If you're checking in just to see what ol' Laramie's been up to, I'll start by thankin' ya for droppin' by. I took a break from the online Traditional Catholic community over a month ago, delved into some spiritual reading, and I'm now studying to become registered in a new radiographic field. For that reason and others, it's best I don't bother with forums for now. I'm needing the time to study. Not to mention the fact that the wife could use my help with the kids.
Sadly for our family, the diocesan Latin Mass switched to a morning time slot. This is bad, because I work the night shift. And now, basically, every kind of "church-approved" Latin Mass is out of our reach because they are in the mornings when I cannot wake up.
What have we done about it?
We've started attending Novus Ordo Mass in the evenings in the city's main cathedral. If I could make an analogy, I would say that it is like going from the 10th grade back to the 5th grade. There is so much apathy in the service, that it is very depressing to the soul. I know it is not my job as a layperson to really be focused on fellow parishioners at a Mass...but one cannot help but notice such things.
Homilies are...tame? Uninspiring? Forgettable? I cannot even remember what they are about. Something that I feel I've heard a thousand times before. I often just try to focus on praying to God in sorrow that the Mass is trivialized in such a lackluster manner.
And, sadly, the indifference is contagious. We yearn for a priest who at least appears to care about what he is saying, we yearn for a congregation that is reverent and wants to work hard to be the best followers of Christ they can be. Am I judging on outward appearances? Who knows, maybe. Perhaps all of these people retreat to some sort of hippy camp where they've renounced all possessions, and they struggle every single day to give away every penny they earn. Perhaps the homilies are the best that the priest can offer.
Call me judgmental if you want. It is easy for me to forget that when I was new in the Church, I attended these services with zeal, and I wanted to grow in my faith. But that growth did not come from such a parish experience. Instead, I found inspiration from a good Catholic friend of mine, and my eventual discovery (8 years later) of the Fisheaters--when a lot of us Catholics were still all gathered over there.
At the diocesan TLM, the confession line continued throughout the Mass, and it was a long line. People wanted to confess their sins and gain absolution. At the evening Novus Ordo Mass, the confession line is promptly shut down five minutes before service. If you're as unfortunate as we are to not get there early enough, then you get the dishonor of being out of a state of grace...oh, unless you schedule a confession time with the priest. That way, you can look him right in the eye as you sit in a chair across from him. Confessions are heard around the city on Saturday afternoons. Unfortunately I work then, too.
So, we've basically become stranded from the families and the priests of our parish home, and we are on the outside of the city walls. This comes on the heels of being kicked out of a few online Traditional Catholic communities in the last two years. Ordinarily, I'd seek advice or prayers from online colleagues in those communities.
So, that is where me and mine are in terms of spiritual matters. Out of grace in a field of modernism...which, I'd swear, seems to encourage a life of gracelessness.
The good and ironic news is that Pope Francis has basically said that the SSPX priests are legitimate enough to be allowed to hear confession for a year. This lends credence to their services. Though an irregular sort, the Society's Mass is acceptable, as will be their absolutions. I'm in an irregular work schedule. The SSPX Mass is an irregular Mass. If you ever hear me tell you how I converted, you'll hear that I converted in an irregular manner. It seems to me that me and my clan will be headed over to the SSPX chapel every other Sunday on late afternoons.
I never thought I would give the SSPX much thought. But I never felt like I'd be taking a step back to being more of a Southern Baptist again, either. I've been on the fence about the SSPX for a few years, and several conversations with Terry Carroll have kept me on that fence. I've often wanted for ChurchMilitantTV to attack the SSPX with some sort of sweeping documentary--simply to hear their case. Carroll told me they would have such a documentary about the SSPX as far back as November of 2014, and shortly after, I posted this. I was told the documentary would come in that late winter or sometime in the next spring. Yet, their documentary never came, and I've only heard affirmations from cardinals and this latest move by Pope Francis. So, I am not as hesitant to approach the SSPX as I was before.
We shall see. We are not getting any kind of spiritual encouragement from the current evening Mass situation (except for, of course, the supernatural graces that flow from the Eucharist), and I'm out of touch with any of the Catholics I used to chat with. I still check in to Te Deum or CathInfo from time to time. Maybe I'll post more in those places in the future. Who knows?