The Counter-Revolution Arises. Pushing Back on the Secular Progressive Revolution

The Counter-Revolution Arises. Pushing Back on the Secular Progressive Revolution

This is my “Post-Election” Sunday Homily …

In a reading this past week, St. John wrote: “Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense. Anyone who is so *progressive* as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works.” 2 John 1:8-11

Commentary on the word “Progressive”…

Anyone who is so “progressive”: literally, “Anyone who goes ahead.” Some gnostic groups held the doctrine of the Christ come in the flesh to be a first step in belief, which the more advanced and spiritual believer surpassed and abandoned in his knowledge of the spiritual Christ. The author affirms that fellowship with God may be gained only by holding to the complete doctrine of Jesus Christ.

My Comments…

Listen, in spite of the derision and scorn we receive, what does it really mean to be “conservative” or “traditional?” It simply means we are “staying home” while others are “moving away” … as they call that “progress.” We are remaining in God’s truth, as revealed through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, while others are “moving beyond it.”

Many believe the “same page” that will bring unity is to “go with the majority.” Venerable Fulton Sheen once said, “Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right.”

We are currently passing through a crippling “Secular Progressive Revolution.” In a recent article by Matt Walsh, the popular Catholic writer goes as far as to call it, “Secular Satanism.” Matt goes on to say, “Although most liberals don’t worship the literal Devil, they do worship the self. And Satanism is, fundamentally, the worship of self.”

Nothing could be more true. The “Secular Progressive Revolution” has hit our culture like a tsunami wave. It is enormous, it is devastatingly destructive, and it has hit us with little or no warning. And, our country is left to repair the damage as we recover from this sudden and destructive force. And so, our own counter-revolution is saying …

No, it is not “health care” to kill babies in, what once was, the safest place in the universe … our mothers’ wombs.

No, we should not redefine, for the first time ever, the very bedrock of civilization … the marriage of one man and one woman for the procreation of children.

No, we should not force people of faith to do anything that directly opposes their faith (e.g., pay for other people’s abortions).

No, it is not a good idea to enact laws that makes it difficult for couples to marry and have children.

No, it is not “freedom” to collude with and support movements exposing children to sexually explicit content.

No, we should not put unions, who pay for elections, ahead of the education of our children.

No, we should not support movements that advocate killing law enforcement officers.

No, we should not put our women on the front lines of war.

No, we should not ignore our heroic vets, because protecting our country is not politically correct.

No, we should not support any baby killing and baby body parts selling industry.

No, we should not allow satanic rituals at anything our children can see, including Superbowl halftime shows.

No, corruption, collusion and deceit are not acceptable as long as it supports an ideology.

No, grown men should not be allowed to enter the bathrooms of our little girls.

Again, I could go on and on, and I imagine you could too.

This tsunami wave of this destructive “Secular Progressive Revolution” has rolled in while most of us were not expecting it. The choice we must make now is whether we allow it to continue its destructive force, or whether we begin the hard work of placing barriers in its path, while we pick up the pieces and begin the recovery in our country.

But, what about our Church? Have we escaped this sudden and destructive tsunami wave of a Secular Progressive Revolution: this focus away from God and onto ourselves?

Let’s take a look …

My very good friend, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, has made mention to me in our conversations, that he had been thrown out of seminary. The reason why was left to my imagination, until he recently wrote,

“I was thrown out of my seminary by the professor who, in class, explicitly denied the Church’s teaching on transubstantiation. I fought him in class when he stated that ‘no real change takes place.’” WOW! It is hard to believe, but it is very true.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf was in seminary roughly the same time I attended seminary. So, I can attest to what he is talking about …

By the time I entered seminary in the 1980s, our training seemed to have an overriding theme: We were called to completely rethink former notions of Catholicism. We seemed to look at our ancestors’ way of believing and practicing their faith much like we would look back at those who believed the world was flat … they meant well, but they just didn’t know any better. We were in full throes of this Secular Progressive Revolution. We had the very same haughty high-mindedness of the Gnostics who believed they were more advanced than the traditions handed down to them.

For example, we were not offered one minute of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in all of my seminary training. Also, it was understood that if someone were seen with a rosary, they would need “extra” spiritual direction (or even psychological counseling), as the rosary raised a red flag of fanaticism. Scripture studies included “explaining away” such miracles as the multiplication of the loaves and fishes as the “miracle of sharing.” Our formation was almost entirely cerebral, with little or no attention to the spiritual or supernatural. Many of the theologians we focused upon during our studies have since been revealed to be heretical.

By the time I was ordained in 1988, my first parish had dropped the title, “Father,” so I was then referred to as “Rick.” It was considered “evolved” if the priests were never seen wearing a roman collar. I spent the first 10 years of my priesthood trying to be cool, and trying to make Catholicism and the Mass hip and “with it.” We would meet with a Liturgy Committee to see what new trendy thing we could insert into the Mass. The Mass was focused on entertainment, and it was focused more on us than it was on God. I can remember interjecting impromptu comments (ad-libbing) throughout the Mass in order to keep the “experience” casual and whimsical and fun. I used to sing the Eucharistic Prayer like I was Dean Martin. The Mass seemed to resemble a nightclub act or a Broadway musical. This wasn’t unique to me … it was the common practice of most priests during that era. And, from what I understand, it remains common in many parishes today.

Not too long ago, I shared with you about the epiphany I experienced at a Papal Mass with Pope John Paul II in 1998. It was like an awakening from a horrible nightmare. I began to ask myself, “What have I been doing?” I had spent the first ten years of my priesthood buying into the common notion that, if we create all kinds of trendy nuances to the Mass, while we kept the Mass as whimsical and entertaining as possible, people would hear about how “cool” and “fun” and “with the times” we were, and come running. We were treating the Mass as a commodity that we needed to somehow market to the world. Worse than anything, I realized we were all but throwing out any sense of divinity … any sense of the supernatural. Where, in all of this, was any sense of awe and wonder in God’s presence? Where was the sense of God’s majesty?

Saint Francis of Assisi said, “Man should tremble, the world should quake, all Heaven should be deeply moved when the Son of God appears on the altar in the hands of the priest.” Where was that in my “night club act” or “Broadway musical” Masses?

All at once I began to see with clear eyes what was happening in our Church, and I began to embark upon the road of recovery for me and for my parishioners. This long road of recovery meant standing against those forces trying to destroy our Catholic faith …

No, we have not abandoned the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

No, we are not to “excuse away” the miracle stories in the bible.

No, we are not to abandon Eucharistic Adoration.

No, those who remain in mortal sin cannot receive Holy Communion.

No, the Sacrament of Confession is not just for people with emotional problems.

No, we cannot just show up to a prayer service, once or twice a year, for “General Absolution.”

No, our conscience cannot override Church teaching (e.g., use of contraception)

No, it is not acceptable that we pick and choose which Church teaching we deem to believe.

No, it is not a good idea to throw away High Altars in favor of “tables.”

No, it is not a good idea to throw away sacred statuary in favor of felt banners.

No, we should not “store” the tabernacle in the corner or a separate room.

No, we should not stop kneeling before God.

No, we should not abandon sacred music in favor of contemporary songs.

No, we are not fanatical for asking saints for intercession, practicing devotions and using sacramentals.

No, we are not fringe traditionalists because of our devotion to the Blessed Mother and the Rosary.

I could go on and on, and I imagine you could too. But, the fact remains that we are “recovering” from a “secular revolution” that poured into our Church, and it’s devastating effects has crippled us.

As we look at our modern Catholic Church, we can see that virtually the whole of the “Secular Revolution” could be summed up, as Matt Walsh aptly pointed out, as a movement off of God and on to ourselves.

Just as it did in our culture, so it has done in our Church … this tsunami wave of a Secular Revolution rolled in while most were not expecting it. But, the VERY GOOD NEWS is that we are now seeing our Church beginning the hard work of placing barriers in the path of this Secular Revolution, while we pick up the pieces and begin the recovery in our Church, just as we are doing in our country.

I am very gratified that our 3 parishes have already gone a long way toward this recovery. And now, on the First Sunday of Advent, at the encouragement of the Liturgy Chief of the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Sarah, and our own Bishop Morlino, we will begin offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass ad orientem.

Turning the altar around, so that we fix our gaze on each other, rather gazing upon God together, is probably the most iconic image encapsulating the totality of this “Secular Revolution.”

I am like you, especially as I get older, in that change isn’t always easy. But, when we know it is a beautiful recovery of the way we worshipped for virtually all of our Church history, it is a very satisfying and welcoming kind of change.

Finally, while some parishes will not be making this recovery as soon as us, I believe we are ready. Like I said, Cardinal Sarah recommended starting in Advent, and our own Bishop Morlino announced in September that he will be offering the Mass ad orientem from now on. He did not mandate his priests to offer the Mass in this way. He simply said, “I am leading by example … you do what you believe is best.” If you know me by now, you know that I highly regard the virtue of obedience.

May God continue to bless us at these beautiful and faith-filled parishes of ours. And, may God bless our Church and may God Bless America!

By God’s Grace, let’s Make America Holy Again!!

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