Having been born in 1951 makes it possible for me to have vivid memories of the condition of the Church Militant on earth prior to the "Second" Vatican Council. Although Catholics in the United States of America in the 1950s were being influenced by Americanist ethos of naturalism and religious indifferentism and cultural pluralism in so many ways, thus setting the stage for the ready acceptance of the "Second" Vatican Council (see
We're Not in Kansas Any More), they did go to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, and they did make sure to keep the Eucharistic fast and to make a good Lent.
The sensus Catholicus was such back in the 1950s that a group of startled onlookers were aghast when seeing that a Catholic priest, Father John Joseph Sullivan, who had taught me at Holy Apostles Seminary (Ecclesiology, Unity and Trinity of God, Eschatology and Mariology), had downed two hot dogs at Ebbets Field in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York, during Game Three of the 1953 World Series between the incarnation of all evil in the world, the visiting New York Yankees, and dem beloved bums of Brooklyn, the Dodgers, on Friday, October 2, 1953:
As he [Father Sullivan] told the story: “That one was so good,” he said, “that I bought a second one and ate it just as fast as I had the first one. Everyone was staring at me as I ate the hot dogs. I got up and asked out loud, ‘What are you staring at? Who do you think I am, Moses, Abraham?’ Then a man said, ‘Father, it’s Friday.’ And I said, ‘Oops! Two on the house, Lord Two on the house.” Everyone around him laughed. But it’s quite a telling commentary on the state of the Church in the 1950s that people would be scandalized by a priest eating meat on a Friday. It was an inadvertent act on the part of Father Sullivan. Still and all, though, it aroused the shock of those who were watching him eat the hot dogs with delight. (Jackie Boy)
Catholics think nothing today of eating meat on Friday even though it is the norm worldwide in the conciliar structures to abstain from meat, noting that the American "bishops" obtained an indult from the conciliar Vatican for Catholics in this country to be dispensed from Friday abstinence from meat as long as they substitute "some other form" of unspecified penance. This is a far, far cry from fifty years ago.
Indeed, a friend of mine from Saint Aloysius School in Great Neck, New York, told me her parents were assiduous to end any Saturday evening parties that they hosted well before Midnight so that everyone could observe the old nothing by mouth, including water, after Midnight fast that was abrogated by Pope Pius XII on March 19, 1957. This basic sensus Catholicus of preparing oneself to receive Holy Communion worthily was almost universal. Catholic were aware of the liturgical year and they attended parish missions whenever they were given. The Faith was taken seriously. Priests were called in as the sick near death. And most priests voluntarily and happily made sick calls without considering it an imposition on their time, which they knew had been surrendered to Christ the King at the moment of their ordination to the subdiaconate.
The doctrinal and liturgical revolutions of conciliarism have pretty much, although not entirely, eviscerated the sensus Catholics in the lives of the lion's share of Catholics worldwide who are as of yet attached to the structures of its counterfeit church. As all but a tiny fraction of Catholics, perhaps less than one tenth of one percent of all Catholics worldwide, are attached to the structures of that counterfeit church, this means that hundreds of millions of baptized Catholics around the world have not one blessed clue as to what it means to practice the Catholic Faith with any degree of fervor and devotion as one attempts to live out the liturgical year each day of his life in cooperation with the graces won for us by the shedding of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross and that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hand of Our Lady, she who is the Mediatrix of All Graces.
The sensus Catholics of most Catholics in the world has been eroded as a result of a steady, ceaseless and at times mind-boggling array of changes and novelties and innovations and "reinterpretations" to which Catholics prior to that time had never been subjected. Indeed, the doctrinal and liturgical revolutionaries worked very hard to convince Catholics that they could NOT trust their own Catholic senses, that they, the experts, "knew best." This strategy worked with even a lot of older priests in the 1960s and 1970s as the revolutionaries appealed to their sacerdotal sense of obedience to convince them that their sensus Catholicus about the Faith and the Mass could no longer be trusted, that they, the priests, had to rely upon the "experts" who wanted to do want the "pope" wanted done at the diocesan and parish levels.
Monsignor Klaus Gamber, who was not a traditionalist, wrote in The Reform of the Roman Liturgy of how the revolutionaries took advance of the sensus Catholicus of both believing priests and lay Catholics at the beginning of the liturgical revolution:
At the same time, the priests and the faithful are told that the new liturgy created after the Second Vatican Council is identical in essence with the liturgy that has been in use in the Catholic Church up to this point, and that the only changes introduced involved reviving some earlier liturgical forms and removing a few duplications, but above all getting rid of elements of no particular interest.
Most priests accepted these assurances about the continuity of liturgical forms of worship and accepted the new rite with the same unquestioning obedience with which they had accepted the minor ritual changes introduced by Rome from time to time in the past, changes beginning with the reform of the Divine Office and of the liturgical chant introduced by Pope St. Pius X.
Following this strategy, the groups pushing for reform were able to take advantage of and at the same time abuse the sense of obedience among the older priests, and the common good will of the majority of the faithful, while, in many cases, they themselves refused to obey.
The pastoral benefits that so many idealists had hoped the new liturgy would bring about did not materialize. Our churches emptied in spite of the new liturgy (or because of it?), and the faithful continue to fall away from the Church in droves.
Although our young people have been literally seduced in to supporting the new forms of liturgical worship, they have, in fact, become more and more alienated from the faith. They are drawn to religious sects--Christian and non-Christian ones--because fewer and fewer priests teach them the riches of our Catholic faith and the tenets of Christian morality. As for older people, the radical changes made ot the traditional liturgy have taken from them the sense of security in their religious home.
Today, many among us wonder: Is this Spring people had hoped would emerge from the Second Vatican Council? Instead of a genuine renewal in our Church, we have seen only novelties. Instead of our religious life entering a period of new invigoration, as happened in the past, what we see now is a form of Christianity that has turned towards the world.
We are now involved in a liturgy in which God is no longer the center of our attention. Today, the eyes of our faithful are no longer focused on God's Son having become Man hanging on the cross, or on the pictures of His saints, but on the human community assembled for a commemorative meal. The assembly of people is sitting there, face to face with the "presider," expecting from him, in accordance with the "modern" spirit of the Church, not so much a transfer of God's grace, but primarily some good ideas and advice on how to deal with daily life and its challenges.
There are few people who speak of the Holy Mass as the Sacrifice of the New Covenant which we offer to God the Father through Jesus Christ, or of the sacramental union with Christ that we experience when we receive Holy Communion. Today, we are dealing with the "Eucharistic feat," and with the "holy bread," to be shared as a sign among as a sign of our brotherhood with Jesus.
The real destruction of the traditional Mass, of the traditional Roman rite with a history of more than one thousand years, is the wholesale destruction of the faith on which it was based, a faith that had been the source of our piety and of our courage to bear witness to Christ and His Church, the inspiration of countless Catholics over many centuries. Will someone, some day, be able to say the same thing about the new Mass? (Monsignor Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy, pp. 100-102.)
Having accepted, albeit in good faith, the poison represented by the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo worship service, most of these older priests became susceptible to accepting each of the little doctrinal "drops of poison" that the conciliar Vatican and its affiliated chancery offices introduced from time to time (false ecumenism, inter-religious prayer services, religious liberty, the changeable nature of dogmatic truth) in implementing the wonderful "insights" represented by the "Second" Vatican Council and various postconciliar documents and "papal' pronouncements. A steady dose of these poisons, made possible first and foremost by the acceptance of the Novus Ordo, would lead some of these priests and many of members of the laity into having their sensus Catholicus eviscerated and replaced with a synthetic creation that inclines them, whether or not they realize it, to be overtly hostile to any mention of the actual truths of the Catholic Faith as taught from time immemorial prior to 1958 and thereafter.
Indeed, some of the most singularly hostile people to any mention of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, no less criticisms of conciliarism's multiple defections from the Faith, are older Catholics, both priests and members of the laity, who have permitted themselves to believe that the Catholic "past" is "outdated" and that some "reform" was necessary. Indeed, I remember a "Father X" article in The Latin Mass magazine in the 1990s entitled, "They Have Burned What They Once Adored," referring to older priests who were ordained to offer the Immemorial Mass of Tradition only to turn on the Mass of the ages with a demonic fury worthy of the old Protestant revolutionaries of the Sixteenth Century. "Father X," now a conciliar pastor, made excellent points in his article.
Then again, this is what all revolutionaries attempt to do as they use skillful propaganda to wipe out a true memory of the past in order to "create" a memory of the past that is false, predisposing the "people" for an acceptance of the revolutionary agenda for a "better" future.
The Protestant Revolutionaries have done this very successfully, airbrushing the truth of the history of the Church prior to Father Martin Luther's posting of his ninety-theses on the church door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517. Most Protestants today have a form of Alzheimer's disease from 1517 backward (leading some fallen away Catholics who have become Protestants to have Alzheimer's disease about their own personal lives, airbrushing out those people and events, including the fact of the names they were given in the baptismal font, in order to pander to the conceits of their own self-made worlds of delusion, a subject that will be explore in an article tomorrow or Saturday), refusing to recognize that their own personal lineages are filled with Catholics prior to the Protestant Revolt.
Social revolutionaries (the French Revolutionaries, the Bolsheviks, the Maoists) have even attempted to revise the calendar itself to convince "the people" that everything that happened prior to their revolutions that shed the blood of so many millions of innocent human beings was "bad" and happened even before time itself, that the only time that "matters" is that from the revolution forward.
This is exactly what has happened in the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism as the truly committed revolutionaries attempted to convince Catholics in the pews that everything that happened before 1962 was "bad," that things are "better" now, that they are "more involved" with the life of the Church than they had been in the past. Although Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has used his philosophically absurd and dogmatically condemned "hermeneutic of continuity and discontinuity" to seek to prove that there was no rupture between the pre-conciliar and post-conciliar periods, he has also engaged in acts of rank positivism to assert that the conciliar novelties, such as false ecumenism and even the Novus Ordo worship service itself, have been "successful" in effecting a veritable "springtime of the Church," a "qualitative renewal" as he put it in his book-length interview, published as God and the World, with journalist Peter Seewald in 2001
(EWTN.com - CARDINAL RATZINGER ON THE FUTURE OF CHRISTIANITY).
The results of the doctrinal and liturgical revolutions of concilairism have been examined on this site any number of times, most recently in Playing Into The Enemy's Hand and, from sixteen months ago now, in Apostasy Has Consequences. I saw those results with my own eyes in the college classrooms where I taught, especially from the latter-1980s until earlier in this decade as each succeeding group of Catholics knew less and less and less about the Faith than those who had preceded them.
As I have related on other occasions, one young student, who just happened to write to me a few months ago after coming upon this site, was wide-eyed as I explained in a political science class at the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University in the Spring of 1995 that all of the problems of the world are caused by Original Sin and our own Actual Sins and that the only way to ameliorate those problems was to cooperate with the graces won for us by Our Lord on the wood of the Holy Cross. He couldn't contain himself. He blurted out,
"Is this what the Faith is about? Why hasn't anyone taught this to me before." "Because Anthony," I explained to him, "you have been the victim of Catholic educational fraud."
Well, I ran into another of those victims of Catholic educational fraud yesterday, Ash Wednesday, while checking out at a supermarket in Connecticut. The young man, who was named Gabriel (!), looked at the ashes on my forehead that had been made into a very distinctive Sign of the Cross by His Excellency Bishop Robert F. McKenna, O.P., yesterday morning. Gabriel said to me, "Is it Ash Sunday already?"
Admitting that it is the practice in many chapels for ashes to be distributed on the First Sunday in Lent to those who were unable to receive this sacramental on Ash Wednesday, young Gabriel had no clue that the Lenten season was even upon us, telling me, "Yeah, I think I went to Ash Wednesday once." That's how much of an impression the counterfeit expression of the Faith that is conciliarism had upon his immortal soul. I explained to him that Lent is the season forty days of prayer, fasting, penance, and almsgiving to unite us more fully with the Passion and Death of Our Lord so that we can enter into a glorious celebration of the Easter season after having attempted to make at least some reparation of our sins by offering our Lenten penances to God through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Gabriel just looked at me, saying, "You mean Lent ends around Easter?" He was clueless. Absolutely clueless.
Recognizing once again the cultural forces that were eclipsing and eroding the sensus Catholicus of Catholics back in the 1950s, Catholics fifty years did understand, at least minimally, what Ash Wednesday represented as they endeavored to make a good, penitential Lent. Even older Catholics lost much of their sensus Catholicus during Lent as the ethos of concilairism took hold.
To wit, one older woman came up to a conciliar presbyter in the 1980s and look at what she thought was Our Lord in Holy Communion, blurting out, "I don't want that. I want ashes." The presbyter replied, "Yes, ma'am, instead of the Bread of Life you want the mark of death. Do you have any other bright ideas?" And The Scooter, Phil Rizzuto, the famed shortstop and longtime broadcaster of evil's own team, the New York Yankees (and the very first mystery guest on What's My Line? on its premier telecast on Sunday, February 2, 1950), was munching on a ham sandwich when he got the telephone call on a Friday in Lent, February 25, 1994, from Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra that he, Rizzuto, had been elected by the members of the veterans committee into the baseball Hall of Fame. The Scooter forgot that there is abstinence from meat on Fridays in Lent even in the United States of America in the conciliar structures. How did he forget? Because such abstinence had become merely "optional" in this country on most Fridays of the year. Conciliarism has indeed destroyed the sensus Catholicus.
It is very easy to lose the sensus Catholicus, very easy to slide away from our Lenten resolutions, very easy to lose our souls for all eternity. It is important to ask Our Lady each day for the graces that we need to keep the best Lent of our lives. This might be the very last Lent of our lives. Some of us might not even live to see Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010. We must adhere to the traditional penances of the Roman Catholic Church as we eschew conciliarism and all of its novelties and aberrations that have been so very responsible for the loss of so many souls and for the immersion of so many Catholics in the spirit of the world.
Begging Our Lady's help this Lent as we pray as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit, may we remember that the mark of death that we received on our foreheads yesterday is meant to be a "wake-up call," if you will, to help us stay focused on the pursuit of the possession of the Beatific Vision of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost for all eternity in an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Heaven.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints