I’ve received an e-mail from a faithful Catholic in Maine who is despondent at his “theological modernist” pastor “who appears to loathe tradition” and is “as liturgically unorthodox as he can be”. He also laments the shrinking congregation in his parish. Here’s my response:
Thanks for your heart-wrenching e-mail.
Unfortunately I don’t think that I can tell you anything you don’t already know, though I will offer a positive spiritual spin, so to speak, on the situation.
I believe that modernism is a heresy and that heresy never prospers within the Church, though it may have a diabolical impact in the wider world. The choice of modernism by pastors and parishioners leads inevitably and inexorably to a loss of faith, and therefore a loss of parishioners. This is, I believe, the will of God. The Holy Spirit is never going to bless heresy, nor does God need to play the numbers game.
Pope Benedict XVI envisaged a smaller Church, stripped of the culturally “Catholic” non-believers who are destined to choose the Zeitgeist over the Heiliger Geist, and a smaller Church on fire with a true evangelizing zeal, the mustard seed of the New Evangelization. This is happening already. My own parish is booming. The priest is young and orthodox, and a convert to the Faith. All Masses are ad orientem and communion is always at the restored altar rail. One of the Masses everySunday is a Traditional Mass, the one we usually attend, which is growing and is particularly popular with young families.
In short, we should rejoice at the death of modernism, albeit a painful experience for those witnessing it, your own family included, and rejoice even more fulsomely at the resurrection of the One, True Faith.