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