In one of his eleison editorials, (it's number 355; no independent link) Bishop Williamson states that the Vatican is thinking of doing what, in fact, Benedict should have done in 2012: recognise the full legitimacy of the Society without any condition or demand.
The statement seems absurd, and it probably is. One simply struggles to see why the Bishop of Rome would do something like that, and at the same time persecute the FFI. Yes, Francis might try to spin this as a move toward “inclusiveness”, particularly if he plans something very scandalous on the other side of orthodoxy, like paving the way for sacrilegious communion. A way to, so to speak, try to make everyone happy and show he is the Saint Protector of Absolutely Everyone: Atheists, Muslims, Jews, Heretics, Sodomites, even Catholics.
One could think he might make such a move, but let us reflect: is this the way he has operated up to now?
No. What he has done up to now has been consistently belittling, insulting or persecuting decent Catholics whilst he panders to the emotional needs of all kind of wrong people, who in turn build his personality cult. Why would he change direction now? Has there been a scandal too big for him, short of officially overturning Church teaching? Does he think if he gives the SSPX a “certificate of conformity” they will stop their rather ferocious, if always respectful, criticism of him? Has he been persecuting the FFI for, basically, no reason at all? Is he not afraid that this might backfire mightily, destroying the image of liberal icon he has been building for himself?
No, I cannot see this working. Rather, it seems to me that the Bishop is receiving third-hand rumours from sympathisers within the SSPX, and that he tries to make the argument of how little orthodox the SSPX must be, if Francis is even thinking of receiving them into his ample, inclusive, Catholicism-free bosom.
Don't believe the rumours.
Believe the facts.
As a salutary antidote to the orgy of V II celebration, you may consider this reblog.
The reflections of this good SSPX priest are as ruthless as they are calm and reasonable.
Pat Archbold has written a blog post, then removed from the NCR website, about Francis and the SSPX.
I have great concern that without the all the generosity that faith allows by the leaders of the Church, that this separation, this wound on the Church, will become permanent. In fact, without such generosity, I fully expect it. Such permanent separation and feeling of marginalization will likely separate more souls than just those currently associated with the SSPX. I have also come to believe that Pope Francis’ is exactly the right Pope to do it. In his address to the evangelicals, he makes clear his real concern for unity. So here is what I am asking. I ask the Pope to apply that wide generosity to the SSPX and to normalize relations and their standing within the Church. I am asking the Pope to do this even without the total agreement on the Second Vatican Council. Whatever their disagreements, surely this can be worked out over time with the SSPX firmly implanted in the Church. I think that the Church needs to be more generous toward unity than to insist upon dogmatic adherence to the interpretation of a non-dogmatic council. The issues are real, but they must be worked out with our brothers at home and not with a locked door. Further, Pope Francis’ commitment to the aims of the Second Vatican Council is unquestioned. Were he to be generous in such a way, nobody would ever interpret it to be a rejection of the Council. How could it be? This perception may not have been the case in the last pontificate. Pope Francis is uniquely suited to this magnanimous moment.
In fact, it beggars belief that a man who does not hesitate in calling a Proddie wannabe bishop “brother bishop” in a frenzy of heretical, possibly tipsy, grappa-fueled generosity would not run to extend to the SSPX a tiny and perfectly orthodox fraction of the same compassion by simply understanding how infinitely nearer the SSPX are to any Catholic than the deluded heretics he tirelessly cajoles. Yes, of course such a “compassion loving” Bishop of Rome should extend his compassion to perfectly orthodox Catholics first. It should really go without saying.
Alas, the brutal truth is that Francis only has one enemy, and they are orthodox Catholics. These are the only ones who get mocked and insulted in every possible and impossible way. Everyone else, from atheists to Proddies to subversive nuns, get away with pretty much everything, and he will actually berate rosary-counting Traditionalists in the very presence of those nuns he encourages not to pay too much attention to what the CDF says to them.
Now, it remains to wonder why the NCR has removed the blog post.
If you ask me, it is because with his invitation to extend to the right crowd the generosity he lavishly extends to the wrong one, Mr Archbold unwittingly highlights the hypocrisy and the heretical madness of this pontificate. He does not say so of course, and I am rather sure he does not even want to say so. But this is the logical consequence of a continued inaction toward real orthodox Catholics, even as Francis abandons himself to every kind of heretical talk and senseless waffle every time an Iphone is in the vicinity.
The dismal state of Catholicism in this XXI can be perfectly seen from the fact that we have a tango-loving clown as Pope, and 90% to 95% of Catholics either cheer him, or have no problem at all with his antics, or do not dare to think he might be wrong because they are afraid of what the consequences of that would be for their very badly formed Catholicism.
We are being punished. Deservedly so, of course.
I have received a message from a reader; she laudably realises her Catholicism has been polluted by V II rubbish, and asks me for suggestions to create a good and sound Catholic foundation.
I would personally tackle the matter in two phases: the foundation itself and those texts particularly devoted to the distortions and trouble of the V II theology reaching its implosion in these decades under our very eyes. This would give a very solid knowledge of where we are as opposed to where we should be. Of course, from there the journey can go pretty much everywhere, as by God’s grace we now have an immensely vast choice of traditional books on the Internet.
Firstly, though, a recommendation:the one to buy good Catholic apps if one has a smartphone or a tablet. I go as far as to say that the Catholic apps available are, in fact, reason enough to buy one of those devices if one hasn’t done so already. Similarly, the purchase of a tablet and the download of a Kindle app will allow one to save the money for the Kindle device if one does not read for many hours on end.
For the first phase, I suggest the following:
1. Throw away your JP II catechism. No, I really mean throw it away. Whilst generally orthodox, it has questionable phrasing and suggestive, covertly accommodating theology on several issues (see baptism and salvation). The Abbé de Nantes found it heretical in twelve points.
Let me repeat it: throw it away. You can thank me later. For the sake of clarity, the compendium appeared in 2005 (Ratzinger’s) is fine, and the Abbé de Nantes himself recognised none of the twelve heretical points of the “Schoenborn” catechism were therein contained.
2. Catholic apps (like Ipieta, a must!) or electronic books or, in case, print allow one to easily access the following:
A. Penny Catechism.
This is the ideal text to start from scratch in redoing one’s thinking. You can buy it on the Internet for a pittance, probably on apps too. He who masters the Penny Catechism is way in front of 90% of V II priests, and can already teach Francis the basics. Already the Penny Catechism shames our inglorious Bishop of Rome page by page. You compare it and Francis’ uninterrupted, obscene waffle and understand they are on two different planets already.
B. Baltimore Catechisms
There are three of them in growing order of difficulty, plus a fourth which is the third with commentary. The first three are on Ipieta, which also has a number of other old catechisms and even the Compendium. The purchase of Ipieta is, again, invaluable. A wealth of Catholic wisdom of all sorts always with you! Don’t delay, buy today! I doubt I will read in a lifetime the hundreds of text therein contained. Seriously, Ipieta is not a weapon, but an entire arsenal of Catholicism.
If one has already digested the Penny Catechism, I suggest to go directly to Baltimore III. There is no real need for a commentary (which a I found very good, though) as the Baltimore Catechisms are of exemplary clarity but still accessible for everyone.
When one has these two well assimilated, he is already equipped to properly interpret every antic of Francis and see the magnitude of this man’s – and of many V II priests’ – confusion.
C. Other catechisms.
Again, IPieta has a nice choice. The catechism of St. Pius the X is wonderful but as far as I know there are no official English translations. I found the Italian text online, and it’s as good as you expect. But in general I would say there’s no need to have many catechisms: pick a sound one, and absorb its content well.
At this point, I would proceed with some texts aiming at a specific comparison between “old” and “new”: the 2000 years of tradition and the 50 years (and counting) of drunken madness.
I mention here only some fundamental works, which will be reading enough:
1. Iota unum
The printed edition is expensive but I found it well worth the expense. SSPX Asia have a free electronic version on their site. You may check if it is available as electronic book. My copy is invaluable, and to me one of those “desert island books”.
2. “The Catechism of the Crisis in the Church””
This is not a catechism, but a SSPX publication, available on kindle. In general, absolutely everything one can read from the SSPX is wonderful and above suspicion, albeit I do allow myself – like many others among their supporters – to attend the V II mass. There were long discussions about this, so please refrain from starting a new one. Back to the matter at hand, this book is an excellent comparison between timeless truth and convenient accommodation or outright lie. Obligatory reading, if you ask me, for the aspiring Traditionalist.
3. One Hundred Years of Modernism
This is another SSPX book, also available on Kindle. It explains – giving a sound philosophical introduction – how the cancer of Modernism found its way in the organism of the Church. Not easy subject matter – it will help a lot if you have studied philosophy at school or university – but explained with exemplary clarity. If you are not trained in philosophy, this will require some work, but the reward will be rich.
4. Life of Christ
This is in my eyes the most glorious of Fulton Sheen’s books. A joy to read and re-read. Archbishop Sheen packs his book with so many sound and easy to understand explanations of Catholic teaching that this book can be considered a kind of subsidiary catechism in itself. I have the paper version, I think it is also on Kindle now. This book is also a formidable weapon to address the remarks of sceptics and infidels.
5. “Life Everlasting” & any Garrigou-Lagrange Book.
Well, any of them at a more advanced level. I have read four: “Reality”, “Predestination”, “Providence” and “Life Everlasting”.
The first three are more complicated, and the first two of them require either a philosophical foundation or the willingness to plow through it page by page. The fourth is a very good integration to a Catechism in matters of salvation and damnation, and it is written in a much more accessible way than the other three books.
The list could go on, but I think the sources mentioned provide already a more than solid ground, and if properly absorbed would put one well in the front row of the Army of Christ, at least as far as weaponry is concerned.
Two things to conclude:
1. Buy Ipieta.
2. Always pay attention to catechesis texts, even if before Vatican II. I once bought on Kindle a book from a chap called Karl Adam without knowing who he was, merely browsing Kindle for pre-V II theologians. Utter rubbish, I tell you. Again, I could immediately see it was rubbish because once you have the fundamentals down well, you will be able to smell the smoke from pretty far away.
So, that was that then, and again for a first plunge in sound Catholicism it is more than enough. It must be clear that infinite other choices are thinkable, this is just one possible path among very many.
The most beautiful effect of being grounded solidly in Truth (wretched sinners as we all are, of course) is that no antics of this or that stupid bishop, drunken Cardinal or diva Pope will ever confuse you again.
I have stated in the past, and repeat here, that Truth is as hard, and as beautiful, as a diamond. Once you have mastered the use of the diamond (and you need not be an expert theologian for that; nowadays most of them seem to lose their faith anyway; just be prayerful and sincerely desirous to know the a Truth and submit to it, and to live it as well as you can) you will be able to cut through every Modernist or Zeno-Modernist rubbish in no time.
And buy IPieta.
The SSPX has now released the anticipated details about the 2014 Rosary Crusade.
All details here.
I will not repeat the very useful and complete information you will find on the site. Still, please note the following:
1. As Francis invites you not to pray by rote, and ridicules those who count rosaries, it is the more important we react to this devotional barbarism by increasing our efforts not only to pray the Rosary, but to reestablish Tradition.
2. From the site:
The three-fold object of this Rosary Crusade for the good of the entire Catholic Church is:
To implore from the Immaculate Heart of Mary a special protection for the traditional apostolate;
For the return to Tradition within the Church;
For the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the consecration of Russia.
The insertion of the consecration of Russia will certainly be welcome to many of us, and might persuade the one or the other to join this crusade who are not the best fans of the SSPX.
3. The tally and reporting have been made as easy as possible, with several formats that can be used for the purpose, and with the possibility to send only one tally by email in June.
The aim is 5 million rosaries. Just think: all that rosary counting!
This is more than enough to let the heart of a good Catholic rejoice.
Keep calm, and count your rosaries.
The SSPX will launch a new Rosary Crusade on 1 January.
Details here, with many thanks to the reader Elizabeth.
Other details will hopefully follow as to the participation of the laity (I’d love to enroll, though I do not live in the US).
Also please look at the other beautiful initiative of the pilgrimage of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
I look at the SSPX and Francis, and I have not the slightest doubt about who could teach Catholicism to the other.
And it came to pass we were informed from high places the Tridentine Mass is not in danger during the current Pontificate.
I must say I had to smile.
Firstly, I invite you to consider that in the end no one can speak for the Bishop of Rome, who will do what he thinks best (or worst) irrespective of what Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has said, or even of what he might have said to others. There will always be a new situation that will allow him to say that new measures are now necessary.
Secondly, the reason adduced for Francis’ forbidding the priest of the FFI to celebrate the Tridentine Mass can be used ad libitum in the future. If six dissidents are reason enough to forbid 400 priests (says Wikipedia) from celebrating the Mass of the Ages, its “divisiveness” (divisiveness that is most certainly there: a good Mass and a bad Mass are opposed here, it is clear emotions will run high) can be used at a pretext at any given time to go back to the Indult regime. If memory serves (but I might be wrong) Francis has already made an “off-the-cuff” remark about the divisiveness of the Tridentine Mass as intended by the Traditionalists.
Thirdly and most importantly, Francis is, in this matter as in many others, not entirely free to do as he pleaseth. The Indult does not exist because JP II was oh so generous, but because the SSPX was stubborn to the point of heroism. If it had not been for the Society, the Tridentine Mass would have been, to all intents and purposes (though not officially, but there would have been no need for that), wiped out completely from Church life. You can think for yourself whether the Pinocchio-slash-Tango Mass Pope would keep such a “Pelagian” exercise alive if he had a real (as in: practically feasible and not dangerous for his popularity) choice.
From what has emerged up to now, it seems clear Francis is a professional of hunting with the hounds and running with the hare. He will be pro-life speaking to pro-lifers, and “not obsessed” when he wants to please the pro-death fraction. He will say that he who is not with Jesus is with the devil when he speaks to clerics, and say that one is fine to deny Jesus and follow his conscience to the atheists; he will allow himself liturgical abuses with photos all over the planet to show he is “modern”, and celebrate ad orientem when he thinks it’s time to give some bird feed to the conservative pigeons.
No. Francis isn’t fine with the Mass of the Ages. If he were free to choose, you’d have Pinocchios everywhere, and the occasional obscene dance on the Sanctuary. Rather, he has apparently decided he does not need to open this front, because the flak would be rather frightful and the SSPX would greatly profit from it.
Let us hope Francis never feels strong enough to do such a thing. Let us keep our criticism vocal, and very explicit. As Jorge Bergoglio is so much in love with Pope Francis and mindful of his popularity (I am told Miley Cyrus does the same, though in a different manner), the best way to avoid things getting worse is to be very vocal and open in our criticism of how bad they already are.
God knows they are already worse than the most pessimistic mind could have thought only nine months ago. Though strangely enough very few seem to realise it.
I cannot say it often enough: the SSPX is a beacon of sound Catholic thinking in the darkness of the “new humbleness”. Clearly, if you want to know what proper Catholicism is you must stay away from Francis' ramblings, as they will inoculate you with the virus of Modernism and shift you from the solid ground of Catholic reasoning to the deadly quicksands of fluffy, emotional, senseless, and in the end heretical thinking.
I suggest that you take the time – not so much of it after all – to read and interiorise this beautiful reflection on Francis' forma mentis – make no mistake: an heretical one – on the basis of his exploits with “Civilta' Cattolica” and “Repubblica”.
Once again, we see the steamroller of sound Catholic thinking rolling over Francis' marshmallow-tasting, popularity-seeking emotionalism, and flattening it altogether. Francis, a man of embarrassing ignorance and even more embarrassing arrogance, will not understand the objection; but rationally thinking Catholics with a grounded knowledge of Truth will immediately grasp that the problem with Francis is not in, say, the way he expresses himself but, far more gravely, in the way he thinks.
The simile with the blind man and the forest is delicious, and will remain with you for a long time.
Enjoy this example of Catholic sanity, and please remember to say one or three Hail Marys for Francis, who is so much in need of our prayers.
Let me say first that whoever expected Cardinal Pell to say: “Yes! Francis is a flaming Modernist!” needs an urgent reality check. Not only is the man a Cardinal, but in virtue of his being the quota-member for Australia of the Gang of Eight he is in a particularly exposed position. Therefore, asking him about the heresies of the Bishop of Rome is not going to yield any particularly original result.
Still, Cardinal Pell's argument is notable for his… complete lack of sensible argumentation. Bishop Fellay has explained in detail in a long sermon what is wrong with Francis. He has quoted him verbatim. He has analysed Francis' thinking – and actually only some of his many antics – in detail. Not even the most biased commenter could say Fellay's indictment was an emotional outburst. On the contrary: the fact that it came after months of controversies in which the SSPX had avoided open criticism of Francis' clearly heretical statements lends even more weight to the Bishop's entirely justified criticism and righteous anger.
What has, then, Cardinal Pell to oppose to this? If he has tried in the past to bend over backwards and explain to us why water is not wet I have missed his interventions. Still, his latest words are notable in that they are absolutely devoid of any sensible content or decent argumentation. To say that “Francis is a son of the Church” is, as an argument, rubbish, and by the way Luther was an Agostinian.
No, Cardinal Pell's statement has simply no basis: no basis in fact, and not even the attempt to provide one. The Church of V II demands that every … rubbish her prelates spit be believed merely because they say so. This is, to every well instructed Catholic, rubbish.
Let the Cardinal – now that he has thrown the stone – reply publicly and in detail, point for point, to Bishop Fellay. Let him prove with reasoned arguments why Bishop's Fellay accusations of Modernism levelled at the Bishop of Rome would be rubbish.
If he does it and does it well, we will agree with him and applaud his superior wisdom.
If he doesn't, we will know who is talking rubbish.
Here is the translation in English of the press release of the Italian district of the SSPX concerning Priebke's funeral.
Some Catholics should read it and cry of shame; but those who should cry more are those priests, bishops and actually one Pope who chose to be the perfect cowards.
From the statement:
A Christian who was baptized and received the sacraments of Confession and Holy Eucharist, whatever his faults and his sins may have been, has the right to the celebration of Holy Mass and to a funeral if he dies reconciled with God and with the Church.
This simple truth is inaccessible, because inconvenient, to the very man who is on record with saying
“Everyone has his own idea of Good and Evil and he has to choose to follow the Good and to fight Evil as he understands it. This would be enough to improve the world.”
So Pope Francis is wrong twice: he is wrong when he states such heresies, and he is hypocritical when he conveniently forgets even his own heresies, let alone basic Catholicism, in order not to damage the PR machine now unceasingly licking the plates of atheist and liberals the world over.
We are degenerating to a Catholicism made of nothing more than commonplaces, fake humility, and black shoes.
Pray for Priebke. But pray for Francis, too.
My views and yours about the unspeakably cowardly massacre of Via Rasella – not what you think, but the killing of three dozen unarmed Germany military in the heart of Rome, at a time when Rome was citta' aperta and military men carried no weapons to keep the Eternal City an island of peace in the midst of war; an agreement which the Axis was respecting with German exactness – and the following, not only perfectly normal but highly advisable rappresaglia according to the usually applied criteria – advisable, I mean, to avoid Rome descending in a pit of violence in Baghdad style – will possibly differ. Still, this blog is about Catholicism, not history or WW II, and I suggest to those with an enquiring mind to read the acts of the farce trial moved against Kappler & Co. after the war ended: a crystal-clear example of Siegerjustiz, and an unmitigated shame.
This, as far as the main episode – the retaliation at the Fosse Ardeatine that has divided the Italians since – is concerned.
You might, though, not necessarily know that the notorious reputation of Mr Priebke is not due exclusively to his involvement in the rappresaglia at the Fosse Ardeatine, but to his ways and character before, during and after that operation.
A violent, sadistic and extremely cruel man, Priebke was in charge of interrogations of suspected partisans or partisans' helpers. The offices in the via Tasso in Rome were the theatre of ferocious cruelty, a cruelty shocking even for the not entirely gentle standards of the SS.
Kappler tried to get rid of Priebke, a person he clearly loathed as much as everyone else; but the latter's direct link to Hitler – who knew him personally, admired him and made of him a protégé – made Priebke both untouchable and a trusted “plant” of the Führer in Rome. As a consequence, Priebke was free to torture away for as long as he was in Rome.
I am no friend of Priebke. I think he was a bastard. A cruel, evil bastard.
But I also think he was an immortal soul. I am reliably informed he died at peace with the Lord. My personal antipathy for him is nothing to do with the fact that the information we have allows us to hope – note this word well: hope – that he managed to save his immortal soul and will one day – after a purification process that I can only imagine long and painful – be allowed to enjoy the Beatific Vision.
These are the facts. They have nothing to do with our opinion of him. His priest said he repented of his sins and died at peace with The Lord, and that's that.
But no. The same people who would not think twice of allowing funerals of premeditated suicides, or of sodomites unrepentant and defiant of God's law to the very end, consider a Requiem mass for a repentant Priebke too much to ask. The same people who always go around saying “who am I to judge?” are the same who have, in fact, decided to damn this man, and that even a mass in private - note this word well: private – form is more than a Christian should allow Herr Priebke to have.
Most notably, the very same “who am I to judge?” Pope – who doesn't like to call himself such -; the man ceaselessly talking about the need to stay near to the oppressed and downtrodden; the man clearly thinking even atheists have a place in heaven provided they follow their conscience; and the man always saying that the shepherd must smell of his sheep; this very man did not find a word to say to put an end to the Requiem Mass embargo decreed by Priebke's bishop; who is, by the by, his vicar for the Diocese of Rome, a very short hop with the Ford away.
Francis can play with beach balls and football shirts all right; he can play “inclusive” when it is convenient, thinking nothing of liturgical abuse when it makes him popular; he can suavely talks of forgiveness for pretty much every unrepented sin of people from whom he wants to be liked; but when the time comes to be merciful in a very elementary way – a man who died, as we are assured from a priest, repentant of his sins – he is, as widely expected, nowhere to be found.
And so there we are. A deeply unpopular man, the Beelzebub of the Left, dies a Catholic, staying nearer the sacraments that can be said of the majority of the Italians, and of the vast majority of the mob hating him in his coffin. Who will be on the side of his immortal soul? Who will defy the rage of the mob, and do what is normal and Christian to do? Who will be on the side of the poorest of them all, the soul naked in front of her Judge? His Bishop, perhaps? The Pope, you think?
The ones who will do what is decent to do; the ones showing real Christian spirit irrespective of how unpopular this will make them are, once again, the bad, bad boys of the Society of Saint Pius X.
Once again, the SSPX shows the entire Catholic planet how to do it. Once again, the V II church shows her “pastoral attitude” and her “inclusiveness” only when it is popular and convenient, and her readiness to cave in to the wish of the mob when it isn't.
By the by, what if Priebke had been an atheist who “follows his conscience” whilst torturing? Does not Francis himself say in this case his conscience will be what decides of right and wrong? Has the man such a short memory? Or is he deaf from the uncomfortable, unpopular ear?
May the Lord have mercy for the soul of Mister Priebke, a bastard in life to whom I sincerely, sincerely wish God's mercy and all the eternal bliss I dare to hope, one day, for myself and for all of you. May the Lord also have mercy of those priests and bishops, and of that Pope, who encourage unrepentant sinners to die in their sin, but refuse a private Requiem mass to a sinner who dies repenting. And may the Lord give all of us the same shot at repentance he allowed, in his mercy, to him. And no, you don't have the right to question the man's sincerity, only God has. The priest has said he repented for his sin, that's enough for us. This is why the SSPX decided to do the right thing: right is right even when it is unpopular, wrong is wrong even when everyone applauds you for it.
Clearly, “who am I to judge” did not apply this time. It would have displeased the atheist and leftist crowd Francis loves so much. Better leave a man who dies at peace with the Lord without a funeral instead. There will be enough masses for people who haven't darkened the door of a church for seventy years. Because hey, they followed their… conscience.
The comment function is shut off. In your charity, you may consider saying three Eternal Rest for the soul of Mr Priebke instead, who – assuming his salvation, for which we have reason to hope – certainly is now in need of them.
God bless the SSPX, an island of true Catholicism in a sea of cowardice.
God bless them all.
Bishop Fellay had something to say about the Bishop of Rome on the 12th; and boy, he did not mince words.
I have already reported that the SSPX made an appeal to Francis imploring him not to allow countless souls to perish. This time, the tones are far harsher.
Fellay is on record with saying that Francis is making an already disastrous situation “10,000 time worse”, and his metaphor with Francis and the parachute is, actually, funny in a very tragic way. He is obviously right in his analysis that Francis is willingly throwing bombs at the Church, possibly thinking the poor will be able to find better shelter among the ruins.
I am frankly surprised at the extreme severity of Fellay's words, as I had rather thought the approach of the first intervention would have been followed in the years to come; what I think has happened is that Fellay & Co. feel the situation is so extreme than nothing less than extreme words will do.
Mind, I do not agree with his calling the Novus Ordo “evil”, either (I follow him up to “bad”, though); but then again I am not a member of the Order, so this is par for the course. We have already discussed this ad abundantiam, though, so I will leave it at that.
Coming back to Bishop Fellay, please note the obvious relief at the failure to reconcile in 2012. Though I do not doubt the SSPX would never have agreed to a reconciliation putting them at the mercy of future Popes, there is no denying a reconciliation followed shortly thereafter by accusations of heresy moved to the Pope would not have been a very lasting one. I cannot avoid seeing in that a sign of Providence, leaving the SSPX free to defend orthodoxy without being encumbered by the desire not to rock the boat of a very fresh agreement. I also remember the one or other suggesting the SSPX leaders come crawling at the presence of the Pope and ask for a reconciliation whatever, before it gets worse. It seems fair to say these good men of God will not only not crawl anywhere, but will stand and be ready for battle at all times.
Someway, I get the impression they don't really read Francis through Benedict.
In the present situation, it is more than understandable that the fans of the Better Mass be worried about the effect this devastating, utterly disgraceful Pontificate will have on Summorum Pontificum.
Whilst I have forgotten my crystal ball at home again, I think a couple of reasonable assumptions can be made:
1) Bishop Francis will not dare to openly go against Summorum Pontificum: not whilst the Pontiff Emeritus is alive, not after he has died. A man clearly driven by vanity, the Bishop of Rome will not dare to take initiatives that would procure him a very vocal, very persistent and very painful opposition. Look at his actions, and realise the man accurately avoid every stance that would cause widespread opposition to the new born cult of Bishop Francis. Too many are the friends of the Tridentine Mass, for him to go and pick this particular fight. It must also be said that the Bishop lives in a liturgical and theological glasshouse, and certainly understands if he starts to throw stones at people who understand Liturgy and Theology he will be hurt, badly.
2) This does not mean the Bishop, being a 1a liturgical Philistine, will not do whatever he can to damage the cause of sound liturgy whilst avoiding the flak. I can well imagine that he will take care bishops of TLM dioceses are replaced, when the usual time comes, with other liturgical philistines, certain to provide an hostile environment for the TLM; with the obvious exception of those dioceses where a SSPX is within driving distance.
I cannot see the Bishop of Rome doing anything that makes him obviously unpopular, but I do believe he will do whatever he can to hush the effects of SP if he can do so without open confrontation.
The biggest safety for SP lies, if you ask me, in the robust presence of the SSPX. As long as they are strong and expanding, the enemies of the Tridentine Mass will have to be very careful, and Bishop Jorge's cult of Bishop Jorge will do the rest.
I might be wrong, of course. Time will tell.
If you scour this blog for the posts of June of last here, you will find the news about the impending agreement, when it seemed that the reconciliation had been achieved and only the right moment to make a public announcement was being waited for. Then, the initial reaction of surprise at the news that the widely anticipated reconciliation might not take place. When it became clear that the obvious informal agreement had been changed at the last minute (or misrepresented by people very near to the Pope) your humble correspondent, who doesn’t like to switch his brains off whenever a Pope is in play, dared to write that someone at the Vatican had lied, or had been duplicitorus, or had eaten his words.
When it subsequently became clear that the deal wasn’t going to happen, yours truly pointed out once again to the obvious: the Vatican had changed the cards on the table at the last minute, obviously after green informal green light for an agreement that seemed a done deal.
How the situation had probably evolved originally, I examined here.
Still, after the porcelain was broken I wrote this blog post, with the following observation:
it seems clear to me they are well aware the Holy Father himself has either eaten his word because scared of the results of the agreement, or he has wilfully lied to them when he first indicated his agreement with the SSPX’s version of the preambolo. Their answer to this is rather laconic: “We do not make names here, but if you want to talk to us be serious and stop playing clever guys”.
As an aside, I also made some proposal to improve the “dialogue”; proposals which, as I understand, were not followed.
Bishop Fellay, though, gave Mueller a lesson or two in Catholicism anyway, among other things pointing out that in the past Mueller would have ended in the sight of the same Holy Office he now leads. I heartily agree, by the way.
Who the real responsible of the entire mess was (make no mistake: Pope Benedict) I wrote here.
In the same tone, I pointed out how the appointment of Archbishop’s DiNoia to formally lead the “dialogue” would lead no nothing, if there is no intention to ever reconcile with Traditionalism.
The news making the round in the last hours are, therefore, interesting in themselves, but not entirely new to the readers of this forum: an agreement was certainly signaled to Bishop Fellay as done, prompting the formal offer of the SSPX which was then only waiting for the formal acceptance. At that point, someone ate his word, and if memory serves Bishop Fellay received confirmation in the following months that the one who ate his word was the Pontiff himself.
At the cost of being unpopular, I repeat once again that it is inconceivable that the sudden change in the Vatican attitude was not approved by the Pontiff, who therefore is the one bearing the responsibility for it.
Still, Pope Benedict is too intelligent to think that after two or three years of discussions, the SSPX would have suddenly abandoned the fight that is the very reason of its existence. Rather more probable is that the Pontiff Emeritus thought he could divide the SSPX dangling in front of the moderate elements the carrot of a reconciliation, retracting it at the last moment to see what effect it has. As I have already written i the past, this was too clever by half.
Where we are now, is that in the Vatican there is no interest in even pretending to be interested to a reconciliation. They prefer to reconcile with the Lutherans, and waffle about the “success” of the Reform.
Please let us not kid ourselves: Benedict never wanted an agreement. What is wanted, is either lead the SSPX to accept V II (a scenario improbable to the point of absurdity), or try to divide them in the process. Look at whom he appointed as head of the former Holy Office, and this will show you everything there is to know.
If Pope Francis ignores the SSPX I will still consider the attitude more honest than the disingenuous, frankly unethical ping-pong and carrot dangling we have lived in the past years.
An interesting discussion has erupted concerning the way a conservative, or traditionalist Catholic, should behave concerning attendance to the Novus Ordo Mass. Catocon was so nice as to prepare a mini-research of sources in the comment box of this post.
There is no doubt that whilst some SSPX priest arrives at times to say not worse than that the NO “provides a deficient spiritual diet to the faithful” (something on which, I hope, we all agree), the general stance is in the end harder, oscillating between attending only in case of “social emergency” (and even then only if the Mass is very reverent) and at the other extreme the softer, original position of Archbishop Lefebvre, who said:
However, “it is an exaggeration to say that most of these Masses are invalid.” One should not hesitate to go a little further to have Mass according to the Roman Ordo; but “if one does not have the choice and if the priest celebrating Mass according to the Novus Ordo is faithful and worthy, one should not abstain from going to Mass.”
Also, there seem to be no doubt even among versed priests somewhat less friendly to the SSPX than I am that for the SSPX priests a properly celebrated NO Mass is valid.
In all cases, it appears most priests of the SSPX would demand from yours truly that he exclusively attends a Traditional Mass; actually, their own Traditional Mass, as the doubts or misgivings concerning the indult/SP masses are also clearly there.
This blog was always, as every reader knows who read it even occasionally, on a different position.
Firstly, allow me to copy and paste – out of sheer laziness – a comment I have written in answer to a description of the NO as “abomination”. The SSPX certainly do not go as far as that, but you get the drift.
I refuse to see the Novus Ordo as an abomination. I positively and squarely refuse to do so. If the NO is an abomination, the Church is a fraud. It cannot be that the Church of Christ has decided to offer an abomination worldwide, and it still is the Church of Christ. If I believed that, then I would be forced to believe that there is no Peter, that the Pope is an impostor and a masquerade. Again, I refuse to do so. In fact, as I have explained the only reason why I continue to attend the NO is that I do not want, one day, to think that the NO is an abomination. If a particular NO Mass is more than I can stomach, I can find another NO, or three. On no account would I ever think I am the one to decide that the Rite in itself is an abomination, and I am too good for what the Church offers me.
It’s good to eat hard bread in a while. It still is the bread of life, and it keeps one honest. Works for me, at least.
2. I never said I am afraid that the Society might become Sedevacantist. My point is rather that if I pamper myself with the TLM every Sunday, I might end up thinking the NO is … an abomination. Should life, then, keep me away from a TLM I would then, coherently, not attend anymore. The one at risk is myself, not them. Now, either the NO (I mean, as a Mass; in abstract; and properly celebrated) is valid or it isn’t. I truly do not think it is for me to say. I am a Catholic for a reason. Now, if I had serious reason to think some local NO is not sacramentally valid, I wouldn’t attend there. If one has a TLM, I will encourage him to go there; if one hasn’t there, I would encourage him to travel further to find one in reasonable distance. But if I heard him talking like you do, I would suggest that he attends a NO Mass every now and then, too.
3. Yes, the NO might bring less graces. It probably does. Particularly if one gets angry. But hey, I can’t have my cake and eat it. To people like me, there are dangers on both sides. Been there, done that. Let me say very frankly that I do not want to die thinking that the Mass the Church of Christ offers me is an abomination, and offends Christ. Probably 99% of the Masses offered in the Roman Rite are NO. Many of them are reverently celebrated – even in Germany I can find decent ones without trouble -. If we throw the NO qua NO out of the window, we are saying the Church is a fraud to 99%. Thanks, but no, thanks.
4. You vastly overstate my influence as a blogger; but yes, I could influence the one or the other. On no account, then, would I ever suggest to them that they stay away from a NO Mass if they cannot have the TLM; because truly, the very thought is scary. The TLM is better, but the NO is still good, because it still is the Mass.
Second choice, I agree. But whoa, pay attention what you say.
One day I might well decide to only attend the TLM. Actually, it would be the more pleasant option by far. To do so, I would have to feel very safe that no antics of our clergy will drive me to distraction. I wish I could give you this security, but unfortunately I can’t, or a part of me is afraid one day I could make such a mistake… You see, I could end up – and I say this without animosity, but with a certain apprehension – thinking like you, and I really do not want to.
I will cling to the acceptability of the NO as I cling to the Church. I do not live in Hippyland. Plenty of reverent masses around here. Actually, my “Mass tourism” also has the aim of seeing how things are, examining the lay of the land. Honestly, it could be much worse.
I belong to the Church. I love the Church even when she slaps me in the face. Already once I stopped attending because I thought I knew better, and was better. Already once I thought I do not need to go and listen to a stupid priest talking stupid waffle (obviously, no clue about the real reason why I went to Mass). Never again. If the Lord gives me less graces for that, so be it. I will accept the slap from him as I accept the love, and I will accept whatever slap I take for taking part to the Mass the Church of Christ gave me. Because, you see, the NO is still the standard Mass of the Only Church, and I can’t throw the one from the window without throwing the other.
5. Then let us think to the end. if the NO is an abomination, the priest who celebrates the NO mass is an accomplice in this abomination. Not only the Mass might well be invalid – you probably think it is – but the other sacraments are, probably, too. What then? Do 99% of Catholic priest not impart a valid absolution? How many babies are validly baptised? How many adults validly married? How many of them, actually, validly priests?
It’s a slippery slope.
P.S. To all my twelve readers. I believe the NO is okay. I truly do. Vastly inferior to the TLM, for sure; but seriously, it’s fine.
I hope it will die one day, of course; but as long as it doesn’t, it will deliver all right. It’s the Mass of the Church after all.
You would be better served and more inspired by the TLM; but probably not, if this leads you to think a properly celebrated NO stinks.
Secondly, I would like to make the further consideration that if the SSPX are right, the likes of the London Oratorians are utterly wrong in continuing to celebrate the Novus Ordo ad populum, and we should consider participating at their NO Mass only in case of, say, a marriage in the family. Their NO is clearly, if you listen to some of the voices, not reverent enough for daily attendance.
Even worse it becomes if we take literally the reservations of the SSPX about priests who celebrate exclusively the TLM, but of whom it can be assumed they would not refuse to celebrate the NO if so ordered. In this perspective, not even the FSSP is good enough that their (TL) Mass can be attended to without reservations and moral distinguos.
What is the ultimate consequence of this? As I have already stated, it is that according to this thinking the Church of Christ serves poison and evil fare, day in and day out, to more than 99% of the Roman Rite faithful; who are, once again, not exactly a fringe group, but rather around 90% of worldwide Catholics. In a word, the Church would be the most efficient tool of Satan on earth, bar none.
I don’t like Pope Francis. Actually, I do not even esteem him. I do not think he should have been allowed to become a priest, much less a Pope – the same as Pope Liberius, Pope Benedict IX, Pope Alexander VI or Pope Leo X by the way -. But, come on…
I refuse to espouse such an extreme position. I see a substantial difference between considering the NO like a hamburger compared to the TLM’s porterhouse steak, or Coca-Cola compared to the TLM’s Barolo, and considering it instead stale meat, or a poisonous drink. The difference is substantial in that the hamburger is still nourishment, and the Coca-cola still quenches the thirst.
I refuse to espouse a vision of the world that sees in the Church an almost complete evil-producing wasteland, as the only fully acceptable parts of it would then be the SSPX and their affiliates. I refuse to consider the London Oratorians not good enough for my lofty standards, and a Traditional Latin Mass with the FSSP something I should avoid if I can. With such a mentality, of course talking to the Vatican does not make sense. With such a mentality, of course it is infinitely better to have no agreement at all with the Vatican, not even if one is offered for free and without have to make any concession in return. If Rome is so evil, then they must be fought against, not dialogued with! When, and only when, one has this forma mentis, Williamson’s behaviour becomes not only understandable, but actually coherent.
Frankly, I don’t see it. I want the end of the NO mass as much as the next Traditionalist, but I refuse to consider poisonous or evil – much less “an abomination” – the spiritual nourishment the Church of Christ offers me and the other 99% of Roman Rite Catholics.
Some might say “but Mundabor, they say that the NO is evil, but they qualify by saying it that it is evil in the sense that it does not have a necessary good ” (or suck like). I answer to this that either the NO is evil in the sense that you and I understand when we hear the word evil, or the argument fails to persuade. If “evil” isn’t really “evil”, then the argument isn’t there in the first place.
I wonder how many within the SSPX truly share this view. They have supported Bishop Fellay like a man, and Bishop Williamson’s exclusion has caused not more than a dozen or so defection (less, if memory serves). It is clear they look at Rome in a way well different from the creator and distributor of millions of poisonous masses daily.
I have left the words of the Archbishop up as a quotation, so that at the end of this long post one may want to read it again. Of course the Archbishop might have expressed himself differently in different contexts, and one must take his words in the frame of his beautiful love for the Church. But exactly for this reason, it seems to me that his softer stance is more reasoned and more coherent, as he clearly gives every NO mass celebrated by a “faithful and worthy priest” dignity of – to remain by the culinary metaphor – nourishing, healthy, un-poisonous hamburger.