Pope John Paul II said: "It is sometimes reported that a large number of Catholics today do not adhere to the teaching of the Catholic Church on a number of questions, notably sexual and conjugal morality, divorce and remarriage. Some are reported as not accepting the clear position on abortion. It has to be noted that there is a tendency on the part of some Catholics to be selective in their adherence to the Church's moral teaching. It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the magisterium is totally compatible with being a 'good Catholic,' and poses no obstacle to the reception of the Sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching of the Bishops in the United States and elsewhere. "
What happens when we do not adhere to the teachings of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church?
This past week, as a Deacon in the Maronite Church, I had the opportunity to give the Homily at our Wednesday night Divine Liturgy. In the Maronite Catholic Church, we have a different Epistle and Gospel Readings than the Roman Catholic Church. Our Epistle Reading for that service was from 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2 1-12. I had everything ready for the reflection and then early that morning I received an email video link from a friend. I was shocked and frankly dumbfounded. I decided to use it in homily because it fit in so well with what Paul was saying in the Epistle.
2 Thessalonians Chapter 2 1-12
1 About the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, brothers, and our being gathered to him:
2 please do not be too easily thrown into confusion or alarmed by any manifestation of the Spirit or any statement or any letter claiming to come from us, suggesting that the Day of the Lord has already arrived.
3 Never let anyone deceive you in any way. It cannot happen until the Great Revolt has taken place and there has appeared the wicked One, the lost One,
4 the Enemy, who raises himself above every so-called God or object of worship to enthrone himself in God's sanctuary and flaunts the claim that he is God.
5 Surely you remember my telling you about this when I was with you?
6 And you know, too, what is still holding him back from appearing before his appointed time.
7 The mystery of wickedness is already at work, but let him who is restraining it once be removed,
8 and the wicked One will appear openly. The Lord will destroy him with the breath of his mouth and will annihilate him with his glorious appearance at his coming.
9 But the coming of the wicked One will be marked by Satan being at work in all kinds of counterfeit miracles and signs and wonders,
10 and every wicked deception aimed at those who are on the way to destruction because they would not accept the love of the truth and so be saved.
Never let anyone deceive you, are we doing the same thing to our parishes when we put on services like this? Should we be the example to others or should we just follow the world? What are we telling ourselves and members of our parish if we do things like this? Are we following the teachings of the Church on this? Is there any historical evidence supporting this type of Mass? The larger issue might be how can we encourage Masses like this when at the same time we discourage a Mass that had been used in the Church for over 800 years? Doesn’t this remind you what Paul was writing about?
In a time of Spiritual battles, should we encourage activities that take away from our traditional beliefs or should we encourage activities that promote our traditional beliefs? For me the direction is clear. For me the answer is simple and for me, the answer is self evident. We should clearly support traditional beliefs and traditional Liturgies-in difficult times like this there is no time to clown around here. We should encourage the Church to return to the roots of faith and not be caught out on a branch that is about to break under the weight of apostasy.
Winston Churchill said, “Most wars in history have been avoided simply by postponing them.” However, in this Spiritual War we can not avoid it by adopting the same practices we are trying to fight against can we? Amen