by Fr Richard Heilman | November 6, 2016 8:37 AM
My very good friend, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, has made mention to me in our conversations, that he had been thrown out of seminary. The reason why was left to my imagination, until he recently wrote, “I was thrown out of my seminary by the prof who, in class, explicitly denied the Church’s teaching on transubstantiation. I fought him in class when he stated that ‘no real change takes place.'” WOW! Hard to believe, but very true.
Fr. Zuhlsdorf was in seminary roughly the same time I attended seminary. So, I can attest to what he is talking about …
By the time I entered seminary in the 1980s, our training seemed to have an overriding theme: We were called to completely rethink former notions of Catholicism. We seemed to look at our ancestors’ way of believing and practicing their faith much like we would look back at those who believed the world was flat … they meant well, but they just didn’t know any better. This is why it is often referred to as the heresy of “Modernism,” as it looks to erase the old in favor of the new.
For example, we were not offered one minute of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in all of my seminary training. Also, it was understood that if someone was seen with a rosary, they would need “extra” spiritual direction (or even psychological counseling), as the rosary raised a red flag of fanaticism. Scripture studies included “explaining away” such miracles as the multiplication of the loaves and fishes as the “miracle of sharing.” Our formation was almost entirely cerebral, with little or no attention to the spiritual or supernatural. Many of the theologians we focused upon during our studies have since been revealed to be heretical.
By the time I was ordained in 1988, my first parish had dropped the title, “Father,” so I was then referred to as “Rick.” It was considered “evolved” if the priests were never seen wearing a roman collar. I spent the first 10 years of my priesthood trying to be cool, and trying to make Catholicism and the Mass hip and “with it.” We would meet with a Liturgy Committee to see what new trendy thing we could insert into the Mass. The Mass was focused on entertainment, and it was focused on us or, worse yet, the priest. I can remember interjecting impromptu comments (ad-libbing) throughout the Mass in order to keep the “experience” casual and whimsical and fun. I used to sing the Eucharistic Prayer like I was Dean Martin. The Mass seemed to resemble a night club act or a Broadway musical. This wasn’t unique to me … it was the common practice of most priests during that era. And, from what I understand, it remains common in many parishes today.
I recently wrote about an epiphany I experienced at a Papal Mass with Pope John Paul II in 1998. It was like an awakening from a horrible nightmare. I began to ask myself, “What have I been doing?” I had spent the first ten years of my priesthood buying into the common notion that, if we create all kinds of trendy nuances to the Mass, while we kept the Mass as whimsical and entertaining as possible, people would hear about how “cool” and “fun” and “with the times” we were, and come running. We were treating the Mass as a commodity that we needed to somehow market to the world. Worse than anything, I realized we were all but throwing out any sense of divinity; any sense of the supernatural. Where, in all of this, was any sense of awe and wonder in God’s presence? Where was the sense of God’s majesty?
Saint Francis of Assisi said, “Man should tremble, the world should quake, all Heaven should be deeply moved when the Son of God appears on the altar in the hands of the priest.” Where was that in my “night club act” or “Broadway musical” Masses?
All at once I began to see with clear eyes what was happening in our Church, and I began to embark upon the road of recovery for me and for my parishioners. This long road of recovery meant standing against those forces trying to destroy our Catholic faith …
No, we have not abandoned the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
No, we are not to “excuse away” the miracle stories in the bible.
No, we are not to abandon Eucharistic Adoration.
No, those who remain in mortal sin cannot receive Holy Communion.
No, the Sacrament of Confession is not just for people with emotional problems.
No, we cannot just show up to a prayer service, once or twice a year, for “General Absolution.”
No, our conscience cannot override Church teaching (e.g., use of contraception)
No, it it is not acceptable that we pick and choose which Church teaching we deem to believe.
No, it is not a good idea to throw away High Altars in favor of “tables.”
No, it is not a good idea to throw away sacred statuary in favor of felt banners.
No, we should not “store” the tabernacle in the corner or a separate room.
No, we should not stop kneeling before God.
No, we should not abandon sacred music in favor of fluffy and banal “My Little Pony” style songs.
No, we are not fanatical for asking saints for intercession, practicing devotions and using sacramentals.
No, we are not fringe traditionalists because of our devotion to the Blessed Mother and the Rosary.
I could go on and on, and I imagine you could too. But, the fact remains that we are “recovering” from a “secular revolution” that poured into our Church, and it’s devastating effects has crippled us.
This crippling secular revolution cut a wider swath than our Church. In a recent article by Matt Walsh, the popular Catholic blogger, he points to “modern liberalism” as the culprit. He goes as far as to call it, “Secular Satanism.” Matt goes on to say, “Although most liberals don’t worship the literal Devil, they do worship the self. And Satanism is, fundamentally, the worship of self.”
Nothing could be more true. Looking, first, at our modern Catholic Church, we can see that virtually the whole of the “Secular Satanism” revolution could be summed up as a movement off of God and on to ourselves. Turning the altar around, so that we may fix our gaze on each other, is probably the most iconic image encapsulating the totality of this “Secular Satanism.”
Just as it has happened within our Church in recent decades, “Secular Satanism” has hit our culture like a tsunami wave. It is enormous, it is devastatingly destructive, and it has hit us with little or no warning. And, just as we are doing in our Church, our country is left to repair the damage as we recover from this sudden and destructive force …
No, it is not “health care” to kill babies in, what once was, the safest place in the universe … our mothers’ wombs.
No, we should not redefine the very rock bed of civilization … the marriage of one man and one woman.
No, we should not force people of faith to do anything that directly opposes their faith (e.g., pay for abortions).
No, it is not a good idea to enact laws that makes it difficult for couples to marry and have children.
No, it is not “clever” to create a “dependent class” (jobless and living on the government) in order to expand a voter base.
No, it is not “freedom” to collude with and support movements exposing children to sexually explicit content.
No, decriminalizing drugs is not “healthy” for our country.
No, we should not support movements that advocate killing law enforcement officers.
No, we should not put our women on the front lines of war.
No, we should not ignore our heroic vets.
No, we should not support any baby killing and baby body parts selling industry.
No, we should not allow satanic rituals at anything our children can see, including Superbowl halftime shows.
No, corruption, collusion and deceit is not acceptable as long as it supports an ideology.
No, perverted grown men should not be allowed to enter the bathrooms of our little girls.
Again, I could go on and on, and I imagine you could too.
This tsunami wave of destructive “Secular Satanism” has rolled in while most of us were not expecting it. The choice we must make now is whether we allow it to continue its destructive force, or whether we begin the hard work of placing barriers in its path, while we pick up the pieces and begin the recovery in our Church and in our country.
May God save us from this tsunami of “Secular Satanism.”
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