Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Spirit of Antichrist comes to your Local Parish!

Miss Anita Moore, O.P., Esq. (Third Order Dominican) left a stirring comment on my recent post "Muzak for the Spirit".  She had culled this comment from a post on her own blog (V for Victory).

It's clear that Miss Moore is a gifted writer, as you can see here where she asks if the modern suburban Mass is inspiring saints.  She calls this shopping mall inspired narcissistic self-worship the Cruise Ship of Peter, in contrast to the Barque of Peter ...

All are welcome aboard the Cruise Ship of Peter -- they even have a song about it that they sing at the beginning of Mass! -- all, that is, except anyone who might rock the boat.  What might the Cruise Ship do, one is tempted to wonder, with a Francis of Assisi, or a Dominic de Guzman, or a Catherine of Siena, or an Alphonsus Liguori, or a Fulton Sheen?  Would they have to walk the plank?  How much has the Cruise Ship liturgy to do with immemorial tradition?  Does it inspire missionaries and fortify martyrs?  Does it remotely resemble the Masses of Aquinas, wrapped in awe; or those of the Recusants in Elizabethan England, where it was death to be a priest; or of Father Willie Doyle on makeshift altars in the muddy trenches of the First World War; or of the Cristeros in their secret refuges from the Masonic Mexican regime; or of the first and only Mass celebrated by Bl. Karl Leisner, secretly ordained in Dachau on Gaudete Sunday, 1944, desperately ill yet on fire for souls?  Can one picture Father Augustine Tolton on board, his soul blazing like a beacon from the crumbling lighthouse of his overworked body, his trembling hands raised amid the mellow strains of "On Eagle's Wings"?

It's a strong post, written with that kind of zeal throughout.

But I want to focus on her own quotation of Bishop Fulton Sheen, with which she begins her post.  (I leave the words in red, as Moore herself features them) ...

The modern world, which denies personal guilt and admits only social crimes, which has no place for personal repentance but only public reforms, has divorced Christ from His Cross; the Bridegroom and Bride have been pulled apart. What God hath joined together, men have torn asunder. As a result, to the left is the Cross; to the right is the Christ ... The Western post-Christian civilization has picked up the Christ without His Cross. But a Christ without a sacrifice that reconciles the world to God is a cheap, feminized, colorless, itinerant preacher who deserves to be popular for His great Sermon on the Mount, but also merits unpopularity for what He said about His Divinity on the one hand, and divorce, judgment, and hell on the other. This sentimental Christ is patched together with a thousand commonplaces. ... Without His Cross, He becomes nothing more than a sultry precursor of democracy or a humanitarian who taught brotherhood without tears.  
Ven. Fulton J. Sheen, Life of Christ

Sheen elsewhere says that the spirit of antichrist is exactly this separation of Christ and His cross.

This sounds a bit unscriptural, for St. John tells us something a bit different, doesn't  he? ...

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. (1 John 4:2-3

But, as Chesterton points out (and as I have quoted elsewhere), crucifixion is the "inevitable result of
incarnation".  So, in denying the cross of Christ, we are denying the full effects of the incarnation of God - and this is the spirit of antichrist.

The sham Christ - the "cheap, feminized, colorless, itinerant preacher" - and his smooth-sailing Cruise Ship of Peter are not just matters of taste.  Bland as they are, inoffensive and universally tolerant as they try to be, they are the expression of the most horrible and demonic thing on earth.


lpseudonyml said...

"Deliverance from happiness would seem to be the greatest need of mankind to-day, and the Christian churches are an ideal instrument for bringing it about. The New and Old Testaments are full of the hopelessness of looking for anything but tribulation in this world, and the senses stand condemned as gross deceivers which enslave and ruin their addicts."
- Muggeridge, Malcolm. Tread Softly for You Tread on My Jokes. London: Collins, 1966. Print.

It is why Easter has not yet been as commercialized as Christmas. Christmas is Buddy Christ. There is a universal appreciation for children, peace, charity, and joy. But, Easter, Easter demands you see the price of Christmas. I've always said, that Christians should never say that, "we should live each day like it is Christmas." Rather, we should live each day as if it is Easter Weekend, with Good Friday included.

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is very trendy in our society. Imagining God, not as a Father, but as a giddy Grand-Pappy: a senile, white-haired, benevolent, old man in the clouds, wishing us well and checking in on us from time to time with a muted smile.

On the other hand, you have asshats like Westboro Baptist, Nationalistic Republican Christians, Firebrand Bigots, etc... who seem to see God as the Warden in a jail cell (or a Police Officer in Ferguson, MO), just waiting to crack some skulls and reward the 'compliant' inmates with small gifts, such as more TV time, or a second lunch. Caught between a millstone and a hot-place.

Anonymous said...

If there's one thing I've been coming out lately after reading your posts, it's...uncomfortable.

And I think that's a good thing. Stuff I never thought about before. I'm 45, single, never married (or even had a relationship; never really wanted one, truthfully) and am only now getting serious about Catholicism. Grace is..a new thing for me. It's strange, but exciting.

So all I can say is, keep making me uncomfortable.