A corpse plant or indian pipe on Holy Souls Mountain, right outside the hermitage. It’s a parasite, unable to survive unless it’s sucking the life out of that which surrounds it. It can’t do the photosynthesis thing, shunning the light of day as it does. If picked, it right away shows its true colors, a kind of rotting black black. Yikes!
And that brings us to benefactors! In the mail, we find this:
I’m happy to have a copy. Thank you A.H.! In my travels I’ve been able to read through this or that bit over the past ten years, always, but always murmuring out loud for the sake of the excellent priests who have owned that book, that I could certainly add this or that story to this or that chapter. Yikes!
Is the book still relevant? Yes. But wasn’t there a visitation of the seminaries? Yes. But, there are some seminaries which just do not want to shake off the hell that was purposely wrecked in these most important of institutions in the Church. There are still a good number of aging, getting on toward retirement members of this or that faculty or administration of whatever seminary which hang on to the ways and means described by Michael Rose, although with a veneer of sychophantic orthodoxy to make things look “nice” in a Church whose younger membership is much more interested in fidelity, fidelity, fidelity.
Just a note on that sub-title about “liberals.” In this description, that term is not the opposite of “conservatives”, but rather is that which is anything but orthodox, faithful Catholic belief and practice.
At any rate, you have to know that the truth is not ever to found mid-way between that which is “right” or “left”, “liberal” or “conservative”. Those are political terms defined according to the ever changing thoughts of mere men. In fact, if a political category just happens, by chance, to be correct, that doesn’t mean there is any depth of understanding. It just means that that is where the reactions to the bought-into-dialectic have brought it. Don’t worry, that political category will change tomorrow.
But can’t there be a good political way of manifesting the social doctrine of the Church, which is based on truth and charity, on natural law and principles like subsidiarity? Sure, but then all of that is lifted out of the descriptions of “liberal” and “conservative”, which terms are vacuously redefined by the speaker every time they are spoken.
To think that one is self-righteous and therefore faithful so that one can do no wrong, and can think whatever and do whatever — a temptation for all those who self-define right and left, liberal and conservative – is to give oneself a license to kill and rape and pillage. That self-congratulatory “I’m always faifthful!” post-original sin primal scream of individualistic defiance is the desperate cry of the self-defined.
The truth, instead, is what it is regardless of the where we are at. The entire human scale of right and left, liberal and conservative, can swing far left or far right of what the truth actually is. Truth isn’t about a maniplative mind-game, which is the definition of infidelity. Instead, truth is God, and God is love, and love cuts through our idiotic mind-games like light through darkness.
You have to run pretty fast in attempt to keep away from the light if you are but darkness. That’s how fast those who are unfaithful run straight into hell, where they find, nevertheless, God’s love following them, there before them. That love, that truth, provided to all, is not received by all. Those who reject that love and truth, who are unfaithful, experience that love and truth as an incrimination, as an occasion of knowing profound frustration. Things only get worse for those who are unfaithful.
For those who are faithful, the reception of that love and truth is perceived and received as a purging of that which is unfaithful, as an invitation to the fullness of life in Christ Jesus.
It’s all a bit of a paradox. The best way to be faithful is to go to confession. Hah! Those who go to confession regularly are in humble thanksgiving before the Lord, and that humble thanksgiving, that great friendship with the Lord, keeps them from horrific sin from the one confession to the next and right on to heaven, always growing in the Lord’s strength, though we, in this world, remain weak, you know, that cross our Lord commanded us to carry daily, that is, until we die. No more crosses in heaven!
This fidelity from the one confession to the next isn’t about repression or even about coping mechanisms (however nice the words of encouragement and advice might be, which the priest hearing your confessions provides for you). Rather, fidelity is about a raucus, enthusiastic, solid friendship with the Lord. That greater love, as Archbishop Fulton Sheen had it, takes out attention: God is more important, more enthralling, more captivating than any lesser un-love, sin, that we might otherwise give ourselves to in this way and that.
Faithfulness means carrying the cross of our recognized weakness which we don’t throw down with repression – which doesn’t work — but which we carry as a way to remind us of the majestic goodness and kindness of our Lord, who – wow — had to reach into such chaos in order to grab us and bring us to Himself. Yikes!
And don’t forget, when the Lord commanded us to carry the cross, he also said that we were to look to Him, to follow Him: His enthusiastic friendship which conquers idiocy and goes out to conquer still. Way cool, that.
There are many factors which brought about the Goodbye Good Men crisis, but infidelity is central to all those factors. The only way to conquer infidelity is by of fidelity, or, as Father Richard John Neuhaus put it to well in his series of articles following up on the abuse crisis in First Things: The only way to conquer infidelity is fidelity, fidelity, fidelity.