August 2001

August 30, 2001 -- St. Rose of Lima, Virgin (Double)

From: Mark (England)

Dear Fr. Moderator:

With the pope giving his apologies to Jews, Muslims, Eastern Orthodox and others with grudges against the Catholic Church, what status do these apologies have in the Church? As a divine institution founded by Christ, the Catholic Church (as opposed to individual Catholics) cannot sin, and to apologise implies that it has acted wrongly, thus undermining the belief of the faithful in the divine nature of the Church. The pope can apologise for his sins, but surely he is being presumptuous to apologise for Catholics throughout the ages? Many Catholics achieved sainthood or Martyrdom through the Crusades, the Inquisition, or through defending the Faith from the aggressive actions (and persecutions) of the very religions the pope is apologizing to today.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Church is divine because its Founder is divine, but it is also very human, as it is peopled by human beings who can err, sometimes badly, right up to and including the pope. The history and teaching of the Church is quite clear on this.

Such apologies are not intended to be, nor can they be, "dogmatic." They are simply a political statement on the part of the pope as an individual, and he can be quite wrong in politics. We don't even know whether he believes what he is saying or whether he is simply playing a game of politics.

Actually, the Vatican has since turned sour on these apologies. You see, the response from the other side that was anticipated has not been forthcoming. The Anglicans, the Jews, the Eastern Orthodox, the Muslims -- they're all criticizing the Church all the more for not going far enough!

August 29, 2001 -- Beheading of St. John the Baptist (Major Double)

A Dime a Dozen

From: Richard

Dear Fr. Moderator:

We do not/would not subscribe to the very liberal "Catholic" newspaper of our diocese. One writer wrote a very ignorant statement about our chapel. The damage she has done is immeasurable. She has no right to call herself a Catholic journalist.

Fr. Moderator Replies:

Every Catholic "journalist" I have dealt with is the same as this woman. Such people are, you must understand, merely hired mouthpieces for the diocese and do not even hesitate to print deliberate misquotes and lies about those who don't follow the "party line." I have seen that happen numerous times.

The same situation extends also to virtually all secular newspapers in their religion pieces. The secular journalists' excuse is usually ignorance, but I have also seen cases of deliberate malice. You'd think that the secular newspapers at least would look askance at the dioceses, but no. Perhaps they are moved by advertising revenue generated from the diocese. In fact, I have known dioceses to threaten to remove advertising if the bishop and his minions aren't portrayed as "nice guys."

The only periodical I have ever seen write a fair, balanced, and even thoughtful piece on traditional Catholicism is the Wall Street Journal.

August 28, 2001 -- St. Augustine, Bishop-Confessor-Doctor (Double)

Ave Maria at Mass

From: Richard

Dear Fr. Moderator:

The Novus Ordo worship service includes the Hail Mary. I've attended quite a few "indult" Masses, but the Ave Maria is not said. Why is this?

Fr. Moderator Replies:

The Ave Maria is not part of the Novus Ordo worship service. That someone, somewhere may be doing it is not surprising, since there is no order in the "New Order."

In the Traditional Latin Mass, after the Last Gospel, the Leonine Prayers are customarily said, including three Aves, the Salve Regina, the Deus Refugium Nostrum, the Sancte Michael Archangele, and the invocation of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (thrice). These prayers for the New Order were done away with in 1964.

"Indult" Masses are supposed to use the 1962 Missal, but more and more of them are implementing changes that came after 1962, including the elimination of the Leonine Prayers.

Freemason or Not?

From: Mark

Dear Fr. Moderator:

All Popes previous to Vatican II condemned Freemasonry and said that it was incompatible with being Catholic. Given the secular and anti-Catholic aims of Freemasonry, this is understandable. How can the 1983 Code of Canon Law make it okay to be a Freemason and a Catholic at the same time? It sure makes you think that talk of a Freemason infiltration of the Church to de-Catholicise it (a la Vatican II and so on) has quite some truth to it.

Fr. Moderator Replies:

Most traditional Catholics don't accept the 1983 Code as being grievously tainted with Modernism. Nevertheless, even the 1983 Code does not exonerate the Freemasons, but remains silent, thus continuing the previous penalties. Furthermore, an interpretation of the 1983 Code issued by the Vatican shortly after it was published made it clear that the penalties against Freemasonry still hold.

SSPX Update X

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

It is understood that if a SSPX-Rome pact is ever signed, then when the term of Bishop Fellay expires in 2006, the Society will have to submit three names to the Vatican, and the latter will be expected to approve one of them to be Fellay's successor. There is also serious doubt whether the current SSPX bishops, even if "un-excommunicated," will every be allowed to exercise an episcopal ministry.

May I cite the experience of the Ukranian Church in 1978 ? Upon the retirement of Cardinal Slipyj in that year, the Ukranian Synod presented three names to the Vatican, but the latter rejected all three and appointed Lubachivsky. The Vatican got round the opposition of Cardinal Slipyj when John Paul II offered to consecrate Lubachivsky personally with the cardinal as co-consecrator. Nobody, and certainly not the SSPX, can match the machinations of Rome!

August 27, 2001 -- St. Joseph Calasanctius, Confessor (Double)

History and Symbolism of the Chasuble

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What is the history (brief) and symbolism of the chasuble? I know that it is used during Holy Mass, but I don't know why, other than because it has always been done that way.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The chasuble (from the Latin casula, or little house because it covered the whole body) was a mantle once worn by the Romans on journeys or in military service. It started being used as a Mass vestment in the sixth century as the garment most indicative of the priesthood. Although it has been said to signify the virtue of charity, which is to cover the priest on every side, the traditional prayer that the priest says will vesting in the chasuble associates it with the yoke and burden of Christ.

A Forgotten Thank You

From: Chris

Dear Fr. Moderator:

My children got involved in a Novus Ordo parish play this summer (I'm traditional, but my wife insists on sending them to school there). It was, to say the least, little more than man celebrating man. The sponsoring priest made great lengths to thank everybody but God at the end of each public performance. I hinted to this priest that he might consider thanking God at the end of the second performance, for were it not for God we would have not the talents or materials to do the whole thing in the first place. Of course, I was blown off.

I briefly commented to a "Eucharistic Minister," and she said, "Well, God knows". Right. The father who gives his fortune to his children expects not a "Thank you?" He "knows" his children thank him? I somehow doubt that! Am I being too religious or something or have I really begun to feel the traditional faith?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

As you say, you are being confronted with a humanistic view of the universe. Everything starts and ends with man. The Catholic view is that everything starts and ends with God, to whom we owe our very existence. Of the four ends of prayer and Holy Mass, the second is thanksgiving. We offer thanksgiving to God at Mass, after Holy Communion, after meals, during the Divine Office, particularly at the Hour of Lauds. What you are confronted with appears to be the morass of ingratitude.

August 26, 2001 -- 12th Sunday after Pentecost (Semidouble)

There They Go Again!

From: Peter

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I sent the following letter was to the diocesan newspaper, and this was the editor's response. How should I respond to the editor's note?

Editor: I was invited to go to the Catholic Church of St. M's for a Traditional Latin Mass, and afterward a priest gave a talk. What he said was much different from what I had heard about the Traditional Latin Mass. It seemed to me that the adoration was uplifting and that I was in the presence of God. Some said I should be careful, but I didn't notice anything objectionable.
Diocesan Editor Elizabeth's Note: The church to which the writer refers is not in communion with the Holy See. It was founded by followers of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who incurred excommunication with him [sic] when he ordained bishop's [sic] in defiance of the Pope and of Church law. Churches like St. M's are not part of the Catholic Church, and Catholics should not support them.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Don't waste your pen in response. You are writing to a house organ that has to take the "party line." Would you expect a union newspaper to advocate right-to-work laws? Moreover, the editor's brief note contains two grammatical errors, one theological error, and two factual errors. Does this woman have any idea about what she is writing? Probably not. She gives no evidence of ever having read the documents in question and the matters surrounding the case.

You have learned something important by your letter. You wrote to the supposedly "lovey-dovey" New Order Catholic Church a very nicely put letter that detracted no one. In response, you got a vicious attack filled with errors and exaggerations. Which of the two churches do you think represents true Roman Catholicism? "By their fruits you shall know them."

The Novus Ordo is more hypocritical than the Pharacaism that Our Lord condemned as "rotting bones." It has turned its back on the Deposit of Faith, on Sacred Scripture, on Sacred Tradition, has made the papacy a laughing stock, and vilifies the canonized Mass of the Roman Rite that has nourished 20 centuries of Popes and Saints. And yet it dares to attack. You would have gotten more "lovey-dovey" treatment if you were a Methodist or a Muslim!

What to answer? I wouldn't bother, except for a personal note to Editor Elizabeth. Say that the vicious, unCatholic propoganda you received in response to original letter makes it clear which of the two churches is really Catholic. Then invite her to join you at St. M's, where you will be attending from now on.

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

SSPX Update IX

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

It has been rumored that besides SSPX being offered universal jurisdiction, and the right to offer only the Tridentine Mass by Rome, that SSPX also would have the right to constructively criticize Vatican II and the Novus Ordo Missae. Is the part about the right to constructively criticize correct?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

According to a recent reply from Card. Hoyos, the Vatican has (as expected) turned down all these requests because it would tend to undermine the Novus Ordo. Surprise, surprise!

We have carefully considered the two conditions that your request for the return: the permission for all priests to be able to celebrate freely the Mass of St. Pius V [sic] and the lifting of the excommunication that hangs over you.... With respect to the first condition, a certain number of cardinals, bishops, and faithful believe that such a permission ought not to be granted,... for such a permission could create a confusion in the minds of many people who would understand it as depreciating the value of the Holy Mass as it is celebrated in today's Church.... With respect to the second condition, the Holy Father has the clear intention of granting it whenever your return is formalized.

What is interesting is the short shrift the Vatican gives to the excommunications. They're no problem and will easily be lifted. The response merely gives confirmation of the fact that the excommunications were either erroneous or political from the beginning and that they're being used merely as part of a "carrot and stick" approach.

What is important to the Vatican, of course, is that the Novus Ordo -- Mass, Sacraments, and Faith -- be maintained. No criticism, constructive or otherwise, is tolerated for any length of time. The Traditional Mass and Faith can be accepted as a subsidiary adjunct, maybe, as long as the Novus Ordo focus is maintained.

Archbishop Lefebvre was a man with good instincts. He had dealt with the Vatican many times as head of a congregation and archbishop. He knew that the Modern Vatican loves words, but is short on keeping them. Later, we saw the total hypocrisy of the "indult" when Card. Hoyos connived to gut the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Institute of Christ the King, the "indult" Society of St. John on the east coast (not the traditional west-coast one), the "indult" Benedictine monasteries in France, etc.

Protestant "Saints"?!

From: Richard

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Can non-Catholics be canonized? I ask this because I was appalled to read that there are moves to canonize Martin Luther King, Jr., whom FBI documents and the 1981 book by David Garrow entitled The FBI and Martin Luther King Jr. claim was an adulterer, associate of Communists, and plagiarizer of his doctoral thesis. Nonetheless, the U.S. Bishops Conference has included King on a list forwarded to the Vatican of potential 20th century martyrs! It is perverse and a travesty of the real meaning of martyrdom.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Protestants are objectively heretics and cannot be canonized. This is typical Modern Vatican confusion. The list you mention was not for canonization, but just for a jubilee remembrance, which is bad enough. It seems that now, at long last, after all its own "ecumenical" giveaways, the Vatican is beginning to get miffed that nothing is being given in return. Surprise, surprise!

August 25, 2001 -- St. Louis, King (Semidouble)

Protestant "Saints"?!

From: Felicia

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have a question about the holding of a special Catholic mass for a person of another faith (in this case, Islam) who has died. That was the situation at the medical center where I work this week. Today, there was a memorial service for him at our medical center, with a Muslim imam from the hospital chaplaincy officiating.

Two days ago, however, everyone in the medical center also received an E-mail message stating that there would be a "mass" for the deceased surgeon at a nearby Catholic Church on the next day. One of my co-workers explained to me that the Catholic mass had been arranged by a Catholic friend of the Muslim surgeon.

Why would a Catholic arrange a special mass for a non-Catholic (non-Christian) who has died? I also wonder whether there is any Catholic teaching warning against attending or "participating in" Islamic (or non-Christian or Jewish) religious services?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

No Mass may be requested for a non-Catholic. Moreover, it is a grave sin against the First Commandment to attend a Muslim service without just cause (e.g., as would be the funeral of a work colleague), but even at that a Catholic cannot participate in the service, but be present only passively out of respect.

August 24, 2001 -- St. Bartholomew, Ap. (Double of the Second Class)

A Whiff of the Future

From: Fr. Moderator

Catholic News (Australia)
August 24, 2001

Here is the Modern Vatican, duplicitous as ever, ripping out almost the last vestiges of our veneration of the highest feastdays of the Saints as holydays. No longer are we to take special notice of such feasts as the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Ascension of Our Lord, the Circumcision (and Naming) of Our Lord, the Epiphany (an earlier feast of Our Lord than Christmas), the Feast of Sts. Peter & Paul, etc.

Do you ever wonder why the Vatican doesn't just throw in the towel completely and make Sundays optional as well? The answer is money. Collections on holydays are small, but if Sundays were optional, the fund-raising capability of the Vatican would dry up!

The Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference has announced that the only feast days to be observed as holy days of obligation are Christmas Day, the Feast of the Assumption and all Sundays of the year.
The Conference on August 23 communicated the content of the Decree of Promulgation, which was signed by the President of the Conference, Archbishop Francis Carroll, and dated 15 May 2001. That decree was reviewed and confirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, and signed last January by its Prefect, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, and Secretary, Archbishop Francesco Pio Tamburrino.
The change will become effective on 16 September. The two days -- 25 December and 15 August -- will be observed as holy days of obligation, regardless of the day of the week on which they fall.

Just Following the Lord

From: A.J.

Christ taught that we should address our creator as Abba, i.e., Daddy. Some would say that the approach of the traditional liturgy, its rites and rituals, are -- for today -- not true to the teachings of Christ. What do you think?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Exactly the contrary, since Christ's example proves the contrary.

Many passages of Scripture have a spiritual sense, not a literal sense, as is so clearly demonstrated in the Fathers of the Church. If you read the context of St. Paul's statement, you will find that this is true of the passage you quote. St. Paul is talking about the God-man relationship, not liturgical ceremonial. You may not be aware that the liturgical practices of the Jews, in which Christ participated, was highly formalized, and to use such a term in that context would have been tantamount to blasphemy.

Moreover, you may not be aware that the Jewish liturgy used a Sacred Language, not the vulgar tongue. The Traditional Latin Mass and other liturgical functions thus follow very closely the example and practice of Our Lord when He was on earth, as He was frequently to be found in the temple and synagogue, where such formal ceremonial was conducted.

It is rather the vulgarized, vernacularized modern "worship services" what are contrary to Christ and His Church.

What About Fatima?

From John

I venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary above the Angels and Saints, but what about Fatima? It seems that some people are raising Fatima to a doctrine of the Catholic Faith equal to that of the Holy Trinity? Some Catholics, and even some priests, seem to be raising the Blessed Virgin Mary to the status of a goddess, equal to Christ the Lord. What is the correct way to look at all of this?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

An excellent question, pertinent to our times, the main characteristic of which, like the second and third centuries before the Fall of Rome, is the world being out of balance. Even good Catholics are liable to push even good things to an extreme that makes them err.

One of the best comments on Fatima, which is totally consonant with the traditional teaching of the Church on private revelation, was published in the year that Pope Pius XII died, under the imprimatur of His Grace John Carroll, Primate of Ireland at the time, in a tome directed to Catholic priests:

Private devotion to Our Lady of Fatima may, with due precautions, be permitted.... The approval given by the Holy See to this, as to all private revelations, means simply that the Church does not oppose belief in it; the faithful are allowed to believe in it with due caution.... The devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary seems to be unknown in the first narrative of Fatima; the Blessed Virgin appeared as Our Lady of the Rosary and the theme of the Immaculate Heart is a later addition....
These private devotions were not the cause but were at most the occasion for the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which was carried out by the Holy Father in 1942. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart has a long history.... It is surely desirable that the faithful be instructed concerning the solid theological foundation of this devotion which is independent of any private revelations.

Thus, everything must be kept in perspective. There is nothing in Fatima opposed to the faith if one wishes to believe. However, as private revelation, it can never be compulsory in belief. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary antedates Fatima by more than three centuries and is enriched by a double feast of the second class that just occurred on the Octave day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 22.

As to the notion that the Blessed Virgin Mary is a goddess equal to Christ the Lord is blasphemy, a blasphemy that the Virgin would be the first to condemn.

August 23, 2001 -- St. Philip Benizi, Confessor (Double) & Vigil of St. Bartholomew, Apostle

A Growing Traditional Church

From: James

Dear Fr. Moderator:

My family was baptized on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After a reception we returned to the Chapel for our Confessions, then attended the 7 p.m. Mass for the Feast. On the following Sunday we all received Holy Communion for the first time as a family.

I cannot find the words to express how wonderful it is to become a traditional Roman Catholic. Thank you for your work with TRADITIO. It has had a great deal to do with our conversion.

A Multiplicity of Traditional Prayer

From: James

Dear Fr. Moderator:

In my prayers of late I have been troubled: I have the thought and feeling that the words I am constantly reciting are not my own, and that they are insincere, vain and artificial; especially in the Rosary.

I have felt the same with most vocal prayer for some time now, Father. I pick up a book of prayer and read the words, but no matter how hard I try, they do not feel as if they are from my heart or mind. I feel comfortable only in mental prayer or using spontaneous words. I would greatly appreciate it if you could help me with this issue, Father.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

There is no reason that you can't use your own words, or even meditate without words. Or use other forms of prayer for a change. Meditate upon Sacred Scripture or on the lives of the Saints. Meditate upon a book by a Saint. Also, many have found that reciting the traditional prayers in Latin helps them to focus their prayer life and to concentrate on the meaning of the words rather than a distracted vernacular repetition.

Or switch from heavily formulaic prayers like the Holy Rosary to the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the Divine Office, many parts of which change according to the liturgical hour or day. Or replace the Rosary with the Seven Pentitential Psalms or the Seven Gradual Psalms. Or the Litanies.

The Church provides a rich treasury of prayer and methods of prayer to suit any spirit, so one doesn't have to rely only on one formula.

Types of Mass

From: Alice

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I've noticed places in my missal where incense is used, and there are a few word differences. The Mass I attend does not have incense. What is the reason for the difference? Can you have Mass with and without the use of incense? I was born in 1971, so I haven't been exposed much to incense, other than attending Benediction.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

There are four basic types of traditional Latin Mass that one is likely to see, listed here from lower to greater solemnity. The more solemn forms are less common, since the requirements are more complex (a schola to respond in chant, a priest who is competent to chant, deacon/subdeacon, etc.).

When incense is used at High Mass or Solemn Mass, there is a special blessing at the Offertory, invoking St. Michael, and a special blessing of the offerings, which is undoubtedly the text to which you are referring.

And They're Mad at Us!

From: Fr. Moderator:

Facts are facts, no matter how much the Vatican tries to pretend that they're not. The truths of the Faith have been so watered down that more than 80% of (Novus Ordo) Catholics no longer believe in the dogmatic teaching on the Holy Eucharist.

If the Vatican hasn't noticed what's been happening, the Protestants certainly have. A March 22, 2001, article in the London Times relates that the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Archbishop of York are angry that despite a century of "ecumenical" endeavor, Anglicans are still not allowed to receive Communion in Catholic Churches and vice versa. The article goes on to say:

Many Anglicans believe that the two Churches' teachings on the Eucharist are now so similar that full intercommunion should be allowed.

In other words, the Anglicans see the reality, even if the Vatican does not, that in thirty years the Catholic Church has Novus Ordoized itself out of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Holy Eucharist and substituted a Protestantized version.

You can be sure that nothing like this could have been said pre-Novus Ordo!

August 21, 2001 - St. Jane Frances de Chantel, Widow (Double)

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What authority does the pope have with regard to the form of a sacramental rite? If one says that the pope may change the form (the words), but must leave the essential matter and form untouched, then who is to judge whether that criterion is met?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

With regard to sacramental forms, the Church has always been very, very conservative. Any tampering whatsoever with the essential Apostolic forms could easily lead to doubt and invalidity. With some Sacraments, the exact form is found in Sacred Scripture. In other cases, it was not recorded in Sacred Scripture, but was passed down orally through the Apostolic Tradition.

As the Church came out of the persecutions, there was a time when what had been done from oral Tradition was written down. This was the period of the Great Fathers and Doctors of the Church, obviously sent by Our Lord to assist with their remarkable insights and graces: St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Gregory, St. Jerome.

After that period the pope refrained from tampering with the form, so as not to open the very question you ask, and which Pope Paul VI so brazenly and imprudently opened, causing, as he himself later concluded, the "smoke of Satan" to invade the very altars of the Church. Any subsequent change from Apostolic Tradition must of necessity lead to doubt and suspicion.

Unfortunately, the Novus Ordo apparatus doesn't have the deep respect for and concurrence with the Fathers that the Roman Catholic Church has always had (just another instance in which that apparatus is shown to be essentially unCatholic). Instead, it wishes to recreate the constitution of the Church, which is not within its authority to do.

August 20, 2001 - St. Bernard, Abbot & Doctor (Double)

Traditional Protestants

From: Fr. Moderator

Sometimes we think that we Catholics are the only ones going through a battle with Modernism, but the Protestants are having the same problems. When you start reading the following article, you wouldn't know until you got into it that traditional Protestants, not traditional Catholics, were involved.

Do not fail to notice that it is a lovey-dovey bishopess who is lowering the boom on the traditional Episcopalians. So much for the idea about the "charity" that women would bring to the clergy. The Episcopalians have tried it, and they don't want it. This bishopess has already earned the Episcopalians' epithet of "Jackboot Jane." There is hope for us traditional Catholics yet!

August 18, 2001
Church divided by priest's conservatism: warring Episcopalians
Jan Cienski, National Post
ACCOKEEK, Md. - On a recent Sunday, two dozen neatly dressed people took their places in the pews of Christ Church, the tall windows of the pre-Revolutionary War church looking out on the surrounding stately trees and lush lawns.
As they opened their hymnals to begin the service led by their priest, Father Samuel Edwards, another service was starting just a few kilometres away. This one was being held in a shabby cement-floored community hall, with a folding table for an altar.
The duelling services are the most obvious sign of a religious war that is tearing the tiny parish apart, part of an increasingly bitter struggle between liberals and traditionalists that threatens to split the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism.
Christ Church, a previously obscure and thinly populated rural parish about 20 kilometres southeast of Washington, has fallen afoul of the U.S. capital's acting Episcopal Bishop, Jane Dixon. She insists Fr. Edwards cannot serve as Christ Church's rector, mainly because of his traditionalist views.
The priest is a leader in a Texas-based movement called Forward in Faith, which aims to turn the Episcopal Church from its liberal ways. Those views persuaded the conservative-dominated Christ Church vestry to hire him last December.
"We are a more traditional parish. We didn't want someone who was going to push the ordination of homosexuals," said Barbara Sturman, the church's senior warden.
Dismayed by the Episcopal Church's decision to ordain women and non-celibate homosexuals, appoint female bishops, and bless gay unions, Fr. Edwards has called it "hellbound" and the "unchurch" and urged fellow traditionalists to "sever their connections" with the denomination.
Not surprisingly, that did not sit well with Bishop Dixon, one of the Church's first female bishops and a strong advocate of liberal causes.
Despite Fr. Edwards' assurances that he had no plans to secede from the Church, and his agreement to treat her as his administrative superior if not to recognize her as a true bishop, Bishop Dixon vetoed him as Christ Church's priest, saying he was "not duly qualified."
She made her objection, however, after the 30 days allowed under Church law. Now Fr. Edwards and his supporters say there is nothing the Bishop can do to remove him and he intends to serve out his three-year contract.
"She's dead wrong," said the bearded priest. "I don't think the diocese has a legal leg to stand on."
Unwilling to allow such a challenge to her authority, Bishop Dixon -- called "jackboot Jane" by her enemies -- visited Christ Church in late May. Barred from entering, she held a rival service outside.
Half the congregation, including the organist, got up and left the building to join the Bishop in the gardens, where the liturgy was interrupted when the Bishop's husband got into a wrestling match with a heckler.
Since then, her supporters in the parish have been holding their services in the community hall under the leadership of a retired bishop, the Rt. Rev. Ronald Haines. That has the traditionalists crying foul, claiming it violates Church law to hold a service in a parish without the presiding priest's permission.
The feud has all but destroyed what was once a tightly knit community. "It's split families. It's split people who've been friends for 60 years," said Mrs. Sturman, the warden. "I have people who walk over to the other side of the street when they see me coming."
"The church used to be the centre of the community; we used to have a lot of outreach. Now it's all gone," lamented George Hanssen, the unofficial warden of the pro-Dixon congregation.
Bishop Dixon is supported by the Church's Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold, who says Fr. Edwards' views "can be construed as encouraging a schism." Fr. Edwards asked for and received protection from the conservative Episcopal bishop of Fort Worth, Tex., Jack Iker, who does not allow women priests in his diocese.
Three conservative bishops have filed suit in ecclesiastical court against Bishop Dixon. Meanwhile, a group of priests in Washington has filed charges against Fr. Edwards.
Conservatives lament that the Episcopal Church, which, like other branches of Anglicanism, prides itself on being a "broad church," is too liberal. Women and gays are welcomed while traditionalists are shunned, they say.
"Accokeek is a microcosm of the problems facing our Communion," Bishop Iker wrote. "We cannot stand silently by as a revisionist bishop, who has endorsed the gay agenda ... attempts to prevent an orthodox priest, who rejects this agenda, from having his rightful place in the diocese where he has been duly called to ministry."
As the Episcopal Church moves left, distraught traditionalists have either become Roman Catholics or have left to start their own, more conservative denominations. At last count there were more than two dozen such spinoffs, some with few parishioners and churches but a full panoply of archbishops, bishops and fancy Web sites.
More conservative Anglican provinces, many in the Third World, have become so concerned about the direction of the U.S. Church they have set up a missionary movement to re-Christianize the United States and circumvent the leadership of the Episcopal Church.
In June, bishops from Rwanda and Singapore ordained four U.S. bishops for the Anglican Mission in America, a move condemned by George Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as "a scandal to our Communion."
Canada's Anglican Primate, Michael Peers, who has also been attacked for being overly liberal, called the consecrations "an open and premeditated assault on Anglican tradition."
While the Episcopal Church's leaders wrangle over their denomination's direction, ordinary churchgoers are melting away. In 1960, there were 3.6 million Episcopalians. Now there are 2.3 million, fewer than one million of whom attend church regularly. The drop occurred as the country's population rose and other denominations rapidly expanded.
Although the Episcopal Church was never very large, it was considered the church of the U.S.'s bluebloods. Many robber barons and stock market speculators announced their arrival in the upper classes by becoming Episcopalians.
Now the movement is going in the other direction. George Bush Sr. was an Episcopalian churchgoer, but his son, U.S. President George W. Bush, long ago abandoned the denomination to become a Methodist.
"If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?" Fr. Edwards asked. "The doctrinal squishiness of the Episcopal Church has not done it any favours in terms of bringing people in."
But the Rt. Rev. Haines, who holds the parallel services in Accokeek, insists the Church "still has a lot of health. The vitality of this Church and its orthodoxy is quite good," he said confidently, as he chatted with parishioners waiting to make a run for their cars on a rainy Sunday. "I think the Church will survive."
Meanwhile, Fr. Edwards has no intention of leaving, even rejecting a buyout offer from Bishop Dixon to move to a church in North Carolina.
"I've rarely been so internally tranquil in my entire life," he said. "I'm doing what God led me to do."

Eulogy to Hell

From: Douglas

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I noticed that there were many eulogies at Maureen Regan's funeral at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. Is this customary at Catholic funerals, or is this something new?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Yes, it is entirely Novus Ordo and totally contrary to the theology of the Church. Traditionally, Catholics believe that only God knows the inner heart and that He is their sole judge. Therefore, eulogies are prohibited during Mass. It is entirely out of place to laud the soul of the deceased, which, for all the eulogist knows, is burning in Hell. But the Novus Ordo in effect denies the Church's dogmatic teaching on Hell and Purgatory and canonizes every Novus Ordoite. One wonders why the pope goes through all the trouble of canonizing anyone!

When President Kennedy died, before Vatican II ended, even though he was the head of state, no eulogy was delivered at his exequial Mass. Instead, after the Mass, selected passages from Scripture, which were favorites of the late President, were read.

Sometimes a eulogy is delivered elsewhere, but never as part of the exequial rites, and not in a religious context.

August 19, 2001 - 11th Sunday after Pentecost (Semidouble)

Sealed for Eternity

From: Stephen

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I know that the confessional seal (sigillum) is over 2000 years old, but I was wondering what your thoughts are concerning certain instances, like the Russian spy who confessed many years before he was finally caught and caused the death of many people. Or suppose someone confessed to be a child abuser should the priest do something to avoid further abuse?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Absolutely not! The priest may give any advice and use persuasion to a moral end inside the confessional, but the seal is inviolable. The priest is acting as an intermediary of God's mercy and judgment -- not as an agent of the state, the police, or any power on earth. Of course, within the Sacrament, absolution may be refused if the conditions for absolution are not met, but the seal remains inviolable. The minute you start making exceptions, not matter how justifiable they may seem to be at first blush, you vitiate the Sacrament, and no penitent will ever be confident of the absolute seal. Priests have been martyred for this principle.

Physicians used to have the same protection, but started making exceptions. Now people will not tell their doctors what is wrong with them for fear that it may be reported somewhere. A doctor or psychiatrist worthy of the name should absolutely not reveal anything that the patient does not give permission to be revealed. If doctors respected their Hippocratic Oath as much as priests respect the seal of the confessional, medical practice would be in a better situation.

A Sad Case

From: Tom

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What is your comment on the report that Sen. Ted Kennedy has been diagnosed with a deadly form of cirrhosis of the liver, in view of the many scandals he has caused as a Catholic?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Although Senator Kennedy has been involved in scandalous public acts (the abandonment of a drowning girl, a controversial "annulment" from his wife of 30 years, his suborning of a drinking binge that ended in the alleged rape of a young woman by his nephew), one must always have compassion for the human condition.

The first thing that comes to my mind in this instance is not a biblical passage, but rather an insight from Vergil's Aeneid. As Aeneas tells the sad story of the fall of Troy and the holocaust that occurred when the city walls were invaded by the Greeks, with old King Priam and so many being struck down dead in the melee, Aeneas's audience is moved to tears, and the poet's comment is one of those untranslatable Latin verses: Sunt lacrimae rerum, et mentem mortalia tangunt [literally, there are tears for things, and mortal affairs touch the mind].

The senator certainly has had his share of great trials in this life. He saw two brothers assassinated and another die young. He saw his nephew die in a plane crash. He had to take responsibility for widows and children of widows, which cannot have been an easy thing. One can only pray that if this report is true, he will have time to repent and do penance for those things in which he may have offended Almighty God. And so for us all.

August 17, 2001 - St. Hyacinth (Double)

It All Starts Unraveling with the First Thread

From: Terry

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Could you tell me why the Epistle and Gospel at Mass are not simply read in the vernacular to the congregation? I know that it has been customary for some decades to read/sing them first in Latin and then, if there is a sermon, to read them in the vernacular at the pulpit.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

For a very important reason that is central to the Faith: because the Mass, is the sacred public worship of almighty God, that is, the Divine Office, the orthodox practice is to use only a sacred language, not the vulgar tongue. There is no obligation to read the Epistle and Gospel in the pulpit, although some localities have had particular practices in that regard.

With virtually all of the congregation having a handmissal today -- if they need a vernacular translation because they have not taken the trouble to learn Roman Catholic sacred language (as the Jews spare no effort to ensure that Jews learn Biblical Hebrew), such a practice as reading the Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular in the pulpit seems totally unnecessary. It has always puzzled me why, if the vernacular is supposed to be so important to "understanding," when the Epistle and Gospel are read from the pulpit in the vernacular, many people simultaneously read them from their missals rather than listening! I find that practice both puzzling and rude. If the Epistle and Gospel are proclaimed orally, people should put their books aside and listen. The Novus Ordo people do the same thing!

You must remember that nothing that is done in the pulpit is part of the Mass. Liturgically, the sermon and its accompaniments is an interruption in the Mass, not a part of it. The celebrant of the Mass (assuming that the preacher is not the celebrant) does not even stand when the Gospel is read in the vulgar tongue, or participate in any prayers then said.

The Epistle and Gospel have no more justification (that is, no justification) to be read in the vulgar tongue than do the Introit, the Offertory, and all the other Propers. As a matter of fact, historically, the first thing that the Anglican heretics did was to convert the Epistle and Gospel to the vulgar tongue -- nothing else. Within twenty years in England, the Roman Mass had become a vulgarized Protestant worship service of no validity.

Wake Me Up: What Feastday Is This?

From: Michael

Dear Fr. Moderator:

When the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered, why isn't it mentioned in the pulpit what feastday that particular day is? It's denoted in the missal, bulletin, etc., of course, but that's it. If someone who came to Holy Mass but wasn't learned on the aspects of feastdays, how would they know where to go in the missal?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I'm not aware of any requirement to do so, but personally I always cover those points before the sermon. Moreover, I spend some time discussing the life of the Saint whose feastday it is (if a Saint is commemorated at Mass). Catholic people are usually so ignorant of their Faith, its rich calendar, and its holy Saints, that such a practice, I believe, is necessary instruction.

On the other hand, if your priest is going to the trouble to have a bulletin produced (not a small effort, I can tell you!), I don't see why the people can't take the responsibility to consult it. There are also Church calendars and Ordos available (for further information, see the Library of Files for FAQ05: What Traditional Books Do You Recommend? Can't the people take the trouble to order one? There are also missals available. Can't the people take the trouble to prepare themselves for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by reading, for example, the background of the feast in the missal?

Recovering a Lost Faith

From: Mona

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have not been a very good Catholic as I do not attend Mass regularly or pray regularly, etc. I know that going to Mass every Sunday does not make a person a good Catholic. I do not feel that I have the relationship I should have and very much desire to have with Christ. I have many, many marital and financial problems, and I allow those problems to get in the way of my love for Our Lord. I have not been a very good Christian role model for my children because of these problems as well. I live day by day, just trying to make it through life the best I can. I have heard and read that I should just put my problems in God's hands and trust that he will take care of me and my needs... [31 more lines excised].

Fr. Moderator Replies.

You don't say who is telling you all these things. I suspect that you are getting snippets of advice from acquaintances who probably don't have much better direction than you do at the moment, who probably aren't even Catholic.

Let's start with first things first. Going to Mass every Sunday does make a person a good Catholic. If a surgeon never went into the operating room, could he be a good surgeon? If a lawyer never opened a lawbook, could he be a good lawyer? Of course not. Why should it be any different with a Catholic and his relationship to his God?

Because you are not practicing your Faith, you are all aflutter, confused, and being bandied about by suggestions that are not in accordance with your Faith. You need to find the true Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and begin a prayer life. You will be amazed at what it will do to center your life, spiritually and practically. Moreover, you are currently depriving your children of a spiritual education through your own bad example. They may very well end up being just as confused in their lives as you are now, unless you begin to set the parental example of orienting your life, and your family's life, around your Catholic Faith.

The Catholic life is both prayer and act. The prayer, particularly the Holy Mass, guides the act. Naturally, you should take prudent steps to support your family. The Faith puts all of this into perspective. Just as a car not used for a long time doesn't easily turn over, you are going to have to fight with yourself to get your spiritual life back in order. It's not going to be easy; you will have to struggle to get your spiritual engine to turn over, but in the end what is worth more? After all, it is your eternal salvation that is in the balance -- and that of your children.

Eastern Rites not a Practical Option

From: Mac

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Please explain the situation with Eastern Rite churches. As a traditional Roman Catholic, can I fulfill my Sunday obligation by attending Mass at one of these churches?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

That's an complicated question in practice. Of course, the formally schismatic Eastern Orthodox churches are out of the question. There are other churches that were called Uniate because they did not go into formal schism from the Apostolic See when the rest did.

The problem is that many of these Eastern Uniates have incorporated repugnant aspects of the Novus Ordo. Many of them (as well as the Eastern Orthodox) had already corrupted their Apostolic Eastern rites because of circumstances of history (the East has been much more plagued by victors in war, invasions, etc., than the West), had introduced the vulgar tongues, or in other ways strayed from true Apostolic liturgies.

The practical consequence is that it is harder now to find an true Apostolic Eastern rite than it is to find the Traditional Latin Mass of the Roman Rite! Many of our correspondents have reported that, if anything, the Eastern rites are now more corrupt than the Roman rite.

There is, however, the occasional exception. A decade or so ago, I knew of a Byzantine Greek rite celebrated around here, in Greek, by a young Byzantine priest, in a former Catholic boys' school chapel that had been abandoned. Unfortunately, the priest was Eastern Orthodox, but from listening for a few minutes from outside the door, his Divine Liturgy was very reverently celebrated, and his Biblical Greek was enunciated with meaning and was easy to understand.

August 15, 2001 - Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Double of the First Class), Holyday of Obligation

Shortchanged by the "Indult"

From: Jim

Dear Fr. Moderator:

My best friend was recently married according to the traditional rite. As beautiful as it was, it saddened me to know that his wedding was to be the last traditional wedding in our diocese, as the bishop exercised his "authority" and declared that only the traditional Mass may be said, hence outlawing Baptism and Matrimony in the traditional rite.

My question is: doesn't Ecclesia Dei state that those attached to the Traditional Mass may have the Sacraments performed according to the books of 1962? In other words, aren't the faithful given access not only to the Mass, but to the six other Sacraments as well, according to the books of 1962? Another friend of mine could not get her newborn daughter baptized unless it was in the Novus Ordo rite.

I guess this just goes to show, as you have rightly pointed out, that the Novus Ordo establishment did not count on traditional Catholicism taking such a strong hold, and now they must flex their muscle to prove their "authority."

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Novus Ordo apparatus has broken down in 35 years from its predecessor one, holy, catholic, apostolic Roman Catholic Church and its central (Roman) organization into a multiplicity of local diocesan dictatorships, which act just as capriciously, maliciously, and unjustly as they want, with no control.

It turns out (no surprise to TRADITIO, which pointed this out from the beginning) that the "indult" was from the beginning a hypocritical attempt to wean traditional Catholics away from the fully traditional Mass and Sacraments and Faith to a pale imitation of these (and often only of the Mass), which was always planned to be yanked away. The Vatican admits that.

It appears even that those leaders of the "indult" effort at the beginning knew full well that their "exclusive" access to the traditional Mass, Sacraments, and Faith was a chimaera -- non-existent. The brutal reality of an imprudent and improvident (to say the least) compromise to get the vaunted "episcopal approval" through the "indult" has now come home to roost. There is no "right" in the Novus Ordo apparatus to the traditional Roman Catholic Mass and Sacraments. And the bishops from the beginning were very, very reluctant to include anything other than a nostalgic Mass or two for the "old-fogies, who are going to die off anyway." Didn't the bishops get the surprise of their lives when the Traditional Movement became even more popular among the younger that the older!

Fortunately, we Catholics do have a right to the Mass and Sacraments of of our traditional Roman Catholic Faith. That right is not given us by some "indult" of a post-conciliar pope (after all "indult" means "favor," not "right"), but by Christ and the Apostoles, that is, by Apostolic Tradition, confirmed in perpetuity by a saint-pope as a "right" (not a "favor").

Of course, Novus Ordo-associated bishops will never admit that, but you should be feel free to -- nay, you must -- find the true Mass, Sacraments, and Faith anywhere you can find them. In Catholic conscience, not to speak of Church law, you have every right to do so. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

August 12, 2001 - Tenth Sunday after Pentecost (Semidouble)

"I Am only the Pope"

From: Bryan

Dear Fr. Moderator

So why the big fuss about inserting St. Joseph in the Canon? What spiritual harm could possibly occur by inserting an extra Saint?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The question belies the great sanctity of the Sacred Canon of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In the present time, when Catholics have been duped into thinking that vulgar tongues are just as appropriate to Holy Mass as sacred languages, that profane instruments are just as appropriate as the pipe organ, that a table is as appropriate as an altar, it is not difficult to see why such an act would seem trivial. However, it is not Catholic. It is not Apostolic.

Now let us see how Catholics have previously regarded such corruptions of Holy Mass. Pope Pius IX, when asked in the nineteenth century to insert St. Joseph's name into the Sacred Canon, said: "I am only the pope; what power have I to touch the Canon?" That is the response of a true pope when asked to innovate upon the Apostolic Tradition, which he is sworn to pass down to the Church unchanged.

When Pope Gregory I proposed adding a phrase to the Sacred Canon, the people of Rome rose up and threatened him with force, should he dare to touch the Sacred Canon that had been transmitted to the Church from the Apostles.

You see, the Sacred Roman Canon is just that, the Roman Canon. It commemorates the Roman foundation of the Church. In the Commemorantes of the Sacred Canon, after Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin, not even St. John the Baptist is commemorated, but the canonic prayer proceeds directly to the principal Roman martyrs, starting with Sts. Peter and Paul.

It is greatly to be lamented that many Catholics now have such little understanding of the Sacred Liturgy that has been handed down to them by the blood, sweat, and tears of their Catholic predecessors. They have no compunction about changing language and changing form, even when that form pertains to the very Consecration of Holy Mass itself and turns their precious Mass into a Protestantized worship service.

Let us at least have learned something from these thirty or so years. Let us at least have learned that with the Holy Mass, Catholics must accept no compromise, no change. Let us pledge once again to unite ourselves with Our Lord, the Apostles, and all our Catholic predecessors in the unadulterated Roman Mass -- one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

We are back in the 16th century, good people. We are a Church fighting against the corruption of our Holy Mass by those who would destroy it, and our Faith with it. We should be standing right beside Pope St. Pius V when he defines for all time:

Now therefore, in order that all everywhere may adopt and observe what has been delivered to them by the Holy Roman Church, Mother and Mistress of the other churches, it shall be unlawful henceforth and forever throughout the Christian world to sing or to read Masses according to any formula other than that of this Missal published by Us" [the Traditional Roman Missal].

A Judgment Rendered 2000 Years Ago

From: Percy

Dear Fr. Moderator

Some traditional Catholics quote the writings of theologians who claim that the Novus Ordo worship service is invalid. I say that these are just theories and that we must wait for the church to make a definitive judgment. What do you think?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Church has already made a dogmatic decision at Vatican I (Pastor Aeternus), confirming Sacred Tradition, that no one, not even the pope, has the authority to change the Apostolic Tradition, of which the Holy Sacrifice of Mass is a part. Therefore, the promulgation of a "New Order" 2000 years later, in 1969, exceeds the authority of any earthly power, and such a purported act is null and void in se. According to the Fathers and Doctors of the Church any "new order" is schismatic and/or heretical and is to be avoided by true Catholics like the plague it is.

August 11, 2001 - Our Lady's Saturday

Ecclesia Dei's Track Record - A Summary to Date

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator

Since Pope John Paul II's promulgation of the Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei, which was supposed to safeguard for traditional Catholics the their lawful right to the Roman Catholic Sacraments (but which was in reality a bald attempt to win and wean away traditional clerics and faithful), I thought that it might be insightful to see just how little these groups that have placed themselves under the power of the "generous" Novus Ordo bishops have been allowed to remain traditional.

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. The Vatican was stunned by the rapid growth of this group. In order to halt a growth which was never intended, the Vatican issued Protocol 1411, which nullified the FSSP's purported exclusive use of the Traditional Latin Mass and opened the way to bi-ritualism with the Novus Ordo. The FSSP is not permitted to criticize Vatican II publicly, nor "religious liberty," ecumenism, collegiality, the post-Vatican II Code of Canon Law. Its seminary in fact uses the post-conciliar Code for its spiritual-year formation. The FSSP now has a nun for a vocations director. In other words, the FSSP has a Novus Ordo formation with permission to wear the cassock and use (for the time being) the 1962 Missal, which is not infrequently mixed in with elements of the Novus Ordo in its parish Masses.

The Society of St. John. [This Pennsylvania "indult" group must be distinguished from the California Society of St. John Ap., which is fully traditional.] A strange group from the beginning. It was not forced to forego the exclusive use of the 1962 missal: it volunteered to! The group's liturgical perspective is that the 1962 Missal is just a launching pad for a "true reform of the reform." The group's proposed liturgy is very much the 1965 hybrid which the Vatican's new Ecclesia Dei Commission is pushing. The group makes no bones about its dislike of the 1962 Missal now. Too bad the group wasn't so open with its benefactors in the beginning, who were deceived into believing that the group was defending of the Traditional Latin Mass and were virtually coerced by threatened ecclesiastical censures imprudently to contribute funds on the basis of a slick advertising campaign.

French Benedictines. Much the same situation as the Society of St. John, except that they even use the Novus Ordo calendar. No Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, no Last Gospel either.

Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest. Formerly the most traditional of the "indult" groups, its new American district superior, desiring to be popular with the Novus Ordo bishops, has voluntarily concelebrated the Chrism Mass according to the Novus Ordo and required the faithful of their Wisconsin apostolates to receive a Novus Ordo Confirmation. These compromises were volunteered, not mandated by the bishops! Once again, we see defeating compromise under the pretext of prudence and diplomacy.

None of these groups is permitted to criticize publicly the Second Vatican Council or the dreadful post-Vatican II "reforms." In other words, the apostolate of a priest in an "approved" traditional order is paralyzed: he is forbidden from speaking out manfully against all those things that are destroying the Catholic Faith. It seems that the only type of "traditional" priest who could be happy in one of the Ecclesia Dei orders is a "Catholic culture" traditionalist, not a doctrinal traditionalist.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

From the beginning TRADITIO predicted exactly what has happened, as you have so succinctly summarized it. The "indult" is seriously moribund. The signs were, starting with the text of Ecclesia Dei itself that this is just what the Novus Ordo bureaucrats at the Vatican planned for. It was a pretty slick operation, replete with nequitiam et insidias. One has to give the Devil his due!

Just think how much more would have been accomplished if these indultarians had fought tooth and nail against the Novus Ordo apparatus from the beginning and had funded that effort instead of handing the money over to the Novus Ordo. Now that seminary is in the hands of a Masonic-friendly bishop who (and this too TRADITIO warned of at the time) posed as a conservative to get control of the the American indultarians.

You don't have to be an Isaias or a Jeremias to see the ends of things. When you compromise and sell out to error, you become tainted by that error, which comes back to bite you. The parable of Faust is instructive in this regard.

It is pertinent that you have mentioned the matter of the fund-raising that these "indult" groups did. Again, TRADITIO warned of the financial angle from the beginning. These groups did not merely seek free-will offerings, but seem to have purchased every Catholic mailing list in existence and to produce expensively-produced mass-mailings several times every month to browbeat money from sincere, but befuddled, indultarians.

And where is that money now? No doubt under the control of that Novus Ordo bishop, who will permit just as much of the Traditional Latin Mass as pleases him. One day that may be zero. Our Lord warned his Apostles to be as wily as foxes. The Novus Ordo apparatus heeded Our Lord's words, but the indultarians did not. Again, one has to give the Devil his due.

Silvio Cardinal Oddi (1910-2001) R.I.P.

From: Fr. Moderator

Frequently, I am asked: are there any traditional Catholic cardinals left? Of the few left, one went to his eternal reward on June 29, 2001. Cardinal Oddi was Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy (1979-1985). He had also been one of the nine-member cardinalatial commision appointed by Pope John II in 1986 to study the question of the Traditional Latin Mass. That commission concluded (1) that the Traditional Latin Mass has never been abrogated and that (2) all priests have the right to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass and "the bishops cannot forbid or place restrictions on the celebration of the tradtional rite of Mass, whether in public or in private."

Cardinal Oddi, who was a Vincentian like Hannibal Bugnini, the architect of the Novus Ordo worship service, saw his fellow Vicentian as barely Catholic, if at all. Cardinal Oddi believed that Bugnini and some of his friends and fellow travellers had fully intended what Oddi called the "sly protestantization of the Church" and that a vast number of Council Bishops had been both bullied and deceived by the periti, whose secular and Protestant beliefs had effectively been hidden from the bishops.

Cardinal Oddi 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. John XXIII would never have been such a coward. How bad for the Church that he died when he did."

Anima eius et animae omnium fidelium cardinalium per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace.

August 10, 2001: St. Lawrence, Martyr (Double of the 2nd Class)

Smelling a Rat at the Vatican

From: Richard

Dear Fr. Moderator

Are you aware of the moves by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to replace the 1962 Missal with the hybrid (Traditional / embryonic Novus Ordo) Missal of 1965 for all "Indult" Masses? These moves are confirmed in a report in the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales Newsletter of August 2001 by Leo Darroch. Are we to be cynical about the Vatican's intentions concerning the "Indult" Mass if this is what they are planning for it, trying to sneak the Novus Ordo Mass in by the back door?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Vatican has been smelling to high heaven (literally!) every since the "indult" fiasco of 1988. TRADITIO has consistently warned about the hypocritical motives behind the "indult." Unfortunately, some people are so overwhelmed by papolatry that they cannot see the handwriting on the wall. The post-conciliar Vatican pulled a fast one on the whole Church with the Novus Ordo worship service. With Ecclesia Dei, the Vatican pulled a deft carrot-and-stick strategem to weaken traditional Catholics into accepting compromise and collusion.

Lured by the Vatican's promise of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval from bishops whose chief purpose in life is to bury the Traditional Latin Mass, Sacraments, and Faith), "indult" groups were connived into turning against their traditional colleagues. Now, 13 years later, episcopal approvals have been relatively few and far between and fraught with Novus Ordo conditions.

Since the Vatican's Protocol 1411 of July 3, 1999, the "indult" groups have pretty much been silenced, forced to accept -- and even participate in -- the Novus Ordo, and now will be forced to move completely away from any pretense of a Traditional Latin Mass. If only such people's foresight were better than their hindsight, they wouldn't keep falling into the traps that the Modernists at the Vatican keep setting for them.

Meanwhile, Latin enrollments increase and increase. Perhaps the world already knows something they don't?

To Turn or not to Turn

From: Richard

Dear Fr. Moderator

Is it sinful to deploy physical force to defend yourself or your loved ones from attack, e.g., by muggers, murderers, burglars, etc.? What does Our Lord mean when he says turn the other cheek?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Our Lord was not some effete, lovey-dovey milquetoast, as the liberalists try to portray him. He was the Same Who said: "I come not to bring peace, but the sword." The Fifth Commandment refers to murder and unjust violence in general, in thought, word, and deed.

It does not pertain to lawful killing, such as the appropriate killing of animals, capital punishment justly applied, self-defense, or the defense of others. The passage you quoted refers, as equivalent passages in Scripture do, to the Christian's personal response toward his enemies. That response should not be taken in vengeance ("an eye for an eye," "a tooth for a tooth"), but a defensive response is certainly moral.

August 9, 2001: St. John Mary Vianney (Double)

Where to Find the Priesthood

From: James

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Why is there no use of the word priest or priesthood in the New Testament? Of course I only have English Bibles available, but the only words used are presbyter, ambassador, steward of Christ, and servants of Christ, for example. I have found that this makes it more difficult to discuss the Catholic faith with Protestants, even though there are a few references to the sacrificial nature of the Apostles' duties. The few scriptural references to sacrifice are very easily obscured when the term priest is missing.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

First of all, there is no such animal as an "English Bible." What you are speaking of is the Bible translated into English. There is a significant difference between the two, as your question shows. Yours is a problem of translation. The Greek word appearing in the Epistles of the New Testament for a priest of the New Covenant is presbyteros (as opposed to non-Christian hiereus).

You can tell your Protestant friends that they can not really understand the Bible, which they claim is their only guide to their faith, because they are not really reading the Bible itself, but only some translator's version of it, "through a glass darkly." All translations are significantly tainted by the translator's personal beliefs and political biases.

Since the Conciliar period of the 1960s, translators have been using the ignorance of Latin and Greek to introduce under the pretext of "translation" a number of novelties that are not Christian. Among these are "translating out" the office of priesthood, Hell, the "kingdom of Heaven" instead of the Modernists' preference for an earthly kingdom, etc.

Protestants, who rely only on the Bible, and who try to understand it on the word-by-word level, must learn Biblical Greek, or at least Vulgate Latin. They must be familiar enough with other literature in the Sacred Languages to understand the words and syntax in their context in the Bible.

I don't see how any Protestant could consider himself anything other than culpably slothful, if he truly respects the Bible as the one and only reflection of God he has in his life. Catholics, on the other hand, are not reliant exclusively on the Bible, but also have Sacred Tradition, of which Holy Mass, which in itself contains and teaches us all we need for salvation, is a part. We also have the seven Sacraments for salvation, which Protestants do not. Finally, we have the priesthood to assist us with an understanding of the truths of the Faith, which the Protestants do not.

All this should make us very grateful, and blessed, to be a Catholic.

The Other Holy Orders

From: A.J.

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have been curious as to why at the traditional High Mass, almost always the functions of the deacon and subdeacon are executed by priests. They even vest as deacons, wearing dalmatics. It seems odd for the priests to be assuming lower Orders. Could you explain to me what this is all about and the reason for this practice.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I think that you are somehow confusing High Mass and Solemn Mass. At Solemn Mass, there are three ministers, the Celebrant (priest), the Deacon, and the Subdeacon, all with different functions. The ministers are vested according to their respective functions.

Earlier in the Church, there were large numbers of men in all seven Holy Orders. Thus, it was comparatively easy to find men in the respective Orders for Solemn Mass. Now, however, the number of Subdeacons and Deacons is much smaller (not to speak of Porters, Lectors, and Acolytes), so priests, who, after all, have already received the Orders of the Subdiaconate and Diaconate on the way to the priesthood, can quite appropriately serve those functions.

At a High Mass the celebrating priest serves all functions (except perhaps the chanting of the Epistle).

The "Indult" Mass

From: Ray

Dear Fr. Moderator:

From the layman's perspective, is there a difference between the Traditional Latin Mass and an "indult" Mass? Are both Masses equally holy and edifying? To put it another way, given a choice, how do we choose between the two? I presume the "indult" Mass to be preferable to the Novus Ordo.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Mass celebrated under the so-called Ecclesia Dei indult of 1988, which is supposed to be use the 1962 Missale Romanum, is more and more frequently being corrupted by additions and changes from the Novus Ordo worship service to become a what is called a Hybrid, or Pseudo-traditional worship service.

As to the difference between the Traditional Latin Mass of 1960-1962 and earlier rubrics, you will find that the 1962 Mass calendar and rubrics have been "simplified," so that there is more of a blandness about the 1962 calendar and rubrics in comparison to the richer rubrics of 1956 (the last previous revision), and (more so) before 1956.

If by "indult Mass," you mean a fully traditional Latin Mass using the 1962 rubrics and following the corresponding traditional practices, that is one thing. If you are talking about a hybrid, that is a different matter. Be sure to read carefully the warning about Hybrid (Pseudo-Traditional) worship services in the Traditional Directory.

August 6, 2001: The Transfiguration of Our Lord (Double of the Second Class)

How "Original" Is the King James Version?

From: Ned

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Is there any truth to the speculation that the King James Version was translated and copied from already translated documents such as the Vulgate?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Yes, that is substantially true. For all the hoopla about being translated from the "original languages," the King James Version is heavily influenced by St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate. Remember that at the time of the King James Version, only two of the three major manuscript traditions of the "original tongues" were extant. St. Jerome, of course, had this manuscript tradition when he was doing his work, so the Latin Vulgate is in many ways superior to the "original tongues," as it represents an earlier version of the Scriptures. The earliest substantive Hebrew texts of the Old Testament that are available to us now are from approximately the ninth century, and the earliest Greek texts of the New Testament are from the fifth century. St. Jerome was working in the late 4th century.

1962 Missal or Not?

From: Chris

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I attend Mass regularly at a SSPX chapel. The 1962 Missal is not used there. I always assumed that it was the 1956 or 1958 version because the 1962 Missal, unless I'm wrong, has the addition that John XXIII made to the Canon (adding St. Joseph) and the removal of the second Confiteor said by the server right before the Communion of the faithful. The Missal used at the chapel does not have these changes.

I get the feeling that Abp, Lefevbre wasn't keen on the 1962 Missal, from what I have read. For one, I get the impression he felt the abolition of the second Confiteor was not in the best interests of the faithful. If this is the case, I agree with him. I appreciate that second Confiteor just before I receive Communion, and I suspect its abolition was the beginning of the desire to make sin less of an issue ... and to see if anybody would notice or complain!

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Actually, there were two versions of the Missale Romanum issued in 1962. The earlier version does not have the phrase pertaining to St. Joseph; the later one does. Nothing relating to Communion other than the priest's (which is necessary to complete the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; no one else has to receive), is covered in the text of the Mass.

Many Catholics erroneously think that the "1962 Missal" pertains only to the addition of the St. Joseph phrase. Actually, a major revision of the rubrics and the Calendar affecting to some extent the Holy Mass and even more the Divine Office, were promulgated in 1960 under Pope John XXIII. A previous major revision of the rubrics, touching the Calendar, the Divine Office, and Holy Mass significantly, most especially Holy Week, was promulgated under Pope Pius XII in 1956.

Interestingly, both of these revisions occurred while Hannibal Bugnini, the chief architect of the Novus Ordo worship service, with the assistance of six Protestants, was already taking an active role on the Sacred Congregation of Rites.

My information is that Abp. Lefebvre accepted the 1962 Missal as the last traditional missal, containing all the previous controlling papal documents since Quo Primum. He did retain the Confiteor before the Communion of the people, since this is not strictly a part of the Mass, but from the rite of Communion outside Mass. He also retained the perfidis [faithless] in the litanical prayer for the Jews on Good Friday. He expelled nine SSPX priests in the USA from the Society in 1980 "... because they refused to conform to the liturgy of the Church as it was immediately prior to the Second Vatican Council, and they refused to recognize the changes made to the calendar by Pope Pius XII and Pope John XXIII."

August 5, 2001: Ninth Sunday after Pentecost (Semidouble)

What Did They Do with My Feast?

From: Kevin

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Yesterday I attended Mass at the local SSPX parish. Generally speaking, I follow along in the Mass using the Fr. Lasance New Roman Missal (a reprint of the 1945 edition). The SSPX, on the other hand, generally uses the 1958 Missal.

I noticed that in my 1945 Missal (as on your calendar for this web site) August 3 was the Feast of the Finding of the Body of St. Stephen, Proto-Martyr, while at the SSPX Mass (1958 Missal) it was simply a ferial day (although also First Friday).

Did First Friday devotion simply "trump" the Finding of the Body of St. Stephen, or was there a permanent change in the calendar regarding this feast?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It has nothing to do with First Friday rubrics, which antedated 1958. I believe that your presumption that the SSPX uses the 1958 Missal is incorrect. My information is that it uses the 1962 Missal. That assumption is confirmed by the fact that the 1958 Missal includes the Feast of the Finding of the Body of St. Stephen, Proto-Martyr, which was eliminated in the 1960 calendrical revision of Pope John XXIII in 1960.

The calendar that appears on TRADITIO is that before the rubrical simplification of 1956, which, though perhaps not so objectionable in and of itself, began the process, under Hannibal Bugnini, the modernist who authored the Novus Ordo worship service with the help of six Protestants. That pre-1956 calendar preserves the historic ranking of feasts as double, semidouble, simple, and ferial, and their subcategories. For further information, click on the Liturgical Calendar of the Traditional Roman Rite section.

Do We Still Have Bishops?

From: Faith (via Remnant)

Dear Fr. Moderator:

When the Blessed Virgin Mary was called the Mother of Christ, but not the Mother of God, by Nestorius in 428, the people immediately rose up in protest. They marched through the streets in torchlight procession to the episcopal residence shouting, "We have no bishop!" Today when bishops publicly deny the Faith we say, "We'll he's still the bishop." Do we want to lose the Faith too?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

When we hear how courageous our predecessors in the Catholic Faith stood up for the Deposit of Faith and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the face of heretical bishops, and even popes, we have to wonder just the opposite of what the rest of the world wonders: what has happened to make the "modern world" so pusillanimous?

August 4, 2001: St. Dominic, Confessor (Major Double)

Traditional Catholicism in Communist Countries

From: Kevin

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I am new to the traditional Catholic Church and have found your site very informative and useful. I have a question regarding Catholics in Communist countries. The communists took over in Russia and China before Vatican II and the changes in the Mass. Were the underground Catholics in Communist countries able to keep up with the changes in the Church, or were they in a sense "frozen in time" because the persecutions. Did the re-emergent Catholics in Russia celebrate the Novus Ordo? What Mass is said in the underground churches of China?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

A very interesting question that bears in principle upon the situation of independent traditional Roman Catholic clergy, societies, and laypeople.

When Communism took over Eastern Europe, a significant part of Church went underground. This underground Church, operating under circumstances of necessity, ordained priests and consecrated bishops without any explicit Vatican approval. Yet, when the underground Church came out after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, the Vatican recognized all of the priests and bishops as perfectly legitimate. It is this same canonic principle of necessity, enshrined by 2000 years of theology and canon law, under which the non-diocesan-affiliated traditional Catholics operate (independent, SSPX, SSPV, CMRI, etc.).

The underground Church resisted the imposition of Vatican II policies, as it had been fighting against Communism and offering the Mass and Sacraments in the traditional rite. There is still resistance in Eastern Europe to Vatican II and vernacularization. Proof of this is that the pope a few weeks ago said the Novus Ordo worship service in Latin in the Ukraine because the Catholics there wouldn't permit the fragmentation into local languages, but insisted upon the universal Latin.

As to Communist China, that too is an interesting case. Up until just a few years ago, the Patriotic National Church, which attempted to keep the Catholic Faith alive even though their connection with the Vatican had been cut off by the government, continued to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments in the traditional form. I saw a newsclip from China not more than ten years ago that included parts of a Traditional Latin Mass and the administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation in the traditional Latin form. Invariably, the newspapers would announced that Mass was being celebrated in Red China for Christmas, in the traditional Latin rite.

Then the Vatican started to play cozy with Communist government, and the Jesuits were poised to enter China from their base in Japan. They publicly stated that one of their goals was to wipe out the traditional beliefs and rites and "update" the courageous Chinese Catholics to the Novus Ordo.

I have noticed in the last few years that China now does have a vernacular Novus Ordo worship service, but about an equal number of Traditional Latin Masses are also celebrated. The vernacular is more than the usual problem for the Chinese, who have at least five "dialects," none of which can understand the other orally.

The Red Chinese too have continued to ordain priests and consecrate bishops without Vatican approval, and the Vatican has done nothing more than state its "disappointment." No "excommunciations," of course, because Red China is a political prize whereas those like Abp. Lefebvre are not.

It all goes to show that the traditional Catholic clergy, societies, and laypeople are perfectly legitimate, perfectly valid, and perfectly correct in the Roman Catholic sense. To the degree that any difficulty has been offered by Novus Ordo bishops and even the Vatican, it has no true basis in Catholic theology or canon law -- only in Church politics.

Two Real Saints

From: Bryan

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Did Sts. Christopher and Philomena actually live, or were they names made up for martyrs whose names we don't know? My daily missal says a little about St. Christopher, but he seems to have vanished from the Novus Ordo.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

St. Christopher has been mentioned in numerous sources as well as the continuous Tradition of the Church, including being honored as one of the Fourteen Auxiliary (Helping) Saints for particular intents. He has long been elevated to the honor of Catholic altars.

St. Philomena has been recognized by several popes. In the early 1960s, when it was proposed that she be removed from the liturgical calendar, an archaeological discovery was made in Rome, in which an ancient underground basilica dedicated to her was discovered. It was as if the hand of heaven were mocking the "Conciliar" Church and its efforts to desecrate a saint to whom St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, and Pope Pius IX, among others, were devoted.

For this reason, St. Philomena is considered by many to be the Patroness of the Traditional Roman Catholic Movement. For further information, see the Library of Files for PHILOMENA: St. Philomena: Wonder-Worker, Patron Saint of the Traditional Roman Catholic Movement.

August 3, 2001: Finding of the Body of St. Stephen, Proto-Martyr (Semidouble)

How Prayer Works

From: Madeline

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have been praying off and on, asking God to rekindle a relationship that I had and enjoyed. Thus far, I have not had my prayers answered. I know that it is God's will that counts; however, my question is why wouldn't God want a relationship between a man and a woman that was good to be rekindled? I am so perplexed and sometimes I feel angry at God. May He forgive me for this.

Fr. Moderator Replies

You say that your prayers have not been answered. It may well be that they have and that the answer is that the relationship is not in the interest of your eternal salvation -- or his. Your thoughts are focused only on the here and now, on this world, whereas the Lord provides for us sub specie aeternitatis [with the outlook of eternity] for the good of our immortal souls for an eternity.

It is the height of pride to think that we are somehow the puppeteers of God, that all we have to do is pray, and God will do our bidding. So often our sights are on this world, for our own personal benefit, and often not even for our spiritual benefit, but only for the benefit of our convenience, our emotions, our worldly goals, etc.

Perhaps this is a test of your faith, to see whether your prayer has persistence (as your message indicates that this is not present in your prayer) or whether your faith in God is dependent only on what you think He can give you, rather than what you can give Him. The first thing that you must give him is unqualified glorification. God is God and is to be glorified as our Creator above all: Gloria in excelsis Deo.

When Job faced the test, a very hard test, his response was simple (1:21/DR): "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; as it has pleased the Lord, so it has been done: blessed be the name of the Lord."

The Profantion of Gregorian Chant

From: James

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I read your comments on the profanation of Gregorian Chant with interest. It shouldn't be made fun of, used in rock and roll, or as background for car commercials. I have one further question, though. If Gregorian Chant is sacred music, and only sacred music, was it a sacrilege (for example) for Hector Berlioz to use the Dies Irae in his Symphonie Fantastique?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Dies Irae theme has been used by practically every serious classical composer as a leitmotiv. That is a far cry from using the actual chant as background music to serve a very secular commercial enterprise.

"Raunchier, Bloodier"

From: Fr. Moderator

Parents Television Council study revealed the not surprising fact that "youngsters wathing TV during the so-called family hour last season were exposed to bawdier humor and more coarse language and violence than in 1999.... Some of the worst programming is now being put on during that hour, and it's being directed deliberately at children." The study looked only at broadcast television, not late night or cable, on ABC, CBS< NBC, Fox, WB, and UPN during the first hour of prime time, when more than 10,000,000 children are watching (not to speak of adults!).

Overall, coarse language was up 78% to 2.6 instances per hour compared to 1999. "If milder curse words such as damn were included in the tally, the per-hour rate of foul language usage would reach 6.1." One can only speculate how many of those 6.1 instances per hour included blasphemies.

August 1, 2001: St. Peter, Apostle in Chains (Major Double)

Rock and Roll Gregorian - What Next?

From: Peter

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Today, I received the following advertisement, and it troubled me: "You will love Nick Alexander's collection of original Catholic lyrics put to songs from the 60s to the 90s. Some songs are: Old Time Gregorian Chant (to the tune of Old Time Rock & Roll by Bob Seger)...."

Is this a sin of sacrilege? I believe it is, and I was wondering if you would comment on this for your loyal readers and further expound on the teachings of the Church concerning sacrilege, especially in today's modern world?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Novus Ordo will stop at nothing to "trash" the traditonal liturgy of our Roman Catholic Faith. Not content with introducing its own pop songs for its worship service, it now has to make fun of the most sacred music ever written, our own Roman Catholic music called Gregorian chant.

Sacrilege is the profanation of the sacred. Gregorian chant is sacred music, and only sacred music. It is not to be profaned in this way, to be the butt of some "joke" CD. Nor, for that matter, should it be used as background music to car commercials.

The problem is that the Novus Ordo has obliterated the line between the sacred and the profane. Profane languages are used in the Sacred Liturgy instead of sacred languages. Discotheque music is used in the Sacred Liturgy instead of the sacred chant. Ceramic chalices are used instead of metal. Profane musical instruments are used instead of the human voice or the organ.

Yes, the heart of the Novus Ordo is sacrilege. Its bloody hands imposed to change the Holy Mass and the Sacraments prove that for all who have eyes to see.

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