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00Thursday, July 16, 2020 9:35 PM

Vatican II and the Calvary of the Church

July 16, 2020

Dear friends of Duc in altum, in the debate that is taking place about the Second Vatican Council, Father Serafino Maria Lanzetta has offered an authoritative contribution, which he sent to me and I am happy to offer to you.

Recently, the debate about the correct interpretation of the Second Vatican Council has been rekindled. It is true that every council has interpretative problems and very often opens new ones rather than resolving the ones that preceded it. Mystery always carries with it a tension between what is said and what is unspeakable.

It is enough to recall that the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father that was declared against Arius by the Council of Nicea (325) was only firmly established sixty years later with the Council of Constantinople (381), when the divinity of the Holy Spirit was also defined.

In our own time, about sixty years after the Second Vatican Council, we have not seen the clarification of a doctrine of the faith but a further obscuring of it. The Abu Dhabi Declaration (4 February 2019) pretends to establish with total certainty that God wills the plurality of religions just as he wills the diversity of colors, sexes, races, and languages.

In the words of Pope Francis on the return flight after the signing of the document: “From the Catholic point of view the document did not go one millimeter beyond the Second Vatican Council.” It is certainly more a “symbolic” link with the “spirit of the Council” that echoes in the text of the “Declaration on Human Fraternity.”

And yet, a link is there, and it is certainly not the only one between Vatican II and the church of today. This is a sign that there is a difference between the Council of Nicea and Vatican II that needs to be taken into consideration.

The hermeneutic of continuity and reform gave us the hope of being able to read the new teaching of Vatican II in continuity with the preceding magisterium, in the name of the principle which maintains that any council, if celebrated following the necessary canonical requirements, is assisted by the Holy Spirit. Thus if orthodoxy is not readily apparent, one looks for it. In the meantime, however, already here there is a problem that is by no means secondary.

Relying on hermeneutics to solve the problem of continuity is already a problem in itself. In claris non fit interpretatio [roughly, 'clarity does not need interpretation'], says a well-known adage. If continuity did not need to be demonstrated with interpretation, there would be no need for a hermeneutic as such.

As it is, the continuity [of Vatican II with the Tradition] is not readily apparent but must be demonstrated or rather interpreted. From the moment that one has recourse to a hermeneutic, we enter an ever-growing process of interpretation in continuity, a process that, once begun, does not stop. As long as there are interpretations, there will be an unending interpretative process, and thus there will be the possibility that any interpretation can be confirmed or denied because it is either adequate or prejudicial in the eyes of the next interpreter.

The hermeneutic is a process; it is the process of modernity that
posits man as existing and captures him within the radius of being here and now. An echo of this is the problem of the Council that tries to dialogue with modernity, which in turn is itself an existential process not easily solved in hermeneutic circles.

If we rely only on hermeneutics to resolve the problem of continuity, we run the risk of enveloping ourselves in a system that posits continuity as existing (or, on the other hand, rupture) but in fact does not reach it. And it does not seem that we have reached it at all today, almost sixty years since Vatican II.

There is a need not for a hermeneutic that gives us the guarantee of continuity, but of a first principle that tells us whether the hermeneutic utilized is valid or not: this principle is the faith of the Church.

It is no wonder that at such a distance from Vatican II we are still arguing about the hermeneutic of continuity of a council with respect to preceding councils and with respect to the Faith of the Church, when the Faith itself has left us for many years now and shows no sign of returning.

Ever since it was proposed, the hermeneutic of continuity ['in renewal', one must add] seemed to have some cracks in it; more recently it seems that even Joseph Ratzinger has somewhat distanced himself from it.

In his notes relating to the roots of sexual abuse in the Church (published exclusively for Italy in Corriere della sera, on 11 April 2019), the Second Vatican Council is repeatedly called into question. With more theological freedom and no longer in an official capacity, Benedict XVI points to a sort of Biblicism that originated in Dei Verbum as the main doctrinal root of the moral crisis in the Church.

In the struggle engaged in at the Council, an attempt was made to be liberated from the natural foundation of the moral law in order to base morality exclusively on the Bible.

The impact of the Constitution on Divine Revelation – which did not want to mention the role of the Traditio constitutiva, even though Paul VI oversaw its writing – is reflected in the wording of Optatam Totius16 [The Decree on Priestly Formation], which in fact was later rejected out of suspicion that its morality was too “pre-conciliar,” scornfully identified as “manualistic” because it was based in the natural law. The negative effects of such “repositioning” did not delay in making themselves felt and are still under our astonished eyes.

In the same notes of Ratzinger we also read a denunciation of so-called “conciliarity” which had become the litmus test of what was truly acceptable and able to be proposed, even to the point of leading some bishops to refute the Catholic Tradition. In the various post-conciliar documents that sought to correct this trajectory, providing correct interpretation of doctrine, serious consideration has never been given to the problem of fundamental theology that was inaugurated by the principle of “conciliarity.”

In fact, “conciliarity” is the door that opens up to all the other problems, becoming a free spirit that always dances around and juts out with respect to the text and above all with respect to the Church. It was spoken of during the 1985 Synod of Bishops, but this discussion never crystallized into a clear statement that refuted it.

The hermeneutical problem of Vatican II will never end if we do not face a central and radical point on which depends the clear comprehension of doctrines and their magisterial evaluation. Vatican II presented itself as a council with an exquisitely pastoral purpose. But of course, all of the preceding councils were pastoral in the measure in which they affirmed the truth of the faith and fought against errors.

Vatican II chose a new method for a pastoral purpose: the “pastoral method” that became a true program of action. By declaring it several times but never giving a definition of what is meant by “pastoral,” Vatican II presented itself in a new way with respect to other councils.

It is the “pastoral council” that more than any other council proposed new doctrines, but chose neither to define new dogmas nor to reiterate any dogma in a definitive way (perhaps the sacramental nature of the episcopate, but on this there was not unanimity).

“Pastorality” foresaw an absence of condemnations and a non-definition of the faith, instead offering a “new way” of teaching it for the present time: a “new way” that influenced the formation of 'new doctrines' and vice-versa. This problem is still felt with all its virulence today when there is a preference for “leaving doctrine aside” for pastoral motives, but this cannot be done without in fact teaching another – different – doctrine.

The “pastoral method” (and it really was a method) played a role of the first order in the Council. [In other words, it was used as a conscious strategy as well as tactic.]
- It directed the conciliar agenda.
- It established what was to be discussed and directed the reformulation of several central schemas because they were said to be “unpastoral.”
- It led to the neglect of common doctrines because they were still disputed (such as for example, limbo and the material insufficiency of the Scriptures, reiterated by the ordinary magisterium of the catechisms) and to the embrace of teaching “new doctrines” that had not been theologically debated in any way (such as for example, episcopal collegiality and the restoration of the married permanent diaconate).

Indeed the “pastoral” rose to the rank of a constitution with Gaudium et Spes (we were accustomed to a constitution being such only in relation to faith), a document so shabby that it even made Karl Rahner’s hair stand on end, who advised Cardinal Döpfner to declare the imperfection of the text from the very beginning, mainly due to the fact that the created order did not appear to have God for its end. And yet Rahner was the promoter of “transcendental” pastoral care.

[One must point out that perhaps the greatest difference in the attitudes of John Paul II and Benedict XVI towards Vatican-II was that the latter never ceased to criticize what he saw to be the major weaknesses of Gaudium et Spes, whereas John Paul II, who, as Karol Wojtyla had been among the framers of that Constitution, considered it a bedrock of Vatican II.]

Thus the Council posed a problem of interpretation in and of itself, and this did not begin with a false reception [after the Council] but right from the discussions in the conciliar aula. Understanding the degree of theological qualification of the conciliar doctrines was not easy even for the Council Fathers themselves, who repeatedly asked for clarification from the Secretariat of the Council. [I believe this was always acknowledged by everyone who took part in the Council, and this was used to explain the use of compromise language in what were - and continue - to be its most controversial texts. This was a given from the get-go that could not be circumvented.]

“Pastorality” then also entered into the drafting of the new schema on the Church. For many Council Fathers, the mystery of the Church (in its invisible aspect) was broader than its historical and hierarchical manifestation (its visible aspect), even to the point of maintaining the non-co-extensiveness of the Mystical Body of Christ with the Roman Catholic Church.
- Were there two juxtaposed Churches?
- A “Church of Christ” on one side and “the Catholic Church” on the other? This risk arose not from the verbal change with “subsistit in” but fundamentally from having renounced the doctrine of the members of the Church (there was a shift from de membris to de populo) in order not to offend Protestants as imperfect members.

Today it seems that more or less everyone belongs to the Church. If we were to ask a question – “Did the Council Fathers maintain that the Mystical Body of Christ is the Catholic Church?” – how would many people respond? Many Council Fathers said no, and this is why we are where we are.

The “spirit of the Council” was thus born in the Council itself. [Of course it was! It animated all the progressivists responsible for 'why we are where we are' today, and it always struck me as significant that the progressivists exalted 'the spirit of the Council' while almost completely ignoring the Holy Spirit who should be the only Spirit animating the Church and everything it does. At least, they were honest in not attributing or equating their 'spirit' to the Holy Spirit.]
- It hovers through Vatican II and its texts.
- It is often a reflection of a “pastoral spirit” that is not clearly identifiable,
- that builds or demolishes in the name of “conciliarity,” which often simply meant the theological sentiment of the moment that had more hold because the voice of the one who was speaking was stronger, not only in the media but also in the council aula and in the doctrinal Commission.

A hermeneutic that does not understand this fundamental issue ends up being overtaken by a problem that is still unresolved today: Vatican II is treated as an “absolute” of the faith, as if it is the very identity of the Christian, as the passe-partout in the “post-conciliar” Church. [This is the view of the 'spiritists' including Bergoglio, but was never the view of the 'conservatives' in the Church, or those who, like John Paul II and Benedict XVI, advocated the middle way of interpreting the Council as 'a renewal in continuity with Tradition'. One scholar of the Council called this middle way - which was what Benedict XVI advocated in his 2005 address on the hermeneutic of continuity - 'reformist'. In the case of the latter two popes, they were dutybound as popes to uphold the Council itself as a valid ecumenical council which did not mean endorsing the controversial interpretation (and execution) of its most problematic texts.]

'The Church is divided because it depends on the Council and not vice-versa. [I disagree vehemently with those who keep calling the 'church' as it is today 'the Church'. It is not - the Bergoglian church, small c, is not the Church of Christ, it is not the 'one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church" - it is a travesty of it, a degeneration into a protestantized church that, under Bergoglio, has taken major steps towards a syncretic 'one world church' parallel to an intended 'one world government'.] This in turn generates another problem.

First, the Council as an absolute of faith and then the Pope as an absolute of the Church are in fact two sides of the same coin, the same problem of absolutizing first one and then the other, while forgetting that the Church comes first, then the pope with his pontifical magisterium and then the council with its conciliar magisterium.

The current problem of a pope seen as an absolute ruler arises as an echo of the idea of the council as absolutus and this is due to the fact that the “spirit of the council,” the spirit of an “event” that was superior to the texts and above all to the context, has been emphasized as the key criterion of measurement. Is it a coincidence that those who seek to impose the magisterium of Francis make continual appeal to Vatican II, portraying anyone who criticizes Francis as rejecting Vatican II?

The fact is that the link between Francis and Vatican II is entirely symbolic and almost never textual. The popes of the Council and of the post-council are saints (or shortly will be) [Is he assuming Bergoglio will shortly be a saint? I will not presume he means to include Benedict XVI] while the Church languishes, plunged into a silent desert. Doesn’t this tell us something?

As for the latest positions that have been expressed, paradoxically, it does not seem to me that the reasoning of His Excellency Archbishop Viganò and Cardinal Brandmüller are terribly far apart. - Viganò prefers to forget Vatican II; he does not think that correcting its ambiguous doctrines is a solution, because as he sees it there is an embryonic problem in Vatican II, a modernist coup right from the beginning that compromised not its validity but its catholicity.
- Brandmüller instead prefers to adopt the method of the historical reading of the documents of the Council, especially for those doctrines most difficult to read in line with the Tradition. This permits him to affirm that documents like Nostra Aetate, to which should also be added Unitatis Redintegratio and Dignitatis Humanae, are now only of historical interest, because the correct interpretation of their theological value has been given by the subsequent magisterium, especially by Dominus Iesus.

[As I remarked in an earlier commentary on Vigano's critique, there have been significant corrections formally carried out in an attempt to right the errors of Vatican II, at least for the record. First, the 1991 Catechism of the Catholic Church, and then Dominus Iesus, a CDF declaration issued in 2000 to mark the start of Christianity's third millennial. To which I would add Summorum Pontificum, which corrected the summary abrogration of the traditional Mass by Paul VI. Of course, Bergoglio has unilaterally changed the Catechism on the subject of the death penalty, and who is to say he won't change to say whatever he pleases.

But all those who keep crying out to 'correct' Vatican II seem to forget that such corrections mean something only when they are 'followed' throughout 'the Church', while we know that the Bergoglian church and whatever Vatican-II 'churches' may succeed it will simply ignore any 'corrections' that contest their body of faith. If John Paul II and Benedict XVI were unable to counteract the global hold that the 'spiritists' managed to establish throughout what they insist on calling 'the Catholic Church', then who can? Which is why, one can only think of the brick-by-brick approach that all Catholics intent on saving the faith and the Church must do, each in his own way.]

If Viganò prefers to forget the Council and Brandmüller suggests overcoming it by historicizing it without directly striking it, thereby avoiding an ad hoc magisterial correction and without having to abandon the hermeneutic of continuity, it seems that the difference between the two positions is only in their respective modalities.

However, it could be argued that it will be difficult in a future Enchiridion of Councils, updated by this recent historical-theological discussion, to make Vatican II appear only as a council of historical interest by means of a “historicizing hermeneutic” [such as Brandmüller proposes].

And nothing will prevent an “Abu Dhabi 2.0” from explicitly referring to Nostra Aetate, ignoring Dominus Iesus once again, or for Amoris Laetitia to invoke Gaudium et Spes while bypassing Humanae Vitae.

It should not be forgotten that the Bologna School [to which Bergoglio's designated dauphin, Luis Tagle, belongs] tried to do something of this nature with the Council of Trent, maintaining that it is now only a “general Council” and no longer an ecumenical council, of an inferior rank from a theological point of view. Vatican II certainly is not Trent, but this is only from the theological point of view, not the historical one.

We must also be aware of the fact that the historical hermeneutic, which leaves the text in its context and to the ideas of its editor, is well adapted to Vatican II as a pastoral council fully immersed in its time. The same hermeneutic however does not work with the Council of Trent, for example.

If in fact we would try to historicize the doctrine and canons on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we would find ourselves doing the same work as Luther with respect to the doctrinal tradition, and we would favor the work of the neo-Protestants who see the Mass as nothing more than a meal.

Between these two positions is that of Bishop Schneider, which seems more feasible: to correct the ambiguous expressions and doctrines present in the conciliar texts that have given occasion to countless errors accumulated over the course of time since the Council, [YES, BUT HOW? NO ONE HAS YET SAID HOW, other than hypothesizing the convening of an 'imperfect Council' which no one seems to know how to initiate so it will always remain hypothetical] while not ignoring the many virtuous and prophetic teachings, such as the holiness of the laity and the priesthood of all believers. [But the problems about Vatican II and their consequences never had anything to do with what was actually good and non-controversial about its teachings, all of which are incorporated in the 1991 Catechism, along with the older traditional sources for Catholicism's articles of faith.] Bishop Schneider calls “squaring the circle” the effort to see everything in continuity in the name of a right hermeneutic. [These are all word games and lead to nothing practical or practicable!]

We should begin with a sincere act of humility, as Archbishop Viganò proposed, recognizing that we have been fooled by the presumption of resolving all the problems in the name of authority, whether in good faith or bad. Authority either rests on truth or it does not stand. - It is not a question of repudiating or cancelling Vatican II, which remains a council of the Holy Church, but rather of correcting all of the distortions, whether in excess or defect.
- Nor is it a question of declaring victory for the traditionalists but rather of simply recognizing the truth. [I think we can all agree that everyone who opposes the perversions of Vatican II have long recognized the truth about it. That has never been the discussion.]

When Vatican II is finally freed from all of the politics that still surround it, then we will be on a right path.
[That is a facile but meaningless conclusion. Any discussion of Vatican II, and any correction, will necessarily be construed as political, i.e., progressivist, reformist, traditionalist, conservative. The right path begins with constant unrelenting prayer to the Holy Spirit to show us the way, along with constant unrelenting work by each of us who share the Catholic faith as it was before the perversions of Vatican II, to uphold, protect and conserve it, in whatever way we can, starting with how we live and think.]
- Fr. Serafino Lanzetta

Through all these discussions, which promise to be 'interminable' for the time being, let us not forget Mr. Valli's great insight that the problem underlying all of Vatican II - and therefore, its contortions and perversions- was the desire to please the world.

One of Marco Tosatti's admirable contributors to his Stilum Curiae blog proposes going back to the 18th-century French philosopher Auguste Comte to show how, even without Vatican II, those who would destroy the Church, would still have managed to do so, given the right opportunity... I entrust myself to Pezzo Grosso's scholarship in the historical data he cites.

To understand Vatican II
and its epitome in Bergoglio,
let us go back to Auguste Comte

July 16, 2020

Dear habitues of Stilum curiae, Pezzo Grosso requested permission, in a comment on a blogpost a few days ago, to take part in the current debate on Vatican II – which of course I gladly give him. PG is always interesting, but the article he contributes here is truly something special. Enjoy reading.

Dear Tosatti, I thank you for having authorized me to take part in the dispute over Vatican II though I am neither a Church historian nor a theologian. [Neither is Mons. Viganò! One simply needs to be fairly informed on the subject and to keep an open mind if that is possible.] I will attempt a provocative reflection which could accompany, but certainly not contradict, the hypotheses presented by Mons. Vigano or Cardinal Brandmueller, nor of Prof De Mattei.

I only wish to propose that even if there had been no Vatican II, we would still have had the ‘Bergoglian revolution’ effected, before him or after him) by others in their own ways and styles. But rather, and not by chance, thanks to different circumstances and under different conditions.

To explain the premise for what I propose for reflection, I invite some reflection on how the secular world looked at the Church before Vatican II , taken from an article from La Stampa on Nov. 10, 2012. It deserves reflection, word for word, namely:

“Before Vatican II, Mass was in Latin and no one understood it well. The priest turned his back on the congregation. No one knew to read the Bible. Catholics looked suspiciously on non-Catholics, and above all, regarded Jews with hostility and suspicion. Women were excluded [from Church affairs, presumably]. The Third World was ignored. The poor were not the center of attention….Etc”.

Unbelievable! But that is how the urgency for a seond Vatican Council was explained. Reading those lines, Mons. Lefebvre himself would have asked whether the writer was speaking of the same Council for which he suffered and the texts which he fought to the point of being excommunicated.

But do you think the secular world was interested at all in the Latin Mass? Or how the priest celebrated Mass? Come now! Obviously not. The interest was to try once more (let us say, after the Enlightenment), to destroy the Church by exploiting the circumstances at the time.

The hypothesis for a Vatican II was already there with Pius XI [[who indefinitely suspended Vatican I in 1870 after less han a year in session, when the Risorgimento forces of newly unified Italy conquered and occupied Rome; Vatican I was only formally adjourned in 1960], then intensified with Pius XII who was accused of being too intransigent, too closed to the modern world, and too hostile to Communism [NB!]

His successor, John XXIII, had the illusion that the Christian message would be better received in the world if the Church tried to appear less anti-Communist [to the point that Communism was never even mentioned at Vatican II though it took place at the height of the Cold War] and more open to modernity. [Perhaps I am searching wrongly, but all these years, I have not found an account in which Joseph Ratzinger explains the deliberate premeditated decision to omit any mention of Communism in all of Vatican II.]

And so he convoked Vatican II in 1962 – in the shadow of the Cuban missile crisis and a nuclear threat which was invoked as a justification for his decision [not to raise the issue of Communism at all during the Council]. I would say that this decision, taken by the right persons at the right time, should be considered well. Without indicting their intentions. [???? Is PG justifying the flagrant omission? In 2012, Edward Pentin wrote a reportage on on this omission - and after reading it, one feels even more nauseatingly dismayed than ever.]

But the theological premises for a council like Vatican II had already been ready for centuries, ready to be adopted at the right moment. For example, the blueprint for Karl Rahner’s ‘new church’ – as Prof Stefano Fontana has masterfully defined and explained – had already been ready for some time, long before Vatican II. It had been modelled on the thinking of Heidegger, Kant and Descartes.

That those who wanted to impose the Rahnerian church (along with Teilhard de Chardin’s metaphysics) proactively took possession of Vatican II is historical fact. But it seems unthinkable that those who had been preparing the Rahnerian church had no other plans to realize it if Vatican II had not been convoked. They could not afford to lose what they had at stake nor to leave it to chance.

In the 20th century, their plans for toppling down the Church were all written down – for anyone who wishes and knows how to read them, - in all the documents heralding the New World Order initiated by the likes of Henry Kissinger and carried forward into the Obama regime (as Mons. Vigano implies). Documents that explain with extreme clarity why it is thought the Roman Catholic and apostolic Church should shut down – or change its politics and its head.

Nopw, however, I wish to provoke an uncommon reflection. What it takes for an anti-Catholic campaign to succeed was conceived and pushed by Auguste Comte (1798-1857), French atheist, philosopher and scientist, founder of positivism and the academic discipline of sociology, who has been called the 'pontiff of positive of religion', whose goal was to restructure the Catholic faith and Church.

Unlike Marx who wanted to abolish religion, Comte wished to create one which celebrates and venerates man, which would replace the the cult of saints with that of laymen, scientists and others considered meritorious in the formation of the social order. Not unlike what is happening today in Italy with the cult of Scalfari, Panella, Bonino, Napolitano, Jeffrey Sachs, Paul Erlich, Yunus… [in short, a roll call of contemporary newsmakers who are admired, lauded and lionized by Bergoglio himself as living contemporary saints to be emulated].

Comte wished to ‘re-humanize’ Catholicism. [The reflex reaction to this is: But he was an atheist – why bother himself about the Church at all? Because since the so-called Enlightenment – and Comte was one of its most prominent sons – prominent atheists seem to choose to earn their creds by seeking to demolish not religion in general but the Catholic Church specifically, to the exclusion of all other religions. Name a prominent atheist who has attacked Islam or Judaism (Jews yes, they attack, but not Judaism), or Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism with their proliferating pantheons!]

I now give you a curious bit of information which explains a favorite book citation of Papa Bergoglio: It was Comte’s thought that inspired R. H. Benson’s ‘Lord of the World’, which is so exalted by the reigning pope. But it is equally interesting to reflect on Comte’s major project, which was to create the religion of Humanity, based on a socially useful ethic, in alliance with the Jesuits, whom he considered the religious order destined to become the spiritual leader of Catholicism.

He even wrote ‘an appeal to Ignatians’, asking the Jesuit superior-general to self-proclaim himself as the spiritual leader of all Catholics, pope and prince of Rome. (Obviously the Jesuits in his time ignored the invitation.)

Let us be clear: What I have written here is not intended to justify or explain the unfortunate consequences of Vatican II. I only wish to propose a reasoning which can lead us to be sure that even without Vatican II, the forces in play would have operated to produce the same results, by any other means.

Rather it is the 37-year parenthesis in which we were given a pope saint and a gifted pope restorer that we should seek to understand. And to do this, perhaps we should be able to understand Benedict XVI’s renunciation.

But I don’t think we will get there. Perhaps Our Lady of Fatima could explain it all to us.

But not necessary in order for us to understand the sense of the present time in the Church.

00Monday, July 27, 2020 11:24 PM
00Tuesday, July 28, 2020 1:40 AM
GUEST POST from a priest:
'The Holy See has become a dumpster fire,
and the boldness of the Gospel is wanting'

July 25, 2020

I am grateful that your ministry serves as a voice for many faithful and Traditional Catholics. I have come a long way from hostility to the usus antiquor to being convinced that Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum has given believers an enclave of sound doctrine and authentic worship.

By now, I am sure you have read the Pontifical Academy for Life’s Humana communis on how we ought to respond to the Wuham pneumonia. But it’s exactly what’s deliberately left unsaid that is so distressing.

There is not a single mention of God or of our Lord Jesus Christ.

All hopes, instead, are placed in a vaccination to eradicate the virus and new “human community” that will supposedly emerge from this pandemic.

The language of “mindfulness” caught my attention, too, as if it is offered as a substitute for prayer and recollection. No room is left for grace to do its work, and there are no summons to turn to the Lord and ask Him for healing, as if 2 Chronicles 7:14 is the elephant in the room that has been poached simply to remove the inconvenience of repentance and conversion of life.

If the United Nations had a “secretary for culture,” this document looks like it could’ve been written by them rather than the legates of Christ.

Are the dicasteries of the Holy See more interested in looking “respectable” the secular age? (Cf 1 Cor 1:18-2:16)

When I look back on the Church’s history, plagues were often met with public penitential liturgies and processions of repentance. I will never forget when I saw this image back in high school – before I became a Catholic – which suggested to me the very spiritual vigour that defined the Catholic Church.

Modernism denies the immanence of the supernatural; is it a latent or residual Modernism that causes our prelates to dismiss the possibility that God is chastising us?

The very fact that the Church is not engaging in an examination of conscience suggests to me a certain hardness of heart.

The Church’s Tradition – relayed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 675 – speaks of a general apostasy at the twilight of history; though I’m sure the idea crossed the minds of Sts Thomas More and John Fisher in Henrician England, or Cardinal von Galen during the Third Reich, it would still be worthwhile to ask ourselves again, at least in the spirit of preparation and at most in the spirit of vigilance, whether those long-dreaded days are upon us. And, if not, how will we fare when that Day does come?

I’ll come right out and say it: The Holy See has become a dumpster fire, and the boldness of the Gospel is wanting.

As a priest, I know the power of Holy Mass, of prayer, of preaching, and of the indwelling Holy Spirit which makes the bombing of Hiroshima look like a firecracker; I simply wanted to vent to my brother-priest and to give voice to the many, many lay people who, with greater frequency, look to the Patriarchate of Moscow rather than the Bishop of Rome for boldness in the witness to Jesus Christ.

What we often read in the Lives of the Desert Fathers, I say to you: “Abba, give us a word.”

Meanwhile, now’s probably a good time for me to read St Augustine’s The City of God.

Fr. Z responds:

Here’s my word: Euge! Bravo!

You have put your finger on several sore spots, including one of the sorest of all: Modernism.

I very much like your image of the dumpster fire juxtaposed to the Mass as atom bomb v. firecracker of the next paragraph.

As priests we must follow in the High Priest’s path: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49)

Since my Je m’accuse post, I’ve paid greater attention to traditional preparation prayers before Mass, including…

Ure igne Sancti Spiritus renes nostros et cor nostrum Domine: ut tibi casto corpore serviámus, et mundo corde placeamus. … Enkindle, O Lord, our hearts and minds with the fire of the Holy Spirit: that we may serve you with a chaste body and please you with a clean heart.

Brother, I have another word for you.


It’s time we get religion.

You were moved by that image from the “Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry” of Pope St. Gregory in procession against the plague, when St. Michael appeared over the tomb of Hadrian, now Castel Sant’Angelo. Gregory and the plague afflicted inhabitants of Rome got Religion. They both got it and they got it, if you get my drift. They understood and they acquired it.

I mean, of course, the virtue of Religion.

We have to get really serious about the virtue of Religion.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines religion in the glossary toward the back of the newer English edition, “Religion: a set of beliefs and practices followed by those committed to the service and worship of God. The first commandment requires us to believe in God, to worship and serve him, as the first duty of the virtue of religion. (Cf. also CCC 2084 and 2135)

The Angelic Doctor says that Religion is the virtue by which men exhibit due worship and reverence to God (STh, 2-2a, 81, 1) as the creator and supreme ruler of all things, and to acknowledge dependence on God by rendering Him a due and fitting worship both interiorly (e.g. by acts of devotion, reverence, thanksgiving, etc.) and exteriorly (e.g., external reverence, liturgical acts, etc.). The virtue of religion can be sinned against by idolatry, superstitions, sacrilege, blasphemy, etc.”

The virtue of Religion can be sinned against also by omission, neglect. NB: The Dumpster Fire Holy See’s omission of reference to God in their document.

At the top you mentioned your growing appreciation of the traditional forms of our liturgical worship. I respond that that Summorum Pontificum was the most important thing that Benedict XVI gave to the Church in his too short pontificate. It will have the longest and most profound consequences.

Why? Because of the knock-on effect created when priests learn to say the Traditional Mass. It changes the priest and how he sees himself and understands his role at the altar and in the Church. It kindles a fire that spreads from him to those who in the congregation.

Why? Because lay people begin to experience our sacred liturgical worship on a new, deeper level. There’s more “fuel” more “sustenance”. This has its own knock on effect in their sphere of life.

Why? Because WE ARE OUR RITES!

We are facing huge changes in the Church. We had to face them anyway, but COVID-1984 has accelerated the process. A demographic sink hole is going to open up under the Church in these USA and swathes of “Catholics” will disappear. Those left will be of a traditional leaning together with converts from Evangelical backgrounds and well-rooted charismatics who are enthusiastic about their Faith.

There will be some frictions, but these groups will find each other out of need. The result, I predict, will be amazing.

The Traditional Latin Mass is the key to the future. It must become widespread and frequent and beautifully executed. Only after a significant period of stability with the traditional forms will the real “mutual enrichment”, as Benedict XVI called it (or “gravitational pull” as I have called it), manifest its effects.

Until then, avoiding any impatient tinkering, we must have an increase in celebrations of our traditional worship, which means more than just Holy Mass.

We need all the traditional devotions and other rites as well.


Our rites shape us from the outside in and the inside out. They inform us and give us our identity. In order to have an impact on the world, which is our Christian duty, we have to know who we are. Hence, we need solid CULT, CODE and CREED. Worship, Catechism, and Law.

Every good initiative we have as a Church must begin in and return to sacred liturgical worship. This is clear because of the necessity of the virtue of Religion, which must order our lives, orient us.

No initiative we undertake in the Church can succeed without it being rooted in our sacred liturgical worship.

However, our collective sacred liturgical worship is presently in a state of cataclysmic disorder. Therefore, our collective observance of the virtue of Religion is not well fulfilled by the Church.

I believe with all my heart and mind that we, collectively, cannot in this present state fulfill properly our obligation to God according to the virtue of Religion, that virtue which directs us to give to God what is His due. Hence, according to the hierarchy of goods which we all must embrace, we are, collectively, disordered.

Nothing we can do as a Church will succeed in this state of affairs. We have to see to our worship of God.

The use of the TLM will help us to correct our downward trajectory.

The knock-on effect that learning the TLM has on priests is remarkable. That knock-on effect spreads like fire outward, beyond the sanctuary to congregations.

We are making progress, and that progress will speed up even as the eucatastrophe striking the Church is speeding up. You will recall Tolkien’s term. There are disaster which, like the felix culpa, result in some unexpected, hardly to be predicted good that result, some unexpected blessing.

So much more has to be done. An alarmed Enemy is fighting back and fighting hard.

The revitalization for the Church through a restoration of our Catholic identity will require nearly heroic courage from priests.

Priests will need to work hard to acquire tools that they were systematically cheated out of in their formation. They will be intimidated. They will fear that they can’t do it.

They can do it, but it will take hard work and support from others.

Graces will be given in this undertaking, because the connection of the priest and the altar is fundamental to the Church’s life.

No other thing that the priest does is more important.

Priests must also be willing to suffer attacks from libs, many of whom are not malicious but who are blinkered and nearly brainwashed.

Next, it is going to require nearly heroic courage and spirit of sacrifice from lay people who must support their priests and encourage them in projects that they will be reluctant to undertake. Lay people must also be ready to engage in their parishes on a new level.

Remember, friends, that we are our rites. As the Church prays, so do we believe and live.

Everything that we are and do as a Church flows from and returns to sacred liturgical worship.

We are our rites.

A propos many unfortunate things happening in 'the Church' today, meaning Bergoglio's church - CATHOLIC THING published an excellent 'tidbit' from St John Henry Newman:

The religion of the world
St. John Henry Newman

In every age of Christianity, since it was first preached, there has been what may be called a religion of the world, which so far imitates the one true religion, as to deceive the unstable and unwary.

The world does not oppose religion as such. I may say, it never has opposed it. In particular, it has, in all ages, acknowledged in one sense or other the Gospel of Christ, fastened on one or other of its characteristics, and professed to embody this in its practice; while by neglecting the other parts of the holy doctrine, it has, in fact, distorted and corrupted even that portion of it which it has exclusively put forward, and so has contrived to explain away the whole; for he who cultivates only one precept of the Gospel to the exclusion of the rest, in reality attends to no part at all.

Our duties balance each other; and though we are too sinful to perform them all perfectly, yet we may in some measure be performing them all, and preserving the balance on the whole; whereas, to give ourselves only to this or that commandment, is to incline our minds in a wrong direction, and at length to pull them down to the earth, which is the aim of our adversary, the Devil.

00Monday, August 3, 2020 10:50 PM
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