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Friday, October 28, 2022

Return to the Twilight Zone Part I: Traditionis Custodes and Its Accompanying Documents

Where have all the Catholics gone? Out the door to join the "nones."

I'm re-reading Traditionis Custodes (TC), the Motu Proprio that abrogated Summorum 
and sent traditional Catholics to the reeducation camps. I'm also re-reading the papal letter that accompanied it as well as the Responsa ad Dubia (RaD). 
Why inflict that punishment on myself? Because it's important to understand and be able to discuss the impact of these documents on the faithful, particularly those who are seeking refuge in the SSPX. 

The longing for the TLM is not simply a "preference." It is a desire for the sacrifice of Abel, a sacrifice pleasing to God by offering the spotless lamb rather than the "fruit of the vine and the work of human hands." While the Novus Ordo (NO) is valid, its development was motivated by the desire to create a liturgy acceptable to Protestants in the false hope they would flock to the Church. It hasn't turned out that way. In fact, just the opposite. Countless Catholics went out the exit door and have not returned. In many ways that makes perfect sense. The NO inverted the Mass from a God-centered sacrifice with the priest leading the people and teaching them by word and example to a man-centered celebration where the people and the "presider" engage in a dialogue and a ritual meal. It's really that simple. 

What exactly, then, do these documents mean? How authoritative are they? Can the pope, who has often called himself the bishop of Rome, one among equals, act like a tyrant and compel all the bishops of the world to adopt his opinion about something as central to the faith as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

I think those are all valid questions to ask while studying the Apostolic Letter (Motu Proprio) and considering the opposing sensus fidelium of the faithful who are seeking refuge in the SSPX. It's unfathomable in my mind that so many bishops immediately caved, under a false obedience, to the unjust and uncharitable suppression of the Mass of the Ages that gave us so many saints, many of whom were martyred for continuing to embrace what Francis has abrogated.

The first thing I noticed as I re-immersed myself in the documents was this from TC :
Art. 2. It belongs to the diocesan bishop, as moderator, promoter, and guardian of the whole liturgical life of the particular Church entrusted to him, to regulate the liturgical celebrations of his diocese. Therefore, it is his exclusive competence to authorize the use of the 1962 Roman Missal in his diocese, according to the guidelines of the Apostolic See.

Hmm...that seems pretty clear. The Apostolic See can provide "guidelines," but it is the "exclusive competence" of the bishop "to regulate the liturgical celebrations."

But wait! The document then goes on to take the right "to regulate the liturgical celebrations of his diocese" completely out of the hands of local bishops and give it to the "Apostolic See." Traditionis Custodes instructs the bishops:

  • that the Epistle and Gospel readings of the traditional Latin Mass (TLM) must be recited in the vernacular rather than in Latin;
  • that the liturgy can't be done in the parochial churches and that "no new parishes" may be erected (i.e., FSSP presumably or any other congregation that celebrates the TLM);
  • All this is "to be observed in all its parts, anything else to the contrary notwithstanding, even if worthy of particular mention, and I establish that it be promulgated by way of publication in 'L’Osservatore Romano', entering immediately in force."
So much for the authority of the "diocesan regulate the liturgical celebrations of his diocese." The bishops are not even given the consideration of a little time to consider how to introduce the tyrannical decree to their dioceses. JUST DO IT!

The letter to the bishops of the world accompanying TC claimed that the survey of the bishops was the impetus for the pope's decision. That the Holy See (an ironic title these days) lied about the survey results has been amply demonstrated by Vatican journalist Diane Montagna. Here's a portion of the pope's letter that illustrates the spin put on the survey results which were never released. Releasing them would have put to the lie the interpretation reflected in this paragraph:
Responding to your requests [Release the results or don't expect the faithful to believe this!] I take the firm decision to abrogate all the norms, instructions, permissions and customs that precede the present Motu proprio, and declare that the liturgical books promulgated by the saintly Pontiffs Paul VI and John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, constitute the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite. [Keep in mind that there are many rites in the Catholic Church. Have you ever been to a Byzantine Mass? How about a Melkite or a Maronite service? I'll pause here to offer the Melkite. You don't need to watch the entire service to see how different it is including the bells.

All of the dozens of various rites are Catholic and each is very different. The Church has always had great diversity in worship! So why must the TLM be suppressed?] I take comfort in this decision from the fact that, after the Council of Trent, St. Pius V also abrogated all the rites that could not claim a proven antiquity, establishing for the whole Latin Church a single Missale Romanum. [Is this true? Pius V standardized the missal. What he abrogated were novelties, particularly those creeping in because of the Protestant revolt.] For four centuries this Missale Romanum, promulgated by St. Pius V was thus the principal expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite, and functioned to maintain the unity of the Church. Without denying the dignity and grandeur of this Rite, the Bishops gathered in ecumenical council asked that it be reformed [The bishops did not ask for the Novus Ordo. It was put together after the Council by a committee that included a number of Protestants.]; their intention was that “the faithful would not assist as strangers and silent spectators in the mystery of faith, but, with a full understanding of the rites and prayers, would participate in the sacred action consciously, piously, and actively”. [28] [The faithful are actively involved in the TLM bringing and joining our personal offerings to the gifts on the altar. Silence does not make one a spectator any more than the string section of an orchestra become mere spectators when they are not playing.]  and St. Paul VI, recalling that the work of adaptation of the Roman Missal had already been initiated by Pius XII, declared that the revision of the Roman Missal, carried out in the light of ancient liturgical sources, had the goal of permitting the Church to raise up, in the variety of languages, “a single and identical prayer,” that expressed her unity. [29]This unity I intend to re-establish throughout the Church of the Roman Rite. [This is almost laughable. There are so many options in the Novus Ordo, from the penitential rite onwards, that it's possible that no two NO masses on the planet are the same. Throw in the ad libs and you have the equivalent of the Tower of Babel.]

Going back to the survey that supposedly demanded all this, Professor Brian McCall, editor of Catholic Family News, saw the leaked 2020 letter initiating the survey and wrote, in what now seems like a prophetic warning:
A common technique of revolutionary dictatorships is to gather data and then selectively use it to justify repression. It is therefore possible that this survey will be revealed to be a prelude to rescinding or severely restricting the legal guarantees of Summorum Pontificum. We know from public statements that Pope Francis bears no love for the Traditional Mass and the millions of laity and clergy attached to it. (Source)

Sure enough, the Vatican spin was that the bishops of the world asked for suppression of the TLM, a Mass that Pope Benedict said was never abrogated and, in fact, could not be! The letter reiterated the point that the bishops are in charge in their dioceses...but not really. Their job is to walk lockstep with the pope in whatever his latest whim proves to be.

So now we move from a questionable document which overthrows centuries of liturgical celebration and the letter accompanying it to the Responsa which is longer than the original document, about three times as long in fact. The RaD imposes a number of novelties not mentioned in TC to the point of being ridiculous. 

Visit tomorrow for Part II when we look at the Responsa ad Dubia, another document from the Twilight Zone.


Catechist Kev said...

Thank you for this, Mary Ann. :^)

I have passed it along to friends whom I would have never guessed to be interested in the TLM... and now they are!

God bless you!

Anonymous said...

While the Novus Ordo Missae is valid per se, the validity of episcopal consecration according to the Novus Ordo Ordinale is questionable. And this has a trickle down effect on those other sacraments regarding validity where the minister of the sacrament must be a validly-ordained priest. For this reason, the standing practice of the SSPX in the days of Msgr. Lefebvre was to ordain conditionally any man who, upon joining or aligning with the SSPX, has been previously ordained accordint to the new rite. SSPX Resistance and sedevacantist still insist upon such conditional ordinations. So, returning to the Novus Ordo Missae, while the text of the new Mass is valid in itself in its typucal Latin edition (valid form), it can be argued that the new Mass is doubtfully valid on account of doubtfully valid priests (defect of minister). No one should seek to make this argument binding on all, although some regrettablydo seek to dogmatise it. Rather, this argument against validity is an opinion, a more probable opinion, yet one with serious consequences.

AMalek said...

Good work!

thetimman said...

Only the Pope can issue a Papal Motu Proprio. Bergoglio has no authority here. The sooner Catholics rise up and realize his irrelevance, he will be irrelevant. The traditional Mass can never be abrogated; it is safeguarded not only by Quo Primum but also by immemorial custom that has the force of canon law.

Anonymous said...

" The NO inverted the Mass from a God-centered sacrifice with the priest leading the people and teaching them by word and example to a man-centered celebration where the people and the "presider" engage in a dialogue and a ritual meal."

So, how can an inversion of the TLM (THE Mass) be valid?

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Validity of a Sacrament depends on the matter, the form, and the intention. The matter is the bread and wine. The form is the words of Consecration. The intention is the priest's intent to do what the Church intends to do. They exist in the Novus Ordo even with its serious defects. I have been to a few Masses over the years where I doubted the priest's intention because of the egregious violations of the rubrics, but most of the NO Masses I've attended in the Diocese of Arlington are done with reverence by priests I respect. I do not doubt their validity.

geroge theologo said...

Vatican I redefined Catholicism as the cult of pope worship. Since then Catholics have gone on and on about popes being infallible gods. And claimed salvation depends on being in communion with the pope. Now God has shown you your idolatry but you still can't see Vatican I is the cause not just Vatican II.

Prior Catholicism had much more in common with Eastern Orthodoxy. Just with a pope who had some power but was not held as infallible. With the filoque also and other differences. But Vatican I made it literal pope worship. And sp it remains because even trads refuse to see the problem was Vatican I. They are in fact so emotionally captured by Vatican I they can't even see that the problem with Vatican II isthat it is in line with Vatican I against all previous councils!

Its funny that Francis himself brought up a phemonena not long ago that Vatican I caused. After Vat I some countries broke their Catholic church off from Rome and became "Old Catholics" who no longer recognized any pope going forward but still did the old ones. As if they recognized that claiming infallibility itself made the popes heretics and no popes any longer.

Francis brought up the Old Catholic churches to say how some of them have embraced women clergy and "this is what happens when you don't stay in communion with the pope" as if he is not pushing for the same himself anyway! LOL!

If you won't just become Eastern Orthodox or Protish then the Old Catholuc idea is the way. That is, stop recognizing Vatican I and see that it started all this mess.

Anonymous said...

Only a very "slight" correction......
The Byzantine rites(there are many of them) do not celebrate mass, they predominantly celebrate the "Devine Liturgy according to St. John Chrysostom.". There are other Liturgies as well, the divine Liturgy according to St. Basil, etc.
Before VCII the Ukrainian Greek Catholic service was still in slavonic and still had 3 ekintias, essentially word-for-word the same as the Russian Orthodox service. VCII chopped 2 ekinias out and translated the service into Ukrainian. I still have my dad's old copy of " My Devine Friend" from the fifties to prove it.


Anonymous said...

“The faithful are actively involved in the TLM bringing and joining our personal offerings to the gifts on the altar.”
I wonder where you get such language: can only come from the N.O. God gives Himself (his sacred heart) to you and what do you offer/sacrifice in return—except your own heart (your whole self—the greatest commandment).

"It is of the greatest significance that Christ Himself is offered in the old Offertory (although He is not actually present until the Consecration) because the Church transcends both time and place and sees its most beloved Bridegroom as already present under the appearance of bread and wine. The new prayers for the Preparation of the Gifts are, in comparison, a presentation of bread and wine. If there can be a claim to sacrifice at all, then we must see such a presentation as a return to the Old Testament, where animals and fruits of the earth were sacrificed, while in the New Testament Christ alone is the true and proper sacrificial Victim."

“its development was motivated by the desire to create a liturgy acceptable to Protestants”
What if its development was motivated by a belief that the Protestants were right and to convert you to Protestantism?
“The paschal haggada, the commemoration of God's saving action, has become a memorial of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ - a memorial that does not simply recall the past but attracts us within the presence of Christ's love. Thus, the berakah, Israel's prayer of blessing and thanksgiving, has become our Eucharistic celebration in which the Lord blesses our gifts - the bread and wine - to give himself in them.”
"He feels the offertory prayers of the old Mass were misleading in that they tended to identify the offering of Christ’s Sacrifice with this part of the Mass rather than with the consecration itself. …In Feast of Faith, the future pope makes it clear that while the Eucharist has the “context of a meal”, it is the “Eucharistia, the prayer of anamnesis or the verbal sacrifice in which Christ’s sacrifice is made present.”

Anonymous said...

48. The Eucharistic Prayer is "the centre and summit of the entire celebration" (145). Its importance deserves to be adequately emphasized. The different Eucharistic Prayers contained in the Missal have been handed down to us by the Church's living Tradition and are noteworthy for their inexhaustible theological and spiritual richness. The faithful need to be enabled to appreciate that richness. Here the General Instruction of the Roman Missal can help, with its list of the basic elements of every Eucharistic Prayer: thanksgiving, acclamation, epiclesis (a liturgical invocation of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of consecrating the eucharistic elements found particularly in Eastern liturgies where it follows the words of institution and is regarded as the point at which the eucharistic bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ), institution narrative (episcopal*) and consecration (the action of declaring bread and wine to be or represent the body and blood of Christ), anamnesis (from the Attic Greek word ἀνάμνησις, meaning "reminiscence" or "memorial sacrifice") is a liturgical statement in Christianity in which the Church refers to the memorial character of the Eucharist), offering, intercessions and final doxology (146). In a particular way, eucharistic spirituality and theological reflection are enriched if we contemplate in the anaphora the profound unity between the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the institution narrative (147) whereby "the sacrifice is carried out which Christ himself instituted at the Last Supper" (148). Indeed, "the Church implores the power of the Holy Spirit that the gifts offered by human hands be consecrated, that is, become Christ's Body and Blood, and that the spotless Victim to be received in communion be for the salvation of those who will partake of it" (149).

68. I am thinking, for example, of processions with the Blessed Sacrament, especially the traditional procession on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Forty Hours devotion, local, national and international Eucharistic Congresses, and other similar initiatives. If SUITABLY UPDATED and ADAPTED to local circumstances, these forms of devotion are still worthy of being practised today. (195) [nowhere is BENEDICTION mentioned]

69. In new churches, it is good to position the Blessed Sacrament chapel close to the sanctuary; where this is not possible, it is preferable to locate the tabernacle in the sanctuary, in a sufficiently elevated place, at the centre of the apse area, or in another place where it will be equally conspicuous.

Conclusion. 94. Jesus' gift of himself in the sacrament which is the memorial of his passion tells us… Priests, deacons and all those who carry out a eucharistic ministry should always be able to find in this service, exercised with care and constant preparation, the STRENGTH and INSPIRATION [not GRACE] needed for their personal and communal path of sanctification. I exhort the lay faithful, and families in particular, to find ever anew in the sacrament of Christ's love the ENERGY [not GRACE] needed to make their lives an authentic sign of the presence of the risen Lord.

Anonymous said...

A commenter on an earlier post had said her priest said couldn't have TLM because 'weren't psychologically ready' (musts have been b4 T.C.)--well can hear Bishop Schneider supposably of Astana but like Vigano able to come over to U.S. and be on the Remnant, EWTN etc. whenever [But Fr. Manelli who founded a semi-trad order is still under house arrest.] parrot the same lies which the faithful are just supposed to or do accept w/out thinking. Then listen to the next question which asks about making a throne of our hands (instead of enthroning Jesus Christ in our heart), the subtle twisting that turns us into protestants.

@34:45 A woman asks: why not just return to the extraordinary form? “The voice of the people is the voice of God. And you are a representative of the people. And even you are a lady even more. And you also are a member of the common priesthood.” And then after this VC2 BS (i.e. he doesn’t say if you are a woman back in the time of the extraordinary form you are to keep quiet in church, cover your head, be barefoot and pregnant, and not wear pants (you fannie trannie)—you don’t ask bishops questions), he goes on to say I agree BUT we must face the reality we live in the vast majority don’t know the ANCIENT (to 1956) liturgy and they are not PSYCHOLOGICALLY ready (60 years, but VC2 could wipe out 2000 years—makes sense to me). The enthronement question follows (what moron could ask that question? Isn't that as reverent as receiving on the tongue, esp when those 'extraordinary' ministers are all touching the host - wow!)