A zwischenzug

I’ve been reading something co-written by scholars whom I have hitherto respected.  These are not “libs”.   These are not Fishwrap types.  They are sound scholars.  What they signed is over-the-top ideological cant about the Novus Ordo and its Spirit-inspired glories, with a strong polemical and aggressive style.

I’m bumfuzzled.  I’m not bumfuzzled about how to respond to their points (they get some things just plain wrong, which amazes me, easy things, too), though that always takes writing as much or more than they.  I’m bumfuzzled at how people who are so smart could get to this point.

One of the core ideas of their aggressive and polemical ideological cant is that the Novus Ordo is the same Roman Rite reformed by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  It’s the same.

Is it?  Is the Novus Ordo what the Council wanted?  Or is it what some people wanted the Council to want and, by hook and crook … sorry, Spirit-filled discernment… eventually got in the name of the Council?

Whatever it is, friends, and under what inspiration and stemming from which mandates, we have to account for serious contemporary problems, not the least of which are the fruits it has borne, the “poorly implemented” excuses left aside.  We can start with why a huge majority of self-professed Catholics don’t believe what the Church teaches about the Eucharist. That’s a problem.

(But Hey! Father!  But Father!   You are an ossified, nitpicking stick in the mud (not that sticks are bad, they are from trees).  We have the solution!  In the name of the Spirit, we change what the Church teaches, or at least obscure it, so that it isn’t even an issue anymore!  How?  Wellll… change how it is received!  Change the language used!  It’s the Spirit!  Change how it is handled!  Because, People of God! Change who can receive it! Accompaniment is what the Council wanted.  Pretty soon, no problem, right?  If people don’t have the right words and visuals, they don’t have the concept and the problem is gone, right?  No… wait… ummmm…..  YOU HATE VATICAN TWOOO!)

What I’ve read is part of a series, so I will reserve my zisks for the time being.

As a zwischenzug, I’ll re-post this.

I have questions for them.

Intermediary thoughts.

What we are seeing is a blitzkrieg on all fronts, the main method of attack is the claim that the Second Vatican Council ushered in what is tantamount to a new age of the Church, the “spirit” of which doesn’t just permit but requires RE-interpretation of all cult, code and creed.

The new re-interpretive gift of the Council is not so much in the written texts of the documents but rather in their innovative (and therefore Spirit-filled) style, their subtext, what they really say to the special people who have the ability to tease the Spirit-filled message out from between the words.  It’s a kind of Gnosticism, perhaps.

Whatever there was before the Council is now open to re-interpretation, reform or even rejection, including dogmatic teaching.  We have to use “discernment” through a synodal (“walking together”) path to arrive at the new “way”.  It will be hard, but it is so important that we get that there that anyone who stands in the way or questions motives or direction or methods must quite simply be marginalized, silenced and, if need be, crushed.

Why the aggression?

The answer could have several elements.

Some of those who embrace that aggressive cant, are locked into a paradigm burned into them in their formative years of change, revolution, “fresh air”, anti-authoritarianism, etc, culminating in an iconic moment of halcyon days that must be perpetuated.   Gotta keep that guitar music coming.  Don’t trigger me with a biretta and a Kyrie “in Latin!

Next, there are those who, by their formation committed once-for-all-time to the changes. They take revival of the old ways as implying that they are failures on the level of human respect.  “You are saying that I’m a failure!”

Others sense that there is something lacking in the post-Conciliar reforms that was lost.  They don’t want to look too closely at what was lost because it is frightening.  They don’t want to look at what really is found in the cleft of the rock, because that would require a deep and maybe painful conversion and change.  This is one reason why they don’t like popular devotions: because they are so raw and active in the affective life.

Some know that the winds are blowing in a certain direction. They want to a) ascend with them or b) not be blown over and left behind by them.  They might be ambitious or they might be afraid for what they have.  Either way, they react aggressively to challenges.  Their attachments are utilitarian and political.

The bottom line is, perhaps, fear.

More later.

Meanwhile, compare and contrast.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "But Father! But Father!", Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Save The Liturgy - Save The World, The Drill, What are they REALLY saying?. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Lurker 59 says:

    “The Spirit of Vatican II”^tm are wanting to move the Church in a certain direction by changing the liturgy, the catechism, and doctrine (as far as they can.) A certain group of Reform of the Reform / Hermeneutic of Continuity / JPII-BXVI seems to want to shore up their position about the validity of the NO (while insisting on a reform of it) because they are seeking to prevent the current and future modification (that have and will happen).

    They are stuck in this tussle with the “Spirit of VIIers”^tm over what the Council did and did not want. The pendulum will forever swing back and further between who has power and who does not while over the long run always moving in the direction of the “Spirit of VIIers” because they understand how to play the political game and the argument is lost anyway by conceding to certain premises.

    I think they are also trying to avoid the coming hot war by avoiding looking at the fruit of VII and instead focusing on an idealism of a unrealized reality. Also, if the war turns hot (which it actually already is) they, and their life’s work, won’t be spared, and it isn’t being spared. Look at what is happening to all of JPII’s institutes and theology.

  2. Cornelius says:

    Until the “Church” (whatever human dimension that refers to) gets past the LIE that the Novus Ordo is the implementation of the will of the Council Fathers, there will be no progress, no working together.

    It is the LIE at the very heart of progressive “Catholicism”. It defines them, accursed beings.

  3. ArthurH says:

    “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Pogo.

  4. B says:

    Vatican II:
    * Latin to remain the primary language of the liturgy
    * Gregorian chant retain pride of place
    * Priests we’re not required to face Versus Populum

    At least 90% of Novus Ordo Masses do not do this.

    Let’s start with that for synodality listening/action sessions.

  5. TheCavalierHatherly says:

    I would like to augment your list of reasons as to why there is so much aggression:

    The solution to the current plethora of crises is entirely unclear; there isn’t a neat way to explain what’s going on with the liturgy, what’s gone down, etc. We have ourselves a Gordian Knot, as it were. This is especially galling for Latins, given as we are to systematic speculation and legal rigour.

    The way I resolve such ecclesiastical tom-foolery is the way I’ve learned to resolve most of the problems I’ve been confronted with in life: chop the knot like Alexander the Great. I make an election as to what I want my life to look like and go forward: I don’t have to untangle any of these absurd threads.

  6. B says:

    Not to mention the responses from bishops published in Memoriale Domini:


    I’ve read that Catholics of the 1950s would not recognize the Mass today. I think Catholics of the 1950s would also not have recognized the bishops today.

  7. Bthompson says:

    There are also those who hear the clock ticking, and are desperately racing against time before they depart for judgement to cement in place whatever they can of the frail and unstable edifice they have built.

  8. Son of Saint Alphonsus says:

    “Kyrie in Latin!”


  9. TonyO says:

    Two comments: (1) The idea that we not only may, but MUST interpret Vatican II by reading between the lines to have it demand that we RE-interpret all past teaching is pure modernist claptrap and to be rejected with a laugh or with force. Vatican II itself expressly laid itself within the body of earlier teaching – see Dignitatis Humanae #1,

    Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.

    One cannot coherently propose to read this as permitting or requiring all prior doctrine to be re-interpreted, for if one did, it would empty the sentence of ALL meaning – it would be a meaningless puff of air. It would also lead to Vatican II itself also being entirely meaningless, as I can “re-interpret” anything it says to mean anything I want, and just say “that’s the Spirit”…and thus interpret the 1969 Missale Romanum to say “keep on saying the old mass” and interpret “Traditionis Custodes” to mean “promote, encourage, and expand the number of TLM masses so that every parish has it.” Two can play “words mean whatever I want” game.

    Is it? Is the Novus Ordo what the Council wanted? Or is it what some people wanted the Council to want and, by hook and crook … sorry, Spirit-filled discernment… eventually got in the name of the Council?

    Whatever it is, friends, and under what inspiration and stemming from which mandates, we have to account for serious contemporary problems, not the least of which are the fruits it has borne,

    Those who oppose the continuation of the TLM, and urge that the Novus Ordo is “what the Council ordered” because that’s what Paul VI approved, and who push the view that the TLM-minded crowd are “schismatic” must answer to this: there are three sins that separate you from the Church: one is schism, and the others are heresy and apostasy. While there are, (arguably) some schismatics in the ranks of some TLM-minded groups – perhaps some of the Society of Pius V, and some of the sedevacantists – there are (without any doubt, question, or debate) at least 10 times as many heretics and apostates in the Novus Ordo ranks. Arguably, the numbers of heretics and apostates are closer to 100 times as many, but let’s just go with 50 times as many. If TLM is a “problem” because of schismatic tendencies, then the Novus Ordo is 50 times as bad a problem.

    Let’s take example: 99% of TLM-goers believe what Pope Francis and the Church teach about abortion, 50% of Novus Ordo Catholics do not. 99% of TLM-ers believe that the Eucharist is Jesus Christ, 70% of Novus Ordo Catholics do not. And so on down the line. Most Novus Ordo Catholics do not go to confession. Most do not go to mass on Sunday. One half get divorced and remarried. Far fewer than half give their kids a Catholic education. This is apostasy and heresy on a grand scale.

    Why are the dogmatically “Novus Ordo or bust” crowd insisting on weeding out the mote of schism in the TLM crowd, when they have a whole forest of apostasy and schism in their own eyes? Why aren’t they spending 50 to 100 times the effort on repairing their own problems as on dealing with the microscopic numbers of schismatics in the TLM crowd.

    If what you get by demanding “go to Novus Ordo or get out” is a handful of schismatics leaving, and at the same time 100 times as many Catholics leaving through heresy and apostasy, that makes “let’s just stick with TLM” look an awful lot like a CURE, and the mantra “Novus Ordo or bust” like the disease.

  10. RichR says:

    I love simply both forms of the Mass as received from Holy Mother Church because I encounter and receive Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Whatever ecclesial politics occurred behind the scenes (as I’m sure happens with many Church decisions), I don’t see the benefit of creating a cloud of suspicion around the finished product of the liturgical reforms. As a layman I don’t have the charism of making changes anyway – nor do I want that terrible responsibility.

    What I HAVE done is heavily support well-done liturgy at our parish. I started a men’s Schola 19 years ago (still going strong), have my 5 sons helping as altar boys and pipe organists, I sing in our polyphonic choir and encourage classical hymns and motets, help pay for beautiful vestments and liturgical items, MC for our TLM with my boys serving alongside, and chant the readings for Solemn Masses when asked to. It takes time, but many people are edified. I say we bring beauty to whatever Mass we are regularly attending.

  11. Legisperitus says:

    That second clip sounds like a piece written for ordination tambourines.

  12. ex seaxe says:

    I was around in the 50’s, got my M.Sc. in 1958, so I remember the Church was a great social organisation. But I also know that Dr J Ratzinger was correct when in 1958 he described it as a “Church of Heathens” https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2021/02/04/the-constantinian-heathenism-of-the-church-joseph-ratzinger-and-the-crisis-of-our-time/
    I also remember that most experiences of Mass were completely uninspiring, they provided an opportunity for quiet reflection, but only the decoration of the church suggested you should spend it thinking about God rather than the ball game, or the girl next door; the liturgy as such provided no food for mind or soul. Of course you could follow the Mass in a missal, but most people did not, and did not receive Communion either.

  13. ex seaxe says:

    Ratzinger’s 1958 essay translated into English here: https://www.hprweb.com/2017/01/the-new-pagans-and-the-church/

  14. hilltop says:

    I am unaware of any “Spirit of Ephesus” or “Spirit of Nicea” or “Spirit of Florence” or of Trent, etc right down the ages. That VII requires -or at least admits of- a “spirit”necessary to interpret and implement its promulgations is yet another indictment of it and points to the flaws in its conception, announcement, conduct, and results.
    “The Council”, an invention entirely of Man, like a mule, has not, cannot, and will not bear fruit for further generations.

  15. dcnb says:

    Those “alleluia” clips make me tear up a bit, and for different reasons.

  16. WVC says:

    @RichR – you continue your “liturgy doesn’t matter” argument, but perhaps, at some point, one must step back and consider the “politics” of a thing to understand what’s actually going on.

    If it is impossible to defend the sound, unquestioned, and authentic liturgical traditions of 1,600+ years within the current Church environment, what on earth makes you think you will be able to defend any of your own efforts to promote “well-done liturgy” in the future? Perhaps what you do not realize is that the attack on the Latin Mass is an attack against “well-done liturgy” of any kind. You can see this in the extraneous “add-ons” that have already been issued here and there in support of Traditiones Custodes. Some cardinals/bishops have decided to also ban ad orientem worship even in the Novus Ordo as being “in the spirit” of Tradiones Custodes. Do you earnestly think that banning Latin, banning scholas, mandating altar girls, banning communion on the tongue, banning polyphony and classical hymns, and other such monstrosities will not follow in the wake of the banning of the Latin Mass?

    If you can’t see the need to take a stand to defend 1,600+ years of liturgical traditions, on what grounds do you think you will make a stand to defend these other elements you deemed a part of a “well-done liturgy”? If you do not think that such things will come to pass, understand that in many places they have already come to pass to some degree or another.

    Even those who love the Novus Ordo should see the obvious need to defend and promote the Latin Mass. Pope Benedict said that beauty was one of the last avenues still unsullied for folks to encounter the the Faith, and the current attack on the Latin Mass is an attack on beauty itself. It will result in an attack on beauty wherever and whenever it manifests itself.

  17. Amina says:

    I couldn’t listen to the second tape entirely- how could anyone be recollected for hearing that ? It sounds so as if it was from a fancy parish with a lot of extra funds, I see the benefit now of having a poorer parish where this excess wouldn’t happen- not being able to afford the professional singing or instrumentals or technology-it was something designed for “ itching ears” . Poverty and simple parishes saves from excesses.

  18. Amina says:

    On another note, I just realized we don’t pray the credo anymore at weekday masses- just prayer intentions.

  19. DeGaulle says:

    Regarding the fruits, I believe that the progressives see themselves as getting exactly what they want. They certainly do not want any kind of faith or morality that we would associate with the words. Therefore, arguing that the NO and its accompanying modernism is leading to abortion, contraception, collapsed attendance at Mass and reception of the sacraments, and so on, is likely only to encourage them.

  20. Dan says:

    That second clip reminds me of the Ever popular. “hallway hallway hallway, ooo ooo yeah, hallway hallway hallway, ooo ooo yeah.

    I can’t help but think of Paul Harvey’s prophetic, “If I were the Devil” radio commentary. I think I would have to add
    If I were the Devil, I would I would take away any recognition of the very thing that bishops claim they are trying to lead people too.

    With this synodal way and listening church thing we have going on, we will see a lot of responses by bishops calling us to walk together and accompany those who are hurt and disaffected by the Church. They will say we need to provide things like healing, hope, joy, which is all well and good but trying to implement them without first building the one thing that can actually provide healing, that is the source of our hope and is joy itself will not save a single soul.
    The Mass is the highest form of worship on this planet. As V2 says the Eucharist is the source and the summit of our faith. So if we come to a form of worship that does not treat it as such then we are not really drawing people to anything beyond good feelings.
    If Holy Mass isn’t the foundation for all we do then what is the point? If it is not the place that we tell people healing will be found (and we actually act like it) then we just come off as lier and hypocrites. If we claim that God is present there then we better be prepared to act like it.
    Without it, healing becomes; telling you what you want to hear so that you feel better, hope; is the false hope that you don’t have to change, that God requires nothing of you and we are here to walk with you, so please feel good about us and yourself, but mostly us, And joy; is reduced to a false sense of happiness that we have been justified by our own actions and not by God.
    Let’s concern ourselves with the feelings of man (sorry humans) while just completely ignoring the presence of God, Mass is fun, no sense of sacrifice needed.
    Where the church goes, the world will soon follow. The church removes gender roles that identify the beautify and dignity of the sexes of having uniques roles and skills within the church, in a few years the entire world throughs gender out the window completely The sacrifice of the Mass is obscured into a feel good communal meal. All sense of sacrifice becomes completely lost in this world to the point where many find it completely ridiculous to believe that one person should have to sacrifice anything for the sake of another, so children cannot be charged to care for aging parents, in fact they should probably just be killed when they become a burden. And even a mother should not have to sacrifice income or bodily inconvenience for the sake of her own child.
    It strikes me how many people genuinely think that those views are appropriate they speak as if they have some kind of higher intelligence. The Church has become incoherent and the world has followed.

  21. There are layers to this whole subject making it tricky to talk about without getting bogged down, but I’m not smart enough to know how to do that, but I am smart enough to know it all can be oversimplified wrongly. Let me try to be concise:

    – A lot of people are emotionally and personally invested in all of this, and disentangling that investment is hard. Hence the example given above, of those who take it very personally if you question the Missal currently in ordinary use, or question more generally the implementation of Vatican II or even, the work of the Council itself.

    An aside: it is not wrong to question the work of Vatican II! I hold that a legitimately called council, carried out in an authentic way, and protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching error, may nevertheless produce less than might have been, or make decisions that might have been otherwise, and might have been better. In proof, I point out all the discussion of both Trent and Vatican I about how they might have addressed the main topics at issue. If those who say perhaps Vatican I could have gone further on the subject of infallibility are not bad Catholics for saying so, then neither are they bad Catholics who ponder possible alternate choices Vatican II might have made.

    But note right here: even raising the question of whether each and every decision of Vatican II was optimal invites furious reactions and accusations. Too many are too emotionally invested to be objective.

    – Too many questions at issue have become, as it were, “partisan.” Meaning, you are tagged as a “liberal” or “traditionalist” (or similar terms) depending on which way you answer. This is unhelpful, and not so easy a judgment to make as you might think. But the result is that too many folks stick with their tribe in how they view things.

    – There is a “progressive” narrative and a “conservative” or “traditionalist” narrative at least; perhaps more. Those I’ve seen are very often oversimplified to the point of being hard to take seriously. For example: the notion that everything was just fine until Pope St. John called the council. Yes, I know not everyone says this, but a fair number of people do seem to make this argument. It doesn’t take much, however, for people to notice: a lot of the rottenness that seemed to manifest after the Council must surely have already been there.

    – There is a serious problem at work with what I call the current “how dare you?” narrative; that is, the argument that it is impertinent even to question the Council and its work product, and the consequences thereof. Of course the 1970 Missal is what the Council intended, they say, and so forth.

    The problem is this: other than just raw power, what rational or theological basis is there for this “Silencio!”?

    Speaking generally, there seems an obvious observation to make: almost no one actually likes the Novus Ordo Mass as it is. Even those who claim to love it, clearly do not: because they insist on doctoring it up six ways to Sunday. Someone who dumps sugar, cream, parmesan cheese and hot sauce on a bowl of oatmeal — only to try yet other ingredients the next day and the next — cannot credibly claim to love oatmeal.

  22. Kathleen10 says:

    RichR, you are someone who has added quite a lot to your parish. I commend you for all the work you have done, and having your boys part of it means you walked the walk and brought your children up well in the faith. I so admire that.
    I’m not sure what you mean by mentioning someone creating a cloud of suspicion around the liturgical reforms, but in my opinion we need people to point out that we have lost a great deal of authentic Catholicism over the years, thanks to “reforms”, which have taken us from the stunning beauty of the Mass of Ages in Latin, to clown-Mass and outright hootennannys. It may be a wonderful Novus Ordo where you are, that’s good, but many suffer the hardships of heresy and degradation of the Holy Mass thanks to “reforms”, and who will speak for them? For the sake of proper worship of God, for the sake of the church, the faith, Catholics who are the suffering Church Militant, thank God we have people who point out the difference, remind us of what is being tossed aside, and try to right the ship. Maybe I misunderstood you.

  23. Maelwys says:

    As a corporate stooge, my work has moved me many times. I’ve been a part of seven diocesan parishes since 1998 in VA, OH, IL, and ME. In only one of those seven would traditional polyphony or any Latin be allowed (much less a Schola). In one of the 6 it was started for 6 months then a new priest came and quashed it immediately. Praise God that RichR has found himself blessed to be in the 14% for 19 years, but, as usual, the exception proves the rule. The rest of us stuck in the other 86% aren’t “generating suspicion”, we rationally looking for the cause of the very aggression Fr. Z describes, and we experience every month at virtually all levels.

  24. MB says:

    Torn. Just torn apart. The abuse was going on prior to Vatican II, so I don’t see why going back to the TLM will solve everything. I think people don’t believe in the Eucharist because the Church is full of predators. Sure, you have priest offenders, but you also have these middle-management types who are there running all the programs at the parish because they like to hear the sound of their own voice. They’re using people to feed their own desires too, they’ve just totally convinced themselves that it’s a form of service. Where do you find patience, kindness, gentleness, modesty … not in the TLM, not in the NO. Not at all. Receiving the Eucharist should make us different, but we’re the worst of all.

  25. JustaSinner says:

    As the PR Captain said in Full Metal Jacket, “It’s a real big (bleep) sandwich and everyone has to take a bite.” No one within or without the Church is blameless. Yuppr, Father, go to confession and bring out the Spiritual Heavy Armament–the Holy Rosary. St Michael, guide us in battle.

  26. The Masked Chicken says:

    “ What they signed is over-the-top ideological cant about the Novus Ordo and its Spirit-inspired glories, with a strong polemical and aggressive style.”

    At the risk of being wrong, pneumatology does not seem to be the current leadership’s strong suit. There is a story about a conversation between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr that took place during a taxi ride. They were discussing quantum mechanics and Einstein reportedly said that he did not believe the Good God played dice (rolled bones), whereupon Bohr told Einstein to quite telling God what to do.

    Instead of listening to God, it seems like the current leadership, especially of the Synod on synodality, are trying to tell God what to do. They seem to be using the Holy Spirit as a ventriloquist’s puppet to put their words into God’s mouth. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth and I have seen no real attempt on their parts to get to the truth. Their techniques of “listening,” can only have been conceived of by people who can’t do math or have never had a grade depend on anything approaching rigor in doing an experiment. They are certainly not using good data collection techniques and, in my opinion, their results should be held up for the ridicule that they deserve. Oh, they listened to people! Big deal. Which people? What biases? Was it a representative sample? If the Holy Spirit has seen fit to allow mankind to develop statistical analysis, why would this leadership not think that He would want them to use it? In what sense do they think they are listening to the Holy Spirit? For goodness sakes, Scripture is adamant that any sort of prophetic discernment be tested. Where is the testing? Where is the transparency? This whole farce should be condemned on the grounds that we can’t see the data or critique the methodology. This is what you get when you send a theologian to do a scientists job. Since when do theologians get trained in statistical methodology? I have graduate standings in both the sciences and the arts and I can spot bad science when I see it.

    More than that (and this makes me genuinely angry) is that, partially because of the non-introspective nature of the Novus Ordo liturgy and partially because of a lack of clear pulpit teaching on moral and theological matters, the laity have been subjected in the last fifty years to a dumbing process and combined with an intermixing of Protestant theology with Catholic theology among them to the point where most of the laity can’t give an informed answer, at least within the general population (there are exceptions), to the very questions the Synod pollers would ask. How is this in any way supposed to represent a Sensus fedelium?

    As to the scholar’s take on the Novus Ordo Mass, all I can say is I don’t think they have a clue about what has been going on. They don’t seem to truly appreciate the game that is being played. The Church has always has room for both liberal and conservative elements, but what it has never suffered is an inconsistent Faith. Beginning with the Germans (sigh) back in the 1880’s (or earlier and in France, depending on where you think the error began), there has been a slow substratum of the Church infected with the Principle of Private Judgment and it has been moving, at first underground through to about 1950, and then sticking its head up only to be bashed back down by Pope Pius XII, only to resurface a decade later and infuse Vatican II with enough ambiguity to allow them to continue on with their mission, while maintaining the appearances of orthodox documents. We know this because once the restraints from John Paul II and Benedict were removed, much like after Pius XII, they tried to play the same game and we know this because we saw, firsthand, the machinations at the Synod on the Family – one could go so far as to call it Vatican II in miniature. The game is very apparent – it is a shell game of orthodox language masking disruptive intentions. Fortunately, some of the bishops at the Synod on the Family recognized the game (I think most of the bishops at Vatican II were sincere, but very naive about what was going on, so they didn’t realize what could happen) and on Blue Tuesday, put a stop to it, with some of them, like Cardinal Pell, paying for it.

    I watch the recent EWTN program on Vatican II and some of the opinions among scholars I respect, were, naive. Yes, Prof. Weigel realized the craziness of the Germans, but his comments about the vibrancy of the Faith were debatable. Does he really understand the situation in the U. S. and Europe? Certainly, Pope Benedict disagrees with him. His statement about things going like gangbusters in Africa, while true, shows to me that he does not understand the sociology involved. Most poor countries show a vibrant Faith. It is when they become well-off that the true test begins. Africa is not representative of anything because they have yet to face the temptations of First World Counties. There is a direct statistical correlation between standard of living and contraception and abortion. Let us see how Africa fares when it gets to that point. Not is too early to hold it up as a model.

    There has been very little rigor in studying the current state of the Church. Shame on people for trying to make long-range decisions in such a vacuum.

    The Chicken

  27. TonyO says:

    Sure, you have priest offenders, but you also have these middle-management types who are there running all the programs at the parish because they like to hear the sound of their own voice. They’re using people to feed their own desires too, they’ve just totally convinced themselves that it’s a form of service. Where do you find patience, kindness, gentleness, modesty … not in the TLM, not in the NO.

    MB, I am sorry, but perhaps you have fallen into the worst of parishes. Your observations simply aren’t universally valid. I have seen people – in both TLM parishes and NO parishes – like you describe. Organizers who want, even more than to build the Church – to be SEEN to be active and to be admired. But I have also seen plenty of others, in both parish types, who are quite the opposite, who shy away from recognition but still get lots accomplished, who can take a “No” and not get angry, who see some program or effort of theirs fail for lack of support, and just shrug their shoulders and get on with other work. Who have charity even for people they don’t like. These people ARE there.

    However, the seemingly contrary notion that, because it is possible to turn out devout and holy people at TLM parises and at NO parishes, therefore there is no important difference and we should just stop fighting about it, is utterly unsound. I will give just ONE of the dozen reasons: as alluded to above, the soundness of NO masses (and parishes) can only be fully recognized and protected by way of leaning heavily on the soundness from which NO came from – the TLM mass and the customs and theology arising therefrom. The NO taken as a whole is not a wholly self-contained system of good theology and liturgy that can simply displace the TLM for the Church, because it is (of its own self) too thin, too watery, too partial; too much in need of sustenance it cannot even recognize. Yes, I have been at good NO parishes: but their priests almost to a man drew on pre-NO understanding of the mass and of the theology of the mass to inform their use of the NO sacramentary. Most of them had to get that training OUTSIDE of the seminary classes, where NO was taught in lockstep with “all else is verboten!” The NO is not in all respects simply equivalent to the TLM absolutely speaking, it needs the TLM or it has a tendency to run away into silly nonsense.

    And if it were true that all we need is the Eucharist, then there would not have been ANY REASON AT ALL for Vatican II to call for a reform of the Mass: it is undeniable that the TLM was providing the Eucharist just fine.

    I was around in the 50’s, got my M.Sc. in 1958, so I remember the Church was a great social organisation. But I also know that Dr J Ratzinger was correct when in 1958 he described it as a “Church of Heathens”

    @ ex seaxe: I wasn’t around in the 50’s, I was raised in the 60’s. What I know is that in the mass that the Concilium gave us, (and its other liturgies), I was made bereft of the customs that could have (and should have) helped sustain a lively interior devotion. And further, that this was not the undesired but inevitable result of “needed reforms”; rather, (a) the Concilium objectively made many changes utterly contrary to Vatican II’s demand that the changes be derived organically, and only what was necessary; and (b) they intentionally implemented the changes not only in a disruptive and disorderly manner, but expressly to undermine and destroy order and restraint and obedience to norms: THEY WANTED TO DESTROY CUSTOM ITSELF, not just those particular customs of 1600 years of growth, but the very idea of custom. But this is per se contrary to Catholic teaching, because virtue (and holiness) consists in habits of right action, and good habits can only take root where wholesome customs are practiced. Whether the NO itself can be done with reverence or holiness or not (and above I just said it can), the intent behind the changes actually fomented was contrary to that end.

  28. Not says:

    Not surprising, Let’s look at Germany , that is now in full schism or should be. Will Pope Francis do anything about it? No ,he is a liberal but not liberal enough for the Germans.
    The church in Germany has power because the State financially supports it. Francis opened the door to all of this and is too weak to stop it.
    The only thing I can see that Francis is strong on is trying to stop the latin Mass. But that is failing too. O Holy Ghost, Give Us a Pius X

  29. Imrahil says:

    Reverend dear Fr Fox,
    very fine comment, thank you, and I quite agree.

    I might note in passing that the notion “all was fine before Vatican II”, though wrong as you say, is perhaps not so obviously wrong as it might seem. After all, it’s no sin to have sinful inclinations as long as they are firmly held in check by a wall of discipline and a wall of sugar and cream (by which latter I mean non-postponed gratification, which certainly is one aspect of liturgy). It might be problematic, the amount might be, but at least some of that might be natural.
    When the wall of discipline is then broken, and people perhaps even honestly think “we are allowed now”, and at the mean time the wall of sugar and cream is replaced by what the most honest replacers think to be the hard meat of evangelical work, but which might more properly perhaps be seen as porridge (yes, something not utterly bad, neither is porridge)… then it might be natural that pretty many damage is done in a short time.

    Also, great analysis as always by the dear Chicken.

  30. Lurker 59 says:

    Some quick points:

    RichR’s comment “..I say we bring beauty to…” raises an interesting question: Is the NO beautiful in itself or do we have to bring beauty to it? When we see an “ugly” Mass, why is it ugly, has effort gone into making it ugly or is it ugly when it is just by itself?

    This raises Fr Martin Fox’s point that no one actually likes the NO as it is. The liturgy wars exist because everyone is trying to pull the NO into being something that it is presently not. That is a HUGE problem. It sort of indicates a disordered attachment akin to kids fighting over a toy that their father gave them that neither wants but only fight over to win dominance.

    With ex seaxe’s point, it is good to remember that Young Ratzinger is different from Old Ratzinger, the latter of whom was very keen on restoring what was lost, what he helped to be lost. Pre VII is not some utopia; it is a mess. But VII wasn’t the solution to it. The original schema’s indicate a possible solution, but VII’s final form is a pivot to addressing different concerns and providing a methodology that, in practice didn’t work. Is there a failure to do in practice what VII said? Partially but partially not. No one wants to have the discussion over if what VII said was less than ideal.

    This is largely because even Catholic scholars have implicitly conflated infallibility with inerrancy when it comes to Magisterial documents.

    The Masked Chicken’s comment is very much spot on. It is very much evident that the rule makers are just making things up to get to the state that they want. It is like a kid playing Shoots and Ladders constantly adjusting the rules so they win. Completely transparent and comical. Best to laugh at them and then, when they produce said document, say no thanks and feed it into the nearest shreader.

  31. Gaetano says:

    In my personal experience, few theologians have an understanding of liturgy that is as deep as their understanding of theology. Very, very few.

  32. ChiaraDiAssisi says:

    Sincerely, can there be a deep understanding of theology without a deep understanding of liturgy?

  33. IaninEngland says:

    Do not be deceived: the “Spirit of Vatican II” is not the same entity as the Holy Spirit.

    I’ve heard an American Indian refer to the Evil One as “the Trickster” and, believe me, for him, deception is the name of the game.

  34. Servus Inutilis says:

    “We can start with why a huge majority of self-professed Catholics don’t believe what the Church teaches about the Eucharist. That’s a problem.”


    But, how can they believe what the Church teaches about the Eucharist when they don’t believe what the Church teaches about our great God and Savior Jesus Christ the Divine and Universal King? How can they believe the Church, when they don’t believe Him?

    The Arian and semi-Arian zizania don’t believe what the Church teaches because they can’t believe what the Church teaches. Our Lord asked, “who do you say that I am?” Get this one right and everything else follows with it; get it wrong and everything else falls with it.

    That same Divine Voice says, “by their fruits you shall know them.”


    I’ve never seen a creeping charlie produce a strawberry, but I have seen it overrun the garden and the lawn.

  35. mo7 says:

    @ex seaxe: the mistake was changing the mass instead of changing the people. If people didn’t follow holy mass in a missal or had wandering minds, they needed instruction. So instead we dumbed it down made it super easy to follow, even added upbeat music. So all those mind wanders were reformed be right? Wrong. within a decade they we were gone for good. They could have used a fish and they were given a stone.
    Why are we still trying to convince ourselves that the reform is still better when the people have voted with their feet. At this point, it’s the clerics who are choosing up sides, perhaps someone has drawn a line in the sand? The archD of Chicago recently also publish a bit about why the mass was changed. Evidently, too many genuflections a was a real problem.
    Bottom line: The lay people who are attached to tradition will stay where they are. We won’t get fooled again.

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