Wednesday, July 30, 2014


When Pope Francis visited his good evangelical friend in Caserta, Italy on Monday and met with about 300 of his parishioners, I thought that it was a very good ecumenical move. We don't need to dwell upon what divides us but what unites us. With evangelicals, we believe in the Most Holy Trinity and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We believe in a common morality and can work together for pro-life causes.

If Pope Francis can work effectively with his evangelical friend, how much more effective would ecumenism be in the Church to avert a true schism and yet another seperation that leads to the hostility and hurts that Catholics in Italy foisted on evangelicals especially during the fascist period?

What if Pope Francis went to see his good friends and brother bishops and parishioners of the SSPX? Certainly the Holy Father has more in common with the SSPX in both faith and morals than with the evangelicals.

The same is true for rank and file ecumenism in our local churches and dioceses. Pope Benedict knew that we are closer to the SSPX than even to the Eastern Orthodox. There is no good reason on God's earth that we cannot reconcile with the SSPX and Pope Benedict certainly understood that and did in a more formal way what Pope Francis did with his evangelical friend in Caserta.

What do rank and file Catholics who prefer the normative liturgy of the Church and much of the authentic spirit of Vatican II fear from the SSPX and traditionalists that are not even a part of the SSPX?

I think of PI who is ecumenically savey with Protestants but has little or no time to reach out to those who are Catholic traditionalists. Why the rigidity? It makes no sense whatsoever.

I want to make something abundantly clear. I appreciate very much Vatican II when properly interpreted as Pope Benedict was striving to do so. Pope Benedict would disagree with the SSPX on the things that they reject from Vatican II but His Holiness was smart enought to know that what the SSPX rejects is not in the same league with what many Protestants reject about the Church in general. And if we can have ecumenical relations with Protestants, create an Anglican Ordinariate and strive for organic unity with Protestants, how much more with the SSPX?

While I appreciate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and would be content in a parish that was exclusivey EF I love the Ordinary Form also, especially the vernacular. That is why I have advocated that some vernacular be allowed for the EF Mass, especially the parts that change. That seems to me to be a no-brainer.

I do believe the Ordinary Form of the Mass needs to recover some elements of the EF's piety and spirituality and yes order. I have come to the conclusion that the loss of Catholic faith, piety, devotion and belief in the real presence can be traced back to the negativity to things liturgically pre-Vatican II, such as hushed piety, kneeling for Holy Communion,scrupulously guarding against any profanation of the Sacrament or its fragments or droplets. There must be continuity in these things so that a rupture in what is called pre-Vatican II and Post Vatican II are not as evident as it is now, a rupture in belief that has helped lead to the collapse of Catholicism in so many parts of the world and a loss of faith in the essentials of the Mass.

When it comes to the SSPX and the Evangelicals and reaching out to both Pope Francis and rank and file bishops, priests, religious and laity have nothing to fear but fear itself!


Anonymous said...

Father, you really should be dealing with life as it really is. Francis will NEVER extend any kindness to the SSPX because he hates Tradition/tradition. Francis has a kind word to say to everyone, included abortionist who literally murder unborn babies, but he has shown nothing but contempt and ridicule for traditionally minded Catholics. Unlike mean, evil, clothes obsessed Pope Benedict who when elected immediately invited Hans Kung to a private audience, Francis would never in a million years extend an invitation to Bishop Fellay. That's the reality of Francis dear Father. That's what you need to understand and accept.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Eh? Pope Francis met with Bishop Fellay at Casa Santa Marta and he allows the EF Mass to continue unabated everyday in St. Peter's Basilica. I think your ideologies are clouding reality. Get with it!

Anonymous Too said...

Unlike the first anonymous, I am aware of the pope's meeting with Bishop Fellay. Once again, this pope is so spread all over the map that one hardly knows what to make of him. While it is true that he met with Fellay and he has helped SSPX priests in Argentina get their papers to remain in the country, it cannot be denied that under his watch the Franciscans Friars of the Immaculate have been placed under ridiculous restraints from offering the EF. Now there is news that the Vatican has suspended the scheduled ordinations of several priests in a Paraguay diocese where vocations, traditional practices and a loathing for Liberation Theology abound. Such a mixed message: "Yes, I am your friend, yes I love you, yes, you are on restriction." It takes a lot more than a smile to convince me that the pope is not an enemy of tradition.

JBS said...

Fr. McDonald,

I think some of your more hysterical commentators here would do well to read this morning's OF lesson from Jeremiah: "If you bring forth the precious without the vile, you shall be my mouthpiece".

JBS said...

Anonymous Too,

"Spread all over the map" comes close the being the definition of "catholic".

The Holy Father is clearly loyal in matters of faith and morals, but no, he clearly does not see the evangelical value of the EF Mass and Ritual. This latter reality saddens me, but it hardly makes him an enemy of either Sacred Tradition or customary tradition.

Anonymous said...

Even before reaching out to the SSPX, our Holy Father might well reach out his helping hand to the Franciscans Friars of the Immaculate, with whom to my knowledge never a whiff of either disobedience or scandal has been associated. So far as I can understand, their only problem is that a majority of the friars are traditionally faithful Catholics, over whom a small minority of progressives who detest them have gained power.

I know of no indication that any of the brutal suppression they are experiencing is at the direction of Pope Francis, who certainly cannot be held personally responsible for everything that happens in a Church of over a billion members. However, virtual hounds of hell have been set loose on his watch, bringing back memories of the darkest days of destruction of orders and churches in the decade following Vatican II, and I pray that his benevolent attention will be soon turned to this distressing situation.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

If Pope Francis is opposed to traditionalism one would think that he would not allow Cardinal Pell, arguably the most influential Cardinal in the Vatican to celebrate a pontifical high EF Mass this October in celebration of SP!

John said...

There has been a 180^ change since 2012 among the SSPX hierarchy. Today, missing are the hot rhetoric in their comments regarding the Pope and activities in the world-wide Church.

The SSPX are not outside the Church. Their lay followers and their priests have never been excommunicated. Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of their bishops. And as noted above Pope Francis has spoke with Bp. Fellay personally if only very briefly.

I believe that the Pope has them watched to see if they can respectfully disagree about those things which they think V-2 got wrong and of course the reformed liturgy. It has been said that their arguments concerning V2 is maybe 5% whereas the left wing represented by such folks as the nuns on the bus and pray tell blogger reject 95% of Catholic teaching.

The SSPX are sorely needed by ALL Catholics to teach in seminaries and be a model of authentic Catholic piety for all of us.

Finally, I deeply regret the many faux commentary emanating from the current Papacy. However Catholic Tradition will prevail against all loose talk in the long run because it contains 2000 years of teaching based on the gospel of Jesus the Lord.

rcg said...

Many Protestants are like the woman by the well, they are following along but don't what or why. Salvation comes from the Jews, through the Church. At home we have Catholics who seem bored with simple adoration and respect and want to test the limits of God's acceptance. I think it is right to be more harsh on them because they know better. But which Catholics have abused the Church? Passive aggressive Catholics who retained power and position to dishonestly change the Mass and omit support for Church teachings and secretly support opposition? Or the traditionalists who will only attend an EF Mass or no Mass at all?

Anonymous said...

In reading the Amazon reviews of Eamon Duffy’s “The Stripping of the Altars” about the Reformation in England, I was struck with the thought that much of this book could well have been written about the post Vatican II reform. Thus, some selected paragraphs from these reviews, with bracketed updates to describe the post-Vatican II reform rather than the English Reformation:

“[The author] recreates [early 20th century lay Catholics] experience of religion, revealing the richness and complexity of the Catholicism by which men and women structured their experience of the world and their hopes within and beyond it. He then tells the story of the destruction of that Church - the stripping of the altars . . . . . [He] argues that [pre-Vatican II] Catholicism was neither decadent nor decayed but was a strong and vigorous tradition, and that the [post-Vatican II reform] represented a violent rupture from [previous belief and practice]].”

“[The author] builds his book by first demonstrating the depth and vitality of Roman Catholic faith among the laity in [the pre-Vatican II era]. [His] objective is to show the reader how influential the religious and spiritual worlds were in the life of the average believer. For example, the commanding authority of the liturgical calendar is illustrated to have been closely intertwined with the secular rhythms of life. [He] also stresses that the celebration of Mass was a participatory, not passive act on the part of the laity.”

“[The author’s] thesis is that, contrary to what has been taught and generally believed about the [post Vatican II reform of the Church], satisfaction with the Roman Catholic "traditional" religion, its fĂȘtes, rituals and observances was almost universal at the time [just prior to Vatican II] and that the [subsequent reform], itself, was imposed upon the people by Church reformers, not popular will.”

“He does so systematically, painting the nature of [pre-Vatican II parish and family life as] soaked in pervasive religiosity. [The author] works through the nature of categories of traditional practice -- liturgy, catechesis, mass, gild, prayers, primers (in preference to Bible study), and the sometimes cultish fixations on death and purgatory -- and in doing so creates an image of an idyllic world, cohesive, communal and warmly and constantly involved with its faith.”

“The Stripping of the Altars is the story of traditional Catholics desperately trying to preserve their faith against tyrannical [reformers} who tear down their altars, change the language of their Mass, mock their devotions, destroy their statues, and decimate their liturgical year. It is a tale of courage amid great tragedy and it proves that the Faith [of ordinary Catholics] was stolen, not lost. Most of all it presents the beauty and power of traditional Roman Catholicism.”

Anonymous said...

"Eh? Pope Francis met with Bishop Fellay at Casa Santa Marta"

Eh, yourself. For a priest you are unbelievable common. Anyway the exent of the "meeting" in the cafeteria was "hello" this is from someone who spoke with the bishop regarding the meeting. Francis did not "meet" with Bishop Fellay, he dis not go out of his was like he does for protestants. So get your facts straight neo con.

Anonymous 2 said...

Here is a report of Pope Francis’s meeting with the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate on June 10.

Anonymous 2 said...

And here is a report of the encounter between Pope Francis and Bishop Fellay. According to the report the SSPX have been renewing their criticism of Vatican II and attacking Pope Francis. No details are given about those attacks. Perhaps some closer SSPX watchers might know more. Thus: “Not only have the leaders of the Society of St. Pius X criticized the Second Vatican Council since Francis took over from Benedict XVI, but they have even written and published some very harsh comments against Pope Francis.”:

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Neo Con? Nothing like politicizing the Faith. Just call me Catholic!

Anonymous Too said...

For the record that was "anonymous 2" that called you a neo-con, not me.

Anonymous said...

"Neo Con? Nothing like politicizing the Faith. Just call me Catholic!"

Really, Fr. "Minor Mortal Sins", and the Pope is "one among equals". You aren't just a neo con you are just not intelligent. You areN't evil, but you really are not the brightest bulb in the marquee. You can't argue reasonably. You resort to emotional responses. Even when you are obviously being goaded for a reaction, you always take the bait? It's actually sad. But you will notice I didn't call you stupid or an idiot.

Francis has made it very clear to any microphone, camera or reporter that he extends a welcome to sodomites, heretics, atheists and abortionist, but not to faithful Catholics.

I hardly call a chance encounter in a cafeteria between him and Bishop Fellay a meeting.

What happened was that Fellay was invited to eat at the Motel 6 in the Vatican and Francis was leaving his table. The cleric who invited Fellay said "let me introduce you to the pope". Bishop Fellay approached Francis and genuflected to him and kissed his ring. Bishop Fellay said "Please pray for me?" Francis responded"Yes", and walked away. That was it.

No hugs were given like to the Protestants, Muslims etc. no kindness shown at all. And shouldn't have he shown extraordinary kindness to Fellay because after all it's easy to be nice to people you agree with for even "the Gentiles do as much".

Anonymous said...

This Neo Con Anon is not I...the old Anon, the BFF of Gene Anon.
This Neo Con anon is ...well, I'll just say:

Neo Con Anon, here's my slogan...which I pass on to you...

JUST BE NICE..........

JBS said...

Father McDonald,

Congratulations are being called "common"! We don't need highfalutin priests!

George said...

Some are converted and convinced by the intellect, others by example.

From - Saint Peter Chrysologus (406-450), Doctor of the Church, Feast day July 30:
"Jesus, give me an intellect, a great intellect, for this only, that I may understand You better; because the better I get to know You, the more ardently will I love You"
"Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others, you open God's ear to yourself."

Anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous Too,

“For the record that was ‘anonymous 2 that called you a neo-con, not me.”

No, for the record, it was not I who called Father McDonald a neo-con but some “Anonymous” who makes a regular habit of being disrespectful to Catholic clergy. I do not do that and indeed strongly disapprove of anyone doing it.

Gene said...

As a kid, whenever I would so something rude or inappropriate, my Grandmother would say, "That's just common!" So, Fr., don't pick your nose, burp out loud, play with your gum and make granny's britches,
scratch yourself in public, or pass gas audibly. LOL!

Gene said...

How much con could a neo con if a neo could con con?

Mary had a neo con,
She didn't like him, though.
Because he thought it was just fine
For Mass to be a show.

(To the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game")

Take me out to the Vat Two
Take me out with the crowd,
We'll have the best reformation yet,
We'll make the Mass something you won't forget.

Oh, take me out to the Vat Two
Take me out for the fun
Bring your guitar and some puppets, too
We'll dress the altar in red, white, and blue!

Oh, take me out to the Vat Two
Let's stand and receive in the hand,
None of this kneeling and piety
Let's all cheer for Jesus when I count to three.

Oh, take me out to the Vat Two,
We'll serve popcorn and fudge,
'Cause anything goes in this great brand new Church,
Who am I…to…judge!

Joseph Johnson said...

Fr. McDonald,
You wrote a very good post. I especially agree with the next to last paragraph and what you had to say about the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form of the Mass. I too could live happily in an EF-only parish but I also agree with what you write is sorely needed to improve the OF Mass.

Maybe if I'm truly lucky (but you might not think it so lucky!), you might one day be assigned to my parish before you retire!

Anonymous said...


What I observe is that what's needed to improve the celebration of the OF in a parish, is the EF offered in it. In particular, you can't miss when you attend the OF celebrated by a faithful young priest who's learned to celebrate the EF/

Templar said...

Well if ever there was a post that demonstrated theneed for "anonymous" posters to be blocked, this is it. Make everyone choose a name, you can still be "anonymous" without confusing everyone who wanders in as to who is saying what.

And Gene, that's some of your best poetry yet :)

Anonymous 2 (aka Man of Steel) said...

Okay, Templar, from now on I will be known as Man of Steel (that’s a joke).

George said...

The quotes above for the feast of Saint Peter Chrysologus (406-450) are actually from St Faustina. They are quotes that can apply to him and his feast day but not from him but from her writings.