Category Archives: Church crisis

Largest drop in Church attendance in decades

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Perhaps the reason for this decline is the Church’s failure to teach the Catholic Faith. How can these Modernists remedy this situation when they hate everything the Church has ever taught & stood for? There is a long road ahead. If we stay faithful, we can do our small parts to aid in the restoration.

https://fsspx.news/en/news-events/news/united-states-sees-largest-drop-church-attendance-decades-38548

A recent Gallup poll revealed that during Pope Francis’ pontificate, which began in 2013, the Catholic Church in the United States experienced the largest decline in weekly attendance in decades.

The poll revealed that “between 2014 and 2017, 39% of (American) Catholics said that they had attended Mass in the last seven days”, a “lower level than the 45% of respondents from 2005 to 2008”, and a veritable “collapse from the 75% response in 1955”.  Weekly participation in the Mass, by dropping six points since the close of Benedict XVI’s papacy, marks the largest decline since the 1970’s. It had stabilized in the mid-2000’s.  In contrast, Gallup noted that Protestant attendance has remained constant for ten years.

In detail: the greatest drop in Mass attendance between the pontificates of Benedict XVI and Francis occurred among Catholics aged 50-59, from 46% to 31%–a 15% decrease.  The only increase in weekly attendance was observed among Catholics aged 30-39, moving from 40% to 43%.

The population of young adults – aged 21 to 29 years old –had shown a slight increase in Mass attendance under Benedict XVI from 2005 to 2008, with 29%, which fell to 25% between 2014-2017.  According to this survey, young adult Protestants were more likely to attend services weekly, with 36% as opposed to 25% for Catholics.

 

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Keeping the Old Mass

The following excerpt is from an interview Bishop Tissier de Mallerais gave to the SSPX’s french website last year. He speaks of that pivotal moment in Church history when Archbishop Lefebvre, himself & his fellow seminarians decided to not compromise the Faith & the Mass. God bless them!

I had the great honor of meeting His Excellency this past Sunday & receiving my conditional Confirmation from his hands. If I had to describe him in one word it would be humble. He’s very humble, kind, gracious & his devotion to the Church is apparent. Pictures will be forthcoming.

I remember that on the eve of the first Sunday of Advent in 1969, two months after my entry into Archbishop Lefebvre’s seminary in Fribourg, Switzerland, our founder called us together for a special spiritual conference, we his nine first seminarians, and told us gravely:

Tomorrow the Novus Ordo Missae becomes effective, the new mass instituted by Pope Paul VI, in all the parishes of Fribourg, Switzerland, France, and everywhere. What are we going to do?”

After a moment of silence, with his small, almost timid voice, he added:

We are going to keep the Old Mass, aren’t we?”

Those are the historic words with which Archbishop Lefebvre saved the Sacrifice of the Mass.

Of course, we were all of his opinion, and he did not need to ask us. We had all lived through the stages of the liturgical revolution since the year 1960: the altars turned around to say the Mass “facing the people”, the suppression of the psalm Judica me and the Last Gospel, parts of the Mass said out loud in the vernacular, the canon read out loud and in the vernacular, the words of the consecration changed, what was left to change? Paul VI created 3 new Eucharistic prayers and codified all the reforms and imposed them, but without imposing them as he should, canonically.

And the contents of this “New Order of the Mass” were made known to us by the Ottaviani Intervention that been approved by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci, writing to Paul VI that this new Mass “abandons in detail and overall the Catholic theology of the Mass as it figures in the decree of the Council of Trent, which gave a definitive response to the Protestant reformers.” I quote from memory and not precisely, but that is what they said.

And it was only in June 1972 that Archbishop Lefebvre summarized for his seminarians the extrinsic and intrinsic reasons that made him deny the goodness of the new rite, the legitimacy of its promulgation, and its so-called obligation by Pope Paul VI. It was a 2-page, typed text, short, concise, complete, luminous, definitive, a stance from which there was no going back, that required our adherence. We gave it with full satisfaction, with relief. On November 28, 1969, it was simply a private “Yes” to the Mass of all time; in June 1972, it was a public and argued “No” to the New Mass.

Sodomy condemned

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With the Pope’s latest comments stating that sodomites were born with the wretched disorder as well as this Blessed Month of the Sacred Heart being the annually touted “Pride” month, I thought it would do well to reiterate Scripture & the Church’s teaching on this sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance.

“I will therefore admonish you, though ye once knew all things, that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, did afterwards destroy them that believed not:

 And the angels who kept not their principality, but forsook their own habitation, he hath reserved under darkness in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the great day.

As Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication, and going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.”  ~Jude 1: 5-7

“A thing is said to be natural, if it agrees with nature, and unnatural, if it disagrees.”   ~St. Thomas Aquinas

“Certain special sins are said to be against nature; thus contrary to sexual intercourse, which is natural to all animals, is unisexual lust, which has received the special name of the unnatural crime.”   ~St. Thomas Aquinas

“Wherefore just as in speculative matters the most grievous and shameful error is that which is about things the knowledge of which is naturally bestowed on man, so in matters of action it is most grave and shameful to act against things as determined by nature. Therefore, since by the unnatural vices man transgresses that which has been determined by nature with regard to the use of venereal actions, it follows that in this matter this sin is gravest of all [sins belonging to lust]…Just as the ordering of right reason proceeds from man, so the order of nature is from God Himself: wherefore in sins contrary to nature, whereby the very order of nature is violated, an injury is done to God, the Author of nature. Hence Augustine says (Confessiones iii,8): ‘Those foul offenses that are against nature should be everywhere and at all times detested and punished, such as were those of the people of Sodom, which should all nations commit, they should all stand guilty of the same crime, by the law of God which hath not so made men that they should so abuse one another. For even that very intercourse which should be between God and us is violated, when that same nature, of which He is the Author, is polluted by the perversity of lust.'”   ~St. Thomas Aquinas

“But if thou scoffest at hearing of hell and believest not that fire, remember Sodom. For we have seen, surely we have seen, even in this present life, a semblance of hell. For since many would utterly disbelieve the things to come after the resurrection, hearing now of an unquenchable fire, God brings them to a right mind by things present. For such is the burning of Sodom, and that conflagration!… Consider how great is that sin, to have forced hell to appear even before its time!… For that rain was unwonted, for the intercourse was contrary to nature, and it deluged the land, since lust had done so with their souls. Wherefore also the rain was the opposite of the customary rain. Now not only did it fail to stir up the womb of the earth to the production of fruits, but made it even useless for the reception of seed. For such was also the intercourse of the men, making a body of this sort more worthless than the very land of Sodom. And what is there more detestable than a man who hath pandered himself, or what more execrable?”  ~St. John Chrysostom

“Those offences which be contrary to nature are everywhere and at all times to be held in detestation and punished; such were those of the Sodomites, which should all nations commit, they should all be held guilty of the same crime by the divine law, which hath not so made men that they should in that way abuse one another. For even that fellowship which should be between God and us is violated, when that same nature of which He is author is polluted by the perversity of lust.”  ~St. Augustine

“Sacred Scripture itself confirms that sulfur evokes the stench of the flesh, as it speaks of the rain of fire and sulfur poured upon Sodom by the Lord. He had decided to punish Sodom for the crimes of the flesh, and the very type of punishment he chose emphasized the shame of that crime. For sulfur stinks, and fire burns. So it was just that Sodomites, burning with perverse desires arising from the flesh like stench, should perish by fire and sulfur so that through this just punishment they would realize the evil they had committed, led by a perverse desire.”  ~St. Gregory the Great

“Truly, this vice is never to be compared with any other vice because it surpasses the enormity of all vices.… It defiles everything, stains everything, pollutes everything. And as for itself, it permits nothing pure, nothing clean, nothing other than filth.…

The miserable flesh burns with the heat of lust; the cold mind trembles with the rancor of suspicion; and in the heart of the miserable man chaos boils like Tartarus [Hell]…. In fact, after this most poisonous serpent once sinks its fangs into the unhappy soul, sense is snatched away, memory is borne off, the sharpness of the mind is obscured. It becomes unmindful of God and even forgetful of itself. This plague undermines the foundation of faith, weakens the strength of hope, destroys the bond of charity; it takes away justice, subverts fortitude, banishes temperance, blunts the keenness of prudence.

And what more should I say since it expels the whole host of the virtues from the chamber of the human heart and introduces every barbarous vice as if the bolts of the doors were pulled out.”  ~St. Peter Damien

Communion in the hand denied at the Vatican?

 

I stumbled upon this video, which shows Commmunion in the hand being denied to communicants at the Vatican on Pentecost Sunday. Does anyone know when this practice started? In the Vatican as a whole or just these individual priests? Regardless of the agenda here, kudos to the Vatican for appearing to actually defend the Blessed Sacrament, doing something Catholic, for once.

https://gloria.tv/article/pc1crqtNuZYE3FNmxnUatSTAc

However, the weakness in the clergy is apparent when the choir member demands to receive in the hand. Nowhere is found respect & reverence & worship for the Holy Eucharist. I have to wonder why the priests & bishops & Pope were ordained & consecrated, for the primary purpose of their entire life is the defense of the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacraments of the Church & christian morality, yet we see that no one is more brazen in destroying them than they.  Lord have mercy.

“Unfortunately, in many places Communion is distributed in the hand. To what extent is this supposed to be a renewal and a deepening of the reception of Holy Communion? Is the trembling reverence with which we receive this incomprehensible gift perhaps increased by receiving it in our unconscentrated hands, rather than from the consecrated hands of the priest? It is not difficult to see that the danger of parts of the consecrated Host falling to the ground is incomparably increased, and the danger of desecrating it or indeed of horrible blasphemy is very great. And what in the world is to be gained from all this?”  ~Dietrich von Hildebrand, “The Devastated Vineyard” p. 67-68, 1973

 

The Martyrs of Bosnia

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https://www.catholicfamilynews.org/blog/2018/2/22/february-1945-the-30-martyrs-massacred-by-the-communists-in-bosnia

The following is from Catholic Family News & is a must read, recounting the evil of the communist agenda, as shown in the torture of these great priests and brothers.

During the Turkish domination of Bosnia-Herzegovina, twelve Franciscan friars of Herzegovinian origin, came from Kresevo in Bosnia, deciding to construct a monastery in their land of origin, as a sign of faith, choosing to do so in Široki Brijeg.

Establishing themselves in this small village, and after having bought a large plot of land at a high price, they began to construct a church dedicated to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven. The work to build the monastery soon began, and then a building to use as a seminary.

Nearby they erected a scholastic center which included a gymnasium where the friars taught the young generations of Bosnia-Herzegovina. A house for borders from far away was also built. And so the place became a Christian cultural center, and the shrine transformed into a symbol for Herzegovina. Exactly 100 years later, the monastery was devastated and destroyed.

It happened in this way: on February 7, 1945, the Communist party members decided to destroy from the Christian symbol from its foundations, and to uproot the Catholic Faith, kindness and the recognition of the Franciscan friars from the hearts of the people.

They arrived at three in the afternoon, finding 30 religious in the monastery; many of them were professors in the gymnasium adjacent to the monastery.

The communists said: “God is dead, there isn’t a God, there’s not a Pope, there’s not a Church, there’s no need for you, go back to the world and work.”

They tried to persuade the friars, with threats and blasphemies, to take off the religious habit. They responded: “We are consecrated religious, we cannot take our habits off.”

Then, an angry soldier took the Crucifix and threw it out on the ground. “There,” he said, “now you can choose either life or death.”

Each of them knelt, embracing and kissing Jesus, holding the Cross to their breast, all of them saying like Saint Francis: “My God and my All.”

As mentioned, some of the Fathers were very famous professors, they had written many school books and manuals.

But they didn’t embrace their books and say: “You are everything for me.” No! They embraced Jesus, the Master! Full of hate and malice, the persecutors then took the friars one by one, taking them out of the convent, and killing them; they then doused the bodies with gasoline and burned them.

The Friars went to their death praying and singing the Litany of Our Lady.

These things have been to testified to, by the soldiers who had been part of the execution squad.

One of the soldiers was shocked by the heroic behavior of the Friars. He recounted: “Ever since I was a little boy at home, I always heard from my mother that there is a God, that God exists. Lenin, Stalin, Tito had always affirmed the contrary and did everything to instill in us that there is no God, that He doesn’t exist!

When life’s circumstances brought me to the martyrdom of Široki Brijeg and I saw how the Friars faced death, praying and blessing their persecutors, begging God to pardon the sins of the executioners, then my mother’s words rang clear, and I thought: my mom was right, there is a God, God does exist!”

Today, that soldier converted, and has a priest-son and a daughter who is a religious.

In their fury, they ravaged and wiped out the writing on the stone placed above the main entrance of the friary, on which was written the Name of God and the dedication to the Assumption of Our Lady.

Today the dedication is no longer legible, but the blood of the Martyrs has written it even more deeply in the hearts of the people, and brilliantly shines in the eyes of the Lord.

A dedication can be erased, it can be burned, destroyed, ruined, but the Faith cannot be taken from the heart of the Church.

To this day, Our Lady is lived, honored and celebrated with great love, at the Shrine.

The shrine is the largest in all of Bosnia-Herzegovina: it is a symbol, a sign. The communists had thought that by destroying the “sign,” the Faith would be finished too. Instead, the Faith has grown and developed under the mantle and protection of Our Lady.

Our Franciscan Martyrs had also grown and lived enveloped by Our Lady’s mantle. The bodies of the 30 witnesses of the Faith were left hidden in the earth for years and years; one could not name them or commemorate them in any way.

But the blood of the Martyrs cried out and was an example for everyone, and so new vocations flowered in hearts, the Church and Faith grew like a thriving tree.

At the time, I was four years old, and I remember how often my parents told us of what had happened to the Friars. And this was also the case in many families of my peers. The desire to imitate our Martyrs and ourselves become friars grew more and more.

Our Martyrs are witnesses to the Faith, witnesses to the love of God and neighbor. The 30 Franciscans didn’t become martyrs by chance, or by accident; they offered their lives and testified to the Faith consciously and with great joy.

This is very important. As the Church has always done and taught, so did they forgive their enemies, pray for their persecutors and bless their killers.

In the same way as Maximilian Kolbe and many others! Among the various Martyrs, the only difference is that of the means and method of martyrdom, but all have always manifested a great ardor and love: the love which burns hate, which burns and destroys violence, and everything changes and transforms into joy, a celebration, in the victory of Our Lord’s grace.

The Church takes life from the blood of her martyr-sons. These will always remain a great (source of) strength of the Church.

We who live in this place, and you who come here as pilgrims, we can reflect a little on the worth of our Faith and examine how much our Faith is important to us; how I am ready to give my life for my God, what I can do for my Jesus, what my Christ and His Cross and my Christian vocation mean to me.

A week after the massacre at Široki Brijeg, the communists went to Mostar and found seven friars in the monastery.

Although they knew what had happened in Široki Brijeg, they had decided not to escape, but to remain in the friary.

One of them was Father Leon-Grgo Petrovic, doctor of Theology, born in Klobuk in 1883. He, as Franciscan provincial, had the grace to consecrate all of his friars, who he felt were in danger at the beginning of the war, to Our Lady.

Now we can see how that consecration flourished. The devotion to Our Lady, that beautiful flower offered to the Blessed Virgin, bloomed on the day of the massacre, February 7, 1945.

As God the Father sent His Son to die, for the salvation of the whole world, and Jesus remained obedient, accepting the sacrifice of Himself, so our Martyrs offered their own lives and blood for the salvation of men, for peace, for our conversion.

They were immolated for the peace and good of the whole Church. I now want to present to you our Friars who became mature through martyrdom – some were only 20 years old – and who were capable of giving witness for Christ, and to demonstrate Who Christ was for them, for us.

With love and veneration, I give you their names…

The Martyrs of Široki Brijeg

Friar Bruno Adamcik, with degrees in philosophy and music from Bratislava, was 37 years old when he went to the glory of Heaven.

Friar Marko Barbaric, 80. Devoted to Our Lady, he had a reputation for sanctity among the students and seminarians, who witnessed that while walking in the park, he often spoke with the birds. These, as soon as they saw him, hastened to greet him and perched themselves on the hand he extended to them. He had lost his memory and was unaware of the war. On that February 7, 1945 he was in his cell, sick with typhus. The Communist officials ordered that he also be brought out, and so he was carried outside on a blanket. Then he was killed and thrown in the fire.

Friar Jozo Bencun, 76. He had been pastor in Humac and Široki Brijeg.

Friar Marko Dragicevic, 43. With degrees in history, Greek and Latin, he could not think of any of his students failing, so he found ways to bring out their positive sides.

Friar Miljenko Ivankovic, 21. He was very devout and humble. Today his brother and nephew are Franciscans.

Friar Andrija Jelcic, 41. He had been Father Guardian of Široki Brijeg. He built the church in Capljina. The people remember him as being a good shepherd and a true father.

Friar Rudo Juric, 21. A cleric in simple vows.

Friar Fabijan Kordic, 55. Very pious and good, he made habits for the brothers, and prepared himself to receive the habit which never wears out: that of martyrdom.

Friar Viktor Kosir, 21. When all the youngest seminarians, although not wishing to leave the monastery were commanded by the Rector to return to their own villages, knowing well that the Communists were coming to kill them, Friar Viktor resisted more than the others, but obediently returned home. There, he stayed only a few hours, despite his parents’ pleas, who heard the rumble of the airplanes who were bombing. He died with the others, as he desired. His mother had another son, and gave him the same name. However she often cried, looking at the picture of her dead son. The little one calmed her, telling her that he would take his brother’s place. Today, in fact, he is a Franciscan priest who exercises his ministry especially in the confessional.

Friar Tadija Kozul, 36. Professor of philosophy, Greek and Latin, a teacher of the clerics who loved him very much and preferred to die together, rather than leave him.

Friar Krsto Kraljevic, 50. He had been a great example to the people, in how he carried his cross of sickness, in this way preparing his soul for martyrdom.

Friar Stanko Kraljevic, 74. Preacher, professor, formator of clerics in Široki Brijeg.

Friar Zarko Leventic, 26. He confessed the sick, and bringing them the Eucharist, fell ill with typhus. He was also taken out of bed and killed. Chaplain in Široki Brijeg.

Friar Bonifacije Majic, 62. Professor and catechist, he got up during the night to fix the boys’ sheets. He was very loved by the people as a friar, professor and pedagogist.

Friar Stjepan Majic, 20, he had finished the novitiate and pronounced temporary vows shortly before.

Friar Arkandeo Nuic, 49. Graduated from the Sorbonne (University of Paris) he taught Latin, Greek, German and French. He was called the “little sheep of God” for his meekness.

Friar Borislav Pandzic, 35. Professor of Religion, he was a friar of true and simple Franciscan life.

Friar Kresimir Pandzic, 53. He had several degrees and had been provincial for three years. Professor of classical languages and director of the school, very active, he demanded the best of his students. He had great duties, but always remained humble.

Friar Fabijan Paponja, 48. Responsible for the boarding school, he was very tenderhearted toward his students, to whom he always gave little gifts.

Friar Nenad Venancije Pehar, 35. Professor of philosophy. Loved by his students because he did not differentiate between them.

Friar Melhior Prlic, 53. A laybrother and carpenter. He was respectful of the Rule, never absent from community prayer, much loved by the other brothers.

Friar Ludovik Rados, 20. He had just finished the novitiate and made temporary vows.

Friar Leonard Rupcic, 38. Professor of French, he gave such an example of humility and goodness that his students were more embarrassed when they hadn’t studied, than with any other professor.

Friar Mariofil Sivric, 32. Chaplain and teacher, as well as vicar of the friary. He was a classic example of a humble brother faithful to his Franciscan vows.

Friar Ivo Sliskovic, 68. After having worked in various parishes, he came to Široki Brijeg to spend the last years of his life.

Friar Kornelije Susac, 20. In temporary vows.

Friar Dobroslav Simovic, 38. Having become a doctor of Theology in Paris, he was then a seminary professor, he wrote a dissertation in French on the Our Father.

Friar Radoslav Vuksic, 51. He studied in Vienna, and was then a professor of mathematics and physics, besides being director of the gymnasium for six years. Ex-Yugoslavia had decreed that teachers also be examined by the government of Belgrade. When Friar Radoslav appeared before his examiners, they were stupefied by the Friar’s wisdom and culture. One of his students, today a famous philosopher in America, wrote that he was the most intelligent man and professor he had ever encountered.

Friar Roland Zlopasa, 33. A philosophy professor who taught more by his life, than with words. Known for his profound meditations.

Friar Leopold Augustin Zubac, 55. An excellent priest and professor, assistant at the hydro central which produced electric energy, constructed by the Friars for their needs, and those of the surrounding area.

 

 

Notre Dame de Paris is crumbling

 

Notre-Dame Cathedral close up and Seine River

Literally.

Is this not a sign of the crisis in the Church, that the greatest church in all of Christendom is in danger of collapse just as every facet of true Catholicism has crumbled?

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/notre-dame-cathedral-paris-crumbling-paid-admission-inevitable-fix

With its construction started nearly a millenium ago, France’s most famous cathedral has withstood invasions, wars, and revolution. Now weather and grime are its greatest enemies.

200 keys. That was the capacity a priest’s belt needed to have in order to access all the stairwells, corridors, and rooms of Notre Dame de Paris. And so, it was not until a few years ago – when all the locks in the cathedral were standardized – that many of the resident priests of the archdiocese of Paris were able to fully inspect the cathedral for the first time in more than a century.

What they found was disheartening. The most public parts of the cathedral and its exterior had shown obvious states of decay, but closer inspection revealed stone walls held up by 100 year-old planks of wood, interior supports with rot, and nearly impassible stairwells. France’s most beloved and visited church was just a few short years from serious, irreparable damage.

A Silent Victim of Abuse

Construction started on the cathedral dedicated to the Blessed Mother in 1163, and was completed within about a century. Its French Gothic building techniques – like most of the great cathedrals of the time – was designed to last a thousand years. And, like its stone sisters throughout Europe since the mid-1200s, it has witnessed a history of violence.

The invading Hugenots were the first to deface portions of its walls. Various fires throughout the 16th and 17th centuries weakened its mortar and beams, with hasty repair techniques causing almost more damage. Two world wars took their toll, and the French Revolution invited sacreligious revelers to break away large portions of its statuary – though mostly isolated to past monarchs’ figures.

But it is a more subtle, almost invisible violence that is to blame for the current state of Notre Dame; weather and soot.

Over the centuries, wind and rain have weakened the exterior construction. Further, coal soot from the industrial revolution (and recently, more modern forms of pollutants) when mixed with this moisture, accelerated the process. This slow, chemical decomposition of the stones and ancient mortar did what no Hugenots or revolutionaries bothered to do – weakened the famous flying buttresses and towers to the point of near collapse.

A Hunchback’s Blessing and Curse

Though the condition of the cathedral is dire today, it is not a new state of affairs. After the French Revolution, Notre Dame lay in disrepair, with the faithful no longer attending to her as they once lovingly had. Then in 1831, Victor Hugo wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The main figure in the novel, deformed Quasimodo, lived in the bell towers, with the cathedral taking on the role of another character. Hugo spoke of the “mutilations, amputations, dislocations of the joints” that could be found in the stones then. “Beside each wrinkle on the face of this old queen of our cathedrals,” he wrote, “you will find a scar.”

The beloved French writer’s words stirred up the passions – if not the Faith – of the French people, and various campaigns throughout the latter half of the 19th century were undertaken to restore Notre Dame’s “mutiliations” and “scars.” However, the effort, for its good intentions, was only a short-term postitive step. In fact, it has been an ironic reality that the repairs caused more harm than good. Low-quality stone and even cement was used in these restoration efforts, since France at the time could not produce the quantities of high-grade material that the job required.

Now, 200 years later, this 19th century construction is crumbling, leaving the higher-quality Gothic work underneath behind, and even more exposed. During a recent visit, Time magazine’s writers described what they saw:

Chunks of limestone lay on the ground, having fallen from the upper part of the chevet, or the eastern end of the Gothic church. One small piece had a clean slice down one side, showing how recently it had fallen. Two sections of a wall were missing, propped up with wood.”
The famous gargoyles, carved as various devils and creatures, and placed on the outside of the cathedral to signify the outside sinfulness of the world (and serving as rain spouts) are jarring to see. These artistic figures, due to their cantilevered position, are disintegrating even more obviously from the elements. Many are completely destroyed, cleaved off the walls like icebergs, replaced simply with pipe and sometimes PVC material. The ones that remain are almost unrecognizable – more grotesque than their artisans could have imagined when they carved these demons – necrotic nubs of stone jutting out from the cathedral. “They are like ice cream in the sun, melting,” says Michel Picaud, head of the nonprofit Friends of Notre Dame de Paris.
Who is to pay for the repairs?

The question of Notre Dame’s repairs has bedeviled the archdiocese. Under the strict secular laws of post-revolutionary France, the government owns the cathedral. The archdiocese is allowed to use it for free, in perpetuity.

Recently, the archdiocese asked the goverment to support the vital repairs on the property it owns. The government refused. It states that it already gives €2 million ($2.28 million) a year for this purpose, but this amount only covers basic upkeep. The repairs needed, including removing past restorative efforts, and replacing them with proper materials and techniques, will cost many times more that amount. And Notre Dame is crumbling more every day.

The Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris has agreed to help shoulder the burden. Michel Picaud, recently estimated the costs at a total of €100 million, noting that the work needs to be carried out within the next six to ten years. With funds not forthcoming from the goverment, and unlikely to come from the dwindling Catholic population of France, Picaud also set up a second non-profit organization in the United States last fall in order to reach its fundraising target. André Finot, a spokesman for Notre Dame cathedral believes the bulk of the money will need to come from the Americans, millions of whom know Notre Dame and who are less hesitant than the French about giving money to the church. “People don’t want to give money because of laïcité,” he says, referring to the strict secularism that infuses French law.

Admission Fees to the House of God

With these fundraising drives ongoing, further sources of revenue are being explored. Edouard de Lamaze, says churches that are in need of repair should charge an entrance fee. He is president of the Religious Heritage Observatory, which has the daunting mission to save France’s nearly 120,000 historic churches.

France must start charging for tourist visits of some religious buildings – notably the cathedrals as happens in Spain, for example, or the U.K. The cathedrals are places of worship but they are not only places of worship. They are also places of history. And it is right and proper that tourists’ entrance fees be used to maintain them.”
Admission fees from the 13 million visitors each year would certainly help. But the idea of paying to enter a sacred place is anathema to most Catholics in France, and the opposition has been fierce from clergy and conservative lawmakers.

The Conference of French Bishops has rejected the idea of making visitors pay, saying it doesn’t want money to come between people and God. Nathalie Goutlet, a French senator, took to Twitter recently: “to make people pay to enter cathedrals is a violation of the 1905 law (separating Church from State) and a violation of equality before the law.” Eric Ciotti, a Right-wing opposition MP, wrote: “Our cathedrals are sacred places, open to all and guardians of our identity! They must thus escape the commercialisation of our society!”

The pastors have not been silent, with Pierre-Hervé Grosjean, saying: “…more than ever we need places of silence, beauty (that are) free of charge, open to all.”

A point of consideration to the contrary: One notes that realistically, the vast majority of the 13 million entering Notre Dame each year do not visit for prayer, but tourism. If you have visited a famous cathedral in Europe, you know that they resemble museums with talking, selfies, and pictures taken – in reality, they are not “places of silence” as Fr. Grosjean states. And those who do actually visit to pray – ostensibly Catholics – have a duty in any regard to support the financial well-being of the Church. Would it be wrong to require a small admission of €1-2 per person to the main cathedral, leaving a side chapel freely open for adoration?

Mr. Luis De la Serna, founder of Regina Pilgrimages, which organizes trips accompanied by Society of St. Pius X priests, has a wealth of experience visiting cathedrals and shrines throughout Europe and the Holy Land:

As fewer Catholics attend Mass, there is less income for the historical churches, thereby making it impossible to pay for all the necessary maintenance and repairs for these old buildings. So if French Catholics are not financially supporting their churches, how else can they be preserved? A small, reasonable alms per visitor, which is to be solely for the benefit of the church, would help ensure their preservation and enjoyment for years to come.”
A Cathedral Reflecting its Church

The story of Notre Dame cathedral, as well as its many sister cathedrals throughout Europe, sadly mirrors the Catholic Church as a whole.

This grand building has stood resolute throughout past centuries’ conflicts which shook it directly. And if damage was sustained, the faithful and the government stepped up to rebuild.

But Notre Dame’s greatest test proves to be today’s subtle erosion of its mortar and foundation, while her people watch in apathy.

Sources: notredamedeparis.fr / KERA / Time / France24 / sspx.org

 

Born of a Virgin

God was born of a Virgin. Miracle of miracles yet so many reject this sacred truth.

Damsel of the Faith

It is dogma that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, who remained as such before, during and after the Birth of Christ.  To those who think differently or outright reject this sacred truth, do you not think that God is all powerful and can do as he wishes?  If He can create the world from nothing, do you not think that he can allow a child to born from a virgin in the most miraculous manner?

Here is a beautiful meditation from Pope St. Leo I:

“Therefore, when the time came, dearly beloved, which had been fore-ordained for men’s redemption, there enters these lower parts of the world, the Son of God, descending from His heavenly throne and yet not quitting His Father’s glory, begotten in a new order, by a new nativity. In a new order, because being invisible in His own nature He became visible in ours…

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