Anthony Esolen has written a powerful article in Crisis Magazine. Read the whole thing.
It is a rebuke to the bishops who would smooth people's feelings by turning against our Lord's clear teachings.
When will we learn that the answer to hard teachings is not to soften them, but to impose them upon ourselves, to force our selves to grow into our true image?
Anthony Esolen names in his excellent piece several identifiable groups. I belonged to the "adult child of divorced parents" group, and the "young woman living a faithful Catholic life" group, and I experienced all that he describes so evocatively.
The "sexual revolution" and the wolves in religious garb set the context in which my dear friend and ideal husband was taken from me. He was suspicious of the Catholic Church. The woman who abstracted him from me made sure to have an extravagant Catholic wedding.
God works in mysterious ways, and I never doubted His presence, for which I thank Him, because I am a quite clueless sheep. Maybe my early experiences were given by Him for the result He knew they would have: I have always clung to Him, because all the ones I loved or relied on became unavailable.
The recent Synod has shaken many of those who are faithful, and younger than I. They have no memory or concept of what it was like after Vatican II: the swift changes, the sneering disrespect, the scoldings. This time, the lines are clearly drawn. No priest can pretend that "Rome says it must be like this," because we have the Internet, and we know exactly what Rome says.
Rome had not changed then, either. The use of the vernacular in the Mass, the turning around of the altars, the deformation of the Mass - not required by the Council. Those who imposed them so brutally on the parishes were either lying, or deceived.
They cannot lie. They cannot deceive. Not now. We know the truth.
But what is required is courage and resolve. No more complacent Catholics. We - I - need to know who I am, and be unafraid to show it.
For me, the courage is to attend Mass in a most uncompromising place, in the Extraordinary Form, and not hide about it. To write, here and wherever I can, to add my words in feeble imitation of writers like Anthony Esolen. To speak the truth around family, clearly, but always with love, and to convey to the best of my ability my willingness to discuss, to talk seriously and quietly about these things.
And to pray. Daily, humbly beseeching the Lord to protect me from those who seduce and lie ... "but God did not mean ..." "you will not surely die ..."
We need to know, and rely on, God's love. Today's society is quick to label self and others as "victim." To change the Scriptures to ease the pain of victims is not the Christian way. The Christian way is to start with the real Victim, the One who hung on the cross, put to death unjustly, mocked, despised, then and now. We Christians ought to all be prepared to share His fate. It is an honor and a grace to be chosen to suffer for Him. But those who suffer in that way are those who accept the terms of His teaching, and would not change it - even, as for me, it means separation from the Church I love, so long as my domestic situation is irregular. But I can pray for it to be regularized, and I can pray for those who would perpetuate the ills that Esolen so clearly describes. No one can stop me. And only God knows how powerful my prayers might be, if He joins them to the blood of the true victim whom I follow, by His grace.