Thursday, December 23, 2021

Francis the Festivus Pope

 Airing grievances.

Not really - at least I don't read him that way.  I happen to love his sober calls to conversion right before Christmas - for all of us - not just the Curia. Sadly, others think he's mean, I don't - but I'm a Seinfeld fan and my humor is a bit dark.

ROME — Pope Francis on Dec. 23 told members of the Vatican bureaucracy that their work should be guided by humility and service, not a "spiritual worldliness" masked by liturgy, doctrine and religious devotion.

In his annual pre-Christmas address to a room full of men often dubbed as "princes of the church," the pope told the cardinals and bishops who work in the Vatican that it was time to "discard the trappings of our roles, our social recognition and the glitter of this world" and to adopt humility. 

In past years, Francis has not hesitated to use his annual speech to lash out at Vatican officials for blocking his reform efforts and to criticize the spiritual "diseases" that he believes hamper their work. In this year's address, however, the pope took on a more pastoral tone, offering a reflection on the Old Testament figure of Naaman, an accomplished military commander who had leprosy. 

"His armor that had won him renown, in reality covered a frail, wounded and diseased humanity," said Francis. "Sometimes great gifts are the armor that covers great frailties. Naaman came to understand a fundamental truth: we cannot spend our lives hiding behind armor, a role we play, or social recognition." 

Christmas, Francis said during the 45-minute address, is a time to "find the courage to take off our armor." 

"Once we strip ourselves of our robes, prerogatives, positions and titles, all of us are lepers in need of healing," he said. - NCR

I love this Pope! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

So. Let's take a closer look.

Resisting the Pope to his face?

Two issues caught my attention, as readers know: The reactions by some contemplative nuns to the document Cor Orans and the implementation of its guidelines. And, the reactions of Traditionalists devoted to the TLM and their outright rejection of Traditionis Custodes and the implementation of the disciplines proposed.

First let me say I do have sympathy for those attached to the TLM and the rubrics and sacramental rite involved therein.  I respect their attachment to Latin and ceremony.  I personally love the Mass celebrated so elegantly and mysteriously, especially on Christmas and Easter, yet I also love very much the OF and the vernacular - which is always well celebrated in the parishes I attend.  Thus I don't see the problem between the two - it is the Mass.  Up until now, it was understood as one rite under two forms.  The only difference I felt was wanting is that the calendar was not updated for the TLM to include new saints and that the readings were not the same as in the OF.  

That said, I came across an article at Crisis which helped me understand better the affliction felt by ordinary Catholics who love the TLM.  The article by Sean McClinch, It's Time to Occupy the Churches is not something I would promote, but it helped me understand a bit better the passionate response traditionalists have.  His citation of occupying the churches relates to the events in France and can be linked to the history of the SSPX, when Parisian traditionalists did just that.  His position and proposals sound similar.  Which is an unfortunate position, to be sure,

On April 12, 1977, Parisian traditionalists got sick of worshipping in the community hall the petty New Church bureaucrats relegated to them for the celebration of their banned Mass. So they did what any decent, God-fearing Catholics should – they processed into the church of St. Nicholas with priests, occupied it, and stayed there. Every living Trad should know by heart the exchange that occurred between the parish clergyman of St. Nicholas du Chardonnet and one of the occupying priests. - Sean McClinch

The SSPX influence, especially the doctrine of Archbishop Lefebvre can't be obfuscated.  Many, perhaps most of the adherents to the TLM, be they SSPX or FSSP  tend to believe what Lefebvre taught about VII and the NO:

"Now it was during the Council that the enemies of the Church infiltrated Her, and their first objective was to demolish and destroy the Mass insofar as they could." - 50th Jubilee sermon.
Like I said, I have some sympathy for McClinch and those like him.  I lived through wreckovations of churches and experimentation in liturgical forms, changing readings and responses at Mass, and so on.  When JPII came along, the liturgical rubrics and orthodoxy was more or less restored.  My Archdiocese is especially blessed with good priests and bishops - the younger ones more traditional than their seniors, but very good nonetheless.  All the renovations after the Council were imposed - parishioners had no say in how the parish church was modernized.  All I'm trying to say is that I understand how traditionalists feel, yet I, along with many faithful older people, went through it.  We maybe had to ask a progressive priest to give us absolution in confession, and sometimes we could only be sure we were receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ because at least the Consecration, the words of institution were said properly.  Yet we persevered, said our penance after confession and spent a long time in thanksgiving after Communion.  That's all - I just want to acknowledge that I get it.

Father Ducaud-Bourget (center), accompanied by a thousand traditionalists,
 occupied the Church of Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet in Paris back in 1977.

With few exceptions, it was never about the Liturgy.

I implied that in another post, writing:  "The rejection of the NO is directly linked to the rejection of the Council, and it leads to rejection of Papal/Magisterial authority and threatens the unity of the Church, which is in virtual schism at the moment because the propagandists have rejected Peter – like it or not, Pope Francis."  That is what this is all about.  I've already made too long of a post so I will just post a couple excerpts from articles I feel help me make my point.  The first from Larry Chap.  I admire him very much, I don't take as critical a stance of Pope Francis as does he, but I respect his POV and appreciate his gallantry in expressing his position so respectfully.

I am reminded of an excellent essay by Shaun Blanchard in Catholic Life Journal wherein he says something that I think is entirely correct: Traditionis Custodes was never about liturgy at all. What we are witnessing with regard to the recent “clarification” is not about the so-called “liturgy wars” but is instead about Vatican II and its interpretation. You can access Blanchard’s marvelous essay here. It is all worth reading, but for me here is the most salient thing he says:

“No single English word encapsulates the concept I am trying to convey, but thankfully the Germans have a word for everything. I believe Pope Francis’ motu proprio is the latest in a long series of papal assertions of Deutungshoheit over the legacy of Vatican II. Literally “interpretation-sovereignty,” to have Deutungshoheit means to have sovereignty over a narrative, which is the power to control meaning. Pope Francis’s many and virulent critics (my fellow Americans are especially numerous and sometimes vicious in this regard) typically see dangerous innovation and glaring discontinuities littered throughout his pontificate.”

In other words, Traditionis Custodes is about whose interpretation of the post-conciliar reforms will be ascendent in the Church going forward, and the Pope making it clear that he wants it to be his vision of the Council and not that of the traditionalists. - Read the rest here.



Pope Francis is not the destroyer.

There is a false prophecy attributed to Francis of Assisi that Pope Francis is the destroyer Pope.  I'm convinced many traditionalists and even contemplative monastics believe this.  Especially as it concerns "Cor Orans" IMPLEMENTING INSTRUCTIONOF THE APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION “VULTUM DEI QUAERERE” ON WOMEN’S CONTEMPLATIVE LIFE.

From Archbishop Vigano, to former members of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, and some Discalced Carmelite nuns, rumor and fears are promulgated that the Holy See - Pope Francis himself is out to destroy contemplative life in the Church.  The notion defies reason and is based upon rumor, lies, conspiracy theories concerning infiltration as well as apocalyptic paranoia.  There is so much misinformation circulating regarding contemplative communities of nuns. I can't help connect this to the recent outcry against the discipline imposed upon the TLM, which so many claim is spiritually abusive.  That said, I will link to a couple excerpts from Where Peter Is and the fifth article in a series defending contemplative life, Welcome the Light, by Sr. Gabriella Hicks, OCD.

Sr. Gabriella's series is surprisingly candid and direct, unusual in my experience for a Carmelite, but very welcome to better understand what has been going on and clearing away so much of the misinformation circulating on the subject.  I don't have a direct quote but even H.M. St. Teresa of Avila remarked that outsiders, lay people and even clerics do not understand the inner workings of religious communities - which may explain why clergy like Vigano have such a deranged view of things. 

"Spiritual abuse is especially rampant in communities with sectarian aberrations. As Dom Dysmas de Lassus wrote, “in the Culture of Lies, we are touching on an element that is omnipresent in communities with sectarian aberrations.”
I posted the Open Letter to Archbishop Vigano on our website on October 4, and on the same day LifeSiteNews posted an article about the chaplain at the Fairfield Carmel, Fr. Maximilian Mary Dean. The article presented an interview with Fr. Dean which had been made over a month before. As I read the article and watched the interview, I was shocked to read Fr. Dean’s report of the meeting we Carmelite Nuns had with our former Father General and members of the Definitory (the governing body) in St. Louis in April 2017. In the interview, Fr. Dean claimed that the Father General said “that the times have changed and that they, contemplative, cloistered nuns, need to adapt to the times… that they can’t live the way they were living before.”
This was totally incorrect. Immediately, some of us who were present went online to say so. Although Fr. Dean said, “I heard some reports from what took place at the meeting, he didn’t say where he got his information. Since both Mother Stella-Marie, the Prioress of Fairfield Carmel, and Mother Therese, the Sub-Prioress, were present at the meeting[i], as well as Mother Agnes, the Sub-Prioress of Valparaiso, they could have told him directly what was said. The full address of Father General is available online (you can read it here). In his address he did not say anything about needing to “adapt to the times,” but that we need to respond to “the challenges that the times we live in present to contemplative life.” Furthermore, he affirmed and upheld “the truth of our vocation, the truth of Carmel, of its message, of its extraordinary pertinence for modern times.” Moreover, all the conferences and question-and-answer periods were recorded on video, so it is easy to establish the truth. - Read more here.

Sorry for the long post - I just wanted to document these thoughts for my own reference and share them with you.  Beware 'sectarian aberrations'.  Avoid lies and concocted myths meant to destabilize the Church, parishes, religious communities and families.  Do not follow false apparitions and prophecies - remember, as with Fatima, it is the Church which is responsible for the interpretation and approval of all alleged prophecies, locutions, apparitions and heavenly messages. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

Francis, The Grinch Who Stole the TLM...

But the Whos lacked meekness and rebelled and remained obstinate in their resistance.

Seriously, the Pope stole nothing and he's not the Grinch and Trads are not Who-villagers.  Their reaction to Responsa ad dubia of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on some provisions of the Apostolic Letter in the form of "Motu Proprio" Traditionis Custodes of the Supreme Pontiff Francis, 18.12.2021 definitely is not like the citizens of Whoville.  They act as if the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Eucharist has been taken from them - which is completely untrue.  After all, the Ordinary Form is the Mass, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ remains in the Eucharist reserved in tabernacles throughout the world, the sacraments of the Novus Ordo are indeed valid and remain "an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace"  - and they are efficacious.

The reactions have been mindboggling and far more baffling than anything Pope Francis has decreed.  I'll make this short and simply share some commentary I posted yesterday on FB and in emails.

In response to The Crisis article: The Spiritual Abuse Continues.

Talk about a Woke Catholicism, using the 'spiritual abuse - abusive father' trope is wearing thin. I disagree with this article. The author is wrong. 
The Holy Father does not hate the TLM or Latin, much less any Roman Catholic. That is a childish thing to say. Every pope since Paul VI has been intent upon implementing Vatican II and renewing the liturgical rites. It’s absurd to look upon the pope as an abusive father, or a tyrant making war? How far off have people been led astray? How is it so many have been deceived to believe such nonsense? Even if these new regulations are difficult for some, they must be perceived in charity and meekness and understood as discipline – not punishment or revenge – for the good of the Church. It's a discipline from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Discipline - not abuse. 
I urge people to pray and read. Read the documents from Vatican II. Read the words of the Popes. Especially read St. Paul VI on the new Missal. Read Scripture. Perhaps keep in mind the following exhortation of St. Paul to the Hebrews. 
"In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons: “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.” Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are without discipline, in which all have shared, you are not sons but bastards." - - Hebrews 12

 I posted some reactions by Traditionalists, which I find scandalous and genuinely spiritually abusive.*

"Our opinion: in the midst of the gigantic crisis afflicting the Church in the West, including the crisis of attendance following the pandemic, that this violence is the priority of the Vatican is very revealing. It is revealing of the false mercy of this Evil Shepherd elected by irresponsible Cardinals in 2013. It is revealing of the spirit of spite that reigns in this totalitarian pontificate. It is revealing of the disgusting presence of Satan in the middle of the Church. 
Benedict XVI had brought liturgical peace to the Church. An end to the liturgical wars. The current pope has chosen to reignite them. There is no logical reason for that. Just an underlying desire for division and violence. 
Despite it all, this shall pass. This grotesque spectacle of a pontificate will come to an end. The Traditional Rite has not seen its last chapter, certainly not under this charade of a ruler, a caricature of a comical Latin American caudillo! No, no, if Paul VI in all his power and the great power of the Council in the 1970s was not able to crush us, this clique of geriatric marauders will certainly not succeed. Just hang on. Time is on our side." - New Catholic at Rorate 
Others appear to be equally upset. In fact, Fr. Z thinks the whole thing is a lie - imagine that. The Holy See lying to the faithful... how did he come to this? Publicly calling the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments liars, deceiving the faithful. Imagine a priest in good standing doing such a thing.
"I must say that, reading through the questions, I have a very hard time believing that these are actual questions that came from outside the Congregation, unless they were collaborations, like that risible exchange between the Prefect and the Archbishop of Westminster. I strongly suspect that the “dubia” were concocted inside the Congregation. I also do not believe for a nanosecond that the “survey” sent to bishops came back with even a sliver of evidence that something had gone awry with Summoum Pontificum. In essence, I suspect that we are being lied to. They are simply imposing their will." - Fr. Z "I’m dubious about the dubia."

* I have found trads to be genuinely spiritually abusive.  A friend commented that he does not know of any Catholic who is fed spiritually by the Extraordinary Form who hates the Ordinary Form.  While others insist Trads are welcoming and not at all abusive towards ordinary Catholics.  Spiritual abuse happens when someone uses spiritual or religious beliefs to exploit, hurt, scare or control you. Discipline is not abuse.

My experience of Trads.

I know many EF adherents who hate the OF. Some are priests who celebrate the EF. The others are former co-workers at a Catholic Religious Goods company and those I knew who shopped there, who also attended another parish I belonged to. They actually said things like, “It’s probably a mortal sin to attend the NO once having found the EF/TLM.” “The NO isn’t even Catholic, it’s another religion.” In fact Steve Skojec just Tweeted that a few days ago. Others claim “The EF is holier.” “You can’t be sure the NO is valid.” “The sacraments of the old rite are valid – but there are questions regarding the NO sacraments - even some NO ordinations may not be valid because they use the new ritual.” “Holy Water blessed in the new ritual is not efficacious.” The famed exorcist Gabriele Amorth and others claimed the new ritual is not as powerful as the old. Then of course the old saying, "The devil hates Latin" repeated to convince people everything needs to be done using Latin - even the Rosary.  (Although at every approved apparition of the Mother of God, she used the vernacular.) There are many examples of this online and off over the years.  Some religious have founded monastic communities based upon the Tridentine rite in rejection of the NO.  I know because I know a few of them and have witnessed their retreat from the 'Post Vatican II' Church.  This mindset has infiltrated contemplative monasteries of nuns, as well.

The rejection of the NO is directly linked to the rejection of the Council, and it leads to rejection of Papal/Magisterial authority and threatens the unity of the Church, which is in virtual schism at the moment because the propagandists have rejected Peter – like it or not, Pope Francis. 

It’s a sign of the times.  People do their own research and come to their personal conclusions.  For instance, Trump was chosen by God to restore Christianity.  That COVID is not serious, vaccines are immoral and dangerous and evil, that a Great Reset is underway, that Francis is an anti-pope and that for over 40 years God has been offended by a bad Mass and Council, and so on.  Today many reject the canonization process and determination of sainthood, many question sacramental/liturgical validity, they claim the Mass has been taken away and that Rome is intent upon destroying contemplative monastic life.  At the same time they accuse the Pope of approving gay marriage and homosexual acts – neither is true BTW.  He’s decidedly pro-life and anti-abortion, on record numerous times calling it murder, but his enemies claim he’s lying.  So many people are deceived and misled, but they think they know more and are wiser and that the enemy is in the Church.  

The enemy is in the Church alright – and it’s not the Pope.  One particular enemy writes letters to the American church filled with conspiracy theories and spiritual abuse against the Pope.