Why We MUST Judge Book By Cover

From LifeSiteNews…

April 3, 2018 – There is a strange tendency nowadays to think that the external aspects of a thing matter very little, while the “inside” is all that counts. For example: as long as you’re “a good person on the inside,” it doesn’t matter what you look like, how you dress, how you speak, what music you listen to, or even (taken to an extreme) what religion you profess.  

There is a grain of truth in this view: one’s height or build or skin color, for instance, are not moral qualities; sinners and saints come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. The problem is rather that we are too quick to forget how the outside wells up from within, how it often reveals to us just what is in the heart. A good person will dress modestly, speak respectfully, and listen to music that builds up a noble character instead of assaulting it—and all this, because of dispositions in the heart, invisible to men’s eyes but visible to God’s. The profession of a religion, while obviously done with external words and gestures, is rooted in the deep soil of the soul, and shows outwardly what a man’s most intimate worldview and priorities are.

The great British philosopher Roger Scruton comments:

There is truth in Oscar Wilde’s quip, that it is only a shallow person who does not judge by appearances. For appearances are the bearers of meaning and the focus of our emotional concerns. When I am struck by a human face this experience is not a prelude to some anatomical study, nor does the beauty of what I see lead me to think of the sinews, nerves and bones which in some way explain it. On the contrary, to see “the skull beneath the skin” is to see [merely] the body and not the embodied person. Hence, it is to miss the beauty of the face.

With perfect consistency, therefore, our medieval forebears would never have agreed with the platitude “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” For they spent enormous sums of money on Evangelaries or Gospel books with heavy bindings of gold, silver, and jewels, so that it was perfectly obvious that this book held the very words of God Himself, and deserved our utmost veneration.

The sacred liturgy, too, holds the very words of God—indeed, astonishingly, the Mass holds God Himself, the Word made flesh. It is utterly inconsistent with its inner content that the outward form of it should be anything but glorious, majestic, beautiful, solemn, reverent. We should be able to judge this book by its resplendent cover, that is, the Mass by its appearances, musical, textual, ceremonial; we should be able to see the heart in the actions. We should not “miss the beauty of the face.”

Nowadays we hear a lot of emphasis on not paying too much attention to externals in the Mass but just remembering that “Jesus is present.”

To lapse into a bit of slang: Sorry, this ain’t gonna cut it.

Throughout history, Christians have offered the best they can to God in the liturgy, especially the beauty attainable in the fine arts, in order that the souls of worshipers might be better disposed to adore and glorify the Lord. This is the sense in which St. Thomas insists that the liturgy is not for God’s sake but for ours. Of course it is directed to God; there would be no point in liturgy if God did not exist and if Christ were not our Redeemer by whose Sacrifice we are saved.    

But the liturgy does not benefit God or Christ, as if making them better; they are already as good, holy, and glorious as they can be. Rather, it benefits us who offer Him the sacrifice of praise, by ordering our souls to Him as our ultimate end, by filling our minds with the truth of His presence and our hearts with the fire of His love. These things are best accomplished by a liturgy that is impressive in its setting and furnishings, gestures and vestures, chants and ceremonies—one that is permeated from start to finish with manifestations of the nearness and otherness of God. A liturgy that is thoroughly sacral will be one that cannot be co-opted for secular purposes but compels the respect, wonder, and prayer of the beholder.

Put simply, man as a creature of intellect and sensation will not be benefited nearly as much by liturgy that is either verbal-cerebral or superficially flashy (as in the circus exhibitions of the Three Days of Darkness in Los Angeles) as he will by liturgy that is packed with rich ceremonial-textual content and saturated with sensuous symbols. This is exactly what all historic Christian liturgies are. Sadly, this is exactly what most contemporary Catholic liturgies are not.

A happy exception would be the growing number of places where the traditional Roman rite or “Extraordinary Form” [Ed: Traditional Latin Mass] is being offered, for this rite is saturated with sacrality and nearly compels one to pray, to go deeper into the mysteries of Christ through the outward appearances, just as the disciples at Emmaus “knew him in the breaking of the bread” (Lk 24:35). The liturgical rite is like bread miraculously multiplied down through all the centuries and placed in front of every king and pauper who seeks the food that will not perish. When we break this bread by entering into the rite, we come to know the risen Christ.

Matthew Schmitz has remarked:

It is amazing that the leaders of a ritual faith imagined that they could dispense with traditional forms of prayer. Among the few elites who saw the folly of this project, most were artists, naturally alert to the way supposedly superficial things can in fact be essential.

In like manner, aphorist Nicholas Davila observed: “When religion and aesthetics are divorced from each other, it is not known which is corrupted sooner.”

For all these reasons, then, a liturgy not only may but must be judged “by its cover,” by appearances—for, as Aristotle says, it is the appearances of a thing that point to its nature and substance. The Catholic Church has to care not only about realities but about appearances. Human beings come to know the truth through their senses; they cannot have concepts without phantasms. In religion, in the encounter with the God-man in His life, death, and resurrection, our senses, memories, imaginations, and emotions play as important a role as our intellects and wills. Source – LifeSiteNews

Comments invited…  

Disastrous Pontificate Persists – Yet No Sense of Urgency From “Opponents”…

Me? Damaging the Church? No way!

A friend rang me last night to say he’d attended a Summorum Pontificum Traditional Mass and found himself chatting afterwards with a couple who were not husband and wife, but “partners” …   My friend was downhearted, dispirited that even the better priests seem to be willing to tolerate such scandals. 

Then this from The American Conservative “The president of the German Bishops’ Conference has declared that, in his view, Catholic priests can conduct blessing ceremonies for homosexual couples.”

The list of scandalous words and actions from this current shocking pope, or tolerated by him, grows day and daily. Too much to list here – and anyway, would, more likely than not, be out of date before I press the “publish” button on this page. 

There is no lack of evidence that Pope Francis is a danger to Catholic Faith and Morals.  Quite the reverse – there’s an abundance of evidence. Even as I type this, a report has come in questioning the pope’s integrity – would he blatantly impart falsehoods, we have to ask? Click here to answer that for yourself. 

The question is, why are the supposedly concerned bishops who allegedly oppose him remaining silent – such as Cardinal Burke and the Captain and Crew of the Lifeboat SSPX?  Why no sense of urgency? Why have they all gone to ground? 

It’s one thing to pick one’s fights, but not to fight at all?  Take a few minutes to view the short video in the News section of the Dici website here.  Who, on this earth, would ever imagine that the Church is suffering the worst crisis ever in its entire history, watching that broadcast?  Lovely reports, sure, but there’s been nothing about any attempt to fight as members of the Church Militant, under our banner as Soldiers of Christ,  in any of the recent videos posted on Dici  in January, which I’ve viewed with surprise and disappointment.  This latest one, linked above, dated 2nd February, is no different. Plenty of devotional content, suggesting the danger of becoming so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly use.  

What should the supposed opponents of this dreadful pontificate be doing, in addition to prayer. Concrete action, surely – but what, precisely? 

Comments invited… 

Even Newer Mass(es) Coming Soon!

Text of the Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio “Magnum Principium” Quibus nonnulla in can.
838 Codicis Iuris Canonici immutantur


APOSTOLIC LETTER
ISSUED MOTU PROPRIO
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
FRANCIS
MAGNUM PRINCIPIUM
BY WHICH CAN. 838 OF THE CODE OF CANON LAW IS MODIFIED 

The great principle, established by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, according to which liturgical prayer be accommodated to the comprehension of the people so that it might be understood, required the weighty task of introducing the vernacular language into the liturgy and of preparing and approving the versions of the liturgical books, a charge that was entrusted to the Bishops.

The Latin Church was aware of the attendant sacrifice involved in the partial loss of liturgical Latin, which had been in use throughout the world over the course of centuries. However it willingly opened the door so that these versions, as part of the rites themselves, might become the voice of the Church celebrating the divine mysteries along with the Latin language.

At the same time, especially given the various clearly expressed views of the Council Fathers with regard to the use of the vernacular language in the liturgy, the Church was aware of the difficulties that might present themselves in this regard. On the one hand it was necessary to unite the good of the faithful of a given time and culture and their right to a conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations with the substantial unity of the Roman Rite. On the other hand the vernacular languages themselves, often only in a progressive manner, would be able to become liturgical languages, standing out in a not dissimilar way to liturgical Latin for their elegance of style and the profundity of their concepts with the aim of nourishing the faith.

This was the aim of various Liturgical Laws, Instructions, Circular Letters, indications and confirmations of liturgical books in the various vernacular languages issued by the Apostolic See from the time of the Council which was true both before as well as after the laws established by the Code of Canon Law.

The criteria indicated were and remain at the level of general guidelines and, as far as possible, must be followed by Liturgical Commissions as the most suitable instruments so that, across the great variety of languages, the liturgical community can arrive at an expressive style suitable and appropriate to the individual parts, maintaining integrity and accurate faithfulness especially in translating some texts of major importance in each liturgical book.

Because the liturgical text is a ritual sign it is a means of oral communication. However, for the believers who celebrate the sacred rites the word is also a mystery. Indeed when words are uttered, in particular when the Sacred Scriptures are read, God speaks to us. In the Gospel Christ himself speaks to his people who respond either themselves or through the celebrant by prayer to the Lord in the Holy Spirit.

The goal of the translation of liturgical texts and of biblical texts for the Liturgy of the Word is to announce the word of salvation to the faithful in obedience to the faith and to express the prayer of the Church to the Lord. For this purpose it is necessary to communicate to a given people using its own language all that the Church intended to communicate to other people through the Latin language. While fidelity cannot always be judged by individual words but must be sought in the context of the whole communicative act and according to its literary genre, nevertheless some particular terms must also be considered in the context of the entire Catholic faith because each translation of texts must be congruent with sound doctrine.

It is no surprise that difficulties have arisen between the Episcopal Conferences and the Apostolic See in the course of this long passage of work. In order that the decisions of the Council about the use of vernacular languages in the liturgy can also be of value in the future a vigilant and creative collaboration full of reciprocal trust between the Episcopal Conferences and the Dicastery of the Apostolic See that exercises the task of promoting the Sacred Liturgy, i.e. the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is absolutely necessary. For this reason, in order that the renewal of the whole liturgical life might continue, it seemed opportune that some principles handed on since the time of the Council should be more clearly reaffirmed and put into practice.
Without doubt, attention must be paid to the benefit and good of the faithful, nor must the right and duty of Episcopal Conferences be forgotten who, together with Episcopal Conferences from regions sharing the same language and with the Apostolic See, must ensure and establish that, while the character of each language is safeguarded, the sense of the original text is fully and faithfully rendered and that even after adaptations the translated liturgical books always illuminate the unity of the Roman Rite.

To make collaboration in this service to the faithful between the Apostolic See and Episcopal Conferences easier and more fruitful, and having listened to the advice of the Commission of Bishops and Experts that I established, I order, with the authority entrusted to me, that the canonical discipline currently in force in can. 838 of the C.I.C. be made clearer so that, according to what is stated in the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, in particular in articles 36 §§3.4, 40 and 63, and in the Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Sacram Liturgiam, n. IX, the competency of the Apostolic See surrounding the translation of liturgical books and the more radical adaptations established and approved by Episcopal Conferences be made clearer, among which can also be numbered eventual new texts to be inserted into these books.

Therefore, in the future can. 838 will read as follows:

Can. 838 – §1. The ordering and guidance of the sacred liturgy depends solely upon the authority of the Church, namely, that of the Apostolic See and, as provided by law, that of the diocesan Bishop.

§2. It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books, recognise adaptations approved by the Episcopal Conference according to the norm of law, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.

§3. It pertains to the Episcopal Conferences to faithfully prepare versions of the liturgical books in vernacular languages, suitably accommodated within defined limits, and to approve and publish the liturgical books for the regions for which they are responsible after the confirmation of the Apostolic See.

§4. Within the limits of his competence, it belongs to the diocesan Bishop to lay down in the Church entrusted to his care, liturgical regulations which are binding on all. Consequently this is how art. 64 §3 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus as well as other laws are to be interpreted, particularly those contained in the liturgical books concerning their revision. Likewise I order that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments modify its own “Regulations” on the basis of the new discipline and help the Episcopal Conferences to fulfil their task as well as working to promote ever more the liturgical life of the Latin Church.

Everything that I have decreed in this Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio must be observed in all its parts, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, even if it be worthy of particular mention, and I hereby set forth and I dispose that it be promulgated by publication in the daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, that it enter into force on 1 October 2017, and thereafter be published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

Given in Rome, at St. Peter’s, on 3 September of the year 2017, the fifth of my Pontificate
FRANCISCUS P.P.   

Note:  [at source, read also the Comment on the Motu Proprio by the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments]

Comment:

The Catholic Herald sees no problem with the above – indeed, some might argue that the Herald’s assessment is somewhat naïve since few informed Catholics today have any confidence in the bishops, not to mention Pope Francis, not to damage the Mass even more than has already been achieved by the Bugnini revolution.  

The Remnant is closer to the truth:  Paragraph §4 makes it clear that the pope has now given bishops the power to determine much of the Church’s liturgical direction. “Within the limits of his competence, it belongs to the diocesan bishop to lay down in the Church entrusted to his care, liturgical regulations which are binding on all.”

This opens the door, not only to greater liberty in translating liturgical texts, but to creativity in drafting their own texts and rules. The bishops of an episcopal conference can now decide that if the faithful kneel to receive Communion, receive only on the tongue, or fail to participate in the hand shake of peace, this could be grounds to refuse them Communion.

The new motu proprio also supersedes Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum, which dispensed priests from the need to obtain episcopal permission to say the Traditional Latin Mass. With the new ruling, an episcopal conference can now rule that the offering of the Latin Mass is forbidden in a given diocese, or in an entire country, so that traditional Catholics no longer have the option of appealing to Rome for help. The episcopal ruling is now Church law.” [emphasis added]

What we are seeing is a further attempt to pull the Catholic world away from the Church’s centralized authority and have a whimsical free-for-all. Francis himself, on October 17, 2015, called for a “healthy decentralization” of power in the Roman Catholic Church, including changes in the papacy and greater decision-making authority for local bishops, so this latest motu proprio is part of his plan to execute this decentralization.  END

Which commentator, in your opinion, has got it right – the English Catholic Herald or the American Remnant? (The Scottish Catholic Observer is too busy reporting on the Women’s Guild latest coffee morning to worry about incidentals like the liturgy.)   Comments invited…  

Cardinal Burke Feet of Clay…

In the clip below, Cardinal Burke pronounces the Society of Saint Pius X in schism.  Listening to it, I recall the reason several Catholic friends gave for refusing to attend his Pontifical High Mass in a Glasgow parish church recently, summed up by one insightful soul: “…he’s not the real deal.”   

Blogger Gabriel Syme, who did attend the Pontifical High Mass in Glasgow recently, writes: 

I read that earlier and was much dismayed by the reported comments from Cardinal Burke.

it is unbecoming for a prelate to tell fibs (that the SSPX is in schism) which contradict his brother Bishops.

Ironically, he would never say such a thing about genuinely schismatic groups, such as the Eastern Orthodox churches.

How disappointing that he is so feeble in the face of Francis, yet so bold with unprovoked attacks on faithful Catholic groups, attacks based on deceit.

I am very disappointed in him and have diminished respect for him now. As if attacking the SSPX should be on his agenda, while everyone is waiting (and waiting and waiting) for him to act on the dubia.

Comment:

His “damp squib” dubia and meek acceptance of the Pope’s refusal to grant him an audience to discuss the four cardinals’ concerns about Amoris Laetitia, are now placed firmly in context.  He hasn’t a clue.  He’s apparently no clearer in his grasp of the limits as well as the extent of papal authority than most of the confused Catholics, ordained and lay, suffering in the Church-anything-but Militant today.  He has shown himself to have feet of clay. Or maybe you’re a Cardinal Burke fan, just because, at least, he values the traditional Mass?  Let’s hear it… 

Separating The Mass From Its Purpose…

From the Catholic Herald, 8th September, 2017…

Matthew Schmitz is right that young Catholics are more traditionally-minded. But that doesn’t always mean the Old Rite

Everyone, including Catholics, wants to figure out millennials, the much-maligned generation to which I undeniably belong. 

Last week, my fellow native Nebraskan Matthew Schmitz wrote a piece for the Catholic Herald entitled “The Kids Are Old Rite”. Schmitz argued that the younger generation today – us millennials – are trending increasingly traditional, much to the dismay of some older, more liberal generations of Catholics.

On that point, generally, I don’t disagree. I see in myself and among my fellow millennial Catholics a desire to return to more orthodox practices, teachings and ways of thinking. We saw what happened when our parents’ generation flung open Pandora’s box – sexually, religiously, morally – and we’re not loving the results. Divorce, abortion, and the breakdown of the family have had less than desirable effects on the society we’ve inherited.

In particular, the quotes from Archbishop Augustine DiNoia that Schmitz included on the subject were spot on:

My sense is that these twenty- and thirty-somethings have been radicalised by their experience … in a way that we were not.” After “God-knows-what kinds of personal and social experiences”, they have come to know “moral chaos, personally and socially, and they want no part of it”. A sense of narrow escape guides their vocations. “It is as if they had gone to the edge of an abyss and pulled back.

However, the piece implies that young people are increasingly preferring the Old Rite – the Traditional Latin Mass – over the Novus Ordo, and that the “liturgy wars” of old will now be divided along generational lines.

But based on my experience, and that of my peers, I don’t think it’s true that we’re clamouring for the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) in large numbers. I also don’t think we’re interested in reviving the so-called “liturgy wars” of old.

I have some friends who prefer the TLM, or the Byzantine rite. But they’re still the exception, rather than the norm, among my wide circle of Catholic friends that comes with living in a Catholic millennial hub like Denver.

My TLM friends think that the old rite is beautiful, but they aren’t going to go so far as to “shove it down the throats” of others, as one of my friends put it.  
 
From what I have seen, the Traditional Latin Mass appeals to some Catholics, but I don’t think it will ever become the norm again. I personally prefer the Novus Ordo Mass, because it’s the form with which I grew up and with which I am most familiar. I’ve gone to public school my whole life and have never formally been taught Latin, and so I prefer a Mass I understand.

An unscientific poll of my young people friends tends to agree – we haven’t been taught Latin like the previous generations, and we don’t see what’s wrong with a prayerful and reverent Novus Ordo Mass.

Judging by the ever-growing crowd of young people at the Novus Ordo Mass I attend weekly, at which we chant the opening antiphons in English and have incense galore, we’re looking for reverence, but at a Mass we understand.

In true millennial fashion, however, I’d like to take a moment to check my privilege.

As a daughter of the notoriously traditional Lincoln Diocese in Nebraska, I never felt the need to seek out more reverent, prayerful forms of Mass, because the Novus Ordo Masses I grew up with were lacking in neither. Similarly, when I made the move to Denver three years ago, I had little trouble finding a Novus Ordo Mass that was celebrated beautifully and reverently.

I realise that the story might be different if I had lived in other dioceses. Given the choice between the Latin or a questionable liturgical dance Mass, I’d choose Latin any day.

At the end of the day, it’s hard enough to be a young Catholic today, that I think most of us recognise that can’t let “liturgy wars” bring us down.

Do you feel closest to God while wearing a veil and chanting Latin? Great. Is the Novus Order Mass in English, with the promise of coffee and donuts afterwards, the only way to get your butt into a pew on Sunday? More power to you.

We’re just happy you’re here, because we want you to meet Jesus.    Source – Catholic Herald, 8/9/17          

                                 

Comment:

Support for the above thesis / praise for the novus ordo came from an unexpected source in last week’s Catholic Herald – none other than Dr Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society (LMS):

“Rather than throw every parish into confusion with a new top-down reform, it is better to foster the existing liturgical pluralism, which includes the reformed Roman Rite [Ed: the novus ordo, the new Mass], the Ordinariate Use, the growing presence of Eastern Catholic Rites, and the pre-conciliar Latin liturgy, now widely available once more. Among these, surely, we have something for everyone… the liturgy should not be a battlefield, it is a table at which the Catholic soul is nourished.”  Joseph Shaw: After the ‘liturgy wars’, a pluralistic truce? Catholic Herald,  1/9/17.

What seems to have been forgotten by these writers is  the fact that the Mass is not for us.  This appears to be an error peculiar to our times, for although there are various rites within the Church, the novus ordo alone appears designed to cater for personal whims of taste and fashion of various types – for example, popular music, lay activity.  But the Mass is not for us, in that sense.  The Roman Rite  was approved centuries ago by the Church, in the form we now term “the traditional Latin Mass”  for the purpose of offering true worship to God – not because the locals found it entertaining, or held their attention or suited their imagined “spiritual” needs. 

So, how can this concept of “pluralistic truce” be justified in the current crisis of Faith in the Church?  Is the Mass primarily a “table at which the Catholic soul is nourished” or an altar on which the Holy Sacrifice of the Lamb is re-presented to the Father in order to offer Him true worship, which is wholly orthodox and pleasing to God… Does our often superficial “enjoyment” of Mass in the vernacular, easily understood with popular music and easy on the ear and conscience homilies, trump our duty to offer the worship which has nourished saints and martyrs down the centuries, and is manifestly pleasing to God? Think: “by their fruits…” 

In summary: what’s your take on a “pluralistic truce”?    But before you answer, check out this critique of the new Mass

Cardinal Burke: Scottish Visit Puzzling…

On the 2nd of September, Cardinal Burke will offer a Pontifical High Mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary, Balornock. Una Voce Scotland are holding a reception to which guests are invited at the discretion of the chairman.   Source


Comment

I find I’m being asked over and over again, why it is that Cardinal Burke (or any other Cardinal) would come to Glasgow to offer a Pontifical High Mass in a parish church, instead of in the city’s cathedral.      

We know three things:  we know – judging by the obvious signs – that the Archbishop of Glasgow hates the Traditional Latin Mass, so that may be the reason, because the second thing we know is that Archbishop Tartaglia and Cardinal Burke are reputedly very good friends.  The third possibility is that, since the Archbishop of Glasgow is not opposed to the Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (AL), while Cardinal Burke has very publicly called on the Pope to correct the errors in it, Archbishop Tartaglia may have decided to keep his distance from Cardinal Burke. It’s what’s widely known as being a “fair weather friend”. Archbishop Tartaglia, as we know, not only accepted AL, but quickly established sessions to teach his priests and teachers how to implement it – that is, he prepared them to teach the New Morality for divorced and “remarried”, cohabitees etc. who are now free to “discern” for themselves whether or not they may approach for Holy Communion. Cardinal Burke, on the other hand, has spoken out to correct this scandal in interviews published in Catholic publications, on YouTube, and by writing directly to the Pope.   Friends? I’d say Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have more in common. 

The key questions then are as follows:

(1)      does the Archbishop’s apparent hatred of the old Mass trump his friendship with Cardinal Burke
OR

(2)    does the Archbishop place his “relationship” with Pope Francis above his friendship with Cardinal Burke – see photo, right – not to mention above the truths of the Faith
OR

(3)   has Una Voce invited the Cardinal without going through the proper channels to seek the Archbishop’s permission/approval?  Surely, the Cardinal would not accept such an invitation? 

Summary: 

What’s going on here?  

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