There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear,
because fear involves punishment,
and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
-1 JOHN 4:18 NASB
St. Marys, Kansas is home to Saint Mary’s Academy and College run by the Society of St. Pius X. The majority of the town is made up of SSPX members who hold key town administrate positions. Catholics who want to escape the evils of the world and the church run by Vatican II popes have pilgrimaged to this supposed utopia of so called Catholic virtue and isolation from the world and according to one particular person named Christine, each other. Christine recently appeared on Misshappycatholic‘s youtube channel to tell her story of growing up in this community. It is filled with heartbreak and hopeful redemption. You can watch the whole interview here.
Christine is number 2 out of 10 kids who grew up in this epicenter of SSPX activity in our country and describes her experience as terror. Ever since the age of around 2 she has had it drilled into her head and heart that she is a sinner and that practically everything she does is a sin that put Jesus on the cross. She would be forced to kneel for a good amount of time for punishment with this thought thrust into her brain. Bible reading was discouraged accept when it was used as punishment. If you got kicked out of the only approved SSPX school for education, St. Mary’s, for ill behavior or poor academics, home schooling was very much frowned upon. BUT sending your kids to a public school was a mortal sin and would land you the parent and your kids in HELL.
Members of the SSPX community may attend what they believe is the superior holier mass, but the graces it is supposed to foster such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and gentleness, are totally absent as the church goers hold contempt for all outsiders, especially those women who wear pants, each other and most especially themselves. St. Mary’s SSPX in Kansas is equivalent in cultish behavior found in Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles institute. Read more about that here in Reflections on Shiny Happy People .
The liturgy does indeed shape belief. This principle moves in all directions. When liturgy is not celebrated properly or reverently, it can lead to a loss of belief. But liturgy can also lead people to alien or rigid forms of belief, and even to the notion that they have no common bonds with fellow believers. –A different religion? – Where Peter Is
Environment of Fear Drives Out Faith
Growing up in this hostile environment where she had no one to turn to, Christine believing no matter what she did would land her in hell, rebelled rather recklessly which ended up getting 2 of her best friends killed in a driving accident, getting pregnant out of wedlock with 2 kids, and leaving the church for awhile at 18. She still prayed and believed in God but didn’t want to immerse herself in a religious community that wouldn’t offer her guidance, healing and forgiveness for her sins and trauma. What the SSPX celebrated liturgy in this community has in common with the ordinary rite celebrated by other Catholics is that kids end up leaving faith. But it was the outside world that corrupted them and not the toxic environment that lead them away from the church a practicing SSPXer would say.
Despite all this heavy baggage, today Christine is attending a church that her community despises, which is the Novus Ordo ordinary form of the mass. It is this community where she felt the Holy Spirit lead her. It was this community that showed her love, forgiveness, healing and acceptance. It took her awhile to get there and her journey started when she was 28. And it was one particular NO priest who introduced her to a version of God that had been hidden to her being raised in a SSPX household.
I watched this father Mike Schmitz video and it just blew me away. It was like everything he said was like, this is what I’ve been looking for. This is what I was born for. This is what it means to be Catholic. That’s when I discovered love. God loves me. It like getting to know God what it seemed like for the first time. So Wow.
Starting at the 31:00 on From Terror to Truth: Growing up in the SSPX, St. Mary’s, Kansas – YouTube
The Schmitz Effect
Simplistic Everyday Common Sense Catechesis brings the message of love for God’s people to hurting and wounded souls. It can also deeply challenge our mundane blandness with fiery conviction. Fr. Mike Schmitz helps to bring the teaching of Christ’s church to souls hungering for God with his The Bible in a Year and The Catechism in a Year podcasts. I know that I personally get encouragement and a sense of God’s love from his short little videos chock full of wisdom and good insight. Christine thought so too and it changed her life and introduced her to a life of love with the God who had been hidden to her in a cloud of fear. And here is another example of how his videos are being used by the Holy Spirit.
Five years later, in 2017, Puja reached a very low point in her life. That was when she was forwarded a video by popular American priest, Fr. Mike Schmitz. “That very moment I knew God was up to something,” Puja said to SW News. Soon, listening to Fr. Mike’s talks (by Ascension Presents) became her favorite addiction! “The storm inside me started calming down and for the first time in my life, I wanted to become a Catholic,” she says. In 2018, she enrolled in RCIA, entered the Catholic Church the following year, and went on to become a catechist at her parish in Dubai.-Shalom World | Experience a New Media Culture
To Sum It Up
You don’t have to neglect the Catholic teaching of sin and the possibility of eternal damnation, but when that is all you drill into your young kids it is going to drive them away because they need to be perfected in love and the only way to do that is if they know they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that God loves them and that it is good that they exist.