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”? 

A Tale of Two Priests & Two Masses

From America Magazine…

An ordinary Sunday morning. No parish assignment, no preaching. So I decide to go to a church that celebrates the Latin Mass every Sunday at 11 AM. I knew it would be in Latin, but I wasn’t sure if it would be the old Tridentine or new post-Vatican II Latin Mass. Clearly it was Tridentine! One reason to attend was to see if I could feel comfortable being the main celebration of the Latin Mass.  

A female altar server assists at a Mass celebrated by Cardinal O’Malley in 2013.Pilot file photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

A female altar server assists at a novus ordo Mass celebrated by Cardinal O’Malley in 2013.

The church was half-filled, older men and women, some families with children, and a number of people in their 30’s who followed with their missals. The music, all in Latin, was in abundance with 90 percent sung by the choir and little by the congregation. The opening procession included 8 servers in surplices (all male), an assistant to the priest and the main celebrant…

REACTIONS. During the celebration I felt very uncomfortable. It was strange and foreign. Even though I was very familiar with the Tridentine Mass from my childhood, it seemed remote and distant. The Mass seemed to focus on the priest whose words for the most part could not be heard (they were in Latin anyway!) and who rarely faced the people. The choir performed well and their singing overrode the priest, who had to wait several times until they finished singing.

In my mind I could not but think back to the Second Vatican Council, and all that the Council and subsequent documents tried to bring about – active participation, emphasis on the important things, vernacular, elimination of accretions and repetitions, etc. It was sad and disheartening. What happened? Why would the Catholic faithful seek out and attend this older form of the Mass? Is the Tridentine Mass an aberration? What does it say about the reforms of Vatican II?

After the Mass, I was tempted to talk with some of those present. But I decided not to as I feared I would have been negative and perhaps controversial. My feelings were still very raw. One thing I know: I myself will never freely choose to celebrate the Tridentine Mass.  Click here to read article in full

From Traditional Catholic Priest (Blog)…

Constantly I hear from people that they do not go to the Latin Mass because they do not understand Latin.  (Some even think that the homily is in Latin.)  So please, just for now, let us put aside the argument of the language; Latin or English and go to the prayers and actions that are part of the rubrics of the two masses.  Let us also look at who is the center of focus and the way the people participate, dress and receive God in Holy Communion at the two masses. 

Traditional (Latin) Mass

Traditional (Latin) Mass

As a priest, I want to re-clarify what are the differences on how Jesus is treated in the two masses.   This will be from my own stand point as a priest who has for years celebrated the New Mass in English and Spanish, and now, for the last 7 years offered the Ancient Holy Sacrifice of the Mass…

From my view up on the altar, the difference between the Ancient Mass and the New Mass is like day and night.  Archbishop Sample, from Portland Oregon, put it well when he said at the Sacra Liturgia Conference in Rome, that he wants all of his priests to learn and offer the Latin Mass because of the effect it has on them understanding their role as priests.  He said that offering the Holy Latin Mass has changed him completely and now he finally understands the sacrificial aspect of his priesthood..

As a priest who says the New Mass and the Latin Mass, the Latin Mass has by far more rubrics built right into the Latin Mass to protect the Body and Blood of Jesus from being desecrated in any manner.  It clearly has the strong sacrificial component of the Holy Mass and priesthood.  It does not have the protestant emphasis on the Last Supper and “doing this in remembrance of Me” like the Luther advocated.  It also has prayers and gestures that facilitate more easily the adoration that Jesus deserves from us His creatures.  And because of this, the Latin Mass pleases God way more than the New Mass. Click here to read article in full

 

Comments invited – how did YOU vote in the poll: and why?

American Editors Accuse Pope Francis

Your Holiness:

The following narrative, written in our desperation as lowly members of the laity, is what we must call an accusation concerning your pontificate, which has been a calamity for the Church in proportion to which it delights the powers of this world. The culminating event that impelled us to take this step was the revelation of your “confidential” letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires authorizing them, solely on the basis of your own views as expressed in Amoris Laetitia, to admit certain public adulterers in “second marriages” to the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion without any firm purpose of amending their lives by ceasing their adulterous sexual relations.  PopeFrancispensivecropped

You have thus defied the very words of Our Lord Himself condemning divorce and “remarriage” as adultery per se without exception, the admonition of Saint Paul on the divine penalty for unworthy reception of the Blessed Sacrament, the teaching of your two immediate predecessors in line with the bi-millenial moral doctrine and Eucharistic discipline of the Church rooted in divine revelation, the Code of Canon Law and all of Tradition. [from Part 1]

Click here to read all three parts of the Letter & Liber of Accusation at Catholic Family News. The page opens at Part III, with links to Parts 1 & 11.

 

Comments invited   

 

Benedict on “Providential” Pope Francis

Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict have expressed appreciation for the friendship that has grown between them on the occasion of the publication of Elio Guerriero’s biography of Pope Benedict XVI. Both popes clearly value their friendship for the support and encouragement that it brings to them both.  

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, right, hugs Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica during the ceremony marking the start of the Holy Year, at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. Pope Francis pushed open the great bronze doors of St. Peter's Basilica on Tuesday to launch his Holy Year of Mercy, declaring that mercy trumps moralizing in his Catholic Church. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope Benedict XVI, right, hugs Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica during the ceremony marking the start of the Holy Year, 2015.  (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

 

Pope Benedict XVI on Pope Francis

Pope Benedict XVI spoke about his friendship with Pope Francis in a rare interview with  his biographer Elio Guerriero, published in La Reppublica (paraphrased by CNA):

“Speaking about Pope Francis, Benedict said that obedience to his successor “was never in discussion,” but that since Francis’ election, a feeling of “deep communion and friendship” has arisen between the two.

“At the moment of his election I experienced, as many, a spontaneous feeling of gratitude toward Providence,” he said, explaining that after having two Pope’s from Central Europe, “the Lord was turning, so to speak, his gaze to the Universal Church and invited us to a more extensive communion, more Catholic.”  [emphasis added by Editor CT]

Benedict said he was deeply moved by Pope Francis’ “extraordinary human availability to me” from the beginning. He noted how immediately after Francis was elected, the new Pope attempted to call him at his residence in the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae monastery. Having failed to reach him, Francis called again right after greeting faithful from the balcony of St. Peter’s, this time succeeding. Pope Francis “spoke to me with great  warmth,” Benedict recalled, noting that since that day “he has given me the gift of a wonderfully paternal-fraternal relationship.”

Not only does Francis frequently send “little gifts” and personal letters to Benedict, but he also makes sure to visit his predecessor before embarking on every major trip he takes:

“The human benevolence with which he treats me, is for me a special grace of this last phase of my life for which I can only be grateful. What he says about availability to other men, are not only words. He puts it into practice with me. May the Lord in turn make him feel his benevolence every day. This I ask the Lord for him.”

Pope Francis on Pope Benedict XVI

John L. Allen has provided excerpts from Pope Francis’s preface to Elio Guerriero’s biography of Pope Benedict XVI:

“His discrete presence and his prayer for the Church are a continual support and comfort for my service. Who better than him can understand the joys, and also the difficulties, of service to the universal Church and the world of today, and be spiritually close to the one called by the Lord to carry that weight? For that reason, his prayer is especially precious, and his friendship especially appreciated.”

About there being two popes in the Church

“Since they love each other, it’s a beautiful novelty. In a certain sense it expresses in a particularly clear way the continuity of the Petrine ministry, without interruption, like links in a single chain forged by love. The holy people of God, on the path, have understood this very well. Every time the emeritus pope has appeared in public, at my invitation, and I was able to embrace him in front of everyone, the joy and the applause of those present has been sincere and intense.”

On the continuity between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI

“Everyone in the Church has a great debt of gratitude towards Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI for the depth and balance of his theological thought, always in the service of the Church, up to the highest responsibility; the contribution of his faith and culture to a magisterium capable of meeting the expectations of our time was fundamental. The courage and determination with which he faced difficult situations have shown the way to react with humility and truth, in the spirit of renewal and purification.”

The loving mercy of God is “the most urgent message of a Church reaching out, even to the peripheries, of a world marked by conflicts, injustices and disrespect for the human person. The entire life of thought and works of Joseph Ratzinger has aimed at that end, and in the same direction, with the help of God, I’ll try to continue.”

Comment [EWTN]

The role of the successor of St Peter has been described as one of the loneliest jobs in the world. The pope alone bears ultimate responsibility before God for the universal Church:

“The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power.” (Lumen Gentium, 22).

For any man occupying the throne of St Peter this realisation must at times be a great burden. It is good that Pope Francis has Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI close at hand supporting him in prayer and friendship.  Source

Comment

Clearly, those who claim that Pope Benedict must be concerned about the statements and actions of Pope Francis are plain wrong.  He actually sees the Francis pontificate as “providential”, apparently in the sense that this is a good pontificate.   At Catholic Truth, we were never under any illusions about Pope Benedict.  We spoke out to highlight his errors, just as we comment on the many errors of Pope Francis. But where do the reports of Pope Benedict’s ongoing  support for and pledge of unconditional obedience to Pope Francis leave those who consider Benedict to have been a faithful pontiff who must be suffering through the Francis pontificate? 

Two Religions Confront Each Other – Catholics Must Now Choose…

Archbishop Lefebvre

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

“Two religions confront each other; we are in a dramatic situation and it is impossible to avoid a choice, but the choice is not between obedience and disobedience. What is suggested to us, what we are expressly invited to do, what we are persecuted for not doing, is to choose an appearance of obedience. But even the Holy Father cannot ask us to abandon our faith. We therefore choose to keep it and we cannot be mistaken in clinging to what the Church has taught for two thousand years. The crisis is profound, cleverly organised and directed, and by this token one can truly believe that the mastermind is not a man but Satan himself. For it is a masterstroke of Satan to get Catholics to disobey the whole of Tradition in the name of obedience.” (Open Letter to Confused Catholics, page 133 – emphasis added.)

In conversation over the weekend with Catholics who sometimes attend the Traditional Latin Mass, courtesy of Summorum Pontificum, including those who are admirers of the FSSP clergy,  I have been astonished at the vitriol which is still hurled, mercilessly, at the Society of St Pius X.  The main gripe against the Society rests on their alleged “disobedience”, the fact that they are not under the authority of the local bishops,thus failing to comply with Canon Law. This is the be all and end all to those who remain, whether culpably or not I can’t say, ignorant of the history of the SSPX and the writings of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre – not to say the correct application of Canon Law in an emergency situation. 

I thought, therefore, that it might be worth returning to this subject, which we’ve often discussed on this blog, in the light of this most recent conversation, in which the Society of St Pius X was repeatedly described as being “outside the Church” with some pretty abusive name-calling directed at the Society bishops and priests.  Below, therefore, is the chapter on True and False Obedience, from Archbishop Lefebvre’s Open Letter to Confused Catholics. But let me make my own position crystal clear at the outset.  I have long considered the crisis in the Church to be focused on the SSPX Vs Modernism. I’m now confirmed in that view. All the other allegedly “traditional” groups are mere distractions. They are (as one friend put it) “comfort-zoners” – they have compromised to gain admittance to the dioceses and, to a greater or lesser extent, have chosen to go along to get along with the Modernist Hierarchy.  You may disagree.  If you still disagree after reading the writings of Archbishop Lefebvre below, I’d jes LOVE to hear from you – Editor.

ArchbishopLefebvrequotepicture

Indiscipline is everywhere in the Church. Committees of priests send demands to their bishops, bishops disregard pontifical exhortations, even the recommendations and decisions of the Council are not respected and yet one never hears uttered the word “disobedience,” except as applied to Catholics who wish to remain faithful to Tradition and just simply keep the Faith.

Obedience is a serious matter; to remain united to the Church’s Magisterium and particularly to the Supreme Pontiff is one of the conditions of salvation. We are deeply aware of this and nobody is more attached to the present reigning successor of Peter, or has been more attached to his predecessors, than we are. I am speaking here of myself and of the many faithful driven out of the churches, and also of the priests who are obliged to celebrate Mass in barns as in the French Revolution, and to organize alternative catechism classes in town and country.

We are attached to the Pope for as long as he echoes the apostolic traditions and the teachings of all his predecessors. It is the very definition of the successor of Peter that he is the keeper of this deposit. Pius IX teaches us in Pastor Aeternus: “The Holy Ghost has not in fact been promised to the successors of Peter to permit them to proclaim new doctrine according to His revelations, but to keep strictly and to expound faithfully, with His help, the revelations transmitted by the Apostles, in other words the Deposit of Faith.”

The authority delegated by Our Lord to the Pope, the Bishops and the priesthood in general is for the service of faith. To make use of law,  institutions and authority to annihilate the Catholic Faith and no longer to transmit life, is to practise spiritual abortion or contraception.

This is why we are submissive and ready to accept everything that is in conformity with our Catholic Faith, as it has been taught for two thousand years, but we reject everything that is opposed to it.

archbishplefebvrequote if my work is of God

For the fact is that a grave problem confronted the conscience and the faith of all Catholics during the pontificate of Paul VI. How could a Pope, true successor of Peter, assured of the assistance of the Holy Ghost, preside over the most vast and extensive destruction of the Church in her history within so short a space of time, something that no heresiarch has ever succeeded in doing? One day this question will have to be answered.

In the first half of the Fifth Century, St. Vincent of Lérins, who was a soldier before consecrating himself to God and acknowledged having been “tossed for a long time on the sea of the world before finding shelter in the harbor of faith,” spoke thus about the development of dogma: “Will there be no religious advances in Christ’s Church? Yes, certainly, there will be some very important ones, of such a sort as to constitute progress in the faith and not change. What matters is that in the course of ages knowledge, understanding and wisdom grow in abundance and in depth, in each and every individual as in the churches; provided always that there is identity of dogma and continuity of thought.” Vincent, who had experienced the shock of heresies, gives a rule of conduct which still holds good after fifteen hundred years: “What should the Catholic Christian therefore do if some part of the Church arrives at the point of detaching itself from the universal communion and the universal faith? What else can he do but prefer the general body which is healthy to the gangrenous and corrupted limb? And if some new contagion strives to poison, not just a small part of the Church but the whole Church at once, then again his great concern will be to attach himself to Antiquity which obviously cannot any more be seduced by any deceptive novelty.” 

In the Rogation-tide litanies the Church teaches us to say: “We beseech thee O Lord, maintain in Thy holy religion the Sovereign Pontiff and all the orders of ecclesiastical hierarchy.”  This means that such a disaster could very well happen.

In the Church there is no law or jurisdiction which can impose on a Christian a diminution of his faith. All the faithful can and should resist whatever interferes with their faith, supported by the catechism of their childhood. If they are faced with an order putting their faith in danger of corruption, there is an overriding duty to disobey.

It is because we judge that our faith is endangered by the post-conciliar reforms and tendencies, that we have the duty to disobey and keep the Tradition. Let us add this, that the greatest service we can render to the Church and to the successor of Peter is to reject the reformed and liberal Church. Jesus Christ, Son of God made man, is neither liberal nor reformable. On two occasions I have heard emissaries of the Holy See say to me: “The social Kingdom of Our Lord is no longer possible in our times and we must ultimately accept the plurality of religions.” This is exactly what they have said to me.

Well,  I am not of that religion. I do not accept that new religion. It is a liberal, modernist religion which has its worship, its priests, its faith, its catechism, its ecumenical Bible translated jointly by Catholics, Jews, Protestants and Anglicans, all things to all men, pleasing everybody by frequently sacrificing the interpretation of the Magisterium. We do not accept this ecumenical Bible.  There is the Bible of God; it is His Word which we have not the right to mix with the words of men.

When I was a child, the Church had the same faith everywhere, the same sacraments and the same Sacrifice of the Mass. If anyone had told me then that it would be changed, I would not have believed him.  Throughout the breadth of Christendom we prayed to God in the same way.  The new liberal and modernist religion has sown division.

Christians are divided within the same family because of this confusion which has established itself; they no longer go to the same Mass and they no longer read the same books. Priests no longer know what to do; either they obey blindly what their superiors impose on them, and lose to some degree the faith of their childhood and youth, renouncing the promises they made when they took the Anti-Modernist Oath at the moment of their ordination; or on the other hand they resist, but with the feeling of separating themselves from the Pope, who is our father and the Vicar of Christ.  In both cases, what a heartbreak! Many priests have died of sorrow before their time.

How many more have been forced to abandon the parishes where for years they had practised their ministry, victims of open persecution by their hierarchy in spite of the support of the faithful whose pastor was being torn away! I have before me the moving farewell of one of them to the people of the two parishes of which he was priest: “In our interview on the… the Bishop addressed an ultimatum to me, to accept or reject the new religion; I could not evade the issue. Therefore, to remain faithful to the obligation of my priesthood, to remain faithful to the Eternal Church… I was forced and coerced against my will to retire… Simple honesty and above all my honor as a priest impose on me an obligation to be loyal, precisely in this matter of divine gravity (the Mass)… This is the proof of faithfulness and love that I must give to God and men and to you in particular, and it is on this that I shall be judged on the last day along with all those to whom was entrusted the same deposit (of faith).”

In the Diocese of Campos in Brazil, practically all the clergy have been driven out of the churches after the departure of Bishop Castro-Mayer, because they were not willing to abandon the Mass of all time which they celebrated there until recently.

Divisions affects the smallest manifestations of piety. In Val-de-Marne, the diocese got the police to eject twenty-five Catholics who used to recite the Rosary in a church which had been deprived of a priest for a long period of years. In the diocese of Metz, the bishops brought in the Communist mayor to cancel the loan of a building to a group of traditionalists. In Canada six of the faithful were sentenced by a Court, which is permitted by the law of that country to deal with this kind of matter, for insisting on receiving Holy Communion on their knees.  The Bishop of Antigonish had accused them of “deliberately disturbing the order and the dignity of religious service.”  The judge gave the “disturbers” a conditional discharge for six months! According to the Bishop, Christians are forbidden to bend the knee before God! Last year, the pilgrimage of young people to Chartres ended with a Mass in the Cathedral gardens because the Mass of St. Pius V was banned from the Cathedral itself. A fortnight later, the doors were thrown open for a spiritual concert in the course of which dances were performed by a former Carmelite nun.

Two religions confront each other; we are in a dramatic situation and it is impossible to avoid a choice, but the choice is not between obedience and disobedience.  What is suggested to us, what we are expressly invited to do, what we are persecuted for not doing, is to choose an appearance of obedience. But even the Holy Father cannot ask us to abandon our faith.

We therefore choose to keep it and we cannot be mistaken in clinging to what the Church has taught for two thousand years.  The crisis is profound, cleverly organized and directed, and by this token one can truly believe that the master mind is not a man but Satan himself.  For it is a master-stroke of Satan to get Catholics to disobey the whole of Tradition in the name of obedience.  A typical example is furnished by the “aggiornamento” of the religious societies. By obedience, monks and nuns are made to disobey the laws and constitutions of their founders, which they swore to observe when they made their profession. Obedience in this case should have been a categorical  refusal. Even legitimate authority cannot command a reprehensible and evil act. Nobody can oblige anyone to change his monastic vows into simple promises, just as nobody can make us become Protestants or modernists. St. Thomas Aquinas, to whom we must always refer, goes so far in the Summa Theologica as to ask whether the “fraternal correction” prescribed by Our Lord can be exercised towards our superiors. After having made all the appropriate distinctions he replies: “One can exercise fraternal correction towards superiors when it is a matter of faith.”

If we were more resolute on this subject, we would avoid coming to the point of gradually absorbing heresies.  At the beginning of the sixteenth century the English underwent an experience of the kind we are living through, but with the difference that it began with a schism. In all other respects the similarities are astonishing and should give us cause to ponder.  The new religion which was to take the name “Anglicanism” started with an attack on the Mass, personal confession and priestly celibacy. Henry VIII, although he had taken the enormous responsibility of separating his people from Rome, rejected the suggestions that were put to him, but a year after his death a statute authorized the use of English for the celebration of the Mass.  Processions were forbidden and a new order of service was imposed, the “Communion Service” in which there was no longer an Offertory.  To reassure Christians another statute forbade all sorts of changes, whereas a third allowed priests to get rid of the statues of the saints and of the Blessed Virgin in the churches. Venerable works of art were sold to traders,  just as today they go to antique dealers and flea markets.

Only a few bishops pointed out that the Communion Service infringed the dogma of the Real Presence by saying that Our Lord gives us His Body and Blood spiritually. The Confiteor, translated into the vernacular,  was recited at the same time by the celebrant and the faithful and served as an absolution.  The Mass was transformed into a meal or Communion. But even clear-headed bishops eventually ac-cepted the new Prayer Book in order to maintain peace and unity.  It is for exactly the same reasons that the post-Conciliar Church wants to impose on us the Novus Ordo. The English bishops in the Sixteenth Century affirmed that the Mass was a “memorial!” A sustained propaganda introduced Lutheran views into the minds of the faithful. Preachers had to be approved by the Government.

During the same period the Pope was only referred to as the “Bishop of Rome.” He was no longer the father but the brother of the other bishops and in this instance, the brother of the King of England who had made himself head of the national church.  Cranmer’s Prayer Book was composed by mixing parts of the Greek liturgy with parts of Luther’s liturgy.  How can we not be reminded of Mgr. Bugnini drawing up the so-called Mass of Paul VI, with the collaboration of six Protestant “observers” attached as experts to the Consilium for the reform of the liturgy? The Prayer Book begins with these words, “The Supper and Holy Communion, commonly called Mass…,” which foreshadows the notorious Article 7 of the Institutio Generalis of the New Missal, revived by the Lourdes Eucharistic Congress in 1981: “The Supper of the Lord, otherwise called the Mass.” The destruction of the sacred, to which I have already referred, also formed part of the Anglican reform. The words of the Canon were required to be spoken in a loud voice, as happens in the “Eucharists” of the present day.

The Prayer Book was also approved by the bishops “to preserve the internal unity of the Kingdom.” Priests who continued to say the “Old Mass” incurred penalties ranging from loss of income to removal pure and simple, with life imprisonment for further offences. We have to be grateful that these days they do not put traditionalist priests in prison.

Tudor England, led by its pastors, slid into heresy without realizing it, by accepting change under the pretext of adapting to the historical circumstances of the time.   Today the whole of Christendom is in danger of taking the same road. Have you thought that even if we who are of a certain age run a smaller risk, children and younger seminarians brought up in new catechisms, experimental psychology and sociology, without a trace of dogmatic or moral theology, canon law or Church history, are educated in a faith which is not the true one and take for granted the new Protestant notions with which they are indoctrinated?  What will tomorrow’s religion be if we do not resist?

You will be tempted to say: “But what can we do about it? It is a bishop who says this or that. Look, this document comes from the Catechetical Commission or some other official commission.”

That way there is nothing left for you but to lose your faith. But you do not have the right to react in that way.  St. Paul has warned us: “Even if an angel from Heaven came to tell you anything other than what I have taught you, do not listen to him.”

Such is the secret of true obedience. 

" ...pray insistently without tiring and weep with bitter tears in the secrecy of your heart. Implore our Celestial Father that, for the love of the Eucharistic Heart of My Most Holy Son and His Precious Blood shed with such generosity... He might take pity on His ministers and bring to an end those ominous times, and send to the Church the Prelate who will restore the spirit of Her priests." Our Lady of Good Success to Mother Mariana in the 17th century, foretelling the crisis in the Church in 20th century.

” …pray insistently without tiring and weep with bitter tears in the secrecy of your heart. Implore our Celestial Father that, for the love of the Eucharistic Heart of My Most Holy Son and His Precious Blood shed with such generosity… He might take pity on His ministers and bring to an end those ominous times, and send to the Church the Prelate who will restore the spirit of Her priests.”
(Our Lady of Good Success to Mother Mariana in the 17th century, foretelling the crisis in the Church in 20th century.) 

Of Mice & Men: Cardinal Sarah & Co.

Cardinal Robert SarahTUESDAY, JULY 05, 2016

Cardinal Sarah’s Inaugural Address at Sacra Liturgia UK

Extract…

Continued study and criticism of the reformed rites is necessary: to what extent do the post-conciliar liturgical reforms reflect the zeitgeist of the 1960s and 1970s, rather than continuity with the tradition of the Church (contra SC 23)? With regard to this particular question, Cardinal Sarah said that:

We cannot dismiss the possibility of an official reform of the liturgical reform.

[Cardinal Sarah] then gave some (unexpected) news that Pope Francis had asked him to study the question of the reform of the reform and the mutual enrichment of the OF and EF that Pope Benedict XVI spoke of in the letter that accompanied Summorum Pontificum (see also Universae Ecclesiae 25):

When I was received in audience by the Holy Father last April, Pope Francis asked me to study the question of a reform of a reform and of how to enrich the two forms of the Roman rite. This will be a delicate work and I ask for your patience and prayers. But if we are to implement Sacrosanctum Concilium more faithfully, if we are to achieve what the Council desired, this is a serious question which must be carefully studied and acted on with the necessary clarity and prudence…

Cardinal Sarah ended with an appeal to all priests, which will be familiar to those who have read his recent articles and interviews in L’Osservatore Romano and Famille Chrétienne: it is very important that as soon as possible we return to a common orientation of priest and people eastwards in those parts of the liturgy where we are addressing God. This is a very important step to ensure that, in our celebration of the sacred liturgy, God rather than man is at the centre of it. The Cardinal implored all priests to implement this with suitable catechesis, and confidence. He suggested that the 1st Sunday of Advent this year would be a good time to start!  Read entire report here

Comment: 

Cardinal Sarah suggested that the 1st Sunday in Advent would be a good time for priests to start to (or more accurately, return to) offering the [new] Mass facing east…

Well, to be honest, to those of us who have long since outed ourselves as having no intention of ever attending a novus ordo Mass again, family occasions possibly being necessary exceptions for some of us,  it is neither here nor there if priests the world over choose to accept or ignore the Cardinal’s suggestion.  Already, Cardinal Nichols has urged his priests to ignore it

Clearly, Cardinal Sarah is unlikely to enforce his suggestion. That might lead to “disunity” and, of course, we can’t have that… We must have the appearance of unity, at all costs. 

So far, the “conservative” Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider  have failed to stand the test of what little time has passed since they spoke out to defend Catholic marriage during the notorious Synod of the Family in Rome. They have effectively taken a vow of silence; and now Cardinal Sarah, widely hailed as the latest “traditional leaning” member of the hierarchy, is proving to be monumental disappointment, seeking a “reform of the reform” by suggestion with no sign of measures to end the imposition of the new Mass and restore the Church’s ancient Liturgy. He’s a nice cardinal, undoubtedly well meaning, but nothing more, as far as we can see at the present time. Ditto the other “conservatives” and ditto the alleged “traditionalists” who seem determined to wait until there’s no crisis any more before getting down to the serious work of restoring the Faith in the wider Church.

For some reason, the title of John Steinbeck’s famous novel keeps popping into my head: Of Mice And Men.  And so, I make no apology for wondering if there are any real men left in the hierarchy, that is, men with some of the best of the masculine virtues in their soul, let alone men who have a grasp of what it means to be a Confirmed Catholic Soldier of Christ.

All clergy and hierarchy living through this unprecedented crisis, would do well to ponder the words with which Archbishop Lefebvre concludes his Open Letter to Concerned CatholicsIf you wish to know the real reason for my persistence, it is this: At the hour of my death, when Our Lord asks me: “What have you done with your episcopate, what have you done with your episcopal and priestly grace?” I do not want to hear from His lips the terrible words “You have helped to destroy the Church along with the rest of them.”

Comments invited…