THE OLD LATIN MASS
Many of you may never have attended The Old Latin Mass. When you think about it, you think of a language you would not understand and wonder why it was ever said that way. But the old Mass of your fathers was more than a Latin Mass, it was different in many ways.
For me the New Mass was a tremendous shock. I had left the Church for ten years. I had grown up with the old way, and when I returned, everything was different. I suppose the difference was more shocking to me because it didnt come gradually with explanations from the priests as it did with those who were in the Church at the time of the changes.
For you who never attended the old Mass, it was called the Mass of the Council of Trent or the Tridentine Mass. It was said in Latin, and everyone had missals that translated it into English. Unless you knew the Mass by heart, you read along in English with your missal. The parts of the Mass the people say today were said in Latin by the altar boys. The people said their part in English silently. The altar boy said the Latin. Usually he had no idea what he was saying. I know. I was one of those altar boys. It all sounds kind of dumb, but it wasnt.
In those days the consecration of the Holy Eucharist was a very solemn event. The altar boy rang bells to tell the people that the great event was about to happen. Everyone became very still. You could hear a pin drop. The priest bent over the host very slowly and said the miraculous words in the unknown language. Then very slowly and with the utmost respect, he lifted up the Body of Christ for all to see.
It only lasted a few seconds and then the Host was hidden again behind the priest, who kept his back to you. Everyone knew [in that brief moment] that they were looking at God. They knew they were just as privileged as Moses, himself, who spoke to God face to face.
The offering up of the Body and Blood of Christ to the Father was even more important, for that was the reason for the whole thing. The offering was the Sacrifice of Calvary, the raising up of the infant Jesus by Simeon, the raising up of Christ on the Cross, the continuation of the sacrifice of the lambs in the old law, the new covenant with His people, the new sacrifice for the sins of mankind. No one moved a hair on their heads.
When it was time for communion, not everyone came forward. We all knew that no one could go who was not in the state of grace. No one dared go to communion in a state of sin, since we knew that was the worst of all sins, a sacrilege. That was placing the body of Christ in a whited sepulcher, which outwardly appears to men beautiful, but within is full of dead mens bones and of all uncleanness.
If you didnt go to communion, however, you didnt have to worry about your reputation. You had to fast from midnight on. You were not even allowed coffee or cigarettes. Those who did not go to communion just pretended they forgot and had eaten something. It was not easy, anyway, especially at the twelve oclock Mass.
There was no question about God being in that Church. Is was obvious, even to a two year old child. When we entered the church, we knelt down and made the sign of the cross with Holy Water. The women put on their veils or hats. Everyone became very quiet. They came to pray, not to socialize. No one talked in church. If they did, the priest would reprimand them publicly. It was truly a house of prayer. I came to know that the little piece of bread was really God, not by the lessons from the nuns and priests, but from the example of the people in church.
Every week holy women would decorate the altar with flowers and clean the floors and walls, always with total respect for the presence of God in their midst. No matter how many times they passed the altar, they would kneel down and bow. The priest of our parish could be found in church praying by himself at all hours of the day. Whenever you could not find him, you knew he was in the church. The nuns would also go into the church for a visit with God whenever they had a free moment.
THE GATE OF HEAVEN
The Churches were built and decorated to give us an idea of what we knew but could not see, namely that when the High Priest, Christ, through the hands and words of the priest said, This is My Body, Christ came down from Heaven and all Heaven followed to worship, honor, adore their God. What we could not see is that Heaven open to Earth. (St. Ambrose) Let all mortal flesh be silent, standing there in fear and trembling; for the King of kings, the Lord of lords, Christ our God is about to be sacrificed and to be given as food to the faithful. (Liturgy of St. James) We knew that all the prayers and good works of all the people of the Earth from Adam to the end of the World do not equal one Mass, because the Mass is the work of God, not the work of man. The Mass is the Prayer and the Sacrifice of God, Himself. (Cure de Ars). We knew that not even the angels were as privileged as we were, because they could not receive the Body and Blood of Christ. We were made present once again at the same Sacrifice which occurred at Calvary. We knew that if we could see what happens in the spiritual world in songs, and praise of God, we would die of joy and happiness. The Graces flowing out from that one Mass to the whole Church on Earth and in Purgatory we could never even imagine.
Anyway, thats the way it was. Then it changed. Im not privy to the reasons for the modern Mass; but I will offer my opinion. After it changed; however, it seems everything else changed with it. Attitudes changed. Respect for the Body and Blood of Christ left the Church. Belief changed. At one time everyone knew that in the tabernacle was the real presence of Christ. Now, many either wonder about it, or out and out do not believe anymore. Even amongst the priests, the belief is all but gone in many areas. Talking in church is as common and accepted as talking at the breakfast table. But at least we wash our hands before eating breakfast.
Many of the churches have taken out all the kneelers. Many of the younger people do not know what a communion rail is and have never seen one. There is no sin anymore because no one believes sin is sin.
The Latin Mass was never meant to be Universal. When St. Gregory the Great wrote it, it was for Rome only. However, everyone wanted to copy it and it became almost universal in time with only minor changes for the different districts. Essentially though, it was the Mass of St. Peter, with only minor changes made by St. Gregory, and then by the Popes prior to the Council of Trent. Pope Pius V then made other minor changes and declared it almost universal amongst the Latin Rite. I travel all over the world. In the old days no matter where you went, you could count on the Mass being almost the same everywhere. If one reads the Sacramentary of 1974, it is still meant to be universal with only minor changes allowed the local bishops.
That is not the way it is now. Within ten miles of where I live you can go to one church and there are no kneelers at all. In another church everyone stands for the consecration. In another they kneel for the consecration but stand for the elevation. Down the road the whole thing is different. Some churches hold hands during the Lords prayer, and if you dont want to, they become insulted. The poor parishioners never know what to do or not to do.
People are told that they have to receive communion in the hand or not receive at all in some churches, and in one church I know the Hosts are placed in a basket on a table and the people come and take them out themselves. I wonder what the angels think, let alone the Father?
What Pope Pius V wanted in his Quo Primum and what John Paul II wants in the new Sacramentary is universality. That must return.
ORTHODOX AND PROTESTANT INPUT
When Vatican II set in motion the possibility for changes in the Mass, it did so because of its love for our separated brethren. Orthodox and Protestant representatives were invited in to the Council. The Kingdom of God made a major decision. It decided to compromise on every single issue of separation that it could. The only thing the Church cannot do is compromise on Doctrine. Faith cannot change. But Church laws can change and they did.
The Orthodox Patriarchs pointed out that the early Christians prayed the Mass in their own languages. The language of the Mass became Latin because Latin was the language spoken by the people. The Protestants did not like the statues, the icons and all the rituals. They even objected to our doctrine, No salvation outside the Church. The doctrine, however, cannot change; Vatican II simply decided not to stress it. In other words, not to talk about it a great deal. Forced to put it into writing, Vatican II and later Cardinal Ratzinger carefully worded the Doctrine so as not to offend the separated Christians. Not one word of the Doctrine changed; but the wording became more loving. However, the emphasis on reconciliation led many Catholics to believe that the doctrine had changed. As Pope Pius XII explains Unam Sanctam, those outside the Visible Church can be ordered into it in a way sufficient for salvation, however, to what extent we do not know. Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, and Thomas said the same thing. St. Thomas says that one may be saved extrasacramentally by baptism of desire. However, the likelihood of this possibility is another thing, especially in countries like America, where knowledge and opportunity to know the truth are not hampered by anything but tradition and prejudice.
Many Cardinals, Bishops, priests and laymen refused to go along with the changes in the Mass and the emphasis. In fact, a schism began to unfold. A schism is a willful separation from the unity of the Church.
The strange thing about this schism [known as the Society of St. Pius X and founded by Archbishop Lefebvre] is that the people who are separating are those who are holding on to tradition, or so they say. What makes them look so inviting to Conservative Catholics is that many of those still inside the unity of the faith are not faithful.
In 1054 AD the eastern Catholics separated from the unity of the faith for the same reasons. They said that the Church was no longer Orthodox and therefore they did not have to obey. One of their reasons was the change to Latin. Now we have a new group who say the Church is no longer Orthodox because they have changed away from Latin. Who is orthodox?
This separation is understandable. Inside the Church priests are making orgies out of the New Mass, whereas those who have left are holding beautiful, solemn Sacrifices. Much of the holiness inside has gone; the holiness outside is very noticeable. (See note 1) Inside the Church priests are talking about the New Sexuality or the Agape celebration. Outside the Church priests and nuns are talking virginity. Inside priests and nuns are throwing away collars and habits. Outside they still look like priests and nuns. Vocations on the inside have fallen to an all time low. Outside vocations are booming. Many of those, who would not change, have been excommunicated.
They have become known as Traditionalists.
Traditionalist newspapers and magazines are on the increase. Traditionalist churches, schools and seminaries are opening everywhere. Catholic schools have become so bad that lay-Catholic parents are opening their own schools with orthodox books. Home education has become the fastest growing industry in the United States. Many parents talk of protecting their childrens faith by keeping them away from priests and nuns. Inside the unity of the Catholic Church the big problem is HERESY. (Note 1 This holiness is only externally apparent. Information from insiders of the Traditionalist groups, and there are a great many different groups now, show priests leaving the priesthood and getting married, and a complete lack of charity to anyone who tries to leave. In some cases even life threatening messages to those who re-enter the Body of Christ.)
HERESY IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
Heresy has a very specific meaning. It is anyone who, after receiving baptism, while remaining nominally a Catholic, denies or doubts ANY OF THE TRUTHS THAT MUST BE BELIEVED WITH DIVINE AND CATHOLIC FAITH. Among the priests and nuns in my area, 70% have some truth of faith they do not believe in: Purgatory, Birth Control, Celibacy, even Hell. One Mother Superior told me no one ever went to Hell in all of history.
Why? People like Karl Rahner, Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx (Dominican), Hans Kung, Tad Goosy, Anthony Willhelm, Kohlberg, and Monika Hellwig have infiltrated the seminaries and the Catholic School Systems. These people do not believe in the Catholic Church or in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Monika is now director of The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, a branch of The National Catholic Education Association. Christ Among Us (2,000,000 copies), Understanding Catholicism, and Six Stages of Moral Development are books that spread throughout the Church destroying true faith, and corrupting the seminaries and schools to the point that real Catholics opted for home schooling or overseas seminaries like Opus Dei, Legionaries of Christ, and Daughters of Charity. Nuns, priests, and bishops have been brain-washed by these anti-Catholics. Words like the community replace the Body of Christ; and Experiences replace the Word of God. They have become community centered instead of Christ centered. Any of the above mentioned people who think I have wronged them, can have my apologies by simply taking the oath St. Gregory VII forced on Berengarius.
WHATS A CATHOLIC TO DO?
So, what do we orthodox Catholics do now? Where do we go? Do we go outside the Church with the Schismatics or stay inside with the Heretics?
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and his St. Pius X Society say that to remain a Catholic we must hold tight to tradition. They say to be a Catholic is to hold on to the Mass of the Council of Trent. They cite many great arguments: by their fruits you will know them, [50% less priests worldwide, 90% less conversions, 30% less attendance at Mass]. They cite Quo Primum [the will stand perpetually statement of Pope Pius V], pro multis [for many] and pro omnibus [for all], Canon IX, Session XXII of the Council of Trent, etc. All very good arguments.
I am not ignorant of the problems and the history. Pius V could have written Et Elenitan (forever) instead of Et Perpetute, but he did not. In fact he opened a Synod of Bishops right after his declaration to seek possible further changes to the Liturgy.
Nor am I ignorant of the theory of Father Gerald Murray, but I also know that Pope Paul VI suspended Archbishop Lefebvre for ordaining 13 men in defiance of the Holy See. John Paul II attempted to reconcile, and Cardinal Ratzinger and Lefebvre signed an agreement in 1988, only to have him change his mind the very next day. He consecrated four bishops one month later without approval from the Holy Father. Many attempts since have been made towards unity.
It happens that I knew Patricia Morley personally (God rest her soul) and have been on her radio program. I also know Jerry Rienie, who will probably take over the program. I know all the reasons people look to the Society with a longing for the reverence of the old Mass, and I go as often as I can to the legal Tridentine or Byzantine Liturgies.
So, what do we orthodox Catholics do? We obey. Even though Traditionalists seem to be very holy and traditional, they fall short on the most important point of tradition in the Church. That tradition is OBEDIENCE.
St. Thomas Aquinas: Objection 3 Whether obedience belongs to religious perfection?
Reply to Objection 3 --- they are nevertheless bound to obey the Sovereign pontiff, not only in matters affecting all in common, but also in those which pertain specially to religious discipline.
St. John of the Cross: Never consider your superior as less than if he were God, no matter who the superior is, because to you he stands in the place of God.
St. Pascal Baylon: Obedience comes first; devotion must take second place.
St. Teresa of Avila: I believe that since Satan sees there is no road that leads more quickly to the highest perfection than this of obedience, he suggests many difficulties under the color of some good, and makes it distasteful; let people look well into it and they will see plainly that I am telling the truth. Wherein lies the highest perfection? It is clear that it does not lie in interior delights, not in great raptures, not in visions, not in the spirit of prophecy, but in the conformity of our will to the will of God, so that there shall be nothing we know He wills that we do not will ourselves with our whole will, and accept the bitter as joyfully as the sweet, knowing it to be His Majestys will.
What is Gods will? Whatever you loose on earth, I will loose in Heaven.
NOT A MATTER OF FAITH
I dont know why the Church has made all these changes. I dont like any of them. But I am not going to help my Church by leaving it. Im not going to put a condition on my obedience. Yes, it was easier to be obedient when I agreed with everything they did in Rome. Yes, its harder to be obedient now. But OBEDIENCE IS OBEDIENCE. The only time I have a right [even an obligation] to not be obedient to my superiors in the Church is when it is a matter of Faith. Fidelity to faith is stronger than the law of Obedience (St. Augustine). The New Order Mass is not a matter of Fidelity to doctrine. When the Mass changed, Padre Pio wrote to the Holy Father offering his support in the changes and turned his altar around just before his death September 23, 1968.
TRADITIONALISTS HAVE GONE TOO FAR
When someone like Monsignor Marceau preaches that if there is no Tridentine Mass available, the Sunday obligation to attend Mass ceases, the Traditionalists have gone too far. When Archbishop Lefebvre refused to admit that the New Mass is a legitimate Mass, he went too far.
None of the early Church Liturgies were Tridentine or even close.
They had different Liturgies in Jerusalem, Alexandria, Rome, Persia, and Edessa. The Liturgy of James the Apostle (Jerusalem) has a different Canon than the Liturgy of Mark, Clement, Chrysostom, Basil, and the two of Peter.
The truth is that many of the Traditionalist Masses are illegal.
Oh! Yes, they are licit, and it is the real Body of Christ. Even in the Greek Orthodox and Old Roman Catholic Churches the consecration is real because, unlike Protestants, they have Apostolic Succession. But those saying and those attending these Masses by choice are committing Sins of disobedience against the Pope, the doctrine of the Church, and the first councils of the Church, especially of Nice.
(De fide) Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma - Ott Page 278
Only that Eucharist is regarded as valid and legal, that is consummated under the Bishop or by one authorized by him.
WHERE IS THE TRUE CHURCH?
Who then is in the true Church of Christ: the Catholics under the Pope of Rome, the Traditionalists under the Pius X Society, the Traditionalists, who are freelancing away from their bishops and who have left the Pius X Society because they were too liberal, or the Orthodox, who claim to be more traditional than the Pope?
There are two points here that I would like to make regarding which one of these groups is the true Church of Christ: one is the dying statement of St. Ignatius, who was taught by St. John, the Apostle. In his letter to the Philadelphians he pleads,
I exhort you to have but one Eucharist, for there is one flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ; and His blood which was shed for us is one; one loaf also is broken to all the communicants, and one up is distributed among them all; there is but one altar for the whole Church, and one bishop, --- and one faith, and one baptism; and one Church which the holy apostles established from one end of the earth to the other --- For the word is not mine, but Gods, give heed to the bishop --- Do nothing without the bishop; keep your bodies as the temples of God; love unity; avoid divisions; be the followers of Jesus Christ, even as He is of His Father. [To the Smyrnaeans he wrote:] Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is administered either by the bishop. or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude of the people also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid. --- He who honors the bishop has been honored by God; he who does anything without the knowledge of the bishop, does in reality serve the devil.
I think we have made the point from St. Ignatius that independent priests going around giving the so-called Traditional Mass without a bishops permission are sinning and those attending these Masses are sinning. That does not mean that the Mass is illicit, only illegal.
Now let us look at those groups who have a bishop. St. Irenaeus, pupil of Polycarp, writes: For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolic tradition has been preserved continuously by those faithful men who exist everywhere. Then listing the popes down to his day, he goes on to say, Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question?
It appears to me, although maybe I am too stupid to understand, that if there is a dispute between bishops regarding anything of importance, the Bishop of Rome is the final law of the Church. That being the case, all other arguments regarding other Popes or Trent or Tradition or whatever, are void.
WHAT ABOUT ST. ATHANASIUS?
Some have made the absolutely false argument that Athanasius went against the entire Church and then was found to be correct. This would not only make St. Irenaeus wrong, but in fact, this is not the truth. Let us take a look at St. Athanasius. If you read Chapter 13 of Theodorets Ecclesiastical History you will see that Pope Liberius of Rome defended Athanasius against Emperor Constantius, and in fact, was jailed because of it. Of the six exiles of Athanasius, three were spent in the arms of the Pope of Rome. Athanasius was not standing up for the truth against the will of the Church, he was standing up for the Church and the Council of Nice against the will of the Emperor Constantius.
(Constantius confiscated 80% of the Church buildings and gave them to Arian Bishops, but only the buildings went with the Arians, not the people. Most of the people stayed with Athanasius, and therefore with Rome. The big mistake most historians make is thinking that most of the Christian world became Arian. The fact that the Emperor forced Arianism on the people is no different than Catholics living in Communist Russia where only the Orthodox Churches were legal.)
Athanasius constantly defended the Council. This same Council states, that if a priest leaves his own bishop and goes out on his own, let him be excommunicated -ipso facto; and if a bishop leaves his geographical territory, he has no authority whatsoever. Many traditional priests throughout the world are roving around without a bishop.
AT LEAST THREE BISHOPS TO ORDAIN A BISHOP
And in Canon 4 of the Council of Nice, it states: It is by all means proper that a bishop should be appointed by all the bishops in the province; but should this be difficult, either on account of urgent necessity or because of distance, three at least should meet together, and the suffrages of the absent [bishops] also being given and communicated in writing, then the ordination should take place. But in every province the ratification of what is done should be left to the Metropolitan. [Rome]
Now I ask, Do you know any bishop who would go against the Council of Nice and ordain a bishop all by himself, without at least three bishops doing the ordination? Yes, this has happened in the past. It happened with the Bishop of the New World in Mexico, when three bishops were sent to Mexico to ordain him, and two of them died on the way, but after he was ordained by the one bishop it was ratified by the Pope of Rome and by Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Cannon 13 of the Council of Antioch (341 AD), accepted as Ecumenical by the Council of Constantinople, states no bishop shall presume to --- ordain persons --- without the written invitation of the metropolitan. In the case of Msgr. Lefebvre, who is of the Latin Rite, this means the Bishop of Rome.
Canon 13 of Chalcedon: Strange and unknown clergymen without letters commendatory from their own Bishop, are absolutely prohibited from officiating in another city.
And in the present Code of Canon Law (Canon 378) In order for a person to be a suitable candidate for the episcopacy it is required that: 2. The definitive judgment concerning the suitability of the person to be promoted belongs to the Apostolic See [Rome].
FOR ALL OR FOR MANY
Now let us look at the words, for many or for all. In the Maronite Rite there are 22 Anaphoras, (the most ancient in the Church), and in one of these Anaphoras it states, for all men, and has always stated it this way for a thousand years. In one of the ancient Coptic Rites, instead of This is My Body, it states, This is the Body. Should we say that these two formulas have resulted in the bread not becoming the Body of Christ for the last thousand years?
Can you say that Christ did not die for all, and therefore for all is not theologically correct? Of course not. (2 Corinthians 5:15) And Christ died for all. (1 Timothy 2:6) Who gave himself a redemption for all --- (1 John 2:2) not only for our sins but for those of the whole world.
But does this make the transubstantiation invalid? No! The last Doctor of the Church, Alphonsus Maria Liguori, (History of Heresies), states that the words, This is my body and This is the chalice of My blood are all that are necessary for a valid Consecration. So said also: St. Thomas (Summa Theologica - Part III, Q 78, A.3 and Q 60, A.8) and the Council of Florence. Even a Masonic priest, who does not even believe in the true presence of Christ, will produce transubstantiation by these words.
LATIN OR VERNACULAR
Pope St. Damasus was the first to change the Mass to the Latin and to order the Bible into Latin because it was the language of the people. However, there have been traditionally five Rites and twenty-five sub-rites subject to the Pope that have not used the Latin. In fact, the Rumanian have always used the vernacular.
In 865 Sts. Cyril and Methodius wrote a Cyrillic Mass for the people of the Slavic countries that they converted. Popes Nicholas I and Adrian II crowned this Mass with the words, Let those be cast forth from the fold who condemn this use of the vernacular.
However, in 873 Pope John VIII forbade the Mass. Then in 874 Pope John VIII approved the Slavonic Mass. Then Pope Stephen VI condemned the Mass. Pope Alexander II, 200 years later, decreed in his full authority and in perpetuity that the Mass could never again be recited in Slavonic, but only in Latin or Greek. Then Pope and Saint Gregory VII prohibited the use of the Slavonic under any circumstances. Then Pope Saint Leo XIII reinstated the Slavonic Mass. Then Pope St. Pius X canonized the legitimacy of the Slavonic Mass.
Now, this is my question. Which of these Popes were in violation of the tradition of the Church? Which of these Popes violated in perpetuity? It seems that Pope St. Leo XIII and Pope St. Pius X are in violation of in perpetuity.
In perpetuity is merely a legalistic and canonical expression meaning that whatever is bound by it will remain static and unchanged unless and until changed.
Let us consider two Papal Bulls: Quo Primum by Pope St. Pius V and Novus Ordo Missae by Pope Paul VI. Both begin and end in the exact same words. They are identical in the canonical formula, that is: Superscription, salutation, signature, and Bullae.
Regarding ex-cathedra, it must be noted that we must subject ourselves to the Pope in matters of liturgical discipline just as we do in matters of faith. Obedience to the Pope is obedience to Jesus Christ, and without it, there is no merit in the sight of God. Obedience has nothing to do with an ex-cathedra document. We must be obedient in all, except sin, to all in authority.
St. Robert Bellarimine states: The Pope, when determining anything in a doubtful manner, whether by himself or with his own particular Council, whether it is possible for him to err or not, is to be obeyed by all the faithful.
I would like to know why no one complained when Pope John XXIII ordered the name of St. Joseph be included in the Canon, despite the fact that Pius VII and Leo XIII had refused to do the same thing.
Actually Pope Paul VI, in his Bull of April 3, 1969, only added three new Canons to the Mass of St. Pius V (and he did call them Canons). He did not have the idea to take away anything but only to add, and he did not abolish the old Latin rite. In abrogating the authority of all previous Popes in this regard, including that of Pope St. Pius V, he made the Novus Ordo licit. Three years later an Instruction of the Vatican provided for the continued celebration of the Tridentine Mass only under certain conditions.
Even St. Pius V permitted alternate Roman rites, such as the Ambrosian, Mozarabic, Dominican, Carmelite, Carthusian, Lyons, etc. In the new Sacramentary of the Novus Ordo you will find that all priests are still granted the privilege of offering this new rite completely in its Latin formula, which is printed in the back of the book.
POPES POWER OF LITURGICAL DISCIPLINE
Padre Pio offered the New Mass of Pope Paul VI, on a table, facing the congregation. Why? Because it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff (Unam Sanctam, 1302, Pope Boniface VIII). He who obeys the whole law, yet offends in one point, is guilty in all. (James 2:10) In Cum muta sint Pope Saint Leo XIII, 1882, states that one is sinning who appeals to past or future popes in order to justify being disobedient to the authority of the present Pope, since the Church is One, her Head is One, her Government is One.
THE WORK FOR UNITY
The major reason for these changes was to bring back the separated Protestants and Orthodox to the faith. After a complete generation, there has not been one success. I believe success with the Protestants will take many more years because their separation is on matters of major Dogma, which cannot change. But amongst the Greek Orthodox there is very little Doctrinal differences anymore.
I believe we must now make a major change in direction and work towards unity with the Orthodox Churches. In order to do this, there are some changes I think we should make. These suggestions are based on twelve years of working for unity between the Orthodox and the Catholic. It is based on talking to Patriarchs, and Bishops of the East.
Firstwe must return to the new Holy of Holies. We must make the Altar a holy place again. In the Greek Orthodox Church the old Great Curtain is still there. They have a Great Wall. This wall separates the people from the altar and the Tabernacle. No one [except the priest and servers] are allowed behind the wall.
The Orthodox Churches could understand us when we at least had a communion rail, because that separated the people from the holy ground. But without the communion rail there is no holy ground. My favorite Church is the Russian Greek Catholic Church. It is in Communion with Rome. Its Masses are beautiful. During the consecration, a curtain is drawn over the priest to show that at that moment a great mystery will take place. After the Mass, everyone kisses an Icon of the Madonna and Child; and then they kiss the hands of the priestthe hands that brought Christ into the world.
The next thing we can do to aid in this reunion is return to Extraordinary Ministers. An extraordinary minister is just that: extraordinary. He is meant to help the priest in emergency situationsin extraordinary situations. He is not meant to assist at every Mass of the week. The Greek Orthodox priests I have talked to are very offended by this, since it violates the Second Commandment. It treats God commonly.
Another thing they are very offended by is communion in the hand. Greek Orthodox people cannot touch the Body or the Blood of Christ even with their lips. They are given Communion in a spoon. The bread is dipped into the wine and placed on a spoon. The spoon is placed by the priest into the mouth. There is a great deal of respect and dignity to this procedure. No one receives standing. They could never accept our new methods.
No one, not even a relative, can touch the wife of a Greek Orthodox husband. I was thinking about this one day as I watched a very beautiful sixteen-year-old girl in the pew in front of me. She had on a veil. She was praying very devoutly. She did not lift her eyes to anyone in the Church. A young man dressed in tight pants and a short-sleeved shirt saw her and sat next to her. He did not kneel during the entire Mass. He constantly tried to get her attention but he could not. From two feet away he just stared at her. When time came for the Lords Prayer, everyone reached out to hold hands. She did her best to not hold his hand, but he would not let her refuse. When the prayer was over he squeezed her hand. She left the church right after communion.
Holding hands is not a sign of unity. Faith is a sign of unity. Holding hands is one way the Charismatics are trying to force their beliefs down our throats. I am a single man. I do not need some woman holding my hand when I am trying to concentrate on the Majesty of God. This is not love. It is sensualism. It is carnal. To make matters worse, after they hold each others hands, they take the Body of Christ in their hands.
The Greek Orthodox have a proper respect for women. (At least by tradition if not by fact.) They know that God made woman more perfect than man. She is smarter, lives longer, has more patience, suffers pain better and longer. She is more civilized, and more beautiful. She is, in fact, Gods perfect creation with Mary at the peak of it all. For this reason, God made man the servant of the woman. As her superior in authority, he is her servant in action. As he takes care of her, she civilizes the world. As he takes care of her, she teaches the world love and Christ. However, because of her superiority, especially in looks, she must never be in the front of man. Whenever the woman takes the role of the man, she becomes like him, and civilized society will be finished.
BEAUTY AND DIGNITY
The next point in working towards unity is the churches. The Oriental and Greek Orthodox churches make our new churches look sick. When we are all one united Kingdom again, people will flock to these Oriental and Orthodox churches because of their beauty and dignity. The American Catholic Churches will be empty. Why? Because for two thousand years all builders of our church buildings knew one major fact. When we offer the Sacrifice of Christ on the altar, all of the Heavenly Host come down around that altar and give praise and honor to Our Lord. The angels come down, the Apostles and Saints come down, Mary comes down. We cannot see this, so we try to imitate it by making the altar, statues, paintings, vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows, and light effects look as much like what we cannot see as possible.
It is time we realized that we failed with the Protestants and start working on the Orthodox. We can start with the altar rail. I was in (what is claimed to be) the oldest Christian Church in the world. It was in a small town outside of Damascus. Maybe it was built by Saint Jude. It has a stone wall (with three openings) between the altar and the people. Behind the stone wall the priest consecrated the Body and Blood of Christ. I do not suggest that we have the wall; but I do suggest that we separate the altar in some way from the common (public) parts of the church. The old churches and the priest with the people faced east towards the Second Coming; at least we should all, including the priest, face God. St. Ambrose would not even let the Emperor of the World on any part of the elevated steps of the altar. Why then do we treat God so commonly?
As you can see, the only easy way to bring about these changes that I recommend is a return to the Old Mass, however, this must be in the Church and not out of it. It must be with the bishop and not without the bishop. These new orders that say only the Tridentine Liturgy may be our only salvation. One cannot look into the Society of St. John without seeing the Church as it ought to be. Check them out at. http://www.ssjohn.org
THE CHURCHS INDEFECTIBILITY
Even though I would like to see these changes and I would like to see a return to the Tridentine Liturgy, I will not disobey my bishop or my priest. If he wants me to stand for communion, I will stand, although there are things that even my bishop cannot make me do if they are contrary to the Sacramentary or the higher authority, (such as kneeling before I receive) as we will show in another talk.
Christ did not leave me a Tridentine Mass, He left me a Kingdomthe Church, the Institution of Salvation, founded by Christ, until the end of the world. (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma) The Indefectibility of the Church has been contested in the past by every heresy: the Montanists promising a new Church of the Holy Spirit; the Orthodox reformers, who maintained that under the Papacy the Church had degenerated from the teachings of Christ; the Jansenists, who accused the Church of obscuring individual truths of Faith; the Modernists, who hold to new development of doctrine; the Liberals, who preach pluralism and simply ignore the doctrines of the Church; and. the Traditionalists, who hold that not even the Pope, himself, can change the traditions of the Church.
If the Church is not Indefectible then Christ and the Bible are lying. (Is. 9:7; Dn. 2:44; Dn. 7:14; Ps. 88:37; Luke 1:32; etc.) The gates of Hell shall not prevail (Mt. 16:18) means just that. The Church must exist until the end times.
What saddens me the most is when the Holy Father needs the help of conservative Catholics, (those who understand and who love the Mass), they leave the Church. They leave him to the wolves, the heretics, the modernists. When Christ needed them the most, they left Him. These people in the Traditional movements are so much like me, that I want them fighting with me, but inside the Church not outside.
My salvation does not depend on standing or kneeling for communion. It depends on being in the Body of Christ. I believe the dignity of the Mass, the communion rail, and the icons will return to the Church. When they do, I will still be a Catholic. Will You?
As I said earlier in this writing, I dont know why the Church made these changes; but, as a Catholic, my study is not to see IF the Church is correct, but to see WHY the Church is correct. I still dont know why they made these changes, but I would like to offer you my own guess as to why. From my own book, The Ark of Apocalypse, I would like to quote myself:
I am only speculating, not for the sake of sensation or to show how smart I am, but only to say, WHAT IF? My what if is very, very scary. Pope John XXIII read the Secret Message of Fatima in 1960. He called Vatican Council II into session on October 11, 1962. He asked Protestant leaders to attend the sessions in order to advise in all those things we Catholics could do to make it easier for our Separated Brethren to come back to the faith, without our giving up any essential truths.
This we did, to the very great depression of all us orthodox Catholics. The results have been that even less Protestants have come back to the faith than before the Council.
Nevertheless, WHAT IF the secret letter of Fatima stated that all those separated brethren would die in a coming chastisement if they did not return to the faith? What if Pope John XXIII, who loves all of them, as I do, wanted to do whatever he could to get them back before it was too late?
WHAT IF the Second Vatican Council was their LAST GREAT HOPE? If that were true, would not all of us conservatives feel very small when we face Our Lord someday, if we opposed the LAST GREAT HOPE of our separated brethren?
So, please, my fellow conservatives, my fellow traditionalists, dont leave the Church. Stay with me and fight. Maybe all these changes were allowed by God to test the elect, maybe to expose the unfaithful. I dont know! But I do know one thing for sure,
THE CHURCH DID NOT MAKE THESE CHANGES
WITHOUT GODS APPROVAL.
If I were to say that Vatican II was not inspired by the Holy Spirit and free from error, I would also be forced to admit the possibility exists for Trent and all the other Councils to err. That is not possible. The ways of God are not always known, but we do know one thingHe will not leave His Church.
There is a great story of Saint Bernard, who was asked by his bishop to go to a certain parish and help a certain priest. The priest was notoriously bad. He embezzled funds from the parish. He had a mistress and was an alcoholic. Saint Bernard tried to help the priest by setting an example, but it did not work. He tried talking to him, shaming him, screaming at him. Nothing worked. He finally gave up, packed his bags to leave, and made one last visit to the tabernacle.
Im sorry, Lord. I failed, and now Im leaving.
He turned and walked down the long aisle. Then from the altar he heard a voice, the voice of Christ in the Tabernacle.
Well, no matter how many corrupt priests there are, Im staying.
No matter how many changes there are, Im staying.
No matter how many leave the Kingdom of God on Earth, Im staying.
For outside the Kingdom there is no Christ.
Without Christ, there is no salvation.
Sacred Liturgy and The Holy Mass