Some recent thoughts on Christianity and the future of the Church . . .

It has been so long that I don't know where to begin, and have no particular direction at the start. Therefore, I must excuse my lack of direction and organization, as well as any generalizations that I may have made.

Life has moved me another small step in the direction of adulthood, increasing my awareness of the childishness of each step before this one, especially those steps that I, at the time, believed to be the most significant and wise in my life. The more I observe intellectualism and spirituality of the most "sophisticated" kinds, the more I realize what children we are, trying to imitate Heaven, not aware that our high exaltation's are an infant's babble, almost unintelligible to the angels. I have found that I have both improved and declined. As I let myself go in childish happiness, I find that I am wiser; but at the same time, I have grown too much, and have begun to descend back into spiritual incoherency.

Through my observations of both the Church and of myself, I have started to see -- although I'm very far from fully understanding -- just how corruptive it is to liturgy and tradition to dichotomize these historic elements from what it means to be a Christian. It is true that the Consecration takes place in the traditional rites regardless of the sentiments of those participating in the Mass, and that God, being present, provides infinite grace; however, when such tradition is clung to, to such an extent where those who partake in it are hypocritical, hateful, cruel and perverted, the efficaciousness of the Mass is affected.

God is infinite, and there is not a single person who participates in the Mass without sin. But the community is part of the Mass; many modern Catholics have misinterpreted this concept and turned the Mass into a get-together instead of the worship of God that it is intended to be. Nonetheless, community is implied in the celebration of the Mass. Do not, therefore, the hateful sentiments held by some in the traditionalist community have the capacity to taint the reception of grace even in the Holiest of celebrations and worship? It is not that such hypocrisy dampens the "feelings" of holiness; but such company, even in a liturgical celebration, has the power to dampen the ability to perceive and remember virtue.

Is it better, when one has a choice, to participate in a technically higher for of worship when you are entering into a community that loves tradition and hates Christ, while one can go to a simpler but equally valid mode of worship where the community may be simpler, but are seeking to love God? Some say that there is greater risk of sacrilege in the simpler liturgies; but is a perfectly celebrated traditional Mass free of sacrilege when its celebrated by people who are shamelessly open about their hypocrisy and perversion? And is this sacrilege better simply because it occurs in a traditional format?

The traditional liturgies are historical, beautiful, and should be maintained and participated in. But in all honesty, the world isn't capable of understanding it, because Catholics both liberal and ultra-conservative have forgotten that they are Christians. The problems began long before Vatican II -- the council would never have resulted in such abuse had the Church been so disconnected from Her roots that she was able to be torn to shreds so easily.

Therefore, before orthodoxy can return to the Church, She must first return to Christianity. The benefits of such a return have already been seen in England, through the Catholic Literary Revival and its followers. By returning to the Gospels, the Epistles, and the Fathers, prominent members of the Church of England found themselves in a conversion of both intellect and faith to the Catholic Church. Even C.S. Lewis, who never took the step to become Catholic, came closer to the truth of the Church than most Catholics will ever come; many converts attribute their conversion to Catholicism -- Catholicism, not merely Christianity -- to Lewis.

If returning to the Christian roots, simple common sense though they were in many ways, could lead to such a powerful revolution of intellect and faith in the minds and hearts of Anglicans, one can only imagine the possibilities if such a "revolution" were to occur within the Church Herself.