Monday, November 23, 2015


Is this the new Pelagianism that Pope Francis decries (the restructuring of the Mass to look like this and thus the causation of the loss of vibrancy in the Church that was in place prior to Vatican II and her reliance on Christ's transcendence that led to the pre-Vatican II vibrancy)?
Should Vatican II simply have focused on maintaining the vibrancy of the pre-Vatican II Church rather than trying to fix something that wasn't broke thinking the fixing would save Catholics?

Pope Francis with his less than linear way of communicating seems to be crystal clear when it comes to Pelagianism and its recovery in the "spirit "of Vatican II that continues to haunt the post-Vatican II Church in a deleterious way!

In his speech to the Bishops of Germany, one of the fastest growing post-Catholic countries in Western Europe, Pope Francis  directly appealed to them not to “put trust in administrative structures, in perfect organizations”. He called such a tendency “a sort of new Pelagianism.”

But isn't placing trust in administrative and perfect organizations precisely what Vatican II has done to the hierarchy and through them to local clergy and laity?

First of all "spirit" of Vatican II liturgical theologians and the amateurs on the parish level thought that restructuring the Mass would save us. Yes, they believed that reorganization the Mass would save us, just as they thought the documents of Vatican II would save us. Yes, they believed that and they preached and taught Vatican II and the restructuring of the Liturgy and not so much Jesus Christ!

Pope Francis in telling the German bishops that their pre-Vatican II Church was far more vibrant than their post-Vatican II Church with its idolatry and Pelagianism. This means that restructuring the Mass has been a dismal failure for it has not accomplished the salvation of people nor attracted them to the Liturgy as the pre-Vatican II Liturgy did. In fact, the pre-Vatican II liturgy led to a vibrancy in most dioceses throughout the world all the way up to Vatican II. The reason was that the Mass of the Ages enabled the clergy and laity to enter into the transcendence of God. It enabled people to experience God personally and communally with with wonder and awe, fear and joy! Thus the focus of the Church prior to Vatican II was to enable people to know, love and serve God and not be preoccupied by restructuring everything from the Mass to religious life, from church architecture to parish organizations which became the false gods that a small, elite group of Catholics shoved down the throats of the majority of Catholics who were quite content with the Church and the means by which the Church enabled them to know, love and serve Jesus Christ. Just think of all the laity who were willing to enter priesthood and religious life and this tells you of the vibrancy of the pre-Vatican II Church compared to what we now have, a mere shadow of the Church that once was about 50 years ago, within my memory!

Pope Francis calls the post-Vatican II Church on the carpet concerning this restructuring of the Church, a new kind of Pelagianism, that has removed the transcendence from the Church, her liturgy and her life.

This is what the Pope said on Saturday about his preference for the pre-Vatican II ability to enable people to enter into transcendence and how the post-Vatican II Church has been such a miserable failure in this regard with its "neo-positivism.":

"Christian education --  the Pope says  -- ... is bringing up the young in complete reality with human values and one of these [values] is transcendence. Today there is a tendency to neo-positivism, which is education in immanent things, in countries of Christian tradition as well as those of pagan tradition. We are closed to transcendence but closure is of  no use in education.”

Yes, Pope Francis hits the nail on the head in recognizing why the pre-Vatican II Church was so vibrant. It has to do with transcendence which the new Pelagianism of the post-Vatican II Church has attempted to destroy in favor of the horizontal, not the vertical (immanent things, not transcendence!)

Apart from the so-called experts who believed restructuring the liturgy would lead to a new springtime for the Church (like the Babylonians who thought they could build a tower to God) and could replace God and the Sacrifice of His Most Beloved Son as the Source of all salavation, what other new Pelagian things did the post-Vatican II Church bring that destroyed the vibrancy of the pre-Vatican II Church, the clear causation that Pope Francis sees in a very focused way? 

Here is my list:

1. One of the biggest complaints of priests after Vatican II when they were told to form parish councils and various consultative committees is that priests felt that they were now administrators going to meetings all the time rather than spending time in prayer and visiting people.

2. Councils and committees replaced devotions in the Church and supplanted these.

3. It is still believed that the best parishes are the ones which have the most structures and most meeting and restructure things over and over again. Where is Jesus and encountering Him in  a transcendent way involved in all of this.

4. With the increase of structures of councils and committees, we see a decline in Mass attendance, fewer people going to Confession and the disappearance of popular devotions which prior to Vatican II would fill our churches. What parish today has a novena or Benediction that packs their parish church during the week or on a Sunday night as in pre-Vatican II times? 

5. The restructuring of the Mass to eliminate Latin, reorganize and expand the lectionary, to reorder the Mass and simplify it (dumb it down), make people stand for Holy Communion, receive in the hand and receive from lay people did nothing to increase the vibrancy of the Church prior to Vatican II when these things were thought of and developed. Pelagianism is a heresy that diminishes the Church; it does not create vibrancy! 

It seems that Pope Francis has either consciously or subconsciously pointed the Church in the right direction to recover vibrancy of the Church prior to Vatican II. It is the recovery of transcendence and the true God and the only means of our salvation, the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross. 

The Extraordinary Form of the Church to include how the sacraments were celebrated and how the priesthood and religious life were lived and how devotions had such a prominent place in the lives of Catholics is the way to go in order to recover the vibrancy that the Holy Spirit desires for the Church.



Anonymous said...

Like the past 50 years it will be all talk and no action. Though, I guess if anyone would be the one to do these things it would be the ever unpredictable Pope Francis.
I still believe that the re-sacrilization of the OF is what is going to be the most beneficial to the Church. Who is going to be inspired by the average OF Mass at your typical suburban parish? Obviously no one since Mass attendance continue to drop. Look at the parishes, both EF & OF which celebrate the Mass with reverence and have frequent confession, they are usually full.

Anonymous said...

Francis has on more than one occasion spoken of the loss of reverence in the Mass, alluding to the Eastern Churches and their beautiful litergies. Hopefully this is a sign that he will allow those options from the Anglican Use in the OF, I just doesn't make sense to have those things for the Anglicans but not for us in the Latin Rite as a whole. Hopefully your clairvoyance comes to fruition Fr., as there must be a reason why Francis chose Cardinal Sarah as the head of the CDWDS, maybe a proclamation to be made soon??


Anonymous said...

And this means what?

This is from the same man who says we can't rely on structures and ways of thinking from the past. We couldn't possibly return to the way the Mass was celebrated in 1950. No no. We can't look backwards. It's wrong to want to return to the 1950's or the 1940's. But it's perfectly fine to want to return to 33 AD.

Anonymous said...

Exactly from Anonymous at 11:28 AM, this man in the Vatican said never again will we go back to the "old" ways of the 1950's form of Mass i.e. the TLM. And just remember what Francis said this past Friday, PIOUS PRIESTS scare him alluding to the F.S.S.P., Institute of Christ the King and the S.S.P.X. Stop pretending already nothing will happen, Francis is a Vatican II man and he ain't going back to the 1950's. As Europe plunges into Islamic darkness, how is that inter-religious dialogue going???

Anonymous said...

Just look at our cathedrals and churches in Europe from Holland to Germany to France, once vibrant and packed with the smell of incense and the sound of Gregorian chant, now as we gaze to look over the Atlantic we hear the call of the muezzin from the minarets of once Christian Europe. Europe will take its final bow to freedom and life unless something short of a miracle happens, may God send Europe a savior in the likes of Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen they alone understand what is at stake and have the guts and need i say the bravery to do what they are doing.

Ted said...

Fr McDonald, I think you put way too much into this Pelagianism the Holy Father keeps mentioning. This label simply means that God's help, primarily through His grace, is not needed in human affairs. For Pelagius, original sin is not passed on so that we can all do good, with or without God's help. In other words, God is irrelevant to the goodness of man's actions.
This Pelagianism is evident in the German Church when it relies on external and internal structures to do what it thinks is good. Externally, it relies on the government and political structures for its physical existence, and uses this to maintain its comfy internal hierarchical structure, alienating it from the rest of society. In doing so, it forgets God's transcendence in the world, that it's existence is not based on these structures, but on God's grace alone.
The pre-Vatican II German Church was certainly vibrant, but things have changed considerably. Going back to the ways of the past century is unlikely to work any more. Instead of living in these structures, the German Church must turn to God's grace and go outside these structures to re-evangelise Germany.
It is interesting that the Holy Father uses this label for the German Church, because Martin Luther borrowed his crucial doctrine of sola-fides from Pelagius.
Francis knows as much about the liturgy as Paul VI did before, that is, very little, and, like the latter, leaves liturgical matters to those who claim to know much better.

Mark Thomas said...

Anonymous at 12:00 Pm>m said..."And just remember what Francis said this past Friday, PIOUS PRIESTS scare him alluding to the F.S.S.P., Institute of Christ the King and the S.S.P.X."

What proof so you have that His Holiness Pope Francis alluded to said priests?

In regard to the SSPX, on September 1, 2015, A.D., Pope Francis spoke well of the SSPX and noted the SSPX's "good faith and sacramental practice."

Pope Francis has recognized the validity (at least throughout the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy) of the Sacrament of Penance administered by the SSPX.

Pope Francis also referred (back in September) to Catholics attached to SSPX chapels as "faithful" Catholics.

Pope Francis' good opinion of the SSPX shouldn't surprise anybody. After all, Bishop Fellay noted that during Cardinal Bergoglio's (Pope Francis') days in Argentina, that he (Cardinal Bergoglio) had declared that the SSPX was 100 percent "Catholic".

Sorry, but the notion that Pope Francis last Friday defamed priests of the SSPX is at odds with the praise and goodwill that Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio's has for years heaped upon the SSPX.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Anonymous said... "And just remember what Francis said this past Friday, PIOUS PRIESTS scare him alluding to the F.S.S.P., Institute of Christ the King and the S.S.P.X."

I read the news aticles in question. However, I did not find where His Holiness Pope Francis used the word "pious" to describe priests who "scare" him.

Here is what Pope Francis said according to the articles in question:

"If you are sick, if you are neurotic, go and see a doctor, spiritual or physical. The doctor will give you pills. But, please, don’t let the faithful pay for neurotic priests.

"There are often young men who are psychologically unstable without knowing it and who look for strong structures to support them. For some it is the police or the army but for others it is the clergy.

"When a youngster is too rigid, too fundamentalist, I don’t feel confident (about him). Behind it there is something he himself does not understand. Keep your eyes open!"

Where in the above did Pope Francis denounce holy priests...and why should we believe that the Pope's above comments were veiled attacks on priests of the SSPX, FSSP, and ICK?

Pope Francis has expressed goodwill toward the SSPX.

Pope Francis has praised the FSSP.


Mark Thomas

Anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous at 12:00 p.m.:

“As Europe plunges into Islamic darkness, how is that inter-religious dialogue going???”

Will you accept this as an instance—in Paris on November 19 no less?

JBS said...

The truths and graces of Christ are just as present today as they were in the Apostolic Era, the Patristic Era, the Dark Ages, the Middles Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Age of Revolution and the Modern Era. Same Savior, same truths, same graces, same Church.

Mark Thomas said...

Anonymous at 2:24 AM said..."

I followed that link, read the article in question, then researched the principles involved.

-- The evening of "peace and dialogue" had been planed well prior to the recent Islamic terrorist attack in Paris.

-- The "event was hosted by the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (Anglican/Episcopal) in Paris, and led by a panel of Muslim theologians who are members of the World Union of Experts of Islam for Peace and Against Violence. Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders also attended the gathering.

"The evening was held at the initiative of Jean Maher, president of the Franco-Egyptian Association for Human Rights, at the invitation of Bishop Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe."

-- Episcopal Church "Bishop" John Whalon supports the Culture of Death. He favors homosexual "unions"...has insisted that the Catholic Church is wrong in regard to such pro-life issues as Her stance against artificial birth control.

"Bishop" John Whalon [American Cathedral in Paris] welcomed The Very Reverend Lucinda Laird as the 10th Dean of the American Cathedral in Paris on May 26, 2013, in a rite that he celebrated.

“I am delighted to institute the Very Reverend Lucinda Laird officially as Dean and Rector of our Cathedral,” Bishop Whalon said. “In the brief time she has been among us, she has impressed us all with her clear faith, strong intellect and gift of gracious presence. I look forward to working with Dean Laird as she leads the Cathedral into the future God has in store for us all. With the extraordinary new resources that the parish now has, thanks to the Together in Faith Campaign, there is no doubt in my mind that we are entering into a new chapter of flourishing mission, in Paris, in Europe, and “away to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8)."

By the way, when she lived in Louisville, Kentucky, The Very Reverend Lucinda Laird served on the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood.


-- The World Union of Experts of Islam for Peace and Against Violence is led by a grand total of...nine...nine imams.

They hope to "reinterpret" Islam's sayings that favor violence. In other words, they hope to reinvent Islam. Good luck with that.

In the meantime, they "have launched a reform coming from inside Islam to train imams who reject violence."

Get that? They attempt to "train" imams to "reject violence".

They very fact that imams must be "trained" to "reject violence" tells me all that I need to know about Islam.

-- The Convocation of Episcopal (formerly American) Churches in Europe, led by Right Reverend Pierre Whalon, consists of about 4,000 members.

Culture of Death folks leading a "peace" initiative...yeah, that will prove successful.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

The link that Anonymous supplied about the "peace" initiative mentioned above led me to discover Episcopal Church Bishop Right Reverend Pierre Whalon.

He is a key figure in "Christian"-Moslem "peace" initiatives and ecumenical "dialogues" with the Catholic Church.

Father McDonald, if you are interested, here is some interesting comments that Bishop Whalon made (three years ago) in regard to the Anglican Ordinariate established by Pope Benedict XVI.

Q: "...when you Google the words “Anglicanism” or “Episcopal”, most information you get is about scandals, about the divisions in the Anglican Communion or about Episcopal and Anglican priests leaving for Rome on the grounds of the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus which was promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI. Do you have the impression that this offer and this rather negative view of the Anglican Communion amplifies the impression of collapse, especially after the failure of the Anglican Covenant?

Bishop Whalon: "There were predictions in the press about hundreds of thousands of Anglicans leaving. That’s not true at all. Very few have left who are in the Anglican Communion, not so many people from the Traditional Anglican Communion have gone into it either.

Q: Yes, but several Bishops and retired Bishops from the Church of England converted to the Roman Catholic Church.

Bishop Whalon: "So? I have had a hundred and one requests from Roman Catholic priests in Europe during my episcopate…one hundred and one requests to become Episcopal priests.

"So, you know, to hear about all these Anglicans that are going to Rome is ridiculous if you don’t realize all the Romans who are coming to us. The fact that a few retired bishops decided to become Roman Catholics in their retirement is not important."

Q: So what’s the purpose of these stories by the media and the storm in the media, so to speak, about Anglicans leaving the Anglican Church?

Bishop Whalon: "I think it’s a storm that the media has created."

DB: What for?

Q: And why don’t we hear about movement in the opposite direction?

Bishop Whalon: "Because we haven’t set up an ordinariate for Roman Catholics. We don’t have an ordinariate. If people who are Roman Catholics want to become Anglicans or Episcopalians it’s not a difficult transition to make.

"So we’ve had plenty of hundreds and thousands of people become Episcopalians who used to be Roman Catholic and this has been going on since the 16th century. So it’s not news.

"Now the ordinariate is news. In 10 years it will no longer exist."

Does anybody agree with Episcopal Church Bishop Whalon that the Anglican Ordinariate will disappear within 10 years?

(Ummm...the Episcopal Church would probably "disappear" first.)

Anyway, given today's news in regard to the Anglican Ordinariate and Bishop Whalon's status within the Episcopal Church and ecumenical circles, I thought that his comments in question may be of interest to us.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

By the way, Episcopal Bishop Pierre Whalon, who supports homosexual "unions", artificial birth control, priestesses...the usual nonsense...arranged the following meeting this year between Pope Francis and Episcopal Church women Suffragans.

This is what the Ecumenical Movement has given to the Church.


Mark Thomas

Michael A said...

Father McDonald,

So you show a photo of the Pope at a card table style Altar while at the same time you claim that he is emphatically arguing in favor or returning to more reverent liturgy. And more importantly, you think that Francis believes that gutting our liturgy was wrong and is responsible for weakening our Faith? Am I the only one who is a little confused? I think it's very wrong to be placing any hope in the possibility that we are about to witness a favorable epochal ruling by our Jesuit presider. To paraphrase Francis, maybe the God of surprises will surprise us and force the Pope to start teaching the true faith. If that happens then my faith in the God of miracles will be confirmed. I'll probably remain in doubt about the concept of the God of surprises.

Anonymous 2 said...

Mark Thomas:

Thank you for this research. I appreciate knowing these things about Episcopal Bishop Pierre Whalon. This said I fear that you miss the point entirely. And if you cannot see the point because you are blinded by your antipathy to Bishop Whalon, I am not sure I can explain it to you.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Pope Francis weakness as a pope, which many would say is a strength because it has rehabilitated the Church in the eyes of many, is his off-the-cuff remarks. He talks too much and oddly enough talking too much is the very thing he complains about the most in others (projection). His off-the-cuff spontaneous gestures are confusing and I understand how this angers those who prefer clarity from the See of Peter. I am looking at the broad picture and how God brings good out of less than perfect people and situations.

But the area where Pope Francis is strengthening the foundation of the Church, which was the area that was very strong in the pre-Vatican II Church is the following. This will have long-term positive consequences and hopefully fruition for the liturgy in the future:

1. He is very clear that the Church is to be understood in the feminine. She is Holy Mother and Bride of Christ. These terms were anathema for post-Vatican II theologians and some bishops. The previous translation of the Mass into English expunged such imagery. Why? Because it is too traditional and has ramifications for the Sacraments of Holy Matrimony and Priesthood. Making the Church neuter leads to the opening of making Matrimony and Priesthood gender neutral. Thus the anthropology of the Church as Female, Mother and Bride and Jesus as male, Father and Groom has very important orthodox consequences.

2. He is emphasizing popular devotions, once the bedrock of the pre-Vatican II Church and while non-obligatory, would pack churches during the week and on Sunday night. I'm thinking of Marian devotions, novenas of all kinds, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Stations of the Cross and the Holy Rosary and their communal celebration but also private celebrations especially by family groupings at home. Popular devotions disappeared very quickly after Vatican II because theologians denigrated these as superstitious, non-biblical and no longer needed as the Mass was in the vernacular and they felt people attended devotions because these were generally in the vernacular prior to Vatican II.

3. He emphasizes the Communion of Saints and the devil, once bedrocks of Catholic preaching prior to Vatican II that all but disappear afterwards.

4. He strongly emphasizes indulgences which I doubt most Catholics formed in the post-Vatican II era know anything about. Of course these are linked closely to popular devotions.

5. His style of celebrating the OF Mass even if on a card table looking altar is very austere and by the book. He celebrates the Mass while facing the people in a very ad orientem way. He elevates the Host and Chalice for a lengthy period of devotion. This was anathema by theologians after the council which felt it made the elevations too important and the Eucharist as an object of devotion rather than consumption. I had seminary professors who made no elevations whatsoever and did not genuflect either (who were perfectly physically capable of doing so).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I forgot to point out his rehabilitation of the Sacrament of Confession (and he calls it confession not penance or reconciliation but the once more popular term confession). Long lines at confession were a hallmark of the pre-Vatican II Church.

Michael A said...

Father McDonald
I think he's a contradictory character that will practice acceptable liturgy while at the same time has already caused a reasonable amount of damage by masking heresy in a veil of mercy. I've attended a number of Ignatian retreats with Jesuit retreat masters and those experiences help me understand Francis. They too practice "okay liturgy" but they like to slip in new ways of looking at things. Priests occupied with climate change, being welcoming to practicing homosexuals, not too concerned about abortion, think free markets cause abuse and misery, know many nice Marxists and view the black robed priests as tyrants are usually guys that I would prefer to not see in positions of authority. I know what I'll get from them and that is what Francis is dishing up.

I pray that God guides Francis to teach the true faith and prevents damage to the Church. On the other hand I thank God for your vocation and priests like you.

I think giving this pope credit for teaching some things catholic might cause more harm than good. No one suggests that he is wrong 100% of the time but when we give him credit for anything it makes him look more credible when he spots off dangerous opinions.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Father. Maybe one day I can make it down to Macon and experience the pleasure of attending Mass at St. Joseph. God Bless. Mike