Pope Francis has chosen to ignore the advice of Gamaliel. With his motu proprio Traditionis Custodes he is trying to destroy the traditional Latin Mass (TLM) and the traditional Catholic Faith (TCF) that flows to and from the TLM. But if traditional Catholicism is “from God” he will fail because he is “fighting against God”.
By opposing the Traditional Latin Mass– the lex orandi or the law of prayer - the Pope is changing the beliefs of the Traditional Catholic Faith.
He wants the Novus Ordo Missae (NOM) to be the “unique expression of the Roman rite”. The TLM is to be excluded from parish churches and relegated to the outer margins of Catholic life.
There are two ways in which the Pope is definitely fighting against God. First, and most obviously, because he is fighting traditional Catholicism. The TCF/TLM take their doctrines and rites from tradition which goes back to Our Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles, whereas the NOM is barely 50 years old and was largely put together by Archbishop Bugnini, of dubious repute.
Second, by opposing the TLM – the lex orandi or the law of prayer - the Pope is changing the beliefs of the TCF - lex credendi or the law of belief - that flows to and from the TLM. This in turn affects people’s behaviour - lex vivendi or the law of life - which in turn determines the consequences of that behaviour - lex consequenti.
There is in fact a two-way relationship between lex orandi and lex credendi. In the 5th century Pope Celestine I and St Prosper of Acquitaine emphasised the impact of lex orandi (prayer/liturgy) on lex credendi (belief). Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical Mediator Dei published in 1947, said the reverse was also true.
Below replacement fertility and dying countries are evidence that the beliefs and behaviour that lead to them do not conform to Objective Reality.
The traditional Catholic Faith (lex credendi 1) condemns contraception and abortion (C&A). There is evidence that those attending the TLM (lex orandi 1) strongly follow this teaching, whereas those attending the NOM (lex orandi 2) are very much more likely to support the use of C&A (lex credendi 2). There are two religions in the Catholic Church: traditional and conciliar.
By banning the TLM (lex orandi 1) in favour of an exclusive reliance on the NOM (lex orandi 2), Pope Francis is trying to change the lex credendi which will change the lex vivendi and subsequently the lex consequenti that follow. The growth of the TLM with its associated rejection of C&A is obviously “from God”. To attack the TLM, as the Pope has done, is certainly “fighting against God”.
The truths embodied in the lex orandi, credendi, vivendi and consequenti relationships are confirmed by a secular model based on evidence. Beliefs and behaviour conflict with or conform to objective reality (OR). Conflict leads to negative consequences such as dying countries. Greater support for C&A must by definition be fighting against God.
Francis must have felt he could not afford to leave it alone, because he knew the TLM would eventually triumph. He had to destroy it before it grew any bigger.
This differences between the lex orandi of the TLM and the lex orandi of the NOM and between conformity with and conflict between beliefs & behaviour and OR are extremely important for secular reasons as well as religious reasons.
Below replacement fertility and dying countries are evidence that the beliefs and behaviour that lead to them do not conform to OR. Conformity with OR leads to positive consequences – growth and human flourishing.
Pope Francis’s blast against the TLM and support for the NOM will have negative temporal consequences by damaging the economies of many poor countries. Support for C&A is leading to catastrophic collapses in the working populations of many countries.
The change in attitudes towards C&A caused by a change in liturgy leads to attitudes which are contrary to OR, whereas the TCF/TLM conforms to OR. Beliefs that are contrary to OR are by definition “fighting against God.
Pope Francis has therefore taken a very big risk. If, ultimately, his attempted suppression of the TCF/TLM fails – as is likely, even certain - then his reputation will be in ruins because he and his signature policy will be condemned as not from God.
Is Traditionis Custodes just the last big gamble of a dying pontificate?
In the process he will have also turned his back on what is the biggest and most dynamic youth movement in the Catholic Church. Have his advisors ever shown him videos of the Chartres TLM Pilgrimage which attracts as many as 17,000 young people to their annual event? To ignore completely the negative consequences associated with the NOM and the positive consequences of the TCF/TLM is delusionary.
The TLM’s power of attraction to the young is growing, as church’s full of TLM-goers, teeming with young people, adolescents, children, and plenty of babies proves every Sunday in many TLM parishes.
The fact that the Pope did not choose to follow the sound advice of Gamaliel and leave the TLM alone is a public admission by him of its crucial importance. He must have felt he could not afford to leave it alone, because he knew the TLM would eventually triumph. He had to destroy it before it grew any bigger. But is Traditionis Custodes just the last big gamble of a dying pontificate?
The NOM church Pope Francis defends is in serious decline, damaged by Covid, riddled with sexual misbehaviour, full of corruption and diocesan pay-outs for sexual abuses. NOM mass attendances are falling, and vocations are a fraction what they were before the 2nd Vatican Council.
The draconian action taken by Pope Francis to destroy the TLM is a clear indication of the size of the threat posed by tradition to the conciliar church. But the Pope’s attack will not destroy true religion because it is, in the words of Gamaliel, “from God”.
The TCF and TLM do come from God – they are true belief, true lex orandi/lex credendi. They conform to OR and to tradition. They lead to positive consequences. True belief is essential because the negative temporal consequences of false belief will punish us very severely. The TLM comes from God. It ensures human survival.
Pope Francis’s motu proprio conflicts with objective reality and with tradition. He is undermining the survival of countries. His denial of reality will inevitably lead to population disaster. Fighting the TCF/TLM is simply “fighting against God”. Inevitably, he will lose.