A Lent challenge: Do I really believe? (From March 2020 edition of Flourish)
I believe in miracles … do you? That’s the powerful question asked by Archbishop Tartaglia this month as Lent begins in earnest. In a powerful interview with Flourish, Glasgow’s Archbishop calls for a new effort at fostering devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and a renewed sense of the sacred.
Editor: Why’s that, then? Why the need for “a new effort… devotion… Real Presence… sense of the sacred…”? Whatever happened to the “old” devotion and sense of the sacred? Could it be that the “success” of the ecumenical and inter-faith focus of the Church has led to practical indifferentism among the faithful who now believe that one religion / denomination is as good as another, that we’re all going to Heaven, no need to be “dogmatic” about anything? Jesus loves us and we don’t need “organised religion” any more. Just a thought.
The Archbishop spoke after a recent survey in the US showed only 30 per cent of Catholics fully accepted the doctrine of transubstantiation, namely the bread and wine offered at Mass truly become the body and blood of Christ at the moment of consecration.
Editor: Which means that 70% do NOT believe in transubstantiation… How did that happen, then?
Archbishop Tartaglia speaks frankly in the interview about the liturgical and catechetical mistakes which followed Vatican II and acknowledges that “the Church has gone through testing times in the post-conciliar period, much of it self-inflicted. There has been bad catechesis and bad theology around the Eucharist, with the result that many people cannot articulate the Church’s faith in the Eucharist even in simple terms.”
Editor: well, Glory Hallelujah! That is some admission. Every word a jewel. At long last, Archbishop. Still, a wee apology after the spirit of the age would be good. It’s called “taking responsibility”. And then let’s see some action! Sacking the entire staff at the Scottish Catholic Education Service plus reinstating Thomism in seminaries would be a start: producing theologically literate priests and teachers can only help…
He adds starkly: “Many supportive elements of our practice, like fasting and genuflection and kneeling, and devotional prayers and practices, have been neglected. None of this has helped to nourish the faith of the People of God in the Most Holy Eucharist.”
Editor: “genuflection and kneeling” don’t come naturally to those who think of Our Lord as merely their “brother” and who – as the Archbishop now acknowledges – lack belief in His Real Presence. Who, after all, ordered the tabernacles to be placed out of sight (and thus out of mind, as the saying goes), along with the removal of altar rails and kneelers, because it is that person who bears massive responsibility before God for causing and maintaining the apostasy which Pope John Paul II once described as “silent”, but which is now screaming from the rooftops.
But the Archbishop is clear that the answer is not a return to the past or a rejection of the liturgical changes of Vatican II.
Editor: WRONG! How on earth does the Archbishop think we got to the stage where the vast majority of Catholics, by his own admission, do not believe in a central dogma of the Faith – the Real Presence – if not as a result of “the liturgical changes of Vatican II”? This has to be a rhetorical question because the answer is so painfully obvious.
He says: “The Novus Ordo, the ‘new’ Mass, is not a defective form of the Mass. Its structure is based soundly on the great liturgical tradition. Its theology is orthodox. Like any other form of the Mass, when celebrated well, it more fully achieves God’s purpose. When celebrated poorly, it obscures God’s purpose.”
Editor: So the poor faithful are to be left at the mercy of the priest, hoping he does not “obscure God’s purpose”… What?! The new Mass is definitely defective. Its structure is totally contradictory to “the great liturgical tradition”: for example, never before in the entire history of the Church has the priest faced the congregation at Mass throughout. This is but one, highly distracting, innovation, one departure from Catholic Tradition which totally “obscures God’s purpose” in the Mass and turns it into an entertainment platform, and in some cases, a circus. So seriously did certain Cardinals regard this novel Mass, recognising that it was truly defective, that they wrote to Pope Paul VI, arguing that “…the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent. The “canons” of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery.” To read the entire letter/critique, click here
And he reminds readers that the teaching of the Church has been clear and unchanging in recent decades: “There has been good and faithful catechesis and teaching on the Eucharist during the post-Vatican II era, starting from Pope St Paul VI. His successors Pope St John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI taught firmly and beautifully on the Mass and on the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.
Editor: So, how come the majority of Catholics have lost the Faith – a fact which the Archbishop acknowledges?
“Pope Francis summed up the Church’s teaching simply and powerfully last year on the feast of Corpus Christi: ‘Whenever we approach the altar to receive the Eucharist, we must truly renew our ‘amen’ to the Body of Christ… It is Jesus, it is Jesus who saved me, it is Jesus who comes to give me the strength to live. It is Jesus alive.’”
Editor: is that it? Hardly an explanation, let alone a ringing endorsement, of transubstantiation – but merely a vague pious statement to which any Protestant could subscribe. Protestants who believe that they receive Christ “spiritually” in their bread and wine, could pray those words.
And he ended his interview with a cry of hope … “There is no pastoral plan that can fix this situation without insisting upon a renewed and profound faithfulness to Christ and to his Gospel. The answer will depend on much more faithful preaching and teaching at all levels which will lay out for the faithful the truth, beauty and wonder of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist so that they may receive him in Holy Communion with faith and devotion for the salvation of their souls.
Editor: can’t argue with that – but how is this “more faithful preaching and teaching at all levels…” to be achieved? There’s plenty of piously “hopeful” rhetoric coming from the Archbishop in this interview, but precious little in the way of concrete planning to put right the indiscipline, errors, liturgical and catechetical abuses of the past 50 plus years. And the check list below, really doesn’t offer any of that pious “hope”. Apparently this “more faithful preaching and teaching at all levels” will be achieved as follows:
• It will be expressed in more obedient and authentic liturgy.
Editor: that can only mean the traditional Latin Mass, offered in every parish in the archdiocese – a solution rejected by the Archbishop.
• It will be accompanied by a much greater response to Vatican II’s universal call to holiness from all sectors of the Church.
Editor: if “Vatican II’s universal call to holiness” is different from the perennial call to holiness of the Church since apostolic times, let’s hear it. It is, in fact, this heresy – that the Church only really began at Vatican II, with the arrival of the Holy Ghost at the Council – that has led to the current decline.
• It will demand a true conversion to the moral and social teaching of the Church.
Editor: true. Which will require priests and bishops to openly preach true morals, deny pro-abortion politicians Holy Communion and refuse to permit scandalous funerals, such as the very public funerals of partnered homosexuals which have taken place in Glasgow in recent years. And in terms of the social teaching of the Church – that means priests and bishops preaching that, at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching is the belief that Christ must be at the head of every nation under Heaven. The Church is not an arm of the Social Work Department. She cannot support immoral national laws, in the name of Catholic Social Teaching.
• It will be based on a much more frequent and respectful practice around Mass, the Sacraments and an increased sensitivity to the sphere of the sacred.
Editor: that brings us full circle back to the need to restore that which has been lost – the traditional Latin Mass, and, in the meantime, an end to the various liturgical abuses now normalised – such as Communion in the hand, drinking from the Chalice and lay people playing at being priests. We want rid of Extraordinay Ministers of Holy Communion: when do we want it? NOW!
• It will be supported by much more prayer, devotion and penance.
Editor: once the traditional liturgy has been restored, “all these other things will be given to you”, to (kinda) quote the Gospel.
Its source and outcome will be a greater faith, hope and charity. It may well take a miracle of grace and conversion to restore our Eucharistic faith … but thankfully, I believe in miracles.”
Editor: yes, it will take a miracle, which is why we, at Catholic Truth, never lose sight of the need for the Pope and all the Bishops of the world to unite in consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as Our Lady requested. Until then, as we can see from the above interview (notwithstanding his honest admission of the dire state of the Church on his watch) Archbishop Tartaglia is still in denial as to the only way to put matters right, which is the restoration of all things in Christ; in other words, he must give us back what modernist churchmen have taken from us in the past half-century – our Catholic heritage. The spiritual blindness which we are witnessing in the post-Vatican II churchmen from the top down, continues to display itself in interviews such as this, where the Archbishop just cannot see that it is only when the Traditional Faith in its theological and liturgical purity is restored, that his “miracle” will be achieved. Source – March 2020 edition of Flourish – official publication of the Archdiocese of Glasgow.