December 2000

December 29, 2000: St. Thomas of Canterbury

What Would Happen?

From: Steven

Dear Fr. Moderator:

If the Novus Ordo apparatus were to actually reinstate the Traditional Latin Mass as the official liturgy, what do you think would be the result? Do you think that people would be drawn into the Church or drawn out? Do you think that a rise in vocations to the priesthood would result? I'm especially interested in how you think teens would react.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

According to the American bishops' poll (which, for obvious reasons, they don't publicize), one-third, or 20,000,000 Catholics, walked out when the New Order was originally imposed ca. 1970. According to a 1990 Gallup poll, 77% of the remainder (46,200,000 Catholics) wanted to attend the Traditional Latin Mass (which statistic the American bishops don't publicize either). Only 23% (13,800,000) were basically committed to the New Order.

As far as vocations are concerned, the Church's own statistics show that seminary entries have fallen 80% since the Novus Ordo was imposed in 1970. On the other hand, traditional seminaries can't accommodate the number of applicants received.

Since the Novus Ordo (1970) I have seen a change in the complexion of traditional congregations. Whereas in the 1970s and the early 1980s, the core of those congregations were middle-aged and older people, but in the late 1980s, the congregations started getting much younger. One now sees many families with young children and a number of teenagers, who eschew the silliness of the New Order and find honesty and solidity in the traditional faith of 2,000 years.

December 28, 2000: Holy Innocents

How Christ Said the First Mass

From: LeRoy

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Joe asked where Christ's promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church fits into all of the Traditional Latin Mass vs. the Novus Ordo issue. Christ's true church, faith, and doctrine are upheld in the Traditional Latin Mass; it is not so of the Novus Ordo. The Novus Ordo is a new faith with new doctrine and new beliefs. Christ's promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church did not necessarily mean the church buildings. It meant the Faith that He left us, which is contained significantly in the Traditional Latin Mass and which is observed by the people who attend those Masses.

As to whether the Last Supper was more like the Traditional Latin Mass or the Novus Ordo, the Last Supper was more like the Traditional Latin Mass. Joe, like most people, probably thinks that all there was to the Last Supper was Christ and the Apostles sitting around a table eating supper. Not so! It was the Jewish Passover Supper. Christ had a certain ceremony that He had to perform. Much of that ceremony is enshrined in the Traditional Latin High Mass, which is observed in traditional Catholic churches. To prove this fact, there is a book entitled How Christ Said the First Mass: The Rites and Ceremonies, the Ritual and Liturgy, the Forms of Divine Worship Christ Observed when He Changed the Passover into the Mass, by Fr. James L. Meagher, available from Tan Books & Publishers. Fr. Meagher did in-depth research as to what took place at the Last Supper.

December 27, 2000: St. John the Apostle

Holyday? -- Of Course!

From: Phil

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I'm confused about the Feast of the Circumcision. We were told by an "indult" organization that it was being celebrated this year on Sunday, in the United States. I'm sorry, I could not understand his reason because he had a long drawn-out explanation. Would you please clarify this for me?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I don't wonder that you wree confused. I'm afraid that this is just another instance of the "indult" situation departing from traditional Roman Catholic practice. I suppose that such groups would argue that they are "only following the local bishop," but that argument is what got us into the situation of practically losing the perpetually-approved Mass of our Faith, the Traditional Latin Mass and Sacraments!

January 1 is a traditional holyday of obligation, one of those on the calendar of the Universal Church. Before 1956, this holyday was known as the Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ, commemorating the day on which Our Lord received His name of Jesus (Savior) and His conforming to the Mosaic Law, which He fulfilled. In 1956, the holyday was called the Circumcision and Octave Day of the Nativity (which it is, the eight day after the Nativity). In 1960, the holyday was called simply the Octave Day of Christmas.

It seems to be the notion of the diocesan bishops that Catholics are too lazy to attend Mass two days in a row. I guess they've forgotten how, before they "messed up" the Church after Vatican II, some Catholics used to attend Mass even daily! Or perhaps the priests are too lazy to prepare two sermons in a row.

In any case, traditional Catholics will pay no attention to this tomfoolery, any more than they pay attention to the diocesan bishops who try to interfere with Catholics' God-given right to attend the Mass of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Traditional Latin Mass.

Let's see. Now the Novus Ordo appartus has ignored the Friday abstinence that goes back to Apostolic times. It has abandoned the Commandment to keep holy the Lord's Day, that is, biblically, Sunday, not Saturday afternoon, so that Sunday is entirely free for play. It has decided that the Body and Blood of Christ is not worthy of adoration, but must be stuck away in some corner instead of a tabernacle in the center of the altar. Now it attempts to do away with the few important holydays of the Universal Church?!

Some years ago I recall reading the comment of a Catholic entering an Anglican church in England. Indeed, the church was elegant and even traditional-looking, more so that most Novus Ordo churches today. Yet, the only words that came into the mind of this Catholic are those that are bound to come into the mind of every Catholic about the Novus Ordo, the words of the angel at the empty tomb on that Easter morning: "He is not here."

There Is a Choice

From: Robert

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Our bishop has publicly stated in his diocesan newspaper that he has directed in the diocese that at every Mass "the cup" is to be offered to the people. Now, since this is a practice of the Novus Ordo, it means that he is in effect forbidding the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. In the diocese there is not one Traditional Latin Mass site. So far as I can tell, there is no priest in the diocese who is willing to celebrate a Traditional Mass.

The diocesan seminary has quite a few Protestants on the faculty, and they are teaching the Hellwig/Brennan type "theology" and nothing but Novus Ordo liturgy. At our parish school the children are told when preparing for First Holy Communion that they are to receive the Host (which they refer to as "the bread") in their hands. In other words, in this area, the Novus Ordo is in complete control. God help us all!

Fr. Moderator Replies.

This is the unfortunate price that is paid when the Traditional Latin Mass and Sacraments become "hostage" to diocesan bishops, who have lost their sense of the true Faith, who prefer to act like Protestants, and who, at best, try to enforce compromise situations such as the "indult."

However, the Official Catholic Directory of Traditional Latin Masses lists twelve Traditional Latin Mass in the state of Louisiana. Perhaps you haven't checked the listings in the latest edition. To order the full 124-page paperback edition, order Item #LMD-10 for only $10.00 (plus $4.00 postage and handling).

A More Sublime Language

From: Bob

Dear Fr. Moderator:

The more I pray the Breviary (in Latin of course) I notice certain things:

  1. It seems that Latin "goes to the core" of the prayerful intention better than the vernacular does. The vernacular does not have the economy nor the dynamic to give voice to the spirit as well as Latin.
  2. Perhaps the deepest prayer is beyond or behind the words, but when a language is necessary for liturgical prayer nothing quite "hits the mark" like Latin.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The teaching of the Church through the centuries certainly agrees with you. Many popes have written to just the effect, and the disaster that has occurred after Vatican II as the result of the introduction of vulgar tongues into Sacred Theology, Sacred Liturgy, and the rest is only too obvious, even to the post-conciliar popes, who have deplored it. For further information, see the Library of Files for The Necessity of Latin for the Catholic Church, From the Writings of Roman Catholic Saints, Popes, and Theologians.

Dignity of Man?

From: James

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have a question about some words used in the Mass that bother me. At the Offertory: "O God, Who has established the nature of man in wondrous dignity, and even more wondrously renewed it..." are the words that bother me. The basic tenants of Modernists or other Utopian enthusiasts (Socialists, Communists, etc.) seem always to include the belief that man is innately good. I thought that Christianity traditionally taught that the nature of man is flawed because of original sin and that man is inclined to sin. It seems correct to be opposed to Modernist claims about the innate goodness of man. Perhaps you may care to address this problem area for me.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

First of all, that translation places more emphasis on man than on the Divinity Who created man. Deus, qui humanae substantiae dignitatem mirabilter condidisti, et mirabilius reformasti... would more literally be translated: "O God, Who hast wondrously created the worth of the human substance, and more wondrously hast reformed it...."

We are reminded that originally God created man to His own "image and likeness" (Genesis 1:26/DR) that is, a creature with a rational soul. However, after that time, man did fall away from God and had to be redeemed even more wondrously by the Son of God, as we have just commemorated at the Feast of the Nativity, at which "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14/DR).

Man is not some equal to God, as the Modernists make him out to be, who never sins, at least in any important way. Nor is he the dungheap that the Protestants make him out to be. As in so many instances, the truth lies in the media aurea, the balance. Man can become like God when he is justified with Sanctifying Grace, yet otherwise he is a sinner "conceived in sin from his mother's womb" as Psalm 50 puts it.

I think that if you read the rest of that Offertory prayer, you will see how this balance is maintained through its references to the mystery of the Incarnation.

December 24, 2000: Vigil of Christmas

The Origin of the Word "Catholic"

From: Frances

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Can you tell me where the word catholic came from? The four marks of the Catholic church are One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Can you elaborate on where the word catholic started from? Thank you for being there with the TRADITIO site in a world of confusion.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The earliest recorded figure who called the Church catholic was St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 50-107), using the Greek word katholicos [universal] in order to point out the universality of the Church founded by Christ as opposed to the Judaism and the false sects of the heretics. It is found for the first time in his letter written ca. 110 addressed to the people of Smyrna: "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be there is the Universal Church."

There is another interesting reference found in St. Irenaeus (ca. 130-202), Bishop of Lyons in France: "The Catholic Church, having received the apostolic teaching and faith..." (Adversus Haereses I.x.2). Furthermore, St. Eusebius of Caesarea (ca. 260-ca. 340) in his Historia Ecclesiastica, written in the fourth century, writes: "But the brightness of the Catholic Church proceeded to increase in greatness" (Book 4).

Finally, discussing agreement in the use of the term "catholic" in De Vera Religione, St. Augustine (354-430) notes that "whether they wish to or not, heretics have to call the Catholic Church catholic." The term was common by the fourth century, St. Augustine using it 240 times in his writings.

December 23, 2000: Ferial Day: O Emmanuel

Fight for Christmas!

From: American Family Association

You may have noticed the news item a couple of weeks back. The city council of Little Rock, Arkansas, voted to change the name of their traditional December parade, always known as the Christmas parade -- to the now politically correct title "Holiday parade." That's right, the word "Christmas" was too religious and might offend non-religious people or people of other faiths thought the city officials, so they changed the name. I can't wait until they find out the word "holiday" actually means "holy day." What to do then?

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is in the deep South. The Bible belt. Staying in Dixie, you may have read that some school districts in Georgia have instructed their teachers not to refer to "Christmas break" as "Christmas break" any more. Too specifically Christian. Might offend somebody. It is now to be called "winter break." This kind of thing is happening all over the country.

Just a couple of weeks ago the city manager of Eugene, Oregon, Jim Johnson, issued a directive banning, get this, Christmas trees from public places. You read that right: he banned Christmas trees, uh, winter trees, from public places because the tree is a religious symbol and therefore, according to Mr. Johnson, cannot be displayed on city property. In his memo to all city employees, Johnson said that while it could be contended that the Christmas tree is a "holiday" or "seasonal" decoration, "it is just as clearly a decoration associated with a religious holiday or tradition." Well, you go get 'em, Mr. Johnson! Round up those first-amendment-violating trees.

Seems after some firemen objected, Johnson offered a compromise that would allow ------mas trees to be displayed on ------mas Eve and ------mas Day so long as not one person complained. If so, the trees must be removed. By order of the law. Said he was making this order in the name of diversity. So let's see. The way to promote diversity and tolerance is to disallow the ------mas tree?

Writes Jewish columnist Don Feder: "I'm dreaming of a white holiday. I'll be home for holiday; you can count on me. How the Grinch stole holiday. If you are over a certain age (say 40) you can't help but notice how Christmas is fading from our culture. I don't mean the banishment of creches from the courthouse steps or the prohibition of Christmas carols in public schools, because of liberal misinterpretation of the First Amendment. But beyond the public square, Christmas is rapidly being replaced with a generic holiday that, by coincidence, comes around December 25."

As far as I can tell, the only Christmas television cartoon (of the many) that still has the real message of Christmas in it is a Charlie Brown Christmas. When I was growing up there was one called "The Night the Animals Talked" about the manager scene. But it has long since gone away.

Beyond what we are losing of the real meaning of Christmas in America today, it is the true loss of our Christian heritage that troubles me most. Historical revisionism has taken over in many areas of academia and journalism. (For the doubters, I would commend the works of Peter Marshall, Jr., David Barton, Dr. Catherine Millard, Gary DeMar or an excellent book titled "Never Before in History, America's Inspired Birth" by Gary Amos and Richard Gardiner.)

If you go back and read the writings of our Founding Fathers, it is clear that our country was given birth by people, the vast majority of whom were Christian. It was their faith that motivated them. Wrote John Quincy Adams, our sixth president: "The highest glory of the American Revolution is this: it connected, in one dissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity." That is why for nearly two centuries we had prayer and Bible reading in our schools. Nobody thought anything about it. The Christian religion was part and parcel of the American social fabric.

For some reason, many people today want to censor out anything Christian about America's past. Two years ago I was reading the fourth grade history book my daughter was learning from. We came to the section about the Mayflower Compact. The book spent three pages discussing this document without having the actual document itself included. The textbook stressed solely the document's emphasis on how William Bradford and the pilgrims were to order self government. I thought that curious: why not print the Mayflower Compact itself instead of spending so much time talking about what the Mayflower Compact said?

What is the length, I wondered? It must be too long to be included. It had been several years since I had read it, so I looked it up again in the encyclopaedia. Nope. Not too long. It's actually very brief, maybe 200 words. It must have been a cold day on Cape Cod. No time to sit around making something long and wordy when it didn't need to be. But, after reading it was clear why it was excluded from my children's public school textbook. The word "God" is used four times in a positive context. Add that to the explicit phrase found in the middle of the Compact which states: "...for the glory of God, and the advancement of the Christian faith..." as the primary reason for the pilgrims' coming to this land; then I knew why it had been omitted.

There is also a move under way today to change the way we measure years from A.D. and B.C. to something called "common era." The abbreviation A.D. is from the Latin Anno Domini, which means "in the year of our Lord." Events before that time are indicated by the abbreviation B.C., which means "before Christ." The CE folks are using the same 2000 years, just taking any identification with Jesus Christ out of it. Coming soon to textbooks near you.

As you can see, this has gotten ridiculous.... The A&E channel is running a very good four hour documentary on the second millennium of Christianity. It is clear from viewing the two part series that no other force had more impact on the development of western civilization and our early American way of life than did Christianity.

Now I'm waiting for the American Civil Liberties Union to bring a suit against the United States of America on the grounds that the Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional because Thomas Jefferson penned the word "Creator" with a capitol C in it. It might not be too long before we see the headline: "Supreme Court rules Declaration of Independence Unconstitutional, Document to be Removed from National Archives."

Fr. Moderator Replies.

This article is very well put. We have to fight in all the little ways too to preserve our Christian heritage. Go out of your way to wish everyone a "Merry Christmas." Use "A.D." and "B.C." It drives 'em crazy.

And do it now. According to the American Center for Law and Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union "is once again using intimidation and threats to try to scare Christians into submission. Tis time they are trying to strip away our national motto, 'In God We Trust.' In fact, they have gone so far as to sue the county treasurer who refuseds to remove the 'In God We Trust' poster from her office wall [Schmidt vs. Rita Cline]."

The Historical Significance of the Chrismon

From: Ben

What does the P with the X stand for on the top of several pages on your web site?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The logo used on several pages is the chrismon, the combination of the Greek letter rho (which looks like the Roman letter P) and the Greek letter chi (which looks like the Roman letter X). These are the first two letters in the name Christ.

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. This Battle of the Milvian Bridge, named after the Roman bridge on which it was fought, was one of those rare contests upon which all of history would hang.

In answer to his prayer, Constantine and his army saw in the heavens at sunset a cross formed from first two letters, chi and rho, of Christ's name in Greek and bearing the legend In hoc signo vinces [In this sign you will conquer]. 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.

December 22, 2000: Ferial Day: O Rex Gentium

"We're Not Going to Take It Any Longer!"

From: Fr. Moderator

The post-conciliar bishops have a tiger by the tail! Now, some 35 years after Vatican II, more and more Catholics are saying to the Novus Ordo modus operandi, "We've had it, and we're not going to take it any longer!"

As diocesan bishops continue their crusade to wipe the traditional Catholic faith from the eyes, ears, and minds of the faithful, more of those faithful are saying NO!. This has been happening in churches from Boston to Columbus to San Francisco. Diocesan bishops after Vatican II have used the excuse of "collegiality" to act like petty dictators, imposing their personal will against the faith and tradition of the Church. They destroy beautiful traditional churches and at the same time impose Protestantized worship services on the faithful, just as the Elizabethan bishops did (with the exception of St. John Fisher).

God bless those who say NO! and fight what St. Paul calls "the good fight." One could only wish that these people would fight for the true Church as much as they fight for their church buildings. For what good is a beautiful traditional church building if the souls inside are being polluted with the New Order faith and liturgy.

Columbus Dispatch
Monday, December 18, 2000
"Faithful Still Gather at Closed Church"
by Dispatch Staff Writer George Myers, Jr.
Hearts remain warm for the closed St. Leo Church. As snow whipped across their faces yesterday, eight former parishioners gathered on the steps of the South Side building to sing Save Us, O Lord and to pray for the future of their beloved church....
"We're here to show our faithfulness to our history, our church and the people who came before us." The stalwarts, usually numbering eight to 12, have held a 40-minute prayer service on the steps of St. Leo, 221 Hanford St., every Sunday since the church's last Mass was celebrated on June 27, 1999, by Bishop James A. Griffin.
The Catholic Diocese of Columbus shut down the church last year as part of a diocesan restructuring of South Side parishes. St. Leo is used only occasionally, for weddings and funerals. Mitchell's group is fighting to have the church reopened and its rectory and school preserved. Original plans to demolish the rectory and school last spring were postponed by the diocese.
St. Leo's fate likely will be decided by the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy in Rome, with whom Mitchell has filed an appeal. She claims the decision by the diocese to close the parish did not follow church law. American canon lawyer Alan R. Kershaw is handling the group's case in Rome. Mitchell said he is one of only a few Americans authorized to serve as a rotal advocate, designated to argue cases before the Vatican courts. A diocesan spokesman on Friday said officials in Rome have yet to rule on the matter.
"The church has been here 2000 years," Mitchell said. "What's another day or two?" Group members say they'll continue praying at the church doors every Sunday at 10:15 a.m., after Mass at St. Mary Church in German Village. Mitchell said 690 people were on St. Leo's rolls before it was closed. Many of them now attend St. Mary.

Novus Ordo Bishops Press Destruction of Churches

From: Fr. Moderator

Those Novus Ordo bishops continue to persecute even their own parishioners. When the latter around the country have turned to local and state historic-preservation laws to save their historic churches, they do not hestitate to strike a bargain with the most corrupt secular politicians to further their own personal authority -- for a price. In this case, a corrupt bishop sold out to a corrupt politician to sneak through a law in the very last, confused minutes of the legislative session to override preservation laws in favor of the Novus Ordo bishop's personal power.

As usual, St. Paul foresaw such things and called a spade a spade. In a speech to the bishops of his time, he warned:

I know that after my departure ravening wolves will enter 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 that prophesy has surely come true in our own time, when the episcopacy, as in the Arian heresy of the fourth century, has substantially fallen from the traditional Faith and has come not to foster the true Roman Catholic Faith, but instead to "speak perverse things." As then, there is now only the occasional Athanasius or Ambrose or Martin to stand up to the emperor who has no clothes on. But remember -- Athanasius and Ambrose and Martin won in the end and became the Church's heroic Saints, while the Arian bishops fell and were consigned to the Gehenna of history.

Associated Press
"Landmark Laws Exempt Faith Groups"
by David Kravets
SAN FRANCISCO (AP-NY-12-21-00 2012EST) - Religious organizations are exempt from landmark preservation laws and can raze and replace historic church buildings, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The court, voting 4-3, upheld the constitutionality of a 1994 state law which, it said, neither endorsed religion nor provided improper state assistance. The law stops cities and counties from enforcing preservation laws against property owned by religious organizations, allowing them to alter or demolish historic buildings if necessary for religious or financial purposes....
The 1994 law was sponsored by current mayor Willie Brown - who was California's Assembly speaker at the time - to aid Archbishop John Quinn, who was in the process of closing nine damaged Catholic churches whose congregations were shrinking. Some parishioners threatened to sue under landmark preservation laws, and a judge ruled in 1996 that the law favored religious organizations and was unconstitutional.
But an appeals court overruled him last year. It said that, under the constitution, religious organizations should be free to decide which of their buildings to preserve. The city and preservation groups said in court papers that the appellate decision "gives the Legislature a green light to exempt religious organizations, for purely economic reasons, from all kinds of legislation."

December 19, 2000: Ember Day: O Clavis David

Can the Novus Ordo Be Tolerated?

From: Joe (Novus Ordo)

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I was wondering just where Christ's promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church fits into all of the Traditional Latin Mass vs. the Novus Ordo Missae. From what I have seen, it's almost as though traditional Catholics are saying Satan has prevailed when the Novus Ordo Missae was instituted.

Do you think the Last Supper was more similar to the Traditional Latin Mass or the Novus Ordo Missae? I would like specific reasons. It seems to me that Christ probably would have spoken to the apostles rather than the wall and not so "secretively." It also seems to me that the apostles would have received in the hand the Eucharist. And yet the biggie, would Christ have spoken in Latin or the Apostles' (and His) language, Hebrew.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The doctrine of the indefectibility of the Church certainly does not imply that prelates, including popes, will not make personal errors and even depart personally from the Faith. The perspective of ecclesiastical history teaches that at least one pope in each of the first eight centuries of the Church was excommunicated or denounced by the Doctors and Saints as personally falling into or conniving with heresy. In a later century, St. Bridget publicly called the pope of her time a "murderer of souls, more unjust than Pilate and more cruel than Judas."

What is absolutely contant is the Deposit of Faith, to which we all, including the clergy, are bound. Vatican I clearly enunciated that doctrine in its discussion on what is known as papal infallibility. Providence has eventually righted the troubled times in the Church, but usually it has taken about a century, during which the Church must suffer, as in the Arian heresy of the fourth century, the Babylonian Captivity in the fourteenth century, the period of the Antipopes in the fifteenth century, or the Protestant heresy in the sixteenth century.

The Sacred Liturgy is not a "preference." As the Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, we are bound to the Sacred Liturgy that is established in the Apostolic Tradition. This is, principally, the (traditional) Roman Rite, which is the rite of the Holy Roman See of St. Peter and Paul, and certain other ancient Eastern Rites (St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, etc.).

The Novus Ordo is an aberrancy in the history of the Church. It is admittedly made not by Apostolic hands, but by the corrupt human hands of a man who publicly admitted that he wanted to change the nature of the Catholic Church. This Novus Ordo was "composed" with the assistance of six Protestant ministers, whose purpose was to make the Novus Ordo conformable with heretical Protestant beliefs.

Again, one must take the historical perspective of the Church. The 35 years since Vatican II is a drop in the bucket as compared to two millenia of the Catholic and Apostolic Tradition, to which we are bound by the Deposit of Faith and the teaching of Sacred Scripture.

As to the Last Supper, you are making an incorrect supposition that the Mass should be as close to the Last Supper as possible. The Mass is not the Last Supper, but dogmatically is "a sacrifice, an act by which the Church gives to Almighty God, officially and in the name of all, the worship that is due to Him alone. In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus Christ, through the ministry of the priest, offers Himself to God in an unbloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine." If, for purposes of argument, we wanted to follow the practices of the Last Supper, we would:

"By their fruits you shall know them." After the Council of Trent, Providence sent a flood of Saints, in numbers not seen since the early Roman martyrs, to spread the Catholic Faith throughout the world. What happened after Vatican II? Let us quote the pope of the Novus Ordo himself (Paul VI, 1972):

We have the impression that through some cracks in the wall the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God: it is doubt, uncertainty, questioning, dissatisfaction, confrontation.... We thought that after the Council a day of sunshine would have dawned for the history of the Church. What dawned, instead, was a day of clouds and storms, of darkness, of searching and uncertainties.

Thus, it was the pope himself who said that Satan had prevailed to a significant degree.

We have a situation now of a liturgy that was once called "the most beautiful thing this side of heaven" sunk to little more than a Protestantized assembly, at which socializing is exalted over an orientation to the Lord of Hosts, at which actions are "simplified" to the common rather than to the divine, at which the celestial chant and the royal organ are replaced by popular ditties on the profane guitar or piano.

And what has this situation produced among Novus Ordo Catholics? More faith? More devotion? Rather, according to a Gallup poll, 80% of Novus Ordo Catholic laypeople and even priests do not believe the dogmatic teaching on the Holy Eucharist, and crumbs of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ are routinely scattered on the floor by unwashed hands (which even the Jews would have condemned!). In the moral sphere, Catholics are more likely to get abortions than Protestants!

In the longer perspective, the Novus Ordo just isn't "taking." Even with all the run-amuck "authority" of certain ecclesiastics acting to impose it by force, the people are little by little getting tired of its "novelty" and seeking their immemorial Roman Rite again. More and more Novus Ordo Catholics are leaving because, in their words, a once great institution has "become a joke."

More and more traditional Mass sites are developing around the world while dioceses close down more and more Novus Ordo churches (which traditional Catholics are buying up!). The Gregorian chant of the Church, which is rarely heard in a Novus Ordo church, "packs 'em in" in concert halls. Catholic people more and more long for the full, unadulterated Faith -- not one that worships the Lord on the Jewish Sabbath instead of the Lord's Day, not one that rarely does any penance, that changes Biblical holydays to different days or eliminates them entirely, and can't even get straight (as evidenced by the recent Vatican fiasco on "Dominus Iesus") which faith it is that is the "true Faith of Our Lord Jesus Christ."

Scripture seems to indicate that at the Second Coming there will not be a large Church, but only a remnant, like the Jewish remnant that returned from Babylon after the Captivity. Therefore, we for our parts can do only do what Saint Paul taught us: to stand fast and hold to the Traditions that we were taught and if we are preached a Gospel, even by an Angel from heaven, other than what Christ and the Apostles preached, we must hold that to be anathema.

December 19, 2000: Ferial Day: O Radix Iesse

Actual Date of Christmas

From: Julia

Dear Fr. Moderator:

When did the calendar we use today come into use? And also: Do you know at what time of the year was Christ born (in terms of months as we know them)?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Gregorian calendar came in during the late sixteenth century under Pope Gregory XIII. It was a correction of the Julian calendar that had been used since the reform of Julius Caesar in the late first century B.C.

Some say that the Nativity was actually in the Spring, when the shepherds pastured their flocks. Others find justification, astronomical and otherwise, for the traditional date.

Multiple Communions

From: Mikendra

Dear Fr. Moderator:

My question is this: Christmas Eve is also the 4th Sunday of Advent. I normally go to Mass at 7:30 a.m. and will be doing that on 12/24. Then a friend of mine is singing at the "midnight" Mass his parish is having at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on 12/24. I'm going to both. May I take Communion at both Masses that night even though I will have taken it at the 7:30 a.m. 4th Sunday of Advent Mass that morning? And then what about the actual Midnight Mass at midnight at my own parish? May I receive then too?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Traditionally, Holy Communion is to be received no more than once a day. Remember that that is a maximum, not a minimum. It is more important, remembering the chilling words of St. Paul about unworthy reception, to prepare oneself properly by Confession and prayer for a worthy reception.

The Vigil of Christmas, that is, the Sacred Liturgy of the day before Christmas, this year supersedes the Fourth Sunday of Advent. One can receive once at the morning Mass for that Sunday. Midnight Mass is the First Mass of Christmas Day. I know it always to be celebrated at midnight and end during the early morning hours of December 25. Since that is the Mass of the following day, you may receive Holy Communion once for that day as well. (I don't understand the concept of "Midnight Mass" at 8 or 10 p.m., so you must be speaking of some strange Novus Ordo practice.)

I would think that you might consider the 8 and 10 p.m. services as "concerts" to hear your friend sing and then receive Holy Communion at your own Midnight Mass, which one would hope is the true Traditional Latin Mass in communion with the immemorial practices of the Roman Catholic Church.

Mel Gibson Stands Four-Square for the Traditional Latin Mass

From: USA Today

USA Today, December 18, 2000, Mel Gibson Interview.

Q: How do you keep your Roman Catholic faith alive amid all the Hollywood glitz? Do you attend Mass regularly? From, Anne King, 40, St. Louis.

A: Yes, I do. I go to an all-pre-Vatican II Latin Mass. There's no modernism, and the changes that accompanied Vatican II just don't accompany this. There was a lot of talk, particularly in the '60s, of "Wow, we've got to change with the times." But the creator instituted something very specific, and we can't just go change it. God doesn't have to keep time with us. He doesn't have to change for us. So it's kind of presumptuous to think that we can just change something.

AA-1025: Memoirs of an Anti-Apostle

From: Marianne

Dear Fr. Moderator:

After seeing it mentioned on TRADITIO some time back, I decided to purchase and read A-1025: Memoirs of an Anti-Apostle. This book is a quick read (138 pages), and I would recommend it to any traditional Catholic. The book did not reveal to me anything I wasn't already aware of (or at had least suspected). However, there were a couple of things about it which I found horrific.

First of all, the fact that something like this exists in print, and yet little heed is paid to it, neither to accept it nor to renounce it, although the contents are quite serious.

Secondly, I am disturbed by the motives of this anti-apostle (Michael). It is one thing to have someone try to convince you of something that he himself truly believes. However, not once in his memoirs did this man state that he was truly an atheist and that he did not believe in God. What he did say, several times, was that he hated God and the Roman Catholic Church. Never did he say that he was working to help man or to better life on earth. What he did say was that he intended, with malice and forethought, to destroy the Church.

These factors, combined with the text itself, made me very sad. And then, to add to it, I viewed a documentary yesterday on Vatican II. Of course, the efforts of the Council were praised and the virtues of John XXIII and Paul VI extolled. When I listened to parishoners "thank God" for Vatican II and explain that their souls were no longer "caged," I shook my head. Several traditional Catholics (from St. Mary's, Kansas) were interviewed and referred to as "schismatics". Archbishop Lefebve was painted as old-fashioned and overly critical.

This documentary said that Paul VI catered to conservatives and did not bring many issues forth that should have been (i.e., contraception). Several priests were interviewed and openly admitted to being in favor of liturgical "reform," conducting "rock and roll masses," and proposing the ordination of priestesses. How they could speak of such things with a straight face amazed me. I will admit that I do not know as much about my faith as I probably should, but even I knew how ridiculous these supposedly "learned and holy men" sounded.

Thank you, Father, for the service you provide via this web site and for all you do in the name of our faith. As we approach Christmas time, I hope all of the faithful will remember traditional priests in their prayers and also pray for those who have been lead astray.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

This book, still in print from Tan Books & Publishers, is the story of Communist who in 1938, with many others, entered a Catholic seminary and became a priest in order to help plan the destruction of the Church from within. The expose was first published in 1972 and demonstrated that everything these destroyers of the Church had planned has come to pass in the Novus Ordo.

The Catholic Sacred Liturgy of two millennia was destroyed, profane music replaced sacred music, Catholic moral principles were ignored or determined by secular voting. Even the Vatican itself was infected, so that today the benighted leaders of the Church cannot even seem to agree on whether the Catholic Faith is the true Faith of Jesus Christ, or just one of a number of limitless paths that include pagan chicken-sacrifice and witchcraft.

As to these "documentaries," why should we expect any more of them than of the nightly newscasts, which doesn't even attempt any longer to deny their bias toward the liberal and modernistic? Thank God for the internet, where, if you search prudently and carefully, you might get real news and real Catholicism.

Christmas Abstinence

From: Teresa

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Years ago people would not eat meat on Christmas Eve. Was this a Catholic belief? Was this practice in all Catholic Churches? When did this change?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

What you are speaking of is the penitential abstinence from meat (and also fasting) that traditional Catholics practice to prepare themselves for a great feast, such as Christmas. This is a very ancient tradition in the Church, going back to Biblical times.

In this, Catholics follow closely the example of Our Lord, who fasted forty days in the desert to prepare Himself for his ministry. Before other important events in His ministry, Our Lord also practiced shorter fasts.

This year, since Christmas Eve (the Vigil of Christmas) happens to fall on a Sunday, there is no fast and abstinence.

December 17, 2000: Third Sunday of Advent

Our Lady of Good Help

From: LeRoy

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What do you know of or about "Our Lady Of Good Help"?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Some eight centuries ago, when the Mohammedans were capturing Christians and selling them into slavery by the thousands, St. John of Matha in 1198 founded the Trinitarians to go to the slave markets, buy the Christians, and set them free, thus performing the corporal work of mercy of redeeming the captive.

The Trinitarians placed their efforts under the patronage of Our Lady and were so successful that, over the centuries, the Trinitarians were able to free many thousands of Christians from Mohammedan slavery and return them safely home. In gratitude for her assistance, St. John honored Our Lady with the title "Boni Succursus" [Good Help]. Devotion to Our Lady under this title is widely known in Europe and Latin America and celebrated under the date of October 8.

December 16, 2000: St. Eusebius

Do Animals Have Souls?

From: Sue

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Do animals have souls? Are there any passages in the Bible that say they definitely have souls?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Soul is a confusing word in English. All living beings have what is known in the Latin theological vocabulary as an anima, that is, a life force. Only man has an animus, that is, a rational, immortal soul. Animals do not have a rational, immortal soul.

Genesis 1:26 speaks of the creation of man as sharing some of the attributes of God, e.g., an immortal soul. Genesis 1:28-30 makes it clear that plant and animal life was created for the service of man, particularly as food, not as rational, immortal beings. This distinction even pre-dates the Christian era; it is quite clear in Aristotle as well.

December 15, 2000: Octave of the Immaculate Conception

Unitate Churches

From: James

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What are Uniate Churches? Do I understand that they use the Byzantine rite? Are they traditional?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Uniate Churches are those united to the Roman See, as opposed to the Eastern Orthodox, which are not so united. They use a variety of rites, most originally based upon apostolic Eastern rites of the Church, but now modified, vernacularized, and bowlerized just like the Novus Ordo in the Roman rite. Also, they have been forced by the Vatican to Novus-Ordoize their rites, just as the western churches have.

I suppose that it is possible that there exists a site or two here or there that actually preserves an authentic Eastern rite intact. The main Eastern rite is that of Byzantium, in Koine (Biblical) Greek, but there are others in Coptic, Syro-Chaldean, etc.

According to Roman Catholic Tradition, the Traditional (Pre-Vatican II Roman Missal, "Tridentine") Latin Mass in all its essentials was passed on by St. Peter, the first pope, to the Church. The Apostles themselves, according to St. Ambrose, worked at its elaboration. It reached its complete perfection with Popes St. Damasus (fourth century) and St. Gregory the Great (sixth century). As the great liturgical scholar, Fr. Adrian Fortescue, wrote, this Mass 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."

December 13, 2000: St. Lucy

Days of the Week at the Time of Christ

From: Greg

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I understand that the names of the days of the week we currently use have an Anglo-Saxon or Norse origin. You once enlightened me concerning the names of the months of the year that would have been used by the Romans at Christ's time. In a similar vein, what names did the Romans use for the days of the week? Did they also have a seven-day week?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The week was not an integral part of any calendar; in its present form, it gradually became established in the Roman calendar during the one or two centuries preceding the Christian era. The Mosaic Law enjoining an abstinence from work on every seventh day had established the seven-day period as a Jewish measure of time, and this Jewish week later passed into the Christian Church.

Shortly before the Christian era, an astrological practice had arisen of attaching the names of the seven wandering stars, that is, the Sun, Moon, and five visible planets, in succession to successive days, in the order in which the stars were supposed to rule the days. These designations for the days rapidly acquired a widespread popularity and became the predominant usage throughout the Roman Empire.

Thus, we have: Dies Solis (Sunday), Dies Lunae (Monday), Dies Martis (Tuesday), Dies Mercurii (Wednesday), Dies Iovis (Thursday), Dies Veneris (Friday), Dies Saturni (Saturday). In English, the Roman dieties Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus were substituted for by the respective Norse dieties Tiu, Woden, Thor, and Freya.

In ecclesiastical usage, as in the Roman Missal and Breviary, only two days have distinct names: Dominica (the Lord's Day) and Sabbatum (the Sabbath). The other days are simply numbered by ordinal numbers (second, third, etc.): Feria Secunda (Monday), Feria Tertia (Tuesday), Feria Quarta (Wednesday), Feria Quinta (Thursday), Feria Sexta (Friday).

Where Are the Proper Feasts?

From: Rudy

Dear Fr. Moderator:

In the traditional Missal, a special Mass is given for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the United States. However there is no mention of the feast in the Breviary that I have nor in the traditional calendar that I have. A friend thought that the Common Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary should be used but he wasn't sure. Is it correct to use the Common Office?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It is part of what are known as Missae Propriae pro Aliquibus Locis, Masses Proper for Certain Locales. Typically, you will find the Mass proper to this feast as an insert or addendum at the back of the Breviary or Missal. If one does not have access to the proper Office, it would be appropriate to use the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

December 11, 2000: Pope St. Damasus I

More on "The Vatican Does It Again with Dominus Iesus!"

From: Norman

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What authority does the reported "amendment" to the "Vatican pronouncement" have?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The pronouncement referred to is the Declaration of the Congregation for the Faith Dominus Iesus, released September 5, 2000, which emphasized the "exclusive, universal, and absolute" value of Christ and said that followers of non-Catholic religions are in a "gravely deficient situation."

Protestant sects were called "ecclesial communities" rather than Churches. Protestants, Jews, and others howled in offense at the Declaration, saying that it was not "ecumenical." The Russian Orthodox issued a similar statement, but claimed that Eastern Orthodoxy rather than Roman Catholicism is the true Church of Christ. The pope, nevertheless, was quoted in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano as confirming that he personally approved the document and felt strongly about it.

Again, in this affair, we see how incompetent the secular press is to report accurately on religious matters. The original document Dominus Iesus, generally interpreted as very conservative, was a Declaration of the Congregation for the Faith, ratified and confirmed by the pope. Thus, it is an official curial document, approved in forma specifica by the pope personally.

What is called an "amendment" in the news article quoted below came from an allocution, or "talk," of the pope at a General Audience on December 6, 2000. Thus, we discover that the pope simply ruminated a bit on the document. However, the text of the original document, which he personally approved in forma specifica was not amended. Therefore, it is inaccurate to say that the Declaration has been "amended."

True Obedience to Christ

From: Timothy

Dear Fr. Moderator:

In a men's group, we were discussing obedience and Christ. One fellow said that if we imitate Christ, we will automatically be obedient. My argument against this Novus Ordo philosophy was that many people feel that as long as they recognize Christ and try to imitate Him then they are on their way to salvation.

I argued that when Christ preached, He always said that He was obedient to the Father and that in order to set one's foot on the road to salvation, one had to start there. My feeling is that there are many who espouse Christ's teachings, but give very little regard to why He preached that way.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Your explanation makes sense to me. Several times Our Lord said: "If you love me, keep my commandments," as in John 14:15 and 23. Obviously, Christianity is not some personal "feeling," but conformity to God's specified objective moral and religious standards.

December 9, 2000: St. Eusebius

The Vatican Does It Again with Dominus Iesus!

From: Mike

Dear Fr. Moderator:

The following statement out of the post-conciliar Vatican should set off "bells and whistles" for every faithful Catholic throughout the world. If this statement were true, then why, in Heaven's name, are we striving to keep the true Faith in the first place when all men, "including those who ignore Christ and his Church," will make up "the Kingdom of God"? Has the great Roman Catholic Church, which has brought to the world serious, true faith, let alone the greatest philosophy, law, music, art, and all the rest, become in the post-Vatican II period merely a joke, a laughing stock, the butt of politically-correct fanatics?

From a news report:

The Pope has amended a Vatican pronouncement [Dominus Iesus] that the Roman Catholic Church was the "only way to salvation," saying that Heaven is open to all as long as they are good. He said at an audience that "all of the just on Earth, including those who ignore Christ and his Church" were "called upon to build the kingdom of God." His words repeated what was pronounced at the Second Vatican Council 40 years ago, but were clearly intended to repair harm to religious dialogue caused by a document issued in September. The document, signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Pope's chief of doctrine, said that the way of salvation was "only in the unique and universal Catholic Apostolic Church." The amendment follows criticism of the pronouncement, which called other faiths "gravely deficient" as a means to salvation.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

First of all, one has to be very careful about these "news reports." Papal statements are no longer formulated and carefully read in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. Rather, people get them through the secular news media, which no longer knows religion from a hole in the head. Clear theological distinctions in original documents are blurred, or misunderstood, in these paraphrases. I'll wait until the "statement" is published in AAS, in Latin, and then we'll see what it really means.

Meanwhile, to see what the teaching of the Church has consistently been on this question, see the Library of Files for FAQ10: How Do You Explain These Traditional Catholic Beliefs? under Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (No Salvation Outside the Church).

A Sad Spiritual Plight

From: Richard

Dear Fr. Moderator:

My question is how can we develop an all-encompassing religion before religion dies out? My brother is training to be an Anglican minister, yet we were both brought up in the Catholic faith, I no longer practise though I try to uphold the morals I learnt through the church.

Religion is both diluted and viewed as boring by most people under the age of 30. I have friends from many different religions; what's to say my views are right and there's are wrong? Surely in this day and age where global communication is so easy, we must be able to encourage people of all denominations to come together under one banner. Most religions teach virtually the same morals; isn't this the most important factor in religion?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Sorry, I don't agree. There is a right and wrong in religion, all religions are not the same, and they do not teach virtually the same morals.

I think that your friends have a very self-centered approach. They are in effect saying: "God must take me as I am and change to suit me." The correct approach is: "I am God's creation; therefore, I need to understand what He wishes of me, and I must conform myself to Him." That isn't easy, but the spiritual benefit is limitless.

Boredom is a human weakness. It is our obligation to overcome it by spiritual activity, by educating ourselves, and by a desire to love and serve God. If that is difficult, we offer the difficulty to God in a spirit of self-sacrifice.

For some people, it may take more effort to appreciate the spirituality and beauty of Gregorian chant above rock music, but what a spiritual benefit occurs when one takes the time to appreciate the finer instead of sinking to the vulgar. It may take some more effort to appreciate the spirituality and beauty of the immemorial Latin Mass, but what a spiritual benefit occurs when one is taken away from the humdrum and elevated to the truly sacred and sublime.

The reason your friends are bored and unappreciative is that they are tiring of the novelty of the passing "what's in" and losing sight of the ageless truth and beauty. Just wait until they hit 40! Let's face it: Mankind tends to be lazy (one of the seven capital sins, after all) and self-centered. It is only true religion, if they accept it, that will raise these people from the pit into which their spiritual lives have sunk, not some world religion that has been homogenized into nothingness.

If you yourself have fallen from the true faith, this season of Advent is your opportunity to find it again. Christ fell three times on the road to Calvary to show us the way. God willing, dust yourself off, pick yourself up, and get back on the road. The ascent is steep, but when you get there, you will realize how far you have come.

December 7, 2000: St. Ambrose

A Great Saint

From: Fr. Moderator

Today's Saint, St. Ambrose, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church, holds for me a special place in heaven's hierarchy, since his feast day is the day on which I was ordained. I could not have wished for a better heavenly patron.

St. Ambrose was one of that handful of bishops in the fourth century who stood against their fellow bishops (some include even the pope), who, St. Jerome tells us, had fallen into the rampant heresy of the time, Arianism, named after the Eastern priest who denied the divinity of Christ.

Nor is this merely some ancient heresy. Don't we see the same thing around us, even more virulent today? Christ is not spoken of as Our Lord, but exclusively as "our brother." His churches have been stripped of any semblance of recognizing the God that He is and instead are turned into little more than man-made Quaker meeting halls. His precepts are not obeyed, but "lite" Catholics hold that His sacred worship and His commendments can be changed "to suit the times."

Not so, St. Ambrose. He was born around the year 340 in Southern Gaul of noble parents. As a youth, he studied classics, various philosophers, and Greek. He soon made a name for himself as a public speaker and poet. While Ambrose was still in his late twenties, he was made governor and served the people justly and kindly. In the year 374, the bishop of Milan died and there was a major dispute about who should take his place. Seeking to keep the dispute from becoming an uprising, Ambrose intervened, but he so impressed the people with a speech that he was chosen to be bishop even though he was only a catechumen.

Ambrose did all he could to avoid becoming bishop, but he was unsuccessful. Ambrose was ordained bishop on December 7, 374 at the age of 34. The first thing that St. Ambrose did once he took office was to give away all his possessions so he could totally commit his life to his flock. As bishop, Ambrose immediately began to use his talent of public speaking to instruct his flock. He preached against the Arian heresy and continually instructed the people in the practice of virtue. Ambose penned many works in defense of the Faith and exhorting people to holiness. During his lifetime, Ambrose called several councils and worked tirelessly against the Arian heresy. He died around the year 397.

In one of his epistles, he encourages the Catholic faithful, shaken by the loss of most of the clergy to the Arian heresy:

The Church of the Lord is built upon the rock of the apostles among so many dangers in the world; it therefore remains unmoved. The Church's foundation is unshakable and firm against assaults of the raging sea. Waves lash at the Church but do not shatter it. Although the elements of this world constantly beat upon the Church with crashing sounds, the Church possesses the safest harbor of salvation for all in distress.

December 6, 2000: St. Nicholas

New Source of Quality Imported Articles

From: Fr. Moderator

We have received word that a small enterprise has been started for the import of quality religious articles (crucifixes, statues, icons, prints) from Italy and Hungary and that these articles are now available for Christmas gifts through The quality and price of European articles is far superior to those generally produced in the U.S.

December 4, 2000: St. Peter Chrysologus

Novus Ordo Just Another Protestant Service, Says Anglican

From: Fr. Moderator

The Church of England, not to be left behind by the Novus Ordo, introduced in 1980 what it called the Alternative Service Book, which replaced the traditional Book of Common Prayer of 1662 and introduced radically new versions of Anglican services. In the late nineteenth century, the Anglicans were hoping that the Vatican would find their ordinal and services valid. Pope Leo XIII slammed the door on that one in his Bull Apostolicae Curae of September 13, 1896, in which he declared on the contrary that the Anglican ordinal (and by implication services) were definitely invalid, as the ministerial intention did not conform to what Christ and His Church intended. It is instructive to apply Pope Leo's argument that implies the invalidity of Anglican services to the post-Vatican II Novus Ordo worship service of 1969.

Like the Novus Ordo, the Alternative Prayer Book was a trial balloon to see whether Anglicans would accept a modern made-up rite. Like the Novus Ordo, the ASB was a committee job. Like the Novus Ordo, a new service book has now been issued, for use in 2001. It expands the one communion service rite to a choice of four, with eight prayers of consecration! But there are traditional Anglicans, who decry the ruination of their historic prayerbook. The Prayer Book Society calls the new service book "a hybrid variation we could not enthuse over."

The statement of Rev. Mark Early of the Institute for Liturgy and Mission in Salisbury, England, is chilling: "If you go to a Catholic Mass, or a Lord's Supper service in the Methodist church, or communion in [Anglican] Common Worship, the structure is nearly the same."

This is exactly what the post-Vatican II revisionists were angling for, and they got it. Except that many Catholics either fell away from the Roman Catholic Church in disgust or moved back to the Traditional Latin Mass so as not to pollute themselves with a modernistic, man-made, unCatholic "liturgy."

The Advent Candle Controversy

From: Carol

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Our family would like to start lighting the advent wreath on Sundays. I have been a practicing Catholic all my life, but have never observed this tradition. I would like to start, but cannot find any information on what should be said when lighting the candles and on which Sunday one lights the rose candle.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

There is some debate about whether this actually a Catholic practice or not. For further information, see the Library of Files for FAQ11: How Do You Explain These Traditional Catholic Practices? The rose candle, in any case, represents the Third Sunday of Advent, "Gaudete" Sunday, for which the Mass and Office vestments may be rose instead of violet, to acknowledge the more joyous nature of that Sunday's Mass formulary ("Rejoice!").

The Ancient Liturgy of the Church

From: Argie

Dear Fr. Moderator:

When did the Church go to having more than one service a day and why?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "more than one service." Actually, the public liturgy of the Church from ancient times consisted of what is known as the Officium Divinum, the Divine Office, which consists of the eight Hours (Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Lauds), by which each day is sanctified through the chanting of antiphons, psalms, versicles, lessons, chapters, responsories, etc., together with Holy Mass, usually following the Hour of Terce.

I suspect that you might mean "more than one Mass celebrated on a given day in a given church." This situation would, of course, obtain in churches used by monastic orders, in which each priest eventually would say his own private Mass each day, although there would be a Conventual Mass for the entire community. Also, as the number of clergy grew, principally after the "Dark Ages," cathedrals and churches would have many priests and thus many Masses, celebrated on side altars.

No Permission Necessary

From: Robert

Dear Fr. Moderator:

The Novus Ordinarians keep dragging out the red-herring, alleging that the permission of the local bishop is a necessity for the offering of the Mass in the Traditional Catholic liturgy. Is or is not Quo Primum an overriding document? My intelligent Novus Ordo friends (I don't pay any attention to the others) keep telling me that Quo Primum is dated and that it was meant only to answer a problem of a former day. Any enlightenment you can give will be deeply apprecieated.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Such an statement is a novelty and would never have been advanced by any serious Catholic prior to the confusion after Vatican II. There has for the Roman Rite, which is the precedential rite of the Church, been only one Mass, what we call now the Traditional Latin Mass. This was the Mass that even archaeology shows us was in use, in Latin, in the first century, as would be expected, since the Holy See was founded in Rome by the martyrdom there of Sts. Peter & Paul.

The essential parts of the Mass were well established by the second century, and most of the other parts were well established by the reign of Pope Gregory the Great (ca. 600). It was this Mass, already established in Sacred Apostolic Tradition, that was purged of accidental regionalisms to conform to the practice of the Roman See and canonized for the entire Church (exclusive of limited exceptions) by Pope St. Pius V.

The story by Novus Ordo activists that somehow the Traditional Latin Mass is now obsolete is a fabrication that every Catholic pope, council, or doctor of the Church would condemn as unCatholic. No pope or bishop has any authority over Sacred Tradition, as that originates from Our Lord Himself.

Pope St. Pius V was quite careful about the wording of his solemn papal bull, Quo Primum, which arguably meets all the criteria for an infallible document. He provided specifically than no one "of whatever ecclesiastical dignity" (and that includes any successor pope insofar as tampering with Sacred Tradition is concerned) could lawfully prevent a priest from his obligation to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively. For further information, see the Library of Files for Quo Primum.

That Novus Ordinarians, even "intelligent ones," would attempt to put a man-made worship service, constructed by a possible Mason with the assistance of six Protestant heretics, on the same level as the Roman Mass of Sacred Apostolic Tradition starting with Sts. Peter & Paul, is ludicrous, and certainly not Catholic in any sense that the first pope and his 260 successors would have understood.

Real Presence Denied

From: Bob

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I read recently that a Catholic who does not believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist falls into heresy. Is this Catholic teaching? If it is true Catholic teaching, and nearly three-fourths of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence, this implies most Catholics are not in fact Catholics, but heretics.

Finally, if indeed such a high percentage of Catholics have been lost to heresy, this is indeed a terrible fruit of Vatican II, as it indicates that the post-counciliar Church has managed to lose almost three-fourths of Catholics around the world! And this is not even counting the very many former Catholics who have left the Church because of the countless number of novelties forced on the laity by the Modernists under the guise of implementing the teachings of the Council. It seems to me that the horrendous implications of such a statistic have been deliberately hidden from the ordinary Catholic.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

This teaching is a dogma of the Church. Therefore, anyone who rejects it does fall into heresy. It's a sobering thought. However, similar circumstances have occurred before: the 80% of bishops of the fourth century and their followers who publicly rejected the teaching of the Church on the nature of Christ (Arians) and the half of Europe that followed the heretic Martin Luther, denying many dogmata of the Roman Catholic Faith (Protestants).

December 3, 2000: 1st Sunday of Advent

Since When Does Obedience Excuse Conscience?

From: Philip

Dear Fr. Moderator:

On a couple of occasions I've run into the attitude of the Novus Ordo people that it doesn't matter what "Rome" does, as Scripture says that if "Rome" is wrong, then Rome will suffer, not those who follow them. They cannot or will not cite any specific passage to support this attitude. I suspect that this is actually a widespread attitude wherein people content themselves that they have no problem following these "shepherds," as they themselves will not suffer any penalties regardless of what they participate in, but only the "leaders." What possible scriptural reference, if any, might they be they thinking justifies this attitude?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Certainly not St. Peter's principle enunciated in the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament (5:29/DR): "We ought to obey God rather than men." And that statement was made when the first pope was speaking about Church authorities.

Remember that when St. Peter himself erred, St. Paul did not say: "Well, I guess St. Peter will go to Hell, and I will be saved because I only followed him in his error." Rather, as reported in his Epistle to the Galatians (2:11/DR et seq.), St. Paul upbraids and rebukes St. Peter. The Acts of the Apostles tells us: "But when Cephas [Peter] was come to Antioch, I [Paul] withstood him to his face because he was to be blamed."

What those Novus Ordinarians are alleging is the same as the followers of Hitler. "As long as Hitler told me what to do, I am safe. It is all his fault, not mine." We all know how that defense fell on deaf ears, and many Nazis who used it were executed. It is certainly not Catholic theology. The Church's primary theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas, tells us that it is our responsibility to correct even bishops. St. Robert Bellarmine, a Doctor of the Church, tells us that we must not follow even the pope into error.

As examples of that principle, we have such courageous Saints as Athanasius, Augustine, Bernard, Theresa, and Bridget, all of whom refused to follow errant popes and publicly corrected them. St. Bridget, for example, called the pope of her time, one of the Avignon popes who had abandoned Rome, a "murderer of souls, more unjust than Pilate and more cruel than Judas."

December 2, 2000: St. Bibiana

TRADITIO Calls It Again

From: Fr. Moderator

As readers of this site know, TRADITIO has from its inception consistently urged caution about the "indult" Mass. From the beginning it appeared to us that the "indult" was a red-herring being used by the Vatican to turn traditional Catholics away from Abp. Lefebvre since July of 1988. The so-called Ecclesia Dei indult never seemed to us sincere. It gave no clear recognition to the Traditional Latin Mass, but expressed only "hopes" and "wishes." As time has gone along, many "indult" Masses, supposedly of the 1962 Missal, have, even with Vatican urging, incorporated elements of the post-1962 Protestantized Novus Ordo worship service.

This fact has consistently been submerged by the "indult" societies, particularly the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), as if it were well known publicly, support for such societies, including financial support, would be crippled. In fact it has crippled with the Vatican's issuance of Protocol 1411, in which the Vatican moves the "indult" societies closer to the Novus Ordo and clearly regards the Traditional Latin Mass as an exception with little status per se, the legitimate "Mass of the Roman Rite" now being the "Mass of Paul VI."

The "indult" societies frequently try to suppress this information by attacking anyone who presents a balanced view of the matter. Certainly TRADITIO has been so attacked. Now a mainstream traditional publication that had consistently favored the FSSP, the Latin Mass, has recognized the truth of the matter and has published an article entitled "FSSP, R.I.P."

As a result that FSSP has issued a statement condemning the Latin Mass, taking the usual hackneyed position that no one understands what is going on except the bureaucratic leaders at FSSP. The Traditional Catholic Movement is long past that point. The handwriting has been on the wall for years, but it is only now that the "indult" press has been forced to admit what is going on, as it is impossible to deny the clear reality. And, as so often, the independent, balanced voice of TRADITIO has called the situation far earlier to the attention of its participants.

The Remnant, which has been more farseeing that most other periodicals, summarizes the present state of affairs as follows, highlighting the monetary income involvement that is behind a lot of the posturing. We recall St. Paul's wise words in his First Letter to Timothy (6:10/DR): "For the desire of money is the root of all evils: which some coveting have erred from the faith and have entangled themselves in many sorrows."

...The Traditional Catholic press has been instrumental in raising enormous amounts of money for the FSSP since 1988. We've endorsed the FSSP because they promised us that they were set up exclusively to offer the old Mass and to provide the old Sacraments and that they could not (even if they wanted to) offer the New Mass. We staked our professional reputations on their world. Early on, we encouraged our readers to suppport them because of their stated irrevocable allegiance to Traditionalism ... in all respects.
And now, 12 years later? Some of their priests want to say the New Mass, a few are already concelebrating it on occasion, and apparently none of them can be prevented from offering it if they so desire, and not a few of them lambaste (from the pulpit) those of us who continue to resist the New Mass. In addition, the FSSP in the United States has developed a strange penchant for courting "conservative" backing such as that offered by The Wanderer rather than that of the Traditionalist base. Things have changed a great deal. Perhaps in view of all this, we can be forgiven for being a bit upset at finding ourselves the apparent victims of what could be likened to the old bait-and-switch tactic in the wake of protocol 1411?
After the millions of dollars raised by Tradtionalists for the FSSP, I believe the FSSP would do well to leave off excoriating the Traditional Catholic press and instead spend some time demonstrating why everything we see and hear about bi-rituality, unjust compromise and concelebration does not violate the promises we were made by the FSSP fund raisers since 1988....
I think it is highly unlikely that too many of us will be deceived again. We don't wish to condemn anyone. We only wish that, if the FSSP is to transform itself into a "conservative" order of priests who "prefer" the old Mass but who also will embrace centrism, occasional bi-rituality, and papolatry, then perhaps they should just admit it. Perhaps they should simply admit that, as hard as they've tried in the past, it has finally become obvious that Rome willnot tolerate the "approvated" priestly orders opposing the conciliar ciris and the liturgical revolutional. The FSSP would have to say: "We have been forced to swallow the Council in exchange for the old Mass."

December 1, 2000: Ferial Day

Latin and Pilate

From: Miles

Dear Fr. Moderator:

During a recent family get together my cousin and I got into the discussion of why Latin should be the official language of the Mass. The meanings of the words don't change as in the vernacular tongues, and it establishes universality for the Mass around the world, but the rebuttal is: "Latin wasn't the language Christ used," and it shouldn't matter if we use the vernacular. I have a strong conviction about the use of Latin, even though it takes a little more work on our part.

I didn't have the facts to give him that Latin was used at the time of Christ. Is there any information anywhere where it is written that Latin was also used during Christ's time and that the earliest Masses were also said in Latin? The INRI over the cross was a good example, but do you have anything else you can give me? This topic has come up with other people as well. Novus Ordinarians fight against Latin tooth and nail. Thank you for all the work you do, this site has opened the eyes of many, myself included!

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Your cousin seems to be abysmally ignorant of some very basic facts of history, nor do they seem to know the evidence of the Scripture itself!

Of course Latin was spoken at the time of Christ. At that time Palestine was under the control of the Romans, and Pontius Pilate was the governor, or procurator, of the region. It was Augustus Caesar, the Roman emperor, whose decree brought the Holy Family to Bethlehem. It was Pilate who eventually approved the crucifixion, since the Jews did not have the legal power.

The language of the Roman government was Latin, though sometimes Greek was used at times in the Eastern provinces. Hebrew was the Sacred Language of the temple (not a vernacular) at that time. Aramaic was a local dialect. Several times in Scripture the Evangelists mention the three Sacred Languages: Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Moreover, most of the greatest literature in the Latin language was written during this period.

Was Christ speaking with Pilate in Latin? Very possibly. No translator is mentioned, and Christ, like all people in the area, would have been exposed to the language of their rulers. Possibly in Greek, as Pilate would have known Greek, and, again, Christ would have been exposed to that lingua franca of the Eastern provinces, and modern archaeology finds that there was a Greek city a few kilometers from Nazareth.

Aramaic? Probably not. It is doubtful that Pilate would have condescended to learn a local dialect, and even if he did, it is unlikely that he would have condescended to use it in a legal case.

As to Latin in the Mass, it used to be assumed that in the very early centuries Greek was used. That theory has been diabused by modern research, which shows that even during the time the Apostles lived, the Mass was already being said in Latin, as early churches discovered underground had Latin liturgical inscriptions on the walls. For further information, see the Library of Files for The Necessity of Latin for the Roman Catholic Church and for FAQ10 - Sacred Languages: Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.

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