Image by Dargaud, Studio Jacobs & al. Detail.

Now that I clearly understand what the Novus Ordo Mass is, I can say without a doubt that I haven’t been to a proper Mass in more than a decade. God knows what is valid and what is not valid in this land of confusion that we call (for the time being) the Catholic Church.

Something I heard from one of the few reliable sources left: every possible indicator one may look at points to a Catholic Church in decline. All except one: more people are converting now than ever. I do not know how to explain that. The anecdotes are useful sometimes, I have one that perhaps you should hear.

I was involved in leading a certain young man to Christianity. When it seemed to me he was ready to go to Mass regularly and seek formal instruction in the Catholic Doctrine, I took him aside and explained to him what kind of dangers he was likely to find: predatory homosexuals (our friend is rather young and good looking), outright immoral men and women, bad priests, liars who misrepresent the doctrine, mentally sick and possessed individuals, etc. etc.

I was quite surprised to find out he knew already about all that. “I’ve been reading your blog” he said —Well, I never thought of that, the man reads English!— and he proceeded to explain to me in absolutely crystal clear terms how to distinguish the Church in crisis from the Church of the Ages, the 2,000 year old lady that quietly sat to hear Jesus talks, walked the dusty roads of Palestine with Him, saw Him crucified on Mount Calvary, and was a witness to His glorious Resurrection. That same lady learned to think the Gospel with the Apostles and the Fathers, suffered persecutions in many different lands, saw entire empires come to dust, and endured the decline of the last 500 years. She also heard the malicious preaching of a thousand heresies, and saw them all descend to the fiery pit.

When one belongs to that Church, the insults and defamation of those currently in charge are nothing but background noise, “the noise of Hell” as Fr. Oliveira rightly puts it.

Between the iron gates of fate
The seeds of time were sown
And watered by the deeds of those
Who know and who are known;
Knowledge is a deadly friend
If no one sets the rules
The fate of all mankind I see
Is in the hands of fools.

But not completely. Jesus is still silently waiting for the Old Lady Church to reach the next fork in the road. She is not lost. Jesus and Mary will always hold her hand and guide her. We follow her into the wilderness now, safe from the fires falling from Heaven upon those who walk on their own.

I wish I could talk to the fools in person but I am just a blogger and just in case they are reading I’ll say: repent and believe in the Good News. We’ve been saying it for two thousand years but it seems too complicated for your zoology of liberation.