Tuesday, December 5, 2017


If what Michael Vortex says in the video below is true, that most Catholics, clergy and laity, no longer believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist, then the Church, meaning the clergy and laity are in need of reform.

But is this true, that most clergy and laity don't believe in "transubstantiation" as is classically taught by the Magisterium and is a dogma of the Catholic Church?

I don't know! Certainly in the last 50 years we have seen a decline in Catholic faith and morals even by Catholics who attend Mass regularly. But more damning, is the fact that today in some places like Europe and the northeast in the USA, only 12% of Catholics bother to attend Mass which means 88% of Catholics no longer take the Mass seriously enough to attend. That, I would suspect, means they don't believe in the Real Presence of Christ at Mass and that they have become atheists or agnostics.

So the alarm that Michael Voris rings, rings true on that level.

But what about Catholics who believe in transubstantiation, but have not experienced the classical model of reverence due our Lord and His real presence in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? The youth Mass in the post below this one would be a case in point. Reverence as understood by the Church up until Vatican II has been dismantled for more and more practicing Catholics turning our liturgies into the celebration of another kind of Christian denomination, neo-Protestant and certainly not Catholic from how reverence is shown and experienced in the Mass, especially the 1962 Roman Missal form of the Mass.

I often wonder what Rip Van Winkle would have thought if were a Catholic and fell asleep in the 1950's and woke up today and attended a typical parish Catholic Mass. How would he describe it? In fact, we could find that out from teenage and young adult Catholics who have only attended the SSPX Masses here and in Europe and who have never attended a typical parish Ordinary Form Mass. I would love to hear their impressions as it would be very Rip Van Winkle like, no?

So, for those who do believe in transubstantiation, is it the type of reverence or lack thereof that has formed them and is this the problem?

In terms of those in mortal sin, especially institutionalized mortal sin, for the Church to suggest that they can receive Holy Communion while persisting in mortal sin is quite disturbing. Of course, even prior to Vatican II individual Catholics in mortal sin may have gone to Communion. But even with nearly 95% of Catholics attending Mass prior to Vatican II, it would have been a rather minuscule number compared with the much larger number today in a much smaller population of Catholics attending Mass.

If the Church is institutionally allowing some, not all, Catholics to receive Holy Communion in a public state of mortal sin, institutionalized mortal sin, then wouldn't one have to say the Church, meaning the clergy and laity, are in need of continuing reform?

And finally, the Church does have a strong social justice streak that was reinforced by papal teachings in the 1800's. However, back then and up until the 1960's there was certainly a hierarchy of what it means to be Church-based upon sacramental theology and reverence. Without a strong sacramental theology and reverence and the understanding that the Mass includes the Church Militant, Triumphant and Suffering, social work in the Church just makes us another Non Governmental Organization (NGO) like the Salvation Army, Unitarians and the like. Atheists can assist in social justice just as well as Catholics for the desire to love and care for each other is in our genes as a result of having been created in the image and likeness of God. Catholicism, on the other hand, and our unique understanding of salvation history is a gift given, learned and lived in this life as we seek to know, love and serve Jesus Christ here and now in order to be happy with Him forever in heaven.  


TJM said...

Maybe, because the left-wingers have no faith - they believe in big government and nothing else.

Anonymous said...

“But since Christ our Redeemer declared that to be truly His own body which He offered under the form of bread, it has, therefore, always been a firm belief in the Church of God, and this holy council now declares it anew, that by the consecration of the bread and wine a change is brought about of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood. This change the holy Catholic Church properly and appropriately calls transubstantiation.” - Trent

The Real Presence is dogma, but what we call the process by which the Real Presence is confected - transubstantiation - may not be...

Victor said...

"Ecclesia semper reformanda est" is a Protestant cry for constant reform to purify doctrine. It entered Catholicism through Hans Kung and his "spirit of the Council" militants after Vatican II. With this pope we see the results, as we saw with the "reform" of the liturgy. The Church does not need reform but needs to get back to Her Faith.

rcg said...

I sense the same thing and have for many years. It is a form of contempt.

Henry said...

If a pre-Vatican II Catholic Rip van Winkle awoke and for the first time attended a Novus Ordo service, he would not recognize it is as a Catholic Mass, and assume that he had mistakenly entered a Protestant church.

For even if a versus populum Novus Ordo Mass is celebrated reverently and properly with the traditional options--confiteor, Roman canon, Ordinary chanted in Latin, etc--it still does not resemble a traditional Catholic Mass.

For the ethos and transcendental atmosphere of the traditional Mass is not determined by its words--Ordinary, canon, etc--but primarily by its actions, its ceremony, ritual, and aesthetic elements which have been eliminated entirely from the Novus Ordo.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

We all need reform and this isn't Protestant. Indulgences did not need reform but those selling them did! For the past 50 years reform has been on all the wrong thins. Human beings disordered by original sin need reform but this truth is lost.

qwikness said...

I was so poorly catechized. A lifelong Catholic. I am 46 and never heard the word "transubstantiation" until I was 26 or so. Never heard the word at church or at Catholic School. I first heard of it at a state college. You have to read some Catholic books to find it. I didn't have Church books or a catechism just a bible.
Going to mass, the most important part was the Scripture readings and homily.
At Catholic High School we never read Church documents, Saints writings or Catechism.
Everything was pretty much social justice. We did have good bible classes.
Nowadays we have the internet. It has helped find answers. It would be hard to find answers when you don't know there is a question.
Maybe if everybody just got a Penny Catechism in their hand at church or in the mail a lot of questions would be answered. People might be surprised about what they are supposed to believe.
The most important things to teach that doesn't get covered enough.
1) Real Presence/Transubstantiation
2) Jesus founded the Church and Peter was the First Pope.
3) Early Church Fathers wrote and the church was active immediately following the bible.
4) Immaculate Conception. What it is and isn't.
5) Covenants in Salvation History
6) In Persona Christi
7) The Trinity

Anonymous said...

I sometimes think too many traditional Catholics are too often too critical of Paul VI. How largely forgotten now is his 1965 encyclical, Mysterium Fidei, which very strongly denounced dangerous errors in Eucharistic theology and strongly defended transubstantiation as defined by Trent. Paul was totally opposed to what theologians like Schillebeeckx who were talking and writing about with transfinalization or transignification - meaning the bread and wine changed their meaning or their purpose.

As with humanae vitae in 1968 what could Paul do when it was not just rare dissenting theologians but thousands of priests and Catholic teachers who now regarded papal encyclicals defending traditional Catholic teaching as outdated theological opinions? And what could Paul have done when the loyalty to the hilt he expected from cardinals and bishops manifestly did not happen?

What could any man who was pope in that very difficult era 1963 to 1978 do if large numbers of priests, bishops and theologians can regard a papal encyclical defending traditional Catholic teaching as something they can either dispute, ignore or dilute?

Gene said...

"...lack of theological rigor." Now, that has to win the "Understatement of the Year" award...

John Nolan said...

Traditionally-minded Catholics do not criticize Paul VI for his encyclicals (although it is significant that he issued none in the last ten years of his reign). They understand his re-convening of the Council after the death of his predecessor, although with hindsight it would have been better had he not done so.

They recognize two great blots on his papacy; a) allowing Bugnini and Co. to take a wrecking-ball to the Liturgy, and b) his misguided Ostpolitik which led to the shameful treatment of such as Archbishop Mindszenty.

The fact that he has been beatified does not make him immune from criticism. The same applies to any of his predecessors, whether sainted or not.

Mark Thomas said...

John Nolan said..."They recognize two great blots on his papacy; a) allowing Bugnini and Co. to take a wrecking-ball to the Liturgy..."

There are traditionally-minded Catholics who have denounced Pope Blessed Paul VI's empowerment of Monsignor Bugnini & Company.

However, many traditionally-minded Catholics have granted a pass to Pope Venerable Pius XII who, beginning in 1948 A.D., empowered Monsignor Bugnini & Company to concoct radical liturgical reforms. In turn, said reforms were embraced by Pope Venerable Pius XII.

I find it interesting that many traditionally-minded Catholics, in particular, those who are new to the Traditional Catholic Movement, view Pope Venerable Pius XII as the last "traditional Pope."

However, with Monsignor Bugnini & Company at his side, it was Pope Venerable Pius XII who, in earnest, launched the radical reform of the Roman Liturgy.


Mark Thomas

Marc said...

Tradition-minded Catholics mostly give Pius XII a pass because Abp. Lefebvre decided to keep to the reforms of Pope Pius XII and most tradition-minded Catholics assist at Masses that have some connection to Abp. Lefebvre. It has mostly been with the advent of the internet that people have come to understand the nature of the changes wrought by Pius XII and how they arguably served as a harbinger of the Novus Ordo.

To suggest that Pius XII launched the "radical reform" of the Roman Liturgy is overstating the matter. One could just as easily argue that Piux X launched the "radical reform" when he substantially changed the breviary and the psalter. But, in reality, popes have long assigned to themselves the authority to change these things.

I think it is more appropriate to say that John XXIII did that when he changed the Roman Canon. Once the Canon could change, then anything could change. The further reduction of the calendar exacerbated the issue, even though, again, popes have assigned themselves the power to change calendars for centuries.

Anonymous said...

John, it might be useful to ask why Paul VI issued no encyclicals from 1969 to 1978.
I have read several biographies of Paul VI. It is quite likely that Paul decided it was better for a time to have no encyclicals issued, then have another encyclical issued and have it regarded as a mere theological opinion that could be disputed or disregarded. When that happens, what does that do to the status and standing of a papal encyclical? Or of the papacy itself?
And to be disputed and disregarded not just by the secular media, and the occasional radical theologian but by very large numbers of priests and bishops around the world!

How would it be if in the future the rulings of the Supreme Court came to be regarded as mere legal opinions that politicians and lower courts could disregard. Or in any military force to have a general's orders disputed and have lower ranks work out a different way to act in certain situations and circumstances.

How difficult it must have been for Paul VI, having served and been firmed under the papacies of Pius XI and Pius XII and the social and religious culture of 20s to 50s to have to lead the Church during the turmoil and chaos of the era 1963 to 1978!

Anonymous said...

Served and been formed under Pius' XI and XII from 20s to 50s....

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Church and the papacy during the pontificate of Paul VI it is interesting how even a basic, secular 1000 plus page Penguin History of the World by a secular historian, Dr J M Roberts in one paragraph can easily sum up the great significance of what had taken place in the 1960s and 1970s: "It is hazardous to project trends in an institution whose fortunes have shown such fluctuations in the past - up with Hildebrandine reform, down with Schism and conciliarism; up with Trent, down with the Enlightenment; up with the first Vatican council..... But it is safe to recognize now that with the whole contraception issue/HV debacle .....the Catholic Church and papacy " may face for the FIRST TIME in almost 2,000 years a mortal threat to it's unquestioned authority in the eyes of millions of Catholic believers........ "

Henry said...

"I think it is more appropriate to say that John XXIII did that when he changed the Roman Canon."

Only by inserting the name of St. Joseph in the list of saints whose memories are venerated in the Communicantes. (Lest anyone assume a more substantial change was involved.) Apparently, the first change of even a single Latin word of the Roman Canon since circa 600 AD when Pope Gregory the Great inserted in the Hanc Igitur the plea that we be preserved from damnation.

Marc said...

The insertion of St. Joseph into the Roman Canon was a substantial change for at least two reasons. First, it was the first change to take place in a very long time, which indicated that change could take place.

Second, the change occurred only after the request for the change was petitioned for and denied over the course of decades. That indicated that, with persistence, change would be allowed. And, related to the first point, it indicated something new was taking place since every pope prior to John XXIII had decided that the pope didn't have the authority to change the canon. Once it was determined that the pope did have that authority, there is no further limit, as we have seen.

TJM said...

I guess Mark Thomas hasn't read Mediator Dei, or if he has, he certainly doesn't understand it.

Henry said...

Yes, the insertion was ondeed substantial in the sense of the tiny seemingly insignificant hole in the dike that leads to its eventual collapse. I meant it wasn't "more substantial" in the sense of the change in meaning that low-information types imply when they falsely claim the Mass has been significantly altered more or less continuously. I believe it was Pius XII who famously responded to a St. Joseph petition by asking how he could possibly authorize a change in the Roman Canon, when he was only the pope (having perhaps forgotten this when he allowed the Holy Week liturgy to be gutted).