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September 2021 Contents
Abp. Viganò Analyzes Pope’s Attempt to Abolish the Traditional Mass (Matt Gaspers)
Roughly two weeks after Pope Francis released Traditionis Custodes (July 16, 2021), an Apostolic Letter issued motu proprio (on his own initiative) by which he effectively nullified most of Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum (July 7, 2007) and severely restricted access to the Traditional Latin Mass, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò published a lengthy analysis of the Pope’s actions (full text below) in light of the entirety of Francis’ pontificate, which he says is characterized by a “sort of bipolarity of a pope who does not behave like a pope and does not speak like a pope,” as well as by “duplicity and lies.”
“We have come to the point,” says Archbishop Viganò, “that even simple people with little knowledge of doctrinal issues understand that we have a non-Catholic pope, at least in the strict sense of the term. This poses some problems of a canonical nature that are not inconsiderable, which it is not up to us to solve but which sooner or later will have to be addressed.”
Regarding such “problems of a canonical nature,” readers may recall that in April of 2019 a group of clerical and lay scholars published an Open Letter to the Bishop of the World in which they publicly accused Pope Francis of heresy in hopes of stimulating a much-needed canonical discussion of the topic by the world episcopacy. At the same time, the signatories recognized that they lacked the authority to declare him guilty of any crime. Hence, they urged the bishops “publicly to admonish Pope Francis to abjure the heresies that he has professed,” or else face the natural consequence of remaining obstinate in heresy (severance from the Mystical Body of Christ, which obviously includes the loss of office). By qualifying his above claim with “in a strict sense,” Archbishop Viganò makes clear that he is not claiming Pope Francis has lost his office. He simply means that Francis’ words and actions are not those of a Catholic (however, that does not mean canonically he is no longer occupying his office). To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Resisting Vaccine Apartheid: Another Sign of Our Diabolically Disoriented Times (Christopher A. Ferrara)
The Epoch of COVID-19: Civilizational Psyop
The epoch of COVID-19 has witnessed an explosive growth in unprecedented restrictions on basic human freedoms, imposed by both public and private entities in the name of “containing the spread” of a virus — an effort that has proven about as successful as containing the wind. Yet it is common knowledge that COVID’s effects on the vast majority of people are not life-threatening or even (in many millions of cases) symptomatic.
The latest manifestation of this expanding encroachment on the ability to live one’s life is the demand, both public and private, for exclusion from social, economic, cultural, and educational activities of anyone who does not consent to be injected with COVID-19 vaccines that have yet to receive FDA approval, are still in the “emergency use” and thus an experimental phase, and have known and increasingly evident risks of severe and even life-threatening side effects, including blood clots and what the CDC admits is “a ‘likely association’ between a rare heart inflammatory condition in adolescents and young adults [under age 30] mostly after they’ve received their second Covid-19 vaccine shot….”
With caution thrown to the winds, everyone — the young and healthy, the old, the previously recovered and naturally immune, even pregnant and breastfeeding women — is now being pressured by governments, businesses, and educational institutions to submit to COVID-19 vaccination with no assessment of the risks or benefits for each individual or any consideration of medical necessity or contraindication in each particular case. Even the smallest children, at virtually no risk from the virus, are to be vaccinated as soon as approval can be obtained from the FDA.
And yet the CDC now admits that the vaccines do not prevent viral transmission, that the vaccinated can have the same viral load as the unvaccinated, that “booster” shots of the useless stuff may soon be necessary, and that meanwhile everyone should wear masks indoors, even if vaccinated. As the redoubtable Alex Berenson reports, in Israel, which has “vaccinated more of its citizens with the Pfizer shot more quickly than almost anywhere else,” more than 60 percent of serious COVID cases are now occurring among the “fully vaccinated” (both shots), which has prompted the Israeli government to declare that getting a third shot is now essential: “Non-immunization for a third time leaves senior citizens in mortal danger. Get vaccinated now.” So, the vaccines are failing in only a few months, if they ever succeeded in producing any significant benefit in the first place.
In short, the vaccines really change nothing. Therefore, everyone must be vaccinated! To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
*The Popes Speak* Pius XII’s Encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi on the Church, Part VI
88) The same result follows from the opinions of those who assert that little importance should be given to the frequent confession of venial sins. Far more important, they say, is that general confession which the Spouse of Christ, surrounded by her children in the Lord, makes each day by the mouth of the priest as he approaches the altar of God. As you well know, Venerable Brethren, it is true that venial sins may be expiated in many ways which are to be highly commended. But to ensure more rapid progress day by day in the path of virtue, We will that the pious practice of frequent confession, which was introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, should be earnestly advocated. By it, genuine self-knowledge is increased, Christian humility grows, bad habits are corrected, spiritual neglect and tepidity are resisted, the conscience is purified, the will strengthened, a salutary self-control is attained, and grace is increased in virtue of the Sacrament itself. Let those, therefore, among the younger clergy who make light of or lessen esteem for frequent confession realize that what they are doing is alien to the Spirit of Christ and disastrous for the Mystical Body of our Savior.
Value of Private Prayer
89. There are others who deny any impetratory power to our prayers, or who endeavor to insinuate into men’s minds the idea that prayers offered to God in private should be considered of little worth, whereas public prayers which are made in the Name of the Church are those which really matter, since they proceed from the Mystical Body of Christ. This opinion is false; for the divine Redeemer is most closely united not only with His Church, which is His Beloved Spouse, but also with each and every one of the faithful, and He ardently desires to speak with them heart to heart, especially after Holy Communion. It is true that public prayer, inasmuch as it is offered by Mother Church, excels any other kind of prayer by reason of her dignity as Spouse of Christ; but no prayer, even the most private, is lacking in dignity or power, and all prayer is of the greatest help to the Mystical Body in which, through the Communion of Saints, no good can be done, no virtue practiced by the individual members, which does not redound also to the salvation of all. Neither is a man forbidden to ask for himself particular favors even for this life merely because he is a member of this Body, provided he is always resigned to the divine will; for the members retain their own personality and remain subject to their own individual needs. Moreover, how highly all should esteem mental prayer is proved not only be ecclesiastical documents, but also by the custom and practice of the saints. Click here to read Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis Christi
A Moribund Mass and the Catholic Counterculture (Peter A. Kwasniewski, Ph.D.)
The place: your typical American parish, not yet blessed by the fruits of Summorum Pontificum. The time: any Sunday of the year (chances are it’s a “Sunday of Ordinary Time,” which befits a form of liturgy so ordinary). The music: smiling ditties of indescribable triteness. The congregation consists of children who have not been catechized, are bored to death, and would rather be texting or playing video games; young adults who are fornicating or engaging in solitary vice in their spare time, as this is the “gospel” they hear preached in their sex-ed classes, and no one even thinks of impeding their vices or correcting their errors; married couples who, with a few happy exceptions, contracept their marital vocation out of existence; older folks who, under the lifelong influence of the capitalist secularism that animates contemporary America, attend church because it’s a good habit, like brushing one’s teeth or wearing clean clothes. Hardly anyone is morally prepared for prayer and hardly anyone actually prays — an unmistakable sign of which is the unstoppable chitchat that pervades the church before the “gathering hymn” fills the electrified air and that resumes right after the “scattering hymn” is over and the altar girls are on their way out. In between was the obligatory reception of a wafer in the hands, for some strange reason that no one can quite explain, except that it’s got something to do with belonging.
Apart from exceptional clergy touched by the beneficent dew of Tradition, the priest who heads this congregation — or, shall we say, who presides over this assembly — may be worse off than his flock. It’s possible he neither prays his breviary nor does daily mental prayer; perhaps he does not pray or study much at all, which would explain the shallow, vaguely relevant, vaguely left-leaning homilies. His life is busy but superficial. He runs a strong risk of being trapped in one form of immorality or another, be it rampant gossip, entertainment-saturated indolence, self-indulgence at the table, attachment to drink, or worse vices that shall remain unnamed. In sum: the people are lost, confused, surrendered to the all-pervasive secularism, and so is their priest, except that he can hide it better. Nay, he has often gone one step further: invoking Vatican II, he magically makes lack of faith, lack of doctrine, lack of morals, and lack of solemn liturgy sound like a pious accommodation to the modern world. Like the diversity of religions, such accommodation is, after all, willed by God.
In this vast vacuum of intellect, this abandoned mortuary of prayer, this limp indulgence of weak will, is it any wonder that divine worship has all but disappeared? Any wonder it has been replaced by a cringeworthy show of self-absorption and self-adulation week after week, vividly symbolized by the lack of quiet prayer before Mass, the socializing pandemonium at the Sign of Peace, and the grating sound of trivial chatter in the church the moment Father leaves? It is hard to see any adoration of God going on here; it is a monotonous and flaccid exercise in man-made ritual, a liturgy “of the people, by the people, for the people.” It lacks the healthy fear of uncivilized superstition, the rich mystery of the unknown and invisible, the luminous beauty of traditional theocentric ritual accompanied by poignant gestures, chants at once soaring and serene, the burning of candles and incense, whispers and silence. The Mass as it had been prayed and embellished by saints over generations, centuries, almost millennia — this Mass was thrown away, replaced overnight with a committee’s turgid banality. We are reaping the sickly fruits of this satanic parody of Tradition; the sickliest of them all is Francis’s Traditionis Custodes, the Latin title of which could perfectly well be translated “Prison-guards of Betrayal.” To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Medjugorje or Fatima? (Brian M. McCall)
Donal Anthony Foley has recently published a thorough examination of the strange history of alleged apparitions in Medjugorje—Medjugorje Complete: The Definitive Account of the Visions and Visionaries (Angelico Press, 2021). Foley has already written several other texts (appearing in multiple languages) about these events that have preoccupied many Catholics for the past 40 years. This volume contains a comprehensive evaluation of the alleged apparitions and the characters that form its story. His conclusion is that Medjugorje is “a spiritual malaise which is damaging the Church.” In particular, his overarching concern is that it is drawing the faithful away from the yet-unfulfilled messages of Fatima, by which the triumph of the Immaculate Heart will be achieved.
Although Foley makes his conclusions crystal clear, he writes not only for Medjugorje critics but supporters as well. He assembles hundreds of pages of evidence, including over 40 pages of endnotes to build the case that the alleged apparitions must be condemned (although the positive fruits associated with it need to be properly redirected).
The Alleged Apparitions — But of What?
The text comprehensively describes the alleged apparitions that commenced in 1981 and their subsequent history. In evaluating the alleged events, Foley’s extensive knowledge of approved Marian apparitions is central. Throughout his text, he contrasts the Medjugorje events with Lourdes, Rue de Bac, La Salette, and Fatima. The comparison demonstrates that on almost every level Medjugorje is not like the others. The behavior of the vision, the effects upon the alleged visionaries, and the “message” all contrast with the well-established pattern of authentic apparitions. The Medjugorje apparitions have more in common with another questionable alleged apparition, that in Garabandal, Spain, than with any of the approved apparitions. For example, according to the visionaries the behavior of the image they claim to have seen is inconsistent with the manner in which Our Lady would appear and has appeared. Foley points out that the Medjugorje lady laughs and chit-chats about unimportant events (such as soccer matches) and essentially blathers on extensively. In contrast, the Blessed Mother was always composed and majestic and spoke concisely to St. Bernadette, St. Catherine Labouré, and the Fatima children. In fact, he demonstrates that there is no overall “message” of Medjugorje. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
The New “Woke” Department of Defense (Gary Taphorn)
What is it about Democratic presidents and the military? For the last half century, every Democrat who has occupied the White House has, in one way or another, undermined the morale of American troops in uniform and/or degraded the institutional moral standards of the Department of Defense (DoD). Before we consider the disturbing record of the early Biden Administration, let’s take a brief look at the dubious (or worse) records of his Democratic predecessors in the White House.
Johnson and Carter
We can begin with Lyndon Johnson, whose mismanagement of the war in Vietnam was responsible at one point for the incredible number of over 540,000 American troops in theater. (By comparison, the worldwide end strength for today’s Regular Army is only 480,000.) LBJ’s policies were principally responsible for the eventual death of some 58,000 American military personnel as well as the seismic civil unrest on the American home front, much of which played out during the Nixon Administration. Just as important, Johnson’s policies resulted in widespread American distrust of its military, as well as the abolition of the military draft, the great leveler among American youth across all social and economic classes.
We now fast-forward to 1977 and the Jimmy Carter Administration. Carter’s most significant action impacting the military was his executive order, just days after his inauguration, issuing a blanket pardon to the so-called draft-dodgers of the Vietnam War era. While a case can be made that Carter’s action helped heal the nation’s wounds from Vietnam, it was nonetheless a noteworthy victory for civil disobedience, a unilateral concession to some 100,000 young men who shrank from their legal responsibility as citizens, and (given the sad results of Vietnam) an implied admission that they may have known better than their government. Carter’s record in office, even as an Annapolis graduate and formal naval officer, caused many to question his concern for military readiness. Of note was his firing of Army General John Singlaub in 1977, after the general publicly warned of the dangers of Carter’s plan to unilaterally withdraw U.S. forces from Korea. Fairly or not, Carter’s term in the White House was also plagued by many criticisms of a “hollow Army.” The president’s feckless response to the Iran hostage situation, which consumed virtually his entire last year in office, seemed to highlight a muscle-bound and incompetent military. In April 1980, Carter’s daring rescue attempt of 52 American hostages failed dramatically with the collision of several American aircraft on the floor of the Iranian desert and the death of eight U.S. servicemen. For some, it was a fitting end to the Carter Administration, which had underestimated foreign threats and taken its armed forces for granted. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Catholic Race Theory: True Brotherhood Among All God’s Children (Stephen Kokx and Daniel Vasko)
From school boards to Capitol Hill, Critical Race Theory is being jammed down the throats of ordinary Americans for a very specific purpose. Racial tension is essential for the Marxist, Democratic agenda, of which the Deep State and corporate media are sinisterly intertwined.
What is desperately needed in order to effectively combat this diabolical ideology is a Catholic Race Theory, a view of the origins of peoples rooted in the divinely revealed truth that all of mankind descend from one of the three sons of Noah — Shem, Ham, and Japheth — and are designed by God to complement each other in supernatural fraternity, both in civil and ecclesial society, until the Second Coming of Christ.
Modern Churchmen Are Part of the Problem
Fewer things have been more politicized and exacerbated in recent decades than the issue of race. Leftist indoctrination of the youth is being used not only for the endless expansion of social welfare programs but also for the destabilization of social order and state sovereignty, as exemplified in the movement to defund police departments in recent years.
What’s more, groups like Black Lives Matter have stated that one of their primary aims is the eradication of the family unit, which is understood by Christians to be the “domestic church.”
Opposition to fundamental tenants of English common law, as well as to the most basic principles that underlie Western Civilization, are also found among Critical Race Theory’s loudest proponents.
Through it all, modern churchmen have, for the most part, joined the chorus of globalist mantras that have come to dominate the topic. “Systemic racism,” “racial equity,” and “social justice” are just a few of the buzzwords Catholic laity and clergy have been seen uttering in the last several months.
Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, for instance, has frequently invoked these slogans in recent years. On August 7, Cupich’s fellow pro-LGBT prelate John Stowe, Bishop of Lexington, Kentucky, delivered a talk entitled “Why Black Lives Matter: A Catholic Perspective on Racism” to his diocese. The lecture sounded exactly like what you’d expect for someone who attended the liberal Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California.
But in response to men like Stowe and Cupich, “conservative Catholics” have not provided a robust theory on race relations either. Overall, it seems as though Catholics have been caught flatfooted on the issue and are not equipped to think about race from a truly Christian perspective. Whereas liberal clergy repeat whatever the dominant cultural and media talking points are on race at any given moment, conservative organizations like the Cardinal Newman Society have done little more than make general allusions to how “the dignity of the human person” requires Christians to make society more respectful of all God’s children. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Economics as Moral Science: A Thomistic Perspective, Part I (Daniel Gutschke, Ph.D.)
There is a tendency in modern times to see economics as a science independent from moral philosophy. According to this view, the attempt to impose moral restrictions upon economic activity constitutes illegitimate interference with the natural workings of the market. Such interference will, it is claimed, adversely affect the overall productivity of the community.
According to St. Thomas Aquinas, economics is a branch of moral philosophy, and is thus governed by the requirements of virtue and the common good. This paper will consider some of the implications of this view, and will be divided into five sections. In the first, we will consider the subject of moral philosophy according to St. Thomas, namely, human action as ordered to an end. In the second, we will discuss the place of economics within moral philosophy. In the third, we will examine the purpose and limits of the acquisition of wealth. In the fourth, we will consider the role played by commutative justice in the governance of man’s economic life. In the fifth, we will observe how commutative justice must ultimately be rooted in distributive justice.
The Subject of Moral Philosophy: Human Action Ordered to an End
In his commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, St. Thomas distinguishes different sciences according to the various types of order that they study. According to St. Thomas, “it is proper to moral philosophy … to consider human operations insofar as they are ordered to one another and to an end.” Thus, St. Thomas concludes that “the subject of moral philosophy is human actions ordered to an end, or even man, as he is an agent voluntarily acting for an end.” The ultimate aim of moral philosophy is to enable man to order his actions toward his ultimate end, in which his true happiness consists.
Because the subject of moral philosophy is human action, we must understand what constitutes a truly human action. Because the defining characteristic of man is rationality, only those actions which proceed from reason and will are human actions in the strict sense. According to St. Thomas, “those actions are properly called human which proceed from a deliberate will. And if any other actions are found in man, they can be called actions of a man, but not properly human actions, since they are not proper to man as man.” This distinction determines the scope of moral philosophy. Because moral philosophy has as its subject human action, it will consider all and only those actions which proceed from man’s reason and will.
It is significant that St. Thomas describes the subject of moral philosophy as human action “ordered to an end.” St. Thomas maintains that “every agent, of necessity, acts for an end.” Whereas non-rational agents tend toward their respective ends simply through natural inclination, “those things that are possessed of reason, move themselves to an end.” It is the ability of man to move himself to an end that gives rise to moral philosophy. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Defending the Truth of Our Lady of Fatima, Part VI (Marianna Bartold)
As I stated in my 2014 book, Fatima: The Signs and Secrets: “Our Lady of Fatima has waited almost 100 years for a reigning Pope to heed her requests for the following: (1) worldwide devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, (2) papal promulgation of the Five First Saturdays of reparation for the five major blasphemies committed against the Virgin’s Immaculate Heart, (3) the public dissemination of the Third Secret Text, and (4) the solemn and public collegial consecration of Russia (and Russia alone) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
The collegial consecration of Russia is heaven’s “foremost request,” which is another truth to which I’ve frequently drawn attention. That is a historical fact, just as it is a fact that “only a Pope can take action to fulfill the other requests of the Virgin. Only a Pope can command and lead the bishops to join him in a solemn, public act of consecration of Russia to Our Lady’s most pure Heart. Only a Pope can universally promote the Five First Saturday devotions, and now (at this point in history, since in 1957 the Vatican ordered Lucia’s bishop, who was entrusted to release the Third Secret in 1960, to send it and all other Fatima documents to Rome) only a Pope can ensure that the Third Secret Text is fully released to the entire world.”
Last month’s installment, Part V, ended with the year 1997, as follows:
October 13, 1997: On the 80th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun, a report broadcast on Italian television featured Fr. Rene Laurentin who (as stated in Part IV), during the Vatican II Council used his influence as a Mariologist to discourage the idea of the collegial consecration, had evidently further researched the topic. Surprisingly, he stated that the Third Secret “concerned deviations from the faith that would arise in the Church after Vatican II.” He was also quoted to say that “the faith is disappearing,” that “one may observe a serious crisis at the heart of the Church herself,” and that “the Third Secret does not predict a cosmic cataclysm but the crisis of the faith, the apostasy, that has supposedly struck the Church since the Second Vatican Council.” Within hours, the Italian and Portuguese press picked up the report. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
*Roman Catechism Series* The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, Who Art in Heaven (Matthew Plese)
After having systematically studied the articles of the Creed, the theology of the Sacraments, and the Ten Commandments, we now turn to the Catechism’s fourth and final part on the quintessential prayer unpinning Catholic life — the prayer which our Divine Redeemer taught us while He walked this earth. Known as “The Lord’s Prayer” or the “Our Father,” this is a prayer which all Catholics must know and should pray devoutly daily, as St. Francis de Sales observed: “One Our Father said devoutly is worth more than many prayers hurried over.”
Before considering the first words of this venerable prayer, the Roman Catechism begins with a short consideration on the merits, necessity, and qualities of prayer in general. Since prayer is such an important topic, the Catechism begins by expounding upon this necessary activity which is all too often neglected by modern man. It reiterates the importance for priests to instruct the faithful in developing an authentic prayer life:
“Whatever is necessary to the performance of the duty of prayer is comprised in that divine formula which Christ the Lord deigned to make known to His Apostles, and through them and their successors to all Christians. Its thoughts and words should be so deeply impressed on the mind and memory as to be ever in readiness.”
On the Necessity of Prayer
“Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
The goal of prayer is based on our foundational purpose in life to know, love, and serve God. When we meditate deeply on the wonder of creation, the great gift of the Incarnation, and the powerful guidance of our Blessed Lord’s life, we come to know God more fully. Prayer is our forum for communicating with and listening to Him. Prayer is our opportunity to show reverence and return love. And when we intercede for others, asking for goodness in the world, we serve Him. Far from being only a time for asking for favors, we have a duty to pray every day to honor, praise, worship, and glorify God. Along with prayers of adoration and petition, prayers of thanksgiving and contrition should likewise be offered on a regular basis. As such, prayer may take the form of adoration, thanksgiving, confession, or supplication.
Since prayer is essential for preserving and increasing the life of grace in our souls, we can rightly affirm that it is “necessary to the Christian,” as the Roman Catechism explains:
“In the first place the necessity of prayer should be insisted upon. Prayer is a duty not only recommended by way of counsel, but also commanded by obligatory precept. Christ the Lord declared this when He said: We should pray always. [Luke 18:1] This necessity of prayer the Church points out in the prelude, if we may so call it, which she prefixes to the Lord’s Prayer: Admonished by salutary precepts, and taught by divine instruction, we presume to say, etc.
To Jesus through Mary: Embracing Marian Spirituality (Amanda Evinger)
Some days, when I finger the gold-gilded edges of my well-worn copy of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and begin to savor its numinous words, I am awe-struck by the goodness of Almighty God. I never fathomed I would be at this point in my spiritual life, where praying the Little Office was a crucial part of my daily routine — something I couldn’t imagine living without. For much of my life, in fact, I never imagined that the Blessed Mother would have any role in my prayer life whatsoever. The very thought of having anything to do with the Mother of Jesus used to terrify me, given that I grew up in a staunchly Dutch Calvinist home. My grandfather was a Calvinist Reformed minister, and my father is an immigrant from the Netherlands who served as an Elder in the Independent Reformed Church. All throughout my life, I had heard that any prayerful communication with anyone other than “The Lord” was an idolatrous, abominable sin in the sight of God. I had been given the impression that the name of Mary was better left unmentioned, lest one sin gravely by worshiping her “as the Catholics do.” The Calvinist services we attended often had 45-minute-long sermons which featured furious preaching on how we who are “predestined” must work to save Catholics from the damnation they will receive if they continue to offend the Lord through their heinous worship of “golden calf” statues. We were told that the Catholic Mass was the epitome of idolatry and sacrilege because it involved “crucifying” Jesus over and over.
With much agony of heart, I remember the day I purposely broke a lovely rosary and threw it in the trash. I had been studying for a semester at Reformed Bible College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, while earning a Bachelor’s Degree with a dual major in Theology and Spanish. The semester was very intense to say the least. The studies themselves were smooth sailing — a couple of easy courses on Biblical theology, a class on the “Reformation”, and a few others designed to prepare me for life as a Protestant missionary. Even though I was coasting through the semester and getting all A’s, my interior life was turning totally upside down. With melancholic scrutiny, I began to question nearly everything I thought I knew about Christianity. When one of my professors (most of them were Reformed pastors) said anything against the Catholic Faith (which happened very often), I felt led to look into it as thoroughly as I possibly could. One minute I was answering my professor’s questions about the importance of Sola Scriptura or singing hymns written by Martin Luther, and the next moment I was desperately looking for a private place to pray and pour out my confused, utterly helpless heart to Jesus Christ. One moment I longed to pray the Holy Rosary that I had encountered years ago, and the next minute, well… I was throwing rosaries in the garbage out of fear of partaking in idolatry.
My First Exposure to Genuine Marian Devotion
You see, during the two summers before I went to Bible college, I volunteered to help at a Catholic clinic in Blythe, California, a small prison town which borders the Mojave Desert. The clinic was run by a saintly medical doctor who had transformed his own home to use as the clinic, in which he would treat sick people day and night, “by donation only.” The doctor’s devotion to Christ and the Blessed Mother impressed me so much that it illuminated the authenticity of Catholicism. In short, this doctor was definitely the “real deal.” As I went about my theological studies, the memory of this doctor haunted me — in a good sort of way. Above all, his fervent devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Mother spoke volumes to my searching soul. He prayed all 15 decades of the Rosary daily, made novenas to the Blessed Mother at the gravestones of deceased friends, visited the Most Blessed Sacrament in between visiting his patients, loved the Traditional Latin Mass, and had holy images and candles all over his clinic-home. Furthermore, a number of the Mexican Catholics he helped at his clinic held a sincere loyalty to La Guadalupana in the depth of their souls. They often gathered with us to pray the Rosary, and I was amazed at how child-like their spirituality was. With great faith, they entrusted many of their spiritual and temporal needs to the Blessed Mother, simply believing that she would take care of everything for them. Even though most of them were living well below the poverty level, had close relatives in prison, and were suffering from many health problems, they carried an unmistakable peace and joy within them — one that seemed to emanate the spirit of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Whom many of them received daily. To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition
SSPX Superior General Responds to Traditionis Custodes: We Must “Renew, Deepen, and Rediscover Our Attachment to the Tridentine Mass!”(Brian M. McCall)
Fr. Davide Pagliarani, the fourth Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, has released an official response to the Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes that effectively nullifies most of Summorum Pontificum. Fr. Pagliarani comments as one interested in but not impacted by the brutal stroke of the Dictator Pope.
He opens his letter (full text below) by noting that the “measures do not directly affect the Society of Saint Pius X.” It does not affect the SSPX directly because they have always adhered exclusively to the entire liturgical tradition before the 1984 indult, before the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei, and before Summorum Pontificum. In fact, the previous Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, made clear that when he required the Vatican to confirm that every priest has the right to offer the traditional liturgy before commencing any discussions on canonical regularization with Rome, he made this demand not for the Society but for the rest of the Church. Summorum Pontificum changed nothing directly for the SSPX. Bishop Fellay praised Benedict XVI’s actions (notwithstanding the obvious flaws in the text) because it would raise awareness of the traditional rites among diocesan and religious clergy, not because it did anything for the Society he governed.
Traditionis Custodes and SSPX: Does the Document Affect the Society?
Yet, Traditionis Custodes will indirectly affect the Society in two ways, one of which Fr. Pagliarani notes in his response. The members of the Society, to whom his text is primarily addressed, must assist the rest of the Church in this time of persecution by keeping hope alive as they will remain a sign of contradiction, demonstrating that the Mass will never disappear and by helping Catholics who refuse to be persecuted by Francis. He explains: “The Society of Saint Pius X has the duty to assist all those souls who are currently in dismay and are confused. Firstly, we have the duty to offer them the certitude that the Tridentine Mass can never disappear from the face of the earth. This is an absolutely necessary sign of hope. Moreover, each of us, whether priest or faithful, must extend a warm helping hand to them, for he who has no desire to share the riches he enjoys is, in all truth, unworthy of possessing them.” All of those souls who have found the true Mass thanks to Summorum Pontificum will now be forced “to draw all the consequences of what they have discovered” and, as a result, “they must now choose.” Prior to July 16, 2021, offering the Traditional Mass was in general free of consequences; now it will require an act of heroic courage. We must assist and support those heroes who will choose wisely.
The second effect, although not noted in the text, is fairly obvious. All of the speculation that he will sign an “agreement’ with Francis to affirm the canonical status of the SSPX in the Church has been consigned to history. Through Bishop Fellay, the Society made clear 20 years ago that the key provisions of Summorum Pontificum were a prerequisite to any discussion of an agreement. With that precondition swept aside, all this distracting speculation on the topic is also swept away. There will be no legal correction of the unjust and ineffective suppression of the SSPX under Traditionis Custodes. Most obviously, any assurances in an agreement that the SSPX would be guaranteed use of the traditional rites is now not even worth the paper upon which it would be written. Francis has just proven Archbishop Lefebvre’s concern in 1988 to be fully justified: the Roman authorities cannot be trusted to keep their word. He proceeded to the consecrations of the bishops because he believed Rome would never fulfill its promise to specify a date on which the consecrations could occur. Likewise, now any promises of the Vatican in any agreement lack any reliability. To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition