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Monday, April 6, 2020

Weird! It's the Madhatter's Tea Party!

I visited my spiritual director today and we agreed that the times are weird. Very weird! I've
described them as "surreal." Some days I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone. Other days it's more like the Madhatter's tea party. Frankly, I'd like to join the dormouse and go to sleep until it's all over!

The other day I described opening a can of worms by putting a brief comment on my Facebook wall about attending an SSPX Mass at the Warren County Fairgrounds. You'd think I'd announced that I just poisoned my mother! Sadly the madness continues. Now I'm in a debate on my parish's Facebook page after our bishop's statement was posted. I defended the right of faithful Catholics to attend the SSPX Masses since they are the only Masses in the country at present! I also disputed the suggestion that those in my diocese who go to the Mass are disobeying our bishop.

The bishop said two things in his statement. 1. He said he suspended Masses to follow the state guidelines issued by the governor, and,  2. The SSPX didn't request his permission for the Masses in Front Royal. 

He did not say one word about whether the faithful could attend the Masses!

When Lifesite News contacted the diocese about the bishop's statement,  Amber Roseboom, Director of Media Relations for the diocese responded:
The aim of the diocesan statement regarding the celebration of Mass by priests of the Society of St. Pius X within the Diocese of Arlington was to clarify for members of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington that SSPX does not have canonical standing in the Catholic Church and is not in full communion with the Catholic Church. 
Fair enough. I imagine most of those who attended the Mass know that. They also know that the Mass, while illicit since it wasn't approved by the bishop, is valid, i.e., Jesus, through the action of the priest, becomes really present on the altar under the appearance of bread and wine. 

Drive-in Mass in St. Paul, MN
[N.B. Let me point out here that the SSPX priests followed ALL state guidelines. Never were more than ten people out of their cars to approach for Communion or go over to the priest hearing confession. The priest hearing confessions wore a mask and gloves and the penitents were at least six feet away. People received Communion from a masked priest who sanitized his fingers between each group. Communion took over an hour because the usher invited people up car by car and waited until each group returned to the car before the next car was invited.]

Back to Roseboom's statement:

Another aim of the statement regarding the celebration of Mass by priests of this society was to make clear to the faithful that this liturgy was not associated with the Diocese of Arlington, especially because the celebration contradicts the directives currently in place for the Diocese.
That made me shake my head, because it sounds like letters I get from politicians. Keep in mind that the diocesan "directives" are aimed, not at the faithful, but at the priests. The priests may not offer public Masses. I would never encourage one of our priests to disobey the bishop in matters that are NOT sinful, although I think one can make a case that most bishops have overstepped their bounds. But there are no directives that forbid the laity, much less forbid them under pain of sin, from attending an SSPX Mass when it is the only Mass available.

So, no, the laity going to the SSPX Masses in Front Royal are not disobedient. Perhaps we are the ones who, because of our faults and failings, are most in need of the bread of life. Those who are holier can survive watching Mass on TV. I'll be honest. I can't! I need the sacraments. I'm thankful that our bishop is keeping our churches open unlike some dioceses that have locked up tight and told their priests not even to offer the Last Sacrament to the dying. That is a truly evil order and those bishops will have to answer for it. As for the priests...I can't imagine a real priest refusing to go the bedside of a dying person. If anyone goes to hell because he dies in the state of mortal sin, the priest is likely to go with him!

Now I'm going to point out several ironic items. 

IRONY #1: Who are acting more like Catholics -- the U.S. bishops or Governor Northam or the SSPX? 

Governor Northam, who supports the murder of children, even under his latest directive, is allowing drive-in religious services. A "frequently asked questions" handout posted on his website reads:
"Virginians are strongly encouraged to seek alternative means of attending religious services, such as virtually or via 'drive-through' worship. Places of worship that do conduct in-person services must limit gatherings to 10 people, to comply with the statewide 10-person ban."
A protestant minister contacting the governor's office about the situation, received this email from a Northam staffer: "Congregants sitting in the parking lot in cars with adequate social distancing is allowed. Any gathering on stage needs must be limited to 10 people or less."

So the governor makes it clear that religious services may continue even under his guidelines. And the SSPX has found a way to make that possible when many bishops in the United States have run for the catacombs and blocked all the entrances. They and their clerics can have Mass, the flocks they serve can watch it on TV. Unfortunately, as my spiritual director pointed out, some people are telling him how much they "enjoy" it. They can walk on the treadmill and drink coffee while they go to Mass. How many poorly catechized Catholics think it's the same thing?

IRONY #2: My parish is advertising a parking lot food basket blessing on Holy Saturday where people can exit their cars, put the baskets on the hood to be blessed and then retrieve them. So we can have drive-in food blessings, but no drive-in Mass. Apparently Easter dinner is more important than Easter Mass. 

And that, friends, is when I got really angry! I haven't decided whether I will go to the blessing, but since I want to have some candles in my basket to be blessed (in case we're alive for the three days of darkness) I probably will.

The Madhatter seems to be running the show these days setting the table with places six feet apart and limited to ten. Party favors are face masks and gloves. He's serving stones and snakes in lieu of bread and eggs and every now and then he passes out the Purell and calls, "Clean cups, clean cups, move down!" 

Oh, and at every place there's a decorated treat basket filled with fresh worms. 

Please sign the open letter begging the bishops to restore Masses in ways that follow safety guidelines. If this virus acts like others, it will be around for a long time. The Spanish influenza lasted THREE YEARS! Are you content to be without the Mass until there are no more cases of coronavirus?

Please Bishops, GIVE US BACK THE MASS! 


  1. I bet they are asking for donations. As one facebook friend said, "if we have to do with spiritual communioin, they will have to do with spiritual donations".

  2. Thank God, He has provided a “way of escape that we may be able to endure it” (I Cor 10:13).

    I was able to attend SSPX again, Palm Sunday. The long Gospel reading was almost surreal, the Latin pronunciation perfect - bordering on song. The Confession prior, advice I’d never heard before that was simple, yet profound. Altar Server, military in appearance; his Latin memorized and perfectly synchronized. God gets our best there.

    The “Alice In Wonderland insanity“ will continue wherever the Catholic Faith is practiced not in accord with Sacred Tradition and the constant Magisterial teaching of Holy Mother Church. In the SSPX Chapel, it is as it has always been. The people are wonderful and the Priests, holy ascetic examples. Their complaints don’t even register with me. They simply don’t understand the sickness and the cure.

  3. “Blessed are those who have not seen, and believed”.

    Thus, opens an appeal from Fr. Michael Stinson (FSSP Superior) in explanation of closing the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to the FSSP Faithful for an undetermined, indefinite amount of time (many of us don’t have that much time - even if we think we do), and no doubt such cancellation to be repeated in future virus seasons. A new normal.

    But, according to Father’s interpretation, we don’t need to attend Mass during Leant, Easter, and beyond, because all we need, according to this verse, is “belief“.

    I take a different interpretation in application of John 20:29, the word of Christ to St. Thomas the Apostle. St. Thomas doubted the power of Christ over death. St. Thomas stated unless he saw physical evidence of such power, a living body with the wounds intact, he could not believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, risen and now Lord over death and life.

    That is not me, but those who cancel Mass out of fear.

    I think those who fear the power of Covid19 god in the Holy Mass and in the Blessed Eucharist, which is God Himself, to sicken and kill those who adore God in His majestic person - those are more like doubting St. Thomas.

    God is Lord over all, including this unseen Covid. It has no power over us in God’s presence, over God Himself. And if it did, then God wills it. There is evidence of that throughout the Bible, specifically, the plagues that afflicted Egypt, but not those who God chose and protected.

    And so, my point to Fr. Stinson, FSSP Superior, and all Bishops who similarly fear this virus, even when Government and health leaders do not, is in the profound meaning wrapped up in those last two simple words:

    “and believed”

    *If we believe* - we will move every power inside us and outside to attend Mass on the holy Sabbath Day, especially these days of Lent and Easter - the holiest of our Liturgical year. Belief means attendance at Mass. Belief means risk of imprisonment to be at Mass. Belief means I will die, if God wills it, to remain faithful to Him.

  4. God bless you, Mary Ann, for writing your articles and standing up for the Sacraments!

    I think there is a factor that most people are overlooking:

    In order to offer a public Mass at a public parish church one needs the permission of the bishop of a diocese. Yet, permission is not needed for a private Mass.

    Priests are obliged to offer daily Mass. If they do not have the permission of a bishop they can still offer a private Mass.

    Now, why make a big deal about private vs. public? A public Mass is what is usually considered to fulfill one's Sunday obligation.

    In the current crisis, one could argue that everyone is dispensed from attending a public Mass. To attend a private Mass is technically not obligatory but allowed in such cases.

    As for the SSPX... Technically, permission has been given by Rome for people to attend their Masses, receive Holy Communion from them and also be married by them. So, along these lines, though they may not be considered "completely" in line with Rome, they are not only valid but licit to attend by the common person.

    On a side note,my godmother and I have gone to the SSPX on and off for years. I think the novus ordo bishops are just afraid of losing parishioners to the SSPX. Yet, they more than most, still hold true to the ancient traditions passed on by the Apostles and show most vigorously the marks, service and humility of the True Church

    Keep fighting the good fight and may God bless you!


  5. Our Fauci who art in DC hallowed be thy name, thy Presser comes they will be done in Texas as it is in D.C. Give us this day our daily briefing and forgive us our outside activities as you warn us against them but deliver us from liberty.


  6. JMJ

    Two words about the status of the SSPX: "Ecclesia supplet."

    We laity have a RIGHT to Mass and the Sacraments because we have a DUTY to God to be saints!

    Also, these words from Fr. Minutella are very sobering:

    'Nuff said.