Hmmm.... I guess if I were the devil, I'd leave things pretty much the way they are.
Those who look for a papal solution to the post-modern crisis in the Church will perhaps be disabused of that hope by the increasing talk among the cardinals, with this pope's virtual assent in the Encyclical Ut Unum Sint of 1997, of making the pope a mere figurehead like the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, a mere primus inter pares, who has no power to enforce Catholic doctrine, practice, and morality.
Reuters-Paris reports that the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has written in a new book, At the Heart of the World, that the Church is too "tightly centralized" and "should open up to share power more among its bishops, priests, and laypeople. At the same time he wants the Church to "show more humility with its own flock and take more risks in seeking understanding and unity with other Christians." In other words, he wants to take the Rome out of the Catholic Church and make the Catholic Church into a Protestant Church run by laypeople. In fact, this has materially happened already, but this cardinal (and many others) would make it formal.
The cardinal's book is a virtual spit in the face to the current ailing pontiff, as a new conclave is on the verge of being convened. It seems that this pope, who has been, except for a limited number of issues, an unabashed Modernist, hasn't gone nearly far enough for the likes of Murphy-O'Connor and many other cardinals.
That on again, off again, document to crack down on "abuses" in the New Order service is on again, but the content is off again. CNS reports that a document will be issued after Easter. However, when the commissions met at the New Vatican to review the draft, warfare broke out because the diocesan bishops rejected any significant efforts to clamp down on "abuses." The Novus Ordo "liturgists" feared that "the liturgical reform movement opened by Vatican II was being closed down." Thus, the document will now be another "paper exercise" to be ignored and thrown in the trashcan.
These are some of the "abuses" that will continue:
Of course, the very notion that such practices are "abuses" of the Novus Ordo Protestant-Masonic-Pagan service is ridiculous. Contrary to the fables of the "conservatives," who want to make it out that these "abuses" are rare, the abuses are commonly going on all over the United States and the world, with the "approval" of the bishops and even the pope, who practices many of them himself. For just a few examples, see the Novus Ordo Service Photo Gallery. (Wow! Has TRADITIO been getting some virulent letters from Novus Ordinarians about this gallery, because we have exposed and documented in detail the reality of liturgical invalidity and sacrilege that they want to keep secret behind The Great Facade.)
So, you Novus Ordinarians, don't think that the pope or the cardinals or the New Vatican is going to save you. You will in future become even more Protestant, Masonic, and Pagan than you are now. The only proper solution you have is to get out and get yourself to one of those sites where only the Traditional Latin Mass, Sacraments, and Faith are practiced.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
Do you know anything about that new "conservative Catholic" university that is being built in Florida? When it was first proposed a few years ago, all the publicity said it was to be "traditional." But now photos have been released of the oratory. It has a very modernist look, almost like a giant igloo. I'm sure that the Novus Ordinarians will feel very much at home in it.
Fr. Moderator Replies.
It seems that there is a lot of propaganda these days about "traditional" colleges and universities. Some of them, like the one you mention, are surely (at best) "conservative" New Order schools. Just look at who is involved. One of them is the head of that "conservative" conglomerate who is always advocating a Nazi-like "obedience" to the New Order. Then, when he was censured by the New Order, and his empire was compromised, he himself wasn't so obedient to the New Order any more!
Other institutions are simply "pie in the sky" flights of fancy, to give some veneer of credibility to questionable academicians. The old Latin legal phrase still holds for such projects: Caveat emptor!
The "indultarians," who imprudently think that the Church of the New Order will provide them with the Traditional Latin Mass, or, more accurately, the "Indult" Mass of 1962, have had another set-back. It is a question of yet more "promises, promises, but where's the beef?" on the part of the New Order.
A report from Rome on March 13 from the President of Una Voce International, a "conservative" organization that still defers the New Vatican on liturgical matters, indicates that both Cardinal Hoyos, President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, and Msgr. Perl, Secretary, state that the Vatican has "dropped any plans" to create a jurisdiction for those who prefer the Traditional Latin Mass. This was the much touted notion of an "Apostolic Administration," or something similar, that has been requested since 1965, most recently after the Campos affair. According to Msgr. Perl, the Vatican ecclesiocrats are afraid of protests from the local bishops and bishops' conferences. The Vatican is now a paper tiger. It has no authority. It lives in daily fear of the overweening power it has allowed its local New Order bishops to assume.
The cardinal even admitted that Archbishop Lefebvre had never founded the structure of the SSPX in such a way that it could be considered as a concrete act of schism. To the contrary, Bishop de Castro Mayer, of Campos, Brazil, had founded a counter-diocese, which the cardinal considers to have been a clear schism. In order to solve this "schism," the New Vatican manipulated the Campos situation so as to destroy the traditional diocese there.
The cardinal also explained why there are such enormous restrictions for the celebration of the "Indult" Mass at St. Peter's Basilica. Since St. Peter's basilica is the very heart of the Church, the Vatican wants celebrated there only what it considers to be the universal rite of the Church, that is, the counterfeit Novus Ordo service, not the "Indult" Mass.
With regard to the wider implementation of the so-called "Indult" Mass, the cardinal, in good New Order fashion, deferred to "the authority of the local bishops."
As I have said before, to rely on the New Order Vatican and its local bishops to support the Traditional Latin Mass is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. The hens will be destroyed. This report indicates that only independent action gets any rise out of the Vatican (if that is really the source from which we should look for action on this issue).
Better to do what Mel Gibson did: build your own church building, find your own traditional priest, and hold to the traditional Mass, Sacraments, and Faith without having to kowtow to any corrupt local New Order bishop. Then, and only then, are you free to obey Christ, the Apostles, and the Roman Catholic Church directly.
Now those who claim that the New Vatican is being run by a bunch of monkeys and has gone to the dogs have definite evidence for their opinions. In this UPI file photo, three dogs and a chimpanzee dance for Pope John Paul II during his weekly general audience at the Vatican.
I can remember when the Wednesday General Audience at the Vatican was a prayerful occasion. The faithful heard a brief religious address by the pope. Then pope and people (not only Catholics, but other Christians and non-Christians) prayed together the Pater Noster and the Angelus in the Church's universal language. Pope John XXIII was particularly devoted to the Holy Angels and was wont to add the beautiful traditional prayer for the protection of the Guardian Angels. I have recordings of these wonderful events in the past under Pius XII and John XXIII, when the faithful joined the pope in the Pater Noster and the Angelus, with enthusiastic voices bespeaking their understanding of the Latin they were praying.
Even this pope has been quoted as complaining about the behavior and ignorance of the people who now attend his weekly audience. Not only don't they know the Pater Noster any longer but they bring potato chips and drinks into the audience hall and munch through the pope's address. No wonder this pope has sunk to having circus entertainment at the audiences instead of prayer.
But, now I turn to those who keep telling me that the pope has plenary power, so much power (they claim erroneously) as to be able to suppress the Mass and Sacraments of Catholic and Apostolic Tradition. Well, I reply, if he has all this power, why doesn't he turn it against the serious correction of his incompetent New Order bishops, who seem more interested in power-plays, embezzlements, and sexual escapades, to compel them to do their duty of teaching their people at least their basic prayers in the language of the Church? Even Vatican II decreed this!
Many traditional priests around the U.S. and around the world have been finding that the use of the Church's language for its public prayers -- not just the Mass, but also the Divine Office, the Rosary, the Angelus, the Leonine Prayers, the Litanies, etc., has infused new life into these prayers. A Rosary that is mumbled through in one or another of the vulgar tongues takes on a renewed prayerful focus and devotion when offered in Latin. And don't tell me that real Catholics don't know what these prayers mean!
Nor is this a particular insight on the part of traditional priests. St. Francis of Assisi encouraged the laypeople to pray such prayers in the language of the Church as a way of forming a tighter bond of prayer with the Church. More Catholics might wish to follow the advice of this great Saint, and others, and begin the practice this Lent to follow them through the year. Try it; it really works!
Dear Fr. Moderator:
Are there two Catholic Churches, one traditional and one not?
Fr. Moderator Replies
There is only one Catholic Church, at least in the sense we Romans use it (although the Eastern Orthodox and the Anglo-Catholics claim that they are Catholic in the generic sense as well). That Church is defined ultimately by its adherence to the Catholic and Apostolic Deposit of Faith, that is, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. This is how the Faith is essentially defined dogmatically by Vatican I.
When that essential perspective is taken, one doesn't have to be so concerned about the temporary vagaries of individual personalities and organizations, as we know, for instance, that at times in the history of the Church, even popes have gone astray personally and organizations, such as the Jesuits, have been suppressed. It is certainly "cleaner" when the personalities, the organizations, and the Catholic Faith are all in harmony, but ecclesiastical history teaches us that this is not as often the case as one might think.
It is undeniable that there was a schism of Faith, if you will, at around the time of Vatican II. Some traditional authors call it the Roman Schism of 1964. In this schism, those who chose to adhere to a Novus Ordo (New Order) instead of the Roman Catholic Faith, broke with their Catholic forebears. Even the name they chose, New Order, just as the name Protestant, indicates.
They chose to separate themselves from the Catholic and Apostolic Faith by fabricating a "new" mass (which is not even a Mass, but a service), "new" sacraments, and even "new" doctrine. By rejecting the Roman Catholic Mass, Sacraments, and doctrine, they cut themselves off from the Roman Catholic Church as defined in the Deposit of Faith. Pope St. Pius X had already called this what it is: summa omnium heresum, the sum-total of all heresies, i.e., Modernism, now in a post-Vatican II "oecumenical" guise that some call Post-Modernism.
The terminology they use (schism, heresy, New Order, etc.) is immaterial, as many of these words (like schism, which simply means a dividing) have become simply rhetorical tools, devoid of their real meaning, in the usage of the New Order. The Modernists, who they are, they call "Catholic"; the traditional Catholics, whom they fear, they call some "nasty" name. It doesn't make any difference how many times a dog may pretend to quack; a dog is a dog, not a duck.
We should be more concerned with the reality that is before our eyes. The conclusion is that, whatever you want to call it, the New Order mindset is schismatic; it not Catholic in any understanding of that term that Popes, Councils, Fathers, and Doctors of the Church would ever have understood.
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.
It appears that the local Rockford parishioners' instincts, previously reported here on TRADITIO, were right. They smelled a rat when Rockford, Illinois, Bishop Thomas Doran put the screws to his own parishioners, who were trying to get St. Mary's Shrine, a beautiful old traditional church, declared an historic-preservation site. When the locals expressed doubt as to the bishop's motivation, the bishop's mouthpiece, Scott P. Rickert, went ballistic, attacking his own fellow parishioners, as well as anyone else who expressed any concern about the bishops' motives.
The bishop was able eventually to browbeat some Catholic ladies into withdrawing their suit and was able to maintain control of the church (for the time being), so that, as his press indicated, he could shut down the "Indult" Mass there any time he pleased. Truly this was a "Nightmare on Elm Street."
Well, the plot thickens. First, the national press has identified Doran as involved in the Bp. Loverde-Fr. Haley controversy in Arlington, Virginia. An article by Julia Duin of the Washington Times of March 11 reported:
A Catholic priest who exposed the sexual misdeeds of fellow clergy at three parishes in the Diocese of Arlington is being prosecuted by his own bishop on five ecclesiastical charges. The Rev. James R. Haley, an Arlington priest, will appear before a church tribunal to answer charges brought against him by the Most Rev. Paul S. Loverde, bishop of Arlington. Presiding as judge will be the Most Rev. Thomas G. Doran, bishop of Rockford, Ill. Fr. Halley also exposed misconduct by two other priests [one of them a pastor who an investigation revealed had stolen from church collection plates]. After Father Haley made public accusations against the priests, Bishop Loverde suspended him from all priestly functions and put him on a small stipend, his attorney said, reducing the cleric to a hand-to-mouth existence in different homes around the diocese.
According to the Times, Stephen Brady, President of Roman Catholic Faithful, a group defending the presbyter, said, "The bishop [Loverde] is exacting revenge." Fr. Haley in July 2002 had given a court deposition about an affair between a married woman and one of the bishop's presbyters, which the bishop apparently tried to cover up.
Getting the odor here? A whistleblower presbyter is being tried by Doran, a colleague of the very bishop he accused! No wonder the U.S. bishops chief investigator had called the bishops "a mafia." And who is this "judge"? Why, this same Doran that threatened to shut down the "Indult" Mass at St. Mary's Shrine in yet another power dispute.
But there is more. One of our local correspondents from Rockford indicates that Rockford parishioners are concerned about this Bishop Doran because he has been recorded as saying that it is okay to be a Catholic and a Freemason. The diocese has openly associated in at least one event sponsored by Shriner Masons. The local correspondent also reports that Doran has made statements to the effect that his diocese doesn't have corruption, whereas local people have brought forth several instances of scandalous activities. (You know what he means.)
And now the fox is sent to guard the chicken house. A whistleblower presbyter is going to be judged by a colleague of the very bishop he accuses of corruption. The Holy Inquisition had more respect for the defendant's rights at law!
More is surely going to come out about this. The Rockford locals are not the only ones to smell a rat. The Vatican itself seems to be turning against Doran. Edith Wilson reported in the Rockford Star Register of July 17, 2003, that he was reputedly up for "promotion" to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Boston, Philadelphia, or St. Louis and was passed over for all of them. The one thing the Vatican doesn't want is a man that could be a source of scandal.
The U.S. New Order Church scandal is far from over, folks. It's just started. Now that the sex shenanigans have been exposed, the real meat is going to come out, and that meat will likely include murder, embezzlement, racketeering, collusion, subornation, and obstruction of justice for starters. Governor Keating didn't know the half of it when he called the U.S. bishops "a mafia."
Roman Catholic Faithful has determined not to take any more from these New Order bishops. The investigation into the six-year-old murder of traditional priest Fr. Alfred Kunz, of Dane, Wisconsin, is heating up again. Then there is the February 15 murder of Fr. John Minkler, of Albany, New York, who exposed corruption in the diocese of Albany, implicating his bishop, Howard Hubbard. Now we have Fr. James Haley, persecuted by New Order Bishop Paul Loverde with the involvement of his colleague Doran.
Stay tuned. It may be that the putrefaction of the U.S. New Order Church cadaver is finally going to be blown sky high. Remember St. John Chrysostom's warning: "The floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of rotten bishops."
Right here in our own backyard, we have a Mess performed on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2004. Novus Ordo Presbyter John Johnson gives the "cookie" to two clowns at St. James the Greater Church, Dogtown, Missouri.
These comedies are coming in so fast, I can't keep up with them. Believe me, I couldn't make them up. Truth is stranger than fiction!
Dear Fr. Moderator:
My sister (68) considers herself extremely religious, but in fact is a total captive of the Church of the New Order, even though I have sent her hundreds of traditional articles by the best writers and thinkers in the Traditional Roman Catholic Movement. She is a university graduate and munches the Novus Ordo cookie almost every day. What can I do?
Fr. Moderator Replies
Nothing. Our Lord said: "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 11:15/DRV). Obviously, there are some (many) who do not have ears to hear; that is, they don't want to believe the clear evidence of their eyes and ears. What does it say when they can't see the difference between the Catholic and Apostolic Mass and a charade in which everyone handles the bread and grape juice, drops crumbs all over the floor, witnesses clowns, danceuses, and beach bums carrying out a paganized service that is worse than most Protestant services? They might as well believe that the Wizard of Oz is real! Such people have obviously lost their Catholic sense.
Our age is blighted with self-imposed blindness. This is nothing new. St. Paul speaks about this in his Epistle to the Romans, chapter 1. Don't be fooled. These people know full well deep down that what they are doing is not Catholic, but for their own personal reasons, the reality is too hard to accept. Our Lord talked about this too, as related in St. John's Gospel, chapter 6, when most of his disciples walked out on Him because they did not want to believe what He taught. The Novus Ordinarians don't have the Catholic Faith. They make up their own religion as they go along and refuse to follow Our Lord's teaching, just as many Jews worshipped the golden calf.
You have to realize that you can't reach the deaf by oral argument. You can send them all the articles in the world, and it will do no good. Such minds are closed. Unless the grace of God, not we ourselves, opens their ears, they will continue to wallow in their deafness. Arguing with such people is counter-productive, as they are not operating on reason. It is only our pride that makes us think that we can beat the truth into them. We can't. Only God can inspire them with grace, and these people are shutting His grace out. That is their prerogative under free will, just as the consequences will be God's will.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
I fully agree that in many cases the Novus Ordo service has gone totally out of control, especially at the parish in my town. I now go a parish in a neighboring town that offers a Mess that is more "conservative," but still not a Traditional Latin Mass. Basically, it could be called a Novus Ordo "High" Mess. The architecture has remained the same, meaning that during the Mess the posture of the presbyter is facing the altar and not the congregation. Latin and Greek are used in parts, but not all of the Mess, and the choir sings Gregorian Chant.
To outsiders this might pass as "traditional." Is it still valid, though? I ask this only because I sincerely wish to be participating in the correct form of worship of Our Lord. Also, given that Novus Ordo Messes are a complete travesty, is the bread still bread? If I were to attend such a Mess and receive what passes for "communion" with real intent, is it not still the Body and Blood of Christ?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
As St. Thomas More is reputed to have said, in his controversy with King Henry VIII: "If the king should hold the world to be flat, would the king's word make it so?" Of course not. The Novus Ordo is specious (that's a fancy word for "phony"), a facade, a counterfeit. Its fabricator, Hannibal Bugnini and his six Protestant advisors, deliberately rewrote the Catholic and Apostolic Mass. This service turns its back on the canonized Roman Mass and offers a facade in which more than two-thirds of the content has been "modernized" away from the Catholic and Apostolic form, including the very words of Consecration. By thus spitting on nineteen centuries of Tradition, they put their Protestant-Masonic-Pagan high-schoolish composition into the category of putatively invalid.
That being the case, the "communion" deriving from it is not the Body and Blood of Christ. It is merely like the Protestant communion, a mere memorial of the Last Supper celebrated with soda crackers and grape juice. By their very actions, the New Order tells you that this is their belief (or lack thereof). No "intent" in the world can make a cookie into the Body of Christ, any more than you can make a pig's ear into a silk purse.
If the Novus Ordinarians really thought that what they passed out was the Body and Blood of Christ, would they place it in filthy, unconsecrated hands? Would they drop crumbs of it all over the floor and trample it under foot? Would they allow people to take it back to their seats, pop it in their prayer books, or leave it in the pews, or take it home to feed their dogs? Would they allow lay people dressed like beach bums to pass out "the bread and the cup"? Of course not.
It is hard to deny that the Novus Ordo service, in any form, is unCatholic, sacrilegious, irreverent, scandalous, blasphemous, idolatrous, and putatively invalid, because it fails to meet one or more of the three criteria established in Catholic dogmatic and sacramental theology for a valid Mass and most cogently in Pope Leo XIII's Apostolicae Curae.
The "conservative" Novus Ordo Mess that you are describing is what I call a "Sugar-Coated Arsenic" Mess. It is the same counterfeit that you see on that pseudo-Catholic cable channel. The heart of it is poison: the same New Order phoniness, just coated with a veneer of "show." If you want that, you may as well go to a High Anglican service. That is just as phony, but at least the Anglicans know how to put on a better show than the Novus Ordinarians!
There is nothing new about this understanding. Fr. Gomar DePauw, who founded the Catholic Traditionalist Movement in 1964, warned Catholics then and ever since. In 1967 Patrick Omlor wrote Questioning the Validity of the New, All-English Canon, demonstrating the invalidity of the pre-Novus Ordo by clear Thomistic theology. And that was two years before the full-blown Novus Ordo service was released. Since then the poison of the New Order service has been exposed with increasing frequency by religious writers, theologians, and clergy.
The only people who still stay with the New Order service are like junkies, who know that the poison is killing them, but they are so "hooked" on the evil that they cannot break the habit. Like dipsomaniacs, trying to hide their social disease, they try to excuse their unCatholic actions by all kinds of excuses, such as obedience to false authority, pandering to social acceptability, succumbing to peer pressure, etc.
Is it just possible that the overwhelming impact of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is based in no small measure on Christians' guilt for having abandoned the Catholic and Apostolic Tradition? Well, folks, you won't find it in the movie theater. The only place you will find it is with the true Catholic and Apostolic Mass, the Traditional Latin Mass, where He is really present.
The comment of John Henry Cardinal Newman is appropriate to the churches of the New Order. After converting from High Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, the great churchman one day found himself standing at the doorway looking into a beautiful High Anglican church. For all practical purposes, it looked just like a Roman Catholic church. Yet he said that the only thing that came into his mind was the words of the Angel to the women at the tomb after the Resurrection: "He is not here" (Matthew 28:6/DRV).
There is a saying, I think, that one knows the character of a man from seeing who his enemies are. What has become quite clear in The Passion of the Christ controversy is that Mel Gibson remains highly popular, decent, and respectable, while his critics seem to be the scum of the earth. For example, take Abraham Foxman, of the Talmudist B'nai B'rith Anti Defamation League (defamation against Jews, that is; defamation of Catholics is fair game). This was a man whose very life was saved by the charity of Catholics in World War II. Has he expressed one word of appreciation? No.
Now we have the Novus Ordo Archbishop of Johannesburg, Buti Joseph Thlagale, rolling out the now thoroughly disproven contention, by people who had not even seen the film, that the "depiction of Jews and their alleged role in the death of Jesus was negative and could undermine the strong Jewish-Catholic working relationships in South Africa and fuel anti-Semitism." Rubbish!
Remember that this is the same Buti Thlagale who supports animal sacrifices during the Novus Ordo Mess, serves on the board of Lovelife, a pornographic campaign to promote prophylactics, and is a speaker at papally-condemned "oecumenical" conferences with Buddhists, B'hais, Hindus, and Pagans. He is ripe for excommunication, but of course the New Vatican will never excommunicate one of its own, only a bishop who stands fast for the traditional Roman Catholic Faith. It's amazing that these Novus Ordo bishops still dare to call themselves "Catholic," when all they push is anti-Catholic propaganda and activities. [South African Star]
Traditional Roman Catholicism is particularly strong and growing in the Orient, which has a great respect for Church Tradition, having often had to fight for its Faith. In Singapore, traditional Catholics have been actively expanding their numbers since establishing chapels there in 1999. Now it seems that the Church of the New Order there fears a marked increase in Catholics attending traditional Catholic Churches and rejecting the New Order counterfeit.
Thus, the Church of the New Order is stepping up its persecutions against the traditional Roman Catholics in the area, using the usual scare tactics to which the New Order always resorts to stamp out traditional Roman Catholicism when it threatens the hegemony of the New Order.
The New Vatican has already sold out to appeasing the Eastern Orthodox, substantially limiting any proselytizing of the Eastern Orthodox schismatics to become true Catholics. Yet, it treats viciously those Roman Catholics who stay with the true Mass, Sacraments, and Faith. Such activity merely proves that the Church of the New Order is not concerned about the true Faith and doctrine, but merely in the politics of power. Otherwise, it would support such activities while it fought the real enemy: the Communism, totalitarianism, and Islamism that exist in Singapore, Red China, and other oriental countries.
Recently, however, the New Vatican has been playing up to the Chinese Communist government, even recognizing the Chinese bishops that it previously called "schismatic." So you see, folks, that all this "schismatic" nonsense is just a matter of politics. If the New Vatican likes you politically, it will laud you with false words. If it doesn't like you politically, it will call you names. There is no objective reality to "schism" any more; it is all a matter of political games. Well, don't play into the New Vatican's New Order tactics, based not on law but on raw power politics. Remember instead what your mother taught you: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." [Based in part on a report from the Straits Times of Singapore]
On March 16 Mel Gibson was interviewed by Sean Hannity for the better part of an hour on Hannity's syndicated national radio program. One can understand why Gibson is such a popular personality and has rallied to himself the American people against the bad-mouthing Abraham Foxmans (B'nai Brith), who wanted to paint him as an "anti-Semite." Whatever that really means these days, Gibson didn't fit the epithet, and the American people eschewed Foxman's gutter mouth.
Two items were particularly worth noting on the program. First, when Hannity referred to the title of his best-selling book, Deliver Us from Evil, Gibson, without a moment's hesitation, said: "That's biblical: Sed libera nos a malo." Now here's a true Catholic who says his prayers in Latin. This may be the first time that the Latin Vulgate has been correctly quoted on a syndicated national radio program.
Second, Hannity inquired whether Gibson had any ideas for another movie. Gibson said that of course the Bible, and particularly the Old Testament, was a treasure trove for epic themes. Then he revealed an idea for another film: the saga of the Machabees! Now, this choice is brilliant. First, it's from the Catholic Bible, being part of what the Jews and Christians of Our Lord's time accepted as scriptural, but denied as such by the arch-heretic Martin Luther because it contained doctrines he did not agree with (like Purgatory and praying for the souls of the dead). The Apocrypha (properly called the Deutero-canonical books, because they were originally written in Greek rather than Hebrew) are often omitted from Protestant Bibles as a result.
Shortly before the Christian era, most of the Jews, like the Novus Ordo sectarians of our own day, had become Liberalist; that is, they gave up their Faith to take on the liberalist Hellenistic religion and practices. The First Book of Machabees records Mathathias declaring: "I and my sons and my brethren will obey the law of our Fathers" (2:20/DRV). What a motto for the Traditional Roman Catholic Movement!
After the wicked king's official and an apostate Jew were slain, the Machabean revolt began in 167 B.C. The revolt was a reaction against the indifferentism of the day promoted by gentile King Antiochus Epiphanes, who desired to merge all beliefs into one Hellenistic religion in his kingdom. Sounds just like what is happening in the Church of the New Order, doesn't it? And the traditional religionists won against the powerful king, triumphantly reclaiming their Temple from the pagans and restoring the Holy Sacrifice, which, as Daniel had prophesied, had come to an end for some two centuries.
Here on TRADITIO I have previously pointed to the close connection between the time of the Machabees and our time, in which, in very many places, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has come to an end, and the New Order sectarians have taken over the Church and converted it to paganism. Will traditional Catholics, like the Machabees, with God's help, defeat these turncoats and restore completely Holy Church in the modern age?
In any case, the Machabees are the examplar for our own times. Perhaps Gibson reads TRADITIO, or great minds think alike! As Lenten reading, the two books of the Machabees could not be more appropriate.
The Boston Globe reports that the once Catholic archdiocese is in the process of shutting down not only one in six parishes but also a number of schools. At the close of Vatican II in 1965, the Boston Archdiocese was educating 119,229 pupils in 246 elementary schools and another 33,640 students in 99 high schools. Today there are 36,577 pupils in 123 elementary schools and 16,315 students in 33 secondary schools. Thus, only 3 in 10 pre-Vatican II schools now survive -- quite an abysmal record for a Council that was supposed to revitalize the Church. In fact, that Council and its aftermath have virtually killed it.
Of course, these schools are not really "Catholic" any more, as they long ago were taken over by the New Order. Even the most noted Catholic bishop of the 20th century, an educator himself, saw that reality as early as 1967. Archbishop Fulton Sheen (1895-1979) 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).
Abp. Sheen's advice on "Catholic" education, given around 1967, was as prophetic as it was startling. He said that Catholics were better off going to a state school where they would have the chance to fight for their Faith than going to a modern "Catholic" school, where they would have the new watered-down, modernist version of the Faith spoon-feed to their unsuspecting mind and thereby be apt to lose their Catholic Faith. Abp. Sheen couldn't have hit the nail on the head harder.
It's the same story around the all the dioceses of the Church of the New Order. Preservationists are concerned about the potential loss of architecturally significant church buildings; ethnic and neighborhood groups are concerned about the loss of parishes that have functioned as community centers; and parishioners are concerned about the loss of churches with deep religious value.
Moreover, the archdiocese, because of heavy criticism even from the Novus Ordinarians about the closings, has gone into "secrecy" mode. It will issue no further "progress" reports. The archdiocese's ecclesiocrats think that further reports will "inflame" people. Darn right they will -- as they should. Do you think that the secrecy on the New Order Sex Scandal and Embezzlement Scandal are over and that these ecclesiocrats have learned their lesson. Absolutely not!
Even these New Order ecclesiocrats are admitting that Vatican II has been devastating. In just 20 years, almost fifty parishes have been closed, one in eight, in what was once one of the most Catholic dioceses in the country. However, the Closure Committee's spokesman indicated that there are still far too many churches for the number of New Order presbyters and parishioners. Why? (1) The Novus Ordinarian numbers are decreasing, except in areas where they are artificially upheld by immigration, a lot of it illegal, as in California; (2) Novus Ordinarians have lost the true Catholic Faith and do not attend even their Novus Ordo Protestant-Masonic-Pagan service.
If the New Vatican were to reject the "Mess obligation" as it has rejected the traditional Catholic abstinence, Lenten fast, Eucharistic fast, and all the rest, the New Order churches would be deserted overnight! Why doesn't it? The answer is obvious. Fast and abstinence don't bring in money to support the New Order. The "Mess obligation" does. Of course, we traditional Catholic know that the "Mess obligation" is a sham. There is no "obligation" to attend a phony Mess, but a positive obligation not to. However, the "rule"-bound Novus Ordinarians have been bamboozled by their New Order ecclesiocrats.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
Our local Novus Ordo church bulletin has an item deploring lack of "Mass" attendance. In it are the terms: "Sunday Eucharist," "gather together," "reassemble," "table of the word," and, most deplorably, "table of the bread and wine." There is no mention of "Holy Sacrifice," "Mass," or "Body and Blood."
Fr. Moderator Replies
I have frequently said that their Great Counterfeit is openly admitted by the New Order. All you have to do is be an objective observer. As you say, they avoid using the traditional term, "Holy Sacrifice of the Mass," as what they perform is neither a "sacrifice" nor a "Mass." Point One.
The New Order doesn't like to use the term "priest," because that term implies sacrifice, as priests offer sacrifice. The New Order prefers terms like "presbyter," "presider," "worship leader," and so forth. The "presbyter" sits in a big chair while bevies of laypeople, often dressed as if their next stop were a Florida beach, handle (and I do mean "handle") the "bread" and the "grape juice." The New Order rite does not particularly refer to ordaining men to the offering of Mass for the living and the dead and the forgiving of sins, as the traditional ordination rite does, but to "preside over the people." Sounds like they should be running for public office! Point Two.
The Church of the New Order doesn't even refer to itself as the "Roman Catholic Church," except very rarely, and only when someone claims that it is not Roman Catholic. It refers to itself as "the Modern Church," "the New Order," "the Church of the New Advent," "the Church of the New Pentecost," and so forth. New "Rome" in practice does not govern the Church. Each individual bishop runs his own diocese the way he wants to, not according to anything "Rome" says. And if the bishops should refuse even a "suggestion" made by "Rome," New Rome will withdraw the suggestion rather than making it appear that the bishops are disobedient. Example: Paul VI caving in on "communion in the hand," a practice already condemned by popes and councils. Point Three.
As Malachi Martin and others have demonstrated, the Church of the New Order is really just a Great Facade, a Counterfeit Church. It would not be recognized by, but rather it would be and was condemned by Popes, Councils, Doctors, and Saints. Consider this. If, despite its blatant departure from the Tradition of the Church, the New Order and the new theology which that worship service supports can be justified and approved of, then all the Saints were superstitious simpletons, all the theologians were liars, and all of our Catholic forefathers were duped idiots, including some of the greatest minds in human history: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Thomas More, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Benedict, St. Louis de Montfort.
These and all previous Catholics were traditional Catholics. They all believed exactly the same as traditional Catholics today do. It is not a mere matter of opinion, but a matter of irrefutable fact that the traditional Faith, the traditional Mass, and the traditional Sacraments are Roman Catholic, not the novel teachings of Vatican II, not false oecumenism, and certainly not the New Order/Protestant service.
No one who calls himself a Roman Catholic can have anything to do with a putatively invalid rite, defined as not a Mass, flaunting condemned heresy, perverting Christ's own most solemn Consecratory Prayer in both word and form, contradicting Christ's and His Church's identical sacrificial intention, fraudulently introduced as an experiment in flagrant violation of laws made to protect our Holy Mass and in deliberate fracture of two most solemn oaths required of and sworn by ever priest at ordination and every bishop at consecration.
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.
In the first 14 days (February 25 to March 10, 2004) since the official opening of The Passion of the Christ, the movie has brought in over $228 million dollars at the box office (box office = tickets paid for at a movie theater).
In the first 14 days The Passion is almost half of the way to becoming the largest-grossing movie ever in the United States. The record holder now is Titanic (1997), which reached $600 million in U.S. box-office sales. In just two weeks The Passion will have probably reached almost half that: $300 million in ticket sales.
Right now, at just over $228 million, The Passion already ranks 38th largest grossing in movie history at the U.S. domestic box office. If The Passion has two more weekends at just $50 million in ticket sales, less than half what it is now grossing, it will be in the Top Ten.
As of today Titanic also holds the all-time record worldwide for largest box office at $1.8 billion. For some perspective, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King now has achieved 6th place in the U.S. with $364 million and 2nd place worldwide with a little over $1 billion. 2nd place in the U.S. for all time box office was Star Wars (1977) at $461 million, $139 million behind the First Place Titanic.
And then there's the book. After months of vicious attacks upon Mel Gibson and his movie, The New York Times' own best-seller list reports that the tie-in coffee-table book has already soared to #2. The publisher, Tyndale House, reports that it has submitted the seventh printing to one of its printers, but the 110,000 units are already nearly sold out. The sixth run, to arrive about March 16, is sold out. The company is urging vendors to order soon. "With Easter in nearly mid-April, and the movie going strong at theaters, we don't know when the pressure will let up."
Dear Fr. Moderator:
For a long time now, I have heard from Charismatics and Protestants alike that the "old" Church taught much about God, but the faithful did not "experience" him, that they did not have an intimate contact with God, that prayers were only memorized. In sum, before Vatican II, they say, there was knowledge, but not experience of "God as a Father" and "Jesus as a friend," that the emotional component of human nature was simply discarded, not taken into account. On the other hand, when we see Charismatic or Protestant assemblies, they seem to be really talking to God. How much truth is there in these notions?
Fr. Moderator Replies.None. The Charismatics are not "talking to God." They are engaged in a sham (albeit perhaps in good faith), which is specifically condemned by Our Lord in Sacred Scripture: "Be not as the hypocrites, that love to stand and pray in the synagogues and corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men" (Matthew 6:5/DRV). This is all external fuss for show. One tries to outdo the other in gyrations and being "filled with the spirit," much as at a football spirit rally or in a pagan orgy.
They are dumbing themselves down to their lower animal natures. God speaks to the soul, that is, the mind, the intellect, the rational power, which properly regulates the passions (emotions, if you will). Those who knew God best, the Saints, lifted their minds and hearts to God: St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and all the rest. They did not grovel on the floor, squealing like pigs or gyrating in some Bacchanalian frenzy.
It is instructive that Our Lord's only commandment about prayer was to go into a room, shut the door, and pray to the Father privately the Pater Noster (Matthew 6:6). That is how the Catholic Church has always looked at it. The Charismatics are essentially pagans. Christ would not recognize them, but the pagan cultists of His time -- the devotees of Isis and Bacchus and the rest -- certainly would!
Don't you just have to laugh?! The Novus Ordinarians haven't gotten it right yet. Actually, they never will get it right. They're trying to "retranslate" their Novus Ordo service -- again. They should simply stay with the canonized Mass of St. Peter, the Traditional Latin Mass, in Latin.
Think of all the money and time that has been wasted with that phony New Order service. They can't leave the text alone. They can't translate it. Even the originators of the original English "version" are defecting to traditional Catholicism, like Fr. Sommerville, who said the Traditional Latin Mass for Mel Gibson's crew. Even if they do "retranslate" it, what difference will it make? It's going to end up still in the same category as the Anglican service, which the pope declared invalid. The New Order service has the same defects -- and more.
Nevertheless, the boards and committees are at it again, so CNS reports. Draft and redraft. Review and re-review. Imagine all the expensive first-class plane trips and expensive hotel rooms and the expensive meals at the best restaurants that are being paid for out of the poor box. No wonder these cardinals and bishops and presbyters want to keep diddling with their "service" ad infinitum!
Vocations for the Novus Ordo presbyterate shouldn't be a problem. Here's a good ad for them:
Meet in London, Sydney, Rome. See the world -- all at Church expense.
Associated Press reports that the Denis O'Neil, late auxiliary bishop of San Bernardino, California, punched a catechism teacher because he disagreed with the way she was teaching. The teacher just won a post-mortem judgment of nearly a million dollars not only for the battery but also for defamation. So, he smacked her and bad-mouthed her afterward. It's a typical pattern for these unCatholic New Order bishops. What do you want to bet that she was "conservative," and he was "Modernist"?
I kid you not. Didn't I tell you that the New Order was nonsense, not to be taken seriously? That it would become more and more bizarre as the minds of the Novus Ordinarians are "darkened" (in the words of St. Paul)?
What do you do when you can't attract enough of a congregation to support more than one Mess a Sunday? When people are leaving your churches in increasing numbers (fewer than one out of five Novus Ordinarians even bothers to attend church, down from four out of five in the 1950s)? Why, you find another source of warm bodies -- animal bodies!
Starting in Episcopalian churches and undoubtedly to come to New Order parishes, animal "communion" is the latest rage. The Wall Street Journal reports that "holy communion" has been introduced for pets. As part of the service, one woman carried her cat to the "altar" and waited in line behind three panting dogs to receive the "host." What's next? Baptism of cats and dogs? Maybe that's not such a bad idea since they seem to have more native intelligence than the New Order human loonies!
Not all is well in Loonie Land, however. One longtime congregant sent an E-mail to the church saying that his son-in-law suffered an allergy attack because of the animals. One Spaniel chewed through his leash and took off after a red cardinal (of the avian variety) that he spotted outside the window. The presbyter had to inspect the altar for drool.
You good traditional Catholics, when you hear through the grapevine that the local New Order parish is giving "communion" to dogs and cats, don't say that I didn't warn you! St. Paul already wrote the epitaph of the New Order:
And their foolish heart was darkened. For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. (Romans, 1:22/DRV)
ABC came up with a television movie Judas on March 8. One thumbnail sketch of its content went as follows:
Judas [is] a politically charged young man who sees Jesus as an instrument in which to rebel against the Romans. But he misreads the intentions of Jesus, ... a charismatic and generally gentle soul. [The producer says], 'I have the scene at the end in which the Apostles care for Judas after he hangs himself and they say that that is what Jesus would have wanted.'"
Really? That sounds like just so much Novus Ordo schmaltz, doesn't it? Even the liberalist New York Times reviewer had to admit that the television movie was "the television equivalent of a 70's guitar" Mess. These New Order sectarians don't have a clue. They want to reinvent God's own religion and turn it into some kind of counterfeit "mind candy." The fact that what they are making up is thoroughly phony and unscriptural doesn't make any difference to them, as they want to dump the Bible too (it's too constraining for them).
We don't have to guess about what Christ's reaction to Judas is, and it is not pretty. It doesn't fit in with the lovey-dovey lies of the New Order. St. Matthew (and St. Mark similarly) quote Christ directly as saying:
And the Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him. But woe to that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed. It were better for him, if that man had not been born" (Matthew 26:24/DRV).
Christ does not forgive when there is no contrition.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
Recently, someone asked the EWTN Cable Network whether the Traditional Latin Mass would ever be included in the EWTN schedule. EWTN replied that such a Mass could not ever be telecast because, according to the terms of the "indult," no one who "calls into question the legitimacy and doctrinal exactitude" of the New Order Mess can attend (or view) it.
I've given up on EWTN. It seems that the "conservative" New Order sectarians in EWTN are truly modern-day Pharisees.
Fr. Moderator Replies.
What you are referring to is the "Vicious Oath," which is part of the terms of the "indult." Most "conservative" Novus Ordinarians, however, are ignorant of it, because the dioceses dare not speak of it in order not to scare people away. It the people knew of it, they would probably stop attending the "Indult" Mass.
By attending the "Indult" Mass, the people are taking an implicit oath that they have no doubts about the validity, or even the legitimacy, of the Novus Ordo Mess. I suspect that the vast majority of people attending the "Indult" Mass have such doubts; otherwise, why would they be there? In effect, they are forswearing themselves.
As to the EWTN cable channel, TRADITIO has warned about it from the beginning. It was never truly Catholic, always being subservient to the New Order, but in recent years, since the debilitating illness of Mother Angelica, ETWN has essentially been taken over by Protestant Charismatics like Scott Hahn, who from being one of the proponents of The-Pope-Is-the-Whore-of-Babylon notion, is also a Charismatic leader. Scott Hahn, not surprisingly, is also a virulent anti-traditional Catholic.
EWTN has never had a Traditional Latin Mass. It cleverly throws a bit of Latin in to fool people, but the televised service is the Novus Ordo Mess through and through.
EWTN should be avoided like the anti-Catholic plague that it is. It always surprises me how these "conservative" Novus Ordinarians keep buzzing around these kinds of deception, like flies attracted to poisoned honey. The proper Catholic response to the unCatholic propaganda being broadcast over EWTN is to have the intelligence to click the OFF switch!
I went to an "Indult" Mass last Sunday and found it extremely objectionable. It was performed in a Novus Ordo temple. The Novus Ordo presbyter, trying to say the "Indult" Mass, skipped many of the prayers between the Offertory and the Consecration, and he neglected to say the Lavabo too. It seems that you are justified in condemning the "indult" as another abusive trick. I am disappointed that there are no independent chapels in the county where I live. The closest other site is SSPX. I guess I will have no other alternative but to begin attending there. I'm certainly not going to continue with the "indult." What do I care about "approval" from the same bunch of New Order bishops who also approve of rape and embezzlement?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Unfortunately, more and more "Indult" Masses are getting to be like this -- at best sloppy and erroneously celebrated, at worst deliberately containing characteristics of the Novus Ordo service. Actually, these are not "Indult" Masses at all, but what I call Pseudo-Traditional Services.
Since Protocol 1411 of July 3, 1999, issued by the New Vatican, "indult" organizations have been forced into a collaboration with the Novus Ordo service. More and more "Indult" Masses are including texts and rubrics from the post-Vatican II Novus Ordo service, "indult" priests are now forced to offer the Novus Ordo service as well, hosts from a Novus Ordo service are mixed with Hosts consecrated at the "Indult" Mass, and many other profanations are occurring.
Such pseudo-traditional services typically deviate also in one or more ways from the traditional practices in force even in 1962, such as:
Such sites do not offer the Traditional Latin Mass and should be scrupulously avoided by the faithful.
The Papal "Hindu" Mess, in which what appear to be Hindu ceremonies are performed in front of JP II. This Mess was performed in New Delhi, India on November 7, 1999. For other Messes, see the Novus Ordo Service Photo Gallery.
The Traditional Latin Mass held outside St. Ann's, the historic traditional church that is being closed by the Archdiocese of New York to allow it to be converted into a post office, was attended by between 300 to 400 faithful. Before the Mass, in the pouring rain, the Rosary was recited. When the Mass began, at 1:00 p.m., the rain completely ceased. And during the Consecration the sun began to peak through. The faithful who did not bring cushions for their knees, still knelt on the hard, wet, dirty sidewalk.
By the end of the Mass, the sun was shining through. And when the last coach's door was closed to take some of the faithful home out of state, the rain recommenced. That evening I checked the local news channels for any mention of the event, and of course there was none.
Former Phoenix Bishop O'Brien, convicted for leaving a man to die after he hit him with his car, is once again in the news. A local talk-show host was expressing the opinion that the court should throw the book at the bishop, when the bishop's aide called the show and complained about the treatment the bishop was receiving in the media.
When the talk show host condemned the bishop for leaving the scene and not even giving last rites, the aide came unglued! He prattled on about how this criminal was a "holy man" and he should not be treated that way. He asked that an apology be given by the host to the bishop. Of course, the host saw an opportunity to quiz the Bishop. He was then told that the bishop would not come out of his room to talk on the telephone. He was too upset about his treatment to talk!
The hybris of these New Order bishops is too far out to describe. What is it the Good Thief on the Cross said: "Dost not even thou fear God, seeing that thou art under the same sentence? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what our deeds deserved" (Luke 23:40-41/DRV). Apparently, the "New American Bible" of the New Order omits that verse!
Isn't it wonderful that even the New Order sectarians are beginning to stand up against the worst abuses of the Faith (they're still way over the edge, however)?!
The Waukesha, Wisconsin, Journal Sentinel reports that the pastor of a New Order church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, canceled plans to have retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland administer New Order "confirmation" after some parishioners objected and threatened to protest at the church.
Weakland, you will remember, was the archbishop pervert who, to compound his perversion, stole some half million dollars from the Church to pay off his catamite, who claimed that the archbishop had assaulted him. There is no evidence to indicate that Weakland ever paid back the embezzlement from his personal funds. Of course, Weakland gave out with one of those New Order "apologies," but, even if it were sincere (and there is doubt of that because he confessed only a day before the police were going seek question him for the crime), Catholic moral theology teaches that you must restore the stolen money. Otherwise, "apologies" are worthless, morally speaking.
The pastor was deluged with "complaints, threats of protests, e-mails" vehemently protesting the appearance of the archbishop, whom the pope scandalously allowed merely to retire, when he should have defrocked him and consigned him to a monastery doing penance for the rest of his life. That this creature would dare to come out in public and even administer "confirmation" (which we know, of course, is just another one of those New Order counterfeits) shows how low these New Order bishops have sunk. One cannot help but be reminded of St. John Chrysostom's statement: "the floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of rotten bishops."
True, to New Order form, the pastor, instead of recanting his error in inviting the bishop pervert to administer anything to 130 children, turned his wrath against his own parishioners. Suffice it to say that this pastor was Weakland's secretary for more than a decade. And he didn't know where the archbishop was disappearing to in the evenings? He didn't know about the embezzlement of half a million dollars of Church money? Hmmm.
One parish member quite accurately stated Catholic moral theology when he said "there are repercussions from what happened. If there's a backlash, he deserves it." Would the Boy Scouts allow Weakland to serve as scoutmaster? Would Weakland not be put on the public sexual predators list?
Some befuddled parishioners, of course, displaying the "reprobate sense" that St. Paul describes in his Epistle to the Romans (1:28/DRV) want to "forgive" the bishop pervert, who has failed to fulfill even the basic condition of forgiveness, that the stolen money be restored to the Church members who were defrauded!
St. Paul goes on to say of the Weaklands and their supporters: "Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death: and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them" (Romans 1:32/DRV). No wonder the New Order wants to dump St. Paul!
Dear Fr. Moderator:
What liturgy do you suppose the Apostles Peter and Paul celebrated?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
That is an interesting question, as the Traditional Latin Mass is also known as the Mass of St. Peter. That, of course, does not mean that the Traditional Latin Mass we have is exactly the same as St. Peter celebrated at the Apostolic Roman See, but the elements were already there. As liturgical scholar Adrian Fortescue wrote:
According to Roman Catholic Tradition, the Traditional Latin Mass in all its essentials was passed on by St. Peter, the first pope, to the Church. The Apostles themselves, according to St. Ambrose, worked at its elaboration. It reached its complete perfection with Popes St. Damasus (fourth century) and St. Gregory the Great (sixth century)..., there being no doubt that the essential parts of the Mass are of Apostolic origin.
There used to be some doubt as to what language was used for the early Roman Mass. You will still find some books reporting the obsolete theory that Greek was used for this purpose. More recent archaeology, particularly excavations at Pompeii, have indicated that no later than the time of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 69, Latin was being used in the Mass at Rome and its surrounding Latin areas.
There is also the question of how the congregation was arranged, as the Novus Ordinarians have been trying to put over the presbyter-facing-congregation arrangement ever since Vatican II, even though Vatican II never approved it, and Pope Pius XII specifically condemned it.Archaeology comes to the rescue here as well. It is actually a Novus Ordo liturgist, Msgr. Klaus Gamber, who from extensive archaeology in and around Rome, tells us that, yes, the priest celebrated the Mass "with his back to the people." That is not the right way to put it, however. Rather, priest and people all faced the East (the New Jerusalem) together, just as today in truly Catholic churches, priest and people face the crucifix, which is usually oriented toward the East. The people were arranged in a semicircle (not a full circle), just as in the traditional cruciform churches of today, there are people in the nave and along the two apses, effectively forming a semicircle.
So, once again the traditional teaching is confirmed by scholarly research and archaeology. Catholics have nothing to fear from true science, as Pope St. Pius X said. Unfortunately, the Novus Ordo sectarians, in order to impose their Protestant-Masonic-Pagan order on the Church, have had to resort to outright lies to do so. Even honest Novus Ordo liturgists, like Msgr. Gamber, who is quite respected by them, admit these lies. Msgr. Gamber quashed the notions of presbyter-facing-people, use of vulgar tongues in the sacred liturgy, communion in the hand, and other frauds perpetrated by the Novus Ordo.
These Novus Ordo sectarians attempted to tear the Church asunder by adhering to unCatholic novelties, contrary to Catholic and Apostolic Tradition, novelties which have been condemned through the centuries by the Church itself. Unfortunately, the minds of all too many Novus Ordo sectarians have been filled with this false propaganda, which they have taken on the authority of the presbyters and bishops who have consistently tried to impose error on the Church, just as numerous Arian heretic bishops and other clergy of the fourth century attempted to do.
God works in mysterious ways, they say. It has taken the better part of forty years, but now more and more Novus Ordo sectarians are beginning to see that the New Order faith and worship is really a counterfeit, and certainly not Catholic. More and more of them are seeking out the Traditional Latin Mass, wherever it can be found, and dumping Novus Ordo bishops and diocese whose main agenda these day, just like those Arians of old, is to push false doctrine, false worship, and false morality.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
On March 4, while watching the Chris Matthews Hardball TV show, it was announced in the beginning that a priest was going to be on to discuss The Passion of the Christ. Good, I thought to myself; at last a Catholic priest will give his opinion of this movie, and it will be great. I have seen no priests, no bishops comment, and I was beginning to wonder why, but now, at last, a Catholic priest. However, when the name of the priest was announced, Andrew Greeley, I said, "Oh, no." I knew exactly what he would say.
Fr. Moderator Replies.
Greeley isn't a Catholic priest; he's a Novus Ordo presbyter, let alone an author of sex novels. From a Catholic perspective -- whatever term the press prefers to use for him -- he is certainly not Catholic in any sane definition of that term. He is a proponent and mouthpiece for a different Church, the Church of the Church of the New Order, which some authors call the Counterfeit Church, the Great Facade.
After all that has been written about corruption in the Church, I can't believe that you could expect anything different. As Governor Keating, former FBI agent, U.S. Solicitor, and the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops' Chief Investigator reported, after investigating the U.S. bishops and their activities: "This isn't the Catholic Church. This is a mafia." Gov. Keating hit the nail on the head. The bishops act like a mafia wearing clerical suits instead of business suits.
The problem is that all too many Novus Ordo "Catholics" pander to this mafia, giving them money, which simply goes into concealing immorality, paying off extortion, and embezzling Church funds. This is proven and public knowledge. You can read it in scores of newspapers. You can see it in numerous police and FBI files. The bishops' own investigating committee recently reported that the problem was far worse than had been previously reported, at just the time that the bishops' president was trying to persuade the public that the "worst is over."
And how did Novus Ordo "Catholics" respond? They themselves became morally guilty of the same crimes by putting more money into the collection plate. These people are as morally guilty as if they had given their father more and more money to support his cocaine habit.
The pope and the Vatican know it, but fail to take any significant action. It is a "gentlemen's club" of the worst kind. A good pope would publicly denounce bishops who rape and steal. That's exactly what the good popes of the past have done. Unfortunately, this pope is like a permissive parent, who lets his children run wild. Then, when they are hooked on drugs, fornication, and pornography, he is surprised. The New Order is famous for letting the devastating damage be done, then hold an "apology service" afterward. That is perverted. Morally, the action should be taken before the situation is out of control, so that damage is done, and no apology is necessary.
Some people wonder how Hitler could have bamboozled the entire German people into Nazism. I don't. The U.S. bishops are doing exactly the same thing before our eyes, and "Catholics," merely say, "Yes, Sir Bishop. Rape us again." And that rape has been not just the physical rape of children and adults, in actuality or by suborning it, and the rape of embezzling Church money, but the more important spiritual rape of depriving Catholics of the true Mass, Sacraments, and doctrine.
Why do we call it Mass? My research tells me that word Mass comes from the Latin word missa, coming from the verb mitto, meaning "to send." So is this to say that we go to Mass to be "sent"?
Fr. Moderator Replies.
In the development of language, in our naming of things, we not infrequently find synecdoche, that is, the naming of a whole thing by the name of one of its parts. The name Holy Eucharist is an example of this. Eucharist refers strictly to the thanksgiving element of the Sacrament, which is only a part of its significance. Likewise, we call the whole Confiteor by its first word, the Pater Noster and the Ave Maria by their first two words, all standing for the whole prayer.
Just so, Missa came to be used from the final words of the Mass (before a blessing and the Last Gospel, which came to be attached later): Ite, missa est. Yes, in a larger sense, we are "sent" to carry forward the Christian Gospel in our daily lives.
During the filming of the The Passion of the Christ, the Traditional Latin Mass was celebrated at 7:30 each morning in a converted office at Cinema City at the east side of Rome (when filming was there). A traditional priest from Toronto, who publicly separated from the New Order diocese there, celebrated the Masses. (There was apparently at least one other priest who celebrated Mass there as well.)
Interestingly, this priest once served on the abominable International Committee on English in the Liturgy, which translated the Novus Ordo service into the vulgar tongue, in a completely defective way to boot! He has now recanted of his error and celebrates exclusively the Traditional Latin Mass independent of the auspices of the diocese.
The priest said that many of those working on the movie couldn't attend the Mass because they had to apply make-up. "So we just had a small group of people, five or six on the average, and Jim Caviezel, who played the Christ, often came, but he particularly had to go for a long siege with the make-up artists, so sometimes I would give him Communion with a Host reserved from Mass," says the priest. "We converted a small room into a chapel. We improvised a decent-looking altar, and Mel sent somebody out to buy everything we needed -- vestments, nice candles. There were a few chairs and a sofa and there it was. Mel knelt on his knees on the floor behind me and answered the prayers in perfect Latin."
At times Caviezel would attend the Traditional Latin Mass in full costume before the day's shoot -- though not during the bloody scourging scenes. About four square metres in size, the tiny chapel had a few chairs and a simple wooden table raised against one wall to act as an altar. Above the table, the wall was decorated with various religious ornaments, including a picture of the Virgin Mary. The priest always began and ended Mass with a hymn, something that Gibson, joining in with his monotone, seemed to enjoy.
The priest said that Gibson is "more of a traditional Catholic than I am, though not as much as his father. The priest said that he met Gibson's father, Hutton, while filling in for a traditional Catholic priest at an independent shrine hear Houston, where Hutton was living. The priest said that he was loyal to "Rome," but only in the proper sense of that term: to the Rome of all time, not to post-conciliar Rome. He recognizes John Paul II as the pope, but rejects his erroneous teachings. [CNS, SD, and other sources]
The advocates of the New Order are running scared now. Traditional Roman Catholicism is getting quite a bit of play in the press as a result of Mel Gibson and his film The Passion of the Christ. The National Registry of Traditional Latin Masses here is receiving numerous requests for the location of Traditional Latin Masses.
Naturally, the New Order and its cohorts can't tolerate this. They resort to their usual tactic, the same tactic that all Liberalists who believe that the end justifies the means use: character assassination. They have no response to the rational position of traditional Catholics, so they launch their personal attacks. Just look at what Mel Gibson has had to suffer for making a movie that depicts the Passion along the lines of the biblical accounts! Attacks against the priesthood of traditional Roman Catholic priests have been going on for years.
But now we find that the usual lies, calumnies, and disinformation are not sufficient for these servants of the New Order, whom their own investigator, a former FBI agent, U.S. department of justice solicitor, and governor, called "not the Catholic Church, [but] a mafia." Will these New Order agents, the bishops and their minions, resort to even to murder to protect their power positions and to conceal their immorality? The evidence is mounting that they will.
Is it possible that the Novus Ordo apparatus, which has already suborned rape, prostitution, cover-ups, and payoffs has actually arranged the murder of a traditional priest? A Michigan News article reports that such a theory is prominent about the murder of Fr. Alfred Kunz. According to the Dane (Wisconsin) County Sheriff's Office, on March 4, 1998, the body of Fr. Kunz was found dead, the victim of a homicide. His throat was cut with an edged weapon severing the carotid artery. Fr. Kunz was a traditional Roman Catholic priest, who had served for 32 years. He had strong traditional Roman Catholic views that were evidenced by the fact that he celebrated Traditional Latin Masses.
The prominent theory seems to be that Fr. Kunz was killed because he "knew too much" about the misdeeds of the New Order diocese's clergy and former bishop. They were able to cover up their misdeeds for years, even decades -- these "men who formed the underbelly of the American Church." Although his murder was the subject of one of the most extensive FBI investigations in Wisconsin history, the murder of Fr. Kunz remains a mystery.
Now we have the case of the death, perhaps murder, of Fr. John Minkler, which seems to implicate New Order Bishop Howard Hubbard, of Albany, New York. Fr. Minkler, 57, was found dead in his home on Sunday, February 15. Three days before, the deceased presbyter was identified in a television news report as the author of a 1995 report addressed to New York's late Cardinal John O'Connor. Among other things, the letter detailed "a ring of homosexual Albany presbyters," including Bishop Howard Hubbard's alleged long-term homosexual relationships with two younger priests.
Police won't say how Fr. Minkler died, only that the circumstances surrounding his death are not yet clear. The coroner has yet to release his report of the autopsy. But that's only the beginning. Bishop Hubbard appears to have been caught in a lie. What is not speculation is the fact that Fr. Minkler, a former secretary to Cardinal O'Connor, was asked by the late Archbishop of New York to prepare a brief detailing clerical corruption in the Albany diocese. That report was supposedly delivered directly into the hands of Pope John Paul II during a private 1995 meeting with Cardinal O'Connor, who was allegedly trying to facilitate the removal of the Albany bishop. [Compiled from the Albany Times-Union and other sources]
So, hang in there, traditional Roman Catholics. You are making a difference. It's a tough fight, but when you are fighting for the most precious of things on this earth, the true Faith of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the battle will be fierce. St. Paul knew that. He was a fighter for the true Faith too. He even fought against St. Peter, when Peter was in error. It is not happenstance that St. Paul's own epitaph includes the metaphor of a fight for the Faith:
I have fought a good fight: I have finished my course: I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7/DRV)
May all of us traditional Roman Catholics be able to say the same thing of ourselves. This is not a time for excusing error, evil, and immorality, even in the highest ranks of the Church. This is not the time to accept a counterfeit "Mess" in place of the true Roman Catholic Mass, the Traditional Latin Mass. This is not the time to stand silent while New Order bishops push their own new doctrines in place of the Catholic and Apostolic Deposit of Faith. This is the time to wake from complacency and fight the good fight. This is the time to keep the Faith.
How does one become a Saint? By leading a holy life? By exhibiting heroic virtues? By being the instrument of true miracles from God? No, by being a successful politician!
According to the French daily Le Figaro, the pope is set to beatify next September Robert Schuman, one of the founding fathers of the European Union. The pope will take up an invitation to address the Council of Europe in Strasbourg next September, if his ailing health allows. And he is expected to use this occasion to beatify Mr. Schuman, to underline the Christian roots of Europe.
Robert Schuman is widely seen as the Father of the EU. As French foreign minister in 1950, he proposed that France and Germany should join forces and create the European Coal and Steel Community on an equal footing. Germany agreed, and the first institution of the EU was born. Following this, he was unanimously elected President of what was then known as the Joint Assembly and is now known as the European Parliament.
This is just further proof that the Church of the New Order has become a political organization itself, advocating the secular Novus Ordo Seclorum, which is the Modernist vision of One World Government, not the Catholic vision of government rightly ordered under Our Lord Jesus Christ, King.
But, then, if you were this pope, and you had failed miserably in your oath to maintain the Catholic and Apostolic Deposit of Faith, including the liturgical and sacramental rites handed down as part of that Roman Catholic Deposit of Faith, wouldn't you look to other spheres in which you might achieve the notoriety of man? Wouldn't you turn from religion to politics, much as U.S. Presidents turn to foreign affairs when they can't keep their domestic house in order?
The 25-year pontificate of "JP II" has been an unmitigated disaster for the Roman Catholic Church. It will take innumerable decades to undo the attacks upon the Roman Catholic Faith that have undermined the Church since 1978. In the viewpoint of history, this pontificate may well be judged more disastrous than that of Liberius, Honorius, or Alexander VI.
Dear Fr. Moderator:
To follow up on your comments pertaining to anti-Roman bigotry, I offer the following. Through their loud protests, the radical Talmudists, like Abraham Foxman of the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League, did nothing more than call attention to the part of the Jews in the Passion and Death of our Lord. I may be wrong, but I imagine that, even in this post-Christian age, few indeed are the people who do not know that, historically, it was Christ's "own nation," as Pilate put it, who handed him over to the Romans, and brought all the pressure they could upon him to impose the horrifying and ignominious sentence upon Him.
According to the Evangelists, after Our Lord's terrible scourging, Pilate brought him forth before the people (not the priests, His accusers) in the hope of eliciting some pity from them to outweigh the demands of their Jewish leaders. But "the Scribes and Pharisees" had anticipated this move and excited the crowd to shout for His crucifixion; in a word, they organized the mob. When Christ was on the Cross, the hatred of the Scribes and Pharisees was unsatiated until He was dead.
It was a Roman centurion, not any of the Jewish leaders, who exclaimed at the end, "Truly, this man was the Son of God" (Matthew 27:54/DRV).
Isn't it amazing that Mel Gibson and his movie The Passion of the Christ are being attacked as anti-Semitic, but homicide bombers in the Holy Land aren't?
Isn't it amazing that the movie about Christ's crucifixion was then attacked for portraying "almost pornographic violence," but Saving Private Ryan is described as a "brutally realistic story of honor and courage"?
Isn't it amazing that some people say that the The Passion of the Christ offends them, yet when Christians were offended by The Last Temptation of Christ, they were told to be more open-minded?
Isn't it amazing that Mel Gibson is being attacked for the fact that his movie is a success because of all the pre-release "hype," when that "hype" was nothing but attacks on him?
Isn't it amazing that Andy Rooney can get away with name-calling and asking how much money Mel Gibson stands to make on the crucifixion, but no one asked Steven Spielberg how dare he profit from his movie on the "holocaust"?
Isn't it amazing that Mel Gibson's response to all of his critics and detractors is to say that one of the most important things Jesus teaches is to love and forgive our enemies?
Hee, hee, hee! Well, it sure looks as if Mel Gibson had the last laugh over the anti-Catholic bigots like Abe Foxman, mouthpiece of the B'nai B'rith Anti Defamation League, which eschews defamation of Jews while promoting defamation of Catholics. Moreover, the vast majority of the public has seen Foxman & Company for what they are: filled with unmitigated envy and malice. Against the shrill cries of Foxman, there was no upswing in anti-Jewish crimes, no synagogue burnings. It seems that the only flames of hatred turned out to be those of Foxman against Gibson and other traditional Catholics.
The very week that saw Hollywood's Leftists give the 2003 Best Picture award to Lord of the Rings: Return of the King also saw Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ outdraw Rings with a box-office take of $125,200,000, the greatest debut in movie history by a film opening on a Wednesday. Rings drew only $124,100,000.
Oh, how the studio bosses must be gnashing their teeth today after refusing to finance or distribute the movie. The total was almost $8,000,000 more than distributor Newmarket first estimated, because far more people turned out on the First Sunday of Lent to see Gibson's film. Associated Press reported that the movie "is positioned to get even bigger as the Roman Catholic season of Lent leads up to Easter on April 11." Rob Schwartz of Newmarket predicted "The Passion" could gross up to $350,000,000 in the United States and Canada alone. Pretty good for a movie that cost Gibson only about $30,000,000 to make.
What bugs the anti-Catholic -- dare we say anti-traditional Catholic -- Foxmans is that Gibson will put a significant amount of this money not into some leftist "holocaust" memorial, but into a traditional Catholic church in Agoura Hills, California. Heck, Gibson will now have more money than the arch-heretic cardinal of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony. Perhaps Gibson will be moved to build a real, traditional, cathedral for Los Angeles to butt heads with the pagan "Taj Mahony" shrine recently built by Roger the Apostate.
The movie could have reached even more people if the theaters hadn't been so foolish in limiting the number of the screens. Reports have come from all over the United States that showings have sold out for weeks in advance. It is now harder to get a ticket for Passion than to get one for a popular Broadway play!
Will Passion win the Academy Award for 2004? Will it even be nominated? What will Leftist Hollywood do with a traditional Catholic blockbuster?!
Pope Pius XII said: "The day the Church abandons her universal tongue [Latin] is the day before she returns to the catacombs." The New Order Church did not heed that warning, nor that of Pope John XXIII, whom it claims as its own. New Order presbyters are, as a rule, not familiar with the official Catholic Bible. They cannot read the doctrinal documents of the Fathers, the popes, and the councils.
Translations into the vulgar tongues are by nature inaccurate and easily phonied up by the New Order, so cannot be trusted. A number of instances of this in the New American Bible of the New Order and in a defective version of Denziger's Enchridion Symbolorum going around are excellent examples of this corruption. No wonder New Order presbyters don't know Catholicism from a hole in the wall. They fall prey to all kinds of Protestant, even pagan, notions.
If Pope John XXIII's requirements in Veterum Sapientia of 1962 for priests to learn Latin, thoroughly, had been heeded, we might not now have the Church of the New Order, the Counterfeit Church. The New Order could never have been put over in Latin. There is just too much doctrinal solidity in the language from its 2000-year Catholic Tradition.
CWN reports that a new document on the use of Latin in the Church, and the teaching of Latin in seminaries, is expected sometime this year. Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski, the Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, has confirmed that he hopes that the document being prepared by that Congregation will be published in 2004.
"In order not to mutilate herself, the Church cannot fail to conserve her tradition and patrimony written in Latin," the Polish cardinal remarked during a February 25 meeting in Rome. He pointed out that Latin remains the official language of the Roman Church, and the official documents of the magisterium are written in that language. Therefore, he concluded, the Church needs priests who are familiar with the language, in order to ensure that they fully understand Catholic teachings.
Cardinal Grocholewski expressed regret that previous Vatican statements encouraging the teaching of Latin in Catholic seminaries -- such as Pope John XXIII's Veterum Sapentia of 1962 -- are clearly not being applied. He added that Pope John Paul II had also encouraged Latin study in his 1979 Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana, and the 1983 Code of Canon Law states calls for a "good understanding" of Latin among Catholic priests. On the 40th anniversary of Veterum Sapentia, Pope John Paul said that he would like to see "an ever stronger love for that language among the candidates for the priesthood."
The Congregation for Catholic Education, which is preparing the new document on the use of Latin, is asking a group of Latin scholars to review the proposed text. After that editorial review, the document will be sent to the presidents of the world's episcopal conferences before being made public. Cardinal Grocholewski indicated that he hoped that entire process would be complete before the end of 2004. [CWN]
Thank God, SSPX Chief Bishop Fellay was forced to back off "negotiations" with the New Order apparatus at the Vatican. Now it seems that the SSPX is swinging back to taking a hard line against the New Order apparatus, as is only right and just. Independent traditional priests have been doing so for some time.
In accordance with the new "hardline" approach, on February 22, an SSPX priest from an retreat house in California publicly denounced Bishop Patrick McGrath, of San Jose, for heresy. The priest was responding to a stand taken by the bishop against the historical truth of the four Gospels. Bishop McGrath wrote the heretical comments as part of an op-ed piece that appeared in the February 1 edition of the San Jose Mercury News:
The four gospels ... are not historical accounts of the historical events that they narrate. They are theological reflections upon the events that form the core of Christian faith and belief.
The SSPX priest said the bishop had contradicted official teachings of the Church and thereby committed heresy. He hoisted the Modernist bishop by his own petard, quoting from the Modernists' own council, Vatican II:
Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven. [Dei Verbum 19 of 1965]
Previously, the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office of Pope St. Pius X had condemned in 1907 the errors of the Modernists, including the following error: "The narrations of John are not properly history, but a mystical contemplation of the Gospel. The discourses contained in his Gospel are theological meditations, lacking historical truth concerning the mystery of salvation."
Perhaps now other New Order bishops will be publicly condemned for their Modernistic dis-Catholicism. My vote for the next one to be "dissed" from the ranks of Catholicism is the worst of them all, Roger Cardinal Mahony, of Los Angeles.
The U.S. Conference of [New Order] Catholic Bishops has weighed in now on Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. The USCCB tries to whitewash the Jews and blame the Romans instead. "The Roman soldiers are unimaginably -- even gleefully -- sadistic in flaying Jesus to within an inch of his life. The Passion is exceedingly graphic in its portrayal of the barbarities of Roman justice." Well, isn't anti-Romanism just as bad as anti-Semitism?
On the contrary, the Roman governors, and the military troops under them, were held to a high standard of justice because the emperor believed in the practicality that this would keep the peace and keep the taxes rolling in. Pontius Pilate's predecessor was canned because he riled up the people. And Judaea was a particular hotbed, where the governor had to be extremely careful not to do anything too provocative. The Jews had a great deal of "clout" at Rome, with the emperor Tiberius, a Judaeophile, in particular. Gibson quite accurately portrayed this fact in the film in the biblical account of the actions and words of Pontius Pilate.
Remember the episode of the Roman centurion in the Gospels? If the Roman soldier knew one thing, it was how to obey and the consequences for not doing so. These soldiers, as portrayed by Gibson, violated the command of the procurator, violated the command of the centurion, violated the command of the magister disciplinae. This would have been unthinkable on the part of a Roman soldier.
As an actual military man wrote me: "As a military officer and an amateur historian of the Roman Empire, I agree with your appraisal of the disciplinary aspect, that a Roman soldier would not needlessly engage in such behavior (pre-trial beating and subsequent and continuous scourging)."
In fact, the Romans gave the Jews the only peace they had. On the whole, Judaea was administered justly, even tolerantly. True, the Jews didn't like to be under Rome's law, but the historical record shows that even the Pharisees were happy to treat with Pilate as long as he gave them freedom of religion and the control over it.
I'm not going to write a review because I think that each person must judge must see and judge the film for himself.
The interest of serious artistic works is that different people can have different opinions on their merits. This is a serious film and has many good qualities, but I also had some difficulties with it as well. I think that it will take some time to digest properly. Here are some preliminary comments.
For me, the extreme brutality of the film, which appeared to exceed even biblical testimonies, got in the way of a broader spiritual and theological understanding of the important events portrayed. (The R rating - no one admitted under 17 is a good rule of thumb for those who asked me about taking children.) Outside of a few quick flashbacks to the Last Supper and the Sermon on the Mount, there was very little that indicated what the purpose of all this suffering was. Remember, the vast majority of viewers will not be traditional Catholics.
I missed a sense of poetry in the film. The Greek epic poet Homer also dealt with a subject of brutality, the Trojan War, in the Iliad, but Homer was much more effective in turning the reader's gaze away at numerous points from endless bloody scenes to lift the mind to a higher understanding of purpose.
My recommendation is that this Lent everyone read, slowly and looking for many levels of spiritual understanding, the accounts of the Passion by the four Evangelists. I think that this is one of those cases where the "book" was better than the film.
I noticed a few inaccuracies in the Latin and in minor details (the Greek inscription was omitted from the title over the Cross). For the cognoscenti, it was a little jarring that the Ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation was used, even though this did not exist until almost a millennium and a half after the time of the film.
I did find it interesting that Christ spoke to Pilate in Latin. I can buy that. St. John and the other evangelists do not mention translators, and there is no reason not to think that Christ would not have an acquaintance with that tongue.
I did, however, find it incongruous that Pilate spoke to the Pharisees and the crowd in a local tongue. I doubt that Pilate would, after three years, be particularly fluent in the local patois, and even if he were, he would not, as the representative of the Roman empire, stoop to use that language from the judgment seat.
I regret that Gibson decided to go with partial subtitles. I found them distracting rather than helpful. For those who did not know the story, a few subtitles would not acquaint them with it.
The film seemed to miss obvious dramatic opportunities. For example, for the last scene, when the earthquake rips the temple in two and splits the propitiation seat (?) in the Temple, I wondered why Gibson didn't choose to portray prominently the actual biblical picture of the great veil of the Temple covering the Sancta Sanctorum being ripped in two, by Divine force, from top to bottom, indicating the end of the Old Covenant.
There were some inventive, and, I think, successful, creative points in the film. One was the incorporation of the Devil theme. The scene in which the camera pans across the malicious faces of the Pharisees, and one sees the Devil floating amongst them was brilliant and lifted the literal to the spiritual for one of the unfortunately few times in the film. (I could, however, have done without the strange demons.)
The character of Caiphas was certainly a highlight. The actor was able to sustain malice consistently through the entirety of the film, never (except perhaps in one instance) indicating any compassion for the Christ. In this, I think that we really saw the malice of the Jewish leaders, particularly Caiphas, that is portrayed in the Evangelists. One had to wonder how he could stand by, watching every scene of the brutal Passion, and never (except briefly on perhaps two occasions) even flinch at what he was doing to a human being.
The highlight for me, was the scenes of Pilate and his wife Claudia. were perhaps the only scenes of civilization in the entire film. The character of Pilate was the most complex in the film, and Gibson has portrayed him exactly as I have always seen him in the Gospels. It has always been my sense that Pilate is the most interesting figure in the whole Passion story, as best portrayed by St. John. His motivations are quite complex, and there are little clues to his state of mind throughout the Gospels.
He is a man torn in a moral quandary. Does he believe in truth or not? Does he believe in the Christ or not? Is he filled with a sense for Roman justice, or is he a practical politician? The film does not answer these questions, nor should it. The Coptic Christians hold that Pilate became a Saint. Through this portrayal, we might see how that could be possible.
Pilate's wife is hardly mentioned in the Gospels, saying that she "sent" to Pilate not to have anything to do with this just man. Here, Gibson portrays the episodes within the context of a personal relationship with Pilate. Gibson's creative addition of Pilate's wife giving, in silence, to the Mary the linens to bind Christ's wounds was one of the most touching scenes of all, again lifting the brutality to let us see some of its purpose.
As for Abe Foxman and all his "anti-Semitism" propaganda, seeing the film made such contentions even more ridiculous than when I had accused him of anti-Catholic bigotry in past Commentaries. I honestly cannot see how "the Jews," particularly of the modern day, will be associated in people's minds with the highly costumed historical figures of the Pharisees portrayed.
Is the film effective in its purpose? What is that purpose? The answer is not something that some reviewer is going to tell you. It is something that you will have to think upon for yourself. One thing is certain, and that is that the film is a substantial piece of cinematic work that people will be discussing from now on.Return to Commentaries from the Mailbox.