24. December, 2014Blog Post16 comments
A recent post on the Archdiocese of Washington blog by Monsignor Charles Pope, How a Paragon of Liturgical Tradition May Have Caused Unintended Effects, has gotten a good bit of attention in traditional circles.
In this post, Msgr. Pope attempts to make the case that the unilateral changes made to the Roman Breviary by Pope St. Pius X in 1911, which “arguably did away with almost 1500 years of tradition,” set a precedent for the “sweeping changes” that were inflicted upon the Mass by Pope Paul VI.
This premise leads Msgr. Pope to posit that “the Liturgy is just too important to have it all depend on the notions of one man, even a holy man like Pius X.”
As such, he imagines that the best case scenario is one in which the local bishop enjoys enough authority over the liturgy to prevent a future ham-handed pope from inflicting his personal tastes upon the Mass as it’s celebrated in his local Church, while at the same time keeping a sufficient degree of control in the hands of the pope in order to prevent “too much diversity” in the way the Rite is celebrated in various locations.
Msgr. Pope concludes, therefore:
I have to disagree all the way around, beginning with the premise.
The changes that were made to the Roman Breviary by Pope St. Pius X in no way set a precedent for the destruction of the Mass that took place at the hands of Paul VI for several reasons:
Monsignor Pope himself suggests the first of these when he states that “the issue may seem minor to those unfamiliar with the Office…”
Since the great majority of Catholics have little exposure to the Liturgy of the Hours, when a pope makes changes to the Office such as Pope St. Pius X did, he does so knowing that this will have but a limited, or perhaps secondary, impact on Catholic life as a whole.
Unlike the Breviary, assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation is a precept of the Church that all must observe. Any changes made to the Mass, therefore, will necessarily have an immediate, universal, impact on Catholic life.
Given the principle “lex orandi, lex credendi,” the drastic changes that were made to the actual content of the Mass by Paul VI quite predictably led to a change in the content of what is believed by those who pray it. (Based on the witness of the last fifty years, could anything possibly be more obvious?)
As such, the burden placed upon Paul VI to tread with caution relative to the Mass was exponentially greater than that placed upon Pius X relative to the Breviary.
All of this having been said, it is important to note that Pope St. Pius X, properly speaking, did not change the content of the Breviary, but rather the arrangement of the Psalter. Now, one may wish to argue that doing so was a poor decision, but the reality is that the changes that were made in this case were of a disciplinary nature.
The same cannot be said of the changes that were made to the Mass by Paul VI.
On these points alone, the comparison being drawn by Msgr. Pope falls short; it is truly a matter of apples and oranges.
And then there is the matter of Quo Primum and its binding effect on future popes…
Rather than attempting to restate the argument here, I invite you to view the video below wherein canonist Fr. Gregory Hesse (starting at approximately the 7:40 mark) argues that the Missale Romanum promulgated by Pope Pius V in 1570, as decreed in Quo Primum, cannot be changed by future popes.
As for the notion that less centralized control of the liturgy can reasonably serve to curb the kind of destruction that was wrought on the Mass by Pope Paul VI, this strikes me as a recipe for further disaster.
While the Pauline assault on the Mass was unprecedented in the extreme, on a much smaller scale, we already know what enhanced “local control” looks like and it’s not very pretty.
There is a staggering degree of diversity in the way in which the Novus Ordo is celebrated even now, not just between various Sees in a given nation, but even among neighboring parishes in a given diocese. If you think we have too much liturgical diversity now at the hands of those who have usurped an authority that is not their own, just imagine the effect that a codification of enhanced local authority would have!
Not only would this exacerbate the problem of endless innovation in the Novus Ordo world (setting aside for the present discussion the deficiencies inherent to the rite), it could open the door for the same disease to infect the traditional Mass.
The problem under discussion; namely, that of the post-conciliar liturgical changes that run roughshod over centuries of tradition, stems neither from there being too much control in the hands of one man, nor the precedent supposedly set by Pope Pius X, but rather from a derogation of duty and a stunning lack of sensus catholicus on the part of the one man in whose hands that authority was placed on 21 June 1963; Pope Paul VI.
It was this that opened the way for him to do what no other pope in the previous four hundred years would even dare.
What Paul VI did to the Mass was not just the “heavy-handed use of papal power” as Msgr. Pope suggested; rather, it was a grave abuse of papal power and a clear violation of what every pope from Pius V forward, at least until the time of Pius XII, understood to be the law of the Church.
For this there simply is no precedent whatsoever to be found in the pontificate of Pope St. Pius X.
While it is true that even a holy pope can make an error in judgment, if the sacred liturgy is first and foremost an action of Jesus Christ, and we know that it is, it is right that its regulation should rest largely on the authority of His Vicar.
The one thing that is most needed in order to rectify the crisis at hand, liturgical and otherwise, is a pope who has an ability to sentire cum ecclesia; that is, a Roman Pontiff who genuinely thinks and feels and is willing to act according to the mind of the Holy Catholic Church as made known throughout the centuries.
May the Lord in His mercy grant us just such a Holy Father soon.
23. December, 2014Blog Post13 comments
His Christmas address to the Roman Curia was rife with such staples of his pontificate as name-calling and insult hurling, imparting to God who is the same yesterday, today and forever a penchant for “innovation” (thus the “God of surprises”), and of course a little gasoline for stoking the flames of class warfare.
On the latter point, he also managed to toss in yet another mainstay of his papacy; the twisting of salvation history as set forth in Sacred Scripture:
Can it be that Pope Francis has never heard of Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimithea, or the Magi, or does he deliberately choose to overlook certain parts of the Faith when doing so seems expedient?
Surely he could have made a case for the “poor in spirit” otherwise.
In any event, this pope’s appetite for pitting the wealthy and powerful against the poor and meager appears to know no bounds; in fact, it is downright Obamaesque.
23. December, 2014Blog Post10 comments
Yes, it was a noteworthy speech indeed, but its only claim to “greatness” lies exclusively in the degree to which it provides a brutally vivid image of the deplorable state of the Catholic Church in our day; one in which she no longer holds herself out as the bulwark of truth established by Jesus Christ, so that through her “the true light that enlightens every man” (John 1:9) might illuminate this world so often darkened by sin and error.
The simple fact that the European Parliament felt compelled to break out in applause more than a dozen times over the course of a roughly thirty minute speech is indication enough that Pope Francis wasn’t preaching Jesus Christ that day; on the contrary, he was once more extolling the virtues of man.
I’ll provide some relevant quotes momentarily, but first, consider:
- In a text of some 3,700 words, Jesus Christ is mentioned a grand total of ZERO times
- Likewise, the Holy Catholic Church is mentioned not even once
- A generic reference to “God” is offered just four times, and this with no effort whatsoever to distinguish between the one true God of revelation and the many false ones invented by man
- “Christianity” scores but three mentions, while “Christians” are named but twice
- Humanity, humans, man, etc. are invoked throughout the speech nearly three dozen times
I recommend reading the speech in its entirety, painful though it may be, as it is highly instructive in the ways of those who labor to supplant the Church of Christ with the church-of-man even as they indiscriminately utter phrases drawn from the vocabulary of the Faith.
For example, the Holy Father frames his speech as “a message of hope in the Lord, who turns evil into good and death into life.”
Sounds promising enough until he says in the very next breath:
As for the nature of that “transcendent dignity,” the Holy Father states:
Curious, is it not, that Pope Francis, he who is so quick to label faithful Catholics “Neo-Pelagian,” should flirt with the error of Pelagius who promoted the notion that man possesses a natural ability to choose good over evil.
That aside, this could have been a launching point for invoking Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church (otherwise known as the way in which God has chosen to redeem fallen man, thereby enabling him to enter once more into relation with Himself), but alas, it was not to be.
In fact, Pope Francis makes it very clear that the “relation” he has in mind consists of mankind’s relationship with other men:
Unmentioned throughout the speech is man’s obligation to God, much less to Christ the King to whom all authority in Heaven and on earth has been given, which just so happens to be every human being’s primary obligation!
At every turn, just as it appears that the Holy Father is about to point the way to Christ, he brings the conversation back to man.
Posing the million dollar question, Pope Francis rhetorically asks:
He begins his answer by speaking of an “openness to the transcendent – to God – which has always distinguished the peoples of Europe,” but then, true to form, the humanist within comes rushing to the fore:
Here, Pope Francis is encouraging others to join him in drinking deeply from the shallow well of John Paul the Great Humanist who never tired of preaching the so-called “primacy of the human person.”
He is a son of the post-conciliar church; as such, he considers the act of serving one’s fellow man as evidence enough of one’s openness to “God,” regardless of how one may perceive of Him.
It is perhaps for this reason that Jesus Christ and His Church merited no mention in this speech whatsoever.
As for “Christianity,” the Holy Father said:
And of what, pray tell, might that contribution consist?
While this may strike many an American ear as a most reasonable proposition, when read through an authentically Catholic lens, the pope’s reassurance represents an obvious repudiation of the Lord’s Sovereignty.
In short, Pope Francis does not believe that he bears any obligation to work for the “Christianization” of the world, which just so happens to be the very mission that was given to the Church by Christ.
In fairness, the same can be said of every pope who has reigned from John XXIII forward, but Pope Francis is by far the most aggressive of the lot in building the church-of-man.
There are those who might insist that we should assume, in charity, that Pope Francis truly does desire as clearly he ought that all men, societies and nations should accept what Pope Pius XI called “the sweet and saving yoke of Christ the King;” he simply doesn’t communicate that desire as plainly as some would like.
That’s a nice thought save for just one small problem…
It ignores the plain and indisputable fact that Pope Francis has been known to publicly dissuade those outside of the Church from entering her; i.e., he not only neglects the evangelizing mission that Christ gave to His Church, he actively, and without any hint of compunction, works to undermine it!
At the heart of this effrontery lies the hyper-inflated sense of human dignity that was sown throughout the Council documents and henceforth spread its way like an invasive weed in seminaries the world over, only to quickly occupy a place of prominence in the “magisterium” that proceeded therefrom.
It was in this environment that the Generalissimo of the conciliar revolution, Jorge Bergoglio, would be nurtured and formed:
“I am the first pope who … studied theology after the Council and, at that time, for us the great light was Paul VI.” – Pope Francis
And so it is that the nations of the world continue to dwell in darkness.
19. December, 2014Blog Post27 comments
In a recent First Things column, George Weigel attempted to defend Pope Francis against the allegedly false impression so many have that he is “some kind of radical wild-man, eager to toss into the garbage bin of history” the more traditional aspects of the Catholic faith.
And you’ll never guess who he blames for perpetrating this distortion…
According to Weigel, it’s the media’s fault for “filtering out” of their reporting Pope Francis’ teachings in defense of tradition.
In this, one cannot but recognize the similarity between the modus operandi of the neo-conservative papal excuse makers and the Obama worshipping political left, as each group has created a scapegoat that can be flogged whenever their chosen idol is properly criticized; for the latter, it’s George W. Bush, for the former, it’s the big bad media.
As evidence of this media filter, Weigel points, among other things, to the pope’s “passionate defense of marriage as the stable union of a man and a woman, which he underscored in an address to the Schoenstatt movement right after Synod 2014.”
True enough, this address didn’t exactly make international headlines, but let’s not pretend that it was a “passionate defense” of tradition; in truth, it was nothing more than a pope reiterating immutable Catholic doctrine.
This is what popes are supposed to do!
So, why, one wonders, would George Weigel expect the media to alert the world to a run-of-the-mill occurrence such as this?
I mean, wouldn’t that be like me notifying my auto mechanic every time my truck starts?
Consider this; my truck starting really would be news if I hadn’t been able to get it going for some twenty-one months.
With this in mind, Weigel is actually on to something, even though all indications are that he doesn’t quite possess the wherewithal to connect the dots.
You see, the only reason any Catholic might consider a pope speaking like a pope newsworthy (Weigel included, even if only subconsciously), is the plain fact that he so often attacks the doctrines of the Faith!
In the present case, everyone who is paying attention realizes that the greatest challenge facing the Church as it concerns her treatment of marriage is Pope Francis himself; otherwise, the pope repeating the Faith of the Church on the matter wouldn’t even merit a yawn.
Lastly, Weigel concluded with another favored maneuver of the defenders of all things Francis; he played the Devil card:
Need I remind Mr. Weigel that “the last pope in decades” to so regularly refer to Satan was none other than Pope Paul VI; the Jimmy Carter of popes who will forever be remembered in history as he whose ineptitude paved the way for a period of unprecedented upheaval in Catholic life; including having presided over the greatest liturgical disaster the Church has ever, and very likely will ever, have to endure.
Perhaps Pope Paul of bitter memory found the Devil’s name on the tip of his tongue so frequently because he was so often, knowingly or not, marching to the Evil One’s orders.
In any case, it is at once interesting and a cause for deep concern that our current Holy Father has confirmed that for him, “the great light was Paul VI.”
And so the upheaval continues…
16. December, 2014Blog Post7 comments
He doesn’t really look all that well to me. Watching coverage of his trip to Turkey, I thought he looked more drained than ever. A younger man would likely be exhausted from that trip as well, so who knows…
That said, watching (as a form of mortification) the Papal Mass offered at St. Peter’s Basilica for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, however, gives rise to new concerns. In the brief excerpt below, you’ll see and hear that his breathing seems terrible. And for the record, this was just before the Confiteor and well prior to the band banging out their pulse raising version of the Gloria in Creole Latin hoedown style.
(If you’ve not had the… ahem… pleasure of viewing it yet, a clip is available at Catholic Family News. Go, take a look and offer up the suffering for the Holy Souls.)
Now, let me be clear… I’m not praying for the pope’s demise (as some have been quick to accuse in the past).
Truth be known, I pray and fast often for his conversion, and given this most recent indication that his health is not very good, I would urge all concerned to redouble their efforts to do the same.
16. December, 2014Blog Post13 comments
The Holy See has published the Lineamenta (preparatory document) for the Ordinary Synod of Bishops that will take place next October, and it includes yet another questionnaire.
Quoting from the Relatio Synodi published at the end of the Extraordinary Synod, we are assured:
It’s about time we plotted a course along that long sought-after path which has lain hidden from humanity’s sight in spite of the best efforts of the Saints, the Doctors of the Church, and every Holy Roman Pontiff who happened to have had the misfortune of reigning prior to Pope John XXIII.
As for “all of God’s people” who will be invited to help the Synod find its way, I would remind those of you with a short memory that this really means homo-sympathizers, adulterers, and perhaps an over-sexed senior citizen or two.
The Lineamenta prefaces the questions with the following statement of purpose [emphasis added]:
Well, no one can say that the revolutionaries have hidden their real agenda from sight! In the space of this solitary sentence we are given two crucial pieces of information (in reverse order):
First, the “path already indicated” is NOT based on “an application of doctrine,” and secondly, we’ve been put on notice; the Ordinary Synod is going to do its damnedest to “avoid” applying the doctrine going forward.
This isn’t just the language of revolution; it’s the language of revolutionaries who are convinced of their ability to prevail. Buckle up.
12. December, 2014Blog Post36 comments
In addition to the brilliant one-liners offered in his La Nacion interview, following are some notes on the pope’s more serious comments.
- Pope Francis mentioned that nasty old “proselytism” no less than five times.
OK, OK, we get it, Holy Father; that venerable practice otherwise known as the mission that Jesus Christ gave to the Church is still on hold. So noted.
- The Holy Father said with respect to opposition to his agenda:
“Resistance is now evident. And that is a good sign for me, getting the resistance out into the open, no stealthy mumbling when there is disagreement … it´s very healthy.”
This only reinforces the prediction that I made just prior to the Synod’s closing:
Pope Francis will close the Extraordinary Synod by extending words of deep gratitude to the bishops for their hard work and openness to frank dialogue. He may perhaps even make a little joke and flash a “humble” grin, but make no mistake; this is no laughing matter, neither for the pope nor for those men who stood up in opposition to his agenda of “mercy.”
Watch for the Bergoglian Retribution to unfold over the next year as his foes (read: defenders of the Catholic faith no matter how lukewarm) are duly compensated for their offense.
How he does this may not be public nor immediately obvious, and while his retributive injustice may not include every last name on his hit list, rest assured he will make examples of enough of them that the others will get the message.
- Concerning the Curia’s reform, the pope said, “You see, in pre-conclave meetings, as cardinals we have demanded lots of things which we should certainly not forsake.”
This isn’t the first time Pope Francis has indicated that he is in some sense beholden to an agenda that was set by the cardinal electors prior to the conclave. If the translation is to be trusted, the Holy Father stops short of suggesting that an agreement was made (as some suspect), but that said, “demand” is a rather strong word in its own right; one that leaves the door open for more speculation.
- The Synodal process, according to the pope, is “a protected space where the Holy Spirit may endeavour.”
It was unsettling enough when Pope Francis suggested that the breath of the Holy Spirit inspired the text of the Second Vatican Council, but the Synod?
Well, that’s the “God of surprises” for you, I suppose!
Pope Paul VI set the stage for this nonsense when he established the Synod for the purpose of allowing the bishops, together with the pope, “to facilitate agreement, at least on essential matters of doctrine and on the course of action to be taken in the life of the Church.” (Apostolic Letter, Apostolica Sollicitudo)
Sounds harmless enough until you consider the plain fact that there really are no “essential matters of doctrine” over which legitimate disagreements exist, and when there is such disagreement expressed, we have a name for it; heresy.
- This brings me to the “case of divorcees who have remarried,” as the pope called them.
According to Pope Francis, “We posed the question, what do we do with them? What door can we allow them to open?
I have a couple of questions of my own: Who says we have to do anything with them that isn’t already being done?
In other words, from where is this sense of urgency coming?
To be sure, unlike the homosexualist movement referenced in the previous post, the numbers of Catholics who are civilly divorced and remarried is indeed appreciable.
Even so, don’t be fooled; the urgency isn’t a response to the pleas of the “divorcees” themselves, it’s a fruit of the insatiable desire to reform that is part and parcel of the conciliar revolution.
Consider the “problem” as presented for our consideration by the pope:
In the case of divorcees who have remarried, we posed the question, what do we do with them? What door can we allow them to open? This was a pastoral concern: will we allow them to go to Communion? Communion alone is no solution. The solution is integration. They have not been excommunicated, true. But they cannot be godfathers to any child being baptized, mass readings are not for divorcees, they cannot give communion, they cannot teach Sunday school, there are about seven things that they cannot do, I have the list over there. Come on! If I disclose any of this it will seem that they have been excommunicated in fact!
OK, let me get this straight…
“Divorcees” are barred from reading the Scriptures at Holy Mass and disqualified from teaching Sunday school?
Not to be flippant, but on what planet is this the case?
Come to think of it, where exactly are those Catholic parishes, the pastors of which encourage (much less enforce) abstention from Holy Communion on the part of “divorcees who have remarried” until such time as they remedy their situation?
It’s difficult enough to find a bishop with the wherewithal to even suggest that notorious pro-abortion politicians abstain from Communion, and the pope thinks there’s an urgent need to make sure “divorcees” aren’t barred from acting as godparents and handing out Jesus on Sunday?
This is wholesale lunacy.
Having spent many a year in the Novus Ordo world, a number of them while abstaining from Holy Communion until my own marriage was regularized, I know firsthand that all but a tiny percentage of the people present rush forth to receive the Eucharist at every single Mass.
Oh, the “divorcees who have remarried” are there, and indeed some in this situation do willingly abstain from the sacraments, but the overwhelming majority simply march right on up for Communion with the rest of the herd. And what’s more, the pastor knows it.
In fact, unless you happen to be one of those fortunate few who belongs to a parish that has some crypto-Lefebvrean tendencies or otherwise tends to lean in what Pope Francis would call a neo-pelagian restorationist direction, the proper disposition for the reception of Holy Communion is a message you will rarely if ever hear discussed.
That, my friends, is the real problem, and it’s an old one.
The failure of our pastors to teach the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine and to rule accordingly has been a problem for more than forty years now thanks to the earthbound, man centered orientation of the Second Vatican Council.
Our Blessed Lord warned His Apostles, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me first.”
And yet the vast majority of the hierarchy today, not just including, but especially the pope, give forth every indication that they simply are not willing to risk being hated for His sake; preferring instead to conjure up solutions to make believe problems, all in an effort to court the affections of men.
11. December, 2014Blog Post32 comments
So, according to Pope Francis, “We come across this reality all the time.”
That’s odd. Just a moment later he tells us, “This happened to me several times in Buenos Aires.”
So, which is it, Holy Father?
Does it come up “all the time,” or is this something that one might encounter just “several times” over the course of a forty year ecclesial career?
“We have to find a way!”
Alarmist talk such as this has always been the stock and trade of revolutionaries both within the Church and without.
John Courtney Murray, for example, in an attempt to anoint with Catholic chrism the American Constitutional model of religious liberty, the same eventually adopted at the Second Vatican Council, sent the following urgent plea to the future Pope Paul VI in a 1950 memorandum:
In the present case, Pope Francis’ rhetoric seems to come straight from the playbook of the LGBT revolutionaries who, as a matter of strategy, have been deliberately lying about the prevalence of homosexuality for years; repeating the preposterous claim that some 10% of the population is gay, when study after study reveals that it’s really less than 2%.
Though unmentioned in the interview, consider a related alarmist claim that is being put forth by the Synodalistas; namely, the ludicrous assertion that the Church must create pastoral initiatives to address “people living in [same sex] unions [who] request a child’s baptism.” (cf Instrumentum Laboris for the Extraordinary Synod)
Let’s take a moment to consider just how urgent that need is, or is not, by applying some common sense to what we know to be true; beginning with the fact that less than 2% of the population is “homosexual.”
Now, even though it’s no secret that homosexuals as a whole are notoriously promiscuous (i.e., they’re not exactly the “marrying” type), let’s just say for the sake of argument that every last one of them is in an allegedly “stable” (don’t laugh) so-called “same-sex union.”
This would mean that of the general population, less than 1% is comprised of a “unit” that one might consider a “same sex couple” (assuming that they connect in twos in spite of this being dangerously close to adhering to a “norm”).
The LBGT activist group known as GLADD claims that roughly one-quarter of same sex couples are raising children.
While there is every reason to suspect that this too is a deliberately inflated figure, playing along for the sake of argument would mean that less than .25% of the general population is comprised of that unit known as “people living in a same sex union raising children.”
Of this group, how many self-identify as Catholic?
In the United States, the figure among the general population is slightly less than 25%. Surely, it is lower among active homosexuals, but let’s just apply that 1-in-4 figure to these couples as well, setting aside the fact that both “partners” aren’t necessarily of the same religion, just for the fun of it.
This would mean that only .0625% (that’s roughly 6 out of 10,000!) of the general population is comprised of that unit known as a “same sex couple that identifies as Catholic raising children.”
Now, of this statistically insignificant group of people, how many are banging on the rectory door “requesting baptism” for their kids?
The obvious answer? Practically none!
Clearly this tiny demographic doesn’t give a flying one-night stand in a gay bar bathroom about the sacraments, much less the doctrines of the Holy Catholic Church.
Of those who claim as much, arguably some small portion thereof really is seeking to respond to the promptings of grace, and God help the cleric who provides accommodation (stones) instead of the unadulterated truth that calls them to conversion (bread).
That said, is there really anyone so naïve as to not realize that the overwhelming majority of those “same sex couples” who claim to desire baptism for their unfortunate children, small in number though they most certainly are, really are looking for little more than for the Church to validate their sexual deviancy?
Well, if we’re charitable, we have to conclude that there are some among us who are so naïve, and one of them is running the show in Rome.
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