Vatican News recently gave their headline as “Pope Francis: ‘Liturgy needs to return to center of Christian faith.’” The words of the Roman Pontiff were addressed to an Italian liturgical conference with the theme: “Where two or three are gathered in my name”: Community, liturgies, and territories.” His words themselves are in fact true, but only if they are understood in the opposite way than the prevailing message. The truism “actions speak louder than words,” seems to be less than self-evident to many of the Church hierarcy.
After a year of the worldwide episcopate shutting churches and now with Papa Bergoglio’s renewed attempt, like Papa Montini, to abolish the traditional Roman Rite from the Roman Catholic Church, the faithful have undoubtedly received a message about what is meant by “liturgy” and “center of Christian faith.”
According to the Modernists who hold money and power across the worldwide hierarchy of the Church, the liturgy is not so essential a service as to be truly the “center” of our lives—it must certainly not be given priority over other more “essential things.” The unbloody sacrifice of Calvary for the life of the world is not essential to the world and to souls. The Paschal mystery of the Logos Incarnate is not worth fighting for. The liturgy is merely an exercise in emotional sentiment and psychological wellbeing, like a community potluck or barbeque. Therefore, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a non-essential service. And so why risk dying over it? Why risk censure from your bishop or from Rome? Why risk imprisonment or fines from the Marxists?
Thus, reports indicate that the Italian bishops and forces in the Vatican do not seek to honor the presence of Christ Himself where even “two or three gathered” for the Latin Mass. For them, the traditional Roman rite is worse than non-essential, it is itself the virus, the pandemic, which must be thrust out of the Church. The Roman Catholic Church must not be too Roman or too Catholic, and the Church must become an NGO without the Eucharist, (even though the Eucharist makes the Church, according to Vatican II itself; cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, 19ff).
On the contrary, for priests across the world who fear God and remember when their face was flat on the ground during their ordination Mass, this sentiment is anathema. For their hearts burn for souls. They have internalized the words of Our Lord as the good shepherd, so that they can fulfill their duty to their ordination, as Prümmer notes:
The pastor of souls is bound to administer the Sacraments to the faithful when they stand in extreme spiritual necessity [i.e. about to die with no hope of recovery] even at the risk of his life or other great temporal harm. They are bound in time of plague or infectious disease to administer the Sacrament of baptism and penance even at the risk of their life, according to this Scripture: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep (Jn. x. 11). (Manuale Theologiae Moralis, Vol III, no. 72ff, my translation)
These men of God have already proven themselves in the fire of 2020, and are burning with zeal to do so again as more suffering is on the horizon. These priests needs our support. Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus reflects on the thirst of Jesus Christ on the cross:
Jesus thirsts for our eternal salvation. He thirsts for souls. This is the thirst of which He complains, and which is consuming His very life’s Blood. Jesus most passionately desires that the Blood He has shed should benefit mankind by saving them from Hell…
[But there is another] species of thirst endured by Jesus. The thirst to suffer yet more for the glory of His beloved Father, and the salvation of souls. Jesus has drunk the bitter chalice of His Passion, even to the dregs, and yet He thirsts to suffer even more for love of us (School of Jesus Crucified, Day 29).
Priests who have holy zeal are willing to lay down their life for their sheep, and suffer yet more, for their thirst is the same as the Heart of Jesus: the salvation of our souls. Holy Fathers: we need you more than ever in this time!
To my lay brethren: we must support our priests! Let us rally around good and holy priests like soldiers to a strong and faithful leader. The Book of IV Kings gives the perfect picture of our times: the rebellious kingdom of Israel had been thoroughly corrupted by King Achab and Jezebel and the worship of the true God had been corrupted by priests worshipping idols. The wicked king had used violence and an army to impose his terror upon the faithful of Israel. Yet this whole regime of evil could never withstand a single man of God:
And the King sent to him a captain of fifty, and the fifty men that were under him. And he went up to him, and as he was sitting on the top of a hill, said to him: Man of God, the king hath commanded that thou come down. And Elias answering, said to the captain of fifty: If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee, and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him, and the fifty that were with him.
And again he sent to him another captain of fifty men, and his fifty with him. And he said to him: Man of God, thus saith the king: Make haste and come down. Elias answering, said: If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And fire came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
Again he sent a third captain of fifty men, and the fifty that were with him. And when he was come, he fell upon his knees, before Elias, and besought him and said: Man of God, despise not my life, and the lives of thy servants that are with me. Behold fire came down from heaven, and consumed the two first captains of fifty men, and the fifties that were with them: but now I beseech thee to spare my life (IV Kings i. 9-14).
The soldiers could not withstand a single man of God, and were forced grovel before the true power which moves the world. In the same way, the Masons, Marxists and every other enemy across the world which threatens fines, jail, or even violence cannot withstand the power of the cross of Jesus Christ. For the devil himself trembles before it, how much more his petty minions who rule the world. Behold the Cross! Flee away, ye adversary!
Yet Priests of God who consecrate the Sacred Host call down a greater fire than even the prophet Elias invoked. It is what Kwasniewski says is “eating fire and spirit” (The Holy Bread of Eternal Life, 5-12). We wholeheartedly agree with the words of the Roman Pontiff, but not in the way the Modernists want to understand them. Layfolk: let us find the good and holy priest, the man of God, even if we have to pack up and move the family to another city. For now we can give thanks: the priests who are men of God are being proven like silver in fire. They are now revealed, just as the false shepherd is revealed, the hireling, who seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep (Jn. x. 12).
Now that we have seen which priests are men of God, we can rally around them. They will call down from on high the fire from heaven, to overcome every adversary. In this XIII Week after Pentecost, let us remember that God the Holy Spirit gave birth to the Church, and His fire will burn in all the saints who, in every age, conquered kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, recovered strength from weakness, became valiant in battle, put to flight the armies of foreigners (Heb. xi. 33-35). Let pray to Our Lady to obtain for each of us the grace to join this glorious company of saints, for our times are the days that make saints.
T. S. F.
Feast of St. Philip Benizi
Photo credit: Cullan Smith via unsplash.com
Timothy Flanders is the editor of OnePeterFive. He is the author of City of God versus City of Man: The Battles of the Church from Antiquity to the Present, which is forthcoming, and Introduction to the Holy Bible for Traditional Catholics. His writings have appeared at OnePeterFive and Crisis, as well as in Catholic Family News. In 2019 he founded The Meaning of Catholic, a lay apostolate dedicated to uniting Catholics against the enemies of Holy Church. He holds a degree in classical languages from Grand Valley State University and has done graduate work with the Catholic University of Ukraine. He lives in the Midwest with his wife and four children.