Distinguish, Discriminate posted in Eleison Comments on December 17, 2016
If the evidence, apparently serious, for Eucharistic miracles taking place within the Novus Ordo Mass (NOM) is to be believed – and such miracles may even be happening frequently, one of the latest seeming to come from Legnica, also in Poland (see here) on Christmas Day of 2013 – then indeed some of us may need to do some rethinking. Here is how one reader put it: “God cannot contradict himself, so his miracles cannot contradict his Church’s teaching. But the NOM does depart from essential Catholic doctrine on the Mass. Therefore either the miracles are false or the NOM is from God, in which case what is the justification for Traditionalists clinging to Tradition? For if the NOM at the heart of the Newchurch is confirmed by miracles, then the Newchurch is also confirmed by God, and the Newpopes, and I have to obey them. I cannot pick and choose, can I?” Yes, you can, and not only you can, but you must, in order to fulfil your absolute duty to keep the Faith.
That is because another name for what you call “picking and choosing” is “distinguishing.” All of us need to distinguish all day long. That is common sense, and that is what St Thomas Aquinas does from beginning to end of his miraculous Summa Theologiae. Let us take a closer look at our friend’s argument.
The basic bone of contention is the NOM. The NOM is a rite of Mass, a book of hundreds if not a thousand pages, containing many things. From a Catholic standpoint the rite as a whole is unquestionably bad, because it radically changes the concept of the Mass from being a propitiatory sacrifice centred on God to being a community meal centred on man. As such, since most Catholics live their religion by attending Mass, then when its concept changes, their religion in effect changes. That is why the NOM is the principal destroyer of the true Church, and the main engine of the Newchurch. That is why the NOM as a whole is not only bad, but very bad indeed.
But that does not mean that all its parts, as parts, are bad. As parts, some are still Catholic because they had to be, in order to deceive the mass of priests when the NOM was introduced in 1969, that it was not essentially different from the Tridentine rite of Mass, especially in the Consecration. Otherwise they would have refused it, and it could not have done its work of destroying the Church. So the NOM is, as to its parts, part good and part bad, while as a whole, it is ambiguous, treacherous, a crooked piece of work.
However, as for men, “to the pure all things are pure” ( Titus I, 15), and so to innocent souls not yet aware of its intrinsic danger for the Faith, it can by its Consecration and good parts, still give grace and spiritual nourishment, especially when these are less strangled by a priest making the ambiguities as Catholic as possible. And as for God, he “writes straight with crooked lines,” says the proverb, and so the bad parts of the NOM need not stop him from working miracles with the Catholic parts to nourish the innocent and to warn the guilty.
Therefore on the one hand the NOM as a whole is very bad, and Traditionalists are absolutely necessary to the Church to witness to its badness, and to make available a true Mass for when souls wake up to the NOM’s badness, as they do at different times and different speeds, so that such souls can keep the Faith and last out the crisis. On the other hand the NOM is in parts still good enough to nourish innocent souls and to enable God to work miracles, also for souls’ nourishment or for their warning. God is not thereby confirming either the NOM as a whole, or the Newchurch as a whole, or the Newpopes as a whole, but he is relying on me to use my brain and the Faith which he gave me to discern good from bad. He wants no mindless robots in his glorious Heaven!