Sunday, July 20, 2008

Identity: Preaching the Truth Courageously

The history of Catholic identity always included courageous preaching of the Truth, most especially from the pulpit. Not wishy-washy, weak-kneed, and spineless homilies that only serve to enable the errors of their wayward flocks; on the contrary, they were passion-filled, fire and brimstone homilies that did not sugar coat the sinfulness of their flocks and the call for their conversion back to the Truth as given to God’s Church. But this was done out of love, not judgment.

These Catholic priests were not afraid to call things black and white, knowing that there is no grey in God’s truth. Many of the saints and missionaries were famous for their preaching and courage both within the Church and in pagan lands. It is not surprising that Saint Anthony, who was famous for his preaching, was blessed by God to have his vocal cords and tongue miraculously kept incorruptible.

With the Holy Father’s ongoing attempt to help the Church to recapture its Catholic Identity, so well documented on Fr. Z’s blog, it is wonderful to now see this courageous preaching returning again to the pulpit most specifically by those priests touched by the fullness of Catholic Tradition, and I think not so coincidently, by those who also offer the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

If we what to help recapture this, we must encourage our priests when they preach the Truth. It is not easy, and in today’s world, the loud Cafeteria Catholics make their voice and money all too well heard, but we much stand up for the Truth. Tell them that we appreciate their honesty and candor of what is expected of us, and then listen and live by it! This is part of our mission!

Fr. Reid of St. Ann’s is just such a priest who needs to be recognized for his courage. At today’s Mass (in the Ordinary Form), he preached about the 40 year anniversary of His Holiness, Paul VI, encyclical Humanæ Vitæ. Fr. Reid, with all the love of a father for his children, laid out the hard Truth of the “intrinsic evil” of contraception and it incongruence with God’s plan for life. It was one of the most powerful homilies I have heard in a long time, and he is to be commended for preaching on a subject that most “pastors” fear to even think about it internally, let alone preach it from the pulpit.

But priests like Fr. Reid need our support and prayers, for the world in which we live is not very kind to those who preach and teach the Truth! The Evil One has a firm grip of the secular world and he uses it to try to discredit holy men like Pope Benedict XVI and Fr. Reid. One needs only to look at the coverage, if you could find it, of World Youth Day in Sydney where the media droned on incessantly about the ‘sexual abuse scandal’ while the Holy Father did and said many fantastic things.

And one doesn’t have to be the Pope to have the secular media have its “opinion”. In a recent opinion piece in the Charlotte Observer newspaper with regard to the return of the Extraordinary form of the Mass at St. Ann’s, the author who attended stated that the sermon “was a little muscular, a little Mel Gibson”. My return question is “As opposed to what…a limp sermon?” There have been too many “limp sermons” in the last 40 years, given so as to not hurt our sinful sensibilities! As the cliché says…“sometimes the Truth hurts!”

Please pray for holy priests and the courage for them to teach us the Truth!

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