Isn't it strange to read about the New Mass with all of the Latin prayer titles Lavabo, hanc igitur, Per ipsum, Ecce Agnus Dei, and so on? Perhaps the "Conservatives" at The Wanderer actually believe that the Novus Ordo is just an English translation of the true Mass.
Question: Your Latin Mass was interesting, but why aren't you with the regular Catholic Church? After all nothing has changed but the language, and you can't say that such a minor change would justify leaving the Church.
[The questioner was in the "telling mode," and didn't want to hear the answer, but here it is anyway.]
Answer: Since the word "regular" refers to those who follow rules, the Novus Ordo, which the questioner calls the "regular Catholic Church," might be better described as the "irregular church." Of course, in the theoretical sense, the questioner is right. Nothing has changed, because nothing pertaining to the deposit of Faith can change. The Holy Ghost keeps the pope and the bishops from attempting any such alterations.
The Second Vatican Council identified itself as a pastoral council, with no intention of defining dogma. None of the popes since His Holiness Pope Pius XII, has issued a definitive doctrinal statement. The pronouncements of Vatican II are generally able to be understood in accord with traditional teaching, as are those of the post-Vatican II popes. Many are positively conservative in tone.
In practice, however, there is a great deal to justify calling the "regular church" irregular. It has repeatedly lived up to the name Novus Ordo, the New Order, in more ways than just its liturgical innovations.
The New Mass is a good starting point in any discussion of irregularity. Vatican II mandated a limited introduction of the vernacular to enable the faithful to understand those parts of the Mass which pertain to them. Otherwise, Latin was to be retained, and liturgical custom fostered. In practice, a New Mass was authored with the help of several non-Catholic ministers. A comparison of the old with the new reveals the removal or modification of texts which speak to the notion of personal sin, the veneration of the saints, the sacrificial nature of the Mass and the Priesthood. These modifications are even more noticeable in the translations of the New Mass into modern European languages. In most of these, the words of the consecration of the Precious Blood are mis-translated to imply that salvation is universal for "all men." These mistranslations, and the ambiguous intentions expressed in the new rite, even raise questions as to its validity.
In practice, the New Mass may remain a dignified, although banal, worship service. But, equally, it may be (and is) celebrated with clowns, dancers, and dogs in the sanctuary. The pope has apologized for the scandal these abuses have caused, but has done nothing to stop them, and continues to utilize the "ecumenical" Mass himself. In all cases, there is a shift from the vertical to the horizontal; from man worshiping God and thus being moved to love his neighbor, to man concerning himself with the affairs of men to the exclusion of God.
Closely related to the distortion of the Mass is the regular violation of the First Commandment by the Holy Father and others of the New Church. Vatican II decreed that the consciences of all men must be respected, so as not to deny them the opportunity to practice their chosen religion. This has been corrupted to mean that all religions are equally true and valuable before God. In an attempt to generate ecumenical good will, the pope has taken part not only in Protestant, Jewish, and Moslem religious services (erroneously worshiping the true God), but also in Pagan practices (worshiping erroneous "gods"). He has been pictured on the front page of the newspaper receiving the "blessings" of a Hindu priestess and a native American witch-doctor, has allowed the replacement of the Blessed Sacrament with statues of the Buddha at Assisi, and taken part in the Animist worship of the "Great Thumb" in Africa.
In theory, the "regular church" retains the traditional teachings on the indissolubility of marriage. Yet, in contrast with the tiny numbers granted in the past, annulments in the modern church have become a sort of "Catholic" divorce. Long term marriages, producing many children, are simply decreed into non-existence by diocesan and Vatican authorities.
The post Vatican II popes have spoken courageously of the sanctity of human life and marital relations. Yet theologians, priests, and bishops have remained free to disagree. A Catholic, wishing to practice contraception, has little difficulty in finding the proper confessor—one who will give him permission to sin—on one of those relatively rare occasions when he goes to confession. The clergy of the "regular" church have become rather careful not to criticize the practices of their married parishioners. Their own record has not been good. Since Vatican II, numerous priests have left the Priesthood (or the Church altogether). Entirely too many have found themselves in trouble on charges of child molestation. Some defend homosexual behavior, and a few have thereby contracted AIDS. Perhaps the worst offense against human life comes in the form of pro-abortion nuns.
In spite of the intrinsic evil found in Communism, "Liberation Theology" has marked the activity of the New Church in South America and other Third World countries. Priests have even been part of Communist governments in Latin America. A few token suspensions have been imposed, but these have generally been lifted when public interest waned. American priests and bishops have espoused organized resistance to the national defense effort.
The "regular church" has been tolerant of all forms of dissent—liturgical, doctrinal, moral, and political—unless they express the authentic teaching and practice of the Church. In the name of "collegiality" or "academic freedom," license has been given for professors and ecclesiastics to make the New Church over as they see fit. Even when popes and bishops do nothing wrong personally, they are responsible for those subject to them. Failure to exercise papal authority has moved many dissidents to deny it existence. The elimination of discipline, and consequently of the Church's authority is the source of grave scandal.
In that Vatican II claimed to be a pastoral council, we have all the more reason for doing away with most everything that has been done in its name—it has been a spectacular failure. Pope Paul VI himself admitted to presiding over the "auto-demolition of the Church" into which had entered the "smoke of Satan. In cold hard terms, the pastoral "reforms" have decimated the Church. A look at the statistics will reveal an almost universal down trend; fewer churches, schools, priests, and vocations; virtual desertion of the convents; fewer Catholics as a percentage of the civil population, and plummeting Mass attendance in all but the Third World countries and retirement areas. The only statistic showing a positive trend is the number of bishops!
Pope John Paul II is the pope, and we would be foolish to suggest otherwise. Yet, this makes him all the more responsible for the condition of the Church. Indeed, every member of the "regular" church, from the pope on down, is responsible by virtue of action or inaction. Conservatives who pretend that "everything would be alright if people just obeyed the pope" must share this responsibility. They are like the people who all made believe that The Emperor's New Clothes were of the finest cut. Just as the people in the story were embarrassed along with the emperor when they began to tell the truth, those who admire The Pope's New Chasuble do the Church a terrible disservice, and must some day begin to tell the truth or lose their souls.