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

Me? Damaging the Church? No way!

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

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

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 Too much to list here – and anyway, would, more likely than not, be out of date before I press the “publish” button on this page. 

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

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

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

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

Comments invited… 

SSPX “Resistance”? More Fool You!

From Catholic Family News

Since at least 2011, there seems to be a never-ending stream of reports in the blogosphere and even mainstream media that Bishop Bernard Fellay is poised to sign an agreement with Rome. The most recent wave of alleged capitulation occurred this past summer. Yet here, in the autumn of 2017, Bishop Fellay and the Society of St. Pius X remain in the same canonical posture with Rome. Throughout these years of predicted compromise, a number of priests and faithful have preemptively jumped ship, deciding that a break with the SSPX was necessary before the forecasted compromise occurred. Each time a new individual or group breaks the unity of the Society, such persons claim that Bishop Fellay is walking into a Roman trap – canonical regularization – and they must flee before the trap closes. Rome, they say, wants nothing other than the destruction of the SSPX and the legacy of its founder, and that “regularization” is the bait used to lure the Society into a death trap. 

Bishop Bernard Fellay


Rome’s Real Trap and Bait


Let us posit this claim as true, that the Roman authorities do share a common intention to destroy the SSPX. But what if the trap and the bait are completely different from what the defectors claim? Perhaps it is not Bishop Fellay who is poised to fall into that trap but, rather, the defectors over the years who have unwittingly taken Rome’s bait themselves.

The Modernists are clearly threatened by any attempt to hold fast to Tradition and thus seek its destruction or, at the very least, its containment. However, there are many ways to achieve that end. One way might be to lure the SSPX into a canonical recognition that was designed to subject it to Roman power in order to crush it. Yet we should consider the possibility that their strategy might be a bit more subtle, namely, to force the SSPX into a continual state of division and defections so as to keep its numbers low enough to be ignored, as opposed to luring the Society into the Conciliar Church. If this were the strategy, the Modernists could be using the constant recurring possibility of canonical regularization to divide and conquer.

A review of the past forty years would suggest that a strategy of “divide the SSPX to contain its influence” seems to explain the Roman authorities’ behavior. Although using different instruments, the goal seems fairly clear: Get as many priests and religious to leave the Society as possible so its growth is artificially controlled.

Divide and Conquer

The defection of priests has been the single most destructive blow to the SSPX. Beginning with the defection of nine sedevacantists in the early 1980s, the Society has constantly been fighting a battle to replace lost numbers rather than growing organically with new vocations. A conservative calculation suggests that, were it not for defections over the past four decades, the SSPX would have over 1,800 priests and religious (SSPX proper + affiliated communities). The Vatican would be confronted by a very different reality if Bishop Fellay spoke for so many priests and religious.

The Vatican strategy from 1988 to the early 2000s seemed to be an attempt to break up the SSPX by luring individual priests (or small groups) into regularized situations. In those cases, the bait employed was to start one’s own little SSPX with canonical recognition. The first batch left in July 1988 following the consecrations. A few more priests trickled out due to Vatican luring through the 1990s and early 2000s. The deal with the Union of St. John Vianney in Campos was the most significant success of this strategy to lure away with the carrot of setting up a new regularized group. By 2010 or thereabouts, the success of this strategy was waning. There was not much more movement after the defection of Campos and the SSPX was starting to rebuild. If my hypothesis is correct, the Vatican then changed tactics. They decided to dangle their carrot of canonical regularization in front of the Society itself, crafting the bait to give the appearance that Bishop Fellay might bite it, all the while knowing he would reject their last-minute demands. This new approach has, in fact, produced two detrimental effects: (1) It caused more defections from the Society for fear of compromise and (2) it has kept the SSPX under the stigma of canonical irregularity.

Such a strategy would explain the cycle of “doctrinal discussions” and “rapprochement” witnessed in 2009-2012 and again in 2015-2017. The Vatican makes it appear as though regularization of the SSPX is imminent. They even take some concrete steps to make the story plausible (e.g. the Motu Proprio granting more tolerance of the old Mass, nullification of the 1988 excommunications, conferral of ordinary jurisdiction for Confession and Marriage). They make suggestions that a relaxation of total adherence to Vatican II is possible. As expectations rise, so do fears and conspiracy theories claiming capitulation is just around the corner. As a result, priests and faithful once again start abandoning ship. And then, at the eleventh hour, Rome adds a demand they know Bishop Fellay will never accept and thus ends the cycle with the SSPX still “irregular” and a path of devastation through the ranks of the Society.

New Strategy Proves Successful

From the perspective of the enemies of Tradition, this new strategy has been more successful then luring away individual or small groups of priests to regularization, as with the FSSP founders and the priests of Campos. This “scare and disperse” tactic has resulted not only in the loss of individual priests and religious but also high-ranking and internationally respected figures of the Society. It has also driven a wedge between the SSPX and several previously affiliated religious orders, resulting in entire monasteries and orders breaking from the Society. Even better, from the enemies’ perspective, it does not result in these priests who favor Tradition and the traditional Mass coming into the Conciliar Church. The defectors in this new wave have not founded or joined Ecclesia Dei communities; rather, they have gone truly independent, scattering to the four winds.
Although it is true that the price of canonical recognition for Ecclesia Dei communities has been compromise and silence, their presence within the Conciliar Church is still a thorn in the side of the Modernist destroyers. Even if they are silent about the illicit nature of the New Mass, they spread awareness of the ancient liturgy and preach some traditional doctrines. These “troublesome” conservative or traditional-leaning priests would be less trouble if they were both outside the Conciliar Church and separate from the SSPX. That would diminish the influence of Tradition within the mainstream Church as well as weaken the witness and position of the SSPX by constantly reducing its numbers (notwithstanding the flourishing of new vocations). It would also result in the continued marginalization of the Society in the Modernist twilight zone of “less-than-full communion.”

Niccolò Machiavelli, 1469-1527

Perhaps the Modernists are not so Machiavellian or organized enough to come up with such a grand scheme, but the results of the past 10 to 12 years are consistent with such a plan. The latest cycle seems to have fizzled out in familiar fashion, with Cardinal Müller demanding use of the post-Conciliar Declaration of Faith and adherence to all the documents of the Council and post-Conciliar papal teachings. After six years of talks with Bishop Fellay, the Cardinal had to know these demands would seal the fate of the latest talks in a rejection by Bishop Fellay. Yet the cycle has yielded more fruit for the enemies of Tradition. The unilateral conferral of jurisdiction for Marriage, the last salvo before killing the prospects of recognition for now, yielded more defections and divisions in the heart of the SSPX in France.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

If my theory is correct, then in the early 2000s the Vatican authorities changed their strategy from luring individuals and small groups into regularization to causing division within the SSPX by creating the appearance of a regularization that would never actually happen. If this is true, then it is not Bishop Fellay who has fallen into their trap but, rather, the priests who abandoned him and the Society to which they made promises. By their defection, they have weakened the single most effective force for Tradition the post-Vatican II Church has ever seen, all for fear of a theoretical compromise with Rome that has never happened. Rather than confronting the Modernists with thousands of priests and religious, the clerical and consecrated souls of the Society numbers less than 700 while the ranks of defectors suffer further ruptures and isolation. The enemies of Tradition could not have hoped for more.

In the Gospel, Our Lord tells us: “Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate: and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matt. 12:25). May all the members of the SSPX – priests, religious, and lay faithful – take His words to heart and strive “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).   Source

Title at source:  A Society Divided Against Itself: SSPX Ranks Must Preserve Internal Unity by Brian McCall.

This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Catholic Family News. 


Comments invited – how did you vote in the poll?

SSPX: Priest Resigns – Is Former UK Superior Plotting Trouble Ahead?

Translation of text of the above interview follows…

Introduction

I am Father Paul Morgan, ordained by Bishop Lefebvre at Ecône in 1988. After that, I was 4 years in the district house in London as an assistant. Following this, I was the 1st Superior of the Society of St. Pius X in the Philippines for 4 years, until 1996. Then 2 years as a school principal at St Mary’s School in England and then 5 years as a prior at Post Falls in Idaho, USA. And then 12 years as district superior of Great Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia, until 2015. Then sabbatical year at Montgardin, which I had asked for. And then 2016-2017, Prior in Vancouver, Canada.

Current situation…

Right now, I am outside the Society, since I resigned on August 9 of this year [2017] because of the marriage affair.

The Marriage Affair…

It seemed to me, it always seems to me, that it is an essential compromise to accept the principle that priests representing modern dioceses come to us, in the bastions of Tradition, to receive the promises of the bride and groom. Even if in practice we are a little restricted in such things, we have accepted the principle. And that’s why, in concrete terms, I wrote my letter of resignation.

Timing of resignation…

I think there were many of us, quite a few priests and superiors themselves, who had reacted against the new way of doing things, even before the 2012 chapter. There were many of us in Albano in 2011 to say to Bishop Fellay, very respectfully, that these steps should not be continued in order to reach an agreement with modernist Rome. So, we have already done a great deal in the Society, among ourselves, with the superiors to denounce and oppose these approaches. For example, in 2012, the district of Great Britain was ready, in its entirety, to break away if they made a false agreement with modernist Rome. So it is not just this year that we have begun to react, but we have already for years.

Why no public reaction…

I think the manifesto, the statement of the 7 deans and superiors of friendly communities in France, was very, very well put. So publicly, that was already explained. And I can also say that I have done things in order and according to the rules, by sending a manifesto signed by several priests from Canada to Bishop Fellay and to Menzingen, explaining quite simply, the serious problems with these new directives for receiving marriage vows. So right away we talked about it on the Internet, so it became public, etc.. So, I chose to do things that way. Now, I speak more publicly, since I’ve had a little time to organize myself – and we left Canada with a suitcase in our hands, not knowing where to go because we never thought of being alone, on the outside like that.

What prospects for the 2018 General Chapter?

Unfortunately, I do not have much hope in the general chapter next year. It seems to me that with the change of minds that has been taking place for several years now – so that we think that Rome is now kind, Rome loves us, we can make an agreement or do more good saying inside the Church, as if we were outside the Church until now, it’s unbelievable, isn’t it – so I don’t have much hope. And we can see that good priests like the 7 deans, for example, who have made a very good document – and a special hello to Father de la Rocque in exile in the Philippines, a country that I like very much but which is still in exile – we see what happens to priests who denounce problems respectfully and rightly: we punish them! So I think the superiors in the chapter will simply do what Menzingen tells them to do.

What about your apostolate?

At the moment, I have no official apostolate. I am in contact with a lot of priests, in France and abroad, as well as with the faithful, encouraging and supporting them. Aslo with priests who have left [the SSPX] already a few months or a few years ago, for reasons that are in the end quite similar.

It is very encouraging to see the strong religious communities in France, religious men and women. I am in contact with them but I understand that this is a difficult situation for these communities, which may be at risk of sanctions if they show themselves too publicly in agreement with priests like myself.

Nevertheless, we celebrate Mass, we pray, we visit confreres, we have been able to preach a retreat already, we have made visits on the right and on the left. I get a lot of invitations from other countries to come and help. But at the moment, for rather practical matters we have to organise ourselves before embarking on any future activities. But I think, it seems to me that in June-July 2018, we are going to shoot into action. I think there will be more positive reactions in the coming year.

In connection with the bishops consecrated by Bishop Williamson?

Yes, if need be, of course, since we need bishops for Sacred orders and confirmations. Consecrating bishops in this emergency, as Archishop Lefebvre himself had said, can be repeated. This is not something reserved exclusively for Archbishop Lefebvre. And yes, we are quite willing to collaborate with the faithful, with faithful Catholics.

In conclusion…

I conclude by saying that we always have hope in the Good Lord. I think of Archbishop Lefebvre who was alone. He resigned some the Holy Ghost Fathers so as not to have any part in the destruction of his congregation. So priests like him and certainly many others, did this for important reasons. Let us try to make contacts, to gather together in order to help other priests who, for the moment, remain within the Society, hoping to organize something to help them as also [to help] the sound faithful. There’s a lot of work to be done. We have hope.

And then, finally, Our Lady of Fatima spoke about diabolic disorientations. It seems to me that what is happening here is an example, right here in 2017, [an example] of this confusion of mind. So, as Archbishop Lefebvre said, we must remain faithfully, we must keep the principles of the fight for the faith, the good fight and then, if we have to suffer by doing this, God’s Holy will must be done.   Source

Statement from Canada on Fr Morgan’s departure from the SSPX here 

Comment: 

What on earth does “shoot into action” [in June-July, 2018] mean?  Is Fr Morgan intent on acting to divide, further, the SSPX faithful? 

This is very disappointing coming from a former Superior of the SSPX GB district.  Very disappointing indeed. 

I could write a book about Fr Morgan and it would be less than flattering but I would ask all bloggers who choose to comment on this subject to be restrained and stick to the issues.  Please avoid any temptation to personal criticism of Father Morgan, or citing examples of what we considered to be lack of pastoral care affecting the Scottish faithful during his years as Superior in the UK;  instead, stick to the facts relating to his decision to resign from the Society, apparently unaware that he is now part and parcel of the very diabolical disorientation to which he refers in the above interview. 

Might his reference to “shooting into action” next summer be interpreted as a “plans afoot” to further divide the Society or is there another more innocent explanation? 

Modern Catholics: Confusion Reigns.

Editor writes…

A friend of mine tells me that it was only when she read Archbishop Lefebvre’s Open Letter to Confused Catholics that a light switched on in her head and she began to comprehend the gravity of what is going on in the Church.  Below, Chapter One of the Open Letter, entitled Why are Catholics Confused?

Who can deny that Catholics in the latter part of the twentieth century are confused? A glance at what has happened in the Church over the past twenty years is enough to convince anyone that this is a relatively recent phenomenon. Only a short time ago the path was clearly marked: either one followed it or one did not. One had the Faith–or perhaps had lost it–or had never had it. But he who had it–who had entered the Church through baptism, who had renewed his baptismal promises around the age of twelve and had received the Holy Ghost on the day of his confirmation–such a person knew what he had to believe and what he had to do.

 Many today no longer know.  They hear all sorts of astonishing statements in the churches, they read things contrary to what was always taught, and doubt has crept into their minds.

On June 30, 1968, at the close of the Year of Faith, His Holiness Pope Paul VI made a profession of the Catholic Faith, in the presence of all the bishops in Rome and hundreds of thousands of the faithful. In his introductory remarks, he put us on guard against attacks on Catholic doctrine which, he said, “give rise, as we regretfully see today, to trouble and confusion in many faithful souls.”

The same words crop up in an allocution of His Holiness Pope John Paul II on February 6, 1981: “Christians today, in large part, feel lost, perplexed, confused, and even deceived.” The Holy Father summarized the underlying causes of the trouble as follows:

“We see spread abroad ideas contrary to the truth which God has revealed and which the Church has always taught.  Real heresies have appeared in dogma and moral theology, stirring doubt, confusion, rebellion.  Even the liturgy has been harmed. Christians have been plunged into an intellectual and moral illuminism, a sociological Christianity, without clear dogma or objective morality.”

This confusion is seen everywhere–in conversations, in books, in newspapers, in radio and television broadcasts, in the behavior of Catholics, which shows up as a sharp decline in the practice of the faith as statistics reveal, a dissatisfaction with the Mass and the sacraments, a general relaxation of morals.

We naturally ask,  therefore, what brought on this state of things? For every effect there is a cause. Has faith been weakened by a disappearance of generosity of soul, by a taste for enjoyment, an attraction to the pleasures of life and the manifold distractions which the modern world offers? These cannot be the real reasons, because they have always been with us in one way or another. The rapid decline in religious practice comes rather from the new spirit which has been introduced into the Church and which has cast suspicion over all past teachings and life of the Church.  All this was based on the unchangeable faith of the Church, handed down by catechisms which were recognized by all bishops.

The faith was based on certitudes. The certitudes have been overturned and confusion has resulted. Let us take one example: the Church taught–and the faithful believed–that the Catholic religion was the one true religion. It was, in fact, established by God Himself, while other religions are the work of men. Consequently, the Christian must avoid all contact with false religions and, furthermore, do all he can to bring adherents of false religions to the religion of Christ.

Is this still true? Indeed it is! Truth cannot change–else it never was the truth. No new fact, no theological or scientific discovery–if there can be such a thing as a theological discovery–can ever make the Catholic religion any less the only means of salvation.
But now we have the Pope himself attending religious ceremonies in false religions, praying and preaching in the churches of heretical sects.  Television conveys to the whole world pictures of these astonishing events. The faithful no longer understand.

Martin Luther–and I shall return to him later in these pages–cut entire nations off from the Church, pitched Europe into a spiritual and political turmoil which destroyed the Catholic hierarchy over wide areas, invented a false doctrine of salvation and a false doctrine of the sacraments. His revolt against the Church became the model for all revolutionaries after him who would throw Europe and the whole world into disorder. It is impossible to make Luther, as they want to do now after five hundred years, into a prophet or doctor of the Church, since he is not a saint.

If I read La Documentation Catholique1 or the diocesan papers, I find there, from the Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commission, officially recognized by the Vatican, statements like this:

“Among the ideas of the Second Vatican Council, we can see gathered together much of what Luther asked for, such as the following: description of the Church as ‘the people of God’ (a main idea of the new Canon Law–democratic, no longer hierarchic, idea); accent on the priesthood of all baptized; the right of the individual to freedom of religion. Other demands of Luther in his time can be considered as being met in the theology and practice of the Church today: use of the common language in the liturgy, possibility of Communion under two species, a renewal of the theology and celebration of the Eucharist.”

Quite a statement! Meeting the demands of Luther, who declared himself the resolute and mortal enemy of the Mass and of the pope! To gather together things requested by a blasphemer who said: “I declare that all brothels, murders, thefts, adulteries, are less evil than this abominable Mass!” From such an extravagant summary, we can draw only one conclusion: either we must condemn the Second Vatican Council which authorized it, or we must condemn the Council of Trent and all the popes who, since the sixteenth century, have declared Protestantism heretical and schismatic.

It is understandable that Catholics are confused by such a turn of events. But there are so many others! In a few years they have seen a transformation in the heart and substance of religious practices which adults have known from early childhood.  In the churches, the altars have been demolished or replaced by tables, which are often portable and disappear when not in use. The tabernacle no longer occupies the place of honor: most of the time it is hidden, perhaps perched on a post, to one side. When it remains in the center,  the priest turns his back to it during the Mass. Celebrant and faithful face each other and dialogue.  Anyone may touch the sacred vessels, which are often replaced by breadbaskets, platters, ceramic bowls. Laity, including women, distribute Communion, which is received in the hand. The Body of Christ is treated with a lack of reverence which casts doubt on the truth of transubstantiation.

The Sacraments are administered in a manner which varies from place to place; I will cite as examples the age for baptism and confirmation, variations in the nuptial blessing, introduction of chants and readings which have nothing to do with the liturgy–but are borrowed from other religions or a purely secular literature, sometimes simply to express political ideas.

Latin, the universal language of the Church, and Gregorian Chant have generally disappeared. All the hymns have been replaced by modern songs in which it is not uncommon to find the same rhythms as in places of entertainment.

Catholics have been surprised also by the sudden disappearance of religious garb, as if priests and religious were ashamed of looking like what they are.

Parents who send their children to catechism discover that the truths of the Faith are no longer taught, even the most basic: the Holy Trinity, the mystery of the Incarnation, Original Sin, the Immaculate Conception. Hence the feeling of profound disorientation: is all of this no longer true, out-of-date, passé? Christian virtues are no longer even mentioned.  Where can you find a catechism speaking of humility, chastity, mortification? The Faith has become a fluid concept, charity a kind of universal solidarity, and hope is, above all, hope for a better world.

Novelties like these are not the kind which, in the human situation, appear at a certain moment in time, so that we get accustomed to them and assimilate them after an initial period of surprise and uncertainty.  In the course of a human life, ways of doing things change.  If I were still a missionary in Africa, I would go there by plane and no longer by boat–if, indeed, you could find a steamship company still in operation. In this sense, we can say that one should live in one’s own time; one is really forced to do so.

But those Catholics on whom they tried to impose novelties in the spiritual and supernatural order, on the same principle, realized it was not possible.  You do not change the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacraments founded by Jesus Christ; you do not change the truth revealed once and for all;  you do not replace one dogma with another. The pages which follow try to answer the questions you are asking yourselves, you who have known another face of the Church. I shall try also to enlighten the young people born after the Council and to whom the Catholic community does not offer what they have a right to expect from it. I would like to address myself, finally, to the unconcerned and the agnostics, whom the grace of God will touch some day or another, but who by then may find the churches without priests, and a teaching which does not correspond to the needs of their souls.

Then there is a question which, by all evidence, interests everyone, if I can judge by the attention it gets in the general press, especially in France. (The journalists are also showing some confusion.) A few headlines: “Is Christianity Dying?” “Will Time Work Against the Religion of Jesus Christ?” “Will There Still Be Priests in the Year 2000?” These questions I hope also to answer, not with any new theory of my own, but relying on unbroken Catholic Tradition–unbroken, yet so neglected in recent years that to many readers it will seem no doubt like something entirely new.

Comment:

It’s easy to see how Catholics became confused in the immediate aftermath of the Council, but now? Fifty odd years on, surely there must be a  sufficient number of Catholics with intelligence enough to have worked out that something is very wrong – and why. The question is, where are they and what are they doing to end the confusion in their neck of the woods… And, in a spirit of true Christian charity, is there any way in which we can help them?  If you are a modern Catholic, tell us about your confusion – we’re looking forward to hearing from you! 

Cardinal Burke Feet of Clay…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comment:

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

Should Catholics Be Concerned About The New Forms Of The Sacraments?

Yesterday, I found myself in conversation with a reader  (we’ll call her Jo, because that’s not her name but it’s short and sweet) who has started attending the SSPX Masses in Glasgow.  We were discussing the hostility which I have personally witnessed at a number of Fatima meetings recently, when novus-attending Catholics became furiously hostile, especially at the very idea that the traditional Latin Mass needs to be restored as soon as possible. Even put a million times more tactfully than that, hostility spilled out like fresh cream in a gorgeous Dairy Sponge cake. Except there was nothing “gorgeous” about it.  Anyway,  when I asked Jo if, after attending the Society Masses for several weeks now she planned to continue, she replied, without a second’s hesitation: “yes”, because she just could not return to the novus-ordo – especially after reading the Open Letter to Confused Catholics, penned by Archbishop Lefebvre.   Got me thinking that, although we have discussed various chapters from that excellent book from time to time, we’ve never examined the chapter on the new forms of the Sacraments, so let’s check the Archbishop’s writings on that topic: do we need new forms of the sacraments? If so, why?  Or, should Catholics be concerned about these new forms of the Sacraments?

Archbishop Lefebvre writes….

The Catholic, whether he be regularly practising or one who goes to church for the great moments of life, finds himself asking such basic questions as, “What is baptism?”

It is a new phenomenon, for not so long ago anyone could answer that, and anyway, nobody asked the question. The first effect of baptism is the redemption from original sin; that was known from father to son and mother to daughter.

But now nobody any longer talks about it anywhere. The simplified ceremony which takes place in the church speaks of sin in a context which seems to refer to that which the person being baptized will commit during his or her life, and not the original fault that we are all born with.

Baptism from then on simply appears as a sacrament which unites us to God, or rather makes us members of the community. This is the explanation of the “rite of welcome” that is imposed in some places as an initial step, in a first ceremony. It is not due to any private initiative since we discover plenty of variations upon baptism by stages in the leaflets of the National Center of Pastoral Liturgy. It is called “deferred baptism.” After the welcome comes the “progression,” the “seeking.” The sacrament will be administered, or not administered, when the child is able, according to the terms used, to choose freely, which may occur at quite an advanced age, eighteen years or more. A professor of dogmatic theology, highly esteemed in the new Church, has established a distinction between those Christians whose faith and religious culture he is confident he can verify, and the others–more than three-quarters of the total–to whom he attributes only a supposed faith when they request baptism for their children. These Christians “of the popular religion” are detected during the preparatory meetings and dissuaded from proceeding any farther than the “ceremony of welcome.” This method of going on is “more appropriate to the cultural situation of our civilization.”

Recently a parish priest in the Somme department who had to enroll two children for their First Communion asked for their baptismal certificates, which were sent to him from the family’s parish of origin. He then found that one of the children had been baptized but not the other, contrary to what the parents believed.  This is the sort of situation that results from such practices. What they give is in effect only a semblance of baptism which those present take in good faith to be the true sacrament.

That you should find this disconcerting is quite understandable. You have also to face up to a specious argument which even appears in parish bulletins, generally in the way of suggestions or testimonies signed with Christian names, that is to say anonymously. We read in one of them that Alan and Evelyn state, “Baptism is not a magic rite which will efface by miracle any original sin. We believe that salvation is total, free, and for all: God has elected all men in His love, on any condition, or rather without condition. For us, to be baptized is to decide to change our life, it is a personal commitment that no one can make for you. It is a conscious decision which implies preliminary instruction, etc.” What frightful errors are contained in those few lines! They lead to the justifying of another method; the suppression of infant baptism. It is another alignment with the Protestants, in defiance of the teachings of the Church right from its beginnings, as St. Augustine wrote in the fourth century: “The custom of baptizing children is not a recent innovation but the faithful repetition of apostolic tradition. This custom by itself alone and without any written document, constitutes the certain rule of truth.” The Council of Carthage, in the year 251, prescribed that baptism should be conferred on infants “even before they are eight days old,” and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a reminder of the obligation in its Instruction Pastoralis actio, on November 21, 1980, basing it upon “a norm of immemorial tradition.”

That is a thing you should know so as to be able to insist upon a sacred right when someone attempts to refuse your newborn children their share in the life of grace. Parents do not wait until their child is eighteen years old before deciding for him his diet, or to have a necessary surgical operation. Within the supernatural order their duty is even greater, and the faith which presides at the sacrament when the child is not capable of taking on for himself a personal engagement is the responsibility you would have in depriving your child of eternal life in Paradise. Our Lord Himself has said in a most clear manner, “No one, unless he be born again of water and the Holy Ghost can enter into the Kingdom of God.”

The results of this peculiar pastoral practice were quick to appear.  In the diocese of Paris, whereas one child out of two was baptized in 1965, only one child in four was baptized in 1976.  The clergy of one suburban parish observed, without appearing concerned about it, that there were 450 baptisms in 1965 and 150 in 1976. From the whole of France, the fall continues. From 1970 to 1981, the overall figure dropped from 596,673 to 530,385, while the population increased by more than three million during the same period.

All this is the outcome of having falsified the definition of baptism. As soon as they stopped saying that baptism wipes out original sin, people have been asking, “What is baptism?” and straightaway after, “What is the good of baptism?” If they have not got as far as that, they have at least thought about the arguments that have been put to them and accepted that there was no urgency, and after all, at the age of adolescence the child could decide for himself and join the Christian community in the same way as joining a political party or a union.

The question is raised in the same way regarding marriage.  Marriage has always been defined by its first aim which is procreation and its secondary aim which is married love. Now, at the Council they sought to alter this definition and say there was no longer a primary aim, but that  the two aims of which I speak were equivalent. It was Cardinal Suenens who proposed this change and I still remem- ber Cardinal Brown, the Master General of the Dominicans, getting up to say, “Caveatis! Caveatis!–Beware! Beware! If we accept this definition we go against all the tradition of the Church and we pervert the meaning of marriage. We do not have the right to modify the Church’s traditional definitions.”

He quoted texts in support of his warning and there was great agitation in the nave of St. Peter’s. Cardinal Suenens was pressed by the Holy Father to moderate the terms he had used and even to change them. The Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et Spes, contains nevertheless an ambiguous passage, where emphasis is laid on procreation “without nevertheless minimizing the other aims of marriage.” The Latin verb, post habere, permits the translation “without putting in second place the other aims of marriage,” which would mean “to place them all on the same level.” This is what is wanted nowadays; all that is said about marriage comes back to the false idea expressed by Cardinal Suenens, that conjugal love–which was soon termed quite simply and much more crudely “sexuality”–comes at the head of the purposes of marriage. Consequently, under the heading of sexuality, everything is permitted–contraception, family planning and finally, abortion.

One bad definition, and we are plunged into total disorder.  The Church, in her traditional liturgy, has the priest say, “Lord, in Thy goodness, assist the institutions Thou hast established for the propagation of the human race…” She has chosen the passage from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians, which points out the duties of the married couple, making of their joint relationship an image of the   relationship uniting Christ and His Church.  Very often the couple to be married are nowadays invited to make up their own Mass without even having to choose the Epistle from Holy Scripture, replacing it by a profane text, and taking a reading from the Gospel that has no connection with the sacrament to be received. The priest in his exhortation takes good care not to mention the demands to which they will have to submit, for fear of giving a forbidding impression of the Church or even of offending any divorced people present among the congregation.

Just as for baptism, experiments have been made for marriages by stages, or non-sacramental marriage, which scandalize Catholics. These experiments, tolerated by the episcopate, take place following lines laid down by the official organizations and are encouraged by diocesan officials. A form put out by the Jean Bart Center shows some of the ways of going about it. Here is one:

A reading from the text: “The essential is invisible to the eyes” (Epistle of St. Peter). There is no exchange of vows but a liturgy of the hands,  symbol of labor and workers’ solidarity.  Exchange of rings (without the blessing), in silence. Reference to Robert’s work:  welding,  soldering (he is a plumber).  The kiss.  The Our Father by all the believers in the congregation. Hail Mary. The newlyweds lay a bouquet of flowers at the statue of Mary.

Why would Our Lord have instituted the sacraments if they were to be replaced by this kind of ceremony devoid of everything supernatural, excepting the two prayers at the end? A few years ago, we heard a lot about liturgy in the department of Saône-et-Loire.  To justify this “Liturgy of Welcome,” it was said that they wished to give young couples the desire to come back later and get married for good.  Out of something like two hundred pseudo-marriages, two years later not a single couple had returned to regularize their position. Even if they had, the fact would remain that the priest of this parish had actually recognized officially, if not actually blessed, over a period of two years, something none other than concubinage. An official Church survey has revealed that in Paris, 23% of the parishes had already held  non-sacramental weddings for couples, one of whom if not both were non-believers, for the purpose of gratifying the families, or the couples themselves, often out of concern for social conformity.

It goes without saying that a Catholic does not have the right to attend such goings-on.  As for the so-called married couple, they can always say they have been to church and doubtless they will end up by believing their situation to be  regular by dint of seeing their friends follow the same path. Misguided Catholics will wonder if it is not better than nothing. Indifference takes over; they become willing to accept any arrangement, from a simple registry-office wedding to juvenile cohabitation (in respect of which so many parents want to show themselves to be “understanding”), and finally through to free unions. Total de-christianization lies ahead; the couples each lack the graces which come from the sacrament of marriage in order to bring up their children, if at least they agree to have any. The breakdowns in these unsanctified households have increased to such an extent as to worry the Council of Economic and Social Affairs, of which a recent report shows that even a secular society is aware that it is heading for ruin as a result of the instability of these families or pseudo-families.

Then there is the sacrament of Extreme Unction. This is no longer the sacrament of the sick or the feeble. It has become the sacrament of the old: some priests administer it to persons of pensionable age who show no particular sign of approaching death. It is no longer the sacrament that prepares one for the last moment, which wipes out the sins before death and disposes the soul to final union with God. I have in front of me a notice distributed to all the faithful in a Paris church to warn them of the date of the next Extreme Unction:  “For those who are still active, the sacrament of the sick is celebrated in the presence of the whole Christian community during the Eucharistic celebration. Date: Sunday, at the 11 o’clock Mass.” These anointings are invalid.

The same collectivist mentality has provoked the vogue of penitential celebrations. The sacrament of penance can only be of an individual nature.
By definition and in conformity with its essence, it is, as I have previously pointed out, a judicial act, a judgment.  A judgment cannot be made without having examined a cause; each one’s case has to be heard in order to judge it and then to remit or to retain the sins. His Holiness John Paul II has insisted several times on this point, notably to the French bishops on April 1, 1982 telling them that personal confession followed by  individual absolution is “a requirement of the dogmatic order.” It is consequently impossible to justify these ceremonies of reconciliation by explaining that ecclesiastical discipline has become more relaxed, that it has adapted itself to the needs of the modern world. It is not a question of discipline. There was formerly one exception: general absolution given in a case of shipwreck, war, etc.; an absolution whose value is debated by learned writers. It is not permissible to make a rule out of the exception. If we consult the Acts of the Apostolic See we find the following expressions uttered both by Paul VI and John Paul II on various occasions: “the exceptional character of collective absolution,” “in case of grave necessity,” “in extraordinary situations of grave necessity,” “quite exceptional character,” “exceptional circumstances.”

Celebrations of this type have, however,  become habitual though without becoming frequent in any one parish, due to the scarcity of faithful who are disposed to put themselves right with God more than two or three times a year.  They no longer feel the need, as was quite foreseeable since the idea of sin has been wiped out of their minds.  How many priests still remind people of the need for the sacrament of penance? One member of the faithful has told me that in going to confession in one or another of several Paris churches where he knows he will be able to find a “priest on duty” he often receives the congratulations or thanks of the priest, surprised to have a penitent.

These celebrations subjected to the creativity of the “animators” include singing, or else a record is played.  Then comes the turn of the Liturgy of the Word, followed by a litany type of prayer to which the assembly responds, “Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner,” or else by a sort of general examination of conscience. The “I confess to Almighty God” precedes the absolution given once and for all to the whole congregation, which only leaves one problem: would a person present who did not want absolution receive it just the same? I see on a duplicated sheet distributed to those taking part in these ceremonies at Lourdes that the organizer has asked himself this question: “If we wish to receive absolution, let us dip our hands in the water and make the sign of the cross upon ourselves,” and at the end, “Upon those who are marked by the sign of the cross with the water of the spring the priest lays his hands. Let us unite ourselves to his prayer and accept pardon from God.”

The British Catholic paper, The Universe, a few years ago lent its support to a movement launched by two bishops which consisted of bringing back to the Church those of the faithful who had long since given up the practice of religion.  The appeal made by the bishops resembled the public notices put out by families of runaway adolescents: “Little X, please come home. No one will grumble at you.” It was then said to the future prodigal sons, “Your bishops invite you during this Lent to rejoice and celebrate. The Church offers to all her children, in the imitation of Christ, pardon for their sins, freely and without restriction, without their meriting it, and without their requesting it. She urges them to accept and begs them to return home. There are many who wish to return to the Church after years of separation but are unable to make up their minds to go to confession.  At any rate, not straightaway…”

They could then accept the following offer: “At the Mission Mass which will be attended by the bishop in your deanery (here is given the time and the date) all those who are present are invited to accept the pardon of all their past sins. It is not necessary for them to go to confession at that moment. It will be sufficient for them to repent their sins and desire to return to God, and to confess their sins later, after having been again welcomed into the fold. Meanwhile they have only to let Our Father in heaven take them into His arms and embrace them tenderly. Subject to a generous act of repentance the bishop will grant to all those present and desiring it pardon for their sins. They may then immediately receive holy communion…”

The Journal  of the Grotto,  the bi-monthly magazine from Lourdes, reproducing this curious pastoral letter under the heading “General Absolution: Communion now, confession later,” made the following comment: “Our readers will be fully aware of the deeply evangelical spirit which has inspired it, likewise the pastoral understanding of people’s actual situation.”

I do not know what results were obtained, but that is not the issue. Can pastoral needs take precedence over doctrine to the point of undertaking to give Communion in the Body of Christ indiscriminately to people who are probably in many cases in a state of mortal sin, after so many years without the practice of religion? Certainly not. How can we so lightly consider paying for the conversion with a sacrilege, and how much chance has this conversion of being followed by perseverance? We can observe, in any case, that before the council and before this “welcoming” pastoral method there were between fourteen and fifteen thousand conversions annually in England.  They have dropped off to about five thousand. We recognize the tree by its fruit.

Catholics are just as confused in Great Britain as in France. If a sinner or an apostate, following his bishop’s advice, presents himself for collective absolution and at the holy table in these conditions, does he not risk losing his confidence in the validity of sacraments so lightly accorded, when he has every reason to consider himself unworthy of them?  What is going to happen if later on he neglects to “regularize” himself by going to confession? An unsuccessful return to the house of the Father will only make more difficult a final conversion.

That is what dogmatic laxity leads to. In the penitential ceremonies which take place, in a less extravagant manner, in our parishes, what certainty has the Catholic of being truly pardoned? He is given over to the same anxieties as Protestants, to interior torments provoked by doubt.  He has certainly gained nothing by the change.

If it is a bad thing from the point of view of validity, it is also bad psychologically.

For instance, how absurd to give collective absolution with the reservation that people with grave sins have to confess them personally immediately afterwards! People are not going to draw attention to themselves by showing that they have grave sins on their consciences, that is obvious!  It is as though the secret of the confessional were violated.

We should add that the faithful who communicate after collective absolution will no longer see the need to present themselves before the judgment of penance, and that one can understand. The ceremonies of reconciliation are not complementary to auricular confession, they eliminate and supplant it. We are proceeding towards the disappearance of the Sacrament of Penance, established like the six others by Our Lord Himself. No pastoral concern can justify this.

For a sacrament to be valid, the matter, the form and the intention are all needed.  The Pope himself cannot change that.  The matter is of divine institution; the Pope cannot say “tomorrow we will use alcohol for the baptism of infants, or milk.” Neither can he change the essential of the form. There are essential words. For example, one cannot say, “I baptize thee in the name of God,” because God Himself has settled this form:  “Thou shalt baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.”

The Sacrament of Confirmation has been equally maltreated. One formula current today is, “I sign thee with the Cross, and receive the Holy Spirit.” But the minister does not then specify what is the special grace of the sacrament by which the Holy Ghost gives Himself, and the sacrament is invalid.

That is why I always respond to the requests of parents who have doubts regarding the validity of the confirmation received by their children or who fear it will be administered invalidly, seeing what goes on around them.  The cardinals to whom I had to explain myself in 1975 reproached me on this and since then similar reproaches are repeated through the press on all my journeys. I explained why I carried on in this way.  I meet the wishes of the faithful who ask me for valid confirmation, even if it is not licit, because we are in a period when divine law, natural and supernatural, has precedence over positive ecclesiastical law when the latter opposes the former instead of being a channel to transmit it. We are passing through an extraordinary crisis and there need be no surprise if I sometimes adopt an attitude that is out of the ordinary.

The third condition of a valid sacrament is a right intention.  The bishop or priest must have the intention of doing what the Church wills to be done. Not even the Pope can change that.

The priest’s faith is not among the necessary elements.  A priest or bishop may no longer have the faith;  another may have it less; and another a faith that is not quite complete.  That has no direct effect on the validity of the sacraments they administer, but may have an indirect one. One remembers Pope Leo XIII’s decision that Anglican ordinations are invalid through a defect in the intention. Now it was because they had lost the faith, which is not only faith in God, but in all the truths contained in the Creed, including, “I believe in one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church,” that the Anglicans have not been able to do what the Church wills.

Are not priests who lose the faith in the same case? There are already priests who no longer wish to confect the Sacrament of the Eucharist according to the Council of Trent’s definition. “No,” they say, “the Council of Trent was a long time ago.  Since then we have had Vatican II.  Now it’s trans-signification, or trans-finalization.  Transubstantiation? The Real Presence of the Son of God under the appearances of bread and wine? Not in these days!”

When a priest talks like this, he makes no valid consecration. There is no Mass or Communion. For Christians are obliged to believe what the Council of Trent has defined about the Eucharist until the end of time.  One can make the terms of a dogma clearer, but not change them; that is impossible. Vatican II did not add anything or retract anything; and it could not have done so. Anyone who declares that he does not accept transubstantiation is, in the terms of the Council of Trent, anathema, that is, cut off from the Church.

This is why Catholics in this latter part of the twentieth century have a duty to be more vigilant than their fathers were. They must not let just any idea be imposed upon them, in the name of the new theology or the new religion: for what this new religion wants is not what the Church wills. [Emphases added]
Source – The New Forms of Sacraments Baptism, Marriage, Penance & Extreme Unction

Comment:

Should Catholics be concerned about the new forms of the Sacraments? 

Pope To Abolish Summorum Pontificum?

ROME, July 26, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Sources inside the Vatican suggest that Pope Francis aims to end Pope Benedict XVI’s universal permission for priests to say the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), also known as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. While the course of action would be in tune with Pope Francis’ repeatedly expressed disdain for the TLM especially among young people, there has been no open discussion of it to date.

Sources in Rome told LifeSite last week that liberal prelates inside the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith were overheard discussing a plan ascribed to the Pope to do away with Pope Benedict’s famous document that gave priests freedom to offer the ancient rite of the Mass.

Catholic traditionalists have just celebrated the tenth anniversary of the document, Summorum Pontificum. Pope Benedict XVI issued it in 2007, giving all Latin Rite priests permission to offer the TLM without seeking permission of their bishops, undoing a restriction placed on priests after the Second Vatican Council.

The motu proprio outraged liberal bishops as it stripped them of the power to forbid the TLM, as many did. Previously priests needed their bishop’s permission to offer the TLM.
Additionally, Summorum Pontificum stated that wherever a group of the faithful request the TLM, the parish priests should willingly agree to their request.

The overheard plans are nearly identical to comments from an important Italian liturgist in an interview published by France’s La Croix earlier this month. Andrea Grillo a lay professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St Anselmo in Rome, billed by La Croix as “close to the Pope,” is intimately familiar Summorum Pontificum. Grillo in fact published a book against Summorum Pontificum before the papal document was even released.
Grillo told La Croix that Francis is considering abolishing Summorum Pontificum. According to Grillo, once the Vatican erects the Society of Saint Pius X as a Personal Prelature, the Roman Rite will be preserved only within this structure. “But [Francis] will not do this as long as Benedict XVI is alive.”

The plan, as related to LifeSite, involved making an agreement with the Society of St. Pius X and, with that agreement in place, sequestering those Catholics wanting the TLM to the SSPX. For most, that would strip them of access to the TLM since there would not be nearly enough SSPX priests to service Catholics wanting the TLM worldwide.

Moreover, LifeSite’s source suggested that the plan may explain a May 20, 2017 letter by the recently ousted Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller. Even though Cardinal Müller wanted the SSPX fully reconciled to help fight modernists in the Church, the May 20 letter seemed to scuttle an agreement between Pope Francis and the SSPX which would see them get a personal prelature. The letter includes provisions long known to be completely unacceptable to the SSPX, thus nullifying an understanding SSPX leader Bishop Bernard Fellay believed was imminent.

The LifeSite source suggested that the May 20 letter by Muller perhaps was written because he knows what Francis was up to and wanted to avoid the plan to bury Summorum Pontificum with Pope Benedict. “It’s directed not so much against Fellay but against the agreement,” said the source. “Pope Francis was very angry that document came out from Cardinal Muller and some say that’s why he made the decision to dismiss him.”  Source

Comment:

One glimmer of hope in this pontificate is the rising opposition of some clergy – click here to read more

Of course, the Scots clergy are a meek lot, and unlikely to rebel unless their bishop, too, rebels – and then, voila!  Good career move.  I’d better watch – I’m in danger of becoming cynical…

Share your thoughts – especially on the possible link between the Pope’s apparent enthusiasm for a Personal Prelature for the SSPX and his suspected intention to abolish the provisions of Summorum Pontificum so that ONLY SSPX priests will be able to offer the TLM. Surely that can’t be… what about the other traditional Mass groups – FSSP, Institute of Christ the King?  What would those priests do – join the SSPX? What!  But they set up shop to distance themselves from that “schismatic” bunch…  Irony of ironies!