me to keep open the blog. See if you can identify the one which touched my conscience (ever so slightly!)
Closing the Catholic Truth blog will result in the following:
1) leave a void for expressing views in the Catholic world in Scotland. The orthodox and traditional views are often suppressed or deleted on other blogs.
2) mean there is no reliable traditional source to ask questions about the Faith, without having personal remarks thrown at us.
3) mean there is no reliable interpretation of contemporary Catholic religious and moral issues from a traditional perspective.
4) mean we won’t ever hear some of the old hymns which are posted on the CT blog on major Feast days.
5) mean there is a vacuum which is likely to be filled by a modernist group which will become “the” Catholic blog in Scotland or even the UK.
6) dissenters/trolls will feel they’ve won, driven Catholic Truth away.
7) priests (all over the world) who take comfort from the blog, even if they don’t contribute, will feel even more isolated.
8) young Catholics who rely on the blog for sound information and teaching, will be deprived of a reliable traditional source.
9) home-schooling parents and pupils will miss it – it’s a useful resource.
10) Since the blog is read all over the world and in some surprisingly high places, we will have lost quite a bit of potential influence.
So? What thinkest thou – the above are just some of the arguments put to me to try to persuade us to remain open – which one of the ten, do you think touched my conscience (ever – I repeat – so slightly!)
So your ears are firmly shut to all pleas to you not to close the blog? Ha!
How about this for Example #11 which you seem to have forgotten to include in your list above:
I can envisage Satan rubbing his hands with glee, nay, dancing with unfettered joy at the approach of next July.
His whisperings in your ear about the hassle, the expense, the demands on your time, the apathy of the majority of your readers, the frustration arising from so little fruit coming forth from all your well-intentioned labours, the lack of support – all of these temptations to give up have been being sewn in your mind, and resisted so far by your good self, for many months, but he did not give up. He never sleeps. He does exist. And he never throws in the towel as you seem about to.
I have been subject to those same whisperings, and sorely tempted to give up too.
Until I looked around at other pioneers who have striven to serve Our Lord through His Blessed Mother. Others who never gave up until God called them home, like Abp. Lefebvre, Fr. Grüner, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. John Bosco – there are many more examples. They were human, just like ourselves. They must have been tempted, just like ourselves, but they pressed ahead with their apostolates and are now savouring the joy of their rewards.
Do you really, really, want to let Satan be victorious over you, because that is what the reality would be?
Think again, and reconsider, not-so-old warrior; the harvest is great but the labourers are few.
God bless the work.
Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! … OUCH!
I’ve had a long “one of those days” and I’m even too whacked to go pubbing and clubbing tonight, so – since I can’t do justice to your (insert adjective) rebuke addressed to my unworthy self… for now, all I’ll say is…
And I’ll answer your (insert adjective) rebuke properly asap – hopefully, at some point tomorrow.
You do me a disservice by taking my post out of context – the context being reasons for not closing the blog. My post was intended to be charitable support for you who, many moons ago, received an inspiration to found an apostolate aimed at defending the truth of the Catholic Faith.
So successful has it been that Satan is seeking to lead you into closing it down – into capitulating to his wishes.
Speaking as one who felt inspired to launch a U.K. branch of a world wide apostolate, I claim to have experienced Satan’s obstacles, discouragement and other wiley tricks to make me lose heart and walk away.
What if St. Paul had given up on his mission at the first hurdle?
What if Our Lord had agreed to accept the world’s riches in exchange for adoring Satan?
No, Madame Editor. Far from rebuking you, I was encouraging you to persevere with your good work, for you never know who might have been just on the point of converting to Catholicism, or of discovering a love for Our Lady, only to have you give up.
When your time comes, you will be able to say: “I have run the race.”
God bless the work.
Sorry, I’ve not had time to respond to your initial post but will do so asap.
Suffice, for now, to say that you have misunderstood my sense of humour. I was joking about the “rebuke” – I realised right away that you were charitably seeking to encourage me to keep the blog open.
Yet again, I have cause to apologise for my much too speedily written comment, and my unthinking presumption that the humour in my words would be evident. Sincere apologies.
Thank you for your apology which I accept without hesitation and with appreciation of your candour.
I look forward to your promised response in the fervent hope that many lurkers out in the blogosphere will continue to be enabled to embrace the Catholic truths that your apostolate puts before them.
God bless the work.
Thank you for your generous acceptance of my apology. I will now go back to your original post and respond to it – without any joking, be assured.
With all due respect, I did not “forget” your “example # 11” about apparently capitulating to the Devil.
Satan would have no cause to rub his hands in glee because we at Catholic Truth, are not going away. The proposal to close the blog does not mean (and never did mean) that our apostolate would end. I thought I had explained that we would be re-examining our website to make more use of it once the blog closed, so one way or another, we had no plans to go away.
As it happens, again with all due respect, you are not the first person to make the point about apparently giving up and allowing Satan victory. Indeed, it was my own very FIRST consideration when the idea first came to me that perhaps it is time to close the blog, given that so few participate. THAT was my key reason – nothing to do with making less work for myself. If anything, closing the blog and returning to focusing on the website would INCREASE my workload. Nor was I paying any attention to Satan’s “whisperings”. Hopefully, my Morning Offering takes care of that side of things.
And as for “fruits” – goodness; it is the most elementary principle of apostolic endeavour that we do not look for results, that we can never know the results of anything that we do in the apostolate. It amazes me when I pay a visit to our site statistics page and see the flags and countries listed – people from all over the world, from places of which I’ve never heard, visit our blog and read our articles and comments. So, I’m only too well aware of the fact that God will use our humble efforts, and that He will do so in ways which we can never begin to imagine. That is part of what makes the spiritual life, and the apostolate, an adventure. It’s like the wrong side of a tapestry right now, but at our Judgment we will see the whole picture, right side up and, hopefully, see that some souls at least were helped by our efforts to teach and defend the Faith at this time of terrible crisis in the Church.
So, I hope the rationale for deciding to close the blog is a bit clearer now – it was made NOT to benefit me, but because it seemed to me that we might reach those same souls more effectively in other ways. Then, of course, the pressure has been piled on with plenty of folk saying they love reading the blog, it helps them and others, it will be sorely missed, blah blah, and explaining that they don’t contribute because they’re not as clever as the rest, having nothing to add, etc.
I’m entirely unsympathetic to such arguments. How long does it take to respond to one of those “clever” bloggers who have taken precious time to research and write, in an attempt to throw light on a topic for us – how long does it take to reply “Thank you for that – very helpful indeed” OR “A really interesting post – thank you!” Let me answer that… Seconds. That’s how long it takes. Nobody is so busy that they can’t spare a few seconds to encourage our bloggers in their efforts.
So, I’m afraid I don’t buy the excuses that came pouring in from readers, sometime bloggers and even some “lurkers” who were keen to keep the blog open but who seldom, if ever, contribute a word, not even a word of gratitude to those who do give of their time and energy to make it the excellent resource which, they tell me, it is.
I must confess, I’ve been astonished at the strength of feeling of those who – whether contributors or readers – do not want the blog to close. It has truly amazed me.
Allow me, therefore, to assure you – as I have assured a few others recently – that I am giving very serious thought indeed to reversing my decision.
If there is anything in the above remarks which is in any way offensive, I apologise in advance. I have studiously avoided including any humour, so I really don’t think I’ve written anything objectionable but if that is not the case – please, once again, accept my sincere apology.
Thank you for your inoffensive clarification of the situation concerning the future of the blog.
May the Holy Ghost guide you to whichever decision will lead to the saving of the most souls.
As this diversion seems to have taken this thread’s focus away from Fr. Wall’s sermon may I draw attention to a host of sermons by other SSPX priests? These can be selected from this link:
God bless the work.
Great priest, great sermon.
Well, Editor, it’s not for me to “touch your conscience”. God forbid. You’ve held the fort bravely for many years, and are a stalwart of the Faith. Every point is valid, but I think number 3 is the one I would plump for,but as I said, it’s not for me to advise you; you have done more than your best. All I can say is that I hope you will not close the blog; I haven’t commented much for a while, basically because I have nothing useful to add that hasn’t been said much better by someone else, but there are many young people who really need to hear what a true, loyal and knowledgeable Catholic can tell them about the beauty of our wonderful Faith, and you and the contributors here are ideally qualified.
How very kind and encouraging – you are, in fact, much too kind. I honestly do not feel like a “stalwart” or “brave” – I truly am not doing any more than is my elementary duty (when you take into account the gifts bestowed on me by the Lord, my good looks, my high intelligence, my wit, my humility… the list goes on and on and … 😀 )
Seriously, though, I appreciate your generous words of support – I take it the chocolates are in the post? Oops! They’ve just arrived – thank you!
Goodness, there’s a conundrum! Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 8 all spring to mind although several others would fit the bill and all. Whoosh.
Congratulations, you are the winner, since number 5 is the one which moved my conscience. You’d have won a really serious award but for the fact that you picked the winning argument (5) after I had revealed it above; even so, you are entitled to a prize and I think this will look great in your living room, pride of place…
I listened to the sermon the other evening, but only managed to post must now.
I think it is a very good sermon and I agree with praise of Fr Wall’s style: His style is down to earth, humorous and disarming- yet hard-hitting. I think it is very effective.
To pick up on a point which Fidelis mentioned – I thought it was apt that Fr mentioned animosity within Church congregations. In the various Churches I have encountered, I have always noted the rival cliques, enemies or different factions which exist within the congregations. I guess this is a facet of human nature.
I think the difference up there, compared to YOUR experience, is that there aren’t any “rival cliques, enemies, different factions” – just one group in charge of everything and everyone! Possibly natives of Brussels because they make the rules, have never been elected and cannot be removed! Roll on Brexit Day! 😀
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