From the Pastor: Don’t Make Waves?
As I wrote last week, Dr. Taylor Marshall is going to give a talk on St. Joseph this coming Monday, May 1, which coincidentally happens to be the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. What luck! On Saturday, May 6, His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider will be with us at 7:00 pm for compline (night prayer), which will include a blessing of a new reliquary for a recently-received first-class relic of Blessed Karl of Austria. Following the prayers, he will give a short talk and then join us for coffee and dessert. He will be the celebrant of the Pontifical Solemn High Mass the next day, Sunday, May 7, at 10:30. Because I wrote more extensively about this last week, I won’t go into any more details but write it simply as a reminder. I certainly hope you put it on your calendar!
One thing I have been asked about repeatedly after announcing that both of the above-mentioned men are coming to Epiphany is, “Aren’t you making us a target? Wouldn’t it be better to fly under the radar? After all, Cardinal Roach is canceling Traditional Latin Masses all over right now.” The people asking the question are, with good reason, worried that we will have our liturgical legs cut out from under us, so to speak, if we show ourselves to be “too Traditional.” But the reality is that our own Bishop, Gregory Parkes, already knows that the parish is traditional and he has always been supportive of us. He knows that I am outspoken in both speech and writing, and, although there have been things that I have written that he has chastised me for, he knows that even where we disagree about how or if certain issues should be explained, I am not doing anything to be mean or spiteful, but rather am looking out for the spiritual welfare of my parishioners. So, from a local perspective, there is no “flying under the radar” needed or even possible. As far as the men in Rome are concerned, I doubt very seriously that even if one of our FBI infiltrators should send them a letter tattling on us, it would make any more of a difference than if a million people sent them letters praising what we are doing. They have their minds made up as to what they are going to do with those who follow Tradition and they are going to follow through as they see fit. We are already, at least generically, a target, so why be timid at this point? Of course, I could be wrong and maybe they read our bulletin every week, breathlessly waiting to see what great things are happening here to help people achieve a heroic level of sanctity and we, instead of being limited or canceled, are going to be put up as an example of what a true parish should be! That is as likely as them reading the bulletins from all TLM parishes and adjusting their “cancelation schedule” based on who is visiting which parish. I am guessing that we are either already on the hit list or not and nothing we do or fail to do (save prayer) is going to change that. Therefore, we must just keep on doing the best we can, bring in the best speakers we can, allow the holiest priests, Bishops, and Cardinals who wish to come here to do so, and keep striving to become Saints. I hope you agree that going out with a bang is better than going out with nary a whimper.
Once, when I was but a youngster, I heard a story about a man who died and went to hell. The demon “welcomed” him and told him that he would escort him to the place where he would spend eternity. Each damned soul, he was told, would receive the torment that he had specifically merited due to his particular tendency to sin. The poor man complained, “But I didn’t do anything bad! I never got into any trouble myself or caused any difficulty for anyone else! I can’t imagine why I deserve any torture at all!” Of course, the demon only cackled with harsh, throaty laughter, as only demons can do, as he dug his claws into the man's shoulder and started dragging him down a long, dark, foul-smelling hallway with doors lining either side. “But how can I be in hell? I never caused any disturbance. I was never judgmental or told people that they were wrong. I never bothered anyone at all,” the man continued to plead as he struggled against his captor. “I never rocked the boat. I have a clear conscience.” As they passed by each door he could hear various instruments of torture being used and the screams of the unseen people inside made him blubber his unheard excuses all the more. “I never protested for or against any cause whatsoever. I never took sides so that I would never anger anyone. I did everything I could to ‘make nice’ with all people. I don’t deserve this!” At last the demon stopped. They were outside of a door behind which could be heard no whips, no clubs, no roaring fire. Instead of terrifying screams of pain, there were only the soft sounds of gentle murmuring. “This is your destiny,” grunted the demon. The man said, “Oh, this doesn’t seem too bad. I guess I was worried for nothing.” The door opened and the man was thrown in, landing with a huge splash in the middle of hell’s septic tank. He found himself shackled in such a way that, if he strained with every fiber of his body, he could just barely keep his mouth out of all that foul excrement and he joined his damned companions in forever murmuring, “Don’t make waves, don’t make waves.”
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka