28 June 2013

They Have Some Valid Points-- They Always Did

The Society of St. Pius X released a statement on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the illicit episcopal consecrations of 1988. In many ways, the statement seems to me to be politically tailored to meet the criticisms of the ousted Bishop Williamson. So I want to emphasize that I am not endorsing the statement on its entirety, which you can read reprinted at Rorate Caeli here. However, there are some real gems in it, that every Catholic ought to ponder. Here are a few:

6- Religious Liberty, as exposed by Dignitatis humanae and its practical application these last fifty years, logically leads to demanding God-made-Man to renounce His reign over man-who-makes-himself-God, which is equivalent to dissolving Christ. In the place of a conduct which is inspired by a solid faith in the real power of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we see the Church being shamefully guided by human prudence and with such self-doubt that she asks nothing other from the State than that which the Masonic Lodges wish to concede to her: the common law in the midst of, and on the same level as, other religions which she no longer dares call false.

7- In the name of a ubiquitous ecumenism (Unitatis redintegratio) and of a vain inter-religious dialogue (Nostra Aetate), the truth about the one true Church is silenced; also, as a large part of the clergy and the faithful no longer see in Our Lord and the Catholic Church the unique way of salvation, they have renounced to convert the adepts of false religions, leaving them rather in ignorance of the unique Truth. This ecumenism has thus literally killed the missionary spirit through seeking a false unity, too often reducing the mission of the Church to that of delivering a message of a purely terrestrial peace and of a humanitarian role of lessening want in the world, placing it thereby in the wake of international organisations.

8- The weakening of faith in Our Lord’s divinity favours a dissolution of the unity of authority in the Church, by introducing a collegial, egalitarian and democratic spirit, (see Lumen Gentium). Christ is no longer the head from which everything flows, in particular the exercise of authority. The Sovereign Pontiff who no longer exercises effectively the fullness of his authority, and the bishops who – contrary to the teaching of Vatican I – esteem that they can collegially and habitually share the fullness of the supreme power, commit themselves thereby, with the priests, to listen to and to follow ‘the people of God,’ the new sovereign. This represents the destruction of authority and in consequence the ruin of Christian institutions: families, seminaries, religious institutes.

6, 7 and 8 seem pretty well-stated to me. Devastating, actually, though of course I would note that the results listed, which I think are not deniable, do not follow from any official change of doctrine but rather from the revolution of many bishops and clergy and religious that preceded and followed the council. They were aided by the ambiguity of the conciliar texts, which ambiguity was no doubt intentional.

In other words, my take [which no one has asked for but which I give anyway] on the issue of 'errors in the texts vs. hermeneutic of rupture' debate is that the texts are capable of a reading consistent with traditional teaching if one gymnasts himself enough, and thus must be given that reading by a faithful Catholic. So far, I'm a hermeneutic of continuity guy.

However, I would add that the texts were intentionally made ambiguous by heterodox participants in the Council and were saved from being necessarily heretical by the Holy Ghost. These texts were thus used intentionally by many to foist erroneous practices and teachings on the faithful, and since the texts in those areas of ambiguity state more poorly the traditional teachings of the Church, the better texts of more ancient documents should be the primary guiding materials. So, don't count me as a person who thinks we just need more time to discover the "riches" of the Council.

But in this, as in all I write, I submit to the Magisterium of the one true Church that Christ Himself founded, and to her correction.

The next paragraph, number 9, I reprint here with some reservations, because it states valid criticisms of the new Mass but is phrased in such a way that I cannot agree with the paragraph in its entirety. So, here it is (with some commentary in parentheses):

9- The New Mass, promulgated in 1969, diminishes the affirmation of the reign of Christ by the Cross (“regnavit a ligno Deus”). (In its implementation, yes. In its texts, relatively, by comparison to the old, yes. In its substance, no.) Indeed, the rite itself curtails and obscures the sacrificial and propitiatory nature of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. (See above.) Underpinning this new rite is the new and false theology of the paschal mystery. (That many hold, yes. As Church teaching, changed by the Council, decidedly not.) Both one and the other destroy Catholic spirituality as founded upon the sacrifice of Our Lord on Calvary. (See above.) This Mass is penetrated with an ecumenical and Protestant spirit, democratic and humanist, which empties out the sacrifice of the Cross. It illustrates the new concept of ‘the common priesthood of the baptised’ which undermines the sacramental priesthood of the priest. (Properly understood, yes. The Mass was redesigned to appeal to Protestants, and we have certainly seen the diminution of the respect for the sacrificial priesthood. But, this is the Mass, and I am uncomfortable with statements that make it seem that these problems are necessarily inherent in it.)

So, there it is.


long pants said...

Either way, they're protestants now.

Athelstane said...

Your comments on the Mass nail it perfectly, Timman. I couldn't have said it better myself...at least not without taking a great deal of time to work it through.

The 1970 Missal is valid, licit (properly celebrated, and it isn't always)...and in notable ways, theologically impoverished. We would be better off starting over again from the Traditional Mass, with only very minor tweaks. But impoverished and flawed (and yes, Protestantized in some degree) though it might be, it's deeply problematic to characterize it in such a way that leads one to conclude that it's no longer Catholic, no longer a true sacrifice.

Limoges said...

The problem with the Novus Ordo is that it leads one to heresy. Not that the Mass itself is invalid, but that, for one example, the Mass being centered on the people as opposed to God leads to a worship of the man first. Ex. Standing and taking communion in the hand leads to a loss in belief that Jesus is truly present in the Host. Not that standing is not accepted but that it leads to the belief that Jesus is not present and thus becomes a more Protestant action of remembrance.

Read Iota Unum and The Mass of All Times and it will clarify what I am talking about and what they say in #9.

thetimman said...

Long pants, the ncregister has little credibility in matters of deciding who is and isn't Catholic. Long run by the disgraced Legion of Christ, it remains under new direction as the equivalent of a "conservative" Catholic wetting a finger and sticking it in the air. Always in the middle, no matter where the middle is, and always politically defined. The GOP of Catholicism, if you will. And always something to sell. There is no consistent moral logic to their stances, other than the tactic of touting thisPope, as I have discussed n other posts.

Real Catholic Tradition scares them to death. They flee it as they would hell fire.

All that being said, its misleading headline is not backed up by the story, even as it appears there.

Fenian said...


If the Novus Ordo Mass is celebrated ad orientem, with Communion at altar rails, Gregorian Chant and the proper Eucharistic Prayer, I can hardly believe that it 'leads one to heresy'.

Is it the TLM? No. But it is hardly a guitar Mass. I assume many that make such comments have never assisted at such a Mass.

PS The Timman sure is posting a lot for being on vacation.

Rory said...

Thank you for the compliment Long Pants.

I did not realize that the SSPX were thought as highly of as Protestants. But somebody hasn't got the word yet. The Church will sell their unused facilities to Protestants. The Church would rather let their properties burn than sell them to the SSPX.

Limoges said...

Fenian - if you are going to do all the things you suggest at a Novus Ordo, then what's the point. Why the change in the first place from the Old Mass?

It's the little things that matter. When you turn and face the people it becomes about the people and not about God. Masses become a celebration of the people, man, and not the priest facing the alter and leading the people in the true sacrifice of the Mass. It's not a celebration and its not about the people. We are there to worship God not man. It becomes horizontal and about what we are doing with the legions of Eucharistic ministers, or how well the lectures or cantor or how funny the priest's opening joke is and NOT about the real reason we are there in the first place. Just walking into the two Masses you can tell a difference in the reverence of each and where the focus is. These are oly a few of the differences in the Masses that make a big difference in how we worship.

Karen said...


Amen, amen, amen!!!

Fenian said...


The Mass of Paul VI is here to stay. Barring a miracle, it will remain the most attended form of Mass and it should be celebrated as reverently as possible. If celebrating it reverently includes Latin and Communion rails what is there to complain about?

Vatican II happened and as Catholics we have to live with that fact. To me, the untranslated Mass of Paul VI is beautiful and reverent in its own way. I love the Tridentine Mass as well and regularly assist at both.

X said...

"The Mass of Paul VI is here to stay. Barring a miracle, it will remain the most attended form of Mass"

I've never disagreed with this statement more than now. I'm absolutely certain that that rite will die off, some of us may live to see it happen. 50 to 60% of Catholics have already abandoned it, probably more. The Novus Ordo is so deficient in so many ways it could fill volumes and has. Suffice it to say the Offertory itself is not sacrificial in nature but in fact based on Jewish table prayers. One only has to observe the nature and behavior of those who embrace the new mass to see it affords almost no flow of graces whatsoever which is in fact it's raison d'etre. It's not merely about beauty or reverence, it's about Grace. No, the Tridentine mass transcends time, it is the mass of Paul the VI that is lost in time and terribly dated. It has absolutely nothing to say to younger people today. History has already passed judgment on the new mass, it's dead in the water, or as my kids say EPIC FAIL!

Long-Skirts said...

X said:

"History has already passed judgment on the new mass, it's dead in the water, or as my kids say EPIC FAIL!"


“They have abandoned the Fort, those
who should have defended it.” (St. John Fisher)

Who held the Fort
Till the Calvary came
Fighting for all
In His Holy Name?

Who fed the sheep
As the pastures burned dry
A few Good Shepherds
Heeding their cry?

Who led the charge
‘Gainst heresy’s Huns
Defending the degreed
To His lowliest ones?

Who battened down
The hatch of the barque
To warm cold souls
From shivering-seas dark?

“Who?” mocks Satan
Delighting in doubt
Fills you with questions,
Never lets you find out.

“Hoc est enum
Corpus meum…
and for many…” who kept
The dead words – Te Deum!