From Rome: “total war against the faith of our ancestors”

An old phrase, I believe attributed to Trotsky, says that you might not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

This is proving to be true, as members of the hierarchy in Rome, close to and at the summits of power, wage war on Catholics who want to participate in the Vetus Ordo, the Roman Mass and celebration of rites.

At Crisis there is a very good piece about the situation facing traditionally minded Catholics.   War.

To cut to the chase, the writer ends with something that I suggested strongly today in my fervorino.  I suggested that, asking St. Thomas to guide us and asking our Guardian Angel to protect us from distractions of the Enemy, we might for a few minutes at least simply look at the wound in the side of Christ on a Crucifix.  Richard of St. Victor said that Thomas looked through the visible wound and saw the invisible wound of love.  That brought forth from him the cry, “Dominus meus et Deus meus!”

At Crisis, the writer suggests something along these lines.

At first he describes the status quaestionis… the situation as it is here and now: war.  You, we, and that includes faithful Catholics who do not usually attend the Vetus Ordo, are being warred upon.   Hence, we have to decide what we are going to do.

These days, it is tempting to turn to the more extreme blogs or videos and get ramped up.  I don’t think this blog is nearly qualified to be counted among the most extreme.   As a matter of fact, even as I called a spade and spade, I have recommended that our first response to the cruelty of our hierarchs should be to GO TO CONFESSION and then pray a Memorare everyday for the overturning of Traditionis custodes.  That way you can be a Custos traditionis.. a Guardian of Tradition, starting with confession and prayer.

The writer at Crisis writes about true Catholics having a Catholic sense.  This touches on something that needs greater explication.  This is the sensus fidelium…. the sensus fidei fidelium… the sense of the faith… the sense of the faith of the faithful.   What progressivists, libs, modernists, the papalatrous forget is that you have to have the Faith to have the sense of the Faith.

This is how that Crisis article concludes:

With total war against the faith of our ancestors on the table, there is no time for dissertations and dialogue—we will be on our heels before we have a chance to wait for the response of a Procurator Mandate from Rome.

We will have to decide what to do, sometimes despite what our normal channels of information and guidance will suggest.

Will we go Eastern Rite if possible? What about a private chapel? Are you brave enough to bear the brunt of bickering talking heads who decide how many percentage points of communion your priests enjoy? Whatever happens, it will not be easy, and no one can make the decision but you.

Before you decide—if the moment does in fact come—I recommend doing exactly what the heroic souls who followed Athanasius did as he bellowed, “They may have the churches, but we have the faith!”

It is not necessary to open any books, or blogs, or apps.

Emulate the unknown saints of the past. Kneeling in front of an Icon or lying prostrate in front of a Tabernacle will teach you more about what a Catholic ought to do in times like this than anything I or anyone else could ever write.

God gave us a Catholic sense for a reason—and exactly for times like these.

Having absorbed that, go to the article and read his reasons for saying that we are now at war.

He is right.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Pingback: From Rome: “total war against the faith of our ancestors” – Via Nova Media

  2. Elizabeth D says:

    Considering how many TLMs are at parishes that also have the Novus Ordo, and celebrated by priests who celebrate both forms of the Roman rite, it wouldn’t make sense to claim that the parish is now doctrinally suspect and “doesn’t have the Faith” if the TLM is banned. It makes no sense to me to ban it, but the same Faith is held if the same people attend the Novus Ordo at the same parish, without a discontinuity of community. I understanding seeing the TLM as a treasure to be valued and to resist its banning, I understand being aesthetically distressed by many Novus Ordo Masses that aren’t as helpful for prayer, I do not understand seeing it as almost a different religion. The idea of needing to go join some wholly other community seems to play into that narrative. Who needs true Catholic believers more than the parishes that have only 50% of wishy washy people who actually believe in the Real Presence? Evangelize.

  3. summorumpontificum777 says:

    Elizabeth D says, “The idea of needing to go join some wholly other community seems to play into that narrative.” I only speak for myself. I don’t see the Novus Ordo as a different religion. It’s Catholic, but I do consider it to be just about as different from the TLM as it is different from Byzantine-rite Catholicism. With all due respect, your mentality is similar to that of the bishops who long failed to understand why the Ukrainians etc in their diocese wanted to worship their traditional rites. If the bishop shuts down the Byzantine rite, would you really consider it unreasonable if Byzantine practitioners “go join some wholly other community” rather than simply submitting to the bishop and crying uncle? I go to diocesan TLM at a regular parish. I like my parish but if it loses the TLM, I will go elsewhere. So be it if I’m “playing into narrative” by not simply throwing up my arms in despair and saying, “Okay, Pope Francis, you and your Roche Clips win. I’ll abandon what I love out of my loyalty and obedience to you.”

  4. WVC says:

    @Elizabeth D

    After having lived 20 years eating sirloin steak, and feeding my children that same steak so that we have all grown strong and are bearing some very heavy burdens with what grace we can muster, you now want me and my children to go back to eating nothing but Mac n’ Cheese from a box?

    Not possible.

  5. JGavin says:

    Those making war on the Traditional rite will find themselves the authors of schism, apostasy and heresy. I would not be surprised if people seek out the sedevacantists or, organize in such a way as to seek out or form a group placing themselves under the Patriarch of Constantinople.( Western Orthodox) Some may leave (and many have) seeking solace in heretical groups. Some may give up and leave and stop practicing any faith.
    Whatever the intentions or words of the Council, since I have not read them, but it is often pointed out that what was said and what was implemented are two different things, the devastation wrought by its implementation are quite visible.
    Two things come to mind, ” You shall know the tree by is fruits”. We all know who said that. The fruits here seemingly being apathy, apostasy, heresy and schism. As someone trained in Science, how do you justify trudging along the same path while Seminaries close, people fall away, there are few priests and no religious. Schools have vanished. You can only justify this if you work for the other side.

  6. Danteewoo says:

    About a hundred and ten years ago in here in Denver, the bishop decided that he couldn’t tolerate a married Eastern Rite priest and excommunicated him. That parish, once Catholic, went Orthodox and it is still Orthodox today. And another Orthodox parish grew out of it.

  7. Lurker 59 says:

    @Elizabeth D

    Flipping your pondering around a bit, the fact that a parish has a TLM makes that parish doctrinally suspect for Pope Francis, TC, Roach, and co. It is not just about the liturgy but how the liturgy impacts the creedal affirmation of the people and to what ends the people strive to lead their lives.

    To get to brass tacks about it, does Pope Francis think that either TLMer or hermeneutic of continuity NOers have the same faith as him? Look at what TC and Roach are saying.

    And given that answer, should TLMers or hermeneutic of continuity NOers affirm him or oppose him?

    That is the devil’s bind in this.

  8. Tantum Ergo says:

    There’s still Canon 87 which provides an escape hatch for bishops who don’t implement TC.

  9. WVC says:

    @Tantum Ergo

    I’m getting the sinking feeling that some (perhaps many) of the more timid bishops were actually waiting for this Dubia to come out so they could point to it as an excuse for caving in. “I WANT to be nice and accommodating to you all, but you see that the guidance is very clear and I have to be obedient so too bad for y’all, but come join us with the Ordinary Form and you’ll be just fine.”

    These timid bishops are so afraid of confrontation, either with Rome or with their own sheep, that they constantly want to appeal to higher authorities to justify their own behavior and absolve them of any culpability. We saw this with COVID, too, and the shuttering of their churches by local governments with nary a peep of protest. Perhaps this is the result of a generation of bishops growing up under the “National Council of bishops” construct, where they’ve been trained to pretend that they have no say so in the goings-on within their own diocese.

    Pace Imrahil, the verse about the lukewarm comes again to my mind.

  10. Joe says:

    Father, when did the Memorare change from kneeling to standing before Our Blessed Mother? I use the pre VII version.

    [Ummm… “ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto“.]

  11. Lurker 59 says:

    @Tantum Ergo, et. al.

    Can. 87 isn’t a safe harbor. All it takes to eighty-six Can. 87 is to append somewhere “Dispensations from TC are reserved to the Holy See”. That will probably be in the document that guts the communities formally handled by Ecclesia Dei, or the subsequent document that handles the proper application of TC and the before mentioned future document.

    In warfare, you target around a safe zone that you are trying to flush enemy combatants into before carpet bombing it with prejudice. No one is going to win a fight with the supreme legislative, executive, and judicial power of the Pope by using Canon Law. It might buy time, but it also indicates who the tall poppies are.

  12. Not says:

    From a Church Bulletin year 2030
    For those of you who have a nostalgia for the old Novus Ordo Mass, they will be performing one on the third Wednesday of the month in the church basement.
    (guitars and tambourines optional)

  13. Midwest St. Michael says:

    I saw the piece the other day at Crisis. Earlier this year they turned off their combox. Having said that, I have a question about something Mr. Hall writes:

    “Will we go Eastern Rite if possible? What about a private chapel? Are you brave enough to bear the brunt of bickering talking heads who decide how many percentage points of communion your priests enjoy? Whatever happens, it will not be easy, and no one can make the decision but you.”

    So, if a Catholic decides to flee their N.O. parish to assist at a weekend Mass at a “private chapel” does this make said Catholic disobedient to the Apostolic See? Is this an example of “the decision” that Mr. Hall says will not be easy? Does this make that Catholic out of communion with Rome and thus puts their salvation in jeopardy?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, and I thank you in advance.

  14. James C says:

    The Bishop of Albany has already implemented the new instructions from the Bergoglian Politburo. In it he tries to be generous by designating several churches in his diocese for celebration of the TLM. But there’s a snag. Each place is subject to the approval of Arthur Roche in Rome! And that permission hasn’t yet been given for any of these churches.

    Oh Pope Francis, the Pope of Collegiality, of Dialogue!

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  16. Elizabeth D says:

    If anyone is suggesting that Eastern Rite Catholics unjustly denied the ability to worship in their own rite would be justified in schism, joining an Orthodox community, I cannot agree. I know it happens all too often, and I cannot agree! I truly, deeply believe that the pearl of great price is our communion in the one Church. That simply does not mean that the legitimate varieties of liturgical worship aren’t very valuable. The Byzantine Divine Liturgy celebrated by Eastern Catholics in Full Communion with the Church is part of the patrimony of the universal Church and not only eastern Catholics but in some way all of us are impoverished without it. But to be deprived of that rite (which could happen sometimes through no one’s malice, for instance having to move to a city where it’s inaccessible) is not as serious a loss as to fall out of full Communion. If you are in a situation where your legitimately preferred liturgy is not available, stay in Communion via a liturgy that is in Communion. If you are in a situation in which your native language is not available, stay in Communion, attend a Mass in any language that is available, even a language you don’t understand. If you are in a situation in which the people who go to the Catholic Church in full Communion with the See of St Peter don’t look like you, don’t share your culture, don’t have the same musical tastes, or try to hold your hand during the Our Father, for Charity’s sake, and for your own soul and your family’s souls, do what it takes to be in full Communion with Christ in His Bride and Body the Church.

  17. TonyO says:

    We can no longer avoid the question: to what extent are the rulings in TC (and this most recent move by the cockRoche actually binding on a bishop, a priest, and a lay Catholic? To what extent is a bishop sinning if he refuses to follow one or more items in TC, or the Responsa (these are separate questions! – they are issued under different authority by different persons.) To what extent does a priest sin if he says a TLM mass privately without asking the bishop, or a new priest doing so? To what extent does a lay Catholic who attends such a mass in conflict with the duty to obedience? (My own opinion is that TC and the Responsa present just the kinds of internal incoherencies and topsy-turvy nonsense, plus are based explicitly on verifiably false readings of past events like SP, that distinguishes them as not being “ordinances of reason” (to use St. Thomas’s language) and thus they hold little to no binding authority. But then, I am not a priest or bishop, nor a canon lawyer.)

    Elizabeth D is right in thinking that it is possible to be a good Catholic by assisting mass only at NO masses. But she is wrong in thinking that the Church is perfectly safe and fine going into the future if she allows the current abusers of authority to utterly suppress the Vetus Ordo, precisely because (as Francis implied but applied abusively) we think as we pray, and the remnant of the Vetus Ordo has remained a leavening agent in how we think lo these 50 years since Paul instituted the Novus rite, keeping constant a remembrance of things left unsaid and unthought with the Novus Ordo. Can God preserve his Church even if the old mass is suppressed? Yes, of course He can. But it might end up being a Church numbering only in the hundreds, rather than a billion, if the destroyers in the Vatican succeed.

    Similarly: while the Novus Ordo is not, per se, the mass of some other religion, it is effectively a different rite of mass. Benedict tried to paper over that by trying the expression “ordinary form” and “extraordinary form”, but Francis was – in this at least if in little else – correct in distinguishing the Novus Ordo mass as a different rite. For this is the only practical meaning of his “unique expression blah blah blah”, even though the assertion is in error in other ways besides. It makes no sense to suppress one right of mass on the basis that some other right is a valid rite. The Church doesn’t suppress the Byzantine, Coptic, or Ruthenian rites merely because they are not the Latin rite. While the Pope cannot destroy the Church altogether, he can damage it greatly, and he can cause great damage to the faith of individuals by his actions. We cannot think that these are things to be merely submitted to, if we can (within charity) do something to prevent such results. And if TC and the Responsa are not binding law, then arguably we CAN do some things about it.

  18. WVC says:

    @Elizabeth D – you’ll have to point to how “Full Communion” – an indecipherable and undefined term, is the sole and summit of everything having to do with the Faith. By your construct, if the Holy Father declares bongos, electric guitars, and tambourines to be used at all Masses, which are to be celebrated in the Neocatecheminal Way, using big loafs of leavened bread we pass to each other while sitting, while abolishing all other rights, it would be a greater sin to go to the SSPX parish down the road than to give allegiance to and support the desecration of the liturgy? It’s better to completely sever all communion with the Church of 2,000 years so that we can stay in the good graces of the Church of the hippie dippie 1970s? It’s better for me to take my boys, who have spent hours upon hours practicing and memorizing their Latin prayers to serve at the Latin Mass, and try teach them that the Catholic faith is just intrinsically incoherent because everything they learned and loved is now forbidden and you need to now only serve the English Mass where you’re little more than a glorified book holder?

    I fear you are unintentionally making light of how significant a role the liturgy plays in the life of the Church and in the formation of the faithful while simultaneously giving the Holy Father absolute, utter, supreme, and irresistible authority in a way that I do not believe is historical, justifiable, or reasonable.

  19. Lurker 59 says:


    It seems that the argument that the Responsa is not binding law would due to the way it was issued — any binding that it has is only on the one who asked the questions (so it just binds Roach). TC is not binding because it is internally incoherent, creates confusing and impossible situations, and the Pope doesn’t have that type of authority anyway.

    To whit, doesn’t matter; the will of the Pontiff is clear on the matter and ticky tacking over the law doesn’t matter when the one issuing the law is also the judge where there is no higher court of appeals and he has full control over the means of enforcement. One might buy some time with a friendly bishop 87ing things, but that is just pinning hopes on the next Pontiff cleaning the stables, a heraclean task.

    But the war is engaged and there is only two camps — Going with the will of Pope Francis and destroying TLM. Or Going against the will of Pope Francis and retaining TLM. I have lived in many different areas of the country and have gone to many different parishes — there are two types of licit (and valid) NO masses and everything is stratified between them, 1.) those masses that are “Sprit of VII^tm” and those that retain the most of the historic liturgical. The TMG goes and they will come after the NO with carving knives to excise the “tumor” of tradition. Because that is what they have already done and are doing to the contemplative religious orders (the Religious Orders are always the canary in the coal mine…their health is indicative of the health of the Church).

    We are dealing with a serious question on the matter of religion here: is the Rites of a particular Church the construct of the contemporary Magisterium or is the Magisterium limited as the guardian of the Liturgical Rites by providing authentic interpretation (GIRM, Canon Law, Ritual, etc.)? It is a very similar question to whether the Magisterium is the constructor of scripture or its guardian by providing authentic interpretation (creeds, doctrine, dogma, etc.).

    Beneath this is lurking a really huge pneumatological fight, re: the spirit of the council and Pope Francis’ the mercy^tm.

  20. Chrisc says:

    Elizabeth, I appreciate the appeal to communion over all else. This is great. And I want to agree, so I pose this counter perspective hesitantly:

    There is a problem here. Communion is a two way street. I have zero desire to be out of communion with the Church, and zero desire to renounce the Church’s Latin patrimony. In fact these ought to mutually entail for every Roman Catholic.

    But what if Francis wishes to see them in conflict? Is that my fault? If he were to say that I am not in communion because I pray the rosary, am I in error? Absolutely not! For I would not be the one who has broken communion with him, but he would have broken it with me in the moment he broke with the tradition.

    And surely if this is true of a devotional practice of the Church, it’s all the more true of the Church’s liturgical patrimony. Does this seem correct? I agree this would be a horrible situation.

    I beg that pope Francis doesn’t make us choose. I beg for us, but also for him. For that would be a horribly wicked act.

    It would not justify other subsequent bad acts like joining the orthodox. That would be a sin on us. But if Francis leaves us? That’s not my fault for holding on to the gifts God has given me.

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  22. redneckpride4ever says:

    I have a host of ideas flooding in my head, but let’s use a simple one: money talks.

    We’re obligated to pay tithes. However there is no set amount. Do you live in a liberal Diocese? Tithe a penny a week.

    Do you have a great pastor and orthodox teaching at your parish? If possible pay the heating bill for the month, or purchase some altar bread. Chip in on the custodial guy’s salary. Give Father a gift card to shop for groceries. If you have a big enough home space offer to host catechism classes.

    When Bishop McButterpants sees the most vibrant parish in Libville is bringing minimal cash to the Diocese it means we’ve accomplished the trickle-up poverty method.

    Meanwhile, leave Rome scratching their heads when Peter’s Pence is down for the year.

  23. JonPatrick says:

    @redneckprice4ever, that won’t work as the Church is now being subsidized by the Chi-Comms and the Globalists. That is why they had to sacrifice the Chinese Catholics and allow the CCP to appoint the bishops, to keep the money flowing. And why the bishops support Open Borders, to keep the Federal grants coming.

    It is hard for me to get my head around the fact that the rite I assisted in in 1956 when I received my First Communion, which had been the predominant expression of the Roman Rite for at least 1500 years before that, has now for all practical purposes been declared illicit.

  24. Imrahil says:

    Dear TonyO,

    to what extent are the rulings in TC (and this most recent move) … actually binding on a bishop, a priest, and a lay Catholic?

    Not at all.

    There is one tiny nice thing about TC (though that’s not worth enduring the rest): It acknowledges again the obvious fact which stares us in the eye: The Novus Ordo is a different rite. Not a different religion, as some trad-extremists sometimes chatter; not a different Mass, which noone says anyway; but very much a different rite.

    So, TC has the obvious aim of suppressing a Catholic rite, and only makes sense in the light of this aim. The Pope, in his accompanying letter, gives officially two reasons for that: first, “they can find all the elements of the Roman Rite in the Reformed Missal if they want to”; second, “many trads reject the Church in favor of ‘the true Church'”. The point is now not that these reasons are false; though the first manifestly is, if the words be taken literally (there are not all elements, for instance not the Offertory Prayers); as for the second, yes, some trads do hold the institutions of the Church in some all too understandable suspicion, though prior to TC in the Ecclesia Dei communites much less than in the SSPX; and practically none of them would actually put that to the actual term of “we follow the true Church”, SSPX included; but then, what is the logical clear-cut distinction between “some few, but more than one person” and “many”. But that is not the point; the point is that the Pope suppresses a rite because he likes a different right better and as a collective punishment for something even in his own words only some, not most, to be silent of all, of its adherents have done. Is this within the scope of papal power? Is it, when even at the height of the theoretical Papalism the Catholic Encyclopedia wrote “Though the power of the pope, as we have described it, is very great, it does not follow that it is arbitrary and unrestricted. The pope, as Cardinal Hergenröther well says, is circumscribed … by the spirit and practice of the Church, by the respect due to General Councils and to ancient statutes and customs,”, and so forth. I believe there are some theorists out there from the Middle Ages that a Pope simply cannot suppress a rite.

    (The reason is not, though, that Pope St. Pius V. luckily failed to write explicitly “but the Pope may” after the words “noone, not even a Cardinal, may change the rite in any manner” in his famous bull, which he obviously intended to mean [though imagining the role of gardener, not destroyer]. There are, I get the impression, good arguments that rites may not be destroyed even by a Pope, but this is not among them.)

    As for the responses to the supposed dubia, it is even formally clear that responses to dubia, other than authentic interpretations, have no force whatsoever. Not even ones we like do.

    This still leaves the bishop with the obligation of prudence. To decide what to do is by now means an easy question; there are arguments for keeping low profile, or for conceding an inch of executing-the-Papal-will while making a distressed face about it, in order to avoid further repercussions. But all this is emphatically prudence, trying to minimize one’s own pain (a quite legitimate thing) and the pain of the others entrusted (an even more legitimate thing), such as, in the case of the bishop, if he were deposed and some other bishop installed. It is not obedience to a lawful command by the Pope.

    (The only thing which there are no arguments not even in prudence, at least not after having correctly pondered the thing, is assenting with mind and will and declaring the Pope has done the right thing.)

  25. WVC says:

    @Imrahil – I agree with everything in your comment but would only add it may come down to a matter of fortitude as well. This is the part that unnerves me. That is NOT one of the strong traits of the American bishops.

  26. Marine Mom says:

    Divine Merry in My Soul, 1717
    I was talking with the Lord, and He said to me,
    There are souls with whom I can do nothing. They are souls that are continuously observing others, but know nothing of what is going on within their own selves. They talk about others continually, even during times of grand silence, which is reserved for speaking only with Me. Poor souls, they do not hear My words; their interior remains empty. They do not look for Me within their own hearts, but in idle talk, where I am never to be found. They sense their emptiness, but they do not recognize their own guilt, while souls in whom I reign completely are a constant source of remorse to them. Instead of correcting themselves, their hearts swell with envy, and if they do not come to their senses, they plunge in even deeper. A heart, which thus far is envious, now begins to be filled with hate. And they are already at the edge of the precipice. They are jealous of my gifts in other souls, but they themselves are unable and unwilling to accept them.

  27. Marine Mom says:

    Sorry typo Divine Mercy

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