Priest: Celtic V Rangers V Mass. Oops! 

Pseudonymous Father Justin Thyme, a Glasgow priest, responsible for two parishes in Glasgow,  found himself in a bit of a bind when he realised that the kick-off for the Celtic Vs Rangers game on 31 March, 2019 was at 12 noon. Mass in one of his parishes is at 9 a.m. on Sundays, but in the other… well, that’s at 11 a.m.

You see the problem? Either miss the kick-off, arrive late at the game, or

And that turned out to be the solution. That “or” – Father Thyme  simply arranged for a supply priest to celebrate the Mass for the 4th Sunday in Lent while he, Father Justin, made the supreme sacrifice and toddled off to the Celtic game instead.

But, is it easy to preach the primacy of the Sunday Mass obligation if the priest is able to justify attending a football match instead? Even if, as the defence will go, he’s celebrated either the vigil Mass, or the 9 a.m. Mass, tell that to the parishioners of the 11.a.m. Mass in “parish number 2”.

Not a good look, as they say these days – or as we used to say in the bad old days “doesn’t look good…”

“I’m sure that” – Father Thyme was heard saying solemnly to a friend en route to the game – “Pope Francis would approve.”

There’s no arguing with that, unfortunately…

Scots boy presents Pope Francis with Celtic top.  Click on photo to read more…

A Tale of Two Priests & Two Masses

From America Magazine…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Traditional Catholic Priest (Blog)…

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

Traditional (Latin) Mass

Traditional (Latin) Mass

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

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

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

 

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

Catholic Clergy & The New Thinking

The article below by Father Robert Mann SCJ, who is billed to speak at our forthcoming Conference, featured on an American blog, Aka Catholic, recently, entitled A Great Deprivation. Hopefully, it will encourage those of our readers not yet booked to attend our June Conference, to do so without delay. Already, as soon as our February edition hit the doormats, the ticket orders started to roll in and continue to do so. You can read the advertisement on page 9 of the current newsletter, available to download on the Newsletter page of our website. We recommend early booking, therefore, to avoid disappointment. In the meantime, read Fr Mann’s article below, on the way the Catholic mind has been “disarmed” into accepting Modernism…  

collarpriestThere can be no disguising the fact that for Catholics serious about their faith the almost daily stream of ambiguous and dangerous words and actions emanating from this Papacy give good cause for alarm. Not that there was no cause for concern with previous post-Conciliar Popes. However, in these times, the revolution has moved up a gear with almost no pretence of disguising the ultimate goal of bringing “irreversible changes” to the Catholic Church in terms of attitudes to doctrine and universal disciplines intrinsically bound up with that doctrine.

Perhaps one of the greatest tragedies in all of this is that the vast majority of Catholics for the most part do not seem to care about doctrinal departure from the Church of the past or are not even aware of the catastrophe unfolding at the heart of the Church. The great majority of clergy and people seem quite happy to go along with the Modernist program. They are welcoming of the ‘new attitudes’ – especially the rebooted ecumenical thrust, with its disregard for defined dogma and, of course, the new attitude to morality with it’s “Who am I to judge?” approach.

There will be others of course who are troubled but feel powerless and unable to articulate an adequate response to the intended “remodelling” of the Catholic Faith. As for those most obviously opposed – if you were to include all traditional Catholics, of one stripe or another, who do care about the disastrous state of affairs, in terms of numbers they would be a small proportion indeed of the entire Catholic population.

It seems then that over the last few decades the Catholic mind has been slowly eroded. It has become a ghost of itself. It bears some outward resemblence to what it once was, it holds on to some remnants of Catholic belief and practice but in reality it has come to accept that truth is relative. What would have been repugnant not so long ago is now acceptable to most who call themselves Catholic. The Catholic mind has been “disarmed”, and this has been in process over the last fifty years or more.

It is this issue of “disarming” to which I want to draw attention. I am thinking especially of this in relation to the priesthood, for it seems to me that in that time the Catholic priesthood has “morphed” into something quite different, from an understanding of priesthood as primarily sacrificial in character to something more akin to a Protestant ministerial functioning. What are the causes of this change? Well, I am sure we can all identify many but there is one I particulary want to identify and that is the abandonment of Thomist philosophy and theology in the seminaries and Catholic educational establishments.

When I was studying for the priesthood in the late seventies and early eighties, and during later postgraduate studies, the theological sources were people like Rahner, Schillebeeckx, de Lubac, Congar and a host of others along with a growing North American school. (There was also the Canadian Jesuit, Bernard Lonergan – he appeared at first sight to be of quite a different shade from the others, at least in his early writings, but ultimately he seemed to go the way of all the others in terms of the Catholic Faith).

By my time, the Thomist approach (that is the school of philosophy and theology based on the writings of the great Dominican, St. Thomas Aquinas) had been well and truly abandoned. True, there were a few courses on different aspects of the Scholasticism and Thomism here and there but any sense that this was a perennial Philosophical/Theological system (with roots in the best of ancient classical thought) taken up and profoundly shaped by Catholic doctrine over centuries was well and truly lost. It was seen as an archaic intellectual product of a bygone age with little relevance for the modern world.

The contemporary philosophies with their atheistic presuppositions, doubtful of the possibility that the human mind could attain to objective truth, and their focus on the human person and the exaltation of subjectivity and relativism, were now ascendant.

Of course the Church has always made use of the best achievements of human reason while at the same time correcting error and distortions inevitably found in systems of thought; as she did with Plato and Aristotle. For no matter how clever and penetrating they may be they are always the product of a human intellect weakened by the effects of original sin and so liable to a darkening and the influence of the passions.

That is partly why the human mind needs the corrective and transformative power of God’s revelation and supernatural faith if it is to attain to absolute truth free from error and distortion – but it also needs this if it is to approach the truths about God that transcend the natural powers of the mind, truths that can only be known by God revealing them; e.g., the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Redemption and so on.

That being said, the new philosophies with their focus on the human person, by and large, had their roots in anti-Catholic thinking coming on the heels of the Reformation and preparing the ground for the French Revolution and all that it spawned. The new starting-point was the human person and subjectivity. This shift has been termed “the anthropological turn to the subject.”

Thomism also dealt with the human person but the major focus was always on the objective reality of God and his Revelation in Christ, known to us through the teaching of the Church. This context prevented such considerations of the human person from spiraling out of control with the consequent danger of exaggerating the human at the expense of the Divine, to the extent that the human person becomes the measure of all.

By abandoning the most potent system of Catholic thought ever attained, the clergy became vulnerable and ultimately overpowered by the new thinking. They were left with no effective means to evaluate and critique what humanistic thinkers threw at them. The best defence that could be mustered in the face of an attack against Catholic doctrine was often a fuzzy mushy appeal to God’s “luv,” but there was little powerful intellectual challenge offered in response.

Ask yourself, when was the last time you ever heard or saw a Catholic theologian or philosopher, or priest on the media defend ably and robustly the Catholic Faith? Do you ever hear priests in Novus Ordo parishes give solid doctrinal sermons anymore? Not many, I bet. Many no doubt will have gone along with the “party line” because they have virtually abandoned the Faith, but no doubt there are many others who, though uncomfortable with the present state of affairs in the Church, feel unable and ill-equipped to join the fray.

You see, the great advantage and power of Thomism was that it was razor sharp and unashamedly asserted the ability of the human intellect to grasp reality objectively. It provided the most powerful vehicle for conveying the truths of the Catholic Faith and integrating these beautifully with the best that the human intellect had to offer.

If theology (as St. Anselm defined it) is “faith seeking understanding,” then there can be no doubt that this system of Catholic thought which allowed the human intellect, formed by Revelation and aided by divine grace, to penetrate the mysteries of the Divine Essence in a way never before seen or achieved since, must be reckoned as one of the greatest achievements of Christian and indeed of human civilization. To abandon such an intellectual patrimony was true folly and a great deprivation indeed.

The pre-Vatican II Popes time and again insisted on the value of retaining Thomism in the education of priests. Just to give one example, Pope Pius XII writing in 1950 states:

It is not surprising that the Church will have her future priests brought up on a philosophy which ‘derives its conceptualization, doctrine and basic principles from the Angelic Doctor’ (C.I.C., canon 1366, n. 2). One thing is clearly established by the long experience of the ages – that St. Thomas’ philosophical system is an unrivalled method, whether for conducting the beginner through his early steps, or for the investigation of the most recondite truths; moreover, that his teaching seems to chime in, by a kind of pre-established harmony, with divine revelation – no surer way to safeguard the first principles of the faith, and turn the results of later healthy development to good advantage. Deplorable, that a philosophy thus recognized and received by the Church, should, in our day, be treated by some minds with contempt.” (Humani Generis)

My contention is that the abandonment of this superior Catholic thought stripped priests (and consequently laity by a trickle down effect) of the ability to adequately expound and defend the Faith. They were intellectually disarmed. Without this powerful weapon they were like soldiers in a battlefield without ammunition. Their ability to teach the Faith robustly, to engage with those who honestly sought the truth, and to attract those who would be drawn to the intellectual power and beauty of Catholic truth, evaporated over time and a weak, insipid, limp mindset appeared in which objective truth was elusive and relative at best.

Thomism, with its precise doctrine of “Being” and its constituent principles of potency and act, essence and existence, matter and form, substance and accidents, the reality of cause and effect, categories that helped provide an unrivaled explanatory power for the expounding the truth of Catholic doctrine: all this was swept away in favour of a tortured personalist language of subjectivity, experience, encounter, inclusivity, and relativism.

The consequences ultimately have been catastrophic. We now have generations of clergy who for the most part are strangers to that Catholic intellectual tradition. Not only are they alien to it, but actively hostile and dismissive of it. The contemporary person-centered philosophies now shape and form their minds and attitudes; faith and moral issues tend to be relativised and the attainment of objective truth is at best an elusive ideal.

The disarming of the Catholic mind (amidst other causes) begun in Catholic seminaries and educational institutions all those decades ago has slowly wrought its havoc. Thus in our times the successor of Peter can publicly make known his support for the admission of the divorced and “remarried” to Holy Communion, and more recently state his intention to attend a ceremony commemorating the Reformation, during which a prayer will be offered thanking God for the “gifts” that this disastrous Revolt brought to the Church, and this will not cause so much as a stir among the vast majority of priests and laity.

Not so long ago the Catholic mind would have recoiled in horror at such a prospect. It would have been seen as impossible that a true Pope would ever endorse such anti-Catholic acts, but now for a great many, its not such a big deal.

Truly, something catastrophic has befallen the Church, a spiritual and intellectual darkening has descended. The true Catholic mind can see straightaway that if the doctrines and universal disciplines taught authoritatively by successive pre-Conciliar Popes no longer hold and are binding no more on the Catholic conscience, then it would mean you could never trust the Catholic Church again on anything, because if it was wrong then on these core doctrines and consequent disciplines, why can’t it be wrong now and in the future on all other doctrines and disciplines? Why trust such an institution that could get these matters that pertain to salvation so badly wrong and with such unjust and tragic consequences for people?

The erosion of Catholic thinking goes a long way to explaining why, in the face of all the doctrinal and intellectual chaos so rampant in the “New Church,” so few Catholics even bat an eyelid at the damage done to the Faith and consequently to souls by the words and actions that continue to flow from the highest authorities in the Church. They are virtually powerless to react.

Indeed the seeds were sown many decades ago in the Conciliar documents as others have documented. What we are witnessing now is the next stage in the revolution, a stage that now seems in a hurry to shake-off the vestiges of Catholicism that still remain. Thus the Thomist system with its focus on the objective truth of the Catholic Faith had to go; it was too Catholic, it could have no role in the construction of the “New Church,” with its new ecumenical design in doctrine and liturgy.

It was despised by the Modernists and its demise had to be achieved if the new faith and moral order were to be attained. And so it came to be, and now we are living in the doctrinal and liturgical wastelands they have created, and sad to say our Church leaders have no remedy but to provide more of the same.

Yet the Catholic mind is directed towards objective truth, and even in the midst of this time of terrible tribulation, for however long it takes, those who hold fast to the true Catholic Faith will always find in that great Thomist intellectual tradition a great treasury of Catholic thought and a powerful instrument in winning minds and hearts for Christ.  Source 

The Restoration Of The Priestly Spirit…

Comment

Our Lady  foretold that her Son would “send a prelate to restore the priestly spiritand it seems very clear that the name of that prelate is Archbishop Lefebvre.

The priests in the video are a reminder of what priests, routinely, used to be like. Who needs a definition of “the priestly spirit” when listening to those priests, who appear to be “the priestly spirit” personified.  Ask a young person whether they prefer the modern “cool” version of priest to those in the film and you will find that with very few, if any exceptions, they will identify the priests in the film as being their ideal type of priest.

If your findings are different – let’s hear them. If you are a young person reading this, let us know your thoughts on the priests in the film, because the questions to address here are, quite simply: (1) what is the  SSPX doing in its seminary formation that is producing the quality of priests in the film and (2) how long will it take for the priestly spirit, so evident in the video interviews, to be restored across the UK?

OLGS    Our Lady of Good Success, pray for us…

 

 

Crisis: Would YOU Encourage A Young Person to be a Priest or Religious?

“Come, Follow Me.”

“GOOD MASTER, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting?”  It was the eager question of one whom fortune had blessed with the Richyoungmanwealth of this world, but who realised that life eternal was a far more precious treasure.  He had come to the Divine Teacher, seeking what he must yet do to make secure the great prize for which he was striving.  He was young and wealthy, a ruler in the land, one whose life had been without stain or blemish.

“The Commandments? – All these I have kept from my youth,” he had said; “Good Master, what is yet wanting to me?”

Jesus looked on him with love, for such a soul was dear to His Sacred Heart. “ If thou wilt be perfect,” comes the answer, “go sell what thou hast and give to the poor, and come, follow Me.”

There was a painful pause: nature and grace were struggling for the mastery; the invitation had been given, the road to perfection pointed out. There was only one sacrifice needed to make him a true disciple, but it was a big one, too great for him who lately seemed so generous.  He hesitates, wavers, and then sadly turns away, with the words “Come, follow Me,” ringing in his ears, for love of his “great possessions” had wrapped itself round his heart – a Vocation had been offered and refused. “What a cloud of misgivings,” says Father Faber, “must hang over the memory of him whom Jesus invited to follow Him.  Is he looking now in heaven upon that Face from whose mild beauty he so sadly turned away on earth?”

Nearly two thousand years have passed since then, but unceasingly that same Voice has been whispering in the ears of many a lad and maiden, “One thing is yet wanting to you – come, follow Me.”  Some have heard that voice with joy and gladness of heart, and have risen up at the Master’s call; others have stop their ears, or turned away in fear from the side of Him Who beckoned to them, while not a few have stood and listened, wondering what it meant, asking themselves could such an invitation be for them, till Jesus of Nazareth passed by and they were left behind for ever.

To these, chiefly, is this simple explanation of a Vocation offered, in the hope that they may recognize the workings of grace within their souls, or be moved to beg that they may one day be sharers in this crowning gift of God’s eternal love.   Click here to read more from the writings of Fr Doyle SJ  on vocations…

Comment:

I’ve found myself in a number of conversations in recent years, where I’ve been asked whether or not, despite the crisis in the Church, I would encourage young people to try their vocations to the priesthood and religious life.  I’m always torn between saying that I would encourage them – although afraid that I may, thus, find myself an instrument of setting them on a road where they may  lose the Faith – or saying that I would discourage them  – and perhaps, therefore, be the cause of blocking God’s work in a soul. Quite a dilemma.

Some people think there’s no dilemma –  just suggest that they enter traditional seminaries and Orders. Then others again point out the possible danger of a certain extremism in those quarters.  So, what’s the answer. Would YOU encourage a boy who is thinking of the priesthood, to go ahead – and if so, details please! Or a young person who might feel called to the Religious Life; what would you suggest is the safest route for them to try their vocation, if you think they ought to do so.

Read Father Doyle’s short work and then share your thoughts on this important subject.  

Whatever Happened To The Priesthood?

ImageThe New Priests 

To the man in the street, even the most indifferent to religious questions, it is obvious that there are fewer and fewer priests, and the newspapers regularly remind him of the fact. It is over fifteen years ago since the book appeared with the title “Tomorrow a Church without Priests?”

Yet the situation is even more serious than it appears. The question has also to be asked, how many priests still have the faith? And even a further question, regarding some of the priests ordained in recent years: are they true priests at all? Put it another way, are their ordinations valid? The same doubt overhangs other sacraments. It applies to certain ordinations of bishops such as that which took place in Brussels in the summer of 1982 when the consecrating bishop said to the ordinand, “Be an apostle like Gandhi, Helder Camara, and Mohamed!” Can we reconcile these references, at least as regards Gandhi and Mohamed, with the evident intention of doing what the Church intends?

Here is the order of service for a priestly ordination which took place at Toulouse a few years ago. A commentator starts off, introducing the ordinand by his christian name C., with the words “He has decided to live more thoroughly his self-dedication to God and to man by consecrating himself entirely to the service of the Church in the working-class.” C. has worked out his “pathway,” that is to say, his seminary training, in a team. It is this team who present him to the bishop: “We request you to recognize and authenticate his application and ordain him priest.” The bishop then asks him several questions purporting to be a definition of the priesthood: Do you wish to be ordained a priest, “to be, with the believers, a Sign and a Witness of what Mankind is seeking, in its striving for Justice, for Brotherhood and for Peace,” “to serve the people of God,” “to recognize in men’s lives, the action of God in the ways they take, in their cultural patterns, in the choices open to them,” “to celebrate the action of Christ and perform this service;” do you wish “to share with me and with the body of bishops the responsibility that has been entrusted to us for the service of the Gospel?”

The “matter” of the sacrament has been preserved in the laying on of hands which takes place next, and likewise the “form,” namely the words of ordination. But we are obliged to point out that the intention is far from clear. Has the priest been ordained for the exclusive service of one social class and, first and foremost, to establish justice, fellowship and peace at a level which appears to be limited to the natural order only? The eucharistic celebration which follows, “the first Mass” in effect, of the new priest was, in fact, on these lines. The offertory has been specially composed for the circumstances. “We welcome you, Lord, by receiving on your behalf this bread and wine which you offer us; we wish to show by this all our work and our efforts to build a more just and more humane world, all that we are trying to bring about so that better living conditions may follow…” The prayer over the offerings is even more dubious: “Look, Lord we offer you this bread and this wine, that they may become for us one of the ways in which you are present.” No! People who celebrate in this manner do not believe in the Real Presence!

One thing is certain; the first victim of this scandalous ordination is the young man who had just pledged himself for ever without exactly knowing to what, or thinking that he knows. How can he not fail, sooner or later, to ask himself certain questions? Because the ideal that has been proposed to him cannot satisfy him for long; the ambiguity of his mission will become evident. The priest is essentially a man of faith. If he no longer knows what he is, he loses faith in himself, and in his priesthood.

The definition of the priesthood given by Saint Paul and by the Council of Trent has been radically altered. The priest is no longer one who goes up to the altar and offers up to God a sacrifice of praise, for the remission of sins. The relative order of ends has been inverted. The priesthood has a first aim, which is to offer the sacrifice; that of evangelization is secondary.

The case of C., which is far from being unique, as we know of many examples, shows to what extent evangelization has taken precedence over the sacrifice and the sacraments. It has become an end in itself. This grave error has had serious consequences.

Evangelization, deprived of its aim, loses direction and seeks purposes that are pleasing to the world, such as a false “social justice” and a false “liberty.” These acquire new names: development, progress, building up the world, improving living-conditions, pacifism. Here is the sort of language which has led to all the revolutions.

The sacrifice of the altar being no longer the first end of the priesthood, it is the whole of the sacraments which are at stake and for which the “person responsible for the parish sector” and his “team” will call upon the laity, who are themselves overburdened with trade unions or political tasks, often more political than trade unions. In fact, the priests who engage in social struggles choose almost exclusively the most politicized organizations. Within these they fight against political, ecclesiastical, family and social structures. Nothing can remain. Communism has found no agents more effective than these priests.

I was explaining one day to a Cardinal what I was doing in my seminaries, with their spirituality directed above all to the deepening of the theology of the Sacrifice of the Mass and towards liturgical prayer. He said to me, “But Monsignor, that is exactly the opposite of what our young priests now want. We now define the priest only in terms of evangelization.” I replied, “What evangelization? If it does not have a fundamental and essential relationship with the Holy Sacrifice, how do you understand it? A political evangelization, or social, or humanitarian?”

If he no longer announces Jesus Christ, the apostle becomes a militant and marxist trade unionist. That is very natural. We quite understand it. He needs a new mystique and he finds it this way; but loses that of the altar. We must not be surprised that, completely bewildered, he gets married and abandons the priesthood. In France, in 1970, 285 ordinations; in 1980, 111. And how many of them have returned or will return to civil life? Even the startling figures we have quoted do not correspond to the actual decline in numbers of the clergy. What is offered to young men and what it is said they “now desire” evidently does not satisfy their aspirations.

The proof is easy to demonstrate. There are no more vocations because they no longer know what is the Sacrifice of the Mass. In consequence, one can no longer define what the priest is. On the other hand, where the Sacrifice is known and respected as the Church has always taught, vocations are plentiful.

I have witnessed this in my own seminaries. All we do is to affirm the everlasting truths. Vocations have come to us of their own accord, without publicizing. The only advertizing has been done by the modernists. I have ordained 187 priests in thirteen years. Since 1983 the regular numbers are from 35 to 40 ordinations per year. The young men who apply to enter Ecône, Ridgefield (USA), Zaitzkofen (West Germany), Francisco Alvarez (Argentina) and Albano (Italy) are drawn by the Sacrifice of the Mass.

What an extraordinary grace for a young man to go up to the altar as the minister of Our Lord, to be another Christ! Nothing is finer or greater here on earth. It is worth the cost of leaving one’s family, of giving up having a family, or renouncing the world and accepting poverty. But if there is no longer that attraction, then I say frankly, it is not worthwhile, and that is why the seminaries are empty.

Let them continue on the lines adopted by the Church for the last 20 years, and to the question “Will there still be priests in the year 2000?” The answer must be, “No.” But if there is a return to the true notions of the Faith, there will be vocations, both for seminaries and for the religious orders.

For what is it that makes the greatness and the beauty of a priest or a nun? It is the offering up of oneself as a victim at the altar with Our Lord Jesus Christ. Otherwise the religious life is meaningless. The young men are just as generous in our times as they were in former times. They long to make an offering of themselves. It is our times that are defective.

Everything is bound up together. By attacking the base of the building it is destroyed entirely. No more Mass, no more priests. The ritual, before it was altered, had the bishop say, “Receive the power to offer to God the Holy Sacrifice and to celebrate Holy Mass both for the living and for the dead, in the name of the Lord.” He had previously blessed the hands of the ordinand by pronouncing these words “so that all that they bless may be blessed and all that they consecrate may be consecrated and sanctified.” The power conferred is expressed without ambiguity: “That for the salvation of Thy people and by their holy blessing, they may effect the Transubstantiation of the bread and the wine into the Body and Blood of thy Divine Son.”

Nowadays the bishop says, “Receive the offering of the holy people to present it to God.” He makes the new priest an intermediary rather than the holder of the ministerial priesthood and the offerer of a sacrifice. The conception is wholly different. The priest has always been considered in Holy Church as someone having a character conferred by the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Yet we have seen a bishop, not “suspended,” write, “The priest is not somebody who does things that the ordinary faithful don’t do; he is not ‘another Christ,’ any more than any other baptized person.” This bishop was merely drawing the conclusions from the teaching that has prevailed since the Council and the liturgy.

A confusion has been made with regard to the relation of the priesthood of the faithful and that of priests. Now as the cardinals said who were appointed to make their observations on the infamous Dutch catechism, “the greatness of the ministerial priesthood (that of priests) in its participation in the priesthood of Christ, differs from the common priesthood of the faithful in a manner that is not only of degree but also of essence.” To maintain the contrary, on this point alone, is to align oneself with Protestantism.

The unchanging doctrine of the Church is that the priest is invested with a sacred and indelible character. “Tu es sacerdos in aeternum.” Whatever he may do, before the angels, before God, in all eternity, he will remain a priest. Even if he throws away his cassock, wears a red pullover or any other color or commits the most awful crimes, it will not alter things. The Sacrament of Holy Orders has made a change in his nature.

We are far from the priest “chosen by the assembly to fulfill a function in the Church” and still more so from the priest for a limited period, suggested by some, at the end of which the official for worship–for I can think of no other term to describe him–would take his place again amongst the faithful.

This desacralized view of the priestly ministry leads quite naturally to querying priestly celibacy. There are noisy pressure groups calling for its abolition in spite of the repeated warnings of the Roman Magisterium. We have seen in Holland, seminarians go on strike against ordinations to obtain “guarantees” in this matter. I shall not quote the names of those bishops who have got up to urge the Holy See to reconsider the subject.

The subject would not even arise if the clergy had kept the right understanding of the Mass and of the priesthood. For the true reason appears of itself when we fully understand these two realities. It is the same reason for which Our Blessed Lady remained a virgin: having borne Our Lord within her womb it was perfectly right and fitting that she should remain so. Likewise, the priest by the words he pronounces at the Consecration, brings down God upon earth. He has such a closeness with God, a spiritual being, spirit above all, that it is right, just and eminently fitting that he also should be a virgin and remain celibate.

But, some object, there are married priests in the East. However, let us not deceive ourselves: it is only toleration. The eastern bishops may not marry, nor those holding important positions. This clergy respects priestly celibacy, which forms part of the most ancient Tradition of the Church and which the apostles had observed from the moment of Pentecost. Those who like Saint Peter were already married continued to live with their wives, but “knew” them no longer.

It is noticeable that the priests who succomb to the mirage of a so-called social or political mission almost automatically get married. The two things go together.

People would have us believe that the present times justify all sorts of licence, that it is impossible under present day conditions to live a chaste life, that the vows of virginity for religious people are an anachronism. The experience of the last twenty years shows that the attacks made on the priesthood under the pretext of adapting it to the present time are fatal to it. Yet a “Church without priests” is not to be envisaged because the Church is essentially sacerdotal.

In these sad times they want free-love for the laity and marriage for the clergy. If you perceive in this apparent illogicality an implacable logic having as its objective the ruin of Christian society, you are seeing things as they are and your assessment is correct. Source

Comment

Do you agree with Archbishop Lefebvre’s assessment of “the new priests”?  What advice would you give to any young man considering the priesthood today? 

Restoring Tradition: Reasons For Hope…

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That today there are Catholics denominated “traditionalist” is a development unexampled in the entire previous history of the Catholic Church. Even at the height of the Arian crisis—the closest analogue to our situation—the Church was not divided between traditionalists and non-traditionalists, but rather between those who had not embraced the heresy of Arius and those who had.

But what exactly is a traditionalist? A look back at the way things once were might convey the meaning of the term more effectively than the usual attempts at a formal definition:  Click here or on the picture to read more – also, if you find that you experience any difficulty in opening the link, it is reproduced in first comment below.

Comment

I was deeply saddened yesterday to learn of one of our staunchest supporters, a long time reader of Catholic Truth, who is so deeply upset by all that is happening in the Church, crunch time being the recent “canonisations” , that he is now wondering if he should question the very existence of God.

What can we say to help him?  I told him that what keeps me going is (a) that this diabolical disorientation was foretold (Quito and Fatima = diabolical disorientation) and (b) that we must cultivate the mindset that we are, in fact, privileged souls to have the opportunity to exercise real faith in this time of crisis, and, hopefully, play some part in restoring Catholic Tradition.  What would you say to encourage him not to lose heart and faith?