Why Tradition?

Why Tradition? posted in Eleison Comments on August 19, 2017

If it is true that a generation of Traditional Catholics is growing up who do not know why they are Traditional, that is definitely one reason why the Society of St Pius X is “losing its savour” – see Mt. V, 13. To keep the Faith, every Catholic needs to know why he must follow Tradition. Now the Second Vatican Council was arguably the greatest single assault on Catholic Tradition in all the history of the Church. So let us look at a modernist encyclopedia’s useful ten-point summary of the new teaching of Vatican II, together with the briefest of pointers to the error in each point. The ten points are in italics, their skeletal refutation follows immediately each point:—

1 The Church is, first and foremost, a mystery, or sacrament, and not primarily an organisation or institution. “Mystery” and “sacrament” are deliberately vague words to get away from the Church’s structure, but Our Lord clearly instituted Peter to lead His Apostles and disciples in the saving of souls. Peter is Pope, and in St Paul’s Epistles clearly Apostles become bishops and disciples become priests.

2 The Church is the whole people of God, not just the hierarchy, clergy and religious. Of course the Catholic Church includes all Catholics as well as priests, but the priests are its backbone, or structure.

3 The Church’s mission includes action on behalf of justice and peace and is not limited to the preaching of the Word and the celebration of the sacraments. Doctrine and sacraments are the basic means by which the Catholic Church has contributed more than anybody or anything to justice and peace in the world.

4 The Church includes all Christians and is not limited to the Catholic Church. Non-catholic “Christians” can never be truly Christian, because they reject more or less of what Our Lord instituted.

5 The Church is a communion, or college, of local churches, which are not simply administrative subdivisions of the Church Universal. Today’s chaos in “local churches” all over the world proves how they absolutely need to be united and administered by a sane Universal Pope in Rome.

6 The Church is an eschatological community; it is not yet the Kingdom of God. Wherever souls are in the state of grace, there God is King, not only in Heaven but also already here below on earth.

7 The lay apostolate is a direct participation in the apostolate of the Church and not simply a sharing in the mission of the hierarchy. As a human body needs both skeleton and flesh, so the Mystical Body of the Church needs both clergy and laity (cf. I Cor. XII). Opposite errors (clericalism and laicism) are generated by exaggerating the role of either. The Church needs both.

8 There is a hierarchy of truths; not all teachings of the Church are equally binding or essential to the integrity of Catholic faith. Only non-dogmatic truths can be ranked in order of importance. All Catholic dogmas rank equally, because to deny just one is to deny God’s authority which is behind them all.

9 God uses other Christian churches and non-Christian religions in offering salvation to all mankind; the Catholic Church is not the only means of salvation. To all men alive God offers graces sufficient for salvation. These may come to men IN non-Christian religions or non-Catholic “churches,” but they can never come THROUGH anybody or anything except through Jesus Christ and His one Catholic Church.

10 The dignity of the human person and the freedom of the act of faith are the foundation of religious liberty for all, over against the view that “error has no rights.” Catholicism being the only true religion, then the only true religious liberty is the liberty to be Catholic. Error indeed has no rights.

Kyrie eleison.

P.S. On Sunday September 10, after Mass at 10h00, Dr David White will give three lectures in Broadstairs on Fr Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889), Jesuit priest and important English poet.

Double Consecration

Double Consecration posted in Eleison Comments on May 6, 2017

As a commentary upon the Consecrations of a new bishop and of Russia due to take place next week in Vienna, Virginia, on the eastern coast of the USA, here is a testimony from another reader of these “Comments,” coming from Brazil. His testimony places the Consecrations of May 11 and 12 in their context of today’s crisis of world and Church, a context which gives them neither too much nor too little importance, but highlights the central role to be played in both cases by the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He writes:—

I read you in the ‘Comments’ constantly referring to all 15 Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. In a letter from the 1930’s Sister Lucy of Fatima wrote that if only other nations like Portugal were solemnly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, then “Heaven would grant them graces as great or even greater.” Clearly God wishes to save the nations of the world through the Heart of Mary, and whoever can see that will have received a special grace from God. Yet what other nation than Portugal has performed with all its bishops such a Consecration? None that I know of.

“But if most men are not profiting by the marvels of the Immaculate Heart, She is still deigning to bestow grace upon humble layfolk, as we can testify, here in our part of Brazil. In 2011 our chapel was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart, and a chain on the wall symbolizes the holy slavery of our chapel to the Blessed Virgin. In particular for some years now we have been doing the Five First Saturdays. When we have no Mass, we do what we can with a Rosary, spiritual Communion, the 15-minute meditation on Mysteries of the Rosary and an act of reparation to the Immaculate Heart, as Our Lady asked us to do.

“Her Rosary, all 15 Mysteries, has been prayed every day since 2012 in front of the Blessed Sacrament by one group of us or another, every day, and the countless graces we have received are hardly to be believed. This Devotion of the Rosary and the First Saturdays is very special to God even in these wicked days of ours. It is the light of our times of darkness and apostasy. We need to practise the Devotion, to study the whole background of the apparitions of Fatima, and apply what we learn to our own lives and in groups of the “Resistance.”

“Given all the difficulties of living in a liberal world without Christ, given the Revolution destroying the fortress of Tradition that was the Society of St Pius X, given our own great misery and numerous sins, it would be no exaggeration to say that it is thanks to the Rosary and the First Saturdays that we are maintaining a miniature Christendom, a Catholic group with a Catholic atmosphere, with good friends and a solid and spiritual doctrinal formation, both anti-liberal and Counter-revolutionary. We have our human problems, to be sure, but we receive many graces from the Immaculate Heart. With the 15 Mysteries every day, we are witnesses to the marvels wrought by the Blessed Virgin in a person, a town, a city, even a country. Blessed be the Rosary of the Virgin Mary!”

Here are the greatness and the littleness of next week’s consecrations . The littleness lies in their helping to maintain at the humblest level, in a world given over to the Devil, corners of Christendom. Such corners are possible anywhere, and are infinitely worthwhile everywhere, because there is an infinite greatness in any contribution to the saving of souls for all eternity. And special thanks for both of the coming Consecrations go to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Kyrie eleison.

Vatican “War”

Vatican “War” posted in Eleison Comments on January 7, 2017

In today’s crisis of the Church, of an unprecedented gravity in all Church history, it is most important that Catholics should give due importance both to the Traditional movement and to the Catholic Church outside the Traditional movement. Tradition in its broadest sense, meaning everything which Our Lord entrusted to his Church to be handed down ( tradendum in Latin) to world’s end, is indispensable to the Church, and the Traditional movement has played an indispensable part in preserving Traditional doctrine and sacraments from their destruction by the Conciliar Revolution over the last half-century. But to survive, the Traditional movement had to place itself outside the normal hierarchical structure of the Church, and that structure is very much part of Tradition – “Peter, feed my sheep” (Jn XXI, 17). Therefore however deep is the Conciliar corruption in Rome, Catholics must still be looking to Rome.

Hence the interest of the following report from inside Rome by the Founder and Director of an American Novus Ordo publication, LifeSiteNews. Steve Jalsevac normally visits Rome twice a year with colleagues to talk with all kinds of contacts in Rome, the better to be able to assess how the situation in the Church is developing. From his late November visit he published on December 16 a “deeply worrying” report of his impressions of the situation in Rome today. Extracts follow:—

“Our Nov. 16–23 visit to Rome was the most dramatic of many such twice-per-year work trips we have taken there during the past 10 years. After meeting with cardinals, bishops and other Vatican agency and dicastery staff, our new Rome reporter John-Henry Westen, Jan Bentz, and I saw a consistent pattern of widespread anxiety and very real fear among faithful Church servants. We have never encountered this before. Many were afraid of being removed from their positions, fired from their jobs in Vatican agencies or of encountering severe public or private reprimands and personal accusations from those around the Pope or even from Francis himself. They are also fearful and anxious about the great damage being done to the Church and being helpless to stop it.

“. . . . Catholic universities in Rome are watched and professors’ lectures screened to ensure they fall in line with a liberal interpretation of Amoris Laetitia. Clerics are reported to Superiors if they are overheard expressing concerns about Pope Francis. Many are afraid to speak openly, even though in the past they were always very willing. Vatican reporters told us they were warned numerous times not to report on the dubia (the questions raised by Cardinal Burke and three other Cardinals as to doctrine contained in Amoris Laetitia). I have heard reports that the Vatican is like an occupied state. Certain sources I’ve spoken with have a fear that communications with Vatican officials are being monitored; some have even reported suspicious anomalies in their telephone conversations in which, after a dropped call, the audio of the last moments of their conversation has played over and over again on a loop, as though they are hearing a recording. Some individuals who work within the Vatican are advising their contacts on the outside not to share sensitive information via email or their Vatican-issued cell phones.

“We have to wonder where all of this is going. It is deeply, deeply concerning. The common phrase we kept hearing that week in Rome is that there is a “war” going on in the Church – a war of the “The Spirit of Vatican II” progressives against the orthodox Catholics. One person after another shockingly used the word “war.” I have never experienced anything like this in my lifetime and I am sure most, if not all regular LifeSite readers, can say the same thing.”

Traditionalists may say that the four Cardinals and Mr Jalsevac are victims of Vatican II, waking up a little late, but let nobody say that they do not mean or intend to be Catholic. The Church will only be healed when true Doctrine and the true Hierarchy come together again, so let Traditionalists pray urgently for these souls waking up to the Conciliar war. May God give them light and strength.

Kyrie eleison.

Archbishop’s Legacy – II

Archbishop’s Legacy – II posted in Eleison Comments on April 2, 2016

In 2012 the Archbishop’s successors at the head of his Society of St Pius X, having failed to understand his fundamental putting of Catholic Truth before Catholic Authority, claimed falsely to be following his example when at the Society’s General Chapter of that summer they prepared to put Truth back under Authority by opening the door to some political and non-doctrinal agreement with the liars of Rome – “Catholicism is Revolutionary” is a monstrous lie. For years now these successors have been spreading rumours that the agreement is imminent, but Rome has them where it wants them, by their own fault, and risks continuing to extract concessions such as, possibly, the disastrous interview of March 2 granted by the Superior General to a professional predator. Conciliar Rome never forgets what the SSPX seems no longer to want to remember – Catholic Tradition and Vatican II are absolutely irreconcilable.

However, the Archbishop has disciples who have not forgotten this. They are going under the name of the “Resistance,” which is a movement rather than an organization, as is only logical. Clinging to Truth against the false Authority both of Rome and now of the SSPX, any internal authority amongst them can at best be supplied, i.e. an abnormal authority supplied invisibly by the Church in case of emergency for the salvation of souls. But such authority, by the invisibility of its transmission (contrast the visible ceremonies by which many kinds of authority amongst men are transmitted), is that much weaker and more contestable than normal authority in the Church, which descends always, ultimately, from the Pope. Therefore the “Resistance” has the strength of Truth but a weakness of Authority normally essential to protect Catholic Truth.

Surely resistant Catholics, inside or outside of Tradition, have to take into account the many consequences of this split between Truth and Authority, imposed by Vatican II on the entire Church. God’s Supreme Shepherd being supremely struck by Conciliar folly, how can God’s sheep not be supremely scattered (cf. Zach. XIII, 7: Mt. XXVI, 31)? Not to be suffering, Catholics would have to not belong to the Catholic Church. Is that what they want? Then Catholics for the time being should be neither surprised by betrayals nor disappointed by divisions. The Devil is being given for the moment almost a free hand to cause divisions (“diabolein” in Greek), and when Catholics are all fighting for eternal salvation the divisions are frequently bitter. Patience.

Next, from Conciliar Popes there can no longer be the lifeblood of true Catholic Authority flowing down into Catholic institutions, and so Catholic persons can no longer depend upon Catholic institutions like they should normally be able to do. Rather, any such institutions have to depend for Truth upon the persons, as we have seen the SSPX depending on Archbishop Lefebvre. But persons without institutional backing or control are always liable to be fallible, and so it seems unwise to expect that any grouping of Catholics today for Truth is going to attract large numbers. Catholics may naturally long for structure, hierarchy, Superiors and obedience, but these cannot be fabricated out of thin air. Surely remnants are the order of the day. Patience.

In conclusion, Catholics striving to keep the Faith must take their well-deserved punishment, renounce all human illusions and fabrications, and beg in prayer for Almighty God to intervene. When enough souls turn to him for his solution instead of theirs, they will recognize that his Providence provided it for them in the form of the Devotion of the First Saturdays of the month, to make reparation to his Mother. For when enough reparation is made, then he will give to his Vicar on earth the grace to Consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, and then order begins to be restored, as he has promised. For the practice of that Devotion, do not miss next week’s “Comments.”

Kyrie eleison.

New Bishop

New Bishop posted in Eleison Comments on March 28, 2015

Fr. Jean-Michel Faure’s consecration as bishop at the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Brazil last week was a delightful occasion. The weather was warm and dry. The sun shone. Fr Thomas Aquinas’ monks and the nearby Sisters had excelled themselves in transforming a concrete and metal garage into a sanctuary worthy of the noble liturgy, which they had also very well prepared. Despite the late notice, a group of priests was present from all over the Americas and France, and a congregation of a hundred souls, also from many different countries, followed attentively the three-hour ceremony.

Since then all Catholics have rejoiced who see the need for at least one more bishop to help ensure the survival of a “Resistant Tradition.” Archbishop Lefebvre’s understanding of the defence of the Catholic Faith could not be left for very much longer to depend on one bishop alone. His consecration of four bishops in 1988 without Rome’s permission, by “Operation Survival” as opposed to “Operation Suicide,” had to be extended into the 21st century. Apologies go to all Catholics who would love to have attended if only they had had enough notice, but everything had to be done, including a measure of discretion, to make sure that the consecration would take place.

It had powerful adversaries. The official Church in Rome reacted by declaring the consecrator to be “automatically excommunicated,” but as in 1988 this declaration is false, because by Church Law whoever commits a punishable act does not incur the normal penalty, e.g. excommunication for consecrating a bishop without Rome’s permission, if he acted out of necessity. That is common sense, and there was certainly necessity here. As the world draws closer and closer to World War III, what individual on earth can be sure of his own survival?

Also the official Society of St Pius X in Menzingen, Switzerland, condemned Bishop Faure’s consecration in a press statement issued on the day itself. Worthy of note in it is the admission that the consecrator was excluded from the Society in 2012 because of his “vigorous criticism” of the Society’s contacts with Rome in recent years. Menzingen claimed for the longest time that the problem was one of “disobedience.” Now at last Menzingen admits that it was being steadily accused of “betraying Archbishop Lefebvre’s work.” Indeed. Betraying and destroying.

Rome itself confirms the betrayal. On the day after the consecration, Monsignor Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, besides declaring the non-existent “excommunication,” went on to say, Several meetings (between Rome and the SSPX) have taken place and more are planned with certain (Roman) prelates, to go into the problems still needing to be cleared up in a relationship of trust,” problems “doctrinal and internal to the Society.”

Monsignor Pozzo went on: The Pope is waiting for the Society to make up its mind to enter the Church, and we are always ready with a familiar canonical project (a personal prelature). A little time is needed for things to become clear within the Society and for Bishop Fellay to obtain a broad enough consensus before taking this step.

What more can anyone need to see the writing on the wall?

Kyrie eleison.

Newsociety Thinking – III

Newsociety Thinking – III posted in Eleison Comments on February 21, 2015

These “Comments” having declared (395) that the Newsociety’s First Assistant lacks doctrine, and (396) that this lack of doctrine is a problem as broad as broad can be, namely the whole of modernity against the whole of Truth, it remains now to show how this universal problem manifests itself in a series of particular errors in the interview that Fr Pfluger gave in Germany towards the end of last year. For brevity we will have to make use of the summary of his thinking (not essentially unfair) given here two weeks ago. Propositions from it are in italics:—

The Catholic Church is much broader than just the Traditional movement.

Yes, but the Traditional movement’s doctrine is no more nor less broad than the Catholic Church’s doctrine, being identical with it, and that doctrine is the heart and soul of the Traditional movement.

We will never make Tradition attractive or convincing if we remain stuck in the 1950’s or 1970’s.

To think of making Tradition “attractive or convincing” is too human a way of conceiving it. Catholic Tradition comes from God, and it has a divine power to convince and attract, so long as it is presented faithfully, without human change or alteration.

Tradition cannot be confined within the 19th and 20th century Church condemnations of liberalism.

True, but the Gospel could not then be defended without those doctrinal condemnations, and since the 21st century is more liberal than ever, Tradition cannot be maintained without them today.

Our time is different, we cannot stand still, much that is modern is not immoral.

Our time is not so very different. It is more liberal than ever (e.g. homosexual “marriages”), so it may not all be immoral, but Catholic doctrine is absolutely needed to sift moral from immoral.

So we must re-position ourselves, which is a practical problem and not a question of Faith.

Any re-positioning that the Church ever does must always be judged in the light of the Faith. The XSPX’s re-positioning since 2012 is clearly leaving behind the Archbishop’s fight for the Faith.

The “Resistance” movement has fabricated its own “faith” by which to condemn the Newsociety.

Whatever the human failings of the “Resistance,” it has, just like the Traditional movement in the 1970’s, arisen spontaneously all over the world in reaction against the Newsociety’s betrayal. The reaction may seem disjointed, but it is held together by the identical Faith held by Resistants.

SSPX HQ never betrayed Tradition in 2012 because its actions were attacked from both sides.

So the Truth is always in the middle, to be measured by human reactions? That is human politics, inadequate to judge of divine Truth, absolutely inadequate to solve today’s crisis of the Church.

The official Newsociety texts of 2012 were not dogmatic.

But the most official XSPX document of all in 2012 was the General Chapter’s six conditions for any future “agreement” with Rome, i.e. the six gravely inadequate conditions for submitting the defence of the Faith to its deadly Conciliar enemies. Is the whole Faith not dogmatic?

Rome was much less aggressive in 2012 to the XSPX than it was in 2006.

Because from 2006, and before, Rome could see the SSPX steadily turning into a paper tiger.

The Newsociety follows the Spirit and draws on Tradition.

The neo-protestant Charismatics “follow the Spirit.” The Indulterers “draw on Tradition.”

It should be clear by now that Fr Pfluger wants to leave behind the doctrinal anti-liberal Society of Archbishop Lefebvre, and to reshape it into a Newsociety that will harmonize with the Newchurch of Vatican II. Nor is it enough to say that no decisive step has yet been taken by the XSPX towards Rome, because unless there is a firm resistance, and soon, from within the Newsociety, its leaders are taking it, slowly but surely, into the arms of Conciliar Rome. Is that what Catholics want?

Kyrie eleison.