From Hell’s Bible: “Pope Francis Is Tearing the Catholic Church Apart”

Yesterday Hell’s Bible (aka New York Times) published an op-ed which is a cri de coeur about what is going on in the Church today.   Take this together with Damian Thompson’s recent podcast.  My emphases and comments.


Pope Francis Is Tearing the Catholic Church Apart
Aug. 12, 2021

By Michael Brendan Dougherty

Mr. Dougherty, a senior writer at National Review, has written extensively about faith and the Roman Catholic Church.

In the summer of 2001, I drove up to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to find what we called “the traditional Latin Mass,” the form of Roman Catholic worship that stretched back centuries and was last authorized in 1962, before the Second Vatican Council changed everything. Back then, conservative Catholics called people who sought it out “schismatics” and “Rad Trads.”

The Mass-goers there weren’t exactly a community; we were a clandestine network of romantics, haters of Pope John Paul II, people who had been jilted by the mainstream church [lots of those] and — I believe — some saints.

There I learned that the Latin language was not the only distinguishing feature of this form of worship. The entire ritual was different from the post-Vatican II Mass. It wasn’t a mere translation into the modern vernacular; less than 20 percent of the Latin Mass survived into the new.

It took me a month to adapt to its rhythm. But in that thick August air, the long silence before the consecration of the host fell upon my heart, like sunshine landing on the bud of prayer for the very first time.

Years later, Pope Benedict allowed devotees of this Mass to flourish in the mainstream of Catholic life, a gesture that began to drain away the traditional movement’s radicalism and reconcile us with our bishops. Today, it is celebrated in thriving parishes, full of young families.  [If he knows anything accurate about Traditional Catholics one would think that Francis wants the radicalism and breaks with bishops to return.  Otherwise, … why the brutality?]

Yet this Mass and the modestly growing contingent of Catholics who attend it are seen by Pope Francis as a grave problem. He recently released a document, Traditionis Custodes, accusing Catholics like us of being subversives. To protect the “unity” of the church, he abolished the permissions Pope Benedict XVI gave us in 2007 to celebrate a liturgy, the heart of which remains unchanged since the seventh century.

For those of us who travel long distances to participate in it, its perseverance is a religious duty. For the pope, its suppression is a religious priority. The ferocity of his campaign will push these young families and communities toward the radicalism I imbibed years ago in Poughkeepsie, before Benedict. It will push them toward the belief that the new Mass represents a new religion, one dedicated to the unity of man on earth rather than the love of Christ.

In the Latin Mass, the priest faces the altar with the people. It never had oddities, as you sometimes encounter in a modern Mass, like balloons, guitar music or applause. The gabby religious talk-show host style of priest is gone. In his place, a priest who does his business quietly, a workmanlike sculptor. By directing the priest toward the drama at the altar, the old Mass opens up space for our own prayer and contemplation.

In the years after Pope Benedict liberalized the old rite, parishes began to bring back the mystical tones of Gregorian chant, the sacred polyphony written by long-dead composers like Orlando Lassus and Thomas Tallis as well as contemporary composers like Nicholas Wilton and David Hughes.

These cultural offshoots of the Latin Mass are why, after Vatican II, the English novelists Agatha Christie and Nancy Mitford and other British cultural luminaries sent a letter to Pope Paul VI asking that it continue. Their letter doesn’t even pretend to be from believing Christians. “The rite in question, in its magnificent Latin text, has also inspired a host of priceless achievements in the arts — not only mystical works, but works by poets, philosophers, musicians, architects, painters and sculptors in all countries and epochs. Thus, it belongs to universal culture as well as to churchmen and formal Christians.”

But the Vatican Council had called for a revision of every aspect of the central act of worship, so the altar rails, tabernacles and baldachins were torn up in countless parishes. This ferment was accompanied by radical new theologies around the Mass. A freshman religious studies major would know that revising all the vocal and physical aspects of a ceremony and changing the rationale for it constitutes a true change of religion. Only overconfident Catholic bishops could imagine otherwise.

The most candid progressives agreed with the radical traditionalists that the council constituted a break with the past. [I recall that Karl Rahner thought it was the most important event since the Council of Jerusalem.] They called Vatican II “a new Pentecost” — an “Event” — that had given the church a new self-understanding. They believed their revolution had been stalled in 1968 when Pope Paul VI issued “Humanae Vitae,” affirming the church’s opposition to artificial contraception, and then put it on ice in 1978 with the election of Pope John Paul II.

To stamp out the old Latin Mass, Pope Francis is using the papacy in precisely the way that progressives once claimed to deplore: He centralizes power in Rome, usurps the local bishop’s prerogatives and institutes a micromanaging style that is motivated by paranoia of disloyalty and heresy. Perhaps it’s to protect his deepest beliefs.

Pope Francis envisions that we will return to the new Mass. My children cannot return to it; it is not their religious formation. Frankly, the new Mass is not their religion. [What an incredibly sad thing to read. I am right now pondering the amazing grace I was given to have come into the Faith and the Church at St. Agnes in St. Paul, MN during the pastorate of Msgr. Richard Schuler.   But so many Catholics had simply to suffer the lunacy of the 60’s-90’s without any relief, not even a decently celebrated Novus Ordo Mass.  It is incredible that people still go to Mass at all in some places.] In countless alterations, the belief that the Mass was a real sacrifice and that the bread and wine, once consecrated, became the body and blood of our Lord was downplayed or replaced in it. With the priest facing the people, the altar was severed from the tabernacle. The prescribed prayers of the new Mass tended never even to refer to that structure anymore as an altar but as the Lord’s table. The prayers that pointed to the Lord’s real presence in the sacrament were conspicuously replaced with ones emphasizing the Lord’s spiritual presence in the assembled congregation.

The prayers of the traditional Mass emphasized that the priest was re-presenting the same sacrifice Christ made at Calvary, one that propitiated God’s wrath at sin and reconciled humanity to God. The new Mass portrayed itself as a narrative and historical remembrance of the events recalled in Scripture, and the offering and sacrifice was not of Christ, but of the assembled people, as the most commonly used Eucharistic prayer in the new Mass says, “from age to age you gather a people to Thyself, in order that from east to west a perfect offering may be made.”

For Catholics, how we pray shapes what we believe. [And vice versa.] The old ritual physically aims us toward an altar and tabernacle. In that way it points us to the cross and to heaven as the ultimate horizon of man’s existence. By doing so, it shows that God graciously loves us and redeems us despite our sins. And the proof is in the culture this ritual produces. Think of Mozart’s great rendition of faith in the Eucharist: “Ave Verum Corpus” (Hail True Body).

The new ritual points us toward a bare table, and it consistently posits the unity of humankind as the ultimate horizon of our existence. In the new Mass, God owes man salvation, because of the innate dignity of humanity. Where there was faith, now presumption. Where there was love, now mere affirmation, which is indistinguishable from indifference. It inspires weightless ditties like “Gather Us In.” Let’s sing about us!

I believe the practice of the new Mass forms people to a new faith: To become truly Christian, one must cease to be Christian at all. Where the new faith is practiced with a zealous spirit — as in Germany now — bishops and priests want to conform the religion’s teaching to the moral norms of the nonbelieving society around them. When the new faith was young, after the council, it expressed itself in tearing up the statues, the ceremonies and religious devotions that existed before.

I don’t know if bishops will adopt Francis’ zeal to crush the Latin Mass. I don’t know how painful they are willing to make our religious life. If they do, they will create — or reveal — more division in the church. The old slogan of the traditional Latin Mass movement comes to mind: We resist you to the face.

I have faith that one day, even secular historians will look upon what was wrought after Vatican II and see it for what it was: the worst spasm of iconoclasm in the church’s history — dwarfing the Byzantine iconoclasm of the ninth century and the Protestant Reformation.

Pope Benedict had temporarily allowed us to begin repairing the damage. What Pope Francis proposes with his crackdown is a new cover-up.

Michael Brendan Dougherty, a senior writer at National Review and a visiting fellow for the social, cultural and constitutional studies division at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of “My Father Left Me Ireland: An American Son’s Search for Home.”

I am interested in your reactions to this.

Meanwhile, become a CUSTOS!  HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JMody says:

    This scratches on one of the issues that I think really needs to be part of the forefront now –> less than 20% of the 1962 Mass survived in the 1969 Mass. And yet, while SC said that there was to be an immediate revision, no change was to made unless it was clearly for the good of the faithful. Oh really? All that removal was for my benefit? Exactly how?

    The comparison to the Iconoclast heresy is appropriate, because that’s exactly what it is. I’ve said before that I fear we are in the century of abuse from Pope Leo XIII’s vision.

  2. RobinDeLage says:

    That really says it all.

    We can only hope that some future council will anathematize the errors taught these past few generations. May they also boldly and clearly reaffirm the faith given us by Our Blessed Lord.

  3. Elizabeth D says:

    I greatly object to him saying it’s a different religion. Yes, different words say something different. That doesn’t make it a different religion. I’m deeply grateful to have had both forms of the Mass available to me. I am entirely convinced that having both forms, AND having the Novus Ordo not just in vernacular languages (I also see benefit in going to Spanish Mass, though it isn’t my language) but in Latin, has afforded me a significantly greater understanding of the Mass than any of the options all by itself. To me, it is the same religion. But there’s lots of value in having the diverse Mass options. I think it’s beneficial for all Catholics to be exposed to all of them, supposing each is celebrated worthily and appropriately, and only appropriate sacred music. I think it genuinely is NOT a good idea for parents in the US who prefer Mass in any particular language or format to not familiarize their children with correctly celebrated Novus Ordo Mass in English. And, being able to say or sing together in Latin the parts of the Mass that pertain to us (lay Faithful) is ordered by Vatican II so I do think that should be part of everyone’s liturgical education.

  4. Dan says:

    After having some time to consider this document for a while I have become of two minds regarding it.
    Publicly, to most people I say, that unless a bishop does not have a pastoral bone in his body (of which there will be several) this document really does not present a change for most people who attend the Traditional Latin Mass. Most bishops will let continue what has been going on in their diocese, the SSPX will continue to claim extraordinary jurisdiction (now more clearly than ever) and life will continue. I tell people that this document has more to do with the Novus Ordo than the Traditional Mass. That Vatican II asked that all the faithful be able to know and make all the LATIN responses, that ad orientum is the assumed posture of the priest, that Gregorian chant is to be given pride of place and that extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should be used in limited to no situations. I tell people that because of those things the faithful, in most dioceses, are forced to attend the TLM because it is the ONLY place that the liturgical directives of Vatican II are being faithfully carried out. I say that our previous popes were prepared to patiently allow the old form to inform the new until they reached a natural balance and that this pope, who clearly struggles with patience and anger issues, wants to take a more direct approach to correcting the errors of interpretation of the novus ordo.
    I say that publicly…. Privately I increasingly think that is wishful thinking. I lean more to the belief that Francis is intentionally creating a schism in the Church. What seemed before as a move of generosity granting (ordinaryish) faculties to SSPX priests to witness marriages and hear confessions seems in fact to be part of a longer game, a setup. Francis has created unity in that those priests who had previously accepted a deal to continue tradition (FSSP) are now being welcomed back to SSPX with open arms. In fact in many dioceses where those Bishops reside who wouldn’t know what pastoral means if it came up and bit them on the …. traditional Catholics will flock to the SSPX who with true pastoral concern for the salvation of souls will welcome them with open arms.
    It is at this point where my fear lies. That Francis, after having generously reached out to the SSPX through the granting of faculties, now after having issued Tradionis Custodes, will claim that the SSPX is in fact a refuge for those dissident Catholics claiming to follow the “true church” at which point he will formally declare them and those that sympathize with them, the FSSP, and eventually anyone who desires the Mass of all ages as formally in schism. In reality the pope in doing this will in fact have actually declared himself in schism with the Catholic Church and apostolic tradition. What happens then?
    I pray and hope that my first and public response is the true one.

  5. Cornelius says:

    This is the best non-technical description of the defects of the new rite I’ve ever read. And he’s totally right: Mr. Bergoglio has radicalized people (myself included) as JPII and/or BXVI never did.

  6. MB says:

    I was a member of a Latin Mass parish for about 3 years, and I left a few months ago. Since you asked, these would be my observations.

    First, if you’re going to claim that the Latin Mass is “better” than the NO Mass, then you’d better be willing to back up that claim with some evidence. Judge a tree by it’s fruit, yes? Are people who attend (or preside at) the Latin Mass more kind, more patient, more loving, more gentle (peaceful, joyful, modest, self-controlled – you see where I’m going with this?)? In my experience, no. I found them to be very arrogant, quick to give advice, quick to lecture you on how much they knew, but very slow to listen, and slow to welcome.

    The other thing that bothers me about the Latin Mass is that as humans we are so inclined to make up rules for everything. Think of the Olympics, every hair-brained sport that we invent comes with a whole plethora of rules to govern it. You have to do it ‘this’ way and not ‘that’ way. I was listening to my pastor give a series of podcasts about the Latin Mass, and he went into great detail about how this gesture dates to the 13th century, and this to the 12th, and this to the 14th century … and I began to see the Latin Mass more as a snowball of things that we picked up and couldn’t put down again. I kept asking myself, “Wow, is all this really necessary?” Take for example the gesture where the altar boys lift the priest’s vestments during the transubstantiation – I understand that there was a time when the vestments contained jewels and were very heavy, but it’s not that way anymore. Why do they still do that? Is it just because it was done that way once, and now it has to be that way forevermore? Isn’t that kind of a problem? Are we just making up liturgical rules so we can look down on other people for not knowing them? Beware of asking these questions to a Latin Mass aficionado by the way – they’re liking to yell at you for a good long while.

    Lastly, I love how everyone promises that all these beautiful things will happen in your spiritual life if you start attending the Latin Mass. Your prayer life will deepen, it transform you as a person. Well, what if that doesn’t happen? It’s kind of like making a promise that you’re not around to keep. Oops, that’s right, I forgot, I don’t matter.

    In the end I think what Pope Francis doesn’t like is that Latin Mass communities tend to be bastions of conservatism, and we can’t have that. Honestly, I don’t think the Latin really has anything to do with it.

    [You need to read this.]

    Nothing Superfluous: An Explanation of the Symbolism of the Rite of St. Gregory the Great US HERE UK HERE

  7. Jim Dorchak says:

    I believe that he captures the essence of our time in the Church from the perception of a Latin Mass lover.
    We miss the Mass here in Chile. Any Mass. We have none.
    Dear Lord Jesus even the dogs eat the scraps from the plates of Children. Please bring back ANY Mass for us devout here in the South of Chile.

  8. TonyO says:

    Mr. Dougherty’s comments have a great deal of truth to them, but ultimately I fear that he has overstated the case a bit.

    While it is true that it is difficult to find a Novus Ordo mass that is said well and beautifully, and that is doctrinally sound in general as well as in its particulars, the fact that there are some such NO masses suggest that it’s not a different religion so much as a different RITE. Similar things can be said from the fact that there are saints who assisted at mass at the Novus Ordo for years (or decades) and managed to do so without screaming “torture” at the imposition, e.g. Saint Josemaria Escriva, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Surely these saints could not abandon the true mass for a false religion and remain saints.

    The comparison to the Iconoclast heresy is brilliant. Dougherty exaggerates a bit in claiming this current issue (as regards the TLM) “dwarfs” the iconoclasm of the 9th century and the Protestant revolt, but he is on to something. In the current crisis, the iconoclastic urge of Francis’s TC runs right alongside of other heresies, including Modernism, and the combination of all these ills is bringing down the entire civilization, not just the Church. In the 4th and 5th century, internal political corrumption and external Huns and Goths brought down the Roman Empire in the West, but left the Church more or less intact because the Church was part of neither. This time it looks like Iconoclasm and Modernism are bringing down western civilization both civilly and ecclesiastically, because these are working INSIDE of the Church and civil society equally.

  9. Kenneth Wolfe says:

    It is NOT EASY to get an op-ed (or “guest essay” as they now call it) in the New York Times. What a beautiful thing for this to be published. Michael definitely gets the gold medal this year for the best mainstream media placement possible. The piece is outstanding — and is now speaking to millions upon millions of people. The unintended Francis Effect keeps on giving!

  10. floydf says:

    I am in full agreement with the original posting about returning to the NO and the Different Religion.

    My wife and I entered the Catholic Church in 1985. We left an Episcopal world which was trying to be more Catholic than the Catholics and entered a Catholic Church trying to be not Catholic at all. Eventually, we migrated to an Ordinariate parish.

    Post-COVID, for the past year and a little change, we are attending an FSSP parish, with the TLM.

    Maybe for me the most striking difference is in the ratio between people going to confession and those going to communion. At the TLM, there are lots and lots of people going to confession, confessions offered constantly, always lines, and still when it comes to go up for communion, there are always a good number of people staying back (including me, during the week; after 2000 years of constant practice, changing the Eucharistic fast to a short 60 minutes don’t stop at McDonalds on the way to church seems really bogus). Every NO parish there’s a miniscule handful of people show up for confession on Saturday afternoon, but hundreds head up for communion on Sunday morning. There wasn’t even a good proportion between the confession numbers and the daily mass numbers.

    These are different religions.

    After watching a Taylor Marshall video with Fr Ripperger, my wife comes in and says we need to get the Catechism of the Council of Trent. Which I found, on the Internet, published by Baronius Press, and which is hands down one of the finest quality books I own. And we have been reading through it.

    They are different religions.

    It’s what we thought we were joining when we joined the Catholic church 40 years ago.

    I purchased and am using the St Andrew missal. It’s a reprint of a 1945 missal. The differences are shocking. It is a completely different liturgy. Especially in the (copious, and very useful) descriptions and comments and devotional aids.

    From my perspective, the hermeneutics of rupture align far better with reality than the hermeneutics of continuity. Which I think aligns with Pope Francis.

    The religion of sin and hell and heaven and commandments and redemption and sacrifice and penance (poor banished children of Eve, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears) is completely different than some paganized everyone gathering in toward some Elysian Valhalla in the sky but don’t hurt Big Mama Earth on the way.

  11. Kathleen10 says:

    No. It’s a different religion. As long as Francis has forced the issue, which did not need forcing, we may as well face it squarely. It’s not the same religion, which explains why the Catholic church and churchmen now seem like hostile strangers to many of us. We don’t recognize these people. When they speak, they speak in strange tongues we can’t decipher anymore. This writer is correct, the TLM is vertical, with soaring chant and hymns that take you right up to God, and what takes place right in front of you on the altar is the representation, the actual act, of Christ offering himself at Calvary, only this time, you are there. All those times we’ve seen tableaus of the crucifixion, and all this time we could have been present at it at every Traditional Latin Mass. We drove by the church never knowing what was happening behind those doors. We drove on to our church where we had big “Renew!” signs out front, and never understood what on earth was being “renewed”. As it turned out, nothing was being renewed.
    As it is now, I no longer belong to the “new church”, if it gets to that point. I do go to confession at our former parish, a place where I love the pastor and the other priests, they offer a reverent Novus Ordo and I appreciate them. They are great confessors as well, but I would never go back, I couldn’t, no matter what. I’ve had the TLM for 7 years now, there is no going back. Somebody has delusions, I don’t know what kind of person insults you, persecutes you, takes away what you love, what you know is your closest link to Christ on earth, and expects you to capitulate and give up the best reason to be in the world at all, your 60 minutes a week in heaven? For what, some false idea of “community”? My neighbors I get plenty of, give me GOD, and Him crucified, me at his feet. With the world the way it is, in total devolution, we need the TLM more than ever. It’s all young families at our TLM. There is no way those young people are going Novus Ordo.
    I know we aren’t. Personally I’ve made some changes as a result of all this heat coming out of Rome. I went to the veil, and I am inviting every young person in our family to go with us to the TLM and a nice lunch afterward. I’m telling as many Catholics as I can about it. The TLM is for everyone, and everyone needs it, whether they know it yet or not. It is too holy to be eliminated, that won’t happen, so I lose no sleep over whatever Rome does. Sorry for this long post.

  12. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Was “We resist you to the face” really the “old slogan of the traditional Latin Mass movement”? Has St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 2:11 and following ever been a Lectio of a Mass? And what of (a handy index to) the Breviary?

    One could imagine a motet, ‘Tu es Paulus, traditionis custos, restitor Cepham reprehensibilem’ (if that’s not too much botcher’s Latin…).

  13. Dan says:

    @TonyO Saint Josemaria Escriva never said anything but the Latin Mass.

  14. prayfatima says:

    Oh happy fault of Francis, which has brought about such an excellent piece in The NY Times! This was very fulfilling to my brain and I plan on reading it again. I imagine many interested people trying to look into where this hidden gem of a Mass might be found? I’d say, look for more attendance at the Masses that shouldn’t be happening. Really, the beautiful Mass is not a well kept secret anymore and we have Francis to thank for that. He doesn’t know that by yelling loudly at people who love the old Mass he’s bringing overdue attention to a group of people who need to be noticed by the sad world. The sad world is longing for purpose, for song, for incense, for love of God. Its about time that others can discover for themselves something that Francis thinks he can keep secret. “Gather them in, the sad worldly people, gather them in and show them your joy!! Gather them in, the quizzical people, show them their God on high!!”

  15. TRW says:

    There is certainly a lot that can be said about both the article and what is going on in the Church these days. In my experience, the Novus Ordo Mass( as it is usually celebrated) seems like a product of the culture. The TLM is otherworldly. The TLM is pointing to a mystery. There is very little in the Novus Ordo Mass that contradicts the zeitgeist. Very little that is mysterious. Granted, if the Novus Ordo Mass was celebrated ad orientum, with incense, Gregorian chant and in Latin, it would certainly be a different animal. For many people, the first time they attend a TLM, it can seem very unfamiliar; and that’s the point! The Novus Ordo Mass feels like something WE are doing. The TLM feels more like something is happening and we are somehow participating in it, but not as the authors of it. Liturgy is not primarily our action. I think that is the point that is becoming more evident as I attend the TLM more frequently. The Mass should be otherworldly because it is pointing to the reality of the heavenly liturgy. The Church and its liturgy need to contradict the world. Why are so many young people attracted to the TLM? Because it is unlike anything else on offer in modern society. Not that it’s a commodity, but even without considering the spiritual realities, the TLM is a beautiful and wonderful spectacle. People living in a world chock-full of banal entertainment and so much cultural noise are hungry for mystery, depth, silence and substance.

  16. mpa says:

    An excellent essay. I am surprised it was published in Hell’s Bible. I wonder if they are beginning to be a little weary of Francis.

    “Pope Francis envisions that we will return to the new Mass. My children cannot return to it; it is not their religious formation. Frankly, the new Mass is not their religion.” — I was particularly struck by this. Having lived within the walls of the FSSP for a few years, I cannot imagine returning to the howling waste outside. Maybe I could handle it, for a while, but I’ll never put my children’s faith to that kind of risk again, if I can possibly help it.

    I am convinced that the Novus Ordo is a valid Mass. I’ve seen it done well (particularly by Opus Dei, ad orientem). I’ve seen good Novus Ordo churches. Yet though I know it is valid, I can no longer accept that it has been a good thing for the Church. And I can no longer ignore the very powerful and determined people who, to all appearances, are using the Novus Ordo to build something which is not Catholic.

    Soon, they will lay the last few bricks of their new faith, and they will call it Catholicism. I say with tears that many people will believe them. But by the grace of God, we will not, and they will do everything they can to destroy us, because the existence of even the last few of us is an affront to them. And if they do not repent, they will share the fate of all of the unrepentant persecutors of the Bride of Christ throughout the ages.

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  18. Simon_GNR says:

    A very good article by Mr Dougherty. I broadly agree with what he says. I am coming round to the view that many of the hierarchy immediately after Vatican II set about creating a new religion that might be called “Spirit of Vatican Two-ism” and the changes to the liturgy were useful tools in bringing into existence that new sect.

    I do however, believe that the Mass of the 1970 Missal is valid, and that using it does not necessarily create an irreparable rupture with past tradition. Perhaps the writer could have mentioned that the Novus Ordo can be said in Latin, and that – sadly rarely – NO Masses *can* be reverent, inspiring and uplifting, provided Eucharistic Prayer I (the Roman Canon) is used, with all the lists of popes, saints, virgins and martyrs included.

    It’s looking like Pope Francis’s latest motu proprio is being rejected by many of the faithful and being either effectively ignored by some bishops or implemented in such a way that in many places the use of the Usus Antiquior can continue much as before, Deo gratias.

  19. PostCatholic says:

    If so many people view the 1962 missal as a different religion from the post-Vatican II Mass, that would seem to me why the Pope and his curia have decided to restrict it.

    [How many are “so many”?]

  20. WVC says:

    “Pope Francis envisions that we will return to the new Mass. My children cannot return to it; it is not their religious formation. Frankly, the new Mass is not their religion.“

    On the nose. 100%, no questions asked, ON THE NOSE!!

  21. Fr. Reader says:

    Interesting article written from the heart, but not very deep.
    Particularly, I find a bit superficial this criticism: “sacrifice was not of Christ, but of the assembled people, (…) “from age to age you gather a people to Thyself, in order that from east to west a perfect offering may be made.””, both because of the scriptural origin of this phrase and the meaning of the Church as “Ecclesia”.
    Perhaps I lack more background.

  22. Mike says:

    I think this article is a little over the top. I side the Dame Alice Von Hildebrand–the NO is an “impoverished rite” but the Lord is still there. Here in the DC area, I am impressed with the quality of the priests in the parishes. One parish I’ve been going to daily has confessions after Mass Monday thru Saturday. Some days only a few line up; other days quite a lot. Just the other day I was in line. The priest was great, gave me sound advice, and Absolution!! A different religion? No, but a poorer presentation of the one, true religion? Sure.

  23. mburn16 says:

    I will respond to a comment above:

    “Judge a tree by it’s fruit, yes? Are people who attend (or preside at) the Latin Mass more kind, more patient, more loving, more gentle (peaceful, joyful, modest, self-controlled – you see where I’m going with this?)”

    Are they more prayerful, devout, faithful to the teachings of the faith? Do they more regularly attend mass, instruct their children in the catechism, refrain from immoral conduct, get married, form families, donate to the parish, etc?

    Allow me to suggest, that if we are going to judge a tree by its fruits, we first need to establish what the preferred fruits are. Allow me to further suggest that they should be the fruits reflective of a people who believe they will stand before an all-knowing judge to receive an eternal verdict for their conduct in their Earthly lives, rather than those that reflect the woodstock washup, hippie Jesus we’ve been subject to for the last 60 years.

  24. Julia_Augusta says:

    I agree with the author that the NO is a different religion. It’s not Catholicism. When I came back to the Catholic Church in 2017 after 40 years away, I had to reread the Catechism of the Catholic Church so I used Pope Pius X’s catechism in the beginning to get up to speed, plus Father Deharbe’s Complete Catechism of the Catholic Church. I have been reading Father Spirago’s The Catechism Explained. I also bought The New Roman Missal by Father Lasance (1945) and it’s different even from the 1962 Missal. Not the same religion. Of course the NO may attempt argue that those old dead priests had the wrong religion.

  25. Son of Saint Alphonsus says:

    Two things. I’m not sure why people constantly feel the need to talk about the validity of Montini’s Mass. It is a valid though contrived and deficient Mass. The Eucharist is confected and the Sacrifice is offered. I’ve rarely heard any “trad” say otherwise except those from some fringe group who have effectively separated themselves from the Mystical Body. To assume that is the “trad” view is a gross generalization.

    Secondly, the post Vatican II religion is very different from what preceded it for almost two thousand years, though it’s more the result of the “spirit” of Vatican II than the Council itself. It is, in effect, a new Protestant religion. I lived through those anni horribili. I’ve been dealing with the trauma ever since. Bergoglio and his henchmen have made it abundantly clear that it is a new religion. Everything Bergoglio has written is replete with beliefs that before Vatican II would have been condemned as heretical and therefore are heretical since Truth cannot change. He is either a heretic or pre-Vatican II Catholicism was heretical. If you believe otherwise please do the hard work of critical comparison of the two based in authoritative scholarly texts before saying otherwise. If you dare. Because you won’t come out of it unscathed.

  26. Semper Gumby says:

    “I believe the practice of the new Mass forms people to a new faith.”

    Yes, a dog’s breakfast of Groovy Me, Freemasonry, Socialism, Bergoglio Personality Cult, Cromwell-style Iconoclasm and Gnosticism.

    Here is Bergoglio last week: “the encounter with Jesus is more important than all of the commandments.”

    No. John 14:15.

    At the rate the Vatican is paganizing, seminarians will soon be required to hang out at airports banging on tambourines, begging money to pay the Vatican’s debts.

    “Today, [the TLM] is celebrated in thriving parishes, full of young families.”

    Which is a big problem for the Vatican- they are angry and afraid about Catholics being Catholic. Most bishops are gutless wonders concerned for their next promotion. They would rather be complicit in the abuse of Catholic families and children than resist a Vatican straying further into evil.

    The Bugnini Liturgy is dead for myself and others. Non possumus.

    On the plus side, it’s good the regime in Rome has declared themselves the Enemy- there’s no hiding it now under slick PR campaigns. And St. Peter’s, if it’s still standing, requires re-consecration someday.

  27. Danteewoo says:

    Francis is attempting to do what Paul VI succeeded in doing. And Paul has been canonized. Tell me why I should pay attention to what the Vatican says or does.

  28. Semper Gumby says:

    Dan wrote: “Vatican II asked that all the faithful be able to know and make all the LATIN responses, that ad orientum is the assumed posture of the priest, that Gregorian chant is to be given pride of place and that extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should be used in limited to no situations. I tell people that because of those things the faithful, in most dioceses, are forced to attend the TLM because it is the ONLY place that the liturgical directives of Vatican II are being faithfully carried out.”

    Good point. It’s time to interrogate the hierarchy to determine if they, not faithful TLM Catholics, accept Vatican II.

  29. Verygrateful1 says:

    Here are my main datapoints in one of the very biggest U.S. metro areas, which is famously liberal:

    1) The best Mass available to me, I believe, is a NO said by the seemingly holiest, hardest working and bravest priest I have encountered, who speakes the whole truth from the pulpit, offers Confession very frequently, says Mass facing ad orientum, leads flock in the Divine Mercy Chaplette after the last mass every day, and whose flock kneels and mostly receives on the tongue.

    2) The next best option is a parish that specializes in the Latin mass but also says exceptionally reverant NO. The have 7 priests, about 4 seminarians, about 8 bros and postulants, a lot of big, home-schooled families, and many other serious Catholics.

    But they are timid from the pulpit usually, a few of the priests are heterodox, and they have tended to be slow in getting up to speed on church controversy.

  30. JerseyCatholic says:

    To be honest, he lost me at “haters of John Paul II.”

  31. ex seaxe says:

    These two pieces are quite well known, but the point is that before the changes Low Mass, at least in England, was much more important pastorally than High Mass. Elaborate, graceful and engaging ceremony is not the heart of Mass, that lies in the Canon.

    I am now old but I was young when I was received into the Church. I was not at all attracted by the splendour of her great ceremonies – which the Protestants could well counterfeit. Of the extraneous attractions of the Church which drew me most was the spectacle of the priest and his server at low Mass, stumping up to the altar without a glance to discover how many or how few he had in his congregation; a craftsman and his apprentice; a man with a job he alone was qualified to do. That is the Mass I have grown to know and love. (E Waugh; August 1964; Letter to the Catholic Herald)

    At home it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday … (a demonstration of the Missa Normativa) we would soon be left with a congregation of mostly women and children. Or people love the Mass but it is Low Mass without psalm-singing and other musical embellishments to which they are chiefly attached. (Cardinal Heenan; October 1967; Intervention at the Synod of Bishops)

  32. JerseyCatholic says: he lost me at “haters of John Paul II.”

    Yeah… disturbing. John Paul II was not a perfect Pope. He made mistakes, bad ones. Among them was one that really set some people’s teeth on edge: kissing a Koran… the Assisi debacle. He made some really bad appointment of Cardinals and bishops. He omitted doing some things that he ought to have. He contributed to the development of a kind of “rock star” view of popes. All that said, he was a titanic figure in the 20th c., and his manifest suffering was moving. “Hate” JP2? I sure hope that he was just using a rhetorical flourish, but I fear that that is indeed the case for some.

  33. Mike says:

    About this fruits things and the TLM: look, in my experience, folks at the Traditional Mass may have their emotional lives a little more in check than the oh so nice but I’m on my second marriage guy at a NO; or maybe it’s this: our culture loves niceness. I’m not saying kindness isn’t a part of charity, but when I go to the TLM I know the old crusty guys passing around the basket aren’t there to make me feel good about myself. And I’m fine with that.

    I’m there for another reason. As are they.

  34. WVC says:

    @MB and @PostCatholic and any others concerned with the “fruit” of the Latin Mass communities being bad – remind me, again, how many of the priests and bishops guilty of sexual abuse came from those communities over the last 3 decades or so? I feel like there was something about being concerned about a beam in one’s eye before worrying about other stuff . . .

  35. WVC says:

    @JerseyCatholic – I suspect that a lot of JP2 haters are less about the man himself and more about a backlash against the JP2 adulators who, for decades, have refused to acknowledge that anything JP2 did or said can be considered anything other than saintly and praiseworthy.

  36. WVC says:

    Having just read the first chapter of St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, I think it’s terribly applicable to Traditionis Custodis.

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  38. L. says:

    I wish I knew the Latin for “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

  39. olivia says:

    Is there a book written on the “proper” post Vatican II NO Mass? I hear so many different examples of what the Mass was supposed to look like versus what we have. Is there someone who taken the documents and presented a depiction of what the NO was supposed to look like? I would be inteserested in educating my family.

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  41. WVC says:

    @olivia – that’s a good question. I’m curious what others answer with. I’m not aware of anything comprehensive or technical that’s focused on the Novus Ordo outside of the rubrics themselves. There are books, like Cardinal Ratzinger’s “Spirit of the Liturgy,” that provide a holistic review of the Mass. By the same token, the Traditional Latin Mass would be a good benchmark to compare with – the more similar a NO Mass is with the Traditional Mass the better sounds like a reasonable standard.

    One of the intrinsic problems with the NO Mass is there are simply an absurd amount of legitimate options. It’s as if one were doing multiple choice liturgy. You can attend two NO Masses, offered in earnest and reverently, in the same city and they be fairly different. Different Eucharistic Prayers, different choices with the readings (who, on earth, came up with the idea of “optional” parts of the readings?), different introits . . . etc. One priest might, legitimately, be offering the NO ad orientem while the other might not. One might have altar girls while the other might not And we’re just scratching the surface – the number of options can truly be bewildering.

    Even beyond that, though, I used to believe in the “mutual enrichment” strategy which I understood to basically mean “may the strengths of the Old Mass fill in the gaps and weakness of the New Mass over time,” but I’ve started to have my doubts. Even something as small and simple as how the altar boys behave on the altar is so different it’s hard not to come away with the “these are just two different religions” thought. I will personally vouch that altar boys in the Traditional Mass are FAR from being saintly, but at least they’ve been trained that every time they pass in front of the tabernacle they stop, face it, and genuflect. At the NO Masses, the altar boys (and priests) just give a little bow in the direction of the tabernacle. If one is at a parish that offers both, one can see the exact same altar boy bow in front of the same tabernacle at the NO Mass and then next Sunday genuflect in front of that tabernacle at the Traditional Mass. It comes across as very schizophrenic to the casual observer.

  42. “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

    How about…

    Verbera imponentur donec fit melior animorum habitus.

  43. Ariseyedead says:

    I’m an engineer not a theologian, but it seems to me to be overly easy to say that the Novus Ordo is the liturgy of a new religion, that is, not the true Catholic Faith. It is often said, but never defined. It’s like how so many different flavors of Protestants claim that the Catholic Church became corrupted some time between the death of the last apostle and the Reformation, but cannot agree on when that infamous event actually occurred. Most Catholics that make that claim that Novus Ordo represents a new religion seem to support it by their own interpretation of the texts of the Novus Ordo. However, I find it unconvincing that what the Novus Ordo says imprecisely, incompletely and awkwardly, what it chooses to emphasize and what it omits to be prima facie evidence that it espouses a religion other than the Catholic Faith especially as interpreted by hostile parties.
    The Novus Ordo is a liturgical experiment that isn’t working out too well. It’s time for the experiment to come to an end.

  44. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Olivia & WVC,

    Indeed, I wish I knew a book like that with a handy overview, too… My guess (under correction) is that it would be a High Mass all in Latin making use of the Graduale Triplex and the Offertoriale Triplex and the Missale Romanum cum lectionibus ad usum fidelium (available online at Corpus Christi Watershed since 7 November 2013, with the help of Dr. Peter Kwasniewski), ad orientem (facing the apse, or the more difficult sort of ad orientem where the altar is in the west and the priest or bishop must look east along the length of the nave and facing the people, as at St. Peter’s Basilica), served by men and boys and with a male schola (unless in a nunnery – or with a mixed choir if a polyphonic Ordinary were sung where no boy sopranos and altos or countertenors were available?).

    For whatever reason, bowing rather than genuflecting seems to have been ‘borrowed back’ (or whatever) from such Usus as that of Sarum, ordered by St. Pius V to continue in use – Usus themselves derived from the Roman Rite.

  45. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Olivia & WVC,

    Following up a bit, Father John Hunwicke has a fascinating post on 20 August in which he writes “the Second Vatican Council was not the cause of the liturgical disasters which followed it. (In fact, I strongly suspect that the Conciliar Decree on Liturgy represented, not an encouragement to irresponsible ‘reforms’, so much as a modest attempt to rein things back.)”

  46. WVC says:

    @Venerator Sti Lot

    Yes – if you actually read the Vatican II document on the liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), it’s impossible for any reasonable person to conclude that the Novus Ordo, in its current (and even most reverent) form, was what the Council Fathers desired or what the document prescribed. There are many good scholars who have written many good and recent books on the subject (like Prof. Kwasniewski), but it was Michael Davies and his lectures and books that first opened my eyes to much of the disparity between what the Council called for and what actually happened.

    That being said, Vatican II’s documents are not without their share of curiosities.

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