In an interview in St. Louis Magazine, pretend priest Elsie McGrath tells Jeannette Cooperman, former writer for The Riverfront Times, that she quit going to Mass after Vatican II.
‘”They took away my answers,” she said, sounding both cheated and amused.’
Now, certainly McGrath would not wish to be misconstrued as calling for a return to traditional liturgical and catechetical practices. Obviously not. But I believe there is more to her words above, and more to the reality of her dropping out of regular Mass attendance after the de facto suppression of the traditional Mass, then she realizes.
They took away my answers. Sounding both cheated and amused.
Amused, because she of course tries to skewer the traditions of 1960 years as being facile, ready-made “answers”. You know– humanity, kept in infantile darkness by the repressive Church for millenia, given pablum-type “answers” to questions the Church didn’t really want to answer. And then that glorious moment came in the 1960s, when humanity matured, came of age, and was ready to throw off the tyranny of hierarchy and celebrate the priesthood in everyone. All the old, pat answers would be thrown out as man made his own religious truth through an inward-gazing look at the divine within.
Cheated, because whether she understands this or not, she has been cheated. We were all cheated. Why did God create us? Who is Jesus Christ? What is the Church? How may I attain eternal salvation? These are questions that God places in our hearts and minds. It is human nature to ask them, and a loving God gave us His only Son, Who gave us the Church, to answer them. To fulfill them. In the religious education context, when discussing curriculum choices with many Catholic school teachers, I hear that the catechism really doesn’t do more than give us a grade-school, childish understanding of the faith. Yet we haven’t exchanged the facile for the complicated, we have exchanged the foundations for sand. And what happened to the humility of filial faith and devotion? Instead of trying to build upon the foundations of faith found in the catechism and reinforced by the sacramental life of the Church, we have instead taught nothing substantive, and cut the link between liturgy and Truth.
The Sixties theology, a theology that acts as though the ancient Romans, the Church Fathers, Augustine, Benedict, Thomas Aquinas, and John Henry Newman were infantile, brain-dead fools really doesn’t have a lot to recommend it. A degree from Aquinas Institute of Theology doesn’t make one the equal of its namesake.
G.K. Chesterton famously said, “When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing. He believes in anything.”
In the interview, McGrath proves the truth of Chesterton’s quote and yet fails to see the irony in the following admission:
“I don’t really feel like there’s anything I’m doing now that I couldn’t have done before I was a priest. We believe in the priesthood of the baptized: Everyone can validly do what we’re doing.”
This begs the question, of course, of why she wants to be a priest. And the reality is that she really can’t do anything now that she couldn’t do before the pretend ordination. She has eyes, but will not see. As even one of her own children understands– in her words, “the one who goes to church”– she is not a real priest.
“They took away my answers,” sounding both cheated and amused.
With a realization that the watered down and protestantized version of the Catholic faith passed off for forty years has failed us comes the task to bring it back into line with Catholic Tradition. When this effort is linked to the effort to restore the Church’s liturgical tradition, and re-presented to the faithful, there is hope for the Church’s future.
Because McGrath and others like her have been cheated. And only Satan is amused.