Thursday, September 22, 2016

Don't Be a Hater'

My fascination with Traditionalist Catholics seems at a paramount along with Transformers, Bigfoot, and Jiu Jitsu.  They seem to fall into three categories.  Most are well-meaning in their devotions, pious and loyal to the Magisterium.  They may have certain questions or concerns, but never outside of a respectful tone, looking to the Holy Father as just that, a father.  While we owe our respect and obedience to the Pope, we must never forget that he is not infallible in all his pronouncements, but only when exercising a ministry regarding Faith and morals from the chair, ie Ex Cathedra.  The Pope cannot change a doctrine, he could deepen it, but never change it, and for that to happen(deepen), he would write an ‘Encyclical’ not an Apostolic Exhortation.  I consider myself in this line.  The other types are the extreme ‘I know better than the Pope crowd,’ and finally the complete whackadoodle crowd, either sedevacantists (waiting for a spaceship) or the ‘conclavists’(My favorite is Pope Michael).

The latest controversy has once again the extremists frothing at the mouth.  That in certain cases, some divorced and re-married may be admitted to Holy Communion.  First off, although issues are black and white, people are not.  Again, most recently, a leaked letter to the Bishops of South America was discovered, whereby the Pope ‘congratulated’ these Bishops for allowing the divorced and remarried access to the Sacraments.  What is not mentioned is the cultural circumstances surrounding this issue.  Namely, the rate of poverty, and pregnancy, steeped in a traditional setting, whereby ‘shotgun’ weddings are performed.  Whether this is an issue or not, is for the canonists to debate, us as the faithful need to remember that Jesus heads our Church, and the Holy Spirit will never leave us.  This brings us to our current debate, one between Justice and Mercy.  Essentially the two are not exclusive, despite certain ideological camps claiming so. 

Our culture ceased to be a Christian one some time ago, and again, in my opinion, I believe this is essentially what the Holy Father is trying to get at.  Our starting point is once again ‘Ground Zero.’  I believe, that to paraphrase Aquinas, the ‘act’ remains in the intentionality of the Pope.  It must be addressed however that for certain people clinging to ideological bents, there arises a danger. 

Certain members of the Faithful are troubled and confused, and instead of using this as a means to Grace, they lash out.  As traditional Catholics, we need to be careful, so as not to cause scandal but instead to draw ourselves more deeply into Christ’s mystery.  We cannot hide behind the ‘law’ and use every opportunity to embarrass people who do not share our views.  I too, wish that the Pope could be a little clearer, but I refuse to engage in a senseless and downright nasty political campaign trying to humiliate him.  We know the Catechism, Scripture and Canon Law,.. We don’t need to freak out over everything that comes out.  Instead we need to take this time to grow in Holiness.  Sadly there are people, describing themselves as Traditional, and engaging in Spiritual pornography, scouring the internet and criticizing the way the Pope ties his shoelaces.  Even when some good news comes out, they try to spin it into a critique.   Again, not just any kind of critique, but a violent hate driven propaganda spiel.  The devil is shrewd, and can easily play a game of not only spiritual narcissism, but can also sow seeds of hatred for our fellow Catholics.  The ‘left’ does not have a monopoly on God’s mercy, and I dare to say that both extremes are dangerous.   To be pastoral can mean clarity, in charity, respecting God’s justice recognizing that we are sinners while at the same time trusting in God’s mercy.

Guys, I too am Traditional, but we need to take this time to pray and get ourselves right with God.  Screaming about stuff will turn people away, instead we can ask questions in a respectful sense, articulate and intellectual way. I am not making excuses, I am trying to provide a way for us to sanctify ourselves, ultimately realizing that Jesus remains in control.

I will speak as a ‘coach.’  It is a slippery slope to criticize the Pope.  We can question, voice concerns and even write a letter, but screaming does no good. (Imagine screaming at your father?)  God is ultimately in control, He willed the Pope, and He lets the Pope govern.  Whether or not it is for our sanctification is ultimately God’s call, not ours.  Many priests and seminarians years ago criticized Popes John Paul II, and later Benedict XVI, and in not so respectful ways,.. let us not mirror this reality.  Every saint was sanctified through the virtue of ‘obediance.’  This Papacy is not a political election and we need to realize that.  When something disturbs your soul, pray about it.  Speak to your priest, go hit the gym,.. but we need to reign in the dirty laundry because this is not from God.  I know in saying these things I will alienate (again) many people who are Traditional, but as one of you, I felt the need to speak from my heart.

God bless.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mastro Manifesto 2016

Well, I'm six months into my reflection year, and thus far one thing is certain.  I am a sinner yet I  desire to follow Truth, anchored in Love.  In doing so, and with God's Grace, I seek to follow the Universal Call to Holiness put forth by the Second Vatican Council.  I had tweeted and facebooked this week that this blog would be touchy.  Well, it is also going to be personal.  While my vocational discernment remains to follow God's Call in my life, Priesthood, I remain at His Mercy and being purified daily.

Formation is hard.  Obedience to authorities who at times seem like they don't grasp the weight of the world, or the seriousness of what is happening around us can be a huge challenge.  Still, through obedience we are forged as Saints, while authority divested from Truth ultimately becomes Tyranny.  For ourselves, (in this case myself) its important to be honest.

Here goes;

1.  I am a practicing Roman Catholic male.  I believe Her(The Church) to be the One True Church established by Jesus Christ for the Salvation of souls.  All other earthly endeavors (biotethical, social justice or otherwise) must flow from that reality.  The Church exists to make present the one Sacrifice of Christ in atonement for our sins. I believe in the fullness of the Truth as revealed in the Creed.  I believe in all the precepts of the Church, and should I not fully understand something, I will attempt to submit my intelligence and will to Holy Mother Church. 

2.  Stemming from the above point, I believe objective Truth exists and before entering into any 'Theological' training, a proper anthropology and proper metaphysics (Thomism) must be learned.  We need to relearn how the human mind 'thinks' and essentially why things are the way they are.  False philosophy contributes to false anthropology ultimately leading to false Theology.  Today's Theological landscape ranges from modernistic inspired pseudo liberalism, all the way to false emotionally driven fundamentalism. 

3.  I believe in the authority of the Magisterium.  While certain documents contain differing degrees of interpretation, I believe in is paramount to read everything within the context of the fullness of Tradition(or 'tradition.)   I promise never to break union with the Pope and Bishops in union with him.  I have read 'Laudato Si' and found it good.  I have also read 'Summorum Pontificum' and found it good.  I accept Vatican II, not the 'spirit of,'  'Commentary about, school of Bologna this,.. Vatican II is a pastoral Council, while Trent remains a doctrinal one.  Both these Councils contain or reaffirm doctrine and pastoral applications.   We must remember that doctrines are black and white issues, but people are not.  It is us who are ultimate shades of grey.  (This is made manifest in both degrees and hierarchy of Truth as well as degrees of sins.  (Gospel where Jesus encounters the Samaritain women comes to mind.)

4.  I refuse to be labeled any kind of 'ist.'  'Traditionalist' or 'progressivist,' ultimately lumps us into an ideological camp.  If I were to define myself, then I would say 'Traditional.'  I do not identify with 'hate mongers' or the extreme right, nor hippie whackadoos on the extreme left.  I love the Extraordinary Form of Mass and the Ordinary Form.  When both are celebrated properly, they can both elevate our senses to Heaven.  When both are celebrated mediocre, (An EF low Mass can seem like a 'drive-by' Eucharist, while an OF can seem like an attempt at cheesy religious entertainment) they both detract us from God and true worship.  We need to put Jesus first, and ideological banners in a secondary role.

5.  I am a man.  I was raised to be a man.  I am 'straight' (heterosexual).  I have never discriminated or been mean to a person with same sex attraction.  Sadly it is I who experienced a bullying from that crowd. I do follow the teachings of the Church on morals and if or when I fail with regards to chastity, I will make recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I believe the same should be true for those individuals.  I can draw a distinction between 'meekness' as opposed to weakness.  My Spirituality stems from and is expressed in this reality.  (Which is ultimately why, for the time being, I am drawn to the EF Mass.)  I played sports growing up and continue to avidly train in the Martial Arts and weights.  I have no interest in opera, theatre, frappacinos or ballet.  I enjoy hunting, fishing and pick-up trucks.  I fellowship with other men who desire to follow Christ and have also sought refuge in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

To conclude this five point manifesto, is that to a certain extent, Our Lord desires to transform our hearts, but not replace our personalities.  I continue along this journey, and will ultimately, hopefully let Jesus work through me.

Ad Maeoriam Dei Gloriam!