GERMAN FILMMAKER LENI Riefenstahl’s 1936 cinematic encomium to the Berlin Olympics, Festival of Nations, opens with a montage of marble statues of Greek gods and goddesses in the ruins of ancient temples. One statue, of a discus thrower, comes to life, after which the action is of human beings engaging in the ancient Greek sports of javelin hurling, shotput, and long-distance running. Apollonian men strive in dramatic lighting, bodies glistening with sweat, taut with exertion. Aphroditic female nudes cavort with rings and dance in the glory of the human form. This prelude soon gives way to a stadium in modern-day Germany, where athletes from around the world have gathered to display their sinews and test their strength on the world stage. Only the best win the laurels, though. Only the strongest win through. The will conquers all.
Dico vobis quia si hii tacuerint, lapides clamabunt. I say to you that if these are silent, the stones will cry out. - Lk 19:40
Traditionis custodes: this is the incipit of the document with which Francis imperiously cancels the previous Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Benedict XVI. The almost mocking tone of the bombastic quotation from Lumen Gentium will not have escaped notice: just when Bergoglio recognizes the Bishops as guardians of the Tradition, he asks them to obstruct its highest and most sacred expression of prayer. Anyone who tries to find within the folds of the text some escamotage to circumvent the text should know that the draft sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for revision was extremely more drastic than the final text: a confirmation, if ever it were needed, that no particular pressure was needed from of the historical enemies of the Tridentine Liturgy – beginning with the scholars of Sant'Anselmo – to convince His Holiness to try his hand at what he does best: demolishing. Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.
The Modus Operandi of Francis
Francis has once again disavowed the pious illusion of the hermeneutic of continuity, stating that the coexistence of the Vetus and Novus Ordo is impossible because they are expressions of two irreconcilable doctrinal and ecclesiological approaches. On the one hand there is the Apostolic Mass, the voice of the Church of Christ; on the other there is the Montinian “Eucharistic celebration,” the voice of the conciliar church. And this is not an accusation, however legitimate, made by those who express reservations about the reformed rite and Vatican II. Rather it is an admission, indeed a proud affirmation of ideological adherence on the part of Francis himself, the head of the most extremist faction of progressivism. His dual role as pope and liquidator of the Catholic Church allows him on the one hand to demolish it with decrees and acts of governance, and on the other hand to use the prestige that his office entails to establish and spread the new religion over the rubble of the old one. It matters little if the ways in which he acts against God, against the Church and against the Lord's flock are in stark conflict with his appeals to parrhesia, to dialogue, to building bridges and not erecting walls: the church of mercy and the field hospital turn out to be empty rhetorical devices, since it ought to be Catholics who benefit from them and not heretics or fornicators. In reality, each of us is well aware that Amoris Laetitia's indulgence towards public concubinage and adulterers would hardly be imaginable towards those “rigid” ones against whom Bergoglio hurls his darts as soon as he has the opportunity.
The one constant of this attitude, noted in its most brazen and arrogant form in Traditionis Custodes, is duplicity and lies.
After years of this pontificate, we have all understood that the reasons given by Bergoglio for declining a meeting with a Prelate, a politician or a conservative intellectual do not apply to the molester Cardinal, the heretic Bishop, the abortionist politician, or the globalist intellectual. In short, there is a blatant difference in behavior, from which one can grasp the partiality and partisanship of Francis in favor of any ideology, thought, project, scientific, artistic or literary expression that is not Catholic. Anything that even only vaguely evokes anything Catholic seems to arouse in the tenant of Santa Marta an aversion that is disconcerting to say the least, if only in virtue of the Throne on which he is seated. Many have noted this dissociation, this sort of bipolarity of a pope who does not behave like a Pope and does not speak like a Pope. The problem is that we are not faced with a sort of inaction from the Papacy, as could happen with a sick or very old Pontiff; but rather with a constant action that is organized and planned in a sense diametrically opposed to the very essence of the Papacy. Not only does Bergoglio not condemn the errors of the present time by strongly reaffirming the Truth of the Catholic Faith – he has never done this! – but he actively seeks to disseminate these errors, to promote them, to encourage their supporters, to spread them to the greatest possible extent and to host events promoting them in the Vatican, simultaneously silencing those who denounce these same errors. Not only does he not punish fornicating Prelates, but he even promotes and defends them by lying, while he removes conservative Bishops and does not hide his annoyance with the heartfelt appeals of Cardinals not aligned with the new course. Not only does he not condemn abortionist politicians who proclaim themselves Catholics, but he intervenes to prevent the Episcopal Conference from pronouncing on this matter, contradicting that synodal path which conversely allows him to use a minority of ultra-progressives to impose his will on the majority of the Synod Fathers.
The one constant of this attitude, noted in its most brazen and arrogant form in Traditionis Custodes, is duplicity and lies. A duplicity that is a façade, of course, daily disavowed by positions that are anything but prudent in favor of a very specific group, which for the sake of brevity we can identify with the ideological Left, indeed with its most recent evolution in a globalist, ecologist, transhuman and LGBTQ key. We have come to the point that even simple people with little knowledge of doctrinal issues understand that we have a non-Catholic pope, at least in the strict sense of the term. This poses some problems of a canonical nature that are not inconsiderable, which it is not up to us to solve but which sooner or later will have to be addressed.
Watch and listen to Archbishop Viganò deliver this address:
Another significant element of this pontificate, taken to its extreme consequences with Traditionis Custodes, is Bergoglio's ideological extremism: an extremism that is deplored in words when it concerns others, but which shows itself in its most violent and ruthless expression when it is he himself who puts it into practice against clergy and laity connected to the ancient rite and faithful to Sacred Tradition. Towards the Society of Saint Pius X he shows himself willing to make concessions and to establish a relationship as “good neighbors,” but towards the poor priests and faithful who have to endure a thousand humiliations and blackmail in order to beg for a Mass in Latin, he shows no understanding, no humanity. This behavior is not accidental: Archbishop Lefebvre's movement enjoys its own autonomy and economic independence, and for this reason it has no reason to fear retaliation or commissioners from the Holy See. But the Bishops, priests and clerics incardinated in dioceses or religious Orders know that hanging over them is the sword of Damocles of removal from office, dismissal from the ecclesiastical state, and the deprivation of their very means of subsistence.
Another significant element of this pontificate, taken to its extreme consequences with Traditionis Custodes, is Bergoglio's ideological extremism.
The experience of the tridentine mass in priestly life
Those who have had the opportunity to follow my speeches and declarations know well what my position is on the Council and on the Novus Ordo; but they also know what my background is, my curriculum in the service of the Holy See and my relatively recent awareness of the apostasy and the crisis in which we find ourselves. For this reason, I would like to reiterate my understanding for the spiritual path of those who, precisely because of this situation, cannot or are not yet able to make a radical choice, such as celebrating or attending exclusively the Mass of St. Pius V. Many priests discover the treasures of the venerable Tridentine Liturgy only when they celebrate it and allow themselves to be permeated by it, and it is not uncommon for an initial curiosity towards the “extraordinary form” – certainly fascinating due to the solemnity of the rite – to change quickly into the awareness of the depth of the words, the clarity of the doctrine, the incomparable spirituality that it gives birth to and nourishes in our souls.
There is a perfect harmony that words cannot express, and that the faithful can understand only in part, but which touches the heart of the Priesthood as only God can. This can be confirmed by my confreres who have approached the usus antiquior after decades of obedient celebration of the Novus Ordo: a world opens up, a cosmos that includes the prayer of the Breviary with the lessons of Matins and the commentaries of the Fathers, the cross-references to the texts of the Mass, the Martyrology in the Hour of Prime... They are sacred words – not because they are expressed in Latin – but rather they are expressed in Latin because the vulgate language would demean them, would profane them, as Dom Guéranger wisely observed. These are the words of the Bride to the divine Bridegroom, words of the soul that lives in intimate union with God, of the soul that lets itself be inhabited by the Most Holy Trinity. Essentially priestly words, in the deepest sense of the term, which implies in the Priesthood not only the power to offer sacrifice, but to unite in self-offering to the pure, holy and immaculate Victim. It has nothing to do with the ramblings of the reformed rite, which is too intent on pleasing the secularized mentality to turn to the Majesty of God and the Heavenly Court; so preoccupied with making itself understandable that one has to give up on communicating anything but trivial obviousness; so careful not to hurt the feelings of heretics as to allow itself to keep silent about the Truth just at the moment in which the Lord God makes himself present on the altar; so fearful of asking the faithful for the slightest commitment as to trivialize the sacred song and any artistic expression linked to worship. The simple fact that Lutheran pastors, modernists and well-known Freemasons collaborated in the drafting of that rite should make us understand, if not the bad faith and willful misconduct, at least the horizontal mentality, devoid of any supernatural impetus, which motivated the authors of the so-called “liturgical reform” – who, as far as we know, certainly did not shine with the sanctity with which the sacred authors of the texts of the ancient Missale Romanum and of the entire liturgical corpus shine.
How many of you priests – and certainly also many lay people – in reciting the wonderful verses of the Pentecost sequence were moved to tears, understanding that your initial predilection for the traditional liturgy had nothing to do with a sterile aesthetic satisfaction, but had evolved into a real spiritual necessity, as indispensable as breathing?
How many of you priests – and certainly also many lay people – in reciting the wonderful verses of the Pentecost sequence were moved to tears, understanding that your initial predilection for the traditional liturgy had nothing to do with a sterile aesthetic satisfaction, but had evolved into a real spiritual necessity, as indispensable as breathing? How can you and how can we explain to those who today would like to deprive you of this priceless good, that that blessed rite has made you discover the true nature of your Priesthood, and that from it and only from it are you able to draw strength and nourishment to face the commitments of your ministry? How can you make it clear that the obligatory return to the Montinian rite represents an impossible sacrifice for you, because in the daily battle against the world, the flesh and the devil it leaves you disarmed, prostrate and without strength?
It is evident that only those who have not celebrated the Mass of St. Pius V can consider it as an annoying tinsel of the past, which can be done without. Even many young priests, accustomed to the Novus Ordo since their adolescence, have understood that the two forms of the rite have nothing in common, and that one is so superior to the other as to reveal all its limits and criticisms, to the point of making it almost painful to celebrate. It is not a question of nostalgia, of a cult of the past: here we are speaking of the life of the soul, its spiritual growth, ascesis and mysticism. Concepts that those who see their priesthood as a profession cannot even understand, just as they cannot understand the agony that a priestly soul feels in seeing the Eucharistic Species desecrated during the grotesque rites of Communion in the era of the pandemic farce.
The reductive vision of the liberalization of the mass
This is why I find it extremely unpleasant to have to read in Traditionis Custodes that the reason why Francis believes that the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum was promulgated fourteen years ago lay only in the desire to heal the so-called schism of Archbishop Lefebvre. Of course, the “political” calculation may have had its weight, especially at the time of John Paul II, even if at that time the faithful of the Society of Saint Pius X were few in number. But the request to be able to restore citizenship to the Mass which for two millennia nourished the holiness of the faithful and gave the sap of life to Christian civilization cannot be reduced to a contingent fact.
It is evident that only those who have not celebrated the Mass of St. Pius V can consider it as an annoying tinsel of the past, which can be done without.
With his Motu Proprio, Benedict XVI restored the Roman Apostolic Mass to the Church, declaring that it had never been abolished. Indirectly, he admitted that there was an abuse by Paul VI, when in order to give authority to his rite he ruthlessly forbade the celebration of the traditional Liturgy. And even if in that document there may be some incongruent elements, such as the coexistence of the two forms of the same rite, we can believe that these have served to allow for the diffusion of the extraordinary form, without affecting the ordinary one. In other times, it would have seemed incomprehensible to let a Mass steeped in misunderstandings and omissions to be celebrated, when the authority of the Pontiff could have simply restored the ancient rite. But today, with the heavy burden of Vatican II and with the now widespread secularized mentality, even the mere liceity of celebrating the Tridentine Mass without permission can be considered an undeniable good – a good that is visible to all due to the abundant fruits it brings to the communities where it is celebrated. And we can also believe that it would have brought even more fruits if only Summorum Pontificum had been applied in all its points and with a spirit of true ecclesial communion.
The alleged “instrumental use” of the roman missal
Francis knows well that the survey taken among Bishops all over the world did not yield negative results, although the formulation of the questions made clear what answers he wanted to receive. That consultation was a pretext, in order to make people believe that the decision he made was inevitable and the fruit of a choral request from the Episcopate. We all know that if Beroglio wants to obtain a result, he does not hesitate to resort to force, lies, and sleight of hand: the events of the last Synods have demonstrated this beyond all reasonable doubt, with the Post-Synodal Exhortation drafted even before the vote on the Instrumentum Laboris. Also in this case, therefore, the pre-established purpose was the abolition of the Tridentine Mass and the prophasis, that is, the apparent excuse, had to be the supposed “instrumental use of the Roman Missal of 1962, often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of Vatican Council II itself” (here). In all honesty, one can perchance accuse the Society of Saint Pius X of this instrumental use, which has every right to affirm what each of us knows well, that the Mass of Saint Pius V is incompatible with post-conciliar ecclesiology and doctrine. But the Society is not affected by the Motu Proprio, and has always celebrated using the 1962 Missal precisely by virtue of that inalienable right which Benedict XVI recognized, which was not created ex nihilo in 2007.
I wonder what sort of spiritual disease could have struck the Shepherds in the last few decades, in order to lead them to become, not loving fathers but ruthless censors of their priests, officials constantly watching and ready to revoke all rights in virtue of a blackmail that they do not even try to conceal.
The diocesan priest who celebrates Mass in the church assigned to him by the Bishop, and who every week must undergo the third degree through the accusations of zealous progressive Catholics only because he has dared to recite the Confiteor prior to administering Communion to the faithful, knows very well that he cannot speak ill of the Novus Ordo or Vatican II, because at the first syllable he would already be summoned to the Curia and sent to a parish church lost in the mountains. That silence, always painful and almost always perceived by everyone as more eloquent than many words, is the price he has to pay in order to have the possibility of celebrating the Holy Mass of all time, in order not to deprive the faithful of the Graces that it pours down upon the Church and the world. And what is even more absurd is that while we hear it said with impunity that the Tridentine Mass ought to be abolished because it is incompatible with the ecclesiology of Vatican II, as soon as we say the same thing – that is, that the Montinian Mass is incompatible with Catholic ecclesiology – we are immediately made the object of condemnation, and our affirmation is used as evidence against us before the revolutionary tribunal of Santa Marta.
I wonder what sort of spiritual disease could have struck the Shepherds in the last few decades, in order to lead them to become, not loving fathers but ruthless censors of their priests, officials constantly watching and ready to revoke all rights in virtue of a blackmail that they do not even try to conceal. This climate of suspicion does not in the least contribute to the serenity of many good priests, when the good they do is always placed under the lens of functionaries who consider the faithful linked to the Tradition as a danger, as an annoying presence to be tolerated so long as it does stand out too much. But how can we even conceive of a Church in which the good is systematically hindered and whoever does it is viewed with suspicion and kept under control? I therefore understand the scandal of many Catholics, faithful, and not a few priests in the face of this “shepherd who instead of smelling his sheep, angrily beats them with a stick”(here).
The misunderstanding of being able to enjoy a right as if it were a gracious concession may also be found in public affairs, where the State permits itself to authorize travel, school lessons, the opening of activities and the performance of work, as long as one undegoes inoculation with the experimental genetic serum. Thus, just as the “extraordinary form” is granted on the condition of accepting the Council and the reformed Mass, so also in the civil sphere the rights of citizens are granted on the condition of accepting the pandemic narrative, the vaccination, and tracking systems. It is not surprising that in many cases it is precisely priests and Bishops – and Bergoglio himself – who ask that people be vaccinated in order to access the Sacraments – the perfect synchrony of action on both sides is disturbing to say the least.
Never in the history of the Church did a Council or a liturgical reform constitute a point of rupture between what came before and what came after!
But where then is this instrumental use of the Missale Romanum? Should we not rather speak of the instrumental use of the Missal of Paul VI, which – to paraphrase Bergoglio’s words – is ever more characterized by a growing rejection not only of the pre-conciliar liturgical tradition but of all the Ecumenical Councils prior to Vatican II? On the other hand, is it not precisely Francis who considers as a threat to the Council the simple fact that a Mass may be celebrated which repudiates and condemns all the doctrinal deviations of Vatican II?
Never in the history of the Church did a Council or a liturgical reform constitute a point of rupture between what came before and what came after! Never in the course of these two millennia have the Roman Pontiffs deliberately drawn an idelogical border between the Church that preceded them and the one they had to govern, cancelling and contradicting the Magisterium of their Predecessors! The before and after, instead, became an obsession, both of those who prudently insinuated doctrinal errors behind equivocal expressions, as well as of those who – with the boldness of those who believe that they have won, propagated Vatican II as “the 1789 of the Church,” as a “prophetic” and “revolutionary” event. Before 7 July 2007, in response to the spread of the traditional rite, a well-known pontifical master of ceremonies replied piquedly: “There is no going back!” And yet apparently with Francis one can go back on the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum – and how! – if it serves to preserve power and to prevent the Good from spreading. It is a slogan which sinisterly echoes the cry of “Nothing will be as it was before” of the pandemic farce.
Francis’ admission of an alleged division between the faithful linked to the Tridentine liturgy and those who largely out of habit or resignation have adapted to the reformed liturgy is revealing: he does not seek to heal this division by recognizing full rights to a rite that is objectively better with respect to the Montinian rite, but precisely in order to prevent the ontological superiority of the Mass of Saint Pius V from becoming evident, and to prevent the criticisms of the reformed rite and the doctrine it expresses from emerging, he prohibits it, he labels it as divisive, he confines it to Indian reservations, trying to limit its diffusion as much as possible, so that it will disappear completely in the name of the cancel culture of which the conciliar revolution was the unfortunate forerunner. Not being able to tolerate that the Novus Ordo and Vatican II emerge inexorably defeated by their confrontation with the Vetus Ordo and the perennial Catholic Magisterium, the only solution that can be adopted is to cancel every trace of Tradition, relegating it to the nostalgic refuge of some irreducible octogenarian or a clique of eccentrics, or presenting it – as a pretext – as the ideological manifesto of a minority of fundamentalists. On the other hand, constructing a media version consistent with the system, to be repeated ad nauseam in order to indoctrinate the masses, is the recurring element not only in the ecclesiastical sphere but also in the political and civil sphere, so that it appears with disconcerting evidence that the deep church and deep state are nothing other than two parallel tracks which run in the same direction and have as their final destination the New World Order, with its religion and its prophet.
It is not so much this or that point of the Motu Proprio that is disconcerting, but rather its overall tyrannical nature accompanied by a substantial falsity of the arguments put forward to justify the decisions imposed.
The division is there, obviously, but it does not come from good Catholics and clergy who remain faithful to the doctrine of all time, but rather from those who have replaced orthodoxy with heresy and the Holy Sacrifice with a fraternal agape. That division is not new today, but dates back to the Sixties, when the “spirit of the Council,” openness to the world and inter-religious dialogue turned two thousand years of Catholicity into straw and revolutionized the entire ecclesial body, persecuting and ostracizing the refractory. Yet that division, accomplished by bringing doctrinal and liturgical confusion into the heart of the Church, did not seem so deplorable then; while today, in full apostasy, they are paradoxically considered divisive who ask, not for the explicit condemnation of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo, but simply the tolerance of the Mass “in the extraordinary form” in the name of the much-vaunted multifaceted pluralism.
Significantly, even in the civilized world the protection of minorities is valid only when they serve to demolish traditional society, while such protection is ignored when it would guarantee the legitimate rights of honest citizens. And it has become clear that under the pretext of the protection of minorities the only intention was to weaken the majority of the good, while now that the majority is made up of those who are corrupt, the minority of the good can be crushed without mercy: recent history does not lack illuminating precdents in this regard.
The tyrannical nature of Traditionis custodes
In my opinion, it is not so much this or that point of the Motu Proprio that is disconcerting, but rather its overall tyrannical nature accompanied by a substantial falsity of the arguments put forward to justify the decisions imposed. Scandal is also given by the abuse of power by an authority that has its own raison d’etre not in impeding or limiting the Graces that are bestowed on its adherents through the Church but rather in promoting those Graces; not in taking away Glory from the Divine Majesty with a rite that winks at the Protestants but rather in rendering that Glory perfectly; not in sowing doctrinal and moral errors but rather in condemning and eradicating them. Here too, the parallel with what takes place in the civil world is all too evident: our rulers abuse their power just as our Prelates do, imposing norms and limitations in violation of the most basic principles of law. Furthermore, it is precisely those who are constituted in authority, on both fronts, who often avail themselves of a mere de facto recognition by the rank and file – citizens and faithful – even when the methods by which they have taken power violate, if not the letter, then at least the spirit of the law. The case of Italy – in which a non-elected Government legislates on the obligation to be vaccinated and on the green pass, violating the Italian Constitution and the natural rights of the Italian people – does not seem very dissimilar to the situation in which the Church finds herself, with a resigned Pontiff replaced by Jorge Mario Bergoglio, chosen – or at least appreciated and supported – by the Saint Gallen Mafia and the ultra-progressive Episcopate. It remains obvious that there is a profound crisis of authority, both civil and religious, in which those who exercise power do so contrary to those whom they are supposed to protect, and above all contrary to the purpose for which that authority has been established.
Analogies between the deep church and the deep state
I think that it has been understood that both civil society and the Church suffer from the same cancer that struck the former with the French Revolution and the latter with the Second Vatican Council: in both cases, Masonic thought is at the foundation of the systematic demolition of the institution and its replacement with a simulacrum that maintains its external appearances, hierarchical structure, and coercive force, but with purposes diametrically opposed to those it ought to have.
We can therefore understand the violence of the reactions of authority and prepare ourselves for a strong and determined opposition, continuing to avail ourselves of those rights that have been abusively and illicitly denied us.
At this point, citizens on the one hand and the faithful on the other find themselves in the condition of having to disobey earthly authority in order obey divine authority, which governs Nations and the Church. Obviously the “reactionaries” – that is, those who do not accept the perversion of authority and want to remain faithful to the Church of Christ and to their Homeland – constitute an element of dissent that cannot be tolerated in any way, and therefore they must be discredited, delegitimized, threatened and deprived of their rights in the name of a “public good” that is no longer the bonum commune but its contrary. Whether accused of conspiracy theories, traditionalism, or fundamentalism, these few survivors of a world that they want to make disappear constitutes a threat to the accomplishment of the global plan, just at the most crucial moment of its realization. This is why power is reacting in such an open, brazen, and violent way: the evidence of the fraud risks being understood by a greater number of people, of bringing them together in an organized resistance, of breaking down the wall of silence and ferocious censorship imposed by the mainstream media.
We can therefore understand the violence of the reactions of authority and prepare ourselves for a strong and determined opposition, continuing to avail ourselves of those rights that have been abusively and illicitly denied us. Of course, we may find ourselves having to exercise those rights in an incomplete way when we are denied the opportunity to travel if we do not have our green pass or if the Bishop prohibits us from celebrating the Mass of all time in a church in his Diocese, but our resistance to abuses of authority will still be able to count on the Graces that the Lord will not cease to grant us – in particular the virtue of Fortitude that is so indispensable in times of tyranny.
The normality that frightens
If on the one had we can see how the persecution of dissenters is well-organized and planned, on the other hand we cannot fail to recognize the fragmentation of the opposition. Bergoglio knows well that every movement of dissent must be silenced, above all by creating internal division and isolating priests and the faithful. A fruitful and fraternal collaboration between diocesan clergy, religious, and the Ecclesia Dei institutes is something he must avert, because it would permit the diffusion of a knowledge of the ancient rite, as well as a precious help in the ministry. But this would mean making the Tridentine Mass a “normality” in the daily life of the faithful, something that is not tolerable for Francis. For this reason, diocesan clergy are left at the mercy of their Ordinaries, while the Ecclesia Dei Institutes are placed under the authority of the Congregation of Religious, as a sad prelude to a destiny that has already been sealed. Let us not forget the fate that befell the flourishing religious Orders, guilty of being blessed with numerous vocations born and nurtured precisely thanks to the hated traditional Liturgy and the faithful observance of the Rule. This is why certain forms of insistence on the ceremonial aspect of the celebrations risk legitimizing the provisions of the commissar and play Bergoglio’s game.
Even in the civil world, it is precisely by encouraging certain excesses by the dissenters that those in power marginalize them and legitimize repressive measures towards them: just think of the case of the no-vax movements and how easy it is to discredit the legitimate protests of citizens by emphasizing the eccentricities and inconsistencies of a few. And it is all too easy to condemn a few agitated people who out of exasperation set fire to a vaccine center, overshadowing millions of honest persons who take to the streets in order not to be branded with the health passport or fired if they do not allow themselves to be vaccinated.
Now we can understand the meaning of these words, considering with pain and torment of heart the cynicism of a father who gives us the stones of a soulless liturgy, the serpents of a corrupted doctrine, and the scorpions of an adulterated morality.
Do not stay isolated and disorganized
Another important element for all of us is the necessity of giving visibility to our composed protest and ensuring a form of coordination for public action. With the abolition of Summorum Pontificum we find ourselves taken back twenty years. This unhappy decision by Bergoglio to cancel the Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict is doomed to inexorable failure, because it touches the very soul of the Church, of which the Lord Himself is Pontiff and High Priest. And it is not a given that the entire Episcopate – as we are seeing in the last few days with relief – will be willing to passively submit to forms of authoritarianism that certainly do not contribute to bringing peace to souls. The Code of Canon Law guarantees the Bishops the possibility of dispensing their faithful from particular or universal laws, under certain conditions. Secondly, the people of God have well understood the subversive nature of Traditionis Custodes and are instinctively led to want to get to know something that arouses such disapproval among progressives. Let us not be surprised therefore if we soon begin to see the faithful coming from ordinary parish life and even those far from the Church finding their way to the churches where the traditional Mass is celebrated. It will be our duty, whether as Ministers of God or as simple faithful, to show firmness and serene resistance to such abuse, walking along the way of our own little Calvary with a supernatural spirit, while the new high priests and scribes of the people mock us and label us as fanatics. It will be our humility, the silent offering of injustices toward us, and the example of a life consistent with the Creed that we profess that will merit the triumph of the Catholic Mass and the conversion of many souls. And let us remember that, since we have received much, much will be demanded of us.
Restitutio in integrum
What father among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent instead? (Lk 11:11-12). Now we can understand the meaning of these words, considering with pain and torment of heart the cynicism of a father who gives us the stones of a soulless liturgy, the serpents of a corrupted doctrine, and the scorpions of an adulterated morality. And who reaches the point of dividing the flock of the Lord between those who accept the Novus Ordo and those who want to remain faithful to the Mass of our fathers, exactly as civil rulers are pitting the vaccinated and unvaccinated against one another.
When Our Lord entered Jerusalem seated on a donkey’s colt, while the crowd was spreading cloaks as He passed, the Pharisees asked Him: “Master, rebuke your disciples.” The Lord answered them: “I say to you that if these are silent, the stones will cry out” (Lk 19:28-40). For sixty years the stones of our churches have been crying out, from which the Holy Sacrifice has been twice proscribed. The marble of the altars, the columns of the basilicas, and the soaring vaults of the cathedrals cry out as well, because those stones, consecrated to the worship of the true God, today are abandoned and deserted, or profaned by abhorrent rites, or transformed into parking lots and supermarkets, precisely as a result of that Council that we insist on defending. Let us also cry out: we who are living stones of the temple of God. Let us cry with faith to the Lord, so that he may give a voice to His disciples who today are mute, and so that the intolerable theft for which the administrators of the Lord’s Vineyard are responsible may be repaired.
But in order for that theft to be repaired, it is necessary that we show ourselves to be worthy of the treasures that have been stolen from us. Let us try to do this by our holiness of life, by giving example of the virtues, by prayer and the frequent reception of the Sacraments. And let us not forget that there are hundreds of good priests who still know the meaning of the Sacred Unction by which they have been ordained Ministers of Christ and dispensers of the Mystery of God. The Lord deigns to descend on our altars even when they are erected in cellars or attics. Contrariis quibuslibet minime obstantibus [Anything to the contrary notwithstanding].
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop
28 July 2021
Ss. Nazarii et Celsi Martyrum,
Victoris I Papae et Martyris ac
Innocentii I Papae et Confessoris
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In this Sunday Sermon from South Saint Paul, Father traces the history of the Tridentine Mass from Trent all the way down to Summorum Pontificum and now Traditionis Custodes, arguing that the Mass of All Time is of God and cannot be suppressed by any man, even a pope.
To one who knows nothing about Catholicism, Church history, or Pope Francis, Traditionis Custodes might seem like a sober attempt to restore order in the face of attempts by some renegades to foment divisions. In the letter accompanying the Motu Proprio, the pope tells his bishops that he has not acted rashly in enacting the new restrictions because he previously circulated a questionnaire to them regarding the implementation of Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum. He speaks of his sadness in reading the responses to this questionnaire:
“The responses reveal a situation that preoccupies and saddens me, and persuades me of the need to intervene. Regrettably, the pastoral objective of my Predecessors, who had intended ‘to do everything possible to ensure that all those who truly possessed the desire for unity would find it possible to remain in this unity or to rediscover it anew,’ has often been seriously disregarded. 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.”
Through the questionnaire responses, the pope discerned a “situation” involving the exploitation of Pope Benedict XVI’s magnanimity to encourage disagreements that block the Church’s path. Which path is that?
This battle over the Mass and the Church’s path was already being waged over forty years ago.
Any conception of the Church’s path necessarily relates to the mission Christ entrusted to it:
“Going therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Therefore, the Church’s path must involve teaching and defending the truths entrusted to it by Jesus. St. Paul clearly took this mission seriously and wrote that there would come a time when false teachers would put serious obstacles along the path:
“Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season; reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
So we must not only seek to learn and practice the Faith, but we must also constantly safeguard it. And, indeed, St. Paul tells Timothy that he has kept his Faith:
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
All good Christians seek to be able to say the same at the end of their lives. This requires us to take great care to follow “sound doctrine” and avoid those who will try to turn us away from the truth.
As it turns out, the “disagreements” Pope Francis mentions in his letter relate directly to the question of whether Pope Francis and his hierarchy are teaching sound doctrine or fables.
The relationship between the preservation of Catholic doctrine and the changes to the Mass has been clear to some people from the introduction of Pope Paul VI’s Mass, but even John Paul II initially underestimated the connection. In his biography of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais described the 1978 meeting between Archbishop Lefebvre and the newly elected pope:
“On November 18, through an initiative of Cardinal Siri, the new Pope received the Archbishop, who said he was ready ‘to accept the Council in the light of Tradition,’ an expression used by Pope John Paul himself on November 6: ‘The Council must be understood in the light of all holy Tradition and on the basis of the constant Magisterium of the hoy Church.’ The Pope said he was happy and saw the problem of celebrating the old Mass only as a disciplinary question. Then Cardinal Franjo Seper, whom the Pope had summoned, exclaimed: ‘Be careful, Holy Father, they make a banner out of this Mass!’”
Whereas the pope was inclined to permit the Tridentine Mass on the basis that it was simply a disciplinary question, Cardinal Seper warned that the SSPX’s preservation of the Tridentine Mass would be a banner that would lead others to go along with the movement to preserve all of Catholic tradition.
With Traditionis Custodes Pope Francis is seeking something more than a simple pinch of incense from the groups that already accept the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo.
Thus we can see that this battle over the Mass and the Church’s path was already being waged over forty years ago. Before looking at how the path of “tradition” and the path of “the Spirit of Vatican II” have diverged during the past four decades, we must also consider another event that holds a key to understanding this current attack.
Bishop Tissier de Mallerais related the effort of Pope Paul VI’s delegates to resolve the disagreement with Archbishop Lefebvre over the question of ordaining priests in 1976. An envoy from Rome, Fr. Edouard Dhanis, delivered a letter from Archbishop Giovanni Benelli forbidding him to conduct the ordination, adding that “if his seminarians were ‘seriously prepared for a priestly ministry in true loyalty to the conciliar Church,’ Rome would undertake to find a better solution for them.” Bishop Tissier de Mallerais described the scene:
“It was about 9 p.m. on June 27, two days before the ordinations. The Archbishop was struck by how nervous his visitor was, but even more by Archbishop Benelli’s expression ‘conciliar Church.’ Holding a missal of Paul VI, Fr. Dhanis pleaded with the Archbishop: ‘Your Grace,’ he said, ‘if today you agree to say this Mass with me, everything will be fine with Rome!’ ‘I have already said Mass,’ replied the Archbishop laconically.”
Why would saying a single Novus Ordo Mass with that priest have made everything “fine with Rome”? What would have changed about the Archbishop or his apostolate?
In his The Horn of the Unicorn, Dr. David Allen White follows his description of the same event by placing it with some of its historical counterparts:
“Just take one small bite and ‘your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.’
Just once write a letter saying, ‘Set ye Urias in the front of the battle, where the fight is strongest,’ and Bethsbee is yours.
Just once ‘command that these stones be made bread.’
Just once fall down and adore me.
Just once celebrate the Novus Ordo Missae.”
Simply being a passenger aboard the “Spirit of Vatican II” train no longer suffices; now one must actively propel it to the destination of apostasy.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre refused to celebrate the Novus Ordo because he refused to take any steps, regarding the liturgy or otherwise, that he knew would be a serious compromise with the Faith that he had been taught. What scared the innovators was his obstinate defense of the Faith in the face of the novelties that fundamentally differed from what the Church had always taught. He refused to offer a pinch of incense to their destructive efforts.
But of course Traditionis Custodes does not merely seek to have Catholics accept the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo. Indeed, the 2011 instruction Universae Ecclesiae already included the substance of the Traditionis Custodes requirement that bishops “determine that these groups do not deny the validity and the legitimacy of the liturgical reform, dictated by Vatican Council II and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs;”:
“The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church.”
The SSPX commentary on this 2011 instruction on Summorum Pontificum, Is the New Mass Legit sets forth the reasons to question the legitimacy of the reforms, even if one accepts the validity of the Novus Ordo.
So, with Traditionis Custodes Pope Francis is seeking something more than a simple pinch of incense from the groups that already accept the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo. He and his collaborators want to make it more clear that the Novus Ordo is the “banner” for everything that Archbishop Lefebvre, and the saints before him, opposed. Having made this clear, he demands that we make a choice between banners. And those who follow Francis must now remove the coals from their thuribles and use them to fuel the Pope’s steam train trying to pull the Church along the path of serving the New World Order. Simply being a passenger aboard the “Spirit of Vatican II” train no longer suffices; now one must actively propel it to the destination of apostasy.
Another archbishop, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, has made it clear that he will stand with the Church against the destroyers from within.
If we wonder why Pope Francis has taken this step now, we ought consider how the diverging paths have weathered the storms since Archbishop Lefebvre’s 1978 meeting with Pope John Paul II.
By any objective measure, the Novus Ordo Path has been disastrous for Catholics. Not only have Catholics abandoned the religion entirely, but those remaining often do not actually have the Faith — they no longer believe what one must believe to be Catholic. Some devout (and long-suffering!) Catholics may remain, but they are growing increasingly rare. And almost every message from Pope Francis attempts to position the Catholic Church as the church for all men except those who believe what the Church has always taught. It will be the church of the New World Order if it continues on that path.
By any objective measure, the Tridentine Mass Path has been tremendously fruitful and blessed for Catholics. Even as society has become more hostile to religion, every reliable indicator of vitality has improved. More importantly, it seems that souls are more zealous and seeking to become saints. They are also defending the Faith just as the saints had done for two thousand years. As part of that defense, they are resisting the attempts of Pope Francis to hand the Church over to the globalists; and, crucially, they are having too much success defending the Church. They are, as Pope Francis indicates, blocking the pope’s path to destroy the Church by insisting that the only path is the one of tradition.
We have arrived at a critical moment, and “the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The Catholic bishops, priests, and laity who wish to remain faithful will have to decide which path to take, for the pope has now made it clear that there are ultimately only two as of the publication of Traditionis Custodes. As such, we owe Pope Francis our gratitude and prayers for clarifying and revealing the situation Archbishop Lefebvre saw so clearly over forty years ago. We also owe him and the Church a duty of loyalty to Truth, which requires us to dissent from every single one of his attempts to take the Church away from the path of serving God.
If we lack the courage to follow the right path, we can look to the example of the countless holy saints who took the path before us. As St. Paul indicated, the right path is seldom easy. But it is the only path we want to be on as we near the moment in which we will face Our Lord in judgment.
Archbishop Lefebvre knew this. And, Deo Gratias, he left us not only the Mass but a heroic life of fighting to keep as many Catholics as possible on the right path. As he wrote in his Open Letter to Confused Catholics, though, even if he was the only one on that path he would not have turned around:
“Besides, the Truth does not depend on numbers and numbers do not make the Truth. Even if I were alone and all my seminarians left me, even if the whole of public opinion were to abandon me, that would be a matter of indifference as far as I am concerned. I am bound to my Creed, to my catechism, to the Tradition which has sanctified the elect in heaven and I want to save my soul. We know public opinion all too well. It condemned Our Lord a few days after having acclaimed Him. It is Palm Sunday followed by Good Friday.”
Of course Archbishop Lefebvre could never have been truly alone, for he stood with the entire Church Triumphant.
Another archbishop, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, has made it clear that he will stand with the Church against the destroyers from within. As he recently wrote, “We are with Saint John and the Sorrowful Virgin at the foot of a Cross on which the new High Priests spit, against which a new Sanhedrin curses and swears.” May we always call upon the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Mother, to give us the strength to stand with her. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
Opening Speech for the Venice Document Conference
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
July 17, 2021
Praised be Jesus Christ.
This conference has the privilege of being based in a city with a glorious past, in which its rulers were able to apply with wisdom the good government of every temporal reign that finds its inspirational and informant principles in religion.
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In his first print interview since the release of Pope Francis’ new decree restricting the Traditional Latin Mass, Traditionis Custodes, Bishop Athanasius Schneider has said the document “demeans” a thousand-year-old liturgy of the Roman Rite, commits an “injustice” against Catholics who adhere to it, and creates a “two-class society” in the Church.
Foreword by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
This great and powerful article by Professor Massimo Viglione constitutes one of the most lucid and profound comments on the ominous Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes. In sharing this important intervention, I intend to offer it to the reading and reflection of all the faithful, Catholics and also non-Catholics, so that each one can draw from it prophetic clarity and apostolic courage in the very hard war that we are all called to face, a war whose inevitable outcome will be the triumph of the Bride of Christ over the unleashing of the infernal powers.
Gerhard Eger: I am very grateful, Dr. Kwasniewski, that you are willing to take the time to answer my questions. What is your overall assessment of the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes?
Dr. Kwasniewski: It is the worst document promulgated by a pope in the history of the Roman Church. Full stop. Why do I say this? Because although popes have changed this or that aspect of the legislation of their predecessors, none has ever tried to stamp out one of the greatest liturgical rites in Christendom by putting its adherents under siege and starving them until they die or capitulate. It’s a mentality of warfare applied to members of the Mystical Body. Totally unworthy of a successor of the Apostle Peter, who, like the Apostle Paul with whom he is always depicted in iconography, would have counseled us to “hold fast to the traditions” (2 Thess 2:15).
After issuing a warning on his personal blog on June 12, 2021, Cardinal Zen below reacts to the tone and spirit of Traditionis Custodes:
Why do they see a problem where there is none, and close their eyes to the problem for which they are also responsible?
Concerns about a possible document "against" the Tridentine Mass (see my blog June 12, 2021) have come true, and the blow has been no less severe because it was foreseen. Many tendentious generalizations in the documents hurt more than expected the hearts of many good people, who have never given the slightest cause to be suspected of not accepting the liturgical reform of the Council, much less of not accepting the Council tout court. Moreover, they remain active members in their parishes.
It came as a bitter surprise to me personally that the “widespread” consultation never reached me, a cardinal and former member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. In addition, during 2007-2009, I was Bishop of Hong Kong and was therefore responsible for implementing Summorum Pontificum, and up to now, have been well known for supporting the group.