Traditionis Custodes as a Hermeneutic of Envy

Locked door

By Anne Hendershott at Crisis Magazine:

While there have been some notable attempts to help us understand the rationale behind the most recent motu proprio, Traditionis Custodes, the published reflection on the document by Italian Professor Massimo Viglione stands out because it is the only one that recognizes the sin of envy that is driving this latest papal attempt to destroy the Traditional Latin Mass. 

Describing the Latin Mass as “the Holy Mass of all time,” Professor Viglione’s article points to the bitterness that is driving progressive bishops who have been facing declining dioceses and parish closures to try and enlist the pope’s help to stop the exodus of faithful Catholics fleeing their meager offerings in search of a meaningful Mass. Concluding that “it was the uncontainable success among the people—and in particular among young people—that the Mass of all time found after Benedict XVI’s motu proprio that was the triggering factor for this hatred,” Professor Viglione reminds us that we are witnessing “the hermeneutic of Cain’s envy against Abel.” 

Envy is the deadliest of sins because it destroys not only the target of one’s envy, but it also destroys the envier himself. Genesis 4:4 reminds us that “In the course of time, Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions…And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard.” 

We are never quite sure why Cain’s sacrifice was not pleasing to God—God only knows that—but even when he was given the opportunity by God to improve his sacrifices (Genesis 4:6), Cain decides that rather than figuring out a way to make his sacrifices more pleasing to God, he will instead destroy his own brother—the target of his bitter envy. Cain murders Abel, but in some ways, Cain pays the far higher price because he is consigned to wander the earth as a homeless fugitive, alienated from those who once loved him, awaiting his own fate—his own murder—at the hands of those who will avenge the death of the beloved Abel.

That is exactly what is happening with Traditionis Custodes. The faithful families once populating parishes led by pastors who appeared to care little for the needs of their parishioners were drawn away to the sacrifice of the Mass that appeared to them to be more pleasing to God and more nourishing for their families. They left the parishes consumed with the City of Man to pursue a parish devoted to the City of God. And now, out of an envious resentment, many progressive priests and bishops—abandoned by growing numbers of their most faithful parishioners—have blocked their escape by locking the doors of the traditional Masses in their own churches.

Professor Viglione understands that the hatred toward the Latin Mass has emerged from envy. But none of the priests, bishops, and cardinals who convinced Pope Francis of the need for this motu propio would recognize this. They would claim—as Pope Francis claimed—that they were simply looking for unity. But the Church is becoming more divided than ever with the release of Traditionis Custodes

In its most virulent form, envy is characterized by a desire to take away the coveted object or advantage from the other—even when depriving them means losing something of oneself. This latest missive from Pope Francis has done nothing to enhance the unity within the Church. Rather, it has diminished it. But, for the truly resentful, it is a small price to pay. They would deny their envious motivations, as most of us refuse to acknowledge our envy—even to ourselves.

In some ways, envy is the worst of the deadly sins because it leads to so many of the others. The resentment that accompanies envy often erupts in anger and resentful rage; and it is inextricably intertwined with pride. Often called the “sin of sins,” the sin of pride is—like the sin of envy—a narcissistic preoccupation with self. The truly envious are the truly prideful who believe that no one is more deserving of advantages and rewards than they. 

Envy derives from the Latin word Invidia, which means “non sight.” This etymology suggests that envy arises from and creates a form of blindness or lack of perspective. In Anthony Esolen’s translation of Purgatorio, Dante Alighieri had the envious punished by having to wear penitential grey cloaks, their eyes sewn shut with iron wire because the truly envious are blind to the goodness, truth, and beauty around them. Dante warned that the envious are blind to reason and love, spending their days tormented by resentment toward those who possess that which they covet. It is an enforced blindness so that the once-envious souls can no longer look at others with envy and hatred.

In the Book of Wisdom, we are told that it is through “the envy of the devil, death entered the world” (Wisdom 2:24). In Genesis, envy is portrayed as a destroyer of happiness and contentment—from the story of Eve’s envious desire to have the wisdom of God, to the first deadly sin of the murder of Abel by his brother. It was Satan’s envy of the love that God had for his new creation, and that Adam and Eve had for each other, that led him to destroy the innocence in the Garden—an envy that was predicted as Adam sadly admits: “that malicious foe, envying our happiness, and of his own despairing, seeks to work our woe and shame by sly assault.”

Milton’s Paradise Lost presents envy as the serpent in the garden. Consumed with envy toward the Son of God and His creation, Milton’s Satan experienced God’s love itself as envy. Envious of the awesome power of the Creator, the sight of the Garden and the happiness and love of God’s creation fills the devil with hateful envy—and a desire to destroy that creation. In his envious rage, Satan begins to believe that God created all of that in order to inspire envy.

It was Satan’s envy—his hatred for the good, the true, and the beautiful, that moved him to corrupt Adam and Eve’s love for God and for each other. We are often taught that it was Eve’s pride—her wish to be as wise as God—that was the original sin. Yet in Book 9 of Paradise Lost, Milton reminds us that it was Satan’s envy of “this new Favorite of Heaven, this Man of Clay, Son of despite, Whom us the more to spite his Maker rais’d from dust: spite then with spite is best repaid.” It was envy that set off a battle in which “spite then with spite is best repaid.”

Bishops like Bridgeport’s Bishop Frank Caggiano quickly demanded that all priests who currently offer the Traditional Latin Mass—including in private—need to get his temporary permission to continue doing so. He has also warned that “if permission is not granted for the celebration of Mass according to the Missal of 1962, the priest will lack the faculty to celebrate that Mass.”

Bishop Caggiano was the first bishop to respond to the motu proprio, yet he has appeared to pay little attention to the mandatum of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the papal document issued by Pope John Paul II in 1990 which requires the presiding bishop to ensure that theologians on Catholic colleges and universities are teaching in communion with the church. The Bridgeport Diocese’s Fairfield University—with its pro-abortion Planned Parenthood information booth on campus each year—boasts theologian and former priest Paul Lakeland, who has worked closely with Voice of the Faithful in lobbying for women-priests, the election of bishops, and the attempted state take-over of the Catholic Church in Connecticut. 

In 2017, Fairfield University hosted a “Let’s Talk Sex” event replete with free condoms and donations collected on behalf of Planned Parenthood and, according to the local newspaper, penis cookies. Sacred Heart University—also in Bishop Caggiano’s diocese—continues to flaunt Catholic teachings on LGBTQ issues by referring students to organizations that offer services in hormone replacement therapy and gender transition surgery. Many of the same bishops who have rejected the demands of Ex Corde Ecclesiae are scurrying to implement the requirements of Traditionis Custodes in their City of Man dioceses. 

Professor Viglione understands that “we are in the most decisive days of human history and also of the history of the Church.” He believes that all that is happening is the “unequivocal sign that the times are drawing near in which God will intervene to save His Mystical Body and humanity.” There is not much that we can do at this point other than band together to continue to support our faithful priests in our faithful traditional parishes—praying that we can be on the right side of this battle.

[Photo Credit: Shutterstock]

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With thanks to Fr Marco Testa at Catholic Insight for his own witness to the spiritual wealth of the Mass of Ages and for nudging the Faithful to action. Hagan Lio!

On July 16th, Pope Francis issued the Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes, On the Use of the Roman Liturgy Prior to the Reform of 1970. Many bishops it would seem have wisely granted themselves what the document does not; a vacatio legis or period before the law takes effect. Whatever the reasons for this document, should it be applied with all its rigour, its fullest impact will be felt by the lay faithful who attend the Usus Antiquior; even if only because their number is greater than those who celebrate this liturgy. The promulgation of this document as a fait accompli has resulted in both consternation and disappointment. This may be a moment in history, and there have been others, when as St. John Henry Newman observed, the voice of tradition may express itself in the communis fidelium sensus – the shared sense of the faithful. The fact that so many faithful lay people are attached to the Traditional liturgy is a phenomenon that cannot be ignored or dismissed.

For this reason, the best response to this document on the part of the laity may very well be provided for in the Church’s Code of Canon Law, specifically in Canon 212:

  • 1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.
  • 2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.
  • 3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

The Holy Father has often spoken of the importance of parrhesia as a way of speaking with straightforward simplicity, filial trust, joyous assurance, humble boldness, the certainty of being loved(The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2778). We pray for our Holy Father daily both at Holy Mass and in our own private prayers and in the face of what appears incomprehensible, given the youthfulness, vibrancy and fervour of communities that celebrate the Traditional liturgy, this is definitely a time for the Christian faithful to make their spiritual needs and desires know to the chief shepherd of the Church.

I have written to the Holy Father and I briefly shared with him how the celebration of Holy Mass in the Usus Antiquior which I began at the request of the faithful has deepened my understanding of the sacrificial nature of priestly life. The spirit of sacrifice that pervades the Traditional liturgy is perhaps its most attractive attribute spiritually speaking, because it speaks to the essence of Christian life. This may in part explain the appeal of the Traditional liturgy to so many young people and young families who recognise that only the spirit of sacrifice can make our lives meaningful and purposeful. The hedonism of so much that is characteristic of modern culture is exhausting; and the tranquility of order that the Traditional liturgy communicates fulfills the deepest yearnings of the soul that yearns for the living waters that flow from the Sacred Heart of our Saviour. A physical letter written with straightforward simplicity will surely be favourably received by the Holy Father; for what father would not welcome a letter written by a son or daughter with the certainty of being loved?

I have composed a template that may be of help to those who wish to make their spiritual desires and needs known to the Holy Father:

His Holiness, Pope Francis

Apostolic Palace

00120 Vatican City

Your Holiness,

I am writing this letter to express my dismay and consternation of soul at the promulgation of the Motu Proprio Traditionis custodes which restricts the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the Missale Romanum (editio typica, 1962) in use prior to the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae in 1970.

Since the promulgation of the Motu Proprio of Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI in 2007, I have been privileged to attend the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on a regular basis/ somewhat regular basis at …. Parish in…..  I would like Your Holiness to know that I have derived immense spiritual benefits from the celebration of this Mass and the instruction I have received during it. My participation has been conscious, active and fruitful. As a result, my commitment to our faith has deepened. Our community has grown in fervour and charity and I have come to know, to understand and to love our faith more deeply. My commitment to Christian life spiritually and in active charity has intensified because of the spiritual nourishment I have received.

I am asking Your Holiness to consider the spiritual needs of your children. We are sons and daughters of the Church who desire the greater glory of God, the salvation of our own soul and the salvation of all people. The charity of Christ Our Saviour which excludes no one, has urged me to write this letter; and it is my hope that Your Holiness will rescind your Motu Proprio bearing in mind what your venerable predecessor Pope Benedict XVI observed in the letter accompanying Summorum pontificum: what earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.

 I have the honour to profess myself with the most profound respect, a faithful son/daughter of Holy Mother Church and Your Holiness’ humble servant,

(For a pdf version of the sample letter, please see: Letter to Pope Francis in Response to Traditionis Custodes

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Saint Martha, pray for us!

Martha, named in the Gospels of St. Luke and St. John, was the sister of Lazarus, the friend of Jesus whom the Lord resurrected. She was also the sister of Mary Magdalen, the repentant sinner whom the Lord converted from a life of sin.

They lived in Bethany, thought to be the town al-Eizariya, two miles from Jerusalem.The Gospels speak of Martha as a dutiful housekeeper, serving the Lord hospitably when He visited:”but Martha was busy about much serving…” (Luke 10:40) Complaining that her sister Mary was listening to Him instead of helping, Our Lord sweetly rebuked : “Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away her” (Luke 10:41-42) – words the Master which established the priority of prayer for all time. When her brother, Lazarus, fell ill, she sent for the Lord, but He delayed and when He arrived, Lazarus had been four days in the tomb. She complained to Jesus about His delay, but He assured her: “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live.” (John 11:25) And he proceeded to call Lazarus forth the tomb before a crowd of astonished witnesses.
After the martyrdom of St. James in Jerusalem, as persecution intensified, tradition says that Lazarus and his two sisters, along with others, were placed in a boat and set out to sea. This boat landed on the southern shore of France. While Lazarus and Martha went on to evangelize Provence, a fact recorded in French history, Mary retired to a cave in a mountain, to do penance for the rest of her life.Martha is said to have died about the year 84. Her tomb is located in the crypt of the Collegiate Church of Tarrascon, France.

(source: America Needs Fatima)

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29 July 1941 – An “offering of life”

My 1st Class relic of St. Maximilian Kolbe, from hair

From Fr Z’s Blog:

On 29 July 1941 ten prisoners from an block at Auschwitz were chosen to be starved to death because a prisoner from that same block had escaped. Fr. Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan who founded the Militia Immaculatae, offered his life, to take the place of a man who was a husband and father.

Two weeks later, Kolbe was still alive, so he was given a lethal injection. It was 14 August, Vigil of the Assumption.

I remind the readership that there was to be Pontifical Mass in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on 14 August 2021, rescheduled from last year. However, Card. Gregory gave that now-imprisoned Mass, intended for the spiritually starving, a lethal injection.

Kolbe, promoter of devotion to Mary Immaculate – for whom the Shrine in Washington is named – and a ham radio operator (SP3RN), was beatified by Paul VI in 1971 as a confessor. He was canonized in 1982 by John Paul II as a martyr.   The fact of the two different categories raises a question.

Which was it? Life of heroic virtue or martyrdom (in which moment the martyr exemplifies all the virtues).

A new path for causes has been opened, wisely I think, called “oblatio vitae…offering of life”.

The idea is this.   Some people who live holy lives, though not necessarily a life of heroic virtue, nevertheless make decisions which lead to their great harm and death for the sake of the Faith or some virtue integral to the Faith.  Take the case of St. Maximillian.  He was beatified as having lived a life of heroic virtue but canonized as a martyr.  In fact, he probably wasn’t killed by the Nazis because of the Faith, or his priesthood: he offered to take the place of another prisoner.  His choice led to his death.  He offered his life, though it may not have been martyrdom. That’s oblatio vitae.

Fr. Vincent Capodanno, the heroic Navy Chaplain was killed in Vietnam while trying to give last rites to a wounded Marine.  Yut!  He wasn’t killed for hatred of the Faith, so he wasn’t a martyr.  It would not be necessary to demonstrate that “chaps” lives all the virtues in a heroic way.  NB: “heroic” here has nothing to do with his heroism in the fire fight during which he was killed.  For the sake of another, he made a choice to put himself in the line of fire and he was killed because of his choice.  That was heroic in earthly sense, but he did it for a spiritual motive, love of neighbor, concern for a soul.  That’s oblatio vitae.

The case of St. Gianna Beretta Molla is similar.  She lived a virtuous life and her cause was argued that she lived a life of heroic virtue.  However, had they not made that case, she made a choice that led to her death for the sake of her unborn child, an oblatio vitae.  She was aware that her choice would lead to her death and she chose it anyway for the sake of her child’s life.  Had she good a good and holy life, perhaps not of heroic, exemplary virtues, her path could have gone foward via the oblatio vitaepath.

Here is a prayer composed by St. Maximilian.  We had a Novena to St. Ann, and you can and should say that prayer for the softening of the hearts of those who now implement Traditionis custodes.  Perhaps you can use this prayer as well from now until the Feast of the Assumption, the day that St. Maximilian was cremated at Auschwitz. Let us ask for graces through the intercession of St. Maximilian, not to become bitter toward those who would snuff us out of the Church or force us into an artificial unity created in their own likeness.

O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, (name), a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet, humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.

If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: “She will crush your head,” and “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.” Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

V. Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin

R. Give me strength against your enemies. Amen

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Vatican’s ‘London Property’ Trial Adjourned Until October

Cardinal Angelo Becciù, one of 10 defendants, was accompanied by his former secretary, Msgr. Mauro Carlino, who is also being tried, for the eight-hour hearing Tuesday.

Ten people are on trial for the London property deal.
Ten people are on trial for the London property deal. (photo: Simon Hurry / Unsplash)

Edward Pentin. Vatican

VATICAN CITY — A landmark trial relating to a London property deal that inflicted massive losses on the Holy See has been adjourned until Oct. 5, after the Vatican Tribunal upheld objections raised by the defense. 

The trial of 10 defendants, including former Deputy Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Becciù, involves accusations of embezzlement, abuse of office and fraud.

Although today’s preliminary hearing was expected to last a couple of days before adjourning for the summer, the court accepted “some objections raised by the defendants, essential for the effect right of defense,” said Cardinal Becciù’s lawyer, Fabio Viglione, leading to the adjournment after just the first day.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Viglione said Cardinal Becciù “renews his trust” in the court, “looks forward to the continuation of the trial, and the demonstration of the numerous testimonies and witnesses mentioned that will prove his innocence regarding every accusation.” 

Cardinal Becciù, 73, is the first cardinal to be tried by a Vatican court under new rules introduced earlier this year by Pope Francis. He was accompanied by his former secretary, Msgr. Mauro Carlino, who is also being tried, and both were present for the whole of today’s nearly eight-hour hearing. 

They were the only two defendants to attend the hearing, while the remaining eight exercised their right to be defended in absentia. 

All 10 defendants deny wrongdoing. 

Speaking at the end of today’s hearing, Cardinal Becciù told reporters he would be “obedient to the Pope who sent me to trial” and that he has “always been obedient to the Pope.” 

“He has entrusted me with many missions in my life, he wanted me to come to trial, and I am here,” the cardinal continued. “I am serene, I feel calm in my conscience, I have confidence the judges will see the facts clearly, and my great hope is certainty that they will recognize my innocence.” 


Cardinal Files Lawsuit

The cardinal then added that, “with great sorrow and pain,” he had instructed his lawyers to “sue for slander” Msgr. Alberto Perlasca and Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui “for serious falsehoods that they have said about me and that have appeared in the trial papers.” 

Viglione said the cardinal had only become aware of these “falsehoods” in the last few days. The threat of legal action follows other threatened lawsuits that the cardinal has made in recent months, mostly against Italian publications. 

Msgr. Perlasca was head of the administrative office of the Secretariat of State and signed a “shared purchase agreement” for the London property on behalf of the Holy See. He has always maintained his innocence, saying that he acted on the orders of his superiors, who included Cardinal Becciù.

Chaouqui, 39, who was given a suspended sentence in 2015 for helping a Vatican official leak confidential Vatican documents, was revealed earlier this month to be a witness in this trial. She has claimed that Msgr. Perlasca, whose office was raided in 2020 before he was transferred to the Apostolic Signatura, faced either protecting the cardinal or telling the truth in the interests of the Holy See and chose the latter option. Chaouqui has claimed that Msgr. Perlasca’s testimony to Vatican prosecutors led to the cardinal’s indictment. 

A Vatican source close to today’s hearing told the Register that the Vatican prosecutors’ decision not to call Msgr. Perlasca to trial confirms his innocence and that he is “indifferent to any complaint Becciù has made.” The source added that the cardinal’s lawyer “always threatens lawsuits without any foundation.” 

The eight others being tried include: René Brülhart, former president of AIF, the Vatican’s supervisory and financial information authority; Tommaso Di Ruzza, former director of the AIF; Enrico Crasso, a financial broker who managed investments for the Secretariat of State for decades; and Cecilia Marogna, a woman who received considerable sums from the Secretariat of State for intelligence services.

The other defendants are Raffaele Mincione, a finance broker who allegedly made the Secretariat of State underwrite large shares of a fund that owned the London property; Nicola Squillace, a lawyer involved in those negotiations; Fabrizio Tirabassi, a note taker in the administrative office of the Secretariat of State; and Gianluigi Torzi, a broker hired to help the Holy See exit the fund owned by Mincione. Charges have also been made against four companies, three managed by Crasso and one by Marogna. 

Among the objections raised by the defendants’ lawyers were a lack of documents, in particular the transcript of the interrogations of Msgr. Perlasca, nor a filed recording of those meetings; that allegations of money laundering against Crasso were not committed in the Vatican; and that Mincione had only “casually” learned of his arrest warrant, which has not yet been filed. 

The deputy prosecutor, Alessandro Diddi, said: “If we have made mistakes, we are ready to fix them. We respect the rights of the defense.” 

Senior officials who had overall responsibility for overseeing the transaction, including Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, and Cardinal Becciù’s successor, Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, have not yet been summoned to the trial. Cardinal Parolin said this month he would attend if asked.

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The Rotten Fruits of Traditionis Custodes: Permission denied for Pontifical Mass in Washington, DC

From Rorate Caeli:

A pontifical high Mass had been planned for 14 August in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.  It was actually supposed to be offered a year ago, but was postponed due to COVID restrictions.  The music was all set.  The clergy were all lined up.  EWTN was going to air it live.

Following Pope Francis’ motu proprio attacking the traditional Latin Mass and placing massive restrictions on Catholics who worship using the old books, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington, demanded the celebrant of the planned 14 August Mass — Archbishop Thomas Gullickson — submit a formal request for permission.  Mind you, all permissions had already been attained prior to the motu proprio.  The organizers and funders of the Mass, the Paulus Institute for the Propagation of Sacred Liturgy, had been working with shrine and chancery staff, even in the past few days, on liturgical and logistical details, including rehearsal times.

Today, Archbishop Gullickson received a reply from Cardinal Gregory.  Permission:  denied.

The pontifical high Mass, which had been planned for well over a year, with numerous Catholics from around the country planning to be in attendance in the largest church in North America, has been canceled 18 days before it was to be offered.

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A Gift from a Priest

Judge Caprio receives an unexpected gift from a visiting priest.

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The Latin Mass Is The Future Of The Catholic Church

By John Daniel Davidson at The Federalist:

You don’t have to know the entire modern history of the traditional Latin Mass to understand what’s behind Pope Francis’s recent apostolic letter, Traditionis custodes, claiming the ancient rite threatens the unity of the Catholic Church and imposing strict new limits on its use.

All you must do to understand what’s happening now is attend a Latin Mass. There, you will see full church pews teeming with young families and couples, mewling infants and unruly toddlers, single twenty-somethings and teens. The air will be full of incense and, in some parishes, the haunting beauty of Gregorian chant.

Most of the women and girls will be in veils, most parishioners will be following along with a 1962 Roman missal and responding to the priest in Latin, kneeling or genuflecting as required. You will see, in short, a religious ritual that looks odd and shockingly out of place in modern society.

You will also see, unmistakably, the future of the Catholic Church.

How can that be? After all, only a small number of Catholics, perhaps only about 150,000 in the United States, regularly attend a Latin (Tridentine) Mass. Fewer than 700 Catholic parishes in the U.S., out of more than 17,000, even offer Latin Mass. If the Latin Mass is the future of the Catholic Church, it portends a church much diminished in size and prestige.

But it also portends a more faithful church, one more committed to the doctrines and teachings of Catholicism, and the obligations they impose. Indeed, the vast majority of Catholics in America today reject central tenets of the faith. A 2019 Pew survey found that nearly 70 percent of American Catholics reject the doctrine of transubstantiation, which says the bread and wine used in Holy Communion become, during Holy Mass, the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

By contrast, polls in recent years have shown that those who regularly attend Latin Mass adhere much more closely to Catholic teaching, including on matters like abortion, gay marriage, and contraception, compared to Catholics who attend the Novus ordo rite that was established in vernacular languages in 1970, after the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

One national survey of Latin Mass attendees, conducted by Fr. Donald Kloster in 2018, found that only 2 percent approve of contraception, compared to 89 percent of Novus ordo attendees. On approval of abortion, the split was 1 percent compared to 51 percent. On gay marriage, 2 percent to 67 percent. The same survey found parishioners at Latin Mass have on average nearly 60 percent larger family sizes, donate on average five times more, and attend weekly Mass at 4.5 times the rate of Catholics who attend the Novus ordo rite.

Another survey by Kloster and others, conducted online last year, found that among adults aged 18 to 39 who attend Latin Mass, 98 percent report going every Sunday. This stands in stark contrast to the findings of a 2018 Gallup poll, which showed dramatic declines in weekly Mass attendance among all Catholics, with the sharpest decline in the 21 to 29-year-old demographic, from 73 percent in 1955 to 25 percent in 2017, the lowest of all age groups.

Even more striking, the survey by Kloster found that 90 percent of these young Catholics were not raised in the Latin rite and that the vast majority were drawn to it by forces from within their own generation, rather than by their parents. A plurality, 35 percent, cited “reverence” as what prompted them to seek out the Latin rite.

The seriousness of Catholics who attend Latin Mass confirms something then-Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, said in an interview in 1969, the year before the Latin Mass was effectively replaced by the Novus ordo:

From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge — a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so it will lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, it will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. As a small society, it will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members.

Benedict understood that the church was going to shrink, but that as it shrank, the remnant would be more zealous, more closely tied to Catholic teaching and doctrine than it had been before. He must have also understood that beauty and reverence in worship had an important role to play in this smaller but more faithful church.

When in 2007 Benedict gave broad permission to conduct Mass according to the old Latin rite, affirming that it had never been forbidden and that it never could be, and encouraged bishops to allow their priests to offer it wherever it was desired, he launched a movement within the church — not a schism but a revival, which now points the way forward for a church that’s still in crisis, and still shrinking. In the 14 years since, adoption of Latin Mass has grown among the Catholic faithful worldwide, attracting converts and cradle Catholics alike.

Why, then, would Francis punish those who worship according to the Latin rite? Why would he misrepresent, in brutal and authoritarian language, the motives of these Catholics? In the letter to the bishops that accompanies his motu proprio, Francis writes:

I am nonetheless saddened that the instrumental use of Missale Romanum of 1962 is often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican Council II itself, claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the ‘true Church.’

Now we come to the heart of the matter. Francis fears that Catholics who are drawn to the ancient rite are somehow rejecting the reforms the of Second Vatican Council. In another passage, he writes that the effort to expand the Latin rite by both Saint John Paul II and Benedict, “intended to recover the unity of an ecclesial body with diverse liturgical sensibilities, was exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Catholics who attend Latin Mass are by all accounts the least likely to encourage disagreements, widen gaps, or reinforce divergences in the church. They are far more likely to adhere to Catholic teaching and accept the obligations the church places on the faithful than Catholics who don’t attend Latin Mass. Indeed, they stand in stark contrast to the nearly 70 percent of American Catholics who deny transubstantiation, and the large majorities who support abortion and gay marriage, and feel no compunction to fulfill their religious obligations

Now we come to the heart of the matter. Francis fears that Catholics who are drawn to the ancient rite are somehow rejecting the reforms the of Second Vatican Council. In another passage, he writes that the effort to expand the Latin rite by both Saint John Paul II and Benedict, “intended to recover the unity of an ecclesial body with diverse liturgical sensibilities, was exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Catholics who attend Latin Mass are by all accounts the least likely to encourage disagreements, widen gaps, or reinforce divergences in the church. They are far more likely to adhere to Catholic teaching and accept the obligations the church places on the faithful than Catholics who don’t attend Latin Mass. Indeed, they stand in stark contrast to the nearly 70 percent of American Catholics who deny transubstantiation, and the large majorities who support abortion and gay marriage, and feel no compunction to fulfill their religious obligations.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t some very online Traditionalist Catholics who boast about the Latin Mass, make inflammatory claims about its superiority, and criticize Francis. But they aren’t representative of Latin Mass-goers as a whole, and the divisions they might foment are nothing compared to the divisions and indeed outright schism that bishops in Germany, for example, have been pushing throughout Francis’s pontificate, seeking to bless same-sex unions and ordain women to the priesthood. The supposed divisions caused by Traditionalists are also nothing compared to the vey real divisions that millions of ordinary Catholics incite routinely when they deny Catholic teaching, bear false witness against the church, and shirk their religious obligations.

Given all this, we have to conclude there’s some other motive, unexpressed in the pope’s motu proprio, for targeting a relatively small group of faithful Catholics who are drawn to the Latin Mass. It’s hard to get at this motive, but it’s perhaps best understood as a generational conflict.

Clerics of Francis’s generation, who came up in the reforms of Vatican II, envisioned a very different future for the church than the one that’s now emerging. They imagined a church that would give no offense, in its worship or its doctrine, to Protestants. They imagined a church that would be pliable, able to change with the times and accommodate new and different mores. The so-called “spirit of Vatican II” was to guide the church into the modern era, make her relevant and attractive to modern people, more welcoming and less severe.

What happened instead, they didn’t see coming. Modern people, it seems, do not want the kind of church that Francis and the German bishops want to give them. Many lapsed Catholics want nothing to do with the church, even a more progressive one, and have simply left it for good. Others would prefer to remain Catholic, nominally at least, but free to ignore or even disparage anything with which they might disagree or that might offend their modern sensibilities.

But a strong and stalwart remnant fervently want a church that espouses and upholds timeless and unchangeable doctrines, given physical form in ancient rituals and worship. They want a church that takes the sacraments seriously, that demands something of them, and in return gives them beauty and truth.

Among these Catholics, a growing number desire to worship according to the Latin rite. Regardless of whatever inchoate and vindictive policy emanates from Rome, their numbers, it seems, will continue to grow.

One gets the sense that this, above all, is what the pope wishes were not so. When Francis looks back over his shoulder to pass the baton to the next generation, perhaps he sees what Benedict saw in 1969: a smaller but more faithful church, young and vibrant, but much diminished in power and prestige.

Perhaps, unlike Benedict, he thought it wouldn’t turn out this way. But it has.John is the Political Editor at The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter.

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Reason #868940 for Summorum Pontificum

In a picture a thousand words

They want to repress… this?

Many thanks to Fr Z for sharing this beautiful and inspiring image.

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Five years ago today

Posted on 26 July 2021 by Fr Z on his blog:

Interrupted while saying Mass at his parish church in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, the 85-year old priest struggled to repel his two 18-year old attackers with his feet. “Go away Satan!”, he repeated.

Fr. Jacques Hamel was murdered, in odium fidei, a martyr to the Faith, his throat slashed by Islamic terrorists.

Five years ago today.

His cause has been opened.

Fr. Jacques Hamel by Neilson Carlin

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Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us!

(From our archives:)

Let us sing praises to Joachim and Anna,
The couple honoured by God (as they are His kinsmen)
They have borne for us the Maiden
Who in a manner beyond understanding
Gave birth to Him who though fleshless
Became the incarnate to save the world
With her they intercede for our souls

(Russian Orthodox Troparion)

July 26th marks the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, father and mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I have always been intrigued by this couple, not only because Anne is my second name, but also because one has to wonder who could have raised someone like Holy Mary, the Glorious Mother of Jesus Christ. There isn’t a whole lot written about their lives, before or after having Mary, aside from what is contained in the Apocryphal Protoevangelium of James, but that doesn’t mean their lives weren’t deeply significant.  They were.

Joachim was a well respected and “exceedingly rich man” of the tribe of Judah who often doubled his offerings to God, while Anna was the daughter of a priest of the tribe of Levi. They were married for many years without children. In those days barrenness was seen as punishment from God and Anna was well past childbearing age. As Joachim went into the temple he was upbraided by a man named Rubim, saying it was not proper for Joachim to bring temple offerings, as he had no children. This grieved Joachim exceedingly and he went into the desert to lament, pray, and fast for 40 days and nights.

Meanwhile, Anne also grieved her barrenness, as well as her husband’s absence, which she called “her widowhood.” At one point, Anne sat in the garden praying to God in these words: “O God of our fathers, bless me and hear my prayer, as you blessed the womb of Sarah, and gave her a son, Isaac.” At that moment, an Angel of the Lord appeared to Anne and Joachim at the same time, telling them both to get up: the Lord had heard their prayer and Anne would conceive. There is a beautiful icon depicting the poignant moment where Anne and Joachim meet at the city gate (above). It was said that she “hung upon his neck saying: Now I know that the Lord God has blessed me exceedingly; for, behold the widow no longer a widow, and I the childless shall conceive.” In fact, the full name of the icon is “The Conception of the Mother of God.” As Jim Forest says in Praying with Icons, “No words better communicate how blessed is the vocation of marriage than the icon of Anne and Joachim embracing each other.”

St. Anne’s body, according to Pope Saint Leo III, had been buried in Apt, France following persecutions in Jerusalem, and eventually forgotten. The peaceful reign of Charlemagne allowed a beautiful church to be re-built on the site and during the consecration of the building, a fourteen-year-old boy who was blind, deaf, and dumb from birth, moved by the Spirit, lead Charlemagne (who was in attendance) to the remains of St. Anne that were wrapped in a “winding sheet” with an inscription saying, “Here lies the body of St. Anne, mother of the glorious Virgin Mary.” The boy was miraculously healed that day and the relics of Good St. Anne were venerated, and are still venerated, to this day.

St. Anne is the patroness of many things and places, including Brittany, France, Canada, and Quebec. She is also invoked against poverty and barrenness, for childless couples, sterility, pregnancy, pregnant women, women in labour, grandmothers, grandparents, homemakers, housewives, lace makers, lace workers, equestrians, stablemen, seamstresses, turners, miners, lost articles, carpenters, cabinet makers, broom makers, and for the dioceses of Detroit, Michigan; Norwich, Connecticut; Santa Ana, Indian Pueblo; and Taos, New Mexico. St. Joachim is invoked as patron of grandparents, grandfathers, and fathers.


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The Upside-Down Church

Pope Francis can’t rest until all Catholics are modernists.

By George Neumayr at The American Spectator:

Pope Francis has often compared the Catholic Church to a “field hospital.” It is an odd analogy in his case, given his penchant for quackery and malpractice. The healthiest patients at his field hospital have their limbs hacked off while the sickest ones receive increased dosages of a medicine that doesn’t work. The pope’s conception of health in the body of Christ is the opposite of his predecessors. They saw the absence of orthodoxy as a cancer in the Church, whereas Pope Francis sees the persistent presence of orthodoxy as the poison.

According to this twisted view, the crisis in the Church derives not from the modernist heresy but from the unwillingness of Catholics to succumb to it. Laboring under this view, he has devoted much of his pontificate to undoing the post–Vatican II conservative retrenchment of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. In complaining about the Church’s reluctance to embrace “modern culture,” he has implicitly criticized those predecessors. Where they viewed the liberal “spirit” of Vatican II with concern, he welcomed it.

At the beginning of his pontificate, he lamented that the progressive promise of Vatican II hadn’t been fulfilled — “very little was done in that direction” — but that he had the “ambition to want to do something.”

The pope embodies the very division that he claims to deplore. He is dividing Catholics at the deepest possible level — from Catholic tradition itself.

The pope’s recent order curtailing the traditional Latin Mass is central to that ambition. He can’t rest until all Catholics have submitted to his modernism. In the past, popes instituted oaths against modern errors. This pope is eager to impose an oath in favor of them. In urging the bishops to marginalize the traditional Latin Mass, the pope reveals the depth of his contempt for Catholic tradition and his desire to cement in place a modernist redefinition of Catholicism.

Pope Benedict XVI used to talk about the theologians at Vatican II who wanted to start a new religion from scratch. He called them anarchic utopians. He said that “after the Second Vatican Council some were convinced that all would be made new, that another Church was being made, that the pre-conciliar Church was finished and we would have another, totally ‘other’ [Church].” That largely sums up the program of his successor. His decree against the traditional Latin Mass is designed to finish off the pre-conciliar Church. It severs any connection between the post–Vatican II Church and the pre–Vatican II Church, thereby allowing the modernists to monopolize the direction of the Church.

In order to take Catholicism out of Catholicism and turn it into an unspiritual and political quasi-religion, the modernists can’t abide any competition from the orthodox. Because the traditional Latin Mass movement was growing, particularly among young people and young priests, the pope had to kill it. The onerous provisions in the decree will first ghettoize the old Mass, then snuff it out. The Church, already suffering from a vocations crisis, will lose even more vocations, as the decree in effect tells tradition-minded young men that the price of entry into the priesthood now is total submission to the pope’s modernism.

For a religion predicated on tradition, the suppression of tradition makes no sense unless the goal is to change that religion fundamentally. By “unity,” the pope means universal acceptance of that project. He is demanding that all Catholics view uncritically changes that have obviously weakened the faith. If they don’t, they are “divisive.”

The pope, of course, embodies the very division that he claims to deplore. He is dividing Catholics at the deepest possible level — from Catholic tradition itself. A “unity” rooted in heterodoxy is a sham. As the modernist Church stumbles from scandal to scandal, he dares to hold it up as the model of Catholicism to which all must aspire. His latest act of ecclesiastical tyranny is nothing more than an attempt to extract from the most faithful Catholics a pledge of allegiance to that crumbling Church.

The spectacle of a pope disloyal to Catholic tradition issuing loyalty litmus tests is an outrageous one. By disregarding the authority of past popes, Francis erases his own. He is not solving crises but creating them so that his modernist revolution can be fulfilled. In the past, orthodox Catholics defended the pope from enemies of the faith. Now they must defend the faith from a pope who has shown himself repeatedly to be their enemy.

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No Vaccination? No Salvation!

Coming to a church near you?

From Gloria TV:

Father Pasquale Giordano of Bernalda (12,000 inhabitants), Southern Italy, is categoric, “I kindly ask those who have no intention of having a swab or vaccination to refrain from coming to the parish,” he wrote on Internet.

There are currently 37 Covid positive people in Bernalda (0.3% of the population) of which four are hospitalised.

This – how Giordano calls it – “spread of the Covid-19 infection” motivated him to “strongly urge” young people to join an ongoing vaccination campaign – although, for young people, the vaccination is more dangerous than the disease. For Giordano, it is “Christian charity” to do so.

Let us pray for this priest and for all our priests:

Prayer by Pope Benedict XVI

Lord Jesus Christ, eternal High Priest,
you offered yourself to the Father on the altar of the cross
and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit
gave your priestly people a share in your redeeming sacrifice.
Hear our prayer for the sanctification of our priests.
Grant that all who are ordained to the ministerial priesthood
may be ever more conformed to you, the Divine Master.
May they preach the Gospel with pure heart and clear conscience.
Let them be shepherds according to your own heart,
single-minded in service to you and to the Church,
and shining examples of a holy, simple, and joyful life.
Through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, your Mother and ours,
draw all priests and the flocks entrusted to their care
to the fullness of eternal life where you live and reign
with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


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Sunday Readings and Reflections

Giovanni Lanfranco – Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes (1620 – 1623)

Sunday, July 25 
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Roman Ordinary calendar

St. James the GreaterSt. Christopher

2nd book of Kings 4,42-44.

A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing the man of God twenty barely loaves made from the first fruits, and fresh grain in the ear. “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said. 
But his servant objected, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha insisted. “For thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.'” 
And when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the LORD had said. 

Psalms 145(144),10-11.15-16.17-18.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, 
and let your faithful ones bless you. 
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom 
and speak of your might. 

The eyes of all look hopefully to you, 
and you give them their food in due season; 
You open your hand 
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.   

The LORD is just in all his ways 
and holy in all his works. 
The LORD is near to all who call upon him, 
to all who call upon him in truth. 

Letter to the Ephesians 4,1-6.

Brothers and sisters : I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, 
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, 
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: 
one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; 
one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 
one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 6,1-15.

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. 
A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 
The Jewish feast of Passover was near. 
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” 
He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. 
Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.” 
One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, 
There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many? 
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. 
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. 
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” 
So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. 
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” 
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone. 

Saint Ephrem (c.306-373) 
deacon in Syria, Doctor of the Church 
Commentary on the Diatessaron, 12, 1-4 ; SC 121

The multiplication of the loaves

Our Lord multiplied bread in the wilderness and changed water into wine at Cana. Thus he accustomed his disciples’ mouths to his bread and wine until the time when he would give them his own body and blood. He gave them a taste of transitory bread and wine to stir up in them a desire for his own life-giving body and blood. He gave them generously of those insignificant things that they might know that his more important gift would be free. He gave these things freely, even though they might have bought them, that they might know they would not be asked to pay for something beyond price: for, if they were able to pay the price of some bread and wine, yet they would not be able to pay for his body and blood.

Not only did he freely fill us with his gifts but he treated us yet more lovingly. For he gave us those little things freely to draw us, so that we would come to him and freely receive that great good of the eucharist. Those fragments of bread and wine that he gave were sweet to the mouth, but the gift of his body and blood is of value to the spirit. He attracted us by these tasty foods to draw us to that which gives life to our souls (…)

The Lord’s work achieves all things: in the blink of an eye he multiplied a morsel of bread! What people effect and transform after ten months of labor, his ten fingers carried out in an instant (…). From a handful of bread a quantity of loaves comes to be: it was for them as it was at the time of the first blessing: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gn 1:28).

Traditional Latin Mass Readings for this Sunday

Click here for a live-streamed Traditional Latin Mass

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‘Traditionis’: a picture is worth a thousand words

From Fr Z’s Blog:

This is one of the most beautiful expressions of “full, conscious and active” participation at Mass that I have ever seen.

It is another way, a silent but outward way, to express those amazing words:

“My Lord and my God.”

You may at some point have heard that the Traditional Latin Mass “reduces people to spectators”.  You may have heard the canard that you are not “active” participants unless you are doing something outwardly. If you aren’t singing everything or saying everything or looking at the priest looking at you, then you aren’t participating. Critics of the older form of Mass claim that the congregation is forced to be “passive”.

That’s simply false.

True active participation is active receptivity to what Christ, the true Actor during Mass, wants to give us through Holy Church’s liturgical worship. Our baptism makes us capable of participating at Mass and then we engage our will and minds to follow carefully the words and gestures of the sacred action. This culminates in the perfect form of active participation, which brings the outward and physical and the inward and spiritual together: the reception of Holy Communion in the state of grace.

And kissing the words on the page at the consecration.

You will respond, perhaps, that the Novus Ordo also has a consecration.

Yes, it does.

However, with the “Eucharistic Prayer” (so many available that the essence of ritual is compromised) being always aloud, one usually has little chance to reflect on what is happening at the consecration.  You are dragged along by the stream of words, amplified with mic and sound system, often with the priest trying to penetrate your brain with his meaningful spotlight gaze.  Invasive?  You are often beaten into interior passivity.

On the other hand, in the Traditional Form, at this time you have liturgical, ritual silence.  There won’t be grins or eye contact. There won’t be booming words.  There will be quiet.  Then there will be a bell.  Then there will be silence.  Then there will be a bell.  Then, silence or perhaps the continuation of a Gregorian or Polyphonic Benedictus.

Or….. the clash of piano and guitars as, again, you are invaded by your liturgical puppet masters who din you into singing a response… and which one will it be this time?

Kneeling in the silence.

Kissing the page in your well-worn missal at the consecration.

What’s more, handing on that hand missal, as a treasure, to the next generation.

Handing on THE MASS, a treasure, to the next generation.

THAT’s tradition, my friends.

The bishop in the tweet, recently called a tradionis custos, was fostered by his own custos traditionis, his mother.

Who kissed the words of consecration.

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

Become a Custos Traditionis (HERE) and don’t forget the Novena to St. Ann (HERE).

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