Has the church been destroyed?
I would like you're opinions. The way things seem to me it has. But I know Christ said it would never be destroyed. Obviously the N.O.  Is a disaster. When I joined the traditional movement I thought it was great. But after 20 years I'm finding it to be a big mess too. No two groups can agree and to me this is disheartening. I just wish the traditional movement was more organized. Just wondering how you people explain this.  Please keep it in simple terms because I'm not as intellectual as you people.
Sin creates disunity. The devil's main tactics are discouragement and division. While faith is shared and handed on within a community, it must be lived individually. Each of us, no matter what people around us do or fail to do, must live the faith. The great spiritual theologian Fr. Antonio Royo Marin, OP, said that the great sin of our times is the sin of omission. He meant that people are failing to do the things they need to do, to live the faith, to take up the cross, to renounce themselves, to reach spiritual maturity.  If we all did this, then we would have a clear sense of our enemy (sin and Satan); we would have a clear sense of the battle lines.

If we all did this, if we all really strove to sanctity, then the traditionalist movement would actually be more efficacious than it is, but the attachment to sin crosses all lines, all ideologies, all people. The devil doesn't care if a person is a traditionalist or not; he cares only if he can find further ways to divide and discourage. People think that because the traditional rites have greater efficacy that they are further protected, and this is true to an extent, but I think we easily fool ourselves into complacency. The spiritual battle is far more dangerous than we realize because our enemies are invisible and the effects of sin and Satan are far greater than we can fathom. On the flip side, persevering, ardent prayer is far more powerful than we can imagine.

What good does it do me if I go to the Latin Mass but see nothing wrong with worldliness, make excuses for my negligence, put creatures before God? In the end, these things will work against me. I will be accountable for more because more has been given to me. Who wants to take on that kind of responsibility? It's much easier to just remain attached to sin and be complacent, to speak divisively, rudely, to gossip, to be idle, to entertain myself with mindless distractions, etc.

Don't be discouraged. Discouragement is from the devil. Humility is never surprised by faults, divisions, setbacks. God will never let go of us.
Stephen, you're stating a common traditional Catholic narrative, but my understanding and experience is different.

My own conclusion is that I need to (1) go deeper than institutional problems and liturgical abuse or banality, and (2) focus on my own salvation and sanctification.  And so, I find a Mass or parish that offers the most support and least distraction to me.  I foster a regular prayer life that includes, or moves toward, contemplative prayer (prayer of the heart), starting perhaps with the prayer of simple regard ("I look at Him and He looks at me").  I go to confession regularly and, if possible, have one orthodox, mature confessor who is a man of prayer, a man of the Church, and who knows me.  I study meat-and-potatoes catechism, basic theology, lives of the saints and spiritual works, but not polemical literature on the state of the Church and the liturgy.  And I don't read too much.  I focus on fulfilling my duties of state in a state of grace; this is "praying always."  I also try to remember and perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy -- especially bearing wrongs patiently and forgiving offenses.  I receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and then I attend the "liturgy after the liturgy," attending to my duties of state, works of mercy, short prayers and aspirations throughout the day, and regular prayer times.

I do not continue to derive "stimulation" from following the current crisis on traditionalist blogs, Internet fora and incendiary periodicals and books.  I chose my parish to relieve myself of that need.  So I simply get on with it -- i.e., my own salvation and sanctification.

Any fraternal correction, admonishing the sinner and evangelization that I do is in keeping with my duties of state and my actual competence.  I do not make a hobby of these things.

When I live in this way, I meet Our Lord.  I really do.  And I know from experience that He operates through the Church.  I know this and I don't need to argue about it.  I see people spending inordinate time and energy on ecclesiastical drama and it is clear to me that they need to go deeper -- not denying the problems, but moving on to what is really needed.

Wise words, Clare. More of these attitudes would benefit the traditionalist movement greatly.
It all comes down to faith in the end doesn't it? One must have faith that the True Church is the Roman Catholic Church and that there is no way that it can ever fail. We must somehow believe this, often despite the wreckage around us, both in our own lives and in the average parish. It can be done through a slow and steady walk through the luminous darkness of faith. We must also do exactly as Clare said with no excuses and no omissions!

I think what she touched upon here was of a rare depth and is something born out of experience. Christ is there waiting for you when you knuckle down and put your own house in order. The polemics and the arguments are endless, many having been thrown around for centuries with no one being closer to finding a satisfactory silver bullet answer today any more than they could find one a millennium ago.

Seriously, Clare is right, step away, far far away, from controversy and polemics, and I'd probably add apologetics to that list as well. Too many times it seems to me that apologetics itself can become nothing more than an industry, a source of pride and a subtle ( or not so subtle) way to try to convince yourself just as much as you want to convince others. It's poison, or it can be.

If you have the Faith be thankful and keep it simple. We recieve the Faith through our mother the Church. Its better to find a quiet corner ( or parish) where you can pray and work on yourself.

I can honestly say my spiritual life always gets better when I focus on the Jesus Prayer, the Breviary, the Latin Mass and reading lives of saints and scripture.
Stephen, I concur with those who think it's a good idea to take a break from bad news, spend more time in prayer and adoration if you can and you will be comforted. I look on these things with some historical perspective. Things looked pretty grim at the time of Council of Trent. The Church was simply a mess but it came back in God's good time. At that time Pope Paul III  began by appointing a commission of cardinals to report their ideas and proposals to him. The report was known as “Consilium de Emendanda Ecclesia” . To read it today parts of it sound eerily familiar to us. After addressing the Pope in complementary terms the cardinals went on to say: “For that Spirit of God” by whom the power of the heavens has been established, as the prophet says, has determined to rebuild through you the Church of Christ, tottering, nay in fact collapsed, and as we see, to apply your hand to this ruin and to raise it up to its original height and restore it to its pristine beauty. We shall hope to make the surest interpretation of this divine purpose – we whom your Holiness has called to Rome and ordered to make known to you, without regard for your advantage or for anyone else’s those abuses, indeed those most serious diseases, which now for a long time afflict God’s church and especially this Roman Curia and which have now led with these diseases gradually becoming more troublesome and destructive to this great ruin that we see.”
That's only a sample, but I think you get the idea. History repeats itself, and the Church will rise again and be as strong as ever.

The real problem is universal education. Now some folks who should be working the fields are reading up on VII and are either coming up with their own foolishness or are so scandalize (and impressed by their new found intellect) that they simply cannot fathom other people thinking on these issues and declare them all heretics, anti-pope, etc.

Many, ironically, consider themselves monarchists. A real monarchist lets the king and his court worry over politics, and they just live as embodiment of tradition.
What if the king goes crazy? Well, that's with his court. What if you don't like the particular fancies of the new king? Well, too bad.
So, unless the king wants you to kill yourself or your children (say, by demanding you attend clown Masses) you shouldn't be much involved with him that much. If you want to get into that, then become a Cardinal.

I'll add to the advice here that you find some holy priest. Whenever I have the lucky of meeting a clearly holy bishop and priest I always feel much better. Its my opinion that for evangelization one needs saints. Common men or simply books are not enough—that's the historical reality of the Church.
So, immerse yourself in traditional spirituality and find some holy priest or bishop.
Also, make some friends inside and outside traditional circles. This will help one to drive out the spirit of struggle and division that is always found on Catholic groups that are structured as political parties.


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