Rorate Caeli

Passiontide for the Bride of Christ

Below is the written transcript of a Passion Sunday sermon by a traditional mission priest. While Father delves into many issues, one of the first examples of the passion the Church is going through deals with the reaction to the Dominican nun who has been silenced and, not surprisingly, left to rot by most "conservative" Catholics:

“Do not we say well, that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” And “They took up stones to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the Temple.”
Today, the 5th Sunday of Lent, is called Passion Sunday. It is the day we  cover the cross and statues…because, as the Gospel indicates, Our Lord is now having to hide from the Jewish leaders until His Hour… His Saving Passion arrives on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. No one could touch the King until He granted them permission to do so…as the Prophet Isaias said of Him: “He was offered because it was his own will” (53:7).
At this time in history, the Mystical Body of Christ is also nearing one of Her Hours… Her own Passion. Christ and His Church are one and the same thing. Where the Head has gone, the Body must follow. In this way we, Her members, fulfill the sobering words of His Majesty: “If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated Me before you… If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (Jn. 15:18, 20).
At this time, therefore, our Holy Church has become more and more like Job… innocent, yet steadily being deprived of all Her possessions… faithful, yet losing many of her children. Some of Her members and even those in charge of Her visible structure… who should be Her most ardent friends and companions… are now pointing their fingers at Her and blaming Her for the world’s many troubles. They keep trying to get Her to change Her position on things… even Her perennial and Apostolic teachings and liturgical practices. She is pressed to admit of wrong doing and to apologize. Name calling is now in vogue. “Thou art a Samaritan…and hast a devil!” What the Prophet Zacharias says of Our Lord in the midst of His Passion holds for the Church as well: “What are those wounds in the midst of Thy hands? And He shall say: ‘With these I was wounded in the house of them that loved me’” (13:6). Yes, they loved Him in the past but then treated Him like Judas… kissing Him for personal gain. This is true of the Church as well…  Ah, alas, is it not true… our beloved Church is approaching Her Hour. It is now Passion Sunday for the Mystical Body.
Case in point… the recent events in Charlotte, NC. A Dominican sister speaks openly and plainly to “Catholic” high school students about holy matrimony as well as about what hurts it… impurity, sodomy, divorce, and so on… The result? She is vilified, pressed to apologize, made to feel guilty … such that like Our Lord she has to withdraw from all speaking engagements and even from her regular teaching job at Aquinas College in Nashville, TN. How many of these teens and their parents regularly watch movies, videos and TV programs as well as read works that belittle and blaspheme Our Lord and His Holy Church and think little about it? It is Passiontide for the Church.
The state of the Mystical Body is also on display in Her religious, for they occupy the Heart of the Church. The more religious life flourishes, the more healthy is the Body of Christ. By always living for the next life and acting as a sign thereof, religious show forth in their whole being the Church Triumphant reigning in heaven. Today, sad to say, vocations to religious communities are rare and often even discouraged by parents and relatives. Most convents and monasteries have closed or… are taking up collections to support those that remain in them (something we have not had to do in previous times). When we do find religious, they are often not recognizable and hold heretical doctrines. Need we say anything about their scandals and failures to keep their sacred vows? Not surprisingly, those that want to live a sound and disciplined and recognizable religious life often end up like Our Lord… having to hide from the powers that be to avoid being stoned to death … to avoid being suppressed after a hostile visitation. O how many names they are called! Rigid, Jansenistic, Medieval, Pre-conciliar, Fundamentalist. It is Passiontide for the Church. As Our Lord had His HOUR, so too His Bride. Can you feel it?
Furthermore, the condition of the Church is on display in the indissoluble and holy marriages of her faithful children. We know from the Sacred Scriptures and the Fathers that Christ and His Church are Bridegroom and Bride. In teaching on Christian Marriage, St. Paul exclaims: “This is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the Church” (Eph 5:32). This is why Christian Marriage is indissoluble… it is a sign of Christ’s unbreakable bond… His indissoluble love for His Bride, the Holy Catholic Church. They cannot be divided… ever. So too marriages contracted under the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony! “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6).
But this does not seem to be so in our time! Divorce is as common inside the Church as it is outside. There is almost no difference! Please do not misunderstand me…times like this produce invalid marriages. Such things do exist and should be annulled. On the other hand, this is why the Church has traditionally been very careful to prepare couples for marriage, most especially since the Council of Trent. Yet, now, sad to say, divorce and remarriage are becoming more common in the Church than marriages that remain faithful until death! Passiontide is here… the Hour of the Mystical Body is near! We can feel it! We can see it!
In the history of the Church, those who embrace error, heresy or schism almost always fail in the area of celibacy and marital chastity in a very short time. Most fail in the direction of impurity… losing their celibate priesthood and religious life as well as allowing for divorce and remarriage in their new religion. For example, the Eastern Orthodox allow two divorces for their members. These failures in the area of chastity put on display for all to see that there has been a schism… a break from the Mystical and life-giving Body, the Bride of Christ, the Roman Catholic Church. Marital fidelity and union with the Christ’s Church go together! (By the way, this is one of the reasons why a couple who has sadly reached a point where a separation may be needed must go the Church and ask for permission to do so… as is taught in the Council of Trent (cf. Sess. XXIV, c. 8) and the in Code of Canon Law. Also, we should keep in mind that many a saint has had to endure an irksome marriage to save their souls and the souls of their family rather than flee as the worldlings do.)
Not surprisingly, in this Passiontide of the Bride with so many failed marriages, various leaders of Our Holy Church… are pointing fingers at Her teachings and laws on holy matrimony. They are too hard… too burdensome… not acceptable to modern man. We must be tolerant of sodomitical unions… more indulgent toward the divorced and remarried… Let them come to the altar rails and receive Holy Communion. Who are we to judge! Alas, how hurtful all this is to His Majesty and His spotless Bride! As we heard in the Gospel: “you have dishonored Me.”
How do we answer these worldly ideas and attacks? It is on display for all to see in the Gospel of St. John with the Samaritan woman at the well. Upon meeting this woman, His Majesty, the Savior, offers her His life giving grace… “a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting.” She forms a desire for this heavenly gift and asks for it. “The woman saith to him: Sir, give me this water…” He, in turn, seeking to remove all blockages, asks immediately about her husband. In other words, if you want to be in Communion with Me, your marriage must be right. No Holy Communion is possible until that has been accomplished. We must not add sin onto sin.
She, being a Samaritan, came from a people who split away from God’s chosen ones by wedding the pagan Assyrians. They set up their own temple and formed their own worship. Not surprisingly, then, “‘The woman answered, and said: I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her: ‘Thou hast said well, For thou hast had five husbands: and he whom thou now hast, is not thy husband.’” Her religion is divorced from God… it not attached to the HEAD… thus, the door to multiple marriages is opened. After His Majesty revealed her many bad divorces and re-marriages, she immediately turned to matters of theology and liturgy… namely the doctrine of No Salvation Outside of the Church as well as what constituted True Worship in the God’s Sacred Liturgy. Finally, as soon as He revealed Himself to be the Christ… the Bridegroom of the One Bride… the Gospel says, “And immediately His disciples came” indicating His Church is Apostolic. Christ will not act apart from them.
Here, then, we have a clear Scriptural example of how Catholic marriage shows forth the unity and indissolubility of Christ and His Church. And, what is more, this is apostolic and cannot be tampered with by any prelate whatsoever, no matter his position or place in the membership of the Mystical Body. This means that allowing any divorced and civilly remarried Catholic to return to Holy Communion or even to exercise any ecclesiastical duties would constitute a grave offense against the Church Herself (cf. CCC no. 1650). And yet, sad to say, that is what is being proposed and discussed and even practiced in many places. It is Passiontide for the Church! More suffering for the Mystical Body!
As Traditional Catholics, we are often labeled for taking a firm stand in defending the apostolic doctrines of the Church such as these. We are labeled Traditionalists for doing what Catholics have always done. Some are not shy in exclaiming that we have schismatic tendencies… Sound familiar? “Thou art a Samaritan…and hast a devil!” But think about it. Many today are proposing that the divorced and remarried be allowed to receive Holy Communion… that sodomitical unions be at least not hindered… that such perverted couples be allowed to adopt, baptize and send children to Catholic schools as if nothing were wrong. Are not these rather serious schismatic tendencies that are tearing at the most blessed and tender Body of Christ’s Bride? YES! Do those proposing these things have the true faith? We wonder! Have they not tried to start a new religion inside of the Mystical Body? How long before we allow two divorces like the schismatic Eastern Orthodox? Again the Gospel today comes to mind: “He that is of God heareth the Words of God. Therefore, you hear them not, because you are not of God.”
When in Passiontide, it always seems that our adversaries have the upper hand! Thus, the faithful Catholic feels like he is near to being arrested, sidelined, abandoned… even, as it were, stoned to death. Thus, they often feel abandoned… all alone like Job on his dung heap. The name calling is certainly not lacking: they are selfish, prideful, hypocrites, slothful, embittered, fundamentalist, triumphalistic, Pelagian, and so on. In response, fear, anger and frustration rise. All this is ultimately aimed at making the faithful Catholics compromise… to make them come down. That is the mantra of the devil in Passiontide… “come down!... come down! Give up! Compromise! You are all alone… you cannot do it! Everyone is against you! Science is against you! The Media is against you! Even many of your leaders are against you. Come down!”
Let us inoculate ourselves from these temptations, these empty fears and the powerful emotions they evoke by meditating as frequently as possible on the Passion of Our Lord, on the book of Job, by reading the lives of the Saints, praying the daily Rosary, as well as studying the apostolic and perennial teachings of the Church. In this way, we will not depart from the Bride of Christ but rather keep Her company in Her time of trial…providing Her comfort… for this too shall pass… allowing those who remained faithful to receive a share in that “fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting.”