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Clown World

With no end in sight.

March 1, 2023  0


There's a meme floating around the internet we'd like to share with you because of how correct its 60,000-foot view is: "We live in a society where homosexuals lecture us on morals, transvestites lecture us on human biology, baby killers lecture us on human rights and socialists lecture us on economics."

As Catholics, we could add to that: "We live in a Church where heretics lecture us on doctrine, schismatics lecture us on obedience to tradition, money-grubbing bishops lecture us on social justice and modernist theologians lecture us on our ignorance of theology." No matter where you turn — the world or the Church — it's an absolute clown world. Consider the insanity today emanating from both Rome and Washington, D.C., and, moreover, consider the further insanity that arises in response to all that in both spheres.

When the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl on the leg of kicker Harrison Butker, the Catholic trad world went wild online when his brown scapular was seen on the field. Great — all faithful Catholics adopt, wear and love the scapular. However, one wonders just how effusive the praise from the trad bigmouths online would have been if Butker did not attend the Latin Mass. The Latin Mass has become an idol to them, and anything goes in that world so long as it's related to the Latin Mass.

It could be just looking the other way on clerical sex abuse in that world because, you know — the Latin Mass. It could be defending schism in that world because, you know — the Latin Mass. It could mean an overweening spiritual arrogance and hubris because, you know — the Latin Mass. It's like they should post placards and burn down Novus Ordo parishes chanting, "TLM lives matter."

Reverent liturgy is absolutely a key component of the much-needed restoration.

This isn't to rag on the Traditional Latin Mass — by no means. Virtually everyone — certainly, most people — here in the studio attends the Latin Mass frequently if not exclusively. It isn't the Mass itself that's the issue — by no means. It is the off-putting arrogance and insulting superiority of its leading online spokesmen. If the Old Rite is supposed to make people holier, as they all claim — well, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we present to you its arrogant online promoters as exhibit one.

The Mass of the Ages, as it is referenced, is beautiful, solemn, reverent and fitting worship of and for Almighty God. But that's the Mass. What about its online celebrity supporters? Are there really no other ways to bring people around to its beauty than to ridicule and mock and condescend? It seems the beauty of the centuries-old liturgy stops at the communion rails when it comes to its online promoters.

The "silver-bullet" notion that all we need to solve the crisis in the Church is the Latin Mass is absurd on its face. Of course, it's true — and Church Militant is on record, for many years, talking about and attacking the daily abuses in many (if not most) usual parishes — that reverent liturgy is absolutely a key component of the much-needed restoration. But to isolate reverence to just one liturgical rite is nuts.

Approximately 10% of Catholics worldwide attend rites other than the Latin Rite. Those other rites are the Byzantine, Alexandrian, Syriac, Armenian, Maronite, and Chaldean. These rites also break down into further ritual subdivisions depending on history and geography and almost all of these rites far predate what we in the West today have come to know as the Latin Rite.

They largely derive from the earliest centuries of the Church, which flourished more in the East than in the West — the reason why the first councils of the Church all happened on that side. Adherents to the Eastern Rites wouldn't know a TLM from a hole in the ground. It's not their tradition. And in truth, their tradition came centuries and centuries before the liturgical traditions of the West took hold. That's why, in the Latin Rite, we still have a vestige of the Eastern tongue present when we say "Kyrie Eleison." That’s not Latin — it's Greek.

Likewise, it would be curious to do some form of survey or demographic outline and actually count heads around the world. How many Catholics — again, around the world — actually sit in a TLM each Sunday compared to how many actually are sitting in one of the Eastern Rites? It's a guess, but we'll venture there are more Catholic bodies — again, around the world (in the universal Church) — in the Eastern Rites than the TLM on any given Sunday.

The entire eastern world of the Church is largely unknown or at least a mystery to those of us raised in the Latin Rite. But to the point of just how Catholic it is, Bp. Sheen was bi-ritual, meaning he offered Mass in the Latin Rite and then could walk across the street to an Eastern Rite parish and offer Mass there. The point is, it's all Catholic.

However, that said — and furthering the whole clown world theme — this all makes you wonder exactly why Pope Francis seemingly has it out for the TLM. Correct or not, he is under the impression that a liturgical schism has begun between the TLM and the Novus Ordo adherents, which, of course, was the exact opposite reason Pope Benedict freed the Latin Mass from its earlier confines — to show that each would become more incorporated into the other.

The Latin Mass has become an idol.

Francis is of the mind, apparently, that the TLM crowd is even more at odds with the Novus Ordo crowd, and, regardless of any hidden motivations heavily speculated about, he has said he wants to put an end to that. Of course, he could just go after the Novus Ordo Mass, but he doesn't. Likewise, he could correct the zillions of abuses that occur at the Novus Ordo Mass, and, for that matter, so, too, could the bishops, who have sat on their hands for decades, and whose inaction has created this liturgical clown world we are all witness to.

In fact, it was the slow creep of liturgical abuse — again, permitted by the bishops and, in some cases, even encouraged by the more modernist ones — that set the stage for this, all of it. Those of us who remember what the initial, original modifications were to the liturgy were not jarred in the slightest. It was when the craziness started creeping in that we (at the time, young altar boys) were scratching our heads and saying, "What's that about? Why are we doing that now and not doing what we used to?"

As a young altar boy — and yes, boy, as opposed to the nonspecific altar "server" — I used to hold the paten under the chins of kneeling communicants at the altar rail. Then, it all got phased out, and pretty quickly. Why did the bishops allow that? And more to the point, why don't they now correct it? I know Church Militant gets grief from many people for constantly talking about the failings of the bishops. But, hey, "if the miter fits ... ."

Of course, every single problem in the Church can be laid at the feet of the bishops because they refuse to ever address the crisis in any substantive way. When you talk about clown world, at least in the Church, the clown is wearing a miter.

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