On relaxing of discipline

The Catholic part of the Internet is full of the comments on the recent decision of the Polish episcopate concerning the change of the fourth Commandment of the Church, in the result of which the ban of the parties on Friday has been lifted, with the exception of the Lent. Even the first comments drew attention to the lack of logic and reason of our bishops. I would like to highlight two issues, partly connected with this case.

Firstly, I am not shocked at all that bishops have changed a certain established tradition, subjecting themselves to the modern world, despite the fact that this world did not demanded it fiercely. Naturally, sometimes it was difficult not to party on Friday nights together with colleagues but certain sacrifices are a natural thing in Catholicism. Bishops, however, following the example of their colleagues from the West, who have plunged the Church into a total crisis (what they still do), decided to “help” the faithful, rendering the faith easier to accept, as from now on one may party hard on Friday.

The line of concessions and lowering the requirements is typical for what we call colloquially post-conciliardom. And, as I once said, it is not about any specific period of time but about a certain state of mind and the way of thinking. All post-conciliar reforms consist in removing or cancelling certain things and in lowering the requirements, concerning both clergy and laymen. The finest example is the leading post-conciliar reform, namely the change of the liturgy, consisting mainly in shortening it, in order not to keep the faithful in the pews longer than 45 minutes (unless the celebrant reaches an hour with his first, second and third sermon). And that was the main and the basic error of the reforms, because the army, which is the Church Militant, is trained for fight not by relaxing, but exactly by sharpening discipline. The history of the Church provides us with the numerous examples of saints who accepted additional sacrifices, being aware of the fact that one does not walk to the Heavenly Kingdom on a broad, comfortable road; one enters it through a narrow gate.

The second element of the post-conciliardom, visible also in the discussed case, is a total lack of reason – they did not try in any way to replace somehow the abolished thing with something similar. If the bishops had desired so much to alter this commandment,  despite the fact that there was not even a debate in the Polish Church over this topic, they could, and in fact they should, have imposed the ban on the first Fridays of the months and Advent. They could have imposed also, following the old tradition, the prohibition on the meat dishes on Wednesdays. The ban on Friday parties could have been replaced  by a penitential act or alms – it is all about a proper balance. Of course, the easiest and most reasonable way would be to leave this commandment alone but maybe its “pre-conciliarness” was an eyesore to our prelates and maybe because of it the Church in Poland seemed to them too different from the Western standards of the particular Sister Churches. Fortunately, a Catholic may freely sharpen their penitential discipline and continue not to attend Friday parties, and instead of it to offer our Lord additional sacrifices, praying for our bishops. It seems the best what can be done in such a situation.

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