Cy Kellett discusses with chaplain and Norbertine priest, Fr. Hugh Barbour, and Chris Check, president of Catholic Answers, the encouraging and significant realities of the hope of Christ in the world today.
Cy Kellett: They’re hard to see, but there are signs of hope in the modern world. Let’s discuss them with Father Hugh Barbour and Chris Check.
Cy: Hello and welcome again to Catholic Answers Focus. I am Cy Kellett, your host. We’re always happy when you’re here with us. Any lazy mind can find all the evidence of evil in the world today. It’s as easy as turning on the television, but it takes men of great heart, and soul, and mind to find the signs of hope in these times. So, we invited two of them here to be with us today. That was pretty good, huh? You like that? That help ya? Father Hugh Barbour.
Chris Check: Are you saying Father- he’s the sign of hope?
Cy: Well, he is a sign of hope.
Chris: He is, he’s a sign of contradiction.
Cy: But what I was explicitly saying was he is a man of great heart and mind. He’s now …
Fr. Hugh Barbour: Expect to be crucified, I suppose.
Cy: Yeah. Father is our chaplain, he’s a Norbertine priest, former prior of Saint Michael’s Abbey, hi Father.
Fr. Hugh: Hey there.
Cy: And, the other man of great heart and mind, but of slender build, because he’s been slimming down, apparently for the cruise, I’m guessing for the cruise, I don’t know. Our president, Chris Check. Hi Chris.
Chris: How are you Cy?
Cy: I am very well. Envious of your …
Chris: I broke the 170 barrier.
Cy: Yeah, you got below 170.
Fr. Hugh: Just by one pound.
Fr. Hugh: So, don’t start crowing, okay? The rest of us fatties around here.
Chris: No crow… Check back with me in two weeks.
Fr. Hugh: I guess my job is to encourage you, so just fine. You’ll be 160 [crosstalk 00:01:30] …
Chris: That’s my sign of hope by the way, can I be excused?
Fr. Hugh: But you have a cruise next week with Catholic Answers.
Chris: It’s going to be fine. They have healthy food on those cruises.
Cy: Do you have a fighting weight? What’s your fighting weight?
Chris: I think if I could get down to 160, I’d be happy.
Fr. Hugh: Oh no.
Chris: But it’s not just how I’m careful about my intake, if you take … So, I did dry January. I think I’m going to try to take it through Lent. I got inspired by those …
Cy: P90 Exodus people?
Chris: Yeah P90 Exodus right, yeah.
Chris: I’m not doing all the other things like taking cold showers, and stuff like that. But I think I’m gonna try to drive this through Lent.
Chris: So, we’ll see.
Fr. Hugh: You’ll just waste away. Even on the cruise?
Chris: Yeah, I think so.
Fr. Hugh: Don’t say that just yet, because you’re not on the cruise yet. Don’t make that public.
Chris: But we actually do have-
Fr. Hugh: You can go back on your word if you need to.
Chris: We have a big sign of hope, the three of us.
Fr. Hugh: Here we are.
Chris: It’s the Catholic Answers pilgrimage to Rome in November.
Cy: Oh man, he turned this into an ad.
Fr. Hugh: Well, that’s okay.
Cy: That is smooth.
Chris: I think 10 slots are gone already or something.
Cy: Yeah. And, how many times we’ve announced it? One. We’ve made one announcement, and already-
Chris: We’re only taking 50. November 2019. See Rome with Father Hugh Barbour, Cy Kellett, and Chris Check, and be prepared to walk.
Cy: But the thing about it is, there’s a reason we can only take 50. Like, people need to know the reason we can only take 50. It’s not a gimmick or something. We decided we wanted to stay put in a hotel in the heart of the city.
Chris: In the historic center.
Fr. Hugh: Right.
Cy: We’re not staying in the suburbs, we’re not riding buses into the town.
Fr. Hugh: We’re not being bused in, being bused in is a nightmare.
Cy: You’re gonna wake up in the heart of Rome every day, and that meant we could only get, I don’t know, how many is it? Thirty rooms? Twenty couples and 10 singles. Whatever that is. Twenty couples and 10 singles and then we’re full, and we’re going to Rome.
Chris: Lovely hotel in a great location. Colona Palace.
Cy: Colona Palace Hotel, look it up.
Chris: Named for one of the heroes of Lepanto, Mark Antonio Colona.
Fr. Hugh: And Chris and I know Rome like the back of our hands.
Chris: I know.
Cy: We’re gonna see some things that you wouldn’t see otherwise.
Fr. Hugh: Absolutely.
Fr. Hugh: No one ever gets to see Rome. They get carted around and they do little things here and there, but we’ll do a better job.
Cy: We’re gonna live Rome. We’re gonna live Rome. And, do you feel like I feel about this, Chris? Like, I think most people would just sign up to go with Father Hugh Barbour. Like, can you imagine? A week in Rome with Father Hugh Barbour.
Fr. Hugh: No, you could drop me in and they’d still go with Chris.
Chris: So I have known Father Hugh for now, a couple of decades. So, anywhere he-
Fr. Hugh: Back when you were 160 without any effort.
Chris: But anywhere he would go, I would tag along. And my goodness, we had him on the Danube, and he knew somebody in every city.
Cy: I know. That’s what’s gonna happen. Gonna be over there.
Chris: He’s arranging these masses at the Basilica in Budapest.
Cy: Yep, right.
Chris: Oh yeah, this is my friend from, you know-
Cy: Enough advertising. You can find out all about it by going to catholicanswerspilgrimage.com. Sometimes Chris says, “catholicanswerspilgrimages.com” but it’s not. It’s catholicanswerspilgrimage.com. And that’s gonna fill up quick, so we just want to get it out there. Alright.
Cy: Look, there’s a lot of bad things in the world. The world is in crisis on multiple levels. And so, we need some signs of hope. I would even go so far as to say look, the crisis in the world is a crisis in the Church as well. We have not been excluded from it. Whatever the thing is that’s cleaving the world is also cleaving the Church. So, we’re in desperate needs of signs of hope. Would you agree with that assessment?
Chris: I do. We need reasons for hope. Of course.
Cy: But I mean, that the church itself has not been in any way immune from the modern crisis?
Fr. Hugh: Absolutely not.
Chris: Some historians, or pretend historians like yours truly here, have compared this crisis … or contrasted … said it’s worse than the Protestant Reformation.
Cy: Yeah, I think you’re right. I think you’re right about that.
Chris: It could be true. It’s worth unpacking.
Fr. Hugh: Well, culturally, the problem here … We’re working on signs of hope here and not all the problems. But, let’s just say, the cultural forms that united Catholics and Protestants were stronger then than they are now. But there are other things which are signs of great hope about which we can speak in this.
Cy: God bless you, Father, for getting us back to signs of hope.
Cy: Alright, so I’m gonna share one sign of hope and see what y’all think about it. The lay movements in the Church. Now, this is not a mixed sign of hope. But there are wonderful lay movements in the Church, and I think that a lot of young Catholics today don’t know that it was not always thus. That you had so many of these very forceful movements that are really assisting people in holiness and really assisting them to be charitable.
Chris: I want to tell a story, Cy. Four years ago, after I took the helm of Catholic Answers, I went to a meeting at Steubenville. The Catholic Leaders Annual Conference. And, I realized, looking around that room, how many apostolates there are. There were numbers that I was unaware of.
Chris: But I realized something else and in some ways a direct and in many ways an indirect way, these apostolates are part of the legacy of Karl Keating. Because, when he stepped out 35 years ago-
Fr. Hugh: Founder of Catholic Answers.
Chris: Yeah, that’s right, the founder of Catholic Answers. When he stepped out 35 years ago with his tract defending the Catholic faith against the fundamentalists, and then started adding tracts and started eventually, the radio show, the magazine, Catholic.com. The world of the lay movement, as you describe it, didn’t really exist. He was operating in a catechetical wasteland.
Chris: So, I think that Karl was among the pioneers of responding genuinely to that call of John Paul II for a new evangelization.
Cy: I think that’s right-
Chris: Laity evangelizing the laity.
Chris: And I mean, we could take the balance of our time listing the countless apostolates. So, agree with you. That is a great sign of hope. And the number of laity who are educated and articulate and informed about their faith. Again, that kind of thing used to be confined to Catholic Answers, bu there are all kinds of apologists now doing very good work online and on their podcasts.
Fr. Hugh: When we run into them, we find out that so many of them came to their recognition of the faith because they first used Catholic Answers as a resource.
Chris: They often say this. And this is why I say, directly or indirectly, this is Karl’s legacy.
Cy: And it is a tremendous legacy. One that all of us here are debtors to. We weren’t the founders.
Fr. Hugh: But, apropos of lay movements: Their real purpose, in the end, and some of them wouldn’t like me to say this but I would say is—granted, they always say they get a lot of vocations to the priesthood and religious life—but their real vocations of lay movements is to promote Catholic marriages and numerous families. And, they do do that. They do do that. But that should be, in my opinion, as a sign of hope, that should be something they promote more explicitly.
Cy: Okay. Yeah.
Fr. Hugh: In their work. Because it’s not chic nowadays to promote large families, and it’s difficult. But, you see the results. Because they finally do, you know, at least have two, three, four kids, you know. That’s now regarded as a tribe. But I really do think that that’s part of the picture, is that they realize that … that’s happening more in Europe, some of these lay movements in Europe are more explicitly interested in the increase in the number of the followers of Christ, which only comes about through holy matrimony and procreation.
Chris: Amen. Whenever I see a couple with four kids at Mass, and it’s not often, as Father Hugh says. I mean, statistically, a family with four children, mom and dad still married, what is that? One or 2 percent of the population? Something like that.
Cy: Is it really?
Fr. Hugh: Yeah.
Chris: It’s quite small. But four or more, I always go up, especially to the mom, and I say, “God bless you. You have a beautiful family. I wish you many more.”
Cy: So I went to Boston College in the 1980s. Why are you laughing at me for going to Boston College?
Fr. Hugh: That’s fine but it’s the ’80s, the ’80s part that made me laugh.
Cy: Anyway, not as bad as the ’70s. I feel like–but this is just a feeling, it’s anecdotal, so I could be completely off on this–I feel like more young people today grasp the Church’s teaching on marriage and family, and are at least willing to give it a hearing, than felt that way in the ’80s. I feel like that we’re doing better.
Chris: I think, generally, when you speak of young people, compared to when I was in college. At the same time, I was at Rice in the middle of the ’80s.
Cy: Oh sorry, Father, I thought we were laughing at people now.
Chris: We had a Catholic student center. Wonder of wonders: A couple of years ago, I was invited back to my alma mater—not by the university officially but by the Catholic student center—to give a talk at Rice, and that Catholic student center, a Newman Center I guess they call it now, at Rice is considerably more vibrant. The liturgy is better, and the community life. They get together on Sunday evenings, they were doing some kind of social justice work, or how should I say, works of mercy within the Houston community. We weren’t doing any of that. We were sort of rolling out of bed and stumbling to Mass.
Cy: Rolling out of bed and stumbling to Mass is a lot better than what we were doing at Boston College. [crosstalk 00:11:26] It was. Okay, so a sign of hope, then-
Chris: So, generally, I think in young people-
Cy: Green shoots, as far as the Catholic family.
Fr. Hugh: Yep.
Cy: Would you say that’s a sign of hope?
Fr. Hugh: And then also, just with the movements is one thing, but the movements are by nature, historically transitory. You know, they serve a purpose and they end. But, the permanent aspect is the sacrament of matrimony and its eradiation. Because matrimony, by nature, as a sacrament, tends to create a Christian society, because it creates the connections between persons that are practically physical, as well as supernatural.
Fr. Hugh: But then, there’s also the witness of religious life. In particular, the traditional forms of religious life that emphasize common life together and worship together, and common witness, all of those things that are presented in the Acts of the Apostles. And those things quietly continue to increase and to strengthen themselves over time. And there are many examples. You look at the Benedictines in Clear Creek in Oklahoma, my own community of St. Michael’s in Orange.
Chris: Cy, I’ve mentioned my favorite number of times, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles-
Fr. Hugh: Sisters, right, exactly.
Chris: In Gower, Missouri, just north of Kansas City. And my dear friend and fellow Rice grad, though she was there many years after I was, is now Mother Abbess Cecilia, the first … I think when she was, what’s the canonical expression, Father? But, when she was made-
Fr. Hugh: She was blessed as an Abbess.
Chris: Yeah, that was the first time that was done in the old rites in the United States.
Cy: Oh really?
Fr. Hugh: Well, there’s a whole history to that, but that’s another show.
Chris: Well, they’re building a beautiful church there on the Kansas plain.
Fr. Hugh: Right. The reconstruction of religious life on the deepest roots of religious life. Not to say anything against the more recent orders, like those founded in the 13th Century, but-
Cy: I think that’s great. These children, the Dominicans and the Franciscans.
Fr. Hugh: But the canons and the monks are rooting themselves both in here and in Europe and in other places with a certain consistency and with an attractiveness that hadn’t been recognized before. Because before it was like, oh, they’re religious orders, it doesn’t matter what. But then people began to notice the difference between the stable, permanent worshiping community, and just kind of being founded for particular works or activities. And all those things are good, but I think that the renewal of religious life which is quietly occurring …
Fr. Hugh: We have sisters, founded by our abbey, we have both active and contemplative sisters, and we have in Tehachapi, a priory of Canonesses cloistered, you know behind the grill, the whole thing. There are 45 of them now.
Cy: That’s a sign of hope.
Fr. Hugh: Forty-five. And they’re from everywhere.
Chris: The Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles are sending out a foundation. They’re out of space in Missouri.
Fr. Hugh: That’s what we’re going to have to do. They rise as midnight for matins, and they practice perpetual abstinence. It’s a whole tradition of the order there.
Chris: You might explain, Father, what a foundation is. With respect to religious community.
Fr. Hugh: In the ancient communities, a community that had stability—that is, you make your vows to the community there, so that you’re not going to go anywhere else—they can still found another community where they send out six, 12, however many religious to found a community, which would then become its own stable community. And that’s, of course, the history of Europe, practically. If you look at the map of Europe, it’s all the [inaudible 00:15:18] of religious communities. It starts with St. Benedict, but it goes to Cluny, and then to the monasteries of Clairvaux, Premontre, everywhere. The map of Europe is just completely inundated with these communities that are stable.
Fr. Hugh: That’s what the world hates, and so, if you wanna know what gives us the most hope for the Church: Support the things that the world hates the most.
Cy: That’s a very good strategy.
Fr. Hugh: People living together and praying, and doing nothing else useful for society. That might be a little way to kind of give them a little dig.
Chris: Except that their prayers are the most useful thing they can do… ‘Cause they’re holding back the gates of hell.
Cy: And then husbands and wives being fertile, the world also hates that.
Fr. Hugh: And hastening the coming of the Kingdom. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us in her commentaries on St. Paul’s epistles, that there’s an objection that comes up. God says, “Increase and multiply and subdue the earth and fill it.” And then he says also that it’s better not to be married. These two things seem to be contradictory. But St. Thomas says, “No, they’re not contradictory.” Because those who practice celibacy forsake the Kingdom of heaven, they hasten the Kingdom of God by practicing celibacy. But those who are in legitimate marriage, they hasten the Kingdom of God by filling up the number of the elect. That is, they produce new children.
Fr. Hugh: And so, both are fulfilling the same end. One by fast track, the other by careful labor. But, if you consider that the definition of marriage in St. Thomas is that marriage, the sacrament of matrimony is for the procreation and education children for the worship of God, according to the rite of the religion established by Christ.
Fr. Hugh: Now, what do these monks and canons and nuns do except worship God continually, every day, all hours of the day, according to the rite of the religion established by Christ? And your children, if you can raise them so they can assist at liturgy intelligently and devoutly and receive the gifts that are given there, then you’ve fulfilled your purpose.
Chris: And if you want a glimpse of this, come and visit 2020 Gillespie here at Catholic Answers, and pray Lauds and Vespers with the staff, led by Father Hugh and his beautiful voice.
Chris: Cy, can I give another sign of hope?
Cy: Yeah, please.
Chris: And, I’m not an expert on this but I met a couple of guys from the Diocese of Wichita, who live in the Diocese of Wichita.
Fr. Hugh: Great Diocese, by the way.
Chris: Not too long ago. And that, actually, is a Diocese where they are opening parishes and opening schools. And there may be several reasons for this. I mean, they’ve sent Bishops out, Coakley is from Wichita, our dear friend Bishop Conley is from Wichita. But for several generations now, they have had a unique, as far as I understand, scheme—scheme may be the wrong word—method of funding the parochial schools. So, if you tithe, as a member of the faithful in the Diocese of Wichita, your kids go to school for free.
Cy: God bless them.
Chris: And that includes high school. And this has been very successful, and this is going to encourage two things. It’s gonna encourage the marriages that Father Hugh was describing and the subsequent children, and it’s going to encourage vocations. And both those things are happening. You want to see where the church is growing? It’s in middle America, in Wichita.
Cy: Well, alright. It strikes me how important Bishops are in that. One imagines that part of the success in Wichita is that it’s not New York, it’s not Chicago. That, these Bishops who have millions in their flock really have a task that is inhuman.
Chris: Those diocese are too big. You think of Los Angeles. Los Angeles should be divided into like 20 different Dioceses.
Cy: If course it should.
Fr. Hugh: Right, exactly. THey’re laden with an institution which, obviously, they can’t take it on. They have to be prudent and manage the things that they have.
Cy: They’re doing the best that they can. Event the greatest Bishop in the world, though, that is not right. To have a Diocese of millions.
Chris: A scale-
Fr. Hugh: No, your typical LA parish, like in the city, with 2,500 families, is easily the size of a Diocese in any normal Diocese in Italy or France or anywhere else, in the age of the faith. It’s ridiculous.
Fr. Hugh: And yet, you have a Diocese made up of millions of people? An ordinary parish priest, they should just ordain you a Bishop and take care of those people. That’s part of my opinion.
Cy: This is another way in which the Church has been confronted by a new reality in the modern world, megacities, and it has not yet formulated its response. It just hasn’t.
Fr. Hugh: Well, we have a system based upon the Roman provincial system, and it hasn’t changed. And there’s something charming about it. It’s a little bit like the House of Lords.
Cy: Except the millions of people who are losing their faith because there’s no Bishop there to serve them.
Fr. Hugh: Well, yeah, but priests and Bishops are identical in their possession of the sacrament of the priesthood. See, one of the problems after Vatican II is that people started to pretend that the episcopacy and the priesthood were different sacraments, but they’re the same sacrament.
Fr. Hugh: There are only two aspects of orders: There’s ministry, and that’s a diaconate, and all the minor orders that flow from the diaconate, and then there is priesthood. And there is the ordinary function of the priesthood, which is the episcopacy, where you have the full power and you govern a community. And then there are the priests that are delegated from that person who has full power, and those are called ordinary priests or presbyters.
Fr. Hugh: But, the fact is, Bishops are the same as priests.
Fr. Hugh: Alright, and therefore, it’s not that hard for a priest to take a certain … that’s why they have jurisdiction. That’s why they can confirm, most of the time in the Roman Church now, at least adults, and I think that we need to move more and more in the direction of recognizing that the local church needs to be redimensioned to something a lot smaller and local, where the pastors know their flock.
Chris: Yeah, I’m with ya.
Fr. Hugh: But that means, the materialities there, that’s the problem is, how do you figure that out.
Cy: But I think this is a sign of hope as well. It comes out of all the crises that have just smashed us in the face for the last 20 years. A growing sense of a willingness to talk about genuine, deep and meaningful reform. Not just another committee from the USCCB or another document. But real reform, in the way the Church is organized and led. And reform that is not an innovation, but is a return to the normal.
Fr. Hugh: The apostolic norm.
Cy: The apostolic norm, right.
Fr. Hugh: Like Gregory VII. [inaudible 00:22:18] And the other reforms of the Church. Hildebrand. That’s what we need. Not conventions in Rome like we’re having this next week.
Chris: Well, and as Father Hugh pointed out, the reform needs to begin in the seminary formation. In the selection of seminarians and in the formation of seminarians. [crosstalk 00:22:36]
Cy: Well it has been there-
Fr. Hugh: In the selection of Bishops. And then selection of seminarians.
Cy: Well, that’s the way I feel about-
Fr. Hugh: You have to have Bishops who want to take care of their seminarians. Not Bishops who are waiting for the next See that raises them to a higher level and whatnot. Not careerists.
Cy: But I see that as a sign of hope that people are talking about the fact that a Bishop should be ordained for a Diocese and never leave that Diocese.
Fr. Hugh: That’s the Council at Nicaea, first [inaudible 00:23:00] Council of the Church. [crosstalk 00:23:00]
Cy: Back to the normal way of doing things.
Fr. Hugh: That’s what Cardinal Gantin, the African Cardinal from Benin, who was head of the Congregation of Bishops for years. In an interview, once he had retired, of course, with the magazine 30 Giorni, Thirty Days. He said that the biggest movement for reform in the Church would be if we returned to the norm of Nicaea, and when a Bishop is appointed to a particular Diocese at the beginning of his career, he will never leave that Diocese.
Chris: Right. So smaller Dioceses, Bishops who stay in their Dioceses-
Fr. Hugh: Right, they have to wed themselves to their church [crosstalk 00:23:39] and they realize their lot is cast with these people.
Cy: I see that as a sign of hope. I’m not saying that as a sign of critique. It’s a sign of hope that we’re finally talking about the reforms that the modern Church needs.
Fr. Hugh: Well, so if there are any future Bishops listening out there, if they ask you to be a Bishop, say, “Fine, but I ask you to tell me that I’ll never be asked to leave this Diocese. I need to stay here.”
Cy: Right. Can you say no?
Fr. Hugh: Oh, they say no all the time nowadays, that’s the problem. People say no constantly to the Holy See about becoming Bishops.
Cy: But what about moving?
Fr. Hugh: About moving? I don’t know. But I mean, the point is, is that they do have a problem with people that just don’t want it because it’s too much hassle. It’s all this forensic stuff.
Chris: I won’t say his name, but I was in a conversation with a Bishop one time and he said, “Chris, only a masochist would want to be a Bishop.”
Cy: Or a servant. A real, genuine servant.
Cy: So, you had another sign of hope you wanted to share with us, Chris.
Fr. Hugh: Yes, please. More signs of hope.
Chris: Tyler, Texas. Bishop Strickland. I don’t know him, I’m looking forward to getting to know him and I know he has set up a little apostolate there that our friend Stacy Trasancos has taken the helm of. And we’re gonna try to something with him in the fall. But he is turning out to be an outspoken and articulate beacon in the current–I hate to use this expression–culture war. I want something better. In the current war to defend the faith.
Fr. Hugh: It’s a struggle for the salvation of souls.
Chris: There we go, that’s much better.
Chris: I don’t like that-
Fr. Hugh: It’s not about culture.
Chris: I don’t like that expression, culture war either.
Fr. Hugh: It’s not about culture.
Chris: But Bishop Strickland, very impressed by him.
Cy: Well, you could be struggling for the salvation of the souls in the context of an ongoing war over the culture. Doesn’t make you a culture war.
Fr. Hugh: Right, right, we have to … yeah.
Cy: But you’re right [crosstalk 00:25:28]
Chris: As I said to the staff a little while ago, I prefer to talk about spiritual combat.
Fr. Hugh: That’s good.
Chris: And not culture war. [crosstalk 00:25:35]
Cy: Alright. Any other signs of hope?
Fr. Hugh: I think the fact that people nowadays, they have away of taking the faith for granted that they didn’t before. That is that because things are so confused and outraged in our society now, if someone asks you a question about the faith, and I’ve had this experience many times recently on the street or, you know, people come up to you and whatnot. You give ’em the Church’s straight answer and they go, “Oh, okay. That’s what I heard but I wasn’t quite sure.”
Fr. Hugh: And see, the problem is is that our enemies in the press, in the media, and elsewhere, they so drum into people that our doctrines are unreasonable and harsh and whatever, that when you actually give them a straight answer, they’re kind of prepared for a bracing answer. And when they get it, they look slightly relieved, like, oh, okay. I get that.
Chris: Oh, the Church is a community of love and it’s reasonable.
Fr. Hugh: But they’re not surprised that we’re holding fast.
Cy: Oh, that’s great news.
Fr. Hugh: Because what the media don’t recognize is that they produce an effect of like, “These people are kind of tough and hard-bitten and whatever,” and then when you give them a sweet answer and give them the straight answer about everything, then they kind of go well, “Yeah, I guess that’s right.” You know? And I’ve had that regarding questions with the virtue of chastity, but also with, for example, with the doctrine of the Eucharist, in my recent experience. And people have all these objections they’ve heard from everyone and then when you give them the Church’s straight teaching, they respond with a certain amount of relief. Like, “Oh, that’s kind of what I expected, I thought you were gonna say that.” But they don’t seem angry about it, they seem relieved.
Cy: Isn’t that wonderful?
Fr. Hugh: Yeah, because I think our enemies are actually doing us a favor, in the end. By just presenting us as being so relentless and clueless. And then when they come and talk to us, they realize … because people, they want certainty, they want clarity, they want the truths of the faith. And they know, on some level, that these people they’ve listened to–their high school teachers, their college professors, and then the media—hate our religion. And they’re too weak socially to stand up to that. But when they come to one of us about it, and we give them a straight answer, they seem like they kind of sigh with relief, like “Oh yeah, that’s true, we really do believe that.”
Cy: Oh, that’s wonderful.
Fr. Hugh: It’s kind of almost paradoxical. But I think it’s true.
Cy: Well, it’s like the paradox of the more pornographic the culture gets, the more the Church’s teaching on chastity appeals on a certain level to everyone. Of like, I need order, I can’t live like this. This is a monstrous society.
Fr. Hugh: Look at like in LA, they had, for four months this last year, an exhibit at the Getty Museum on Renaissance Nude. Almost completely Catholic art, it’s all Catholic art.
Fr. Hugh: And you have the whole city going there to look at this exhibit in this culture, which is highly sexualized and pornographic and obscene, but this exhibit with elegant displays, with careful theological explanations, and people are gawking at it. And of course, this is a certain segment of the population, but it’s still popular. I mean, I was there the last day of the exhibit, the place was mobbed. And you saw this very serene presentation of the human body, its significance, its relation to the mysteries of the faith, to pagan mythology, to everything. I mean it was all there. There’s still people in this world that are able to put it all together.
Fr. Hugh: But, maybe it’s a niche type thing. But it’s still amazing. Then people are gawking at it, looking at it. And I was there in my habit and so, people coming up and saying, “Father, I can’t believe you’re here. It’s such a beautiful exhibit.” And they wanted to take picture of me, like next to some beautiful Renaissance Nude you know.
Cy: Well, we have to leave Renaissance Nudes as our last sign of hope.
Fr. Hugh: I mean the point is, people get it.
Chris: I’ll give you two very quickly, Cy. I think a growing number of young people, we mentioned them at the beginning of the session, are trying to set themselves free from the technocratic paradigm.
Fr. Hugh: Absolutely.
Cy: Praise God.
Chris: They are leaving behind their ‘facefriend’ and all that, not texting as much, and catching it in time that they’re being overtaken by their devices.
Fr. Hugh: Yeah, if you want to use your digits, use your rosary.
Chris: Yeah, exactly.
Fr. Hugh: Instead of being typing all the time.
Chris: And so, anybody listening who hasn’t tried setting aside his device for a while, let me recommend it.
Chris: The other thing, Cy, practically speaking, if you want a sign of hope—I’ve said this before—go find a parish where they say the extraordinary form. And you’re not going to find a lot of old ladies clinging to some nostalgia, right? You’re gonna see a ton of young families, such as Father Hugh was describing, young married couples, lots of children, beautiful music, beautiful liturgy. And, probably, a priest hearing confessions.
Cy: Before the Mass.
Chris: Sometimes even during. At St. Anne’s down here, they’ll stop during the consecration.
Fr. Hugh: Or even our parishes in LA and Costa Mesa, where they have the ordinary form but with confessions all Sunday.
Cy: Alright, we’ll have to leave it there. There’s more signs of hope.
Chris: Of course there are.
Cy: I feel like there’s about 10 we didn’t even get to that I have on the … they’re all striking me now, but we gotta leave it there. [crosstalk 00:31:13] What’s that?
Fr. Hugh: Can you list them now quickly?
Cy: My 10? Well, one of them is more of the ordinary form [inaudible 00:31:20]
Fr. Hugh: Yep, that’s always good.
Cy: The whole Diocese of Lincoln.
Chris: Is that what they’re doing? I gotta go to Lincoln, I gotta see that. That’s impressive.
Cy: It seems like a basic, obvious thing. I know it’s very emotional for people. It’s a basic, obvious thing though, if you just get down to it. It’s basic, obvious. We’ll get there eventually as a Church. Hey, Bishops, jump on board. Allow your pastors to make that decision.
Fr. Hugh: Go East.
Cy: We gotta go. Go East, young man. But there’s a million more signs of hope. Praise God who gives us hope. And as Pope Benedict reminded us in his great encyclical Spe Salvi, “He’s on a horizon, beyond the horizon of this world.”
Fr. Hugh: Right.
Cy: And it is an endless and beautiful horizon. Thank you, Father.
Fr. Hugh: Let’s turn to the Blessed Mother for that. She’s our hope.
Cy: Praise God.
Cy: And thank you, Chris.
Chris: Always a pleasure, Cy.
Cy: Thank you, all of you, for listening to Catholic Answers Focus. We do this every week, so if you want to share this with your friends, send them over to catholicanswerslive.com, where they can sign up to be members of Radio Club and get alerts whenever there’s a new Catholic Answers Focus out. We’ll see you next time, God willing on Catholic Answers Focus. [crosstalk 00:32:28]
Fr. Hugh: God bless.
Cy: Signs of hope in the Church and in the world, this time, on Catholic Answers Focus.