Put some penance on it…

Even though it’s late, this post technically belongs to Friday. And Friday is a day of penance. Are you feeling “dry” or “weak” in the Lord?


As our good brother IANS likes to say, “Pain is the coin of purchase in the economy of Divine Salvation.”

Or, as I like to say, “Do your Purgatory now, or it will do you later.”


I have a brother who often went in and out of the faith during adolescence, and every time he came back to the Lord (via myself), the first and only direction I had for him was to read the Epistle of James. It was short but pungent enough to get him back on track (and then college hit…). Why, even before I was a Catholic, did I advert to James? It has a strongly moral and eschatological tone and, well, read it so you can–

PUT SOME PENANCE ON IT. put some windex on it Since the penitential mood is not to be be feared, care of brother IANS, I give you some data to ponder. Exhibit 1: a page of metrics from the Official Catholic Directory.  Church stats under Pope Pius XII

Exhibit 2: the numerous points made by Kenneth Jones in his 2003 article, “Vatican II — The Myth of Renewal”. A snippet from Chesterton therein: “[T]he first freedom that I claim [is] the freedom to restore”.

Exhibit 3: a compelling albeit grim video from Michael Voris.

“Expected was a great step forward, instead we find ourselves faced with a progressive process of decadence which has developed for the most part under the sign of a calling back to the Council, and has therefore contributed to discrediting it for many. The net result therefore seems negative. I am repeating here what I said ten years after the conclusion of the work: it is incontrovertible that this period has definitely been unfavorable for the Catholic Church.”

— Cdl. Jospeh Ratzinger, 1984

I think that being a minority is actually a strength. We must be a leaven of life and love, and leaven is of an infinitely smaller quantity than the mass of fruit, flowers and trees that are born from that leaven. I think I said before that our objective is not to proselytise but to listen to needs, aspirations, disappointments, desperation and hopes. We must restore hope to the young, help the elderly, open up to the future and spread love. To be poor among the poor. We must include the excluded and preach peace. Vatican II, inspired by John XXIII and Paul VI, decided to look to the future with a modern spirit and to open up to modern culture. The Council Fathers knew that opening up to modern culture would mean religious ecumenism and dialogue with non-believers. Subsequently, however, little was done in that regard. I have the humility and ambition to want to do it”.

— Pope Francis, 2013

Have we really witnessed a new springtime in the Church? Is the Church really healthier and holier after Vatican II? Is it worthy of so much praise, or should it be seen as merely one small facet in the Church’s Tradition?

I think the data are clear: whatever Vatican II was meant to accomplish, it has largely backfired, and any shiny rhetoric about doing more of the same, only faster, betrays more an ideology than humble concern for the Church’s well-being and the guidance of lost souls amidst so much confusion. (“Rebuild my Church,” indeed!)

There is nothing “new” to “figure out.” There are no “new” methods to “try out.” We are not in a “new world”–the conflicts remain as ancient and as immediate as ever.


The only remaining option is clear.


der enge Weg

Dare we hope?


About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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4 Responses to Put some penance on it…

  1. Charles says:

    As long as I can put a bird on it too. Maybe a pelican feeding it’s young with its own blood?

  2. Pingback: An open letter to those on the ledge… | FideCogitActio : "Omnis per gratiam"

  3. Pingback: A Response to the Codgitator’s Open Letter | Malcolm the Cynic

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