The above is a picture I look of the art behind the main altar of the new Immaculata Church in St. Mary’s, Kansas.
While walking around the town of St. Mary’s last week, and while praying in the new Immaculata Church, I started to wonder about all the Things We Lost in the Fire which was the title of last blog post regarding the history of the past 100 years in St. Mary’s, Kansas and even the last 100 years of the Catholic Church at-large. The former seems to have been a microcosm of the former, especially in her demise under the Jesuits. But the renewal of the former (under inspiration of the Immaculata) also hopefully portends the restoration of the latter, even at a global scale in the Catholic Church.
As I was bemoaning “the changes” of the Catholic Church in the 1960s, I started to wonder (as I always do) what led up to it, and what people were thinking. Why did modernists think revamping all seven sacraments and our entire doctrinal patrimony could be a good idea in the 1960s? Of course, the loss of faith became as fissures throughout the entire foundation of the Catholic Church, even before Vatican II. There are numerous theories that border on the preternatural, such as my blog from a couple years ago titled The First Week of July 1963 about highly-coordinated satanic rituals in South Carolina and the Vatican to destroy the Catholic Church.
And while I believe demons were behind the tanked liturgy and the tanked doctrine and the tanked numbers of the Catholic faithful over the past 50 to 100 years, I also recently realized that most Catholics lost the faith because they lost their sense of gratitude for how awesome the Catholic Faith is. Too many Catholics over the past 100 years went to look in their neighbors’ backyard to seek out the excitement of evangelical Protestantism or the ease of Universalist Unitarianism or the temporary peace of Buddhist meditation. All the while, they trashed their own patrimony of Apostolic Catholicism.
Demons and advanced infiltration aside, I now believe that the Catholic hierarchy of the 20th century would have never looked for a new faith if they had been truly thankful to God and in awe of the true mysteries of Our Faith: The Supreme Mystery of the Blessed Trinity, the Immaculate Conception, the infinite merits of the Redemption and Salvation earned for us by the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yes, many forgot the intimate gift it is that Jesus Christ gave us not only the Mystical Body of the Catholic Church (including the Church Triumphant in Heaven and the Church Suffering in Purgatory) but also His own Physical body and blood for the Church Militant on earth. That is, Christ gave us—in what looks like simple bread and smells like decent wine—His own body and blood and soul and Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist.
Let’s rewind for a minute: St. John begins the book of the Apocalypse warning all the Churches of modern-day Turkey that if they don’t return to their “first love,” they will lose the True Faith. And do you know what faith exists in Turkey today? It’s nearly entirely secular or secular-Muslim. I have personally been to one Catholic Church in Istanbul, but Catholic worship is quite nearly-illegal there. St. John’s warning from 2,000 years ago has come true: The Catholic Faith is nearly extinct in Turkey. It proves God owes nobody a living, even to those who calls themselves “Christian” or “Catholic.”
Walking around St. Mary’s last week, I realized how much they took for granted. As most of you know, I grew up in progressive Catholic schools. Now a newbie to tradition, I see I would have given anything to have grown up in a Catholic paradise of tradition! But, alas, many traditionalists today are bored with true Catholicism. Many TLM Catholics are bored with the Apostolic Faith. Even many people wearing the scapular of Our Lady don’t realize there are billions of people on this planet who have never even heard the Holy Name of Jesus (except those times it was misused in American movies.) But the truth is this: All of this beauty and redemption is ours for the taking, if we will just live in gratitude and thanksgiving for the beauty of the faith, and the saving power of the sacraments.
Perhaps living in a time-warp to the 1940s would only re-start our Catholic cycle of complacency. Although I understand the 1940s were a thousand times better than the 1970s in the Catholic Church, I would also have to admit this: Re-winding to the 1940s would only restart the collapse of modernism, especially if we returned to the same complacency they had then, taking the Faith for granted. I now believe that the only way forward is to get on our knees and thank God for that shatteringly-beautiful and astonishingly-true Redemption of Jesus Christ. This is the reality transmitted to us through Apostolic Catholicism. We also must realize how frighteningly-rare it is that we be named as only a million “traditional Catholics” on a planet of 7 billion people. Indeed, not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to you be the glory for this gift (and solemn invitation) to guard and transmit the one, true faith.