Pope Francis Positive Towards SSPX

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

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

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

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

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

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

To what extent do you observe agreement already?

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

So that means…?

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

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

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

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

Source – 1 April, 2017

Comments invited…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comment: 

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

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

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

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

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

Vatican bans mission to Jews

Christina, one of our regular bloggers from south of the border, submitted the following short article for comment:

Although I firmly believe that Summorum Pontificum was a great blessing for the Church and it has clearly produced much good fruit, yet the inclusion of those words of Pope Benedict – that he envisaged that …the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite (should) be mutually enriching were truly ominous. To one familiar with the ancient rite who has also attended the new, it seems insane, if not blasphemous, to suggest that the latter contains anything whatsoever with which it can ‘enrich’ the former.   

To one familiar with the ancient rite who has also attended the new, it seems insane, if not blasphemous, to suggest that the latter contains anything whatsoever with which it can ‘enrich’ the former.

To one familiar with the ancient rite who has also attended the new, it seems insane, if not blasphemous, to suggest that the latter contains anything whatsoever with which it can ‘enrich’ the former.

Predictably, those whose teeth were gnashing at the issuance of Summorum Pontificum were quick to use this clause to their advantage. In May 2012, Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said:- 

The pope’s long-term aim is not simply to allow the old and new rites to coexist, but to move toward a “common rite” that is shaped by the mutual enrichment of the two Mass forms. In effect, the Pope is launching a new liturgical reform movement, the Cardinal said. Those who resist it, including “rigid” progressives, mistakenly view the Second Vatican Council as a rupture with the Church’s liturgical tradition.

 So it was hardly surprising that the modernists would begin, sooner or later, to chip away in earnest, and so we have the current call, by the heretical/would-be schismatic German hierarchy, ably assisted by the English bishops (read Cardinal Vincent Nicholls) re the Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews. But I must admit that I was surprised and very disappointed to read a piece on the subject in the current LMS magazine Mass of Ages by Fr. Bede Rowe. The International Federation Una Voce does not support Fr. Rowe’s opinion, and as a member of that Federation, one wonders why the LMS has chosen to publish it, especially since the current issue also contains a splendid interview with Cardinal Burke.

 Fr. Rowe begins:-

 In the past few months there has been much said about the call of the English and German Bishops for a change in the Old Rite Good Friday prayers asking that the veil be lifted from the eyes of the Jews and they recognise Christ as their Sviour.

In doing so, it questions the fundamental Christian calling of announcing the Good News to all the world, as was Our Lord’s clear command. If this announcement is what we should do, and I think that this is clear, are there any exceptions? Are we to preach to the whole world or are we not? Is Christ the only way to salvation, or is there another way?

After this apparently promising start there follow several paragraphs of Vatican II-inspired waffle and then this conclusion:-

Let me make this clear. It is eminently possible, and I would say desirable, that there is no proselytism (deliberate preaching with the aim of conversion) of the Jews. This is not a principle, so I am not saying that they occupy a new theological place in the scheme of salvation, as many Church theologians seem to want to do. Rather I would say that it should not happen because we cannot effectively preach the message of Christ because of recent, and not so recent history and our share in it. Today, preaching the conversion of the Jews is so clouded by the evil of the last century, that the message of Christ becomes too severely distorted to be honest, effective or even kind..

I think that the new statements can be read in this way – in theory ‘yes’, in practice ‘no’. The Church cannot preach conversion in this present age, but we, you and I, can pray for it and yearn for it.

This sounds rather like the recent Synod’s ‘we’re not changing doctrine, but only practice’, and I would like someone to enlighten me as to what was my and our share in ‘recent and not so recent history’ that makes it impossible for us to openly pray for the conversion of the Jews in the Mass. For that matter, what part did the Church play in ‘the evil of the last century’. What is this collective guilt all about? Surely if the Jews of Jerusalem crying ‘Crucifige, crucifige eum’ bore no guilt, then why am I to bear guilt for the Holocaust and because of it refuse to pray for the conversion of all men?      

On December 10, 2015, the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews released a new document calling for Catholics not to actively seek the conversion of Jews.

On December 10, 2015, the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews released a new document calling for Catholics not to actively seek the conversion of Jews.

30th November: St Andrew’s Day

TradMasswithsaintscolour
There will be two Traditional Latin Masses (that we know of)  to mark the Feast of Scotland’s patron saint on Monday, 30th November:

There will be a Missa Cantata in Greenock , and another sung Mass in St Andrew’s SSPX chapel in Glasgow.

Father Robert Mann will be offering the Traditional Latin Mass in St Joseph’s, 88 Bow Road, Greenock, PA16 7DY at 7pm

The SSPX Mass will be offered in St Andrew’s, 202 Renfrew Street, G3 6TX,  at 6.30pm

When Christ our Lord to Andrew cried:
“Come, thou, and follow me,”
the fisher left his net beside the Sea of Galilee.
To teach the truth the Master taught,
to tread the path he trod
was all his will and thus he brought
unnumbered souls to God.

When Andrew’s hour had come, and he
was doomed, like Christ to die,
he kissed his cross exultingly,
and this his noble cry:
“O noble cross! O precious wood! 
I long have yearned for thee;
uplift me to my only good
who died on thee for me.”

The faith that Andrew taught once shone
o’er all this kingdom fair;
the cross that Jesus died upon
was honoured everywhere.
But times once changed and Andrew’s name
was for a while forgot;
the cross, though set in kingly crown,
became a sign of shame.

St Andrew now in bliss above,
thy fervent prayers renew
that Scotland yet again may love
the faith, entire and true;
that I the cross allotted me
may bear with patient love! ‘
Twill lift me, as it lifted thee,
to reign with Christ above.

Editor’s Note…

All our bloggers and readers are encouraged to attend one of these Masses, and to pray for the restoration of the traditional Catholic Faith in Scotland.  Since he is also the patron saint of Russia, we might ask for St Andrew’s intercession for the fulfilment of Our Lady’s request that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart so that the world may, thereafter, enjoy a period of peace. There is absolutely no sign that any of the political strategies are going to bring that about – violence and war are increasing and will continue to do so until the Pope and the Bishops in union with him, as prescribed by Our Lady, offer the requested short prayer of consecration.   St Andrew, pray for us! 

Michael Voris On SSPX – Vicious…

I stopped subscribing to the Church Militant TV videos when they announced their papolatrist policy.  Haven’t given them a single thought since.

Then today a reader emailed to alert me to the above video in which – from around the 33rd to 47th minute – Michael Voris and his two colleagues launch into one of the most savage and untruthful assaults on the SSPX that I have ever witnessed (and I’ve witnessed some corkers, believe me.)  Seems some Cardinals in Rome told Voris that the SSPX is definitely in schism, in fact, one said: “It is beyond doubt that they are in schism” and that’s good enough for Michael.  It might have been Cardinal Kasper, for all we know, but hey, who cares? A Cardinal said it and it’s what the ignorant Mr Voris wants to hear, so that’s just fine and dandy. He threw into the mix Pope Benedict’s comment in Summorum Pontificum (SP)  to the effect that the Society does not exercise legitimate ministry in the Church and threw up his hands, fait accompli.  No in depth examination of the issues whatsoever. An unnamed Cardinal’s opinion, other unnamed Cardinals in the background,  and a statement from Pope Benedict taken out of context.  Voris clearly doesn’t DO serious research…

Earlier in the video, the mantra was to the effect that we must all lament the “reactionary” Catholic media who, while they may correctly diagnose the crisis, use the wrong methodology to correct it – naughty to mock and ridicule the Modernists… However,  it’s perfectly in order to mock and ridicule  the “reactionary” Catholics who frequent SSPX chapels or even simply support them.  One of the most striking pieces of mockery is when Voris laughs at the expulsion of Bishop Williamson from the Society of St Pius X, saying that he was expelled for “disobedience” and expressed the view that this is ironic (less politely, take note).   He hasn’t noticed, apparently, that no Modernist bishops have been given as much as a disciplinary rap on the knuckles for their scandalous disobedience, let alone been expelled from the Church.  In fact, wasn’t one of them appointed to lead the recent Synod on the Family? The one who doesn’t want any of us to call adultery “adultery”?  No mocking now. He’s in communion with the Pope and Church – unlike the SSPX.  This, folks, is the level of “intellect” with which we are dealing over at Church Militant TV. 

Under fire in this shallow interview are several American publications, classed as “reactionary” and considered dangerous because they are supportive of the SSPX –  The Remnant, Angelus Press, Catholic Family News.

The whole thing is shallow and unimpressive.  A real giveaway is the description of “reactionary” Catholics guilty of “idolising the Latin Mass.”  That says it all, really.   

This  totally biased and ignorant conversation about the SSPX  prompted me to break my self-imposed rule of ignoring the Voris video club, in the hope that we can help readers who may be influenced by the false information peddled in the above film.  I was disgusted at the dishonesty of the CMTV staff – and the number of them.  Clearly, cash is not a problem over at CMTV – just knowledge of the Catholic Faith and the ability to recognise real schism when they see it.

So, thanks to the reader who alerted me to this unconscionable and utterly dishonest conversation.  It confirms my own view that Michael Voris and his staff at Church Militant TV are a major part of the problem in the Church today. They are not even remotely part of the solution. You won’t hear the truth about the crisis in the Church from them.  If you currently subscribe to their videos, I recommend you unsubscribe. Like yesterday… 

Scottish Catholic Observer: No Future For Traditional Mass – Good Riddance!

In a disgraceful attack on the traditional Latin Mass in a recent edition of the Scottish Catholic Observer (SCO), Hugh Dougherty reveals himself to be about as Catholic as John Knox.   Martin Blackshaw, aka Catholic Truth blogger Athanasius, wasted no time in submitting a rebuttal, which has been rejected by the editor on spurious grounds.  

Interestingly, the Dougherty masterpiece has not been published on the SCO website. However, you can read it by clicking on the title Ghost dancing won’t do us any favours and then read Martin’s response below. Thanks to the internet, the editors of the so-called Catholic papers can’t get away any longer with their blatant censorship and skewing of the truth.  We’re on to them. Big time!

The Traditional Latin Mass is the Catholic “Mass of all time.”

By Martin Blackshaw

TLMwithsaintsIt has been my experience that when a Catholic writer goes out of his way to denigrate the ancient liturgy of the Church, the Latin Mass of the saints and martyrs, it is because he is either ignorant of the subject he ridicules or he is a nominal Catholic of these morally relativist times; for whom the traditional holy Mass and discipline of the Church have become anathema.

In Hugh Dougherty’s case, I would venture to suggest that there is a little of both impacting on his objectivity (November 7).

Given that his article against the ancient Mass was clearly personal and superficial rather than scholastic, it merits only a statement of the facts in response. Fact number one is that the new vernacular Mass he values as progress is, in reality, copied from the Protestant Reformers of the 16th century.

Mgr. Annibale Bugnini, its author, admitted as much in a March 19, 1965 interview with L’Osservatore Romano. He was even more candid in 1974, describing his new vernacular liturgy as “a major conquest of the Catholic Church,” a statement not so far removed from Martin Luther’s “destroy the Mass and you will have destroyed the Catholic Church”.

Professor Peter L. Berger, a Lutheran sociologist, acknowledged the truth of Bugnini’s declaration in these words: “If a thoroughly malicious sociologist bent on injuring the Catholic community as much as possible had been an adviser to the Church, he could hardly have done a better job.”

Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand, called by Pius XII “a twentieth century Doctor of the Church”, expressed himself a little more forthrightly, saying: “Truly, if one of the devils in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters had been entrusted with the ruin of the liturgy he could not have done it better.”

In 1967, the Synod of Bishops in Rome, having been privy to a first-hand celebration by Bugnini of his experimental liturgy (called ‘the Missa Normativa’), overwhelmingly rejected it.

This rejection was followed up by two senior Roman Cardinals (Ottaviani and Bacci), who wrote to Pope Paul VI on behalf of many prelates and theologians describing the new liturgy as representing “in whole and in part, a grave departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass.”

Cardinal Ratzinger more or less echoed this observation when he famously described the Bugnini product as “a banal on-the-spot fabrication.”

So now let us consider fact number two, ‘the fruits’ as the method given us by Our Lord for discerning good from evil. The New Mass has resulted in more liturgical abuses in its short 45-year life than all Latin Masses together from the early centuries of the Church right up to Vatican II.

To recount but a few of the more documented scandals of recent decades, I cite those infamous clown masses; balloon masses; coffee table masses; milk and cookie masses, rock masses and ‘liturgical dance’ masses, including one performance of a Salsa in the Sanctuary.

I feel certain that if Mr. Dougherty digs a little deeper into this unprecedented catalogue of sacrileges he may even stumble across some of those “Indian ghost dancers” he referenced so contemptuously as analogous to Traditional Catholics who remain faithful to the Mass of the ages.

At any rate, more telling even than the sacrileges committed in the name of the New Mass is the effect this liturgy has had on vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the devastation it has wrought on the souls of the faithful.

It is no exaggeration to state that in the 45 years or so since Bugnini’s experiment was imposed on the Church millions of Catholics worldwide have formally apostatised from the Faith. This has resulted everywhere in the closure of parish churches, seminaries and religious houses at a rate unparalleled in history.

In Scotland alone we have seen the closure of all five seminaries, many religious houses and countless churches as vocations and Mass attendance continue to decline apace, and these same depressing statistics apply to each and every country in the Western world.

Indeed, I read just last week that in the U.S. another 100 parish churches are to be closed or merged in New York, and that in France priestly numbers have deteriorated to the extent that each priest now has a dozen parishes on average to care for.

In contrast with this inevitable decline around the New Mass, the last 10 years have witnessed enormous growth within the Church of seminaries, religious houses and parishes flourishing around the ancient Mass, which brings me to fact number three.

Contrary to the prevailing myth, it is the young rather than the old who are migrating in increasing numbers back to the pre-Council Latin liturgy of the Church.

This verifiable phenomenon brings to nought Mr. Dougherty’s depiction of Latin Mass enthusiasts as a small clique of coffin dodgers re-living happy memories of their youth like an exclusive group of ageing steam train hobbyists.

In truth, it is the younger generation which is emerging today as a sign of contradiction to those old liberal Catholic hippies who robbed them of their sacred patrimony in the name of conciliar reform.

These young faithful are being drawn in ever increasing numbers to the ancient Mass not by curiosity or nostalgia, but by that sensus fidei, that gift of the Holy Spirit which has the dual operation of attracting souls to the sacred and supernatural while making repugnant to them the irreverent and the profane.

In conclusion, then, the future lies not, as Mr. Dougherty suggests, in further radicalising our holy religion to appease the rebellious of this hedonistic age. Rather, the future lies in a return to the Latin “Mass of all time” and in fidelity to the Faith handed down unaltered for nineteen centuries up to Vatican II.

St. Paul puts it this way: “Jesus Christ, yesterday, today; and the same forever. Be not led away with various and strange doctrines, For it is best that the heart be established with grace, not with meats; which have not profited those that walk in them…” (Hebrews 13: 8-10).

Comment:

No prizes for guessing why Ms Leydon, the editor of the SCO wanted to suppress the above response to the appalling Dougherty attack on the Mass which she unconscionably published. I’d love to see her trying to explain herself to the saints and martyrs who loved that same Mass and even died in defence of it – the same Mass which she most shockingly allowed to be described as of no more importance than the steam train, happily now consigned to history.  The fact is, it is her newspaper which will soon be consigned to history, along with the tired and ignorant views of the likes of Hugh Dougherty, who is (in all fairness) not alone in writing palpable nonsense in what passes for Scotland’s only national Catholic newspaper.  There can be no good fruits from this publication which, in almost equal measure, routinely denies and distorts the Catholic religion.  Indeed, there can be only one justifiable reason for reading it, and that is to expose the errors therein, preferably by addressing a letter or article for publication, to the editor. But that’s a hit and miss business, as we can see from Mr Blackshaw’s experience.  Anyway, your thoughts on the Dougherty article and Martin Blackshaw’s response  to it, should make for an interesting discussion.  Comments invited. 

Why IS There Such Hatred Of The Traditional Latin Mass?

TradMasswithsaintscolourThe following very interesting (to say the least) article, taken from the ‘Countercultural Father’ blog,  is self-explanatory, and recounts how one priest, south of the border in England, who introduced the Traditional Latin Mass under the terms of Summorum Pontificum, has been replaced by another priest who is apparently hostile (with bells on) towards the old rite.  [Please note that the term  “Extraordinary Form” (instead of Traditional Latin Mass or rite)  is used in the original, so we allow it to remain below,  but this is not a term we ever use at Catholic Truth.]  Read on, and be amazed, be shocked – especially at the liturgical abuse deliberately introduced by the new priest –  and then answer the question which forms the title of this thread: why is there such hatred of the Traditional Latin Mass, especially among bishops and priests? How can they possibly hate the ancient Mass, the Mass that the Church’s great martyrs gave their life’s blood to defend  – why? We quoted one American bishop  in our newsletter some time ago, saying that to be indifferent to the old rite Mass is one thing, but to hate it comes straight from Hell.  Do you agree?

Trouble at Blackfen

So what is going on at Blackfen?  Fr Tim Finigan, the hermeneutic parish priest, was moved recently to Margate. As I understand it, he left behind him a parish at which the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (traditional Latin Mass) was celebrated once every Sunday, alongside the three Ordinary Form Sunday Masses (one being the vigil Mass on Saturday evening). The EF was also celebrated on Saturday mornings and as an extra Mass on major feastdays and former holydays.

The EF was attended both by parishioners, and by a significant number of people who travelled some distance for it.

Some time ago, The Tablet tried to stir up some controversy about it (see here and here) as the editorial line is against anything that might smack of traditional, orthodox Catholicism. Despite their best efforts, there was no real story there; it is true that not all parishioners were happy: Bernard Wynne, a spokesman for ‘Catholic Voices for Reform’ (and you can guess what kind of reform they want…) was not, and there were a few others of like mind. One, Susan Reynolds, was on the radio saying that her ‘heart was broken‘ by the introduction of the EF Mass (one EF Mass, remember, when the rest of the Sunday Masses were OF). An odd reaction, one might reasonably think; but it seems she and Mr Wynne were in a very small minority in the parish.  Fr Finigan’s characteristically level-headed assessment was ‘there are a few who are very much in favour, a few who are strongly against, and “the substantial majority who simply wonder what Father is doing now”.’

When Fr Finigan’s move was announced, regulars were pleased to learn that the incoming priest, Fr Fisher, was also used to saying Mass in the EF, and would continue to do so. That seemed a pastorally sensitive decision, as well as a sensible one, given that the EF Mass was well attended. I am told that ‘people were looking forward to Fr Fisher coming, that talk had been very, very positive and that his appointment had been considered a good one among virtually everyone in the parish, particularly those attending the TLM who were delighted that they would have somebody who would understand their attachment to the Mass of Ages.’ 

His Twitter picture @FrStevenFisher shows him in clerical dress, with a surplice, black cope and biretta, which should be enough to reassure any traditional Catholic.  The odd thing is that it is an old photo, from some years back; and indeed his appearance has changed significantly.  A more recent facebook profile photo, tweeted by Joseph Shaw, shows him as much leaner, and in civvies, which is apparently more typical now. 

On his arrival, things started to change very quickly, and with little or no explanation.  That alone was in marked contrast to his predecessor, who introduced change gradually, and explained each step along the way with great pastoral care.

One of the earliest changes was his deciding within very short order that he was cancelling all the EF Masses (about 18) that had been planned for feast days etc, including the Patronal Feast and Christmas Eve. He announced this on the evening of his second day in the Parish. Of course, he has every right to do so: he may have looked at the diary and thought that he would be over-committed. But understandably, that was not the most welcome thing he could have announced to endear himself to those in the parish attached to the EF.

His Thursday Benediction, which Fr Finigan had sung in Latin, was celebrated in English: he announced that Thursday Benediction would now be ‘Novus Ordo,’ introducing a division which had not been there before. Given that people had come with the expectation of Latin Benediction as usual, that again caused some to wonder about his approach and intentions.

He also removed the gradines and two of the six candles from the altar and made it clear that he did not want them replaced, by leaving a note to that effect on the altar. As above, he has every right to do so, but again, it was not perhaps the way to demonstrate his understanding of certain sensibilities.

For his parishioners, these were the first straws in the wind. 

Traditional Latin MassOn his first Sunday, he preached a homily about different ‘circles of communion,’ in which he was at pains to distinguish between parishioners and visitors. Visitors, of course, must be welcomed with charity, but the parish was primarily for parishioners.  Again, that caused people to wonder about his agenda.

But the point at which my friends agree that things really seemed to go off the rails was at the People’s Communion at the EF Mass. At the ‘Domine, non sum dignus,’ he paused, holding the Sacred Host in his hand, and announced that there had been considerable confusion and discussion about the correct way to receive Communion at this (the EF) Mass. He then stated that, according to the 1983 Codex Juris Canonici it was permissible to receive kneeling or standing, on the tongue, or, in England & Wales, in the hand. At least some of those present thought that he was deliberately insinuating that the previous instruction (announced by Fr. Finigan at all EF Masses) was incorrect.

There are a couple of related issues here: one is the error.  The Instruction Universae Ecclesiae (2011), makes it clear (§24 ff) that the EF should be celebrated according to the rubrics proper to it (and see FIUV position paper here). One would have thought that, given considerable confusion and discussion, he might have done his research.

A second is the symbolic aspect: one of the reasons many are attached to the EF is the degree of reverence communicated by every aspect, including gesture. The manner of reception of communion is the most evident example of this, so an announcement of this nature, particularly at that moment of the Mass, naturally had a very strong impact.

This, I am told, is the point at which several of my friends were seriously upset. They wished to talk with him after Mass, but he apparently appeared in the Parish Centre (not in clericals, but in a shirt and jeans) took a biscuit, joked that he ‘followed the Canadian model’ (of clerical attire) and left without saying anything else to anyone else. 

 Somehow Damian Thompson heard about some of this, and tweeted from his @holysmoke account, asking why priests felt the need to change the EF Mass, which did not go down well.

On the following Saturday, he announced from the pulpit that he was shocked that he had been denounced to ‘the editor of the Spectator‘ (he meant Damian Thompson, who is an associate editor there); and that whoever had done so had committed a mortal sin by gossiping about parish affairs outside the parish. Clearly that was a rash thing to say, and did nothing to calm the anxieties already raised.

The Sunday EF Mass, the following day, had about half the usual number in the congregation: many had been flabbergasted at the previous week’s Mass. After delivering the same admonition as given on the Saturday, he then announced that the Latin Mass was a wound in the Parish: that he had had spies (sic) at every Mass, and it was only the Latin Mass congregation that was divisive and toxic. Therefore he was going to end the Latin Mass, as of the end of September. He did not deliver a sermon (unless the admonition and winding up of the EF Mass counts as one).

So what has been going on here?

I am conscious that my friends are seeing this from one perspective: that of Catholics attached to the EF, who were supporters of the restoration of tradition which Fr Finigan had gently introduced over many years.

They are clear in their own minds that Fr Fisher arrived with an agenda to change things. Indeed, he said he had had hours of discussion with the bishop prior to coming to the parish, with the strong implication that both Bishop Lynch and Archbishop Smith were backing him up on his approach, and indeed had agreed it with him.

They think that he deliberately did things to upset the EF congregation, in order either to get numbers down, so that he could say there was no longer any demand, or to provoke some to intemperate responses, so that he could point to their toxicity and divisiveness.

If that were the case, he succeeded to some extent on both counts: numbers were down dramatically; and if talking to people like Damian Thompson, or even to friends like me counts as toxic and divisive, then that too has been achieved. I understand one parishioner was so distressed when he was denouncing people for the ‘mortal sin’ of speaking to a journalist, that she remonstrated with him, reminding him that he was, in Mass, acting in persona Christi. As I heard it told, this was a gentle remonstration, which provoked a very angry response: “I will not be shouted at in my Church!” though the only shouting was, I am told, by the priest. But I can see, from his point of view, that such an interruption during Mass could seem very unfriendly.

However, another source who has contacted me sees it all very differently. Although more remote from the parish, he has known Fr Fisher previously, and believes he arrived at the parish willing to sustain the EF, but was met with such unfriendliness and hostility (and that was the reputation the parish already had) that he felt that he had to confront it.

The problem I have with that explanation is first that it comes from someone who was not anywhere near Blackfen at the time; secondly that it runsOur Lord giving Holy Communion so strongly against my other friends’ accounts who were there, and whom I trust to tell the truth (as they see it); when I put this to one of them, I was told it was definitely not the case, and that ‘we were all terrified we’d lose the EF Mass, and would have done almost anything to see it continue. We had been reassuring each other that at least Fr. Fisher said the old Mass so Fr. Finigan’s work would not be lost.  He stopped to talk to parishioners after all OF Masses, but didn’t stay outside after the EF ones;’ and thirdly that it coincides exactly with what my Blackfen friends believe to be the ‘black propaganda’ that is being used to discredit them and justify the elimination of the EF Mass there.

Or is it simply a case of Greek tragedy: the priest arrived believing the parish to be divided by rabid traddies; the more traditional members of the congregation were suspicious of anyone replacing their much-missed Fr Finigan: both ended up creating the very reality they feared…?

I don’t know, of course; but the astute reader will have picked up my strong suspicions.

And if my Blackfen friends’ reading of the situation is accurate, that raises a further question: where did this plan to bring the EF Mass to an end originate?  With the new Parish Priest, or higher up the ecclesiastical tree?

And in my more paranoid moments, it raises a further, and more troubling, question still: what is it about the EF Mass that arouses such fear and defensiveness, that it must be consigned to oblivion?

I should add that I have thought and prayed about whether to post all this. I have been strongly advised in both directions.  The majority of my Blackfen friends wanted me to do so: they believe an injustice is being committed, and that myths about them are being created to justify that.

However, one of them was fearful that anything I might blog might lead people to think that I was in some way speaking for Fr Finigan, and get him in trouble. That is clearly the last thing I want to do, and I can make it quite clear that I have never met Fr Finigan, nor talked to him about any of this. The only communications I have had with him were some years back, in the comments section of his blog, and in a private correspondence resulting from that, which did not touch on any of these issues. He has had nothing to do with this post in any way – one of my concerns is that he will wish I had held my peace.

Another concern is that I may wrong, and almost certainly hurt, Fr Fisher. That too weighs heavily on me. But the hurt suffered by my friends is also weighty, and having heard it at first hand from a number of them, to keep silent would add to their pain.  

So I have to reach a judgement: I do believe that it is better to shine a light on troubling things than to collude by maintaining silence.  If I am wrong, as I may well be, I hope that this post prompts correction and clarifications, which all concerned will welcome.  If I am right, then I think Catholics need to know what is being done to those whose primary offence is attachment to the Immemorial Mass. 

 Needless to say, prayers for all involved in this situation are of the utmost importance.  Source