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Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Part 3: From Ecclesia Dei, the Modernist Nose in the Sanctuary, to Traditionis Custodes, the Modernists Running the Show!

Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles offers a hymn in stone to Modernism. What has Modernism given us? Ugly churches, ugly liturgies, ugly music, showmen priests, laity overflowing the sanctuary, and declining faith. Don't just weep. Rebel!

For earlier posts in this series on Modernism and the Traditional Latin Mass see:

Prelude: Is there a crisis in the Church?

Part 1 -- Ecclesia Dei and the Abandonment of Principles! Part I: A Little History

Part 2 -- Ecclesia Dei Part 2: The Motu Proprio is Infected with Modernism

Let's move on to examine Pope Benedict's efforts to improve the situation and restore the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) which he said was "never abrogated," although there were certainly massive efforts by Modernist bishops and priests to completely suppress it.

Recall that the 1988 motu proprio Ecclesia Dei Adflicta (EDA) of John Paul II did, in fact, promote modernism in subtle and not so subtle ways as I discussed in the previous posts. Benedict, with the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum (SP), of 2007, offered hope for a serious correction and a move toward bringing the Traditional Latin Mass once again into the heart of the Church. Although the apostolic letter acknowledge the importance of the TLM and its role in saint-making, it failed to suppress modernist elements. Here's a bit from SP that praised the TLM:

It is well known that in every century of the Christian era the Church’s Latin liturgy in its various forms has inspired countless saints in their spiritual life, confirmed many peoples in the virtue of religion and enriched their devotion. In the course of the centuries, many other Roman Pontiffs took particular care that the sacred liturgy should accomplish this task more effectively. Outstanding among them was Saint Pius V, who in response to the desire expressed by the Council of Trent, renewed with great pastoral zeal the Church’s entire worship, saw to the publication of liturgical books corrected and “restored in accordance with the norm of the Fathers,” and provided them for the use of the Latin Church.

Among the liturgical books of the Roman rite, a particular place belongs to the Roman Missal, which developed in the city of Rome and over the centuries gradually took on forms very similar to the form which it had in more recent generations.

Benedict recognized the continuity of the TLM over the centuries. He acknowledged the right of every priest to say the TLM privately without permission from the Vatican or the local ordinary. He allowed congregations of traditional priests to say the Mass "frequently, habitually or permanently...." All the sacraments could be legitimately offered in the traditional form. Benedict also encouraged bishops to erect TLM parishes in their dioceses. Things were looking up, but SP, like EDA, included modernist errors.

Philosopher and theologian, Peter Kwasniewski, in an article at Crisis Magazine called SP a "watershed moment, a gesture of fortitude and favor, and a clear factor in multiplying traditional Masses around the world and weakening the modernists’ hegemony." But he also recognized SP's flaws. Pope Benedict made it clear in SP that the TLM was never and never could be abrogated. At the same time Benedict implied in the document that popes have the right to do exactly that. Kwasniewski writes:

After proffering a list of popes who never dared to forbid (and, by the same token, never dared to “allow”) worshiping in ancient rites, Benedict XVI mentions the “indult” of John Paul II—a concept that makes sense only on the hypothesis that the Church has the authority to outlaw or suppress a traditional rite, which Benedict, just a few paragraphs later, denies (and, moreover, denies in many other writings of his). Only that which has been definitively discontinued requires an indult; if the usus antiquior was never abrogated and cannot be abrogated, then a priest never needed permission to say it, and will never need permission to say it.
Summarum Pontificum: Benedict's lost opportunity to restore the TLM permanently.
This point is obviously of the greatest importance when reacting to any future papal or curial attempts to subvert the use of the traditional Roman rite. Regrettably, in its overall approach Summorum Pontificum and its accompanying letter to the bishops Con Grande Fiducia still reflect the false view that the pope and the bishops have the authority to dictate whether or not priests ordained for the Roman rite are allowed to use the classic form of their own rite—the only form that existed, from apostolic derivation and a continuous ecclesial development of over 1,500 years. 

It is a contradiction in terms to say that a priest of the Roman rite normatively uses a partly deformed and partly invented rite promulgated by a single pope, whereas the same priest might or might not be able to use a venerable rite received and transmitted by hundreds of popes, bolstered by their cumulative authority....

It is disconcerting to see how quickly the hierarchy was willing to deep six the faith with an experimental liturgy that became modeling clay for dissenters and narcissists. Most of us lived through the clown, polka, mariachi, puppet, and guitar Masses. So did the bishops, but they did nothing for the most part to correct the abuses. We suffered the butterfly vestments, showmen priests, liturgical dancing, Kumbaya, and hordes of so-called "extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist" filling the sanctuary. Worst of all we saw Jesus in the tabernacle replaced by the "presider's" chair, shuffled off to the side or back of the church, and sometimes completely out of the church into a broom closet labeled the adoration chapel. [I actually experienced that in a little parish in West Virginia.]

The rampant dissent from the faith increased with the liturgical playground of the NO. And all this from a decision made by one pope and a liturgical committee led by Annibale Bugnini intent on turning the Mass into a Protestant service. All this leads to this question according to Kwasniewski:

[W]e should be asking whether objectively a pope has the right to substitute new rites for the rites organically developed within the Catholic Church over her entire history. Subjective intentions can be messy and confused; but objectively the liturgical revolution separated Catholics from their own tradition, from orthodoxy as “right worship,” and reconfigured the relationship of lex orandi and lex credendi such that a coalition of liturgists channeling “the magisterium of the moment” became the sole norm of prayer.

And there again Modernism rises with its "subjective intentions" that turn Sacred Tradition on its head and create a Modernist "magisterium of the moment" who demand continuous novelty in the name of progress. "Let's see, what will do for our Lenten theme this year? I know...the cracked pot!" [Not kidding! We lived through that and the Jolly Green Giant's torn garment under a pastor who later left the priesthood to marry a woman I carpooled with.]

If such a rupture can be seen as legitimate and acceptable, there are no longer any perennial principles of liturgy left: everything has been reduced to the mere exercise of the papacy in any way it pleases.

Spot on! And, sadly, the traditionalist institutes were willing to abandon principles for the sake of Vatican approval under Ecclesia Dei. Benedict obviously had good intentions with SP, but he exacerbated the problem as Kwasniewski points out: 

The motu proprio reflects and reinforces false principles of ecclesiology and liturgy that led to the very crisis to which it was a partial response....[SP] subtly holds the traditional liturgy hostage, or gives it, as it were, second-class citizenship. The practical upshot of its language has been to multiply excuses for pastors and bishops, who can always claim that pastoral care is being or would be impeded by the existence of old-rite sacraments, that episcopal guidance implies veto power over a priest’s “willing acceptance of requests” to say the venerable Mass, and that the Catholics requesting it are fomenting discord and damaging the Church’s unity....

And isn't that exactly what's happened? How many dioceses around the world have used "excuses" to eject traditional congregations? Last year, Blase Cupich threw the traditional congregation of Christ the King out of Chicago as did the archbishop of Dijon in France.  

Cardinal Blase Cupich, enemy of Tradition!
Kwasniewski goes on:

It is never easy to persuade bishops to be truly pastoral, but a document that simply said: “The old Mass is to be made available in every diocese in multiple locations by such-and-such a date, and all seminarians are required to be trained in it” might have overcome some of the inertia, obstructionism, and perpetual procrastination that we have seen in the fourteen years since the motu proprio appeared.

With Benedict's resignation and the election of Pope Francis, the Modernist platoon moved from quick march to double march and it became crystal clear that the TLM was a target for complete annihilation which Traditionis Custodes clearly intends escalating into scorched earth warfare.

Which brings me to the FSSP and other congregations who seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief at being exempted from the draconian attack in TC. Many orthodox believers shook their heads and said, "Well, it's just a matter of time until they get it too!" When you know the goal is the utter destruction of the TLM, you send out scouts to see where the enemy is on the battlefield so you can defend yourself and outflank him if possible.

The traditional congregations seemed to recognize the problem when they organized a meeting of the three traditional Catholic institutes in 2021 shortly after TC's release. They wanted to discuss possible future events and work together. Distressing rumors were circulating about suppressing new candidates to the traditional orders. [Note: At one time the FSSP were promised a bishop, but that appears to have been one more false promise to keep the troops in line.] Age Two Age website carried an article at the time quoting FSSP superior, Fr. Father Andrzej Komorowski who said:

We have to stay positive... We just want to live our charisma and remain attached to our Constitutions and remember that our Constitutions have been approved by the Holy See, so if there is something that comes from there to change our charism and our Constitutions, it must be done the right way. by a general chapter and respecting the will of the founders and members....We should really try to stay focused on our apostolic activities, and pray and hope, as we have done so far, that divine Providence will help us through this crisis.

Crisis indeed!

So where do the FSSP and other congregations stand today? They were exempted from TC, but the Holy See has been tightening the screws for years that were set by ED. Things were quiet and hopeful for awhile, but it was only a temporary lull in the battle.

In 1999 the Congregation for Divine Worship issued protocol 1411/99 in response to several FSSP priests who wished to offer both the TLM and NO. Fr. Josef Bisig, the general superior at the time, had banned society priests from offering the NO because it violated the FSSP's constitution. The Vatican overruled him with the protocol. They also rebuked him and withdrew permission for an extraordinary chapter meeting already scheduled. [The draconian treatment of Fr. Bisig is worth reviewing. Historian Thomas Woods wrote an excellent article for Latin Mass Magazine describing the debacle.] Fr. Bisig published a response as did the Traditional Latin Mass community in Vancouver, Canada (VTMS). The VTMS group wrote to several congregations in Rome objecting for these reasons among others:

  • Protocol 1411 contradicts the wishes of the Holy Father when he initially provided the Indult with the specific intention of keeping the congregation attached to the Traditional Rite within the Church. Reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X would not only be impossible, but many faithful traditional Catholics may well move in that direction. 
  • Protocol 1411 violates the provisions within the Constitution of the FSSP, and undermines the authority of the Superior of Traditional Fraternities.
  • Protocol 1411 could induce pressure from Bishops to require priests to celebrate the New Rite because of the present shortage of Priests as a condition of entering dioceses. [Source]

There is definitely an irony here. While the NO popes brooked no opposition to their authority, by 1411/99 they encouraged priests in religious institutes to disobey their superiors and violate the charism outlined in their founding documents opposing canon law. This is Modernism at work! It exemplifies the chaos and serious impact of the traditional societies abandoning the principles of Archbishop Lefebvre. 

Keep in mind that when the FSSP submitted their constitution for approval which included the "exclusive" use of the TLM, Rome required removal of the word "exclusive." The writing was on the wall at that point. They had no intention of maintaining any agreement to leave the TLM societies at peace. Subsequent events certainly justify Lefebvre's distrust of the 1988 agreement which he initially. It was a prophetic decision to withdraw his accord.

For further discussion of this, Anthony Stine has a 13 minute video illustrating the screws being turned to force the FSSP to submit to being bi-liturgical. The Modernists don't mind waiting decades to achieve their ultimate victory. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre is looking more and more like a prophet. Remember how the secular and religious authorities in Jerusalem treated many of them -- they persecuted and killed them! 



  1. I'm pretty sure that distopian building was used on another planet in the Stargate SG1 TV series.

  2. Catholic ecclesiology truly baffles me. I would have thought you have bishops, priests, deacons. But no. Bishop then diocesan staff mostly female above the priests.

  3. Will be interesting to see if this priest is suppressed or reprimanded. Sermon from SSPX priest on June 18, 2023 claims NO priestly ordinations are invalid.

  4. Ah the broom cupboard ! I remember it well . Our church had been turned sideways so the previous front entrance became the Blessed Sacrament chapel with room for a few people , just like a broom cupboard. Our Lord then showed me the way to the traditional Mass . Deo Gratias .

  5. Over the years as I traveled and would visit a Catholic church in a new town I would immediately look for the tabernacle when I entered. Which you would think would not be that difficult. There was once or twice that I couldn't find it. Never thought to look in a closet!

  6. Do you have a link to Kennedy Halls video on the FSSP you mentioned above .?
    I can’t find it.
    I did see the A Stine on 1411\99.

  7. My mistake, Anonymous. I meant the video above with Anthony Stine. I've corrected it. Although Kennedy Hall also has some great videos. I probably had him on my senior brain.