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“Ask a Priest: How Should a Catholic Deal With a Divided Church?”
Q: It’s been some years since I got back home and reconverted to my Catholic faith. One of the many things that got me back is the united and common faith we all share, no matter where we live in the world. I do not regret my decision, but I feel there’s been an increasing division within the Church – the elections don’t help – that makes me feel sad. I want to be faithful, but I don’t know how to react to all the things that are happening. There is so much hatred on both sides of the fight. Many blame Vatican II, others the Pope or Freemasonry. What should a Catholic do to remain with the Church but attached to our Tradition? After so many abuses in our parishes, it makes me feel that is better to attach to an SSPX chapel. Thank you. – D.P.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: It’s great to hear about your return to the faith. Our Lord has given you a great grace.
In your question you touch on two key points about the Church.
First, we are united by a common set of beliefs (as well as liturgy, etc.). This is part of the supernatural dimension of the Church.
On the other hand, the Church also has a human dimension. And this dimension is torn by division, as you mention.
So, what should a Catholic do? A few suggestions might help.
First, it’s good to keep your focus on Jesus. He is the reason why we are here. He founded the Church. He is the head of the Church. The Church can be thought of as his mystical body. Jesus works in the world through the members of his body the Church [read: you and me].
Although it’s understandable that you dismayed by the scandals (liturgical and otherwise) in some parishes, opting for a Society of Saint Pius X venue might not be the solution. Indeed, it could help fuel the divisions within the Church.
It also might be useful to read about Church history. Divisions and conflicts within the Church are nothing new; they have occurred since the very beginning and never really stopped. It’s all part of the spiritual battle.
It might be better to seek out a parish where the homilies are solid and the liturgy reverent. In any case, remember that it’s Jesus who is at the center of any Mass.
In the meantime, you might consider joining an ecclesial movement or something similar – Focolare or Regnum Christi, for instance.
The years ahead might not be any easier for Catholics. Cultures are becoming more secularized, and families are feeling the stress. But Jesus promised to be with us “until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
This is the moment you want to commit yourself to defending the Church. The Church is our mother, and she needs our help.
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I think that traditional church is something I focus on, the best thing to do is to read the Bible and the Catechism so that you know that you are following the right line.
I like to keep things simple. we humans complicate things too much sometimes. God keeps things simple and that helps me so much.
I have faced two parts of the church over the years. The Church that I was brought up in , I had priests come to my school and me and my friends would go to confession at the school every week, even if we could not think of what sin(s) we had committed we still went. there were lots of masses, and the priests supported us for our first Holy Communion and our Confirmation. When I look back at my time there it was happy. School was tough for me, but the religious aspects of being in a Catholic School is what I really took too. My local church was thriving and we would often go in as a family to the church hall for tea after church. I felt part of a community. It was special to me. I used to go home from mass skipping and singing the hymns I just heard at Mass. There was a convent nearby and the Sisters were all lovely, and I used to go and sing with the nuns. Happy memories. And then I heard about all the horrible things that had happened in the church for a while I wondered away from the Church.
Then I realised within Great Good there are some wolfs in sheeps clothing. Because all evil wants to do is ruin things.
I have since returned to Church and mass (online mass for now) and am so happy to be back. And I have felt the same warmth and happiness as I did as a child.
God is more powerful than any evil. God is pure love. And I will not let anything like that rock my Catholic Faith again.
We need to follow Jesus and God and with prayer also to Our Lady.
I wonder if you have heard of the Green Scapular? Since I have been wearing it my faith has strengthened. And I have been granted lovely graces, graces that I could not ever imagine. A beautiful sense of peace. And even though these times are troubling and I worry so much about the world, I still have a sense of peace around me.
And I have Gods love around me, as I asked for his help and he granted me more peace.
All I can say is that as humans we are flawed, humans are flawed and with that divisions happen. And sometimes evil sneaks its way in.
But by staying true to the Catholic Faith through the word of God, is what we must do. We must follow Jesus and the word of God. That is a simple thing to do.
Through prayer we can become closer to Our Father.
I discovered an online mass in that the Priest is very traditional, and sometimes he will on occasion sing or say the Lords prayer in Latin.
I think that Mass should be treated with respect and not become secular at all. It is so important that mass remains true to God’s Word.