05 October 2015

The Destruction of the Liturgy Led to this Moment of Impending Destruction of Holy Matrimony

I wanted to excerpt even more heavily than I will below from this excellent, excellent essay at OnePeter5.  Steve Skojec uses a piece by Michael Dougherty at The Week as a jumping off point to link the crisis of marriage and communion we now face to its source: the destruction of the liturgy and the inevitable loss of faith. 

Dougherty's piece is thought-provoking and provocative.  Skojec's treatment of it is brilliant.  Read it with courage, if you want to really get to the bottom of what is really going on in the Church right now.

From the Skojec article:

The differences between the Novus Ordo and the Vetus Ordo are not simply matters of taste; there are fundamental theological and anthropological distinctions between the two forms of the Roman rite. The former is manifestly an anthropocentric endeavor, in its ecumenical aims, in its stripped-down prayers, in its orientation, and in its room for improvisation. Martin Mosebach lamented that while the Mass of Paul VI can be celebrated reverently, it is merely an option. To celebrate the older missal irreverently, one must make an effort to do so – breaking rubrics, rushing hurriedly through the prayers, failing to implement the beauty of sacred music or a properly adorned altar, etc. But the prayers of that liturgy themselves stand as a bulwark against true irreverence. There is no room within the ancient rubrics for a priest to go off on an ad-hoc soliloquy, and the prescription of where he is to stand and what he is to do and the direction he is supposed to face diminishes the possibility of him dominating the sanctuary by his presence. He is forced, whether he likes it or not, to decrease, so that Christ may increase. As one traditional priest of my acquaintance put it, “I am a slave of the liturgy. The Church tells me where to stand, where to place my hands, when to genuflect, when to kiss the altar…I disappear, and it is Christ’s priesthood working through me.”

My gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI for Summorum Pontificum is real, but I worry that the Hegelian dialectic he established between the venerable Mass of the Ages and the “banal, on the spot product” that is the newer form (his words, not mine) is like “dialoguing” with the Devil. How can we find a compromise between what is sacred and what is profane? Meeting in the middle is, nonetheless, a diminution. We recognize this in the marriage debate, recognizing the absurdity of a “third way” between adultery and marital fidelity, so why are we so blind when it comes to the central act of worship that so deeply informs our approach to the entirety of our Faith?

Christ has been kicked out of the sanctuary in the post-conciliar liturgy to make room for us — often literally, depending upon the architecture of your parish — so why do we expect to find Him given a central place in the sacred union of spouses? We have taught our people that God is a means to our ends, and now we find ourselves confused that this perversion is reaching its logical terminus?


Hildebrandon said...

None of this is new. It is new to Steve Skojec, but his line of argument reads like Archbishop Lefebvre's writings shortly after the council.

I praise God that His grace is still finding its way into souls to lead them to Abp. Lefebvre's conclusions. One question remains: Now what?

Once the realization is reached that the Novus Ordo and Traditional Catholicism are two different religions, the room suddenly becomes very small. I see only two exits: The Society's position or sedevacantism. The latter is almost surely a dead end, but without a heavy dose of counsel from the Holy Ghost, many souls end up there and bewail that no one can put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Many find the Society's position uncomfortable, but, hey, who isn't uncomfortable with the prelate-driven rapprochement of Christ and Belial on the horizon?

And yet there will still be some who don't believe that the Society has grounds to function as it does on account of the crisis in the Church. It's time to wake up.

As an aside, Mr. Skojec errs in stating that the Apostles were "keeping the faith" on Holy Saturday. They had certainly lost it. There was only one who remained convinced of Christ's Truth: The Virgo Fidelis.

thetimman said...


You have not exhausted the possibilities, and have ignored the most obvious one: be Catholic and go to the traditional Mass at approved places. It has never been abrogated and exists within the "regularized" Church structure. I attend such a Mass in such a place. There are other places besides the SSPX where you can find the traditional Mass.

I'm certainly not saying the SSPX isn't Catholic. It is. But there is a problem with its status, which casts doubt on the validity of some of their sacraments. I'm familiar with the arguments of why they are or are not. But why not avoid the risk unless it is necessary?

Unless you were a sedevacantist, which I assume you are not, you couldn't knock the TLM at any non-SSPX site. The SSPX has publicly maintained that the new ordination rites are valid, so there is no doubt on the validity of the Masses nor (since these other places have ordinary faculties and jurisdiction) the licit excercise of them.

TLMer said...

A disquieting description from Mr. Skojec and others. I am struggling to accept these evaluations, as they seem to cast doubt on the validity, veracity, and goodness of the Church. If the Church is of God, and her teachings are right and true, then how could she author or allow a harmful Mass? It'seems not good enough that she also provides helpful Masses (Vetus Ordo). If she provides harmful Masses (Novus Ordo), then she has promoted something wrongly, something not right, something wicked.

I am a convert, so to my ears this all sounds like people are sitting in judgment on the Church, on her bishops and popes, and casting their own version of Catholicism as the only correct version, while stating we shound reject those things the Church promulgated that Trade don'the agree with.

I do not know how to process this. I am probably misunderstanding something. Any suggestions?

Hildebrandon said...

I think you missed my point. I am not talking necessarily about where to attend Mass (where your sensitivity seems to lie), but the position of certain groups. Mr. Skojec's conclusions are certainly in line with those of the Society:


To further the point, there is no way that an Institute priest, or any other priest of the various organizations founded after the '88 consecrations, would be able to draw the same conclusions publicly and keep his head. The priests of those orders are in an inherently compromised position. Even if you chafe at that assessment, you would have to agree that Mr. Skojec's opinions are not something you will ever find printed in the St. Francis de Sale's Sunday bulletin.

I am not circling up the wagons to start shooting inwards at other Catholics who attend the Traditional Mass. Praise God that you have a refuge from the Novus Ordo. I am simply speaking to the conclusions formed by the article's author.

As for the "validity" of Society sacraments, the Holy Father recently waved his hand and made Confession "legal," at least, in a little while. Do you really think Rome held otherwise beforehand?

thetimman said...


I chafe at that assessment, because I don't believe it to be true. I don't chafe at you, I understand you mean no insult to them or me. I just disagree. I have never heard a heretical utterance from the pulpit at de Sales. I have heard many exhortations to virtue and to correct sin and error in our lives. I have heard many times when the nature of the problems of the liturgy, catechesis, moral theology etc. are called out. Now it is true that there is an effort made to avoid vituperation, but I think this arises from the Salesian character of the Institute. One need not always pound the pulpit to make a point.

I think the real difference in perception comes with our own preferences of the group about which we are talking, and our own preferred style. To some, the discretion of the Institute might seem like pale policy or even cowardice. To others, it seems like intelligent and charitable balm to souls. To some, the SSPX's always-say-something-no-matter-how-many-times-we've-said-it-before-without-a-lot-of-nuance policy may seem unwise and counterproductive. To others, it seems like fortitude and a willingness to be martyred.

The thing is, there is a use for both such approaches. The Institute's motto, veritatem facientes in caritate ("work out the truth in charity") is a real thing to them. It isn't a cover for failing to preach. They preach the truth, and they do in charitably. If they failed in their duty to the truth, it would not be charitable. And failing in charity is no service to the truth.

If you have read this blog over time, you know I like a good fight. Left to my own devices, I would not choose the Salesian route. That's how I know I should. ;-) And for the record, the results have been positive. If I believed the Institute abandoned the truth or sold it out, I wouldn't support it.

This is why, in happier days, the Church produced a multiplicity of orders. Grace builds on nature, and as long as they are actually Catholic, these various orders serve souls in a wonderfully individual way.

None of what I wrote is any commentary on the SSPX vis-a-vis charity or anything else. I pray that every cloud over it is removed and that it is regularized asap. Until then, it raises questions for me that as of yet I am not required to answer in my life.

As for the Year of Mercy (acknowledgment)(temporary faculties)(particular legislation)(take your pick): whatever the intent behind it, it is good. And I do think that Rome really thought their ordinary absolutions invalid. But it really doesn't matter, they either are or aren't. But I personally don't want to bet my salvation on it when there is such a ready alternative. Again, I don't live in Alaska or in the many other places where the alternative is the SSPX or ?

thetimman said...

Also, I suppose it goes without saying that I'm not an official Institute spokesman. They'd be embarrassed if I were, mostly but not entirely by the fact that I just keep talking on and on.

thetimman said...


Those conclusions don't cast doubt on the veracity or indefectibility of the Church. The novus ordo isn't harmful, --in and of itself--, as promulgated, celebrated as indicated in the rubrics with the proper intention, form and matter.

It does lack the clarity, focus and beauty of the TLM. The relative lack of good has done harm. The fact that it is so easily manipulated, the fact that it is so easily abused, the fact that it is so banal, all these have done incalculable harm. And this process of liturgical switcheroo and destruction was calculated by the enemies of the Church to do exactly what has been done.

The protection of the Holy Ghost is a negative protection. He doesn't guarantee the Church will act wisely or well. He protects against absolute disaster-- the gates of hell prevailing. He didn't allow an invalid liturgy to be promulgated; again, with the provisos above, the sacrifice takes place, God is appeased in that. Everything else is a mess, but that is our fault, not His.

Draw an analogy to the election of a Pontiff. Do you believe the Holy Ghost picks him? That may be the encapsulation of our misunderstanding.

Just like the synod, should an express change in the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage take place, it would be too easy to react. That isn't the way of the Modernist, who knows (in some sense) that he has to work around the protection of the Holy Ghost.

And there is a load of damage that can still be done.

I am not judging the Church. No way. I'm trying to defend her from those who would fain destroy her-- in my own pathetic little way.

thetimman said...

TLMer, this latest from Skojec may be helpful for you:


Hildebrandon said...


Now I'm confused.

Those conclusions don't cast doubt on the veracity or indefectibility of the Church. The novus ordo isn't harmful, --in and of itself--, as promulgated, celebrated as indicated in the rubrics with the proper intention, form and matter.

From the Skojec article:

How can we find a compromise between what is sacred and what is profane?

How can the "profane" not be harmful when it is posing as the "sacred"?

This is another departure point in Mr. Skojec's article, as he makes the bold step of calling a spade a spade. I wonder at your praise of "excellent, excellent," while seeming to miss his entire point: The Novus Ordo is the vehicle for the complete transformation of Catholicism into another religion.

Christ has been kicked out of the sanctuary in the post-conciliar liturgy...

How is this harmless?

thetimman said...


No confusion necessary. The N.O., taken as the entire thing as it was created and used and has come down until today has been harmful. What is not harmful and is in fact good, is the sacrifice of Calvary contained therein when celebrated with the proper matter, form and intention. That's all I intended to say. That fact alone is what evidences that the indefectibility of the Church is not implicated.