Years have flown by since I wrote anything substantial here. But with the launch of our new website, it is about time I did!
As Roger mentioned in his first new post here at our relaunched site, the world has changed—radically—in just a few short years. And in that time, we have all experienced an ever greater increase in governmental, technological, and ecclesiastical control. Powers that be are attempting to ‘normalise’ the un-natural, even the barbaric, reducing the human person to an abstraction. And a compliant, if not terrified, populace simply follows suit.
But what has troubled me most over this time has been the fast pace of destruction of the Church. Because the Church too, or rather those in control of Her, are following suit. As the Gentle Traditionalist, in my husband Roger’s wonderful book, said ‘The world has gone mad’.
And it has. And it continues, even within the Church, which, as I say, troubles me most. It has been all too easy to become angry, despondent, depressed even. But that helps nothing! So my response?
To deepen my prayer.
Having lived in the north of Ireland for over ten years now, I have watched as the divides within the Church have widened and deepened. An enormous chasm, bigger than ever, exists between the Traditional Church and what is now often termed the ‘Synodal Church’.
Although, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter have grown in Ireland, our Diocesan Latin Mass has been terminated, along with many others in Ireland, I believe. A response to Traditiones Custodes, no doubt. Or, perhaps, simply the ‘Synodal’ dislike towards the Tradition.
As I witnessed the Ecclesiastical ministrations and guidelines over the Covid period, I saw how the Irish hierarchy gave ample opportunity for lukewarm Catholics to abandon their Faith entirely. And many have. Church numbers have radically dropped. Diocesan vocations are ever more rare. This side of the Church is declining fast.
Meanwhile, many of our shepherds seem oblivious, continuing along the same old path of destruction. Yes, the world has gone mad and the Church is following suit. And day after day, the divide widens and deepens. And a spirit of polarisation, or gridlock grips many within the fold. Is this what Christ wants for His Church?
Attending both forms of Mass over the years, the Novus Ordo and the Traditional Latin Mass, my experience serves to illustrate the enormous gulf between the two camps. It is like inhabiting two different worlds, both from a sociological perspective and a supernatural one. Whilst the new rite brings us His Body and Blood, administering It to the faithful, the liturgy itself and its effects, well . . . the word death comes to mind.
I know, of course, there is a certain paradox here—honouring His Body and Blood that is present at the new Mass and yet suggesting that the ‘Synodal Church‘ is on its way to death. My husband Roger deals with this paradox in his book The Gentle Traditionalist Returns:
Anna . . . likened the new vernacular liturgy to a sieve. This strange image reconciled two apparently conflicting claims. For, on the one hand, the Church maintained that Christ was equally present in both Masses. Anna accepted that. But, on the other hand, the New Mass clearly lacked something. That was plain to her. Heck, it was even plain to me! People behaved differently at the new Mass. Their attention wandered all over the place . . . .
Even the priests sometimes appeared absent-minded and sloppy, at least by comparison to the palpable reverence at the old Mass.
Anna’s analogy of the sieve resolved this tension between the two Masses. Yes, Jesus Christ became fully present in every valid Mass, new or old. But the traditional Mass provided something further, a crucial addition: a container that aided and HELD His Presence. That container was created through the sacred language of ecclesiastical Latin and the rubrics, prayers and gestures omitted in the new Mass. The fact that the Tridentine liturgy instilled reverence, naturally directing people’s attention to the Mystery, amplified its effect. That old container was missing in the new Mass, replaced by something else—something that did not hold or facilitate the proper attention, piety and receptivity to the Mystery at the Altar. Something that leaked like a sieve. All the omissions acted as HOLES. That was why the new Mass often, if not always, degenerated into a slovenly affair.Roger Buck, The Gentle Traditionalist Returns, p. 8-9.
What can I say? The graces and sense of life I experience flowing from the Traditional Latin Mass only highlights for me the lack of them in the former. The difference is palpable!
In the face of a world and a hierarchy bent on destroying that which is living, again, what to do? It is difficult not to become angry and embittered.
But an embittered heart serves no-one. So, as I say, my response has been to pray, harder than ever. And as I pray, I attempt to follow that which Jesus counselled in His sermon on the Mount, when He said,
Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you.Matthew 5.44
No easy task! But, rather than being dragged into collective pockets of anger, where we polarise in gridlock, I urge us to try. For the sake of the human person, the world, but most importantly the Church, I think it is crucial we find the strength to soften our hearts and pray for those who persecute and calumniate us, those who truly need our prayers.
In the Story of a Soul, St Therese of Lisieux wrote of her struggles to do exactly this. She said how easy it is to love those who love you. But to love those who do not, those you find difficult to love? That is, perhaps, the greatest challenge of all! But if we only try, we can sincerely pray:
Heart of Jesus, make my heart like unto Thine.
Foreword for Monarchy by Roger Buck
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