The Cheese in the Mousetrap
All of the enthusiasm generated by the putative return of the Latin Mass (or, more properly, the less restricted use of the Latin Mass) makes one wonder about the reasons for the exultation. It seems an appropriate time to remind ourselves that the Latin (Tridentine) Mass was given to us into perpetuity by Pope St. Pius V in an extremely strong document called a Papal Bull that guaranteed the right of every priest at all times and in all places to say the Tridentine Mass unchanged in any way. In truth, it forbade the introduction of any other ceremonies or Mass prayers forever.
Any words of mine pale in comparison to the actual words of Pope St. Pius V, so I will quote from his Papal Bull Quo primum of July 19, 1570. The bold is mine:
So we can see that the taking away, the forbidding or even restricting the use of the Tridentine Mass was outside of the power of anyone to do. The Pope now openly admits this, and yet for nearly 50 years the Tridentine Mass was virtually proscribed. This document of Pope St. Pius V still stands today and yet we now find ourselves in a situation where the Mass will not be returned to the position required by Quo primum, but rather allowed on a freer basis although still with many restrictions. The Novus Ordo Hierarchy is going to take away a few of the restrictions from a Mass that neither should nor could, legally, have been restricted in the first place.
“By this our decree, to be valid in perpetuity, we determine and order that never shall anything be added to, omitted from, or changed in this Missal …
The Latin Tridentine Mass, valid in perpetuity
“We specifically warn all persons in authority, of whatever dignity or rank, Cardinals not excluded, and command them, as a matter of strict obedience, never to use or permit any ceremonies or Mass prayers other than the ones contained in this Missal ordered by the Sacred Council of Trent and encompassing all that is necessary to preserve a pure and universally uniform way of worshipping God …
“At no time in the future can a priest, whether secular or order priest, ever be forced to use any other way of saying Mass. And so as to preclude once and for all any scruples of conscience and fear of ecclesiastical penalties and censures, we herewith declare that it is in virtue of our Apostolic Authority that we decree and determine that this our present order and decree is to last in perpetuity and can never be legally revoked or amended at a future date … And if anyone would nevertheless ever dare to attempt any action contrary to this order of ours, given for all times, let him know that he has incurred the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.”
So the euphoria in traditionalist and conservative circles attending this announcement seems oddly misplaced and a little bit artificial. The problems in the Church are monumental and removing these (de facto illegal) restrictions on use of the Latin Rite still leaves in place all the devastating problems and abuses brought into the Church by Vatican II.
Now Pope Benedict XVI is calling for a “reform of the reform.” Here is an interesting play on words we have seen before. Vatican II was supposedly the first reform in which the Tridentine Catholic Church was “reformed.” What part of the Church needed reform and who made the decisions? Before Vatican II we had churches full - daily and on Sundays. We had many priests and religious. The churches were places of sacral ambience, filled with reverence and music that fostered worship. The whole atmosphere was permeated with an ardent desire to convert our “separated brethren” and to keep our Doctrine pure.
After Vatican II, “the Reform,” attendance at Mass gradually waned, our seminaries emptied of future priests, the beautiful vocations of teaching, nursing and cloistered and contemplative nuns almost vanished , and the ancient and sacral music was replaced with the irreverent, secular music of Vatican II: “Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore,” the Angolan song “Kum Ba Yah,” etc.
After Vatican II seminaries became empty. Above, St. Hyacinth Seminary in Grandy, Mass., closes in 2002. The modernization dried up vocations
Broken shards of glass for stained glass windows finished with the beautiful old windows that taught in word-pictures the stories of the Gospel. Communion rails were ripped up, statues and images of Our Lord and Our Lady and the saints were discarded or sold at auction to be replaced by grotesquely distorted statues or none at all. The priest has now become a presider at a ceremony that has people mimicking the rubrics of the priest like the “priesthood of the people” that Martin Luther introduced.
In the name of Ecumenism, our Hierarchy has watered down doctrines that will gradually merge the Body of Christ into a monolithic unitarian religion intended to include everyone, by getting rid of any “controversial” notion of absolute or transcendent doctrine. The idea of conversion has been ridiculed as outdated and erroneous teaching.
The document Dominus Jesus by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and its recently released update states that the Church of Christ, a larger community of believers, subsists in the Catholic Church. According to this wrong interpretation, we are no longer to be the only Church which has the Truth; others who so far we considered heretics or schismatic have it also in varying proportions. One need only read about the proposed One World Church to see how much of this agenda has already been accomplished in front of us as we sleep. The new teaching of Collegiality, a new doctrine of Vatican II, waters down the Papal Powers and elevates the Bishops to a position of power that has heretofore been unheard of, and was explicitly condemned when examined by the Synod of Pistoia in the 18th century.
These newly empowered Bishops are the same ones who have had to appear in great numbers before civil authorities and pay millions of dollars to victims of sexual crimes perpetrated by priests who were known to be deviants by these Bishops and in most cases were moved from parish to parish where they continued their unspeakable crimes. These children who are the victims have had their innocence destroyed and their hope for a normal Catholic life taken away from them. Are these the same men who ought to make decisions guiding the Church and the souls of the faithful?
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles paid out $650 million to abused victims. Card. Mahony remains unpunished
And through all of these many painful years, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have watched and responded with a deafening silence. The list of abuses goes on and on. The scenario is painfully familiar to all of us.
Is this the reform of the Traditional Catholic Church, and are these the reformers? Our Lord told us that we could identify the wolves in sheep’s clothing by their fruits. We are living today with the fruits of Vatican II and now the same people who gave us Vatican II are proposing another reform - the “reform of the reform.” In all honesty, a true reform of the reform would entail the rescinding of these anathematic reforms, and a return to pre-Vatican II days. But instead, we will be given a less restricted use of the Latin Mass, and all of the other “fruits” of Vatican II will remain in place. It hardly seems a cause for euphoria. It seems that it will be “business as usual.” It is certainly a concession that attracts many conservatives to it. What for? It is to continue the same process of Vatican II.
Isn’t the cheese put in the mousetrap also a “gift” for that irrational animal? It is a pity to see the mouse and its entire family rejoice over a little bit of cheese – the gift – placed there for them by the owner of the house. They will just be taken by the trap…
Posted July 25, 2007
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