“Vatican II, the Unholy Priest, and Apostasy”
This tragedy of no sense of sin and an “uninformed Catholic conscience” pervades the Church and priesthood everywhere since Vatican Council II. This contamination of the Catholic conscience with no “sense of sin” is so easily overlooked by clergy and laity alike, for all sin as St. Paul teaches, darkens the mind and weakens the will. So true is this that virtually all Catholics in the pews today have come to forget what a holy Catholic priest is or, for that matter, a fervent Catholic.
It can only be true that a holy priest or his counterpart in the pews is a very devout Catholic who has a keen and active sense of sin. When one observes such great holy priests of the past—and they were, indeed, common before Vatican II, we see his sole vocation was largely to eradicate sin in the confessional box for hours and hours on end. Empty Confessional boxes, uninformed Catholic consciences, unholy priests, apostate Catholics, and modernism have devastated the Church for the last 50 years. The unholy priest of today simply does not understand this truth, one that the holy Cure of Ars made clear in this poetic statement:
Who does not see; Does not know; Who does not know, Does not love; Who does not love; Does not know God; But loves himself And his own pleasures.
One cannot “see” if God does not reveal Himself to him through His Divine Graces. Absolutely, unholy priests are blinded by their sin as well as all Catholics in grievous sin. This ability to see, clearly, is realized only by an illumination of one’s conscience by the graces of the Most Holy Spirit: “For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that the world grant you, according to the riches of His Glory, to be strengthened by His Spirit with might unto the inward man: that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge, and that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:18) Truly, truly then can one love God in holiness with his whole heart, his whole mind, and all his strength.
A holy priest sees visibly his own sins, especially those of omission towards his whole flock. It is not so much for what we do to offend God, sins of commission, that condemns our souls to hell, but for the goodness and virtue we failed to do, “for if a tree does not bear fruit, my Father, will have it cut down and it will be thrust into the fire.” And so is it true here with a holy priest who is virtuous and who is, indeed, a holy priest because he virtually always keeps a ‘contrite and humble heart’ before God so he can be holy.
Much greater than the failures and actual sins of commission in the priesthood today, with sins against purity and chastity, is by far the priest’s sin of omission in failing to preach and teach the whole truth of the Catholic faith to the sheep of his flock, by instructing them in all the fundamental doctrines of the faith in forming good and holy Catholic consciences. This is the great sin of Vatican Council II to fail to teach and preach the perennial truths of the Catholic faith in conjunction with the Tradition of the past: be it in liturgy, in doctrine, and in living out the holy faith in the vocations of the priesthood, the religious life, and the Catholic laity!
Did not Our Divine Lord over and over interrogate St. Peter, by asking him if he loved Him: “Do you love Me, Peter? Then feed my sheep.” A soul without the Word of God will become quickly desiccated and die of infidelity, failing to live out the holy truths of the faith and therefore a virtuous life. This is the work, always, of a good Catholic priest, a holy priest, a saintly priest, to teach and preach the faith in all of its splendorous orthodoxy to the hungry sheep in his tutelage.
It is teaching a true understanding of the sense of sin, in order to be upright and orthodox, that a holy priest feeds his flock, especially, on how to be saintly and practice the holy virtues. Nor can a priest who is holy himself, ever ignore the slightest sin of omission in this regard in his own priesthood. To not address this sinful state is to fail in his priesthood to keep a keen sense of sin in his own holy vocation. That is why the Offertory of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass puts forth these very words in the priest’s mouth:
“I offer up to Thee, O God, my innumerable sins, offenses, and negligences that it may avail me and all the Souls of all faithful Catholics, living and dead.”
Moreover, just a few prayers thereafter, the priest again begs God that he may have a “contrite and humble heart”: so that his sacrifice may be acceptable to God.
And both of these prayers are particularly important to be prayed for a worthy and acceptable sacrifice to God. Then follows the poignant washing of the hands of the priest, followed by the Offertory prayer for this holy rubric: “I wash my hands among the innocent that I may hear Thy Voice of praise and tell of all Thy wondrous works.” As the saints of the Church have taught: “Non dare potes quod non habes.” ‘You cannot give what you do not have.’
So intimately connected are a priest’s consciousness of his own contriteness and his personal holiness with his ability to teach and preach the wondrous works of God’s truths to his flock that the degree of the former virtually literally brings about the legitimacy and success of the latter.
How vacuous, indeed, are the Offertory prayers of the Novus Ordo that speak so little of this priestly reality—the awareness of his own sinfulness and unworthiness to offer sacrifice, for even the slightest sin before God makes us unworthy to be in His Presence. How pusillanimous is any sense of sin in the Novus Ordo Mass and liturgy! And to miss this majestic truth is to fail to understand the purpose of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is at its very essence a sin sacrifice for priest and congregation alike.
And so a good priest, a holy priest, never forgets his need to always cultivate a “contrite and humble heart” before God, not only for himself but also for his whole flock. Consider at the end of every Extraordinary Form of the Mass, just after Holy Communion, the priest along with the people prays that all present may have pure and innocent hearts from every sin which these sacred mysteries have renewed. Also the priest prays after this supplication with the people that all may be healed by the reception of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is, indeed, a holy priest, this is a man worthy to sacrifice to God; one who alone is always cognizant of his own frailty and that of those with whom he worships God.
Finally, let us pray with the Psalmist that we may always have a “contrite and humbled heart” in order that our sacrifice to God in the Mass may be worthy and acceptable:
“For if Thou hadst desired sacrifice,
I would indeed have given it; but in
Burnt offerings Thou hast no delight.
A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit: a
A contrite and humbled heart, O God,
Thou wilt not despise.
Deal graciously, O Lord, with Sion
In Thy Goodness that the walls of
Jerusalem may be rebuilt.
Then wilt Thou again accept true
Sacrifices, oblations and burnt-
Offerings; then shall they offer bullocks
Upon Thy altar.
Wash me thoroughly, O Lord, from Thy
It is good to recall here Fr. John Hardon’s words about today’s priests and bishops. Fr. John Hardon was truly one of the greatest teaching priests of all time who wrote over 55 books, helped pen the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and taught theology and philosophy in Latin in several seminaries; he often begged his students to pray for priests and bishops. These are his oft repeated words: “Pray for priests, pray for priests; so many have lost their faith! Pray for bishops, pray for bishops; so many have lost their faith!” Let this be our closing thoughts and words for all priests and bishops. (Fr. John Hardon, S. J. was, indeed, a very holy priest who passed in 2000 and his cause is already under scrutiny by Rome for sainthood.)
--to be continued--
j hughes dunphy