Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Bergoglio's ban: I will not help suppress the traditional Mass

In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors, all our ancient bishops. — St. Edmund Campion

From Jorge Bergoglio, a.k.a. Pope Francis:
  • Traditionis Custodes, July 16, 2021: The liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique [ONLY] expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.
  • Accompanying letter: Return to a unitary form of celebration... those who are rooted in the previous form of celebration ... need to return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II.
From Archbishop Roche at the Vatican:
No. I will not help suppress this Mass.

Well, Bergoglio did it. He junked Summorum Pontificum. I can't say I didn't see it coming but I hoped otherwise.

I respect all who are acting in good faith, loving and trying to serve God, and believe they can be saved. I'm not condemning Catholics going to the Novus Ordo, the new service that's largely replaced the traditional Latin Mass (TLM). I respect people whose faith can "fly on instruments" without outward consolations, and those who make the best of the religion they've received, out of obedience, for example. Some of us have a different calling, like Archbishop Lefebvre, fighting for the externals too. But he was about more, as I'll mention.

I've been back in the Catholic Church for 11 years, spending most of the 2010s at the TLM, the old Mass, on Sundays (pictured above), perfectly fine co-existing with the Novus Ordo as reformed by Pope Benedict XVI (for example, pro multis is "for MANY"! — Benedict fixed that; don't fudge scripture), the new service as only an option. I've rarely been to it in that time. That service worked to keep most of the Latin Church in line, outside the TLM. Benedict seemed to show that Vatican II and being classically high liturgically aren't mutually exclusive. The hermeneutic of continuity, not a meta council changing everything. The Zeitgeist of the council was of the early 1960s: let's tear down and rebuild anew for the jet and atomic age; low-class. Ironically, as I come from an Anglican background, on paper the council, its neo-conservative defenders, and I aren't that different. Scripture. Creed. Sacraments. Councils. Church fathers. Devotions in their proper place. You don't have to believe the Holy Spirit commanded the liturgical changes over 50 years ago — now shrill Roman voices, though only opinion as far as I know, are claiming otherwise. I could co-exist with the Novus Ordo, but the old Mass is better. Not only a worship service — one of several ways at the altar to plead Christ's one sacrifice; I haven't used expressions such as "the true Mass" and still don't — but as non-Roman Catholics Agatha Christie, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and others pointed out in the 1970s, a treasure of Western civilization. I thought as long as Bergoglio doesn't touch the services, fine.

Now this. Traditiones Custodes, "the Jailer of Tradition," its title a cruel twist on Fr. Hunwicke's explanation that the Pope is just a caretaker of tradition, a basis for me to be Catholic. My faith has never been about the Pope's person. His office as part of the church has limited powers: Fr. Hunwicke's teaching in a nutshell.

The ICKSP driven out of Chicago. The TLM kicked out of all D.C. parishes including Old St. Mary's, a place I knew.

Catholic turned Hare Krishna Arturo Vasquez points out the cruel irony of high church authority, the basics I learnt from Catholic Anglicanism about bishops, being used against this Mass. Taking your faith and throwing it in your face; part of Satan's act.

In Summorum Pontificum, the man I've called Benedict the Great did make things fair for the TLM for a change, lifting all restrictions so bishops couldn't ban it. I hoped that the "extraordinary form" label was just face-saving church politics. The traditional Mass has never been abrogated officially but it seems in context Paul VI and the council intended to replace it. With John Paul II the TLM in the official church was a bait-and-switch to try to stop Archbishop Lefebvre: priests and congregations retaining the traditional Mass were a "problem" (Quattuor Abhinc Annos, the first, stingy indult in 1984 barely allowing the TLM, which didn't change anything). And I suspect Anglican friends are right that the ordinariate's one too, not because of the people in it but because of the Vatican. Catholic liberals are provincial and un-ecumenical.

On the ground this hasn't affected me — yet? Gradually since 2016 and full-time since 2019 I've been living in the Byzantine Rite, a calling to use what I learnt from the Orthodox, and yes, when traveling I go to the Orthodox on Sunday, because a rite is a whole culture you live in. I haven't been to a TLM in three years. But the Roman diocese isn't one of the anti-TLM ones. Many bishops aren't hostile. My old TLM church — actually a high-churchified Novus Ordo one with one Sunday TLM — is intact. The only Bergoglian restriction for now is no new TLMs. Again, for me, for now, everything's the same.

Given the Bergoglian crackdown on this Mass, part of his larger attack on the faith trying to finally redo and rebrand Catholicism, and the fact that Byzantine Catholic churches are aging and dying as the young assimilate into the larger culture and leave — they're usually gone by the third generation in the West, all of this might hit me in a few years.

"The Mass that would not die": The TLM will survive this persecution, outliving its persecutors, and maybe even benefit from the publicity from that. First, it's not a movement of nostalgic old people anymore. Famously, and the Bergoglian churchmen hate this, it's a movement of young people, typically married couples in their 30s or so with several kids, and of course young religious vocations, priests and nuns. Crucially, thanks to Archbishop Lefebvre and the official church's attempts to stop him, the TLM has remained a living tradition, passed down from those who were adults before Vatican II to the grandchildren. Second, related to the first, this generation knows how to use the Internet, both to communicate worldwide and for instructional materials including study. The aging Bergoglian bishops such as Roche, Cupich, and Gregory come off as out of touch, as if it were 1970 so kicking the traditional Mass out of the parishes will kill it.

This youthful movement, a robust minority, is the work of the Holy Spirit among the People of God.

In the end all the Bergoglians have is a threat: "Do it or you're not Catholic anymore. You're not in the church." Implied: "You're going to hell." "That's SAINT Paul VI, you, you apostate! You... Protestant!" Trying to take your identity away.

Protestant like Solemn Mass at St. John's Episcopal Church in Detroit, Catholic Anglicans? Thank you! The Roman Catholic community burned itself down 55 years ago. It's hard to shun me — as in the Amish — when your social group no longer exists.

If your service was really so "Spirit-filled" and "vibrant" (Cavadini, Healy, and Weinandy) you wouldn't have to threaten me.

Bergoglio has weaponized the Novus Ordo against the TLM.

I'm an odd duck stuck in the middle, a bit like Newman was; he was too conservative intellectually for the Church of England but too liberal for many Catholics' tastes in his day. I'm more conservative than the Novus Ordo and more liberal than the SSPX, the group Archbishop Lefebvre founded, but as the state of emergency in the church that the Society claims as their reason to be is happening, and although a rite is a complete culture you don't put on and take off like a coat, the SSPX is an option for me. They're not perfect but they are trying to live and teach an entirely Christian worldview, not just a Sunday religion; old worship services actually aren't their main reason to be. And they're not owned by the New World Order, the global American empire, Clown World, the Cathedral, whatever you want to call it. I've worked for them and would again if asked, and I buy my coffee from one of their affiliated monasteries.

Rejoin the Orthodox? I've been over and over this online: I don't want to be a latinizer, but Latin moral theology is true, so no to contraception and adulterous second marriages — economy is for rules, not morals — and no; the TLM hasn't been fake for 1,000 years, Orthodoxy's Cyprianic ecclesiology and sacramentology. I know it and respect it but can't accept it. The experts need to reword that Latin theology all in Orthodox terms, out of respect, but I can't replace it ... with nothing. By the way, Western Rite Orthodoxy is a byzantinized joke.

Anglicanism? No; they gave me a lot but underneath today's traditional services its roots are Reformed Protestant. And to buy that is historically to swallow liturgical changes far more radical than the Novus Ordo.

Tradition and immemorial custom trump Popes.

So in five to 10 years things may remain the same for me ecclesiastically or you'll see me at the traditionalist chapel or "undisclosed location" house TLM, or at the Orthodox not going to Communion.

A few more points:
  • Having only one version (use, recension) of the Roman Rite isn't doctrinally necessary nor historical. In the Middle Ages there were many local Latin missals and breviaries. The versions of various religious orders remained until the Novus Ordo.
  • This "one church, one rite" business is what John Ireland said to Alexis Toth. As Michael Davies wrote, the Novus Ordo is a harsh and even offensive condemnation of the practices of the Eastern rites.
  • The neocons and liberals/Modernists claim that the success of the Roman Church in Africa proves that the Novus Ordo is successful and the Holy Spirit commands the changes, even though Catholics in the West have cratered since the "renewal." Also a sly way to call most American and European TLMers racists. Actually, Roman and Anglican growth in Africa is thanks to high birth rates and the collapse of native religions. Source: Damian Thompson at The Spectator.
  • It's not the "Tridentine Mass"; I don't use that term. It's not just 400 years old. Much of it is medieval with some even going back to antiquity. The Roman Canon is the second oldest Eucharistic prayer still in use.
  • The new lectionary's a humbug because if you only read/hear a lesson every two or three years you won't learn it. One-year cycles of readings work best, and the minor propers at the traditional Mass tie into those lessons. The TLM is chock full of scripture!
  • Much of traditional liturgical worship works without literacy required. The church building as a big picture Bible, the repetitions, and of course the music. Incense to engage the sense of smell.
  • Traditional laity have a lot of freedom. Come for 20 minutes. Or stay for the whole thing. Follow the service in a book. Walk from shrine to shrine, lighting candles and saying your own devotional prayers. Fall asleep. Some things are more edifying than others.
  • You probably won't get high-church Novus Ordo as a substitute. Some bishops are cracking down on that too. Not even nice enough to be patronizing.
  • The council actually didn't order most of the changes, such as "facing the people."
  • "Active participation" is nice, not necessary. It's an option at traditional services. Some of Bergoglio's defenders, such as Cavadini, Healy, and Weinandy (rebuttal), have elevated it to doctrine, calling the TLM "doctrinally unacceptable," TLMers heretics. That undermines belief in the church, for "getting it wrong" all those centuries!
  • On that note, from Dr. Kwasniewski: "Offspring of Arius in the Holy of Holies: Recent False Claims about the Roman Rite." The new Mass is more trinitarian than the old? You've got to be kidding.
  • Note that all this has little to do with Latin. A vernacular option for the traditional Mass, such as in Anglican English, the language's Christian tradition, would be fine. But the Modernists do hate Latin so.
  • In Catholic Anglicanism it's hard to tell where that ends and the TLM begins because it uses so much from traditional Roman Catholicism. Missale Romanum use, the literal TLM. Msgr. Steenson was right to keep that out of the ordinariate even though it's related. That would be mission creep.
  • One of my sayings: Catholic ghetto, such as old-fashioned ceremonial, is Christian community that liberals are ashamed of.
  • The problem often isn't what the Novus Ordo says but what it doesn't say. Annibale Bugnini didn't believe in a lot of things so he edited them out.

I'm not breaking communion. Nor are the folk in the Novus Ordo, from high-church to no-frills, using the good English, close to the Latin so with the same cadence as the Book of Common Prayer, ordered by Benedict XVI. Bergoglio is.

P.S. In a new letter, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI characterizes the Second Vatican Council as “not only meaningful, but necessary.” Maybe he wasn't great.

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