The one about… JESUS, RELIGION, THE KENNEDYS and D-10 CATERPILLARS

(I get many requests for a post about my conversion.  This is as close to that as I have written. It is from January of ARSH 2012.)

There is a YouTube video going around of a young man rapping a screed entitled, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” that needs to be rebutted and shot down. I am an excellent candidate to do this because I used to be very firmly in that camp. The pseudo-church I was made to attend as a small child was so horrific and so false that it turned me off of “organized religion” for nearly 15 years. If you’re curious, that pseudo-church was the United Church of Christ, which is the most liberal schismatic sect on earth that dares to still call itself Christian. If you wanted to get any further off the reservation, you would have to go to a Unitarian Universalist group, and they aren’t Christian. In fact, they pride themselves on being absolutely nothing. Ah, nihilism: the answer to the yearning of every human heart . . . NOT.

The United Church of Christ is the same “denomination” as Jeremiah Wright’s Marxist Black Supremacist political outfit masquerading as a church in Chicago that Mrs. Reggie Love sat in for lo those twenty years, gaining his “black church Southside homie street-cred”, whilst Jeremiah Wright, who appears to be about fifteen-sixteenths Caucasian and one-sixteenth African himself, would scream down curses from the pulpit upon the then still-extant United States of America and “the white man”. Ah, sweet irony.

The church that I attended as a child was not a black church, naturally, but rather a combination of old low church Germans and New England Anglo-Congregationalists. In fact, that is pretty much my ethic composition in a nutshell. The church was demographically old, and the vestiges of Christianity that I did see were mostly among the older congregants of German extraction. Many of those men were veterans of one or both of the World Wars. Anyone younger than that was, pretty much across the board, atheist/agnostic and attended and were active in that church because it provided the cover or pose of Christianity without any awkward and discomforting talk about Jesus. No joke.

I remember being drug to a search committee meeting as a young child, probably aged six. One pastor had just left and there was a steady rotation of interim pastors every week. The search committee was discussing the pastor candidates around a table in the church basement hall and I was off several feet away sitting by the piano listening and occupying myself. The name of one of the pastors that I actually enjoyed came up. I enjoyed him because he would preach strongly and even raise his voice during the sermon, and he wore a pretty sky-blue robe, which I liked. At this, one of the search committee members said, and I’ll never forget this, that he didn’t like this pastor because “he talks about Jesus too much.” The committee agreed. That one sentence, spoken nearly 30 years ago while I was sitting and playing twenty feet away, was utterly critical in my Christian formation. At age SIX the seeds of contempt for pseudo-Christian hypocrisy were planted, fertilized and well-watered.

Then, at about age ten I was in Sunday School. The church was very small, a well-attended Sunday would have 50 people total, and thus the Sunday School class I was in was me (aged ten) and four junior high aged girls, aged 13-15. The teacher told us one Sunday that there wasn’t really a person named Jesus of Nazareth and that the Bible and all of Christianity was merely a fictional narrative authored in the Middle Ages in order to flesh out a philosophy. From the age of six I was already cynical. At that point, I just started calling hard-core bee-ess on the entire thing. Not Jesus, mind you. I never had any doubts about Him, and always knew that He was not just real, but Personal, which is quite amazing in retrospect. But, given the fact that I had been immersed in the worst of 20th century Christian heresy for my entire childhood, I called bee-ess on “church” and stopped going a couple of years later.

Hard-core Bible study began at age 17. Four times through, front to back, every word. I was pitched by every possible Christian and faux-Christian outfit in college, with the notable exception of one. The Mormons tried. The Jehovah’s Witnesses tried. The white non-denominational charismatic hand-wavers tried. The Lutherans tried. Even the black church tried. (The most frightened I have ever been in my life is when the leader of the black church ladies’ group that I was invited to pulled a bottle of Wesson Oil out of her purse. I was doing a tactical assessment of the exits at that point.  Seriously.) The only ones who never, ever tried were the Catholics. Typical.  Because, you know, the New Pentecost.

The reading of orthodox Christian apologetics began at age 22 with C.S. Lewis and “Mere Christianity” – a gift from my orthodontist, of all people. Lewis (Anglican) led to Chesterton (Catholic convert). Uh-oh. Chesterton led to Newman (Catholic convert). Then Hahn (Catholic convert). Uh-oh. Hahn led to Keating. Keating led to Ratzinger. (Uh-oh) Ratzinger led to Augustine. Augustine led to re-reading the Bible. John 6. Luke 24. Matthew 26. Ephesians 5. The entire book of Revelation. The entire book of Leviticus. UH-OH. Then, the coup de grace, the Church Fathers. Clement of Rome. Ignatius of Antioch. Justin Martyr. Irenaeus of Lyons. Cyprian of Carthage. UH-OH.

At this point, I am 26 or so, and the writing is spray-painted on the wall in neon orange. But here’s the problem, and I’m dead serious here. This is LITERALLY what went through my mind over and over again:

“BUT TED KENNEDY IS A CATHOLIC. I need to read some more.”

And so I did. For three more years.

At the top of the list of individuals who have done the most damage to the Church you have Martin Luther, King Henry VIII, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, Annibale Bugnini and the KENNEDY FAMILY. In the 20th and 21st centuries, Bugnini and the Kennedy family are personally responsible for driving away hundreds of millions of Catholics and potential converts worldwide, with the Kennedys’ damage being mainly focused in North America. The Kennedys merely contributed to DELAYING my conversion. But I’m still bitter.

And that brings us to the point. Like the guy in the “I hate religion but love Jesus” video, I was making the mistake of confusing Jesus with the people inside of the Church. And this is, in a nutshell, the main problem with post-Vatican II Catholicism AND Protestantism in all its forms. BOTH – because the Novus Ordo milieu and so-called “spirit of the Council” is simply the Protestantization of the Church and the Liturgy.  And since Protestantism is a heresy, and leads inevitably to atheism (Look around, kids.  What exactly do you think is happening?  You have a front-row seat to the five-centuries coming culmination of Luther’s heresy.), the Novus Ordo WILL die, if not by the Arm of Justice, then by its own built-in suicide mechanism.

What is going on in these liturgies and services is NOT the worship of God. What is going on is the WORSHIP OF THE GROUP. Christ is merely the meme, or excuse, that these people are using in order to get together and WORSHIP THEMSELVES. The focus is ENTIRELY on the people.

For you Catholics who aren’t attending a pre-Vatican II Tridentine Latin Mass, think about it. Who is the physical focus of the Mass? It is probably the priest, interspersed with lectors, a cantor, the choir and musicians (up front so everyone can SEE THEM while they PERFORM!) and Eucharistic ministers. Where does the priest sit? Probably with his back to the Tabernacle, if the Tabernacle hasn’t been moved off to the side or into a sacristy completely. Which direction is the priest facing? WHO is the priest addressing? Towards the PEOPLE. Everything is physically oriented not towards Christ, but towards the people. By setting up a second altar (in the case of an old church that has a high altar, sitting unused) or by having a table-style altar in a new-construction church, with the priest on one side and the people on the other, what has happened is that the people have literally turned their back to God and have instead formed a circle of self-absorbed, self-regarding self-worship. Don’t get me started on Catholic Churches that are built in the round. The only answer for that mess is a D-10 Caterpillar.

There will be much work to do on the architectural front after the Counter-Revolution.

There will be much work to be done on the architectural front after the Counter-Revolution.

Now think about Protestant churches, if you can even call them that, especially the new super-fun rockband mega-churches. There isn’t even an altar. The vast majority of the ones I have seen don’t even have a Cross. Anywhere. It is just a stage for performance, entertainment and self-worship. “Look at us! Aren’t we great! Isn’t the band fabulous? Isn’t the video and light show amazing? Isn’t the preacher great? Oh my gosh you guys, we totally have cupholders in the seats for your Grande Mochachino from our Starbucks in the lobby!  It’s all about US and WHAT WE DO, and the more applause we get, and the more money we raise, the better we feel about ourselves. YAY US! YAY ME!”

Aside from the obvious problem of worshiping one’s self, there is a massive, massive problem here, and it is the very problem that the “I hate religion” guy has, and that I used to have myself.

If a religious group worships itself in any way, then it is positively doomed to failure. Why? Because every single person on earth is a horrific sinner. Everyone is flawed. Everyone is a personal failure to one degree or another. Therefore, at some point, a serious-minded person inside one of these churches will look around and begin to analyze the PEOPLE around him, and will inevitably find those people lacking if not outright frauds. Since these churches and parishes are essentially worshiping the PEOPLE and not Christ, the serious-minded person will be rightly repulsed by the fact that he is worshiping something which does not deserve to be worshiped.

The kid in the “I hate religion” video is RIGHT to be repulsed, but he doesn’t understand that the error is HIS in that he thinks that the self-worshiping paradigm is what the church is, has always been, and ever can be. He doesn’t understand that the thing that he has rightly identified as disordered is in fact a relatively modern heresy, and that true Christian worship in the form of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, properly said, is 100% focused on Christ, and His Sacrifice. Even the priest is supposed to be “liturgically transparent”, acting not as himself, but as a vicar of Christ, standing BOTH as an “alter Christus” AND as a representative of the people facing Christ in the Tabernacle and upon the altar with the people behind him (yes, the priest should have his BACK to the congregation as he LEADS THEM in the worship of God!!), who are in turn charged with uniting themselves in prayer with their liturgical representative at the altar of God, the priest.  Oooh!  A BOTH-AND situation requiring the tiniest smidgen of nuanced thought!  Can we handle this (extremely low) level of complexity, Marxist-contra-educated people?

The best image of the Church is the three crosses on Calvary.

Calvary.  Andrea Mantegna.  ARSH 1459.

Calvary. Andrea Mantegna. ARSH 1459.

In the middle is Christ, surrounded by criminals. On one side is the Good Thief who acknowledges his sin and throws himself upon Christ’s Mercy. On the other side is the Bad Thief who refuses to repent and mocks Christ to the end. Both of those men were criminals. Both were guilty. The only difference is how they related to Christ. And this is the Church. Christ is in the middle, and every single person there present is guilty. If you’re looking for that “perfect church” filled with all of those “perfect people”, you reject Calvary itself, because all you would ever be able to see are those two criminals. You would be so fixated and repulsed by the two criminals that you would reject Christ Crucified by association and proximity. And that is EXACTLY what satan wants you, and the kid in the video, and everyone else to do.

DON’T LOOK AT HIM. DON’T LOOK AT CHRIST. LOOK AT ONE ANOTHER. WORSHIP YOURSELVES, AND THEN LEAVE WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT EVERYONE AROUND YOU IS A CRIMINAL.

Furthermore, this feeds the heresy of moral relativism through the sin of pride. If we spend all of our time worshiping and fixated on the people, we start to feel superior to those around us. One of the seminal moments in my conversion was hearing a longtime friend and anti-Catholic say, “The reason I never go to church is because I have yet to find a church that is worthy of my presence.” Those were his EXACT words, at precisely the time I was reading everything I could get my hands on about the REAL PRESENCE of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.  Worthy. Of. My. Presence.

Hearing that abject arrogance and pride, and then realizing that that sentiment was actually my position too, only dared to be spoken aloud – was like getting punched in the stomach by Mike Tyson. Yeah, I’m cool with Ted Kennedy being Catholic, because at the end of the day, I’m Ted Kennedy too. No, I never raped anyone, and I never killed anyone like Ted Kennedy did, but my butt is just as guilty as Teddy’s, and if they’ll let me in the door, I’ll strive to be the Good Thief, because I’d rather die on Calvary with Christ than live without Him.

And now for a statement which will probably be posted all over message boards and forums all over the interwebs by those many, many people who hate me. Have at it, kids. I care not. Get ready to highlight, copy and paste, y’all! This is the answer to the scads and scads of emails I get from people saying, “Well, what about all of those pedophile priests?”

If you told me that every single person in the Catholic Church today, besides me, was secretly a child molester, I WOULD STILL BE CATHOLIC, because the Catholic Church is the pillar and bulwark of Truth (1 Tim 3:15). I don’t worship those people, I worship Christ, the same Christ who was crucified in the midst of criminals and FOR criminals, and Christ is the Head of the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church is the Bride of Christ. That is where Christ is – both spiritually and physically. He is among the sick and the guilty. If the Truth isn’t in that Tabernacle and on that Altar, then there is no truth.

To paraphrase Peter, where else would I go? Besides, if Christ is being surrounded and attacked by “bad thieves” within the Church, isn’t the onus upon me, an aspiring “good thief”, all the more to STAY WITH HIM? The only possible way I could ever leave is if I stopped worshiping Christ and started worshiping other people, or myself {SHUDDER}, and Dude, that ain’t NEVER gonna happen.

Finally, the argument that Christ didn’t establish or ordain ANY liturgical action at all. Well, aside from the entire Old Testament detailing architecture and extremely specific liturgical actions which Christ, the Church and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass fulfill and utterly perfect; and the contradiction that if God didn’t want liturgy, then God, who is eternal, transcendent and UNCHANGING, apparently CHANGED HIS MIND and hates the very thing He established and commanded throughout the Old Testament, we have the words and actions of Christ Himself at the Last Supper, which was the first Mass:

DO THIS IN COMMEMORATION OF ME.

Do this. 
Do this. 
Do this.

Don’t waste your time writing up some big, massive email explaining how “Do this” actually means “don’t do this” or “I really don’t want you to do this ever again.” And likewise spare yourself the timesuck of writing emails that try to argue that “This is My Body” actually means that “this isn’t My Body”, or “My Flesh is True Food and My Blood is True Drink” actually means “My Flesh is NOT true food and My Blood is NOT true drink.” And spare me the emails about how “You must eat My Flesh and drink My Blood” means, “You must never eat My Flesh or drink My Blood.” And finally, PLEASE abort plans now to email me explaining how “and upon this rock I will build My Church actually means that there is no Church at all.

Here’s a tip: if you find yourself bending yourself into a pretzel like a sideshow contortionist arguing EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of the plain, direct, clear and straighforward words of Christ, then you are wrong. Step back, stop worshiping yourself, reset, and get right. I did, by the Grace of God, which is just slightly more powerful than the entire Kennedy family put together.

 

And furthermore I consider that islam must be destroyed.