For the past year, I have been deep in grief over the Catholic church. Many people think it’s due to the abuse scandals but it’s not. Of course, those scandals hurt and cause persecution against me but my grief is much deeper. I have also seen conspiracy after conspiracy regarding priests and bishops and this causes some grief as well but what really brought grief was when churches shut down as if the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass were optional. Never in the history of the Church, has the Church shut down. Think about that, even during some of the most horrible viruses and diseases, Mass didn’t stop. Are our priests and bishops becoming too worldly that they are scared and do not understand their mission? Have they too decided that Mass is optional?
Heck, now I see priests and bishops holding the Sacraments hostage! You can’t go to Mass or Confession without receiving the COVID vaccine in some places! Even parishioners are being kicked out for not wearing masks! It’s parishioner against parishioner! Brother against Brother…sound biblical??
COVID-19 certainly pushed me over the edge. I never doubted the virus. I never believed it was a hoax and when I caught it, I was basically given a death sentence but I was already standing on the edge of “is this Mass valid?” The answer is yes, but why would I question the validity of the Mass? When the Catholic Church closed it’s doors because of the pandemic, I began to wonder. The Church had never closed doors, not ever in my lifetime. Not even through H1N1. I have read that even in times of pandemics and plagues, the doors were never closed. Overnight, literally, we were shut off from God’s Word and the Sacraments. Things that were ingrained into me that could never be taken away and that I must partake, plus, they were needed for Salvation (because I am a sinner). It’s sad to know I took the Sacraments for granted. I didn’t realize there was a possibility they could be taken away.
Good and holy priests were being threatened for offering Sacraments and all I wanted was our priest to stand up to the tyranny as well. Why weren’t all priests willing to die for their flock? It didn’t make sense to me at all and I think that’s where the feelings of abandonment came in. I had been feeling unheard and unsupported but when the doors to our parish closed so much went with it.
Before COVID-19 hit, our parish began going through a bunch of priests in a very short period of time. I questioned why our thriving parish was experiencing such turmoil and I wanted to see it through; however, priests filling in when the doors had reopened were saying odd things. I began to notice some major differences in the liturgy. One priest in particular, caused me great confusion. He would say, “Jesus, the Christ” right before the Great Amen in the Doxology. That same priest was idolizing a COVID vaccine, telling parishioners that life would never be normal without it and the way he presented it was that his faith was in humans creating a vaccine rather than our Creator!
I’m not extremely holy. I sin on a daily basis (we all do by the way, you just don’t recognize it). I’m not saying any of this because I want you to feel bad or want you to feel like you need to take the measures we did. I am being raw and open to you. Don’t put me on a pedestal as a Christian, I’m just like you. I sin.
I’m a third year student in Catholic Biblical School but the school doesn’t specifically teach anything about the new Mass or the “old.” Instead, your eyes are opened to what the Bible actually says and you see the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass jump out from the pages in both the Old Testament and the New. From there, I must have received graces from God to want to learn more about the Mass because I began to study it. Why was our visiting priest saying, “Jesus, the Christ,” when no other priest placed “the” in that prayer. For those who don’t think changing one word makes a difference, it does. One word change can nullify a Sacrament. “I” baptize thee is valid. “We” baptize thee is not. So was the Mass this priest was celebrating valid?
I would find myself on a journey to find out. I began researching and the research would take me on a journey that would lead me away from the parish I loved. It would lead me away from the only parish my children knew and received their sacraments in. It would lead me away from the parish school which helped my oldest son fall in love with his Catholic faith and strive to serve God. This would not be an easy journey and it’s not over yet.
I know this series won’t be about miscarriage or stillbirth but I encourage you to follow me on my journey. It’s one of hope!