Editorial Page:

Editorials:

   December 2007: Please Wait

November 2007: Voice of the Turtle

October 2007: In the Green Scheme of Things

 

June 2007: Trusting in Him

November 2006: Subtle signs

February 2006, debut issue: The Four Marks

 


 

Please Wait

Whether you’re waiting for your child to be born, or the excitement of Christmas morning; we wait. We may wait in early spring for flowers to bloom, or the first snow to soften the stark landscape after the leaves have gone. We wait in line to receive Our Lord.

 

I wink at friends and my children saying, “If you pray for patience, you will get it, but you’ll have to wait!” Sometimes I suspect that I’m God’s instrument of patience for others, because I’m so slow. Unfortunately, the more I hurry, the more I stumble and the longer it seems to take. It’s hard for me to be patient with me. Certainly we are all faced with annoying things that slow us down, that make us wait.

 

We wait for dark on Independence Day, rebates, the next issue of The Four Marks, for guests to arrive, for summer vacation, for coffee to “perk”, for the young musician to learn his scales, for the weekend, for the clothes to dry, for a client to call back, for the mail to come, for the soup to cool, for closing time, for the light to turn green, for Glenn Beck, for dinner, for The Passion to come out on video, for the rain to quit, for the garden seeds to sprout, for Dad to come home, for your turn on the swing, for hunting season, for the baby to be “potty” trained, for retirement, for your fishing trip with Bill, for Super Bowl, for the Christmas concert…and more everyday!

 

Usually, waiting means preparing, freshening the guest room, or the penances of Lent (to clean our souls) as we wait for Easter, or Advent. No, I don’t mean decorating the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving, stringing up the lights, or shopping. Perhaps preparing for Christmas could include family reading every night: ten minutes of  Nativity stories, or special prayers like St. Andrew’s Christmas Novena (see page 7.) We could give gifts to the Infant Christ, like extra prayers for His priests who exhaust their energies to bring us the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, visits to those in hospitals and prisons, or helping at a “soup kitchen”. And though we may not think of it very often, or prepare as we should, we wait for the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven or Hell.

 

Thank God and Our Blessed Mother for lighting our way up the long, dark path. Life is all about waiting, and using that time prudently to attain salvation, to hopefully see our Creator, whose reflection is seen –only dimly-- in the beauty of His creation.

 

We wait for all things to be restored in Christ, the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and Holy Mother Church. We pray—and wait— for the return of the King, for great saints of our times to rise up, assisted by Our Lady. And we wait in prayer for an end to evil and Victory!

 

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Many of you will remember that the SSPV has refused me Communion because I have allowed priests (and others associated with Archbishop Thuc’s apostolic line) to write articles and advertise in The Four Marks. I’m particularly thankful that God has allowed me to return to the sacraments. His Excellency Bishop Pivarunas has provided priests who have come to offer Mass for me, and others here in the Billings area. These and others I met while at the Fatima conference offer inspiration as exemplary priests and leaders of Christ’s Church. I thank you, the reader, also, since many of you have offered your prayers and Masses continuously for my needs. May God reward you for your kindness.

Kathleen Plumb, Editor

 

The Voice of the Turtle

We need community. We crave Catholic companionship.  That’s because we’re in a wasteland, a desert. For most of us, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is terribly limited, our sacraments, the availability of the books we need, and schools. Our needs are great. The desert provides only the barest minimum. A spoonful of water… But The Four Marks in its own way helps us endure this with  a sense of companionship. Readers tell me this is true.

 

My recent visit to Mount St. Michael’s in Spokane for the Fatima Conference exceeded my every expectation. I soaked in the water of that oasis. It was my first visit there. I had not been able to have the (true) daily Mass as frequently since the 1960s!There at the Mount, I was surrounded with the sights and sounds of the Church I was raised in. The sisters and priests were brimming with warmth, generosity, and were quick to provide any assistance. After the desert, it was a stunning, spiritual cornucopia. There were  sacraments, sermons and speakers, companionship, the devotional atmosphere of every sight and sound —and towering trees in glorious fall colors accenting the grounds. And  knowing that I would return to the desert, I was able to buy needed supplies at the large well-stocked gift shop before my sad departure.

 

Guests who had traveled from all parts of the country for the Fatima Conference heard how The Four Marks has drawn Catholics together.  As a speaker at the conference, I told listeners: “I can’t talk about The Four Marks as a community without pointing to the evidence that it is a community. What evidence?  I have a box full of cards and letters from so many of you who offered prayers and Masses for my husband – and me—(also financial aid) following my accident. And THAT’s an exceptional reason to have a Catholic Press. My husband and I have benefited from The Four Marks community –as are others.”

                       

That is community, but also the power of the press. The pen, the sword of our times, is needed to bring the facts to those who have only the other side. The Catholic press draws us together, as it did in prayer for my husband and others, and will build an army to pray for the conversion of those in the counterfeit Church.

 

Once the Catholic press was a significant army.  The Catholic Press Directory of 1957 (USA) reported a record total of over 23 million subscribers to all Catholic publications combined. It was a 29% increase over 5 years earlier.

 

That year, there were 559 newspapers and magazines reported by the directory. The following year—1958—each of these newspapers would declare the papal seat vacant. They were sedevacantists. They would say so because this was clearly the truth. Pope Pius XII died in October of that year.

 

But even with the evidence of the Conciliar fruits, how many newspapers are sedevacantist today? Other than The Four Marks, what newspaper will even allow the sede vacante position to be defended? That’s right, there’re not too many of those. That’s why I was asked to publish a new newspaper that would do just that.

 

We need a Catholic Press to confront the Conciliar media and mainstream media with all its deception. I ask for your continual prayers to strengthen the generous work of my writers and volunteers, that this apostolate will grow into a mighty army to be an instrument of God’s will.

 

I was glad to meet and talk with so many of you at the conference. At best I am a writer, and not a speaker, yet my voice was heard. Thank you for your patience with the slow but persistent work of this turtle (editor) and delays due to my limitations.

 

             “And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land” --Canticles 2:12

 

Kathleen Plumb, Editor


 

In the Green Scheme of Things

 

I’VE told some stories many times: My first trip over Sisters Pass in Oregon, of the summer snow in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana, Buffalo Pass in Steamboat, Colorado; Mount Lemmon’s cool, pine forests, 6000-feet above the desert floor and the saguaros of Tucson; hiking through the rhododendron, hemlocks and oaks on the Appalachian Trail; climbing Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, enjoying the rich, fall colors of Grandfather Mountain and driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, the coasts of Maine, California, the Great Salt Lake, and Lake Superior. I haven’t been to Rome or Lourdes, but I’ve tasted these most magnificent treasures of America. I have heard the varied voices of Mourning Doves, Loons, Blue Jays, Whistle Pigs, wild Turkeys, and coyotes. Regal elks with antlers longer than I am tall, bears in my camp, free ranging Buffalo; and deer at my living-room window, are memories that run through my blood, that God uses to speak to me of His majesty and goodness. You might see these things in my paintings, articles I’ve written, and the stories I’ve told my children. These are stories that define my life. They are fresh water from which I draw a greater understanding of God.

            But I don’t confuse love of God’s creation and good stewardship, with green activism and carbon offset scams. I think the typical environmentalist is sincere, even if he has been influenced. Others are in it for the money or the political campaign angle. Consider the environmentalism of Al Gore. He claims to be “carbon-neutral.” What does that mean? Gore compensates for his exorbitant waste of resources by purchasing “carbon offsets.” These offsets represent trees that have been (or will be) planted that consume CO2.  That way, having grand mansions and consuming more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year 1. is fine as long as you pay someone a few bucks-a-day to plant trees —preferably in some country with cheap labor. But there’s a hidden advantage, Gore buys his carbon offsets from his own company, in “a transaction designed to boost his own investments and return a profit to himself.” That puts a different spin on Gore’s global warming film; now it looks more like big company promo. When your advertising film wins two Oscars, that’s pretty good.

            Although the effectiveness of offsets is disputed; its political effectiveness is not.  Just as things begin to heat up next spring, Benedict XVI will speak on global warming at the UN, and tour the US, coinciding with the 2008 election campaigns of the most powerful world leader, the president of the USA. According to The Independent, “News of the speech comes as Vatican City has become the first fully carbon-neutral state in the world, after announcing it is offsetting its carbon footprint by planting a forest in Hungary and installing solar panels on the roof of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.” (www.new.independent.co.uk)

            Why does it take people planting in Hungary to offset the harm done in Italy? And when it comes to pollutants, what about those nasty forest fires in the parks near Rome? Why not replace those trees? Carbon offset credit is barely more than pseudo-science to sugar coat politics. Not politics? They are renaming that spot the Vatican Climate Forest! That’s a miniature “forest” to be sure. In Montana and other states, 37 acres is the size of a large rural lot in a subdivision. Working ranches are often measured in “sections” (i.e., one mile square, or 640 acres.)

            The science used to estimate the number of trees must be like the dating methods of evolutionists –made to fit the purpose, not facts. In theory, the seedlings will absorb all the carbon dioxide that the Vatican makes driving cars, heating offices, and lighting St. Peter’s Basilica etc.

            Don’t get me wrong; I support reforestation. I have planted trees for the government in the mountains near Yellowstone Park, on steep slopes, at 9000 feet elevation. We could plant a seedling in about a minute. I support reforestation: not manipulative scams.

            Benedict may try to be all things to all people; I just wish we had a real Catholic pope who would focus his energies on destroying Modernist heresies and abolishing the new mass. Instead Benedict gives us appearances. He tells us what we want to hear.

 

1. www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=54528

 

Kathleen Plumb, Editor


 

Trusting in Him

 

The time has come to consider the claims of the Society of St. Pius V (SSPV) against the validity of the consecrations and ordinations of Archbishop Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc (October 6, 1897—December 13, 1984, the father of Catholicism in Vietnam, and a man with doctorates in Sacred Theology, Canon Law, and Philosophy.)  Requiescat in Pace

 

Bp. Clarence Kelly, head of the SSPV,

1.    Does not question: That Abp. Thuc was a true Catholic and valid bishop of the Church.

 

2.    Does not question: That thats the ultimate qualification to be a valid minister for an episcopal consecration (the sacrament that makes one a bishop.)

 

3.    Does not question: The sacraments conferred by Abp. Thuc anytime prior to this point.

 

What does Bp. Kelly doubt?

1.    Only the consecrations intended to safeguard tradition. [That is only the consecrations after Vatican II.—Editor’s postscript]

 

        Believing their authenticity, Abp. Thuc had been convinced to consecrate bishops for followers of the alleged Marian apparitions in Palmar de Troya, Spain, in 1975.

        Without speaking to Abp. Thuc, Bp. Kelly questions the validity of every episcopal consecration following Palmar, based on an admittedly poor choice of candidates and other facts as known retrospectively. His poor choices are interpreted by Bp. Kelly and others as a sign that Abp. Thuc was so mentally unbalanced that he could not validly perform a sacrament. But this is a doubt. They admit they dont know. Nevertheless, thats why Bp. Kelly and the SSPV are divorced from all Catholics associated with Abp. Thucs Apostolic line.

        The SSPV is divorced from the Thuc-line Catholics even though Abp. Thuc later humbly and publicly renounced his consecrations at Palmar.

 

2. Bp. Kelly doubts the valid consecration of the reknown theologian Fr. Guérard des Lauriers, O.P., since it was after Palmar. But to doubt his consecration, one must believe that this theologian said to have penned the Ottaviani Intervention-- didnt notice that Abp. Thuc was too senile or mentally disturbed to adequately function as minister! Thats what Bp. Kelly bases his doubts on Of course he wasnt there, and in fact, the SSPV had not yet been formed.

        But thats why the SSPV remain severed from these Catholics. Thats why a SSPV policy forbids giving Thuc-line Catholics the sacraments: because Bp. Kelly isnt sure the archbishop was mentally sound. Although he multiplies words, this is the whole of his argument.

        Like Thomas and the other doubters, the SSPV say they lack sufficient proof. Their argument runs like this: Our doubts are strong; we must decide who and what is credible, and who are true Catholic priests.

                         

I’m sure I don’t know

        Where there is doubt, the Church brings certainty. Doubt is the attribute of the confused, not the clear-minded. For, if one forbids discussing a doubt he has made a point of publicly expressing, it does not seem like he has doubts. It seems more like: he must not want answers or reasonable solutions. A solution built on the untenable conclusion that Thuc-line priests were/are schismatic and may be returned to the Church only as laymen, is not honest, reasonable, or demanded by Church practice. Why would the SSPV seek to ostracize Catholics and penalize priests of good will? How can anyone—on grounds of doubt—justify a cruel and divisive policy, which refuses communion to a Catholic because he has attended a Thuc-line Mass, without proving that these priests are in schism? Moreover, shouldn’t the doubts themselves be doubted  when the number of those who accept the policy are dwindling? Is it not a self-accusation that one doesn’t claim the theology to pass beyond his own doubt, but is so brazen as to withhold communion and bind men’s minds? Alas! A confession of doubt already includes the admission of ignorance. And why should the faithful follow shepherds of doubt?

        Such a principle is unprecedented. In Her history, the Church has consecrated bishops who were mere boys, in all appearances unqualified; and elected true popes who were scoundrels and impious, with bastard children.  But they are held as valid. In themselves, imprudent selections do not  nullify. And if mortal sin and imprudent selections did not nullify a consecration then, it does not do so now.

        Bishops are charged with sowing the faith, not confusing the faithful and between Faith and confusion is a gap so wide as to be considered infinite.

         While competing priests vie for support, while some areas have no priests to serve them, laymen are left in the middle of a clerical tug-of-war. Priests suffer too. Instead of efficiently accommodating people in wide areas, our priests are forced to drive or fly, spending more time and money than if they would come together and cooperatively cover these areas.  

 

        Dear Fathers, step back for a moment and imagine how the layman or the Conciliar may evaluate this situation:

1.    Poll online priests: There are many Lefebvre-line priests and those of the pre-Vatican II line that support the Thuc-line as valid and its priests as holy servants of Christ’s Church.

2.    Size-up the original SSPV priests and their present approval of the Thuc-line validity:  As many readers may know, The Nine (priests who founded the SSPV) are divided over this issue and to date nearly half have accepted the Thuc-line.

3.    Prioritize according to their own needs: Who provides the sacraments where one lives? There are more Thuc-line churches than SSPV.

 

          The layman is far less involved in pot-and-kettle polemics than the SSPV priests, which of course have no real bearing on the Thuc consecrations anyway. Although most of these laymen think for themselves, after learning from their Conciliar mistakes, many still give priority to whatever his priest says about the issue. Otherwise it can be seen this way: Bp. Kelly opposes the Thuc-line because the archbishop blew it on a number of occasions, and no matter what he was thinking, he permanently lost his power as bishop to consecrate anyone ever again. So says Bp. Kelly. Meanwhile, important scholars disagree. Trying to shore up his unproven point, Bp. Kelly mercilessly hammers on Abp. Thuc’s imprudent decisions. But saying it over and over won’t make earlier judgments nullify later actions.  The bishop’s detractions are extremely inflammatory and misleading. And he still doesn’t prove his point. All we have is a convinced bishop who says that he is sure he doesn’t know…

 

Sacraments held as valid

          And a crucial point: Bp. Kelly hasn’t proved that the sacrament does NOT enjoy the benefit of the doubt. Nor can he. Many laymen know that a sacrament like Matrimony enjoys the benefit of the doubt. Validity is presumed until proved to the contrary.1. (Since he claims doubt, he has no proof to the contrary. Furthermore, it must be proved before the appropriate official or Tribunal.) The onus is on the person who hopes to prove in a specific case that a sacrament was not valid, in this case Bp. Kelly. Christ’s Church is founded on perfect order, and were the priest of each sacrament to be scrutinized similarly, we would have a Church of Chaos. That validity is presumed is our protection, a guarantee by Our Lord that safeguards our sacraments. This principle alone is sufficient to alleviate the SSPV doubt.

         If truly acting in kindness and love,  the SSPV would work to resolve any other difficulties, just as through their motivation they found a way to have Father Kelly episcopally consecrated as a bishop despite the general practice of the Church and ecclesiastical laws prohibiting it like papal mandate, co-consecrators etc.  Is not schism too dreadful and unity too vital to ignore?

         Schism2. comes from the Greek for split or cut. It is the “refusal to submit to the authority of the pope” and the most pertinent part: “or to hold communion with members of the Church subject to him. … Anyone guilty of an external act of schism is ipso facto excommunicated… The sacraments may not be administered to schismatics, even those in good faith.”3. Why bring this up? Because the Society’s policy excludes itself and laymen from “communion with members of the Church subject to” a true pope. It’s evident that the Society shuns traditional Catholics and traditional priests with no solid excuse.

         At what point, dear Fathers and readers, do I become culpable for my silence. Because I’m indebted to the SSPV who have provided me the sacraments, because of the anticipated conflicts and losses, I don’t want to write this. My only reason is a sense of urgent moral obligation. And so I beg readers to help me, to pray three Hail Marys —now—asking Our Lady to present this bouquet to her Son on behalf of our beloved priests and an end to this division.          

 

It should be noted that the claim against the Thuc-line priests and bishops is not schism or heresy. The SSPV alleges that Abp. Thuc lacked good judgment in a number of related decisions, and that therefore they doubt the validity of those traditional lines. Although their assertion concerning the archbishop’s imprudent decisions is not disputed, their conclusions concerning the significance of those decisions as applied to the consecrations are based on exaggerated and unqualified observations and cannot be upheld.   Little need be said about the SSPV fear that one must not act in doubt, especially concerning a sacrament, because the doubt we’re discussing does not concern their own action, nor are they in any way directly involved with the past decisions and sacraments of Abp. Thuc, since schism has not been proved.

 

The doubts have been sufficiently answered here. Most others could be resolved by reading the comprehensive quotes of the numerous reputable sources in The Answers by Fr. Kevin Vaillancourt. Why cling to the precious doubts when answers will restore unity and rectify the immediate need for cooperative efforts in every area,  including the fight against accusations of anti-Semitism?!

 

Certainly when considering Abp. Thucs mental state, Bp. Kelly weighed things concerning his health. And in this regard, I cant help but see that Bp. Kelly has been seriously ill for many years, a fact that often affects our ability to evaluate even simple matters. Because his illness has been shrouded in silence, the Thuc-line policy has been accepted by the SSPV priests, perhaps solely on their oaths of loyalty to a superior once in good health. And has the issue been sidelined rather than upset His Excellency? 

 

Frankly, though I struggle to find worthy reasons to support Bp. Kelly, instead I find more and more that I have overlooked things that favor the huge body of Thuc-line Catholics, and point to a terrible injustice.

 

Yes, let this appeal reach every possible reader. Let the doubt be removed. I beg His Excellency Bp. Clarence Kelly to accept the opinion of Fr. Stépanich and embrace his brothers in Christ.

 

Fr. Martin Stépanich, OFM, STD, who has submitted a statement to The Four Marks reiterating his position accepting the episcopal consecrations of Abp. Pierre Martin Thuc, is a Doctor of Sacred Theology, earned in 1948. He had some 18 years of seminary  (including minor seminary,) was a seminary and college professor, edited the Ave Maria (a Slovene language magazine), and in the past wrote for The Wanderer, The Remnant, and the Marylike Crusader. I have included his statement in this issue because he is eminently suited to alleviate this SSPV doubt, especially since he may claim objectivity.

 

 

FOOTNOTES

1.   Exposition of Christian Doctrine, Imprimatur 1919, p. 43 : “The presumption is in favor of the validity of an action till the contrary has been proved. It is in accordance with this principle that, in case of doubt, a confession should be presumed to have been valid.”

2.    An exceptional article by John Daly concerning aspects of schism as it should and shouldn’t be applied may be found on www.sedevacantist.com/npis.html

3.    A Catholic Dictionary, © 1931, Attwater, p. 476

 

Kathleen Plumb, Editor


The Four Marks

The marks by which men will know His Church are four: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic

 

Four marks of the Church were cited in the Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381) — unity, sanctity, Catholicity, Apostolicity —which are believed by most theologians to be exclusively the marks of the True Church. Does your Church have the four marks?

           

These are more than clues. The marks are the natural consequence of the aim and purpose Christ intended for His Church. Because we are obliged to become members of His Church or suffer eternal condemnation, “...Christ, the all-wise legislator, impressed upon His Church some distinctive external marks by which, with the use of ordinary diligence, all can distinguish the real Church from the false, the society of truth from the ranks of error. These marks flow from the very essence of the Church; they are properties inseparable from its nature and manifestive of its character, and, in their Christian and proper sense, can be found in no other institution.”1.

 

 “I believe …in one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.”

 

“Now Our Lord is Infinite Wisdom. Therefore, He does not found a Church, and require all men to belong to it, without marking it unmistakably for their recognition,” explains Msgr. Paul Glenn in Apologetics.2. He uses an example of a man trying to find the true Church, and who begins by saying “[I would] expect the Church, the true Church to be without self contradiction. Wherever I find its recognized members and teachers, I shall find the same doctrine taught, the same truths believed.”  He continues saying that as the man of his example, he expects some variations, but certainly not “different faiths or different essential worship. In these the true Church must be one. For surely if I find differences in these things (faith and worship), I shall find a plurality of religions, not one religion, and certainly Christ only taught one religion.”

 

Using baptism as an example, the Monsignor contrasts the essential difference between believing baptism is necessary for infants, and that it is not. If its members are not in agreement on such vital doctrine, then it is not one.

           

The members and leaders would be holy as Christ Himself, since this is God’s will and purpose of establishing His Church. Christ came that all races, nations, classes, and  genders could turn to His Church for the truth, thus the true Church is “catholic.”  The true church would have to retain the line of leadership, its tradition, and purpose from the beginning, to be the same religion Jesus founded. It would be Apostolic.

 

1.          The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III, © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company
Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight, www.newadvent.com
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

 

2.          Apologetics, By Rt. Rev. Msgr. Paul Glenn, Ph.D., S.T.D., original © 1931, Imprimatur + James J. Hartley, D.D.

 

            Kathleen Plumb, Editor


Subtle signs

 

“Daddy, I think I’ve seen that....”

           

Jim’s steady, deep voice raised above little Jane’s, “Honey, you must keep quiet. The weather’s bad, and I need to watch the road.”

           

Bright orange construction posts, arrows, roadblocks, and signs, were nearly the only guides visible, as he inched through the thick snowfall in the dark. It was useless to follow Aunt Rosemary’s old map, Jim said to himself shaking his head. There were many other travelers on the road, caught in the unexpected storm; and the dim, red lights of the car ahead were reassuring.

He drove steadily forward with the snow rushing toward the windshield. Even though it had been many years since their last visit, Jim was confident that he’d remember the way. “Why,”  he grumbled to himself, “would anyone live out here off the beaten path?”

           

Everything seemed very quiet in the snow and finally the children slept in the back. His wife trusted that he would get them to Aunt Rosemary’s safely. She dozed next to him, with her seat back. “Do you want the radio on? I don’t mind, if it will help keep you awake,” she said softly.

           

He pushed in a cassette and hummed quietly. Raising her head slightly, she asked, “Didn’t Aunt Rosemary say we turn right to get on 401?”

“Aunt Rosemary hasn’t been this way in years. I don’t think they use that way anymore. Anyway, the man at the gas station, said not to pay any attention to the old signs; just follow the new, orange ones.”

           

Another half hour passed in the thick snow. Still he followed behind the dim red lights ahead. A half-mile or so up the road there were lights. As he drove closer he could make out a building.  It was obscured by the snow, but Jim just knew. He felt his stomach sink. Closer and closer. He pulled in behind another car. It was the gas station. He must have circled back somehow.

           

Jim drew his collar up around his neck and got out. Inside, he spoke to the attendant again. The clean-cut, young man grinned, and suggested the motel up the street. The idea was appealing, but Jim thought he should keep going. The attendant reluctantly started to explain the maze of directions he had given earlier.

           

Behind him, reaching into a cooler for a bottle of wine, a tattered, old man shook his head. “That’s not right, Bill. You got to go up the hill … not left,” he said trailing off. The attendant rolled his eyes, “Now, Merle, you’re confusing him.

“Sure, Bill, I haven’t been that way, in a long time; but I remember,” he mumbled while counting the change in his hand. Jim backed away from the man’s cigarette, and let him approach the counter.

           

Hurrying suddenly, as another car pulled up, the attendant called after Jim, “Just follow the new, orange signs!”

           

Jim dashed back to the car. His wife barely stirred as he opened the door. “Everyone’s asleep,” he thought. “I don’t need a motel, bad enough I had to stop for directions!” With that, he pulled back onto the road behind a pickup.

           

Like an answer to a prayer the snow lifted a bit, but now hay from the pickup ahead of him, started blowing into his wipers. Jim waited for a chance to pull around the pickup. Conditions made it very difficult to pass, so he kept his distance. Looking at the time on the dashboard, he said in disbelief, “Seems much later...”

           

As he approached the junction, this time, he could see what seemed like a prosperous, new town to his left. Ahead of him, the pickup had stopped. What was he doing?  Then turning right, he climbed a hill past an old, boarded up church and was gone.

           

“Now, I can get somewhere,” Jim said to himself, and veered left past the warm, snow-covered houses, to the end of town, then on down the dark road.

 

 

Does Jim think he knows the way to Aunt Rosemary’s better than she knows the roads leading to the house she has lived in for most of her long life? Sure. Whatever influenced his thinking —a marked disrespect demonstrated toward parents from teachers, television— Jim has a subtle arrogance toward his wife’s aunt. He thinks that he knows more because she is old. Her ways are old and unfamiliar. In his pride, he can’t be wrong. He would rather be lost than consult Aunt Rosemary’s directions.

           

In the same way, in speaking to Conciliar Catholics, it’s often hard to get past square one, since it’s typical for one to object to the “old” Mass for no other reason than it is old and unfamiliar. It may be that the Tridentine Mass with its Latin is seen as less comfortable and more disciplined, (which it is.) For some, it’s about a habit that’s been formed, and associations and –whether admitted or not—their distaste for the “old” has nothing to do with the knowledge of validity, or lawfulness of the mass they attend. If it did, then they could produce a good argument in favor of the validity and lawfulness of the new mass, new ordinations, and new consecrations.

           

Remarkably, when a Conciliar fails to support their point, instead of conceding, the answer to a new question is often demanded! Walls of every type are built. Although the typical traditional Catholic aches to explain the foundational teaching and laws of the Church that support his conclusions, he may hit a brick wall immediately. The very proposition we hold, that Benedict is not the pope – is enough for many Conciliars to take offense and raise their voices … or is it the idea that they could be wrong about something the world takes as certain?

 

Perhaps the first step in reaching our loved ones is to help them see that a reasonable discussion cannot proceed when their hurt feelings are more important than the facts.


 

© 2006-2007

The Four Marks, Box 58, Ballantine, MT  59006 

 (406) 967-2000

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