This past Christmas I ran into a friend, and wishing him the blessings of the Holydays, I perceived a haggard look. Oh yes, he was sad.
Being in a constant state of agitation is becoming an occupational hazard for some Trads. I do not wish to be unkind, but some people make a career of being sad and upset. Why is this?
Some Trads get so upset by the words and actions of the present Pope that they jump on the non-una-cum or the Sede bandwagon. That is a purely emotional (proud) response. The present Pope’s words and actions are the logical fallout of Vatican II new theology. Nor will this inevitable trend reverse itself unless this “robber council” (1) is declared null & void, and this will no doubt be done by heavenly intervention.
These Trads have judged the Pope unfit and then look to history to ease their conscience. They may find churchmen who studied the question of how to depose a Pope, but the reality is that the Pope does occupy Rome, for now, and that he does need prayers. To oust him is outside of our scope (an inferior cannot easily remove a superior – try removing a president of a country!!) and to not pray for him is uncharitable and may well be offensive to God and detrimental to our soul.
These Trads would do well to properly study the history of the Catholic Church, in particular the Avignon fiasco. What a trial this must have been for the Catholics: surviving three Popes all vying for Office at the same time and retaining the Faith show the dogged determination that Catholics are able to muster when needed. And yes, they quarreled. But they also prayed! Maybe had they prayed harder and argued less, the heavenly solution might have been given sooner. Either way, we would do well to emulate – not just sing – the Faith of our fathers!
Then there are other Trads who lament that they cannot get daily or weekly Mass. Sad indeed. But is it not also sad that millions of children all over the world are denied their God-given right to learn and practise the true religion? Rather than complain, why not offer up the inability to have weekly Mass for one such soul who does not even know that there is such a thing as Holy Mass? I was one of these souls – perhaps one generous Catholic in the days of the Archbishop prayed for me.
Then there are those Trads who “bite the hand that feeds them”. Have we forgot how grateful we were, two years ago, to meet the friendly Resistance priests and to hear clear and sound advice? And the wonder of it all – they come back! They come from different parts of the world to our – and your – small group of stranded Catholics who have the dogged determination to keep the Faith of our fathers.
So, let us bless these holy Fathers! Let us pray for them! Let us offer sacrifices that they may persevere in their apostolic zeal, obedient to God’s command “Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.
To my sad friend this is my advice: Join the Third Order of Penance of St Francis! Therein you will find ample opportunities to do penance for yourself and for others, and the more penances you do, the less time you will have to ruminate on your sadness. In fact, your sorrow will turn to gladness as you learn that Franciscan Spirituality forbids precisely that what ails you: sadness!
And to all sad Trads I have this to say: Rather than give in to gloom and doom, join the Third Order and be joyful supporters of the priests who, in the spirit of the Archbishop and of St Francis, travel to the ends of the earth to bring God Himself to children young and old everywhere!
(1) Archbishop Lefebvre, They Have Uncrowned Him, p 163
Pax et Bonum
Sr Constance TOSF