The purpose of this post is not to engage in the internecine arguments among various sub-groups of Catholics that The Remnant is trying to address in its full article from which this excerpt is taken. Rather, I wanted to post part of that article, which lists the many real accomplishments of the current pontificate, made all the more remarkable considering the opposition from world opinion leaders and the relatively short time in which they were achieved.
To those who love the Church, rejoice! Pray for the Pope, who has brought about the following good things (as described in the article above):
· the Motu Proprio, a fulcrum on which world history will undoubtedly turn;
· the Pope’s directive to correct the mistranslation of “pro multis” as “for all” in the Novus Ordo consecration formula, and the mistranslation of “Credo” as “we believe” in the Creed;
· the removal of Piero Marini as master of ceremonies at the Vatican and the abolition of his ludicrous and appalling “papal liturgies;”
· the repeal of John Paul II’s liberalization of the rules for the papal conclave, returning to the traditional requirement of a 2/3 vote;
· the coming issuance of new and stricter rules for beatification and canonization, accompanied by the near shut-down of the “saint-making factory” that operated during the prior pontificate (a stupefying 483 saints in 27 years, as compared with 14 canonizations overseen by Benedict since his election nearly three years ago);
· the Pope’s express recognition of the Institute of the Good Shepherd's right—the right of all Catholics—to engage in “constructive criticism” of Vatican II, thereby implicitly confirming that the Council documents have deficiencies warranting criticism (deficiencies the Pope himself critiqued as Cardinal and Father Ratzinger);
· the papal admonition to the new head of the Jesuits that “total adhesion to Catholic doctrine” is expected of the order;
· the Pope’s wearing of the miter of Blessed Pius IX and his return to the usage of a papal throne, instead of the upholstered chair favored by his predecessor;
· the Pope’s celebration of Mass versus Deum in the Sistine Chapel;
· the consistent references to Benedict as “Supreme Pontiff;”
· the Pope’s abstention from the “ecumenical liturgies” and other ecumenical and interreligious spectacles of which the last Pope was so fond;
· the absence of any “cult” of Benedict, who shuns the limelight, yet is attracting more Catholics to his audiences than John Paul II did;
· the dramatic reduction in papal travel to mass events of dubious accomplishments;
· the abandonment of all references to Vatican II as a “renewal,” “springtime,” “New Pentecost” and so forth;
· the urgent petition of Anglican clergy representing 400,000 Anglicans for a return to communion with Rome, submitted directly to Benedict rather than the worse-than-useless Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, because the Anglicans know that Benedict is favorable to the reunion and hope to avoid a roadblock by the Vatican bureaucracy;
· a major thaw in relations with the Orthodox that is clearly the result of the Motu Proprio;
· the Vatican’s call for an international revival of Eucharistic adoration to combat the now-admitted crisis in the priesthood, with the project, launched December 8, to highlight the Virgin Mary’s special role as the mother of every priest.
And, almost as important as the Motu Proprio, an entire encyclical on the supernatural virtue of hope, Spe et Salvi, that says nothing, absolutely nothing, about Vatican II and even passes over in silence the Council’s very document on hope, Gaudium et Spes. Indeed, with its dismissal of the cult of human “progress” through the apotheosis of “reason” as seen in the thought of Bacon and the other apostles of the Enlightenment, Spe et Salvi is practically a refutation of the “optimism” of Gaudium concerning the “modern world.” Without allotting so much as a footnote to Gaudium, the Pope instead cites Theodor Adorno for the proposition that the progress in which modern man places so much faith is essentially “progress from the sling to the atom bomb.” And, by the way, the only ecumenical council the Pope does cite in Spe et Salvi is the Fourth Council of Lateran in 1215, convened by Pope Innocent III to affirm the dogmas of transubstantiation, extra ecclesiam nulla salus, and the papal primacy and to restore the discipline of the priesthood.
In Spe et Salvi His Holiness calls for nothing less than “a self-critique of modernity” and “a self-critique of modern Christianity,” which has lost sight of the true “substance” of hope in the Thomistic—yes, the Thomistic—sense of the word. The Pope also calls for the reunification of Christian faith and reason, the severance of which was the basic Enlightenment project. And the Pope concludes by redirecting the Church’s attention to Purgatory and the Four Last Things, ending the encyclical with these words addressed to the Blessed Virgin: “Thus you remain in the midst of the disciples as their Mother, as the Mother of hope. Holy Mary, Mother of God, our Mother, teach us to believe, to hope, to love with you. Show us the way to his Kingdom! Star of the Sea, shine upon us and guide us on our way!”
Then the Remnant addresses those accomplishments in light of the appropriate response by traditional Catholics who for so many years found themselves marginalized by the institutional Church, and urges them not to hold back in their support of the Holy Father:
Could the signs be any clearer? Benedict is trying to undo the liturgical revolution and move the Church beyond the debilitating miasma of the “spirit of Vatican II” without having to repudiate the Mass of Paul VI or the Council as such. And what is wrong with that? Since when has Roman Catholic traditionalism stood for the proposition that the Pope must abolish the Novus Ordo and formally recant the “errors of Vatican II,” as opposed to repairing the damage to the Church by simply liberating the traditional Mass while putting the Council in its proper place: not a “New Pentecost,” but, to use Cardinal Ratzinger’s own words, “a merely pastoral council” whose documents change nothing of the Faith and whose ambiguous formulations are open to criticism.
Let us pose a few questions to ourselves:
· Is it not completely obvious that the Motu Proprio effectively ended the liturgical revolution by declaring that the traditional Latin Mass “must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage” and that every religious institute and parish in the Church is free to adopt it, so that now it is quite impossible for anyone to say that the Novus Ordo liturgy is “the” liturgical future of the Church?
· Are we really incapable of perceiving that our “movement” has been vindicated by the Pope himself with the Motu Proprio’s admission that the traditional Mass was never abrogated—an admission that validates not only traditionalist opposition to the liturgical revolution, which at least had the false appearance of legality, but also our objections to “ecumenism” and “dialogue,” mere words that have no legal weight or doctrinal content?
· Can we not see that the Pope, with a stroke of his pen—and certainly His Holiness knows this—has radically altered the standing of traditionalism from a movement of reaction at the margins to a legally recognized and protected “mainstream” participation in the official apparatus of the Church?
· Haven’t the Pope’s own “signals,” including his express recognition of the right to engage in constructive criticism of the Council, shown that the spell of the Council was broken with the death of John Paul II?
· If the Pope is no longer talking about the “mandate” of Vatican II but rather of the Council’s continuity with the past, why would we want to keep the issue alive by acting as if Benedict were intent on stealthily implementing the Council’s non-existent mandate, when all of his major initiatives suggest the opposite conclusion?
· Are we not perceptive enough to recognize a turning point in the battle for Tradition, and thus a turning point in world history, even if the end of hostilities is still a long way off?
· Why would we be so perverse as to decline to help keep events moving in the right direction by recognizing that the Pope has shown that to a great extent he is with us, and by suspending criticism in order to get behind his initiatives—unless and until some papal act or omission, such as a real capitulation on the prayer for Jewish conversion, compels us to voice a loyal opposition?
· Or is it that we prefer to remain on the margins, reacting from a merely critical vantage point, even though we now have a Pope who, with gesture after gesture, is clearly calling upon traditionalists—the Catholics who have not changed—to step forward and join him as the reinforcements he desperately needs in a Church whose human element he clearly knows is falling to pieces?
For traditional Catholics, a thought-provoking article. For all Catholics, the excerpt above is a good reason to give thanks for Pope Benedict XVI, and to pray for him.