I have often said that traditional Catholics don't have to argue against the Novus Ordo. If we just let them, the Novus Ordinarians do the work for us!
A Novus Ordo presbyter in a conservative (not traditional) Catholic publication just two months ago painted an horrendous picture about what has happened to the Church in less than forty years:
Sounds like a disaster, doesn't it? And what is the Novus Ordo presbyter's comment: "none of these things are bad in themselves...." Well, if they weren't bad in themselves, we wouldn't have the disaster to the Faith that the presbyter admits.
What is his recommended solution? "We should follow the rubrics of the Novus Ordo...." That is the Novus Ordinarians' solution to all the problems of the Church: if everyone would just follow strictly the new rules, everything would be A-okay.
Furthermore, "Mass should be an exact translation from the Latin." In other words, the use of the vulgar tongue to worship Holy God is perfectly acceptable; it's just the translation that's bad! Even the Jews wouldn't accept that one, nor the Mohammedans, nor the Hindus, nor the Buddhists -- all of whom use only sacred languages in their worship.
As I say, just let the Novus Ordinarians argue the case for us, and they'll be hoisted by their own petard!
Concerning the Gloria Patri, what do the last words, "world without end," signify? Do they refer to the glory that is given God by the creation of the world, or do they refer to something else?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
The words appear to be an infelicitous and puzzling rendition of what is quite clear in the Latin, literally: "as it was in the beginning, and (is) now, and (will be) always, and for the ages of the ages." In saecula saeculorum is an Hebraism denoting a superlative quality. The same usage is seen in such expressions as Rex Regum (King of Kings) and Dominus Dominorum (Lord of Lords).
The Italians have a saying: traduttore, traditore (a translator (is) a traitor). No translation full reflects the meaning of the orignal. That is one of the practical reasons why the vulgar tongue is never to be used at Holy Nass.
"Rumors" been coming in from a number of sources. Frankly, it is not our purpose to report details (that is a matter for those associated with the SSPX to wrestle with), but rather to step back and look at the situation from the broader perspective of the Traditional Catholic Movement as a whole. Of particular interest might be what lies behind the following.
Four SSPX bishops were said to have been invited to the Vatican to have dinner with one of the significant cardinals. He said that they would like to see a reconciliation and would like to give recognition to the SSPX bishops through this reconciliation.
This report, if true, confirms a suspicion that the SSPX bishops are trying to feather their own personal nests by getting personal recognition. It could be similar to the syndrome that we have seen so many others fall prey to: when they begin consorting with the "scarlets" and the "purples," they want to join the "club," casting aside their strongly held previous views. One well-known traditional author apparently feel prey to this syndrome. An erstwhile columnist who was used and then thrown aside by a conservative periodical seems to have been another.
One prominent SSPX leader is putting out the propoganda that "the SSPX is completely united concerning the talks with the Vatican." From the reports and copies of correspondence from SSPXers that have come this way, that statement appears to be far from true! Many SSPXers are not at all behind what seems to be going on -- and have said so publicly. The SSPX leaders are trying to assure everyone that things are going their way, that the Vatican is going to change its long-held Novus Ordo position to make a few SSPX bishops happy. Anyone who believes that has a completely untoward notion of how the Vatican operates!
Dear Fr. Moderator:
Nigel's comment of February 22 is fine as far as it goes, but, in all charity, it does seem a touch romantic and somewhat half-baked. The Pope is the father of us all, whether we like it or not, but is it not a strangely masochistic child who returns time and again to a "father" who gives him a Modernists' stone rather than the Bread of Heaven and who allows his child constantly to be chastized for the post-Conciliar crime of simply believing and doing what the Church has always believed and done?
I do not demand that the Pope wield a big pontifical stick at all the wrongdoers and unbelievers who romp around formerly Catholic sanctuaries in clerical fancy dress, playing at being Protestants. Whether he should do this or not is for his conscience to inform him. What I do ask is simple:
I ask for nothing new. I ask for no special favors. I seek no right to promote or advance any innovations. I ask the Vicar of Christ merely to defend my right to believe what Christ and His Apostles left to me. It is my heritage and my portion. He should not allow anyone to steal it from me.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
What is it that must take place in order to bring the traditional Catholic Church back to all faithful Catholics? My heart and soul hurts, and my tears fall in agony for the loss of the traditional Catholic Church. What is a person like myself to do besides pray? What can an ordinary person like myself do to reclaim the one and only true traditional Roman Catholic Church?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
I notice in some messages from traditional Catholics an impatience about the present trial. This is not the Christian attitude we should have to such trials, as St. Paul tells us so frequently in the Epistles of Septuagesima and Lent. Patience is the hallmark of the Christian. Moreover, we have good opportunity to practice the theological (God-directed) virtue of hope, about which we read in the Epistle of this Quinquagesima Sunday.
When the Church has been in serious difficulty in the past, as in the martyrdoms of the 3rd century, the Arian crisis of the 4th century, the Babylonian Capitivity of the papacy in the 13th century, the Great Western Schism of the 14th century, and the Protestant Revolution of the 15th century, it took the better part of the century for the crisis to be resolved. In those times the trials of Catholics for the Church benefited the Church: "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body which is the church" (Colossians 1:24/DR).
The Church, when it shall have endured the test, will be righted by its Founder, all in due course. What we are called upon to do in the interim is to follow the Apostolic counsel: "State et tenete traditiones, quas didicistis" [stand fast and hold the traditions that you have learned] (2 Thessalonians 2:14/DR).
Those who complain impatiently about the present situation should consider the far more severe plight of the Church in Japan. In 1864, missionaries happened upon a dozen or so Japanese Catholics. Without official instruction for nearly two and a half centuries, deprived of priests, sacrifice, and sacraments, except Baptism, Matrimony, and Spiritual Communion, more than 10,000 Catholics had survived the severe persecutions of the Faith. They had preserved by recopying since 1603 a book containing the basic prayers, prayers for the hour of death from the Ritual, and a summary of Christian doctrine. They had no priest, no Masses. They met in the darness of the night, in their homes or in the fields, to recite the Rosary and other prayers. And yet they preserved the Faith for some 250 years.
St. Paul gives us what should be our Christian perspective in his Epistle to the Romans (5:3-5/DR): "... we glory also in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience trial; and trial hope; And hope confoundeth not; because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost who is given to us."
Even the Roman philosopher Seneca, who was a correspondent of St. Paul's, but not a Christian, understood the nature and importance of such a trial:
Of all the propositions that have been advanced, the most difficult seems to be the one stated at the outset: Those things that we shudder and tremble even to consider are actually for the good of the person to whom they come.... Ills can be for the good of those who whom they come.... To triumph over calamities and the terrors of life -- this is assigned to the great man only. For anyone to have passed through the length of life without mental anguish is to have avoided half of nature. He is unfortunate who has never been unfortunate. Great men rejoice in adversity, as brave soldiers rejoice in warfare.... I say that God shows favor to those whom He desires to reach the highest virtue. He gives to them them means of doing a deed of high resolve, when great dfficulties are involved.... Hardship is virtue's opportunity.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
I was shocked and scandalised by the rejoicing that the talks between the SSPX and Rome have broken off, apparently. I pray that this is not true, but if it is, all real Catholics should pray for further opportunities. I'm not for a moment saying that traditional Catholics should come cap in hand begging for the approval of Modernists! I am also not denying the fact that much must change in the establishment before the crisis is over. I realise that most mainstream prelates see nothing wrong with Vatican II, the modernist liturgy, etc., and at best would allow the Traditional Latin Mass on an "indult" basis. I understand too that these are serious issues and that one cannot compromise and effectively endorse the whole Modernist agenda in the process.
However, it is tragic that when the Vicar of Christ, our Holy Father, beckons us, his children to try to resolve the breach and to effect a reconciliation, there are those among us who spurn him.... I have met many traditional Roman Catholics who have a blind spot when it comes to our Holy Father, who lash out whenever one speaks in defense of him....
Fr. Moderator Replies.There is a gaping schism between your first paragraph and your second paragraph. The practical problem that many members of the SSPX, and others, have with "negotiations" is that there is nothing to negotiate, as your first paragraph so effectively summarized. Abp. Lefebvre was pulled into such "negotiations" in 1988, with similar good motives, I am sure, and almost ended up succumbing under Vatican pressure so deftly applied, but, perhaps by a divine impulse, finally removed himself from the Vatican politicians and prayed the night. By morning his path was clear.
As to the pope, he may be a saint; he may be a sinner. That judgment will eventually be made by the Judge of us all, who sees the inner heart, not by us. What each of us can do individually is only what was put so well by St. Thomas More to the Duke of Norfolk, who had gone along with King Henry VIII "for fellowship's sake" St. Thomas replied: And if you go to Heaven for doing your conscience, and I to Hell for not doing mine, what then?
Dear Fr. Moderator:
Having read very carefully Fr. Noel Barbara's and Mr. P.H. Omlor's articles on the invalidity of the Novus Ordo Worship Service, I tend to believe in their argumentations. How can the innovators substitute "all" for "many" when even in the Latin version of the Novus Ordo Missae we have "many"? There is another article by an Indian scholar who states very clearly at the end of his study that the Novus Ordo in India is invalid. What is your opinion on this? Why don't the bishops go back to the original Latin text? Why is it that so few Catholics seem to be concerned about this most crucial problem?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
My opinion is that Catholics should avoid the Novus Ordo Worship Service like the plague it is and stand fast with the immemorial teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and with the immemorial Mass of the Roman Rite, the Traditional Latin Mass. Some do not know of the problem, some feel that they have no choice, some are afraid to take a stand. There is nothing new in that: ignorance and lack of fortitude are part of human nature.
The Novus Ordo radicals make no bones about what they are attempting to do. They are overtly attempting to push their Modernism upon the Church because they want to play God and remodel the Church after their own image, not after God's image. They want to use the Church as a powerful pawn to push their liberalist political agenda. When is the last time you heard a bishop talk about real religion instead of liberalistic politics warmed over with a little religious vocabulary to sugar-coat it?
Dear Fr. Moderator:
I guess by now that you have heard from many people, but, if not, let me say that your commentaries must have gotten through. At Mass this morning the SSPX priest said that all talks with the Vatican have been broken off. I think that because of your steadfastness, the SSPX must have heard an earful from its flock. As you always say, if only 10% would have said NO! to the Novus Ordo, we wouldn't be in the present situation. Well, I guess we are finally saying NO! I, and I am sure many of us have no one to thank but you. God Bless.
Fr. Moderator Replies.
I strongly doubt that my voice has that much impact on the SSPX leadership! However, I know that many SSPXers dunned their leadership, from India to the United States, with their grave concerns about the moves at the Vatican that the Chief Bishop tried to sell. I'm sure that it's not all over yet. We will keep monitoring -- with a sane eye.
NEW YORK (Reuters), Thursday, February 15, 2001. A publicly funded New York art museum that drew protests in 1999 from Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and other Roman Catholics over a portrait of the Virgin Mary incorporating elephant dung has angered Catholics again with a photo exhibition portraying Christ as a naked woman. The Brooklyn Museum of Art on Friday is set to open "Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers," including "Yo Mama's Last Supper," which depicts Christ as a nude woman standing with her arms outstretched and 12 black men disciples sitting or standing on either side of her.
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights said on Thursday it was sending a letter of protest to the museum over the five-panel photo by New York photographer Renee Cox, whose work has been described by critics as overtly feminist. "The museum didn't have to choose this as representative of Renee Cox's work," Catholic League President Bill Donohue told Reuters. Donohue said remarks by a museum curator that dogs had been included in other depictions of Christ's final meal with his disciples before his crucifixion "points up the insensitivity to Christians in this country."
Curator Barbara Millstein was quoted by the Daily News on Thursday as saying "there are images of this scene with dogs in the Last Supper," and she did not believe the Cox photo should be considered taboo. A museum spokeswoman declined to comment on specific works contained in the exhibition, which also includes a photograph by Willie Middlebrook of a topless woman on the cross. But a statement by museum director Arnold Lehman introducing the works by 94 photographers said, in part, "While many of these works are beautiful and easy to enjoy, others may be controversial and difficult for us as viewers."
The museum had its city funding yanked in October 1999 over its "Sensation" exhibit of young British artists, which included a portrait, "Holy Virgin Mary" by Nigerian-born Chris Ofili, incorporating elephant dung and pornographic photo cut-outs. Giuliani, who described the work as "sick" and "disgusting," objected to the "Sensation" exhibit being supported by taxpayers' money. The city and the museum went to court over the funding dispute. Under a March 2000 settlement, the city was ordered to continue giving previously allocated money to the museum and an additional $5.8 million in capital funding.
Fr. Moderator Replies.
It is quite obvious that the Brooklyn Museum is conducting a campaign against Christians, and Catholics in particular. After the fiasco in 1999, you'd think that the Museum would have learned a lesson. Obviously not; it wants to push the modernistic agenda against Christ and His Church above all.
Can you imagine what the outcry would have been if Ms. Millstein had offended Blacks, or Jews, or Muslims? The Blacks would sic the NAACP on her, the Jews would sic the B'nai B'rith, and the Muslims would handle it in their own way. It seems that only Catholics are fair game.
There is, however, a growing voice on the Catholic side, and that is the organization mentioned in the article, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights (450 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10123), led by William Donohue. This is an organization that traditional Catholics could well support, as far as I have seen. When you make a donation, you receive its bimonthly journal Catalyst, which documents how the League takes on various anti-Catholic initiatives around the country. It is shocking how much anti-Catholic bigotry still exists without getting nearly coverage that anti-racial and anti-Semitic actions get.
Can a priest absolve without hearing a penitent's confession? The situation involved a man who was away from the Church for many years and asked a priest to hear his confession. The priest told him that Mass was just about to start, and he (the priest) absolved him and told him that he would verbally hear his confession after Mass. He also told him that he could go to Holy Communion. Novus Ordo, of course!
Fr. Moderator Replies.
No, absolution cannot be given in such a case before the actual confession is heard entire and a penance given. If the person is aware of having committed a mortal sin, he should not receive Holy Communion and should wait until after Mass when his confession can be heard.
I wrote the following letter of concern to the SSPX about recent reports that its leadership is planning to sell out its membership in some kind of a "deal" with the very people at the Vatican whom it has vilified for almost twenty years now.
1. The traditional Mass is not compatible with the ecclesiology of the post-Vatican or New Church and may continue only on sufferance till the present generation passes away or till the Society is effectively undermined, whichever is earlier. What is being negotiated is only an Indult Mass or a temporary concession. Is the Society so naive as not to perceive the intentions of the Vatican behind this? The Mass is not the only issue; what about the defective rites of ordination? What would happen if the Vatican were to send a post-Vatican II bishop to Econe [the SSPX's headquarters] to ordain the Society's priests even on one occasion?
2. In case a pact is signed, it is not unlikely that as a mark of reconciliation John Paul II will invite Bishop Fellay [the Chief Bishop, resident in France] to concelebrate the Novus Ordo with him. Will Bishop Fellay have the guts to turn down the request?
3. Memories of apostolic visitations to Econe before 1988 are still fresh in many minds. After the pact is signed, what is to prevent Rome from despatching apostolic visitors to investigate all the Society's seminaries and to create an effective Fifth Column in each seminary to subvert the Society as has been achieved within the Fraternity of St. Peter ?
4. Before elections for a new superior general took place in 1994, Fr. Schmidberger [then Superior General] had sent a circular to the electoral body of the Society of St. Pius X not to vote for any bishop in order not to jeopardize further contacts with the Vatican. The body of electors disregarded his advice and voted for Bishop Fellay in order to ensure that there would be no compromise with the Vatican. In the light of the same, does Bishop Fellay really have the moral right to negotiate with Rome without seeking the mandate of the body which had elected him?
I am firmly convinced that the Society is playing with fire. The time is simply not ripe for any pact particularly when a papal election is just round the corner. Even the news of the negotiations has caused deep unrest among the adherents of the Society, many of whom had made great sacrifices for the Society in the hope that it would uphold the Faith at all times to come.
Fr. Moderator Replies.
One of the advantages of being independent, that is, not affiliated with the SSPX or any other society, is that TRADITIO can "call them as it sees them." We don't have to be the mouthpiece for any organization other than traditional Roman Catholicism. We can sit back with a third-party observer's eye to watch the black widow's web of Novus Ordoism ensnare first the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), then Una Voce, now possibly the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX).
Obviously, the SSPXers in India are very concerned about what the SSPX Chief Bishop and his cohorts are doing, as are SSPXers in the United States and around the world. John indicated in a cover letter that when he expressed his concerns to the Society, he was merely brushed off: "your worries are without foundation." One is reminded of the innocent Cassandra, who was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but spurned his advances. As a result, although the gift of prophecy could not be taken back, Apollo did engineer it so that none of her prophecies would be heeded. In many classical tragedies, she is found warning against letting in the Trojan Horse. The Trojans heeded her not, and their city was razed to the ground. How many traditional organizations need to be destroyed before they wake up to the fact that these people are standing on flypaper?
Many of the priests and laypeople of the SSPX are honorable people, trying to preserve the true Faith. The SSPX leadership, however, is another matter. It has consistently shown antipathy to its own people and to those outside the SSPX. It certainly has not shown the charity and balance that its founder, Abp. Lefebvre showed in difficult circumstances. Therefore, John and all the SSPXers around the world who are questioning the wisdom and prudence of its leadership have good reason to be concerned. Too bad the SSPXers can't sweep out the Clintons and get a Bush into their leadership!
In arguing with Protestants about true faith they always resort to the Bible and say that Jesus loves us all which I know from Church teaching. Did Jesus Christ ever say the words to anyone "I love you," or anything that resembled that?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
There is the passage from St. John's Gospel (3:16/DR): "For God so loved the world...." But the fact that God in some why would love His creation is a "no-brainer." The real issue is what our personal creation requires of us. St. John reports Our Lord's words on several occasions: "If you love me, keep my commandments" (14:15 and elsewhere).
The "love" referred to here is not mere sentimentalism, but as the specific Greek word used makes clear, a reciprocal duty between God and man, just as a parent's love of child and vice versa means nothing if the parties don't act toward one another according to their respective duties. There are many times when parents have anything but loving feelings toward their children, and vice versa, but each must act in the appropriate Christian way under the Fourth Commandment and Colossians 3. For further information, see the Library of Files for FAQ10: How Do You Explain These Traditional Catholic Beliefs?
In a letter dated February 1, SSPX Bp. Williamson comments on "Contacts with Rome." This letter takes a rather jaundiced, realistic, view of the contacts between Cardinal Hoyos and the SSPX leadership. In fact, it is almost as if Williamson lifted some thoughts from our commentary here of February 3!
In particular, Williamson makes with very similar words seconds a point made here on Feburary 3 and earlier:
Roman Church officials are masters of negotiating, of dealing, of manoeuvring, of out-manoeuvring their opponents. They have top-class brains, state-of-the-art networks of informants and information, and 2,000 years of experience in out-witting whoever happens to be facing them. When all these assets are used truly in the service of Our Lord, the results are magnificent. But when they are used, as today, in the service of Vatican II, then automatically the Society is in peril if it tries to cut a deal with these Romans.
In another passage reminiscent of what TRADITIO has said, Williamson points out:
Even if negotiations, for all kinds of reasons..., come to nothing, then the simple fact of having entered into negotiations will have played for Rome and against the organisation [SSPX}.
I might add, as I did on February 3, that it will have played for Cardinal Hoyos personally, who is increasingly being mentioned as a possible papabile. The question is whether the SSPX Chief Bishop and others in the SSPX leadership will heed Williamson's prudent words of warning or whether they will get "scarlet fever," as did the formerly independent traditional author Michael Davies after he started dealing with the Vatican ecclesiocrats in his capacity as Una Voce President. Even Davies had to admit that he was outraged and deceived by the Vatican when it pressured the Fraternity of St. Peter [FSSP] into accepting the Novus Ordo.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
In the 1970s I was for a number of months a guest at the Vincentian motherhouse in Rome. During that period I got to know Silvio Cardinal Oddi, like Bugnini (the Novus Ordo Worship Service's chief architect) a Vincentian, but widely seen as very conservative with palpable traditional leanings.
I gained the impression that privately Oddi thought Bugnini barely Catholic, if at all; that he (Bugnini) and some of his friends and fellow travellers had fully intended what Oddi called the "sly protestantisation of the Church"; and that a vast number of Council bishops had been both bullied and deceived by the periti (bishop's attendants), whose secular and Protestant beliefs had effectively been hidden from them. He blamed the French, German, Belgian, Dutch and North American episcopates for being too "fashionably liberal" and Paul VI for not having had "the stomach for the fight. Papa Roncalli would never have been such a coward, he said. How bad for the Church that he died when he did.
It seems that very few bishops either had the stomach for the fight or were more than passingly attached to Roman Catholicism. The bishops and the clergy have not done us many favors at all, when we think about it. Nevertheless, our "secret weapon" is there for all to see -- the Faith that was given us at Baptism, the Communion of Saints that supports us by prayer and intercession before God, and the Real Presence of Christ at our Masses and in our tabernacles -- that same presence which new religion seeks so carefully to push into the corner.
We cannot fail. At the end we will overcome, and these days of darkness will be seen as the fraud and deception that they are. I feel great sorrow when I think about those who have died and who will die without the consolation that only the true Sacraments of Christ in His Church can bring, and I feel pushed to remind myself to pray daily for these, our brothers and sisters.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
I would just like to ask you about the role of the youth in the Church. What do you think are the expectations of the youth in the Church? Will the Church be able to stand by the youth and be the hope of the young generation? What are the plans of the Church to capture and regain the willingness of some youth who were "lost"? The youth is desperately seeking the authentic beauty of the human person and of the world, what can the Church do about this?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
I guess I don't conceive of the situation in the same terms as you do. St. Paul tells us in Romans (10:12/DR): "For there is no distinction of the Jew and the Greek: for the same is Lord over all, rich unto all that call upon him."
All, therefore, belong equally to the Church: men and women; married and single; young, middle-aged, and old; black, white, red, and yellow. The teaching of Christ and His Church apply to all -- the same Scripture, the same Tradition, the same Holy Mass, the same Sacraments, the same Saints, and all can spiritually benefit from them.
I think that it is counterproductive to "balkanize" the Church. We have seen far too much of that already in the Protestantizing tendency to make the Church nationalist: the "American Church," the "African Church," etc. We are the Roman Catholic Church! The theologians tell us that Christ was born under the Roman Empire to emphasize this fact, and the Church became Roman and uses the Roman language for just this reason -- the universality of Rome, as it existed under the Augustan Peace and thereafter.
I have recently finished a book (only 72 pages) translated by Marian Therese Horvat, Ph.D. with a foreward by Atila Sinke Guimaraes regarding Our Lady of Good Success and her appearance to a Conceptionist sister, Mother Mariana Francisca de Jesus Torres (1563-1635). Mother Mariana did much penance for those of us of the 20th Century, as she was given many prophecies relating to the future and the devastation of the Church in our times.
"I would be very pleased if this small book on Our Lady of Good Success would raise a greater devotion to her. May this hasten the day when she will be known and honored everywhere as Queen of Heaven and Earth as she has prophesied in Quito and Fatima" (p. 12). I agree with Dr. Horvat -- this is a devotion for our time. What a cry would ascend to Heaven if each list member said the simple Novena prayer to Our Lady of Good Success for the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass.
If I may end with another quote of the book, Our Lady tells Mother Mariana, "The small number of souls who, hidden, will preserve the treasure of the Faith and practice virtue will suffer a cruel, unspeakable and prolonged martyrdom. Many of them will succumb to death from the violence of their sufferings, and those who sacrifice themselves for the Church and their country will be counted as martyrs. In order to free men from bondage to these heresies, those whom the merciful love of my Most Holy Son has designated to effect the restoration will need great strength of will, constancy, valor and confidence in God. To test this faith and confidence of the just, there will be occasions when all will seem to be lost and paralyzed. This, then, will be the happy beginning of the complete restoration" (p. 55).
The book is title Our Lady of Good Success - Prophecies for Our Times and can be procured from Tradition In Action, whose contact information is given in the Traditional Directory.
Before we let secular society take over yet another of our holydays and before we get all wrapped up in candy, flowers, and greeting cards to fill the pockets of corporations, let us remember that, first and foremost, February 14 is not just Valentine's Day, but Saint Valentine's Day. Its origins are not a day dedicated to human love, but to divine love. The Roman priest Valentine was imprisoned for courageously professing his Christian Faith, and helping other Christians to do so, during the persecutions of Claudius the Goth about the year 269.
One account of the circumstances of his end has it that as he could not be with his congregation, he never ceased to think about them and pray for them. He wished to communicate the Christian message to them, but was unable to get a message out of the prison. Miraculously, a dove landed on the window of his cell. Trusting in God, St. Valentine placed a note in the mouth of the dove, the symbol of the Holy Ghost, which carried the message to St. Valentine's congregation. From this it may be that the custom derives of exchanging greetings on this day.
St. Valentine was eventually martyred. The prefect of Rome commanded that he be beaten with clubs and afterwards beheaded. The martyr was buried on the Flaminian Way, one of the great roads leading out of the city of Rome. It is known that a catacomb was constructed near the area of St. Valentine's tomb.
In Latin, the name for a dovecot, also applied to the little niches in which bodies were placed in a catacomb, is columbarium, where the doves, the columbae, made their nests. It may be that the truth of the story of the dove is embedded in the historical reality of the catacomb. Later a basilica was built over the spot.
Far from representing mere sentimentalism, the red color and the hearts that are so prevalent this day recall the fact that St. Valentine gave his body's red heart and his life's blood for his faith.
When the bell rings at the Sanctus, and we kneel to adore the Lord God of Hosts, let us cry out a Hosanna in our hearts in gratitude to Our Lord for the great gift of the Roman Catholic Faith that we have received. When the priest utters at the Communicantes the names of those early martyrs, let us how much red blood the millions of courageous Catholic martyrs shed to purchase that precious Faith for us.
One of the last churches in the Milwaukee Archdiocese where worshippers could kneel for Holy Communion has removed the traditional railing -- and some parishioners are giving anything but praise. [It seems that some Novus Ordo Catholics are just being slammed with some consequences of Vatican II. --Fr. Moderator]
"It's the most respectful way of receiving Communion - that's the way I was brought up," said 80-year-old Vincent Morris, who helped circulate a petition in a vain effort to save the railings at St. Mary's Parish in Elm Grove. Morris said he got about 100 signatures, mostly from older parishioners like Hubert Platz, 72. "I feel uncomfortable standing," said Platz, who had knelt at Communion since childhood. [Then why, Mr. Platz, did you not speak up in 1965 when the vulgar tongues were introduced into your Holy Mass? When altar-mistresses were introduced? When "eucharistic ministers" were introduced? Are you paying the price now for your inaction then?]
Morris and Platz say being forced to stand for Communion prevents them from showing the appropriate level of reverence. But St. Mary's officials say more than 35 years after Vatican II made Communion railings unnecessary, they decided it was time for theirs to go. [Oh, yes, we can't resist the winds of Vatican II in the Novus Ordo -- you may get a postponement, but the conciliar demon will get you eventually!]
"It was just an obsolete remnant," said church spokeswoman Mary Wells. Wells described the railing as a clumsy obstacle for Sunday crowds that moved toward the altar for Communion. [Of course, Mary. You Novus Ordo advocates wouldn't know real Catholicism from a hole in the ground. To you, everything truly Catholic is obsolete. Moreover, your vaunted "Vatican II charity" seems to run easily roughshod over many of your parishioners. Go right ahead and construct your New Religion. One only hopes that real Catholics will be smart enough and courageous enough to get out of it before the priestesses and the coven mass are introduced.]
Most congregations in the Milwaukee area did away with Communion railings years ago, a direct result of the Vatican II reforms that changed the way Catholics worship. Just as some Catholics still prefer [Traditional] Latin Mass, others feel an attachment to the railing where worshippers took Communion. [Ah, the truth is admitted!] A few pastors in the 237-church archdiocese, however, still provide facilities for those wishing to kneel.
Although the Milwaukee Archdiocese keeps no statistics on which churches have Communion railings, spokeswoman Kathleen Hohl said they're a rarity. Some churches have even removed the kneelers in pews. Archbishop Rembert Weakland has speculated that his successor will order that the pew kneelers be returned to all churches in the archdiocese. Weakland will reach the mandatory retirement age of 75 next year. [Praise be to the Lord! That boisterous bishop of the New Order will finally be cast out into the outer darkness.]
At another church, portable railings are rolled out each Sunday for a special Latin Mass. Father Robert Skeris of St. Mary Help of Christians in West Allis said churches must give worshippers some way to show reverence when they step up to receive Holy Communion -- whether that means genuflecting, bowing their heads or kneeling. Skeris said even though kneeling has not been required for Communion since the mid-1960s, he still draws crowds of up to 400 each Sunday for worshippers wanting to observe those sorts of traditions during the Latin Mass. [This "Latin Mass" is an "indult" Mass. Apparently, it has abandoned the traditional practice of kneeling for Communion. Many "indult" Masses involve one or more such compromises with the Novus Ordo.]
Platz said, however, that worshippers had lined up at the railing at Communion time. He said there have been times when St. Mary's seemed to be discouraging worshippers from kneeling. He called it one of many traditions that seem to be getting cast aside in modern times. "We have taken the mysticism out of church," he said. "I don't like the trend." [Get thee to the Traditional Latin Mass then, Mr. Platz. Shake the dust off your shoes and never return to that place.]
Dear Fr. Moderator:
Perhaps Sam would accept the claims of no better an authority than the lesser Hannibal himself about his intention to destroy the Mass, in the form of his solipsistic autobiography. Annibale Bugnini, the chief architect of the Novus Ordo Worship Service, wrote a thousand-page puff piece called (in its English edition) The Reform of the Liturgy (1948-1975). This is what one reviewer had to say of it:
It is sometimes said that the confusions and experiments that followed the close of the Second Vatican Council were not intended by the architects of the Council itself. Bugnini's personal history of these years puts that myth to rest. He demonstrates an astounding hostility toward Catholic tradition in these pages and shows that at every turn the Council was working to dismantle the liturgy, doctrine, and spirituality of the ages and to replace it with a new and thoroughly modern, if not humanistic, theory of the faith. How this monstrous figure became the most influential figure at a Church Council is the only remaining mystery.
A book from an entirely different perspective is also available, Michael S. Rose's The Renovation Manipulation: The Church Counter-Renovation Handbook. Even the reluctant Novus Ordinarians seem to be getting smart about how they have been played for fools. This is what one reviewer had to say about it:
If I wanted to go to a Protestant church, I could walk across the street. But no. I want to attend a Catholic church which looks like a Catholic church inside and out and where a real Catholic liturgy is being offered.
This book should have been written 35 years ago before all the heretical bishops and priests starting destroying our churches. It reminds me of England under Henry VIII. Who were the first to apostatize? The bishops and clergy. They readily went along with the nationalization of the church and the destruction of the abbeys. The faithful Catholic people of that time stayed home and prayed the Rosary rather than having to put up with an heretical hierarchy and clergy.
In the 1960s in the U.S., the bishops wanted to be popular with the press and media so they endorsed any new fad that came along. Part of that mentality included converting Catholic churches into Protestant meeting houses.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
The 2001 nominations would seem to be very similar in style and theme to those of past years. Nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, is Chocolat, which, from what I have seen and read, I would describe as this year's American Beauty:
1960, small town France. Vianne Rocher and her pre-teen daughter move into town and open a chocolate shop just as Lent is beginning. The town's small-minded mayor can't accept this and does his best to shut her down, but her warm personality and incredible chocolates manage to win over many townsfolk.
Once again, this would seem to be yet another attack upon Catholicism and religion in general. Note that the mayor is described as "small-minded" because he disapproves of people breaking their Lenten fast. The Patriot, which you and other members of TRADITIO have praised from time to time, is, on the other hand, nominated for only one Oscar, that being for cinematography!
Fr. Moderator Replies.
It's even worse than that. The whole premise is wrong. There is no prohibition on eating chocolate per se in Lent (of course, it must be part of the main meal or one of the two collations). Surprisingly, popes going back to the Renaissance have specifically weighed in about this, as Fr. Herbert Thurston's long-out-of-print work on the subject, Lent and Holy Week, points out.
Always pleasant to come upon your classical allusions, but isn't it time to lay off poor old Bugnini [Anibale Bugnini, the chief architect of the Novus Ordo Worship Service]? He was only acting for Papa Montini [Pope Paul] and has had to take the heat for the changes, so to speak. Quo usque tandem....
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Bugnini's influence began in the 1940s, when he joined the Sacred Congregation of Rites. It was he who apparently was responsible for the changes in the Missale Romanum that were imposed while Pius XII was quite ill, changes that tampered with the earliest rites of the Church, those of Holy Week itself. Pope John XXIII clearly saw Bugnini's malign influence and banished him from the SCR. Unfortunately, Bugnini weaseled his way back under Paul VI and played him like a Rasputin.
I was watching the Eternal Word Television Network [Mother Angelica's network] with my wife this evening. We don't normally watch it, but did today for a few minutes -- long enough to enforce our decision not to watch it anymore! One lady was talking about how her church was using plastic "potato chip and dip" type bowls for the hosts. She explained how irreverent this seemed and how irreverently the "eucharistic ministers" dipped their hands into the bowl, grabbing a handful of hosts and then passing them out to the communicants.
A man was saying that he was scrupulous and in light of that he wanted to be holy. He was told that being scrupulous was in no way a virtue and was, in fact, a vice. How in the world can this be a vice?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
The EWTN network is Novus Ordo, and more so every day. It boasts of modernistic priests and Charismatic laymen (some of them former Protestants who became Novus Ordo Catholics and pander the same pabulum) and uses the Novus Ordo Worship Service facing the congregation (sure, they throw a little Latin in, but that doesn't make the Mass traditional).
As to scrupulosity, the term has a technical meaning in Catholic moral theology. It refers to a condition of excess in religion -- going beyond what is prudent and what is in accordance with a person's state of life. For example, it would be sinful, not virtuous, for the mother of a family to engage in the kind of extreme fasting that a monk might, as she would be compromising her primary duty to care for her children.
I was wondering if you could tell me where I can purchase CDs of traditional Gregorian Chant. Also, do you know whether the recent Chant series by the Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos is traditional?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
The Silos recordings, to my ear, have a slightly "operatic" quality, which is foreign to authentic chant interpretation. The recordings from the 1950s by the Monks of St. Pierre de Solesmes in France under the direction of Dom Gerard are the most authentic; the later ones under Dom Marie Claire, less so. Fortunately, many of the former's recordings are available in CD under the Accord label. For further information, see the Library of Files for FAQ7: What Gregorian Chant Recordings Do You Recommend?
The Traditional Latin Mass is very much a sombre occasion; the New Wave mass on the other hand, is often joyous and cheerful. One charge traditional Catholics often level against the New Wave mass is that its music is totally unsuitable, that laughter, dance, physical contact (hugging, holding hands etc.) and casual dress are unsuitable, and that they detract from true reverence. But if we look to the Scriptures, we can see that these things are greatly justified, that they are in fact, very much more scripturally based than the old ways.
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Not "somber," but rather "sacred" and "serious" -- and, yes, "joyful."
Joyfulness, in Christian theology, is essentially a interior state of soul, not some external exhibitionism of hilarity, bear-hugs, and teenage smoozing. It is an unCatholic fallacy of the New Order that people should let their emotions run rampant in an exhibitionistic "religious experience," like Pentecostalists writing on the floor possessed by the "spirit." Such a concept smacks of the error of Americanism, condemned by Pope Leo XIII, of Pentecostal Protestantism, and, more anciently, the heresies of Messalianism (Charismaticism).
As for liturgical services, we know quite a lot about the services of the Jews of biblical times, and these were quite serious. Proper reverence was strictly enforced by the priests and Sanhedrin. By the way, we know the music that they used for liturgical services, on which our Gregorian chant is based. Thus, it was far from pop, rock, and reggae!
The "shouts" and "dances" you referred to from Scripture are taken totally out of context. It is clear that these refer to the equivalent of street festivals, not the sacred liturgical services of the sanctum and inner sanctum of the Temple.
The unsupported protestations of certain Novus Ordinarians that they are merely returning to some early "golden age" of religion before the bad old Roman Catholic Church "put the lid on" just won't wash. By this logic I expect that Catholics should eventually become like the devotees of the pagan Egyptian goddess Isis, snorting psychedelics and offering their orgies to the goddess!
This site has no affiliation with the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), so the latest round of rumors that the Vatican and the SSPX are once again in pow-wows would have gone unremarked upon. Nor was there any intention of getting into the inside information that comes from several contacts reporting regularly from within the bowels of the SSPX. Nor was there any intention of getting into the provenance and characters of the SSPX leadership. However, TRADITIO has been beseiged recently by TRADITIO participants for some comment, as the SSPX is a part (but only a minority part) of the Traditional Catholic Movement, so some general ruminations may be apropos.
First of all, the human side of the Vatican hasn't lasted for 2000 years because of incompetence. The Vatican has one of the shrewdest propoganda and diplomatic mechanisms that has ever existed on the face of the earth. With Roman predecessors like Julius Caesar, who turned a six-month emergency assignment into a perpetual rule of the world, and like Augustus Caesar, who cleverly became the first absolute emperor while maintaining the empty trappings of democracy, the apple does not fall far from the tree.
When that propoganda mechanism was used in support of bringing to the Roman Catholic Faith as the one true Faith both Jew and Gentile alike, "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:20/DR), it was light light of the world. Yet that same human side of the institution, which had the capacity for good, could be turned toward "the dark side," as occurred several times in the early centuries of the Church, when even popes were excommunicated, when the popes abandoned the See of Peter and held court under the thumb of the French secular power, when there were so many people claiming to be pope that even the Saints couldn't tell which was the real one, when several popes sank into personal corruption and immorality and helped to trigger the "Reformation."
And then there came Vatican II. Begun by a pope who (we'll give him the benefit of the doubt) wanted to vivify the Church while retaining all of the traditional liturgy, sacraments, and faith, that Council, most of whose bishops were duped by modernist theologians who had their own subtle plans to undermine Christ's very constitution of the Church, doltishly ended up nearly destroying the foundation of the Church. Add some officials fired apparently for Masonic tendencies and mix in six Protestant ministers to write a "New Mass" -- and, voila!, the divinely-founded Church that had brought Christian civilization to the world ended up becoming a laughing stock, the butt of jokes on Leno and Letterman.
Out of that morass, very few bishops respected their oaths to uphold the Sacred Tradition of the Church. One of these was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who, in good faith, subjected himself to the Vatican diplomatic mechanism and was almost sucked into the Novus Ordo, until in quiet reflection he came to the realization that the Vatican was foursquare behind the "New Mass" and all the New Order that went with it and that the Vatican had no intention whatsoever of restoring the Traditional Latin Mass, Sacraments, and Faith to full vigor.
When Archbishop Lefebvre proceeded on his course of maintaining his oasis of the Roman Catholic Faith through the SSPX, the Vatican panicked. Never did it believe that an archbishop would actually stand by the unadulterated Catholic Faith against the Vatican, as St. Athanasius did against Pope Liberius and as St. Augustine did against Pope Zosimus, among many others. Thus arose the "knee-jerk indult" of 1988 and the Vatican's creation of the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP).
The declining course of that organization over the last year with the implementation of Protocol 1411, by which the Vatican, in the person of the new President of the "Ecclesia Dei" Commission, Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, has pretty much pulled the rug out from under the contention that the FSSP ever had the "exclusive" use of the liturgical books of 1962 and has started applying pressure upon the FSSP to cooperate in various ways with the Novus Ordo, is as clear as the handwriting on the wall to King Nabucodonosor.
(As an historical curiosity, as anyone yet pointed out that just as the Chief Architect of the "New Mass" was named "Hannibal" (Anibale Bugnini), after the great Carthaginian general who almost brought Rome to her knees in the third century B.C., the new head of the "Indult" Commission is named after the great Persian general who almost brought Greece to her knees in the fifth century B.C?
The SSPX has consistently separated itself from the bastardization of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and of timeless religious doctrine, such as the de-fide doctrine that the Roman Catholic Church is Christ's one true Church. How can that position be reconciled -- should it even be? -- with the Vatican's unconditional support of the New Order -- not only the "New" Mass and the "New" Sacraments, but the "modernized" Faith as well? It seems that the modern Vatican gets a catch in its throat when it is asked to confirm even de-fide doctrines in clear, unambiguous terms.
If the SSPX leaders turn their backs on the practical wisdom of their founder and make a pact with Vatican officials, conscripted into the Army of the New Order, they may well find their own Ides of March just around the corner. After these leaders have flailed away against the "New Mass," the "New Sacraments," and new doctrines, including ecumenism and religious liberty, how could they hypocritically become a part of what they have condemned? Moreover, even if these SSPX leaders should somehow arrange a "sweetheart deal" for themselves, they will have acquiesced in the New Order for everyone else.
One must always remember that an organization is not composed only of its leaders. Often leaders go astray, whereas the rank and file do not, particularly when those leaders have a personal ego involved, and it becomes difficult to determine who is using whom! Who knows? Maybe the driving force here is simply politics and ego. The SSPX leaders may think that by "negotiating" with the Vatican, fully expecting that their terms will never be accepted by the Novus Ordo, their personal prestige will increase. Hoyos may think that by getting the SSPX to compromise and accept assimilation into the Novus Ordo, he will win a great diplomatic victory and increase his papability in the next conclave. It is regrettable how churchmen may use one another in such ways for personal gain.
Moreover, by getting the SSPX to parlay, Hoyos gets at least implicit recognition by the SSPX of the excommunication of Archbishop Lefebvre, an excommunication that, by the way, eight distinguished Vatican Roman canonists have now determined to be null and void on juridical grounds:
Undoubtedly, whatever a handful of SSPX leaders decide to do, there would be a substantial body of SSPX clergy and faithful who would never go in that direction. At least one of the SSPX bishops has publicly stated that he would leave the SSPX before going in that direction. The SSPX has already suffered several schisms from within its ranks, the most significant one being the departure of a goodly number of its best priests into the Society of St. Pius V (SSPV), who maintain a more traditional practices than does SSPX.
One thing we do know. The SSPX certainly wants to keep its "negotiations" a secret from its members. One has to wonder what these leaders have to hide from their own membership. In a letter of January 23, 2001, the SSPX's Chief Bishop hands down an order to the Superiors of the SSPX as if he were the pope [translated from the French]:
The same text must not be put into the hands of the faithful until a new order [is issued, presumably from the Chief Bishop himself]. It is forbidden to publish it. No one shall speak further to the faithful about the conditions proposed....
Is something rotten in the kingdom of Denmark?
The SSPX leaders should take to heart the wise advice given by St. Peter, the first pope, which every priest prays daily as the Hour of Compline of the Divine Office opens:
Sobrii estote, et vigilate: quia adversarius vester diabolus tamquam leo rugiens circuit, quaerens quem devoret: cui resistite fortes in fide.... (1 Peter 5:8-9)
[Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith...]
Dear Fr. Moderator:
When someone asked whether home-made bread could be used for Communion bread, he was given the answer that it was acceptable as long as only wheat and water were used, that baking soda, sugar, eggs, etc., render the Communion invalid. This upset me because I am a teacher in the First Communion class, and they have been baking their own bread for years, to be used at their First Communion. They bake it at the retreat the week before the Communion. This bread even includes honey. This is my third year of teaching this class, and, to tell you the truth, I was a bit uncomfortable with this. If this is wrong, please let me know.
I know it will make a big stink, since they have done this for years. My guess is that they will do it anyway, because one time I made the comment that I was faithful to the Vatican, and I got laughed at. Could you please advise me on this situation? It upsets me very much to know that the children I taught and all the people who go to Communion that day did not really receive the Blessed Sacrament. Please tell me the truth. I know that "the truth will set you free." Please pray for me as I break the news to my parish. This is going to be very hard.
Fr. Moderator Replies.
This certainly doesn't sound like a parish that could be called "Catholic" by any standard other than the sign on the door. And that sign in front of the door of Novus Ordo churches must more and more remind us of that sign described by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri over the gate of Hell:
Per me si va nella citta' dolente,
Per me si va nell' etterno dolore,
Per me si va tra la perduta gente.
.... Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.
[Through me the way into the woeful city,
Through me the way to the eternal pain,
through me the way among the lost people.
.... Abandon every hope, ye that enter.]
You are correct: only wheaten flour and water are to be used. That has been the consistent doctrine and practice of the Church from the beginning. What you are describing seems to be a cookie rather than bread and would be invalid matter if that is the case. Such a concoction has no reference even to what was used at the Last Supper, because, as we know, that was unleavened bread of wheaten flour, as the Jews to this day use on the Passover.
The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith warned the U.S. National Council of Catholic Bishops in a decision dated March 15, 1978, that many "Masses" were invalid because of defect of matter and that such Masses would have to be reoffered and stipends returned. Many of the bishops blithely ignored this question of sacramental validity, and I have no doubt that many purported "Masses" offered in dioceses in the United States are not Masses at all, but in fact Protestantized memorial prayer-meetings.
Often great emphasis is placed on the defect of form (that, the words) of the Novus Ordo Worship Service, as even the very words of Consecration handed down from Christ and His Apostles were changed, but the question of defect of matter (the physical elements) is just as serious. For further information, see the Library of Files for FAQ03: Should I Attend the New Mass?
All you can do is continue to teach the children what is truly Catholic. As St. Augustine said: "Wrong is wrong even if everybody is doing it, and right is right even if nobody is doing it." The numbers of those in error or their purported "authority" is not important. What is important is right Catholic doctrine and right Catholic practice.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
A friend of mine asked where Purgatory is mentioned in the Bible. I could not answer her even though I do read the Bible. Can you help me?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Even though Sacred Tradition, that is, the teaching of the Apostles of Deposit of Faith, is just as important as Sacred Scripture, many Catholics -- and certainly Protestants -- are ignorant that the teaching on Purgatory is adumbrated in many Scriptural passages. For further information, see "Purgatory" in the Library of Files under FAQ10: How Do You Explain These Traditional Catholic Beliefs?
With all the talk of "Ground Hog Day" today, you probably didn't even know that today is one of the greatest feastdays of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Feastday of the Purification, also known as Candlemas Day because of the liturgical procession with candles on that day. It is forty days after the birth of Our Lord, when, as St. Luke tells us:
22 - And after the days of her purification, according to thelaw of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord:
23 - As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord:
24 - And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turledoves or two young pigeons.
It was on this occasion that Simeon and Anna the prophetess testified that Our Lord was the redemption of Israel and of the Gentiles. It is from the words of Simeon on the day of the Purification that the Canticle of Simeon, the Nunc Dimittis, is taken for the canticle of the last Hour of the Divine Office. You can read those wonderful words in verses 29-32.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
The side of Hollywood we see from Mel Gibson as a staunch husband, father, and traditional Catholic is certainly the exception. The following is more of the norm. Actress Jennie Garth of Beverly Hills 90210 married recently, for the second time, following a divorce of her first husband of two years. Their (Garth's and her new husband's) three-year-old daughter served as flower girl; incidently, she was born about seven months after the divorce from her first husband was filed.
Oh, the wedding was held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Montecito, California. Of course, when I went to get married, I couldn't use the local Catholic church because I wanted to have a traditional priest perform the ceremony. That was a much bigger stigma than having been divorced and wanting my illegimate child (conceived while still married to my first spouse) be part of the ceremony.