I Can't Stop Crying:
by Pauly Fongemie

I thought my tears had run dry at last, so many have been shed these past few years, but I found myself so filled with grief and mourning that a fresh batch welled up this past week: it has been  coming to the fore since this summer.

At that time I noticed that the Sunday Masses did not have quite as much attendance as before; at first it was not exactly apparent as it is today - I simply thought it was an anomaly due to some special case occurring in the locale, such as fewer summer people and the like; but the trend continued, continues. Then I saw the Mass schedule in the church bulletin, which dotted the i's for me: there were fewer weekend Masses listed and fewer Holy Days of Obligation Masses as well; our 3 full-time pastors became 1. Concurrent with this decline our bishop departed for a New York diocese with our diocese still without an assigned new bishop.  As the weeks passed I  began to wonder if our diocese, with a large geographic area - the largest in New England - and with but 58 full time priests [down from just under 90 a few years ago] was about to be subsumed into another diocese, like an outpost or territory. I had already speculated that there would soon be fewer scheduled Masses, which I expressed to a couple of trusted souls at that time, and which has happened. The latter  - the loss of of our own diocese - has as yet to occur, and I pray that I am plain wrong! But I can't help wondering, still, and I can't seem to stop crying.

There are no coincidences with God as we who believe and practice our Catholic faith all well know. This very week I read Part 2 of an article that ran in both the Autumn, 2012 and Winter, 2013 issues of The Fatima Crusader by Michal Semin, a layman, titled, Make EVERYTHING You Do a Sacrifice. The central themes of this 2-part piece are the destructive aspect of the New Mass and the rise of contracepting Catholics and the loss of a sense and practice of sacrifice, that sacrifice that Our Lady of Fatima speaks so urgently of, resulting in fewer vocations to the priesthood. One should, of course, read the first part before one begins the concluding one, but I concentrate on Part 2 here because the case Mr. Semin makes is so compelling and convincing, as in "clear as the proverbial bell". And the bell, indeed tolls: the death knell of an American diocese. The powers that be refer to our situation as the "call for a new evangelization", but there is only a death watch, which becomes more evident with each passing month.

In Part 2 of his article, Mr. Semin writes:

"On January 20, 1958, at an audience for the Italian Association for Large Families, Pius XII stressed the importance of the ideal of large Catholic families for providing a good environment for vocations:

"All of these precious benefits will be more solid and permanent, more intense and more fruitful if the large family takes the supernatural spirit of the Gospel, which spiritualizes everything and makes it eternal, as its own particular guiding rule and basis. Experience shows that, in these cases, God often goes beyond the ordinary gifts of Providence, such as joy and peace, to bestow on it a special call - a vocation to the priesthood, to the religious life, to the highest sanctity."

"With good reason, it has often been pointed out that large families have been in the forefront as the cradles of Saints. We might cite, among others, the family of, St. Louis, the King of France, made up of ten children; that of St. Catherine of Siena, who came from a family of twenty-five; St. Robert Bellarmine from a family of twelve; and St. Pius X from a family of ten."

"Every vocation is a secret of Providence; but these cases prove that having a large number of children does not prevent parents from giving them an outstanding and perfect upbringing; and they show that the number does not work out to the disadvantage of their quality, with regard to either physical or spiritual values."

"The gradual loss of the sense of Our Lord 's propitiatory sacrifice on the Cross and its re-presentation on the Catholic altars all around the world leads to another serious effect - a weakening of the awareness of our own sinfulness, the need of our conversion, penance and offering reparation for our sins. It is for these sins of ours that Our Lord suffered and died a brutal death; we are guilty of the pains He had to bear.

"... The muffled, the inhibited aspect of propitiation in the New Rite leads to the total unawareness of our sinfulness and the nature of sin and also to the serious decrease in the number of confessions. Many priests stopped preaching about the nature of sin - saying that it insults God - about mortal sins that deprive men of the sanctifying grace, closing the gates of Heaven to them.

"More than the necessity of our reconciliation with God, we hear about reconciling with ourselves, with accepting ourselves as we are, without any call for penance and conversion of our hearts.

  "... From what was said so far, I hope it is clear what I wanted to convey. The Traditional Liturgy expresses much more clearly than the New Rite - which even Pope Benedict XVI calls a "banal product of the moment" - our sinfulness and the need for our redemption. [Ibid.]

  "... The way we pray, the way we believe - the way we live. It's that very simple."

When our pastor stood before us at Mass this Sunday to convey to us the dire situation of the parish and the need for fewer Masses, he neglected to entreat for larger families in keeping with the perennial and traditional teaching of the Church. In fact, I have written with fervor to him, imploring him to preach about the mortal sin of contraception, to this day he refuses. If he persists he will go to Hell, objectively speaking, not only for this grave sin of omission, but for all the sins of his people who should have known, for the Church and the Saints teach us that the parish priest and the bishop are responsible for the knowledge of the flock entrusted to their care; if they neglect this duty, they are held accountable at the judgment seat.

More than the fewer Masses and the lower Mass attendance in general, what I notice most and weep most over are the number of children who are absent because they were not even conceived and born and Baptized. A good Mass attendance on an average Sunday in our little parish is between 5-7 children of various ages. During special holidays 12-20 and in the summer when the out of state parishioners come, perhaps 12-16, and that is on an exceptionally good Sunday. I know because I sit near the rear and attend various Masses, not keeping to just one on the schedule. Someone dies almost every week, but the Baptisms are not every week, not even close.

Mr. Semin alludes to the confusion that has set in since the New Mass was promulgated as the norm and the standard of the Faith, without being explicit. A poster that is on a back wall of the vestry of our parish church says it all in bold color: it is a poster designed to attract vocations to the religious and priestly life. In large, prominent letters, it reads "
Introibo ad altare Dei"  - I will go unto the altar of God. Now this is from the Traditional Mass, or as Mr. Semin has it:

"In the Traditional Rite, the priest comes to the foot of the altar stairs and stands facing the altar - which represents Our Lord - and prays Introibo ad altare Dei, followed by the Penitential Psalm Judica me, arousing in his heart a spirit of repentance, awareness of his own unworthiness and need of atonement for his own sins and the sins of the present faithful."

Now, here is a poster to draw young men to become priests and the drawing point or key phrase is the above in Latin, no less, which is remarkable when one thinks about it. Just like the secular companies who advertise on television using fictional nuns or religious brothers as spokesmen; they are clad in traditional, full habits. Why? because without them the purpose is lost or confusing to the potential consumer. The authentic representation of the nun or brother is a requisite because of human nature and how the intellect and heart work together and impact one another. These companies are not stupid. They know better. And in some sense so did our diocese when the bishop had this poster done. Yet, horrible to contemplate but which cannot be avoided, it is stupid anyway because it, through the bishop refused the FSSP into the diocese when there was an opportunity.  The Immemorial traditional Roman Mass is not a priority and larger families are anything but these days. Apparently the bishop and his priests see no connection, while playing hypocrites in a manner of speaking by using the old tried and true sell on the Mass and vocations. And even more apparently it sees no disconcertment or confusion when it plans not to train these men it hopes to get for that Mass, using the phrase, then discarding it as an old, unwanted relic as soon as possible afterwards. There is a great difference to the approach of the altar of God and the table of the people's meal, and another Christ - the sacrificer and atoner and the presider.

The people have not only lost a spirit of penance and actual sacrifice, they have lost the sense of the Faith itself, for hardly anyone objects to all the Protestant songs we are told to sing at Mass. The few Catholic ones are mostly Christmas Carols during that season, with sometimes a welcomed surprise at other times. Even how we pray a modified litany is revealing. The one this morning concluded, "All holy men and women of God, pray for us." Huh? We pray to the Saints to pray for us, we do not pray to one another. We do ask one another to pray for us, but this is a request, not a valid prayer, for prayer is directed to either Purgatory or Heaven, the other side of eternity, not this side. More confusion about the eternal verities. This is why too many Masses of the Resurrection as they are now called, instead of Requiem Masses, include the utter confusion of having the celebrant declare that the departed is in Heaven and then request prayers for his soul. Huh? again!! If he is in Heaven there is no need to pray for his soul, but it would be good to pray to him instead. And on and on it goes and on and on flow my tears as I hear the bells toll as they toll for us who keep the death watch in agony for our beloved Church swept up in the godless euphoria of open-windowed change and unrealistic optimism, an act of suicide.

The bells toll lowly...