Granted, in hindsight John Paul seems like something of a watchdog of orthodoxy; but this is only in comparison to Francis the Uber-Modernist. To employ a pretty clumsy analogy from the cultural revolution of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll—Francis might be Miley Cyrus or Marilyn Manson, while Pope John Paul is the Beatles. They’re all part of the same revolution but the Beatles were well-dressed, articulate, talented and smart enough to overcome Christian society’s residual social and moral sensibilities. Most decent people with a pulse can see a problem with Cyrus and Manson; but just try criticizing the greatest “Marxist minstrels” of all time, the Fab Four, the gods of early rock ‘n’ roll, and see how popular you are at the next cocktail party.
And yet this is what the traditionalists felt more or less dutybound to do where all the post-conciliar popes were concerned. This is why the traditionalists were vilified, called ugly names like ‘schismatic‘ and dismissed as ‘trouble makers'...because, to them, the Emperor looked pretty darn naked and they told him so!
Pope John Paul did have two distinct advantages over Francis, however: Charisma, on the one hand, and a retention of some semblance of the Catholic Faith on the other. John Paul was also cool. He’s the Michael Jordan of popes. He was charming, cosmopolitan, multilingual, confident, and conveyed the easy impression that he—along with Maggie Thatcher, Sylvester Stallone and Ronald Reagan—could make the world a better place. The world was understandably seduced by him.
If you wanted to transform yourself into the village punching bag back in the 1980s, all you had to do was criticize the great pope who in fact had pioneered the Catholic World Apology Tour. Back then, you criticized the Great One at your own peril. In fact, this is probably still the case. (I guess we’ll find out shortly, in the comments section beneath this article).
But the hard reality is this: without Wojtyla there would never have been a Bergoglio. And while to his everlasting credit Pope John Paul certainly held the Catholic line on abortion, it's also true that when it came to phony ecumenism, liturgical mahem and upholding dogmas such as extra ecclesiam nulla sallus, he was much closer to Francis than St. Pius X. And let's not forget who "excommuncited" Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
And one quick point about his New Rosary: It was not the new mysteries themselves that created the furor, but rather their introduction. So, let’s not get hung up on defending the “Proclamation of the Kingdom” or whatever they are. That’s not the point.
The problem with the New Rosary was that it was more of the same Modernist tinkering and changing and updating of EVERYTHING in the years after the Council—even down to and including, finally, Our Lady’s own Rosary itself. This is what left traditional Catholics less than disposed to take advantage of John Paul’s suggestion (as laid out in his Rosarium Virginis Mariae) to meditate on the optional Luminous Mysteries if one were so disposed. In fact, I myself have never once made use of the Luminous option, and I never shall.
Does this sound harsh? Arrogant, perhaps? Well, you must remember what they’d already done to the Church by the time the so-called New Rosary was trotted out: They’d wrecked the Mass, smashed the statues, bulldozed the sanctuaries, knocked out the high altars, made the liturgical calendar unrecognizable, green-lighted meat on Fridays, edited the Bible, kicked over the communion rails, gutted the breviary, turned sacred music over to John Denver, swapped organs for guitars, and now—guess what?—they wanted to "reform" the Rosary!
Besides, Archbishop Bugnini, the grand architect of the Novus Ordo, had already suggested changing the rosary back during the pontificate of Paul VI. At the time, Pope Paul VI responded through his Vatican Secretary of State: “[T]he faithful would conclude that ‘the Pope has changed the Rosary,’ and the psychological effect would be disastrous…. Any change in it cannot but lessen the confidence of the simple and the poor.”
That might be one of the few things Paul VI got right. (And it would have been even more disastrous had Catholics still been praying the Rosary at all by 2002, which, of course, most were not).
In any case, a few years later when another pope was old and feeble, the same malignant forces of Modernism finally got their way and rammed a New Rosary down the Church’s throat, making it so there was really nothing left in the Church not branded with their great, big M for Modernism.
So, the following article fits rather nicely into the Remnant’s larger effort to “get back to basics”, and to connect the dots from Francis to the Revolution of Vatican II for which he is the perfect, if unwitting, poster boy. Because, again, Francis isn’t the fundamental problem so much as its inevitable consequence. We’ve got to stop behaving as if what’s going on in Rome today is something new, because it’s not! We have to be honest about what led up to the Francis crisis, especially now in anticipation of the Neo-Catholic Caravan that is making its way to Tradition, the Novus Ordo having become largely uninhabitable, riddled with predators, dominated by dictators, and certainly no place for children.
If you’re new to Tradition, this article may be challenging. But I encourage you to open your mind to the reality that Francis really is nothing more than the last straw. At best, he’s the cleanup batter, the bases having been loaded long before this befuddled old Modernist ever slouched into the batter’s box. MJM
IT WASN’T A NEW sensation, that churning feeling in the stomach that signaled rising agitation. I’d gotten it in the past when, leafing through my child’s religion text, I’d stumbled across some frantic spiritual proposition that hailed from left field – or at least from the Left. Once it was the author engaging in that favorite technique of the modern gonzo religion text genre: The Inane Allegory. This one quivered with originality: eating too many Twinkies would cause one to break the fifth commandment.
Now, it would be tempting to go off after this howler and have a field day over soccer moms’ terror of violence causing them to prop up a “have a nice day” example of killing, etc. But there is a more immediate point to be drawn, and so I abandon the chase after easy prey. Turnaround is fair play, and so I accuse the Holy Father of breaking the fourth commandment in his latest devotional invention, the Luminous Mysteries.
Let’s face it. If eating too many sweets is so bad for your body that it’s a form of killing, and if, furthermore, this simile can be codified in my impressionable child’s Catholic “religion” text, then it’s open season on metaphors. Therefore, I propose that revamping the Holy Rosary, the last vestige of tradition not previously stomped on by the Catholic hierarchy, is a form of disrespect for our spiritual parent, Holy Mother Church.
There is more logic here than the great Twinkie transgression can ever attain to. The simple fact is, the Catholic rule-makers since Vatican II have made it abundantly clear that Tradition is evil and must be eliminated from the believer’s sphere of consciousness. If we are revering God in a way that has been passed down from Tradition, then there is something not “alive” in our faith – it is clearly mummified and must be replaced by “Gosh, this is the updated expression of those anachronistic prayers, just composed over coffee by the boys in the Vatican who stayed up all night in an encounter group – or was it poker?”
Look at the record. In installing the New Mass, two thousand years of accumulated liturgical treasure in the liturgy of the Mass was replaced by Joan Baez wannabe lyrics that Joan would have retched over. The most monotonous aesthetic experience available on cue these days is a Novus Ordo Mass: low-key, off-key reaching out to God, unflinchingly dull-witted and repetitive, week after week, month after month, lyrics so banal that one would almost be tempted to think they were devised for the mentally handicapped. And keep an ear out for the priest’s latest improv on the words of the liturgy, which Canon Law (another ignored tradition) decrees should be consistent.
The supposed motive behind this fetish for change – wasn’t it Al Gore back in ’92 who proposed that thought-provoking chestnut, “Change is good”? – is to avoid leaving anyone out of the race toward God. Enough of arcane Latin culture, let’s get hip and “now” and relevant, and so finally, inclusive. Inclusive as in egalitarian, without the stamp of character or challenge … and certainly without respect for the ancient dignity of Holy Mother Church, who has Her reasons for rituals, and laws, that may exceed the ability of every member to understand.
And so, every conceivable tradition of the Roman Catholic Church has been expunged from common usage. And woe to the recalcitrant who liked the Church’s traditions, who looked to Her saints for examples of holiness, who felt very close to the angels indeed when attending a Tridentine Mass.
And … who said the Rosary.
If the Holy Father’s obvious love of the Rosary were matched by a sense of preserving the other Church traditions, it is likely that he would not be witnessing the “crisis” he correctly decried—Catholics ignoring this precious prayer. It’s an holistic process.
Does he not recognize that decades of feverish insistence by Church rule-makers to disband traditional forms of worship would finally come home to roost with a drop-off of praying the Rosary?
Does he fail to connect the Church’s tactical maneuvering to eschew Church Tradition per se with the abandonment of this tradition, so long a bulwark of the faith? Since when did rebellion become selective?
Did he never think he was playing with fire when he allowed the “spirit of Vatican II” to degenerate into an unbalanced, Rogerian assault on the pre-Vatican II Church? It is the insistence on innovation in liturgy and devotion, on a non-contemplative expression of the liturgy of the Mass in favor of socialization with one’s neighbor during Mass, that produced a mindset among average Catholics that is inimical to the kind of prayer called for by the Rosary.
The Holy Father’s move to restore the devotion of the Rosary reminds one of the statements of Mikhail Gorbachev when the Soviet Empire was coming down around his ears. If only Communism were practiced purely, the Soviet Union would be doing just fine, he insisted to the bitter end. He failed to realize that the very system he was perpetuating was inherently flawed.
So too the Holy Father exhibits a myopic disregard for the importance of Tradition in Church policy and practice. This hero and ongoing champion of Vatican II, of a progressive Church that rarely looks back beyond that Council for precedent, and which faults and hinders those Catholics who do, is clueless as to the cure for the tepid spirituality of his times. It couldn’t be any of his reforms or colleagues – it must be a case of the reforms not being practiced purely!
Another example, the very progressive American Jerry Brown, leaps to mind. Campaigning for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 1988, he was reminded by a reporter that his stint as governor of California had given him no foreign policy experience. Asked what he could bring to this sphere of government, he shot back smugly, “Clarity of thought.” He might have lifted his answer from the playbook of the modern Church reformers.
Look at the Holy Father’s bishops and cardinals – he has appointed more than almost any other pope – and try to find among them even a notable minority who railed against sex education corrupting our children, and our priests! Find just one who found the sexual revolution corrupting our seminaries and polluting our parishes out of control and put a stop to it. One who recognized, and made it his pastoral policy, that the age-old fight for personal piety has not been “fixed” by the Vatican II system of infantile rebellion against Church traditions. Had these been men following in the tradition – which does not mean asphyxiated by it – of brave and wise men of the cloth in ages past, they would have been keenly relevant to our times. Had they been, in Saint Thomas Aquinas’s apt phrase, able to see so far because they were standing on the shoulders of giants – their fathers – we would have a Church of an informed laity and clergy alike. And we would not be split into distrustful factions grabbing for the right to dictate forms of worship, with the innovators absurdly trying to label the traditional Mass as schismatic. We would have, in other words, leadership … and its immediate sequel, unity. But leadership betokens respect for one’s forbears. Respect for pre-Vatican II tradition and leaders is more than absent from average Catholics: they don’t even know they have a past.
And if the flock had had the proper guidance all along from the Church hierarchy, they would not need a new set of “luminous mysteries” to light their way in these times of darkness.
The sequel to this pathetic attempt to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic is predictable. Watch for yet more divisiveness between traditional Catholics who will say the Rosary without the Holy Father’s addend, and the mainstream Catholics who will find this behavior “recalcitrant,” even suggestive of schism.
JPII famously kisses the Koran
If ever there had been a concerted effort in the latter 20th century to polarize Catholics, it was the establishment, and then the forced usage, of the Novus Ordo Mass (note that upper mismanagement was hardly confident in the appeal of the New Mass to let it spread spontaneously, or to permit both liturgies to coexist equitably). This latest disregard for Church tradition – a new and improved Rosary – will likely go down the same dismal path of discord. How could it not? The “new Catholics” have given no quarter to traditionalists regarding the Tridentine Mass. Now they have their “own” Rosary as well. Unity is not a likely effect of this latest enactment.
When Our Lady gave the Rosary to Saint Dominic in the thirteenth century, it came with fifteen mysteries, and they were expected to do the job of helping mankind attain an efficacious prayer life, and with it, salvation.
When Saint Louis de Montfort proselytized the praying of the Rosary, it was the fifteen-mystery Rosary.
The November 30th Print Edition of the Remnant Newspaper is in the mail now! Michael Matt would like to tell you about it HERE
When Our Lady came to Fatima, she pleaded with her children to say the Rosary … all fifteen mysteries of it.
Now we have a man coming up with the idea that, apparently, five more mysteries are needed to dramatize the importance of the Rosary. So … forms of worship are now tactics, to be manipulated at will, or alternately discarded and spat upon as un-Catholic when they become old?
I’m sorry, I’ve been down that “relevance” route before, in the 60s when I was young and didn’t know any better, and it holds no credence for me. It was bad for the faith then; it will continue to be bad for it now, no matter the good intentions or “clarity of thought” attending it.
I hope the Rosary will continue to be said by many more than do so now. Somehow, I do not think that Our Lady failed to make us cognizant of all the mysteries we should have been meditating on since she spoke with Saint Dominic. Somehow, too, I think the Holy Father’s message asking his flock to pray the Rosary could have been an opportunity for him to remind us of yet one more thing we used to do right as Catholics. It might have been an opportunity to shepherd us back into the age-old Church from which the sheep have so often strayed. And there is nothing very new in that.