From the Pastor: The Cure for the Church of Nice Disease
This weekend Epiphany of Our Lord parish was host to a conference sponsored by a newly formed lay group. Their aim is to form a “Resistance” to what their main speaker, Michael Voris, calls the “Church of Nice”. The topics, such as Reverence for the Eucharist, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the True Meaning of Catholic Social Justice, when heard through truly Catholic ears, were so pleasing as to make the conference a sell out (in terms of seats, not in compromising the Faith!). My firm belief is that such resistance is best lived by making the Traditional Latin Mass (and the other sacraments in their traditional rituals) the norm once again, rather than the exception. Allow me to explain.
Unfortunately, for the past 50 years or so, Catholics have been misguided and misled and mistaken in their understanding of what it means to be Catholic. I used to think, as a young, excited priest eager to share the Faith with people who, like me, grew up with less than stellar or even spiritually deadly CCD classes, that this lack of teaching and, hence, understanding, was inadvertent. I naively thought that we weren’t taught because, well, the hippie generation infected the Church much like the flu is spread, without anyone trying purposefully to make others sick. The longer I have been a priest, though, the more convinced I have become that it was done willfully. Changes were made by “experts” which even someone without Faith could have predicted to bring calamity. A few examples are in order.
First, new Bible translations changed the order of many Old Testament books and even their names, changed the numbering of some of the Psalms, and changed the names of many of the Old Testament figures. This could hardly be done by accident, yet anyone could have predicted that it would lead to great confusion and a giving up on reading and quoting the Bible, let alone checking out scripture references from other sources. How so? Find the book from the older Douay Rheims (DR) Bible titled IV Kings in the New American Bible (NAB). Not there? Huh. How about the prophet Osee? Though one of the prophetic books bears his name in the DR, his name is changed in the NAB. Remember the words Jesus prayed on the Cross quoting (NAB) Psalm 22:2 which reads, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” In the DR, Psalm 22:2 reads, “He hath set me in a place of pasture. He hath brought me up, on the water of refreshment:” Yes, you have to look elsewhere to find the proper quote in an old Bible. (I am purposefully not giving you the answers!) What does that do to anybody reading older spiritual classics or an old missal which quotes the DR and they cannot make the connection between it and their new bible? It makes them give up. Don’t tell me that was not known before the changes were made.
Another deliberate destructive change was the liturgical (Mass) calendar. How many people were named for the Saint upon whose feast day they were born only to have the feast changed? Now their name day is meaningless. For instance, a boy born on March 7, 1964, might have been named Thomas, for that was St. Thomas’ feast day until 1969. Then it (March 7) changed to become the feast of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity (who were moved from March 6) while St. Thomas was moved to January 28. Why would anyone name their child after the Saint of their birthday when they know it could be changed yet again on a whim? No wonder we have Catholic kids who, even if blessed with a Saint’s name, can’t connect the dots between those names.
Finally, we come to the change of the entire Mass. Who could not predict that changing the words, the prayers, the language, the liturgical calendar, the colors (think: funeral), the “ministers”, the direction faced by the priest, the ways and means of distributing Holy Communion, the placement of the tabernacle, the removal of all meaningful fasts, and the destruction of both physical and musical beauty would destroy countless people’s faith? I have become convinced that this was done knowingly, not ignorantly, for it would have been simply too easy to foresee the negative consequences. Change the Mass--trivialize the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass--and you change and trivialize the Faith. Catholics become either non-Catholics or Catholics without the conviction that they belong to Christ’s own timeless Church which possesses all Truth and which is necessary for Salvation. Think about all of this next time you hear (or say) something derogatory about the Traditional Latin Mass; the next time someone asserts that the Common Core Mass (sorry, Novus Ordo Mass) is at least “equal” if not “superior” simply because it is new. Perhaps you will see why those who learn it (the TLM) or return to it after decades away from it, love it. The Traditional Latin Mass, accompanied by the other sacraments in the Traditional Rituals, is the best, most proven, cure for the disease called Church of Nice. I hope someone said that at the conference!
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka