Most readers here, I presume, have already read the recent Remnant article by Michael Matt wherein he shared a letter that he received from an unidentified priest, “Father Anonymous.” If you haven’t yet had a chance to do so, please check it out.
In the article, Michael informs us:
“Father Anonymous is not a traditionalist, by the way; he offers the New Mass but, like us, is more than merely apprehensive over the direction in which Francis appears to be taking the Church.”
I think this piece of information is rather relevant, but we’ll come back to that in a moment.
Fr. Anonymous makes some bold statements in his letter, saying, among other things, that he experiences “ill-will coming from the Holy See,” and there is “something sinister” about the pope’s actions.
From there, he even goes so far as to say:
When I look into Pope Francis’ eyes I do not see love and compassion, I see vainglory and cunning … All over the world we’re seeing cardinals, archbishops and bishops affirming behaviors which are unequivocally condemned by Popes and Councils in previous centuries. As I listen and watch these events, in my mind, over and over, I hear the phrase, “the smoke of Satan has entered the sanctuary.” Could it be that all that is happening is truly the work of Satan?
I feel for this priest and others like him.
For laity like me, the crisis in the Church is a source of unspeakable pain. Being aware of the degree to which the Bride of Christ has been unfaithful to her Divine Spouse over the last half century, thanks to the weak and sinful men who comprise the sacred hierarchy even to the highest places, is a source of true suffering.
And yet, as considerable as that suffering is, I am certain that it is exponentially greater for the priest who has a similar awareness due to his profound configuration to Christ in Holy Orders.
Fr. Anonymous, for his part, is apparently growing in his awareness of just how grave the situation is.
“I’m not ready to affirm that it is [the work of Satan],” he writes, “but in my heart I fear that it may be true.”
Well, forgive me for ratcheting up your fear, Father, but of course it is true.
That the path traveled by the Church from the time of the Council forward is not the work of the Holy Ghost who leads her into all truth is entirely obvious to all but the invincibly ignorant, the diabolically disoriented (stress diabolical), and those whose eyes the Lord has yet to fully open.
Consider, for example, Pope Francis’ direct hand in the shameful proceedings of the Extraordinary Synod, and the lineamenta for the upcoming Ordinary Synod stating that the bishops should “avoid, in their responses, a formulation of pastoral care based simply on an application of doctrine.”
If indeed our leaders are not moving according to the promptings of the Lord, and of course they are not, who then are they following?
There is but one other choice.
Are they following Satan knowingly, such that they are subjectively guilty of forming an alliance with the Evil One?
That is not mine to know, but objectively speaking, nothing could be more obvious.
None of this is especially shocking to readers of this space, much less is it news to readers of the Remnant.
The portion of Father Anonymous’ letter that seems to be getting the most attention, and deservedly so, is the following:
One of my priest friends asked me during a conversation what I would do if the Church does formally approve what it previously formally condemned. I had to confess in all honesty that I’d probably have to leave priestly ministry. He admitted that he’d probably have no choice but to do the same.
This gives rise to a number of thoughts.
First, I have more bad news for Father Anonymous as it relates to “the Church formally approving what it previously formally condemned.”
That ship sailed a long time ago, beginning at Vatican II.
Note, however, that a “formal” approval of formerly condemned propositions, attributable to the actions of sinful men such as at the Council, and a dogmatic approval of the same, which would mean that the Church is not indefectible, are two very different things.
Secondly, while it is encouraging to know that even some “non-traditionalist” priests are having their eyes opened to the crisis at hand, the fact that Fr. Anonymous and his friend can imagine a day when they will “probably have to leave priestly ministry” tells me that these men don’t quite know who they are in Christ.
Not yet, anyway.
By contrast, I offer here some comments recently made by a priest friend who shall remain nameless. Let’s call him Fr. Intrepid.
Fr. Intrepid is a diocesan priest who also sees the crisis at hand and shudders at the sheer gravity of the situation.
In reaction to Fr. Anonymous’ letter, Fr. Intrepid wrote concerning those in the hierarchy who are laboring to subvert doctrine in the name of “pastoral” practice:
What they don’t know is that there are many of us that will work behind the scenes to undo their evil plot to modernize and destroy the Church; many of us who see that the Novus Ordo has to go. Be assured that many of my priest friends are aware and look forward to the next conclave!
Already it may be clear to many of you what distinguishes these men from one another:
Fr. Intrepid celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass regularly.
I am sure he would say that doing so has made him all the more aware of his priestly identity. The idea of running for the hills at a time when the souls in his care are under attack, therefore, is out of the question.
Furthermore, Fr. Itrepid, again, very likely thanks in large measure to his attachment to the Mass of Ages, knows very well that the Novus Ordo Missae is like poison in the Body of Christ; capable of infecting the Catholic faithful with a deadly degree of modernism.
So, Fr. Anonymous, if you are reading this post, please know that while the Lord has chosen to open your eyes, allowing you to see many things for what they are, your journey is just beginning.
You’re not, however, alone.
I’ve lost track of the number of priests I’ve heard from over the years who are also in various stages of traveling that very same road.
As for the possibility of one day leaving priestly ministry – put that thought out of your mind immediately; it comes from the Devil himself.
If you wish, get in touch with me and I will help you connect with other priests in similar situations.
It would seem that you very much need one others fraternal support and counsel, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that we the faithful are counting on all of you to persevere.