The Real Dark Ages


Torch of The Faith News on Friday 17 August 2018 - 12:40:21 | by admin

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The technical ingenuity, precise structure, coherent order, beautiful colouring and deep theological meanings expressed in the refracted light of medieval stained glass. Nothing ''Dark Aged'' about any of that!

Holy Stillness

Back in the days when I was still a young bank clerk, my employer used to have us all back to work after Christmas much earlier than many other industries. I sometimes felt like Bob Cratchit as I trudged through the dark and empty streets on late-December mornings, whilst the neighbourhood slumbered peacefully on.

I remember looking out early on one cold, yet deeply peaceful morning, and feeling a distinct reluctance to disturb the fresh virgin snow, much less the almost mystical tranquillity that lay suspended over it. So still was the world that morning, that even putting on the house lights seemed a dreadful impropriety.

All of this happened many years before I learned intellectually of the grace-filled character of the 12 Days of Christmas; or of the spiritual treasures which are open to those who spend those unique days immersed in prayer and contemplation. However, having already experienced that there was something tangibly sacred about those days of the year, I was subsequently able to accept and understand this reality when I did come to learn about it, at the level of the intellect, much later in life.

I mention these things during these brighter days of August, because the spiritual intensity of the Traditional Latin Mass can be such that one similarly hesitates to intrude on the holy stillness at its conclusion. 
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Unholy Intrusion...

It was during such a period of reverie that we were loading up our vehicle after the Traditional Latin Mass for the Feast of the Assumption on Wednesday, when the atmosphere was suddenly, and rather rudely, broken by the intrusion of the complaining tones of a woman of retirement age.

As I turned, I made a mental note that this person was adhering to the increasingly normative fashion for older people these days, to dress as though they were teenagers in the first flush of youth; wearing sports shoes, long shorts and logoed T-shirts. The retirement-aged man with her was also dressed similarly, apart from his own choice of colours.

From the complaints, which though we had been attending quietly to our own vehicular loading were directed right at us, it became clear that, even though it was a Holy Day of Obligation, this retired Catholic couple had spontaneously cut short their bus-trip to the shops, when they had spotted that there must have been a Mass ''on'' in the church.

The woman then went on animatedly about how she had not known what was happening, how she much preferred the liturgical ''changes'' and how she felt like she had just been ''taken back to the Dark Ages!''

The fact that this woman's sharpness was disturbing our peace, trampling all over that which we most love and hold dear, and that she had merely wandered in, whilst the other people praying there that day had carefully planned and structured their whole day around getting to that particular Holy Mass in good time to celebrate Our Lady's great feast, seemed wasted on her.

Welcome to the age of the Enlightened...

It is difficult to imagine such persons doing the same kind of thing to the adherents of any other religion, or disparaging any other religious ceremonies in this manner.

However, as usual, it is taken as fair play to attack both Traditional Catholicism and Traditional Catholics.

And this even by those who consider themselves to be ''good Catholics''!

I've already related how I had a similar experience last year, when a ''trendy priest'' came up to me as I prayed quietly in a Church and how, even though we were in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, he scoffed at me and announced that he considered it, ''Bl***y ridiculous, that people still want to go to the Traditional Latin Mass!''

We are witnessing evil phenomena indeed.

Even at the human level, it makes no sense to despise the very foundations of one's own religion. It is akin to sawing off the branch, upon which one sits. But then, we are compelled to ask, are these people really of the same religion as ourselves?

At the same time, such displays only show up the ignorance of such persons. If a fast-food employee were to enter a classy restaurant and complain about the rich pickings on the menu, they could expect to receive little sympathy from those who had taken the time to educate their palates.

Then, too, much as I depise the sacrileges, irreverences, heresies and the immature banalities, which too often characterise Novus Ordo culture, I could not imagine myself going up to, and haranguing, a quiet family, who were emerging reflectively from any Mass, just because they had attended a Novus Ordo.

And yet, it is Traditionalists who are frequently labelled as being, somehow, divisive.

I didn't want to get into a slanging match with this woman during those special moments after Mass, but as Angie steered our vehicle out into the fast flowing lines of traffic, I began to express how incensed I was at this insult to Our Blessed Lord and to His Holy Mass. Then, with some animation and a deal of exasperation, I lamented, ''The Dark Ages?!!!''

At this point, my wife reminded me not to loose my cool, nor to let this spoil the day we had ahead of us, nor the feast day fayre which we were all heading off to enjoy. Thanks be to God for the influences of female wisdom.

The Best of Times? Francis, Donald Wuerl and Pennsylvania... Really?!!!

Still, I did ruminate during the rest of our journey on the crazy distortion which sees these times of the Church as somehow being the glittering ''Best of All Times!'', whilst nastily disparaging the Catholic past as an age of darkness.

I mean to say, the horrific news of all the grave evils emerging from Pennsylvania right now - where it has been disclosed that, during a 70 year period, around 300 clerics, one hesitates to call these evil characters priests, have been abusing, raping and destroying the faith and lives of some 1,000 youngsters and their families - should have put paid to that.

Incidentally, on that note, it is very important to notice the chronological correlation between those wicked crimes, and the absolutely disgusting cover-ups and pay-offs done by bishops, with the revelations of the former Communist Bella Dodd; as well as with the coincidence of a large proportion of that period of abuse with the giddy Vatican II era of aggiornamento, and the destructive decades which have followed on from it, like a hangover from a drunken party.

And again, in these times we have the world-shaking travesty of Francis' silence about this whole Church-quaking matter.

At the same time, there persists the enormity of his chum Donald Wuerl remaining in a red-hatted position of power, and preparing himself to head off to the increasingly chilling-looking World Meeting of Families in Ireland; even though Wuerl has himself been mentioned many times in the Pennsylvania report, and has gone three years beyond the 75-yr age mark for retirement.

The news from Pennsylvania also throws that image of an adult male hand approaching that of a young child's hand on the homosexualist Quest materials last weekend, into even sharper relief. Far from attending the World Meeting of Families in Ireland, James Martin SJ, and England's Bishop Peter Doyle, should be giving a repentant account of themselves and their scandalizing actions.
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The beautiful Early English Gothic cloister arcading (circa 1220 - 1258 AD), at the medieval Salisbury Cathedral in England; just one fine example of the wonders created in an age which, whilst post-modernity is blindly viewed as the best of all times, is disparagingly, and inaccurately, described as ''dark''.

And yet, none of this invites the censure of your average liberal ''teenaged-pensioner''. Instead they reserve the vocal expression of their deep-seated ire for the Holy Mass which gave such immense glory to God, formed millennia of saints and blesseds, ordered a civilization, saved and sanctified untold numbers of souls around the world and maintained the reputation and respect of the Catholic Church even in the midst of Her enemies.

And such people also reserve the worst of their ire for those who, in continuity with ages of our fathers in the Faith, still attend the Traditional Latin Mass.

Debunking the ''Dark Age'' Myth

Just while we are on this point, it is essential that none of us ever gives in to the false notion that the so-called ''Dark Ages'' were in fact really ''Dark'' at all.

It is this black myth, which views the Enlightenment as though it were some kind of cultural panacea, which has hideously shaped the present religio-cultural situation and led to a domino-effect of disastrous consequences.

Just as a starting point on this important theme, readers might enjoy a discerning reading of texts such as: How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, by Thomas E. Woods; Those Terrible Middle Ages! Debunking the Myths, by Regine Pernoud; Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History, by Rodney Stark; and Monasteries of Western Europe - The Architecture of the Orders, by Wolfgang Braunfels. 

Seeing Rightly with God's Light

In terms of discernment of spirits, I have become increasingly aware that to still think rightly in these times of diabolical confusion is an enormous gift of God's grace and a sign of His love and protection of a soul.

On this theme, there was a succinct comment by a chap named Michael, a couple of days ago, at 1 Peter 5, on Steve Skojec's article entitled, Playing with Fire: Rosica, Francis and the Spirit of Antichrist.

This gentleman called Michael said: ''Those who are able to discern these wolves have a great gift from God. This is not because of any merit on their part, but because God, in His great love and mercy, has willed that some should see in the darkness, that some should understand the chaos.''

We are living through, I think, the most tumultous time in the history of the Catholic Church and the world. It also appears that things are coming increasingly to some kind of essential moment.

For both sides in this primarily spiritual battle.

If you can still see the darkness for what it is, at least to some degree, and still seek Christ's Light, then thank God for that grace and ask Him to increase your fidelity to Him and to preserve you in His grace.

Many good people are being, or have been, tempted to give up their Faith in these times. May God spare all who read this from ever doing so.

We can see that the evil attacks on children are completely against the very essence of the Catholic Faith.

Therefore, in these times, when so much corruption, evil and sin are being exposed to the light, it is absolutely essential that we become more and not less Catholic.

Only God's supernatural grace and help will get us through these times. Yet, with these helps, and the assistance of Our Lady and the Saints, plus the Sacraments received worthily and with devotion, we can be well equipped.

Catholic Tradition is not the Dark Age. Neither is the present era an age conspicuous for its light...

And yet, we know from Sacred Scripture, Tradition and the Sacred Liturgy that: ''In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men: and the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.''

Let us remain close to OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, FOR HE IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!


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