Wednesday, July 25, 2012


This is what our Holy Father, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI wrote about the SSXP and those who are polar opposites to them, shortly after his election as pope:

"The Church’s teaching authority cannot be frozen in the year 1962 – this must be quite clear to the Society. But some of those who put themselves forward as great defenders of the Council also need to be reminded that Vatican II embraces the entire doctrinal history of the Church. Anyone who wishes to be obedient to the Council has to accept the faith professed over the centuries, and cannot sever the roots from which the tree draws its life."

The greatest mortal sin, moral breach, act of disobedience the SSPX have exhibited which has brought about their chastisement by the popes and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is not so much what they desire to do in worship and belief, but that Archbishop Marcel Lefebrev ordained three bishops in direct disobedience to the explicit promise of obedience that he made to the pope at the Archbishop's ordination as a bishop. This single act of defiance has brought to the SSPX the scrutiny that they have experienced which has alluded the left in terms of their "far out, and man, I mean far out" beliefs and liturgies offered in so many Catholic parishes today, by women religious affiliated with the LCWR and other "far out and man, I mean, far out" groups in the Church today.

But let us take stock of things. Apart from the fact that the SSPX love the Tridentine liturgy and sacramental system, the ecclesiology of that Mass and sacramental system and the morals of the Church since the beginning, there isn't that much that separates them from the Holy Father, save, their act of disobedience to him and their rejection of the "discipline" of Vatican II. They may despise the "new" Mass and its sacramental system, its ecclesiology, its religious liberty.

But the symbolism of their "divisiveness" is celebrating the 1962 missal when it should be that their founder ordained bishops in direct defiance of Pope John Paul II's direct orders that this not take place.

If the most liberal bishop in the world ordained bishops in direct disobedience to the orders of the pope not to do so, that bishop and that diocese or organization would experience the same type of scrutiny that the SSPX experience and the same types of demands to adhere to Vatican II and the great patrimony of Faith of which Vatican II is but a small part.

What pushes orthodox, conservative Catholics to extremes? This following video exposes what drives those of us who would love the return of the Tridentine Mass with a goodly amount of vernacular, more scripture readings and the reduction of some of the "useless" repetition but still is the Tridentine Mass in visuals, rituals, and ecclesiology:

This video mixes images, some of which were not considered outrageous at the time, especially those associated with the papal Masses shown, but these were nonetheless considered controversial even at the time:

Now in my most humble opinion, I believe the following Ordinary Form Mass is precisely what the Council Fathers envisioned and subsequently what Pope Paul VI envisioned for the Mass. I wonder if the experience of Mass had been the following since the Council if we would have had all the heterodox problems we currently experienced which go unchallenged and in fact are encouraged in so many places?:


Marc said...

Good post. This entry is much polemical than your prior entries on this subject. I think it is also a better global analysis of the "SSPX problem" in terms of their illicitly ordaining bishops. I do think, though, that the excommunications having been lifted for that event, we can leave it somewhat in the past and focus on the current issues, whether they be doctrinal or disciplinary.

I agree that the Mass is really a tertiary issue in this ordeal with the SSPX. Yes, they see huge problems with the Novus Ordo (and rightfully question its validity in some circumstances). But, this is much more about doctrine than it is about liturgy. The liturgy, as I have said on here before, is a symptom of a much greater doctrinal disconnect between the pre-Conciliar Church and the post-Conciliar Church.

The fact of the matter is this: the Holy Father simply must issue an Encyclical clarifying these things. I pray he issues a Syllabus of Errors of Vatican II. At least then we can all know where we stand and try to conform our beliefs.

As it is, we are blowing in the wind... the danger of that is demonstrated by my discussions with Fr. Kavanaugh on this blog. He and I clearly believe very different things. Yet, we are visibly in Communion with each other. That Communion is hollow and meaningless without a unity of Faith. We can both make arguments, but we need direction from our earthly lawgiver...

ytc said...

I agree that the liturgy itself is a side issue. It is very important, but it will work itself out with time. How much time it should take and how aggressively the Holy See should attack the problem is another question, however.

The larger question is doctrine. If Vatican II said nothing new, then why should I pay any attention to it? This is simply a logical question, truly.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - I believe what the Church teaches, especially regarding the divinely revealed authority of bishops to teach Truth.

If you believe "different things" in this regard, then you are not believing with the Church.

As to other "different things" you would be surprised to learn that our beliefs are not significantly different.

Also, you wrongly elevate to belief status many things which are not, by any stretch of the ecclesial imagination, of that nature. To wit: the "divine" origins of rubrics, the "sacred" natures of Latin, the nature of the "prohibition" against changes in the liturgy as contained in Quo Primum.

Your position is maximalist, and it leads you to misunderstand the magisterium.

Henry Edwards said...

I agree in the preceeding two posts, that once it is understood on all hands that the doctrinal content of Vatican II to be accepted is simply that subsumed from Tradition and previous Councils, there should be no impediment to resolution of the SSPX problem.

But on the liturgical itself . . . Fortunately, it is no longer to debate inconclusively the actual intent of Vatican II. With the recent publication of the memoirs of Card. Antonelli (amazon search "antonelli liturgical reform"), it is possible to answer this question rather precisely. Antonelli spent his whole Vatican career at the center of the liturgical reform movement, from his appointment in 1948 as secretary of Pius XII's liturgy commission that worked through the 1950s--revising the Holy Week liturgy and the calendar leading to the 1962 Roman missal (itself arguably something of a rupture with the past)--then the pre-conciliar commission that composed the liturgy schema for the Council, then secretary of the Council's own Commission on the Sacred Liturgy, and finally a member of the post-conciliar mission that ostensibly implemented Sacrosanctum Concilium. Antonelli's memoirs include the minutes of the 51 meetings of the conciliar commission, in which they considered about 660 “interventions” submitted by the Council Fathers (totaling some 1200 printed pages of suggested amendments) as they methodically worked through the preliminary schema on the liturgy, to prepare the final version of Sacrosanctum Sanctum, which after 85 council votes on amendments was approved almost unanimously (including Ab. Lefebvre’s placet, his peritus having assured him that it would lead to no sharp break from the traditional Mass that virtually all the assembled bishops assumed would continue after light revision without substantial visual change).

For instance, in these detailed deliberations and proceedings, there is no indication that anyone envisioned the Canon itself in the vernacular, nor audible; both would have been to0 incomprehensible to have been suggested explicitly. Nor was anything that might be called a "new order" of Mass envisioned. Instead, they were discussing what today we would think fairly minor reforms of the Tridentine Mass itself – such as some simplification of ceremony and an expanded lectionary (though I suspect the Council Fathers would have been surprised by any suggestion of a 3-year cycle). The main thrust seems (to me) to have been effecting the actuosa participation that Pius X had urged in 1903, and which as a goal had dominated the pre-conciliar liturgical movement.

Although your ad orientem vernacular OF Mass, Fr. McDonald, surely provides an exemplary model for a reformed principal Sunday Mass today, I would estimate it to be as far (or further) from anything the bulk of the Council Fathers envisioned, as it is from what one actually sees today in most ordinary parishes.

Anonymous said...

Tidbits from Archbishop (Soon to be Cardinal) Muller at the CDF:

"“The purpose of dialogue [with SSPX] is to overcome difficulties in the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council,” Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller told CNA July 20, “but we cannot negotiate on revealed faith, that is impossible. An Ecumenical Council, according to the Catholic faith, is always the supreme teaching authority of the Church.”

"The assertion that the authentic teachings of Vatican II formally contradict the tradition of the Church is false,” Archbishop Muller stated."

Henry Edwards said...

Regarding the fact that discussions of what Vatican II intended liturgically are almost always based not on readily available historical information on what happened than, but on people's personal preferences now--which are simply irrelevant to any pertinent discussion--an observation at by Bill Riccio, who served as MC for the exemplary OF Masses at the recent CMAA week in Salt Lake City:

"I'm always intrigued by the fact those who seem to frown on Tradition have little to say except what their liturgical preferences are. There's no acknowledgement of the fact that having the OF in the context of Tradition is the will not only of the Holy Father, but more and more people whose job it is to safeguard the liturgy. It always boils down to preferences, likes and dislikes. The "me" never comes out of the equation."

Jacob said...

How is it possible that there was a topless woman lector at a papal mass. I saw it on the video, and couldn't belive my eyes, it is a scandal!!!!!

Marc said...

Fr. Kavanaugh, did you miss the part during our last heated discussion where I conceded that I have reviewed my understanding of Quo Primum in light of your arguments (and other research) and now agree with your assessment on that for the most part?

I think it's time we moved beyond that... particularly in light of your saying that in many regards our beliefs are not significantly different...

I believe what has been divinely revealed and taught by the bishops. I believe the encyclicals issued by the Popes. I believe Mortlium Animos, Pope Pius XI's Syllabus, Satis Cognitum, Mystici Corporis, Humani Generis, Quanta Cura, Immortale Dei, Mirari Vos, and Quas Primas. I also believe the infallible portions of Lumen Gentium and Dignitatis Humanae and the other documents.

If you believe the same thing, then our Communion is meaningful afterall!

Templar said...

What disobedience? "Necessity Knows No Law." Which by the way, is a quote from Canon Law itself.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - I have never doubted that our communion is "meaningful."

So, having realized your error regarding Quo Primum, it might be advantageous for you to 1) examine what led you to an erroneous understanding of QP, and 2) how the process that led you to that erroneous understanding might be leading you in the same way regarding other magisterial teaching, such as Mortalium Animos, Humani Generis, The Syllabus of Errors, etc.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

My ad orientem Mass is as close to a traditional OF Mass without entirely dismissing the reforms approved by Paul VI or subsequent organic developments with this novelty.

Anonymous said...

Another tidbit from Archbishop (soon to be Cardinal) Muller of the CDF:

The Second Vatican Council is binding,” said the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Gerhard Müller in an interview. “The declaration on relations with the media we can talk about, but the statements on Jews, freedom of religion and human rights have dogmatic implications. If these are rejected they jeopardise the Catholic faith.”

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Thanks for these posts as one must not dismiss Vatican 2 but understand it as building on the faith not creating a new one. Our relations with Jews, separated Christians and other religions as well as with atheists and agnostics need Christian charity and evaluation and that should be on-going.

Henry Edwards said...

Fr. McDonald: My ad orientem Mass is as close to a traditional OF Mass without entirely dismissing the reforms approved by Paul VI . . .

Be that as it may, enough factual historical information regarding the Council deliberations is now available to see that a Mass consistent with Paul VI may still be very far removed from anything that was envisioned or proposed during the Council itself.

For the simple reason that in their recorded deliberations the Council Fathers never explicitly considered or envisioned any rupture with tradition, whereas a Mass consistent with Paul VI may show little continuity with tradition.

Marc said...

Fr. Kavanaugh, I have actually just begun yesterday reading Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman's essay On the Development of Christian Doctrine. I am hopeful that his analysis will help me in understanding the difference between doctrinal development properly understood and condemned theories of doctrinal evolution.

I do not believe that doctrine (or liturgy for that matter) must remain static as I think you may have surmised from my previous posts. But, I am also not really qualified to state with any certainty precisely what the Church teaches on the development of doctrine. So, I hope you see now that I was earnestly asking you for reading suggestions last week during our discussion - I want to try to understand this because I will agree that I do not have an adequate understanding. At this point, though, I honestly think it might be over my head despite my relatively extensive academic background!

So, I will say what I usually say when I have that realization: I believe what the Church teaches. I might not know precisely what that is, but I believe it because the Church teaches it and I believe the Church. I'm certain you and I can agree on that!

Fr. McDonald, your last comment is a good one. I would note that what you are saying is precisely pastoral - that is, how do we apply our doctrine to these people in charity. An excellent example of Vatican II properly understood, I think.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Henry, I've come to realize that what we got wasn't what SC envisioned, but nonetheless we have to live with what we got and hope that a revised Ordinary Form Mass will come about. But we must admit in the current day there is a move to make the best of the OF Mass. Those at the Chant Cafe are on the cutting edge of this reform of the OF short of ditching it altogether and now they are having a dialogue with those at Pray Tell,and Pray Tell with them, talk about miracles!

But because of Chant Cafe and others like them, I think we are finally seeing for ourselves from historical discoveries that the Ordinary Form of the Mass was hijacked by the fads of the day and we have yet to recover but may well do so in about 25 years.

Henry Edwards said...

Fr. McDonald, I studied Newman's "Essay" as a new convert before Vatican II, and it has significantly affected my view of all that has happened since then.