“Pope Francis Is Tearing the Catholic Church Apart”

Posted on 13 August 2021 at Fr Z’s Blog:

Yesterday Hell’s Bible (aka New York Times) published an op-ed which is a cri de coeur about what is going on in the Church today.   Take this together with Damian Thompson’s recent podcast.  My emphases and comments.


Pope Francis Is Tearing the Catholic Church Apart
Aug. 12, 2021

By Michael Brendan Dougherty

Mr. Dougherty, a senior writer at National Review, has written extensively about faith and the Roman Catholic Church.

In the summer of 2001, I drove up to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to find what we called “the traditional Latin Mass,” the form of Roman Catholic worship that stretched back centuries and was last authorized in 1962, before the Second Vatican Council changed everything. Back then, conservative Catholics called people who sought it out “schismatics” and “Rad Trads.”

The Mass-goers there weren’t exactly a community; we were a clandestine network of romantics, haters of Pope John Paul II, people who had been jilted by the mainstream church [lots of those] and — I believe — some saints.

There I learned that the Latin language was not the only distinguishing feature of this form of worship. The entire ritual was different from the post-Vatican II Mass. It wasn’t a mere translation into the modern vernacular; less than 20 percent of the Latin Mass survived into the new.

It took me a month to adapt to its rhythm. But in that thick August air, the long silence before the consecration of the host fell upon my heart, like sunshine landing on the bud of prayer for the very first time.

Years later, Pope Benedict allowed devotees of this Mass to flourish in the mainstream of Catholic life, a gesture that began to drain away the traditional movement’s radicalism and reconcile us with our bishops. Today, it is celebrated in thriving parishes, full of young families.  [If he knows anythingaccurate about Traditional Catholics one would think that Francis wantsthe radicalism and breaks with bishops to return.  Otherwise, … why the brutality?]

Yet this Mass and the modestly growing contingent of Catholics who attend it are seen by Pope Francis as a grave problem. He recently released a document, Traditionis Custodes, accusing Catholics like us of being subversives. To protect the “unity” of the church, he abolished the permissions Pope Benedict XVI gave us in 2007 to celebrate a liturgy, the heart of which remains unchanged since the seventh century.

For those of us who travel long distances to participate in it, its perseverance is a religious duty. For the pope, its suppression is a religious priority. The ferocity of his campaign will push these young families and communities toward the radicalism I imbibed years ago in Poughkeepsie, before Benedict. It will push them toward the belief that the new Mass represents a new religion, one dedicated to the unity of man on earth rather than the love of Christ.

In the Latin Mass, the priest faces the altar with the people. It never had oddities, as you sometimes encounter in a modern Mass, like balloons, guitar music or applause. The gabby religious talk-show host style of priest is gone. In his place, a priest who does his business quietly, a workmanlike sculptor. By directing the priest toward the drama at the altar, the old Mass opens up space for our own prayer and contemplation.

In the years after Pope Benedict liberalized the old rite, parishes began to bring back the mystical tones of Gregorian chant, the sacred polyphony written by long-dead composers like Orlando Lassus and Thomas Tallis as well as contemporary composers like Nicholas Wilton and David Hughes.

These cultural offshoots of the Latin Mass are why, after Vatican II, the English novelists Agatha Christie and Nancy Mitford and other British cultural luminaries sent a letter to Pope Paul VI asking that it continue. Their letter doesn’t even pretend to be from believing Christians. “The rite in question, in its magnificent Latin text, has also inspired a host of priceless achievements in the arts — not only mystical works, but works by poets, philosophers, musicians, architects, painters and sculptors in all countries and epochs. Thus, it belongs to universal culture as well as to churchmen and formal Christians.”

But the Vatican Council had called for a revision of every aspect of the central act of worship, so the altar rails, tabernacles and baldachins were torn up in countless parishes. This ferment was accompanied by radical new theologies around the Mass. A freshman religious studies major would know that revising all the vocal and physical aspects of a ceremony and changing the rationale for it constitutes a true change of religion. Only overconfident Catholic bishops could imagine otherwise.

The most candid progressives agreed with the radical traditionalists that the council constituted a break with the past. [I recall that Karl Rahner thought it was the most important event since the Council of Jerusalem.] They called Vatican II “a new Pentecost” — an “Event” — that had given the church a new self-understanding. They believed their revolution had been stalled in 1968 when Pope Paul VI issued “Humanae Vitae,” affirming the church’s opposition to artificial contraception, and then put it on ice in 1978 with the election of Pope John Paul II.

To stamp out the old Latin Mass, Pope Francis is using the papacy in precisely the way that progressives once claimed to deplore: He centralizes power in Rome, usurps the local bishop’s prerogatives and institutes a micromanaging style that is motivated by paranoia of disloyalty and heresy. Perhaps it’s to protect his deepest beliefs.

Pope Francis envisions that we will return to the new Mass. My children cannot return to it; it is not their religious formation. Frankly, the new Mass is not their religion[What an incredibly sad thing to read. I am right now pondering the amazing grace I was given to have come into the Faith and the Church at St. Agnes in St. Paul, MN during the pastorate of Msgr. Richard Schuler.   But so many Catholics had simply to suffer the lunacy of the 60’s-90’s without any relief, not even a decently celebrated Novus Ordo Mass.  It is incredible that people still go to Mass at all in some places.] In countless alterations, the belief that the Mass was a real sacrifice and that the bread and wine, once consecrated, became the body and blood of our Lord was downplayed or replaced in it. With the priest facing the people, the altar was severed from the tabernacle. The prescribed prayers of the new Mass tended never even to refer to that structure anymore as an altar but as the Lord’s table. The prayers that pointed to the Lord’s real presence in the sacrament were conspicuously replaced with ones emphasizing the Lord’s spiritual presence in the assembled congregation.

The prayers of the traditional Mass emphasized that the priest was re-presenting the same sacrifice Christ made at Calvary, one that propitiated God’s wrath at sin and reconciled humanity to God. The new Mass portrayed itself as a narrative and historical remembrance of the events recalled in Scripture, and the offering and sacrifice was not of Christ, but of the assembled people, as the most commonly used Eucharistic prayer in the new Mass says, “from age to age you gather a people to Thyself, in order that from east to west a perfect offering may be made.”

For Catholics, how we pray shapes what we believe. [And vice versa.] The old ritual physically aims us toward an altar and tabernacle. In that way it points us to the cross and to heaven as the ultimate horizon of man’s existence. By doing so, it shows that God graciously loves us and redeems us despite our sins. And the proof is in the culture this ritual produces. Think of Mozart’s great rendition of faith in the Eucharist: “Ave Verum Corpus” (Hail True Body).

The new ritual points us toward a bare table, and it consistently posits the unity of humankind as the ultimate horizon of our existence. In the new Mass, God owes man salvation, because of the innate dignity of humanity. Where there was faith, now presumption. Where there was love, now mere affirmation, which is indistinguishable from indifference. It inspires weightless ditties like “Gather Us In.” Let’s sing about us!

I believe the practice of the new Mass forms people to a new faith: To become truly Christian, one must cease to be Christian at all. Where the new faith is practiced with a zealous spirit — as in Germany now — bishops and priests want to conform the religion’s teaching to the moral norms of the nonbelieving society around them. When the new faith was young, after the council, it expressed itself in tearing up the statues, the ceremonies and religious devotions that existed before.

I don’t know if bishops will adopt Francis’ zeal to crush the Latin Mass. I don’t know how painful they are willing to make our religious life. If they do, they will create — or reveal — more division in the church. The old slogan of the traditional Latin Mass movement comes to mind: We resist you to the face.

I have faith that one day, even secular historians will look upon what was wrought after Vatican II and see it for what it was: the worst spasm of iconoclasm in the church’s history — dwarfing the Byzantine iconoclasm of the ninth century and the Protestant Reformation.

Pope Benedict had temporarily allowed us to begin repairing the damage. What Pope Francis proposes with his crackdown is a new cover-up.

Michael Brendan Dougherty, a senior writer at National Review and a visiting fellow for the social, cultural and constitutional studies division at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of “My Father Left Me Ireland: An American Son’s Search for Home.”

I am interested in your reactions to this.

Meanwhile, become a CUSTOS!  HERE

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2 Responses to “Pope Francis Is Tearing the Catholic Church Apart”

  1. Reblogged this on Zero Lift-Off and commented:
    This quotation spells it out clear as a bell to me!

    “For the pope, its suppression is a religious priority. The ferocity of his campaign will push these young families and communities toward the radicalism I imbibed years ago in Poughkeepsie, before Benedict. It will push them toward the belief that the new Mass represents a new religion, one dedicated to the unity of man on earth rather than the love of Christ.”

    This is a call to serve the Ways of the World or man worshiping mankind itself and all the trappings of materialism along with earthly power and science which we can plainly see where that has led just over the last year and a half toward oppression and totalitarian control of humanity producing a Culture of Death with already millions of innocent people being crippled or killed with the fraud pandemic vaccine death jab! This radial call to worship materialism and earthly man-made power is a complete denial of Jesus Christ and will be the open door for Satan to step in with the Antichrist to rule and oppress humanity

    “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord]. Mathew 6:24

    The vicious angry pope
    Not a Vicar of Christ-Impossible!

    There can be no doubt to anyone with their faculties intact that absolutely and unequivocally Bergoglio is promoting antichrist and evil, just like the derelict fraud criminal Puppet POTUS Biden is, working from his illegitimacy to bring ruin to anything that is good about America as well as his blaspheming God Almighty while speaking with a forked tongue and claiming he is a Catholic when he is nothing even resembling a genuine Christian! This Biden has been in bed with the CCP for decades making backdoor deals and enriching self, while selling out the American People just the way Bergoglio is selling out Catholics for a master plan of the Devil’s.


    Not any Catholic or Christian at all!

    Biden appropriated nearly a half Trillion dollars to fund abortion on demand along with other related services including diabolical fetus research for commercial and sinister agendas; at tax payer expense, here and abroad. I mention this because Bergoglio fervently and unabashedly promoted this most horrible so called President in US History even exceeding the notorious other fraud Obama! This clearly makes Bergoglio a satanic apostate of hell.

    If anyone hears me and understands then you know what this means and how serious a global problem is shaping up that will lead to utter catastrophe the likes of which this planet has never witnessed! Our only hope is that Jesus Christ return sooner rather than later, pray for that; but meanwhile in accordance with what the Lord has told us through the Holy Scriptures, that a Great Warning and then Chastisement/Punishment must come to pass in order to bring all those who will turn to Christ the Savior before the final climatic Tribulation End Time comes to its fruition. Amen.

    God bless and keep you.
    Brother in Christ Jesus,
    Lawrence Morra III


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