Chasing shadows

9 12 2019

I must have went to my first traditional Latin Mass when I was a teenager in 1993 or 1994. The Mass took place at a Marian shrine about an hour away from our house. As I remember, the Mass was done only once a month, at 7 pm on the first Saturday. At that time, only five or six years removed from Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, the document liberalizing the use of the old Latin Mass, this dearth of celebration of the Latin Mass was quite common. Mind you, this was also pre-Internet (or widespread use of the Internet). How my old friend, blind and 80 years old, found out about it is also a mystery to me to this day. The celebrant was an old Irish-American monsignor who no doubt missed the old liturgy but had gone along with the changes anyway. The venue was the one parish where liberal bishops like to send the conservative trouble makers and rabble-rousers, the folks who write the bishop every month complaining about this or that. These people tend to now “tweet @” or message their prelates on social media. Back then, it was “snail mail” only. Read the rest of this entry »





The day I stopped being a Catholic traditionalist

6 12 2019

The title of this post is misleading. I didn’t stop being a Catholic traditionalist suddenly on a single day. That would not have been feasible anyway as I was living in a seminary on another continent with no way of promptly leaving. I don’t think I even knew at this point whether I would continue at the seminary or not. On the other hand, just as a crack in a foundation can indicate the certain demise of a building, there was one incident that signaled to me that my days of adherence to fundamentalist Catholicism were numbered. Read the rest of this entry »





Fr. Dominique Lagneau

29 10 2019

Continuing with my informal reflections on my time in seminary, I would like to write my  remembrances of the rector of the seminary during my time there. As the cliché goes, life comes at you fast, so fast that I didn’t realize that the former rector of La Reja, Fr. Dominique Lagneau, died over six years ago now. He wasn’t an old man by any means, it seems he had a heart attack and died suddenly. He had long been transferred back to Europe, and was running an idyllic retreat center in the Alps. Perhaps a fitting assignment as his long tenure in South America was essentially an exercise in holding back the forces of chaos. Twice at least, the seminary had been robbed at gunpoint. Being in a relatively rural area, theft from the seminary was a common occurrence (one brother said that people around there would rob your last name if they could pull it off). And then there was the minor war with a local rancher who thought it was oh-so-funny to let his cattle graze in the soybean fields that surrounded the seminary, and we seminarians were often charged with rustling them out (admittedly it was great fun). Running a seminary in a Third World country – you get the idea. Read the rest of this entry »





On authority

25 10 2019

I have toyed with the idea of writing some informal reflections on my time at the Society of St. Pius X seminary of La Reja, Argentina. As this happened half my life ago, it appears now that these were among the most formative years of my life so far. You only get to be young and foolish once, I suppose. This might be of particular interest to some as I am far from a Catholic traditionalist now, though I have not discarded this identity for any other equally certain worldview. In other words, I don’t have a negative view of Roman Catholic traditionalism, or at least I don’t view it in more of a negative light than I do any other ideology. Read the rest of this entry »





The Lefebvrist theology of the body?

20 09 2019

An old blogger acquaintance recommended the mandatory reading of an interview by the Society of St. Pius X’s new superior, Father Davide Pagliarani. It is an informative interview but it doesn’t really break new ground. In general, it represents the same entrenchment of the SSPX against “modernist Rome”. Read the rest of this entry »





20 Years Ago Today

30 06 2008




Ecumenism with a Spine

22 05 2008

I found this link on the Remnant Newspaper page on a group of Lutheran clergy in Latvia going on an Ignatian retreat with the Society of St. Pius X. It’s odd that many people regard the Lefebvrists as mean people who drown puppies in buckets and breath fire, but actually, they are all kinds of good people. A thing similar to this happened when I was living in an SSPX retreat house in the year 2000, as I have recounted in my post on the Russian Orthodox monk, Archimandrite Anastassy. He sent his spiritual daughter, an Orthodox abbess, on retreat with us for five days, and everyone, including the faithful, bent over backwards to make them feel welcomed.

Which brings me to my point: the most charitable way to act towards non-Catholics is to be yourself, that is, Catholic. If you try to hide your Catholic treasures under a bushel basket or be “diplomatic” about points of contention, no one in the end will trust you, though it all might lead to some civil banter. (Heads of ecumenism offices, take note.) The Lutheran pastors above just wanted to know what Catholics really believed, and they felt they had to go to a bunch of schismatic “integrists” to learn it.  I think this was the same attitude of our Russian Orthodox visitors, though Fr. Anastassy, as I have written, probably had other motives. (More cynical readers will probably say that the Protestants wanted to learn Catholicism from other “Protestants”, i.e. the schismatic Lefebvrists. I find such comparisons childish and unfounded.)

I do firmly believe that all faith traditions are pointed toward the truth since they long for it (heck, even rocks long for union with the One). The language of Catholicism is the most pure expression of the Incarnation, though everything, by its mere existence, hints at it. The way to truly seek unity is to continue on the road that our most perfect faith tradition has made for us. Perhaps it is only through this way, through holding fast to the letter and spirit of Catholic tradition, that we will truly discover and gather together the fragments of truth scattered throughout humanity, and in this way have a chance at real, profound unity.





And a Bishop Williamson follow-up…

9 03 2008

mgr__williamson.jpg

Some of you may know that the good bishop spoken of here is in a good deal of trouble right now, not that  he cares or anything. I just find it interesting that the death of Western civilization in his eyes entitles him to say/believe anything he pleases. I suppose this is the danger of saying , “The problem with this society is…” It can lead to all sorts of slippery slopes.