An Open Letter to the MadTrads

“But if any one is compelled, so that union may be preserved, to renounce his own private opinion, let him do it cheerfully for the common good. “ — Pope Leo XIII

My dear brother in Christ,

As our maiden aunts used to say, bad news travels faster than good news. And that was before the Information Superhighway. Now, every time Cardinal Gregory sneezes, the whole Church catches a cold.

So, I’m sure by now you’ve seen the “cry and challenge” of a soon-to-be former seminarian at OnePeterFive. I’m sure you’ve heard him half-sneer and half-whine, “I was naïve enough to assume that the Catholic faith was practiced in the Catholic Church, but experience has taught me that the faith is no longer welcome in the Church.” He goes on to declare, “I’ve lost my faith,” and informs us: “I would advise against pursuing a vocation in the Church today, and I wouldn’t even recommend the Church to anyone.”

I’ve always enjoyed OnePeterFive and hold its editor, Steve Skojec, in the highest possible esteem. What follows is not an attack on Mr. Skojec or his website. Only, as a Latin-Masser and veteran of Catholic media, I feel a certain duty to pass along this “cry and challenge” of my own.

I. Extra Ecclasium Nulla Salus

Brothers, we’ve always said that Christian charity moves us to affirm that ancient dogma: “Outside the Church there is no salvation.”

Now, I’m not sure we always meant it. I think we just liked the flame-wars with Twitter modernists. And if that same fervor for Christ’s Church is now (apparently) leading us out of the Church, I’m not sure we were ever truly on fire for Christ’s Church in the first place.

But let me say it again, for all of my fellow RadTrads who now find themselves becoming MadTrads, SadTrads, and even BadTrads: “Outside the Church there is no salvation.”

You may interpret this dogma in any number of ways. You might say, with Fr. Leonard Feeney, that un-baptized non-Catholics are summarily barred from Heaven. You might say, with Bishop Robert Barron, that the Catholic Church is only a “privileged route” to the Beatific Vision. Most likely, you fall somewhere in between.

Be that as it may, you’ll know that, if a man has been received into full communion with the Bride of Christ and then rejects her, he’s refusing even the “privileged way.” He’s consciously and deliberately putting himself outside of the Church, where there is no salvation.

That is the last thing—the very last thing—any Christian should countenance. We should prefer to be fed to the lions like the Roman martyrs. We should prefer to be hung, drawn, and quartered like the English martyrs. We must allow absolutely nothing to come between us and our Holy Mother Church. “For if, having learned the truth, you fail to do what is righteous, you have no defense before God,” as Justin Martyr said.

II. The Blue Pill

Brother, I don’t say this to scold you. I say it because it’s true—and because, deep down, you know it’s true. Your intellectual convictions are Catholic. You’ve weighted the Church’s truth-claims, and you’ve not found them wanting

I understand it’s hard to maintain that conviction, even at the best of times… and these are not the best of times. But isn’t that why God gave us reason? To subdue our passions and discipline our will?

Whatever is making you sad, or mad, or just plain bad—you have to tune it out.

St. Teresa of Ávila spoke of tending to our souls as “making a garden in which the Lord is to take his delight.” We have to build high walls ’round our gardens so the blight can’t get in.

Some might call this “taking the blue pill”: creating a comforting illusion to banish rational doubt. But that’s wrong.

Brother, your doubt isn’t rational. In your heart of hearts, you believe in the Church. You know that no pope or Council or bishop or priest speaks for the Bride of Christ. You know that there have always been stupid and wicked men in the Catholic Church… and, alas! there always will be.

None of this is news to you. We’ve been making these same arguments for years. And they’re sound arguments!

So, again, it’s not any rational doubt that’s causing your faith to falter. No: you’re just so overwhelmed by the stupid, wicked men in the Church that your passions are beginning to overwhelm your reason.

I don’t blame you. Really, I don’t. I get overwhelmed myself, and more often than I’d care to admit.

But this isn’t about blue pills and red pills. Forget the goddam memes. This is about you doing what, in your heart of hearts, you know to be right.

You might not believe it, but I sympathize with you. I’ve been there before, and I’ll be there again soon enough. But I reached a point where I realized that didn’t need sympathy. I needed to grab myself by the lapels and say, “Stop getting worked up. You’re not thinking straight. Just do what you have to do.”

All the same, I’m not going to tell you to get a hold of yourself. No: you’re going to tell you to get a hold of yourself. That’s how guys work.

III. Opinions Are Like You-Know-Whats

Sill, you recognize the corruption in the Church and want to help fix it. And, like every American, when you hear the word “reform” you think of activism: op-eds, petitions, rallies, symposia, podcasts, and endless Twitter debates.

The problem is, when every man devotes himself to forming these (inevitably flawed) strategies based on his own (inevitably limited) information, he doesn’t have enough reason left over for his own needs. We’re so busy trying to fix the world that we don’t get around to fixing ourselves.

This is one of the first lessons we learn from Holy Scripture. God gave our first parents a task that was at once simple and awesome: to tend the Garden of Eden, in which the Lord took His delight. He gave us dominion over His creation, yes, but we didn’t rule the Garden. We were like viceroys, carrying out the orders of our King. It was a great responsibility, yet one that required perfect humility and obedience on the part of Adam and Eve.

Still, that wasn’t enough for our first parents. They weren’t content to carry out God’s will. They wanted to “be like God, knowing good and evil.” They didn’t want orders: they wanted opinions.

Well, we know how that worked out.

Of course, the rules had to change. Man was forbidden to hear “the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”

Yet our nature has remained the same. We’re still gardeners—only now we’re gardeners of our own souls. We’re supposed to pull up the weeds of sin and pride. We’re supposed to water the flowers and the fruit trees—and “by ‘water’ here,” says St. Teresa of Ávila, “I mean tears.”

IV. Minding Our Own Business

Pride leads us to form opinions; humility leads us to weep over our sins. Our opinions kill the garden; our penances make it flourish. When we presume to rule the world, we choose to follow the Serpent; when we’re content to rule ourselves, we please God.

Make no mistake: we can’t do both. We don’t have the bandwidth to solve all of mankind’s problems and flourish in our inner life. Nor does God expect us to do so.

This is why St. Paul writes, in his epistle to the Romans, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Needless to say, Paul isn’t telling us to obey evil laws or to actively support evil regimes. He’s telling us that our good is found, not in exercising influence, but in cultivating our own virtue.

Likewise, he writes in his letter to St. Titus: “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for any honest work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all men.” Also, “avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile.”

In other words, Mind your own business.

V. The Example of the Doctor Mysticus

This is putting things a bit too simply—but only a bit. Remember, obedience is a virtue. To do what you’re told, rather than what you like, is the essence of humility. Remember also that Paul worked under the reign of Roman emperors like Nero, who literally fed Christians to lions. This was a big ask, and yet he asked it anyway.

As in the State, so too in the Church. Our “cloud of witnesses” is full of men and women who lived in perfect submission to their priests and bishops—no matter how depraved, wicked, or corrupt those clerics happened to be.

Take this passage from The Science of the Cross by St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross. It’s about the captivity of St. John of the Cross—the founder of the Discalced (or reformed) Carmelites—at the hands of the “Calced” (or unreformed) Carmelites.

Prior Maldonado [the “Calced” leader] came to John’s prison cell accompanied by two religious. The prisoner was so weak that he could hardly move. Thinking his jailer had entered, he did not move [to stand] up. The prior poked him with his foot and asked why he did not stand up in his presence. As John begged pardon, saying he had not known who was there, Padre Maldonado asked, “What were you thinking about since you were so absorbed?” [St. John replied,] “I was thinking that tomorrow is the feast of Our Lady and that it would be a great consolation for me if I could say Mass.”

John was painfully obedient to Maldonado—right up to the point where the Prior ordered him to abandon the reform, which John knew he couldn’t do. Still, he trusted in Christ. He trusted that, by tending to his own garden, God would take care of the rest of the world.

And so He did. After nine months of witnessing John endure torture and starvation, Maldonado’s novices wept bitterly and cried out, “This man is a saint.” In due course, the whole monastery was converted to the reform.

(It’s also said that the Virgin appeared to John the next day and showed him how to pick the lock on his cell. Talk about a mother’s love!)

If John had only to contend with Maldonado, that would be more than enough for any one man. But remember that John belonged to the so-called Counter-Reformation. He lived during the most decadent and corrupt era in Church history. What kept him from going the way of Martin Luther and John Calvin—of swearing off the pope, the priesthood, and the Church itself? Only his humility, his obedience.

Luther and Calvin believed they knew better than God. They believed they knew how to run the Church better than the popes and bishops. And, you know what? Maybe they did! But that wasn’t their place. By pursuing their own opinions—however sound those opinions may have been—they nearly destroyed the Church.

St. John of the Cross, on the other hand, contented himself with cultivating his inner life. Whatever feelings of anger or sadness he felt, he never let them overwhelm his reason. And what did his reason tell him? To trust in God and remain faithful to His Church.

St. Theresa Benedicta writes that the food Maldonado gave John made him so ill that he suspected the prior of trying to poison him. And so, “He made an act of love at each bite to escape the temptation to calumny.” John focused on his own sins rather than dwelling on the sins of his fellow Christians—even those who imprisoned, starved, and tortured him. He watered his garden with his tears.

The Catholic Church today exists, in no small part, thanks to John’s heroic cooperation with Christ. Luther wanted to make the Church Lutheran; Calvin wanted to make her Calvinist; but John wanted only to be a good friar. He accepted the small vocation that God assigned to him. That’s why he succeeded in reforming the Church, where the Protestants managed only to lead millions into apostasy.

VI. The Example of the Poverello

Or take this passage from the Testimony of St. Francis of Assisi, where he says

the Lord gave me and still gives me such faith in priests who live according to the manner of the holy Roman Church because of their order, that if they were to persecute me, I would still have recourse to them.  And if I possessed as much wisdom as Solomon had and I came upon pitiful priests of this world, I would not preach contrary to their will in the parishes in which they live.

Persecute him they did. But notice that Francis doesn’t say that he would relent to their persecution. He never allowed the institutional Church to compromise his God-given mission. And what exactly was that mission? To preach the Gospel, to care for the poor, and to do penance for his own little sins.

Even in the first days of his ministry, Francis’s witness began to work on the institutional Church.

In the first years of his adult life, the Diocese of Assisi was led by a bishop named Guido. Bishop Guido was a caricature of the Medieval prelate: he would come down from the palace to personally shake down his serfs for their tribute.

Shortly after his conversion, Francis stole cloth from his father, sold it, and used the proceeds to help rebuild the Church of San Damiano. His father demanded that he repay the money, and so Francis appealed to the Bishop. Naturally, Guido sided with Francis’s father.

So, in front of the whole town of Assisi, Francis stripped naked. He returned his clothes to his dad and declared that he would have no father but God.

The cruel Bishop Guido was so moved that he rushed to Francis’s side and draped the young man in his own rich cape. As it turns out, that was a sort of conversion experience for Guido. From that point on, he became Francis’s mentor and advocate. Thanks to his lobbying, Francis eventually received an audience with the Pope, who—likewise awed by the little Poor Man’s humility—officially constituted the Order of Friars Minor.

VII. The Wisdom of Cardinal Sarah

The witness of perfect obedience and humility is a powerful tool of reform. But it’s not a tool that we use to achieve our vision. God uses our obedience, our humility, as His tool to do His work. By achieving His vision for our own lives, we cooperate with His plan to achieve His vision for the Church—and the world.

This is a second and perhaps even deeper point. The “activist” model that we Americans naturally prefer is all about using human means to achieve God’s ends—or, just as often, our own. But that’s all wrong. We ourselves can do nothing—for ourselves or anyone else. God, on the other hand, can do anything and everything.

The activist has his own political toolbox. The weapons of a Christian are prayer, penance, and the cultivation of virtue. He simply “gets out of God’s way.” He becomes a hammer in the hands of the carpenter, St. Joseph: the patron and protector of the Church. The hammer doesn’t choose which nails to drive, or where, or when. It surrenders itself to the craftsman.

This is what Robert Cardinal Sarah meant when he wrote in his book The Day Is Now Far Spent:

No human effort, however talented or generous it may be, can transform a soul and give it the life of Christ. Only the grace and the Cross of Jesus can save and sanctify souls and make the Church grow. Multiplying human efforts, believing that methods and strategies have any efficacy in themselves, will always be a waste of time.

One such “effort” is factionalism. Like all Americans, we naturally tend to sort ourselves into parties in order to achieve our own partisan goals. We use arguments and activism in trying to impose our vision of the Church on the people of God.

We’re not content to be mere Christians. We pit the Lutherans against the Calvinists. Some Catholics even pit Augustinians against Thomists. And, of course, we pit progressives against conservatives… and traditionalists.

So, as Cardinal Sarah said in his address to the Fifth Roman Colloquium on Summorum Pontificum:

Some, if not many, people, call you “traditionalists.”  Sometimes you even call yourselves “traditional Catholics” or hyphenate yourselves in a similar way.  Please do this no longer.

You do not belong in a box on the shelf or in a museum of curiosities.  You are not traditionalists: you are Catholics of the Roman Rite—as am I, and as is the Holy Father.

You are not second-class or somehow peculiar members of the Catholic Church because of your life of worship and your spiritual practices, which were those of innumerable saints.

You are called by God, as is every baptized person, to take your full place in the life and mission of the Church in the world of today, not to be shut up in—or worse, to retreat into a ghetto, in which defensiveness and introspection reign and stifle the Christian witness and mission to the world you too are called to give.

VIII. “Why So Much Rigidity?”

Why am I saying all of this, brother? To make you feel worse about yourself? To prove how smart I am, and how many books I’ve read? No, not at all.

I’m saying this because I know how many of you have been hurt and discouraged by the failure of our “human efforts. “ All of the op-eds, petitions, rallies, symposia, podcasts, and Tweets haven’t managed to achieve the sort of change we’d hoped for. Some of us may even feel that the situation in the Church has gotten worse.

Well, I can’t agree. When I look around the Church, I see FSSP parishes booming. I see the SSPX coming closer and closer to full reconciliation with Rome. I see young diocesan priests yearning to celebrate the Latin Mass. And that heartens me—not because I think the Latin Mass is inherently superior to the Novus Ordo (that’s not my call), but because I love the Latin Mass.

I’ve attended the Latin Mass almost exclusively since I became a Catholic. It’s the form of the Mass that I love the best, and I know you feel the same way.

If there’s any danger to the Old Rite, it comes from within our own ranks.

For instance, many of us balked when Pope Francis accused us of “rigidity.”

Of course, we think nothing of accusing the Novus Ordo of fostering laxity!

Anyway, what if we’re both right? What if the “culture” of the Latin Mass inclines one towards rigidity, and the “culture” of the Novus Ordo inclines one towards laxity?

Is that really so hard to understand? Would it really surprise us to find that different sorts of Christians—all with different personalities and liturgical preferences, congregating in their own distinct parishes—are inclined towards different spiritual failings?

Search your heart, brother. Can you honestly say that you have no trace of some unhealthy rigidity in your soul? God knows I do.

The Holy Father said, “Rigidity is defensive.” We can choose to take that as an insult and whip up furious apologetics, as the activist would. Or we can act like Catholics. We can accept that, as universal pastor of the Catholic Church, Francis has the right to point out our faults—real or imagined. We can listen attentively to the Pope, humbly take stock of our own souls, and smother the seeds of sin that he notices growing in our hearts.

And if we find no such seeds? Well, then, praise God! We can simply move on. There are always seeds of sin taking root in our hearts. We can never be too watchful.

But to respond by attacking the Pope, without even considering his advice, isn’t only to miss a chance for real spiritual growth. It’s to prove the Holy Father’s point for him. It’s to “retreat into a ghetto, in which defensiveness and introspection reign.” It’s to set ourselves—us trads—against the Supreme Pontiff, and therefore the Church. As St. Ambrose reminds us, “Ubi Petrus ibi ecclesi.”

IX. “Culture of Contempt”

Likewise, Bishop Robert Barron set TradWorld on fire last year when he issued a warning about the “mean-spirited” and “unjust” invectives being tossed around on social media by “radical Traditionalists.”

Again, trads might have responded in one of two ways. The Catholic would have heeded the warning of his spiritual father. He would have humbly searched his own heart for any trace of mean-spiritedness or injustice and then stamped it out. The activist, on the other hand, would fall back into his phalanx. He would reject any criticism of his faction, without even considering the contents of that criticism.

As before, we ended up proving Bishop Barron’s point for him. As soon as his warning hit Catholic Twitter, all the trads set about heaping scorn on His Excellency. The flame war between Barron and the trads became so heated that it earned the attention of secular news outlets.

Once more, I ask you: Is Bishop Barron’s criticism totally unfounded? Have you never been nasty to someone online? Have you never seen a fellow trad being nasty to someone online? Did all of this come out of left field?

I know what you’re going to say: It’s not just us trads! Everyone’s nasty on social social media! And you’re right. That’s why I avoid social media like the plague.

But don’t worry about “everyone.” Worry about yourself. Cultivate your garden. Humbly and obediently accept the criticism of your pastors, even if that criticism is unfounded. And don’t pass up this opportunity to grow in holiness just for the sake of defending your faction.

X. Prodigal Sons

Brother, you must also see how these antics of ours can only serve to lower our standing in the eyes of our bishops. How can we expect to change their minds when we’re so unrelentingly hostile towards them? Why would they give us the time of day when we begin every conversation by insulting them? Why would they—our leaders—open their hearts to us if all we do is browbeat them?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that Francis and Barron are both perfect and sweet and wonderful, and we trads are all rigid Saturnine pelagians.

But even if we assume that these bishops are acting in bad faith, that doesn’t give us the right to disrespect them. We all have a duty to be good sons, even if our fathers fail in their duty to be good fathers (and vice-versa). 

It worked for St. John of the Cross. It worked for St. Francis of Assisi. Why shouldn’t it work for us?

XI. The Christian in the World

The question, then, is this: If we’re not going to be activists, what are we going to do with our time? Well, as Cardinal Sarah said, we should focus on our “Christian witness and mission to the world.”

On this point, Christ was perfectly clear.

He tells us to love God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and all our strength. He tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

He tells us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.

He tells us to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned.

And if anything in the Church should trouble us? Well, then, give it to God. As Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen reminds us in his masterpiece Divine Intimacy,

when we pray for the aims of the apostolate, we are fitting into the plan prearranged by God Himself from all eternity, that plan for the salvation of all men which God desires to put into action infinitely more than we do; therefore, we cannot doubt the efficacy of our prayer.  Because of this effectiveness, apostolic prayer is one of the most powerful means of furthering the apostolate.

XII. Pulling Up the Weeds

So, we understand the task before us.  Now we must ask, How can we persevere despite so much discouragement, both within the Church and without? How can we content ourselves with this simple vocation? How can we remain “unspotted from the world,” confident in God’s plan for our little lives?

Well, we’ve already given the answer: just tune out.

Pay no attention to those individuals or websites that foment dissention and disobedience. We can refuse to amplify any quarrels, scandals, or gossip. (For more on this topic, I heartily recommend Matthew Walther’s recent essay in The Lamp, “The Addiction Problem in Catholic Media.”)

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be totally ignorant of everything that’s going on in the Church. For some of you, it may. You might not be strong enough to handle the news. If so, accept that fact in humility. Trust that God doesn’t need your activism. He doesn’t need you to be informed—just holy.

Don’t buy into the illusion that Christ needs you to help resolve controversies in His Church. Don’t risk losing your immortal soul because you can’t resist hearing the latest nonsense being spouted by some infamous Jesuit. That’s actually a sin. It’s called curiositas—“intellectual morbidity, or curiosity to the point of covetousness.” You’re just sowing weeds in your garden.

XIII. Harmony in All Things

For those of you who are strong enough to keep an eye on the news cycle, understand what Catholic media is for. Pope Leo XIII set out a good definition in his encyclical Nobilissima Gallorum Gen:

Catholic writers must spare no effort to preserve this harmony in all things; let them prefer that which is of general utility to their own private interests. Let them favor common action; let them willingly submit to those “whom the Holy Ghost has set as Bishops to rule over the Church of God”; let them respect their authority and never undertake anything against the will of those they should look on as their leaders in the battle for Catholic interests.  

I once visited some Trappist monks who subscribed to two national newspapers—one liberal, one conservative. This struck me as odd. I asked their prior if this didn’t contradict the spirit of their contemplative spirituality. He shrugged. “If we don’t know what’s happening in the world, how will we know who to pray for?”

I can’t imagine a more Catholic attitude towards the media.

But if you do feel strong enough to engage with the news, do so very sparingly. Every morning, I set an egg timer for half an hour. Outside that half-hour, I don’t read newspapers or blogs. I don’t have time. I have a family to raise; I have a job to do; I have daily Mass to attend; I have Scripture to study; I have rosaries to pray. And so do you, brother.

There are thousands upon thousands of books written by spiritual masters—more than we could ever read in a single lifetime. How can we justify wasting time on resistingthebergoglianheresy.blogspot.com? How can we pretend that keeping up with the latest stupid quarrels will do us more good than prayer, study, or just spending time with our family and friends?

How on earth do we imagine that it will make us better Catholics? And if that isn’t our goal—to become more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ—what’s it all for?

Don’t lurk in that commbox, brother. Just get a life.

XIV. A New Beginning

Look, I’m in the same position you are. Everything I’ve written here is fairly new to me. It’s taken me years even to begin stripping away my American, activist tendencies when it comes to the Church—to “be very Roman,” as St. Josemaría Escrivá put it. And I’m not even halfway there yet. Believe me.

But we all need to start somewhere. At some point, we have to decide what’s more important to us. Is it our faith in Christ, or is it our own theories about Christianity? Is it our own opinions, or is it the eternal bliss of the Beatific Vision? Do we want to to be activists, rulers, and “influencers”—or are we at last content to be gardeners?

As one who’s barely started on this path, I’m telling you, it isn’t easy. Surely you didn’t really think it would be. We might say that “tuning out” is the easier than “being informed,” but have we ever really tried it? Have we ever tried to resist the thrall of curiositas?

Have we ever seriously grappled with the reality that God doesn’t need us to reform His Church—or to do anything else, for that matter? Can we really accept that God will get by just fine without us?

Even if we say “the foolishness of God is wiser than men,” we all know that it’s easier to trust in our own plans than it is to trust in God’s. We all know that it’s easier to obey only those bishops we choose to follow. But obedience, like every virtue, is hard. And it’s not a virtue to follow your superior only when you happen to agree with him. It’s not even obedience.

This may be the hardest thing in the world, especially for an American: Locating yourself within a hierarchy like the Church, even when you rank near the bottom. Accepting that some men are worthy, by their very office, of our deference and respect. Making peace with the fact that you don’t know best, and never will know best. Crying to God, with Job, “I know that thou canst do all things, and that no purpose of thine can be thwarted.”

XV. Out of the Ghetto, Into the Garden

Thank you for reading this far, brother. I hope it will be of some help to you. More than that, I hope that I won’t mislead you in any way. I’ve done my best to base everything I’ve written here on the Scriptures, the teachings of the Church, and the lives of the saints.

I’ll say this: when I began to come around to this view, it changed my life. As a journalist, this hardest thing I can possibly do: trying to set aside my own opinions and conform my mind to the mind of the Church.

But I tell you, it’s worth it. It may be painful at first. You may find that you never really believed in Catholicism in the first place—only in your own narrow iteration of Catholicism.

That’s what I did. I felt lost for a good long while. But as soon as I started to put my trust in God and focus on cultivating my inner life, everything changed. As soon as I knelt down to weed my garden, I began to hear the sound of God moving about my heart “in the cool of the day.”

Everything I’ve written here, I’ve written in the hopes that you may find some consolation—you who are suffering, who are faltering, who are losing your faith. Trust me, brother: you’re not losing your faith in God. You’re not losing your faith in the Church. You’re losing your faith in yourself. And that’s the beginning of true faith.

God is breaking you down so that He can rebuild you in the image of His Son—His infinitely loving, infinitely humble, infinitely trusting Son.

Learn from the mistakes of poor Adam, and your Gethsemane will flower into a new Eden. Once you’ve known the security of trusting God, you’ll never want to fall back on your own willfulness again. Once you’ve witnessed the workings of the Divine Mind, you’ll want nothing to do with your own shabby, foolish opinions. Once you’ve savored the peace of resting in the arms of Holy Mother Church, you’ll swear off your old factions and parties forever.

You were made for the garden, brother. Don’t settle for the ghetto. Now, shake the dust from your feet and go.

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