Monday, August 13, 2012

Peasant Catholics Unite: In Which I Rant

It’s one of those “I wish I’d said that” moments. I can barely say more than, “What he said!” But, what the heck; I have my own examples to add!

Ah yes, Michael Voris certainly struck a nerve for me in the “Obama and Peasant Catholics” Vortex.

He summed up my experience in the Church perfectly.  Yep, I’m a “peasant” Catholic. I guess I’ve had better luck than many, though, from what Voris says. He notes:

But see, the daily experience of Catholics on the ground, Mr. Donohue, is that they don’t get to talk to their bishops. They don’t get to hop on the phone with them. They don’t get their letters answered. Their emails go ignored or responded to with an automatic reply.

I’ve generally been able to speak in person to my bishops, and I’ve had responses when I’ve contacted them by email or “snail” mail; that’s probably a function of living in a diocese that doesn’t have a whole lot of Catholics to start with, and many of those are so Protestantized they don’t even know they’re being misled.  I can relate to this statement from Voris, though:

The rare occasion they do get something back? It’s generally dismissive and condescending or patronizing or comes from some staffer at the local chancery.

The “condescending or patronizing” part has been true for me. When confronted with examples of liturgical abuse, a couple of prelates I know responded:

“Just keep your eyes closed. That’s what I do.”

“That’s not liturgical abuse. It’s just a matter of perspective.”

“That happens in dioceses all across the country.”

“I can tell the priests to stop doing that, but they’ll keep on doing it.”

“You’re right…but sometimes there are more important things than being right.”

Generally, I’ve spoken to bishops about liturgical abuses (save the liturgy, save the world, after all!). But of course there are other issues, as Voris makes clear:

And what is it they want to sit and talk with their bishops – their shepherds, their fathers – about, Mr. Donohue?  They want to talk about the crazy nun in the local RCIA program saying Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead. They want to try and understand why the bishop has appointed and is allowing a flagrantly homosexual priest to run the parish and deliver very suspect homilies. They want understand why the local Catholic school has ceased passing on the faith. 

And how it happens that an ordained deacon can think that abortion and war have the same moral weight, that the Church “got it wrong” on homosexuality, and that it’s okay for married couples to use artificial contraception. 

Then there are those “Catholic” hospitals… Imagine my surprise to find that even the parish priest and the deacon were unwilling to tell our local Catholic hospital Ethics Committee that they could not approve direct sterilizations of women! But I was willing…and I did. Then the hospital administrators were upset,andt all the priest could find to say was, “At least they’re not mad at me.

And WHY do they want to talk with their spiritual fathers about all these topics and more. Mr. Donohue?

Because they are reeling from the fact that no one in their family goes to Mass anymore.  That their children are living in sin, that their siblings are practicing contraception, that their grandchildren don’t believe in the Real Presence, that their parents are divorced or cheating on each other and support abortion or same-sex marriage, that the culture at large – and the Culture of Death specifically – has consumed the people they love…

You tell ‘em, Michael Voris! That’s exactly what the problems are! And don’t forget these issues: your granddaughter is getting married outside the Church with apparently no second thoughts because she’s not been taught otherwise; and her mother has told you “Well, you know, I’m not a strict Catholic any more…but I love the Catholic Church”. (Huh?!) And what about all those people we meet who say, "I was raised Catholic, but..."

 …and they don’t see one blessed finger of any consequence being lifted by the establishment church and those who glide comfortably through those halls of power, to rescue their loved ones.

Nope. Not one single thing. Oh sure, sometimes words are spoken – good words, words that irritate a few people. But what action is taken? “Just keep your eyes closed,” as the above-mentioned bishop mentioned says. “That’s what I do.” Indeed.

All they see is confusion and mixed messages and politics and money-grubbing and good traditional Catholics – clergy included – being marginalized

I’ll say! Send Fr. Michael Rodriguez off to the hinterlands of the El Paso Diocese for preaching the truth in the public square (hello, USCCB Media Blog…if the bishops were really doing this, as you seem to think, they wouldn’t be punishing the priests who actually do it). And any priest who wants to offer the EF Mass is a candidate for such treatment in most dioceses, it seems…certainly that was true in our diocese while our infamous Apostolic Administrator held the reins.  And talk about being marginalized: that same AA even blacklisted Yours Truly because of what I wrote on my blog about his mis-administration of certain situations.  (I took that as a vote of confidence, though; he seemed to think I have a lot more Diocese of Baker readers than I actually do!) And the local pastor ostracized and vilified me and my family several years ago, and I still get odd looks from parishioners I chance to meet in the grocery store.

Seems like most pastors are afraid to make unpopular changes – even if those changes are what the Church asks of us! – for fear of diminishing returns in the collection each week. Do they think God will not provide if they do the right thing?!

…and abuse after abuse after abuse going on at Sunday Mass…

Let me count the ways (see the “TLM and Liturgy” tab above): Altar girls, not to mention altar girls in high heels; extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion giving non-receivers a blessing while dressed in shorts and flip-flops; children invited to surround the altar during the consecration; guitars, tambourines and trumpets playing songs like “Jesus Love Me” at Mass;  the priest placing a CD player on the altar to play a communion hymn; extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion consuming the remaining Precious Blood at the end of Communion…

…The Obama invite is really a flashpoint for the much larger unspoken battle in the Church – the battle not between Modernists and Orthodox, but between the Catholic-elites and the Peasant Catholics that the power structures want nothing to do with.

And why do they want nothing to do with them?  Because to engage them would force the elites to be accountable and they know it. They would have to try and render an explanation for all the filth and corruption and lack of charity that has so permeated the halls of the establishment Church.

They would have to explain why they are not following the mind of the Church in the liturgy, or in teaching about the evil of contraception…or anything else, for that matter! What about hell? Do we believe in hell any more, bishops?  What’s that quote about hell being paved with the skulls of bishops? Hmmm.

The leaders would have to explain their decisions to allow the madness of errant theology being preached, of the spiritual insanity that emanates from pulpits and Catholic classrooms and religious ed offices.

Not to mention the spiritual inanities

They would have to explain why the Church has essentially collapsed on their watch.  And they don’t want to do that because they know there IS NO explanation.  And moreover, they have NO plan to fix it because they are unwilling to understand the full scope of the devastation because it convicts THEM.

So they are content to send out attack dogs – to release the hounds on faithful Catholics, rather than sit down and talk with them.

And most importantly what they have failed to grasp utterly is this: Peasant Catholics – which includes…absolutely includes…many solid priests and seminarians – who up to this point have been dismissed, smeared, discarded, ignored, mocked, belittled, and dumped on, are willing to forgive everything and support their bishops at a moment’s notice – in a heartbeat – if the bishops would rally to the cause of the Church and stop pandering to the culture.

Absolutely true. And you know why? Because the Peasant Catholics are faithful, and they know about obedience. They also know about Truth and conscience. And when they see a bishop speaking and teaching the Truth – even when it’s not politically correct – they cheer! They think, “At last!” They’re ready to follow that leader! But too often it becomes clear that it was all a show, and the “leader” reverts to the namby-pamby, wishy-washy weasel words that are commonly heard in statements to the press.

You engage the world by fighting the evil in it…not by having dinner with it.
So how about it, Establishment Church?  There’s a whole army out here which has been on the side of the Church and never left.  We’re here ready and waiting.  Stop treating us peasant Catholics like we’re the enemy, and start giving us our marching orders.


  1. I'm a tad late for this party, but is Mr Voris referring to Bill Donohue, the bargain-basement Abe Foxman and erstwhile defender of Catholics, or some other Donohue?

  2. Yes, the Bill Donohue of The Catholic League.

  3. "they know there IS NO explanation"

    Well, there is an explanation. Too many bishops have been asleep at the wheel the past 50 years.

    Dr J, I do love it when you go off on the subject of liturgy. In re-reading Aquilina's The Mass of the Early Christians, I came across this in Scott Hahn's introduction (lest anyone think liturgy is mere window dressing):

    I believe that memory may be what modern psychologists and philosophers are groping toward when they speak of “identity” or “self-consciousness.”
    The soul of the Church also possesses this faculty. The Church has a memory, and it’s called liturgy. The liturgy is the memory of the Church.
    The Mass is the place where Tradition lives. This was its purpose from the very beginning, when Jesus commanded his apostles to “Do this in memory of me.” In the Old Testament, too, the one commandment that concerns the liturgy is “Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.”
    - Scott Hahn

  4. Restore the Mass, Save Souls!


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