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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Crabgrass in the Catholic Garden: Weeding Out Worldliness

By:   Sam Beurskens
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Pilgrims pray during the July 26 opening Mass for World Youth Day in Kraków, Poland. (CS photo by Jaclyn Lippelmann) Pilgrims pray during the July 26 opening Mass for World Youth Day in Kraków, Poland. (CS photo by Jaclyn Lippelmann)

Editor's Note: In an effort to recruit more young Catholics into the Catholic restoration movement, we're encouraging up and coming writers to contribute blog posts here from time to time. We're grateful to young Mr. Beurskens for accepting our invitation, and we hope his article will encourage others of his generation to follow suit and to help us demonstrate that all is not completely lost in the world of the Millennials. MJM

G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.” It follows, then, that the primary reason that the world is in a chaotic and disturbing state is the collapse of Catholic education.  Most Catholics today are being taught that they can have one foot within the Catholic Church and another in the modern world, and still remain faithful Catholics.

Thought this contradictory belief is held even in some traditional circles, it is more commonly found in Novus Ordo Land, wherein is has become common as crabgrass. Like that destructive weed, this notion has taken a stubborn hold.

The mistaken belief in the possibility of being both in the world and of it produces a wellspring of lukewarm Catholics. Cossetting themselves eagerly, without contemplation, in society’s boundless troughs of entertainment and material things, many Catholics are so befuddled that they struggle to fulfill their true calling: to become saints.

I have witnessed this belief—let us call it the Anti-Principle of Non-Contradiction belief —in otherwise seemingly orthodox, conservative Catholic families, even homeschooling families, wherein the catechism was taught faithfully for years. How does it further poison our society?

First, we modern Catholics are too often not living out our divine mission or purpose as explained in the Baltimore Catechism: “God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven.” But we struggle to achieve this goal for the very reason that our actions and words are not demonstrating what God intended—showing his infinite goodness—because we are in fact doing the opposite.   We are pursuing pleasures and possessions that are spiritually damning and leading people away from eternal truths.

For example, we modern Catholics, especially perhaps we young ones, following our fallen nature, display to others that holy works and ways are of trivial importance. We morph into de facto Protestants—or worse, pagans—through our attitudes, mode of dress, actions and tolerations toward immoral video games, music, movies, and popular TV shows, which we discuss openly and without shame.

We inadvertently show the world that venial sin is not repugnant and offensive, leading to mortal sin one action at a time. We forget what Saint John Bosco says: “Enjoy yourself as much as you like - if only you keep from sin.” We're not interested in what St. Catherine of Siena says: “It is human to sin, but Diabolic to persist in sin

In addition, we don’t follow the demands of the Church. Again, we need only go to the Baltimore Catechism: “To gain the happiness of heaven we must know, love, and serve God in this world.” But how can we fulfill our divine mission if we are committing acts that transgress the laws of God?  Rather, with Matthew, we should strive towards a higher vision of our divine mission: “Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth; where the rust and moth consume and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven; where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).

Many devotees of the Novus Ordo Church believe, it would seem, that sin, as long as we don't intend it, is not a sin, and that we are not therefore in any way held responsible for it in the eyes of God. This could not be more incorrect for the reason that the authentic Church teaches the exact opposite. A list of Nine Ways of Being an Accessory to Another’s Sin” is taken from the 1962 Roman Missal under the heading of “The Most Necessary Prayers.” These nine ways are as follows:

  1. By counsel
  2. By command
  3. By consent
  4. By provocation
  5. By praise or flattery
  6. By concealment
  7. By partaking
  8. By silence
  9. By defense of the ill done.

The pre-conciliar Church taught Catholics to strive to live as saints. The pre-conciliar Church had the view so embraced by great saints such as John Vianney: "Sin is the assassin of the soul.”  How tragic, then, that so many Novus Ordo adherents (mainly, I fear, by the weakness and disbelief of certain priests, but also partly by being formed in corrupted catechisms and bibles) give their children ample opportunity to develop indifferent beliefs and values than those extoled in good books (written by the saints) and in traditional teaching (to which the saints devoted their lives). Since such solid teaching is often contrary to the modern and worldly mindset, the Church of Nice simply avoids pointing out the dangers, apparently because to do so would make modern Catholics feel uncomfortable, even perhaps drive them into Evangelical mega “churches,” where worshippers are free to indulge in their personal emotions and predilections.

So what are these weeds, this crabgrass, and how can we avoid it? Well, I have watched Catholics—Trad and Novus Ordo— adopt so many of the modern social fads such as “dating” almost as a sport (as opposed to courtship), while the boys run around in girlish “skinny jeans” and the girls turn up everywhere, even in church, in short shorts. In years past, the Catholic Church encouraged the practice of courtship, which had been in practice in Christendom for 1600 years.  But the "problem" with courtship for most Novus Ordo adherents is that it does not feed the emotions and appetites; that is to say, courtship requires the kind of romance that is spiritual and sober, putting first the sanctity of the immortal soul and the purity of heart.

In addition, courtship looks to the mind and soul for virtue that exudes through the body in honorable acts and self-sacrifice, including the openness to life—the penultimate point of marriage, along with Godly goal of eventually helping one’s spouse to gain everlasting life. In other words, whereas courtship is a Godly romance between souls, “dating” is a pale and corrupt version of the ideal, that most often includes a de facto denial of the old Catholic notion of the “near occasions of sin.”  To put it another way, courtship is for elves while dating is for orcs.  

Another example of creeping worldliness is the emotional, financial and intellectual support of immoral or sacrilegious enterprises and entertainments. I have known many Novus Ordo Catholics who support pro-abortion pop music bands by attending their concerts and by purchasing their music. According to rate your, these bands support abortion in a variety of ways. Some of them donate money to or give free concerts to raise money for Planned Parenthood, Rock for Choice, Voters for Choice or Zero Population Growth.

Some of these bands produce songs with a pro-abortion message. The bands on the following list either promote or endorse abortion—the senseless slaughter of babies: The Foo Fighters, Green Day, Bare-naked Ladies, Madonna, Pearl Jam, and Spinal Tap etc. According to Rock for Life, the following bands also support abortion in many different ways: Blink 182, Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, Green Day, John Fogerty, Justin Timberlake, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ten Foot Pole, PINK, Katy Perry, Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Christina Aguilera.

Yet all of these “artists” I have seen promoted in some way around local churches by "faithful Catholics.”  In most Novus Ordo parishes, one is unlikely to escape the unsettling spectacle of young Catholics approaching the most Holy Sacrament sporting “PINK” t-shirts and one is hard pressed to find a Novus Ordo Catholic young person who does not listen to—indeed celebrate—such "artists." This embracing of the culture of death is one of the reasons that I abhor most pop and rock music.

In addition, related to the above example, there is general repugnance to mortification of the senses when it comes to sinful persons, places or things in our daily life. Call to mind the bible verse, “And if thy hand or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire.” Matthew 5:30.

For instance, let us say that there is a movie, website, or song that includes inappropriate and/or immoral images, scenes or lyrics and even blasphemies. Should not the followers of Jesus and Mary agree to limit their contact with that source of entertainment? So why do so many in my generation (millennials) insist on delighting, even praising it? How does this help us with our first objective in life: achieving sanctity?

The bottom line regarding Catholics becoming numb, indifferent and even antagonistic to all this is that they freely will to live in denial of what St. Padre Pio warned against: “The devil is like a rabid dog tied to a chain; beyond the length of the chain he cannot seize anyone. And you keep at a distance. If you approach too near, you let yourself be caught. Remember that the devil has only one door by which to enter the soul: the will.

Does it not stand to reason that by living the Anti-Principle of Non-Contradiction belief—with one foot in Heaven and in Hell—we ultimately lead ourselves into temptation, where the young person especially will begin to construct his own morality, which will be subject more to our carnal whims than God's law?  As Saint Ambrose declares, “There is nothing evil save that which perverts the mind and shackles the conscience.”

Why I am--a young traditional Catholic man-- sharing all of this with you?  Because I believe the hour is late and there's an urgent need for my generation to return to order, to the Traditional Latin Mass, and to discard the errors and laxity of the Novus Ordo liturgies and social trends, which I firmly believe lead to interior chaos through vague and contradictory teachings.

We must humbly return to Tradition in every way, to the attitudes prevalent in centuries past -- when the Catholic Church taught that there is a Hell; when she demanded evangelization and obedience; when she was unified in belief and practice; when she followed the example of the great Saints; when she imparted Christ’s teachings faithfully. If we do this, even if only in our own homes and lives -- while waiting for the Church to do the same -- perhaps we can all get back to focusing on the reason we were born: to know, love and serve God in this world so that we can be happy with Him forever in the next.

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Last modified on Saturday, April 14, 2018