But they, shaking off the dust of their feet against them, came to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost. Acts 13:51-52
Many of the readership, and former readership, I might add, have noticed my absence from our traditional Catholic chapel of Christ the King. Several have gone out of their way to ask why this is so. So I will take this time to post via Catholic Rural Solutions the circumstances of my absence.
My criteria for testing the spirits, as St. Paul admonishes, is to see evidence of not only the Gifts of the Holy Ghost, but the Fruits of the Holy Ghost, which proceeds from these gifts. To be sure, I acknowledge, assuming the priest is validly ordained, that the Consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is effected and that Christ is truly and substantially present within the chapels of the traditional Catholic churches. A natural consequence of this Supernatural action of Consecration is that the Holy Ghost indwells, not only within the chapel, but also, within the people attending this chapel. While the Real Presence is effected by the priest regardless of his inner disposition by simply doing as the Church intends in the Consecration at a valid Sacrifice of the Mass, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit also rests on the characteristics of the Faithful and clergy who attend that chapel or parish.
Many attending traditional Tridentine Masses, largely through ignorance, are nostalgic for the “smells and bells” of the Old Rite. They have a shallow understanding of the theological issues and the deep Supernatural Mysteries that occur before, during, and after Mass. Many flutter, like spiritual butterflies, from Mass to Mass, Church to Chapel, attending willy-nilly any and all “masses” within the various rites of the Catholic Church. Lapping up the various nectars of each; savoring the various flavors; resulting in no regular confessor or pastor to guide them in this Supernatural Pilgrimage of life. This, in turn, results in conflicting theological beliefs depending on the training and background of the various priests whose Mass they attend. Thus the Supernatural Nectars these butterflies sample become blended in an insipid flavor which no longer has taste or nourishment.
The same can be said of clergy, as they first become curious of the flower of ecumenism, and then gradually begin to sample its taste and flavor. Unfortunately, the Flower of Ecumenism is often a Venus Fly Trap, Sundew, or Pitcher Plant alluring the unwary and enveloping them in their deadly embrace. Too often they come away from this flower conflicted at best or completely charmed by the experience. This result is soon reflected in their own beliefs and actions gradually filling their flocks with ambiguities, conflicts, and inconsistencies. Certainly, such an atmosphere is not conducive to the Gifts of the Holy Ghost, (The gifts of the Holy Ghost are Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord), to say nothing of the Fruits of the Holy Ghost. (The twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost are Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Benignity, Goodness, Long-suffering, Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Continency, and Chastity.)
It can be seen lately within the chapels of the SSPX there is much to be desired regarding the fruits of the Holy Ghost. So let’s take some of the actions of these chapels of late and set them to this standard of the Fruits of the Holy Ghost. First, Charity; since the Crisis of the SSPX initially became obvious in spring of 2012, many of the adherents of the SSPX Masses have been warning against any deal with the Vatican until and unless there is positive proof of a doctrinal conversion to orthodox Catholic Faith. Immediately, these dissident voices were label as sede vacantists or of a “sede vacantist mind”. Certainly, a basely slander since nearly all profess to believing the current pope is truly pope. More to the point, such an accusation is uncharitable and is clear evidence of contradiction of first of the Gift of the Holy Ghost, i.e. charity.
Next is the Gift of Joy: where is there evidence of joy of late within the chapels of the SSPX? In the past, these chapels exhibited much joy in the fact that not only within each chapel but between chapels there existed a feeling of extended family. Joy was expressed in each new Baptism, Communion, Confirmation, and wedding. New members were welcomed with demonstrable joy. Conversions were welcomed and celebrated with great jubilation and joy. The spirit of the early Christian community as in the Act of the Apostles was quite evident. Yet today, there is a stifling of this joyous spirit; instead there exists a spirit of suspicion and shunning.
(See p. 3; SSPX publication “Resistance to What?”; Letter from the District Superior, (US). I denounce as immoral and as occasions of sin the websites where so many lies, false rumors, exaggerations, rash judgements, and constant attacks on the legitimate authorities of the Society are published. Those who own them or collaborate with them are certainly offending God. I ask the faithful not only to stay away from these websites, but even to stay away from anyone who promotes their content, spirit, and rebellion.)
A third conspicuous area from which the Gifts of the Holy Ghost is absent is peace. Pastors, District Superiors, and Bishops rail against those whose only offense is to warn their brethren, including the clergy, of the dangers of a purely practical agreement. The leadership denies Sacraments to those who only sound the alarm of danger, an interdict not even abortionists, murderers, and others who gravely sin, suffers from in the contemporary Church. These and other denouncements of the Faithful only serves to exacerbate the divisions and set up factions within the chapels, and even within families.
Benignity is also not exhibited of late within the chapels. Benignity is kindness and with all the foregoing it can be seen that kindness, related to charity, is not shown. Indeed, unkindness, the antithesis of benignity is encouraged by the archaic action of shunning within the community of the Faithful. Many, who regarded past relationships as more like extended family have abandoned any discourse with those whose sole guilt is to caution over what essentially amounts to a political difference. Indeed, from both pulpit and conference dais the leadership has outright told those who point out the varied stand of the current SSPX with the past SSPX to leave. Yes, they actually have shown people the door. Bear in mind that many of those thus treated are the very pillars on which His Excellency Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre relied to build up the Society to be the voice of contradiction to the Modernists of the Vatican. …Certainly, the ingratitude of ingratitudes.
Clearly, these are but some of the violations of the Fruits of the Holy Ghost, which now manifests itself within our chapels. For me, at least, this is the line in the sand. This is the criteria by which I judge if the current state of the SSPX chapels is a danger to my soul. After all, seeking our own ultimate salvation is the prime directive and goal of the Christian Faith. While this may be unique to my state in life, I don’t encourage anyone to leave the chapels and schools of the Society, most especially those families with young children. For the moment, the structure of the Society schools and chapels are the best we can do, however, that does not preclude our due diligence to test the spirits. We must be ever vigilant of the Faith through knowing our Faith, and ever watchful that orthodox Catholic teaching is not compromised, especially where our children are concerned. We must also support those dissident clerics who continue to speak out boldly, in season or out of season, because should the SSPX capitulate to Modernism completely, God forbid, there will be an alternative source for reception of the true Sacraments, as well as, a necessary “parish life”.
Whatever our decisions we must not abandon those who we care for. They were formerly good friends, nearly kin, and in the Faith they remain so. On both sides of this crisis we must not give in to the spirit of abandonment and shun those who meant and mean so much to us. Meantime, I personally go on to Iconium and cast my soul’s care onto those clerics who remain true to the orthodox Catholic Faith. I see this not as my personal judgment and decision but as a movement of the Holy Ghost within me. Remember, as His Excellency Bishop Richard N. Williamson, said many, many years ago before the Crisis of the SSPX, and I paraphrase here: the Society is not the Church but merely an order of the Catholic Church. If they should ever abandon the fight against Modernism and capitulate to the Novus Ordo, the Holy Ghost will provide others who maintain the Faith of our Fathers and the orthodoxy of the Catholic Church as handed down from Jesus Christ and His Apostles.
Perhaps this so-called Resistance, the Marian Corp of priests, is those others!
Look carefully and prayerfully within your heart and soul determine where and when a danger to your soul exists, then let the Holy Ghost lead you.
Pray the Rosary for the Consecration of the Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, this is the key to sorting out not only this Crisis within the SSPX, but also the crisis within the Catholic Church.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.