December 15, 2019

The Atlantic: The Christian Withdrawal Experiment

The current issue of Atlantic features Saint Marys, Kansas, where I called home from 2002-2017. Though I disagree on some points, I otherwise thought it well balanced (it could just have easily been a "hit" piece) and positive to both Saint Marys and the SSPX. The old adage "home is where the heart is" is, for me, an accurate one: I will always hold many fond memories of Saint Marys and am fortunate it remains just a 3 hour drive away. 

The pastor at our SSPX Church in Wichita, is playing the piano in one of the articles photos. In the image below: (L) Father Patrick Rutledge, the parish rector; (C) Fr. Jurgen Wegner, USA District Superior; 
(R) Fr. Steven McDonald, USA District Second Assistant

The excerpt below is from the article. Clink the link at the end for the full story. Ed.

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Photo from the article

Half an hour down the highway from Topeka, Kansas, not far from the geographic center of the United States, sits the town of St. Marys. Like many towns in the region, it is small, quiet, and conservative. Unlike many towns in the region, it is growing. As waves of young people have abandoned the Great Plains in search of economic opportunity, St. Marys has managed to attract families from across the nation. The newcomers have made the radical choice to uproot their lives in pursuit of an ideological sanctuary, a place where they can raise their children according to values no longer common in mainstream America.

St. Marys is home to a chapter of the Society of St. Pius X, or SSPX. Named for the early-20th-century pope who railed against the forces of modernism, the international order of priests was formed in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church’s attempt, in the 1960s, to meet the challenges of contemporary life. Though not fully recognized by the Vatican, the priests of SSPX see themselves as defenders of the true practices of Roman Catholicism, including the traditional Latin Mass, celebrated each day in St. Marys. Perfumed with incense and filled with majestic Latin hymns, the service has an air of formality and grandeur. To most American Catholics under the age of 50, it would be unrecognizable.
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