One of the many mistakes of modern thinking is the inability to assess goodness in its proper light. This in turn causes a tragic inability to understand who the really good people are.
It is traditional Christian teaching that God’s goodness is, so to speak, the sum total of both His Mercy and His Justice. On the human and practical level, this always implied the obvious concept that one can’t be good if he isn’t also able to enforce good behaviour, or to defend what is good with more than words. The idea that the Crusades be “not good” would have never entered the mind of people able to properly assess goodness.
Not so today. You will notice everywhere – and most tragically, in the thinking of many Catholics – that for very many “good” means “harmless”. If one is ready to punish, he can’t be really “good”. Goodness has become spineless thinking and behaviour, the non-violent, Gandhi-crap that has been polluting Western society for too long.
Popes are, unfortunately, a tragic example of this new thinking. Popes like Pius IX, Pius X, Pius XI and Pius XII were good in that they were not only good men, but able enforcers. In contrast, the last Popes have all been bad enforcers, and their “goodness” has now become synonymous with the inability to act as a Pope should. Modern Popes are Gandhis in a white tunic: perfectly harmless, photogenic, and utterly innocuous for the Church hierarchy.
The first example of this was John XXIII, whose nickname il Papa buono (the good-hearted Pope) is due to his utter inability to do much else than being pious.
The Vatican Council he naively started was out of control only weeks into it, and there were no consequences. Theologians censured or silenced until a very few years before took over proceedings well before his death, and again there was no reaction. The very idea of the Council was thrown over board very rapidly, and one would almost think it I possible the Pope who called the Council is the one who presided over its highjacking.
How can such an irrelevance be good? It can only if one is drink with the kook-aid of the new times, of peace and dialogue as supreme values, with Gandhi instead of Christ as the guiding light.
Pope John XXIII certainly was a saintly man, with a very good heart. But he was the first of he ones to confuse “good” and “harmless”.
We pay the consequences still today.
Iota Unum is a ruthless analysis of what has happened before, during and after the Second Vatican Council, and examines the rupture of sound Catholic tradition in a vast number of issues. The book is the more relevant, because it was written in times when only very few dared to say of Vatican II what today is acknowledged by a vast number of people.
Romano Amerio lived to the end of his days surrounded by the hostility and mockery of the then largely unopposed Vatican-II crowd, his works ignored in the best of cases. From his book a lot of energy transpires, a sincere love for the Church, and a fundamental optimism that Her indefectibility would allow her to survive. Still, this book written in bleak years can’t avoid giving a bleak portrait of the Church’s situation of those times, and Amerio doesn’t leave any wound untouched; but there is no bitterness, no personal polemic, no private score settling. This man loved the Church dearly, and was ready to be mocked to the end of his days for it.
Reading the book today, we can’t avoid noticing a marked improvement of the situation. But the contrast with the pre-Vatican II Church and sound theology is still shocking. I have already mentioned Amerio’s work and cogent arguments talking about the role of the Pope, and I also had the one about Veterum Sapientia (“on the promotion of the study of Latin”, no less…) from him.
Please say a prayer for Romano Amerio and for the generous people at Angelus Press.
“Pro Missa Tridentina” Website and the progress of Summorum Pontificum in the German speaking dioceses.
Curious to see how things are going with Summorum Pontificum outside of Blighty, I found the Pro Missa Tridentina website. This website has been established by Catholic laymen (I have already written here about the fact that the Catholic Renaissance on the Internet is nowadays driven by the laity, this is another beautiful example) and has the purpose of, inter alia, providing a listing of all regular Tridentine Masses being celebrated in and around the German speaking dioceses in Europe. You will find the list under the “Hl. Messen” (“Heilige Messen”, “Holy Masses”) link.
In the German speaking world the recovery of the Latin Mass seems to be more advanced than in the United Kingdom. Not only there are regions with a predictably high concentration of Tridentine Masses (Bavaria is a small paradise, it would seem that everyone with a car doesn’t even need to be much concerned about fuel costs….), but even the number of Masses available in Austria was – considering the liberal infestation of many of its dioceses – largely above my expectations. The small German speaking Belgian minority is also provided with Latin Masses and even in the once-schismatic Dutch Church the Tridentine Mass is slowly but surely coming back.
I have written in the past about the fact that Latin was meant to be, up to the beginning of V II (Veterum Sapientia), the basis of Catholic liturgy and that the subversion of its role is one of the poisoned fruits of the Bugnini-poisoned years which followed. I see in the resurgence of the Latin Mass (we are talking Tridentine here, not even Latin versions of the Novus Ordo) a continuation of the same mentality informing Veterum Sapientia, a brilliant document and probably one of the most neglected and most rapidly forgotten in the entire history of the Church.
The addresses and postcodes make it very easy to locate a Tridentine Mass for non-German speakers who are in the region for business or holiday. Even without any concrete need for a Tridentine Mass it might be useful to browse and get an idea of what is happening, I found it encouraging and a much needed bit of good news. This is, of course, only the beginning and the very existence of Internet websites allowing one to locate a Tridentine Mass shows how far we still are from an acceptable situation. Still, I couldn’t scroll down the list of the churches offering the Tridentine Mass and escape a feeling that we are now at the turning of the tide. The statistical section allows one to follow the progress of the reintroduction of the TLM.
My hat goes off to the laymen who had the initiative and courage to organise such an Internet presence (starting before Summorum Pontificum, mind) and make of it a useful instrument of the “reform of the reform” now slowly but surely underway.
Below, some chosen lines out of a Vatican document of the past (feel free to skip at will 😉 ):
The Church […] values especially the Greek and Latin languages in which wisdom itself is cloaked, as it were, in a vesture of gold.
But amid this variety of languages a primary place must surely be given to that language which had its origins in Latium, and later proved so admirable a means for the spreading of Christianity throughout the West.
And since in God’s special Providence this language united so many nations together under the authority of the Roman Empire — and that for so many centuries — it also became the rightful language of the Apostolic See. Preserved for posterity, it proved to be a bond of unity for the Christian peoples of Europe.
Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among Peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favor any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all and is equally acceptable to all.
Nor must we overlook the characteristic nobility of Latin formal structure. Its “concise, varied and harmonious style, full of majesty and dignity” makes for singular clarity and impressiveness of expression.
For these reasons the Apostolic See has always been at pains to preserve Latin, deeming it worthy of being used in the exercise of her teaching authority “as the splendid vesture of her heavenly doctrine and sacred laws.”
She further requires her sacred ministers to use it, for by so doing they are the better able, wherever they may be, to acquaint themselves with the mind of the Holy See on any matter, and communicate the more easily with Rome and with one another.
Thus the “knowledge and use of this language,” so intimately bound up with the Church’s life, “is important not so much on cultural or literary grounds, as for religious reasons”.
“For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure to the end of time … of its very nature requires a language which is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular.”
[..] Latin [..] is set and unchanging. It has long since ceased to be affected by those alterations in the meaning of words which are the normal result of daily, popular use. Certain Latin words, it is true, acquired new meanings as Christian teaching developed and needed to be explained and defended, but these new meanings have long since become accepted and firmly established.
[..] the Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular.
In addition, the Latin language “can be called truly catholic.” It has been consecrated through constant use by the Apostolic See, the mother and teacher of all Churches, and must be esteemed “a treasure … of incomparable worth”.
It is a general passport to the proper understanding of the Christian writers of antiquity and the documents of the Church’s teaching. It is also a most effective bond, binding the Church of today with that of the past and of the future in wonderful continuity.
I could go on, but I think that you get the gist: this is a passionate praise of the inestimable value of Latin and of its being the only possible preferred choice for the Universal Church.
Who is the author of this? The strong anti-modernist Crusader St. Pius X perhaps? The rigid Dobermann (said in a good sense) of Orthodoxy Pius XI? Or maybe the severe, solemn, saintly diplomatic Pius XII?
None of these, dear readers. This is all taken from Veterum Sapientia, the Apostolic Constitution “on the Promotion of the Study of Latin” authored by…. John XXIII and promulgated with great pomp just a few months before the beginning of the Second Vatican Catastrophe!
This Apostolic Constitution gives you all the scale of the subversion of traditional Catholic mentality (not talking of dogmas here, merely of the general outlook on life) perpetrated during and after Vatican II. The clear impression is that V II itself has been a subversion of the very traditional “Spirit of pre-V II” which had been the basis for the preparation of the very Council; and that after the conclusion of V II, a new wave of subversion started, with the forces of demolition now unleashed and determinedly bent on subverting V II itself.
Veterum Sapientia dates February 1962. Only five years later Vatican II itself was being happily demolished by the new orgy of renewal at all cost. The Aggiornamento was eating his own children.
In my eyes, this bears two lessons for us:
1) once you begin to play with ideas of Aggiornamento, you open a Pandora’s box of great devastating power.
2) If such a great amount of devastation could be executed in just a few years without leading to the disintegration of the Church, I can’t see why a comparable amount of restoration should not be possible within the same timeframe. The Church is not a fragile LibCon coalition government needing protection from every jolt. It is a rather stabile, rock-solid institution under the protection of the Holy Spirit.
The Church has survived a great amount of falsity and heretical infiltrations. There is no limit to the amount of Truth it can withstand.