August 2000

August 29, 2000

A Confederation of Traditional Catholics?

From: Juan

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I harbor deep concerns over the future of the Church. For more than three decades I have refrained from attending any of the so-called Novus Ordo Masses inasmuch as I felt a hypocrite just being there. However, as I found a church with the Traditional Latin Mass, my thoughts turn now in other directions.

There seem to be many traditional Catholic organizations around, but they are fragmented. Your site seems to be one of the centers for information serving this group. I am far from subscribing to the theory of the sede-vacantists. However, no one can lay at their doorstep any of the liturgical abuses that are going on today in the Novus Ordo. This would also include groups such as the Society of St. Pius X, the Fraternity of St. Peter, etc. The one common denominator amongst all of them is the well-being of the Church.

Therefore, it is my thinking that a confederation of all traditional Catholic organizations should be instituted, bringing them together under one umbrella organization. I would be wary of bringing an open challange to the Holy See, but in order to maintain the traditional Latin rite, seminaries, schools and Mass sites must be set up, especially in those areas which as of today have little or nothing. What thoughts do you have in this area, if any?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Not infrequently TRADITIO has been asked to organize such a confederation of traditional Catholic organizations, but has declined for two reasons.

  1. One must be careful not to arrogate any more "jurisdiction" than is absolutely necessary given the emergency situation in the Church today.
  2. Although the difference between traditional Roman Catholicism and the New Order is the most significant and important factor, and there are comparatively minor differences between the traditional groups when compared with the New Order, some of those groups see those differences as major and are not willing to cooperate together with their brethren as a unified group against the New Order, lamentabile dictu. At the present time it would be like trying to herd cats!

Others have in fact tried to do this and failed. For example, at one point the author Michael Davies thought he could succeed in such an effort, but failed miserably because he was pushing a particular position (indultarianism to the exclusion of other positions). At one point there was a Traditional Rite Conference, but that now seems to have fallen into desuetude.

Therefore, TRADITIO has always encouraged informal associations between traditional Catholics. For example, TRADITIO (and others) promote an informal network of traditional priests of all backgrounds who cooperate together and help one another without becoming part of a formal organization. This is a growing network, which I think will become more important in future years as the extremists on either end of the spectrum cut themselves off, leaving a group of sane via media traditional Catholic organizations that are neither cultish on the one side nor tied to the Novus Ordo on the other.

August 29, 2000

Obey God Rather than Man

From: Stephen

Dear Fr. Moderator:

For centuries, all the great saints and doctors of the Church have taught, both by their words and their living examples, that the surest path to heaven is obedience to the Church. Knowledge of all other articles of Faith and all other acts of piety follow from this simple obedience.

Now, after nearly 2000 years, there is a group of traditional Catholics who claim that this is no longer the case, that salvation does not depend on obedience but on disobedience to the Church. They accuse the Conciliar Church of passing off novelties as Catholic doctrine and hold to pre-Vatican II Catholicism.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

You have it exactly backwards. Faith comes first, and obedience follows. Moreover, Catholic doctrine is that the prime obedience of the faithful is not to the Church, but to Christ. This doctrine is clearly taught by St. Peter, the first pope, and can be found in the Acts of the Apostles (5:29/DR) as he is speaking to ecclesiastics of the time: "We ought to obey God rather than men."

We know that everyone, even the pope, must adhere to the Deposit of Faith, that is, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (the Protestants don't believe in the latter). The Fathers and Doctors of the Church unquestionably taught that, and the doctrine was formally defined at Vatican I (Decree Pastor Aeternus, chapter 4), a dogmatic council (as Vatican II was not).

The rub is: what happens when Church authorities themselves go against Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition? St. Paul answers that question clearly for us in his Epistle to the Galatians (1:8-9):

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.

and again in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians (2:14/DR):

Therefore, brethren, stand fast: and hold the traditions that you have learned, whether by word or our epistle.

Catholics are obligated to hold to Tradition. Vatican I held that any action contrary to Tradition is outside of the authority (ultra vires) of any ecclesiastical person, including the pope.

St. Athanasius, surely a great Saint and Doctor of the Church, in fact, one of the Four Great Eastern Doctors of the Church, stood against Pope Liberius, when the later unjustly excommunicated him and yielded to the Arian heretics. Likewise, St. Augustine, one of the Four Great Western Doctors of the Church, together with St. Aurelian, stood against Pope Zosimus, who was yielding to the Pelagian heretics. There are many other such instances in the history of the Church, when Saints stood up to popes.

Why should one have doubts about the Catholicity of a lot of what has transpired after Vatican II? There are many answers, which you will find in several of the files in the TRADITIO Library of Files, but the most succinct statement I have seen on the matter is this:

We are what you once were.
We believe what you once believed.
We worship as you once worshipped.
If you were right then, we are right now.
If we are wrong now, you were wrong then.

What Can You Do for the Traditional Latin Mass?

From: Frank

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Living here, I cannot find a Traditional Latin Mass. Asking the bishop to have a Mass at the cathedral I am sure would be a waste of time. I have even thought of asking one of the three cathedral priests to say a Traditional Latin Mass, but one told me he likes the new way facing the people, and another gave us a "New" American Bible as a wedding gift. So, in closing, I guess that I am just asking what, if anything, can you think of or suggest.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

In such a case, I would recommend that you and your wife start a traditional group in your area. Start with devotions together, such as the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the Holy Rosary. Sing the chant and the hymns of the Church together. Read good Catholic books together -- on the history of the Church and the lives of the Saints. Pray together to St. Philomena, the patroness of the Traditional Catholic Movement.

As your group grows, approach one of the nearby traditional priests or one of the organizations listed in the Official Catholic Directory of Traditional Latin Masses & Resource Book for the United States and Canada, "The Traditional Catholic Yellow Pages," to find out whether you can get a traditional priest to service your location. Even one Traditional Latin Mass a month is better than nothing. There is very definitely a need for this kind of action by the laity in the Traditional Movement.

Bishop Shuts Down "Indult" Society

From: Edward

Dear Fr. Moderator:

A colleague informs me that a certain "indult" society will be closing its doors in a few days. The newly-installed bishop is expropriating it. It may still exist after a fashion, but the Masses will be confined said in a diocesan church.

The new mass location is located up the road from an independent church. Some have mentioned the uncanny knack of diocesan bishops for locating their "indult" Masses where they will be in direct competition with the independents, the SSPX, the SSPV, etc. Here seems to be another such example.

A note of caution to our friends attached to other "indult" societies. The society in question had publicly announced in its periodical that it had run up a lot of debt over the past few years ($100,000 or more). This is conjecture at present, but if they were unable to meet their debt payments, it would have presented the perfect opportunity for the diocese to seize their property and cancel their Traditional Latin Masses.

While I certainly do not rejoice at this "indult" organization's slow demise, I hope it shows other similar groups that they should have no confidence in the diocesan bishops. How much longer before other "indult" organizations are declared "insolvent"?

We can only hope and pray that these senseless acts of violence against godly people will cease when the Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Mother, so needed in the world, gloriously melds with the hearts of many peoples to reestablish Catholic devotion to the One and True Saviour.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I have spoken forcefully here about the hybris, not to say profligacy, of those "indult" organizations whose first act is to hire expensive Madison-Avenue advertising agencies to conduct a fund-raising drive to build what I have called fanciful Towers of Babel.

Contrast the example of Saint Francis. He started out very slowly. Then, when over time, it became clear that the hand of God was upon him, he reluctantly approached the pope for recognition. He didn't immediately ask his wealthy father to send out a solicitation to all his friends to dun them for money!

Particularly offensive are those mailings that include lottery tickets, as if the Faith should rest on filthy lucre and be cast for as the Roman soldiers did over Christ's cloak. It appears that such groups should eschew their Madison-Avenue approach and instead study their Sacred Scripture and hagiography.

Byzantine Blues

From: Tom

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have a friend who is Lebanese by birth. He grew up in the Middle East and was raised as an Eastern Rite (Marionite) Catholic. He and I met at our traditional chapel here in town. I was curious as to why he did not attend the Uniate Byzantine Mass, because there are many advertised in our city.

Paul informed me that the Byzantine Rite in this country has become totally modernized. He pointed out that the liturgy is no longer celebrated in its normative tongue, but may be heard in any language ranging from Polish to Russian. The Uniate Byzantines also appear to have many of the problems that the post-Vatican II Western Church has.

The Lebanese's advice to his fellow Marionites, as well as those Latin Rite Catholics, who have been "hiding out" in the pseudo-Byzantine parishes, is to quit trying to fool themselves. The Traditional Catholic Church is the true remnant Church. We have not rolled over in order to curry favor with the post-conciliar Vatican. We have stayed true to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. The Lebanese described our traditional Mass as "the real McCoy."

He brings with him a very large and extended family, which is why there is standing room only at our traditional chapel. We are growing by leaps and bounds. Young, middle aged, and seniors -- they are all coming home, Father.

August 27, 2000

Traitorous Translations

From: Mary Jane

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Recently I was in a discussion with a relative who made a point of telling me that every single translation of the Bible (even the Douay-Rheims) has thousands of errors. Could you please comment, Father?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The relative is right, in a sense. "Traduttore, traditore," as the Italian aphorism goes: the translator is a traitor. No translation will adequately reflect the true meaning of the original; at best, it is an approximately.

The Douay-Rheims version is best in the sense that it is as literal a translation as can be made from the best overall source, the only source that is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as free of doctrinal error, that is, St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate. For more information, see "Latin Vulgate & Douay-Rheims Bibles" in FAQ10.

On Marriage

From: Leonard

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Our discussion group wants to know where we can find dogma or doctrine on the marriage as viewed by the Catholic Church.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

A good source for the general principles is Pope Pius XI's Casti Connubii, Encyclical Letter on Christian Marriage of December 31, 1930, which is one of the most important modern documents on the subject. A practical guide to all aspects of marriage is Husband & Wife: Joys, Sorrows and Glories of Married Life, by Fr. Paul Wickens (c. 1992, ISBN 0-911845-28-3), available from Tan Books and the Neumann Press.

August 26, 2000

More Shenanigans in "Conservative" Bp. Brukewitz's Lincoln Diocese

From: Rebecca

Dear Fr. Moderator:

It appears that the bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, a well-known opponent of traditional Catholicism, has, an official, public act, allowed Indian paganism to be mixed with Catholicism in a way that would have scandalized Catholic missionaries and a succession of popes who stood unswaveringly for unadulterated Roman Catholicism.

American Indian Catholics Mix Tribal Beliefs with Catholicism
Lincoln, Nebraska (Associated Press, August 16, 2000)

As a girl growing up on the Winnebago Indian Reservation in northeast Nebraska, Sarah Berridge was warned by the nuns about the consequences of embracing the spiritual teachings of her native tribe. The 44-year-old now is at the forefront of a burgeoning movement to encourage American Indian Catholics to meld their native culture with their Catholicism.

Many parishes incorporate Indian symbols, songs and traditions in their Masses. At St. Augustine's, for example, Boes burns sacred cedar branches instead of incense, spreading the fragrance with an eagle feather instead with an ornamental censer. Apparently, the current pope goes right along with these aberrations. In 1994, as reported by all the news agencies at the time, he smeared the pitch from a native tree on his face instead of incensing the altar during a beatification ceremony in Australia.

The congregation also incorporates Native American songs and music at Mass. Monsignor Paul Lenz, executive director of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions in Washington, D.C., stressed that such practices should not alarm traditional Catholics. "It's Catholic spirituality with the Native American culture," he said. "The Indian culture is able to be joined ... with the liturgy of the church." Naturally, the Novus Ordo diocesan officials give their "imprimatur" to such aberration. Well, Monsignor, many Catholics have had just about enough of this and are very much alarmed for their true Roman Catholic Faith.

Many Catholic missionaries had abhorred intermixing the Indian culture with Catholicism and demanded strict adherence to the church's Roman liturgy well into the 20th century. "Even up into the 1930s ... missionaries would not allow those types of Native American rituals in the church," said the Rev. John Hatcher, former director of the Sioux Spiritual Center in Rapid City, S.D. Catholic Missionaries 1, Novus Ordo Ecumaniacs 0.

Diocese Approves "Priestless Masses"

From: Nina

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Here it is, Father, the next coffin-nail of the Novus Ordo. First, we got vulgar tongues in the Mass, then Communion in the hand, then altar-girls, and now "priestless Masses." The Novus Ordo is surely on the path to perdition.

Priestless Worship Addressed by Diocese
The Catholic Times Newspaper, Diocese of Columbus, Ohio

Increased demands upon priests as well as their declining numbers present the Diocese of Columbus with the challenge of meeting the present and future worship needs of parish communities. In order to proactively meet this challenge, the diocese established the plan titled Guidelines Regarding Expectations of Priests and Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest.

"Clearly the time has come to proactively prepare the faithful, clergy and laity alike, for a new approach, says Bishop Griffin. Because of lack of priests there may be no Mass on Sunday in any given place. We must be prepared for this reality to assure that all catholics will be able to participate in genuine Community worship."
"Each parish shall have a group of trained persons who will see to the implementation of the parish's own plan for priestless sunday/holyday celebrations. The pastor is responsible for designating this group, training the members, and determining the succession of leadership within the group.... These persons shall be trained to preside at liturgical prayer. They are specifically to be trained to preside over celebrations."

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Novus Ordo has created the phoney "priest crisis," while traditional seminaries and programs have to turn away candidates. The Novus Ordinarians are right about one thing: they don't dare to call this phoney fiasco a "Mass" any longer -- they call it merely a "celebration." One can't help but think of the attitude condemned by St. Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians (15:32) "Manducemus et bibamus, cras enim moriemur" [Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die"].

The Remedy: Traditional Roman Catholicism

From: Rebecca

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Contrast the previous article with the following, and we will all know what the solution to the Novus Ordo ecumaniacs.

Houses of Worship: Mirabile Dictu
The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2000

Manhattan's churches, along with its boutiques and restaurants, tend to empty out in the summertime. The 11 a.m. Sunday Mass at the Roman Catholic Church of St. Agnes, on East 43rd Street, is a notable exception. Every pew is filled, with standees spilling out into the aisles. A hidden choir sings in an unusual language. On the altar, rather than facing the congregation, the priest keeps his back to it. Then, raising his right hand in benediction, he intones in a rhythmic chant, "In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen."

Anyone expecting the latest in trendy theology or modern liturgical music is likely to be disappointed. What's packing them in at St. Agnes -- and at increasing numbers of parishes nationwide -- is the stern reverence of the traditional Latin Mass. The Canon of the Mass, when the priest transforms [transubstantiates] bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, is prayed silently. There is no handshake of peace.

Father John Perricone, a regular celebrant of the traditional Mass at St. Agnes: "The same forces that have poisoned our wider culture have also poisoned the celebration of the new Mass in many parishes. Fostering an appreciation of the Traditional Latin Mass is not unlike weaning a child off of rap music and getting him to appreciate Handel and Vivaldi."

A decade ago, a mere handful of U.S. parishes were offering the Traditional Latin Mass. (St. Agnes's began in 1989.) Though many suspect politics lurked behind the lack of official enthusiasm, there were pragmatic reasons for caution. With the number of priests shrinking, was learning or re-learning the Latin language and complex ritual of the traditional Mass an efficient use of a priest's time, merely in order to satisfy what many perceived as a dwindling band of nostalgics?

But an odd thing happened: People began showing up, not infrequently traveling great distances. For years, the mainstream media have amplified liberals' claims that empty pews are caused by insufficient liberalism. Few have paused to consider whether folk Masses and "inclusive" liturgical language have been responsible for their own share of alienation.

Over 200 parishes in the U.S. and Canada now offer the Traditional Latin Mass, not to speak of the 400 other non-parish churches and chapels where that Mass is offered. The wide appeal of the Traditional Latin Mass is evident at St. Agnes. There are gray heads, to be sure, but also substantial numbers of young families with small children. The Mass is also a place where pious young single Catholics may seek out like-minded members of the opposite sex. And the Latin Mass attracts a multicultural presence, with many Haitians and Filipinos in attendance who don't feel left out because the Mass is in English.

"The Traditional Latin Mass is a new experience for many people," says Msgr. Eugene V. Clark, pastor of St. Agnes. "A whole generation has grown to maturity since it was last used regularly." So Latin, mirabile dictu, is part of something "new."

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Interestingly, The Wall Street Journal is the only newspaper of note in the United States that has admitted the Novus Ordo worship service is not what it's cracked up to be and that Catholics are leaving it in favor of the Traditional Roman Catholic Latin Mass.

I hope that other newpapers wake up to the reality of this fact, instead of droning on the liberal Novus Ordo line about how "everything is wonderful," as more and more Catholics walk out the back to attend the true Mass at independent sites, SSPX sites, "indult" sites, and sites of other traditional organizations.

August 25, 2000

How the Irish Saved Civilization

From: Fr. Moderator

I want to bring to the addition of our TRADITIO readers this interesting book by Thomas Cahill, published in 1995 and subtitled The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe. It has the best description of the historical transition from the late Roman Empire to the post-classical period that I have read. It effectively focuses on St. Augustine and St. Patrick to make many insightful points about this transition, up to the Carolingian Renaissance of the nineth century. It focuses as much on Rome as on Ireland. Highly recommended.

A Catholic Woodstock

From: Kenneth

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Here is an advance copy of my Letter to the Editor that will appear in the August 25 Wall Street Journal.

Editor: The fact that most major news outlets are labeling Pope John Paul II's youth gathering in Rome a "love-in" and "Catholic Woodstock" should be a wake-up call to Church leaders who are trying to restock dying congregations since the radical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Your editorial [Pope John's Band, August 22, 2000] completely misses the point. The majority of the youthful pilgrims aren't flocking to Rome to partake in the Catholic Church's sacraments. If this were the case, local parishes wouldn't have empty pews. Rather, the Rome youth gathering resembled a rock concert, complete with sloppy dress and a total lack of respect for the Vicar of Christ. No teenager just a few decades ago would have jumped up on a stage and hugged Pope Saint Pius X.

Will more Catholics believe in transubstantiation -- a fundamental Church teaching that only half [actually, according to the Gallup Poll, more like one-fifth] of American Catholics believe -- because of the current pope's embrace of the latest Vatican party? Will there be any more priests, nuns or brothers because of the gathering? Just like the recent performance by Bob Dylan for the pope, the latest event is yet another step toward a complete mockery of the Roman Catholic Church.

Traditional Jubilee Pilgrimage to Rome

Traditional Catholics Celebrate Defiant Holy Year Mass

ROME (AP, August 20, 2000) - Thousands of conservative [correction: traditional] Roman Catholics conducted their own defiant Holy Year pilgrimage Wednesday, celebrating Mass in the old rubrics and urging the church to return to that and other traditions it largely abandoned 35 years ago.

The surprise Mass unfolded under the trees of a dusty Rome hilltop, across the Tiber River from far-off St. Peter's, where followers of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre said the old liturgy belongs. Adherence to the old Latin-language Mass, the 16th-century Tridentine Mass [correction: the Traditional Latin Mass of Apostolic Tradition], contributed to Pope John Paul II's [alleged] excommunication of Lefebvre in 1988 and to the church's first [alleged] major schism in 130 years.

"It is like a crucifixion - the crucifixion of tradition," successor Bishop Bernard Fellay told worshippers, the heads of women and girls alike covered in lace mantillas, straw hats or baseball caps. "We ask the Holy Father to give us back the Mass," the white-and-gold-robed prelate said, directly appealing to Pope John Paul II to return to old ways so that God "may reign again in this church, in this town, in this whole Earth." The alternative, he said, is "like suicide - because the church is tradition."

Lefebvre and now his followers reject liberal reforms of the 1962-65 Vatican Council - Vatican II - that were meant to make the church more accessible to the laity. The innovations included using the local language of each land and turning priests around to face the congregation rather than the altar. The French-born Lefebvre died in 1991; adherents of his conservative beliefs say they number in the hundreds of thousands today. Followers from Europe, the Philippines, North America and elsewhere came to Rome for a three-day pilgrimage ending Thursday.

August 24, 2000

Nothing New under the Sun

From: Fr. R.

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I often get the impression from the various materials I read that we Catholics in this year 2000 who are concerned with the liturgical and doctrinal anarchy around us somehow figure that we are in a "select" age and that it is unique in all of Catholic history.

Dear friends, we are not. Granted, because of the vast spread of the Church and the vast number of Catholics, the catastrophe following Vatican II has more of a general impact on the Church at large simply because we are "so large". All the same, the catastrophe is not unique. I say this to give you some comfort in your struggle to hold fast and keep the traditional Catholic Faith and Liturgy.

For example, we had the "Babylonian Captivity" where, for 70 years, popes were claimed in both Roma and Avignon. Imagine a period where two or three men all claimed to be the true Pope, each with many Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, and Saints on their side. Imagine the division and the chaos in Holy Mother Church. Imagine the impact and the effect that had on the life of the laity, not to mention the that of the good men trying to serve the people of God in the priesthood and religious life.

Unfortunately, and only my humble opinion, we ain't seen nothing yet! The catastrophe after Vatican II, the result of Modernist and Liberalist ideas infecting the life-blood of the Church are leading us up to an even greater apostate movement away from Jesus Christ and His Church. But fear not, Christ remains with His true Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it, though evil men plot against her.

The only means that will turn this dread situation around is when the Church leadership returns to her true mission, which is the eternal salvation of souls. The Church has lost sight of her our mission. The Church was founded to be bring salvation into the world, to be the means to continue the presence of Jesus Christ on earth, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

You're singing out of TRADITIO's chant book! We have many times here made the point that the present state of the Church can be understood only in the perspective of Church history, such as:

The confusion and chaos in the Church since Vatican II, which was so obvious that it had to be admitted by the post-conciliar popes, Paul VI and John Paul II, is just the latest incarnation of the anti-traditional forces in the Church. Maybe it seems worse because we are experiencing it.

Yet we have powerful forces to combat it. Let no one dissuade us by name-calling. Our Lord was viciously attacked by the Pharisees. St. Athanasius was hunted down like an animal. Vile calumnies were made against St. Joan. Yet Our Lord had the final victory. St. Athanasius had the final victory. St. Joan had the final victory. We dare not think where their persecutors ended up!

More on Christ Acquainted with Grief

From: Lisa

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Did Christ suffer? Well let's think a minute.

A thirty year old man ostracized from his own home town. Homeless. Constantly on the road. Working, healing, teaching seven days a week (yes, He taught and healed on the Sabbath.) No paycheck. No benefits. Little gratitude. No comprehension from the beneficiaries of His generosity. Poor. Ridiculed and caluminated by the religious and political leaders of His time. Called "not the Christ." Constant attempts to harm Him physically and to humiliate Him publicly.

Loneliness, hunger, fatigue. Grasping people who all wanted something from Him. All the time. He gave and He gave and He gave. He received but one gift -- of a pound of precious ointment in preparation for His burial, for accepting which one of a false friend reviled him. One moment of triumph -- the Author of all life rode a borrowed ass to Jerusalem.

I try to think of one human sorrowful emotion that the Man did not experience on a daily basis: loneliness, hunger, pain, fatigue, sorrow, frustration, righteous anger (the Pharisees, remember?) And every minute of every day He knew that His bitterest enemies would in the end torture Him to death.

Those He taught for three years would abandon Him. Those He healed would be yelling "Crucify Him!" One of His own choosing would betray Him. His entire estate: a seamless tunic, a pair of sandles, and a travel cloak, bequeathed to the winner of a game of dice. A Roman soldier. A persecutor of his people.

He was well aquainted with sorrow. He was serious because He saw most clearly the incredible stakes for an individual human soul. Dead serious.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

There is nothing that anyone suffers in this life that Our Lord, in His humanity, did not suffer. This commonality with us, His creation, is graphically expressed in such devotions as that of Corpus Christi, the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Most Precious Blood.

The slightest pain would have saved humanity, because it was suffered by God. However, Our Lord suffered for us all the agonies of the Passion and Death to show us so convincingly at what price was our salvation. St. Thomas Aquinas uses a beautiful image in his hymn Adoro Te Devote. Our Lord is like the pelican who will wound herself in order to draw blood to feed her children:

Pie pellicane, Iesu Domine,
me immundum munda tuo sanguine,
Cuius una stilla salvum facere
Totum mundum quit ab omni scelere.

[Merciful pelican, Lord Jesus,
Cleanse me, unclean, with Thy blood,
One drop of which can make the whole world
Saved of every sin.]

August 23, 2000

More on Taize

From: Mary

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I was reading messages this morning on TRADITIO, and I came across Carol's message about Taize. I know nothing about Taize, except I understand that it is Protestant, and that one of the six non-Catholic liturgical "observers" at Vatican II was a brother from a Taize community (in France I think). I have read somewhere that this man after Vatican II converted to Catholicism and lamented the results of Vatican II on the Church. Can you confirm this?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Brother Max Thurian had been the subprior at the French Proestant Taize community from its foundation in the late 1940s. In 1969 he expressed his satisfaction with the Novus Ordo Missae by stating that Protestants could now celebrate the "Lord's Supper" with the same prayers as Catholics. On May 12, 1988, the French daily Le Monde announced that Max Thurian had not only become a Catholic, but had been ordained to the Catholic priesthood.

On July 24, 1996, Fr. Thurian, now a member of the International Theological Commission, published in L'Osservatore Romano an article highly critical of the Novus Ordo, including the statement that "the great problem of contemporary liturgical life (apathy towards worship, boredom, lack of vitality and participation) stems from the fact that the celebration has sometimes lost its character as mystery, which fosters the spirit of adoration."

More on Washington

From: Lawrence

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I can tell you for sure that George Washington was an Episcopalian at one time. He had a private pew in Trinity Church on Wall street, which is still preserved with his name on it. Further, there is a large oil painting of him hanging on the wall next to the pew with George in full Masonic regalia, as he was also a Mason.

It is not surprising that he blessed himself at dinner or had a picture of the BVM. Many High-Church Episcopalians (or Anglicans) do. Trinity Church is neither High or Low Church, but what is referred to as Broad Church, but they certainly had High Churches in New York at the time of Washington, using a rite nearly identical to the Roman M ss and using eucharistic vestments, etc.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

There is no doubt that Washington had been an Episcopalian and a Mason. The issue seems to be whether he converted on his deathbed. By that time he had been living for several years at Mount Vernon.

Many Catholics do not know that Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), in an Encyclical Letter Longinque oceani of January 6, 1895, to the bishops of America, praised George Washington highly:

we highly esteem and love exceedingly the young and vigorous American nation, in which we plainly discern latent forces for the advancement alike of civilization and of Christianity.... Without morality the State cannot endure -- a truth which that illustrious citizen of yours,... the great Washington,... with a keenness of insight worthy of his genius and statesmanship perceived and proclaimed.... Thanks are due to the equity of the laws which obtain in America and to the customs of the well-ordered Republic. For the Church amongst you, unopposed by the Constitution and government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals, is free to live and act without hidrance.

August 22, 2000

Is the Mass Ended?

From: Steve

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Can you tell me what is the most accurate way to translate "Ite, Missa est," and has the english translation used for the traditional Mass always been "Go, the Mass is ended?"

I was reading through some questions and answers posted on another webpage responding to a question from a young girl regarding the difference of translation between her "youth mass" and the adult mass (the difference is that in the "youth mass" they say, "The mass never ends but must be lived"). The Novus Ordo presbyter said on the other web page that the translation "Go, the Mass is ended" first came about with the advent of the Novus Ordo worship service. I wrote in to tell him he is misleading his readers because I have four traditional missals from as long ago as 1938 that all translate it the same way. He insists on not admitting he was wrong and arguing about what the most accurate translation is, a topic I am not qualified to discuss.

Also, what about this notion that he is defending about the "The Mass never ends and must be lived"? This isn't a traditional Catholic teaching is it? And if so, how does one "live" the Mass? To me it seems to coincide with the New Theology's definition of Eucharist (i.e., community).

Fr. Moderator Replies.

As usual, no translation can capture the original accurately. That is just one of many reasons the vernacular Novus Ordo worship service is intolerable. The phrase is particularly difficult to capture in English. Perhaps the most literal rendition would be: "Go, [that] is the Mass." There is implicit in the Latin original the notion of "sending forth."

Individual Masses do end, although I suppose one could say that one could live the ends of the Mass in one's daily life, that is, glorification of God, reparation for sin, thanksgiving for God's gifts and graces, and petition for what spiritually is salutary. One could also live the Sacramental life, that is, maintain a state of grace, or friendship with God, i.e., Sanctifying Grace.

Acquainted with Grief

From: Stephanie

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I believe Sacred Scripture says that Our Lord was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. I was wondering if you knew what sorrows he had and what grief. I always saw him as being rather happy. I do not mean when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane when he sweat great drops of blood. Or when he was carrying the Cross on the way to be crucified or being crucified or when Peter betrayed Him or when he felt His Father forsake him. Other than that or knowing that the people preferred to sin and not accept everlasting life which may have hurt him, where were the sorrows and grief? I think if we are going to try to reach people in the year 2000 we have to have stuff they can "relate" to. I can't think of telling these to people who have sorrows and grief and expecting them to identify.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

You yourself have listed several of the sorrows and griefs. You must remember that Our Lord's purpose in the Incarnation was to redeem us, who had fallen from God's grace. To do that, He carried through His life the sins of all men past, present, and future, which He, as omniscient God, bore. Specifically, He had to endure the passion and death on the cross.

It is said that Our Lord endured all of this (which was not theologically necessary to this degree) to show how much God loves His creation that had turned against Him and to console those who are in sorrow and grief in this world (all of us to one degree or another). As one who visits the ill and dying, let me tell you that they relate very much to Our Lord's suffering.

The message is timeless; it doesn't have to be manipulated by some notion of making it "relevant" to the year 2000, or the year 1500, or the year 1200, or the year 400. We are not different from our Catholic predecessors. If anything, we might be more prideful in thinking that there is something more intelligent in the modern age, which has conducted two world wars and two major international conflicts, has dropped an atom bomb, and increasingly turns its back on God, setting itself up as its own God. As Our Lord looks down upon us in the modern age, he must be quite sorrowful and grieving.

August 20, 2000

Civil Rights for Catholics -- Of Course Not!

Fr. Moderator Comments.

The August 17, 2000, Denver Post reports:

Catholic Masses are no longer announced over the public address system at Denver International Airport because a traveler complained that the reminders were a violation of the separation of church and state. Greg Kail, spokesman for the Denver Archdiocese said he could see "no excessive government entanglement with religion" by announcing Mass times at DIA. DIA attorney Lee marable said he didn't remember who wrote to complain about the announcements.

It won't be long before religion has no rights at all in the United States, even pretty innocuous ones such as these. This is an issue that Catholics can joing with those of other religions for recognition of our shared constitutional rights. In case you haven't read it lately, here is the text of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....

It seems that the first clause has come to take an grossly unbalanced precedence over the second clause. Are we so concerned in this country about the rights of witches, satanists, and athiests that we can't even make an announcement of a Mass over an airport P.A. system? Even if we grant the civil rights of the witches, satanists, and atheists (!), what has happened to the civil rights of the Catholic and Christian?

August 18, 2000

Was George Washington a Catholic?

From: Bryan

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have been a visitor to TRADITIO for the last several years. I remember, some time ago, that there was an message regarding the belief that George Washington was a Catholic. Do you have the source from which this information came?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

From the Denver Register, May 11, 1952:

A picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary and one of St. John were among the effects found in an inventory of the articles at Mount Vernon at the death of George Washington, first president of the U.S.A. The Rev. W.C. Repetti, S.J., archivist at Georgetown University, reports he has discovered this information in an appendix to a biography of Washington. The book is a Life of George Washington by Edward Everett, published by Sheldon & Co. in New York in 1860. "The fact that he had a picture of the Blessed Virgin is rather unexpected, and, to the best of my knowledge, has not been brought out," says Fr. Repetti.
The long report among slaves of Mount Vernon as to Washington's deathbed conversion would be odd unless based on truth. These were not Catholic Negroes; it is part of the tradition that weeping and wailing occurred in the quarters that Massa Washington had been snared by the Scarlet Woman of Rome, whom they had been taught to fear and hate. Supposedly, Father Neale was rowed across the Piscatawney by Negro oarsmen; and men often talked freely when slaves were nearby, confidently ignoring their presence.

From the Denver Register, February 24, 1957:

It was a long tradition among both the Maryland Province Jesuit Fathers and the Negro slaves of the Washington plantation and those of the surrounding area that the first President died a Catholic. These and other facts about George Washington are reported in the Paulist Information magazine by Doran Hurley.
The story is that Father Leonard Neale, S.J., was called to Mount Vernon from St. Mary's Mission across the Piscatawney River four hours before Washington's death. Washington's body servant, Juba, is authority for the fact that the General made the Sign of the Cross at meals. He may have learned this from his Catholic lieutenants, Stephen Moylan or John Fitzgerald. At Valley Forge, Washington forbade the burning in effigy of the Pontiff on "Pope's Day." Several times as President he is reported to have slipped into a Catholic church to hear Sunday Mass.

Subject: The Occult

From: Carol

Dear Fr. Moderator

Can you explain why belief in extraterestrials is anti-Biblical and what is wrong with Taize and "walking the Labyrinth"? I know that all these things are not good.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The idea of extraterrestrial life isn't necessarily anti-Biblical of itself, but, taken to an extreme, it smacks of the occult. Taize is clearly syncretistic and New Age, therefore, seriously to be avoided. See the reference under Charismatic Movement in FAQ10: How Do You Explain These Traditional Catholic Beliefs?. Fixation on labyrinths too smacks of New Age. Seemingly trivial individually, these things lead to false religion.

Subject: Which Mass Is Right?

From: Jeff

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I attended a Traditional Latin Mass in celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15. I had with me a copy of the St. Andrew Daily Missal, reissued by St. Bonaventure Publications; however, I was not able to follow the priest during Mass. The Epistle the priest recited was a Lesson from the Book of Judith, but my missal indicated a Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. The Gospel the priest recited was from Luke 1:41-50, but my missal indicated that the Gospel was Luke 10:38-42. All other prayers (Introit, Collect, Gradual, Offertory, Secret, Communion and Postcommunion) were also different. Why this difference?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

When Pope Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1950, he decreed a new Mass for the feast. The feast was already in the calendar, of course, and was associated with a more generic Mass of Saints, Gaudeamus Omnes. The new Mass is Signum Magnum, and the Gospel is of the Visitation and the Magnificat. Your priest must have used the newer Mass formulary.

Subject: The Return of the Crucifixes?

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I would just like to comment on one of your answers in your commentaries section. You mentioned that the crucifix was replaced by a cross or a "risen Christ." You should note that this change is about to change once again. With the new Novus Ordo missal arriving at parishes soon, one of the changes will be that all crosses must have a figure on them; in other words, crucifixes will be mandatory within the church rather than a plain cross or the "risen Christ."

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Those Vatican documents are notorious for being totally ignored. Vatican II even said that the people were supposed to know and recite the major prayers in Latin, yet how many Novus Ordo parishes do that? Communion in the hand was condemned by Pope Paul VI, yet is now used nevertheless. Altar girls were condemned, yet are now used nevertheless.

If you think that parishes dedicated to the New Order are going to change their interiors that have already been "modernized" to fit the Modernist approach, you're going to be disappointed. In any case, the Novus Ordo parishes don't use even the typical Vatican edition of the Novus Ordo missal; they use an "inculturated" version concocted for the given country.

By the way, the same document, Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani 2000, in typically ambiguous Vatican II-speak provides language that will allow those of Modernist bent to remove statues from the churches.

Subject: To Swear or Not to Swear?

From: Phil

Dear Fr. Moderator:

An acquaintance of mine "blasted" me in front of a group of people for attending an "indult" chapel. I know I can be sure that if I get an answer from you, it will be correct. Here is the question. The priests coming out of the "indult" seminary now do not take the Oath against Modernism, and it was claimed to me that such priests' ordination is invalid because of that fact.

Now I know that there is a question regarding Novus Ordo ordinations, but I've never heard the one about their being invalid because they don't take the Anti-modernist Oath. Can you please explain?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

As you know, I have problems with the "indult" Mass, particularly those that mix in parts of the Novus Ordo worship service. However, the failure of a priest to take the Oath against Modernism, while very troubling for other reasons, does not pertain, in itself, to the validity the ordination. It is amazing how much theological nonsense is being spread about these days by "lay theologians," who, unlike Socrates, do not first "know that they do not know."

August 16, 2000

Subject: Traditional Catholics Don't Have to Be Philistines

From: David

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I am puzzled that you would list Mass Appeal with Jack Lemmon in FAQ12: What Films Do You Recommend for Traditional Catholics?. Please clarify.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

This particular film (based on a play that is even more thought-provoking) raises controversial issues about liberalism in the Church and engenders our consideration of those issues, with humor and irony. We have to allow to literature the latitude to stir us to think.

Should we prohibit people from reading Homer's Odyssey because Odysseus engaged in adultery with Circe? Should we prohibit people from reading the Bible because David had Urias killed and took his wife Bethsabee? Should we ban Catullus and Ovid (which we wouldn't have, by the way, if it were not for the Catholic monks who preserved and copied those authors)?

No, a traditional Catholic does not have to be a Philistine.

August 14, 2000

Subject: How Many Candles?

From: Judith

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have always seen two altar candles lighted for Low Mass and six for High Mass, and this is what is described in your on Altar Decorations. Lately, I have attended Mass where four candles have been used at Low Mass (I rarely attend the later High Mass, so I don't know what is being done).

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Typically, two candles are lit for a Low Mass, four or six for a Missa Cantata, four for an Pontifical Mass of some solemnity, six for Vespers, High Mass, or Solemn Mass, at least twelve for Benediction. There may be some variation in local custom.

Subject: A Familiar Theme

From: Jim

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Today we listened to Bach's Passions of Saints Matthew and Mark. There is a reoccurring melody in both whose origin we are unsure of. I thought that this came from an older Catholic hymn that Bach adopted.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Yes, it is indeed a beautiful setting. It is from a hymn of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), "Salve Caput Cruentatum," for Lent and Passiontide, set by J.S. Bach as "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden" (O Sacred Head Surrounded). It occurs twice in the St. Matthew Passion and once in the St. Mark Passion.

August 13, 2000

Subject: The True Vulgate

From: William

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I noticed in a file on your site named FAQ05 the Biblia Sacra iuxta Vulgatam Clementinam. I have a copy of the Nova Vulgata Bibliorum Sacrorum Editio. Is this copy I have the same as the Biblia Sacra iuxta Vulgatam Clementinam that you recommend as the true St. Jerome Bible? I would like to have the most accurate one available. Also, do you know of alternative sources for the Biblia Sacra iuxta Vulgatam Clementinam.

As well, I am interested in having a working knowledge of Latin as it is in the Traditional Latin Mass and if possible, for studying the Bible. I have no current Latin knowledge. Can you advise of a good way to start learning?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

No, the Nova Vulgata (New Vulgate) is not the same as St. Jerome's Vulgate, any more than the New American Bible is the same as the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible. Both "new" versions were considerably doctored after the Second Vatican Council (1963-65).

The Sixto-Clementine edition (which is not pompously called "new") corrected a few manuscript transmission errors after the Council of Trent, when there were around some of the finest Latin scholars, who had a deep devotion to Sacred Scripture. Frankly, I wouldn't put much stock in most of the Latinists around this century, such as the ones that produced the ghastly "New Psalter" of 1946.

The version mentioned in FAQ5: What Traditional Books Do You Recommend? is the best. There is also a version produced by the American Bible Society, but the ABS also publishes a version of the "New" Vulgate, so you have to be careful about what you are buying.

As to a Latin text, there are several, for various levels of interest, recommended in FAQ5: What Traditional Books Do You Recommend? It depends how deeply you want to study and what kind of Latin you want to study. In your case, the Baummeister or Collins text might be best, as they emphasize ecclesiastical Latin.

August 12, 2000

Subject: Number of Prayers at Mass

From: Walter

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have a handmissal by Father LaSance which indicates several Collects, Secrets and Post-Communion prayers for each Mass said. Yet our priest never adds these other prayers. Is he doing a valid variation of the Traditional Latin Rite or improvising on his own?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

In the rubrical revisions of 1956 and 1960, the number of prayers at Mass on Sunday and other days was reduced. Typically, a Sunday would have the prayer of the particular Sunday, the prayer for the Saint whose feastday it is, and a seasonal prayer. Depending upon the liturgical calendar and the precedence of prayers, the arrangement might be a bit different. Those traditional priests who follow the traditional rite before the modern rubrical revisions would include all these prayers; others would not.

Subject: Answering Novus Ordo Antiquarianism

From: Mike

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What is the best response to Novus Ordo Catholics who defend the changes of the Holy Mass by saying "that is what they used to do in the early Church"?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

First of all, such people should be the biggest advocates of the use of Latin in the Mass, since that is what was used in Rome and Italy in the early Church. (If they still hold the outmoded theory that Greek was used, they should be advocates of the use of Koine Greek.)

Of course, they are not, which only shows the hypocrisy of such arguments, which were condemned by Pope Pius XII in his great liturgical encyclical Mediator Dei of 1947:

The temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for the revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with prevailing laws and rubrics [antiquarianism, archaeologism], deserve severe reproof. It has pained Us greviously to note, Venerable Brethren, that such innovations are actually being introduced, not merely in minor details but in matters of major importance as well. We instance, in point of fact, those who make use of the vernacular in the celebration of the august Eucharistic Sacrifice; those who transfer certain feast-days -- which have been appointed and established after mature deliberation -- to other dates; those finally who delete from the prayer-books approved for public use the sacred texts of the Old Testament, deeming them little suited and inopportune for modern times. (Sec. 59)
Ancient usage must not be esteemed more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity [antiquarianism, archaeologism].... It is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its ancient table-form; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments, were he to forbit the use of sacred images and statues in churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the Divine Redeemer's Body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts.... (Secs. 61-62)

Notice that the pope severely condemns in advance the very novelties that the Novus Ordo has introduced:

That should be enough to silence any intelligent Novus Ordinarian and tip him to the traditional side!

Subject: What Is this "Phenomenology"?

From: Mike

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What is this push on the part of Novus Ordinarians to destroy the scholastic system of philosophy and to replace it with phenomenology?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The true philosophy and theology of the Church is what is known as "Scholastic Philosophy." This is the greatest philosophical structure developed by the mind of man, founded upon the best of high classical philosophy, particularly Aristotle, and developed for Christian purposes from the early Church. It reached its height in the work of the Universal Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), and therefore also becomes known as "Thomism."

Crowning the testimonies of popes in praise of St. Thomas Aquinas is that of Pope Innocent VI (1352-1362): "His doctrine above all other doctrine, with the one exception of the Holy Scriptures, has such a propriety of words, such a method of explanation, such a truth of opinions, that no one who holds it will ever be found to have strayed from the path of truth; whereas anyone who has attacked it has always been suspected as to the truth."

Pope Leo XIII in his 1879 encyclical Aeterni Patris, On the Restoration of Christian Philosophy according to the Mind of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, canonized the primacy of St. Thomas Aquinas and Scholastic Philosophy in Catholicism. He wrote: "Let, then, teachers carefully chosen by you do their best to instil the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas into the minds of their hearers; and let them clearly point out its solidity and excellence above all other teaching.... Let it be used for the refutation of errors that are gaining ground."

St. Thomas held to a what is known as "moderate realism," the philosophy that all knowledge begins in the senses and that the human mind can move from knowledge of material things to a knowledge of supernatural and spiritual things.

Phenomenology attempts to base human knowledge on the "phenomena," that is, what appears to the human mind, rather than on an exploration of external existing things. Whether a thing truly exists or not is unimportant to a phenomenologist; only what he cogitates exists for him.

One can easily see how this philosophy is one of the modernist "subjectivist" philosophies, basing itself not on an external reality or standard, but upon one's own personal conceptions. Thus, it easily leads to moral relativism and dependence upon personal or subjective opinion ("what feels good") as opposed to external or objective reality (e.g., the Ten Commandments).

It is quite compatible, therefore, with the New Order, which seeks to substitute for the objective doctrine of the Church mere popular opinion. On the other hand, the Novus Ordo rejects Scholastic Philosophy because it applies the test of objective reality, which the Novus Ordo fails. Because Novus Ordoism is vague and subjective, it frequently expresses itself in language that is vague and ambiguous -- so-called "Vatican II-speak."

August 10, 2000

Subject: Alice von Hildebrand Puts It on the Line

From: Reggie

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Alice Von Hildebrand was on Tv last week. My dad told me that she said that there were "devils in the church". An accurate statement. A bold statement. My dad was impressed. I was glad to hear about it, but her words, I think, are empty since she supports the Novus Ordo apparatus.

This began the argument between my dad (attends traditional Mass, but still holds to defending some in the N.O.) and me. He believes that she must stay in the N.O. to be heard and to be effective, while I believe that one must stand firm and not compromise. Put your action where your mouth is, so to speak.

If she is going to say that there are devils in the church, she ought to say who they are and explain why they are devils. Put it on the line! Her husband, Dr. Dietrich Von Hildebrand put it on the line and wrote against the Novus Ordo and even addressed Paul VI directly, face to face. What is your opinion regarding great minds who only go half way to protect their status?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Some of them, like some Protestants, are quite sincere in their stances. Many of them were trained in excessive obedience and do not feel comfortable standing for God and the Church against those who temporarily occupy offices in the Church, but use those offices to work against Catholicism, as it has traditionally been understood.

Granted, it is hard to say that the pope, who is supposed to be the Vicar of Christ, is leading the Church down a path that in many significant ways is not Catholic -- ecumenistic, indifferent, inculturated, non-Roman. This is especially difficult for people of our period, who are encouraged to attach ourselves to persons rather than to beliefs.

I am sympathetic to those who think that they can "work from the inside." That is the preferable way to do it. However, we have had over thirty years now of dealing with the inside and finding that it is consumed, as it was in the fourth century and at other times in Church history, with unCatholic thought and action.

From experience, I see good people trying to fight within the system, and I see their spiritual lives being worn down by it, with little result except, too frequently, the loss of their own Catholic Faith. Better, under the present emergency state in the Church, to follow the first pope's words and obey God rather than man (Acts of the Apostles 5:29). Right now, that often means outside certain exterior structures that people were once able to take comfort in. No more.

Just think what would happen if even 20% of Catholics immediately abandoned the Novus Ordo and stopped contributing financially to the Novus Ordo. The Church would be under tremendous pressure to return to the traditional Faith, Mass, and Sacraments. Too bad we didn't all do that in 1965, 1967, or 1969. You'd better believe that we'd be heard and might not be in the perilous state we are now in the Church!

It is not God who brought the human evil in the Church; it is we who stood by and let it happen, for whatever reason -- idleness, unconcern, or false obedience.

Subject: Where Is a "Catholic" School?

From: Andrea

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I just wanted to thank you so much for the recommendation you provided to find a Traditional Latin Mass. My family and I are looking forward to attending one this Sunday. Thank you also, for remaining true to the faith. It's very confusing out there, and it's a relief to know that you and your fellow traditional Catholic priests are there to turn to for guidance.

Educating my children in the Catholic faith is my one true goal, and if you have any suggestions about traditional Catholic schools, I'd be most appreciative. They currently attend a parochial school; however, there are no sisters or priests teaching there. Apparently that is the norm now. I know that there is a shortage of clergy (let alone traditional clergy), but any suggestions you have would be appreciated.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

There are a number of traditional Catholic schools around the country. If you can't find one in your area, try at least to find a conservative private school where your children can get a basic classical education. Otherwise, you can look into homeschooling possibilities in your area. There are such listings in the Official Catholic Directory of Traditional Latin Masses & Resource Book for the United States and Canada, "The Traditional Catholic Yellow Pages."

Subject: Student Prayers

From: Christine

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I was wondering if you know of any short prayers I could say in the morning before school, just to help me have a good day and keep God with me throughout the day. My missal does not have the prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas before Study. Can you put it on your website, please?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The prayer is there now, in LATPRAY: Useful Latin Prayers. The best thing to start the day is the Morning Offering, of which there are several forms. Throughout the day one might say the Angelus (morning, noon, and night) and various aspirations. For a student, the prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas before Study is appropriate. At the end of the day, the Magnificat and Confiteor. These are standard prayers that should be found in any complete prayerbook or missal, such as those listed in FAQ5: What Traditional Books Do You Recommend?

Subject: Mortal or Venial?

From: Amy

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I know many Novus Ordo Catholics who say that monogamous fornication is OK. Some tell me that fornication is only a venial sin.

My question is this: If someone claims ignorance on the matter of fornication being a mortal sin, is he in a state of mortal sin (one particular person I know believes this and so continues receiving Holy Communion)?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Such people are merely playing games. Have you heard the legal expression: Ignorantia legis neminem excusat? Well, it's not quite the same in moral theology, but a Catholic does have a serious moral obligation to make himself certain about moral truths in case of doubt. If a person is invinceably ignorant, that is one thing, but it seems that in this case the person is apparently conniving knowingly to feign ignorance. That doesn't excuse.

Of its nature, fornication (sexual intercourse outside of marriage) is a serious sin, not a minor one. Its consequences on both parties are serious to one's practical life, as well as one's spiritual life. St. Paul makes it clear in no uncertain terms that those who engage in such activity are acting like pagans and lose heaven as a result, i.e., they are in a state of mortal sin, and the life of God (sanctifying grace) is not in them. Any Catholic who listens to the Epistle at Holy Mass can be in no real doubt about the moral teaching on this point.

August 8, 2000

Subject: The Limits of "Love"

From Chantelle

I understand that God is all about love. But from what I see around me, this is not true. There are so many rules, so many conditions and stipulations. If God loves us all then there should be no rules, no limits. How do you limit love?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Let's start out with the premise that God as our Creator sets the "rules." If you've ever read the word of God in the Old Testament, and then the New, you will find that there are very detailed "rules" about even minor matters. Read Deuteronomy, for example.

One might just as well say that we don't need any civil laws, since everyone should know how to act. Well, that doesn't take into account ignorance, malice, and Original Sin, a propensity in our makeup because of which we are apt to slip into sin.

As G.K. Chesterton wrote, this is the most obvious of religious principles, since we all recognize the tendency in ourselves to sin. How often we say to ourselves, "I shouldn't do that," but we do it anyway.

By obeying the will of our Creator, our love is not limited, it is expanded. When we draw something, don't we draw between the limits of the lines? If we disregard the lines, the "rules" if you will, our drawing is senseless.

Subject: More on the Pelagian Heresy

From: Fernando

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Here is some further information on the heresy of Pelagianism that has been mentioned here previously.

Pelagius was a heretic who lived in the fourth century, leaving behnd a pernicious legacy with followers who, like him, believed that we do not need God's grace, inasmuch as man's unaided will is capable of spiritual good. They confined grace to forgiveness. This British monk denied Original Sin and fostered a veritable school of pride whose tenets and tentacles reach far across the centuries to our own third millenium.

No one can deny that Pelagianism thrives today in various forms, especially in concert with other heresies. It is a principal component of Modernism, "the synthesis of all heresy" (Pope Saint Pius X). Its first motive is pride, a capital sin, and views all of dogma through vision as tainted by this deadly sin and its effects. For Pelagians are eager to accept worldly praise and equally ready to claim spiritual honors by dint of confusion, attributing temporal reality directly to the spiritual reality.

They get it all wrong because they deny divine Revelation and believe man can go it alone, a post-Vatican II doctrine, without God's grace. Protestantism and New Age Catholicism share this heresy, as do most non-Catholic religions today. Pelagianism is at home with naturalism, false ecumenism, earth worship, Buddhism, Universalism, phenomenology, deism, pantheism, and, of course, paganism.

Subject: You Have a Right to the Traditional Latin Mass

From: Gary

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I believe that we should have the Traditional Latin Mass available to us, but our bishop does not allow it in our diocese.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

He doesn't have to approve it. You have the right as a Catholic to the traditional rite of your Faith by Sacred Tradition, the perpetual canonization of that Mass by solemn papal decree, and even according to the new canon law (1983). There are many such Mass offered, whether the bishop personally likes it or not. Naturally, the chancery office won't tell you about this and will even say that such Masses are not "approved." However, their own canon law of 1983 acknowledges your right to attend such a Mass. For further information, see FAQ09: Am I Obliged to Attend the New Mass and Sacraments? further information, and see the list of such Masses as described in REGISTRY: The National Registry of Traditional Latin Masses.

Communion with Respect

From: Watters

Dear Fr. Moderator,

My sister in-law kneels when she receives communion. My mother in-law says that is because if you truly believe you are receiving the Body of Christ, it is only proper to kneel. My sister-in-law also wears a veil when she enters church. Growing up in the Catholic faith I have never heard of these traditions until now.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Your sister-in-law and mother-in-law are absolutely right. That is the traditional practice of the Church. The fact that Catholics in the New Order have gotten lazy and disrespectful of the Most Blessed Sacrament by failing to kneel and receive on the tongue does not make it right. The principle that women should wear a headcovering in church is biblical. See FAQ10: How Do You Explain These Traditional Catholic Beliefs.

August 6, 2000

Church Official Admits Size of Traditional Catholicism

In the past, it has been difficult to get Church officials to admit the size of traditional Catholicism. They know full well that "indult" Masses account for only about one-third of the Traditional Latin Mass attendence, but they don't want the public to know about the existence of the other two-thirds, which includes the Society of St. Pius X, the Society of St. Pius V, the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen, other societies, and independent traditional Catholic priests.

Why? It's a numbers game, of course. The apparatus that wishes to force the Novus Ordo worship service down the throats of Catholics, many of whom are not happy with it, doesn't want people to know about the many options for attending the Traditional Latin Mass, receiving the traditional Sacraments, and hearing the preaching and teaching of the true Roman Catholic faith.

Chancery offices will tell people phoning for the location of a Traditional Latin Mass that "there isn't one in this diocese" when there are, while those same chancery offices are quite happy to direct Methodist to the local Methodist church as an "act of charity." Chancery offices and their myrmidons also quite easily say that so-and-so "is not a Catholic priest," by which they mean that so-and-so is not a New Order presbyter under their authority. What is certain is that the New Order doesn't want even to call themselves priests at all, preferring the nondescript term presbyter, which could just as well mean an elder of the Church.

But now we have a statement from a church official to the contrary. Apparently, this man was fired from his position with a well-known "indult" group and was exiled to a foreign country by the very Novus Ordo apparatus that originally put him into power. The fact that his own turned against him seems to have loosened his tongue a bit. (He still has to watch himself, however, as he lodges only at the pleasure of Novus Ordo officials.)

We have been advised by one of our TRADITIO correspondents that such a man has now publicly admitted, in words that could well have been lifted from previous TRADITIO commentaries, that:

Nor should we be surprised at this. It has all happened before. Anyone who reads the history of Church (as every traditional Catholic should) will know that there have been many bad periods. Periods in which the clergy have fallen: priests, bishops, and, yes, even popes. It has taken a St. Bernard, a St. Francis, or a St. Theresa to throttle them spiritually to call them back.

But the traditional message is a positive message. Traditional Catholics do not have to spend inordinate time defending what the Church has always taught and believed against the irrational, who seem to be Hell-bent on attacking traditional Catholicism and everything about it.

What traditional Catholics need to do in such times is to cling to the True Faith, the True Mass, the True Sacraments. You can be sure that Our Lord, Whose Church it is, after all, will set everything to right after the trial.

In the meantime, we have the most beautiful thing this side of heaven. What more could we ask for? The New Order seems to have lost the goodness, truth, and beauty that is our traditional Roman Catholic Faith. Pray God, they will find it once again before it is too late for them.

Subject: What if the Pope Strays?

From: Larry

Dear Father Moderator:

You mentioned St Augustine taking a public oath, denouncing confusing and perceived heretical actions by a pope. Who was this pope and what were the actions St Augustine denounced? This would be good to know, in light of the current confusion and apostasy.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

You are right. The example of St. Augustine, Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church, the Doctor Gratiae, as he is called, and of St. Aurelius is a wonderful example for our day to stand against the odor of heresy, from whatever source it may come.

It was Pope Zosimus (417-418). Pope Zosimus, in the presence of the Roman clergy, recognized as orthodox the heretical statements of Pelagius, which had been condemned by Pope Innocent I and the two Councils of Carthage.

Pelagianism, which denied the doctrine of Original Sin and man's need for grace, was a virulent heresy of the time, against which St. Augustine wrote numerous tracts (The Remission of Sins and the Baptism of Children, The Spirit and the Letter, Letter to Hilary, Nature and Grace, Perfect Justice, The Acts of Pelagius, The Grace of Christ, and Original Sin).

The pope condemned those who held the orthodox Catholic faith as calumniators (Letter "Postquam nobis," November 21, 417; Letter "Magnum pondus") and demanded a formal retraction from the orthodox African bishops, St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Aurelius of Carthage.

In response, St. Augustine and St. Aurelian took a solemn oath with God as witness (what is known canonically as an obtestatio), affirming that the prior Catholic doctrine prevailed over the judgment of the pope, which was upheld by a plenary council of all Africa assembled.

Confronted with resistance to his part in perpetuating heresy, Pope Zosimus finally recanted and renewed the excommunication of the heretic Pelagius.

For further information, see POPELIM: The Limitations of Papal Authority from the Writings of Catholic Popes, Councils, Saints, and Theologians".

Subject: The Latin of the Roman Missal

From: Andrew

Dear Father Moderator:

I was wondering how much of Holy Writ as is in the Romanum Missale is the Vetus Itala translation? Since very little of the Vetus Itala translation of the Old Testament is extant in manuscript form, would the Roman Missal be the only source for some of this material? If some of the Latin is that of Jerome's, when was the substitution made?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Vetus Itala (Old Italian) was a version of Scripture that preceded St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate version. It is found in the Roman Missal, principally in the Antiphons and the Mass Propers based on the psalms, i.e., the Introit, Gradual, Offertory, and Communion Verse. The Epistle and Gospel, however, are from the Latin Vulgate.

That is why the careful hearer will sometimes pick up a phrase in the psalms at Mass that is diferent from the Vulgate version. For example, when parts of Psalm 42 are used in the Proper, there are certain variations from the Vulgate form that is used for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.

After the Council of Trent and Quo Primum, some publishers went overboard and substituted the Vulgate version for the Vetus Itala in those parts of the Mass. The Holy See strongly condemned and censured such tampering with the Holy Mass.

August 5, 2000

Subject: In Complete Denial

From: Bob

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I just read a statement by a nun spokeswoman for a bishop defending the wreckovating of a Church. She is trying to shove down the throats of parishioners the "wreckovation" of their church. With regard to the placement of the tabernacle she states:

"The matter of the placement of the tabernacle is universal law. We can't change that. Document after document from Rome," she said, "states that the tabernacle must be in a place where it can receive the adoration due it and away from the busyness and bustle of our worship spaces. With our renewed liturgy and all the participation of all the ministers there is a need to do things in that worship space we never used to do before. As someone told me, people feel very guilty doing those things in front of the tabernacle.

This is a frank admission, by an official conciliar spokeswoman, that the liturgical actions mandated by the Novus Ordo are so insulting to Our Lord that we have to remove him from the place of insult. Because of the Modernists' supreme intellectual pride, it would never occur to them that a Church is a place one goes to honor Our Lord, and not a place to go to honor oneself. The "cult of man" is in full swing! Whoever thought the day would come when a spokeswoman for a bishop would frankly admit that the Church now uses liturgies which are so insulting to Our Lord that He should not be present at their performance? It used to be that we went to Church to honor and worship Our Lord. Now we go to Church to insult Him! Satan is probably laughing with glee.

"What we're finding difficulty with is renovating older churches, finding a space that is separate. Its an architectural difficulty and the problem is finding the appropriate place."

The architects and designers of the old Churches designed the churches as places of honor to Our Lord. It never entered their minds that they should design a Church so that Our Lord can be dishonored and insulted and therefore relegated to a position shielding Him from dishonor!

"So what are we doing? We believe that if you give people enough time and sensitivity, they will come to the same conclusion. We're not living in the 1800's or 1900's, but we're in 2000, and our old churches have to change with the times. We have new rituals, and we have to do things differently."

The superciliousness of her comment is incredible. Such a comment reveals the monstrous intellectual pride of the nun. As an old friend used to say to me frequently: "Ego and ignorance is unbeatable."

"Isn't that a sad comentary on our people [that they prefer traditonal practices and architecture]. That's like saying, 'I don't want to learn something new.' That's like saying, 'I'm against electricity' or 'I'm against light bulbs.' Things just don't stay the same in life."

This statement is truly mindbogling. Again, "Ego and ignorance is unbeatable."

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Lest anyone say that this nun-spokeswoman is not representing the "true" Vatican II or the Vatican itself, but some local violation of it, let him check the revised Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, the "rules" for the Novus Ordo Worship Service, issued just last April 20, confirming for the New Order the wrenching of the Tabernacle from the altar:

"Ratione signi magis congruit ut in altari in quo Missa celebratur non sit tabernaculum in quo Eucharistia asservatur." [By reason of a sign it is more appropriate that the Tabernacle in which the Most Blessed Sacrament is reserved should not be on the altar on which (Novus Ordo) Mass is celebrated.]

Conservative Catholics are not going to get any help from the Vatican on these matters. The Vatican will simply support, with good Vatican II "collegiality," the autocracy of the bishops to act like Philistines and destroy the traditional churches that the blood, sweat, and tears of our ancestors have built.

Subject: False Worship

From: Dave.

Dear Fr. Moderator:

If I sporadically worship at a friend's non-denominational Christian church in lieu of attending Mass, have I sinned? If so, against whom?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Traditionally, yes, in two ways. First, you are failing to give true worship to God by worshipping in an heretical church. Secondly, you are causing scandal by attending false worship. The sin is both against God, as you have failed in your duty to Him of true worship, and against your fellowmen, by causing scandal that may entice others into false worship.

Subject: Marriage Outside the Church

From: Valerie.

Dear Fr. Moderator:

We are getting married outside of the catholic church yet want our wedding to be blessed in the Catholic Church. What is the usual way that this is achieved? He is Catholic, and I am Lutheran.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I'm sorry, but there is a serious contradiction here. If your fiance chooses to marry "outside the Church," by that fact he is choosing not to have a blessed marriage (the blessing is part of a Catholic sacramental marriage).

The solution is for him to reconcile his actions with his Faith and prepare for a truly Catholic marriage while he still can, as, traditionally, marrying outside the Church puts your fiance outside the Church. If his Catholic faith is not important enough for him to contract a sacramental Catholic marriage, why would he be worried about a "blessing"?

August 4, 2000

Subject: What Was Christ's Language?

From: Olivier

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I'm myself a Roman Catholic even if my beliefs are more going towards the idea that there is a bit of truth in every religion. I'm always surprised to see traditional Roman Catholics trying to get Latin language back in churches. Would not it be more logical to speak and sing in Arameen instead, the language Jesus was speaking himself?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

No, it wouldn't be more logical, but illogical, for a number of reasons.

First of all, we don't know for sure what language Christ spoke. Recent archaeological evidence indicates that he may well have used Greek, because of the nearness of a Greek-speaking city near Nazareth. It is quite possible that he spoke Latin as well, which might be inferred from the interview before Pontius Pilate. No interpreter is mentioned, and Pilate, as a Roman, was unlikely to stoop to use a local vernacular with a non-Roman accused criminal.

What we do know is that Aramaic, or Syriac, (I think that this is what you must mean by Arameen was a common vernacular. It was not a sacred language. At the time of Christ, Hebrew had become a sacred language, used in the Temple, the Synagogue, and in religious instruction, similar to what the Jews do today. It was not a vernacular language, since the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity in 538 B.C.

Therefore, using Latin, the sacred language of the New Covenant, is the logical thing, as the Church has done since the early centuries. The illogical, un-Traditional, and un-Catholic thing, is to use the vulgar tongue in sacred services. For further information, see NECLATIN: The Necessity of Latin for the Roman Catholic Church".

August 3, 2000

Subject: Vain Repetitions?

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

That section of Matthew that is translated "vain repetitions" is a corrupt Protestant translation, I think from the King James. The Douay-Rheims reads (translated from the Vulgate):

6:7 And when you are praying, speak not much, as the heathens. For they think that in their much speaking they may be heard. 6:8 Be not you therefore like to them, for your Father knoweth what is needful for you, before you ask him.

Even from the Greek, "vain repetitions" is a wholly inaccurate, and anti-Catholic translation used by those who would attempt to destroy devotion to Our Lady's Rosary.

Fr. Moderator Replies

A good point. St. Jerome in the Vulgate renders it simply multum loqui, to speak much. The Greek is an interesting word, battalogeo, meaning to babble or to speak without thinking. That puts a much different complexion on the statement than "vain repetitions."

Again, one cannot rely on vernacular translations to convey the exact meaning of the original. It is pointless to do, as some of the Fundamentalist do, a "word study" using vernacular translations.

Subject: Confession of a Novus Ordinarian

From: Lisa

Dear Fr. Moderator:

As a Novus Ordo Catholic converted to traditional Catholicism, I can say from personal experience that I too was kept ignorant by conservative (not traditional) Catholics. Not only did I as a N.O. Catholic revel in my ignorance but also when I finally did learn the truth of the state of things in the Church at the beginning of my conversion, I couldn't accept it. I was seized with terror and so much confusion that I thought it would be better just to try to forget it all.

For nearly a year I tried to make excuses to myself that the N.O. wasn't all bad, that it couldn't possibly have been done outside of the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that somehow God was testing us to see if we'd continue to "obey authority" as opposed to following our nostalgic inclinations -- all in spite of the many inspirations I received that "something" wasn't right.

I'm not trying boast when I say it took more courage than I was capable of practicing to finally let go of my fear and step out on faith. Thanks be to God and the grace He helped me to respond to! Now that it's been nearly six years since my conversion, I've learned enough to cement the truth in me like stone. But for me personally, and I think many potential converts, there's a consequence to all of this.

Growing up in the N.O. church established in me a tepid soul and slothful habit. Coming out of this tepidity and sloth is extremely hard and will take an endless effort to change my habits and a lifetime of prayer and constancy. I imagine that is one of the reasons why it was so hard for me to accept the truth in the beginning. I was not willing nor did I have the courage to make such great changes in my way of thinking or practice. Ten years ago I would have been one of those N.O. catholic's clamoring on the walls of traditional Catholics to defend what I was most comfortable with in order to secure my ignorance from the truth which was too frightening to think of.

Please, in the midst of defending the TRUTH and what is right and good, we should, all of us, remember this when confronting N.O. Catholics. We HAVE to exercise charity on both sides of the scale; defend the truth, but do so with compassion and understanding. We can't come across like a bunch of angry, holier-than-thou Catholics no matter how righteous our anger may be. To do so could cause ignorant, frightened N.O.'s to damn themselves by pulling even further away from the truth rendering what graces they may have received for acceptance and conversion to be lost.

Most, if not all, N.O. Catholics have no concept of what "being Catholic" is all about. Many claim to have faith but it's a blind faith in what they "feel" is truth and not the Faith that grace imposes on a soul. Yes, I believe that that is how far it's come.

How would you approach a person filled with mortal sin who's lying on his deathbed? Wouldn't we start out in a tender and loving manner, slowly introducing to that person the wonders of our faith or giving him gentle reminders of what he was taught in his youth and help that person come to the truth very carefully so as to prevent him from damning himself in his last hours by a rash rejection? I think that is the same way we should handle the N.O. individuals whom God puts in our path. None of us knows our last day on earth, and when it comes, we'll be judged not only on what we've done successfully in grace, but also what we've done poorly.

THAT, I think, is the "key" to victory.

Subject: Putting It All In Perspective: Knowing History

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Jeff in his cogent and well-written letter of July 30th touched on a point close to my experience. A local independent priest has encouraged the faithful to learn Church history as a foundation upon which to build an understanding of current events. Rather than be confused when wierd things happen in the Vatican or with clerics the world over, keep things in perspective by knowing what the Church has been through in the past.

Therefore, I took him literally, and started to help our choir to learn some things. We began by reciting the names of the 21 Ecumenical Councils as a breathing exercize, to learn breath control. Our objective is to recite all 21 names in one breath. It is not as hard to do as it may seem. A fringe benefit of this exercize is that we end up memorizing the 21 councils. Then we began using the list of Popes since the French Revolution, beginning with Clement XIV. Now we are teaching the choir the history of the Dies Irae and making history available for them to learn

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I am convinced that an understanding of Church history is absolutely necessary to put the present times into perspective. Readers will be suprised to find out how many popes in the early centuries of the Church were tainted by personal heresy (see POPELIM: "The Limitations of Papal Authority from the Writings of Catholic Popes, Councils, Saints, and Theologians", as admitted by all the Catholic histories. Readers will be surprised to find out how off the Church bureaucracy sunk into venality and self-aggrandizement, only to be corrected by God-given saints like Dominic, Francis, and Teresa of Avila.

Such a realization helps us to understand that the last thirty or so years since Vatican II is a small blip on the radar screen of eternity, and that evil times will eventually be replaced by the restoration of the True Faith throughout the Church, as it has always been in the past.

Subject: Parishioners Cry Sacrilege: Church Throws Altar into Trash

From: John

A news report in the Cambria, Pennsylvania, Tribune-Democrat indicates that part of an altar removed from St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Northern Cambria lies in a dumpster.

The destruction of beautiful churches has been but one of the devastating results of the failed post-Vatican II liturgical reform. High altars, statues, altar rails, and other beautiful ornamentation, are believed to be outmoded and unnecessary in light of the new rite of Mass (which stresses the communitarian aspect).

The deception and manipulation of the devoted faithful by the church hierarchy follows a numbingly familiar pattern. Construction teams are called in late at night while people are unsuspecting. It is insisted that the 100 year old altars were "unnecessary duplications", and a local church that prides itself on "welcoming, compassion, and openness" shuts its ears to the cries of the faithful as their sacred heritage is destroyed.

It is not surprising that when church leaders are willing to abolish a liturgical rite that was used for nearly 1400 years, and replace it with a banal modern creation, that there will be little sensitivity shown towards the sacred architecture of the churches built for the ancient liturgy. The faithful of St. John's parish, who fought against these destructive actions, are to be commended for their courage and devotion. May their cries echo throughout the church as a warning and an appeal to all - so that we might be able to preserve the sacred Catholic spiritual and artistic heritage for future generations. (the following is an excerpt from a news report)

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Just more exposure of Vatican II for what it really was: not an opening of the windows, as Pope John used to say, but slamming them shut against the traditions of the Church. Perhaps some of our conservative friends should turn their attention from ringing around abortion clinics and spend some of their time ringing around the residences of these Novus Ordo bishops who are murdering their religion, of which abortion is just one of a number of sad consequences. It does little good to hack diseases away at leaf. One must heal the rot from the trunk itself.

Subject: Roman Colisum Refurbished

British Broadcasting Corporation, Wednesday, 19 July, 2000

Wednesday marks the end of eight years of restoration work costing $19,000,000. "The Colosseum returns to its spectacular origins. This is an historical event for this monument and this country," Culture Minister Giovanna Melandri said.

"We are not going back to [its] gruesome and tragic origins but will instead give space to art and culture," Ms Melandri said. The Greek National Theatre will perform plays of Sophocles starting with "Oedipus Rex". Limited audience The amphitheatre, completed under Emperor Titus in A.d. 80, once drew crowds of up to 75,000, who cheered as men were slaughtered in front of them. For the current festival however, the audience will be limited to just 700 spectators because of the fragile state of the building.

Many of the building's upper tiers are in ruins, damaged by earthquakes and neglect. A new wooden stage costing $725,000 has been constructed inside the arena for the event. The stage will offer the stone passages some protection from further damage.

"The spirit behind this initiative is that of uniting preservation with cultural activities," Ms Melandri said. In the past, the floorless Colosseum was covered with sand to soak up blood.

Italian authorities said on Monday that tourists will soon be allowed under the arena into where wild animals were held before being hoisted up in cages to face gladiators. Lions, panthers, hippopotami, snakes and elephants were sent from across the Roman Empire to be slaughtered in the amphitheatre, which also hosted mock naval battles.

After A.D. 403, gladiatorial battles were no longer held, but animals continued to be killed. The Roman Catholic Church claims the huge arena as a shrine where it believes Christian martyrs were fed to the lions. Some historians dispute this, however [contending that the martyrdoms took place in another location].

August 2, 2000

Subject: Ancient Romans, Not Monk, Invented Champagne

Archaeology Magazine
Volume 53 Number 4, July/August 2000

Ancient Romans were the first makers of "bubbly," not the French, says viticulturist Mario Fregoni of Catholic University in Piacenza.

According to Fregoni, the ancient authors Vergil, Lucan, and Propertius describe in detail how the Romans fermented grapes twice to produce a fizz, the starting point for making champagne, 2,000 years ago. Champagne, he argues, was simply not invented by Dom Perignon, a seventeenth-century monk, as the French would have you believe.

Scholars have known that sparkling wine was enjoyed in ancient Rome; Lucan, writing in the first-century A.D., tells of it being served by Julius Caesar at a banquet in honor of Cleopatra. During such festive occasions, sparkling wines were not diluted as was the custom with ordinary wine. Until now, however, it was assumed that the wine's effervescence was produced by natural fermentation, perhaps as a result of poor storage.

"Lucan," says Fregoni, "described how winemakers in the region of Falernum, produced a sweet, sparkling wine by adding must pressed from withered Ethiopian grapes." The wine was then sealed in terra-cotta amphoras and stored underground, often close to streams of cold water. A similar wine was later produced in Provence when the area was under Roman rule. Roman sparkling wine was somewhat different from that made today, with a higher alcoholic content and lower acidity.

Subject: Liturgical Rites

From: James

Dear Father Moderator:

During a recent conversation, a friend made the comment that the Church uses many liturgical rites in addition to the traditional Roman Rite, which is the one that I have been defending. This must include rites such as Byzantine, associated with the Eastern Church which broke from the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. He definitely did NOT include the Novus Ordo liturgy as he knows this is not "approved". Is is true that the Church has formally approved of other rites in the Roman Catholic Church and if so, why is the traditional Latin Mass the rite I should seek and defend?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Roman Rite is the precedential rite of the Church, being the rite of the Holy See, founded in Rome by Sts. Peter & Paul. There have been a few other Western rites very close to it (like the Dominican, Romano-Seraphic, etc.), as well as several Eastern rites from the Eastern Sees (like the Byzantine, Coptic, etc.). The later rites are used both by Eastern Orthodox communities (that is, the Easterns in schism from the Holy See) or by Eastern Uniate communities (that is, the Easterns in communion with the Roman See).

However, the Roman Rite is the precedential one, the one that is used by the vast majority of Catholics east and west and the one that has had the most historical, cultural, and spiritual impact upon the world. Also the (traditional) Roman Rite, as we have it, is "the most venerable in all Christendom, with a history of unbroken use far longer than that of any Eastern rite, there being no doubt that the essential parts of the Mass are of Apostolic origin" (Fortescue). The eastern rites have been subjected to many significant modifications over time to accommodate the various conquerers of the eastern areas. The Roman rite has been, fortunately, relatively proof from that kind of change. See MASSTRAD: The Traditional Roman Catholic Latin Mass

Subject: The Efficacy of Prayer

From: Terry

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Many prayers and novenas promise that our requests will surely be granted, provided that we have confidence and that it is to the benefit of our souls. How does this apply when our prayer request is for the conversion of an apostate Catholic (or anyone else), given the free will of the sinner in question? Can we assume that this person will be converted?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Grace must ultimately be accepted through the freewill (arbitrium liberum) of the individual; it cannot be forced. Some apostates may be moved to repentance only in the last hours of life. There have been a number of cases of persistent apostates being converted at this point. Voltaire comes to mind.

August 1, 2000

Subject: Infant Baptism

From: Will

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What justification is there for infant Baptism?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The necessity of Baptism extends to infants. This is a matter of Apostolic Tradition, confirmed by the unanimous teacing and authority of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church (for example, St. Augustine Ad Bon. 98:5).

Moreover, in Sacred Scripture, St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians (1:16) and the Acts of the Apostles (16:33) confirms that this was the Apostolic Tradition, in the cases of the baptism of entire families -- presumably men, women, and children.

The inclusion of children is also implied in the universal contained in St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans (5:17) and the singling out of children for the receipt of grace in St. John's Gospel (3:5).

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