Saturday, July 17, 2021

Aquinas on bad prelates

What attitude should a Catholic take toward cruel and arbitrary prelates – for example, those who endlessly stir up division and then shamelessly blame the division on those who note and bemoan the fact?  In Quodlibet VIII, Aquinas makes some relevant remarks when addressing the question whether “evil prelates” should be honored.  You can find the passage in the Nevitt and Davies translation of Thomas Aquinas’s Quodlibetal Questions, from which I quote:

We can distinguish two things about a prelate: the person himself and his office, which makes him a sort of public person.  If a prelate is evil, he should not be honored for the person he is.  For honor is respect shown to people as a witness to their virtue.  Hence, if we honored such a prelate for the person he is, we would bear false witness about him, which is forbidden in Exodus 20: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.  But, as a public person, a prelate bears an image and occupies a position in the Church… that does not belong to him but, rather, to someone else, viz. Christ.  And, as such, his worth is not determined by the person he is, but by the position he occupies.  He is like one of those little stones used as a placeholder for 100 marks on a scale – quite worthless in itself.  As Proverbs 26 says: He who gives honor to a fool is like one who puts a stone on Mercury’s heap… So, too, an evil prelate should not be honored because of who he is but because of the one whose position he holds.  The case is similar to the veneration of images, which is directed to the things depicted therein, as Damascene says.  Hence Zechariah compares an evil prelate to an idol: Woe to the pastor and idol who deserts the flock

An evil prelate is unworthy to be a prelate and receive the honors due to prelates.  But the one whose image the prelate bears is worthy to have his vicar honored, just as the blessed Virgin is worthy to have a painted image of her venerated, although the image itself is not worthy of such respect. (pp. 70-71)

There are two key points here.  The first is that when a man is a bad prelate, we should not pretend otherwise merely because of his office.  That, Aquinas says, would be a violation of the eighth commandment – a lie.  He also compares it to idolatry.  An image of Christ or of a saint has no value in itself, but only as a pointer to something beyond it.  When we focus on the image itself we turn it into an idol.  Similarly, a bad prelate merits honor only because of the office he holds.  When we pretend his personal faults are not real, strain to attribute good motives to manifestly unjust acts or hidden wisdom to manifestly foolish utterances, we are like someone who fixates on an image and pretends that the many flaws and limitations it contains as a mere piece of matter must somehow really be divine. 

The second key point is that such a prelate nevertheless must be given the honor that attaches to his office as a vicar of Christ.  It is an insult to Christ to refuse his representative such honor – as if it is not Christ himself who is permitting such a man to be his vicar, or as if Christ does not know what he is doing in permitting it. 

As I have discussed in detail elsewhere, according to Aquinas – and according to Catholic teaching more generally – such a prelate can and ought to be criticized publicly by his subjects when he does something that endangers the faith.  But given the nature of his office, even this must be done “not with impudence and harshness, but with gentleness and respect.”  And if the prelate in question is the pope, respectful criticism is the most one can do, because he has no superior on earth.  Christ alone can, and will, resolve the problem in his own time and in the way he judges best.

What these points together entail is suffering.  And suffering, as the lives of the saints attest and as scripture teaches us from beginning to end, is the lot of the righteous man – suffering penitentially, suffering in solidarity with others, suffering in unity with Christ’s own agony.  This suffering can result from our own sins, or from the effects of original sin on the world around us, or from persecution.  And sometimes it can come even from within the Church itself.  Christ promises only that she will not be destroyed or, in her decisive pronouncements, bind the faithful to error.  Short of that, she can be and sometimes is afflicted with evil of every kind, even at the very top.  This is permitted in part precisely to illustrate the truth of Christ’s promise.  Even bad popes cannot destroy the Church. 

But Church history is not a Marvel movie, where everything works out in two hours, or at least by the next movie in the series.  As the Cadaver Synod, the Great Western Schism, and other episodes illustrate, it can sometimes take decades to resolve the problems resulting from papal folly, corruption, and mismanagement.  We modern Catholics are soft and impatient, and we need to recover the forbearance of our forebears. 

Current events make timely the recollection of some words from Pope Benedict XVI, while he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, on the event of the death of Michael Davies, the well-known traditionalist Catholic writer and stalwart defender of the Tridentine Mass.  The cardinal wrote:

I have been profoundly touched by the news of the death of Michael Davies.  I had the good fortune to meet him several times and I found him as a man of deep faith and ready to embrace suffering.  Ever since the Council he put all his energy into the service of the Faith and left us important publications especially about the Sacred Liturgy.  Even though he suffered from the Church in many ways in his time, he always truly remained a man of the Church.  He knew that the Lord founded His Church on the rock of St. Peter and that the Faith can find its fullness and maturity only in union with the successor of St. Peter.  Therefore we can be confident that the Lord opened wide for him the gates of heaven.  We commend his soul to the Lord’s mercy.

End quote.  Notice that Cardinal Ratzinger acknowledged that Davies suffered from the Church – and that nonetheless, he remained loyal to her, and thus loyal to the successor of St. Peter.  This is an example we ought to strive to emulate.  We must suffer for the Church even when – indeed, especially when – we suffer from her. 

Related posts:

Do not abandon your Mother

The Church permits criticism of popes under certain circumstances

Papal fallibility

131 comments:

  1. I can't bring myself to support the idea that two significantly different liturgical forms should exist side-by-side in the same liturgical Rite in perpetuity. Maybe Francis is just doing what needs to be done so that his successor isn't left with the awkward job of implementing unity of worship.

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    1. I can bring myself to believe that the reform that Vatican II Fathers called for was never attempted, much less accomplished, because the "reform" committee was hijacked by those clearly and explicitly opposed to the intentions of the Council Fathers. Hence, there will not be a sane, wholesome, Ordo of Mass that is the proper single heir of the Mass of Pius V until some future pope undertakes to carry out the intentions of VII. Until then, it hardly matters how many different uses there are temporarily. (Except that in order to EVER have a chance at achieving a due and proper heir to the Mass of Pius V, we better keep that mass alive and well so we understand it when we actually undertake to reform it. Only those who get it, from the inside, could possibly reform it.)

      In any case, there is also the Dominican, the Mozarabic, and other forms within the Latin Rite, that had been there for many centuries. As well as, of course, different rites in the Catholic Church. The Church has lived in this diversity since the first century. If the Church as a whole can be "one Church" and have different rites, I don't see why we can't have one "the Latin Rite" with different uses.

      There is nothing preventing a pope from instituting changes to the Novus Ordo that corrects some of its more obvious failures, without even abandoning that Ordo in substance or appearance. Nor of instituting a BRAND NEW ordo that intentionally marries the best of the old and new, with the explicit intention of making this new one the sole heir...in 100 years time.

      So, even granting the hypothesis that the pope ought to do something about the dividedness within the Latin Rite, nothing about THIS CURRENT action is in the least bit necessary. Especially because the cause of strangeness, the unsettling aspect of the current dividedness is almost completely from the efforts to impose the 1970 Ordo inappropriately, with no recognition nor attempt to resolve those flaws.

      And, unfortunately, nor will it (the current action) ACTUALLY solve the dividedness. Many of the TLM partisans will not obey, even if they should. This is clear from the history of the issue. So, Francis has opened yet another front on which the dividedness will continue.

      He may, theoretically, manage to reduce the total number of people devoted to TLM if, over the next 20 years, fewer and fewer people can make it to the TLM masses that remain standing, but even THAT assumes the next pope won't change things. But in order to do this successfully, it would ALSO require bishops to most definitely not provide adequately for the spiritual care of those currently devoted to TLM and going to those masses regularly - something TC tells bishops to do.

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    2. Why? Should the multiple Eastern Rites, all with different liturgical forms, be eliminated as well?

      Is that what Francis is doing? Given that Francis has referred to "traditional Catholics" (whatever that means) as mentally ill on different occasions, there's certainly room to wonder.

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    3. Yes, they had originally hoped that the two forms would enrich each other...

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    4. Given that Francis has referred to "traditional Catholics" (whatever that means) as mentally ill....

      Pretty sure the "traditional" is best translated "believing" in this context.

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    5. Why should there being multiple liturgical forms be any more of an issue than there being multiple orders of priests? Though, I think a good case could made for abolishing the Jesuits about now...

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    6. Since the council of Florence, no new rites can ever be made. They would be, like the N.O., novelties and hence not traditional. Not RECEIVED and APPROVED as that (unambiguously infallible) council demanded.

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    7. Tim the White,

      Please give an argument for how the Council of Florence intended to bind all successive popes to one liturgical form, how it is that that council did not apparently intend to abrogate the different liturgical forms of the Eastern Rites, and that a later pope cannot reverse an earlier pope.

      Thanks!

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    8. There is nothing preventing a pope from instituting changes to the Novus Ordo that corrects some of its more obvious failures, without even abandoning that Ordo in substance or appearance.

      I attend the Anglican Ordinariate Mass (properly called "Divine Worship"), and although it's apparently based on the Novus Ordo, if you turned the sound off you'd think you were attending a Latin Mass. The traditional rubrics and Offertory restored, Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and Leonine Prayers for Low Masses, the Last Gospel, ad orientem worship, with Communion kneeling and on the tongue. If you put the Divine Worship Missal side by side with the English translation of the TLM, it's mostly identical, but DW has additional prayers drawn from the Anglican tradition.

      It's almost as if the men drawing up DW took a hard look at the Novus Ordo and decided to eliminate all the worst aspects of it: the congregational Sign of Peace, ad hoc Prayers of the Faithful, the dreary Responsorial Psalms, the embarrassing Bringing of the Gifts, and so on. The only notable holdover from the Novus Ordo is the weird displacement of the Mysterium Fidei to immediately after the Consecration, but even that at least is a dignified current rather than the sappy ditty often found in the NO.

      All this leads me to fear that DW will be on the chopping block before too long, since it contains so many of those elements despised by liberal hierarchs. But it does demonstrate that a reform of the vernacular Mass is quite possible.

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    9. As a former traditionalist, there's no doubt that such groups are isolationist and divisive. They scorn parochial schools in favor of homeschooling. They're a Church within the one Church. I welcome these restrictions. It will either force the traditionalists to return to the Novus Ordo, or it will expose them for the schismatics that they truly are.

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    10. Why do you take the view that the Mysterium Fidei is misplaced?

      Given that the words we say at that moment are, "Mortem tuam annuntiamus, Domine, et tuam resurrectionem confitemur, donec venias," it seems to me that the moment the elements have been separately consecrated, displaying Christ in a state of visible victimhood (with body and blood separated) as a memorial offering (Gk. anamnesis) representing the separation of His Body and His Blood on the cross, is the perfect moment to proclaim that, yes, God really died on the cross. And then, the moment after that, we profess our belief in His resurrection, liturgically turning the corner, moving towards the moment when the priest elevates the host and chalice, showing that the Passover of the Christians is our todah (Hb., in Gk., eucharist, thank offering), when we elevate Him and present His risen and living Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity as the great perpetual offering to His Father.

      This may be different from the ordering in the TLM (which I have attended many times, but have not yet memorized the order of, so that I don't know offhand whether it actually is a different order).

      But even presuming it's been moved to a new place, I don't see that the Novus Ordo and Anglican Use location of the Mortem tuam is odd. On the contrary, it seems logical and fitting.

      (But I'm open to being convinced otherwise, if you'd like to raise points I haven't considered.)

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    11. Murray, thank you for your confirmation of my assertion. I was thinking of the Ordinariate, among other points, but I don't know enough about the Ordinariate to say anything about it.

      As a former traditionalist, there's no doubt that such groups are isolationist and divisive.

      Anon, your accusation is too unfocused to be accurate. There are trad groups like you describe, but there are others that are nothing like that. I have run into both.

      (As an aside: I know of lots and lots of non-traddie Novus Ordo parents who homeschool, scorning their particular local "Catholic" schools for being the breeding grounds of heresy and degenerate morals, whereas they would have no problem with sound Catholic schools if there were any around. And others who refuse to use ANY school because they can do a better job than any school, no matter how good it is. It doesn't take being a traddie to not like the schools.)

      By far, the majority of those young people who have moved to attending the TLM after Summorum Pontificum do so not because they thing Vatican II is invalid, or the Novus Ordo is intrinsically bad, but because they find TLM meets a need they weren't getting at NO masses. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting, and PLANNING to get such needs met in a stable way for the foreseeable future. Which Francis is attempting to say is not acceptable. In saying this, he is directly disagreeing with Benedict. Popes can disagree, but they shouldn't pretend they are agreeing with their predecessor when they are 180 degrees apart.

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    12. The Ordinary Form is full of options – how many different Eucharist Prayers are there now? The thought has occurred to me, that the Extraordinary Form could be integrated into the Ordinary Form, simply by adding more options to the Ordinary Form, in such a way that a certain selection of options happened to be identical to the 1962 Missal. That couldn't impair unity of worship any more than having multiple options within the Ordinary Form does. Maybe that will be the long-term solution?

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    13. @ The Deuce,

      "Why should there being multiple liturgical forms be any more of an issue than there being multiple orders of priests? Though, I think a good case could made for abolishing the Jesuits about now"

      Because of the simple historical fact that the Roman Rite has never had multiple instances in its at least close to 2000 year history. There have been various Uses of the Rite, such as the Dominican Use, but these are a different category.

      The question, much vexed and showing no sign of resolution by now, is whether the MR of 1969 is indeed the same rite as prior MRs despite enormous differences, or is in fact a new creation altogether?

      I for my part hold the latter position.

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    14. I don’t think Francis has any problem with TLM, he has a problem with church unity. This action is directed towards the faction that have put certain political issues, certain elements of tradition (as well as being against Vatican II) above the church as a whole body. It’s the mindset of the Scribes and Pharisees, and the only time Jesus got really angry apart from the money changers was Matthew 23.

      It’s worth remembering that just before that is the parable of the wedding feast. The church is made up (by god’s choice) of the waifs and strays from street corners, the bad and the good (elsewhere “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind”). The body doesn’t work well if one leg keeps trying to go in a different direction. Francis has implemented a crutch to try to steer things in a straight path, in preference to amputation.

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  2. Hmm, there is a priest who was very poor and caused my then girlfriend and I to leave the parish and start up at a new one. I’ve avoided speaking out against him when people ask me what reason I left the parish for. Can you explain what you mean by publicly criticize? Do you mean stand up in the congregation? If I told someone about his incorrect theology and liturgical abuses outside of his hearing, is this considered slander?

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    1. No, slander is made up

      Detraction is when you tell people about real faults, but that's when it's malicious. You stopped because serious issues that could affect anyone who goes to that Church.

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  3. My diocese allows dual membership in a “regular” (so to speak) parish, and a local FSSP parish. I am a member of both.

    The people that argue that the ordinary form is illegitimate, or that Vat II is illegitimate, or conjecture about various supposed nefarious motivations of certain prelates over the last several decades are often (perhaps usually) misguided and wrong. For the most part, they are simply incapable of separating the abuses in the church from legitimate reforms that have accompanied said abuses. They are also one-trick ponies in that they blame all that’s wrong with the world on the elimination of the Latin Mass as if the varied and serious problems we face from modernity would just all go away if we returned to the TLM.

    On the other hand, the people on the other side just can’t seem to understand that the Catholic Church did not begin in 1968 as a therapeutic self-help program. The mass is not supposed to be devoid of solemnity. Homilies are not supposed to be cute jokes or platitudes about being nice. The guy yodeling and slapping the guitar is not your friend. The “old mass” is not defective or somehow renounced.

    I do weary of both types.

    George Weigel’s “The Irony of Modern Catholic History” is a good topology of the Church today. Weigel argues that the reforms of Vat II are the Church returning to its mission to evangelize the modern world, as opposed to the institutional fortification that has prevailed since the Protestant “Reformation”.

    That right there is a good working summary of every Vat II document.

    Now, if you’re a Catholic, you can do your job—which is to evangelize the modern world, not the medieval world—or you can occupy the time you have on this planet with distractions and tribalism.


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    1. You don't get to Pachamama without modernism.

      If you read the Pius X's encyclical Pachendi and the syllabus of errors, you find that modernism is interchangeable with "The Spirit of VII"

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    2. Tim the White,

      From my OP:

      "they are simply incapable of separating the abuses in the church from legitimate reforms that have accompanied said abuses."

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    3. Weigel argues that the reforms of Vat II are the Church returning to its mission to evangelize the modern world, as opposed to the institutional fortification that has prevailed since the Protestant “Reformation”.

      While Weigel is a good writer and often makes excellent points, he is also a bit too much of a JPII fan-boy to recognize some of his limitations, and (by extension) the meaning of Vatican II. While it is true that none of the documents of Vatican II were wrong, and that they preached the same Christian truth as the previous Councils, they were also intentionally written with enough word-salad and ambiguity to enable modernists to misuse them and run with a false sense of the Council Fathers' intent. I.E. "the Spirit of Vatican II". JPII, the optimist, was constitutionally incapable of admitting that VII's documents had been hijacked in a systemic way. And Weigel is like him in that.

      Although evangelization to those outside the Church is, and has always been, an essential part of the mission of the Church, SO IS EVANGELIZATION INSIDE the Church: teaching the faithful, especially the youth. The modernist Church, and the modernist bishops, have signally failed at that: more than 70% of Catholics who attend Mass weekly don't know the doctrine of the Real Presence and believe it, and over 50% of the practicing Catholic young adults who start in "Catholic" universities lose their faith over the next 4 years. You can't keep on being in mission to the world if you can't keep your base running. From the Apostles to Pius XII, the Church believed in evangelizing the young of the Church into the fullness of faith and understanding. It wasn't the result of a "fortification" mentality.

      Moreover, the growth of Catholicism in the North America in the 1800s and 1900s wasn't from a stockade mentality. Nor the advances in Africa. Weigel's comment is no more representative of the real Church than it was of the Church in 1580 (e.g. at the time St. Charles Borromeo was busy re-converting Swiss Protestants back to Catholciism, as a leading Catholic prelate and one of the major actors in the "CounterReformation".)

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    4. "Vat II are the Church returning to its mission to evangelize the modern world"

      Yes, we see how this has turned out. People leaving the Church in droves in the same year the New Mass was established.

      Don't worry the entire world is going to be evangelized! For each hundred people that left the Church, one person entered the Church, often with New Wave therapeutic attitude. And our Pope tells us not to evengelize.

      Legitimate reforms? What good is a reform if this ends up being much worse than the previous situation?

      "they are simply incapable of separating the abuses in the church from legitimate reforms that have accompanied said abuses."

      You are the one who is unable to view the obvious. The reforms were designed by the same people that wanted to commit the abuses in order to commit the abuses. Read this VII cardinal saying:" We wrote the ambiguous sentences of the VII so we coul exploit them to impose our ideas"

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    5. Tony,

      Did the tectonic shift over the past few hundred years merit a response from the Church? The Enlightenment; mind-blowing scientific advances; the Industrial Revolution and consumerism; the rise of Humanism and secular philosophy. Did these things need to be responded to?

      If the Church needed to do more in response to all this than just trot out the Council of Trent, and if Vat II was that response, then there is much more to the story than the question begging assertion that Vat II was “word salad” intentionally written to be misused by modernists. No?

      “Advances in Africa”. You mean since the Council of misused word salad?

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    6. Chent,

      If you’re going to judge the situation in the Church from a public relations perspective and how many people supposedly “leave in droves”, I shudder to think what will happen when you reach John chapter six.

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    7. @Tony: JPII did realize from the beginning of his papacy the urgent problem of evangelization inside the Church. See his excellent apostolic exhortation Catechesi tradendae (1980, I believe).

      @TN: What's gotten into you? You're not usually such a malicious twister of words.

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    8. David, while JPII did realize much of the problem (not all - I will get to that in a second), he did a lot of ineffective things. Catechesi Tradendae, and Ex Corde Ecclesiae were great docs that had almost 0 impact on any actual behavior. The latter, especially, was POINTEDLY ignored by the US bishops. JPII never made an issue of that. He never followed up by taking names, or firing anyone. The universities were just as bad (or worse) at the end of his pontificate as at the beginning.

      The problem he seemingly DIDN'T see, the one that needed fixing even more than the others was the failure of the Vatican to locate the right men to make bishops. He kept on promoting the wrong type of people, year after year. He never recognized the issue. Way too many of them were theologically limp-spined far-left-liberal paper-pushers, and FAR, FAR too many (even if, in absolute terms a minority) were either part of the pink mafia or were being controlled by them through threat of exposure. If he had been doing a GOOD job of that part of his job, we would not have had the mess we have had for the last 30 years of bishops shoving major problems under rugs and knowingly allowing corrupt nonsense to continue.

      JPII was a great thinker and a great saint. He was not a great chief executive. To the point for THIS particular problem today: he inherited from Paul VI the absolute blunder of (a) instituting a "reform of the Mass" by putting people like Annibale Bugnini in charge, (b) not STOPPING that committee when it ran off the rails, (c) only bothering to forcibly change the 2 or 3 absolute WORST aspects of their proposed new mass, (d) putting it into force in a shoddy, recklessly thoughtless manner, and (e) NOT ADMITTING ANY SCREW UPS for 8 years thereafter. When the Trads of the day claimed "if you wanted to abrogate the old mass, under canon law you had to actually state "I abrogate the old mass", he could have resolved the issue (at least for THOSE trads) by stating "I hereby abrogate the old mass", but refused to make the obvious step. JPII (according to claims I have seen), finally, years AFTER Lefevre ordained 4 bishops, told a committe of cardinals to "look into that issue of abrogation, would you?" Nothing public was ever stated, but in 2007, Benedict (JPII's right hand man and certainly involved if there was any such committee), stated explicitly in Summorum that the old mass had never been abrogated. JPII could have fixed the problem, by permanently erecting and mandating "two valid, approved, co-equal "uses" of the Roman Rite" as part of the Church's official liturgical architecture, under which neither could be regarded as second-class. Or, as an alternative, he could have LISTENED to the trads, and said "yeah, you know what, the Novus Ordo does have some real problems, let's attend to that." Maybe he could have made it less attractive for young folks to switch over to TLM?

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    9. "To the point for THIS particular problem today: he inherited from Paul VI the absolute blunder of (a) instituting a "reform of the Mass" by putting people like Annibale Bugnini in charge,. . . ."

      In fairness, he took Bugnini and sent him off to be nuncio to the Islamic Republic of Iran, where I presume His Holiness thought Bugnini would be unable to do much trouble. (Personally, if I were pope, I'd have made him nuncio to Antarctica.)

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    10. @Tony: I think there's a case for thinking JPII was a great thinker, in some respects; and also a good case for thinking he was a bad chief executive, in some crucial respects. But in some respects, then, I think it also follows that he was a bad thinker, in some crucial respects.

      Or the other option is we just don't understand the limitations of what it is possible for a pope to effectively accomplish. I think B16 shared some of the serious defects of JPII in regard to executive decisions, but certainly from his own account of matters, it seems he simply had a sense of helplessness, of being powerless to do anything otherwise, that would actually make things better. But again, I think that might be a reflection of a flaw in his fundamentally progressive-liberal mindset, notwithstanding that this fundamental mindset did not exclude an intellectual admission of the necessity of recognizing the demands of dogmatic faith. For example, he had to admit the dogmatic necessity of the doctrine of transubstantiation; but all the same he found it embarrassing, based on outdated Aristotelian categories, probably wished it had never entered the realm of dogma and would prefer not to have to talk about it at all (at least that was the view he expressed ca. 1960, and I don't see any reason to think that ever changed).

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  4. English CatholicJuly 17, 2021 at 3:26 PM

    Does the Pope even have the authority to suppress the ancient rite? Why the assumption that the liturgy is the Pope's plaything? Pius IX balked at the suggestion that he add a single saint's name to the canon. And yet now we have this universal assumption that this order is lawful.

    What if you had told a Catholic a few centuries ago that the Pope would attempt to suppress the Roman Rite, and that everyone would just jump to it and assume he had the authority to do so? What if you made the suggestion to St Thomas? St Catherine? What would they say?

    I'm not saying the order is ultra vires because I in no way have the knowledge or authority to pronounce on the issue, but can we at least have a discussion about it? It may well be that priests who want to continue saying the TLM will be able to continue to do so in justice, regardless of what the Pope says.

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    1. The pope has universal jurisdiction over the Church, including the liturgical rite.

      What would Sts. Thomas and Cathrine say? They would say the pope has universal jurisdiction.

      The pope is not “suppressing the Roman Rite”. The pope is requiring special permission from the local bishop to use the “old” liturgical form.

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    2. St. Robert Bellarmine mentions the conditions for a Pope automatically ceding his office.

      Basically the condition is manifest and obstinate public heresy (and then that would have to ratified by the bishops in order for the faithful to act on it, although the cessation of office occurs once the manifest and obstinate public heresy is demonstrated).

      Liturgical form falls under the purview of discipline. Now there is a sense in which sufficiently sacrilegious form would imply manifest public heresy. For example, say the Pope changed the rubric to say that the priest or bishop has to chug a quart of consecrated wine (Precious Blood) after the consecration. Obviously that would be a sacrilege and bind the priest to commit a mortal sin within the rubric of the Mass. so it is possible that messing with the rubrics is even off limits for the Pope, but it is a pretty high bar to meet. Banning the TLM would not qualify in my view. Although I think it is extremely imprudent. And also the fact that communion in the hand is so common in the Novus Ordo should pose genuine concern for faithful Catholics.

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    3. Scott,

      There is no earthly authority that can remove a pope, not all the bishops combined, not a council, not Robert Bellermine, not "manifest and obstinate public heresy", nothing.

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    4. I was under the impression "manifest and obstinate public heresy" would be if the Pope formally joined another religion? If God forbid Francis buggered off to the Mosque and said the Shahada on webcam then he would be out.

      But if Francis holds secret unstated heterodox views he would still be Pope.

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    5. There is no earthly authority that can remove a pope, not all the bishops combined, not a council, not Robert Bellermine, not "manifest and obstinate public heresy", nothing.

      TN, I believe that the theory is that the pope removes himself by the public heresy. Nobody else does it.

      The requirement of ratification by the bishops is to show and declare, formally, to the Church THAT the pope had done so, not to be the cause of removal.

      Naturally, this theory has never been tested. So it remains putative rather than certain. And of course popes don't ratify this theory. But it's still a reasonable theory.

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    6. English CatholicJuly 17, 2021 at 7:44 PM

      I'm in no way talking about the Pope ceding his office: that's an entirely different debate.

      I'm suggesting that the idea that the Pope can do whatever he wants in disciplinary matters, unbound by custom or reason, is actually quite novel.

      The point is well-argued here (ignore the dramatic title, the article is excellent): https://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2010-Brian-Novus-Disordo.htm

      Bl Pius IX, apparently, claimed he had no authority to add a single saint's name to the canon. (I haven't been able to source that, though.)

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    7. The pope has universal jurisdiction. But it seems that does not in itself imply that the pope cannot misunderstand the nature of his universal jurisdiction and accordingly misuse the powers of his universal jurisdiction in such a way that his attempted juridical acts fail to carry the juridical force that he intends them to carry.

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    8. @ English Catholic

      In actual fact, there are some indications that this is actually ultra vires even for the Pope. It was your compatriot of pious memory, Michael Davies, I believe, who first raised this issue among mainstream trads (possibly in his Apologia for Marcel Lefebvre).

      An often overlooked canon of Trent, 7th session, xiii, reads:
      “Si quis dixerit, receptos et approbatos Ecclesiae catholicae ritus in sollemni sacramentorum administratione adhiberi consuetos aut contemni, aut sine peccato a ministris pro libito omitti, aut in novos alios per quemcumque ecclesiarum pastorem mutari posse: anathema sit."

      I would translate it as follows:
      “If anyone says that the traditional and approved rites of the Catholic Church customarily used in the solemn administration of the sacraments can be disregarded, or omitted by the minister without sin at his discretion, or be changed into new ones by whosoever of the pastors of the Church, let him be anathema.”

      Note that this includes the Pope, nor is there much reason to assume the contrary, as traditionally rites tend to correspond to metropolitan sees and depend upon them ordinarily (see St. John Chrysostom, or St. Basil, St. Gregory the Illuminator, St. Ambrose, the rite of Braga etc.), rather than the Apostolic See. And, e.g., as the learned canonist Dr. Bouix shows in his manual (available online, De iure liturgico), indeed, up to the 19th century history knows of no example of a traditional rite being replaced by a new one legitimately, as opposed to an another traditional one, something I believe would be equivalent to changing it into a new one. And indeed, as regards interritual development, organic development is the law, historically, as Fr. Alcuin Reid OSB eloquently shows in his eponymous book.

      Now, it’s true that the NO can be said to have become received (and, certainly, approved), but not in relation to the old rite.

      If you still think this is an odd idea, consider this. If the Pope was to declare the NO in Eastern vestments is to be the normative liturgical rite for the Byzantines, say, would you consider this legitimate? If not, why? Because the East has a unique right to be cherished? Or simply because traditional rites deserve our reverence, even from the Pope?

      To quote from Summorum Pontificum citing the Instructio generalis, of all things:

      “As from time immemorial, so too in the future, it is necessary to maintain the principle that “each particular Church must be in accord with the universal Church not only regarding the doctrine of the faith and sacramental signs, but also as to the usages universally received from apostolic and unbroken tradition.  These are to be observed not only so that errors may be avoided, but also that the faith may be handed on in its integrity, since the Church’s rule of prayer (lex orandi) corresponds to her rule of faith (lex credendi).”

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    9. Pius V codified the Tridentine Mass for all time. Francis cannot change it without betraying his office.

      Besides, what liturgy would they use?
      Since the council of Florence, no new rites can ever be made. They would be, like the N.O., novelties and hence not traditional. Not RECEIVED and APPROVED as that (unambiguously infallible) council demanded.

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    10. Tim the White,

      So why did Pius V allow the Eastern Rites their own liturgical form?

      Delete
    11. David McPike,

      The pope might misunderstand his universal jurisdiction. OK, who's going to correct him on it?

      Delete
    12. Tony,

      So in theory a pope could remove himself, but no one can actually tell him he's removed himself because no one has the authority to do so. OK.

      Delete
    13. @TN: Canon 212. We have the right, even the duty, to correct error. And this is so as a matter of natural law, it's not just a positive enactment of canon law (a pope could abrogate canon 212, but the moral principle would be unchanged). But like Feser pointed out, along with our duty to correct error, we have the duty to suffer the consequences (take up the cross, man); it's not a Marvel movie, and the Lord only knows how it gets resolved in the end.

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    14. If I understand properly, the Eastern Churches are not directly under the jurisdiction of the Pope; they are in communion with him. So, the most the Pope could do if he wanted them to adopt NO vestments, and they refused, would be to break communion with them.

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    15. David McPike,

      So you can use natural law as a justification to say the pope doesn't have authority over the form of the liturgy because you don't like the choices he makes?

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    16. @TN: Is that what you think I said? Really?

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    17. David McPike,

      The post from English Catholic is about authority over the form of the liturgy. My comments are about the form of the liturgy. If your comments are not about the form of the liturgy maybe you should be more clear what they are about.

      The pope has authority over the governance of the Church, including the form of the liturgy. You can say you don't like it, that's fine. You don't like it. Making an argument that the form of the liturgy chosen by legitimate authority is objectively wrong is a different thing. Complaining about abuses as if there is no difference between the abuse and the thing abused, doesn't haul the mail. Pretending that all the problems facing the modern world and the Church would just go away if we brought back the TLM, doesn't haul the mail.

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    18. So in theory a pope could remove himself, but no one can actually tell him he's removed himself because no one has the authority to do so.

      @ TN: no, that's not what I said. The bishops, as a body, if they declared to the whole Church that "the Pope has removed himself from office due to obstinate adherence to heresy", would be saying it to the WHOLE Church, which means to the Pope as well. The pope might not agree with them, and might try to retain the direct obedience of those around him (i.e. papal officers, cardinals in the Vatican, and even civil officials whose job requires them to interact with whomever is "the pope". But that would be a fight to persuade enough people to continue to OBEY the pope's orders, (on his side), versus persuading enough people to obey a new guy voted in as pope in a new consistory: pretty much like we ACTUALLY HAD at the period of the 3 "popes". With this difference: if the whole body of bishops (and cardinals) agree that the former pope is no longer pope, then he isn't going to get a lot of obedience and recognition inside his own palace.

      I am not saying this all peachy keen: the theory STILL involves the troublesome situation of subordinates telling a man who HAD BEEN their superior: "you not longer occupy that office." That's always going to be messy, no two ways about it. All I am doing here is pointing out the nature of the claim, which St. Robert Bellarmine thought was reasonable: the pope can remove himself from office, but his subordinates cannot.

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    19. Tony,

      Anybody can tell the pope all day long whatever they want and it doesn't matter one bit. He is still the pope with all his Divinely mandated authority unless and until he surrenders it himself or until he dies. Period.

      Delete
    20. TN: I fear your descent into dishonest trolling is not worth responding to further.

      Delete
    21. English CatholicJuly 18, 2021 at 4:58 PM

      The question of 'universal jurisdiction' is perhaps a red herring.

      To be sure, the Pope has universal ordinary jurisdiction over the whole Church, including over its discipline and government -- Vatican I settled that decisively. But the geographical or diocesan limits to papal authority are a different question from the limits of what the Pope can command. Everyone agrees that there are limits on what he can command. No authority in heaven or on earth can (lawfully) command people to sin, or command the impossible. Such commands do not create an obligation of obedience. (Note also that deciding whether a given command involves sin demands the exercise of judgement on the part of the subject. Therefore, those who say that the subject may not pass any sort of judgement on a superior's command are necessarily wrong. It is a question of what the limits of said judgement are, not whether it may take place.)

      And I repeat my previous suggestion: the idea that the pope can do absolutely anything he wills to (say) the liturgy, no matter how harmful or unreasonable, is novel. I say 'suggestion' and not 'assertion' because I'm not certain of this. Nonetheless I urge a reading of the link in my previous comment, which makes this case. It argues that the idea that a newer law always takes priority over an old one is Enlightenment-influenced -- previously, the assumption was that the reverse was true. Similarly for the idea that law is limited to positive acts of the legislator. Note also that St Thomas is clear that custom can become law (Summa I-II, somewhere).

      Again, I am not saying that I'm sure the author is right. I really don't know, and I would tremble at the thought of resisting a legitimate command from St Peter's successor, or encouraging others to do the same. I guess I'm saying that I'd like to clarify just what the limits of that legitimacy are, because the answer will directly concern how I act in the most important matter in my life (religion). If it turns out that the Pope really can do this lawfully, then I will obey immediately and without question.

      Also, if, if the Pope's command in this case is illegitimate, it would not be a matter of correcting him, but ignoring the command, and continuing to say (or aid the saying of) the TLM in any and all circumstances, since an unlawful command is no command and doesn't bind the conscience.

      In any case, it would be great to hear from theological, philosophical, legal or historical experts about this question.

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    22. English CatholicJuly 18, 2021 at 5:11 PM

      @ Mancz Pompon,

      I agree that reading Michael Davies is crucial, he's one of the best authors around and it's time for another generation of Catholics to become familiar with his work.

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  5. Great post Doctor Feser. Spot on.

    Tom Cohoe

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  6. I forgot to add that some gratitude is due to Saint Aquinas, whose writing brought me into the Catholic Church.

    Tom Cohoe

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  7. I have never really been a fan of the St Pius V Rite. I never could...get into it. I did love the Eastern Rites thought & they where better IMHO.

    But that having been said I think it is kind of super mean to take a liturgy people love and want to observe in full communion with the Bishop of Rome and well nerf it. Geez Frankie yer killing me bro!

    This is IMHO a gravely imprudent act on the part of the Holy Father. It is not in anyway his finest hour. But even my favor gay polemicist (now "ex-gay") Milo Yiannopoulos said "I am not going to give Francis the satisfaction of leaving the True Church. I am going to stay and outlive him & outlast him!!!".

    Gotta luv the bravado!

    But whatever Francis does I submit Francis II or John Paul III or Paul VII or John XXIV or Leo XIV or Pius XIII or Benedict XVII etc can undo with the stroke of a pen.

    Pope St Paul VI ruthlessly suppressed the Old Rite in a rather heavy handed manner. Francis for some mad reason wishes to channel him. Well Pope St Paul VI was softened by his successors. So can Francis.

    So be at peace. Francis isn't gonna live forever. Forgive him and suffer for the Church.

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    1. Yeah, this was cruel, and the cruelty was deliberate (e.g. making the rules effective immediately. There was no need for that, and its very much NOT an orderly way to go about business.)

      Furthermore, however much Francis wants to pretend that his motivation is "toward unity", he gives the game away by all sorts of odd ideas in the letter to bishops. I won't point them all out, just one: he says that the liturgical abuses are just as much of a problem, but he isn't doing ONE BLESSED THING about them. Just about the TLM. Paul VI was unhappy about the abuses too, but likewise he didn't do anything about them. JPII threw a bean-bag at the problem. What the heck? How hard is it, guys, to actually follow through on your rhetoric, when you are the absolute monarch (on Earth)?

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    2. "he says that the liturgical abuses are just as much of a problem, but he isn't doing ONE BLESSED THING about them."

      And isn't that interesting? Of course, he can plead that that's already on the bishops to address that. But imagine if liturgically abusive priests were put under all the strictures that have been imposed on the priests who want to use the TLM? Then we might see some "mutual enrichment"! (Of course the comparison is an absurd one, as if any priest should be granted the right to abuse the liturgy, even if, say, he was banned from doing so in parish churches.) As it is, it's just gross hypocrisy.

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  8. "such a prelate can and ought to be criticized publicly by his subjects when he does something that endangers the faith. But given the nature of his office, even this must be done “not with impudence and harshness, but with gentleness and respect.”"

    Two points: Shouldn't this apply to criticizing anyone (so how does the "respect the office, not the person" thing not end up being otiose)? Given that criticism would be of the person, not the office, why conflate at all the criticism of the person with the issue of respect for the office? Indeed, the criticism due to the evil prelate (or public person of any kind) is all the more damning because of his abuse of the dignity of his office (and our criticism seeks to protect the dignity of the office, not impugn it), so how does criticism of such a person warrant an especially meek and respectful treatment (as opposed to an especially theatrically ghoulish treatment, like, say, a Cadaver Synod)?

    "such a prelate nevertheless must be given the honor that attaches to his office as a vicar of Christ. It is an insult to Christ to refuse his representative such honor – as if it is not Christ himself who is permitting such a man to be his vicar, or as if Christ does not know what he is doing in permitting it."

    But if we get into "honoring" everything falling under the "permissive will" of Christ, then there is literally no end, since everything whatsoever falls under the permissive will of Christ (sexual molestation of children, the Holocaust, etc.).

    (In her Dialogue, St Catherine says that out of respect for their office, for Christ, priests should never be handed over to be prosecuted and punished by the secular authorities. Is she right?)

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  9. Very cool post, Dr. Feser. St. Thomas distinctions are aways very helpful. Looking how messy church history usually is helps me not care that much about what happens now. It ended up fine before and it will happen again.

    Now, i know that the pope has universal jurisdiction and all that, but should he use that power all the time? It seems quite strange to me that Pope Francis, right there in Europe, can decide these things here in Latin America so easily when he likely does not know the situation here very well. Even being argentinian, he is gone for quite some time.

    While he has the power, i don't see why he should make a decision like that on his own when there is no necessity like a heresy or crime happening. Should not custom usually guide these things? It seems to me that it would be a better strategy to give more power to the bishops in deciding these things on their areas and only do something when necessary. Too much centralization sucks.

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  10. I would add that the universal jurisdiction of the permissive will of Christ isn't a trivial thing, it should cast a particular light on how we look at (and react to) evil prelates; but no more on how we look at them than on how we look at anything else, so far as I can see.

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  11. In order to learn the bare basics of this controversy over which mass to use, I consulted the site

    https://www.learnreligions.com/traditional-latin-mass-vs-novus-ordo-542961

    Since I'm not a RCC "insider" I'm wondering if anybody has seen this article before, and, if so, it accurately conveys in their opinion the broad basic differences between the masses.

    (Conservative evangelical here simply trying to wrap his head around what the problem is and why the "conservative" and "liberal" sides make hay out of the "liberal" and "conservative" versions of the masses respectively. Sorry for this extremely crude representation of things. I've seen some quasi-hysterical responses to the Latin mass by "liberals", and it makes me want to knee-jerk side 100% with the "conservatives". I'm putting quote marks around "liberal" and "conservative" because they may not be the best, most accurate terms, but I'm writing this on the fly.)

    (Note to Dr F: if this is too off-topic, feel free to delete; I don't want to derail anything on one of my favorite blogs!)

    Thanks in advance to anybody who responds.

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    1. Eric, I’ve never seen that article before but am impressed with the simplicity and depth of knowledge known and described in it. I would say it’s very accurate.

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    2. I agree with Vincent, it's very accurate.

      I would quibble with its depiction of active participation in the TLM - there's no need for you to follow along in the missal unless you want to. There are also some modern uses that I think are not standard in the TLM. For instance, in my TLM parish we (the congregation) sing the gloria, the credo and the sanctus. I think that was traditionally reserved to the cantor or the choir, but I'm not sure. The gospel is also always read in the vernacular for the congregation, after having been read in Latin at the altar.

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    3. Vincent & Kristoffer --- thanks to both of you for giving me confidence in the article so that I can read it and get some idea as to what is going on.

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  12. Serious question - many Traditionalists say St. Pius V in Quo Primum gives clergy and laity the right to the Tridentine Mass in perpetuity, and that this was echoed by Benedict XVI in Summorum Pontificum when he charged that the TLM was never abrogated and remains forever sacred. I myself attend the TLM and wonder where the line to obedience lies. Must we obey Francis and the mandates in TC on this? Certainly most bishops will think they have to follow it, even though it gives them a limited power to control the TLM in their dioceses.

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  13. What you are advocating is correct in all its forms, as long as the officials in question are legitimate. But the direct sabotage of the Church that was Vatican II has rendered in a technically legal sense based upon the Church's own laws and codices that every official called to office post-Vatican II as illegitimate.

    The banning of the Traditional Latin Mass is not an aberration post-Vatican II but rather a direct continuation of what was begun in 1962. The fence sitters now find themselves in the awful predicament of having to make a decision.

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  14. Dear Eric Vestrup, as a person who only discovered the traditional Mass a few years ago and have grown to love it, I am pained and feel like writing so much more, but to be short and sweet, yes, I think that article does a good job at explaining the major external or visual differences in these two forms of the Mass.

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    1. Thanks for the reply. What is going on with this kerfluffle between Pope Francis and the more conservative RCs seems completely alien to me, probably because I don't know enough. In my limited state, it appears to be a Latin-vs-common tongue sort of dispute, and I say what's the difference? But my study of this will probably show that it is much deeper than that. Thanks for giving me confidence in the article.

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    2. Hello again Eric, I appreciate your genuine curiosity, so I hope you find some value in my response. It might seem counterintuitive, but I would say that the language of the Mass actually is NOT the core issue. In fact, I would venture to say it's almost a red herring. Why? This is of course anecdotal, but the people I know who prefer the traditional Mass don't cite the Latin language as the main reason for their liturgical preference. Sure, many of them appreciate Latin for historical reasons and there are also a few language geeks like me who find Latin interesting or "cool," but love of Latin is not the main motivation for attending a traditional Mass. I will say that one of the benefits of Latin is the treasure of beautiful chants and hymns that were written in the language over hundreds and hundreds of years. However, even in a Novus Ordo Mass in the vernacular language, you could still sing some of these Latin prayers and psalms. In fact, you can even do a Novus Ordo Mass completely in Latin. However, in your typical Catholic church in the USA, which only offers Novus Ordo Masses in the common language, Latin is almost forbidden. A significant number of people, especially among those who grew up in the 60s and 70s, seem downright hostile to anything Latin, and are fervently attached to the hymns and songs that their own generation wrote. While not required, at almost all the traditional Latin Masses I have attended, the Bible readings are re-read in the common language before the priest gives a sermon (homily) that is always in the common language. Another point is that you don’t need to know Latin to follow the Mass. While it may take more effort, you can follow the readings and prayers with a bilingual booklet (missalette) or a complete book (missal). Also, over time, even if you don’t properly learn Latin, you will still find yourself learning and memorizing many of Latin responses, prayers and their meanings. While it takes longer, the process is not dissimilar to how you memorize the responses, declaration of faith (creed), etc at an English-language Masses. I understand that most people don’t like idea of reading a bilingual missal, but for some of us, the Latin language really isn’t such a stumbling block. We like the traditional Mass for a variety of different reasons, but for brevity’s sake, I won’t attempt to detail those reasons in this post.

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    3. I do find value in your response, and thanks for taking the time to write it. As stated, I'm an outsider trying to understand what precisely the problem or nature of the dispute is. Given my state of knowledge about this one particular area, I don't have anything real useful to add or with which to reply to your post. If you're curious over the next week of my nascent thoughts, you can email me (click on my name), although again I don't think I can offer any profundity. (Again, I'm a conservative Evangelical type who is just trying to understand why this is such a big deal among RCs.)

      I know there must be something there, and I have to process that article (which a few people have said is accurate) and think about it a bit.

      Thanks very much for the interesting reply, and I know I can't repay it with anything similarly interesting presently.

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    4. Part of the point too is not just that it's Latin, but it's sacred language. It incarnates reverence in worship in the language itself. And this was so even when and where Latin was also the vernacular language -- it was adapted and elevated for the purpose of liturgical worship. I believe Ratzinger held that the same should apply in all vernacular translations: in whichever language, the words of worship should express sacredness, reverence, and an elevation from everydayness through their very form and modes of expression.

      Fr Hunwicke has lots of interesting stuff about this kind of thing on his blog. A recent one: https://liturgicalnotes.blogspot.com/2017/02/gabbling-mass.html

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    5. "Part of the point too is not just that it's Latin, but it's sacred language. It incarnates reverence in worship in the language itself. And this was so even when and where Latin was also the vernacular language -- it was adapted and elevated for the purpose of liturgical worship. I believe Ratzinger held that the same should apply in all vernacular translations: in whichever language, the words of worship should express sacredness, reverence, and an elevation from everydayness through their very form and modes of expression."

      David McP --- I think this is a good ideal to have.

      When we Protestants changed from KJV quotations to NIV quotations a long time ago, I felt something was lost. Not that the content changed, e.g. the Lord's Prayer is still the Lord's Prayer whether in the KJV, NIV, NET, NASB, etc, but all the thees, thous, and shews added a certain solemnity to things. And the psalms had that solemnity as well.

      (I'm high-church in worship tastes, but find most worship forms to fall under the realm of Christian liberty.)

      Thanks for the link. It is time for me to do my homework on this.

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  15. Miguel CervantesJuly 18, 2021 at 1:39 AM

    Very timely post on the post-Vatican II Church. The Catholic attitude towards problems in the Church needs to be stressed now that certain conservative elements, above all in some English-speaking countries, have wound themselves up over the last few years to the point of questioning the doctrine and constitution of the Church.

    Vigano has become their mascot, but has totally discredited himself by his own keyboard scribblings, the coup de grace now having been administered by Prof. Roberto de Mattei, with the revelation that the author of most of Vigano's epistles was Pietro Siffi, a blogger notorious in Italy. Now De Mattei's proof would no really stand up in a court of law, but in Italy there are no secrets: De Mattei is no fool and has merely made public what many in Italy have known for some time. It makes perfect sense too. The petulant (not to mention heretical - the "sons of light" multifaith-endtimes coalition) nature of Vigano's texts are undignified and out of character with all his prior existence as a nondescript Vatican functionary. Vigano will not now have many followers in Italy (apart from Aldo Luther Valli - "the church is finished" a "new church" of "spirit" having nothing to do with hierarchy will replace what we have now etc.).

    However, in countries like the US, where politics has driven part of the traditional movement rather mad, it's hard to say where this will end. Advice like that in this post will help people keep their Catholic sense I hope. But the erroneous tendencies have been there for some time. One has only to look at Peter Kwasniewski's ideas. This author, who seems well respected in many circles in danger of jumping the Barque of Peter, claims that "exorcising the spirit of Vatican One" may be more important that what came with Vatican II.

    The Post-Conciliar Church has seen it all before (the situation of the Tridentine Mass after the latest motu proprio is infinitely better and more assured than it was in 1972. This letter of Pope Francis is just the last example of the Paul VI-Vatican II year zero mentality. That generation will provide no more Popes now.

    What is new is that the true modernists are fed up with Pope Francis because he has not delivered a single one of their cherished aims. The other new thing is Lutheran-trads going mad over politics and conspiracies and falling out of the Church. The latter will turn out to be far less important than the former.

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  16. N.b. you may find the quoted passage from Thomas' "Disputed Questions" online at https://aquinas.cc/la/en/~QVIII.Q4.A2 .

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  17. It is true that Latin Mass catholics will suffer from this moto proprio, but I understand why the pope has issued it. Folks who love the Latin mass must pay attention to this point in particular from Traditionis custodes:

    "§ 1. is to 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;"

    As someone who had attended the Latin mass for ten years with my wife and kids, I can attest that a snearing attitude towards the Novus Order is very common, not just among the laity, but often even more so among the pastors. There were exceptions, but for the most part, those priests hated the novus ordo mass and equated it with all sorts of modernistic heresies, evils, and abuses. I had one priest say very solumly that for those who attend the novus ordo mass, there is no hope for them. They are lost. This very public conversation was one of the key reasons I felt I had to leave that very vibrant parish.

    In defense of those with this snearing attitude, I will admit that they likely have experienced heretic priests who have corrupted the liturgy, reduced it to something banal, turned it into a concert or a popularity contest. They have often stripped away the beautiful pre Vatican 2 heritage of images, statues, and beautiful alters. And worse than the stripping away of these externals, is the stripping away of true orthodox doctrine, both moral and theological. So I get where this anger is coming from.

    But - I think they err in identifying the source of such sinfulness in the liturgical rite or in vatican 2. You can have and there does exist good, moral and orthodox priests who practice the Novus Ordo, in wonderful and spirit filled ways. And just because these masses sometimes involve protestant like guitar ensembles, does not detract from the wonderful action of the spirit that is experienced there. And the Eucharist and scripture readings are ever present! We have priests quoting from Thomas, Therese of Avila, John of the Cross, and other great saints. They do not shirk their duty on preaching about the evils of abortion or pass over the extreme hatred of LGTBQ supporting folks who persecute the church and condemn her for her teachings. I know this because some of these have left their churches in disgust over preaching from the pulpit in support of the churche's traditional teachings on marriage and sexuality.

    Now, I still have many friends from the traditional latin mass community I had attended. My advice to them is to be obedient. Take the slap in the face, and strive to understand what motivates the pope. You cannot continue with this hatred against Vatican II and the Novus Ordo. You must acknowledge its validity. You must remain obedient to the bishop and build up one universal Catholic community. Pope Benedict had a vision of mutually enriching and dialog between attendies of both rites. I think this vision is still possible. But it can't be done with hatred towards those who attend the Novus Ordo rite and mistrust of our bishops. Especially when such bishops are both moral and orthodox in their theology.

    Take this rebuke - it may not last long.

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    1. Daniel,

      I belong to a FSSP parish and am very vocal about my support for Vat II. I have never met anyone in that parish who dissents from Vat II--priests, lay people, no one. I have never personally met a FSSP priest who dissents from Vat II.

      And, while I'm at it, dissent from Vat II is irrational and has no good arguments to support it. Without exception, dissent is justified by appealing to abuses done by goofy people--not a valid argument.

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    2. @Daniel:
      "§ 1. is to 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;"

      But don't you see how dishonest this statement is? And how hypocritical? When serious people have serious problems, you can't just respond, "but Vatican II, you have to acknowledge its 'validity'" and expect anyone to take that seriously. If you want to raise a serious objection to those who object to VII and the NO liturgy, you have to actually address what they concretely have to say about the one or the other. Almost certainly some of it will be wrong, and some of it will be right. The generic "but VII was a valid EC so don't criticize anything related to it" is classic "spirit of VII" BS. It is completely irrational and has no basis in the faith or moral teaching of the Church.

      As for hatred and mistrust of bishops, fact, many bishops are deeply corrupt, so keep it real. If you put your trust in incompetent pandering liars and hypocrites, so much the worse for you.

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    3. As the Angelic Doctor points out: "If a prelate is evil, he should not be honored for the person he is. For honor is respect shown to people as a witness to their virtue. Hence, if we honored such a prelate for the person he is, we would bear false witness about him, which is forbidden in Exodus 20: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."

      This is really just common sense. And same goes for laity. It is dishonest to show honor to what is dishonorable. I once pointed out to a friend statistics showing that something like 95-98% of NO-attending Catholics unequivocally reject basic parts of Catholic teaching, whereas near the same proportion of TLM-attendees do not. His response was, "yes, we have our problems in the NO, but they have problems too, especially the way the criticize the NO -- they shouldn't do that." I was like, dude! You're really missing the point here, aren't you? The problems associated with the NO are not imaginary! They are measurable, real, serious (they relate to Catholic fundamentals), and well-known! You can say, "but the 2-5% of NO attendees who actually believe the whole of Church teaching show that the problems are only accidentally related to the NO." But is that plausible?

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    4. The difficulty is that your mileage and mine vary. I have heard legends of traditional Catholics that sneer at the Novus Ordo liturgy, but never found one in the flesh.

      I think they exist, of course. But I think they are like "white supremacists": An extant but rare and relatively powerless bogeyman which modernists/leftists use to smear the entire gamut of their opponents.

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    5. Aquinas on "taking the slap" (WWJD? -- from his Commentary on Romans 12:19):

      "Even the Lord himself commanded, Mt 5:39: “if someone strikes you on one cheek, offer him also the other.” But, as Augustine says in the book Against Lying, those things which are done in the New Testament by the holy ones serve as examples for understanding the Scriptures, what is contained in its precepts. But the Lord himself, when he was struck by a slap, did not say: “Here is the other cheek”; but rather, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if well, why do you strike me?” Whereby he shows that the readiness of the other cheek is to be accomplished in the heart."

      Also Daniel, have you considered the possibility that the TLM people might already understand pretty well what motivates the pope, quite possibly better than you do?

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    6. David McPike,

      All the problems in the world would just go away if we brought back the Latin Mass.

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    7. Hey TN,

      "I belong to a FSSP parish and am very vocal about my support for Vat II. I have never met anyone in that parish who dissents from Vat II--priests, lay people, no one. I have never personally met a FSSP priest who dissents from Vat II."

      God bless you then! You seem to have found a great parish. Hold on to it!

      "And, while I'm at it, dissent from Vat II is irrational and has no good arguments to support it. Without exception, dissent is justified by appealing to abuses done by goofy people--not a valid argument."

      Agreed. But how do you square the above with this? ....

      "All the problems in the world would just go away if we brought back the Latin Mass.
      "

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    8. Hey David,

      “But don't you see how dishonest this statement is? And how hypocritical? When serious people have serious problems, you can't just respond, "but Vatican II, you have to acknowledge its 'validity'" and expect anyone to take that seriously. If you want to raise a serious objection to those who object to VII and the NO liturgy, you have to actually address what they concretely have to say about the one or the other. Almost certainly some of it will be wrong, and some of it will be right. The generic "but VII was a valid EC so don't criticize anything related to it" is classic "spirit of VII" BS. It is completely irrational and has no basis in the faith or moral teaching of the Church.”

      I’m not sure what you mean by dishonest and hypocritical. How do you know this kind of discussion has not been happening at various levels with traditionalists? This moto proprio may be the end results of such discussions and Pope Francis is just drawing a line in the sand. It would be interesting to see the responses from the bishops that Francis had gathered, but he does not give us that source material. My question to you is this: is it incumbent on the Pope to give us his source material before making a judgment?

      “As for hatred and mistrust of bishops, fact, many bishops are deeply corrupt, so keep it real. If you put your trust in incompetent pandering liars and hypocrites, so much the worse for you.”

      I happen to have had a great Archbishop. I have a deep respect for the way he has run his arch diocese. He has been a true spiritual father to me and my wife personally. So I’m not sure what you mean by this. Are there corrupt bishops? Yes. I’m sure there are. But mine was great. We have a new one now and I hope he is as good.

      “This is really just common sense. And same goes for laity. It is dishonest to show honor to what is dishonorable. I once pointed out to a friend statistics showing that something like 95-98% of NO-attending Catholics unequivocally reject basic parts of Catholic teaching, whereas near the same proportion of ELM-attendees do not. His response was, "yes, we have our problems in the NO, but they have problems too, especially the way the criticize the NO -- they shouldn't do that." I was like, dude! You're really missing the point here, aren't you? The problems associated with the NO are not imaginary! They are measurable, real, serious (they relate to Catholic fundamentals), and well-known! You can say, "but the 2-5% of NO attendees who actually believe the whole of Church teaching show that the problems are only accidentally related to the NO." But is that plausible?”

      Correlation does not equal causation. You know that, I’m sure. How is it that you can lay the blame on all the moral failings in the west on the new liturgy? That seems really an oversimplification. I personally accept all the teachings of the Catholic Church and I treasure the NO. I also love the TLM - I believe the liturgy is beautify and I wish I could attend it once and a while at my own parish. But having spent 10 years of my life in that parish, and having learned from my wife who has spent her entire life there, what she can tell me about them, I know that they are not flawless people. And accepting all the moral doctrines of the faith does not necessarily equate to holiness. Orthodox people sometimes sin gravely, have a shallow application of their faith, or are deeply imperfect. Orthodoxy does not necessarily equate to holiness and is often a veneer that hides great evil and abuse.

      I’m not claiming those in the NO are any better. But I would claim that many of them are no worse.

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    9. Hey R.C.

      “The difficulty is that your mileage and mine vary. I have heard legends of traditional Catholics that sneer at the Novus Ordo liturgy, but never found one in the flesh.”

      Then you are blessed and are lucky not to have known such as these.

      “I think they exist, of course. But I think they are like "white supremacists": An extant but rare and relatively powerless bogeyman which modernists/leftists use to smear the entire gamut of their opponents.”

      I would respectfully disagree. At the very least, we are unaware of the findings of Pope Francis. Without knowing the source material he gathered from his fellow bishops, we cannot be in a position to judge his actions. If this were simply a pretext to persecute TLM folks, then God help him. He will suffer his just deserts.

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    10. Daniel,
      The pope indeed has a grave obligation both to act justly, and to be seen to act justly. Thus he has a grave obligation to not take even apparently autocratic and unjust actions that cause great scandal to the faithful. (Jesus said something about a millstone around one's neck...) Thus he certainly does have a grave obligation to offer the reasonable grounds for his judgment, if such exist; and not to pass judgment without reasonable grounds for doing so. That you fail to grasp this suggests you have a very defective view of the nature of authority in relationship to reason and love and responsibility.

      Prendergast was indeed a decent archbishop, but that's a red herring, as well as just begging the question against any real criticism of the man (and I could offer some). Being a decent fellow, who is warmly loved and admired by Daniel and his family, clearly does not imply that the man is above all criticism. And that is the issue (for him, for VII, for liturgy issues). And it is dishonest and hypocritical to pretend otherwise.

      And "correlation does not imply causation"? Right, Daniel, but then what does? How do we know anything about causation? Correlation is certainly a primary indicator of causation. It's a defeasible indicator, but you can't just dismiss it. I didn't even suggest that there was causation or what exactly the nature of the causation is (it's certainly complex). Nonetheless, to dismiss the vast disparity in faithfulness with a flippant "correlation does not imply causation" is irresponsible and dishonest. You have to offer some genuine explanation, not just ignore striking facts that are inconvenient to your position. It is false that correlation equals causation; it is even more false (destructive of truth and obstructive of the way to truth) to act like correlation has nothing to do with understanding causation.

      And this: "How is it that you can lay the blame on all the moral failings in the west on the new liturgy?" I clearly never did this. This is a complete strawman that you are using to evade the issue I raised. Again, that is just dishonest.

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    11. And Daniel, you're actually going to sincerely 'inform' me that TLM people aren't flawless, as if this might be news to me, or as if it might be relevant to any point in dispute here? Come on, bro. You're not being serious.

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    12. David - ascribe to me ignorance, stupidity, or pigheadedness. It is far more likely than dishonesty, insincerity, or hypocrisy. Those terms require a level of intentional wickedness I don't feel like I have. Be patient with me. I can be convinced.

      A lot of my opinions on TLM come from personal experiences I've had with our local community that make me feel sympathetic to the pope. I understand this is not an argument - but it is what drives me.

      An analogy, I might use is that of a father with two sons. Son 1 falls out with son 2. Son 2 is a bit of a prodigal. Son 1 blames him for a lot of the negative issues that are happening in the home and thinks that father is too lenient on son 2. He and his father have been arguing over son 2 for a while and it got so heated that father kicks out son 1, treats him strictly and places limitations on him. At a certain point father decides to relent and give son 1 a chance to come back into the house without any restrictions on the condition that he treats son 2 better. But son 1 does not treat son 2 better. He continues to mock and deride son 1. Treats him as though he doesn't deserve to exist. Treats him as if he were irredeemably flawed. Father eventually sees what is going on and decides to blast son 1 and puts on new and even harsher restrictions than before.

      That appears to be the jist of where we are at with this moto proprio. I think the Holy Father is at his wits end with son 1 and is not in the mood to give a lengthy explanation for why he is kicking out son 1. Son 1 knows what his father wants, but refuses to give any kind of recognition or legitimacy to son 2. What is the point in going over all the details? There are some moments as a father where one has to lay down the law. It sucks when the children are convinced that father is wrong. But Father is the boss, and he has to do what he thinks is right. It sucks even more when father is actually wrong.

      In my opinion, bishops are indeed flawed and sometimes even corrupt. They are human beings, just like the Apostles were. And they are not above criticism. But there comes a point when we have to submit to the course of action our bishops have committed themselves to, even if we deeply disagree, rather than continually trying to get our own way and subverting what our bishops are trying to do.

      What I would like to see is what Pope Benedict wanted to see. A mutual enriching and eventual merger of the two. But that cannot happen if son 1 refuses to tolerate the existence of son 2 or even interact with him. And that is my main problem with the FSSP. This whole TLM only parish ideal seems to be a rejection of the NO. They should practice both, especially since they are the same rite! There are wonderfully reverent versions of the NO that they could choose from that are full of Latin and Gregorian chant. Why be so exclusive?

      Will this father relent and eventually allow more freedom to son 1? I think it unlikely. But a new father might come along and give them another chance, and may even give son 2 a good ass kicking it deserves.

      With regard to your comments about correlation does not mean causation – I’m at Saint Maurice right now, and things are amazing there. The companions are doing an amazing job, in my opinion and the parish is growing. So, again, this is only my experience. I’m not convinced by your arguments at all. In fact, I would be deeply upset if the NO were to disappear and be replaced by the TLM only. It would be a tragic loss for the church as a whole. Are you suggesting that this is something you would wish for?

      Cheers,
      Daniel

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    13. Daniel too bad you don’t live in Chicago you could go to St John Cantius . You would love it

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    14. Thanks for the recommendation Todd! And I see their bishop just endorsed them officially.

      https://www.dio.org/uploads/files/Worship/Decree_Implementing_the_Motu_Proprio_Traditionis_Custodes_7-19-2021.pdf

      Great news for them! It is interesting that the FSSP parish seems to have come under the authority of the Society of John Cantius. I wonder how that will work out?

      Cheers
      Daniel

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    15. @Daniel:
      When I call some statement dishonest and hypocritical, I mean it objectively, I don't mean to impute malice.

      "An analogy, I might use is that of a father with two sons. Son 1 falls out with son 2. Son 2 is a bit of a prodigal. Son 1 blames him for a lot of the negative issues that are happening in the home and thinks that father is too lenient on son 2. He and his father have been arguing over son 2 for a while and it got so heated that father kicks out son 1, treats him strictly and places limitations on him."

      But I think your analogy manifestly limps in light of the reality of the matter. The plain fact (seems to me!) is that son2 (when he's not flat-out ignoring him) is just as critical and dismissive of son1. He's often critical of son1 precisely for being critical: for daring to insist that son2 ought to follow -- or at least acknowledge -- the basic rules of the household (i.e., at least not call evil good and good evil); and for daring to insist that son2's willful decision not to acknowledge the basic rules undermines the very foundation of the household and endangers his soul, as well as the souls of those around him insofar as they are influenced by his words and deeds. So the real question is about the substance of the criticisms, and what it is that really matters. So far as there is any difference between the sins of the two sons, son1 is largely guilty of fake sins -- like rigidity and being critical of the real sins of son2 -- while son2 is guilty of real and grave sins -- openly and willfully rejecting and ignoring non-negotiable rules of the household. So what does the evil and hypocritical father do, in the name of "guarding the tradition"? He kicks son1 to the curb and tells him he needs to be more like son2, who cares about inclusiveness and being welcoming and feeling loved (but this is just hypocritical rhetoric, given his treatment of son1), and couldn't care less about the tradition (at least not in any principled way, such that he recognizes tradition as authoritatively binding upon him even when it doesn't suit his preference in some matter).

      I think that's the main reality -- and of course we both know there are complications.

      As for my opinion about the respective rites, or versions of the rite, I have no problem with the NO mass per se (i.e., if it is 'done well,' to put it broadly), it's the one I attend usually, but that's not at all relevant to my point. What is more relevant is that it is very difficult to find a NO mass that is not only (a) attended by 95% son2 types, but (b) also run by son2-type parish priests, or at least priests who are evidently either cowards or indifferent to their obligation to the truth, to admonish and teach in all the wisdom of the gospel.

      I think the problem with TLM people is they're often misinformed and dishonest about things that are 'outside' of the Catholic tradition. The problem with NO people is that a large majority of them are often misinformed and dishonest also about things that are clearly inside the Catholic tradition and form an integral and authoritative part of that tradition.

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    16. @Daniel: "I would be deeply upset if the NO were to disappear and be replaced by the TLM only. It would be a tragic loss for the church as a whole. Are you suggesting that this is something you would wish for?"

      I think that's actually an interesting thing to ponder. I think it would probably be an enormous gain in a number of ways. And I don't suppose it would be a tragic loss, especially in light of the prevalence of various forms of abuse and sacrilege in the actual practice of the NO. But I'm curious, why do you think that?

      Re. the Companions, they're better than average priests, in my experience. But they still have shortcomings, and could be still better. Do you really think they would be worse off if they were constrained to follow "the usus antiquior" -- which all the Roman Church followed until 50 years ago? Why?

      As for the argumentum ad populum, suppose, say, Saddle Back Church is just wonderful and growing too, like your parish but even more so. Should we jump on that bandwagon? (I've heard that the Companions are actually interested in precisely that kind of thing: looking at popular growing sects and trying to imitate/incorporate whatever marketing thing is working for them. Is that wrong? Not necessarily, but maybe. Is it dangerous? Not necessarily, but probably.)

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    17. Hey David,

      “But I think your analogy manifestly limps in light of the reality of the matter….”

      Agreed – I tried to provide indications and hints that father is not always acting fairly, justly, or even wisely. I will concede this about the moto proprio – it was done in a callous and asshole-ish manner. And I sincerely hope he either change it drastically or his successor does so – even while at the same time supporting his right to do so and trying to be sympathetic to his possible motivations – which just so happens to somewhat parallel my own experience with leaving the TLM a decade ago. The TLM folks have just grievances with the way the NO was implemented and the way they were treated for decades after Vatican II. I can maintain this while at the same time affirm the validity and goodness of the NO when done well. And even if there were some wicked and subversive people on the committees that created the the NO, their intentions need not amount to anything. The Church belongs to God, not to them. And God can draw great goodness out of evil – I’m sure of it.

      “I think that's the main reality -- and of course we both know there are complications.”

      Agreed. But TLM folks appear to be like the elder son in the Prodigal son story sometimes, as well. He clearly resents his father for forgiving the prodigal son too easily, then throwing him a party.

      “As for my opinion about the respective rites, or versions of the rite, I have no problem with the NO mass per se (i.e., if it is 'done well,' to put it broadly), it's the one I attend usually, but that's not at all relevant to my point. What is more relevant is that it is very difficult to find a NO mass that is not only (a) attended by 95% son2 types, but (b) also run by son2-type parish priests, or at least priests who are evidently either cowards or indifferent to their obligation to the truth, to admonish and teach in all the wisdom of the gospel.”

      I don’t think this is right. Again, I will just point at the work the companions are doing and leave it there. I see you are being critical of them in your second post – and you may have some valid points. But no order is perfect.

      “I think the problem with TLM people is they're often misinformed and dishonest about things that are 'outside' of the Catholic tradition.”

      Right – agreed.

      “The problem with NO people is that a large majority of them are often misinformed and dishonest also about things that are clearly inside the Catholic tradition and form an integral and authoritative part of that tradition.”

      Agreed. But then it comes down to a pastoral decision on how best to minister to such as these? Do we take a gradualist approach, and tolerate their presence in our churches while attempting to move them to accept doctrines and moral teachings they clearly reject or don’t live up to in any way? Or do we smoke them out with constant fire and brimstone sermons? The success of our FSSP parish shows there is clear appetite for the second approach. And even some of the companions have gotten into trouble. I know of one parishioner of a nearby parish who has left his church because the priest preached against LGTBQ propaganda in schools. He left because his own daughter was LGTBQ and felt like he could not tolerate the churches teachings on this subject anymore.

      But it is a balancing act. And I think the type of liturgy espoused is a red herring when it comes to adherence to the moral teachings of the church. Which is why I sincerely (LOL) brought up the moral failings of those in the TLM community that I know about. They may be 100% orthodox like son 1, but they are also sometimes total hypocrites.

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    18. Daniel, I also have to wonder, would you also be deeply upset if the NO didn't disappear, but, say, was banished from parochial churches and placed under the absolute control of autocratic bishops who hated it? And salt that wound with this: imagine this takes effect as of today and the only explanation offered is of the kind offered in PF's latest MP?

      (I understand you read this MP in light of your negative experience, but think about it seriously. The MP targets not just incorrigible bigots with no reasonable sense of history, or compassion, or openness to legitimate diversity; it targets people like Dr. Feser. Do you really want to be supportive of that?)

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    19. David, I would hope I would take it in the spirit of sonship towards my spiritual father in the Church. Not believing that he is impeccable, and understanding that such actions are abusive and unreasonable, I would do my best to cover over his failures, as Noah's good sons did after he went on a bender. And I would try to implement his decrees in such a way as to minimize the harm it would do. I believe that most bishops are in that position right now. Some of them will use it as an opportunity to suppress. Others will find ways around it.

      "(I understand you read this MP in light of your negative experience, but think about it seriously. The MP targets not just incorrigible bigots with no reasonable sense of history, or compassion, or openness to legitimate diversity; it targets people like Dr. Feser. Do you really want to be supportive of that?)"

      Of course not. You and I both know the wonderful people who go to the TLM in our city. I am sad for them. My own mother-in-law is one of them and my heart goes out to her. This was really badly done. I hope Archbishop Damphousse will do the right thing here and not use it as a weapon to destroy the FSSP here.

      Having said that, I do wish the FSSP included the NO. I do think that refusing to even participate in an NO liturgy with their own bishop as a show of unity is divisive. For better or for worse, they do not have their own bishops and they need to come to their bishop's home for dinner every once and a while. TLM only parishes, I think, violates the vision that Benedict had for the future of both rites.

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    20. "But TLM folks appear to be like the elder son in the Prodigal son story sometimes, as well. He clearly resents his father for forgiving the prodigal son too easily, then throwing him a party."

      But that is plainly wrong. You know not the scripture, nor the power of God, in saying this. The father does not forgive the son who is obstinate in rejecting him. He leaves him to starve and suffer with the pigs. He forgives the son who repents. I know the Companions might not tell the story that way, but that's the way Jesus tells it.

      "But it is a balancing act. And I think the type of liturgy espoused is a red herring when it comes to adherence to the moral teachings of the church."

      I think clear statistical measures show that claim to be simply false. There is a strong correlation which demands explanation. It's fine to talk about hypocrisy -- "practice what you preach" -- but it's pointless to do so if you have people who don't even "preach" to begin with, that is, who refuse assent to the basic teachings of the Church, as in the case of 95% of NO mass attendees. They're not even hypocrites, they're just rebels. And your criticism of "fire and brimstone" is the real red herring. The point is just about being honest about the real demands of the gospel. That's simply an obligation, there's no balancing act. Now how to do it is a real question, but the NO balancing act is all about should we do it -- and in fact almost never doing it. And why? Because some LGBT ideologue might not like it, and that's somehow an important consideration?? It's like saying there's a balancing act about preaching the incarnation, because Muslims might not like it. It's damnable nonsense.

      As for covering the sins of the father, I think you know better. Private sins are one thing. Public scandal is another. The common good comes first and is not served by facilitating evil by tacit consent and support. Think sexual abuse scandal! Coverups are not cool. There's no excuse for not knowing better at this point. I'm sure you're aware Fr Mark Goring CC was silenced by the Companions' leadership for daring to call for real accountability. But in truth, often covering up sins is actually participating in those sins, by being an accessory to those sins, to use the traditional term -- which I'm sure you must be aware of, but only because you spent a lot of time at a TLM parish!

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    21. “But that is plainly wrong. You know not the scripture, nor the power of God, in saying this. The father does not forgive the son who is obstinate in rejecting him. He leaves him to starve and suffer with the pigs. He forgives the son who repents. I know the Companions might not tell the story that way, but that's the way Jesus tells it.”

      David – I think you are reading something into the story that isn’t there. Namely, a harsh and unforgiving father. I don’t see that. In fact, I see the son’s return is very self centered. He just wants to live the good life again. I don’t blame the other brother in resenting the party the father threw for his son. It seems really excessive given the fact that the prodigal son ran off with his full inheritance. In a very real way, by returning, the prodigal is now eating into the good son’s inheritance.

      In a sense, I think the story of the prodigal son shows a love and a mercy from God that does not demand perfection - at least not in the way you seem to think about perfection. And I think this aligns with Mathew 5 -

      “43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
      44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”

      Sounds like your typical NO parish full of rebels and miscreants who are a various levels of formation in their moral development.

      “45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
      46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
      47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
      48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

      This is a very different view of what perfection means, in my opinion. And I think this is where you err – you have a faulty view of what perfection is.

      “I think clear statistical measures show that claim to be simply false. There is a strong correlation which demands explanation.”

      You keep on bringing this up. Where are you getting your numbers? Do they apply to every NO parish across the board? How could they know that?

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    22. “but it's pointless to do so if you have people who don't even "preach" to begin with, that is, who refuse assent to the basic teachings of the Church, as in the case of 95% of NO mass attendees. They're not even hypocrites, they're just rebels. And your criticism of "fire and brimstone" is the real red herring. The point is just about being honest about the real demands of the gospel.”

      Ummm … have you taken a census at Saint Maurice to question the entire congregation on their level of adherence to church teaching? You seem to be very judgmental David. Unless you are omniscient, I would suggest you get off your high horse. You are not a mind reader or a reader of souls. You are not in a position to judge these people.

      “but it's pointless to do so if you have people who don't even "preach" to begin with, that is, who refuse assent to the basic teachings of the Church, as in the case of 95% of NO mass attendees. They're not even hypocrites, they're just rebels. And your criticism of "fire and brimstone" is the real red herring. The point is just about being honest about the real demands of the gospel.”
      You misunderstood what I meant in my post. I was praising this companion priest who was getting into trouble with one of his parishioners for talking against LGTBQ propaganda. That parishioner left his parish and came to ours, and then left ours. So if anything, this seems proof to me that our Companion priests are willing to talk the talk and walk the walk.

      “As for covering the sins of the father, I think you know better. Private sins are one thing. Public scandal is another. The common good comes first and is not served by facilitating evil by tacit consent and support. Think sexual abuse scandal! Coverups are not cool.”

      Clearly I’m not talking about that. You are inserting that into the conversation at this point.

      “There's no excuse for not knowing better at this point. I'm sure you're aware Fr Mark Goring CC was silenced by the Companions' leadership for daring to call for real accountability. But in truth, often covering up sins is actually participating in those sins, by being an accessory to those sins, to use the traditional term -- which I'm sure you must be aware of, but only because you spent a lot of time at a TLM parish!”

      I learned this from the CCC David, not from my TLM parish. I admire Fr. Mark Goring for speaking out boldly during the Mccarrick scandal. But you know what impresses me more about him? Its the fact that he obeyed his superiors when he was told to shut up. And by the way, guess who is the priest who was getting into trouble for preaching against LGTBQ propaganda? It was Fr. Mark. And guess who also pissed off this guy – my own parish priest at Saint Maurice. And all they did was preach what the CCC proclaims.

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    23. "I think you are reading something into the story that isn’t there. Namely, a harsh and unforgiving father. I don’t see that."

      Daniel, you're just ignoring what I said and ignoring what Jesus says in the parable, as well as the rest of scripture (e.g., Rom 11:22: "There is graciousness, then, in God, and there is also severity. His severity is for those who have fallen away, his graciousness is for thee, only so long as thou dost continue in his grace; if not, thou too shalt be pruned away"). As I pointed out: The father did not go find the son who rejected him. He left him to starve with the pigs. When he had enough he repented and came back, and then the merciful father rejoiced. None of what you've said is relevant to calling any of this into question, is it? I don't honestly see how you can be sincerely trying to understand what I'm saying, you're twisting things so badly. For instance, did I say anything about St Maurice Parish? No. I said 95% of NO mass goers. That's a number I've read. So have you taken a poll of those who go to your parish? Of course not. So maybe you're the judgmental one? But more importantly, you're the one who's just raising irrelevant issues (if you have an exceptional NO parish, great! -- but irrelevant). If you think the numbers I've cited are wrong, why not just say so? What have you read? Or if you haven't read anything, why find fault, if you really just have no idea? How is that honest and humble? And you clearly did talk about covering the (very public) sins of the father, so what do you mean by claiming you weren't talking about that?

      You cited some scripture that was completely irrelevant to proving any point in contention, it seems, as well as dismissing 'my' idea of 'perfection,' which I never even talked about (wt?!); but again, consider not only the mercy of God, but his severity (Rom 11:22). Or consider Heb 10:

      26 If we go on sinning wilfully, when once the full knowledge of the truth has been granted to us, we have no further sacrifice for sin to look forward to;[7] 27 nothing but a terrible expectation of judgement, a fire that will eagerly consume the rebellious. 28 Let a man be convicted by two or three witnesses of defying the law of Moses, and he dies, without hope of mercy.[8] 29 What of the man who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has reckoned the blood of the covenant, that blood which sanctified him, as a thing unclean, mocked at the Spirit that brought him grace? Will not he incur a punishment much more severe? 30 It is one we know well, who has told us, Vengeance is for me, I will repay; and again, The Lord will judge his people.[9] 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

      Don't forget Hebrews 10 when you read the parable of the prodigal son. And if I cite facts and give analysis, address the facts and analysis. Spare me the irrelevant 'judgmental' ad hominem nonsense. (Like you're not judgmental in calling someone judgmental, and hypocritical to boot?)

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    24. “Daniel, you're just ignoring what I said and ignoring what Jesus says in the parable, as well as the rest of scripture (e.g., Rom 11:22: "There is graciousness, then, in God, and there is also severity. His severity is for those who have fallen away, his graciousness is for thee, only so long as thou dost continue in his grace; if not, thou too shalt be pruned away"). As I pointed out: The father did not go find the son who rejected him. He left him to starve with the pigs. When he had enough he repented and came back, and then the merciful father rejoiced. None of what you've said is relevant to calling any of this into question, is it? I don't honestly see how you can be sincerely trying to understand what I'm saying, you're twisting things so badly.’

      Yes what I said is relevant – I was saying you are misreading the parable. How is that not relevant? What my argument with you boils down to is our perceptions of the character of God and his tolerance of sinners. I am not twisting what you are saying – I am disagreeing with it and proposing a different narrative.

      “For instance, did I say anything about St Maurice Parish? No. I said 95% of NO mass goers. That's a number I've read. So have you taken a poll of those who go to your parish? Of course not. So maybe you're the judgmental one?”

      Right – but what this fact establishes is that you elevate this poll and somehow make universally applicable. And of course I am not a mind reader either. I don't know how orthodox my own parish is. I have a perception that it is from the people I know there. But I leave this judgment making up to God and my bishops.

      Furthermore, I would like to point out – again you will claim I am being irrelevant – that Ed has not once condemn the NO mass in any way shape or form in all of my years of reading this blog. And yet you have constantly attacked it. You have said quite clearly in this thread that you think it would be a good thing to get rid of the NO mass in favor of the TLM. As Ed has said in another post, you are making trouble for TLM mass goers by this constant stream of attacks on the NO. "Second, even though there are certainly oddballs and cranks and people with a "schismatic mentality" (whatever exactly that means) even among these Church-approved Latin Mass communities, they are in my experience clearly a minority. There are far more people whose attitude is "Why do these weirdos have to make trouble for the rest of us?""

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    25. “But more importantly, you're the one who's just raising irrelevant issues (if you have an exceptional NO parish, great! -- but irrelevant). If you think the numbers I've cited are wrong, why not just say so? What have you read? Or if you haven't read anything, why find fault, if you really just have no idea? How is that honest and humble?”

      I have my own experience in Ottawa that convinces me that you are wrong and the data is an oversimplification. Can I not call on my own experience here? Is that proud or arrogant of me to do so? Also, I have called into question how you are applying the statistics of 95% you mention. You said this -I once pointed out to a friend statistics showing that something like 95-98% of NO-attending Catholics unequivocally reject basic parts of Catholic teaching, whereas near the same proportion of TLM-attendees do not. - Now in my previous post, I have asked you to provide some references. Why have you not? You have based most, if not all of your attack on the NO on this evidence. Give me the data. Its all I’m asking. I suspect it is wrong.

      “ And you clearly did talk about covering the (very public) sins of the father, so what do you mean by claiming you weren't talking about that?”

      We were talking about covering over the deficiencies of the Pope’s Moto Proprio and trying to give it as charitable a reading as possible. Or at least the bishops ought to implement it as charitably as they can. I was not talking about covering up sex abuse. That is a total non sequitur and a red herring and an uncharitable reading of my words.

      “You cited some scripture that was completely irrelevant to proving any point in contention, it seems, as well as dismissing 'my' idea of 'perfection,' which I never even talked about (wt?!);”

      It is relevant to bring out the character of God and the prodigal son and your erroneous understanding of it. How is that off topic. WT?? indeed.

      “but again, consider not only the mercy of God, but his severity (Rom 11:22). Or consider Heb 10:”

      Good – here we go – I think this is where the conversation needs to go:

      “26 If we go on sinning wilfully, when once the full knowledge of the truth has been granted to us, we have no further sacrifice for sin to look forward to;[7] 27 nothing but a terrible expectation of judgement, a fire that will eagerly consume the rebellious. 28 Let a man be convicted by two or three witnesses of defying the law of Moses, and he dies, without hope of mercy.[8] 29 What of the man who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has reckoned the blood of the covenant, that blood which sanctified him, as a thing unclean, mocked at the Spirit that brought him grace? Will not he incur a punishment much more severe? 30 It is one we know well, who has told us, Vengeance is for me, I will repay; and again, The Lord will judge his people.[9] 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

      Sinning willfully with full knowledge is at debate when we talk about the 95% and also how best to approach their sinfullness and level of culpability. Have they really rejected the church’s teachings with full knowledge? We can’t know that. Perhaps they are still open to God’s grace and have just not had the chance to fully examine their understanding.

      “”Don't forget Hebrews 10 when you read the parable of the prodigal son. And if I cite facts and give analysis, address the facts and analysis. Spare me the irrelevant 'judgmental' ad hominem nonsense. (Like you're not judgmental in calling someone judgmental, and hypocritical to boot?)

      This coming from the man that has called me dishonest, insincere, hypocritical, deficient in my understanding, and so on and so on and so on. Look yourself in the mirror man.

      I think I’ll end this debate here. You have have the last word my friend, if you so desire.

      Cheers,
      Daniel

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    26. Daniel:
      You bluntly insist on an interpretation of the parable that is purely a reading-into the parable. How does it not ignore the actual narrative contained in the parable? Your rejection of my literal reading is based on ignoring scripture, which clearly insists on both the mercy and severity of God. You do what you wish with the scripture. You are not being honest about what is actually found in the scripture.

      Here's a link to the info I had in mind, to which you repeatedly respond with arguments from ignorance.
      https://onepeterfive.com/new-survey-shows-disparity-of-beliefs-between-latin-mass-novus-ordo-catholics/

      Fallacious arguments are objectively unreasonable. To repeatedly and insistently appeal to them is a sign of stupidity or dishonesty. Maybe you're just stupid, ignorant, or pigheaded, as you suggested, but I think you're probably being dishonest too. That's not an idle charge, I think. I think it's something you should consider seriously. But I think your passions are carrying you away here, so that's probably the main thing to consider in reading your irrational ad hominem rejoinders to my arguments. Anyway, I guess we can leave it to get sorted out later (Mt 12:36).

      "Sinning willfully with full knowledge is at debate when we talk about the 95% and also how best to approach their sinfullness and level of culpability. Have they really rejected the church’s teachings with full knowledge? We can’t know that."

      This is silly. So many red herrings. You seriously think my point was that NO mass goers have just as good a knowledge of the faith as TLM goers, so that I think that I somehow know they're fully culpable of all of their objective sins? HOW? Regardless, if we run with what you're saying, the result is perhaps even more damning for the NO: the NO is so bad that most people at NO mass don't even know anymore that they're rejecting what the Church teaches. Or maybe they don't even know that they're not actually allowed to just reject Church teachings they don't like (and again, given the stats and a bit of sociological common sense, this kind of ignorance wouldn't be surprising)! This kind of thing hardly bolsters your case, does it? And you can (humbly? nonjudgmentally? honestly?) assimilate me to those "oddballs and cranks and people with a 'schismatic mentality' (whatever exactly that means) even among these Church-approved Latin Mass communities" that Feser mentions, if you like. But I don't guess Feser would agree with you, and maybe you should consider how that could be possible given that I attend NO, and I'm not part of any TLM. I'm pretty sure that's an 'idle' accusation, to say the least.

      I also submit that your claim that I have constantly attacked the NO is a lie. I have merely pointed out what seem to be very serious fundamental problems relating to basic Catholic belief and practice among those attached to the NO. I don't think I have said one thing against the NO per se.

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    27. OK. I'm just going to focus on the stats, as the rest of your comments are basically ad hominems and justifications of your objectively bad behavior.

      I did a quick comparison of the stats based on the population of TLM folks in the US and NOM folks. Here is where the statistics get you in total numbers.

      TLM population (in US I presume) = 100,000 with sample size of 1,773 (2%).
      NOM population (in the US) = 70,412,021 with sample side of (???)

      2% of TLM-attending Catholics approved of contraception vs. 89% of NOM Catholics
      = 98,000 TLM people don't approve
      = 7,745,322 NOM people don't approve

      1% of TLM Catholics approved of abortion compared to 51% of NOM attendees.
      =999,000 TLM people don't approve
      =34,501,890 NOM people don't approve

      99% of TLM Catholics said they attend Mass weekly vs. 22% of NOM.
      =999,000 TLM people attend weekly
      =15,490,644 NOM people attend weekly

      2% of TLM goers approved of “gay marriage” as opposed to 67% of NOM.
      =98,000 TLM people
      =23,235,966 NOM people

      In short, your theory that all problems would go away if we just chuck the NO mass out the door throws a crap load of faithful NOM peope under the buss. Its really faulty reasoning.

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    28. "your theory that all problems would go away if we just chuck the NO mass out the door throws a crap load of faithful NOM peope under the buss"

      My theory? You're serious? THIS is your best effort to be honest and reasonable? Oy.

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    29. In your own words:

      “You can say, "but the 2-5% of NO attendees who actually believe the whole of Church teaching show that the problems are only accidentally related to the NO." But is that plausible?”

      I would say, yes, it is plausible that there is no necessary causal relation between the introduction of the NO and the falling away from the morals and teachings of the faith. My first point would be this:

      1- The falling away has occurred in other Christian denominations as well. And we can’t ascribe their falling away from traditional christian morality to their taking on the NO. They never had it in the first place. Therefore, it is far more likely that there are external pressures and causes for this loss of Biblical and traditional morality. This would mainly be the sexual revolution. And the NO mass did not cause that. In fact, the church has been one of the few bulwarks against the sexual revolution – especially John Paul II and Pope Benedict the XVI. The CCC in particular has crystallized the teachings of the church on this front.
      2-It is my experience that many if not most folks who are part of the TLM were already 100% faithful to the teachings of the church before they moved from the NO to the TLM. Which makes me think they were taken from the pool of those who were already 100% faithful in the NO. The TLM did not cause them to be orthodox, but their orthodoxy caused them to enter the TLM.
      3-If 2 is true, then the TLM is poaching faithful Catholics from the NO where they can turn their nose up at those poor NO folks with their unwashed masses of heterodox Catholics. I feel in a very real way, they are abandoning their duty to love their neighbor and to have mercy on the poor … not just the poor in material goods, but the poor in their understanding of the Catholic faith and instead they have opted for a Catholic fantasy land where everything is only apparently perfect. (I realize that this is harsh, and I know it does not apply to all in the TLM – but it does apply to some – especially those who thumb their noses at the NO.)

      Also, when I asked you whether you wanted the NO to disappear, you said this:

      “I think that's actually an interesting thing to ponder. I think it would probably be an enormous gain in a number of ways. And I don't suppose it would be a tragic loss, especially in light of the prevalence of various forms of abuse and sacrilege in the actual practice of the NO. ”

      When I called you on this point in my previous post ...

      "your theory that all problems would go away if we just chuck the NO mass out the door throws a crap load of faithful NOM people under the bus"

      ... your response is puzzling:

      “My theory? You're serious? THIS is your best effort to be honest and reasonable? Oy.”

      Again you attack my honesty and reasonableness. Where have I been dishonest? Where have I been unreasonable? Stop attacking me and start addressing my arguments for a change.

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    30. Daniel, I am addressing your arguments when I point out that they are dishonest. I have nowhere suggested that I believe the absurd theory "that all problems would go away if we just chuck the NO mass out the door." We can't have a constructive discussion if you insist on pursuing this kind of blatant dishonesty. It is ad hominem, but entirely relevant and not in the least fallacious for me to point this out, unlike your calling me judgmental, instead of addressing yourself to understanding rightly the meaning and assessing rationally the truth of my judgments.

      You've again distorted what I said in your latest. My point, as you quoted, was that it seems implausible to think that the vast disparity between NO/TLM in adherence to certain basics of the Catholic faith is only accidental. You respond by rejecting an obvious misconstrual of my claim -- you introduce "necessary causal relation," as if that's what I said! -- and then proceed to give an argument which seems to support the claim that I actually made: that the disparity is not accidental.

      That, my friend, is not a reasonable way to argue. Can you see that?

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    31. "Where have I been dishonest? Where have I been unreasonable? Stop attacking me and start addressing my arguments for a change."

      I would suggest you stop knee-jerk defending yourself, and instead try to actually see where you have been dishonest and unreasonable. (If you fail to do so, that too is dishonest and unreasonable.) And if you don't see it, don't just assume it's not there; ask for clarification. I could be wrong, but so could you. Being a hot-head won't help resolve anything.

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  18. Dr. Feser,

    In this post, as in those in response to Rod Dreher and Steve Skojec of late May, you assume that there is an essential equivalence between the present theological and ecclesial crisis of the Catholic Church and earlier disputes and conflicts in its distant history.

    Thus, yesterday you write, “But Church history is not a Marvel movie. . . . As the Cadaver Synod, the Great Western Schism, and other episodes illustrate, it can sometimes take decades to resolve the problems resulting from paper folly, corruption, and mismanagement.” Similarly, on May 28th, referring to these earlier crises and the “errors” of Pope Honorius, you argued, “Few people remember these events now, because things eventually worked themselves out so completely that they now look like blips.”

    However, is it in fact the case that the nature of the contemporary crisis in the Church is essentially of a kind with the three cited medieval crises?
    The histories of the three medieval crises that you mention are complex and resistant to rapid summary. Suffice it to say, that two of these, the Cadaver Synod of 897 and the Great Western Schism (1378-1417) were the offshoots of political and dynastic conflicts among orthodox members of the Catholic household of Europe. Neither involved questions of dogma or doctrine, and if the latter was troubling for papal power and prestige, encouraging the conciliarism of the 15th century and the graver Protestant challenge of the 16th, its more long-term effects were not. The earlier case of Pope Honorius I (625-38) involves a letter written in 635 by this early medieval pontiff to Sergius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, who successfully solicited Honorius’ support for the conciliatory position that he, following the Emperor Heraclitus, had adopted toward monothelitism to promote unity among his flock. Here, although the dispute was doctrinal in nature, touching on the Chalcedonian understanding of Christ’s two natures and two wills, we are dealing with an isolated, although fundamental doctrinal misjudgment, expressed in a letter that is otherwise orthodox, of a pope who manifested no other signs of heterodoxy.

    I think that even this highly unsatisfactory summary of these distant events in the life of the Church is sufficient to set them apart from the events of our own time and particularly those under the present pope, for Francis’ repeated questionable if not heretical statements and judgments, have intentionally fostered confusion and heterodoxy, if not scandal, in the Church. Here, we are not dealing merely with disputes over power or one arcane, if central, doctrinal concept, but rather with repeated words and deeds that undermine the integrity of the faith itself. Moreover, the crucial point to grasp is that this persistent course of action has a distinct and uniquely destructive nature precisely because of the present historical context, one in which many Western states and a extensive and potent array of cultural forces, are relentlessly advancing policies and advocating a world view that is profoundly anti-Christian and anti-Catholic. Earlier papal errors and misdeeds could be remedied in time because they occurred in a European society that remained deeply Christian in its values, thought, and practice. This is not the case today. The course of history is moving in a deeply troubling direction, one that has within the course of the last fifty years has severely enfeebled the Church and fostered systemic corrosion throughout its own institutions.

    I doubt that what is going on now will ever become some historical “blip.” Thus, those who remain loyal to the Church should have no illusions about the uniquely destructive nature of this crisis. It is being advanced by dangerous “progressive” forces, increasingly aligned with the global Left, that have taken control of the leading institutions of the Church and whose objective is the eradication of the very core of traditional Roman Catholic thought and practice.

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    Replies
    1. This is an excellent comment.

      Hilaire Belloc said that the "modernist attack" on Catholicism is likely the most serious challenge that the Church has faced in its long history.

      Sadly, the Church decided 60 years ago to try to reconcile itself with modernity. The fruits of that effort, predictably, have been bitter recriminations and divisions that are likely unresolvable. Pope Francis has recklessly poured gasoline on a fire.

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    2. Vito,

      You misunderstand the point of my remarks. I do not at all minimize the gravity of the current crisis. On the contrary, I agree that it is the worst the Church has faced. The point is rather that there is nothing that Francis has done that is incompatible with the range of errors of which a pope is capable when not speaking ex cathedra. And the historical examples support that judgment. What is unique about Francis is the sheer number of errors.

      So, the intended message of the remarks you cite is not "This is not so bad, don't make a big deal about it." Rather, it is "This is extremely bad, but in no way falsifies the claims the Church has actually made about her indefectibility and about what bad popes are capable of, so keep your head and do not abandon the Church."

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    3. Edward,

      I fully agree that we must not consider abandoning the Church in this very dark and painful moment of her long history. I am 75 years old and cannot imagine a life without the graces that she bestows. Where we perhaps differ is in my sense that doctrinal and even dogmatic truths will be increasingly undermined by those who find them ideologically inconvenient and that what was once perfect will be gravely harmed. The alteration in the Pater Noster, the prayer given to us by Our Lord when he was personally present on Earth and whose meaning in Greek and Latin is unambiguous, the devious divergence from the strong teaching of Jesus on marriage, and the impertinent alteration of the Catechism on the death penalty are but three of many warning signs in this regard.

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    4. Wonderful and lucid comment, Vito.

      My issue with this blog post, apart from the non-parallels put forward in it, is the direct contention that we can "suffer from the Church." I have been reflecting on that for days, and it seems to me to be actually heretical. The only way to "save" it is to claim that it must be understood as "suffer from Churchmen" (i.e. NOT from the Church herself) but if that were the intended meaning then why say "from the Church" at all?

      I love Feser's work, and I hate to criticise him, but this seems like one of those things one cannot ignore.

      More broadly, nobody in the mainstream, either Novus or TLM, really believes in the infallibility of the Church any more; they have come to regard the countless statements of the popes, the Fathers, the Councils, and the theologians and saints, to the effect that the Church is the secure ark of salvation, that error cannot exist in her, that she assiduously guards the revelation of Christ and securely brings it to each new generation of men (i.e. the very reason for the living magisterium), etc., as some kind of pious exaggerations, because in fact nobody trusts what they regard as "the Church" implicitly any more - not even those "JP2 conservatives" that we would call neo-caths. Even those people parish-hop to get something that they regard as tolerable. They certainly don't trust "the Church" to keep them safe. They trust "certain Churchmen" to keep them safe. Their notion is quite distinct from the orthodox notion - it would best be described as trusting that the truth, and safety, and ultimately, salvation itself, will be found "within" the Church and "by" the Church, but only if you go find it... So, the Church herself is unreliable - she may indeed make you suffer and lead you to perdition, by, for example, teaching you through her universal catechism that false religions are means of salvation, or that the death penalty is contrary to God's law, but by special graces you can spot the errors and avoid them, and be saved.

      None of this is orthodox, frankly, and demands a radical analysis that few are prepared to face. But the alternatives are either unorthodox notions about the Church as loving and trustworthy mother, the magisterium, and many other aspects of ecclesiology, or loss of faith. So, rather than lose the faith, good people cling to it whilst emptying much of it of coherent and - frankly - credible, content. They reduce numerous Catholic dogmas to meaningless formulae, to borrow a phrase from Pius XII.

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    5. Aquinian,

      Don't be ridiculous. Obviously "suffer from churchmen" is exactly what I meant. And I used the other phrase because I was quoting from Ratzinger, and then echoing the phrase for effect. It was -- obviously -- a purely stylistic thing. So can it with the "heresy" nonsense.

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    6. Thanks Ed, so we agree that the phrase in its obvious meaning is unorthodox, and Ratzinger shouldn't have used it. But of course, I glossed over his use of it in the quote you used, because that would be the least of his heresies. I care about you, I have no interest in him, I'm afraid.

      I went and re-read what you wrote. The impression one takes is that Ratzinger said that we can "suffer from the Church" (a striking statement because unorthodox) and you took that as authority to say the same thing.

      "End quote. Notice that Cardinal Ratzinger acknowledged that Davies suffered from the Church – and that nonetheless, he remained loyal to her, and thus loyal to the successor of St. Peter."

      I'm not disputing your intention, of course, I'm suggesting that you try and read your own wording as if you were reading someone else's work, and see what impression it gives.

      Now, why did Ratzinger use that peculiar wording? I think it's because he acknowledges the fact that it isn't just "churchmen" who have caused the Church to collapse, it's - by traditional theological understanding - the Church herself, if Paul VI was pope. Because the acts that have largely demolished the Church have all been official, not the acts of these men acting as private individuals.

      The problem's real, it caused more than fifty thousand priests to abandon their vocations in just ten years ('65-'75) and countless religious to do likewise, and the effect on the laity has been simply mind-bending in its scale.

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    7. Hello again Aquinian,

      I don't think there's any reason to read what Ratzinger said that way, certainly not from the passage considered by itself. For one thing, reading it as a colorful way of say "suffered from churchmen" makes sense in context, i.e. as a way of describing Davies' situation. And for another, it was just a brief and kind comment on a man's death, not an academic theological article or an ecclesiastical document, so imprecision is not surprising in that context.

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    8. Ed, Honorius said orthodox things which were taken out of context by heretics in order to make trouble. Ratzinger has said something outrageous which has to be taken in its non-natural sense in order to save it.

      I think we need to forget all about Honorius at this point...

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    9. Allow me to offer one example of the insidious method employed by Pope Francis and those around him to subvert dogma and doctrine, both of which may remain formally unaltered but are in actuality weakened.

      In its October 7, 2018 edition, Corriere della Sera offered excepts from Pope Francis' book on the Virgin Mary. I provide the first paragraph of this longer reflection, followed by my translation.

      Da quando è nata fino all’Annunciazione, al momento dell’incontro con l’angelo di Dio, me l’immagino come una ragazza normale, una ragazza di oggi, una ragazza non posso dire di città, perché Lei è di un paesino, ma normale, normale, educata normalmente, aperta a sposarsi, a fare una famiglia. Una cosa che immagino è che amasse le Scritture: conosceva le Scritture, aveva fatto la catechesi ma familiare, dal cuore. Poi, dopo il concepimento di Gesù, ancora una donna normale: Maria è la normalità, è una donna che qualsiasi donna di questo mondo può dire di poter imitare. Niente cose strane nella vita, una madre normale: anche nel suo matrimonio verginale, casto in quella cornice della verginità, Maria è stata normale. Lavorava, faceva la spesa, aiutava il Figlio, aiutava il marito: normale.

      From her birth until the Annunciation, at the moment of the encounter with the angel of God, I imagine her [the Virgin Mary] as a normal girl, a girl of today, I cannot say a girl of the city, because she is from a hamlet, but normal, normal, educated normally, open to marrying, to having a family. One thing that I imagine is that she loved the Scriptures: she knew the Scriptures; she had carried out catechesis but informally, from the heart. Then, after the conception of Jesus, she was still a normal woman. Mary is normality, is a woman that almost any women in this world is able to imitate. No strange things in life, a normal mother: even in her virginal matrimony, chaste in that frame of virginity, Mary was normal. She worked, shopped, helped her Son, helped her husband: normal.

      Leaving aside the triteness of these reflections, they constitute, first, a masked assault on the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which proclaims that “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 494). While we cannot know the intimate effects of such “singular grace and privilege” on Mary’s being and consciousness, we are certainly bound to hold that she was no “normal girl.” Moreover, Bergoglio’s words can be taken to deny the perpetual virginity of Mary, in that while he speaks of her being “chaste in the frame of virginity,” he simultaneously regards her “after the birth of Jesus” as “a normal woman” since there are “no strange things in life.” Again, the Church affirms that although Jesus emerged from the body of the Theotokos, her virginity was not in any way altered. Now, if this is not a “strange thing,” that is, an absolutely unique miracle, what is?

      Francis and those around him are constantly at work undermining the foundations of the faith to the benefit of post-modern skepticism and relativism. This underhanded chipping away of dogma and doctrine is their customary means of doing so.

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    10. You are seeing to much there. The pope is clearly saying that Our Lady is normal on the sense that her life is mostly like the ones we have. As he says: "She worked, shopped, helped her Son, helped her husband: normal." It is not that her life never had miracles or that she sinned, it is that her life was one from a housewife.

      Of course, from her marriage to her living in Nazare life was PRETTY busy, after Our Lord started His ministry too, but i don't see the pope as denying that part, it is just that he is choosing to focus on Our Lady housewife life, i guess. If we apply the principle of charity, it looks okay for me.

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    11. With respect, I would like to point out that Bergoglio’s method of deception relies on the application of precisely the principle of charity by the faithful, since it permits the erosion over time of dogma and doctrine. The key phrase his reflection is “no strange things in life,” whose intentional vagueness does the work of casting doubt on the unique miraculous events of the Immaculate Conception and Virgin Birth. Moreover, and this is crucial, this approach is but one instance in Bergoglio’s assault on the miraculous.

      For instance, in his homily on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi in June of 2019, he flagitiously denied the great nature miracle by which Christ fed a multitude with just five loaves of bread and two fish.

      As you know, the Gospel of Mathew describes the miracle as follows: “Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children” (Mt 14:19-21; cf. Mk 6:40-44 and Lk 9:14-17, which have essentially the same wording, and Jn 6:10-14, which diverges only slightly).

      Whatever happened here, it is quite clear that the very small quantity of matter contained in five loaves and two fish, was exponentially enlarged after Christ’s “blessing.” Thus, something miraculous occurred.

      Now, here is Bergoglio’s exegesis of this event:
      “Jesus.., .after having recited the blessing, gave the bread to be distributed, revealing in this the more beautiful significance: bread is not only a product of consumption: it is a means of sharing. In fact, surprisingly, in the telling of the multiplication of the loaves, multiplication is never mentioned. On the contrary, the verbs utilized are “break, give, distribute.” (cf. Lk 9:16) In short, the act of sharing rather than the multiplication is emphasized. This is important: Jesus does not perform an act of magic; he does not transform the five loaves into five thousand loaves and then day: “Now distribute them.” No, Jesus prays, blesses those five loaves and begins to distribute then, trusting in the Father. And those five loaves never finish. This is not magic; it is faith in God and in his providence” https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/homilies/2019/documents/papa-francesco_20190623_omelia-corpusdomini.html).

      Notice that the concept of miracle nowhere enters into this analysis; rather, Bergoglio engages in a sleight of hand, counterpoising the notion of “magic” with that of “faith in God.” His deprecation of multiple loaves, of which none of the Gospels in fact speak, insinuates that such a multiplication, certainly within the powers ascribed to Christ by the Evangelists, would have to be magical rather than miraculous. Now, magic is defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as “All practices . . . , by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others.” Jesus was, of course, accused of magic (as in Mt 12:24 or Lk 11:15), but the Gospels reject this falsity and instead proclaim that “Jesus accompanies his words with many “‘mighty works and wonders and signs’, which manifest that the kingdom is present in him and attest that he was the promised Messiah” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 547). In other words, when personally present here on Earth, Christ revealed His divine power through miracles. It is precisely this power that is denied in turning the feeding of the five thousand with five loaves and two fish into a simple “act of sharing,” accomplished not by the powers of Christ but through "faith." Here, we have the Incarnation filtered through the decadent left-wing “humanist” ideology that is the hallmark of this pontificate.

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    12. That comment on the homily is suspect, yes. In light of that, i can see why you would read the reflection on Our Lady as having this hidden message. Now the interpretation makes sense.

      I doubt that the pope do not believe in Our Lord incarnation or His capacity of making miracles, i remember he clearly talking about these things in some homilies, but this tendency to downplay the supernatural that you see in liberals is truly silly. Who cares about what the modern world thinks? Not Our Lord nor His saints.

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  19. You're conflating a prelate being an evil man personally with a prelate using his position of authority precisely to inflict spiritual harm. These are two vastly different things.

    I have no particular affinity with tradworld, especially the segment which has gone off the deep end into COVID denialism, anti-vax and stop the steal nonsense. But this action is just a gratuitous slap in the face by Francis, and that is all it is intended to be.

    And, if it is even possible for a prelate to use his authority to inflict spiritual harm, then the promises of Christ have already failed. You can't trust the prelates and you can't trust the Church.

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    1. "If it is even possible for a prelate to use his authority to inflict spiritual harm, then the promises of Christ have already failed."
      I don't know of any denomination that holds this--where are you getting this ridiculous idea from, Anon1? It is obvious from the epistles of Paul, from the general epistles, and from the letters to the churches in Revelation 2-3 that church leaders have used their authority to inflict spiritual harm. Christ never promised otherwise.

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    2. Seems like Christ addressed this at the beginning of Mt. 23.

      Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear,[a] and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.

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  20. The Canons Regular of St John Cantius in Chicago have as their charism the “Restoration of the Sacred”. They offer the mass in the Extraordinary form and the Ordinary form in both English and Latin.

    https://www.canons-regular.org/

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7gYdjjfejL2Im_k2dPZYkA

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    1. Yes TN, see my reference to the Canons Regular in Ed's next post. I consider them the most authentic standard bearer's of Benedicts SP. I highly admire them and especially hate to see them impacted (they were beginning to expand to other parishes in recent years). But see their statement on the SP which I linked to. It follows Ed's take in this post.

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  21. This article is what is "soft". "Speak these things; beseech and rebuke with all authority, and no man should despise you". Ti 2:15.

    When will Feser ever stand up to PF honestly without bowing and scrapping to him.

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  22. In the midst of what the Vat2 documents say and mean, has anyone actually READ SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM, particularly the Introduction, #4 item?

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  23. Those of you who are doing extensive research into reactions to the muto proprio may find this compendium useful. It includes the present posting:

    https://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2021/07/roundup-of-major-reactions-to.html#.YPYAlS1h10u , by Peter Kwasniewski, Ph.D.

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    1. Miguel CervantesJuly 20, 2021 at 7:16 AM

      Kwasnewski is not a good reference point for traditional Catholics. He long ago moved in the direction of ditching the constitution of the Catholic Church in favour of some kind of neo-Orthodox- High Anglican Church. Hates Vatican I. Notice that he places Dreher's response among the rest, as if that renegade anti-Catholic obsessive should be given the time of the day.

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    2. Very useful, Mr. Flynn: thank you for pointing it out! Fine - and updated! - bibliographical work across "the spectrum" (to take up Dr. Kwasniewski's term)!

      David

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  24. Does St. Thomas anywhere address the prior question of putative or ostensible prelates?

    E.g., under correction, and using conventional numbering, was Marinus I Pope or not? Was Stephen VI correct or incorrect in declaring all Formosus's consecrations invalid, in order to secure the canonical validity of his own Papal election? Was Sergius III Pope while the illegally deposed Leo V was still alive?

    The latter two examples also lead to the question, does St. Thomas anywhere address the prior question of de facto deposed prelates and their putative or ostensible successors?

    Were, e.g., Boniface VI, Benedict V, John XIV, Benedict VI, Benedict IX, Silvester III, Gregory VI, and Benedict X respectively properly deposed, or not, and, if not, with what other than merely practical consequences and implications?

    David

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  25. Am not a TLM guy, but...
    Francis says that vatican ll intended to reform the liturgy to enhance communal worship as a people, whereas TLM has been a vehicle for individual more than collective worship.

    One might ask, why might folks retreat into personal piety? Could it not be that they recoil from corruption, sexual abuse, lack of discipline toward the homomania that infects the heirarchy? Or the encouragement to condone unrepentant sinners?
    Did not people of other times retreat into the desert and into monasteries because of the corrosive effect of the current regime, both secular and churchly?
    I find that the trad demographic tends to show toward the young. It is a basic instinct of young families to protect the brood from outside danger. They may not be theologically sophisticated, but they intuit institutional corruption and are doing what they can to flee to safety.
    No wonder they aren't responding well to his command to pay, pray and obey according to the left liberal vision.

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