Thursday, October 11, 2012


This is in Italian, but the images speak for themselves as well as the optimism that will be short-lived:

Yesterday at his general audience (October 10), His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI gave a personal reflection on the opening of the Second Vatican Council 50 years ago this very day. As you know, Pope Benedict was a young theologian at the Council and one of the few in the world today who have a direct eyewitness awareness of its purpose and inner workings. YOU CAN READ IT COMPLETE REFLECTION HERE.

The Holy Father says: "If we look at the Second Vatican Council, we can see that at that moment in the journey of the Church there were no particular errors of faith to correct or condemn, nor were there specific issues of doctrine or discipline to be clarified. Thus we can understand the surprise of the small group of cardinals in the chapter house of the Benedictine monastery of St. Paul Outside the Walls, where, on January 25, 1959, Blessed John XXIII announced the diocesan Synod for Rome and the Council for the Universal Church. The first question he asked himself in preparing for this great event was how to start it, what specific task to assign to it. Blessed John XXIII, in his opening speech, on October 11, fifty years ago, gave a general indication: faith had to speak in a "renewed", more incisive way - because the world was rapidly changing – while keeping its perennial contents, without giving in or compromise. The Pope wanted the Church to reflect on her faith, on the truths that guide her. But this serious, in-depth reflection on faith, had to outline the relationship between the Church and the modern age in a new way, between Christianity and some essential elements of modern thought, not to conform itself to it, but to present to our world, which tends to move away from God, the need of the Gospel in all its grandeur and in all its purity (cf. Address to the Roman Curia for Christmas greetings, December 22, 2005). The Servant of God Paul VI indicated this very well in his homily at the end of the last session of the Council - December 7, 1965 – with words that still today are most relevant, when he affirmed that in order to properly asses this event, and I quote, "it is necessary to remember the time in which it was realized. In fact, the Pope says, it took place at a time in which, everyone admits man is orientated toward the conquest of the kingdom of earth rather than of that of heaven; a time in which forgetfulness of God has become habitual, and seems, quite wrongly, to be prompted by the progress of science; a time in which the fundamental act of the human person, more conscious now of himself and of his liberty, tends to pronounce in favor of his own absolute autonomy, in emancipation from every transcendent law; a time in which secularism seems the legitimate consequence of modern thought and the highest wisdom in the temporal ordering of society;... it was at such a time as this that our council was held to the honor of God, in the name of Christ and under the impulse of the Spirit". Thus said Paul VI. He concluded by indicating in the question of God the central focus of the Council, that God, I quote again, that " He is real, He lives, a personal, provident God, infinitely good; and not only good in Himself, but also immeasurably good to us. He will be recognized as Our Creator, our truth, our happiness; so much so that the effort to look on Him, and to center our heart in Him which we call contemplation, is the highest, the most perfect act of the spirit, the act which even today can and must be at the apex of all human activity"(AAS 58 [1966], 52-53). We can see how the time in which we live continues to be marked by forgetfulness and deafness towards God. I think, then, that we must learn the simplest and most basic lesson of the Council, namely that Christianity in its essence consists in faith in God, which is love of the Trinity, and in the encounter, both personal and community, with Christ who directs and guides life: from which everything else follows. The important thing today, just as it was the desire of the Council Fathers, is that we can once again see - clearly - that God is present, He takes care of us, He answers us. And that, instead, when there is no faith in God, what is essential collapses, because man loses his profound dignity and that which makes his humanity great, against all reductionism. The Council reminds us that the Church, in all its components, has the duty, the mandate to transmit the Word of God that saves, so that the Divine call, which contains our eternal blessing, can be heard and welcomed."

My comments now: The Holy Father states of the times of the Church in 1962 that "If we look at the Second Vatican Council, we can see that at that moment in the journey of the Church there were no particular errors of faith to correct or condemn, nor were there specific issues of doctrine or discipline to be clarified." But that is certainly not true today, in fact, today there are many specific errors of faith to correct and condemn and specific issues of doctrine and discipline to be clarified.

Just as the Council's first document was on the Liturgy of the Church, from which all else flows, when the Liturgy is celebrated properly, so too today we must look at how the liturgy is celebrated in many places that thwart the great work of the Council and creates the specific errors of faith, doctrine and discipline that need to be corrected or condemned. The following "clown Mass" recently celebrated by a bishop in Brazil is a prime example of what needs to be condemned today as it impacts not only the liturgy, but sound doctrine and discipline.

The language is Portuguese, the music is internationally recognized! Did Vatican II really want this, to create liturgical, doctrinal and discipline chaos and cause the Church to sink to this kind of liturgy? I think not, therefore one would hope for a strong condemnation of such!


Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic said...

Here in the Diocese of Hamilton (Canada) two priests of a religious order arrived this past spring in the city of Hamilton to "co-pastor" two parishes. In August one of them thought it appropriate to begin his homily wearing a clown suit. This along with many of the changes they've implemented has caused stress and indeed scandal among the faithful. So, no, we are not passed the age of clowns in the Sanctuary.

Gene said...

Well, since everything else in this Mass has been turned on its head, would it be alright to seriously lust after that pretty brunette and still receive?

Joseph Johnson said...

I always believe in "dressing the part" in the most stereotypical traditional sense. That Redemptorist priest "ringmaster" really needed a red tailcoat and black silk top hat!

Seriously, I cannot summon the words to describe the level of this outrageously sacrilegious farce!

Andy Milam said...

...And one wonders why so many of us call for the abandonment of the Novus Ordo.

At what point can we start talking about validity? When the Mass is so abused that it does not resemble even a Protestant worship service, then can we talk about validity?

This is 100% pure manipulation of the faithful. The faithful are there because they understand (even minimally) that they have an obligation to assist at Holy Mass. Then they are subjected to the abuses which ensue. I know life is not fair, but the ministers of this Mass are not only causing scandal, they are causing sacrilege. And yet it continues....

This is reason #23794587230498572340 why the Novus Ordo must go. Because this is what can happen in any parish in the name of "personal prerogative."

The worst part, I am sure the Ordinary knew about it and did nothing.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Sadly the bishop presided. This may have only been a Novena incorporating some of the carnival nature of Brazil into it, thus inculturation run a muck. However, if this had been a street procession similar to what one finds in New Orleans or Italy and elsewhere, I don't think I would have taken such great offense.

John Nolan said...

Do you really expect the SSPX to accommodate itself to an institutional Church which not only tolerates but actually encourages these things? Note the presence of the bishop. Forget nit-picking over the documents, this, and less spectacular but equally serious and widespread liturgical abuses are but a part of the true legacy of Vatican II.

Anonymous 5 said...


Can we go beyond validity and talk about communion? Are orthodox Catholics in communion with these people, this bishop, in any meaningful way? Does VII subsistence mean that God's grace is really present somehow in that setting?

That a) this sort of thing can happen at all, let alone on such a scale, b) that it can still be happening two generations after the council that (intentionally or not) spawned it, and 3) that it can happen without instant and official condemnation from the Vatican are very grave indictments of the hierarchy.

I am becoming convinced that a Second Catholic Reformation, on the order of Trent, is necessary--thatthe hierarchy taken as a whole has lost its way, much as the clergy in the generations running up to Luther did. I'm being convinced of this not only by practices such as the one in the video, and all that accompanies it), but by the refusal of the hierarchy to deal with it as well as the hierarchy's "head in the sand" attitude about it. I'm further convinced that this Second Catholic Reformation will be a joint venture of a small faithful remnant of Catholic clergy and laity.

Henry Edwards said...

"in fact, today there are many specific errors of faith to correct and condemn and specific issues of doctrine and discipline to be clarified."

Indeed, as the principal result and legacy of Vatican II to date. A calamitous loss of faith and morality, a disintegration of private devotion and public worship never before suffered by the Church (as I understand its history), not even in the early-century heresies or the societal chaos of the darkest ages.

Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic said...

First, liturgical abuse does not prove the Novus Ordo invalid or in need of abrogation. Be thankful this obscenity wasn't offered in the Extraordinary Form because it could have been.

Second, there are many priests and bishops who offer a reverent Novos Ordo. To lump them in with those who disrespect the liturgy is unfair and does nothing to further the cause of Tradition.

Third, Commentators who use such examples to prove the validity of the SSPX's current position fail to grasp the concept of obedience. It's not even logical to use one breach to try and prove the entity in error. If one soldier abandons his post does that prove the army is wrong? If the SSPX really wanted to correct error and help the Church it would get back into the fight and stop pouting in the corner of the battle field.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Thanks Waterloo! You are 100% correct on what you write and yes, these sorts of things could be done at an EF Mass to make it more relevant, although I suspect there would be an immediate burning at the stake, but even in 1965 with the EF Mass weird things took place, we should not forget! Obedience and provoking schism that gets bishops excommunicated isn't the way to go and is as much a rupture with Tradition as this so-called liturgy.

Andy Milam said...


Can we go beyond validity and talk about communion?
--I think that we have to come to some sort of consensus as to what "communion" really is? I don't think that the leadership of the Church, today, has a clear view and understanding of what that is or what that entails. I really don't. I think that they work soley on agenda and accept those who fulfill their needs (read: wants) and that is about as far as it goes.

Are orthodox Catholics in communion with these people, this bishop, in any meaningful way?
--If it were me, I'd say no. I'd argue that we can start talking about excommunication latae sententiae. To be so abusive of the action can be interpreted as a formal break in theology and direct movement away from known Catholic thought.

Does VII subsistence mean that God's grace is really present somehow in that setting?
--I don't know. I think that mattes of validity come into play when the Mass moves far enough away from the rubrics that it is no longer recognizable as Mass. I think that at some point we have to look at FORM. I think that at some point if we can argue that homemade bread with sugar and honey is invalid, then we can argue that if the Mass is unrecognizable through abuse and "tinkering" then the form is compromised.

These are questions we need to discuss. I think that we need to really work at drilling this down.

Andy Milam said...

@Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic;

"... liturgical abuse does not prove the Novus Ordo invalid or in need of abrogation."

Ultimately, I do agree with that, but I think that we do need to address the questions raised by A5. I think that while abuse doesn't prove the NO invalid, it does beg the question at what point does abuse cause scandal and sacrilege? Is it immediate? Is it after 3 mistakes? Is it after 5 "adaptations?" Or is it never?

I understand that there is a huge level of subjectivism in this, but there shouldn't be. So, the Ordinary doesn't see anything wrong with clowns and trapeze and rollerblades, yet the rest of Christendom does. Hmmmm....

I argue all the time that because of the changes after the Council the rubrics went from having the force of law to almost having the ability to suggest. But the reality is that they should still have the force of law, no? Nothing has changed that. And if the law is broken, at what point do we have to expect reciprocity for said broken laws? As Vatican Council II said, "Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority."

Furthermore, Sacrosanctum Concilium also said, "care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.

As far as possible, notable differences between the rites used in adjacent regions must be carefully avoided."

I would say that there was no care in this instance and that the priest (read: bishop) was not following the mandates laid forth in Vatican Council II.

So, back to your point, no, abuse doesn't prove invalidity...but abuse can CAUSE invalidity.

Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic said...

In reference to my comments on the SSPX: I'm very grateful for Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX for preserving the Usus Antiquior. Who knows where the Mass of Ages would be today without them.

However, I'm frustrated that they are still in irregular status. Those attached to the Mass and Tradition need their support - reinforcements. Without getting too deep into the issue a resolution seems very achievable. Given the ambiguous nature of Vatican II documents, the SSPX should be able to interpret them in their own perspective and thus return to regular status.

Anyway...although valid there are sufficient criticisms of the Novus Ordo so that no one has to use fallacy against it. Also, given all the options and simplified nature it may be impossible to regulate. Maybe the Novus Ordo is like a Ferrari: awesome for an experienced & mature driver but you wouldn't give one to your sixteen year old son, would you?

Anonymous 5 said...


Before I posted I did ruminate briefly on the relationship between invalid Masses and being in communion, but I really didn't take it anywhere. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

Unfortunately, Excommunication latae sententiae can be used as a cop-out by the hierarchy. The main purpose of excommunication is to warn someone that he's in danger and to call him back to the Faith, right? And I'd argue that a secondary purpose would be to warn others as well. But an excommunication that is neither officially pronounced nor noted in any other way can serve either of these purposes, especially if the parties in question don't realize that excommunication latae sententiae even applies in their case (or don't even know what it is). Yet, if backed into a corner, the hierarchy can always claim that an offender has been excommunicated latae sententiae (and then misunderstand or deliberately misrepresent the corrective and instructive aspects of excommunication by saying that since it's latae sententiae there's really no point in calling attention to it publicly.)

Kitchener: I presume that most of your comments weren't aimed at me, since in my post here I neither called the NO per se into question nor mentioned SSPX (or even had them in mind in this case). But I will respond to your military analogy by observing that we're talking about a heckuva lot more than one soldier here. That is one of the things that I mentioned as concerning me: that abuses are so widespread, although the gross level of abuse displayed by this video is mercifully less so.

But I'd argue that in the great majority of NO Masses, there's something wrong that, if not actual error, at the very least encourages wrong thinking: Protestant theology in the hymns (or worse, in the homilies), non-sacramental wine with additives that make it illicit, ugly architecture, sacreligious communions by the dozen, fractioning the Host during the Consecration, bowing rather than genuflecting at the consecration, self-communication among EMEs, gathering children around the altar during the Eucharistic prayer, you name it. (I have personally witnessed every one of these things in various parishes, many of them on a chronic basis.) This sort of stuff trickles down from the major stuff.

Tridentine Mass-goers and celebrants are self-selecting, and I'll bet you money that on average there's far, far more reverence, more closely-followed rubrics, and more correct theology in Tridentine Masses than in NO Masses. That raises the question of relationship between form and reverence/orthodoxy.