Melancholicus is both bitter and angry as he writes this.
It happened before, and now it has happened again, like the re-run of a bad movie.
Except we are not talking about anything as trivial as televisual entertainment; we are talking about the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
On the 17th Sunday of what newchurch calls ‘Ordinary Time’ (year B) the lectionary prescribes the reading of John 6:1-15 as the gospel of the day. This last occurred in August 2006.
The gospel passage in question recounts our Lord’s miracle of the loaves and fishes. On that Sunday, two years ago, Melancholicus was attending Mass (Novus Ordo, alas!) celebrated in the parish church of the town where his mother now lives. The Mass was celebrated by an occasional celebrant who makes only a few, infrequent, sporadic appearances, but whose approach to the liturgy is typically clean and reverent enough, so Melancholicus was happy to see him.
Happy to see him, that is, until he began preaching.
If, gentle reader, you are a Catholic, you will doubtless at some time in your life have experienced the exasperating phenomenon of Father celebrant ‘explaining’ away the Lord’s miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fishes as merely the crowd, moved by Jesus to generosity and neighbourly love, sharing their packed lunches with one another.
This is what the faithful in the pews received from this man on that Sunday in August 2006. But he didn’t stop there; he slowly and with great emphasis undermined the historical credibility of the evangelists and of the New Testament as a whole.
After this Mass, Melancholicus was so incensed that he published in The Brandsma Review an article denouncing the modernism of corrupt clergy, and so lanced the spiritual boil. The following week he was in a different parish, where he was witness to the most appalling liturgical abuses. He then proceeded to boycott all Masses in the Novus Ordo for the rest of that liturgical year.
On the 18th Sunday of ‘Ordinary Time’ (year A), which happened to be yesterday, the lectionary prescribes the reading of Matthew 14:13-21. This is quoted below, in the translation in use in the Irish Church:
When Jesus received the news of John’s death he withdrew by boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But the people heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after him on foot. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them and healed their sick.
When evening came, the disciples went to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place, and the time has slipped by; so send the people away, and they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food.’ Jesus replied, ‘There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they answered ‘All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.’ ‘Bring them here to me’ he said. He gave orders that the people were to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing. And breaking the loaves handed them to his disciples who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected the scraps remaining; twelve baskets full. Those who ate numbered about five thousand men, to say nothing of women and children.
The celebrant, as ill luck would have it, was the same priest whom we see on only a few occasions each year, and who delivered that scandalous homily two years ago. Melancholicus dreaded hearing the homily, since it was hardly likely that this priest had reformed himself in the intervening time.
So, gentle reader, can you guess what the homily was about?
You are most correct.
Except this time it was worse than before. The passage is from the gospel of St. Matthew but, in perfect conformity with the modernist insistence that the gospels are anonymous, Father celebrant never named the evangelist, referring to him simply as “the gospel writer”. He also accused St. Matthew—the anonymous “gospel writer”—of “getting carried away” in his account of the feeding of the five thousand. He then went on to deny that a miracle had taken place and, thanks to his modernist exegesis, the congregation were left in no doubt that the anonymous “gospel writer” was not at all a reliable witness to the historical Jesus.
If one can so blithely diss the miracle of the loaves and fishes, what of other miracles recorded in the New Testament—the virgin birth of Jesus, for instance, or His Resurrection? If we don’t have to believe the evangelist’s testimony in this episode, why should we trust any of it?
Da Vinci Code, anyone?
Melancholicus did not hear the end of the homily, for he rose noisily from his pew, strode purposefully down the central aisle, and walked out of the church. He was the only person in attendance who did so.
Once outside, he sat in his car, trembling with rage against that Judas priest and against the entire revolting edifice of the conciliar church.
Why do we tolerate the conciliar church, with its blasphemies, its heresies and its mania for fashionable secular causes? Do Catholics not realise how much the apparatchiks of the conciliar church despise them and their faith? As Hilary puts it so succinctly, Novusordoism isn’t Catholicism. Never was there a truer word spoken! The “church” inhabited by men like Father celebrant is not Catholic—it is a hideous changeling, an excrement-smeared counterfeit, a diabolical usurper, a blasphemous parody of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is founded upon Jesus Christ and His apostles; the conciliar church is founded upon the raving fantasies of insane men. The Catholic Church is the mystical body of Jesus Christ, the extension throughout time of the Incarnation; but the conciliar church is surely the very abomination of desolation in the holy place, the mystical body of satan.
Why do we in the pews tolerate the heresies of this man, and countless others like him? Why do we sit there in acquiescent silence while he feeds us with poison and destroys our faith? Why do we let him get away with it? Why do we not bestir ourselves with righteous anger? The fellow deserves no more than to be dragged from the sanctuary and pummelled with kicks and blows. Before he began preaching, he announced the first collection. I wonder how many persons in attendance still gave their money to this fellow once he had finished preaching and announced the second collection?
Melancholicus would put an offering in the collection basket even at Novus Ordo Masses in obedience to the precept of the Church requiring us to contribute to the support of our pastors, but in future he will give no more offerings to the conciliar church.
Since we have no other recourse, dear friends, let us hit these faithless traditores where it hurts them most: in their pocket, seeing as money is all they care about. Let us make a holy resolution to withhold all contributions to anything in the Church even remotely connected with the Novus Ordo.
So now Melancholicus refuses communion with this faithless and heretical priest. He shall not attend Masses celebrated by that man. He shall not participate in any liturgical or other religious function in which that man is involved in any priestly capacity. He shall not confess his sins to that man, nor shall he ever request of him absolution. He shall not receive holy communion from the hands of that man, nor shall he receive any sacrament or spiritual help of whatsoever kind unless, being in articulo mortis, he should be compelled by necessity. But except in such necessity, that man shall be to Melancholicus as the heathen and the publican.
And now Melancholicus is wondering what to do in the future. He knows that, come Sunday, he shall not be able to bring himself to attend the Novus Ordo. Due to circumstances he will be unable to make the long drive into Dublin to attend the Traditional Mass. That means a Massless Sunday, but better no Mass at all than to be stoked into fury by the blasphemies of a heretic. In fact, Melancholicus is considering a long-term boycott of the conciliar church with all its pomps and works, just as he boycotted the same for many months in 2006, and again in 2007. The first precept of the Church mandates attendance at Mass on all Sundays and holy days under pain of sin, but the obligation surely does not extend to the kind of degenerate fruit-and-nut fest that passes for Mass in so many parishes of this God-forsaken diocese, in which our beloved Saviour is denied and, so to speak, spat upon by the celebrant. Holy Mother Church is more kind and forebearing to her children than to insist on feeding them with such poisoned fare. As far as Mass and holy communion are concerned, Melancholicus shall go to Newtownmountkennedy, where the Old Mass is celebrated every Saturday by the parish priest. That shall have to satisfy for Sunday, for as yet there is no old rite Sunday Mass in the diocese within easy driving distance. There at least Melancholicus will be able to pray in an atmosphere of peace and sanity, and he will be able to receive holy communion.
But Sunday being the Lord’s day, he feels it apposite to sanctify that day with at least some communitarian worship, and this will involve stopping off at St. Bartholomew’s for choral evensong on his way back to Dublin in the evening. This beautiful service—which is unfortunately suspended for the summer break but should resume in September—is the outstanding contribution of the Anglican church to Christian liturgy. St. Bartholomew’s is a beautiful Anglo-Catholic church, and praying there at evensong in the latter months of 2007 brought much solace to Melancholicus’ tired and care-worn soul. He also acquired a new devotion—to St. Bartholomew!—for the church has an icon of its patron before which Melancholicus lit many candles and knelt in prayer, and he can declare without exaggeration that taking refuge in St. Bartholomew’s from the degradation of the Novus Ordo was spiritually very beneficial.
He wouldn’t be inclined to attend their communion service, though—Apostolicae Curae, and all that.
But whatever he ends up doing, Melancholicus shall give the wretched Novus Ordo a very wide berth indeed, and possibly will not return to it for the rest of this liturgical year.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing—2 Cor. 6:17
As the 1st Sunday of Advent approaches, however, he always feels tempted to recommence regular Mass-going—he did so in 2006 and 2007—so he shall probably do so again in 2008, whereat the whole cycle of recovery, then return, then disillusionment, then disgust, then a months-long boycott, will begin over again.