The position of the Vatican is that promises of "sensational" cures from diseases cannot justify the human cloning. "The beginning of human life cannot be fixed by convention at a certain stage of embryonic development; it takes place, in reality, already at the first instant of the embryo itself. Thus, despite the declared 'humanistic' intentions by those who predict sensational cures via this path..., what is needed is a calm but firm judgment which shows the moral gravity of this plan and which motivates an unequivocal condemnation." Catholic teaching holds that life begins at conception.
"Therapeutic aims are excellent, they are praiseworthy. However, it is the means used that raise the questions. If it involves production and destruction of human beings to treat other human beings, the end does not justify the means."
A cloned embryo has been formed by introducing genetic material into an egg cell and without the use of a sperm cell. The Vatican said that life formed in this "inhuman" way nonetheless has "its dignity like that of every human life which is given existence.... Other roads can be taken, which are morally right and valid from the scientific point of view." For example, stem cells can be obtained from adult tissue, maternal blood, and from fetuses that have been miscarried. "This is the path that every honest scientist must follow in order to preserve the maximum respect for man, that is to say, for himself."
The scientists involved in the cloning have said they have no desire to create babies but only to create embryos as a way to obtain stem cells to fight disease. However, an embryonic researcher from the University of Pennsylvania points out that a human EMBRYO is a human BEING -- whether produced by fertilization or by cloning. Scientifically there is no such thing as a human embryo that is not simultaneously a human BEING.
Cloning can result in the immediate formation of a human being (i.e., a human embryo, a human organism, a human individual). If a new single-cell human clone were not a human BEING, how could virtually ALL -- repeat, ALL -- of the human cells, tissues and organs of an older human being develop from it, as would happen in "reproductive" cloning.
The immediate product of human cloning would be a single-cell human BEING, a human EMBRYO. This single-cell human clone would have 46 chromosomes just like the single-cell human zygote formed at fertilization -- the number characteristic of and specific for an INDIVIDUAL of the human species; it would produce specifically human proteins and enzymes (not carrot or frog proteins and enzymes, not "just cellular" or even "alien" proteins and enzymes); and if implanted it would not decay and rot, but like other human embryos it would continue to grow bigger and bigger until birth and beyond. There would be absolutely no break in its human development; human development would be continuous from the single-cell clone stage through birth and old age.
The distinction between "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning is a false distinction -- SCIENTIFICALLY. The exact same human BEING is at issue regardless of what term is manufactured for mass public consumption, regardless if it is used and destroyed in "therapeutic" research or implanted into some poor unsuspecting woman's uterus. One and the same individual. One and the same human BEING.
If the single cell produced at human cloning looks like a human being is supposed to look AT THAT STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT, and if it quacks like a human being is supposed to quack at that stage of development, by George, it must be a human BEING!
There is no such thing as a human EMBRYO that is not simultaneously a human BEING. Never. To refer to the immediate product of human cloning as "just cellular life", or as "just stem cells", or as "just an embryo" -- rather than as a REAL newly existing whole living human BEING -- is scientifically absurd and professionally irresponsible.
Nevertheless, cloning is only a process by which the basic DNA of life is produced, as it can be in artificial insemination, on in-vitro fertilization. Genetically, it is similar to the situation of an identical twin. Therefore, there is no question of absence of a soul, or free will, or any other essential human characteristics.
The internal evidence in Scripture seems to indicate a date around spring, when the shepherds would be tending their flocks at night. The date of December 25 is a conventional date for the liturgical celebration of the event. No official reason has been handed down in ecclesiastical documents for the choice of this date. There are basically three theories on the origin of the date.
The choice of December 25 was influenced by the fact that the Romans, from the time of the emperor Aurelian (275), had celebrated the feast of the sun god (Sol Invictus: the Unconquered Sun) on that day. December 25 was called the "Birthday of the Sun," and great pagan religious celebrations of the Mithras cult were held throughout the empire. What was more natural than that the Christians celebrate the birth of Him Who was the "Light of the World" and the true "Sun of Justice" on this very day? The popes seem to have chosen December 25 precisely for the purpose of inspiring the people to turn from the worship of a material sun to the adoration of Christ the Lord. Another common explanation is that Christmas was set during the Roman winter festival of the Saturnalia, in honor of the ancient god Saturn.
There is good evidence that Christmas was being celebrated by Christians before the conversion of Constantine and that the date of Christmas was based not on the date of the festival of Mithras, but on a very old Christian tradition about the date of Christ's Passion and the Annunciation.
The oldest surviving calendar of the Roman Church, dating from 354, organizes the whole church year around Christmas -- unusual if the feast had been newly introduced only forty years before. Furthermore, St. Augustine, writing at the beginning of the 5th century, mentions that the Donatists refused to celebrate Epiphany along with the other Christian Churches -- but not that they refused to celebrate Christmas.
Now, the Donatists thought that the rest of the Christian churches were entirely too liberal and lax, and that (after Constantine) the Church's friendly relations with the Emperor were a pact with the devil. It is extremely unlikely that they would have adopted a pagan feast (if Christmas is such) just because Constantine said so and the bishop of Rome was doing it. Hence, it is very probable that Christmas was being observed in North Africa before the Donatist schism in 303 and probably well back into the third century.
That festival, in fact, had been instituted by the emperor Aurelian only in 274. It is probable that, rather than Christmas having been instituted by the Christians in imitation of the pagan festival, Aurelian instituted his festival to counteract the appeal of Christianity, as sun-worship generally was an attempt to provide a pagan "monotheism" to compete with Christianity.
So, although it has sometimes been said that the Nativity is only a "Christianized pagan festival," the Christians of the early centuries were keenly aware of the difference between the two festivals -- one pagan and one Christian -- on the same day. The coincidence in the date, even if intended, does not make the two celebrations identical. Some newly converted Christians who thoughtlessly retained external symbols of the sun worship on Christmas day were "immediately and sternly reproved by their religious superiors, and those abuses were suppressed." Proof of this fact are the many examples of warnings in the writings of Tertullian (third century) and the Christian authors of the fourth and fifth centuries, especially the sermons of St. Augustine (430) and Pope Leo (461).
There are many disputes about the Christmas "star." If one interprets it as an astronomical conjunction of planets (which is not the only explanation), the year could have been anywhere from 7 B.C. to 1 B.C. Most historical evidence places the birth of Christ around 4 B.C. on our modern calendar.
Why not Anno Domini 1 (there being no Year 0)? The most likely explanation is that for over a millennium, years were counted from the founding of Rome in 753 B.C., much as if U.S. counted years from the Declaration of Independence.
In the sixth century, a monk named Dionysius Exiguus (Dennis the Short) performed calculations to make the year 1 start at the birth of Christ. Bede the Venerable popularized this calendar in the eighth century. In doing so, most historian agree that Dionysius made a mistake of about four years. Thus, it is probable that on our modern calendar the year 1996 was the millennial year.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
I would like to know how to explain to a non-Catholic about the wealth in the Church (statues, gold, etc.). I am always hearing comments about why we have so much wealth in the Church and whether we shouldn't sell it and help the poor.
Fr. Moderator Replies.
I'm surprised that a Bible-believing Protestant should make such a statement, given Our Lord's statement in the Bible: "For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always" (Matthew 26:11/DRV). You may remember that Our Lord was criticizing Judas, who said that the expensive unguent poured upon Him by Mary Magdalene should be instead sold and given to the poor.
For the worship of God, nothing is too dear. Again, look to Scripture at the expense that was spent for divine worship, especially the great temple at Jerusalem. Should these glorious edifices and artworks be sold off so that we worship in meeting rooms devoid of the presence of God or anything reminding us of his majesty, such as so many of the Protestants do? Neither God, nor the Bible, nor common sense, I think, agree with them.
More than that, no institution on earth, I think, does more charitable work than the Catholic Church. So there is certainly room to spend for both God and the poor.
Catholics are celebrating once again, as they have for twenty centuries, the mystery of the Incarnation of God. Other Christians celebrate Christ's birth. Other religions worship one god, or many gods, but the Catholic Church is the only one that claims to have her God really, substantially present with her on earth, living among us in fact, not merely in thought or memory or pious language. Our God came to visit us and stayed. He is Emmanuel, God With Us, flesh and blood, soul and divinity.
When we see society and even the Church sink before our eyes, it would be easy to become discouraged. But we are prideful in thinking that in this we are the only Catholics who have suffered the upheaval of society and Church. Imagine how St. Augustine felt when he heard in his see of Hippo, North Africa, in A.D. 410 that the barbarians had sacked Rome. He could not believe his ears and wept bitterly.
Our modern barbarians have sacked Rome once again. This time, however, there is no one of the caliber of St. Augustine to weep over her. This time it is the ecclesiastics themselves who have opened the gates to the barbarians! Nor are the laity exempt from blame. It is all too easy to point fingers at everyone else as the cause: pope, cardinals, bishops, parishes, seminaries, religious orders. But ultimately it is the people who allowed errant ecclesiastics to get away with the Novus Ordo takeover of the Church. It would have been easy to stop at the beginning: no money, no obedience to the New Order, and it would have been over in a second. Instead, now, forty years after Vatican II, there are still Novus Ordinarians who continue to support the corruption of our Roman Catholic Faith.
It was no different at the time of the Nativity. Herod representing the state and the Pharisees representing the Church all had their hand in the matter, which exiled the Holy Family to Egypt and killed the Holy Innocents. And who was the hero in this story? One man who rejected the corruption of the Church: St. John the Baptist. He said in effect: We ought to obey God rather than man.
So, discouragement is not the answer. The eternal truth of the Nativity dispels that discouragement. We can say with St. Therese of Lisieux:
Dear Lord, you know my weakness. Each morning I resolve to be humble, and in the evening I recognize that I have often been guilty of pride. The sight of these faults tempts me to discouragement. Yet I know that discouragement itself is a form of pride. I wish, therefore, O my God, to build all my trust upon You. As You can do all things, deign to implant in my soul this virtue which I desire.
When we attend Christmas Matins and Mass, held in the midnight silence and stillness, we are reminded vividly of that silent night in Bethlehem when the glory of God shone round the shepherds keeping watch over their flock by night. Tonight Our Savior, our Emmanuel, becomes present upon our altar on this truly Holy Night.
A blessed Christmastide to all TRADITIO's families, friends, and benefactors, particularly those who have extended personal kindnesses to our Father Moderator during the year. You are remembered at the altar especially on this night.
The faithful are reminded that December 24, the Vigil of Christmas, is a day of fast and abstinence to prepare ourselves for the great Feast of the Nativity. No fleshmeat is permitted on this day, and only one main meal is to be taken, with two smaller collations. By an indult of the Holy See antedating Vatican II, the faithful may opt to observe the fast and abstinence on the preceding day, December 23.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
What do you think about the pope's breakneck haste purportedly to canonize Mother Theresa? Isn't 460 Saints in 25 years a bit much? "John Paul, who has elevated more than 460 people to sainthood in his 24 years as pope, waived the customary five-year waiting period and began the process that can lead to sainthood just a year after Mother Teresa died in 1997 at age 87."
Fr. Moderator Replies.
This and other actions are making the canonization process scandalous and of doubtful validity. Most Saints have had to wait for several centuries to pass, so that the Church can be assured of objectivity and validity. Even the two most significant Saints of the last century (St. Therese of Lisieux and Pope St. Pius X) waited half a century for canonization, which in itself was unusually fast.
Why is Mother Theresa's situation so unusual that she needs these exceptions, when St. Therese of Lisieux, who was the instrument of multitudinous miracles around the world after her death, certainly did not? Is Mother Theresa's case so doubtful that the Vatican has to exempt her from all proof? It is just this kind of thing that has made most Novus Ordo "canonizations" laughably political.
Has the Modern Vatican crossed the line in this question and in effect overruled the ordinance of God as expressed in that divine positive law? It would seem so if for no other reason than that significant parts of the Church are now, as never before, questioning the very sanctity of those who are supposed to be Saints of the New Order.
Fortunately, Catholic theologians through the centuries have provided a bailout for such a situation. Canonization is not invariably held to be an act of papal infallibility and is certainly not a primary exercise thereof. St. Thomas Aquinas (Quodlibet 9.c.16) holds that the pope may err in this, as in other matters where his decision depends on the truth of human testimony. St. Robert Bellarmine holds that it is quite possible for the pope "to err in particular controversies of fact which depend chiefly on human information and testimony." Thus, traditional Catholics can reserve judgment on the New Order's unproven candidates.
There is the very real possibility that factual errors are being made in some of these post-conciliar cases and that a future traditional pope will have to sort the cases out at some point in the future, when the Church is returned to Tradition. In the meantime, there are many thousands of traditional Saints, whose cultus are well established and whose intercession with our Lord Jesus Christ may be prayed for by the Roman Catholic faithful with full confidence and faith.
December 21, 2002 - Toronto Globe and Mail (Excerpts). The cross sits on the crest of a hill in the windswept, ancient section of the Italian town of Matera. The temperature is frigid. And the man nailed to the cross, wears only a loincloth, is covered in blood, with his flesh shorn from much of his body.
Jim Caviezel, who plays Jesus in the new Mel Gibson film The Passion, is beyond cold. Beyond bone-tired. Beyond explaining coherently the hell of shooting a film about the last 12 hours of Christ's life, and specifically the Crucifixion, which has meant this actor has been trussed, practically naked, to a cross in a field in southern Italy for the past 15 days.
In Hollywood, Caviezel is known as Gentleman Jim. The devout Catholic and devoted husband to his schoolteacher wife, Kerri, politely refused to do a love scene with Jennifer Lopez in last year's Angel Eyes. Caviezel was Gibson's first choice. It's the fourth time, Caviezel says, he has been offered the role of Jesus. Before, he's always said no. This time he took the Australian director's offer because Gibson -- a traditional Roman Catholic himself, who has a private chapel in the backyard of his home in Malibu, Calif. -- understood the importance of this project, and promised to treat it with the respect it deserves. And, above all else, he is committed to recreating Jesus's last hours -- from the Garden of Gethsemane to his death -- as authentically as possible. This will be nothing like a Ben Hur-type epic recreation. Or a bizarre account like Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ.
Gibson and Caviezel plan to show, in a brutal, honest way, how Jesus perished. The actors will speak only the ancient languages of Hebrew, Latin and Aramean. There will be no subtitles. (Hollywood is agog.)
And since Christ was tortured beyond reason, Caviezel is immersed in this living hell. "Right now, it's an absolute necessity to pray all the time," confesses Caviezel, on a cellphone, while driving with his assistant Cassie through the mad streets of Rome. "And I don't just pray with my head, but from the heart. It's the only way I can find any peace," says the actor, who apparently never takes off a cross-shaped scapular that declares, in the event of mortal emergency: I am Catholic, please call a priest.
"I believe there are no coincidences. The fact Mel came to me when I was still 33 years of age [the same age Christ died], there was a reason. I believe that Our Lord meant it. I believe He has a great hand in this film. That's why I'm continually asking Mary for help, to show me the perfect way to be her son."
The film, which will shoot in Italy until February, is clearly a labour of love, as well, for Gibson. He has seen the raised eyebrows among his film peers in Los Angeles. He has heard their derision and snickers. Gibson admits the ancient-language thing has made it difficult, nay, impossible, to find a distributor. But Gibson, who is both directing and financing the project, has kept faith in his original vision of this biblical drama.
At a press conference in Italy recently, the Academy Award-winning director of Braveheart joked that no U.S. studio wants to touch his movie with a 3-metre pole. "They think I'm crazy. Maybe I am. But maybe I'm a genius. I want to show the film without subtitles. Hopefully it'll be able to transcend the language barriers with visual storytelling."
Much of the script, which Gibson co-wrote, is based on the diaries of Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) as collected in the book The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The screenplay was translated into Latin and Aramean by a Jesuit linguistics scholar based in Los Angeles.
"I admire Mel Gibson for sticking to a project like this because no one else would do this. The guy's energy is extraordinary. That's one of his gifts. To be able to go as long, and as hard as he can," says Caviezel. "He has strong opinions about things. But in his heart, he really loves people."
Caviezel recounts the day that Gibson called him at his home in Los Angeles to offer him the part. "From the moment he asked me, I thought, 'Oh man.' Do I finally take the plunge? Half of me wanted to say no. And the other half said, 'Don't think, just react.' So I said yes." "Mel called me back the next day, and almost tried to talk me out of it," Caviezel recalls. "He said, 'Do you have any idea how hard this is going to be? I've got to tell you, I wouldn't even want to play this.' I said, 'Well, we each have our own cross to bear, don't we?'"
On the day of this interview, Caviezel has just wrapped a 17-hour day of Christ's interrogation, weighed down with ropes and chains, at the mercy of Pontius Pilate and his centurions. That was a cinch compared with the cross scenes, which he adds, thankfully, are almost all behind him. The flagellation of Christ is still to go. And that makes Caviezel feel, frankly, sick all over again. "From all the depictions I've read, what actually happened to Jesus Christ is worse than anything we're showing. Mel and I grappled with going all the way with it. But we couldn't do that, to Him, or to our audience. The third whip they used on Him had hooks in it, which literally tore the flesh off His body." So they drew the line at that kind of gore and torture. "It would've reached a point where people would have been so hardened inside, that they could not have gotten anything out of it. We didn't want to do that."
"To have the look of a man who has been scourged, beaten until the flesh hangs in shreds from his body, means makeup sometimes takes eight hours. I get up at 2 in the morning, to be ready to go on set by 10 or 11," says Caviezel. "Imagine a sunburn when it's got to the itchy stage. That's what it feels like, and sometimes if the weather is bad and we can't shoot, I have to sleep in it."
The Passion is the first film Gibson has committed to direct since his Oscar sweep with Braveheart in 1995. The story, apparently, has been on his mind for 10 years. He's paying for it. He personally scouted the locations. He's as intense on the set as his leading man. A few weeks ago, he told a member of the foreign press, in halting Italian, that this project is buono per l'anima, non buono per il portafoglio.
As a man who respects the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, Gibson has vowed to shoot everything as close as possible to how it happened 2,000 years ago. Hence the location of Matera, in an area called Sassi (abandoned 50 years ago), which looks very similar to Jerusalem, with its ancient ruins and caves.
"I think this is a pretty timeless and timely story to tell, involving an area where there's turbulence now, just as there was turbulence then, because history repeats itself. I want to show the humanity of Christ as well as the divine aspect," Gibson told a reporter recently. "It's a rendering that for me is very realistic and as close as possible to what I perceive the truth to be."
According to a magazine interview several years ago, Caviezel believes God and Sts. Genesius of Arles and St. Anthony of Padua showed him the way, and helped him land plum parts. Mary led him to choose acting over basketball. He believes that saying the rosary before auditioning for the part of the spiritual hero Witt in The Thin Red Line helped land him that breakthrough role.
Caviezel is proud of his faith, but he doesn't walk around with a Bible in his back pocket, quoting scriptures, trying to convert the unclean. Caviezel and his wife, Kerri, also Roman Catholic, just do their own thing, follow their own spiritual path. "The world right now is becoming a living, walking hell."
Not that traditional Catholics need any "approval" from Church bureaucrats to attend the Traditional Latin Mass, which is the only canonized Mass of the Roman and Apostolic Tradition, and which is the only Mass that may be attended "without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment or censure," nevertheless, those who still quibble with those Novus Ordinarians who still keep talking falsely about "schism" and "obligation" (Pope St. Pius V), the following statement by the Vatican's Ecclesia Dei Commission concerning attendance at Masses sponsored by the SSPX or, a fortiori, by any independent traditional Catholic priest, will be a useful tool to beat the Novus Ordinarians with the club of their own authority.
Commissio Pontificia Ecclesia Dei
September 27, 2002
We wish to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 14 August 2002 addressed to His Eminence Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos along with the enclosures.
1. In the strict sense you may fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X.
2. ...If your intention is simply to participate in Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin.
3. It would seem that a modest contribution to the collection at Mass could be justified.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
/s/ Rev. Msgr. Camille Perl, Secretarius
Dear Fr. Moderator:
I had thought that the late Bishop Luciano Rangel's successor was Padre Fernando Areas Rifan, a priest who was featured in words and pictures in Dr. David Allen White's The Mouth of the Lion. Please clarify if this is the same man as mentioned in Dr. White's book.
By the way, there were stacks of the Campos magazine available at the local "indult" parish, and I was glad I had read your comments on this. Yet even without your comments, my suspicions were raised immediately upon reading Bishop Rifan's long opening letter, including Novus Ordo phrases like "in full communion with Rome" and ending with a plea for financial support.
Your reprinting of the Campos priests' list of reasons why they can't have anything to do with the Novus Ordo in conscience sounds quite different from what they tout today. It is very sobering and horrific!
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Remember that when Prof. White wrote his book, Campos was still independently traditional; it hadn't sold out to the Novus Ordo apparatus. At that time also, Fr. Rifan was not affiliated with the Novus Ordo apparatus. Now the situation is totally different. I know that an effort is being made to paint Bp. Rifan as a highly traditional person, but the new circumstances lead to a potentially different conclusion.
First of all, when his traditional status was questioned recently, he was not supported by the SSPX or other traditional Catholics, but by an indultarian. Second, it is a typical ploy of the "indult" to send out fancy magazines to lure traditional Catholics into financial contributions. The pictures and text look enticing, but often they don't represent the reality. They are a lure. Where did all the money that was donated to the FSSP and the Society of St. John of Scranton go, donations that came from expensive advertising campaigns? Did anyone ever see an accounting, or were they promised "pie in the sky" projects that never surfaced?
Thirdly, Prof. White's book was quoted in several places in that Campos magazine, but the Professor's quoted comments pertained to the former, traditional situation under Bp. Luciano Rangel, not to the new, indult arrangement. Again, we seem to have here a disturbing attempt at deception, or at least coloration of the truth.
And I repeat. Why should a fancy, color magazine be produced and circulated in the United States about a diocese in Brazil? Doesn't that sound pretty fishy? And what is its purpose: obviously to lure money from the pockets of undiscerning traditional Catholics. It's time such people wised up. This trick has been played on them too often already.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
What does the word Christmas mean? Does it originate from Latin? What is the meaning of Xmas? Does it really take Christ out of Christmas?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Christmas derives from Christ and Mass. It is a later term for the holyday, which liturgically is called the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Xmas is a shorthand for Christmas. The X is not the Roman letter X, but rather the Greek letter chi, which looks much like the Roman letter X. Chi is the first letter of the name Christos in Greek. So, in English, it really represents the contraction Ch'mas (like you'll) and actually leaves the Christ in Christmas in a way closer to the original.
Because the Novus Ordo service is so bad, then we are right in the midst of the worst catastrophe that could ever hit an organization such as the Church. It is terrible beyond imagination; it is even worse than an atomic bomb because the our souls are at risk of eternal perdition. How could this have happened to the Holy Catholic Church? It is almost impossible for me to believe that most sector of the Church have lost the true faith (including the Modern Vatican), and that the true Mass and that true Catholics have become a minority.
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Except from an ignorance of Church history, I don't know why people find it so hard to believe that the majority of the Church could turn from the faith. Such occasions have occurred frequently in the past. To take just one example from the Old Testament, the Jews turned away from God in the period following the Alexandrian conquest of the East. They wanted to become as pagan as the pagans to fit in with the secular world of their time. Sound familiar? The New Order proclaims the same message: the Church must be "modernized," must be "updated," must be "changed" for the times. The New Order does not speak of eternal truths and morality.
The Macchabees fought to recapture the temple and to restart the Sacrifice, which had lapsed for two centuries or more. This is a clear precedent for what is happening in the Church today. What we heard the prophet Daniel speak of in the Gospel pericope for the Last Sunday after Pentecost: "the abomination of desolation." The versicles of the Rorate Coeli responsory for Advent speaks of the same conditions in the Church.
In the New Testament, one reads in St. John's Apocalypse of the defection of several of the seven churches of the ancient capitals. It appears that large segments of the Church had defected already within a half century or so of Our Lord's crucifixion. We certainly know of the Great Persecution of the first three centuries of the Church, in which 11,000,000 Christians were martyred -- twice as many as those Jews and Catholics who died in the Nazi concentration camps.
We have to put out of our minds the historical blip of the immediately post-World War II period. It seems that all too many Catholics harken back to the period of the 1950s as the "normal" period in the Church. It wasn't. It was an exception. I encourage you to get a realistic view of the history of your faith by studying its 2000-year span. When you do so, you will find that the Faith has much more often been in trouble, in persecution, and in reduced numbers than in prosperity and ease. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."
One of our correspondents has reported that on December 17 Bishop Luciano Rangel died. Requiescat in pace.
Bp. Rangel was the successor to Bp. Antonio de Castro Mayer, who led the opposition to the Novus Ordo in Campos, Brazil. Bp. Mayer died in 1991, at which point bishops from the SSPX consecrated Bp. Rangel to carry on Bp. Mayer's work in continuing the broad traditional ministry operating outside the Novus Ordo diocese in Campos under the auspices of the Priestly Fraternity of St. John Marie Vianney, although neither Bp. Rangel nor the Fraternity was officially connected with the Society.
Unfortunately, Bp. Rangel eventually caved into the blandishments of the Vatican and became a member of the Novus Ordo organization that he had so effectively countered over a period of 11 years. Once the Fraternity had been sold out to the Novus Ordo, the Vatican engineered the consecration (they call it ordination) of one of its own, one Bp. Fernando Areas Rifan. With the death of Bp. Rangel, this "indult" fraternity is now completely under the sway of a bishop hand-picked by the Novus Ordo. This is exactly the arrangement that Archbishop Lefebvre finally rejected, wisely, for the Society of St. Pius X.
One can only guess the pressures that will now be placed upon the Fraternity to go gradually Novus Ordo. The only countervailing force will be the fact that the Vatican is trying to use the Fraternity's "indult" arrangement to entice the Society into the Novus Ordo column. My thought is that when the Vatican finally realizes that this is not going to happen, the Campos people will be pushed Novus Ordo. Before they sold out to the "indult," the priests of Campos advanced their objections, which are just as true today as they were at the time:
WHY, IN CONSCIENCE, WE CANNOT ATTEND THE "NEW MASS"
We, 25 diocesan priests of the Diocese of Campos, Brazil, state the following reasons why, in conscience, we cannot attend the New Mass (also known as the Mass of Paul VI, the Novus Ordo, or the New Liturgy), either in the vernacular or in Latin, whether facing the people or facing the tabernacle. Thus, for the same reasons, we adhere faithfully to the Traditional Mass (also known as the Tridentine Mass --the Mass for all time).
If any of you out there are still harboring some false notion that traditional Catholics are "schismatic" -- a false notion that some members of the Church of the New Order like to put out to cover their own schism --, you don't have to worry any more. The pope recognizes and embraces all schismatics on an equal basis. (National Catholic Register, November 8, 2002)
On October 6 schismatic Patriarch Teoctist of the Romanian Orthodox church arrived in Rome for the start of a weeklong visit. At a Novus Ordo service on that day, John Paul II embraced Teoctist in brotherly fashion before a crowd of 200,000 and ensured that Teoctist was seated in an exact duplicate of the papal throne. It was not the behavior of someone who believed in his own primacy. In fact, all the week's choreography seemed designed to make the two prelates seem like equally eminent heads of churches.
Previously, in December 1966, when the Archbishop of Canterbury, then George Carey, and several of his brother Anglican bishops came to Rome, John Paul II gave Carey a gold pectoral cross, the same gift he offers to Catholic archbishops on their ad limina visits. He offered silver pectoral crosses to the other Anglicans.
According to Catholic theology, Anglican bishops aren't really bishops at all, and hence have no business sporting the symbols of the bishop's office. Notre Dame theologian Fr. Richard McBrien has argued that John Paul II could thereby be guilty of the canonical offense of falsifying the sacrament of Holy Orders by complicity in the fiction that the Anglicans really are bishops, a potentially excommunicable offense by the pope.
It is beginning to look as if John Paul II does not believe in the Roman Catholic papacy as it has traditionally been understood, by such actions as this and his words in his 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint (Sec. 97), in which he seems to vitiate the very foundation of the Roman Catholic papacy:
I am convinced that I have a particular responsibility in this regard, above all in acknowledging the ecumenical aspirations of the majority of the Christian Communities and in heeding the request made of me to find a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation.It is worthy of note that John Paul II himself is the first pope in recent memory not to be crowned as pope (excepting John Paul I, who died prematurely).
It appears that the press is now catching up to the idea that the pope, far from being the "traditional" pope he is often described as being, is really a liberalist with a veneer of conservatism, or vice versa, but not traditional. The following article was published in England and contains a number of direct insights on where the Church's problems lie. I anticipate that more articles of this nature will be published as the post-Vatican II scandals of all sorts continue to rock the Church of the New Order.
ENGLAND, December 14, 2002 - The Spectator (excerpted)
Rome is in meltdown, and part of the problem is that in some respects John Paul II is scandalously liberal.... Is the Pope a Catholic? The jury is still out, in the view of a growing number of critics of the current pontificate. These new dissidents are not recruited from the usual suspects, "the We are Church Weirdos and Easter People" but from the hardcore remnant of faithful but deeply troubled Catholics. They survey, with dismay, the fruits of a pontificate that has been far from the authoritarian, conservative caricature purveyed by the secular media.
True, there have been robust reassertions of Catholic doctrine: on marriage, sexuality, family life, abortion, clerical celibacy, the putative ordination of women. The intransigently orthodox utterances of John Paul II on these matters make it easy for radical dissenters to paint him as ultra-conservative. That, however, is not the whole story. This "ultra-conservative" Pope has also acted in ways that have scandalised devout Catholics, usually in the name of oecumenism. At Bombay, in 1986, the Vicar of Christ allowed a priestess of Shiva to anoint his forehead (already anointed in the Apostolic Succession) with the pagan sign of the Tilak. He has kissed the Koran in public and engaged in dialogue with voodoo witch doctors. Historically, countless Catholics have suffered martyrdom rather than collaborate in such gestures.
The most controversial episode took place at Assisi, on 27 October 1986. At the Pope's invitation, representatives of world religions gathered there, including Shintoists, Zoroastrians and animists (an African religion which worships the Monty Pythonesque concept of the Great Thumb). The Buddhist delegation converted the altar of the church of San Pietro into a shrine by enthroning a statue of Buddha on top of the tabernacle, from which the Blessed Sacrament had been removed. You do not have to be a Catholic to recognise in that tableau the most palpable infraction of the First Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
Where does courtesy end and apostasy begin? Catholics are afraid to evangelise -- "proselytise" is the derogatory term now preferred -- as evidenced by the Balamand Declaration, signed by the Vatican and the Orthodox Church in June 1993. By this, Rome barred itself from carrying out missionary activity in areas of Orthodox jurisdiction, stating, "There is no question of conversion of people from one Church to the other in order to ensure their salvation. Yet Christ's instructions to his disciples were, "Going, therefore, teach ye all nations...." (Matthew, 28). He did not add, "With the exception of the following map references...."
Criticism of a pontiff does not come easily to Catholics, although it is permitted, when the circumstances warrant it. St. Catherine of Siena (not a woman to whom one would blithely have taken home a torn wage packet while smelling of strong drink, as they say in Glasgow) regularly handbagged Popes Gregory XI and Urban VI when they failed to come up to the mark. Lesser mortals take refuge in a courtier-like convention: they appeal from the Pope ill-advised to the Pope well-advised.
In that spirit, many are asking why the Pope who presided at a Mass in Papua New Guinea where the epistle was read by a bare-breasted woman will not allow the unrestricted celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass throughout the world. More than two million people now attend the Triditional Latin Rite, despite frenzied attempts to crush it by bishops.
Vatican II has been made the ultimate totem of Catholicism, while the teachings of 261 popes and 20 previous oecumenical councils have been marginalised. Rome faces the same dilemma as an alcoholic: until it acknowledges the problem "Vatican II" no cure is possible. Only by revisiting that aberration of the 1960s can the Barque of Peter regain an even keel. So argue the increasingly vocal critics of a pontificate that has been, in reality, more progressive than conservative.
Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this week (December 17, 19, 20) are ember days are days of fast and abstinence, prescribed at the beginning of the seasons. Ember comes from the Latin word tempora, meaning seasons. These days were prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of the weeks after the Feast of St. Lucy (December 13), of Ash Wednesday, of Pentecost, and of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14).
The Ember Days retain the ancient tradition from the very beginnings of the Church of Wednesday and Friday as days of penitential fasting. Tertullian and other early writers speak of the ordinary fasts of rule practiced by the first Christians on all Wednesdays and Fridays of the year outside of Paschal time. These weekly fasts were probably established in apostolic times in imitation of a similar Jewish custom -- recall the words of the Pharisee in the Gospel, "I fast twice in the week."
However, whereas the Jews fasted on the Monday and Thursday, the Christians, probably to mark their dissent from Jewish practices, chose for this purpose the Wednesday and the Friday. In the early document of the Apostolic Fathers known as the Didache, this distinction is insisted upon with special emphasis. Their origins are far more ancient, however, as they are mentioned at Rome at least as early as Pope Callistus (217-222). Around 450 Pope St. Leo the Great wrote of the Ember Days in a series of sermons:
By voluntary mortifications the flesh dies to its concupiscences, and the spirit is renewed in virtue. But since fasting alone is not sufficient whereby to secure the soul's salvation, let us add to it works of mercy to the poor.
The purpose of introducing the Ember Days was to thank God for the gifts of nature and to teach us to make use of them in moderation. We also offer our fast and abstinence for the sanctification of the clergy, as traditionally ordinations are held on Ember Saturdays.
For those aged 21 to 59, Ember Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are traditional days of fast (one full meal, two smaller meals, liquids only between meals) and, for all aged 7 or over, partial abstinence (meat, meat gravy, or meat soup at the main meal only) on Ember Wednesday and Saturday, total abstinence on Ember Friday.
Many claim to pray for many and holy priests. They hope for the Traditional Latin Mass to be celebrated in their localities. However, they ought to ask themselves whether or not prayer without some preparation and sacrifice can have much efficacy. In accordance with ancient tradition, we ought to make the Ember Days meaningful by depriving ourselves of a little luxury and engaging in prayer for the Catholic priesthood, which is in great need of fasting and prayers.
The Great O Antiphons of Advent are a series of seven antiphons chanted or recited before and after the Magnificat of Vespers of the Divine Office on the last seven days before the Vigil of Christmas (December 17-December 23). Their name comes from the interjection O with which they all begin. Nothing similar precedes any other feast.
These antiphons, embodying all that the prophets said about the Messias, originated in the sixth and seventh centuries. They follow the format of the Roman Collects: (a) an invocation to the coming Messias expressed by the opening phrase, (b) a brief augmentation of the invocation, (c) a petition introduced by veni [come] and followed by a plea for redemption.
Longing for the coming of the Messias, which is the characteristic mood of Advent, is seen most poetically in these O Antiphons. The melody to which they are chanted is marvelously expressive of the intense desire with which the patriarchs, the prophets, the Jewish people, and now all creation wait for God's presence in Jesus Christ.
The antiphons are all addressed to the Messias, using the Latin words: Sapientia, Adonai, Radix, Clavis, Oriens, Rex, Emmanuel. Mediaeval monks devised a two-word Latin mnemonic for these antiphons (in reverse order): ERO CRAS (I will be, tomorrow).
These Antiphons, recited or chanted, before and after a meditation upon the text, would make an excellent focal point of devotion in these last days of Advent.
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae. (O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly: come to teach us the way of prudence.)
O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in bracchio extento. (O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm.)
O radix Iesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare. (O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek: come to deliver us, do not tarry.)
O clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis. (O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth: come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.)
O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol iustitiae: veni et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis. (O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice: come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.)
O Rex gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti. (O King of the Gentiles, and desire thereof, Corner-stone that makest of two one: come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth.)
O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, expectatio gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos, Domine Deus noster. (O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, and salvation thereof: come to save us, O Lord our God!)
Dear Fr. Moderator:
Catholics who read the 1978 book The Inner Elite: Dossiers of Papal Candidates by Gary MacEoin (Sheed Andrews & McMeel, Inc.) are not surprised at recent Vatican statements that reek of Indifferentism about the Jews, the Mohammedans, and others. As far back as Vatican II, MacEoin's reports:
At a moment when it seemed that the conservatives could rally enough support to have a statement on religious liberty dropped, Wojtyla [later Pope John Paul II] and several other bishops from Eastern Europe took the lead in insisting that a firm statement would be of great help to them in their struggle with Communist regimes. At the same time, he opposed the demands from some emigre groups for a strong condemnation of atheism, arguing that it would be at best counter-productive. Speaking on the church in today's world in the name of all the Polish bishops, he said: "It is not the church's place to teach unbelievers. She must seek in common with the world.... Let us avoid any spirit of monopolizing and moralizing."
Dear Fr. Moderator:
I have found that the most effective response in order to fight off attacks and negative comments from the Novus Ordinarians is the "I am what you once were" response. For the most part, when they hear that, not only does it stop them silent in their tracks but it also causes some embarrassment to them. At that point I sometimes add that it is not I who has abandoned the Catholic Faith, but they. That is surprisingly effective.
If they come back with a comment that if the pope and Church authorities have approved Vatican II, we must follow what they say, I found a great response to be that most contributors to Vatican II were Protestant ministers and not Catholic at all. I also start reciting the long list of terrible things going on in the Novus Ordo churches: dance Mass, cookie for Holy Communion, no respect for the Blessed Sacrament, catechism no longer being taught correctly, and then all those scandals. Most Novus Ordo Catholics, when they search deep down, know that there is a lot wrong with the Novus Ordo.
Fr. Moderator Replies.
We traditional Catholics must be like Socrates' gadfly, stinging our Novus Ordo prey with the pricks of conscience and reality. The Novus Ordo survives by ignorance and laziness (intellectual sloth). It is easy to undermine that by a few well-chosen points.
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.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
You have repeatedly made it clear that the Novus Ordo is characterized by people acting without the authority to do so, such as altering the Mass and otherwise attacking the true Faith. I recently read an article that said that a Novus Ordo laity group called "Voice of the Faithful" has demanded that Cardinal Law step down. Are these people directly overstepping their bounds in acting outside the hierarchy of the Church?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Certainly not from the Novus Ordo perspective. Both Vatican II and the New Order canon law allow the laity to make their needs known to their pastors. The problem is that because the Novus Ordo is hypocritical, it doesn't really want to hear such messages.
Historically, when the Church went off the rails in a particular diocese or in general, the faithful often forced it back to correctness. One thinks of the riot in Rome when Pope Gregory I tried to add a phrase to the Sacred Canon of the Mass. One thinks of the people of Hippo who refused their bishop's (St. Augustine's) suggestion for a change in the Holy Week passions. One thinks of St. Gertrude, St. Catherine, and other Saints who chastised the pope publicly for unCatholic actions.
Basically, these people are dealing with a man, who, if he had any integrity, would voluntarily commit himself to a monastery to do penance for the rest of his life for the evil he allowed to occur, and even connived in himself. The pope bears a heavy responsibility himself for pandering to these cardinals and bishops who have scandalized the Church and brought condemnation upon themselves.
Now we see how silly the purported "excommunication" of Archbishop Lefebvre was. He was simply persecuted, without legal authority, by the same Church of the Novus Ordo that now protects panderers, pimps, and prostitutes. If the pope had any ecclesiastical guts at all, he would dismiss "from the active ministry," as the saying is today, all of the those cardinals and put some real Catholics in. Unfortunately, the pope's own Catholicism is clouded these days, and the "gentlemen's club" mentality, which Abp. Lefebvre courageously violated, rules in place of the Catholic Faith.
And, remember that we have not just the Novus Ordo laity, but the Novus Ordo presbyters themselves who are calling for corrective action. A bishop who because of immorality and malfeasance has lost the confidence of the presbyters, who are his associates in the vineyard, is a fish out of water.
This is an extraordinary situation, and the Novus Ordo laity and presbyterate are well within their prerogatives to call for the Vatican to act in a just way. Unfortunately, for all its propaganda, the Church of the Novus Ordo doesn't even pretend to work justice, which the pre-Vatican II Church set as a Catholic standard, and most times achieved.
One of the beneficial fallouts of the scandals now rightly hitting the New Order cardinals and bishops is that more people are beginning to see the roots of this villany starting with Vatican II. Patrick Buchanan's recent column nicely sums up the realities. There is really nothing new here. TRADITIO has published these and similar figures in the past.
December 11, 2002 (WND, Excerpted) - As the Watergate scandal of 1973-1974 diverted attention from the far greater tragedy unfolding in Southeast Asia, so, too, the scandal of predator-presbyters now afflicting the Catholic Church may be covering up a far greater calamity. Thirty-seven years after the end of the only church council of the 20th century, the jury has come in with its verdict: Vatican II appears to have been an unrelieved disaster for Roman Catholicism.
Liars may figure, but figures do not lie. Kenneth C. Jones of St. Louis has pulled together a slim volume of statistics he has titled Index of Leading Catholic Indicators: The Church Since Vatican II. His findings make prophets of traditional Catholics who warned that Vatican II would prove a blunder of historic dimensions, and those same findings expose as foolish and naive those who believed a council could reconcile Catholicism and modernity. When Pope John XXIII threw open the windows of the church, all the poisonous vapors of modernity entered, along with the Devil himself. Here are the grim statistics of Catholicism's decline:
Priests. While the number of priests in the United States more than doubled to 58,000, between 1930 and 1965, since then that number has fallen to 45,000. By 2020, there will be only 31,000 Novus Ordo presbyters left, and more than half of these presbyters will be over 70.
Ordinations. In 1965, 1,575 new priests were ordained in the United States. In 2002, the number was 450. In 1965, only 1 percent of U.S. parishes were without a priest. Today, there are 3,000 presbyter-less parishes, 15 percent of all U.S. parishes.
Seminarians. Between 1965 and 2002, the number of seminarians dropped from 49,000 to 4,700, a decline of over 90 percent. Two-thirds of the 600 seminaries that were operating in 1965 have now closed.
Sisters. In 1965, there were 180,000 Catholic nuns. By 2002, that had fallen to 75,000 and the average age of a Catholic nun is today 68. In 1965, there were 104,000 teaching nuns. Today, there are 8,200, a decline of 94 percent since the end of Vatican II.
Religious Orders. For religious orders in America, the end is in sight. In 1965, 3,559 young men were studying to become Jesuit priests. In 2000, the figure was 389. With the Christian Brothers, the situation is even more dire. Their number has shrunk by two-thirds, with the number of seminarians falling 99 percent. In 1965, there were 912 seminarians in the Christian Brothers. In 2000, there were only seven. The number of young men studying to become Franciscan and Redemptorist priests fell from 3,379 in 1965 to 84 in 2000.
Catholic Schools. Almost half of all Catholic high schools in the United States have closed since 1965. The student population has fallen from 700,000 to 386,000. Parochial schools suffered an even greater decline. Some 4,000 have disappeared, and the number of pupils attending has fallen below 2 million from 4.5 million. Though the number of U.S. Catholics has risen by 20 million since 1965, Jones' statistics show that the power of Catholic belief and devotion to the Faith are not nearly what they were.
Catholic Marriage. Catholic marriages have fallen in number by one-third since 1965, while the annual number of annulments has soared from 338 in 1968 to 50,000 in 2002.
Attendance at Mass. A 1958 Gallup Poll reported that three in four Catholics attended church on Sundays. A recent study by the University of Notre Dame found that only one in four now attend. [Actually, it's worse than that. According to a recent Gallup poll, barely one in six now attend the New Order service.]
Only 10 percent of lay religious teachers now accept church teaching on contraception. Fifty-three percent believe a Catholic can have an abortion and remain a good Catholic. Sixty-five percent believe that Catholics may divorce and remarry. Seventy-seven percent believe one can be a good Catholic without going to Mass on Sundays. By one New York Times poll, 70 percent of all Catholics in the age group 18 to 44 believe the Eucharist is merely a "symbolic reminder" of Jesus.
At the opening of Vatican II, reformers were all the rage. They were going to lead us out of our Catholic ghettos by altering the liturgy, rewriting the Bible and missals, abandoning the old traditions, making us more ecumenical, and engaging the world. And their legacy? Four decades of devastation wrought upon the church, and the final disgrace of a hierarchy that lacked the moral courage of the Boy Scouts.
Through the papacy of Pius XII, the church resisted the clamor to accommodate itself to the world and remained a moral beacon to mankind. Since Vatican II, the Church has sought to meet the world halfway. Jones' statistics tell us the price of appeasement.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
I am constantly ridiculed by many ignorant Protestants, and many times feel the need to "enlighten" them to the truth. Recently a Baptist family member of mine (I recently converted and am the only Catholic in my family) not only told me that I did not believe in Christ, but that it was okay for her church to adulterate the Apostles Creed to suit its own personally established beliefs. I told her that "one day she would have to stand before God and justify this heresy." How should I take to handling this kind of behavior from people?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Confrontational tactics (as opposed to a desire to learn) can call for a bold response. Such people are really no more than schoolyard bullies. If you don't stand up to them as you did, they will just continue their provocation. Our Lord certainly didn't back down from bold responses. He didn't suffer the Pharisees' attacks, but called them hypocrites to their face.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
When I handed in a current event article, my religion teacher was prompted to reprimand me, correcting my "assumption" that Muslims and Christians worship different Gods. He informed me that our God and Allah are one and the same. When I responded that our God is three persons in one God, and that our God is also full man and God, he told me that didn't matter. So, Father, help me: do we or don't we praise the same God? What should I tell him when he asks me tomorrow? I'm in the eighth grade and am 13 years old.
Fr. Moderator Replies.
I have gotten a number of messages like this in recent weeks. Traditional Catholic children who have been placed in Novus Ordo "Catholic" schools are being ridiculed, corrected, and even disciplined for maintaining Catholic doctrine. And they have been showing the courage of a young St. Cecilia or a St. Lucy, standing firm and defending their Catholic Faith, even against the New Order school bureaucrats.
Abp. Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1985) was well known for his many scholarly books, radio and television appearances, and popular preaching. While teaching at the Catholic University of America for nearly 25 years and dealing with students, he noted with deep concern what was happening in Catholic education and the fact that many young people were losing the faith since Vatican II (1962-1965). His advice on higher education, given around 1967, was as prophetic as it was startling, and certainly applies K-12 just as it does to higher education:
You are better off going to a state school where you will have the chance to fight for your faith, than going to a modern Catholic university where you will have the new watered-down, modernist version of the faith spoon-fed to your unsuspecting minds, so that you will be apt to lose your faith.
I agree with the archbishop's point. Traditional Catholics should be very wary of sending their children to the Novus Ordo dens of doctrinal iniquity and high-handed "nuns" and principals who ridicule good students because they are orthodox. While these bureaucrats preach "tolerance" toward everyone else, they are hypocritically intolerant when it comes to those students who utter orthodox Catholic doctrine.
As to this "religion" teacher who teaches heretical Indifferentism in a "Catholic" school, he is putting over on you some politically-correct notion of his own, not Roman Catholicism. God, of course, is God, but the way Christians and Mohammedans understand Him is quite different, as your answer correctly points out.
Tomorrow, tell him: "I disagree with you. My Catholic God does not tell me that I will go to heaven and have sex with thirty virgins if I make a suicide-bombing, killing 5000 innocent people in two tall buildings." That ought to leave him speechless.
I have received an increasing number of messages recently about the injection of pagan Hinduism into the Church of the New Order through the form of yoga. Actually, this is nothing new. It is just another part of the New Age Movement that has infected the New Order in such other forms as worship of the Earth Goddess Gaia, enneagrams, Charistmaticism, and all the rest.
Yoga is intrinsic to the practice of pagan Hinduism. I suppose that if it were treated strictly as an exercise, there could be some justification for it, but that is not how it is presented. It is presented as a "religious experience" and is being propagated in the facilities of New Order churches.
At St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis, for example, the Novus Ordinarians were treated to the Hindu Namaste blessing "that calls us to acknowledge the divinity in ourselves and others." In other words, these "Catholics" are being taught the pantheistic heresy. No wonder wicca witchcraft has become so popular in Novus Ordo circles, as witchcraft is based on the same pantheistic principle.
Isn't it interesting that the Minneapolis-St. Paul area offers an "Indult" Mass as well? No surprise, really. It is a principle of the New Order that good and evil can co-exist with one another, orthodoxy and heresy, Catholicism and paganism. And, gosh, we're "tolerant," aren't we? We wouldn't want to call a witch evil. That's mediaeval!
After the "Coffee Mass," the "Elvis Mass," the "Gay Mass," the "Dance Mass," and all the other Novus Ordo perversions of Holy Mass, let's hear it for the "Pontoon Mass."
According to the blurb, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in LaFollette, Tennessee, recently held a "Pontoon Mass" on Norris Lake. Pastor "Father" Joe Campbell celebrated the "liturgy" with 34 parishioners boating -- sorry, attending. After "Mass," the parishioners went swimming -- bobbing for the Novus Ordo cookies, no doubt.
Note in the picture how bored everyone is. Not one of the boaters is even looking at the "altar." The presbyter is dressed in boating attire. Do you get the idea that the "novelty" of the New Order has worn off, even for the Novus Ordinarians? I daresay that even they don't believe that this is a Mass.
It's hard out outdo the "Coffee Mass," the "Elvis Mass," the "Gay Mass," the "Dance Mass," and more recently the "Pontoon Mass," but now we turn to the Sacrament of Baptism.
It's pretty hard to vitiate the Sacrament of Baptism. After all, the form (words) and matter (material) are explicitly specified in the Bible, which the New Order purports to recognize. But it's a far cry from the reverent traditional Sacrament of Baptism, through which the infant is freed of the stain of Original Sin through prayers of exorcism and admitted to the possibility heaven (no, this isn't some kind of fraternity "initiation") to the "sacrament" portrayed in today's photograph from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
We have here a swimming pool built into the Novus Ordo church, above which the presbyter wields a poor nude infant, exposed before everyone, apparently about to hurl him into the bacteria-infected waters below (oh yes, these Novus Ordo baptismal pools do have "pond scum"). The Scripture teaches us that even Our Lord was "wrapped in swaddling clothes."
One time when this dunking ritual was carried out on an infant, the infant died. It takes only a few seconds for an infant's unmatured respiratory system to asphyxiate. It seems that the traditional mind of Holy Mother Church is once more shown to be wise and practical, as opposed to the bacchic frenzy of the Novus Ordo.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
The pastor of my old Novus Ordo church sent me a nasty card that, among other things, asked why I left the Roman Catholic Faith. Do I respond to this nonsense by letter or simply ignore it? When I received a request from him for donations to a new church building, I responded with nothing more than a short note saying not to contact me any longer, as I was now attending a Traditional Latin Mass and would not be going back.
Fr. Moderator Replies.
It's always about money, isn't it? If Catholics shut their wallets and purses to the Novus Ordo, it'd be dead in a week. Why bother responding to a foul-mouthed child posing as a presbyter? The man is not truly interested in your rationale. If you had converted to Judaism, he wouldn't have dared to send you such a card; otherwise, the B'nai Brith would have his hide. Since you reverted to Roman Catholicism, his Great Facade feels threatened.
You asked him not to write you, and he violated your request. This is not a man with any integrity. If you get any more material from him, demand to be removed from the mailing list, or tell him that you will turn over the correspondence to the U.S. Postal authorities for prosecution as harrassment. Then do it.
Some years ago a Novus Ordo presbyter threatened a member of his congregation with bodily harm if he didn't stop protesting the destruction of his parish's traditional architecture. The member asked me what to do. I told him: "You are dealing with a thug. Call the police." The police carted the presbyter away for violation of the civil law and -- lo and behold -- even the bishop, who consistently refused to talk to the man about the church-architecture issue, was suddenly available to talk to the man about freeing the presbyter from jail.
Again the member asked me what to do. I said: "The Church of the New Order loves to make apologies. Tell the bishop that if he comes to the church and makes a public apology to you and the congregation for the criminal actions of his presbyter, you'll consider dropping the charges." The bishop didn't, and the presbyter was charged with threat of bodily harm.
Sometimes, folks, you have to have stand up against evil. Qui tacet, consentire videtur: he who is silent seems to agree. Catholics are not bound to overlook the crimes of presbyters. If anything, these presbyters should suffer greater penalties because of their office. That is why those cardinal and bishops, like Law of Boston, should have been summarily dismissed from exercise of their office by the pope. Unfortunately, the pope doesn't have courage when it comes to the oversight of corrupt officials within the Church. He'd rather have tea in the library with those who have perverted the faith, both religiously and morally.
All too many of these minions of the New Order are really thugs. They will talk to you about "love" and "tolerance," but when it comes to respect for your traditional Catholic Faith, they have nothing but hate and derision, and even threaten bodily violence, as in this case. Our Lord had just the same problem with the Pharisees of His time, who were the only people He ever condemned. Not the adulteress, not the Roman soldier, not even Judas, but the officials of the Church: the Pharisees. Those He condemned. It isn't any different today.
A book that relates the untold story of the murder of 45 million Christians in the 20th century alone has caused controversy in Italy. The author of The New Persecuted: Inquiries into Anti-Christian Intolerance in the New Century of Martyrs, Antonio Socci, has been accused of "demonizing Islam" by raising the issue of Christian suffering in the Muslim world.
Socci provides evidence that in the past 2,000 years some 70 million Christians have been killed primarily or exclusively for the reason of their faith, two-thirds in the past 100 years alone, with Joseph Stalin as the chief culprit. He says that an average of 160,000 Christians have been killed every year since 1990, the vast majority by Muslims in the Third World. Chronicling attacks, pogroms and wars in East Timor, Indonesia, Sudan, Egypt, Pakistan, India, and the Balkans, Socci identifies Islamic extremism as the main danger. And yet, says he, "This global persecution of Christianity is still in progress but in most cases is ignored by the mass media and Christians in the west."
Western indifference to Christian suffering, documented by Antonio Socci, is well illustrated by the recent standoff at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, one of the holiest Christian sites in the Holy Land, which was re-consecrated last month after being occupied by Arab gunmen and besieged by the Israeli army for 38 days. While extensively covered because of its photogenic value and its potential for further bloodshed, the stand-off has caused hardly a ripple in the Western world on what should be the obvious grounds for media scrutiny and public concern: the misuse and abuse of a Christian shrine by warring non-Christians in pursuit of their political objectives. The Bethlehem episode is thus illustrative of two parallel processes overlooked in the current Middle Eastern crisis: the apparently terminal decline of the Christian remnant in the Middle East after two millennia of precarious and mostly painful existence, and the remarkable indifference of the post-Christian Western world to its impending demise.
Already by their choice of the stage for what soon became a propaganda exercise the Muslim gunmen who occupied the church desecrated the basilica built on the site of the grotto where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born. They ate the food they found on the premises until it ran out, while more than 150 civilians went hungry. They consumed alcoholic drinks that they found in priests' quarters, undeterred by the Islamic ban on drinking alcohol. They tore up Bibles up for toilet paper. They turned one corner of the ancient church into an impromptu mosque. They even attempted to bury seven of their comrades, who were subsequently killed by Israeli snipers, inside the church or on its grounds -- obviously intending to turn one of the holiest Christian shrines into a place of Islamic pilgrimage to the fallen "martyrs."
Two weeks before the siege of the Church of the Nativity, as Israeli forces stormed into Bethlehem, an Israeli tank shell hit the facade of the nearby Holy Family Church, in a complex with an orphanage, hospital and hostel. The soldiers then fired, from fifty yards' distance, at the statue of the Virgin atop the Holy Family Church. The statue lost its left arm and its face was disfigured. The Israeli army expressed regret and promised investigation, but this did not look like an accidental shot: no terrorist could possibly hide behind the figure on the pinnacle of the hospital church. The story was reported by Reuters, and a picture taken by an AP photographer. It was available to the world media but ignored.
These two incidents illustrate the predicament of the dwindling Christian remnant in the Middle East. Once thriving Christian communities are now minorities squeezed between the warring Jews and Muslims who may hate each other but all too often share their aversion to Christianity. Institutionalized or covert discrimination to which Christians are subjected in Syria, Israel, Egypt, and Lebanon, accompanied by occasional eruptions of anti-Christian violence by the Muslim majority in the last two countries, have contributed to an exodus that threatens to eradicate the believers in Christ in the lands of his birth and life. (Excerpted from Chronicles Magazine)
Dear Fr. Moderator:
I would like to sing and teach my children to sing Silent Night in Latin, just as it is sung on Christmas Eve in the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem. Do you have a text?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
What a wonderful idea. Yes, the Silent Night is sung there, and many other places in the world, in Latin, to emphasize the unity of the Church and the coming of the Savior for all mankind:
Sancta nox, placida nox!
Nusquam est ulla vox;
Par sanctissimum vigilat,
Crispo crine quieti se dat
Sancta nox, placida nox!
Certior fit pastor mox
Sonat voce clarissima
Iesus salvator adest,
Iesus salvator adest.
Sancta nox, placida nox!
Nate Dei, suavis vox
Manat ex ore sanctissimo,
Cum is nobis auxilio,
A recent discovery proves that a Catholic priest, Joseph Mohr (1792-1848), not Franz Gruber, was the original composer of what the English-speaking world knows, through its translation by John Young (1820-1885), as Silent Night. The original manuscript is dated 1816 and is the only one existing which bears Fr. Mohr's handwriting. Discovered in 1995, it lead to a complete reinterpretation of the carol's origin.
Joseph Mohr was ordained in 1815 and was sent as a curate to his first parish in Maria-pfarr. In Mariapfarr, the Mass on Christmas Eve included German singing and folk instruments, as well as the usual Latin litany. It made a deep impression on Fr. Mohr and inspired him to write in 1816 his own carol, which is known in English-speaking countries as Silent Night, Holy Night.
It was two years latter, on Christmas Eve 1818, Fr. Mohr was able to perform Silent Night, Holy Night publicly for the first time, with Franz Xavier Gruber in the St. Nikolas Church in Oberndorf, playing the lute, since the organ was inoperative.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the U.S. bishops many years ago requested that the Pledge of the Legion of Decency be taken by the faithful. Do you have the text?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Yes, this request was made in 1938 and has been continued since then (except perhaps in the Novus Ordo). Let no one say that we traditional Catholics don't obey the bishops (at least when they have their miters on straight!):
+ In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. I condemn all indecent and immoral motion pictures, and those which glorify crime or criminals. I promise to do all that I can to strengthen public opinion against the production of indecent and immoral films, and to unite with all who protest against them. I acknowledge my obligation to form a right conscience about pictures that are dangerous to my moral life. I pledge myself to remain away from them. I promise, further, to stay away altogether from places of amusement which show them as a matter of policy.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
I noticed that the Church of the New Order has moved the Feast of the Immaculate Conception from Sunday, December 8, to Monday, December 9th, since Sunday is Second Sunday of Advent. Also, the Church of the New Order claims that it is not a Holy Day of Obligation this year or next. What is the traditional practice?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Sounds like the typical Novus Ordo double whammy, doesn't it? Move the United States' most important feastday to obscurity and then purportedly remove the Mass obligation. Perhaps instead of the agitation in some quarters for consecrating Russia, we should re-consecrate the United States to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
Our Lady is the patroness of our country under that title. Is it any wonder that she has turned her back on the corrupt Novus Ordo cardinals and bishops of this country, who have engaged in deceit and even immorality? St. Paul's words (Romans 1:24-25/DRV) about the pagans seems to fit this ecclesiastical dross to a "T":
Wherefore, God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness: to dishonour their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Has there ever been a better description of the corruption of the New Order? Yet even now if they would turn to her and honor her, this country and the Church of the New Order could be purified back to Catholicism.
Traditionally, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is not transferred, but is celebrated on the Sunday, if it occurs on a Sunday, with the Second Sunday of Advent being commemorated. There was a temporary change between 1957 and 1960, when pre-conciliar rubrical changes would have transferred the feastday to Monday, but those priests who use the traditional pre-1956 rubrics or even the 1960-1962 rubrics will celebrate the feastday this Sunday.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
I have converted to the Traditional Latin Mass and the traditional Catholic Faith, but when I was in the Novus Ordo, I signed up for the Miraculous Medal Foundation and the Padre Pio Foundation. They keep soliciting me for money (mass intentions, candles, family intentions etc.). I am now uncomfortable about their association with the Novus Ordo service. My heart tells me not to be associated with them any longer. Are there any traditional Mass guilds?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Your sense is correct. You don't want to continue any involvement with the New Order service that is so lethal to one's Catholic Faith. It is at best blasphemous and sacrilegious and at worst invalid. In any case, a traditional Catholic can have nothing to do with it. As Our Lord said: "Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead" (Matthew 8:22/DRV). There are many traditional Mass guilds and societies. Check the Traditional Catholic Suppliers section of the Official Catholic Directory of Traditional Latin Masses and Resource Book for the U.S. and Canada (7th Annual Edition - 2002), "The Traditional Catholic Yellow Pages".
Dear Fr. Moderator:
I received the magazine-advertiser on Campos, Brazil. I don't know why. I note that the "indult" operation there has already given in to recognizing Vatican II and admitting that the Protestantized Novus Ordo service is valid. Is the Vatican hook baiting the Campos fish?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Baiting the fish, to be sure, which upon getting the morsel ends up dying on the hook. Yes, it's a propaganda piece, pure and simple, with apparently two goals: (1) to connive money out of the hands of "traditional" Catholics and (2) to put pressure on the SSPX in particular to abandon traditional Catholicism and surrender to a Novus Ordo master. We've seen it all before. The mailing list was apparently purchased from a Novus Ordo "conservative" publication that dumps on the Traditional Catholic Movement whenever it can.
The same ploy was tried by the "indult" societies, starting in 1988. Remember how those expensive four-color, die-cut mailings were sent out, as often as weekly, hawking some pie-in-the-sky project or other? TRADITIO warned about this at the time and was proven right when the "indult" societies were virtually suppressed by Protocol 1411 of 1999, forcing them into the Novus Ordo whether they liked it or not.
Unfortunately, many traditional Catholics had already been hoodwinked by the splashy propaganda pieces and gave in to these operations, not realizing that they were simply contributing to fantasies or even frauds. Now it has turned out that one of these "indult" organizations (and I suspect a second) has squandered millions of dollars received under false pretenses. The matter is being investigated by the civil authorities.
The Campos deal is poison. The wonderful work that was built up by traditional bishop Castro de Meyer was sold out this year to a corrupt apparatus that is now literally worshipping Mohammed in mosques and teaching that the Jews can spurn the Messias once again.
Traditional Catholics need to be hard-headed. They mustn't give in to every ploy that promises "approval" from the New Order apparatus. They mustn't support idle fantasies with their hard-earned money. Like Faust, all too many seem ready to sell their souls to Mephistopheles for a little phony "approval." Remember that the Nazis had all the official "approval" they could want for their heinous acts. "Approval" didn't change the immorality of their acts one iota.
At what price such "approval"? Acceptance of the unCatholic New Order? How could any Catholic morally justify such a servile surrender? Would these same people have put incense into the censor to worship Caesar when they should have held to their faith, as many early Christians did at the cost of martyrdom? Are even many traditional Catholics rightly described by Our Lord's term pusillanimous, meaning little-souled, weak in faith?
They need to ask themselves why they are receiving an expensive color magazine from a little-known diocese in Brazil -- Brazil, yet, a full continent away! Something rotten in the kingdom of Denmark perhaps?
There exists a common syndrome these days in the Church that I call the Elephant in the Middle of the Room. The players in this scenario calmly drink their tea in the living room, never referring to the elephant that is standing right in front of them in the middle of the room.
You see this syndrome evidenced by the papolators, who exceed the Catholic dogmatic teaching on the nature of the papacy as defined by Vatican I and ascribe to the pope powers that properly pertain only to God Himself. They fail to see that the popes since Vatican II have violated the dogmatic constitution of their office in introducing specifically-prohibited innovations, teaching confused and even new doctrines that bear little resemblance to Catholicism as traditionally understood by the previous 260 popes, 20 dogmatic oecumenical councils, and numerous Fathers and Doctors of the Church.
You see this syndrome evidenced by indultarians, who keep maintaining that they are "approved," but fail to see that the price they pay for that false "approval" is enslavement to the same Vatican officials and diocesan bishops who tell them that the New Order is now the norm of their Church and that their "approval" will be phased out in favor of the New Order.
You see this syndrome evidenced by the Novus Ordo conservatives, who fail to see that they are accepting the unCatholic New Order hook, line, and sinker. They fixate on one narrow issue or another and fail to see that they have already lost all the really important things: the Catholic Mass, the Catholic Sacraments, and the Catholic Faith.
But even if the Novus Ordinarians and their allies can't see the elephant in front of them, the world knows the truth, as evidenced by the cartoon above, courtesy of Bill Schorr (United Media, 12/03/02). The world knows that the Vatican is not holding to Catholic doctrine, but would change even the Ten Commandments. And why not? The immemorial Mass has been changed, the Bible has been changed, anti-Catholic religions are said to "worship the same God." The question is: when will the Novus Ordinarians recognize the elephant that is visible to the rest of the world?
Dear Fr. Moderator:
The report has been circulating that Bishop Fernando Areas Rifan, the Vatican-appointed bishop for the "indult" Fraternity of St. John Vianney in Campos, Brazil, would be willing to celebrate the New Mass if requested by the local diocesan bishop. You will remember that this fraternity was the one that turned its back on the traditional legacy of Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, who stood up to Vatican II and refused to let the New Order into his diocese of Campos, Brazil. Recently, the fraternity caved into the Vatican and became one of those "indult" affairs. Naturally, the report is being vigorously denied by other indultarians. Is history repeating itself?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Yes, it is. It's obviously a Vatican ploy to snooker in traditional Catholics. I note that even a magazine of sorts called Campos: The Power of Tradition suddenly started being circulated in the United States and elsewhere. Now why would a magazine about a Brazilian diocese be circulated in the U.S.? For Vatican propaganda purposes, obviously, probably to put pressure on the SSPX to cave in. This is the same propaganda that fell flat when tried with the Fraternity of St. Peter.
Let's look at the history. This line is the same one given originally by the Fraternity of St. Peter, which was eventually forced by the Vatican to recant traditional Roman Catholicism in favor of the Novus Ordo. The FSSPers didn't start out thinking that way, but once the wily Vatican brought them into the fold of the New Order apparatus with all the veneer of the "approval" of the Counterfeit Church, the Vatican brought increasing pressure upon the FSSP to turn Novus Ordo. This is official Vatican policy, several times stated. Unfortunately, the indultarians have their eyes and ears closed, and they see only what they wish to see, not what is reality.
The FSSP was allowed to go on for ten years, as long as it served the Vatican bureaucrats' purposes. Then the day of reckoning came. Protocol 1411 of 1999 was issued, forcing FSSP priests to say the New Order service with the local diocesan bishops when requested. If they didn't, they were out. The FSSP went into pandemonium. I am informed that in the headquarters parish, every pastor serving there has gone Novus Ordo, except for one who joined the SSPX.
It also turned out that the FSSP from the beginning was basing its "exclusive 1962 liturgical books" policy on something that was never a written part of the 1988 agreement. That was discovered in 1999, when the protocol was issued. And who engineered all of this but the "properly constituted hierarchical authorities" that Bishop Rifan refers to? The same "authorities" who enforce the Novus Ordo service, the same "authorities" who imposed Protocol 1411, the same "authorities" who are now giving out that the Jews don't have to be saved by blood of Christ.
The chicken who ambles into the fox den shouldn't be surprised when his feathers are plucked clean! The sad thing is that these indultarians just don't get it. They keep plugging the "authority" of the Novus Ordo, just as that New Order continues to pluck them clean. Foghorn Leghorn had more sense!
Dear Fr. Moderator:
Can Extreme Unction be administered to the dead? For example, if a family member is close to death, and the family calls the priest to administer last rites, but the person dies before the priest arrives, will that priest still administer anointing to the deceased individual?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
The traditional Sacrament of Extreme Unction is imparted only when the person is in proximate danger of death from illness. Since "death" is not strictly defined, it is possible to administer the Sacrament an hour or two after apparent death, depending upon the circumstances.
It should be pointed out that the Sacrament of Extreme Unction and the Novus Ordo "Anointing of the Sick" are not the same thing. The latter is really only a blessing of sorts. It is equivalent to the prayers and blessings for the sick given in the traditional Rituale Romanum.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
This news about finding the tomb of Our Lord's brother "James" I think is just another ploy to destroy Catholic teaching. I have encountered people who believe that Our Lord had a brother. Please tell me what I can say to people who say this.
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Some try to allege, erroneously, that Christ had natural brothers, in an attempt to contradict the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This error on their part arises from their ignorance about the vocabulary used in the New Testament. St. Jerome, who was fluent in all three biblical languages, refuted this error over 1600 years ago.
The word used in St. Mark 6:3, stating that Christ is "the brother of James and Joseph and Jude and Simon," is adelphos. It is known from St. Matthew's Gospel (27:56) that the four brothers mentioned in the quoted passage from St. Mark were not natural brothers of Christ, but rather cousins. James and Joseph are called sons of Alphaeus in Luke 6:16. Moreover, James, Joseph, Simon and Jude are never called "the son of Mary," as Christ is (Matthew 13:55).
That is just one proof that adelphos cannot be taken invariably as meaning "natural brother" -- and certainly not in this context. There is no question that in Greek, both classical Greek and Koine (biblical) Greek, adelphos can mean either a natural brother, or a relative but not a natural brother, or even a spiritual brother (as Christians among themselves).
In Hebrew, cousins of the first and second order were called ab (brother) and aboth (sister), so that Christ was said to have many brothers and sisters, although in the strict sense, he had none. And the Bible itself proves it.