September 2000

September 29, 2000 - Michaelmas Day

Sixth Anniversary of the Founding of TRADITIO

From: Fr. Moderator

For those of you who may not realize it, TRADITIO was the very first Traditional Roman Catholic site to have been founded on the internet and remains the longest continuous such site on the internet. On the feastday of St. Michael the Archangel, our patron saint, we will now, by the grace of God, have been educating the public since 1994 about the true Faith. We have been here longer than the Vatican's web site, or any other traditional site.

From the beginning, it has been the unswering policy of this site to teach the traditional Roman Catholic Faith. In fact, we are not aware of any site on the Internet that is more Roman Catholic than this one. Anyone who has been with us even for a few days, let alone since 1994, knows this as an obvious fact.

TRADITIO has never set itself up as a personal authority. It subordinates itself to the teachings of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the popes and councils of the Church, and the wisdom of the Catholic Saints. It holds in especial esteem the Four Great Western Doctors of the Church -- St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, and St. Gregory the Great -- together with the Apostle of the Gentiles, St. Paul, and the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas. It has been careful to cite not its own teachings, but the teachings of the Church. When opinion has been expressed, it has been clearly noted as opinion, in the tradition of St. Paul.

Needless to say, our sometimes biting Juvenalian satire against the foibles of the Novus Ordo have not enamored us to certain liberal and conservative Novus Ordinarians, who wish to rebut by attacking our moderator rather than his arguments, a sign of the irrationality and the unChristian nature of their position.

TRADITIO teaches the traditional Roman Catholic Faith to the best of its knowledge and ability. TRADITIO's over 135,000 dedicated listmembers since 1994 have learned about the traditional Roman Catholic Church, its Mass and Sacraments, its music, its saints, and its history.

That is our goal, the same goal as we had when we started this apostolate, not knowing how vast it would become in such a short period of time. Only a small number of messages received are posted publicly. Far more messages, seeking personal advice or asking questions that are not judged of general interest, are answered privately.

What have we learned since 1994? That the traditional Roman Catholic Faith is stronger than we could ever have imagined. That the sacrifices the traditional laypeople are undergoing to hold fast to their Faith make the little sacrifices of us traditional priests pale by comparison. That there is a core of virtuous Catholic youth committed to the True Faith, who will be the salvation of the Church long after we pre-Vatican II Catholics and the post- conciliar weak popes have passed on.

What we see, in reality, is a rebirth of true Catholicism, similar in many ways to the birth of the early Church. And that rebirth involves labor pains. Who in the first century would ever have thought that a small band of persecuted Christians would take over the world with their message? Even the disciples in the boat were upbraided by our Lord: "O ye of little faith."

The true Church is still here, even if you have to do some research to find it. The true Mass is still here, even though you may have to drive farther to assist at it. The true Sacraments are still here, even though you may have to make an appointment for Confession. The true religion is still here, even though you have to go to out-of-the-way sources for it. No one can ever wipe the True Church away.

Of that we have our Lord's promise, the promise of the indefectibility of the Church to the end of time, and if we don't trust His word, we may as well pack up and become, in the words of William Wordsworth, "pagans suckled in a creed outworn."

Votive Masses

From: Anthony

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I am new to the Traditional Latin Mass. On Saturday 30th of September, I am planning to attend a "Votive High Mass of Thanksgiving and Te Deum." I was wondering if you could tell me: what exactly is a Mass of Thanksgiving and what is the "Te Deum". Also, could you tell me what exactly a "Votive Mass" is and which readings will be read.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

A Votive Mass is a Mass offered outside the Office of the liturgical day for a particular devotional purpose, e.g, thanksgiving. Depending upon the rank of the liturgical day, a Votive Mass may be permitted. There are a number of formularies for such Masses toward the end of the Roman Missal.

The "Te Deum" is one of the greatest hymns of the Church, generally attributed to St. Ambrose or his school. It is used on occasions of thanksgiving, celebrations (e.g., the First Mass of a priest), and at the end of the Office of Matins on non-penitential days.

September 28, 2000

"Jeopardy" TV Host Plugs Traditional Latin Mass

From: Boyle

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Alex Trebek, host of the long-running "Jeopardy" quiz show on network television, said the other night that he misses the Traditional Latin Mass.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Trebek seems to be quite an educated man. I remember that on one program he mentioned that he was educated in Canada at a school that still taught in Latin! This is as opposed to Regis Philbin, a graduate of Notre Dame in the United States, host of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?," who seems to have problems pronouncing any foreign words, including the Latin ones!

A Puzzling EWTN Broadcast

From: Joyce

Dear Father Moderator:

I tuned in on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network, Mother Angelica's channel) and heard a priest explaining dogma and documents of the Church. Granted, I came in on the tail-end, but he was speaking of the Eastern Catholics and made a statement that "If you're really in a bind and cannot make Mass, you can fulfill your obligation by going to a Greek Orthodox Mass." I thought the Greek Orthodox Church was schismatic and not part of the Roman Catholic Church. Is this not so?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It is so. EWTN is, after all, affiliated with the Novus Ordo, so it frequently gets things wrong. Although Mother Angelica herself is pretty conservative, she allows others on the channel that have affiliations with non-Catholic leanings. One prominent example is Scott Hahn, a former Protestant seminary teacher, who is affiliated with the Charismatic Movement, which is hardly Catholic. For further information, see How Do You Explain These Traditional Catholic Beliefs? under the subject "Charismatic Movement."

If EWTN is advocating that Catholics can go to a schismatic Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy, a fortiori EWTN can have no objection whatsoever to Catholics attending the true Mass of the Roman Rite, that is, the Traditional Latin Mass, under whatever auspices held. For further information, see Am I Obliged to Attend the New Mass and Sacraments?

"Diocese Report" Takes a Leaf from TRADITIO

From: Fr. Moderator

It is ironic that the Novus Ordo eschews the news media as "gatekeepers with an agenda." Isn't that exactly what the Novus Ordo does with respect to the Traditional Catholic Movement? It seems to have a policy against traditional Catholics of denial or silence or libel. The Novus Ordo is now getting more and more of its own bitter medicine!

That the Novus Ordo press should compare itself with Matt Drudge is laughable. Drudge presents common-sense reasoning, on the basis of both his public and inside sources, and lets his readers reach their own conclusions. This is just what TRADITIO has been doing in Catholicism for over six years, longer than anyone else on the Internet (including Drudge himself).

From time to time, we get rabid Novus Ordinarians who want TRADITIO to tow the "party line," that is, the Novus Ordo, or at least the Indultarian. Rather, from the beginning, we have been committed to the traditional understanding of the Roman Catholic Church, based upon Christ and the Apostles, the Fathers and Doctors, the Popes and Councils -- an understanding that virtually any Catholic before 1962 would have agreed upon.

Remember that the Novus Ordo (their own term, by the way) is just that -- not the Roman Catholic Church as it has been traditionally understood for twenty centuries, but a new order. Convicted out of their own mouths!

PITTSBURG, PA (Diocese Report, September 25, 2000) - A new Catholic News site has just launched for service to the public..., officially launched Monday September 18th.
The mission of the Diocese Report is to provide people with a place they can obtain fair and breaking news on issues that directly or indirectly affect the Roman Catholic Church and society.
The now famous Internet reporter, Matt Drudge, inspired the concept for this site. Mr. Drudge wanted to return the news back to the people and curtail the reporting through gatekeepers with an agenda. The Diocese Report attempts to accomplish the same goal and in addition provide a service that builds up Christ's Church.

Missa Pro Defunctis

From: Richard

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I recently sang in our choir for a Requiem Mass, and the priest had a mock coffin commemorating the death of Pope John Paul I. It was a High Mass and very beautiful. After the Mass I thanked our priest and lightly remarked how, if I would die, I would like definitely to have this beautiful Mass offered for my funeral.

The priest casually said it would have to be a "read" Mass. Does this mean a low Mass? If so, does this mean that there would be no chant at my funeral Mass? I was a bit confused and almost disturbed. My family and I are supporting a Traditional Latin Mass Apostolate. Now we come to find out that if I or any of my loved ones die we cannot have the Missa Pro Defunctis complete with chant. This seems very odd to me. Maybe you can shed some light on this subject for me.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

What you are referring to is known as a "catafalque," which represents the body of the deceased. It is used in certain commemorative Masses or when the body cannot be physically present (e.g., because lost at sea).

A "read" Mass, or Missa lecta, is a low Mass. A Requiem Mass does not "have" to be so liturgically. At some Mass sites there may be some impediment to a Missa Cantata (e.g., no choir available, or the priest is unable to chant). At your site, that is apparently not the case. You should follow up with this priest to find out why he thinks that a Requiem Mass would "have" to be read.

I have a suspicion that what you are talking about is an "Indult" Mass site. In that case, the diocesan bishops put many capricious restrictions on the celebration of Mass -- by time, place, type, etc. -- which are not prohibited under the rubrics for the traditional Roman Rite. If this is what you are facing, see the Official Catholic Directory of Traditional Latin Masses & Resource Book for the United States and Canada, "The Traditional Catholic Yellow Pages," to seek out another location, perhaps with an independent priest, who will follow the traditional rubrics and will not have to worry about the Novus Ordo prejudice against the Traditional Latin Mass.

For further information, check How Do You Explain These Traditional Catholic Beliefs? under the subject "Funeral Instructions."

Mediaeval Latin

From: Mary

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I would like to learn mediaeval Latin in the future if I feel I am ready to tackle it. I have the text already, which is by Keith Sidwell. As you are a Latinist you might have heard of him. I would like your opinion on whether or not mediaeval Latin would be tougher than classical Latin, say, Caesar or Livy.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I know of the Sidwell text, although I use the more comprehensive Harrington for instruction. Typically, you would find mediaeval Latin easier. It is closer to the Vulgate, which is a simpler form than the admittedly wonderful periodic Latin of the classical period.

I am instructing a member of the congregation out of Caesar's De Bello Gallico. The student chose that work when I offered him all of the corpus Latinum! That is certainly a traditional choice, not least for Latin composition style, which I am also teaching him, but Livy has it over Caesar for the sheer interest of the history and practices of the Roman of the republican period. These are fascinating and instructive from so many perspectives.

September 26, 2000

Waiting for a Long Overdue Apology

From: Fr. Moderator

It seems that the New Order's P.C. (Politically Correct) squad is at it again! The archbishop of Newfoundland, Canada, joined with his Presbyterian, Anglican, and United Church colleagues to ask forgiveness of the "indigenous peoples" for "abuses suffered since the arrival of our ancestors 500 years ago."

Apparently, the archbishop was apologizing to the Canadian Indians (who, if memory serves, were not "indigenous," but came over the Aleutian Islands from Asia) for bringing the benefits of Roman Catholicism and Western Civilization to pagan natives so uncivilized as to maim, torture, and murder numerous Jesuit priests.

One wonders whether the archbishop's allegiance lies with a pagan culture or with the Roman Catholic Church. One also wonders when these ecclesiastical bureaucrats will stop worry about what happened 500 years ago and apologize to the modern Catholic world, which since 1964 has been deprived of its Catholic and Apostolic traditional Roman Rite of worship, guaranteed by the popes.

Obituary: Fr. Ellwood Kieser, C.S.P.

From: Fr. Moderator

Those having ingenitae nobilitatis canitiem (2 Machabees 6:23) may recall the excellent programs in the "Insight" series produced by Fr. Ellwood Kieser of the Congregatio Sancti Pauli. Fr. Kieser passed to his eternal reward on September 16, 2000.

The "Insight" series was known for its half-hour weekly dramas of 23 years, focused on God and Christian values. The series drew some of television's most noted personalities: Walter Matthau, Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett, and Martin Sheen, to name but a few.

Anima eius et animae omnium fidelium defunctorum per misericordiam Dei requiescat in pace.

September 24, 2000

Ovid's Roman Villa from the Time of Christ Found

From: Fr. Moderator

In many senses, ancient Rome still lives today -- in its language, its law, its religion, its literature, its notable people, and much more. Recently there was announced a fascinating discovery around the time of Christ.

Publius Ovidius Naso (Ovid) was one of the great poets of the Golden Age of Roman literature. Next to Vergil and Horace, he treated of the great mission of Rome -- its feasts and religion. Also, following a literary type of the time, he also wrote graphic amatory poetry, which went against the conservative morality that Augustus, the Augustus of Luke 2:1, was trying to restore in Rome of the first century. It is an irony of history that we would not have this amatory poetry if the monks of the Benedictine monasteries had not continued to copy it after the fall of Rome!

It is a wonderful convergence of history that Ovid's villa should overlook the Milvian Bridge, the site of that great battle, on which the history of the Western World hung. It was in the year 313 that the Roman emperor Constantine, who was not yet a Christian, prayed to the God of the Christians for assistance in his crucial battle with his opponent Maxentius, to be fought on the Milvian Bridge.

In answer to his prayer, Constantine and his army saw in the heavens at sunset a cross formed from the first two letters, chi and rho, of Christ's name in Greek and bearing the legend In Hoc Signo Vinces. After his signal victory in the battle, Constantine had this cross, known as the labarum, placed on the standards of his army and ended the Christian persecutions throughout the entire Roman Empire. Thus, he finally brought Rome to the Christian Faith, which the blood of the martyrs for the last three centuries had seeded, to use Tertullian's memorable phrase.

The Times (London, September 21, 2000). The long-lost villa of Ovid is purported to have been discovered on the banks of the Tiber, together with what may be a portrait of the Roman poet not seen for 2,000 years.
Gaetano Messineo, superintendent of archaeology for the borough where the finds were made, said the discovery was "a miracle . . . one of the most important finds of our time".
He said that the villa, which dates to between the 1st century B.C. and the 1st century A.D., had been found by workmen clearing an area of small workshops to make way for a new council office. They found the villa walls five metres down, and a mosaic covered in clay that was in "mint condition".
Professor Messineo said that he had "no doubt" that the villa was the one described by Ovid in his letters. "The poet says he can see people streaming across the Milvian Bridge, and then dividing to go along the Via Flaminia, which ran along the river -- and still does -- or up the Via Cassia, which heads north at right angles to it. This is exactly what we see from this spot today." The old Milvian Bridge -- where the Emperor Constantine won a momentous victory in A.D. 312, paving the way for the conversion of Rome to Christianity -- is still used by pedestrians.
Raffaella Tione, the archeologist in charge of the dig, said that additional evidence associating the villa with Ovid was provided by a five-metre-square mosaic of black and white geometric patterns forming the floor of what was once a porticoed riverside open-air summer dining room.
In the middle of the mosaic is a colour picture of middle-aged man with a white-flecked beard wearing a crown of laurel leaves and carrying a flowering staff with bows tied to it. He appears to have a slight squint. Signora Tione said the picture faced the benches where Ovid's guests would have sat eating and drinking. "It could be Dionysus, the god of fertility and drunken revels, or a follower such as Silenus [a satyr]," she said. "It could be an ideal poet, perhaps Greek. But we prefer to think it is Ovid."
At the height of his fame Ovid was exiled by Augustus to the Black Sea, and was never allowed to return to his beloved villa. Ovid says he fell foul of the Emperor not only because of his irreverent poetry but also because of an unnamed "error." Some scholars believe this refers to an illicit liaison of Ovid's with a female immediately related to the Imperial Family.
Signora Tione said her team had discovered five further rooms originally decorated with coloured plaster and columns, as well as a grotto. Much of the villa now lies under blocks of flats. Visitors would view it from a walkway.

Rome in Ancient Times Had Spread to China

From: Fr. Moderator

The universality of Rome began from the earliest times. Information from China supports the contention that Roman soldiers once made China their home before Jesus Christ was born.

Zhelaizhai, China (LOS ANGELES TIMES, September 22, 2000). ...The improbable quest for Romans in China begins with an American with an improbable name: Homer Hsenpflug Dubs.
A noted China scholar at Oxford University, Dubs was the earliest academic to flesh out the possibility of "a Roman city in ancient China," as he put it in a lecture before the China Society in London in 1955.
Dubs was intrigued by the mention of a city and county called Liqian in a government land register of A.D. 5, compiled at the height of the Han Dynasty. At the time, Liqian (or Li-jien, in some tranliterations) was also the ancient Chinese word for Rome or the Roman Empire -- a name derived, perhaps, from Alexandria, then under Roman control and a place with which the Chinese had indirect contact....
If that was the case, Dubs thought, then why not Romans in Liqian? ...It should follow that people from the Roman Empire immigrated into China and founded this city," he wrote in a monographh.
The problem was how such an event could have come about.... Drawing on ancient texts Dubs proposed that the Romans of Liqian were legionnaires who had been swapped as prisoners of war or mercenaries from empire to empire until they finally wound up in China -- more than 6400 kilometres from home.
The soldiers first set out in 53 B.C. under the command of Marcus Licinius Crassus, who rule Rome along with Julius Caesar and Pompey. The Greek biographer Plutarch records that Crassus led 42,000 men on an abortive campaign aginst Parthia. The Parthians wiped out half of the Romans at the Battle of Carrhae, near the border of modern Turkey and Syria. Ten thousand Roman troops were taken prisoner, a portion of whom were moved to Central Asia to help Parthia guard its eastern frontier, according to the historian Pliny.
Then they disappeared from Western history....

September 22, 2000

Public Litanies

From: Jim

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I know there are only a few litanies approved for public use out of the many litanies written. What is the complete list of those currently approved?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

As approved by the Holy See for use in the public liturgy, they are:

These will be most conveniently found in the Appendix to the Breviarium Romanum.

Novus Ordo Desperate for Vocations

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I'm sure you've read reports of the latest Eucharistic Conference in Denver this past weekend. Bishop Sean O'Malley from Fall River, MA, delivered a speech wherein he insisted that when the Eucharist again becomes the center of Catholic life, "vocations will increase, and the identity crises of priests will disappear." While this is a nice message, but I only wish that he would take some overt steps to carry that through.

A full restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass would be one step toward that end. One would at least expect a slight movement towards implementing a liturgy which is closer to tradition, but he won't even go that far. It's interesting to note that there is not one indult Mass in O'Malley's diocese. Enough talk: it's time for action if he wants his words to mean anything.

Of course, as you have pointed out all along, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger loves to talk of a return to tradition but never does anything about it. O'Malley's speech should have gone something like this, "Because a return of the Eucharist to the center of Catholic life is so important, I'm decreeing today that every priest offer the Traditional Latin Mass in order to restore the sense of majesty, mystery and awe to the Eucharist."

I'm not holding my breath....

How to Respond to Novus Ordo Activists?

From: Sopenczek (Australia)

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have sent information on traditional Catholicism to several friends of mine. No matter what documentation I tell them about or show them, they continue to believe in the New Order. What should I do? Father, I am hurt by this. You have showed me so much proof, and I thank you so much.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

You need to at this point to display the moral virtue of fortitude, or courage. If I may say, you are far too worried about what other people are think. As St. Augustine said: "Wrong is wrong even if everybody is doing it, and right is right even if nobody is doing it."

You have done your best to present the case for the true Faith to your friends. That you have done as an act of charity. Your obligation to them is now ended, except that you should remember them in your prayers, that they may return to the true Faith. In this you follow the example of St. Paul, who, when the Athenian philosophers did not listen to his words, left them never to return, but instead evangelized more fertile territories for the Faith.

St. Paul also teaches us not to wrangle with one another. Take this topic off the table with your friends and concentrate on other things. Just tell them you don't want to discuss it any further. If they insist, remove yourself from the temptation to quarrel, and tell them why you are doing so.

Remember that St. John the Baptist, and Our Lord Himself, were often "crying in the wilderness," going against the "common wisdom" of the time. Yet they were right, and the majority of the time was wrong. Join in offering up your hurt with that of Our Lord, who suffered great hostility from most men, especially the leaders of the church at the time. What they think about you is unimportant.

For you to do right, that is what is important. "For it is better doing well (if such be the will of God) to suffer than doing ill.... If you be reproached for the name of Christ, you shall be blessed: for that which is of the honour, glory and power of God, and that which is his Spirit resteth upon you" (1 Peter 3:17/DR, 4:14/DR).

September 20, 2000

The Greatest of These Is Charity

From: Fr. G.

Dear Fr. Moderator:

The Traditional Movement is made up of many groupings of devout Catholic people, each pledged to labor for the preservation of the True Mass. Is it not most unfortunate that these groupings, generally speaking, cannot find a way to work more closely together in charity and harmony? Each grouping suggests itself to be the only group at work in the preservation of the Mass. Each grouping suggests itself to be the only possessor of true Catholic experience!

For any one grouping to suggest itself to be the only existing traditional Roman Catholic grouping that is working in the intersts of Sacred Tradition is wrong and demonstrates reckless temerity. The attitude we maintain toward each other determines, indeed it demonstrates, the degree of the perfection of traditional charity. As a body of like-minded people, if ever we are to succeed in our efforts, we are -- every one of us -- going to have to work to solve this serious problem.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

You have an excellent point, which has been treated here before many times. I have said that the Traditional Movement is like trying to herd cats. Moreover, some people in the movement have their claws out to rip at anyone not part of their exclusive group. And that goes a hundredfold, as we have seen, for the Novus Ordo side of things.

I think of a woman who phoned this evening. She had the answers for everything, yet she had an understanding of nothing. She was ready to lash out at this group or that priest, including her son, who is a priest. No one met her standard. It was obvious that her spiritual life had disappeared in an obsession of ecclesiastical nitpicking, and her mind was closed to any opinion but her own.

I have known several such laypeople, and not a small number of priests, who forget that the point is not to "play Church," but to live a truly Catholic life filled with the Christian virtues. Cling to the true Faith and love the true Church, yes, but when it comes to the individual, show mercy, understanding, and kindness. We don't know where anyone else's wayfaring soul has been on its journey through this life. We should bring each soul to the Faith patiently, and with forgiveness, realizing our own failings.

Or we will be like the pompous, prideful Pharisee who, the Scriptures imply, went down to his house unjustified, that is, damned. Unfortunately, some of the leaders of the larger groups, who should be leading the movement in this way, are the worst offenders, seemingly bent on gossip, malice, and calumny to maintain their presumed "control" -- hardly attributes of any Christian organization.

On the other hand, it is a delight to see smaller groups and traditional priests of many provenances -- what I call the "sane" ones -- coming together in informal association, and in charity. This is a very good sign for the future.

September 19, 2000

Vatican Approves Prophylactics?

From: Fr. Moderator

There has been a lot of hoopla about a private, speculative article that appared in L'Osservatore Romano recently about the Vatican's allegedly "approving" the use of prophylactics [condoms].

The mainstream press is thoroughly ignorant about matters of religion, particularly in the last couple of decades. No longer are editors regularly assigned to the religion "beat." Rather, religion articles are usually written by neophytes or hacks, who are just a little notch above the obituary writers. As with all such articles, one sees a great deal of both ignorance and bias, not to speak of a desire to titilate and inflame. What errors are we hearing tossed about?

In fact, Roman theologians seem to be surprised at all the hoopla, thinking that the press has simply inflamed the topic with wild, unsubstantiated interpretations.

How to Incense

From: Rudy

Dear Fr. Moderator:

In his instructions for the Missa Cantata, Fr. Fortescue says that the Master of Ceremonies should say "Benedicite, Pater Reverende" when handing the incense to the celebrant. Do you know why the imperative plural ("Benedicite") is used with the vocative singular ("Pater Reverende")? The way the Latin appears, "Benedicite" means "bless" addressed to several people. "Pater Reverende" means "Reverend Father" addressed to one person.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

"Benedicite" here is described as a "frozen" form, which has lost its plural force from constancy of use as a greeting or address in mediaeval Latin. Another explanation is that the form may be a "polite" plural for the singular, such as some of the Romance Languages have. Even for mediaeval Latin, however, I think that the latter explanation is unlikely. One might make an analogy with the looseness of the use of the plural pronoun for the singular in late modern English, e.g., Will everyone please take their (as opposed to "his") seat.

Fasting Exception

From: Karen

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Allow me to first say I am not looking for a way out of fasting. That said, I am expecting a baby and find it nearly impossible to adhere to some of the fasting rules. I don't want pregnancy to be considered a "sickness" for fasting rules, but fasting makes me sick!

Fr. Moderator Replies.

There are provisions for mitigation for health or or other serious reasons. As in all such matters, you should approach your confessor. For serious reason, the confessor may mitigate the fast and substitute another penance for it.

September 18, 2000

Where Is the Charity?

From: Fr. Moderator

In reading the Epistle (Galatians 5:16-24) for today, the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, I was against stuck with the applicability of St. Paul's advice to the Traditional Movement. I had long ago predicted that as we continue to grow, that there would be increasing intramural squabbles. Sometimes one would think that the enemy is not the non-Catholic New Order, but fellow traditional Catholics!

"My rubrics are better than yours." "My orders are better than yours." "My organization is better than yours." How childish to issue attacks on the basis of such pettiness, while the New Order, though faltering, continues to lead many Catholics astry from anything recognizable as the traditional Roman Catholicism of twenty centuries.

Every traditional Catholic and organization should meditate intently upon St. Paul's advice to us today. As I have said before, the New Order will not do us in; it cannot if Christ's promise to the Church means anything. What will do us in is our own pettiness and lack of charity toward one another. That doesn't mean that we have to agree on every point -- just the important ones! -- but we can at least treat one another with respect.

St. Paul chastises the Christian community for "enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies" -- didn't he hit that on the head! Instead, he urges us to enjoy the fruits of the Holy Ghost: "charity, joy peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness."

That advice from the great Apostle deserves our prayerful meditation today, not just a "quick read."

September 17, 2000


From: Pauline

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I would like to know if the Church still approves of self-mortification and why.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Self-mortification has been a recommended practice from the inception of the Christian Church. In this, we follow Our Lord, His Apostles, and the Holy Martyrs and Saints throughout the centuries. It is frequently mentioned in Sacred Scripture.

By mortification, we learn not to be slaves to the body, but to focus on higher things. Such practices include fasting on the days appointed, regular Friday abstinence from meat, and voluntary denial of good or indifferent things for penitence' sake during a penitential season.

Such voluntary mortification should not interfere with one's state of life and the duties thereof, but should be undertaken only in a reasonable balance with one's prayer life and almsworks.

The New Order Bulldozes On

From: The Boston Globe

September 16, 2000, CAMBRIDGE, MASS (Boston Globe). It seems that few people have been paying much attention to the 1969 [Novus Ordo] revision of the wedding rite, a change that followed the Second Vatican Council. The reason? Few people who are engaged are willing to break with tradition on the all-important day by taking their vows in a new, comparatively untested ceremony.

Surprising as it is, many Catholics have never seen a wedding according to the revised rite. With no example to guide them, many Catholics continue to get married in the more traditional, somber ceremonies that borrow from weddings of the Middle Ages, when marriages sealed alliances, and brides and grooms didn't see each other before they were hitched. The revised ceremony is distinctly modern....

[There is] resistance to the new ceremony;... many of them did not initially agree with the changes.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

We have here the frequent case of a supposedly objective secular newspaper becoming a biased cheerleader for that New Order (most of which has been stripped out above). Notice the references to the "Middle Ages," as if to imply that there is something wrong with that period, which saw the height of Roman Catholicism in theology, music, art, architecture, and so many other areas.

But the most important thing is the light that is once again shed into the perverse corners of the New Order. We have noticed how most of what is most sacred to us has been perverted in the New Order -- the Mass, the Sacraments, even the Faith itself.

In civil society, there are typically three stages of life that are steeped, for very good reason, in tradition: birth, marriage, and death. We have seen the Novus Ordo change Baptism into a childish initiation ceremony, lacking the solemnity and purpose of the traditional Baptismal rite. We have seen funerals turned into white-clothed canonization ceremonies, at which those who have lived their lives unabashedly as unrepentant public sinners are apotheosized.

Now, it seems, people have not accepted the New Order marriage service -- with good reason. Even the Washington Post (April 20, 1997) had to admit the travesty that marriage has become under the New Order:

Half of all Catholic marriages end in divorce, the same as the general population. American Church annulment mills approve 83% of applications and reject 2%, while 15% of applicants drop out of the tribunal "process" at some time. Ninety percent of divorced Catholics don't bother going through the annulment process at all. In 1994 the American Church granted 54,463 annulments of a worldwide total of 72,744 granted by the Church. Before 1910, there were probably only 100 annulments anywhere in the world granted by the Church, and in 1968, before the current liberalization norms, there were 450 worldwide.

So, what is the New Order's solution? More annulments and a New Order marriage rite.

We've seen all this before, and no sane person can call it "Roman Catholic," in any traditional sense of that term.

September 14, 2000

Those "Extra" Books of the Bible

From: Amanda

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Why are there books in the Catholic Bible and not in the Protestant Bible? How exactly did the Catholic Church pick those up when no one else did? And why did they add them?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I think that you have the question backwards! It should be: why did Luther and the Protestant Churches eliminate the books of the Bible that had been accepted for a millenium and a half up to Luther's revolution? The short answer is that Luther found in them doctrine that he did not agree with, yet at that he still recommended them to be read, as did the King James translators, who translated them.

These books Our Lord certainly knew, since they were in the version of the Bible that He quoted from. For further information see Why Do Christians Have Different Bibles? in the Library of Files.

September 12, 2000

Fr. Gruner Sues for Personal Attacks against His Priesthood

Fr. Moderator Comments.

It seems that there are some pretty nasty people around these days, who think that they can with impunity challenge a priest's "validity" or call him a "schismatic" or "heretic." It seems that traditional priests are especially subject to such attacks by Novus Ordo radicals, who maliciously try to undermine their character. I personally don't pay any attention such inanities, as I have always found such information riddled with inaccuracies, disinformation, and even outright lies, while the objects of the attacks are invariably good, decent priests who are trying to the best of their abilities to bring souls to the Lord and the Roman Catholic Church.

Therefore, it is wonderful to see such a courageous priest as Fr. Gruner take on this nonsense for all of us. You see, to challenge someone's qualifications as a clergyman can very easily become an act of libel and slander and is very definitely actionable at law. Some very high punitive judgments have been rendered in such cases against those who would maliciously attempt to defame priests.

The dogs have been hounding poor Fr. Gruner for years now. Why? Because he has bucked the Vatican political establishment and has done everything he can to promote the traditional cause and devotion to Our Lady. Quite a sin, right? For which the penalty is threatened "excommunication" by a post-conciliar Vatican out of control that seems Hell-bent on making decisions by politics rather than by time-honored Roman justice.

Well, our hat's off to Fr. Gruner. I trust that his courageous actions will show these people up for what they are -- spokesmen for a New Order that is bound and determined to put across their programme by force rather than by reason. It seems that even the pope himself, who has now had over twenty years to reflect on the confusion and error caused by implementation of New Order policies, is now, finally, in his last days -- just like Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI -- beginning to turn against the New Order.

Not just traditional priests independent of the diocesan structure suffer these attacks, but even the "indult" societies, who retain their connection to the diocesan apparatus to maintain a tenuous Novus Ordo "approval," are getting knocked in the head. The new district director of one of these "indult" societies recently wrote: "the amount of unreliable information out there is immense, too much for us to try and [sic] correct, and often impossible to do so when we try."

Interestingly, that society is involved in spreading calumnies against other traditional priests not within its purview!

The Vatican used the same ploy used against Abp. Lefebvre and miserably failed in its effort to suppress his work, which goes on and grows year by year. Why did the Vatican not "excommunicate" the Chinese bishop who did the same thing that Abp. Lefebvre was accused of doing? Politics, not justice. Why was the modernist theologian Hans Kung never excommunicated? Politics, not justice.

It appears that the Novus Ordo apparatus can tolerate paederasty, but it cannot tolerate a priest who stands up for Tradition and Our Lady. (Note too that the Cardinal Hoyos mentioned in the press release is the same individual who is now embroiled in controversy against the "Ecclesia Dei Indult.")

Well, we have Our Lord's promise about these things, which every priest is reminded of at every Holy Mass he celebrates. After he has consumed the Sacred Host, he genuflects and repeats, after the psalm:

Laudans invocabo Dominum, et ab inimicis salvus ero
[In praise I shall call upon the Lord, and I shall be safe from my enemies.]

Let that be our prayer for all those courageous priests who stand up for our holy Roman Catholic Faith, our Holy Mass and Sacraments, for Sacred Tradition, and for Our Lady, Queen of Heaven.

AUGUST 4, 2000 - FORT ERIE, ONTARIO: In an unprecedented move, the Vatican is forcing a Canadian Catholic priest to drop his libel suit against another cleric by illicitly threatening him with the rare and extraordinary punishment of excommunication.

Father Nicholas Gruner, who heads the Fort Erie-based Fatima Center, has offered to withdraw his libel action against Monsignor Alan McCormack, now based in Cardinal Ratzinger's Congregation in Rome, provided the unwarranted threat of excommunication is withdrawn together with certain guarantees.

Coralie Graham, a Director of the apostolate headed by Father Gruner was incredulous: "I am speechless at this abuse of authority. Excommunication is for heretics and abortionists. This is a clear cut abuse of Church authority in order to engage in a coverup. But what is a person to do when politicians so close to the Pope are the ones pulling the puppet strings?"

Father Gruner's civil suit seeks a retraction of public statements made in 1990 by Msgr. McCormack, then an official of the Archdiocese of Toronto, challenging Father Gruner's status as a Catholic priest.

Excommunication, which formally severs all connections between an individual and the Catholic Church, is a punishment normally applied only to persons guilty of grave moral or theological offenses, such as the persistent preaching of heresy.

Since this penalty effectively terminates a priest's career, it is very rarely used. Hundreds of priests convicted in civil courts of serious sexual and financial crimes in recent decades have been spared this punishment, as have prominent theologians, such as Hans Kung, whose published views are notoriously contrary to Catholic teaching.

Father Gruner has never been officially accused of any such offenses. In fact, Father Gruner has never been canonically accused of any offense whatsoever against the Catholic Faith, Catholic morals, or Canon Law.

The excommunication threat was made in a letter (dated June 5, 2000, and delivered by two messengers to Fort Erie on June 21) from Dario Cardinal Hoyos, who heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy in Rome. Catholic moral theology and Canon Law allows Father Gruner to sue in civil court for libel if other avenues of defending his good name are exhausted.

In any case, Canon Law does not provide for the penalty of excommunication for such a civil suit. Nevertheless, according to a Vatican official, the letter bluntly warned Father Gruner that failure to withdraw his libel suit "would provoke additional canonical procedures against him, up to and including the penalty of excommunication." Since Father Gruner was attacked in print a decade ago by Monsignor McCormack, Father Gruner has made several unsuccessful attempts to reach an out-of-court settlement. The Toronto Archdiocese's only response was an attempt to have the suit dismissed, claiming that the Church's internal court was a more appropriate forum for resolving the matter.

In view of the excommunication threat, Father Gruner has now requested a meeting and direct negotiations with Vatican officials, including Hoyos.At the same time, Father Gruner requested an adjournment of the libel trial in order to accommodate the requested meetings at the Vatican, which may take many weeks to arrange.

Earlier this year, Justice Gloria Epstein of the Ontario Superior Court ruled that the case "can and should be resolved in this court," since the Church's internal dispute resolution process does not provide for the awarding of damages, and lacks a mechanism for enforcing such awards.

Father Gruner's organization publishes a quarterly magazine, "The Fatima Crusader", with over one million readers in Canada and the United States. It promotes traditional Catholic teachings and devotions, and has attracted strong opposition from skeptics in the Vatican bureaucracy.

Notably, the same Cardinal Ratzinger, (whose Vatican office employs McCormack), mentioned Father Gruner by name in his press conference of June 26 regarding the Third Secret, and suggested that Father Gruner was in a state of anxiety. "It must be because Cardinal Ratzinger knew of Cardinal Hoyos' threat of excommunication. I am not now suffering, nor was I suffering on June 26, from any state of anxiety. The excommunication threat has no basis in Church law and my mind is at peace. I don't know what else Cardinal Ratzinger could be referring to. His choice of the word 'anxiety' is surely no coincidence," said Father Gruner.

September 11, 2000

Early Liturgy -- or Not?

From: More

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I came across a description of 2nd century Mass by St. Justin that spoke of a "presider" and the "kiss" of peace and other interesting things that were more like the Novus Ordo than the Traditional Latin Mass, suggesting that the Novus Ordo is more ancient. Can you comment?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

St. Justin wrote in Greek, not English, so he certainly didn't use the word "presider." To understand such a statement, I would have to see the original Greek in its full context. By the way, did it ever occur to you that the English translation may have been made by a Novus Ordinarian who wanted to make the traditions of the Church sound like the Novus Ordo?

There was certainly a Pax in the early rite. It is preserved in the Traditional Latin Mass in its solemn form. However, it is exchanged reverently in a stylized way through the clergy, not in the Novus Ordo way, where laypeople jump over the pews to gladhand everyone.

The Fish Emblem

From: Tim

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What is the "fish emblem" with a vacant cross in it? Is the explanation of it being a sign from early Christianity to identify each other correct, and do the Greek letters for fish actually signify Jesus, Christ, God's, Son, Savior?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The fish symbol is found in early Christianity in the catacombs. It was a kind of secret moniker during the persecutions. The first letters of the word "fish" in Greek (ICHTHUS) were used to stand for Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter, that is, Jesus Christ Son of God Savior. That having been said, it seems to be associated nowadays more with fundamentalist Protestant denominations.

September 10, 2000

News Reports on Pope Pius IX, Indifferentism & Scripture

VATICAN CITY, September 5, 2000 (AP) -- Pope John Paul II defended his newly beatified predecessor Monday, describing Pope Pius IX as a misunderstood man who "never failed to be indulgent toward his enemies."

The noble-born, 19th-century Pius took delight in preaching "as a simple priest" and going about to "meet the people on the streets of Rome," John Paul told pilgrims who lingered in Rome after Sunday's beatifications....

Pope John Paul's remarks on Pius' beatification Sunday stressed his predecessor's service to the faith during a difficult and often violent time of growing nationalism and anti-clericalism.

He spoke Monday of Pius' indulgence in the face of "attacks and slander."

VATICAN CITY, September 9, 2000 (AP) -- The Vatican said it issued the latest document [Dominus Iesus] regarding religious pluralism because of the spread of "religious relativism" that it said was endangering the church's missionary message.

Describing the Roman Catholic Church as the guiding light for spiritual salvation for all humanity, the document said:

"This truth of faith does not lessen the sincere respect that the church has for the religions of the world, but at the same time it rules out, in a radical way, that mentality of indifference (that) leads to the belief that `one religion is as good as another."'

A top Vatican missionary official, Archbishop Marcello Zago, told the Vatican's missionary news service Fides that the declaration was needed because some theologians "especially in certain sectors of Asia" had cast doubt on evangelization and the seeking of converts from other religions.

But the document also reiterated the church's position that other Christian denominations "derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Roman Catholic Church."

Leaders of other denominations were unhappy.

"The idea that Anglican and other churches are not `proper churches' seems to question the considerable ecumenical gains we have made," said the Anglican leader, Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey.

US NEWS & WORLD REPORT, September 11, 2000 -- "We're not suggesting that Scripture be rewritten," says the Rev. Laurence Ryan, bishop of Kildare and Leighlin and head of one of the commissions. "If you read the entire Ephesians passage, for example, you see that there is a balance, that there is a mutual submission." But, Ryan says, "people tend to focus on the sentence about submission of wives to husbands," forgetting that the passage "reflects a different time and culture." Indeed, so problematic are the texts that the bishops said they "would be better omitted from the new lectionary" - the church's official listing of biblical readings used in worship services throughout the year. The Vatican is currently in the process of revising the Lectionary.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

All the controversy surrounding these pronouncements would not have occured had the Vatican stood strongly with the Faith from the beginning. In this papacy, it has often seemed as though the Vatican is playing games with everyone. Issue a liberal pronouncement, and let the conservatives criticize it. The next time issue a conservative pronouncement, and let the liberals criticize it.

Taking a cue from the vintage television program, "To Tell the Truth," one is often led to ask: "Will the real pope please stand up?" Communion in the hand off -- then on. Altar girls off -- then on. Sacred music on -- then off. Religious indifferentism on -- then off.

One longs again for the precedence of Thomistic theology, where the answers were clear and permanent. Instead, it seems that this pope's phenomenology leads him to take mutually contradictory positions. Any confusion on the part of the other churches is due to his "ecumenism" one day, then Roman Catholicism the next.

One thinks of the emperor's complaint against Mozart's opera's: "too many words." It seems that this pope, who has probably issued more words than any of his precedessors, has left more confusion in their wake. Does the world understand Catholicism better now under John Paul II and his wordy phenomenology, or under Pius XII and his to-the-point Thomism? Traditional Catholics cannot but answer the latter and hope for the return of clear Catholic theological pronouncements in the Church.

And where does all of this lead? To the third article. The Novus Ordo apparatus has become so politically correct that it feels that it has the authority to change even Sacred Scripture. We hear a lot about the Ten Commandments today. Apparently, the Novus Ordo has forgotten the First: "I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me." And the Novus Ordo has some mighty strange gods indeed!

The Blind Now See

From: Ray

Dear Fr. Moderator:

For years, I have been unhappy with the various parishes to which I have belonged and have been unable to find one where I feel at home. Ironically, I coverted to Catholicism because I believe in transubstantiation and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

To my disappointment, I discovered that many Catholics are more "Protestant" than I used to be as an Episcopalian. I am newly discovering why I am so unhappy with the Church and the many traditional articles which I have been reading here are of great importance to me. I was blind to what Vatican II had done to the liturgy.

The two Traditional Masses in our area are distant and offer only weekday masses. Sunday Masses were prohibited because people were using these non-parishes (convents, etc.) as their regular place of worship.

I would like to know your opinion and could use some guidance, as I feel very confused! Thank you and God Bless.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

That is a difficult situation, but even one Traditional Latin Mass a month is better than nothing. Meanwhile, look on the TRADITIO Internet Site for the Frequently Asked Questions in the TRADITIO Library of Files. There is a lot of practical information and recommendations there.

What Would Happen to the Mass?

From: Mike

Dear Fr. Moderator:

An "indult" priest was talking about the laity's dislike for the Traditional Latin Mass, for the most part, and said that if the Mass were to go back to the traditional rite, most people would rebel. In a world ravaged by sensibilities and hedonism, who would want a contemplative Mass that lifts up the soul instead of dragging our bodies through emotional thrills?

I was reading your comments today, and you stated that many Novus Ordo presbyters have no knowledge of Latin and chant. While I agree with you, I also want to state that they do not want to learn either. I was talking with a presbyter in his 70's, and when I brought up Gregorian chant and the Traditional Latin Mass and asked whether he missed it, he responded with, "Well people didn't know what they were saying. It wasn't good for anybody."

This brings me up to my second comment, namely antiquarianism. Now Thomistic/Aristotlian philosophy states virtue and perfection as a means between extremes. Some people use this for the present state of the Church. Some of these so called experts of virtue and sanctity say that the Church has not fell into conversativism or liberalism, but rather has kept the mean of between the two extremes and consequently the Church is right where God wants it.

Now after hearing this statement time and time again ("The Pope isn't too extreme, but he is balanced"), I have to laugh. What made the supposed extremes change? Wasn't liberalism and the falling back into a severe conservativism of antiquity changed what the extremes are? While the so-called true conservatives of the Novus Ordo see themselves as "in the middle," they are actually the ones who say "that is what they did in the early Church" forgetting the words of Pius XII in the Encyclical Letter Mediator Dei of 1947. They are the ones who, without realizing the contradiction, are falling into "a severe conservativism."

Fr. Moderator Replies.

With attitudes like the ones of those Novus Ordo presbyters on the Mass, is it any wonder that the Novus Ordo is dropping like the millstone into the sea and that more and more are leaving it for the traditional Roman Catholic Faith?

As usual, these Novus Ordo spokesman conceal the truth of affairs. The polls indicate that if the Traditional Latin Mass were universal again, only about 15% would not attend it. Most of those, I suspect, would in fact attend it, if it were the only Mass again.

I also have a higher opinion of human nature than you. If you give people pig slop to eat, they will soon act like pigs. If you offer them the most beautiful thing this side of heaven, with the world's most excellent language, the world's best music, and a complete connection with Catholicity and Apostolicity, all but a few will be elevated to the high plain again.

As to your second comment, as Pope Pius XII defined it, the error of "antiquarianism" is what the Novus Ordo worship service partakes of. How do we know? Because Pius gave specific examples of such changes (use of vulgar tongues in the Sacred Liturgy, rejection of black vestments for funeral Masses, the altar turned into a common table, etc.). From prophecy in 1947 to reality in 1962.

By the way, there can be no philosophical "middle road" when truth and error are concerned. The Mass is either the True Mass or it is not. Even in the moral plane, can one be "middlingly" adulterous? The notion about compromise of truth and error is not Thomistic/Aristotelian, but rather liberal/subjectivist/phenomenalistic.

September 8, 2000

In Search of Tradition

From: Tom

Dear Fr. Moderator:

As I would like to become a good thinker, I am despairing of finding a graduate program that isn't going to drag me through nonsense. I'm studying Roman Catholic theology -- a fine tradition that is currently falling on hard times after a brief revival -- but find most of the big theology schools aren't at all interested in tradition, only ideology.

I long for the education my older professors got (the old priests, that is) -- a good liberal arts seminary education, an incredibly broad graduate education in language, history, philosophy and theology. Unfortunately, I don't think it exists anymore -- creating an updated version would be a worthwhile challenge -- and I sure don't want a doctorate in the "latest thing," which will surely be worthless in a year. One can take only so much play with language -- cleverness can really only go so far. Truly accurate analysis requires piles of knowledge, and most of what I've read is a lot of nothing.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

You make a good point. "Catholic" seminaries and colleges are a shadow, if that, of their former selves. I think that your point about ideology over tradition and solid knowledge is well taken.

It is no wonder that Novus Ordo presbyters are so intellectually empty and sit on the sidelines at Sunday worship service, watching the parade go by. What can one expect: they have not received a sound classical education; few of them know any Latin at all, so is it any wonder that they can't read the traditional theology of the Church? Few of them have been exposed to the chant, so is it any wonder that what passes for church music in the New Order is little more than popular children's ditties?

My long-standing recommendation stands. Find a college or university where the Classics are taught. Get a solid foundation in the classical languages and literature, then the vernacular literatures that are derived from them.

Learn mathematics; learn solid science -- physics, chemistry, biology. You will need these to understand the world about you, and they were developed through the Catholic Church. Expose yourself to a good helping of serious music, from the chant through mediaeval, renaissance, baroque, and classical. Learn some of the great art of the western world.

Study western philosophy, particularly the classical schools of Plato and Aristotle, followed by the Catholic Scholastics of the Middle Ages. And, very important, study history: Greece, Rome, mediaeval, and modern.

Interestingly, these are what the Catholic Church has always recommended. It is as mind-broadening now as it has been in the past. With this solid foundation you have the tools by which to understand and analyze anything that will come in the future, whereas those who study the passing fad will be left with nothing after the fad passes.

What is One to Do about Those Bishops?

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have given up any hope in the diocesan bishops, who seem to have abandoned the true Catholic Faith. How should I approach this frustrating situation?

Sacred Scripture is our teacher here. Perhaps you have forgotten what the first "collegial" act of the disciple-bishops was -- abandonment of the Lord:

Then all the disciples, all leaving him, fled. (Matthew 26:56/DR)

Where was Peter, His hand-picked leader? He was denying him, not once or twice, but three times -- under oath.

Moreover, St. Paul, just a few years after Christ's Ascension, predicts the future perversion of the episcopal ranks:

I know that after my departure ravening wolves will get in among you, not sparing the flock. And of your own selves men shall arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. {Acts 20:29-30/DR)

And again:

From which things some [bishops], going astray, are turned unto vain babbling: Desiring to be teachers of the law: understanding neither the things they say, nor whereof they affirm. {1 Timothy 1:6-7/DR)

And yet again:

For there are also many disobedient [bishops], vain talkers and seducers.... Who must be reproved, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.... Wherefore, rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.... {Titus 1: 10-11, 13/DR)

Could St. Paul's prophecy and advice be any more relevant to our own time?

But limitless is the mercy of God! What do we do when we cannot trust our bishops to remain obedient to the Faith? God has given us a "backup crew"! St. Ambrose, the Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church, writes in his Homily on chapter 2 of St. Luke's Gospel the wondrous words:

Quia non solum episcopos ad tuendum gregem dominus ordinavit, sed etiam Angelos destinavit.
[Because the Lord ordained not only the bishops for safeguarding the flock, but also appointed the Angels.]

Thus, having been failed by the earthly bishops, the Church is given the Holy Angels as its protector, and we know who the Prince of that Heavenly Host is, none other than St. Michael the Archangel.

Indeed, the Lord is merciful and provident. We need never dispair. He has sent to our aid the Heavenly Host. What more could one ask?

September 7, 2000

"Indult" Trouble Ahead

From: Frederick

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I just came upon some official information that in fact confirms the worst possible suspicions regarding the motives of the Ecclesia Dei "Indult" Mass.

To summarize:

Personally, I must tell you that I feel beyond shocked. These things are no longer mere conjecture; they are official acts. However, at this time, they are still not widely known and are rarely applied.

But we now know very well how the Novus Ordo apparatus operates. I suspect that at some point pressure will be brought to bear to enforce uniformly these mandates on all "Indult" Masses. You can bet that it is only the beginning of a programme to replace all Traditional Indult Masses with the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin, or probably only partially in Latin.

Perhaps we can already see this programme at work in a certain "Indult" society that no longer follows even the 1962 Missal, but now has a "hybrid Mass" in which -- guess what? -- they eliminate the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, add the Novus Ordo "General Intercessions", and eliminate the Last Gospel. Surprise, surprise! And for kicks, they also say the Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular. A coincidence? I think not.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I think that you have summarized the facts properly. I had already known of these "mandates" to change the Mass of 1962. The truth about the "Indult" is gradually coming out. And to be fair to the Novus Ordo apparatus, it has always been aboveboard about wanting to suppress the Traditional Latin Mass. The problem has been that certain organizations associated with promotion of the "Indult" have foolishly overlooked, or even cleverly concealed, the official statements.

What is going on is clear.

The handwriting has been on the wall since the beginning of the "indult," but all too many have chosen to blind themselves to the reality. The "indult," in the words of the pope himself, was not given to promote the true Mass of the Roman Rite, the Traditional Latin Mass, but to undermine the movement of Abp. Lefebvre.

Since that has not happened in twelve years, the Vatican has decided to pull the plug -- in the gradual Vatican way that we already know so well by the deceitful implementation of the Novus Ordo, done so gradually that few people really realized what was going on. First, it was the vernacular, then communion in the hand, then altar girls. Before we knew it, in the 1990s the Vatican was approving the Hula Mass, the Spear Mass, the Nude Mass, and all the other aberrations we have come to know so well over the last thirty years.

If the Vatican had rolled out, all at once, the Novus Ordo worship service, complete with the vulgar tongues, communion in the hand, altar girls, rock music, profane instruments, hand-holding, turned-around tables, tabernacles consigned to a closet, statues removed, crucifixes demoted to Protestant crosses, and all the rest, do you think that the Catholic people as a whole would have regarded it as Catholic, no matter what the pope said?

September 5, 2000

What Does "Tridentine" Mean?

From: Julia

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What exactly does the word "Tridentine" mean or refer to? I know that a trident is a three-pronged spear, but if this meaning has any relation, what is it?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

"Trident," coming from the Latin words for "three teeth" has no relation to the word "Tridentine." The latter comes from the Latin word for the city in which the Council of Trent was held: Tridentum." The adjective from that is "Tridentinus," from which we get the English "Tridentine."

The word "Tridentine" usually comes up now in the phrase the "Tridentine" Mass, an incorrect appellation used by some to refer to the Traditional Latin Mass, sometimes with the implication that it was devised by the Council of Trent.

That, of course, is incorrect. The Traditional Latin Mass comes to us ultimately from Sts. Peter and Paul in Rome and was canonized by Pope St. Pius V shortly after the Council of Trent in the 16th century. For further information see The Traditional Roman Catholic Latin Mass in the Library of Files.

A Puzzling Beatification

From: Jericot

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I seem to be very confused when our present Holy Father beautifies two past popes {John XXIII and Pius IX), especially when one seems to contradict the other on matters concerning the Church. I thought that when a person is declared a Saint, it is an infallible teaching. Could you please help me on this one?

First of all, these popes are not being canonized (declared Saints of the Church), only beatified (called blessed). Secondly, many theologians, including the Church's primary theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas, holds that canonization is not unquestionably an infallible act. For further information see How Do You Explain These Traditional Catholic Beliefs? in the Library of Files.

No pope has the authority to contradict the Deposit of Faith, that is, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Thus, there can be no contradiction on essential matters of the Faith. Pope John XXIII is frequently mischaracterized by the secular press and certain Novus Ordo Catholics as a rampant modernist, whereas, as far as the Mass is concerned, he was opposed to vernacularizing the Sacred Liturgy and did not approve a single document of Vatican II.

The Godly Origin of Words

From: Clark

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Madeleine Murray O'Hare, eat your heart out!

September 3, 2000

St. Robert Bellarmine

From: Tom

Dear Fr. Moderator:

May 13th is a date that I, like so many others, missed the significance of. St. Bellarmine had more to say about our relationship with the Holy Roman Pontiffs than anyone else in the Church. St. Bellarmine is a Doctor of the Catholic Church.

He seemed to foresee the dysfunctionality that would one day infiltrate the hierarchy of Holy Mother Church and how the flock would be scattered. One theme is repeated throughout his writings, and that is the recitation of the Most Holy Rosary. It is a theme that would be solidified at Fatima.

Our Lady, The Queen of Peace, appeared to the three children at Cova de Ira in Fatima, Portugal on that day, May 13, 1917. She urged prayer and reparations, or else Russia would spread her errors far and wide, all over the world. The Bolshevik Revolution followed in the fall season of that year.

St. Robert Bellarmine taught us to resist wayward prelates. We are to be obedient to Christ above all people first. We are to unite with the Vicar of Christ as long as he unites himself with Our Lord, and not with this world. If a pope were to stray personally, we are obligated to rebuke him, if possible. This command falls under that of Christian charity. We correct the sinner in his public acts, even if he be pope. Also, in the terrible case of the pope straying personally -- which has happened all too frequently in the history of the Church -- he can lead astray hundreds, thousands, now up to a billion of the faithful.

The pope, above all things, is a human being with all of the same inclinations toward sin as we have. His cross, it can be presumed, is much heavier than any we would carry through our lives. Yet the standard that Christ sets for His vicar is very high indeed, and we have a right to expect Christ's standard to be maintained. That is probably why only two popes in the last 700 years have achieved sainthood. "To whom much is given, much is expected," says Our Lord.

"Pray for the Holy Father. He has much to suffer." Many of us, myself included, have spent far too much time in criticism of the Holy Father. We pray that Our Lord will understand our dilemma!

For those of us on the outside of the existential Church, pray! "You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go because there is no one to pray for them," Our Lady told the children of Fatima. Let us turn our souls to Our Lady and implore her to turn the pope around. If the Holy Father reverses course, as a result of our prayers and God's graces, a miracle will truly be at hand. Remember. If the Holy Father returns to Sacred Traditions, with no ambiguity or compromise, he will bring this divided church along with him back to unity in the traditional Roman Catholic Faith.

Pray for the pope. Time is short. The enemies of the Church are in sway. Only Mary, the Immaculate, the Lady of the Rosary, can help us now. May she crush the serpent's head with her tender heel.

O Maria, sine labe concepta, ora pro nobis qui ad te confugimus.
[Mary, O Mother of God, pray for us who have recourse to thee.]

How Old is Your Church?

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