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Sunday, July 18, 2021

ITE MISSA EST: The Aftermath

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ITE MISSA EST: The Aftermath

So here we are, a mere 24 hours (at this writing) after the nuclear detonation of the laughably entitled “Traditionis Custodes” (TC).  I am reminded of the messages scrawled onto the casing of the Fat Man atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki: “Here’s to you!” wrote one Art Josephson of Chicago  “Here’s to you!” said Bergoglio as he dropped his bomb on a rapidly growing liturgical revival, led by young people, that ever more clearly exposes the terminal morbidity of the vast ecclesial dystopia over which he presides. 

The Novus Ordo was already dying out at roughly the rate dictated by human mortality tables. But the process of death was rapidly accelerated by Bergoglio’s imposition of the Cult of Covid on top of all the other insults to the Mystical Body since Paul VI launched the process of ecclesial auto-demolition that left him weeping in the Vatican halls over “a veritable invasion of the Church by worldly thinking.”  Bergoglio closed Saint Peter’s to the faithful while demanding obedience to the insane commands of civil authorities who, in the space of a few months, ripped the social fabric to pieces with a universal quarantine amounting to a virtual state of martial law throughout Western Europe and most of the rest of the Western world.  Churches that were almost empty were now devoid of worshipers; the Mass obligation was suspended for more than a year; donations plummeted; and many of those who were expelled from Novus Ordo parishes by their own pastors are never coming back.  The “silent apostasy” lamented by John Paul II in Ecclesia in Europa is now institutionally manifest in even more deserted sanctuaries of the “great renewal” in its post-COVID phase.

According to Bergoglio, what is now the status of the traditional Latin Mass, codified in perpetuity by Pope Saint Pius V?   It is, so he would have us believe, abrogated, plain and simple. 

Meanwhile, according to a kind of ecclesial Gresham’s Law, the traditional liturgy continues irresistibly to supplant Bugnini’s creation, and the young seekers of Tradition replace the old ideologues of the conciliar revolution, including that cunning and malicious clerical politician from Argentina who thinks his mere occupancy of the Chair of Peter vests him with fee simple absolute over the goods of the Church and even revealed truth itself (as we see with his arrant dismissal of divine revelation concerning the indissolubility of marriage and the justice of capital punishment). 

As Msgr. Charles Pope admitted in an interview with EWTN yesterday, the Latin Mass movement is “a growing segment of the Church. You know, [in] most areas of the Church, our numbers are dropping everywhere.  But this is a kind of young, vibrant and growing part of the Church.”  For a Pope who views the Church as La Cosa Mia, this situation is intolerable.  Those “rigid” young people, including seminarians and newly ordained priests, are threatening to demonstrate that the “post-conciliar Church” is an illusion—a great façade of ephemeral novelties destined to pass away in favor of what always was and will remain. As Pope Benedict put it in his letter explaining Summorum Pontificum: “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.” 

Bergoglio will have none of that way of thinking.  The Church is his to dispose of as he sees fit, and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants from the thing at his command.  And what he wants is an end to the Latin Mass movement.  But that would require not only abrogation of Summorum Pontificum, and even the prior indult regime under Ecclesia Dei, which gave the movement its first impetus, but also nothing less than abrogation of the traditional Mass itself.  Only by these measures could Bergoglio—or so he hopes—radically amputate the movement and cause it to die.  And it is precisely those unimaginably brutal measures Bergoglio has announced:  So let it be written, so let it be done.

The remainder of TC is a series of prescriptions for ensuring that the Latin Mass movement is suffocated and eventually put to death. 

Thus, quite ludicrously, Article 1 of TC declares that the immemorial, received and approved Mass in the Western Church, the Mass of the saints, the liturgical foundation of Christendom whose Roman Canon is of apostolic origin, is excised from the Roman Rite, which now consists of only the New Mass:

Art. 1. The liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.

Utterly ridiculous. So, according to Bergoglio, what is now the status of the traditional Latin Mass, codified in perpetuity by Pope Saint Pius V?   It is, so he would have us believe, abrogated, plain and simple.  Or at the very least, obrogated by substitution via Article 1. As his accompanying letter explains: 

Responding to your requests, I take the firm decision to abrogate all the norms, instructions, permissions and customs that precede the present Motu proprio, and declare that the liturgical books promulgated by the saintly Pontiffs Paul VI and John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, constitute the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite. I take comfort in this decision from the fact that, after the Council of Trent, St. Pius V also abrogated all the rites that could not claim a proven antiquity, establishing for the whole Latin Church a single Missale Romanum

The shameless mendacity of this Pope here reaches a new apex with the claim that by abrogating the immemorial rite of Mass in favor of a liturgical novelty foisted upon the Church a mere fifty years ago, one of whose “eucharistic prayers” was composed at a trattoria, he is following the example of Saint Pius V, who abrogated liturgical novelties in favor of the immemorial Mass. If Bergoglio were really emulating St. Pius V, he would abrogate the New Mass, going one better than Benedict by restoring the unicity of the Roman Rite and eliminating the never-persuasive, merely verbal contrivance of a distinction between an “ordinary” and an “extraordinary” form of the one Rite. 

The Pope has no right to abrogate the received and approved rite of Mass in the Church, which is precisely why Benedict XVI was at pains to clarify in Summorum that Paul VI had never done so. 

In his supreme arrogance, Bergoglio publishes this doubletalk with the expectation that it will be taken seriously.  But, of course, it is utterly null and void.  The Pope has no right to abrogate the received and approved rite of Mass in the Church, which is precisely why Benedict XVI was at pains to clarify in Summorum that Paul VI had never done so.  As the future Pope Benedict wrote on the 10th Anniversary of Ecclesia Dei: “the Church, throughout her history, has never abolished nor forbidden orthodox liturgical forms, which would be quite alien to the Spirit of the Church.”  But then Bergoglio’s entire pontificate has been quite alien to the Spirit of the Church.

Leaving absolutely no doubt that he considers the traditional Latin Mass a dead letter whose burial is just a matter of time—a notion that rightly elicits our contemptuous laughter—Bergoglio further declares in the explanatory letter that the whole purpose of TC is “to return to a unitary form of celebration,” meaning only the Novus Ordo, and that any continued use of the 1962 Missal is to be governed by the “need to return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II, and, on the other hand, to discontinue the erection of new personal parishes tied more to the desired wishes of individual priests than to the real need of the ‘holy People of God.’”

RELATED: RIGID INTOLERANCE: Why Does Francis Hate the Latin Mass?

The remainder of TC is a series of prescriptions for ensuring that the Latin Mass movement is suffocated and eventually put to death.  After informing the bishops in Article 2 that they are in charge of liturgical celebrations in their dioceses, including use of the 1962 Roman Missal, in Article 3 he informs them—with the usual mendacity—that they are not in charge but rather must do everything he commands to snuff out the traditional Mass as soon as possible. This includes the following measures overturning not only Summorum, while Benedict is still alive, but even much of the Ecclesia Dei indult regime:

  • an oath of allegiance to the New Mass from all the groups who attend the traditional Mass (§ 1);
  • corralling Latin Mass groups into new locations that are not parish churches, thereby ending all traditional Latin Masses in regular parishes attended by the faithful in general (§ 2);
  • no new personal parishes dedicated to the Latin Mass, thus setting an absolute limit on growth of numbers among those attracted to the traditional liturgy (§ 2);
  • limit celebrations of the traditional Mass to particular days and require not only that the readings be in the vernacular, but that they employ the horrendous “translations of the Sacred Scripture approved for liturgical use by the respective Episcopal Conferences” (§ 3);
  • appointing a priest “entrusted” with all celebrations of the traditional Mass in the diocese and the “pastoral care” of those who attend them—in other words, an overseer to ensure obedience to the will of Bergoglio (§ 4);
  • reconsidering whether any special parishes erected for Latin Mass groups “are effective for their spiritual growth… to determine whether or not to retain them”—in other words, start shutting them down (§ 5);
  • no establishment of any “new groups”—that is, prohibit all growth whatsoever in the Latin Mass movement (§ 6).

Next comes Article 4, which fastens Bergoglio’s death grip on any priest ordained after the date of TC (July 16, 2021) who would celebrate the traditional Mass.  Newly ordained priests “should submit a formal request to the diocesan Bishop who shall consult the Apostolic See before granting this authorization.”  Not only episcopal but Vatican permission is now required for any young priest to use the 1962 Missal.

In order to provide the patina of a pastoral rationale to conceal what is simply hatred of the thing he seeks to destroy, Bergoglio only further reveals the boundlessness of his hubris.

Article 5 requires that even priests already celebrating the traditional Mass are now to request “authorization to continue to enjoy this faculty”—an invitation to hostile bishops to begin revoking those “faculties,” which replace the inherent right of every priest to have recourse to the traditional Mass as secured by Summorum.

Targeting the Fraternity of Saint Peter, the Institute of Christ the King and the other Latin Mass apostolates “erected by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesa Dei,” Articles 6 and 7 place them all under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies for Apostolic Life concurrently with the Congregation for Divine Worship, both of which are under the control of Bergoglio’s cronies, all of whom are hostile to the traditional Mass. The fate of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is now potentially and perhaps imminently, more or less, the fate of the Fraternity and the other Latin Mass priestly communities, including their seminaries.

Finally, Article 8 declares that “Previous norms, instructions, permissions, and customs that do not conform to the provisions of the present Motu Proprio are abrogated.”  By “customs” Bergoglio clearly means the immemorial custom of the traditional Latin Mass.

In order to provide the patina of a pastoral rationale to conceal what is simply hatred of the thing he seeks to destroy, Bergoglio only further reveals the boundlessness of his hubris. With disgusting condescension toward his two immediate predecessors, Bergoglio declares that his survey of bishops concerning Latin Mass communities—an obvious exercise in confirmation bias preceding the issuance of TC—shows that John Paul II and Benedict XVI were mistaken in their solicitude toward all the bad people who have exploited the 1962 Missal for their nefarious ends:

“An opportunity offered by St. John Paul II and, with even greater magnanimity, by Benedict XVI, intended to recover the unity of an ecclesial body with diverse liturgical sensibilities, was exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division.”

After a passing reference to the abominable state of the new liturgy, about which he intends to do absolutely nothing, Bergoglio cites vague guilt by equally vague association as the only warrant for his command that the traditional liturgy be strictly quarantined in anticipation of its slow death:

But I am nonetheless saddened that the instrumental use of Missale Romanum of 1962 is often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican Council II itself, claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the “true Church”. The path of the Church must be seen within the dynamic of Tradition “which originates from the Apostles and progresses in the Church with the assistance of the Holy Spirit” (DV 8). A recent stage of this dynamic was constituted by Vatican Council II where the Catholic episcopate came together to listen and to discern the path for the Church indicated by the Holy Spirit. To doubt the Council is to doubt the intentions of those very Fathers who exercised their collegial power in a solemn manner cum Petro et sub Petro in an ecumenical council, and, in the final analysis, to doubt the Holy Spirit himself who guides the Church.

So, the Latin Mass must be confined and ultimately extinguished because some people who attend it—it doesn’t matter who or how many—“doubt the Council.”  Not any specific teaching of the Council, for that can never really be specified, but rather “the Council” as epochal event whose essence must be intuited in gnostic fashion as “the path for the Church indicated by the Holy Spirit.” The great Romano Amerio explains this mystification of the Faith, surpassing all doctrine, dogma and practice, as an aspect of the proliferation of “circiterisms”’ in post-conciliar thinking:

The “circiterism” is something which occurs frequently in the arguments of the innovators. It consists in referring to an indistinct and confused term as if it were something well established and defined, and then extracting or excluding from it the element one needs to extract or exclude. The term spirit of the council, or indeed the council, is just such an expression.

So, one must not “doubt the Council.”  Because Bergoglio associates doubt of “the Council” with the 1962 Missal, which he despises, the Latin Mass for that reason alone must be sent down a short path to abolition so the Church can continue on the long path of “the Council,” which is nothing other than the continuous dictation of the Holy Spirit.  Heresy is thus redefined as the obstinate, post-baptismal doubt of “the Council” rather than any article of divine and Catholic faith.  And the unity of the Church is solely a function of blind adherence to “the Council” as interpreted by the ones who know. 

There is good reason to hope that this brutal act of a vengeful despot will backfire, as despotic overreaching so often does. 

So long as there is no doubt of “the Council” there is unity, and the Church is in good order.  Accordingly, it is only the rigid adherents of the Latin liturgical tradition and their intolerable doubt of “the Council” who must be dealt with sternly: “In defense of the unity of the Body of Christ, I am constrained to revoke the faculty granted by my Predecessors.”  But there will be no “defense of the unity of the Body of Christ” against those who attack the very foundations of the Faith, which are of little concern to Bergoglio, as he has made clear in his endless stream of invective against “rigidity.” Indeed, Bergoglio sees no association at all between ecclesial disunity in the Church and the New Mass, among whose dwindling number of adherents, including the likes of Biden and Pelosi, there is widespread dissent from numerous Church teachings on faith and morals, including the most basic precepts of the natural law. 

The persecution of Latin Mass adherents Bergoglio intended to launch has already begun in less than a day, as we see here and here, with much worse surely to come from hostile bishops and Bergoglio’s handpicked collaborators in the Vatican apparatus.  But there is good reason to hope that this brutal act of a vengeful despot will backfire, as despotic overreaching so often does.  For one thing, there are early signs that sympathetic bishops will engage in passive resistance to a tyrant who has spent the past eight years making a mockery of the Petrine office, wielding his power like the dictator of a banana republic.  They, like the faithful, have had quite enough of him.

Bergoglio, in fact, may live to regret that he ever promulgated “Traditionis Custodes.”  For in declaring war on the Mass of the Ages, a war he cannot win, he has declared war not only on the faithful on earth but on the Communion of Saints who have been raised to its altars, including none other than the sainted Pontiff to whom Bergoglio dared to compare himself in purporting to abrogate the very Mass that great Pope fortified against the attacks of profane intruders:

[I]n virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for the chanting or reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure, and may freely and lawfully be used…. We likewise declare and ordain that no one whosoever is forced or coerced to alter this Missal, and that this present document cannot be revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full force notwithstanding the previous constitutions and decrees of the Holy See…

Therefore, no one whosoever is permitted to alter this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree, and prohibition. Would anyone, however, presume to commit such an act, he should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us! Saints Peter and Paul, enact the heavenly censure!

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Last modified on Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Christopher A. Ferrara

Christopher A. Ferrara: President and lead counsel for the American Catholic Lawyers Inc., Mr. Ferrara has been at the forefront of the legal defense of pro-lifers for the better part of a quarter century. Having served with the legal team for high profile victims of the culture of death such as Terri Schiavo, he has long since distinguished him a premier civil rights Catholic lawyer.  Mr. Ferrara has been a lead columnist for The Remnant since 2000 and has authored several books published by The Remnant Press, including the bestseller The Great Façade. Together with his children and wife, Wendy, he lives in Richmond, Virginia.

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