A Good Resolution to Keep Without Fail: No to the N.O.
Thomas A. Droleskey
The liturgical and doctrinal revolutions that have devastated Holy Mother Church in the past forty to fifty years have robbed many Catholics of all ranks (bishops, priests, consecrated religious, members of the lay faithful) of their ability to think rationally, no less to think with the sensus fidei, the sensus Catholicus. The phenomenon of bishops and priests, who are meant to be our shepherds, making incredibly stupid statements in the context of offering the synthetic concoction known as the Novus Ordo Missae knows no bounds and has no end in sight.
To wit, Father Patrick Perez, the magnificent pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Garden Grove, California, told us two stories over the phone a few nights ago that bears re-telling here. The two stories illustrate anew some of the points that I have made repeatedly over the years, especially in G.I.R.M. Warfare, about the inability of stopping liturgical abuses and stupidities from multiplying in the greatest liturgical abuse ever known, that is, the Novus Ordo Missae.
The first story deals with a parishioner of Father Perez's who decided to attend a Novus Ordo "Mass of Christian Burial" for a friend. As is the prevailing norm in such Masses, which are almost invariably offered with the celebrant (and concelebrating priests, if any) dressed in white vestments, maudlin sentimentality dictates the eulogizing, if not canonization, of the deceased person. In this particular case, you see, the priest went so far as to say that the dead man for whose immortal soul the Mass was supposed to be offered was in Heaven. Instant canonization. According to what Father Perez was told, the priest said, "He [the dead man] is in Heaven right now, dancing with Princess Diana." No, folks, you can't make this stuff up. What Catholic possessed of any understanding of the gravity of mortal sin would conclude that Princess Diana, who was killed in an automobile accident while riding with her paramour, Mohamed "Dodi" al-Fayed, on August 31, 1997, is in Heaven and that the essence of being in Heaven consisted in dancing with her as opposed to the possession of the Beatific Vision of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for all eternity? It says a lot about the warped sense of the Faith possessed by a Catholic priest that he considered "Heaven" to be the place where those who die dance with Princess Diana. Such absolute and utter stupidity was unheard of fifty years ago. As Father Perez noted, "I'll know I'm in the wrong place if I find myself dancing with Princess Diana after my death." Indeed.
Such stupidity was unheard of fifty years ago because Catholic seminaries, although far from perfect, taught Catholic dogma as it had been handed down over the centuries and defined by various councils. Eschatology, which is the subject in Dogmatic Theology (now called "Systematic" Theology in many seminaries), exposed seminarians to the dogmatic definitions of the Church about Last Things and exposed them to the clear exposition on Last Things found in the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Alphonsus Liguori, to name just two Doctors of the Church whose writings were mandated for reading in such a course. Students were expected to memorize what they had learned, to remember the source material from which they had learned the material for later reference in their preaching and teaching, and to be possessed of the sensus Catholicus on matters of Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell without improvising anything of their own. Not even the worst Modernist who had done much to cloak himself under the mantle of the "New Theology" fifty years ago would have dared to assert publicly in a seminary classroom that the essence of Heaven consisted of dancing with a married (no civil court's decree of divorce ends the sacramental bond of Holy Matrimony), Protestant woman who died suddenly and violently after multiple illicit relationships. While Catholics pray for those in die in such circumstances, beseeching God for His mercy on the souls of the deceased, they do not canonize such people!
Alas, the ethos of the new religion spawned by the Second Vatican Council and enshrined in the Novus Ordo Missae fosters improvisation in every aspect of daily Catholic living and thinking. As one who spent time in two different seminaries, I can tell you from first-hand experience that priestly training today is, with some very few exception, haphazard and inconsistent, sometimes bordering on the mutually contradictory. For example, the courses at Holy Apostles Seminary of late Father William Heidt, O.S.B., a brilliant Scripture scholar and an actual, honest-to-goodness liturgical historian who was fully devoted to the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass, were contradicted at times by the courses offered by the late Archbishop of Hartford, Connecticut, John Francis Whealon. This is the norm in most seminaries today, reflecting the ambiguity and uncertainty about the Deposit of Faith produced by the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath, to say nothing of the outright spirit of rebellion at work in the Church in her official structures in most of our dioceses and their educational institutions, including seminaries today.
One of the chief causes of the institutionalization of ambiguity and confusion as normal in the life of the Church and as the principal method of her educational programs is the abandonment of Thomism. Pope Leo XIII noted how essential it was to maintain Thomism as the foundation of all Catholic studies. Writing in his encyclical letter Aeterni Patris, issued on the Feast of Saint Dominic, August 4, 1879, Pope Leo said:
Among the Scholastic Doctors, the chief and master of all towers Thomas Aquinas, who, as Cajetan observes, because "he most venerated the ancient Doctors of the Church, in a certain way seems to have inherited the intellect of all." The doctrines of those illustrious men, like the scattered members of a body, Thomas collected together and cemented, distributed in wonderful order, and so increased with important additions that he is rightly and deservedly esteemed the special bulwark and glory of the Catholic faith. With his spirit at once humble and swift, his memory ready and tenacious, his life spotless throughout, a lover of truth for its own sake, richly endowed with human and divine science, like the sun he heated the world with the warmth of his virtues and filled it with the splendor of his teaching. Philosophy has no part which he did not touch finely at once and thoroughly; on the laws of reasoning, on God and incorporeal substances, on man and other sensible things, on human actions and their principles, he reasoned in such a manner that in him there is wanting neither a full array of questions, nor an apt disposal of the various parts, nor the best method of proceeding, nor soundness of principles or strength of argument, nor clearness and elegance of style, nor a facility for explaining what is abstruse.
Moreover, the Angelic Doctor pushed his philosophic inquiry into the reasons and principles of things, which because they are most comprehensive and contain in their bosom, so to say, the seeds of almost infinite truths, were to be unfolded in good time by later masters and with a goodly yield. And as he also used this philosophic method in the refutation of error, he won this title to distinction for himself: that, single-handed, he victoriously combated the errors of former times, and supplied invincible arms to put those to rout which might in after-times spring up. Again, clearly distinguishing, as is fitting, reason from faith, while happily associating the one with the other, he both preserved the rights and had regard for the dignity of each; so much so, indeed, that reason. borne on the wings of Thomas to its human height, can scarcely rise higher, while faith could scarcely expect more or stronger aids from reason than those which she has already obtained through Thomas.
For these reasons most learned men, in former ages especially, of the highest repute in theology and philosophy, after mastering with infinite pains the immortal works of Thomas, gave themselves up not so much to be instructed in his angelic wisdom as to be nourished upon it. It is known that nearly all the founders and lawgivers of the religious orders commanded their members to study and religiously adhere to the teachings of St. Thomas, fearful least any of them should swerve even in the slightest degree from the footsteps of so great a man. To say nothing of the family of St. Dominic, which rightly claims this great teacher for its own glory, the statutes of the Benedictines, the Carmelites, the Augustinians, the Society of Jesus, and many others all testify that they are bound by this law.
And, here, how pleasantly one's thoughts fly back to those celebrated schools and universities which flourished of old in Europe -- to Paris, Salamanca, Alcala, to Douay, Toulouse, and Louvain, to Padua and Bologna, to Naples and Coimbra, and to many another! All know how the fame of these seats of learning grew with their years, and that their judgment, often asked in matters of grave moment, held great weight everywhere. And we know how in those great homes of human wisdom, as in his own kingdom, Thomas reigned supreme; and that the minds of all, of teachers as well as of taught, rested in wonderful harmony under the shield and authority of the Angelic Doctor.
Pope Leo went on to explain than any abandonment of Thomism would lead to ruin in the life of the Church in her human elements:
The ecumenical councils, also, where blossoms the flower of all earthly wisdom, have always been careful to hold Thomas Aquinas in singular honor. In the Councils of Lyons, Vienna, Florence, and the Vatican one might almost say that Thomas took part and presided over the deliberations and decrees of the Fathers, contending against the errors of the Greeks, of heretics and rationalists, with invincible force and with the happiest results. But the chief and special glory of Thomas, one which he has shared with none of the Catholic Doctors, is that the Fathers of Trent made it part of the order of conclave to lay upon the altar, together with sacred Scripture and the decrees of the supreme Pontiffs, the "Summa" of Thomas Aquinas, whence to seek counsel, reason, and inspiration.
A last triumph was reserved for this incomparable man -- namely, to compel the homage, praise, and admiration of even the very enemies of the Catholic name. For it has come to light that there were not lacking among the leaders of heretical sects some who openly declared that, if the teaching of Thomas Aquinas were only taken away, they could easily battle with all Catholic teachers, gain the victory, and abolish the Church. A vain hope, indeed, but no vain testimony.
Indeed, the Modernists desired to strip away Thomism and to replace it with their own version of Hegelianism, the belief that everything in the world, including God and His "truths," are constantly evolving to some greater perfection that can only be discovered as the clash of forces produces new ideas and new trends. The Novus Ordo Missae itself is an incarnation of Hegelianism. It does not the reflect the permanence of God. It leads people into bewilderment and confusion. It reaffirms people in the belief that since the Mass is subject to ceaseless change then it stands to reason that doctrine itself is subject to change and reinterpretation.
Pope Leo stressed the importance, therefore, of retaining Scholasticism in Catholic educational endeavors. No one trained in the Thomistic school, for example would ever dream, no less dare, to contend that a non-Catholic serial adulteress is in Heaven and that one of the joys of being in Heaven would be dancing with such a person. Obviously, examples abound in the past forty years of far more serious offenses against the Deposit of Faith, none of which would have been even remotely imaginable as having a place in officially-sanctioned Catholic preaching and teaching prior to the Second Vatican Council.
Pope Leo went on to explain:
Therefore, venerable brethren, as often as We contemplate the good, the force, and the singular advantages to be derived from his philosophic discipline which Our Fathers so dearly loved. We think it hazardous that its special honor should not always and everywhere remain, especially when it is established that daily experience, and the judgment of the greatest men, and, to crown all, the voice of the Church, have favored the Scholastic philosophy. Moreover, to the old teaching a novel system of philosophy has succeeded here and there, in which We fail to perceive those desirable and wholesome fruits which the Church and civil society itself would prefer. For it pleased the struggling innovators of the sixteenth century to philosophize without any respect for faith, the power of inventing in accordance with his own pleasure and bent being asked and given in turn by each one. Hence, it was natural that systems of philosophy multiplied beyond measure, and conclusions differing and clashing one with another arose about those matters even which are the most important in human knowledge. From a mass of conclusions men often come to wavering and doubt; and who knows not how easily the mind slips from doubt to error? But, as men are apt to follow the lead given them, this new pursuit seems to have caught the souls of certain Catholic philosophers, who, throwing aside the patrimony of ancient wisdom, chose rather to build up a new edifice than to strengthen and complete the old by aid of the new -- illadvisedly, in sooth, and not without detriment to the sciences. For, a multiform system of this kind, which depends on the authority and choice of any professor, has a foundation open to change, and consequently gives us a philosophy not firm, and stable, and robust like that of old, but tottering and feeble. And if, perchance, it sometimes finds itself scarcely equal to sustain the shock of its foes, it should recognize that the cause and the blame lie in itself. In saying this We have no intention of discountenancing the learned and able men who bring their industry and erudition, and, what is more, the wealth of new discoveries, to the service of philosophy; for, of course, We understand that this tends to the development of learning. But one should be very careful lest all or his chief labor be exhausted in these pursuits and in mere erudition. And the same thing is true of sacred theology, which, indeed, may be assisted and illustrated by all kinds of erudition, though it is absolutely necessary to approach it in the grave manner of the Scholastics, in order that, the forces of revelation and reason being united in it, it may continue to be "the invincible bulwark of the faith."
With wise forethought, therefore, not a few of the advocates of philosophic studies, when turning their minds recently to the practical reform of philosophy, aimed and aim at restoring the renowned teaching of Thomas Aquinas and winning it back to its ancient beauty.
We have learned with great joy that many members of your order [the Order of Preachers], venerable brethren, have taken this plan to heart; and while We earnestly commend their efforts, We exhort them to hold fast to their purpose, and remind each and all of you that Our first and most cherished idea is that you should all furnish to studious youth a generous and copious supply of those purest streams of wisdom flowing inexhaustibly from the precious fountainhead of the Angelic Doctor.
The abandonment of Thomism goes hand-in-hand with the confusion that stems from the inconstant nature of the Novus Ordo Missae. It should not be the case that a Catholic lay woman should have to yell "Shut up!" to a priest during the middle of a silly, stupid, and uncharitable effort in a "homily" to canonize a dead man. Uncharitable? Yes, uncharitable. Any priest who tells family member and friends that a deceased person's soul is in Heaven is denying that soul prayers to get him out of Purgatory, if he was given the grace of final penitence, that is. The woman who yelled "Shut up!" in California got the priest to stop his homily dead in its inane, uncharitable tracks. The priest had already done his damage, however, just as the Novus Ordo Missae continues to wreak its damage on souls and thus on the life of the Church Militant on earth.
Father Perez also told us the story of a Vietnamese parishioner of his who went to a Novus Ordo Mass offered in Vietnamese on Christmas that ended with the song "Jingle Bells" being sung in Vietnamese as the "recessional hymn." As Father Perez said to us, "Oh, 'Jingle Bells' is more much spiritual in Vietnamese, you understand." "Jingle Bells" for Christmas Mass? Please tell me that this has anything to do with the patrimony of the Roman Catholic Church at any point in her history. Please. These abuses keep multiplying ad infinitum and ad nauseam because they stem from abuse against God and His greater honor and glory, the Novus Ordo Missae, which any and every Catholic still attending it must resolve to avoid for the rest of their lives.
We believe as we pray. A Mass that does not express the immutability and the permanence of God and the things of the Holy Faith proceeds from an ethos of ambiguity and confusion and helps to further institutionalize such an ethos. People led to believe that the worship of God is ever changing will pray in such a way as reflects the fuzzy-thinking of a Mass concocted by a Freemason and influenced by six liberal Protestant "observers." The Novus Ordo Missae was designed with Protestants in mind, not with the Catholic Tradition that God Himself gave the Apostles to protect in mind.
As I have noted before, Archbishop Annibale Bugnini said the following in 1965, two years before the formal work of the Revolutionary Consilium started its work of destroying the Mass:
We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren that is for the Protestants.
We also pray as we believe. If people do not believe in the sacrificial nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and that the worship offered Him can be as mutable as they believe Him to be, then all sense of the Catholic will be lost over the course of time. A synthetic liturgy reflecting a synthetic faith produces a hollow life of prayer founded on the illusions and myths of Modernity in the world and Modernism in the Church. All of this produces the instability that was noted by the late Monsignor Klaus Gamber, who was not a traditionalist, in his The Reform of the Roman Liturgy:
Deep in the heart of every person there is the longing for home, and we can only experience the real meaning of home when we are away from it.
The word Heimat (home or fatherland) is a uniquely German concept. Exactly what meaning does it convey? Heimat is the environment known to us since childhood, the house in which we grew up, the natural surroundings with their people and their habits and customs. To us, the Heimat is always beautiful, even if others don’t share our feelings for it.
Man’s longing for home is his longing for what is familiar and known. It also is a longing for security based on the familiarity of a person’s surroundings. Finally, it is the sense of security that the small child feels when he is with his mother and that he misses as an adult when faced with the uncertainties of life.
The religious person seeks security in the Church as his Mother. In her he hopes to find shelter and help for his troubled soul, answers to the probing questions posed by his intellect, but above all, he wants certainty about the Last Things. What he seeks is an oasis of tranquillity and peace, peace such as the world cannot give (John 14:27).
Last, but certainly not least, the religious person seeks home and shelter in the celebration of liturgical worship. These observations apply equally to non-Christian religions. Missionaries come across these concepts all the time. When they bring individual members of a tribe to accept Christianity, they also tear them out of the social structure of their tribes, with all their rituals, customs and traditions. It usually takes some time until the newly converted adapt to their new home, [Christianity]: the old rituals of their tribe continue to pull them back with the force of a strong magnet.
A people that decides to relinquish its traditional rites is in acute danger of relinquishing its own existence as a people.
A [Roman] Catholic who ceased to be an active member of the Church for the past generation and who, having decided to return to the Church, wants to become religiously active again, probably would not recognize today’s [Roman Catholic] Church as the one he had left. Simply by entering a Catholic church, particularly if it happens to be one of ultra-modem design, he will feel as if he had entered a strange, foreign place. He will think that he must have come to the wrong address and that he has accidentally ended up in some other Christian religious community.
The accustomed [sacred art] in the church has disappeared. Instead of a cross hanging over the altar there now is some often indefinable work of art; the altar itself being a bare slab of rock, akin to a barrow. In vain will he look for the tabernacle on the altar; nor will he find the communion rail. He will miss the smell of incense that he remembers to have always lingered after Mass.
The [Roman Catholic] reformers of our liturgy have failed to consider adequately and address the issue of how the traditional forms of liturgical worship inspired among the faithful a sense of belonging, of feeling at home. They also failed to consider and deal with the Issue of the extent to which simply abolishing these forms of liturgy would also result in a loss of faith among the people.
The Solemn Requiem Mass according to the traditional form, which appealed directly to the heart, has almost completely disappeared. Yet here especially, great care should have been taken in introducing changes, because the customs associated with burial rites are the ones to which people in any cultural setting are most strongly attached. It will be some time until we will be in a position to measure fully the pastoral damage caused to the faithful by the reforms. We must expect that sooner or later we will be facing almost empty pews in our churches, as [some modernist Protestants] have been experiencing for decades now; while, we may point out, that has not been the case in the Lutheran Church which has maintained many of its traditional forms of liturgy. In the end, we will have to recognize that the new liturgical forms did not provide the people with bread, but with stones.
Particularly pernicious is the incessant nature of the changes to which we [in the Roman Catholic Church] are subjected. This is diametrically opposed to the concept of liturgy as our home. To abolish almost completely time-honored customs and traditions is synonymous with robbing a person of his religious home and thus shaking the foundations of his faith. Even a person who has but a superficial knowledge of how the psychology of a people works is bound to agree with these observations.
As the calendar year of 2005 draws to a close, I want to once again, therefore, make the following plea to all Catholics: avoid the Novus Ordo and embrace the fullness of Tradition without compromise and without any concessions to the unjust and illicit conditions imposed by the Vatican in the past twenty-one years. Think of God, not of how much a particular priest is "trying his best" to hold back the tidal wave of doctrinal and liturgical destruction. The Faith and the Immemorial Mass of Tradition that best expresses the totality of its truths are not about a particular priest or a particular parish. The Faith and the Mass are about God. We must render him the worship that is His due, not worry about "offending" some well-intentioned priest in the diocesan structure who either does not know any better or lacks the courage to embrace Quo Primum as have many other priests in the past forty years.
Also, I want to once again make the following plea to a Catholic priests of the Roman Rite: abandon the Novus Ordo Missae once and for all. Start offering the people that which is their absolute right under Quo Primum, the Immemorial Mass of Tradition. Do not force your sheep to move to seek out Tradition so as to protect their souls as they live in the peace that God wants them to enjoy during the offering of Holy Mass. Give them the Mass in their own backyards without forcing them to uproot their lives. Do it now. Do it today. Yes, we have been hearing for the past five years that a "universal indult" will be issued. Maybe 2006? Maybe. The urgency of souls and the rights due God Himself demand immediate action without delay. Quo Priumum, which is merely a recognition in law of the actual fact of the matter concerning the immutable nature of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition as the Mass of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, is the only perpetually binding indult a priest needs to offer Roman Rite Catholics the Mass that is their baptismal birthright.
It's all so very simple: Just say No to the N.O.!
With prayers that Pope Benedict XVI will indeed consecrate Russia to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart and thus put an end to the Diabolical Disorientation that clouds so many Catholic minds and hearts at present, may this coming year of Our Lord, 2006, see in us a renewed commitment to the fullness of the Catholic Faith, starting with a daily renewal of our Total Consecration to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, a pledge to spend more time adoring Our Lord in His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament, a more assiduous and careful use of the Sacrament of Penance, and an eager desire to fulfill in our own lives Our Lady's Fatima Message.
Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us.
Saint Saint Sylvester, pray for us.
Pope Saint Gregory the Great, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us and protect us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us and protect us.