At Catholic Culture, the perspicacious Phil Lawler makes a good point about the premises of the severely cruel Plessy v. Ferguson legacy document of the Era of Francis.
The backward logic of Traditionis Custodes
Insofar as Traditionis Custodes provides any explanation for its open hostility toward Catholic traditionalists, that explanation lies in the claim that traditionalist communities have caused divisions within the Church. Therefore, Pope Francis suggests (and the Congregation for Divine Worship even more sternly insists) traditionalism must be suppressed.
That logic is backward. It was not the traditionalist movement—much less the traditional liturgy—that exacerbated divisions within Catholicism. It was the current Vatican leadership—the very leadership that is now looking for a scapegoat to blame.
Exactly. If the anti-Tradition “leadership” in Rome and elsewhere want to get to the sources of divisions they need look no farther than their own mirrors.
I continue here with Lawler’s defense, and I associate myself with it, especially in his reference to The Wanderer (SUBSCRIBE!) and “we”, for I wrote for The Wanderer for many years. This blog grew out of my columns.
For several decades after Vatican II, Catholics who might, for want of a better term, be classified as “conservative”—and I include myself among them—looked askance at traditionalists. Even The Wanderer, a newspaper never associated with liberalism, viewed the Trads as too negative. We defended the Novus Ordo liturgy, trusting that all would be well once the excesses of the 1970s, which were certainly not authorized by the Vatican Council—were eliminated. We balked at the notion that the Council itself had introduced problems; it was, we firmly believed, the deliberate misinterpretation of the Council that had plunged the Church into chaos.
Above all, we “conservative” Catholics longed and worked and prayed for the “reform of the reform” in the liturgy. We firmly believed that, once the fads and novelties and outright abuses were corrected, we could restore reverence and dignity to the Mass. We imagined—and if we were fortunate, occasionally encountered—a Mass actually celebrated according to the guidelines laid out by Sacrosanctum Concllium, and we found it beautiful.
This was the position of the late, great Msgr. Richard Schuler in St. Paul, MN. His mantra was, “Do what the Council asked.” He took over the helm of St. Agnes parish in St. Paul on the cusp of the Novus Ordo, in 1969. The previous pastor had been a peritus at all the sessions of Vatican II and he had begun to implement the liturgical changes actually mandated, as they were described in the documents, and NOT according to the feverish vagueries of the acolytes of the nebulous “spirit of Vatican II”. The result was a liturgical ars celebrandi that was decidedly Roman and traditional. Schuler had been an internationally known Church musician, and so he brought another level to the sound liturgical praxis in place. With his stable pastorate of over 30 years, there was at St. Agnes as close to what the Council actually mandated as one could effect. Leaving aside the ongoing debate about the soundness of the Novus Ordo and whether it truly reflects what the Council Fathers wanted, one might weigh the success of Schuler’s approach of fidelity in the 30+ 1st Masses celebrated at the parish during his pastorate, as well as the good preservation of a K-12 school, no mean feat in the post-Conciliar chaos.
Lawler then swiftly enumerates the collapse of Catholic parishes, doctrine, liturgy that resulted after the Council saying that, and some will demure for different reasons, the declines “were not, we repeated, caused by the Council. The misinterpretation of the Council was to blame.” Some think that the devolution in the Church across the board stems from the documents themselves, purposely sewn through with ambiguities which made what some would call “misinterpretation” inevitable, given that survival of so many modernists in key positions. At the same time, one could choose to interpret them under the safeguarding and even correcting lens of fidelity and in continuity with our Tradition.
Lawler lauds the efforts of John Paul II and Benedict XVI to hold back the tide (St. King Canute’s feast was yesterday, by the way).
And then came Pope Francis.
You can go to Catholic Culture for the rest, but I will leave you with this.
Within the past week I have spoken with a half-dozen other Catholics who, like me, have begun regularly attending the Traditional Latin Mass. In every case, their movement toward the TLM began during the current pontificate. We did not move toward traditionalism because the Trads attacked the Pope; it would be far more accurate to say that we moved in that direction because the Pope attacked us.
That sounds right.
I am getting anecdotal reports from all sorts of people and places that attendance at Traditional Latin Masses is up.
It is going to stay up and go up.
As Tertullian noted with his characteristic flare, the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church. Persecution stimulates the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of the faithful, such that all that is good, true and beautiful flourishes even in the harshest clime.
In attacking, marginalizing, tyrannizing the faithful who desire reverent traditional sacred liturgical worship and doctrine (liturgy is doctrine), the powers-that-be are sowing and accelerating their own downfall.