3rd September: Feast of Pope St Pius X…

Read (or, for now, simply dip into) two key texts for our times: firstly, the landmark encyclical of Pope Saint Pius X Pascendi (on the doctrine of the Modernists) and Archbishop Lefebvre’s Open Letter to Confused Catholics  and then share your thoughts. 

And consider this: the Pontifical High Mass in the Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Balornock, Glasgow, offered by Cardinal Burke at noon today, would not have taken place but for the self-sacrifice of Archbishop Lefebvre, who refused to stand by and permit the ancient Mass to be destroyed in the name of the Vatican II “reforms”.  

To the Archbishop, in fact,  do we owe the Masses now available all over the world, which resulted from Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter, given Motu Proprio (on his own initiative/by his own hand), Summorum Pontificum issued in July, 2007. This Motu Proprio was issued  to fulfil a condition of the Bishops of Archbishop Lefebvre’s Society of St Pius X , who insisted that all priests must be permitted to offer the Traditional Latin Mass without any pressure from their bishops, before they, the SSPX bishops,  would resume talks aimed at ending their current “irregular” situation within the Church.  One wonders just how many of those attending Cardinal Burke’s Pontifical High Mass today, and, no doubt, marvelling at its beauty, realise that fact. 

How likely, too, is it that the organisers, or any of the priests in attendance – let alone the Cardinal himself – would remark on this key fact, in all of their conversation about the beauty of the ancient rite of Mass, and the wonder of having it available to the faithful once again, after so many years when it was effectively (and illicitly) prohibited.  

Far, far from our priests be the love of novelty! – Pope Pius X


Comments invited…

46 responses

  1. The video was beautiful. I think Archbishop Lefebvre picked the right name for his Society of priests, as Saint Pius X was thoroughly traditional, no ifs or buts.

    I wasn’t at Cardinal Burke’s Mass so don’t know if he mentioned the Archbishop but I heard he spoke about Fatima, so that is something.

    • Michaela,

      That IS good that the Cardinal spoke about Fatima. I hope he called on the Pope to consecrate Russia properly.

      I don’t know anybody who was there, and I wasn’t, so it would be good to hear more of what it was like. Must have been something, having a famous Cardinal there in a Glasgow parish saying a traditional Latin Mass. The PP must be chuffed, LOL!

  2. Editor,

    Good grief that is an OUTSTANDING video. I was absolutely captivated. I doubt if many of the clergy at that Mass today thought of Archbishop Lefebvre. I know Cardinal Burke has said some nasty things about the SSPX in the past, so I doubt he would have thought of him either.

    What I DO know is that not all who attend the Traditional Masses in this country, and probably abroad, will give a second thought, never mind a thankful thought, to the Archbishop. Many of the Ecclesia Dei organisations exist to draw people away from the SSPX. In a certain sense, they aren’t only ungrateful to Archbishop Lefebvre, they are traitors. I think especially of Fr Emerson of the FSSP. Archbishop Lefebvre took a special interest in him and rescued him from the Modernist Dominicans. How did Fr Emerson repay him? By jumping ship. It’s a disgrace and these plastic Traditionalists will have a lot to answer for.

    • Petrus,

      I agree about the video – it’s really outstanding, you are right.

      About Fr Emerson, though, I’ve heard more than one person who knows him say that he regrets leaving the SSPX. I don’t know him, never met him, but I’ve heard that quite a few times.

      Watching that video, and reading a bit of the Open Letter, I’m quite sure Archbishop Lefebvre will be canonised one day. I think Michael Matt was right – he is a “St Athanasius for our times”. I’d say that is definitely the case.

      • Lily,

        That’s very interesting. It certainly would change my opinion of him, although only slightly. I wonder what is stopping him going back? I’m sure they would take him, if he repented.

          • Editor,

            Well, that’s good to know. I hope he decides to do the right thing. My opinion of him has certainly changed. Slightly.

      • Thank you for posting the video. We need some good news on this side of the pond too.

        President Trump has declared September 3rd a National Day of Prayer for those affected by Hurricane Harvey and those involved in the relief effort.

        Please pray for my mum and I that Hurricane Irma doesn’t come our way. In 2012, we lost power for 1 week during and after Hurricane Sandy.

        Yours in Christ the King,

        Margaret 🇺🇸

        • Margaret USA,

          Certainly, we will pray for your mum and you and all those in danger from Hurricane Irma – I haven’t heard about that one yet. That’s great that the President declared today a National Day of Prayer – surely a first! We’d never have a politician here declare a day of prayer for anything. So, that is encouraging news.

  3. Now, I have to admit to having been wrong about this: that it is unlikely that anyone attending the Mass offered by Cardinal Burke in Balornock yesterday would realise let alone mention the fact that it is thanks to Archbishop Lefebvre of the SSPX that we have the old rite available at all, including in Balornock.”

    Well, this morning after Mass, I was approached by a gentleman who had read this blog yesterday and decided to come to the SSPX Mass in order to tell me that, on the contrary, HE had made a point of mentioning, at the Reception after the Mass yesterday, the debt of gratitude we all owe to the Archbishop, and he wanted to tell me so, in person. I’m very pleased about that, and told him so.

    In response to my question about why he doesn’t attend the Society Masses regularly, he replied that he would do but for the fact that there is no room at the inn, so to speak – jam packed every Sunday and so he, with his family, usually end up out in the vestibule – not good enough.

    For his benefit, then, I mention that I passed on this comment to our priest after Mass and he agreed to pass it on to our new Prior. We’re long overdue a new church to accommodate those who, like Mr X mentioned above, would like to attend our Masses but for a number of practical reasons associated with the small church, are unable to do so.

    Happy Feast of Saint Pius X to one and all!

    • Editor

      I’m very glad you raised the subject of a new church in Glasgow, this is long overdue and is now becoming something of a major concern. I am noting week in and week out how elderly people are struggling to climb the stairs to the church, and that’s in addition to the already steep hill some have to climb to get even to the stairs. It’s simply too much to expect our elderly parishioners to put themselves through this exertion every week and it needs addressing very quickly (in charity).

      Aside from this, the church, as you rightly say, is pretty much full now and getting rather congested. This is all good news since it means that more and more Catholics are returning to the Faith of their Fathers. However, the growing numbers places a responsibility on our priests to accomodate everyone. St. Andrew’s was once a Protestant kirk transformed into a Catholic church in the early days of persecution, but it was never built to be a Catholic church, as the interior clearly demonstrates. It would be nice if we could get back the old Catholic Church beauty some of us remember from our childhood. We definitely need another church, and quickly. There’s also the on/off parking situation which for years has been a major obstacle for those attending Mass, and I note that St. Aloysius has now closed its car park gates to us. All in all, time we found a more suitable church in a more suitable area.

      • Athanasius,

        I agree. I would only add that a new Church would still need to be in a central area, easily accessible to those who come on public transport. My fear is that a new church will be purchased in some strange place like Coatbridge, Cumbernauld or Castlemilk!

        • Petrus,

          Absolutely agreed! There was talk some time ago that St. Patrick’s might be getting sold, that’s the kind of chapel that would suit for location. But there are others around the same area, all close to where we are at present. Yes, it would certainly have to be central in the City.

          • Yes, St Patrick’s would be good. If only we could get rid of the Jesuits – St Aloysius’ would probably be ok, haha!

    • Editor

      I would also add that the excuse it’s too busy only cuts so much mustard. It is always busy, however, if you arrive around 9.30 you are almost guaranteed a seat. So I think that excuse is a tad lame.

      • Petrus

        I tend to agree with you again. It’s not always possible for people to get to church at 9.30, but neither is it credible that the same people are arriving every week right on the dot of 9.45. Surely they could leave home a little earlier to guarantee themselves a seat?

        • Athanasius, arriving early isn’t always an option for those using public transport. In many areas buses don’t start running until 9am and I know one person who attends the Glasgow church told me that the first bus into town doesn’t arrive until 9.35 and then it’s an uphill walk to the church. Mass used to at 10 am so why was it changed?

          • Vianney,

            The then District Superior, best left nameless, decided to bring the start time forward by 15 minutes to 9.45.a.m to allow, he said, more time for the priest to travel to Edinburgh. However, then there were two priests – one supposedly for Glasgow and the other (unlucky) one for Edinburgh (couldn’t resist!) And then, when I failed to turn up any really horrible good Edinburgh jokes, I couldn’t resist posting this…

    • Last year, when I went on pilgrimage for the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, there were people attending the Divine Liturgy who were standing on the stairs.

      Oct. 1 is the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God. The pilgrimage usually takes place on the first Sunday in October. However, this year the pilgrimage will take place on the Feast itself, since October 1 is the first Sunday in October this year.

      My grandmother +Antonia and our late cantor Dymytro (Demetrius) both passed away on the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God (12 years apart).

      Today the Virgin stands before us in the church, * and together with the choirs of Saints invisibly prays to God for us. * Angels are worshipping with hierarchs, * Apostles exult with prophets, * for the Mother of God prays in our behalf to the eternal God.

      Tone 3 Theotokion and the Kontakion for the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God

      • Margaret USA,

        On this evening’s TV news, for the first time in my hearing, there was mention of the approaching Hurricane Irma, which you feared, so be assured of a remembrance in my prayers, for what they are worth.

    • Petrus,

      Last Sunday due to circumstances I attended Mass in Edinburgh. The topic of the size of the Glasgow Chapel was brought up, and not by me I made add.

      Quite a few of those attending Mass in Edinburgh agree that the size of the Glasgow Church so tiny in comparison to Edinburgh’s, and, know it is a tight squeeze. How much Father heard and understood, I am not sure.

      A miracle is needed for the Archbishop of the Glasgow Diocese to even consider, never mind handing over a Catholic Church due for closure to the SSPX.

  4. Another little anecdote from this morning…

    A lady who had travelled up from England to attend Cardinal Burke’s Mass was introduced to me because she had mentioned to one of our readers in the tearoom that she used to get a Scottish publication but was no longer on the mailing list… One of our readers realised she meant Catholic Truth, so he brought her over to introduce her to me and she made me feel like a film star – not like you lot, putting me in my lowly place every five minutes.

    Anyway, it was quite comical because after her apparent pleasure at meeting me (her mother taught her manners really well!) she apologetically admitted to having been removed from the mailing list because she’d not been in touch with us “only because the time flies and I never got around to it…” Long story cut short, she said she missed the newsletter, and how, and that she DID always pass it around so… can you guess the ending of the story? First correct answer – winner gets to choose the location of the new SSPX chapel in Glasgow…

    A) Lady X was told “sorry” but she could not be restored to the mailing list…


    B) Lady X was asked to write down her name and address and promised to be restored to mailing list…

    Well? Which is the correct answer – A, B, or A.N.Other? Who is going to be first to get that magic word on their homework…

  5. Editor,

    So far on this thread we’ve had Pope St. Pius X, Mr. X, and Lady X. I detect a developing theme….how are your X chromosomes doing?

    Here is an article about the death and burial of St. Pius X, who, it is said, died of a broken heart because he failed to prevent WWI: http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/st-pius-x-died-today-100-years-ago-4683

    Happy Feast Day to one and all!

    On the subject of a new SSPX chapel for Glasgow, do you think His Excellency would sell the Society one of his unused buildings? I doubt it, unless the SSPX changes its name to something more Protestant or Muslim…..

    • RCA Victor

      Yes, the conversation has become quite X rated, hasn’t it. Anyway, the clear answer to Editor’s question is Z!

      As for the new church in Glasgow, I feel sure His Excellency the Archbishop would gladly donate a church for the purpose of preserving the Traditional Mass in the city. Or would he sell a vacant church for the money? Hmmm! It would be a heaven or hell decision that one, eh?

      • Athanasius,

        Maybe he’d be interested if the Society promoted a new church building as a reform apostolate for wishy-washy Catholics?

        • Yes indeed! And the excuse for selling to the Jehovah’s rather than the SSPX would be that the latter organisation “is not in full communion with Rome”. Talk about blindness!

    • RCA Victor,

      The Archdiocese of Glasgow would sooner sell a redundant church to the Jehovah’s Witnesses than to the SSPX. Tragic, isn’t it?

  6. What a wonderful thread. Indeed, only for Archbishop Lefebvre where would we be? The priests who freely offer this Mass should acknowledge that, only for the saintly prelate, we wouldn’t have this Mass available. May God bless him and I’m sure he’s high in the heavens above. As far as I can see the Una Voce brigade ride on the backs of the SSPX. Believe me, if the latter disappeared, so would they.

  7. So many ordeals in the adversity, it is absolutely phenomenal…. I did not imagine that a human being can support them and it is this force which conceals our dear Mgr Marcel Lefèbvre which gave me courage…
    Alone against nearly all the bishops, vis-à-vis the counciliar apostasy that he knew to fight with determination and in an enlightened way, with an extraordinary perspicacity and audacity, I really see there a miracle and it is this miracle which allowed that I preserve the Faith, even the hope in our ultimate destiny… It is true, I had temptation to doubt; may it be that only one bishop can be right against nearly all the others? But his arguments of an irrefutable wisdom convinced me that ultimately, it is him who proclaims the eternal Truth… Nobody could ever contradict him on the substance of the issues!… The convictions against him were constantly related to the accessory, never on the essence which interests us, even the doctrine… These sentences are all covered by the arbitrary; it is without precedent in the history of the Church. Justice should be returned to him!

    Without Mgr Lefèbvre to reason us, I would have been mislaid and I would certainly have lost the Faith, because there was enough to give up, confronted with the deliriums of these scoundrels who have operated the most gigantic “spiritual misappropriation” in the whole history of humanity, infamous doctrines that had already been remarkably combated by many holy predecessors of John XXIII…
    Now, when I think of the bishops brought together in this disastrous Vatican II Council, it comes to my mind these words of Isaiah taken over by Saint John 12,40: “He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them!” What an appalling responsibility!

    Of all what Mgr Marcel Lefèbvre brought to me, I am eternally grateful to him and in the innumerable ordeals with which he was constantly confronted, I ultimately want to express the testimony of that full gratefulness.

    In Caritate Christi per Mariam (Mediatrix of all graces)

  8. Lionel

    Very well said. I agree with you that Archbishop Lefebvre was especially chosen by God for these tragic times, another St. Athanasius. One day I fully expect His Grace to be canonised and declared a Doctor of the Church. It will be at the same time as others are condemned by the Church for their part in the Modernist revolution and the persecution of this wise and saintly prelate.

  9. Sometimes I wonder why Abp. Lefebvre didn’t just take the 400 Fathers of the Coetus Internationalis Patrum and walk out of the Council – or at least threaten to, if they didn’t stop being stonewalled. That would have been a major blow to the legitimacy of the Council.

    • RCA Victor

      I think the Archbishop felt more the need to stay and challenge these people. He probably never contemplated for a second that they could ultimately succeed after the Council. He trusted the Popes to put matters straight post-Council and they failed miserably. He only took action when he saw that tragedy unfolding.

      • There is more than a ring of truth to what you say.

        I remember years ago doing the spadework for a research project on a particular aspect of Vatican II.

        What struck me more than anything else is how orthodox interpretations of the Council largely prevail in the period from 1965 to about 1968, with some really superb theological commentaries on the individual documents which were only rarely, if at all, translated into English.

        1968 was the tipping point. The cultural unrest in the world flooded into an unguarded and unprepared Church largely high on the spirit of the Council which equated, I am very sorry to say, with the mindless naïvety which we see today in Pope Francis and his ilk. Mayhem naturally ensued, the most striking example of which was the strident opposition within the Church to Humanae Vitae.

        In the years that followed the Rhine countries would increasingly release their poison into the Catholic body (as they still do today, even if their vast wealth — apart from Holland which has been reduced to a rump — still blinds them to the fact that they are themselves the primary victims of this poison), the Consilium set up to implement the liturgical reforms of the Council would work its evil, especially as regarding the Mass, and ecumenism would take on a meaning and a life of its own. Parallel to these developments were the collapse in the transmission of the faith and the abandonment of their vocations by thousands upon thousands of priests and religious.

        Lefebvre thought that he would be allowed to create a safe harbour in which to lie until the storm was over. But that was never going to be, and the rest is history.

        Today, as many of you will know, a survey was published about attitudes to religion among the British. Over half of the population profess to being of no religion at all; Anglicans (i.e. all Anglicans, not the practising variety) are now about fifteen percent (down from about thirty percent only ten years ago); Catholics are more or less stable on about ten percent.

        These statistics are frightening, but only to those of us who believe in revealed truth and the salvation of souls. To those that do not believe in revealed truth and that souls save themselves, they are but statistics indicating a shift in the cultural paradigm which is neither malignent nor benign, but just is.

        The great value of Lefebvre, but the same could also be saif of a man like Ottaviani, is that they saw all of this coming. Their vision was solidly Catholic and allowed them to see through the fog of the prevailing liberalism of their day, even if not to be in unison with choir would cost them dear. But such will ever be the vocation of the prophet.

        Etsi omnes, ego non …

      • Athanasius,

        “He probably never contemplated for a second that they could ultimately succeed after the Council.”

        Yes, I think he was profoundly shocked by the illegality with which he was persecuted – not to mention the anti-Catholic mentality of the Pope and, for example, Cardinal Villot, who perpetrated a constant stream of lies and misrepresentations about him. I don’t think he had ever encountered such devious malice before.

    • RCA Victor,

      That would have been great. However, I think Athanasius is right – the archbishop would have needed twenty twenty vision to see what was coming, LOL!

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