Thomas A. Droleskey
Fifty-five is not my favorite number, not that I have a particularly favorite number. Oh, please do not get me wrong. I am quite happy to turn fifty-five this day as this is the amount of time that God has seen fit to keep me alive, blessing me in these my later years with a truly wonderful, prayerful wife, a woman with a most pure soul, and a sweetheart of a daughter who dearly loves the Faith. There has never been any fear of growing old, only a concern that I stay always in a state of Sanctifying Grace in order to be prepared for my Particular Judgment, which can come at a time I least expect it.
No, I do not like the number fifty-five as that is associated with the dreadfully restrictive speed limit imposed by the Congress of the United States of America in 1974 at the behest of President Richard Milhous Nixon during the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) embargo on the exportation of petroleum to this country. It was contended that lower speed limits save on the consumption of gasoline. As one who had grown accustomed to the 70 and even 75 miles per hour speed limits that were common in most states during my first full year of marathon long distance driving in calendar year 1973 (as I shuttled between my Master's studies at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana to visit my parents, who had moved from Long Island to Texas, and to return to New York now and again), the fifty-five miles per hour speed limit was really tough to observe. Indeed, I never really got used to it, thankful that Congress lifted that speed limit, at least partially, in 1986 in non-urban areas. Things have returned to normal since Congress lifted all restrictions back in 1995. What a tough twenty-one years, though, in some parts of the country!
For some people, however, the number "fifty-five" (or "double nickel," as the citizens' band radio operators called it during the heyday of the "cb" radio) is associated with some kind of merited privilege that exempts them from associating with human beings who are considerably younger than they are, namely, children. Hard to believe--and it is really hard for one who has no regular income or benefits or retirement security and who thus will work as long as he has the physical and mental abilities to do so to believe--that some people born in 1951 are now retiring from their professional work, content to spend the rest of their lives wasting their time on leisure activity without attending to the work of the salvation of their immortal souls and without being "bothered" by the "work" of being around those "pesky" little creatures called children. After all, a generation that has contracepted and aborted children in their youth and middle-aged years is not now suddenly going to develop a burst of enthusiasm for being surrounded by the very beings they sought so assiduously to avoid having as they built up their financial nest-eggs and lived in comfortable houses before retiring. Oh, no, it's all about "me."
Have you ever seen signs advertising "fifty-five and over" condominium "communities" that are springing up across the country as people my age and a little older start to retire? This is just part and parcel of the mentality that gave us contraception and abortion, the mentality that is but the logical and inexorably consequence of a world where Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ does not reign triumphant as the King of men and their nations through His Catholic Church and a world where Our Lady is not honored publicly as our Immaculate Queen. Men and women who live only for themselves want nothing to do with inconvenience or suffering. Indeed, many baby-boomers spent their younger years anesthetizing whatever pains (perhaps something as "horrible" as a bad grade in a college course) they thought they had by "experimenting" with the rot of hallucinogenic drugs. They must now seek to anesthetize the real pains of the aging process by taking prescription medications and/or finding the means they think can preserve their physical lives as their long-starved spiritual lives seek answers not in the true Faith but in politics and ideology and money and pleasure and bread and circuses and all of the variations of the New Age movement.
As one who was not very popular in my high school and college years for not "going along" with the crowd, so to speak, it is quite ironic that new battles must be fought with my peers that are very similar to the ones that were fought forty years ago in high school. That is, arguments against hallucinogenic drugs and rock and roll and the promotion of immorality (as opposed to the tendency of fallen creatures to sin and thereafter to seek Absolution for their sins in the Sacrament of Penance) have been replaced now with arguments against discrimination against children. Let me explain.
Prior to our departure for Phoenix, Arizona, from the Spokane, Washington, area on Sunday, November 5, 2006, I inquired of several campgrounds in the greater Phoenix area to see if they would have availability to accommodate our dilapidating motor home (which will be the subject of the next series of articles on this site as the long-awaited travelogue finally starts to get written on Saturday and the days that follow). Each of the places I telephone said that they had "age restrictions." I explained to them that I would turn fifty-five years of age by the twenty-fourth of November but that my wife, who is but a mere child twelve years my junior, and our young daughter were well under that threshold. Not good enough, I was told. One campground manager told me that I could not even pull into a space, for which I would pay a full nightly fee, mind you, at 11:00 p.m. one night and leave at around 7:00 a.m. the next morning.
"We might lose our standing," said the woman.
"Lose your standing?" I asked quizzically.
"Yes, lose our standing with the fifty-five and over campground association."
Well, getting on my soapbox, I did an imitation of Oliver Wendell Douglas from Green Acres (Eddie Albert, who played the fictional Douglas from 1965-1971, died last year at the age of ninety-nine; his son, actor Edward Albert, died a short while ago this year at, get this, age fifty-five!) and explained that people who did not want to be around children in this life had forgotten the fact that it is impossible to enter Heaven unless you become like a little child. Not even this quote from the Gospel helped matters any:
At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who thinkest thou is the greater in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them, And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven. And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. (Mt. 18: 1-5)
Yes, you see, what most of my fellow baby-boomers never learned, partly as a result of the ethos of an ever-degenerating society (manifesting the inherent perfect of the degeneracy of the founding principles) and partly as a result of conciliarism's warfare against the authentic patrimony of the Catholic Church, is the simple fact that we are called to work hard at something, starting with the salvation of our immortal souls, even if we choose to retire from a given line of work. We are called to work productively for the sake of souls as long as we have the ability to do so. And we are called to pray for the grace every day to remember offer up prospectively to God through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary all of the sufferings, both physical and mental, that will afflict us in the future when and if we are no longer able to do so for ourselves at the time these sufferings occur.
Getting older is no excuse for becoming more selfish and more self-indulgent. Indeed, the opposite is true. Presuming that we might have learned something from our mistakes and from some growth, however small, in the interior life over the years, we have and obligation to help our children and grandchildren to learn the fullness of the perennial truths of the Catholic Church and to implore them to cooperate with the graces that were won for us by the shedding of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross and that flow to us through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, to reject the allure of the popular culture and to live solely for Christ the King as He has revealed Himself through His true Church, to live as the freely consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
Those who have retired from their chosen lines of work and whose children are grown can build up the Mystical Body of Christ not only by assisting in the formation of their grandchildren (and great-grandchildren!) but by using their time productively, getting themselves to the daily offering of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, spending time in solid mental prayer before Our Lord's Real Presence, praying Rosaries instead of watching the demonic box (which should be thrown out), reading about the lives of the saints, and carrying plenty of blessed Miraculous Medals and Green Scapulars to hand out to those we meet when we do our daily errands. The "golden years" are not to be spent in an endless variety of nonstop adult "recess" on the golf course or in the tanning salons or at the beaches, which are places of gross immodesty, obviously, or at the bowling alley or the tennis courts. A little relaxation is fine. All well and good. All day, every day? Ah, this is not the stuff of sanctity. The saints never rested until they heard these following words:
His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Mt. 25: 21)
One of the supreme ironies facing us today is that the very baby-boomers who are now retiring (or looking forward to their retirements, storing up that grain in their silos!) will not find much love given to them in their "golden years" by the few children they permitted to come into their lives. A world that is not informed by the Catholic Faith does nothing of the obligations of the Fourth Commandment, that the grown children of aging and/or elderly parents have an obligation to make sacrifices of their own to give back to their parents what was given to them, spiritually and temporally, in their youth. And that is precisely the point: children who were starved spiritually while they were sated temporally do not know how to give of themselves. They do not know to look to the Cross. They do not know to pray for an increase of Sanctifying Grace. They do not know the virtues of the mutual self-giving and service of the Holy Family of Nazareth. They cannot give what they have never had. And the little they did have as young children was the result of a spiritual deformation caused by the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King effected by Protestantism and Judeo-Masonry, a poverty of the spirit that saw themselves shunted off to day care, pre-school, after-school, Sunday sports leagues, summer camps--anything but being home with their parents, who were always away doing something with their careers and/or social obligations.
We have come to do voluntarily in the "free" United States of America what was a principal characteristic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics: the destruction of the family as a result of contraception, divorce, abortion, promiscuity, pornography and the "liberation" of women from the home to find their "fulfillment" in the work place. Pope Pius XI noted this in Divini Redemptoris, March 19, 1937:
Communism, moreover, strips man of his liberty, robs human personality of all its dignity, and removes all the moral restraints that check the eruptions of blind impulse. There is no recognition of any right of the individual in his relations to the collectivity; no natural right is accorded to human personality, which is a mere cog-wheel in the Communist system. In man's relations with other individuals, besides, Communists hold the principle of absolute equality, rejecting all hierarchy and divinely-constituted authority, including the authority of parents. What men call authority and subordination is derived from the community as its first and only font. Nor is the individual granted any property rights over material goods or the means of production, for inasmuch as these are the source of further wealth, their possession would give one man power over another. Precisely on this score, all forms of private property must be eradicated, for they are at the origin of all economic enslavement .
Refusing to human life any sacred or spiritual character, such a doctrine logically makes of marriage and the family a purely artificial and civil institution, the outcome of a specific economic system. There exists no matrimonial bond of a juridico-moral nature that is not subject to the whim of the individual or of the collectivity. Naturally, therefore, the notion of an indissoluble marriage-tie is scouted. Communism is particularly characterized by the rejection of any link that binds woman to the family and the home, and her emancipation is proclaimed as a basic principle. She is withdrawn from the family and the care of her children, to be thrust instead into public life and collective production under the same conditions as man. The care of home and children then devolves upon the collectivity. Finally, the right of education is denied to parents, for it is conceived as the exclusive prerogative of the community, in whose name and by whose mandate alone parents may exercise this right.
What would be the condition of a human society based on such materialistic tenets? It would be a collectivity with no other hierarchy than that of the economic system. It would have only one mission: the production of material things by means of collective labor, so that the goods of this world might be enjoyed in a paradise where each would "give according to his powers" and would "receive according to his needs." Communism recognizes in the collectivity the right, or rather, unlimited discretion, to draft individuals for the labor of the collectivity with no regard for their personal welfare; so that even violence could be legitimately exercised to dragoon the recalcitrant against their wills. In the Communistic commonwealth morality and law would be nothing but a derivation of the existing economic order, purely earthly in origin and unstable in character. In a word. the Communists claim to inaugurate a new era and a new civilization which is the result of blind evolutionary forces culminating in a humanity without God.
Western liberalism and Soviet Communism are just two sides of the same unholy coin, the one that rejects the Sovereignty of Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen over every aspect of our lives. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn noted this in his commencement address, "A World Split Apart," at Harvard University, June 8, 1978:
When the modern Western states were being formed, it was proclaimed as a principle that governments are meant to serve man and that man lives in order to be free and pursue happiness. (See, for example, the American Declaration of Independence.) Now at last during past decades technical and social progress has permitted the realization of such aspirations: the welfare state.
Every citizen has been granted the desired freedom and material goods in such quantity and in such quality as to guarantee in theory the achievement of happiness, in the debased sense of the word which has come into being during those same decades. (In the process, however, one psychological detail has been overlooked: the constant desire to have still more things and a still better life and the struggle to this end imprint many Western faces with worry and even depression, though it is customary to carefully conceal such feelings. This active and tense competition comes to dominate all human thought and does not in the least open a way to free spiritual development.)
The individual's independence from many types of state pressure has been guaranteed; the majority of the people have been granted well-being to an extent their fathers and grandfathers could not even dream about; it has become possible to raise young people according to these ideals, preparing them for and summoning them toward physical bloom, happiness, and leisure, the possession of material goods, money, and leisure, toward an almost unlimited freedom in the choice of pleasures. So who should now renounce all this, why and for the sake of what should one risk one's precious life in defense of the common good and particularly in the nebulous case when the security of one's nation must be defended in an as yet distant land?
Even biology tells us that a high degree of habitual well-being is not advantageous to a living organism. Today, well-being in the life of Western society has begun to take off its pernicious mask. . . .
We have placed too much hope in politics and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life. It is trampled by the party mob in the East, by the commercial one in the West. This is the essence of the crisis: the split in the world is less terrifying than the similarity of the disease afflicting its main sections.
If, as claimed by humanism, man were born only to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to death, his task on earth evidently must be more spiritual: not a total engrossment in everyday life, not the search for the best ways to obtain material goods and then their carefree consumption. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one's life journey may become above all an experience of moral growth: to leave life a better human being than one started it.
Thus it is becoming increasingly the case that Mom and Dad are sent off to the "fifty-five" and over communities, visited on rare occasions, if at all, with "living wills" at the ready to make sure that they can be dispatched under cover of law just as quickly as their own siblings were dispatched by chemical abortifacients and/or actual surgical abortions. Hospitals and hospices and nursing homes just love to make the aged "comfortable" with "palliative" drugs, fulfilling these words of former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm, written in an op-ed piece in The New York Times in 1984, "old people have a duty to die and get out of the way." Lamm was not talking about unnecessary measure to prolong physical life (such as an octogenarian deciding to undergo extensive chemotherapy). He was talking about a purely utilitarian view of aging wherein those who are deemed to be a drain on the time and resources of others must not prevent the young and upwardly mobile from enjoying their youth and upward "mobility." This is, however, very much the logical consequence of a world that is not defined by the Catholic Faith. It is only the Faith that can prevent a society from descending into the moral anarchy caused by the deification of man.
As Pope Leo XIII noted in Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus, November 1, 1900, a world without the Faith becomes one stained with crime:
God alone is Life. All other beings partake of life, but are not life. Christ, from all eternity and by His very nature, is "the Life," just as He is the Truth, because He is God of God. From Him, as from its most sacred source, all life pervades and ever will pervade creation. Whatever is, is by Him; whatever lives, lives by Him. For by the Word "all things were made; and without Him was made nothing that was made." This is true of the natural life; but, as We have sufficiently indicated above, we have a much higher and better life, won for us by Christ's mercy, that is to say, "the life of grace," whose happy consummation is "the life of glory," to which all our thoughts and actions ought to be directed. The whole object of Christian doctrine and morality is that "we being dead to sin, should live to justice" (I Peter ii., 24)-that is, to virtue and holiness. In this consists the moral life, with the certain hope of a happy eternity. This justice, in order to be advantageous to salvation, is nourished by Christian faith. "The just man liveth by faith" (Galatians iii., II). "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews xi., 6). Consequently Jesus Christ, the creator and preserver of faith, also preserves and nourishes our moral life. This He does chiefly by the ministry of His Church. To Her, in His wise and merciful counsel, He has entrusted certain agencies which engender the supernatural life, protect it, and revive it if it should fail. This generative and conservative power of the virtues that make for salvation is therefore lost, whenever morality is dissociated from divine faith. A system of morality based exclusively on human reason robs man of his highest dignity and lowers him from the supernatural to the merely natural life. Not but that man is able by the right use of reason to know and to obey certain principles of the natural law. But though he should know them all and keep them inviolate through life-and even this is impossible without the aid of the grace of our Redeemer-still it is vain for anyone without faith to promise himself eternal salvation. "If anyone abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up and cast him into the fire, and he burneth" john xv., 6). "He that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark xvi., 16). We have but too much evidence of the value and result of a morality divorced from divine faith. How is it that, in spite of all the zeal for the welfare of the masses, nations are in such straits and even distress, and that the evil is daily on the increase? We are told that society is quite able to help itself; that it can flourish without the assistance of Christianity, and attain its end by its own unaided efforts. Public administrators prefer a purely secular system of government. All traces of the religion of our forefathers are daily disappearing from political life and administration. What blindness! Once the idea of the authority of God as the Judge of right and wrong is forgotten, law must necessarily lose its primary authority and justice must perish: and these are the two most powerful and most necessary bonds of society. Similarly, once the hope and expectation of eternal happiness is taken away, temporal goods will be greedily sought after. Every man will strive to secure the largest share for himself. Hence arise envy, jealousy, hatred. The consequences are conspiracy, anarchy, nihilism. There is neither peace abroad nor security at home. Public life is stained with crime.
So great is this struggle of the passions and so serious the dangers involved, that we must either anticipate ultimate ruin or seek for an efficient remedy. It is of course both right and necessary to punish malefactors, to educate the masses, and by legislation to prevent crime in every possible way: but all this is by no means sufficient. The salvation of the nations must be looked for higher. A power greater than human must be called in to teach men's hearts, awaken in them the sense of duty, and make them better. This is the power which once before saved the world from destruction when groaning under much more terrible evils. Once remove all impediments and allow the Christian spirit to revive and grow strong in a nation, and that nation will be healed. The strife between the classes and the masses will die away; mutual rights will be respected. If Christ be listened to, both rich and poor will do their duty. The former will realise that they must observe justice and charity, the latter self-restraint and moderation, if both are to be saved. Domestic life will be firmly established ( by the salutary fear of God as the Lawgiver. In the same way the precepts of the natural law, which dictates respect for lawful authority and obedience to the laws, will exercise their influence over the people. Seditions and conspiracies will cease. Wherever Christianity rules over all without let or hindrance there the order established by Divine Providence is preserved, and both security and prosperity are the happy result. The common welfare, then, urgently demands a return to Him from whom we should never have gone astray; to Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life,-and this on the part not only of individuals but of society as a whole. We must restore Christ to this His own rightful possession. All elements of the national life must be made to drink in the Life which proceedeth from Him- legislation, political institutions, education, marriage and family life, capital and labour. Everyone must see that the very growth of civilisation which is so ardently desired depends greatly upon this, since it is fed and grows not so much by material wealth and prosperity, as by the spiritual qualities of morality and virtue.
A priest with whom I was on a friendly basis for about two decades asked me in 1980 why we, both born in 1951, were able to maintain the Faith while others our age had not. The one word answer I gave was this: "Grace." That any of us have been able to maintain the Faith despite our sins and failings and shortcomings in this world of confusion and disarray is solely the working of God's ineffable graces that He purchased for us by the shedding of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. The antidotes to selfishness and egocentricity and vanity Calvinist materialism and hedonism and escapism and all of the other faults that have plagued baby-boomers from the end of World War II to our present day are to embrace the Cross, to pray for sufferings and humiliations, to mortify our senses, to make frequent and worthy use of the Sacrament of Penance, to receive Holy Communion with fervor devotion, and to beseech the Mother of God with a tender heart full of confidence in her maternal protection and her power before the Throne of God. There but for the grace of God go any one of us into the "fifty five and over" mentality of false privilege and exemption from pain and suffering and duty. There but for the grace of God go any one of us into lives of empty passivity and tummy-tucks and face-lifts and all of the other measures designed to convince others and ourselves that the aging process, a consequence of Original Sin, is not leading us to the moment of our Particular Judgments.
We can only hope to live long enough to try to make satisfaction for our forgiven Mortal and Venial Sins and our general attachment to our sins and our self-centeredness. I remember having a dream back in the Fall of 1997 after having returned to Long Island following a marathon drive from San Antonio, Texas. I dreamt that I was driving a car into some kind of flooded parking lot. Knowing that I was going to drown, I found myself being startled awake as I repeated out loud what I was saying in the final moments of the dream, "My Jesus, mercy! Sweet Jesus, mercy! We must place ourselves humbly at the Mercy of the Divine Redeemer at every moment of our lives. We do not know when it is He is coming to call us.
Yes, no matter what age we are, each of us is at the mercy of the Divine Redeemer Who will stand as our judge when we breathe our last in this vale of tears. Apart from a few genuine mystics, such as Saint John of the Cross, whose feast we celebrate today, November 24, few human beings have ever appreciated the enormity of their sins and the suffering they imposed upon the Word Who was made Flesh in Our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb by the power of the Holy Ghost. We need, therefore, to constantly beseech Our Lady, the Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope, to stand with us as our Advocate at the moment of our Particular Judgments, whether it comes tonight or ten or twenty of thirty years from now, to remind her Divine Son that we had prayed to her constantly 'nunc et in hora mortis nostrae." May we flee from the allure of the world and use whatever time we have left in this life productively for the good of souls, starting with our own, hoping that we can, as the consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, plant a few worthwhile seeds that land on good soil for the flowering once again of Tradition in the Church and Christendom in the world.
May each of our hearts, consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, exclaim with joy now and always:
Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady, August Queen of Heaven, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.
Pope Saint Clement I, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint Chrysoganus, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Martin of Tours, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
Saint Rene Goupil, pray for us.
Saint John Lalonde, pray for us.
Saint Gregory Lalamont, pray for us.
Saint Noel Chabanel, pray for us.
Saint Charles Garnier, pray for us.
Saint Anthony Daniel, pray for us.
Saint John DeBrebeuf, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.
Saint Gerard Majella, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Basil, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Agnes, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Venerable Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Father Miguel Augustin Pro, pray for us.
Francisco Marto, pray for us.
Jacinta Marto, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.
A Brief Review of the Beauty of the Mass of Tradition and the Horrors of the Novus Ordo Missae:
1) The Traditional Latin Mass clearly communicates that it is a propitiatory offering for human sins, the perpetuation in an unbloody manner of the Sacrifice of the Chief Priest and Victim of every Mass, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, on an altar of sacrifice by a sacerdos acting in persona Christi.
2) The Traditional Latin Mass is oriented completely to God, starting from the first moment a priest makes the Sign of the Cross and prays Psalm 42, the Judica me, at the foot of the steps to the altar. The first thing the priest does in the Traditional Latin Mass is to address God and to prepare himself to ascend the "holy mountain" symbolized by the three steps leading to the altar (also signifying Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). The first thing a priest does in the Novus Ordo Missae after making the Sign of the Cross is to address the people, at which time he is permitted by the rubrics of the General Instruction to the Roman Missal to improvise with a few words of his own to "introduce" the Mass.
3) The Traditional Latin Mass reflects the permanence and stability of God Himself and of our need for Him. Although there are differences in the genres of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition (Pontifical High Mass, Solemn High Mass, Missa Cantata, Low Mass), the rubrics are fixed within each of the genres and are beyond the ability of the celebrant to licitly alter. The Novus Ordo Missae admits of so many legitimate changes and adaptations for a whole variety of reasons that to speak of it as a "fixed rite" is an absolute absurdity. It is not. It produces of its very fungible nature uncertainty and instability, the very opposite of what the worship of God is supposed to produce.
4) The Traditional Latin Mass contains prayers that remind men of their sinfulness and of the necessity of the possibility of losing their souls for all eternity. Cardinal Arinze wants to know why people think their souls are immaculate and are thus not going to confession? The Novus Ordo Missae reaffirms people in their essential "goodness." It is a rejection of the Church's centuries-old wisdom in mandating the faithful to perform outward acts of penance in order to discipline their souls. Doubt that this is the case? Doubt no more. Here is passage from G.I.R.M. Warfare dealing with Paragraph 15 of the General Instruction to the Roman Missal:
Paragraph 15 of GIRM reads:
"Thus the Church remains faithful in its responsibility as a teacher of truth to guard 'things old,' that is, the deposit of tradition; at the same time it fulfills another duty, that of examining and prudently bringing forth 'things new.'
"Accordingly, a part of the new Roman Missal directs the prayer of the Church expressly to the needs of our times. This is above all true of the ritual Masses and the Masses for various needs and occasions, which happily combine the traditional and the contemporary. Thus many expressions, drawn from the Church's most ancient tradition and familiar through the many editions of the Roman Missal, have remained unchanged. Other expressions, however, have been adapted to today's needs and circumstances and still others-for example, the prayers for the Church, the laity, the sanctification of human work, the community of all peoples, certain needs proper to our era-are completely new compositions, drawing on the thoughts and even the very language of the recent conciliar documents.
"The same awareness of the present state of the world also influenced the use of texts from very ancient tradition. It seemed that this cherished treasure would not be harmed if some phrases were changed so that the style of language would be more in accord with the language of modern theology and would faithfully reflect the actual state of the Church's discipline. Thus there have been changes of some expressions bearing on the evaluation and use of the good things of the earth and of allusions to a particular form of outward penance belonging to another age in the history of the Church.
"In short, the liturgical norms of the Council of Trent have been completed and improved in many respects by those of the Second Vatican Council. The Council has brought to realization the efforts of the last four hundred years to move the faithful closer to the sacred liturgy, especially the efforts of recent times and above all the zeal for the liturgy promoted by Saint Pius X and his successors."
Comment and Analysis:
Holy Mass is supposed to be suited to the needs of all times, not just our times. Herein, therefore, lies the real nub of the problem with the General Instruction to the Roman Missal and thus the Novus Ordo itself: a reliance upon the spirit of one particular time in history results in the glorification of the human spirit and not that of the Blessed Trinity. It is really that simple. God exists outside of time and space. The worship of God must convey, as noted earlier, the timelessness of God and the immortality of our own souls, which will live forever either in Heaven or in Hell once the Last Judgment has taken place. Again, as noted earlier, the Mass is supposed to be a refuge from the world, not a glorification of it.
"It seemed that this cherished treasure [ancient tradition] would not be harmed if some phrases were changed so that the style of language would be more in accord with the language of modern theology and would faithfully reflect the actual state of the Church's discipline."
Well, our ancient tradition is not the only casualty wrought by the changing of phrases of the Mass texts (Introits, Collects, Secrets, Prayer after Communion, the very Offertory Prayers themselves, the addition of first three and then five more new "Eucharistic prayers"). The very faith life of many Catholics has been harmed.
One of the reasons that the Sacrament of Penance fell into disuse is that the faithful are no longer reminded of their sinfulness in the prayers of the Mass. The faithful thus believe there is no need to reconcile themselves to the Father through the Son in Spirit in and in Truth in the hospital of Divine Mercy which is the confessional. No, one cannot sin as long as one's "fundamental option" is for God.
Indeed, as is noted in the rest of this book, a priest has many legitimate options by which to invite the people to express themselves in what is now called the Penitential Rite. A growing number of priests believe that "modern theology" requires them not to stress the sinfulness of the period and their need for God's forgiveness but to celebrate human goodness and to give thanks to God for all that He has given us. However, man's need to recognize himself as a sinner and to do penance for his sins is unchanging. The harm done to souls by the changing of the "style of language" in the new Mass is incalculable.
The concluding part of Paragraph 15 is a little bit akin to the old phrase, "The lady doth protest too much." All of the repeated attempts to state that the new Mass is a continuation of our liturgical tradition (which GIRM itself contradicts in the body of Paragraph 15, as noted in my discussion about the changes in the texts of the prayers of the Mass) are efforts to try to convince readers that the new Mass really, really, really, really, really is what GIRM says it is
The trouble with gratuitous statements is that they are made without foundation, sinking into the quicksand upon which they are made. They are efforts to justify a revolution which has undermined the faith and profaned the honor and glory due God in the Sacrifice of the Mass. GIRM is revisionist history writ large.
5) The Traditional Latin Mass contains the Offertory that clearly communicates the theology of the sacrificial, propitiatory nature of the Mass. The Novus Ordo Missae uses Jewish "table prayers" from the Talmud for what is called the "Preparation of the Gifts."
6) The Traditional Latin Mass conveys the dignity of the priesthood and its sacerdotal, hierarchical nature by the very structure of the Church. The sanctuary, reflecting the timeless of God and the fact that the Mass is the unbloody re-presentation of Calvary, is the "holy of holies" into only those males who are seen as the extension of the hands of the priest (who is a male because Our Lord came as a male) are permitted to enter and assist during the offering of Holy Mass. The faithful in the nave of the Church are thus set apart from the sanctuary, which is cordoned off, if you will, by the altar rail, signifying the distinction between time and eternity and the distinction between the sacerdotal priesthood of the ordained priest and the common priesthood the lay faithful by means of Baptism. There is no confusion as to the roles of the priest and the laity, clearly reflecting the hierarchy of God Himself and the sacrificial nature of the Mass.
7) The Traditional Latin Mass conveys stability in yet another sense: the same readings are read year in and year out. Repetition is the mother of learning. Knowing us to be such stupid and distracted creatures, God wants us immersed in the repetition of the same readings year in and year out, thus exposing us to the possibility of "getting it," say, after sixty or seventy years of hearing the same readings read year in and year out.
8) Finally, and please understand that this list is not exhaustive at all (I go into much greater detail in G.I.R.M. Warfare), that Catholics are less inclined to see the necessity of praying and working for the restoration of the Social Reign of Christ the King when the Mass at which they assist has dethroned His Kingly Dignity by instituting profane novelties (please see the horrors appended below) that actually enshrine the false values of the world. The Traditional Latin Mass conveys in all of its component parts, woven together so perfectly that it could not have been constructed by man synthetically, the Universal Kingship of Christ, Our High Priest and King. Make a mess of the Mass, make a mess of the Church and the world.
Cardinal Arinze, however, is caught up in the throes of a Revolution against the Faith, not realizing that he is involved in a revolution at all. He believes that there is some other cause for the decline in attendance at Holy Mass and the use of the Sacrament of Penance other than the warfare made against the perennial Tradition of the Catholic Church, expressed so perfectly and beautifully in the very Mass that Our Lord Himself taught the Apostles to say. He will search in vain for some other cause. Caught up in the Lockean trap of seeking structural solutions where none are to be found because none exist, Cardinal Arinze and his brother cardinals and bishops must convince themselves that have to "reform" a "reform" that was no reform at all but an attack on all that was authentically Catholic in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Doubt my word once again? Consider the words of Archbishop (then Monsignor) Annibale Bugnini, found in L'Osservatore Romano in March of 1965:
"We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren that is for the Protestants."
This "Humpty Dumpty" has fallen apart because it has been a bad egg from the very beginning, part of the adversary's efforts to undermine the Faith and to get believing Catholics to battle with each other, sometimes fiercely, almost all of the time as the revolutionaries progress with their agenda that blasphemes God and harms souls.