9 July AD 2007
Delayed well over a year, on July 7th AD 2007 Pope Benedict issued the motu proprio long awaited by "conservative" Catholics, "liberating the traditional Mass." It contained few surprises. Beginning on the feast of the Holy Cross this year (September 14th) Novus Ordo priests may (Article 2) celebrate the Mass if they do so without a congregation; (Article 2) religious orders and communities may, as a body, elect to return to the Mass; and (Article 5.1) in parishes where it is requested by a significant group, one Mass may be celebrated on Sundays and (perhaps more?) on weekdays. (Article 4) "With the due observance of law, even Christ's faithful may be admitted to celebrations of holy Mass mentioned in Art. 2 above"—imagine that! even Joe and Mary Catholic will be allowed to attend! All of these Masses must be offered in accordance with the Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII, with the proviso that prefaces and saints' feast days from the Novus Ordo may be added, and (Article 6) the readings may be "in the vernacular, using the [banal] editions that have received the regognito of the Holy See." This reference to the new lectionaries, and the insistence of the Pope that the Novus Ordo and the Mass "will be mutually enriching," do leave some question about the calendar to be used—particularly in parish churches the use of two separate calendars seems unlikely. Novus Ordo priests may not presume to celebrate the Mass exclusively (i.e. they must occasionally use the new rite), and (Article 2) there is an ambiguous prohibition during the last three days of Holy Week (perhaps due to complaints from Jewish groups about the traditional prayers on Good Friday—perhaps due to the un-likeliness of private Masses on those days). (Article 7) Parishioners have recourse to the bishop if no Mass is made available to them. "Each Bishop is, in fact, the moderator of the liturgy in his own diocese."
What stands out in Summorum pontificum is that, for a document that purports to bring new respect for Catholic tradition, it is deeply steeped in the philosophy of Modernism. If it is nothing else, Modernism is like a belief in magic, the idea that objective realities can be changed through subjective means. Modernists do not set out to learn the truth that has been revealed by God or found in nature; instead, Modernist truth is based on feelings, on what "ought to be," on dialogue, and on consensus. In the Modernist world being "reality-based" is apparently no longer a proper way of thinking. As the magician pretends to turn lead into gold with a few magic words, the Modernist pretends to change objective truth by changing the consensus of opinion. And the consensus need not be all that broad, as long as it is held by "the people that matter" the "acting persons," the elite. In the case of Summorum pontificum, the reality creating consensus will be broader than usual, including far more than the "acting elite," as few who have been begging for the document over these months will admit their error.
The first magical White Rabbit out of the pontifical hat (miter? there is no more tiara!) is that:
This is clearly false; an objective unreality which cannot be made true either by decree, or by the agreeing consensus of sycophantic followers. The Novus Ordo was cobbled together by a Committee containing Protestants, Freemasons, and Modernists. The Committee removed those truths of the Mass thought to be objectionable to heretics, and added back features wisely abandoned by the Church centuries ago. The emphasis of the ceremony was directed away from God and diverted to the congregation: "We are the body of Christ!" The sacred body and blood of Christ, heretofore treated with reverence in minute detail, were, over a few years, subjected to progressively more mundane treatment—ultimately to be handed out like candy, to be found on floors and in the pages of misallettes, to be poured into the ground so as not to have "leftovers," and even to be auctioned on E-Bay. Sacred concepts not removed by the Committee got a second going over in the process of (mis)translation—e.g. the "pure + Victim, the holy + Victim, the all-perfect + Victim" of the Canon simply vanished in the translation of "Eucharistic Prayer I"—the consecratory words of our Lord, already reduced to a "narrative" by the Committee, were falsified to promise universal salvation "for all men." "What earlier generations held as sacred" was trashed in the Novus Ordo.
A second Pontifical Rabbit will no doubt be laughed about by both traditional Catholics and liberal Modernists:
And just what "spiritual richness and the theological depth" might there be to be found in Pope Paul's Novus Ordo that managed to escape the notice of the Committee? And exactly where are those parishes in which the Novus Ordo is celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives? Has anyone studied "the practical possibilities in this regard"—the practical possibilities, that is of putting an end to clown masses, polka masses, eucharistic ministers in devil costumes, etc., etc.? How can the Mass make the Novus Ordo look anything but bad to those who know the Catholic Faith?
Another White Rabbit:
In the 1950s it was axiomatic that Presidents and Popes were incapable of telling lies—but then Eisenhower got caught lying about our American U2 flights over Russia in 1960, and, shortly thereafter, came Vatican II. Now anyone who has adult memories of what transpired when the Novus Ordo was introduced will tell you that there was hardly anything more prohibited than the Catholic Mass—the "forbidden liturgy in the secret tongue"! Families were literally destroyed over this, vocations were abandoned, and souls probably lost—and now we are told that it didn't really happen? "Hello?!" Where is the apology that the Conciliar Popes are so fond of making—are Catholics inferior to Jews, Moslems, and everyone else to whom the Popes have so enthusiastically apologized?
The White Magic described above seems to be Pope Benedict's attempt to justify the past forty years of Roman folly. Many people familiar with the history may even laugh. "The Emperor wears no clothes—the Pope wears no Chasuble." But the Black Magic is far more subtle, being stated only in a round-about manner, but still demanding the consensus of those who endorse Summorum pontificum, and those who manufacture "reality."
The most obvious Black Rabbit is the impression given by the use of the traditional Mass that a parish is one in which orthodox Catholic doctrine and morality are taught. Even if personally orthodox, a man who draws his paycheck from the Modernist bishop will be very reluctant to teach the truth. Many people are fooled by external appearances and do not bother to look beneath the surface. The man in the five million dollar church building just must be more Catholic than the priest who arrives on Sundays by airplane to offer Mass in a hotel meeting room. Remember that Modernism was firmly in place, and the child molesters were assuming positions in the hierarchy, before Vatican II, when there was no Novus Ordo. Smells, bells, and Latin do not guarantee orthodoxy. That Pope Benedict prefers Mozart to Dylan does not make him any more Catholic than his predecessor. This Black Magic may draw Catholics away from churches which are fully orthodox in worship, doctrine, and morality to those that are not.
Even Blacker Magic is worked by the tacit agreement that Novus Ordo priests are sacramentally capable of offering the Mass. The error, found in the Novus Ordo Missal (GIRM 55d), that the priest acts as the narrator of what Christ did at the institution of the Eucharist has spread to the New Catechism (CCC 1353) This was precisely the defect of intention pointed out by Cardinal Ottaviani, and by Saint Thomas Aquinas. If asked, will the clergy admit that the New Catechism is wrong? Is there any reason to believe that Novus Ordo priests will change their intention when they "switch hit" at the True Mass? As Cardinal Ratzinger's predecessor said, "One may be permitted to doubt it."
Summorum pontificum allows six of the seven Sacraments to be administered in the traditional rites. Can you guess which one is the seventh, and omitted Sacrament? I don't know if the late Father Carl Pulvermacher really said "Just as soon as they have no valid priests left, you'll have all the Latin Masses you want," but the idea stands on its own. AD 2008 will be the fortieth anniversary of Pope Paul VI's drastic changes to the rites of ordination and episcopal consecration. For forty years the Modernists have been "ordaining" bishops with a rite that is arguably invalid according to Apostolic Constitutions of both Popes Leo XIII and Pius XII (LINK). Following Pope Leo's lead, we can reasonably ask whether or not the Novus Ordo understanding of terms like "priest" and "bishop" conform to the Catholic understanding. Even if we were to assume that the truncated rites of priestly ordination are valid, how many valid bishops remain to confer them? Thirty-five is the minimum age for the consecration of a bishop—add forty years, and that uncharacteristically young man is now seventy-five, and required to submit his resignation under Pope John Paul's Code of Canon Law—it is possible that there are no valid bishops in active ministry of the Conciliar Church today. There is no "litmus test" for validity, but in the administration of the Sacraments we are required to act with certainty—a possibly invalid ordination, administered by one probably invalidly consecrated, when minister and recipient may or may not understand the nature of the priesthood and the episcopate is not even close to certainty.
There is one final and laughable piece of Magic in this. The 1962 Mass used to be called "the Mass of John XXIII" only by Sedevacantists who said that there was no longer a Pope in Rome—now the term is used by the Pope Himself—or should that be "the Pope-elect"?
Summorum pontificum is an attempt to gain the confidence of those who will not look too deeply beneath the surface—to bring uncritical Catholics into a consensus that the very serious problems which lie below can cheerfully be ignored as long as outward appearances are restored. Do not fall for it. In any institution beside the Catholic Church your apathy could bring about its eventual destruction—our Lord has promised that His Church cannot be destroyed, but that doesn't mean that incredible damage will not be done to the Church and to the souls of men and women if they allow themselves to be taken in.
So what should we do? The answer to that has been tacked onto the bottom of just about every page I have written in recent years: "Authentic Catholic Mass, Doctrine, and Moral Teaching—Don't do without them—Don't accept one without the others! You cannot be a Catholic in a place where Mass is offered once a week, or even every day, if the priests there do not teach the Catholic Faith and Morality—and believe and practice these things themselves.
Read our earlier Comment
Read Pope Benedict XVI's Summorum pontificum
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