I’m a fifty year old husband and father of four growing children who cares deeply about my Catholic Faith. I’ve heard more stupidity and nonsense than I care to at this point and I don’t entertain most of it anymore, except for sport.
I want to be just a Catholic, not a traditionalist, not a conservative Catholic, but a practicing orthodox Catholic. However, I love the traditions and I hold onto what has endured for ages because they are proven to be good and valuable by generations of much better and holier people than I will ever be. I find also that certain things are just better, like fine sacred music, or prayers, or the Douay-Rheims Bible, and it turns out that they come out of the traditions. I also have found that I am drawn to the Tridentine Mass once I was able to experience it as an adult and I yearn for more regular opportunities to be at that Mass. I find also that the Novus Ordo Mass can be reverential and that is the Mass I know well. BUT, I have also found that the Mass can be a source of sadness, anger, frustration, disgust and disappointment because of the particular manner in which it may be celebrated. At times, the Mass can bring me to tears as I know I am at the foot of the Cross and I am touching Heaven, and other times I seethe because it can be so irreverent and I feel that I’m at nothing more than a barbeque, even though it is still the Mass.
I don’t have disagreements with the dogmas of the Faith to the point where I pick and choose what dogmas I accept or will reject, what I will believe and what I will not. When I used to disagree, I sought where I went wrong in my understanding, not where the Church went wrong. Many years ago, I realized that there is objective truth, and that truth does not depend on whether I agree with it or not, or whether I understand it or not. I explain it as: Even though I might believe today that I am a kumquat and so therefore declare I am a kumquat, it doesn’t change the objective truth that I am a man, no matter how sincerely I might believe I am a kumquat. There is another overall objective Truth and He is Jesus, and He is not what I want Him to be or believe Him to be, and I cannot change Him to suit me, but I must change me to suit Him. I know that the Church is founded by Him and that He chose Apostles and that those Apostles have handed on the Faith and His power through the sacrament of Holy Orders, and that the Church is founded by Him on Peter, the first pope and that the Church has continued through Apostolic Succession until today. I am also keenly aware that the Catholic Church is the oldest institution on earth today that still thrives despite repeated attempts of all kinds to destroy Her, substantiating that promise of Jesus that the gates of hell will never prevail against His Church, and that He and His Church are true.
So, according to the labels people throw around I can be a traditionalist, or a conservative Catholic, or an Orthodox Catholic, but never a liberal or progressive Catholic, which today seems to me to be a protestant still calling themselves a Catholic. As I have already written, I just want to be a faithful, complete, practicing Catholic, and I never want to be lukewarm about it. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.
I am a sinner as much as the worst one, the only difference being sometimes in kind and sometimes in degree. I am no better than anyone else and I am not assured of my salvation, but can only hope for that. I also recognize that the Church is made up of sinful men and women, and not perfect, holy people. I don’t expect anyone in the Church to be above reproach, and when I learn someone has sinned, I don’t scoff, or point out a hypocrisy, but rather I feel for them and pray for them. It’s when they become obstinate in insisting that they have no sin because they decided they don’t because they don’t agree with the dogmas of Faith that gets me pissed off. That dishonesty about their being a dissident and still claiming to be a Catholic even though they reject dogmas of the Faith is not worthy of any respect. Those people are worthy only of scorn and rebuke, not “nice’ accommodation. If one is a protestant, then be a protestant and stand by your convictions and leave. I’m not going to try to tear a person down for being a protestant, but I won’t tolerate it in the Church from the laity, priests, bishops, or the pope. My time for entertaining and tolerating that stuff has passed. If you are not a Catholic, please understand that my aim here is not to pick fights with you, unless your religion or lack of one picks fights with mine.
I have made it my responsibility to know the Faith and I have spent a great amount of time and energy to do so. I read the Bible regularly and I use the Church’s resources to understand Scripture, and don’t insist that I have had a special understanding different from the Church. Should I find my understanding of Scripture to be different, I reject my understanding and rely on what the Church tells me. Because of my efforts, I am confident that I can explain the Faith and cannot “lose” an argument about the Faith.
Part of my drive to learn the fullness of the Faith is because I am a father and I have to pass on the Faith to my children. I can’t give what I don’t have, I realized early on, and this is the most valuable thing I can give them. So I learn and study and practice the Faith, not just for me, but for them.
I have begun this blog because of the distortion of the Faith I encounter continually within the Church and which I would silently seethe about but rarely spoke up about. I have been inspired by others who raised their “voices” and I have decided that I will be silent no more where I must speak out. These are my opinions, but they are opinions grounded for the most part in my study and love of the Faith and the Church.
To round out this explanation about me, I am an American, born and raised in New York City and now live nearby, who loves his country, loves the game of baseball more than any other sport, likes a good beer and a whiskey every so often, and I get along with most people very well. I enjoy all kinds of music, except “rap”, and I can spend an evening listening to Mozart, Cajun, German Polkas, hard rock, and Glenn Miller Big Band music. I love to read, and I read now the time-honored classics, such as Dickens, Hugo, and Tolstoy. Yes, I’ve read “War and Peace”, and it is one of the best three books I have ever read. I enjoy tremendously also many great blogs and websites which are often real gems by otherwise unknowns, and I appreciate being able to find their voices on the internet. I love a long hike in the forest, animals, and the natural world, and a enjoy a long camping trip. Alas, my backpacking days I am afraid are behind me now, at least the 30 mile treks I used to take.
Finally, I enjoy doing as much work as I can around the house, and I have learned how and done many things, from replacing a toilet to replacing a kitchen to painting my own car. Even though the labor might become painful, I am grateful to God that he has given me the physical ability to do what I can and often times I find that the pains are eased when I offer them as penance for all the past stupid things I have done.
That’s enough about me. Thank you for giving your time to read what I write and sharing your comments. Please feel free to share with others if you think that would be helpful; I suppose that’s part of why I do this.
Steve From Long Island