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Why don’t you join the SSPX? They despise of the Novus Ordo and Vatican II in general, the same way you do. Joining them might be an option; they also acknowledge the primacy of Pope Benedict XVI, although they wish that he would go further in the reestablishment of the Latin Mass (or the traditional Mass, since the Novus Ordo technically speaking is a Latin Mass).
Here the latest exhortation from Bishop Williamson:
ELEISON COMMENTS CXLVIII (May 15, 2010) : SLEEPLESS POPE.
Conciliar Rome’s radical misunderstanding of what the Catholic Traditional movement is all about, was illustrated once more in Paris last Wednesday when Cardinal Kasper, head of the Vatican department for relations with other Christian churches and with Jews, gave a press conference. From the Reuters report let me quote as faithfully as possible what the Cardinal thinks, summed up in five propositions, and then comment.
1)The doctrinal discussions presently taking place every two months between four theologians of Rome, and a bishop and three priests of the Society of St Pius X, are not proving easy. 2) The main problem is the concept of tradition. “Do we want a living tradition or a petrified tradition?” asked the Cardinal. 3) He said he is for this dialogue with the SSPX, but it has to be on Rome’s conditions and not on those of the SSPX. 4) If an agreement is to be reached, the SSPX will have to make concessions, and it will have to accept the Conciliar reforms. 5) Without an agreement the SSPX will have no official status, its priests will not be recognized as Catholic priests, nor will they be allowed to exercise their ministry.
(1) Of course it is not proving easy to reconcile 2+2=4 (Tradition and the SSPX) with 2+2=4 or 5 (Vatican II and Conciliar Rome). We are in the presence of two profoundly different conceptions of arithmetic, of two just as profoundly different conceptions of Catholic Truth.
(2) 2+2=4 is truth, unchanging and unchangeable, therefore “traditional”. 2+2=4 or 5 is a brand new arithmetic, as “living” as one likes, but utterly unreal, and so not traditional at all.
(3) If one is discussing true arithmetic, it will be on true arithmetic’s terms and not on the terms of either party discussing, even if one of the parties takes its stand on those terms.
(4) Who wants, or needs, to arrive at an agreement that 2+2=4 or 5 (Vatican II) ? Only merchants of fantasy who no longer care for true arithmetic !
(5) If “official status”, “recognition as priests” and “being permitted to minister” all depend on accepting that 2+2 can be 4 or 5, then all such “status”, “recognition” and “permission” are being bought at the price of Truth. But if I sell off the Truth, how can I still have it to tell it? And if I can no longer tell the Truth, what kind of a priest can I be, with what kind of a ministry ?
Therefore in conclusion, it is not just on “tradition” but on the very nature of truth that these Romans and the SSPX part company. Changing truth, these Romans have lost the Truth, in fact they are, at least objectively speaking, murdering it, as Macbeth “doth murder sleep” (II,2). Indeed in the same Reuters article the Pope is quoted as having said that the SSPX problem “robs him of his sleep”. Holy Father, do believe that the Truth is far above the SSPX, which is no more than one of its tiny momentary defenders. Every one of us in the SSPX wishes you all kinds of well, especially to sleep well. It is not the SSPX, but murdered Truth, which is keeping you awake at night.
I’m sure that it is wildly overreacting to conclude that I would hate the Novus Ordo because I shared this video. What I lament over is what some have done with the Novus Ordo … something the Council Fathers never intended. I am doing my best to track with our Holy Father and his desire to see more of a sense of the sacred in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Try reading “The Spirit of the Liturgy” … it is a good place for you to start in understanding this necessary renewal being encouraged by Pope Benedict XVI.
You seem to be saying that anyone who criticizes the new mass, either in practice or in theory, ought to be consigned to the ghetto — that is, get out of the mainstream Church and join the SSPX. Is that it?
I actually read “The Spirit of the Liturgy” (assuming you meant the one published by Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI)as well as his latest collection of homilies on the subject of the Holy Mass (Ignatius Press)and while I agree with the importance of posture and got valuable insights in the origins of the traditional liturgy, I see in this blog numerous examples of blunt criticism of Vatican II identical to those made by the SSPX (short of questioning the legitimacy – I guess we agree that a council called for by a legitimate Pope is valid).
Yes I agree that the current (English) translation of the Novus Ordo is inaccurate and look forward for the changes now being introduced. Protestantism introduced the importance of a living faith, lived in the family, not confined to the liturgy; Catholicism in these days was focused on faith expressed in the liturgy within the confinement of the Church building (with the exception of Corpus Domini). The common faithful (I abstain from using the term laity since -by loosely quoting Rowan Williams- we are all lay people compared to Jesus) were mostly excluded; the priest offered the holy sacrifice on behalf of the people, the people largely ignorant of the actual event. Following Vatican II it was logical to let the people see the priest offering up; the priest in Persona Christi, “coming” the East as Christ did, started to offer up the gifts of human hands as Christ offered Himself visible for all. Similar to Lutheran Protestantism,the sacrifice became visible to all. Did some people strife too far by having “Clown masses”? Yes they did. But those were the exception and not the rule as one might get the impression based on some entries.
These are the conclusions I have drawn from reading not only the aforementioned books but in addition by reading books about the Protestant Reformation as well as an excellent book by Diarmaid MacCulloch (Three thousand years of Christianity)- in addition to other books written by Historians as well Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI himself. If people still want to use the traditional Latin Mass in the form revised by Pope Benedict – fine with me, but at least I expect to respect the Novus Ordo as an equal and not minor form of liturgy.
That’s the point … I DO respect the Novus Ordo, enough to want to see the true intentions of the Council Fathers honored, not the agenda of the progressive movement who hijacked the documents (Rowan Williams? – kinda exposing your hand a bit).
You write, ‘I see in this blog numerous examples of blunt criticism of Vatican II identical to those made by the SSPX.’
What does that prove? Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Unless you are saying that V2 and the new mass are beyond criticism? (Sort of what SSPX says about Trent? If that’s the case then look out, you are using one of the same arguments as SSPX.)
You write, ‘The common faithful . . . were mostly excluded; the priest offered the holy sacrifice on behalf of the people, the people largely ignorant of the actual event.’
Post-V2 catechesis has been perfectly dreadful. I know this from experience, being a post-V2 convert. I submit that having mass in English with the priest facing the people doesn’t help one whit, if the people are not being properly instructed and therefore have only a vague or inaccurate understanding of what takes place on the altar — what percentage is it again that don’t believe in transsubstantiation? In that regard I fail to see how the average post-V2 lay Catholic has any advantage over the average medieval Catholic. Being able to see the priest’s hands can’t make up for ignorance and false and inaccurate doctrine deliberately inflicted on the laity.
I say this not to blame V2 directly, but only to answer your apparent argument that the new mass has made things so much better for the average Catholic. It hasn’t.
You write, ‘Did some people strife too far by having “Clown masses”? Yes they did. But those were the exception and not the rule as one might get the impression based on some entries.’
It’s not just the obvious travesties such as clown masses. For a lot of us who consider the old mass better, it’s the boring, trite, banal liturgies that we and our children are subjected to week after week that are the problem with the new mass. These may not be heretical or bad per se, it’s just that we can do, and have done, so much better.
Again it’s not the new mass itself that is necessarily the problem, but the doors that were opened along with it: the idea that from now on liturgy is subject to constant tinkering and “improvement”, that it needs to be made more “relevant” to the modern world by following modern artistic styles and trends, that it needs to be more casual and laidback, etc.
A new mass that incorporates only the changes specifically authorized by V2 I am sure I would have very little problem with.
You imply that the pre-Vatican II catechesis was better than in the years then. Well, if you mean knowledge of “tariff book”, the Baltimore Catechism and following the ritual without involvement of the heart and without entering the mind, then you are correct. Non ordained people were excluded from active participation in the Mass beyond prayer – no readers or extraordinary ministers of the Holy Eucharist. As a consequence paraliturgical activities evolved and flourished over time (Eamon Duffy, Faith of our Fathers), reflecting the desire for active participation. I agree that in the years following the introduction of the Novus Order proper instruction was not given. Who is to blame? The Bishops were mostly formed in the years preceding Vatican II; they are the one to blame. Pope Paul VI himself was trained pre-Vatican II. By all standards he was a weak Pope (compared to his predecessors and successors as well), lacking maybe the will to be more firm and decisive.
The history of the Liturgy over time tells us that it was evolving constantly, adapting to the circumstances of the time. The Tridentine Mass (actually the only form permissible is the 1962 form in its recent revision!) reflects a world where monarchs ruled. The position of the priest is elevated. In this world the strife for knowledge is suppressed by an absolute obedience to a hierarchy, which is perceived to be instituted by God. Again history tells us that this is only partially true. Presbyters and Bishops were elected by the community and chosen by them and not installed from the top. I agree that at some point we might see an amalgamation of both the Novus Ordo and the Tridentine Mass. One note to Paul VI: he actually might have abolished the Tridentine Mass altogether wouldn’t it have been for the SSPX. There is a letter to Archbishop Lefebreve indicating that.
NTC write, ‘You imply that the pre-Vatican II catechesis was better than in the years then. Well, if you mean knowledge of “tariff book”, the Baltimore Catechism and following the ritual without involvement of the heart and without entering the mind, then you are correct.’
Let’s not confuse catechesis with participation at mass. Catechesis is teaching, imparting information about the faith. The Baltimore Catechism is excellent in that it imparts the Church’s teachings accurately.
We also should not confuse catechesis with “involvement of the heart”. Assuming that by “involvement of the heart” you mean genuine faith and love of God, that is not something that can be taught, but is given by God’s grace as he chooses.
I consider it a particular problem that post-V2 catechesis has indeed tried to teach “involvement of the heart” RATHER THAN imparting the Church’s teachings accurately, and the results have been disastrous. When catechists try to teach kids to believe with their hearts and feelings, it comes across to them, for the most part, as lame. This again I know from the experience of my own kids, who would far rather have solid information that they can sink their teeth into, than all that touchy-feely stuff (which is how they perceive it).
The best way a Catholic can try to bring another person to love of God is by loving the life of faith himself. I’m sure you would agree that when we live our faith genuinely, the hearts of others may be touched and inspired. Well, who says pre-V2 catechists did not try to do this, along with providing accurate information? Who says that post-V2 catechists have been able to do it better, while providing vague and inaccurate information?
(It’s not hard to find stories of pre-V2 Catholics who were touched and inspired by pre-V2 priests and the pre-V2 mass. The Church was not lacking in conversions in the first half of the 20th century.)
Obviously the best combination would be accurate catechesis together with good examples of living the faith. But again, only God can bring souls to genuine conversion in order to provide good examples. What we can control is providing good information. That is where post-V2 catechesis has failed disastrously.
You are absolutely right that the Council Fathers, as well as Paul VI, were formed in the pre-V2 years. This tells us that post-V2 problems existed nascently in the Church before V2. The difference was that before V2 modernists and liberals at least felt the need to keep their heterodoxy under wraps, for the most part. Whereas in the decade after V2, they could shout it from the rooftops with no fear of repercussion. I don’t know precisely why this change occurred, but I know when it occurred, and I know it has had disastrous consequences.
I know that the Traditional Latin Mass evolved over time. Without getting into a long technical treatise about it, the difference after V2 was that it stopped evolving gradually and organically, and instead underwent an abrupt and radical change. Don’t get me wrong, I know this change was approved by the competent authorities and is therefore legitimate. But that doesn’t deprive me of the right to question the prudence and wisdom of their decisions.
If you have the right to criticize the Traditional Latin Mass and the Council of Trent, then I have the same right to criticize the Novus Ordo and V2 or post-conciliar implementation of V2.
NTC wrote, ‘If people still want to use the traditional Latin Mass in the form revised by Pope Benedict – fine with me, but at least I expect to respect the Novus Ordo as an equal and not minor form of liturgy.’
I remembered this statement of yours and frankly it struck me as ludicrous: People who favor the Novus Ordo demanding respect for the NO, as if it’s a poor, helpless minority mass that’s being oppressed. When in reality, only the TLM has suffered actual suppression. When you can point to a single parish church in which all NO masses have been discontinued and only TLM masses allowed, then you might have one one-millionth the cause to complain that those of us who favor the TLM have had for the past 40 years.
Imagine, if you would, B16 deciding that only the TLM is a worthy form of Catholic worship, and instructing all priests throughout the world to begin learning Latin and to saying the TLM exclusively. Gee, would there be any outrage? Do you suppose that a number of priests would refuse to give up the NO? If they were absolutely forbidden by their bishops, might they decide to start saying the NO publicly, for those who want it, in privately owned chapels or wherever they could? Would those priests be wrong in doing so?
Do you suppose a SPVI (Society of Pope Paul VI) might be founded? (Or maybe an SPJXXIII?)
When that happens, then you may begin to understand what we traditionalists have been going through. Yes, by all means, let’s have respect.
Pity on the poor traditionalists! You are really persecuted aren’t you? As I mentioned earlier Pope Paul VI intended to fade the traditional Tridentine Mass out. There was and still is to say the Novus Ordo in Latin instead the vernacular, which was never in any way curtailed. Anyway, originally my point was the general tendency of this blog to criticise and ridicule Vatican II and the Novus Ordo. “Heterodoxy” was in fact very common in the pre Vatican II era; in fact we encounter this phenomenon already in the Acts of the Apostles when Paul and Peter argue about the application of the Mosaic law (in particular circumcision and the dietary restrictions), continuing over time as reflected in the Councils of the Church (leading to the development of the Eastern Orthodox Churches) as well preceding the development of the monastic orders such as the Dominicans and the establishment of popular devotions (eg Adoration, Marian devotions). It is not before the early 20th century – essentially after Vatican I – that the papacy/hierarchy is opposing of what is labeled as “modernism” (Mortalium Animos and Pascendi Dominici Gregis) and thus leading to a petrified Church more focused on the Status quo rather than engaging itself in the modern world. Until then the Church adapted itself very well to societal trends.
You wrote “We also should not confuse catechesis with “involvement of the heart”. Assuming that by “involvement of the heart” you mean genuine faith and love of God, that is not something that can be taught, but is given by God’s grace as he chooses.” Well this is essentially Augustian thinking and lead to a discussion if we are mere puppets of God or if we have a genuine free will. You might remember that Pelagius and his pupils rightly foresaw the problems resulting from this view and indeed many of his views were later accepted (although not formally). As Christ said you have to love God with all your heart and your mind. If you do not internalise the teachings of the Church in your heart than faith becomes a mere ritual.
To make a long discussion short, I hope that we see some entries describing the positive aspects of Vatican II.
You write, ‘Pity on the poor traditionalists! You are really persecuted aren’t you?
You’re the one who was complaining that the NO was not sufficiently respected. I merely pointed out that the NO has received about a million times more respect, measured in objective terms, than the TLM. If you honestly feel you can deny that, be my guest.
You write, ‘There was and still is to say the Novus Ordo in Latin instead the vernacular, which was never in any way curtailed.’
We may have different definitions of “curtailed”, but I did not encounter a TLM in Latin for the first 13 years after my conversion, and I live in a major metropolitan area with hundreds of Catholic churches.
You write, ‘Anyway, originally my point was the general tendency of this blog to criticise and ridicule Vatican II and the Novus Ordo.’
The post upon which we are commenting ridiculed neither V2 nor the NO per se, but the abuses of the NO that have become so common, even when celebrated by bishops. In most cases these happen to be abuses of a particular flavor, which were much less common before V2. Yes, yes, abuses occurred before V2 as well. And you are welcome to ridicule those, indeed post videos of them on your blog. If you can find any. (For some reason it’s so much easier to find video of ridiculous NO abuses.)
You write, ‘“Heterodoxy” was in fact very common in the pre Vatican II era; …’
But only in quotes, eh?
You write, ‘… in fact we encounter this phenomenon already in the Acts of the Apostles when Paul and Peter argue about the application of the Mosaic law (in particular circumcision and the dietary restrictions), continuing over time as reflected in the Councils of the Church (leading to the development of the Eastern Orthodox Churches) as well preceding the development of the monastic orders such as the Dominicans and the establishment of popular devotions (eg Adoration, Marian devotions). It is not before the early 20th century – essentially after Vatican I – that the papacy/hierarchy is opposing of what is labeled as “modernism” (Mortalium Animos and Pascendi Dominici Gregis) and thus leading to a petrified Church more focused on the Status quo rather than engaging itself in the modern world. Until then the Church adapted itself very well to societal trends.’
The history of the Church in a single paragraph. I’m impressed.
However as previously stated, the Church was not lacking in conversions during the first half of the 20th Century. Which is not, perhaps, what one might expect from a stiff and lifeless church. You may therefore understand if I dispute your characterization of the Church during that time as “petrified”. (Of course certain people within the Church may have felt stifled during that time. Whether that was a bad thing is another question.)
You write, ‘this is essentially Augustian thinking and lead to a discussion if we are mere puppets of God or if we have a genuine free will. You might remember that Pelagius and his pupils rightly foresaw the problems resulting from this view and indeed many of his views were later accepted (although not formally).’
Somehow I’m more comfortable being called an Augustinian than a Pelagian. In any event, of course we have a free will. But we cannot approach God without his grace, as the scripture itself says: ‘No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.’ (1 Cor. 12:3)
You write, ‘To make a long discussion short, I hope that we see some entries describing the positive aspects of Vatican II.’
Yes and I hope we see more positive comments about the Traditional Latin Mass from former Archbishop Weakland. And while we’re at it, maybe some nice things about George W. Bush from Keith Olberman.
By the way, do you go around to liberal blogs demanding that they post respectful things about the Traditional Latin Mass and the pre-Vatican II Church?
Correction: I wrote, ‘I did not encounter a TLM in Latin for the first 13 years after my conversion …’
I meant to say, I did not encounter an NO in Latin. In fact, I would estimate that NOs in Latin are far less common than even TLMs.
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Non nobis, non nobis, Domine
Sed nomini tuo da gloriam.
Not to us, not to us, O Lord,
But to your name give glory.
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