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Friday, September 18, 2015

Bad Timing, Coming Into the SSPX, Hearing Them Out

To begin with, I wish to convey a special thanks to Terry Carroll and ChurchMilitantTV (CMTV) for finally producing the arguments, videos, and the documentary about the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX, or the Society) that I was told they would eventually produce.  At last, a necessary battle--in my opinion--is being allowed to take place.  Two camps on opposite sides of a debate are finally having it out, and thus, allowing yours truly to gather a large amount of facts and arguments.

I hope that The Remnant, Catholic Family News, Louie Verrecchio, and many others will dissect every statement that Voris has made, countering with their position and facts.  Likewise, I am hoping that CMTV will hear each and every single argument from these sources, and meticulously address the rebuttals, rather than just blowing them off.

Never before have I had to come to a conclusion about the SSPX.  But due to my real-life circumstances, a position on the Society is now necessary.  I must determine if going to a Society chapel is an option.  What shall I do?  Force my wife and young children to endure odious and irreverent consecrations of the Eucharist that are highly irregular when compared to the Masses of the past two millenia?  Or do I take my family to a Mass that reinforces the entire Catholic Faith in every aspect, yet is technically considered irregular by canon lawyers?

How I got to this point

-In 2001 I converted to the Catholic Church in a most awkward fashion by a liberal priest.  I had never even heard of the SSPX.  But I came into the Church knowing that there was a pedophile priest scandal at the time, and that the beginning of the Church's rot started sometime in the late 60s with some sort of Council.

-In 2009, after years of having no consistent friendships (save my sponsor) or associations with other Catholics--due largely to the impersonal get-in-get-out culture of Novus Ordo Mass culture--I finally discovered the online Traditional Catholic community at the forum known as Fisheaters.

-By 2014, I developed an awareness of the SSPX, but I never supported the Society.  I knew of its existence since 2009, but never cared much.  I did not fully understand their history, how legal they were, the rightness of their cause, or if they were even necessary.  I had the luxury at that time of attending diocesan Tridentine Latin Mass (TLM), so it seemed there was no need to bother with the topic.

-By early winter of 2014, having already formed an opinion about Sedevacantism (I disagree with it very much), I struggled to understand the SSPX.  Different people would occasionally ask my opinion on the Society, and the Society kept popping up in the news.  I had a brief correspondence with Terry Carroll.  He was telling me many things against the Society.  I was often on the fence on the matter.  Carroll did his best to explain his side of the story.  To this day, I am grateful to Carroll for taking the time to write such extensive replies to my questions, and in the next week or two, I will likely review what he recommended once more.  It was at this time that Carroll had promised an extensive CMTV special about the SSPX that winter.  I was looking forward to it, as I wanted to have some kind of a solidified opinion on the matter once and for all.

-In February of 2015, I had actually thought I disagreed with the SSPX for a week or perhaps a day.  I cannot remember, exactly.  My understanding was shallow, truth be told.  This was around the time that a CMTV program called Mic'd Up came out and targeted different Traditionalist Catholic news sources.  I thought it was a very exciting show that ginned up a lot of important conversation.  But still, since I still had my diocesan TLM, I did not have to put too much thought into the SSPX.  I was still disappointed that there was still no documentary.  Carroll said that the documentary would be released at the end of March, after the revamping of their website.  I had returned to being on the fence on the matter, and I wanted to hear the criticisms their documentary had to offer.  

-By mid-August 2015, I had seen many instances where it seemed that CMTV had snubbed different people on their website.  I found it to be very disingenuous.  An up-and-coming blogger had complained:
"Church Militant consists of a bunch of moral cowards unable to handle any debate in a forum they don't control. Good Lord I'm sick of their nonsense, and of the string-pullers behind the scenes. May God grant them all the success they deserve."
This was becoming a very common complaint about CMTV.  Many Catholics were complaining about being snubbed and cut out of discussion from CMTV's comment boxes.  Yours truly was even scrubbed out of a conversation because I sincerely asked what the Abomination of Desolation would look like, and I asked for someone to explain the prophecy of St. Francis of Assisi.  CMTV glibly touted to everyone that "Many are called, but few are chosen!" when it came to snuffing out comments on their com boxes.  I found it to be a snarky, degrading, and effeminate mockery.  At this time, I was upset with CMTV, and I was upset with Terry Carroll because the fabled documentary had never seen the light of day.

-By September 6th, a terrible reality for the family had settled in.  I am trapped working on the third shift, with no end in sight.  Due to the fact that all of the Latin Masses were in the mornings, we were stuck with a Novus Ordo Mass at our city's cathedral in the evenings.  It was irreverent.  Our family went to that Mass for a few months because the 1pm diocesan Latin Mass was moved to 10:30.  We needed a TLM in the late afternoon or evening.  The wife and I had been growing out of touch with the good Traditional Catholic families of our town because of the TLM Mass cutoff.  There seemed to be absolutely no importance on confession at the parish, and we've been in a state of mortal sin for weeks.  For us, Catholicism has been simply a thing experienced irreverently for an hour on Sunday.  I realized that if my children grew up with this kind of a Mass, they would grow up indifferent and lose the Faith.  I had told a friend the following:
Returning to Novus Ordo really sucks. I can absolutely see how people are DRIVEN to SSPX Mass, now. Having experienced something meaningful, and then returning to something so bland and disregarding of important things...it's like being a highschool sophmore, and returning to the 5th grade.  I honestly entertain the SSPX idea lately. Heck, Pope Francis even gave them permission--for a limited time only!!!--to hear confessions. (Get your absolutions while they last, folks.) If that isn't a sign that the Vatican likes to keep the Society on a chain, I don't know what is. I really entered the Church in a weird way. It'd only make sense if I were to continue in It in a weird irregular way as well. Besides, these days, I often say to myself that the SSPX Latin Mass is no more irregular than the NO Mass.
-By September 11th, the end of the week, I decided I would take the family to an SSPX Mass.  It wouldn't be until the 4th week of the month (so we haven't gone yet).  I had not really thought much about the Society before, but it seemed like an option at that point.  The time for learning more about the Society had finally come.  Terry Carroll never produced that documentary he promised, and just a few weeks earlier, Pope Francis said that SSPX priests could hear confessions during the Year of Mercy.  It seemed legit.  I shared this news with my remaining friends in the online Traditional Catholic community:

-On Sunday, September 13th, we fulfilled our Sunday obligation once more at the Novus Ordo Mass at the cathedral downtown.  On two forums, I described it as follows:
As we walked into the church, a woman with a high skirt and a "fish net" shirt revealing her bra underneath entered through the doors in front of us. During the Gloria, the tune was that of the My Little Pony theme song. Only the African priest and the music director was singing the Gloria, and even then, the music director was only halfway singing it. I looked out during the singing of the Gloria, and all 200 parishioners were just standing there bearing it, waiting for it to end, and no one participating in the feely-good Gloria song. They had 2nd and 3rd grade children stuttering through the readings as they stood on a stepstool behind the lectern in the sanctuary area. [Hardly anyone] stayed after the Mass to pray, and yet everyone went up for some juice and crackers except us (since we're still in a state of mortal sin and going to Hell, presently; no thanks to the shriveled emphasis on confession).  I want to get off of this night shift once and for all. I cannot, our finances will not allow it. If my children continue to grow up in this kind of a "screw it" atmosphere, they'll abandon the Church when they're adults, and they won't give a damn about anything.
Going to a Society chapel seemed like the right thing to do.  The only thing critics seemed to offer was glibness and cutting off people in an attempted debate.  I was becoming excited.  My family would be able to attend the Latin Mass again.  I posted the following:

- September 14th, Monday.  CMTV came out with a video about the Society: The Vortex--SSPX Sadness.  I was shocked.  They announced a week-long series about the topic, promising a special by Friday.  I was very upset.  They marched onto the scene A DAY AFTER my wife and I were just SURE we were going to do the right thing.  

-September 15th, Tuesday.  I was very frustrated and confused after seeing CMTV's second video: The Vortex--Schismatics before God.  I posted this:

Perhaps I was wrong?  I could not tell.  I am a simple layman.  A radiographer.  Canon law is beyond my station.  I do not know how to argue for or against any of this.  I was angry.  How could CMTV have such terrible timing?  And to come out with this series before that awful Synod is about to happen?  It just seems like a very awful time to stir this up.  

- Wednesday, Sept 16th.  CMTV's third video came out: The Vortex—Offensive to God.  The video utilized some very strong language, and it seemed aimed at Society priests.  I doubted my decision.  But then, that afternoon, The Remnant started addressing Michael Voris' statments point-for-point in this article by Chris Jackson:

And Louie Verrecchio was addressing Voris' points in this article:

These arguments made sense to me.  At first, it seemed as if CMTV scared me back onto the fence.  But then, how could I argue against what Jackson and Verrecchio said?  I was comfortable with the Society by the end of the night.  

- Thursday, September 17th.  CMTV released a video using strong language once more, this time aimed at laity who attended Society chapels: The Vortex—SSPX Sunday Mass.  I have been, perhaps, despairing.  What was I supposed to do?  I've been getting frustrated with the entire mess that is the Catholic Church, wanting to throw my hands up and say "just forget it."  CMTV further put out three more articles: 

I asked CMTV and their community through Disqus the following question:
So, what am I to do? Continue taking my wife and children to the modernist dull Mass we are stuck with, where they sing the Gloria to the tune of "My Little Pony?"  If no SSPX, and if we are not in a state of emergency, then what. am. I. supposed. to. do?  My children are going to grow up not giving a crap about the Catholic Church if their formation at Mass continues in this fashion.  I am asking sincerely.
Fortunately, they have not considered my question to be troublemaking or inconvenient, and it has not been scrubbed from their comment box.  In fact, I've received many replies, for which I am grateful. 
Also, however, there have been some point-by-point replies by the Remnant again, as well as discussions about the Society's position in general:

There are other pro-Society sources out there who are countering what CMTV is stating--including, of all people, Karl Keating of Catholic Answers.  Bishop Morlino apologized just last week to the Society for a ghostwritten letter telling people to stay away from the SSPX--that he never felt that way about the Society.  And then, I found this today as well:

- Friday, September 18th, is the composition of this blog post.  I am sympathetic, once more with the SSPX after reading the latter three linked articles.  They tackle Voris point-by-point.  I am sure that others will be coming to do further in-depth analysis and rebuttals of what CMTV has produced this week.  Their grand-daddy of a documentary, FBI—CATHOLI-SCHISM, has just been released this morning.  It is as glib and snarky as ever.  The tone of this title is more akin to something I'd hear from a snotty atheist making fun of the Church.  I have yet to view it.  But I will.  Because I don't know what I am supposed to think.  All I know how to do is to hear all sides in this matter.  I don't know how else to handle this.  I will be awaiting rebuttals from the sources I've mentioned.  And I will be curious to see if CMTV will match those rebuttals.  I want this fight.  At this point--for the sake of my family--I need to these two sides to prove themselves in debate.

So far, the allies of ChurchMilitantTV do not look too Christlike.  Not only do we have Voris' uppety tone, the cocky titles, the effeminate snubbing on the CMTV com boxes, but here is Fr. Paul Nicholson's latest jab at the Society.  That is the same Fr. Nicholson who thinks that SSPX Mass, since it's schismatic, is worse than a black mass.  I wonder if he thinks the same of the schismatic Eastern Orthodox.   

Fr. Paul Nicholson also bashed Fr. Nicholas Gruner on the day of the latter's death.

As you can see from the picture that Fr. Paul Nicholson has posted, he appears to be snarkily rejoicing in the idea that Archbishop Lefebvre is roasting in Hell as an excommunicated priest.  Some people, following that posted picture, stated that hopefully, perhaps on his deathbed, the Archbishop reconciled.  But Fr. Paul Nicholson was all too happy to stomp on that idea, proclaiming: "He did not reconcile. He died excommunicated. Only the Pope can lift his excommunication. He died unrepentant. Kyrie Eleison. What a frightening thing!"

Contain those thrills, Father.  Not even I take as much delight in people potentially roasting in Hell--to the point of brandishing a poster about it.

So, there's been a lot of nasty bad form coming from CMTV's corner.  Objectively speaking, their words confuse and give me pause.  But their actions and behavior really makes me think they are in the wrong.  

Finally, Michael Matt has informed readers that this attack on the SSPX is coming on the heels of an attempt by the Southern Poverty Law Center to place the Society on government agency lists of hate groups.
In attempting to isolate the SSPX as a “radical” fringe group that is “outside the Catholic Church” he becomes a star witness for the SPLC, and thus ultimately aids those who threaten the freedom and well-being of large families, hundreds of priests who adhere to the old teachings on marriage and homosexuality, tens of thousands of children, and so many good and faithful Catholics whose only "crime" is to seek refuge in the SSPX and try to save the souls of their children during the worst revolution in history.
It really, truly seems this morning like CMTV is not serving Catholics, but that the organization is some sort of a perversion of Catholicism or even a trojan horse for Catholics.  If CMTV wants to go after schismatics so much, I have no idea why they do not #1 adopt the cheerful ecumenical attitude of the Second Vatican Council and be nice to "schismatics," and #2 go after other schismatics, like those evil satanic Eastern Orthodox people, who's gatherings--surely!--must be worse than black masses!

The more I think of these latter points, the more I return to being angry with CMTV.  That is where I stand this morning. 

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