On Fire for the Faith… Anyone?

On Fire for the Faith… Anyone?

Editor writes…

As regulars on this blog know, I’m no fan of Church Militant, and that for a number of reasons.  However, the “Fulton Sheen incident” recounted by Michael Voris in the above video (which I stumbled across this morning on YouTube) – an incident to which he was an eye and ear witness – deserves as much publicity as possible, in my considered opinion. The incident is profoundly important because it underlines for us the chilling apostasy which we are seeing around us right now in the Church, with the current pontiff and the majority of the bishops leading the way in ignoring and/or openly denying Christ in their interactions with people who hold opposing beliefs.

The archbishop’s response to that hapless “ponytail” should give us hope for the future:  it should remind us of the promise of peace to come in the world, when the prescribed Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is obediently carried out, at which time we will be able to rejoice in experiencing, in ourselves and in our priests and bishops, the same love for the truths of the Faith as that evident in the words and demeanour of Archbishop Fulton Sheen.   Yes?  No?   Your thoughts…

Comments (24)

  • Marinaio Reply

    This is very interesting, especially in light of our discussion on this blog just a short time ago when we were discussing Archbishop Fulton Sheen. But of course the most salient question is raised by our dear Editor regarding the Consecration of Russia. It is hard to imagine that happening with Francis at the helm. It is clear that he has been stacking the deck for the next conclave, with clones like the new Cardinal McElroy of San Diego, to mention just one of many.

    Francis is adrift, a confused and confusing individual who speaks the language of the climate change fanatics and the WEF. His brutal attempts at suppression of the Mass of the Ages is incredible, given his openness to all kinds of heretical beliefs. He just gave an interview to a correspondent of LIfeSite News in which he admitted that a one-month-old embryo is a human being but could not say for certain if it is a “person”. And as for the Bishops, after their meeting in Baltimore recently, we can see that they are all over the place in their theology. So while I agree with Editor that we can rejoice that we know how the ending will take place — with the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary — I fear we have a lot to endure before we get to that point.

    December 2, 2022 at 3:18 pm
    • editor Reply

      Marinaio,

      Speaking the language of climate change and other worldly concerns – including the war in Ukraine – only places him on the same (if even that) level as any other commentator on world affairs, as you well know. Today, Zenit is reporting that, by his remarks on the “martyred” Ukrainians, he has infuriated Russia.
      https://zenit.org/2022/11/30/russia-accuses-pope-of-russophobia-after-his-statements-to-a-jesuit-magazine/?eti=7773

      Such a silly man. Not cut out for the papal role and not even, as this report indicates, cut out for the role of world diplomat either. Even Pontius Pilate made some show of trying to understand both sides 😀

      December 2, 2022 at 4:20 pm
      • Faith of Our Fathers

        ED Thats just a typical Bergoglio Garbage statement but am surprised that the Russians even listen to this Man he is now even beyond written off . Surely it doesnt even need an article like this to know that He probably only says such rubbish because the Russians wont give Him the same Money as the Chinese. I personally now only read links to this Horrible Man on here, and if Bergoglio is not the Anti Christ God help us for the next useless Son of Bergoglio. As for C.Militant i personally like M.Voris .I know he has history with you, but as you say this Story of Archbishop Sheen cannot be told enough, there was no way Archbishop was going to see The Faith watered down. When one looks at probably 90% of Catholic Cardinals and Bishops He would certainly not be welcome in their company. Of course if like me who wouldnt take a free holiday in Italy if it meant having to meet Bergoglio ,Archbishop Sheen would surely whip the useless lot who pollute the Vatican out into the streets of Rome.

        December 3, 2022 at 5:39 pm
    • Margaret USA Reply

      Did anyone tell him that a human being IS a person ?

      December 12, 2022 at 4:22 am
  • Andrew Q Reply

    The fire of faith will come from the laity. The emasculated hierarchy of the Vatican II sect seem barely to believe anything. I see plenty of commitment among the young families and converts in the TLM communities around here. God will not allow his Church to fail – though we may have to wait for some of the duds to pass on to their reward. The Church will be rebuilt from the faithful remnant among the wreckage instigated by Vatican II and its “spirit”.

    December 2, 2022 at 3:30 pm
  • editor Reply

    Andrew Q,

    I see plenty of commitment among the young families and converts in the TLM communities around here. “

    I’d dearly love to know where “here” is, and the nature of the “commitment”…

    December 2, 2022 at 4:15 pm
    • Andrew Q Reply

      Editor

      (1) NW England – flourishing communities of ICKSP, FSSP, SSPX.

      (2) Daily masses, full programme of vespers, compline etc. Weekly all day adoration, 2 new schools set up in the past few years that are taught by priests and religious sisters. Young families moving across country to give their children a truly traditional Catholic education with daily access to the sacraments. And much more…

      It’s happening despite the best efforts of the Vatican. Wonderfully encouraging what God and a few good men and women can achieve.

      December 2, 2022 at 5:00 pm
      • editor

        Andrew Q,

        Yes, I believe I’ve heard that there is a fairly strong TLM-attending community in the North-West of England. What you describe is, more or less, what I thought you meant by “commitment”. It is certainly true that the Catholics who attend the TLM do tend to value the kind of activities which you list and rightly so.

        There is, however, a key component missing in my experience of conversing with and observing these same Catholics who would drive for miles to get to a traditional Mass. Try, however, to get them to travel half-an-hour into town after the fashion of a Saint Francis de Sales, to seek souls who have fallen away from the Faith and now seek to take others with them, and that is a whole different matter. Let me elaborate a little…

        I remember, in my novus ordo-attending days frequently lamenting the absence of these “traditional” Catholics when it came to – for example – attending a meeting advertised in the Scottish Catholic Observer or Catholic chaplaincy at the university, where a known heretic had been invited to speak. Some of us, working in the Catholic Truth apostolate would make a point of attending such meetings to exercise our Confirmation duty to defend the Faith when it is under attack, and, hopefully, prevent some people at least from being unduly influenced by a visiting heretic.

        The infamous Thomas Groome lecture springs to mind. Apart from one elderly member of our team who did attend one of the TLMs on a regular basis (and did try to drum up support among his fellow Mass-goers for the kind of events just mentioned) the “committed” TLM-attendees were notable only by their absence, with the occasional welcome exception. But note, this doesn’t mean I would expect everyone to attend meetings etc. One friend used to keep an eye on the various adverts for heretical goings-on, and he would, for example, telephone the chaplain at the University of Glasgow to alert him and ask him to prevent this or that event from taking place. He had zippo “success” because said chaplain (now a bishop) would excuse his own inaction by saying he was “only the chaplain” but that is his problem. Our reader did his duty. Just by making that phone call. The lay apostolate comes in various shapes and sizes.

        Yet, to this day, I have seen a decided lack of any sign of the Confirmation Soldier of Christ aspect of lay involvement prominent in the “traditional” Catholics. As an aside, I’ve explained many times before on this blog that I dislike the description “traditional Catholics” because there really IS no other kind of Catholic and to use it of a particular group, can be interpreted as giving credence to the legitimacy of other groups, “liberal Catholics” etc. Also, I dislike its use because often it describes only Catholics who attend the Latin Mass and sacraments, which is often where their “traditionalism” ends.

        In fact, at the time of Father Gruner’s impending visit to Glasgow, where we had booked him to address one of our Conferences, I remember trying to interest one TLM-attending woman in coming to hear the famous “Fatima priest”. In the conversation, which covered our duty to actively spread the Faith (I think she may have indicated that since this event was organised by laity it did not have the same authority/clout, whatever, as if it had been organised by the clergy. Well, yes, but the clergy didn’t organise it…) In this case, spreading the Faith included the Message of Fatima, but, anyway, her response was that she had raised four children, that was her contribution to the lay apostolate.

        Drat! To think I could have used my then duty of state, which was to care for my elderly, sick mother, as an excuse reason to shut down the entire Catholic Truth apostolate. However, as I know only too well, while we must first see to it that we are faithful to our duty of state, that does not free us from the obligation to contribute – in some manner – to the active lay apostolate. The sacraments are given to us to sustain and strengthen us. Even religious in enclosed monasteries do not perceive their duty to end at the Communion rails or Confessional. Whatever active work they do within the walls of their monastery, is to aid those in the world in their apostolate and – as beautifully detailed in the life of St Therese of Lisieux – their spiritual efforts and sacrifices are designed to help save souls; their religious and spiritual work is not for their own benefit alone. It’s interesting to hear parents express their concerns for the salvation of their own children: “As long as he/she gets into Heaven… that’s all that matters…” Well, he/she won’t, if their entire “Faith” is centred on themselves. Some mind much greater than mine, said long ago, that nobody goes to Heaven alone.

        And, as St Peter teaches (1 Peter 3…) we must always be prepared to give reasons for the hope that is in us, so while it is, of course, praiseworthy (and dutiful) for parents to seek a sound Catholic education/catechism lessons for their children, a key aim must be that the students understand the importance of spreading that knowledge, not keeping it to themselves.

        I didn’t mean to write so much, and I’ve been delayed getting here this evening, so this is a tad rushed, and if I’ve omitted anything, or if what I have written is not clear enough, let me know and I’ll try again.

        My personal motto is (usually) “if at first you don’t succeed, forget it” but I’m happy to make an exception in this case, if necessary 😀

        December 2, 2022 at 11:21 pm
      • Andrew Q

        Editor

        Indeed all Catholics should be actively involved in the Great Commission (despite the current Pope? saying that we shouldn’t try to convert anyone as it is “venom against ecumenism” whatever that means). We should also be involved in the wider community with works of mercy and helping to bring about a Christian society.

        I think most trads (I’m using the term for convenience) do acknowledge this. We’ve got to face the practicalities though: the trad communities currently are fighting back against 50 years of the dreadful fruits of the V II project. They’re also often building from the ground up both in terms of “church planting” and physical restoration of the decrepit shrine churches they have acquired (plus schools, discernment houses, etc).

        This will produce more overtly missionary and societal benefits in time. There are already acts that impact the wider community with the revival of public witness and corporal works of mercy (food banks, nursing home visits, et al).

        Even in these early days of groups like ICKSP it isn’t only about the type of Mass. It’s true that some in any congregation are simply making an aesthetic choice but many more are seeking authentic Catholicism that’s actually worth sharing. That will fire folk up!

        December 3, 2022 at 12:54 am
      • editor

        Andrew Q,

        You see, this is the problem. You speak about the need to build up the Church after 50 years of the Vatican II project… the “practicalities” taking precedence over the teaching of the Faith in its fullness.

        What you describe in your first paragraph, is not some optional extra to be added on in 50 years’ time when the “trads” have worked their magic and built enough churches, schools etc. That doesn’t make sense because, in the meantime, the young people witnessing “the practicalities” are missing out on a key obligation, which comes with their Baptism and Confirmation – the graces and duties to be Christ’s witnesses, not merely by attending church, but in whatever way is possible to bring others to the Faith. Nobody else can do what God has set aside for each of those children to do in His Plan of Salvation, to paraphrase Cardinal (Saint) John Henry Newman. They need to be taught that. It’s not happening, whether in modernist or traditional pulpits, courses and schools.

        I’m not meaning to “get” at you. I do understand what you are saying but it confirms my own experience. People have been telling me about some of the facilities offered by the “trad” priests, delighted that said priests are now offering catechism classes online – further proof, if any were needed, that the days of the priest visiting and getting to know ALL of his Mass-goers are long gone; no more “in person” social interaction.

        Just like the “mods”, the “trads” have moved (online) with the times. Anyway, I can be 100% certain that there is one aspect of the Faith – an integral part of it – that will not be mentioned in those online catechism classes, and it is the Confirmation duty to be a Soldier of Christ. In the almost twenty years that I attended one of the traditional groups you mentioned, I heard the term “Soldier of Christ” mentioned once, in passing, without any elaboration of what it means. I also know of youngsters who have been “educated” through the traditional school system who are now lapsed. Now, that can happen to anyone, any family, I’m not criticising anyone for that, but I think it is a mistake to remove the key component in Catholic life – the bit where we are expected to spread the Faith in whatever way we can – and expect young people to make sense of it. The sacraments, preaching, the various spiritual and devotional “handles” available to us, is to provide us with the strength and sustenance to live our lives in a manner pleasing to God, and in so doing, integrally to spread the Faith. I recall, years ago, a friend telling me that she had been exiting a city centre church after popping in to pay a visit and a woman sitting at the back got up and joined her as she was leaving the building. My friend got into conversation with her, the usual, “what parish are you from?” to which the woman replied that she was not a Catholic, but she liked sitting at the back of that beautiful church and often did so. It was second nature, thankfully, to my friend to ask her if she’d ever thought of becoming a Catholic, then, to which the lady replied that in the 20 years that she had been visiting this church, nobody had ever asked her that before. That is shocking. And allow me to add that I have – sadly – not a shred of doubt that many (though not all) of the people whom I know who frequent a traditional Mass centre, would not dream of posing such a question to a non-Catholic. “None of my business” is the attitude abroad.

        Nobody, I hope, preparing a religious instruction course in any “traditional” setting, would dream of delaying the teaching of, say transubstantiation or the meaning of absolution in the sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance respectively, but, somehow, the role of the Sacrament of Confirmation in Catholic life is not fully explained. And, as you rightly suggest, seen as something that can be delayed until the crisis in the Church is over. Perhaps I’m over-simplifying your meaning, Andrew, for which, if that is the case, I apologise, but, in truth, it chimes with what I’ve experienced in conversation with certain traditional priests and Mass attendees.

        In my considered opinion, Andrew Q, this is because the “trad” priests – certainly some of them – dislike the idea of the laity at work in the world; they’d rather they kept their religion for Sundays… One priest in England remarked to me in the not too far distant past, that, unfortunately, [some] “trad” priests are “control freaks” and that is why their preaching all-too-often lacks the ability to kindle that fire of which Voris speaks in the above video.

        Having said that, a couple of traditional priests were keen to support us when we arranged for a group to attend Bellahouston Park in Glasgow on the day Pope Benedict was visiting, in order to hand out little cards and pamphlets about Fatima, so those priests not only encouraged our activity but participated in it. On another occasion, one traditional priest mentioned our newsletter from the pulpit, recommending our coverage (in that edition) of the pro-life cause. That same priest was also advertised as a speaker at one of our conferences. Generally speaking, however, in my (admittedly limited) experience, priests who preach about the importance of the lay apostolate, are the exception, rather than the rule.

        Again, I’ve written more than I intended, and I hope it doesn’t come across as rambling. If so, all I can say is… such is life. 😀

        PS – I’m not sure if the priest in this video clip is a “trad” or a “mod” – you tell me 😀

        December 3, 2022 at 9:28 pm
      • Andrew Q

        Editor

        I don’t feel “got” at. Perish the thought. I just disagree. Although I’m not a fan of Rod Dreher, especially now he’s toddled off to the Orthies, his concept of The Benedict Option seemed sound to me. There’s not much point in spreading your resources and energies thinly in a world that doesn’t care. Far better to rebuild dedicated communities that can demonstrate the Good News and what 24/7 Catholicism looks like. Frankly, your average NO parish has become incapable of attracting anyone and is producing no vocations. I firmly believe that we’re in a hermeneutic of rupture. The Vatican II church is a failed new religious movement that has little relationship to the previous nineteen centuries. I know many insiders will disagree but it is withering because it deserves to. The Church continues to exists in small pockets. It will be rebuilt from there. The laity are heavily involved in this.

        I doubt we’ll agree on this.

        December 3, 2022 at 10:36 pm
      • Laura

        Andrew Q,

        I think you are at cross purposes with editor, TBH. It’s very basic, to teach young people that they need to not keep their religion/faith to themselves, but when they are out and about in the world to speak about it and draw other people to Jesus when they can without being fanatical. The story of the woman in the city centre church who had never been asked if she’d thought of becoming a Catholic in the twenty years she’d been going there, is an example of an uneducated laity that doesn’t know that Confirmation duty.

        The Benedict Option, I had never heard of, but it sounds to be that it is in direct contradiction to what Jesus said “Go into the whole world, baptising them” etc. You seem to be thinking not of individual souls but of “a world that doesn’t care”. It’s individuals we all meet, not “the world”.

        December 3, 2022 at 11:00 pm
      • Andrew Q

        Laura

        I did write that we were all to be part of the Great Commission. We can only be effective Soldiers for Christ if we are strong in our Faith and living it authentically in every aspect of our life.

        There has been 60 years of failure of the current experiment. There are practically no vocations, very few conversions, and grave doubt that the teachings and sacraments have much in common with the previous nineteen centuries. This is the sorry state we are in. No amount of wishing it were otherwise will change it. There will soon be insufficient priests to offer Mass or hear confessions. A sacramental faith is near to impossible without priests (although the Japanese managed it to some degree under duress).

        There needs to be a radical re-engagement with what has always and everywhere been recognised as the Catholic Faith. People are drawn to this which is why the relatively new TLM apostolates have overflowing seminaries and revivified churches and communities, with full daily programmes enjoyed by large families and many converts. It is from this solid formation and joyful commitment that the Great Commission can be fulfilled. The revival is small at present but is working flat out with all hands – clergy, religious and laity – on deck.

        The Benedict Option is, perhaps, one part of the solution. I’d recommend the book as a short but inspiring read. It doesn’t recommend disengagement but recognises our current parlous state and offers strategies for building up the Body of Christ.

        It would be lovely if we could do everything but we can’t. With God’s help we can each do something.

        December 4, 2022 at 12:08 am
      • editor

        Andrew Q,

        I agree – we’re not going to agree on this 😀 So,let’s leave it there, or here, whatever 😀

        One small crumb of comfort: some traditional Mass attendees tell me that, today, their priest did mention the fact that Catholics cannot remain silent but must act when they are within earshot of discussions about, e.g. the whole LGBTQ+ rights issue. He spoke about other things, but that stood out to them because, like me and moi, they notice that the lay vocation to do just that, speak out in defence of Catholic teaching on religious doctrine and morality, is notable only (now we can say “mostly”) by its absence from traditional sermons.

        Me and moi? We think the good Father has been reading this blog… again 😀

        December 4, 2022 at 8:49 pm
    • Margaret USA Reply

      On another Catholic forum (it’s private), one of the posters mentioned that in their parish, there’s a 2-year service requirement (e.g. volunteer for a charity) before the teenagers can receive Confirmation. I was flabbergasted.

      In the Byzantine Tradition, we’re confirmed when we are babies.

      December 12, 2022 at 4:11 am
  • RCAVictor Reply

    I suppose I’m expecting +Sheen to be perfect while on earth (you know, like Editor…), but where was his fiery fervor and passionate defense of the Faith when confronted with the insidious and poorly concealed poisons of the Vatican II documents?

    Praising Gaudium et spes to the skies, that’s where it was….

    December 2, 2022 at 4:38 pm
    • RCAVictor Reply

      (Not to mention the insidious and poorly concealed poison of the Novus Ordo Missae.)

      December 2, 2022 at 4:44 pm
    • editor Reply

      RCA Victor,

      Elsewhere on this blog and not so long ago, I have expressed my surprise and disappointment about Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s apparent approval of all things Vatican II, including the Novus Ordo Missae.

      I tend to think that – along with the majority of us – he was caught up in the situation and was not sufficiently aware or understanding of the gravity of what was going on in the name of those documents and the “spirit of Vatican II.”

      I also tend to think – hope springs eternal – that were he around in the later years when the liturgical abuses were screaming for attention, he would have seen the error of his ways and launched a call for the restoration of the Faith and Mass of old. Who knows, he might even have begged for a place on the Catholic Truth team!

      December 2, 2022 at 11:27 pm
      • RCAVictor

        Editor,

        Your charity is to be commended, but I’m a suspicious, hard-boiled New Yorker who lacks same (too many years riding the buses and subways…).

        Archbishop Sheen was either one well-informed, highly intelligent cookie, or a publicity hound cleric with a convincing, slick façade, who wasn’t as totally immersed in the faith as he appeared. I choose to think the former, so I can’t believe that he “was not sufficiently aware or understanding of the gravity of what was going on.” The Vatican II documents, he surely knew, were nothing like anything that the Church had ever produced: full of equivocations, contradictions and outright strange statements. Yet he praised them. Did he not read them thoroughly? I also find that hard to believe.

        I’ve concluded, based on what little I know about him, including his advice to Bella Dodd to keep silent about Communist infiltration, that he was actually trying to avoid scandal by falling in line with VII.

        So having concluded that, I’ll stop pestering everyone with my skepticism. However, one more question: 2/3 of the bishops voted against the new Missal when it was first presented to them. How did Abp. Sheen vote? Or was it a secret ballot? Does anyone know?

        December 3, 2022 at 4:32 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        My charity? To be commended? Well, that’s not an accusation ever levelled at me before – there’s a first time for everything I suppose 😀

        As for the Bella Dodd matter – I am already on record, if you recall, sharing your concerns about The Sheen Silence on that matter and I have to assume that the reason for discouraging Dodd from publicising the information about Communist infiltration, was, indeed, to avoid scandal. So silly.

        As for the rest – who knows. We’ll find out in God’s own good time…

        December 3, 2022 at 8:52 pm
  • Margaret Mary Reply

    RCA Victor,

    I won’t hear a word against Fulton Sheen! He didn’t see it coming regarding V2, that’s a pity but I agree with editor that if he was here today, he’d have come on board to fight for the restoring of the Mass etc.

    December 3, 2022 at 3:42 pm
    • RCAVictor Reply

      Margaret Mary,

      See my latest reply to Editor about his possible desire to avoid scandal. Just to add something, I tend to think that he did see it coming, because he knew everything that Bella Dodd knew. Since that post I have discovered there is a “Sheen archive” at the Catholic University of America, including a three-part FBI file on him!

      https://fulton-sheen.catholic.edu/at-cua/archive.html

      December 3, 2022 at 4:50 pm
  • Elizabeth Reply

    Just want to add that after seeing a couple of people on here recommend Iota Unum I decided to get a copy and it really is excellent and very readable. This book was first published in 1984 and it saddens me greatly to reflect on how much worse things are now. The section on the Eucharist is particularly good and explains how the lack of respect we see today has come about. Really the post conciliar hierarchy have a lot to answer for.

    December 4, 2022 at 8:51 pm
    • editor Reply

      Elizabeth,

      I agree – Iota Unum is a classic. Delighted that you have a copy now and finding it useful.

      And yes, the hierarchy really do have a lot to answer for – and they will. All in God’s good time.

      December 4, 2022 at 8:56 pm

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