Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I'm Catholic and I'm Here to Stay!

LGBTQ Rainbow Flags outside the Vatican

So I got over my little crisis of faith nearly 3 years ago. Yes, it was 3 years ago (in Autumn of 2014) the Vatican put on that horrible circus called the "Extraordinary Synod on the Family," which preceded the "Ordinary Synod on the Family" in Autumn of 2015. I call it a circus, because well, it was. That's the nicest way I can put it. Anything else wouldn't be fit to print. It was a circus because of what was produced by the Synod -- a working document seriously entertaining not only communion for the divorced and remarried, but also the acceptance (even "valuing") of homosexuality within the Catholic Church. Yes, the whole thing was a joke, but not the funny kind. The media firestorm that erupted around this singed the faith of many. It resulted in faithful Catholics seriously floating the idea of Pope Francis being an antipope right here in some local Catholic churches in the Ozarks. Yes, I heard the conversations with my own ears. People were actually talking about it in the parish halls. It spurred me to write two articles on the subject -- here and here. For the record, I defended Pope Francis against the charge of antipope, both in private conversations and online. However, at the same time, my public apologetics for his leadership style ceased. I cannot defend what I do not understand.

There were many fantastic reports from various Catholic media outlets, but none covered the issue more thoroughly than Church Militant...

Since then (a year later) we had the Ordinary Synod on the Family in 2015, which was much more toned-down and reasonable. The African bishops saved the day, so to speak, by resisting all of this craziness, and what we got from the Ordinary Synod was a final document much closer to authentic Catholic teaching on marriage and homosexuality.

Controversy has since erupted since the Pope's followup exhortation Amoris Laetitia (Spring of 2016), which on the surface would appear to imply that holy communion for the divorced and remarried (without an annulment) is acceptable. Some of the world's bishops have interpreted Amoris just like that, opening their dioceses to a communion "free for all" for Catholics in a state of perpetual adultery. Other dioceses have interpreted Amoris more conservatively in accordance with historic Catholic teaching. What currently exists in the Catholic Church, right now, is a quagmire of functional schism, wherein second and third "marriages" are recognised as legitimate in some dioceses but not in others. Therefore, these persons are permitted to receive Holy Communion in some dioceses, but not in others. This is functional schism as far as a certain group of Catholics are concerned. Divorced and remarried Catholics, who have not obtained an annulment, will have to carefully plan where they live and where they go to mass from now on. For in one diocese their "marriage" may be recognised and they can receive communion, but in the diocese right next door, their "marriage" may not be recognised and they cannot receive communion. Furthermore, all of this is now subject to the whim of the bishop. So theoretically, one bishop may give permission for communion to people living in perpetual adultery, while his future replacement may not, or vice versa.

All of this is a tragedy to be sure. In my opinion, the Catholic Church has just taken one gigantic step backward into confusion. We have entered a new "dark age" where sacraments are recognised as valid in some dioceses but not in others.

It's no skin off my back though. I'm not divorced and remarried, so none of this really applies to me. Furthermore, I don't have to deal with it here in the Ozarks. Both my Ordinariate bishop, and the local Diocesan bishop, have clearly stated that canon law remains unchanged in these jurisdictions. Divorced and remarried persons will have to receive an annulment before they can receive communion here on the Missouri side of the Ozarks, just as they always have. However, Catholics moving into this area, from other dioceses, may receive a rude awakening about their reception of Holy Communion, if they are divorced and remarried without an annulment. I'm sure our priests will hear the cry: "But they said it was okay in the Diocese of _________" (fill in the blank), and our priests will have to explain to them that that was the Diocese of _________, and this is the Diocese of Springfield - Cape Girardeau, or the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and we do things differently here. It's a tough position for any priest to be in, and I don't envy them, yet this is the quagmire the Pope seems to want right now, so here we are. I don't understand it, but I'll let history be the judge.

In the backdrop of all of this is this nagging question about homosexuality. While the African bishops seemed to have successfully blocked any serious discussion about changing Church practice on the matter at the Ordinary Synod (2015), there are still many priests, bishops, and high-ranking Vatican officials that are clearly lobbying for it in one way or another. This has been punctuated by various scandals related to homosexual activities by some clergy throughout the Church, and even within the Vatican. We have seen what happened on the issue of divorce with the last two Synods and following Apostolic Exhortation. It only seems likely to me that what the homosexualist lobby is working for is a similar type of arrangement for homosexuality, wherein it will be accepted (even valued) in some dioceses but not in others, widening the functional schism within the Catholic Church. I don't know if they will ever accomplish this, but that seems to be their intended strategy.

So now that I've recapped the last 3 years of history on this topic, I want to follow it here with a personal statement, and I hope others will follow me on this.

My family comes from 500 years of Protestantism. The Schaetzels were some of the first Lutherans baptised in Guntersblum, Germany, just a short drive north of Worms on the Rhine River. Throughout these 5 centuries, they were proud to be Protestants, and some of them remain so today. In the late 20th century, two of my relatives (my grandmother and aunt) converted to the Catholic Church. Then in the year 2000, my wife and I converted to the Catholic Church. I was the last person in my family to cross the Tiber, and my wife was the only one in hers. None of our relatives have followed us, and it now looks like none of them ever will.

My own journey of faith goes like this. I was born Lutheran, raised a Baptist, became an Evangelical as a young adult, before becoming Anglican. Then in 2000, my wife and I (both Anglicans at that time) converted to the Catholic Church.

I know there are some people in the Catholic Church who wish that never happened. I know there are some people in the Catholic Church who would have preferred that we remained Anglicans (Protestants). Why? Because my wife and I hold to the historical teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage and family. We have no previous marriages. We are man and woman. Our marriage is fruitful and has brought two wonderful children into the world. (Our third child didn't make it.) We are not the least bit sorry or ashamed of this, and we will never be. We believe divorce and remarriage, without an annulment, is a sin, and we believe that homosexuality (in all of its manifestations) is a sin as well. We know plenty of homosexual people, and we have good relations with them, but we view their lifestyle as "sinful" just as we do the lifestyle of divorced and remarried people (without an annulment), and cohabiting people, as well as the lifestyle of people who engage in other forms of sexual perversion. I understand that there are a growing number of people in the Catholic Church, even some clergy, who believe that there can be "exceptions" for various sins of a sexual nature. I firmly disagree with them and I will never change my mind on this.

The gospel teaches that we are all sinners, and we are in need of God's forgiveness to be saved not only from temporal self-destruction, but also eternal damnation. Likewise, forgiveness requires repentance. God suffered and died to forgive our sins not condone them. That is the gospel. If we want to have a relationship with God, we need to do so on his terms not ours. He requires sincere repentance, and in turn, he offers unlimited forgiveness. That's the gospel in a nutshell, and that is what I will go to my grave defending.

Where is there left to go besides the Catholic Church? Orthodoxy, though I highly respect it, would be a step backward for me. Protestantism is out of the question. I can never return there, nor would I want to. The Catholic Church is the Church established by Jesus Christ on St. Peter. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI just recently said: "the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing." This was his commentary on the state of the Church today. There are those who want to blame Pope Francis for this. I resist that analysis. The condition the Church is in today is the result of nearly 50 years of a lack of discipline, poor catechises and bad liturgy. (The three always seem to go hand-in-hand.) One man cannot be blamed for all of this. It was a group effort. Multiple people have been trying to change the teaching and character of the Church for decades, and now it's all coming to a head.

The battle began 500 years ago, not just with an Augustinian monk and priest in Germany, but also with a king in England. The latter valiantly defended the Church against the heresies of Luther, but in the end, he joined them by breaking England away from the Catholic Church over an annulment from his saintly wife that Rome refused to grant. In the end, the whole Protestant Reformation was really about two things. Corruption in the Catholic Church related to the sale of indulgences (money), and corruption in the civil authority related to the nature of marriage (King Henry VIII). It doesn't sound too much different than the problems of today, though admittedly today the problems are much worse. The Protestants of northern Europe made a terrible mistake in the 16th century. They retreated from the spiritual battle, by breaking away and making their own churches insulated from it. However, in doing so they made matters even worse for themselves. Retreating from spiritual battle is never a good option. The only real Church ever founded by Christ is the Catholic Church, and she must be defended at all cost. Going off to some other communion, or trying to make one's own, is no longer a viable option. It never really was, but that is much more apparent now.

So what I want to say now is this. I am a Catholic, and I will remain so indefinitely. Much to the chagrin of those who would prefer to change the teachings of the Church on sexual sin, I will continue to defend the traditional gospel until the end of my life, and I WILL NOT EVER LEAVE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. They will have to formerly excommunicate me first (on paper, citing the reasons in black and white, so I can frame it and hang it on my wall as a badge of honour to show my children and grandchildren), and even then, if something like that ever happened, I would just identify myself as a martyr for the Catholic faith until my dying day.

My family has been running away from the spiritual battle in Rome and civil governments for 500 years. That's what Protestantism is and always was, a retreat from the spiritual battle of corruption and heresy within the Catholic Church, into schism and bigger heresy. Well on behalf of the Schaetzel family, I just want to say: "We're back!"

I'm hear to fight for Christ, the Blessed Virgin, and Holy Mother Church, and I'm not going away. They can try to do whatever they want to me, but I will never run away from the fight. Leftist heretics within the Church, who want to change the teaching and character of the Church, are going to have to deal with the likes of me, and others like me, who will not back down or go away. Here I stand under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Apostolic teachings of her Divine Son in the historic Catholic faith! I'm digging in. I will not budge!

I hope others will join me in this resolution.

Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of ' -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'

A Catholic Guide
to the Last Days
for Protestants

Friday, June 30, 2017

A Catholic Identity Movement

Procession on Sunday, June 7th, A.D. 2015, Canada, Photo Credit: SSPX

There is a grave need in the Catholic Church today for a Catholic Identity Movement. By this I mean a necessity for Catholics, particularly young Catholics, to start identifying themselves as Catholic first, above everything else: race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, politics, peer-groups, etc. We need to begin identifying our very being, who we are, with our Catholic Christian faith. Catholicism should not "influence" us, but rather "define" us. Many people call themselves "Catholic" but few actually have a Catholic Identity...

Characteristics of Catholic Identity...

A person who has a Catholic Identity is one who submits to Jesus as King, and views the pope as his royal prime minister. Bishops are the King's local sheriffs, while priests and deacons are the sheriff's deputies. Catholic identity means submitting to this God-ordained government first. This is our primary government, and we only submit to local civil governments insofar as our primary government (the Church) allows. So naturally we obey the speed limits, traffic laws, tax code, state and city ordinances, etc. However, if any of these things ever violated the sacred law of our first government (the Church) we would have to disobey them. For example; suppose a civil government were to ban the celebration of mass within a certain city limits. Catholic identity would demand that we ignore this civil government since it secondary to the Church. Then we would celebrate the mass anyway, even in secret if necessary, because our primary government demands this. The same principle could be applied to many different things.

A person with Catholic Identity embraces life. Understanding that God is the God of life, and that his desire is to give us life in this world and beyond; Catholic Identity demands that we embrace human life in all its forms, rejecting anything that cheapens life, or destroys it, even if society considers this acceptable and/or legal. This means that while there is often little we can do to prevent people in society from killing themselves and each other, we who embrace Catholic Identity reject these things for ourselves, our families, and our communities/parishes: abortion, euthanasia, cloning, embryonic and foetal stem-cell research, artificial insemination, surrogate pregnancies, executions, riots, and unnecessary wars, etc. For all of these things involve the unnecessary death of human beings (both born and preborn). Therefore, it is vitally important that those of us who embrace Catholic Identity, and the communities we support, valiantly reach out to defend and protect members of our own communities/parishes who's lives are in danger.

As part of embracing life, a person with Catholic Identity absolutely rejects the relativist standards of sexual ethics that are now considered "normal" in Western civilisation. This means that Catholic Identity demands we obey the sexual laws of King Jesus and his Kingdom Church. Sexual activity is to be limited between one biological man, and one biological woman, in the bond of Holy Matrimony for life. Catholic Identity rejects both concurrent polygamy and serial polygamy -- the latter of which is prevalent in Western society in the form of divorce and remarriage. Catholic Identity likewise rejects fornication, cohabitation, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and gender fluidity. It also rejects artificial means of contraception and sterilisation. Catholic Identity understands that these views run counter to societal norms and legal standards. However, we don't care, because our primary society is the Catholic Church, and our primary government is the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, with Jesus Christ as our King. Matrimony is designed to give life because our God is a God of life. Catholic Identity understands sexual relations between a husband and wife as both unification and procreation. Sexual intercourse, under Catholic Identity, is designed solely to bring a man and a woman into complementary biological unity. That is it's primary function. Then, as a direct result of this primary function, procreation naturally occurs, and the unity of the man and woman create a new person (baby). Even in cases of natural infertility, when procreation is not possible, the unification process (sexual intercourse or spousal communion) must be open to the possibility of life (however remote). For with God, all things are possible. Catholic Identity demands we only embrace periods of natural infertility to regulate family size. Catholic Identity demands that we embrace all the marriage laws of the Catholic Church, and reject for ourselves anything outside those laws, regardless of what is considered permissible and legal according to civil law, because civil law is secondary to us.

Catholic Identity means that we marry within the Catholic community. We do not marry non-Catholics, nor do we marry non-practising Catholics. For statistics tell us that children of mixed marriages rarely remain Catholic, and mixed marriages are more likely to end in divorce anyway, which is illegal under Catholic law, hated by God, and leaves families broken. Recent statistics clearly show that when both spouses are practising Catholics, the chances of the marriage surviving are much higher. Furthermore, marriage within the Catholic community simplifies life and makes the relationship easier.

Catholic Identity means we do not trust anyone outside of the Catholic community to educate our children. Therefore, our primary means of education for our children consist of: homeschooling, cooperative schooling, Catholic distance schooling (online or correspondence learning), or sometimes parochial schooling when such schools actually teach Catholic Identity. Catholic communities/parishes should work together to insure that Catholic parents have some of these means at their disposal, and provide both financial and practical support when necessary.

Catholic Identity means that we support others within our Catholic community/parish. When faced with a choice to patron the business of a community/parish member, versus a non-community/parish member, Catholic Identity demands that we patron our fellow parishioners first. Catholic Identity means we always show favour to our own when it comes to business and finance. We only venture our business outside of our community/parish when we need to. This can only be realised by the intentional choice of each member, and a personal resolution to live by this standard. Ideally, Catholic bishops should start robust credit unions, with small offices near every community/parish, to aid in this process. This helps keep our money within the community as much as possible.

Catholic Identity means consciously tuning out of mass media culture. That doesn't mean "cutting the cable" or eliminating all forms of modern communication. What it does mean is carefully limiting what kind of information enters your home and/or media devices. Net Nanny is a service available to parents wishing to accomplish this. Elimination of modern communication devices might reasonably become a last resort, when limiting the content of information becomes too difficult.

Catholic Identity means thinking about the Catholic Church FIRST in all political matters. Translated practically, this means voting in accord with politicians and ballot issues that best protect the safety and freedom of the Catholic Church. Politicians and ballot issues that threaten the Catholic Church's integrity, or safety, or that limit the Catholic Church's freedom to act in accordance with the gospel, are an unacceptable threat to Catholic Identity and must be voted down. While other issues; like abortion, marriage, poverty and climate, are all very important, these come secondary to protecting the safety and freedom of the Catholic Church, regardless of what our Catholic bishops may valiantly say or write. Remember, Catholic Identity sees the Catholic Church as our primary government. Therefore it must be protected at all cost. We are subjects of King Jesus first, and the Church is his Kingdom on earth. It is not the full Kingdom of God, but it is a deposit of that which is to come, and is still very much real in the here and now. We are subjects of the King first, and citizens of our nations second. REMEMBER THAT. While protecting such things as church property and finances are important, they are secondary to protecting our bishops, priests and deacons, along with our fellow parishioners.

Catholic Identity means putting your local community/parish first in all things. This means that we don't just go to church for mass once a week. Catholic Identity means seeking ways to fellowship with communicants/parishioners outside of mass, and finding ways to volunteer at the community/parish in any way possible. It also means finding a Catholic parish that promotes Catholic Identity. This can be done by finding a traditional type of parish (see details here) that is hopefully nearby (within 15 minutes drive). If one is not, and cannot be reasonably found nearby, Catholic Identity means we do something radical. We move. That's right, we move to put ourselves as close to an authentically Catholic community/parish as possible.

Catholic identity means stepping up to the plate financially when it comes to supporting our community/parish. Dropping $5 in the collection plate just won't cut it in a world that is hostile to our Catholic Christian faith. Catholic Identity means we set up a giving method that is habitual, consistent and substantial. For some this means an automatic bank transfer. For others this means having your bank draft and send an automatic check. (This is what I do.) Many banks provide this service free of charge. The amount should be substantial and within the confines of your budget. For some it may mean $10/week. For others this may mean $25/week. For others $50/week. Still others may be able to give more. Financially supporting the work of the Church is one of the 5 Precepts taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. People adhering to Catholic Identity take this seriously.

Catholic Identity means loving traditional ways of Catholic worship -- see details here.

Catholic Identity means being stable. We may move around a bit when we are young, so as to get established with work, but as a general rule, we should always seek to become established near a Catholic community/parish that promotes Catholic Identity (traditional Catholic prayer and devotion -- see details here). Once established, we stay put! Stability is a sign of spiritual maturity, and a willingness to give back to the community/parish. It is necessary for the growth of the community/parish, and the further formation of one's own Catholic Identity. Adult children should try to live close to their parents, and parents' community/parish, whenever possible. When not possible, families should make every effort to remain close in other ways. In addition, Catholic Identity means embracing the community of the local parish as well. This means getting involved in things: prayer groups, Bible studies, charity work, even if it's just a social hour. We must learn to share each other's burdens and rejoice in each other's blessings. Coming closer in community means learning how to forgive. Because everyone has rough edges, and they only way they can be smoothed is to interact and forgive one another for being human.

A person with Catholic Identity will embrace the spiritual disciplines of the Church (fasting & abstinence) as well as organised daily prayer and devotion, both individually and with family. This is in addition to regular confession and mass attendance.

A person with Catholic Identity will embrace social ostracism, social non-conformity, public ridicule, and outright persecution for the Catholic Christian faith. In the West, his may mean losing some career opportunities and/or financial gain.

A woman with Catholic Identity will embrace Mary-like modesty, refusing to conform to the flesh-revealing "norms" of society, and covering the head during times of prayer. The following are some suggested online retailers of modesty clothing for women, but honestly, some of this stuff can be found at conventional retailers too. I'm not telling women to shop here, though you're certainly invited to, but I am saying to use these websites for ideas...

A man with Catholic Identity will likewise embrace modesty, neither showing off too much flesh nor wearing excessively tight clothing.

Both men and women with Catholic Identity will seek modesty in swim wear. One easy solution is the use of sun/swim shirts used primarily for protection from UV radiation from the sun. These can be worn easily by both men and women, boys and girls, not only providing modesty for the upper body, but also the added benefit of protection from sunburn. Boys and men should wear swim trunks as opposed to briefs. Women and girls should seek bathing suits that are one-piece with an attached skirt that hides the thighs and bottom. Some swimwear companies are now offering bathing suits with leggings that go midway down the thigh. Here is one example of this type, but it is certainly not the only retailer marketing to modest women. Catholic Identity means being different. It means being a called-out people from the rest of society. We are not to conform to social fashions and norms. Catholic Identity means we set our own fashions and norms.

Catholic Identity means we resolve ourselves toward learning some Latin. We need not be fluent speakers of Latin, but we should at least know some basics. Here is a short PDF you can download to get you started. Learn these two pages, and you'll already be more familiar with Latin than 90% of people in the Church today. Now, once you've got that down, and if you're ready to really dig into the language of the Church, pick up a copy of Reading Church Latin here. This will keep you busy for several months, but it will teach you a lot. Or if you prefer a total immersion method, and are willing to spend a little more: get First Form Latin, followed by Second Form Latin, followed by Third Form Latin, and Fourth Form Latin, etc. Finally, if Catholic Identity is something you really want to fully incorporate into your life, and you're willing to dedicate a couple years to the language, get Rosetta Stone Latin Software, Level 1-3. This will bring the language to life! Now the reason why I'm recommending it this way is because it's a logical progression. First you download the free PDF and learn the bare basics of Ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation. When you're done with that, you get the Church Latin book (or the Form Latin sets), and that primes you fully in Ecclesiastical Latin. Lastly, you get the Rosetta Stone software, and this teaches you how to actually speak Latin conversationally. The software teaches both Classical and Ecclesiastical Latin. There is just a subtle difference of pronunciation between them, Ecclesiastical Latin is simpler. By reading the Church Latin book (or the Form Latin sets) first, you'll be well aware of how to pronounce Latin with an Ecclesiastical accent. Once you've completed Rosetta Stone software, you'll be ready to literally speak Latin with anyone around the world -- FLUENTLY. The point here is to inculcate a fully integrated Catholic identity through language. This helps bring Catholics together, and sets us apart as a distinct people, unique from the world. It also provides a common auxiliary language for Catholics to use with other Catholics who have fully adopted the Catholic Identity around the world. Learning a language takes time and practise. Embracing the Catholic Identity means being patient with yourself, and being realistic about learning another language. Don't set yourself up to fail by expecting too much too fast. Relax and take your time with this. Try to enjoy it. You will be shocked how much learning Latin can actually help your English skills as well as provide an easy bridge to learning other Latino languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, etc.).

Catholic Identity means we reach out to others in love. We don't want to come across as the "uptight traditionalist" who judges others for being less Catholic than himself. We must have compassion for others, and be patient with them. We do not beat people over the head with our beliefs and traditions. Rather, we simply attract them with the demonstration that we are different. Catholic Identity means we reach out to our local communities with charity and kindness, all the while never compromising our beliefs or standards. We should volunteer, and socialise with others, so we don't become "weird" in isolation. Catholic Identity means being counter-cultural, and part of being counter-cultural means showing true Christian charity (real love not sentimentality) to our neighbours (see details here). Remember, the message of the Scriptures is to tell us we are IN the world but not OF the world. We interact with humanity, but we don't imitate it. Above all, we must focus on our Lord and King at all times, for only that will make us joyous.

We are never going to recover our Catholic Identity until we choose to become our Catholic Identity. This needs to be a real movement, with no central head or organisation, but rather an organic grassroots movement starting with individual young people willing to make a commitment. The general rules of this movement, which I've outlined here, are basic guidelines. They are by no means concrete, but should be considered directions. Let the Church be our guide and our organisation. It's time for Catholics to start getting radical again. It's time for Catholic youth to start getting real. This is about surviving as a distinct community within a hostile society and culture. The time is now. Tomorrow is much too late. It's time for a worldwide Catholic Identity Movement. 

Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of ' -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'
A Catholic Guide

to the Last Days

for Protestants

Thursday, June 29, 2017

We Must Return to Tradition

Traditional Latin Mass, St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield, Missouri, circa 2014

A number of Catholics are starting to realise that we've entered into a new paradigm in history. The sexual revolution and culture wars in the West were not a passing fad. They were, in actuality, a permanent apostasy. Western Civilisation has rejected Christ, for the long-term foreseeable future.

We mustn't make the same mistake as our Evangelical brethren in the Christian faith. Their religion is new (less than a few hundred years old at best), and they've never seen anything like this before. Therefore, they assume that such a radical shift in society signals the end of the world and the impending Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

This is not the case. Catholics should know better. We've been in similar situations before. The first major apostasy came with the Arian Heresy (3rd - 6th centuries AD). At its height, there was a period of time when there were more Arians than Christians. The Mohammedan Heresy (Islam), which is just a rehash of militant Arianism, has dominated the East for over a thousand years now.

More recently the Marxist Heresy (Communism) had completely dominated large portions of the world, and is still a persistent problem in the East, as well as a few beachheads in the West. However, what the West is primarily dealing with right now is the Nietzsche Heresy (Moral Relativism), named after Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900) which holds that morality should be constructed actively, making it relative to people, places, time and culture. In other words, there are no moral absolutes. Like all great heresies, this too shall pass, but not until it runs its course and levels society. I think it's reasonable to assume that the Nietzsche Heresy in the West will run at least as long as the Marxist Heresy in the East. The Marxist Heresy is going on its 100th anniversary this year (2017), insofar as widespread acceptance. It's already seen its glory days, so its on a downward trend now. The Nietzsche Heresy will probably get a run close to that. It gained widespread popularity around 1960, so we can expect it to last well into 2060, and possibly a little beyond. Both the Marxist Heresy and the Nietzsche Heresy are destructive to society, each in its own way, but destructive nonetheless. Neither creates any kind of religious or moral structure to replace Christianity, so they inevitably result in the collapse of society. This means we need not worry about them lasting as long as the Arian or Mohammedan heresies. Still, 100 years is a long time. It's unlikely that I'll see the end of it in my lifetime.

Expecting a sudden change, and a return to sensibility, in Western society anytime in the near future, is delusional. Outside of divine intervention on a global level, it's simply not going to happen. In the past, God has simply allowed great heresies to run their course, intervening only in small ways to preserve his Church in the midst of them. We shouldn't expect any more than that. We can pray for more, but we shouldn't expect it. It is far more likely that God will simply carry on with his usual pattern of preserving his own people while the world goes to hell in an hand-basket. Christendom (AD 500 - 1500), for all of its flaws, was the greatest civilisation ever produced. It's no wonder the devil has sought to destroy it so aggressively.

So now what? We need to go back to tradition.

It's already happening. Catholics and Orthodox are returning to tradition, because you see, Christianity only withers and dies insomuch as it has embraced modernity. They say that many Catholic parishes and dioceses in the West have become "protestantised." I've had some time to think about that, and I've decided that as a former Protestant, I'm offended by that, and it's an offence to many Protestants in general. Many Protestants (especially Evangelicals) have rejected the moral relativism that now infects society and the Catholic Church. Catholic churches in the West have not been "protestantised." They've been MODERNISED! They've accepted many of the errors of Modernism, and one of them is the moral relativism of the Nietzsche Heresy, or what I call the "Heresy of Don't Judge -- Be Nice." Many Catholics, of all different backgrounds and traditions, are beginning to realise that some of these parishes and dioceses cannot be reformed. They, like the rest of society, are just going to have to be allowed to run their course. Many Catholic dioceses in the United States are already in a state of managed and orderly decline, with parishes merging, closing, then merging again. Properties are being sold off as a result. It's not going to get any better until our leadership radically changes, and we don't see that happening fast enough. So what are Catholics doing?

They're going back to tradition by attending more traditional parishes. By this I mean parishes that are rejecting modernity and embracing the historic traditions of the Catholic Church. Some of them are driving long distances to attend such parishes. Many more are just switching to the parish on the other side of town. That is what it's going to take to preserve our families, and our faith, in this new paradigm of Nietzsche apostasy in the West.

We Catholics now have three legitimate Patrimonies to choose from: Roman, Eastern and Anglican.

The Roman Patrimony is by far the largest. This is most clearly manifested in parishes that celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, (or Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite). Now the parish doesn't have to be an exclusively Latin Mass parish. It may celebrate the Latin Mass only once a week, in conjunction with a more reverent version of the regular Vernacular Mass (Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite) more often. Some of these parishes are diocesan. Others are part of a fraternity or institute. There are LOTS of them. THIS WEBSITE will serve as a very effective tool for finding them, but I do recommend you call the listed parish first, to make sure the information is up to date. I also recommend checking the notes at the bottom of many of these pages for updates as well. Some parishes might not celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass at all, but the priest may still be staunchly orthodox and traditional in the way he celebrates the Vernacular Mass with no innovation or abuse. These parishes should be considered as viable alternatives. 

The Eastern Patrimonies are also a legitimate options for Roman Catholics. Yes, there are more than one type. One doesn't need to change rites to be a participating member of an Eastern Catholic parish. Granted, these parishes are not part of the historic Western culture, but they are a legitimate Catholic expression of Eastern cultures. All of them are in full unity with the pope and the Roman Catholic Church. THIS WEBSITE will serve as a very effective tool for finding them. If no Roman Patrimony parish is nearby, one of these parishes might serve as a viable alternative.

The Anglican Patrimony is a relatively new option for Roman Catholics, because it was only recently reintegrated back into the Catholic Church after 500 years of heresy and schism. However, what was reintegrated was extremely traditional and based on a patrimony that is actually a bit older than the Traditional Latin Mass (Exraordinary Form). This is because the Anglican Patrimony is based on the Serum Use, which was used in England, and throughout the British Isles from AD 1000 to 1535. It's very medieval in character, even though it is technically more closely related to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The Anglican Patrimony is part of the Western tradition, so it shares many features with the Roman Patrimony. The name of this Form of the Roman Rite is called Divine Worship, and it is a legitimate option for any Roman Catholic to attend. Though this form of liturgy is exclusive to Personal Ordinariate parishes, one does not need to be a member of the Ordinariate to attend. A Roman Catholic doesn't even need to become a member of the Ordinariate to become an active member of such parishes.

  • THIS MAP shows the official Ordinariate parishes in North America.
  • THIS MAP shows them in the British Isles.
  • THIS WEBSITE shows them in Oceania.
  • While THIS MAP (available soon) will show all of them, along with additional startup groups in various areas.

Whatever Patrimony a Catholic chooses to preserve his faith and family in, it's not nearly as important as getting involved in some kind of traditional parish. That's the main thing. When society takes a turn like this, the way people survive is they hunker down in tradition. We get back to what you know works. We return to the faith of our forefathers. That's what many Catholics are already doing. That's where the majority of Catholic youth is heading. If you haven't already done so, it's time for you do the same.

Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of ' -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'

A Catholic Guide
to the Last Days
for Protestants