One of them, who lives in a neighboring county and thus has a slightly longer commute to our parish, expressed concern about the post Roe violence that had been promised by radical pro-abortion groups in the weeks following the leak of the draft decision (What is Jane’s Revenge? Abortion Rights Group Vows ‘Night of Rage’ Over Roe, Jack Dutton, Newsweek, June 24, 2022). He didn’t know of any threats against our church in particular, but all of us had put a lot of money and love into the place - he and I had been around for the installation of a beautiful new high altar and reredos several years ago, and he would just feel better if there were eyes on the place. I volunteered, packed a couple of cigars and took a ride a few towns down I95 - TLM parishes are almost never in your own town. I’m not exaggerating when I say that our church is the center of my family’s spiritual, cultural and social life. The liturgy and music encouraged my reversion back to the Faith itself about a dozen years ago (Wedding Poinsettias: Beauty, Cancer, and the Cross, OnePeterFive, May 5, 2016). Our three children play frequently with their friends from coffee hour and altar serving, and we often share meals and birthday parties with their parents, who are now our best friends. Our schola includes five professionals who could sing anywhere in the world and we’ve attended concerts at our church to hear them and their colleagues perform. So I was happy to stand guard to protect my beloved parish.
The decision over Roe is now just about four months old. Feminist rage against the Church could still heat up as pro life-leaning states solidify their laws in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision.
But I still couldn’t escape one demoralizing thought that kept intruding between puffs of smoke: I was more worried about my own bishop than I was about the crazy ladies of Ruth Sent Us, Jane’s Revenge, and their like. Sure, those radical pro aborts could make threats, engage in arson and vandalisms and even disrupt Masses. But our Church leaders could suppress everything that was most dear to my family and friends, and do their best to make sure we never have access to those sacred and worthy things ever again.
And apparently, my late-night threat assessments were pretty accurate; the Night of Rage (Jack Dutton, Newsweek, June 24, 2022) Catholics and other traditional religious believers had read about and feared never really materialized. While Olivia Reingold reports on over seventy attacks against pro-life organizations since May (“If Abortions Aren’t Safe, Neither Are You,” Olivia Reingold, Commonsense.News, Oct. 19, 2022), I’m unaware of widespread attacks on Catholic churches. Catholic Church leaders, on the other hand, have since used their traditionalist faithful as punching bags.
The decision over Roe is now just about four months old. Feminist rage against the Church could still heat up as pro life-leaning states solidify their laws in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision. Since I’m not going to bother appealing to the radical pro aborts’ concern for their eternal salvation, I’ll appeal to their sense of prudence. Ladies - if you stayed home because you’ve paid even a modicum of attention to the goings on of the Catholic Church lately and didn’t want to risk letting your cats out (I’m assuming there are cats in your dwelling places) for an exercise in redundancy, your instinct was correct. That sadistic grin you broke into when you came across your right wing uncle’s copy of The Remnant over Thanksgiving and Googled “Motu Proprio,” is the same grin many of our Church leaders don every time another TLM is relegated to a basketball court. If your aim is unhappy Catholics, you’d have to be pretty unlettered not to know that the Catholic hierarchy is on it - and has been for around 50 years. They’ve got the street cred to prove it.
Absolutely nothing done to our physical churches can compete with the damage inflicted by the clergy and Church leaders who have passed along this hollowed-out husk of a faith.
I doubt that any of you have ever attended a Traditional Latin Mass before, but if you have, you probably would have noticed that the church was pretty full and that you heard a lot of baby cries (sometimes alive babies do that) mixed in with the chant and the sermon. Just this past summer, residents of Washington, DC who loved attending this form of the Mass were dealt a severe blow to their faith life. Was it because members of one of your groups firebombed TLM churches, graffitied their sanctuaries, intimidated their parishioners into staying home? Nope, it was us. At a time when a person of faith might have thought that the archbishop of our nation’s capital would be occupied with exhorting his faithful to acts of penance for the tens of millions of babies aborted since Roe v. Wade was initially decided in 1973, Cardinal Wilton Gregory ‘“announced July 22 that the Traditional Latin Mass would be restricted in the archdiocese to three non-parochial churches. (DC Parish Rues Latin Mass Ban, Warns of Financial and Membership Losses, John Lavenburg, Crux, July 25, 2022). The Cardinal’s decision to suppress the Mass that formed most of the saints also came just after many of our most prominent cultural and political leaders realized that they don’t know what a woman is. (What Is a Woman? (2022) - IMDb).
Shortly after, on July 29, Bishop Michael Burbridge of nearby Arlington, Virginia, announced that that diocese’ own young TLM thurifers would soon be incensing free throw lines; Arlington, which had twenty-one parishes with Traditional Latin Masses, cut the number down to eight beginning September 8th, with five of those locations being school gyms, halls or chapels. (Arlington Bishop Divides Catholics in the Name of Unity, Jacob Tate, OnePeterFive, July 29, 2022).
One group of priests devoted to the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass is called (brace yourselves, feministas, you’re going to wince when you read this) the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. They’re a relatively young priestly society that was founded in 1990 but has since grown to have “80 apostolates in twelve countries, 80 priests, and more than 90 seminarians.” (Institute-christ-king.org). And this growth was during a time that Catholic vocations were largely in a state of collapse. The American headquarters of this institute are in Chicago. But again, over the summer the Institute’s faithful in that city learned that its public Masses and Confessions had been canceled. I know what you’re thinking - Chicago, birthplace of Saul Alinsky, stronghold of American radical leftism. Some of our young blue-haired RBG fan club members showed up and scared the papists out of their scapulars! Right on, sisters!
Did Jane's Revenge’s forebears smash our high altars in the wake of the Second Vatican Council? Rip out our altar rails? Did they tear tabernacles out of church sanctuaries? No, these things were all done by leaders inside the Church.
Again, that’s a negative. Long-time TLM boogeyman (Bishop bans Latin services | | rapidcityjournal.com) and prince of the Church Cardinal Blase Cupich reportedly suspended the Institute’s priests. The reason for this liturgical and sacramental assault is pretty inside baseball (Cdl. Cupich bans Institute of Christ the King from saying public …), but my point is this. You ladies didn’t even have to raise your eyes from that old Lilith Fair footage someone posted on Youtube to make it happen. Our own Catholic leaders did it for you.
The amazing thing is, the examples I’ve given you are from only a few months ago, but faithful Catholics have decades of them. Did Jane's Revenge’s forebears smash our high altars in the wake of the Second Vatican Council? Rip out our altar rails? Did they tear tabernacles out of church sanctuaries? No, these things were all done by leaders inside the Church (albeit, ones who might have been influenced by some of the same ideologies your members adhere to).
The church where we were married is in my wife’s old neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, in a very heavily Italian neighborhood. (As a matter of fact, it’s now also the hipster capital of the United States, and the dwelling place of a good number of your members - before you and the hipsters arrived, I would have estimated the resident - to - Our Lady of Mt. Carmel statue ratio to be about 1:1). The music program at this church is such that a 90 year old man’s man (my wife’s grandfather, as it happens) can expect a selection from Phantom of the Opera to be sung at his funeral Mass. According to this church’s bulletin, it now has Confessions for half an hour a week. If you actually go to Confession there, the priest won’t even bother waiting in the Confessional, he’ll prepare for the Saturday Vigil and come by if he sees you waiting. Keep in mind, ladies, that it is Catholic teaching that before you receive the Eucharist (that’s the body and blood of our Lord) you must be in a State of Grace. This means, amongst other things, that you submit to the Church’s teachings on non-negotiable issues such as the right to life. The Sunday after Roe v. Wade was overturned, my mother-in-law reported that the pastor at this church gave a rather equivocal sermon on the decision. When she confronted him about it afterwards he explained that too many of his parishioners were pro choice and he had to be respectful of their beliefs.
With Church leaders like ours, who needs Jane and Ruth?
Ladies, thanks for mostly leaving us alone during that potential Night of Rage. But understand that absolutely nothing you could do to our physical churches can compete with the damage inflicted by the clergy and Church leaders who have passed along this hollowed-out husk of a faith.
As I mentioned earlier, the church my family attends every Sunday is much different from the one my wife and I were married in. Several years ago a Brazilian concert pianist flew her entire family and wedding party in so she could have a Mozart setting for her nuptial Mass and wanted it done right. Such is the beauty and renown of our music program. At our Solemn High Mass on a recent Sunday, there were twenty altar servers, including a father who serves with his sons. In my twelve years there, I’m yet to hear a sermon whose orthodoxy I would question. But, dear radical feminist pro aborts, it’s this church whose future is endangered, not the one in Brooklyn. If Masses there cease, it won’t be due to the efforts of your members. It will be the decision of someone my co-parishioners and I refer to as “His Excellence.” Because with Church leaders like ours, who needs Jane and Ruth?
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