September 30, 2013 by lucieromarin
Weather like today’s always drives me to the freezer section of the supermarket, where I wander about trying to look like I’m unused to being there (because I’m always at home cooking from scratch with ingredients from my own personal organic vegetable garden.) Everything’s thirsty. Plants look up at me pleadingly, all parched and pathetic, thirsty for water. Magpies are thirsty for blood, and have started their annual dive-bombing of all humans fool enough to leave the house without sunglasses and hat. (The article isn’t lying; they really will peck at your eyes. A magpie once stabbed my eye, and only by two millimetres and the grace of God did I escape blindness). I’m thirsty for water, tea, and fruit juice (and, now, remembering the bird, vengeance.)
I do not find this weather conducive to charitable thoughts (see above v-word), so I was pretty surprised to have one strike me – the spiritual equivalent of a knockout blow from a spring-crazed cracticus tibicen.
I was just walking along and thought – wait a minute, a whole bunch of modernists were actually roadkill, too. And the ones that weren’t…have to be forgiven.
How’s that for a thought? I’ve heard some great sermons about forgiveness, and plenty about the evils of modernism, but I’ve never heard anyone unite the two thoughts and invite us to forgive them for what they’ve done. I mean, I can see why it would sound like a big ask. It’s not just the heresy and sacrilege; it’s not just the shunting of Our Lord off to the side in a tabernacle that looks like a space-pod, while His place at the High Altar is given to mirrors from public bathrooms (true story; I saw it): there’s the ‘art’, the vestments, the architecture, the music, the betrayed parents, the betrayed children, the bullied religious sisters and brothers, the bullied priests, the turning of the liturgy into an endurance test, and the fact that they got paid for this. All those hours of our lives wasted! – forced to listen to drivel, to look at hideous stuff, to drive forty kilometres just to get to a sacrilege-free Mass, forced to turn for answers and authority to people who were never meant to be authorities in the first place, but who found themselves in that position because the real authorities were busy making everything ugly and ushering people away from the Blessed Sacrament (unless they were non-Catholics, in which case, welcome!) as fast as they possibly could…ugh. I can see why it never occurred to anyone to suggest forgiveness.
But there it is – the command from Our Lord Himself, and no exceptions made. I guess that’s why I needed to be struck with the thought that many modernists were themselves victims of bullying or neglect (or worse) – and they’ll never get an apology from those who drove them to it.
I’ll tell you a story. A religious sister told me about the bullying that began in her religious house when some sisters turned modernist and decided to abandon the habit for lay dress. It was relentless. At one time, there were only four sisters left still wearing the traditional habit; they walked into a room, and all the other sisters turned their backs to them. Eventually, one of the four came to her in tears, saying, “I’m sorry. I just have to give up. I can’t take it any more.” In other words, the adoption of lay dress came about in this convent, not because religious women suddenly felt the warm light of freedom and liberty shining into their souls, but because they were bullied into it by their peers.
I knew an elderly priest who was locked out of his religious house at night as a way of punishing him for wearing the clerical collar. I usually only think of him as the one bullied; now I wonder how many of his brothers chose this willingly, and how many consented only because they were themselves afraid of being locked out?
Well, I can’t really order anyone to forgive. But I think we should try. Then we can see what happens!