Father Z has a rather astonishing post about Paul VI discovering the abolition of the Octave of Pentecost, and the subsequent duty to wear green instead of red vestments, on the very morning of the fact.
One does not know whether to pity or despise more a man who, whilst in charge as Pope, is so disinterested in liturgical matters that he must be informed on the very morning of momentous liturgical changes he has himself approved. The show of culpable dereliction of duty and outright incompetence revealed by the episode is quite breathtaking.
Possibly even worse, though, is the man’s reaction at the discovery.
He weeps. And does nothing.
Paul VI was certainly conscious of being the Pope. He must have known, then, that the powers of a Pope go far beyond weeping; they extend, in actual fact, to reigning.
A Pope upset enough at the discovery of a liturgical opprobrium that he even weeps about it, but then does nothing about it albeit it is perfectly in his powers to act, shows a kind or ineptitude and a lack of resoluteness, an absence of the most basic qualities required in a Pope, that one can only see as do disgracefully unmanly as to border on sheer effeminacy.
Mind, I was never sold on the one of Paul VI’s homosexuality. It seems not realistic to me that Paul VI may have been homosexual without the facts leaking out with such self-evident force as to become a huge weapon in the hands of those who hate the Church, from common atheists to activist Communists to militant sodomites, to Protestants of all flavours.
But truly, reading episodes like the one above one understands how the suspicion could arise. This is not a worthy Successor of Peter, but a weeping girl so out of his depth that the evil people around him can do whatever they please undisturbed, and not even fearful of any of their changes being nullified by the Pope.
It is, to me, the source of ever renewed amusement that a Pope who was decent once in fifteen year of pontificate should by some be considered a sort of hero who stood firm like a rock on the impact of a huge wave of change.
The contrary is the case. Pope Paul stood like a frightened little girl in the midst of a marauding pack of Hell’s Angels bikers; pretty much always, with one notable exception; and remaining, as the little frightened girl, so shocked at the reaction to Humanae Vitae that he did not write any other encyclical letter for the following eleven or so years of his pontificate.
Pope Paul VI not only all but abdicated his social and political role, but he also oversaw the slow destruction of the church whilst doing pretty much nothing else but weep.
He will be beatified in October.
Such is the post conciliar church.
Those who follow this blog already know that I fully subscribe to the Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi saying. The Liturgy is, if you ask me, the key that opens all the doors necessary to the recovery of the Church after the devastation – not coincidentally: also a liturgical devastation – of the Second Vatican Council.
Consequently, I also fully subscribe to the “save the liturgy, save the world” motto. The result of this is that I must be equally persuaded that as long as the liturgy isn't saved, the world as such will not improve a bit.
From this derives, with elegant inevitability, that whatever a Pope does will ultimately not be worth much, until and unless said Pope improves the liturgical habit of the Church.
This we have seen brutally at work in the last 50 years: a string of Popes who were generally considered very pious or at least good-intentioned; world travelling like it's going out of fashion; full airports and media frenzy. At the end of all this, sodomy is being legislated for, the number of European and South American churchgoers decreases, and the very concept of what makes one a Catholic is very blurred in most.
This will, of course, continue with Pope Francis. Unless the Holy Father continues the slow work of repair of the Liturgy started by his predecessor, his Papacy will be ultimately ineffective at the very best.
We must keep this in mind when we observe Pope Francis' pontificate, and avoid the easy – and cheesy – enthusiasm of the usual cheerleaders; cheerleaders who get excited like girls waiting for the rock star when the Pope forces the Swiss Guard to disobey his captain's orders and to sit on a chair, and in his moving goodness brings him something to eat, poor starving creature…
Still, it has been traditionally believed that the ability to bear adversities patiently is a sign of predestination. We can, therefore, try to do our best to let this papacy works for us, no matter what. One day, the Liturgy will be repaired and with it, in time, the world.
At the end of the story, though, there will be no saving the world until the Liturgy is saved first. I can't imagine it will start with Pope Francis.
We must live in very strange times indeed if every hour can bring further, disquieting news from the very top of the Church.
At Rorate Caeli there is a blog post and video (which is copyrighted, so I will not re-post it here) shedding further light on what has happened yesterday besides what I have already reported about.
Please note the following:
1. the official announcement of the fact that the Pontiff washed the feet of people of
different nationalities and faiths, including at least two Muslims and two women,
I have never read in the Gospel Jesus washed the feet of heathens, but again Jesus would obviously not be taken as an example of “inclusiveness” and “dialogue” by Pope Francis (Jesus came bringing a sword, Pope Francis came bringing peace) so He doesn't count. Perhaps Pope Francis has a different Bible than I, though. I am told in Argentina they do strange things anyway.
2. the horrible, horrible, horrible liturgy.
I have heard some sugary crap in my time, but what you hear in the video passeth my limited understanding of ugliness. It's like torture in the kindergarten. I cannot believe there are people – children, or adults – who can believe this utter crap has some semblance of spirituality and be in their right mind.
Called me a Conservative Catholic if you so wish, but to me if your liturgical views are gravely flawed your theology will be gravely flawed too. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi. There's no escaping this simple truth.
Only two weeks into this papacy, and we wonder when it will end.
I am afraid we are only at the beginning.
As they say, relata refero, so take this with a pinch or three of salt.
Cardinal Pell says we have “little” (I’d have preferred “nothing”) to fear, says the article, which doesn’t quote his words directly, and doesn’t even put the “little to fear” words in quotation marks.
Cardinal Pell seems to indicate his evaluation comes not from intimate knowledge of the man, but from past work made with him.
It isn’t much, but it’s something.
If this Pope is so humble, he will quickly understand he has a lot to learn in matter of liturgy, and it would be very wise to keep Monsigner Marini by him and – as he is such a good listener – listen to what he says.
If this Pope thinks he can demolish the liturgy and make of it a kitsch (I see a lot of kitsch in this Pope; my bad, no doubt) happening for former juvenile tambourine-player and a sort of kindergarten-ersatz, then the mildest things that can be said is that he isn’t so humble after all.
We shall see. Stranger things happened at sea than a Cardinal who understands as a Pope he has very special duties, and he won’t die if he wears red shoes and a Mozzetta.
The problem here is, though, that to remain by the examples the Pope does not refuse to wear the Mozzetta and the red shoes out of hate for the colour red, but out of an ideological orientation that seems rather ingrained, and an integral part of the persona he wants to project.
If kitsch liturgy and inappropriate dress are part of one’s message, one won’t change it so easily. Still, one never knows…
It is for a conservative Catholic very difficult not to like the person and the work of Monsignor Guido Marini. A true lover of sound liturgy (because remember: Lex Orandi…) , this gentle, unassuming man has beautifully taken care of it for Pope Benedict as his Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, helping him and us to re-discover as much as he (Monsignor Marini) could of the hidden treasures of our glorious tradition.
I had grown accustomed to see him near the former Pontiff, and to me his familiar, meek (smart-meek, not “kick my backside”-meek) expression was always a silent reassurance that, slow as things were going, they were at least going in the right direction.
I do not envy the good man, who must be living difficult days now. From what transpires to date – and one must say if the new Pontiff has one good side, is that he does not leave anyone in doubt about his intentions – he will have either no liturgical role, or one that we do not wish him, and that would make him suffer. Alas, a cold wind of liturgical wreckovation seems to be blowing within the Vatican walls, and it doesn’t take a genius to imagine our gentle friend will soon find other places where his qualities can be better employed.
Say, if you please, a Hail Mary for this kind man of God, now very probably seeing the demolition – provisional, at least – of years of beautiful work.
From Sacrosanctum Concilium:
“The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions; they should be within the people’s powers of comprehension, and normally should not require much explanation.”
If you visit Rorate Caeli, you will not fail to understand how the pastoral mentality of Vatican II has revived the Church and given new meaning to an old, tired, formal ritual.
Notice the solemnity of the priest; the noble simplicity of his, should we say, altar; the raptured participation of the youth attending the ceremony, to whom the celebrant nobly gives his back; the atmosphere of simplicity and yet, solemnity that clearly transpires from the pictures. I do not doubt that the celebration was short, let alone unencumbered from useless repetitions. Can’t imagine it stretched the presents’ powers of comprehension, either.
Oh, to be able to attend such a mass! Oh, to be able to revive the unadorned simplicity of our liturgical masters, The First Christians! How have we become prisoners of symbols, and ceremonies, and banal objects like…. altars!
I look at the pictures, and wonder what has gone wrong with us.
If you don’t know what the American Catholic Council is, don’t worry: you are not alone.
In short, this is one of those ridiculous outfits which claim to be Catholic whilst clearly being Protestant. From thinking that everyone should be priest, to being in favour of wymmyn priest, to encouraging the usual pervert sexual behaviour, they serve you the whole enchilada of the “dissent” madness. You may ask why they don’t become Protestant as they clearly… already are, but intelligence and logical thinking are graces clearly not given to everyone.
It so happens that this mickey-mouse “catholic” organisation holds a conference in Detroit in the next few days, featuring some of the usual heretical muppets. The event will (would; was supposed to) also host an “ecumenical mass”, which considering the ideas of the organisers screams “liturgical abuses” from very, very far away.
Now the local Archbishop is a certain Vigneron; a man who might possibly not be a sword of Catholic orthodoxy (I seem to recall his diocese being pretty harshly criticised by Michael Voris in the past; I might be wrong) but has certainly the energy to avoid tolerating such a load of manure without reaction.
Therefore, Archbishop Vigneron has made the following:
1) he has not authorised the mass, and
2) he has written a letter to his priests and deacons stating that his questions about the mass have not been answered to his satisfaction, that the whole thing screams of liturgical abuse, and that therefore any deacon or priest who should entertain the unealthy thought of participating in this liturgy runs the risk of being dismissed from the clerical state.
I can picture the “dissident” Protestants-telling-themselves-Catholics now faced with the unpleasant reality of even a “moderate” archbishop throwing around threats of laicisation for deluded feminist/homosexual hotheads, and posed in front of the unpleasant task of having to find a priest in good standing but ready to risk the soutane (if he ever wore one) for them or show that the archbishop can well and truly block them.
Alternatively, they may ask some layman to celebrate a fake mass; or some wymmyn; and what about the dog……
I think of their situation and try to feel sorry for them in their quandary.
Thankfully, I can’t.
Know Your Mass (that you can also buy at amazon, but I wanted to break a lance for the “Angelus Press”) is a beautiful “cartoon” explaining the Traditional Mass to children of a certain age (probably nine or ten, I would say).
The reasons why its reading is, in my eyes, beneficial to everyone are as follows:
1) this is not a children’s book. This is a book explaining a complicated thing like the Tridentine Mass in a way that can be followed by an alert child.
2) The cartoon form is extremely well suited to the explanation of the gestures and the rhythm of the Mass.
3) The book was published in 1954, in times above every suspicion.
4) It is fully illustrated, not partially illustrated. It doesn’t stop here and then to explain with images, it translates the entire Mass in images.
5) It reports every word of the liturgy. Nothing is left out or jumped out of convenience.
6) It has useful explanations as to the structure of the Mass, e.g. why certain parts of the Mass recur twice.
7) It can be read a bit at a time, and through the fiction of the “cartoon” allows a better explanation of every gesture of the priest than even a DVD would allow.
I also have “The most beautiful thing this side of heaven”, the DVD about the Tridentine Mass with the attached explanatory booklet. Trust me, this is better.
Through its format, accessible to young people as well as adults, this book is perfectly suited to unite the entire family around the Tridentine Mass. If you are interested in the liturgy (and you are, otherwise you’d be singing silly song in church instead of reading this) you cannot do better than to buy this.
Let me say beforehand – though those who have been reading me for some time, if any, know it already – that I do not have any problem with the sacramental validity of the Novus Ordo mass. None whatsoever.
I believe that there is only One Church and that Ubi Petrus, Ibi Ecclesia. It follows that I cannot believe that the consecration of this only Church has become a fraud.
This doesn’t mean, however, that I consider everything happening within this Only Church to be right. If we look at the past, we see various ages in which the Church has gravely failed to properly instruct the faithful and, in general, do a halfway decent job of things. The extreme corruption of pretty much everything regarding the Church in the IX and X Century is an example; the decadent, irreverent splendour of the Church of the XVI century is another; the rather laissez-faire style of the XVIII century another still. In spite of all that, we know that Communion, Confession & co were as valid during these dark times as they always were, and that the consecration effected by a priest remains valid even should the priest be in mortal sin.
Similarly, periods in which the Mass was ill-treated are clearly recognisable: the notorious fast masses – or the “bespoke” masses – of the XVI century (some of them done with in 15 minutes, it seems), with the priests deciding what is “in” and what is “out” of the traditional liturgy are a clear example, and one with many parallels to what happens today. The Tridentine Council adjusted things then, and we are waiting for a similar repair work today.
What has been happening in the last half century is, therefore, not new in itself. What is different today is that in the present situation the liturgical and theological corruption has reached the very heart of the Church, in a measure and with a virulence that we cannot find in the past.
Some Popes of the past knew how to be assassins, gluttons, womanizers or, in general, first-class greedy bastards. But they never even conceived of tampering with the liturgy. The private lusts of an Alexander VI didn’t impinge the daily spiritual life of millions of Catholics anywhere near as the experiments of a John XXIII, or the stupefying weakness of a Paul VI, did.
What we have today is, therefore, nothing new on one hand, but alarmingly novel on the other. The Smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God not through the private vices and weaknesses of his leaders, but through a direct attack to the very centre of Her life, the Liturgy.
This is why the New Mass must die.
When the “fast-food” masses of the XVI century were critically examined their sacramental validity was (apart from very extreme cases) not put into question, but it was nevertheless decided that such way of celebrating Mass had to be stopped. When a vast series of regional or local “usages” was deemed to be detrimental to Church life, the thus celebrated masses were not declared invalid, only it was wisely considered that only traditional usages should be allowed to survive. Every cleaning carries with himself the necessity of eliminating poor practice, irrespective of its sacramental validity.
A strong, universally applied “best practice” policy is what is needed, as it was – very wisely! – done in the past by similar cleaning-up operations. There can be no doubt that the best practice is the Mass of the Ages. There can be no doubt that the recovery of integrity in the Liturgy goes through the recovery of the Liturgy in its most traditional, purest form. This is what has been – very wisely – done in the past. It stands to reason that it is what must be done today.
Whilst this is – intellectually speaking – clear enough, it never fails to slap me in the face every time that I – as I do every now and then – go around assisting to some Novus Ordo Mass around London and its immediate vicinity. The return to the proper Mass is always – and I repeat this – like a slap in the face; every single time, it is impossible not to notice the sheer inadequacy of the Novus Ordo to convey the sacredness of the Mass.
It’s like going to a concert of some cretinous rapper and then go back to a Schubert piano recital. “What was they thinking” is the thought that always comes to my mind; a bit the same as when you look at those iron and concrete monsters of the Sixties and wonder what everyone (architects; city planners; citizens) were doing with their brains in those fateful years.
The Novus Ordo must die. It must end up in the same dustbin where the old fast masses, and the vast number of regional and local uses of the past, have ended up.
Not because it is invalid, but because once you have known the Tridentine Mass, the Novus ordo is so woefully inadequate that it is a sheer embarrassment to attend to.
“Truly The Antidote To The Crisis”: Bishop Fellay On The Traditional Liturgy And Summorum Pontificum
Read here the part of an interview to Bishop Fellay of the SSPX more directly regarding the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.
In my eyes, in his commentary on Summorum Pontificum Bishop Fellay has all his bases covered. He expresses the following concepts:
1) Summorum Pontificum has great importance because it recognises that the Traditional Mass has never been abrogated. This is of obvious meaning for the SSPX.
2) This fact is not at all diminished by the fact that most Bishops actively boycott SP.
3) Summorum Pontificum is the obligatory starting point for every renewal of the Church liturgy.
4) As the liturgy is the real core of the Church’s life and activity, to repair the Liturgy would mean to repair the Church and every repair of the Church cannot be done without repairing the Liturgy. Bishop Fellay says about the Tridentine Mass;
it is truly the antidote to the crisis. It is really very powerful, at all levels. At the level of grace, at the level of faith…. I think that if the old Mass were allowed to be truly free, the Church could emerge rather quickly from this crisis, but it would still take several years!
(I’d rather say “one generation or two” but hey, I like his optimism.. ).
Bishop Fellay stressing the importance of Summorum Pontificum may simply be instrumental to his desire of showing that the SSPX is right in protecting the Old Mass, or might be the result of his having received some hints about the content of the proposed instructions and wanting to intervene in a discreet manner in its defence. He is very diplomatic on the point as whilst he clearly criticises both the incoming beatification of JP II and – with much more energy – the initiative of Assisi III, he refrains from saying a single word of criticism toward the instruction.
It appears to me that Fellay is well aware that every negative consequence for Summorum Pontificum as a result of the Instruction would greatly add to the SSPX’s popularity and prestige in the eyes of conservative Catholics the world over as millions of well-educated, liturgically savvy Catholics would understand that the SSPX is the only safe bastion against the smoke of satan famously (and insistently) entering the doors of the Church.
The rest of the interview is also interesting and possibly worthy of separate blog posts. As always, you can read here and there some rather unusual words ( on page one, talking about the current discussions with the Vatican, Bishop Fellay says: “it is really a matter of making the Catholic faith understood in Rome”, which is strong tobacco by any diplomatic and un-diplomatic standard), but on the whole by reading this contribution I have the impression that I always had in the past by reading SSPX documents: that they are a bit cantankerous and not always very diplomatic in presenting their point of view but boy, they are 100% Catholic and no mistake.