Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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“I Have Forgotten Good Things”

January 10th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Whenever I travel outside of the Diocese of Rochester, I’m struck by how much rubbish we simply accept as being the norm. In many places, while parishes might not be 100% perfect, there’s no need to worry about seeing a woman mount the pulpit, a priest manipulate the Mass for a political agenda, or liturgical dancers flitting about the sanctuary like mentally-deranged Tinkerbells. The sad thing is that many people, if not most, are simply unaware of the Church as it exists universally – all they can see is the Church locally, with all of its problems and deficiencies. I can say with absolute certainty that every single Catholic in the Diocese of Rochester is damaged. Almost everyone has been touched by school and parish closings or clusterings. There is pain in practically everyone’s heart, and that is a most unfortunate situation.

This “damage” we bear has some very profound and beautiful parallels to the sufferings of the ancient Israelites and their exile from the Holy Land. The Book of Lamentations is one of my favorite portions of the Bible. The imagery therein is amazingly poignant, and perfectly demonstrates the woes that afflict a people that has turned its back on proper worship. If you haven’t given it a read, please do. You won’t be disappointed. One of the verses that jumped out at me in my last perusal was this one: “my soul is removed far off from peace, I have forgotten good things.” This is taken from the third chapter of Lamentations, but it could just as easily have been taken from the thoughts of any observant Catholic in the Diocese of Rochester. Our souls are not at peace. Nor will they be until a zealous orthodoxy consumes the priests, religious, and the ordinary (bishop).

“But, Gen,” you say. “Aren’t you being a bit dramatic? We’re not exiled like the Israelites were – we haven’t worshiped idols, either! If your soul isn’t at peace, it’s unfortunate, but it’s not a diocese-wide phenomenon.” Well, no. I am not being dramatic. For thirty years, closure after closure, clustering after clustering, and abuse after abuse has hacked away at Catholics whose only desire was, quite simply, to be Catholic. I don’t care if you’re a Latin Mass-er, an Ordinary Form-er, or whatever. We all desire the same thing. We desire a pure, unadulterated, non-political Catholicism.

Or at least we ought to. Behold the tyranny of the “ought,” friends – what ought to be is not what currently is. There are those among us who, though believing their desires pure and Godly, pursue things which cause further dissension, further confusion, and further disintegration of our parish communities. For too many people, the liturgy has become something which must entertain us, which must appeal to every facet of our existence and caress our pre-conceived notions of what “church” should be like. People parish hop because they like the charisma of this priest over that one. They join one choir, then skip along to another one because their desire to sing is the important thing for them – defending dignified worship isn’t. Others turn attendance at a certain Mass into a weapon – I have heard people proclaim loudly that they are parishioners at Our Lady of Victory “just to spite the Bishop.” Not only is that giving a bad name to the others parishioners at that church, it’s just immature.

The Mass ought (aha, the tyranny of the ought rises again) to be above manipulation and partisan bickering. It’s the Church’s reflection of Heaven, and yet too many of us turn it into a reflection of our own daily lives. The tendency of liturgical liberals to lower the Mass to banality through use of ridiculous and irreverent theatrics demonstrates a complete lack of understanding about what the Mass is. It is absolutely wrong to make the Mass primarily about you. It is wrong to make it about your abilities or your desires. It is wrong to make it your plaything. The Mass is Our Lord’s, and it is His gift to us. What ungrateful children are they who abuse this precious offering!

Those who do things like this, who focus primarily on self and not on God, have forgotten the “good things” mentioned in Lamentations. And note the similar situations: in Lamentations, Jerusalem is barren and desolate, her sanctuary empty, her priests scattered and disloyal, her courts abused by the conquering horde. Then look at Rochester. The Diocese is, just like Jerusalem, barren and desolate. Churches sit empty. Priests are reveling in tainting Church teaching. Our churches are being turned into mosques and Protestant assembly places. The Scriptures give us so many lessons, so many direct and undeniable incentives to remain orthodox in our faith, and yet many don’t. And why? Because “it’s hard.” “It’s not inclusive enough.” “I don’t understand it.” “God loves me just how I am.” Certainly we have God’s unconditional love, but this does not mean that we can abuse it. Nor does it mean we can deny it.

We all know that Our Lord pardoned His executioners. He was obedient unto them when they sentenced Him to death. He let them spit in His holy face. When liturgical abuse happens, the same scene is acted out. Instead of Pontius Pilate saying, “What is Truth?” we have priests who deny the Final Judgment. Instead of the centurions pushing the crown of thorns into the very bone of His skull, Our Lord has lay administrators assuming the roles of priests at Holy Mass. Though His bones may have been numbered by the Romans, and lots cast on His garments, He now has “Catholics” handling His Sacred Body without any regard for the reality that it is just that, His Sacred Body. There is no difference between those who persist in the complete and total desecration of the Holy Mass and those who murdered God on the Cross.

For the Jewish authorities, they alone were the important ones. So long as they felt safe and comfortable in their ways everything was just fine. Rouse yourselves from your apathy, friends, and don’t find yourselves to be in the same situation. Don’t go to Mass where you can be seen the most or heard the best – go to Mass where God is respected and treated as the omnipotent Creator He is. Do not continue to forget the “good things” the pitiable souls lost in Lamentations – find these “good things.” Defend them. Treasure them. For in finding the value of the sacred, you find value in Him who makes all things beautiful.

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One Response to ““I Have Forgotten Good Things””

  1. avatar Snowshoes says:

    Gen,

    Thank you, eloquently put. Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us, Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary, pray for us, St. Joseph, pray for us. All Holy Souls, Angels and Saints, pray for us. Amen.


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