There is an interminable animus between the enemies of God and the Roman Mass.
The study of any number of episodes in Church history will bear this out. Two manifest lessons stand forth: 1. The true Faith has a true Worship. 2. Neither are acceptable to those opposed to truth.
The persecutors of the Church in every age have saved their subtlest arts and cruelest devices for the prohibition, alteration, or annihilation of the Catholic Mass – not merely the confection of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, mind you, but specifically the rite itself: that entire and ancient tapestry of words, gestures, signs and symbols grown organically in the heart of the Church over centuries of devout development through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
As the old Catholic saying goes: “It’s the Mass that matters.”
This truism comes to mind with the recent appearance of an article by Jesuit theologian Fr. Thomas Reese, wherein he asserts (among several fascinatingly falsifiable claims and/or bogus historical scholarship) the following:
After the Pauline reforms of the liturgy [read: the creation of the Novus Ordo], it was presumed that the “Tridentine” or Latin Mass would fade away. …[Then,] Benedict took away the bishops’ authority and mandated that any priest could celebrate the Tridentine Mass whenever he pleased. …The church needs to be clear that it wants the unreformed [read: traditional] liturgy to disappear and will only allow it out of pastoral kindness to older people who do not understand the need for change. Children and young people should not be allowed to attend such Masses.
One might ask: How can a Catholic priest so despise his own patrimony as to seek its “disappearance”? Even more so, in light of his knowing this statement of a still-living Pontiff:
What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.
Perhaps Fr. Reese should brush up on his “dialogue” and “mutual enrichment.”
The Invincible Roman Rite
To be fair, Fr. Reese is right about one thing: it was indeed presumed that the old Mass would fade away after the imposition of the new Mass – the Novus Ordo. In fact, by the 1970s this was already considered a settled victory, among the innovators who created the thing. Remember the words of Fr. Joseph Gelineau, one of the architects of Paul VI’s New Mass:
Let those who like myself have known and sung a Latin-Gregorian High Mass remember it if they can. Let them compare it with the Mass that we now have. Not only the words, the melodies, and some of the gestures are different. To tell the truth it is a different liturgy of the Mass. This needs to be said without ambiguity: the Roman Rite as we knew it no longer exists. It has been destroyed.
Blessedly, the words of Fr. Gelineau continue wide of the mark: for the old Mass is very much alive, indeed flourishing, and bears within it the bright future of the Church, as Archbishop Gullickson has recently intimated.
But danger still lurks, and destroyers are still abroad in the hierarchy.
They will not, cannot rest until the ancient Mass is no more. Closet conspirators need caution no longer – this animus is becoming a plain and public programme, and renders recent headlines far more understandable.
For instance, the Vatican appointed Archbishop Roche to head the Congregation for Divine Worship, in replacement of longtime TLM-friendly Cardinal Robert Sarah. Roche is lately on record saying that the implementation of the Novus Ordo should be regarded as an “ecclesiastical duty,” inasmuch as it reflects “ecclesiological differences” from the Traditional Latin Mass, reflecting the “magnitude of the changes that have taken place” viz. “the theological content of the Second Vatican Council itself, which was ecclesiologically significant and cognisant of a world that had changed.”
Wait a tick… the Popes have assured us that Vatican II was merely a pastoral council (odd as that might seem), and that it made no definitive acts or binding formulations. How, then, could this Council propose a “theological content” that involved “ecclesiological differences” so significant as to render it a “duty” to create a new rite of Mass?
This is tantamount to claiming that a new law of belief was created at Vatican II, such that a new law of prayer was needed in order to give that belief a ritual form. The observations of another Archbishop raised this very point last year:
[Some say that] Vatican II is only the latest of an uninterrupted series of events in which the Holy Spirit speaks through the mouth of the one and only infallible Magisterium. If so, it should be explained why the “conciliar church” was given a new liturgy and a new calendar, and consequently a new doctrine – nova lex orandi, nova lex credendi – distancing itself from its own past with disdain. (link)
For a Church that has jealously guarded the Deposit of Faith, entrusted to her in both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, it is at least enigmatic to find any cleric desiring to distance himself from the past in this way; but find it one can, and increasingly on every side.
The Vatican ran a surprise TLM survey of the bishops one year ago, the purpose and findings of which remain unclear. A host of French bishops now want the TLM, “the scrupulous form” as they call it, revoked and eliminated. A list of now 180 scholars have likewise petitioned the Vatican to scrap the TLM, calling it a “conflictual ritual form” that is “closed in the historical past, sluggish and crystallized, lifeless and without vigor.”
Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity[!] appears similarly inclined, pointing out that it is difficult for anyone to perceive Holy Mass as “the central celebration of the unity of the Church” when there is “strife and arguments about it.” He concludes: “In the long run, there can be no coexistence between the two forms.” That this observation comes from a man who signed a seriously problematic document with the Lutherans, oversaw a positively deranged guide for bishops, and months ago presided over an impious act of (intrinsically evil) communicatio in sacris doesn’t really matter here: his conclusions are spot on.
The two liturgies’ irreconcilable difference – their inability to coexist (somebody make a bumper sticker!) in the same canonical, juridical, and liturgical space of the Church – hangs rather ominously over the recent announcement of a new Vatican Conference next February. While ostensibly concerning itself with the priesthood, folks may have been missing the fine print; for, in the announcement itself, the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops gushes the now-typical theobabble (somebody write a dictionary!) about “pastoral readjustments,” “ecumenical questions,” and “cultural movements,” while one of the other members offered some real meat and potatoes:
The sacred and the profane in Christianity are outdated categories because with Christ, God’s presence among us, the sacral religious model of the ancient religions is outdated. …The theology of the sacraments and the liturgy is an area that must be re-proposed together with the theology of the priesthood.
Thus the symposium will help to understand that the crisis of the identity of the priest or of vocations is not only a crisis affecting particular individuals but the ongoing transformation of the whole church… a communion that from age to age must reaffirm an adequate physiognomy of the Kingdom.
Read that again.
Once more, it’s out with the old and in with the new! Time to re-propose some adequate physiognomy! (Do those terms sound familiar? Do you ever get the feeling that the same two people are writing all of the Vatican documents these days?)
Here we have the brazen intent to update the very theology of the sacraments and the liturgy, together with the priesthood, in tandem with “the ongoing transformation” of the entire Church–after all, those distinctions between grace and nature, sacred and profane, are “outdated categories.” One may also surmise that the equally outdated “sacral religious model” has more than a little to do with the theology of sacrifice… you know, the dogmatically defined essence of the Catholic Mass.
But which Mass, exactly?
Since the Vatican just banned the Traditional Latin Mass from the upper basilica of St. Peter’s, one may reasonably suppose that these conference attendees won’t be joining in the Mass that the basilica was built for, the Mass of Ages.
By way of contrast to the Vatican announcement, consider the words of Archbishop Aguer from back in June:
The sacred is undermined or has disappeared. I myself have heard fellow bishops say that there is no longer a distinction between sacred and profane, and they congratulated themselves on this evolution. The unilateral conception of the Mass as a fraternal encounter has obscured its sacrificial nature… the cult of God disappears, it is the satisfaction, the “feeling good” of those present that is sought. With that decline that I describe briefly, faith is put in parentheses and the reference to God is replaced by the centrality and primacy of man.
The reasonable observer may ask: Why?
Novus Ordo “A Striking Departure”
Why such trenchant opposition to the Traditional Latin Mass, the Roman Mass, from the very ranks of the Roman hierarchy itself?
Why suppress the Ancient Mass, the Mass of the Saints, the Mass once offered on every continent, and which raised Christendom around it – the Mass that sustained the faithful from the earliest Christian centuries? To extinguish the devotional heritage of venerable antiquity is far from “serving the pastoral needs of the Church,” particularly when so many (and so many more each year) are deeply devoted to it.
If even the Second Vatican Council declared that “holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way” (SC #4), then why would the classical Roman Rite meet with such ire among the hierarchy today, so devoted (as would seem) to the legacy of that particular Council?
Why such intent to destroy the old Mass, to see it disappear?
ANSWER: Because the TLM is dogma in motion. It is Roman Catholicism enacted. It signifies, and can only be made to signify, the Roman Catholic religious system.
The Novus Ordo, on the other hand, is “a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass” (so said Cardinals Ottaviani, Bacci, et al from the beginning). It is an innovation in conception, craft, and content. It will always signify something other than Catholicism. It cannot do otherwise.
And, like other liturgical innovations and errors of the past, the Mystical Body of Christ will never be reconciled to it. It is not of God; it will not prosper.
This is why Protestant “ministers” continue to offer the Novus Ordo, like in Brazil just weeks ago. This is why calls continue for ever-new “versions” of the Novus Ordo (perhaps a BLM variant will appear in the US soon?), and why its base texts are ceaselessly evolving.
This is why the same Vatican is now content to permit public dissent and heresy among bishops and priests throughout the world, and will surely heed calls to update a catechism accordingly. This is why any bishop may expect a 25-40% attrition rate among Novus Ordo attendees this year, and zero priestly vocations inspired by the man in Rome, both as reported here. This is why the same bishop in Rome has brought infidels into the Vatican for joint prayer services, regards non-Catholic murder victims as Saints and true martyrs, and occasionally jets off for interreligious events at pagan worship sites; all while viewing Catholic “traditionalist groups” as an illness that must “be healed.”
For, on the same liturgical day that Francis could be found affirming formal heretics as “branches of the same vine” here, one could attend a Traditional Latin Mass on the other side of the ocean and hear a priest’s homily containing the exact opposite assertion – that is, the immutable truth:
‘Lutherans, Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, whatever–if they are baptized, they are members of the Mystical Body of Christ.’ That’s what we hear, nowadays… As if God didn’t care. That’s a lie, my brethren. That’s a fraud. God did not want the plurality of religions, but God willed only one religion, the true religion, the Catholic religion. Everything else is the work of the devil.
What exactly does this all mean?
Oh, probably nothing you didn’t know already.
There Can Be Only One
The TLM is of divine and apostolic origin. It cannot be destroyed, any more than it can be “forbidden or considered harmful.” But that won’t keep the enemies of Truth from trying.
And rest assured, they’ll be coming for it. They already are.
The mercenaries and methods make no difference to the preternatural forces guiding the effort: bishop or governor, “trads” or “libs,” declaiming theologian or health safety task force, civil or canonical injunctions – whatever the route, you can bet your boots on the continued coalescence of means to this singular, pressing end: Destroy the TLM.
So, what’s it worth to you?