At the Parish level, the “New Evangelization” is, in practice, the sledge hammer that Pope Francis is using to effect his irreversible paradigm shift. In this article I will show how it is working out in our diocese. When we moved here eight years ago, we first registered in a novus ordo parish and so we receive the diocesan magazine through that registration. But after some rather disconcerting episodes within that parish, we began attending an indult Traditional Latin Mass at an inner city Novus Ordo parish. Although our sympathies are with the SSPX as the true Remnant of the faith, we are unable to travel to their Chapel very often and so most Sundays have been attending the TLM at that parish. So my observations actually draw from several sources: the Diocesan Magazine, the Quarterly Newsletter of the parish we are registered in and the inner city parish where we attend the TLM most weeks.
The Bishop of our diocese rarely makes waves. He keeps a rather low profile, unlike the Dolans and Cupiches. His predecessor allowed an indult TLM and he gives the impression of tolerating it. That is not so, but is not what we are discussing here. However, since the Bishop has not quite eliminated our TLM, I had not thought much about where he stood on the matters before the Synod. That is, until recently, when, within a few weeks, we received both the Bishop’s Diocesan Magazine, and our old parish’s Newsletter.
First came the Diocesan Magazine which had an article titled “Teaching Children the Importance of Mass”. Here is an informative excerpt, which is quoted from a lay minister:
(He) said there are other everyday parts of life that can be used to teach children about the four-part Order of Mass: the introductory rites, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the concluding rites.
“That can be explained to them as we gather, we tell stories, we share a meal and we are sent forth”, Reilly said.
“The first one they can understand if they can recall visiting someone else’s home. “Someone greets you, which happens here (at church) and we have a meal.”
“The concluding rites can be connected to the goodbyes parents and children say to those whose house they’ve visited, he said.”
This was in the Bishop’s own Magazine, not something independent. “Share a meal”, “have a meal”. Scriptures reduced to telling stories, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass reduced to sharing a meal among friends. It’s no wonder people slog into Mass dressed for a pool party or barbecue.
Next came the parish newsletter. In it is an article titled, “Focus on Faith, Leaders in the New Evangelization”. The article has a photo of the Bishop with the words, “(Bishop) says Catholics must reach beyond their comfort zone to reach non-active Catholics”. In the article, we read about the Bishop’s initiative to nurture the new evangelization by training lay leaders. He contracted with the Catholic Leadership Institute for a year long Parish Ministry Disciples program. The article then quotes Barbara Eckert, senior leadership consultant with CLI: “We hope that in these parishes, there’ll be a new breath of what it means to be a Catholic. And, along with all that beauty, try to let people know we’re Catholic in a way that’s highly invitational and approachable.” In case you are wondering what is being recommended to improve the invitational skills of Catholics, the article continues with a contribution from Father X., the Pastor who explained that while his parish may at first glance appear to be a vibrant parish, it has a “deep problem”, with “a lot of brokenness in our parish that we don’t reach out to.” The article went on to describe Father X’s solution to this brokenness:
“We are called to love people ‘where they are’. That means going back to the core of the Gospel. He then illustrated his point with an example that challenged three different parishioners. All three had received invitations from family members to attend weddings — gay (sic) weddings — and asked Father X if they should attend.
The parishioners saw the invitations as a moral dilemma. Father told them they were actually opportunities to demonstrate the power of the greatest commandment.
Father said he told one of the three, ‘If you want to go to the wedding or not, it’s up to you. But if you stay home and have hostility against your relative, then you are a sinner. If you go to the wedding and you show your love, that is the witness to the Truth.’
“If people believe it’s a sign of acceptance of gay marriage, simply say, ‘No, it’s a sign of love.’ Go to the wedding. Don’t judge. Just love, because love is our greatest testimony. “
Notice that Father X set up a false dichotomy in his narrative; if you do not go to the sinful wedding you have hostility and are a sinner. He presents no choice for lovingly affirming the 2,000 year teaching of the Church. This is the same error promoted by Pope Bergoglio through the Synod.
In the inner city novus ordo parish where we attend the Traditional Mass most Sundays, we have noticed a change which reflects the Bishop’s New Evangelization initiative as well. The Pastor of this parish is known for his reverence towards the Mass, and his insistence on reverence for the Holy Eucharist. It has been his practice during the several years we have attended that on the major holy days, such as Christmas and Easter, to stress that only Catholics who are in a state of grace, that is not in a state of mortal sin, may receive Holy Communion. Usually he announces that there is a priest in the confessional to hear confessions, and several people generally get up and go to confession at that time. Father has also spoken out in favor of the Church’s traditional teachings on marriage. But at his Easter Mass, Father did not mention, for the first time in my memory, the need to be in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion. Father simply noted the larger than normal attendance, with many new faces, and welcomed them to our “worship service” and then, after a moment’s hesitation, he added, “Mass”.
When you consider the above, they show us how Pope Bergoglio is proceeding with his stated “irreversible changes”. Over the past 50 years since Vatican II, the hierarchy has neglected catechising, while placing the emphasis on a generalized and subjective, “Be nice to others”. Consequently, it is not only laymen who are ignorant of their faith, but even priests, Bishops and Cardinals. Thus, our local Bishop can produce a diocesan magazine with such heretical statements as the first quote above, describing the Mass as “telling stories and sharing a meal”.
As others have pointed out, the Kasper Agenda, which Pope Francis has described as “serene theology” does not simply attack the Church’s teaching on marriage, the family and perversions of sexuality. By pushing to admit those living in mortal sin to Holy Communion, it undercuts the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, His greatest gift to us. Thus they are undercutting the very foundation of our faith.
The Pope and his wrecking crew have a much easier time of it now, since Catholics have been taught by their trusted pastors that, A. The Mass is a gathering where we tell stories and have a meal with friends, and B. Christ’s command to love others excludes “judging” them.
The result is that Novus Ordo Catholics feel compelled to welcome active homosexuals and those who are living together without valid Catholic marriage, and “share a meal” with them. Folks, this train left the station a long, long time ago. Barring an act of God, Pope Bergoglio will accomplish his long awaited “irreversible change”.
It is possible that this attempt by Pope Francis to irreversibly change the Faith at the next Synod will trigger the final stage of the Chastisement. The resultant schism may actually jar complacent Catholics from their lethargy and indifference. And then again, maybe not…
Pray the Rosary and confound the devil!
Our Lady of Fatima, Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.