Growing Catholic Identity Crisis…

Editor writes….

Since Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, permitting all priests to offer the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) without seeking permission from bishops, there has been a kind of “traditionalist identity crisis” within the Church, where “conservative” priests and people have taken to the ancient Mass and, coupled with their orthodox adherence to the natural moral law on “life” matters (contraception, abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality etc), thereby consider themselves to be “traditionalists” – straight down the line Catholics, the real McCoy.  It is not, however, that simple.

Often, these same Catholics hold positions that are absolutely at odds with the truths of the Faith.  Many, if not most, are outright papolatrists – they will not accept that there are limits to papal authority and they are in denial about much of the scandal caused by Pope Francis.  Then again, others take the opposite view:  he is so bad that he  can’t be  a true pope, so the papal seat is vacant – sedevacantism.  Or, they jump on the latest bandwagon, support the latest fad, “Benevacantism”  where the claim is that Benedict is still pope because not only is Francis so bad that he can’t be a true pope, but Benedict was forced to resign, so Francis’ election must be invalid.   None of these positions fits the “traditional Catholic” profile.  Some  – believe it or not, including folks in the above categories – still attend the novus ordo Mass, even on weekdays when there is no obligation, and argue that they have to attend on Sundays, under pain of mortal sin, if unable to get to the TLM.  

Most of the Summorum Pontificum priests still provide the novus ordo, although I am aware that, certainly in a number of UK-wide cases that have come across my desk,  there are priests would much prefer not to do so and who keep those Masses to a minimum. The majority, however, remain “on diocesan message”, their “traditionalism” filed in the box marked “Making the TLM  available for those who want to attend” – and  they’re not exactly setting the heather on fire with forceful sermons on the topic, exhorting their parishioners to switch to “the old Mass”.

Finally, there are self-styled “traditional” Catholics, priests and laity, who go along with various novelties introduced in the post-Vatican II era, and even support various controversial (to say the least) initiatives within the Church, new movements such as the Charismatics, the Faith movement and the  Neocatechumenate.  Some who dislike the new Mass, like the new Rosary, and they may read books which a truly Catholic mind would bin. 

Time, then, perhaps, to reflect on the precise nature of Catholic Tradition.  In his Open Letter to Confused Catholics, Archbishop Lefebvre (SSPX Founder) spells out what it means to be a Catholic – and there’s no getting away from the fact that truly traditional Catholic priests follow the exhortation of Pope Saint Pius X: “Far, far from our priests, be the love of novelty.”   And truly traditional Catholic laity keep the clergy’s feet to the fire on this, to minimise the risk of being led astray, albeit by well-meaning priests who are not sufficiently “traditional” in their souls to recognise the dangers inherent in the modern Church.  Below, a superb definition of Catholic Tradition – comments welcome, but note: do not name any priests or lay people whom you may consider to be in the “identity crisis” category. This thread is to remind us all, each one of us, what it means to be a faithful Catholic – that we must all adhere to Tradition, as defined below. So, unless you’re identifying your own infidelity, no names, no pack drill! 

Archbishop Lefebvre writes…

Modernism is indeed what undermines the Church from within, today as yesterday. Let us again quote from the encyclical Pascendi some typical features which correspond with what we are experiencing now.  “The Modernists say that authority in the Church, since its end is purely spiritual, should strip itself of all that external pomp, all those pretentious adornments with which it parades itself in public. In this they forget that religion, while it belongs to the soul, is not exclusively for the soul and that the honor paid to authority is reflected back on Christ who institutes it.”

It is under pressure from these “speakers of novelties” that Paul VI abandoned the tiara, bishops gave up the violet cassock and even the black, as well as their rings, and priests appear in lay clothes, usually in a deliberately casual style. There is nothing among the general reforms already put into effect or insistently demanded that St. Pius X has not mentioned as the “maniac” desires of the modernist reformers. You will recognize them in this passage: “As regards worship (they want) to diminish the number of external devotions or at least stop their increasing… Let ecclesiastical government become democratic; let a share in the government be given to the junior clergy and even the laity; let authority be decentralized. Reform of the Roman Congregations, above all the Holy Office and the Index… Finally there are those among them who, echoing their Protestant masters, seek the suppression of priestly celibacy.” Notice that the same demands are now being put forward and that there is absolutely nothing original. As regards Christian thought and the formation of future priests, the intention of the reformers of St. Pius X’s time was the abandonment of scholastic philosophy among the obsolete systems.” They advocate “that young people should be taught modern philosophy, the only true philosophy, the only one suitable for our times… that so-called rational theology should be based on modern philosophy and positive theology on the history of dogmas.” In this respect, the Modernists have got what they wanted and more. In what passes for seminaries, they teach anthropology, psychoanalysis and Marx in place of St. Thomas Aquinas. The principles of Thomist philosophy are rejected in favor of vague systems which themselves recognize their inability to explain the economy of the Universe, putting forward as they do the philosophy of the absurd. One latter-day revolutionary, a muddle-headed priest much heeded by intellectuals, who put sex at the heart of everything, was bold enough to declare at public meetings: “The scientific hypotheses of the ancients were pure nonsense and it is on such nonsense that St. Thomas and Origen based their systems.” Immediately afterwards, he fell into the absurdity of defining life as “an evolutionary chain of biologically inexplicable facts.” How can he know that, if it is inexplicable? How, I would add, can a priest discard the only explanation, which is God?

The Modernists would be set at naught if they had to defend their elaborate theories against the principles of the Angelic Doctor, the notions of potency and act, essence, substance and accidents, body and soul, etc. By eliminating these notions they would render the theology of the Church incomprehensible and, as one reads in the Motu Proprio Doctoris Angelici, “the result is that students of the sacred disciplines no longer even perceive the meaning of the words by which the dogmas which God has revealed are propounded by the Magisterium.” The offensive against scholastic philosophy is a necessary preliminary when one wants to change dogma and attack Tradition.
But what is Tradition? It seems to me that the word is often imperfectly understood. It is equated to the “traditions” that exist in trades, in families and in civic life: the “bouquet” fixed to the roof of a house when the last tile is laid, the ribbon that is cut to open a monument, etc.  That is not what I am referring to:  Tradition does not consist of the customs inherited from the past and preserved out of loyalty to the past even where there are no clear reasons for them. Tradition is defined as the Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Magisterium down through the centuries.  This deposit is what has been given to us by Revelation;  that is to say,  the Word of God entrusted to the Apostles and transmitted unfailingly by their successors.

But now they want to get everyone inquiring, searching, as if we had not been given the Creed, or as if Our Lord had not come to bring us the Truth once and for all.  What do they claim to discover with all this inquiry? Catholics upon whom they would impose these “questionings,” after having made them “abandon their certainties,” should remember this: the deposit of Revelation concluded at the death of the last Apostle. It is finished and it cannot be touched until the end of time.  Revelation is irreformable.  The First Vatican Council re-stated this explicitly: “for the doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention, to be perfected by human ingenuity; but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ (the Church) to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared.”

But, one will object, the dogma that makes Mary the Mother of God only dates back to the year 431, transubstantiation to 1215, papal infallibility to 1870 and so on. Has there not been an evolution? No, not at all.  The dogmas which have been defined in the course of the ages were contained in Revelation; the Church has just made them explicit. When Pope Pius XII defined in 1950 the dogma of the Assumption, he said specifically that this truth of the assumption into Heaven of the Virgin Mary, body and soul, was included in the deposit of Revelation and already existed in the texts revealed to us before the death of the last Apostle. We cannot bring anything new into this field, we cannot add a single dogma, but only express those that exist ever more clearly, more beautifully and more loftily.
That is so certain that it forms the rule to follow in judging the errors that are put before us every day, and rejecting them with no concession. As Bossuet forcefully wrote: “When it is a matter of explaining the principles of Christian morality and the essential dogmas of the Church everything that does not appear in the Tradition of all time, and especially the early times, is from then on not only suspect but wrong and to be condemned; and this is the principal basis on which all the holy Fathers of the Church, and Popes more than anyone, condemned false doctrines, there being nothing more odious to the Roman Church than novelties.”

The argument that is pressed upon the terrorized faithful is this: “You are clinging to the past, you are being nostalgic; live in your own time!” Some are abashed and do not know what to reply.  Nevertheless, the answer is easy: In this there is no past or present or future.  Truth belongs to all times, it is eternal.

In order to break down Tradition they confront it with Holy Scripture, after the manner of the Protestants, with the assertion that the Gospel is the only book that counts. But Tradition came before the Gospel! Although the Synoptic Gospels were not written nearly as late as some would have us believe, a number of years had passed before the Four Evangelists had completed their writing; but the Church already existed, Pentecost had taken place and brought numerous conversions, 3000 on the very day the Apostles came out of the Upper Room. What did they believe just at that moment? How was Revelation transmitted if not by oral tradition? One cannot subordinate Tradition to Holy Scripture, still less reject it.

But do not imagine that, adopting this attitude, they have an unlimited respect for the inspired text. They even dispute that it is inspired in its entirety: “What is there in the Gospel which is inspired? Only the truths that are necessary for our salvation.” In consequence, the miracles, the accounts of the Holy Childhood, the actions and conduct of Our Lord are relegated to the category of more or less legendary biography.  We fought in the Council over that phrase: “Only the truths necessary for salvation.” There were some bishops in favor of reducing the historical authenticity of the Gospels, which shows the extent to which the clergy is corrupted by neo-Modernism. Catholics should not allow themselves to be imposed upon: the whole of the Gospel is inspired and those who wrote it had the Holy Ghost guiding their intelligence, so that the whole of it is the Word of God, Verbum Dei. It is not permissible to pick and choose and to say today: “We will take this part but we don’t want that part.” To choose is to be a heretic, according to the Greek derivation of that word.

It remains no less a fact that it is Tradition that transmits the Gospel to us, and it appertains to Tradition, to the Magisterium, to explain to us the contents of the Gospel. If we have nobody to interpret it for us, we can reach several completely different understandings of the same words of Christ. We then end up with the free interpretation of the Protestants and the free inspiration of the present day charismatics which leads us into pure fantasy.

All the dogmatic councils have given us the exact expression of Tradition, the exact expression of what the Apostles taught. Tradition is irreformable. One can never change the decrees of the Council of Trent, because they are infallible, written and published by an official act of the Church, unlike those of Vatican II, which pronouncements are not infallible because the popes did not wish to commit their infallibility. Therefore nobody can say to you, “You are clinging to the past, you have stayed with the Council of Trent.” For the Council of Trent is not the past. Tradition is clothed with a timeless character, adapted to all times and all places.  Source

 

Pope To Abolish Summorum Pontificum?

ROME, July 26, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Sources inside the Vatican suggest that Pope Francis aims to end Pope Benedict XVI’s universal permission for priests to say the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), also known as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. While the course of action would be in tune with Pope Francis’ repeatedly expressed disdain for the TLM especially among young people, there has been no open discussion of it to date.

Sources in Rome told LifeSite last week that liberal prelates inside the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith were overheard discussing a plan ascribed to the Pope to do away with Pope Benedict’s famous document that gave priests freedom to offer the ancient rite of the Mass.

Catholic traditionalists have just celebrated the tenth anniversary of the document, Summorum Pontificum. Pope Benedict XVI issued it in 2007, giving all Latin Rite priests permission to offer the TLM without seeking permission of their bishops, undoing a restriction placed on priests after the Second Vatican Council.

The motu proprio outraged liberal bishops as it stripped them of the power to forbid the TLM, as many did. Previously priests needed their bishop’s permission to offer the TLM.
Additionally, Summorum Pontificum stated that wherever a group of the faithful request the TLM, the parish priests should willingly agree to their request.

The overheard plans are nearly identical to comments from an important Italian liturgist in an interview published by France’s La Croix earlier this month. Andrea Grillo a lay professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St Anselmo in Rome, billed by La Croix as “close to the Pope,” is intimately familiar Summorum Pontificum. Grillo in fact published a book against Summorum Pontificum before the papal document was even released.
Grillo told La Croix that Francis is considering abolishing Summorum Pontificum. According to Grillo, once the Vatican erects the Society of Saint Pius X as a Personal Prelature, the Roman Rite will be preserved only within this structure. “But [Francis] will not do this as long as Benedict XVI is alive.”

The plan, as related to LifeSite, involved making an agreement with the Society of St. Pius X and, with that agreement in place, sequestering those Catholics wanting the TLM to the SSPX. For most, that would strip them of access to the TLM since there would not be nearly enough SSPX priests to service Catholics wanting the TLM worldwide.

Moreover, LifeSite’s source suggested that the plan may explain a May 20, 2017 letter by the recently ousted Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller. Even though Cardinal Müller wanted the SSPX fully reconciled to help fight modernists in the Church, the May 20 letter seemed to scuttle an agreement between Pope Francis and the SSPX which would see them get a personal prelature. The letter includes provisions long known to be completely unacceptable to the SSPX, thus nullifying an understanding SSPX leader Bishop Bernard Fellay believed was imminent.

The LifeSite source suggested that the May 20 letter by Muller perhaps was written because he knows what Francis was up to and wanted to avoid the plan to bury Summorum Pontificum with Pope Benedict. “It’s directed not so much against Fellay but against the agreement,” said the source. “Pope Francis was very angry that document came out from Cardinal Muller and some say that’s why he made the decision to dismiss him.”  Source

Comment:

One glimmer of hope in this pontificate is the rising opposition of some clergy – click here to read more

Of course, the Scots clergy are a meek lot, and unlikely to rebel unless their bishop, too, rebels – and then, voila!  Good career move.  I’d better watch – I’m in danger of becoming cynical…

Share your thoughts – especially on the possible link between the Pope’s apparent enthusiasm for a Personal Prelature for the SSPX and his suspected intention to abolish the provisions of Summorum Pontificum so that ONLY SSPX priests will be able to offer the TLM. Surely that can’t be… what about the other traditional Mass groups – FSSP, Institute of Christ the King?  What would those priests do – join the SSPX? What!  But they set up shop to distance themselves from that “schismatic” bunch…  Irony of ironies! 

General Discussion (15)

If there’s something of interest in the news that’s not covered in one of the topic threads, or you have a question to ask, a comment you’d like to  make about anything under the sun, more or less, this is the thread for you.

However, please check first, to ensure that you haven’t missed a topic thread or another thread where it would be appropriate to post your comment, as the GD discussion threads fills up very quickly.

Readers, all too often, go straight to the General Discussion thread to post news that is already the topic of a thread or to ask a question that is already being discussed elsewhere. So, do your Sherlock Holmes – at the very least check the side-bar – before posting here, please and thank you! Your “news” may simply be a different angle to a subject already under discussion, so do, please check before posting your comment here.   OR it would be helpful if you could check out the most recent thread on that subject, in case it is still open. In which case, your comment would be best placed there.  Example: if your news is about the Mass or the SSPX, scroll or check the archives to find the most recent thread on that topic.   If there is no thread still open, then it’s safe to post on the GD thread.     

Feel free, also, to share your favourite spiritual reading books, prayers and devotions on this thread. Whatever.   Enjoy!

To read previous 10 General Discussion Threads, click on the links listed below.

(1) click here  (2) click here  (3) click here  (4) click here  (5) click here
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(11) click here (12) click here   (13) click here   (14) click here  

Bishop John Keenan – Enemy of the Faith

Sunday, April 23, 2017, 4:00 PM
Pause For Hope Ecumenical Prayer Service 
 
For all those affected by Cancer.
 
Bishop John Keenan, Rev Maureen Leitch
 
Guest Speaker Mr Tony Fitzpatrick,  Player, Manager and now CEO of St Mirren Football Club
 
St Mirin’s Cathedral, Paisley.

Comment:
Blogger, Petrus, who resides in the Diocese of Paisley, submitted the following for our discussion in the context of the above ecumenical service.  It strikes me that Bishop Keenan will have his work cut out explaining to Catholic girls why they can’t be priests, since (they will assume) Protestant women may be “priests” –  and even sit up there beside the Bishop! That’s one issue that springs to mind looking at the above advert.  Petrus covers the rest below, concluding: Pope Pius IX, is very clear that ecumenical gatherings, such as the one hosted by Bishop Keenan, are contrary to the Catholic faith.”  Does this mean, then, that Bishop Keenan is an enemy of the Faith? 

Pope Pius IX

“You well know, Beloved Sons and Venerable Brethren, that among the many deplorable evils which disturb and afflict principally the ecclesiastical and civil society, two stand out in our day and are justly considered to be the origin of the others. 

In effect, you are aware of the innumerable and fatal damages which the terrible error of Indifferentism causes to Christian and civil society. It causes us to forget our duties to God in Whom we live and act and have our being. It causes us to lose our concern about our Holy Religion and destroys almost to the very foundation all law, justice, and virtue. 

There is little difference between this most vile form of indifference and the demonic system of indifference between the different religions. According to this system, those who have strayed from the truth, who are enemies of the true Faith and forget their own salvation, and who teach contradictory beliefs which never had stable doctrine, admit no distinction among the different creeds. Rather, they make a pact with everyone, and defend that the haven of eternal salvation is open to the followers of all religions, whatever they might be. They do not care about the diversity of their doctrines as long as they agree to combat the one that is the unique truth.

You see, Beloved Sons and Venerable Brethen, how much vigilance is needed to keep the disease of this terrible evil from infecting and miserably killing your flocks. Do not cease to diligently defend your people against these pernicious errors. ”  (Encyclical Singulari quidem   §§ 3-4)                                                 

As you can see from the advert above, Bishop John Keenan of Paisley will host an ecumenical prayer service in St Mirin’s Cathedral, for those suffering from cancer .  He will be joined by Church of Scotland minister, Rev Maureen Leitch. The Bishop of Paisley will share the sanctuary of a Catholic cathedral with a female “minister” of a Protestant denomination who has no valid orders or right to preach/teach.   

Bishop Keenan is often claimed to be “conservative”.  However, the ad above shows that he is an outright Modernist. The bishop is more concerned with promoting Indifferentism than praying for the conversion of Scotland. Clearly he has never read the encyclical above by Pope Pius IX, who is very clear that ecumenical gatherings, such as the one hosted by Bishop Keenan, are contrary to the Catholic faith.  

Comments invited… 

Pope Francis Positive Towards SSPX

In an interview with Regina Einig for the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost (March 17, 2017), Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, reviewed the progress made by the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) toward reaching a reconciliation with Rome since Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum in July 2007, almost ten years ago.

Archbishop Pozzo said that the Holy Father intends to maintain a “positive constructive attitude” in the dialogue with the SSPX.  If the Society agrees to a “Doctrinal Declaration” formulated by the Holy See, it may very soon receive from Rome a canonical mission within the structure of a personal prelature. This would enable the Society to keep its “spiritual, theological, liturgical, disciplinary and pastoral identity”.

Archbishop Pozzo admitted that he first heard from the media the rumor that the Society of Saint Pius X planned to purchase the Church of Santa Maria Immaculata on the Esquiline Hill. With gentle irony he noted that it is not his job to negotiate the sale of real estate.

With regard to the ambiguous formulations of the conciliar documents concerning ecumenism, dialogue with non-Christian religions, Church-State relations pertaining to religious liberty, etc., Bishop Bernard Fellay stated in an interview in 2016 that the SSPX reserves the right to denounce what it views as ambiguities and errors, but that it is up to the authorities in Rome to clarify and dispel the misunderstandings on these critical points.

The remainder of the interview with Archbishop Pozzo is given below in English translation:

…I think that even after the reconciliation these misgivings and difficulties that the Society points to should be kept in mind, so as to arrive at a clarification, a more in-depth and subsequently more precise understanding of these points. Moreover the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has intervened repeatedly over the last forty years to elucidate and rectify certain false interpretations or misunderstandings of the conciliar teachings. I do not see why this work of clarification and answering doubts and misgivings cannot continue, if they are presented in an ecclesial and not a polemical spirit.

To what extent do you observe agreement already?

There is complete agreement with the Society of Saint Pius X on one absolutely fundamental point: The Magisterium of the Church is not above the word of God, in Scripture or Tradition, but rather serves it by teaching nothing but what is handed down (cf. Dei Verbum, 10). The Magisterium, for its part, to which Christ entrusted the preservation, defense and interpretation of the deposit of faith, has the task of explaining and elucidating the earlier documents of the Magisterium too—including the documents of the Second Vatican Council—authentically in light of the unbroken Tradition, which certainly advances in the Church with the assistance of the Holy Ghost, yet never with any novelty that contradicts what went before, but rather with a better understanding of the deposit of faith “within the same dogma, the same meaning, and the same judgment” (cf. Vatican I, Dei Filius, 4 and Vatican II, Dei Verbum, 8). This principle must be applied also to the documents of Vatican II, which should be read and understood in the light of Tradition and in agreement with the constant Magisterium of the Church, as Archbishop Lefebvre himself acknowledge in 1981 in a letter to Pope John Paul II.

So that means…?

That means, if an interpretation or an understanding or an implementation of Vatican II is suggested that represents a discontinuity or a break with the Catholic doctrine previously defined or taught by the Magisterium, the interpretation must be rejected as false or inappropriate. The problem is therefore not the Second Vatican Council as such, but rather a certain way of understanding, applying and implementing the Council: the so-called “spirit of the Council”. Pope Benedict XVI spoke about a “true Council” and a “virtual Council”, whereby the latter is the product of the power of the mass media, of modernistic currents in theology, in other words of the “conciliar ideology” that was superimposed on the authentic “mens” [mind, understanding] of the Council Fathers.

In the current issue of the magazine Courrier de Rome published by the Society of Saint Pius X, the authors designate the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI as “Holy Mass.” Can this terminology be taken to mean that the validity of the new Missal has meanwhile been accepted within the Society?  *

As far as I know, the Society never called into question the validity of the rite of Holy Mass according to the liturgical books promulgated by Paul VI and John Paul II. As early as 1988, in the protocol prepared by then-Cardinal Ratzinger with the consent of Archbishop Lefebvre, the validity of Holy Mass celebrated according to the Novus Ordo was acknowledged. Because of other matters, then, there was no constructive sequel to the protocol. The Society’s misgivings with regard to the Novus Ordo seem to me to refer to some aspects of the Novus Ordo (for example the Offertory prayers, Communion in the hand, etc.) and also to the manner of celebrating the Eucharist which de facto can be observed in various localities and is often characterized by dogmatic errors and liturgical abuse. But this too can be discussed profitably and clarified. As long as the attitude is constructive, and not polemical or marred by prejudices, discussion about the aforementioned topics can contribute to greater clarity and more detailed definitions, so as to promote the correct, integral doctrine and to avoid the errors, misunderstandings and deficiencies or partisan, superficial interpretations that have been and unfortunately still are characteristic of a particular propagation of the Second Vatican Council and also of the praxis resulting from it in terms of discontinuity and a break with Catholic Tradition.

* [Editor’s Note: The interviewer is mistaken. The use of the expression “Holy Mass” in Italian is the conventional manner of speaking about Mass generally – the text is a translation of Critina Siccardi and therefore cannot neither be attributed to the SSPX. The use of this expression in the SSPX publication Courrier de Rome and other Italian publications to refer to the Missal promulgated by Paul VI should in no way be interpreted as approval for this deficient form of the liturgy. A further discussion of the deficiencies of the Novus Ordo Missae is contained below.]

Source – 1 April, 2017

Comments invited…

Una Voce: SSPX “Complicated” the Preservation of Old Mass in Scotland!

From Scottish Catholic Observer, January, 27th 2017…
TradMasswithsaintscolourThe traditional way to celebrate Mass is Extraordinary
DOROTHY CUMMINGS MCLEAN looks at how a new generation in Scotland is being attracted to the traditional rituals of the Latin Mass

While researching the diversity of Catholicism in Scotland, I was surprised by the overlap. Not everyone who goes regularly to Ukrainian Mass is Ukrainian. Syro-Malabar priests learn the Latin Rite to serve the Latin Rite majority. Catholic students are at home both in their university chaplaincies and in parishes. Polish-speakers are happy to go to Mass in English, and there are Scottish-Polish Catholic fellowship groups. Finally, there are those Latin Rite Catholics, of whatever nationality, who feel drawn to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and practise Catholic devotions we now call ‘traditional.’

The history of the revival of the Traditional Latin Mass in Scotland begins in the heady days after the Second Vatican Council when dramatic changes swept through the Church’s liturgical and devotional practises.

In hindsight, the Missal of 1965 wasn’t revolutionary, but it sparked both the foundation of Latin Mass preservation societies and a spirit of liturgical experimentation. The Mass Paul VI promulgated in 1969 was so different from the Mass they knew that many Catholics felt deeply bereaved.

One such Catholic in Scotland was an influential convert named Mary Neilson (1912 – 2002). A member of a wealthy Presbyterian family in Edinburgh, she was (temporarily) disinherited by her parents when she converted to Catholicism in 1938.

Undaunted, she embarked on a career as a welfare officer, social worker and health researcher. In 1965, dubious of the changes proposed for the Latin Mass, she turned her considerable energies towards the preservation of the Old Rite. Not only did Miss Neilson help to establish the Scottish branch of the International Una Voce Federation, she offered her home in the West End as a centre of traditional worship.

The ‘Old Mass’ was said privately there by priests in good standing from 1970. When Miss Nielson died, she left the house to the Fraternity of the Priest of Saint Peter (FSSP), who maintain its chapel.

The preservation of the Traditional Mass has been complicated in Scotland by the presence of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). The association of the ‘Old Mass’ with the SSPX, disobedience and schism has been hard on Catholics who practise the traditional devotions: to this day we suffer suspicious looks and sardonic remarks. [emphasis added – in disbelief!]

Fortunately, this prejudice has not been universal: in 2004, for example, Edinburgh’s Fr Michael Regan invited the FSSP to celebrate the Traditional Mass in St Andrew’s, Ravelston.

The promulgation of Summorum Pontificum in 2007 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was a golden moment for lovers of traditional devotions. This short document praises earlier forms of the Latin Rite, declares that the Missal of 1962 was never abrogated, describes its Mass as the ‘extraordinary’ form of the Latin Rite and gives generous provisions for its use. Pope Benedict’s enthusiasm for tradition brought a new generation into contact with the Extraordinary Form and its community.

Civil servant Mark Hamid, 28, first encountered the Extraordinary Form in Oxford in 2007. “It was a revelation,” he told me.

As a university student, he invited the FSSP to bring the Extraordinary Form from Edinburgh to St Andrews. The Mass was made available to students from 2011 until 2016, when attendance dropped off. This was in part because there were more activities for students on Sunday afternoons, but also because of the popularity of the Extraordinary Form (EF) Mass now celebrated in Dundee. Since then Hamid has organised the ‘Two Shrines Pilgrimage,’ a Scottish version of the Walsingham pilgrimage organised by England’s Latin Mass Society.

Glasgow physicist Gerald Bonner, 30, first witnessed the Extraordinary Form in 2011 at an Australian Catholic students’ conference in Sydney. Initially he found it confusing. “I probably attended about five EF Masses before really getting into the rhythm,” he admitted.

Asked what he gets from the EF, Mr Bonner was expansive. “The rich beauty of the prayers and the ritual in the EF reveal so clearly that the Mass is the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary,” he said. “The chants, the silences, the posture of the priest all serve to draw you into that mystery and make it easier to participate in it fully.

“While most of these things are possible in the Ordinary Form, they are more reliably found in the Extraordinary Form, which is less dependent on the style of the priest.”

The EF has also had a positive effect on Mr Bonner’s experience of the Ordinary Form which, due to time constraints, he attends more often: “Not only do I understand its roots better, I can participate more deeply having experienced the Old Rite.”

Ian and Kristiina Watt, 26, of Glasgow are professional musicians who became Catholics two years ago after approaching the FSSP priest in Edinburgh. “We were interested in the Traditional Mass before coming into the Church,” Ian said, “attracted by its beauty and historical continuity, two aspects of Catholicism which influenced both our conversions.”

Kristiina added: “As a musician, the beautiful Catholic legacy of art and music intended for the traditional Mass was often a source of inspiration and assurance for me during the period leading up to our [reception].”

“I don’t know if it is correct to speak of ‘Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) communities’ as such,” Ian said, “but the presence of the TLM seems to be a sign of overall health in a diocese or parish community.

“For example, the parish at which this Mass is offered most frequently in Glasgow, six times a week in addition to the daily parish Ordinary Form (OF) Mass, is notable for its provision of regular solid catechesis, scheduled Confessions before and after every Mass, weekly Vespers and Benediction, seasonal devotions and outreach to the homeless and vulnerable, all provided by just one parish priest with the help of volunteers.”

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Balornock, is an example of how traditional devotions can be fully integrated into a Scottish parish. In 2007, Summorum Pontificum inspired its pastor, Fr Morris, to say the Extraordinary Form twice a week.

These Masses attracted a ‘small but stable group of the faithful,’ reported the church organist Fraser Pearce. “Soon after this the parish gained the support of Una Voce and things grew from there.”

As no OF Masses were cancelled to make room for the EF, there was no protest. Today there are daily EF Masses (except on Mondays) at Immaculate Heart.

“We have lots of social events and outings in addition to catechetical talks on Sunday evenings, and people who attend either Mass share together in these,” Mr Pearce said. Immaculate Heart also runs its own food bank—’We have fed up to as many as 15 families a week’—and delivers donations of household goods.

The parishioners help the Sisters of Charity in their Glasgow soup kitchen and host three annual meals for homeless men. “We seek to imitate Our Lord in practising the corporal acts of mercy while keeping in mind that our primary mission is the salvation of souls,” Mr Pearce explained.

“These meals are usually preceded by a short service in which we pray for the souls of those men who have died since the previous occasion.”

In addition to Masses in both Forms, Vespers and Benediction, Immaculate Heart parish offers the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Mondays and the Rosary and Confession on Friday evenings.

“We also have First Saturday Devotions as requested by Our Lady of Fatima,” Mr Pearce said. The parish even has a ceremony crowning the statue of Our Lady in May.

“Immaculate Heart runs a full programme of all the traditional devotions that were part of Catholic life until recent years,” Mr Pearce explained.

And who are the Catholics who flock to all this old-fashioned stuff?

“People of all ages, professionals, unemployed people and students from across the West of Scotland,” Mr Pearce said. “We have several young married couples and a good few converts who come into the Church looking for the fullness of the traditional Faith and found it here. We have people who travel from as far as Edinburgh and Ayr several times each week.

“In the last nine months we have gained many new parishioners as well as friends of the parish who are able to visit depending on circumstances… I don’t think that anyone is attached by nostalgia.”

I myself have gone to the FSSP Sunday Mass at St Andrew’s, Ravelston, since I moved to Scotland. I like to say that I ‘married into the Mass,’ since I never went to the EF before I married my convert husband. Having read a lot of classical Catholic theology, I soon felt at home in the traditional rite.

In no way has this cut me off of from the rest of the Church. Indeed, if I can’t make it to the noon Mass at St Andrew’s, I can usually be found at Polish Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral.

Comment: 

Today’s Scottish Catholic Observer was given to me after Mass in the SSPX chapel in Glasgow by a gentleman who was incensed by the nasty falsehoods about the SSPX.  I’ve now read the piece for myself and to say that it’s laughable for Una Voce to claim that the SSPX is, or was, ever, detrimental to the preservation of the ancient Mass, is like saying that Charlie Chaplin was comical.  Hilarious, more like. 

But for the SSPX there is no way in this world that Summorum Pontificum would ever have come to pass.  That’s a fact. Not an alternative fact, just a fact. And without that green light from Pope Benedict,  the supposedly “traditional leaning” clergy would have remained just that – “supposedly”. As it is, there are plenty who don’t offer the old Mass or make any attempt to learn it, because they know their bishop doesn’t approve. Career priests. It’s great that Fr Morris of Immaculate Heart did grasp the opportunity when it came along, but one swallow, as the old saying goes, doth not a summer make. The archdiocese is not advertising the Immaculate Heart Masses and we don’t need Sherlock Holmes on the case to work out why. 

I’m very pleased that the Immaculate Heart Masses are on offer. I do my best to attend them whenever I can, but I’ve explained to the organisers that where their parish Masses clash with a Mass on the same day in the SSPX chapel, if I’m free to attend Mass on that day I will be attending the (much less conveniently situated) Society chapel precisely for the reason given above – that, but for the Society suffering false allegations of “schism” and being sidelined for years now, they would not have their several Masses a week in Immaculate Heart.  

Further, while it’s better than nothing to have the TLM offered in a diocesan parish alongside the novus ordo, I’d be more pleased if the novus ordo were banished altogether, but, as we can see from the article, even those who are attending the old Mass in the Immaculate Heart are quite happy to attend the novus ordo as well. 

That’s why we still need the SSPX – that’s why we needed them in the beginning to preserve the TLM until Summorum Pontificum came long and the bandwagon started to fill up. Because, like it or lump it, it’s only in the SSPX chapels that we can rely on hearing, seeing and experiencing undiluted Catholic doctrine and liturgy.  It’s the only place where you will never hear anyone insult the ancient Mass by referring to it using the Modernist label “Extraordinary Form” .  NEVER.   Want to convince us otherwise? Let’s go…  

A New Mercy: Mercy As “Way of Life”…

What Religion Is This?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
November 8, 2016

 

Mercy, said Francis, is not God's forgiveness of sin through Baptism or the absolution of a repentant sinner in the confessional, in the manner Christ ordained when He commissioned His Church (cf. John 20:23). Rather, he opined, "the mystery of mercy is not to be celebrated in words alone, but above all by deeds, by a truly merciful way of life marked by disinterested love, fraternal service and sincere sharing."

“The mystery of mercy is not to be celebrated in words alone, but above all by deeds, by a truly merciful way of life marked by disinterested love, fraternal service and sincere sharing.”

In a brief address to an “inter-religious audience” at the Vatican on November 3, Francis spoke on “the theme of mercy,” but without a single reference to the King of Mercy, Jesus Christ, the sole merciful savior of mankind, nor any reference to the sacraments of the Church that Christ established precisely to show His mercy toward men of good will. 

Alluding vaguely to “the Christian message” while saying absolutely nothing about the grace of repentance that must precede the grace of justification and the regeneration of the soul of fallen man, Francis sketched instead a concept of mercy seemingly designed to accommodate any and all religions, so-called.

Mercy, said Francis, is not God’s forgiveness of sin through Baptism or the absolution of a repentant sinner in the confessional, in the manner Christ ordained when He commissioned His Church (cf. John 20:23). Rather, he opined, “the mystery of mercy is not to be celebrated in words alone, but above all by deeds, by a truly merciful way of life marked by disinterested love, fraternal service and sincere sharing.”

What does this have to do with Divine Mercy for the sinner who repents and turns to God, which was supposedly the theme of the Year of Mercy now concluding? The address seems instead to conflate Divine Mercy with human acts of kindness devoid of any motive of supernatural grace.

Indeed, Francis goes on to say that “The Church increasingly desires to adopt this way of life, also as part of her ‘duty to foster unity and charity’ among all men and women…” The Church is depicted as an organization that has only recently begun to discover fully what mercy means! It means, according to Francis, a “way of life” — again, without reference to Divine Mercy toward repentant sinners.

Mercy as a “way of life” — rather than a divine action toward the sinner — is something that anyone, no matter what he believes, can possess. Thus, says Francis, “[t]he religions are likewise called to this way of life, in order to be, particularly in our own day, messengers of peace and builders of communion, and to proclaim, in opposition to all those who sow conflict, division and intolerance, that ours is a time of fraternity.”

Note well: “the religions” are referenced indifferently, as if they were all on equal footing with respect to the quality of mercy, which is reduced, in essence, to social work and brotherhood.

Continuing this indifferentist, pan-religious refrain, Francis declares that “mercy” as he conceives it — quoting himself — is that quality which is “more open to dialogue, the better to know and understand one another; eliminates every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect; and drives out every form of violence and discrimination (Misericordiae Vultus, 23). This is pleasing to God and constitutes an urgent task, responding not only to today’s needs but above all to the summons to love which is the soul of all authentic religion.”

Not a word here about the supernatural grace of charity obtained and maintained through the sacraments instituted by Christ, nor the divine action involved in God’s mercy thus obtained. Rather, again, we see only an appeal to do-goodism depicted as the “soul of all authentic religion.”

As Francis further declares (once again quoting himself), “mercy” also means the practice of environmental conservation:

Mercy extends also to the world around us, to our common home, which we are called to protect and preserve from unbridled and rapacious consumption. Our commitment is needed for an education to sobriety and to respect, to a more simple and orderly way of life, in which the resources of creation are used with wisdom and moderation, with concern for humanity as a whole and coming generations, not simply the interests of our particular group and the benefits of the present moment. Today in particular, ‘the gravity of the ecological crisis demands that we all look to the common good, embarking on a path of dialogue which requires patience, self-discipline and generosity'” (Laudato Si’, 201).

So, “authentic religion” now expands to include not merely the one and only religion that God established, but also any and all religions whose adherents do good, including caring for the environment. “Mercy” thus defined would therefore be an element, according to Francis, of virtually all religions that advocate doing good:

“The theme of mercy is familiar to many religious and cultural traditions, where compassion and nonviolence are essential elements pointing to the way of life; in the words of an ancient proverb: ‘death is hard and stiff; life is soft and supple’ (Tao-Te-Ching, 76). To bow down with compassionate love before the weak and needy is part of the authentic spirit of religion, which rejects the temptation to resort to force, refuses to barter human lives and sees others as brothers and sisters, and never mere statistics. To draw near to all those living in situations that call for our concern, such as sickness, disability, poverty, injustice and the aftermath of conflicts and migrations: this is a summons rising from the heart of every genuine religious tradition. It is the echo of the divine voice heard in the conscience of every person, calling him or her to reject selfishness and to be open….”

When Francis finally gets around to mentioning Divine Mercy, he appears to make God’s forgiveness of sin available to anyone who practices mercy on a human level whether or not it involves an act of supernatural charity motivated by divine grace:

“How important this is, when we consider today’s widespread fear that it is impossible to be forgiven, rehabilitated and redeemed from our weaknesses. For us Catholics, among the most meaningful rites of the Holy Year is that of walking with humility and trust through the door – the Holy Door – to find ourselves fully reconciled by the mercy of God, who forgives our trespasses. But this demands that we too forgive those who trespass against us (cf. Mt 6:12), the brothers and sisters who have offended us. We receive God’s forgiveness in order to share it with others. Forgiveness is surely the greatest gift we can give to others, because it is the most costly. Yet at the same time, it is what makes us most like God.”

But, as the Church has always taught, in fallen man the imago Dei — the likeness to God — can be restored only by the grace of justification following the grace of repentance for sin. And the ordinary means of justification are Baptism and, after Baptism, absolution of mortal sin by way of Confession, about which Francis has nothing whatever to say to an audience desperately in need of the helps only the Church that Christ established can provide.

Thus does the Catholic faith — the one, true, divinely revealed religion — fade into insignificance in the grand scheme of “authentic religion” reduced to doing good and forgiving others without any obligation to assent to revealed truth, avail oneself of the divinely instituted sacraments, or indeed profess any particular religious belief at all. Catholics may be reconciled in their Catholic way (certainly not by merely walking through a Holy Door with humility and trust), but anyone who simply forgives, on a human level, attains the divine likeness.

Driving home the point, lest anyone miss it, Francis concludes by declaring: “May the religions be wombs of life, bearing the merciful love of God to a wounded and needy humanity; may they be doors of hope helping to penetrate the walls erected by pride and fear.” All religions “bear the merciful love of God,” no matter what errors or superstitions they involve. All that matters, according to Francis, is that their adherents show forgiveness and brotherhood toward others and care for the environment.

Referring to the recent debacle of the Pope’s visit to Sweden to “commemorate” the Protestant Rebellion launched by Luther, the respected traditional Catholic scholar Roberto de Mattei observed: “What surfaced during the ecumenical meeting between Pope Francis and the World Lutheran Federation on October 31st in Lund, seems to be a new religion.”

A new religion indeed. And certainly not the religion established by God Incarnate in the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. But then, as Pius XI warned about those who would embrace the then-nascent “ecumenical movement” with its pan-Christian gatherings:

“Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little, turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.

As the human element of the Church has come to accept and participate not only in pan-Christian but also pan-religious spectacles, such as this address by Francis, we can consider Pius XI’s warning a prophecy fulfilled, along with the prophecy undoubtedly contained in the integral Third Secret of Fatima.   Source – fatima.org

Comment:

Well, we’ve had a new Mass, new catechism, new rosary, new canon law, new morality,  blah blah, so why not a new “mercy”?