Not A Tradition Left Untouched
Thomas A. Droleskey
It remains for Us now to say a few words about the Modernist as reformer. From all that has preceded, it is abundantly clear how great and how eager is the passion of such men for innovation. In all Catholicism there is absolutely nothing on which it does not fasten They wish philosophy to be reformed, especially in the ecclesiastical seminaries. They wish the scholastic philosophy to be relegated to the history of philosophy and to be classed among absolute systems, and the young men to be taught modern philosophy which alone is true and suited to the times in which we live. They desire the reform of theology: rational theology is to have modern philosophy for its foundation, and positive theology is to be founded on the history of dogma. As for history, it must be written and taught only according to their methods and modern principles. Dogmas and their evolution, they affirm, are to be harmonized with science and history. In the Catechism no dogmas are to be inserted except those that have been reformed and are within the capacity of the people. Regarding worship, they say, the number of external devotions is to he reduced, and steps must be taken to prevent their further increase, though, indeed, some of the admirers of symbolism are disposed to be more indulgent on this head. They cry out that ecclesiastical government requires to be reformed in all its branches, but especially in its disciplinary and dogmatic departments They insist that both outwardly and inwardly it must be brought into harmony with the modern conscience which now wholly tends towards democracy; a share in ecclesiastical government should therefore be given to the lower ranks of the clergy and even to the laity and authority which is too much concentrated should be decentralized The Roman Congregations and especially the index and the Holy Office, must be likewise modified The ecclesiastical authority must alter its line of conduct in the social and political world; while keeping outside political organizations it must adapt itself to them in order to penetrate them with its spirit. With regard to morals, they adopt the principle of the Americanists, that the active virtues are more important than the passive, and are to be more encouraged in practice. They ask that the clergy should return to their primitive humility and poverty, and that in their ideas and action they should admit the principles of Modernism; and there are some who, gladly listening to the teaching of their Protestant masters, would desire the suppression of the celibacy of the clergy. What is there left in the Church which is not to be reformed by them and according to their principles? (Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1907.)
We are sensible beings. We are affected by the sights and sounds and smells that surround us. Children learn even as they are in their mothers' wombs to accustom themselves to familiar sounds (their parents' voices, those of their siblings if any have preceded them in this life, music, their parents' nightly praying of Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary), which is why we must take great care to protect the eyes and ears of our children to shield them, as far as is humanly possible, from those sights and sounds that might damage their souls, especially by accustoming them to profanity, blasphemy, indecency, immodesty, and sacrilege. Many are the examples of parents across the ecclesiastical divide who do this so very well. Indeed, truth to be told, there are many home-schooling families who have yet to embrace anything close to the fullness of the Faith who do a better job of protecting their children from the ravages of our Americanist culture than some families in sedevacantist chapels who get deeply and personally offended if anyone, including a priest, attempts to wean them away from the television or motion pictures or professional sports or talk radio/television or rock "music" or the absurdity posed by the false opposites of the naturalist left and the naturalist right in American electoral politics, seeming not to care what they subject their childrens' eyes and ears to on a daily basis.
Louis and Zelie Martin went to extraordinary lengths to protect his five daughters from any sights and sounds that would deter them from their pursuit of sanctity, accustoming them to love the things of Heaven as they enjoyed in moderation and in due proportion the things of this earth which Louis's talents as a watchmaker and Zelie's talents a lace maker given them by God had bestowed upon them. Louis Martin continued to protect his daughters from any undue worldly influences after Zelie died in 1877, reading to them from Dom Prosper Gueranger's The Liturgical Year.
Children also learn from the bad things which their parents say or the images and sounds to which they are subjected.
To wit, there was a time a little over thirty years ago when I was in the home of a high school classmate and his wife and their then eighteen month-old daughter. I had gone to visit them to make pizza for them, something I used to do pretty regularly in those times for various families around the nation, prior to moving on in my teaching career from Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, New York, to Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, after having obtained my doctorate in political science from the State University of New York at Albany. My friends' daughter, who called me "Uncle Tom," dropped a piece of pizza crust on the floor. She expressed her disappointment by using a profanity. Eighteen months old. Well, this is what she had learned from her mother. The little girl, who is now thirty-two years of age, had learned to speak profanely because this is what she had heard in her household. How was she to know that she was saying something wrong?
Holy Mother Church always has sought to protect her children from the profane and sacrilegious, surrounding her children in her Roman Rite with the glories of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition and surrounding her children in each of her Eastern Rites with the magnificent splendor of the true liturgical diversity that marks the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Holy Mother Church wants to succor her children in the surety and stability offered by the true Faith, knowing that she is the exclusive custodian and sole, infallible explicator of that Faith, which was entrusted to her by her Divine Bridegroom and Invisible Head, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Immutable Second Person of the Blessed Trinity Who became Man in His Most Blessed Mother's Virginal and Immaculate womb by the power of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost. Holy Mother Church always has sought to preserve her children from novelty and innovation, seeking to succor her children in the certainty expressed by these simple words contained in the Act of Faith:
Act of Faith: O my God! I firmly believe that Thou art one God, in three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost: I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths, which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who can neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen.
The doctrines and the liturgies of the Catholic Church reflect the immutable of the Blessed Trinity--Father, Son and Holy Ghost--as Saint James noted in his Epistle:
Do not err, therefore, my dearest brethren. Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration. (James 1: 16-17.)
This point was driven home in a lecture given on December 1, 1851, by the founding pastor of Saint Charles Borromeo Church, Brooklyn, New York, one Reverend Doctor Constantine Pise, who had been appointed pastor by the Archbishop of New York at the time, the Most Reverend John Joseph Hughes. (Kings and Queens and Suffolk Counties in the State of New York were then under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of New York. The Diocese of Brooklyn, which encompassed each of those three counties until the Diocese of Rockville Centre was created on April 6,1957, was created on July 29, 1853.) The lecture, which was found in the archives of The New York Times, which reported the lecture in full, believe it or not, contains a bit of Americanism at one point. Other than that, however, it is a marvelous summary of the Catholic Church's teaching on the nature unchanging nature of her teaching, founding in both Scripture and Tradition:
The third of this series of Lectures was delivered yesterday afternoon, as before, at the church of St. Charles Borromeo, Brooklyn. The words selected for the Rev. Doctor's text were from Saint Paul's First Epistle to the Thessalonians, 2d chapter and 13th verse: "Therefore we also give thanks to God without ceasing, because, that when you had received of us the hearing of the word of God, you received it not as the word of man, but as it is indeed, the word of God." Thus, my beloved brethren--continued the Lecturer--"St. Paul had no right whatever to preach any Doctrine to man, but with the assent and by the permission of God, for the purpose of communicating Truth to mankind; then he could identify himself with God and declare the words which he delivered were not the word of man, but indeed the words of God. I, of my own right, have no authority whatever to teach, but having been commissioned as St. Paul was commissioned, by Heaven, having received from the source of all truth the Word of God, I feel, as a Minister that word, identified with the Word of God, and therefore the Doctrines that I teach regard not as the doctrine of man, but, as they are indeed, the word of God.
At the chose of my last lecture I remarked, that Faith rests upon a two-fold foundation: First, Scripture, secondly Tradition. The Scriptures are received as the foundation of Faith by all Christians of every denomination. Tradition is received as the ground of faith by the Roman Catholic Church, conjointly with the sacred Scriptures: and the Church rests her argument for the Divinity of Tradition upon these words of St. Paul's second epistle to the Thessalonians, chapter 2nd, and verse the 14th. "All the tradition which you have learned by word or by our Epistle." Thus St. Paul declared the truth of whatever doctrine, had been delivered either by writing, or by preaching, that is, Tradition. And so great was the authority of Tradition regarded by the earliest Fathers of the Christian Church, that we find in the fourth century, Saint John of Chrysostom making use of this very strong language. "All is not written there, many things have been handed down to us. This was the authority of Tradition as held by the Fathers of the Church, in the earliest period when it had only to extend through some 300 years. That Church has continued to be perpetuated throughout all succeeding years to the present, and the authority of Tradition is as great for us in the [sic] 18th century as it was for Saint John of Chrysostom in the fourth.
There are many things believed by all Christians at the present day, not to be found in the Scriptures. We do not read anywhere, that "Sunday" should be kept holy. On the contrary, we shall find that the commandment is to Keep holy the Sabbath day, which is the 7th--Saturday. The change was made in the Church at an early period, and the authority for it is only tradition. The same with regard to Infant Baptism, that we and all Christians believe in, for there is no authority for it in Scripture. We no where find that the Apostles baptized infants, and if it be proper and necessary to baptize infants as well as adults, we have no other authority and must depend entirely upon tradition.
The same may be said of the number of Books that are Canonical, because it is not by reading the sacred writings that we will arrive at a conclusion, how many are or how many are not; to decide the question you must have recourse to tradition. The inspiration of the sacred Scriptures depends upon tradition, because there is no passage in those scriptures declaring that these or any other Books have been written under holy inspiration. The question necessarily arises, particularly, as this one has been called in dispute by the churches, which are Canonical and which are not.
The Catholic Church retains a certain number which she deems canonical, and all others term apocryphal; as Maccabees, Tobias and others. Who is to settle this controversy whether the books which we admit are canonical or apocryphal? It is only tradition, that can decide this. For if I ask the Book of Genesis, it is silent on the question. And if I refer to Tobias, it is silent also. And yet it is all essential that we should be infallibly certain whether these books be both divinely inspired, or one of them apocryphal, and it is only on tradition that it should be said to rest. St. Jerome mentions the same as were mentioned by the Fathers in the first century, as did St. Augustine, whose authority no Christian will dispute in any age.
Then take the middle ages: Pope Eugenius, writing to the Armenians, who wished to be reconciled to the Church, mentions, in his famous letter to them, the books which they must deem as canonical; and the Council of Trent, not usurping any power, but merely asserting the doctrines of the primitive Church, and which have been handed down in unbroken succession, declares the books which the Catholic Church maintains to be canonical, were so. And the Bibles printed before the Reformation are precisely conformable with the Bibles of the present day.
This is what the Church teaches with regard to tradition and the Scriptures. . . .
The Catholic Church tells us--certainly you are free to read the Scriptures and you should meditate upon them day by day, they should be your guide day by day, and your solace to your soul under all circumstances, but the Church imposes this restriction, "Do not be wiser than the Church; if you were all permitted to interpret for yourselves, there would be as many religions as there are heads. You are all at liberty to read, but if any doubt arises in your mind as to any dogmatic passage, you must consult the Church, and how it has always interpreted it, rather than the caprice of your own weak minds--minds that can appreciate the English language, but which cannot fathom the meanings of the original tongues in which the Scriptures were written. It is clear to common sense that every individual is not to be permitted to make a new religion for himself. You may all differ; not the Holy Ghost inspired the Holy Scriptures, and in, inspiring them, meant that they should have but one sense; He did not inspire them in such a way that the reader can arrive at any different or other doctrine than that which He inspired in the breast of the holy writers; but if you are to interpret two doctrines, and both come from the Holy Ghost, and you differ, the Holy Ghost contradicts himself.
The Church says there is an authority on Earth before whom all truth or religious questions of doctrine can be arrived at, and all controversies set at rest. Where is that tribunal? Where is that authority? It is in the Church, wherever that Church can be proved to be. I have not yet proved that is in the Roman Catholic Church. But if it be the true Church, then it is in her that that tribunal rests. It is in the true Church wherever that is. It is not in the imagination or capriciousness of men. Is it not so in human governments? Christ in forming his Church, was surely as wise as those great men who formed earthly governments. Where is there a republic,-- (I speak of our own--for there is no other,)--In our own--the best Government which approaches nearer to perfection, and which can never be surpassed by human wisdom, is every man permitted to carry out his own opinions, as to the letter of the law--the Constitution? When once authority has decided the matter, and put at rest litigation, every citizen should abide by it. That there was such authority, we have the testimony of the sacred Scriptures. We are told in the Acts of the Apostles, that at Antioch there arose a contention with regard to the necessity of circumcision--some maintaining that the perpetuation of this rite was necessary. How as this question settled? Men were not allowed to preserve their private opinions. It was not said, "You are allowed to think for yourselves." On the contrary, the question was settled by the seniors and apostles met at Jerusalem, and there, after debating the subject, they declared that it was no longer necessary that it should be observed. Those who entertained different opinions yielded at once, because they yielded to supreme power, so supreme that the Apostles from the Council said, "It has seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and it is not necessary to place any such burden upon us."
I had other remarks to make upon this point, but will defer them until next Sunday afternoon.
Before I discuss Father Pise's wonderful defense of Catholic teaching on the twin sources of Divine Revelation, a word or two is in order about his comparison between the authority of the Catholic Church and that of the government of the United States of America under the Constitution
Father Pise's remarks about the nature of the government of the United States of America under the Constitution demonstrate how completely unaware otherwise orthodox and devout and learned pastors of souls were about the lack of ultimate authority extant in the American constitutional system. As is typical to this day of men who accept uncritical the false, anti-Incarnational premises of the American founding, Father Pise, who devotion to the Faith is most certainly evident in the lecture quoted above, did not realize that a written constitution that admits of no higher authority above itself than the text of its own words is defenseless just as defenseless against efforts to deconstruct its text of its plain meaning as the words of Holy Scripture are in the hands of Protestants. Protestants reject the authority of the Catholic Church to guide them.
The American founding fathers did not believe that they had to submit themselves to any higher authority other than the "people," rejecting the patrimony of the Middle Ages wherein that era's great rulers understood that the Catholic Church had the right, as an absolute last resort exercised only after the discharge of her Indirect Power of teaching and preaching and exhortation, to interpose herself with the civil authorities when the good of souls was being jeopardized. Father Pise could not imagine a conflict taking place between the supreme authority of the Constitution of the United States of America and the Faith. He would have been aghast at many of the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States of America in the Twentieth Century, including the ones rendered in the cases of Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) and Roe v. Wade (1973). Indeed, one wonders whether Father Pise accepted the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States of America just five years and three months later, in the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford, which ruled that not even "free" blacks were considered to be "citizens" under the Constitution. One wonders how Father Pise viewed the massive resistance in the City of New York itself to President Abraham Lincoln's conscription orders during the War between the States. Father Pise's contention that all citizens would obey the supreme authority of the government of the United States is thus not founded in historical fact and does not take into account that there might arise an occasion when Catholics would have to resist unjust laws and decisions that were in conflict with the binding precepts of the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law.
I digress. The digression was necessary, however, to point out that Americanism, a cornerstone of Modernism and a precursor of the counterfeit church of conciliarism's view of Church-State relations, was deeply embedded in the minds and hearts of otherwise able, learned and devout pastors of souls who tried to exhort others that the Catholic Church was indeed the true Church.
The point of quoting the December 1, 1851, lecture from Father Pise, who had come by his Americanism quite honestly as he had been the first Catholic priest to serve as the chaplain to the United States Senate and was a close friend of President John Tyler (who was elected to the Senate of the Confederate States of America in 1861 but died before he could be sworn into office), is this: Father Pise was demonstrating to Catholics and non-Catholics alike that the teaching of the Catholic Church was not hers, that it belonged to her Divine Founder and Mystical Bridegroom, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Father Pise chose to make Saint Paul's Second Epistle to the Thessalonians as the foundation for his lecture. Indeed, it is well worth quoting from that epistle once again:
Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle. (2 Thess. 2: 14.)
The Catholic Church has always eschewed innovation or novelty. The true popes of the Catholic Church inveighed against novelty and innovation from the middle of the Eighteenth Century until the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958.
Consider just a few examples:
Who would not be fearful at the present condition of the Christian people? The divine love by which we abide in God and God in us grows very cold as sins and wickedness increase every day. Who would not be shocked when considering that We have undertaken the task of guarding and protecting the Church at a time when many plots are laid against orthodox religion, when the safe guidance of the sacred canons is rashly despised, and when confusion is spread wide by men maddened by a monstrous desire of innovation, who attack the very bases of rational nature and attempt to overthrow them? Assuredly "with such reason for fear, we would have no hope of escaping slavery except that the Guardian of Israel, who does not sleep, says to His disciples: 'Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world.' He deigned to be not merely the guardian of the sheep, but the shepherd of the shepherds as well. (Pope Pius VI. Inscrutabile, December 25, 1775.)
This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. "But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error," as Augustine was wont to say. When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly "the bottomless pit" is open from which John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts flew forth to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things and holy laws -- in other words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other. Experience shows, even from earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion, and glory perished as a result of this single evil, namely immoderate freedom of opinion, license of free speech, and desire for novelty. (Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, August 15, 1832.)
But that harmful and deplorable passion for innovation which was aroused in the sixteenth century threw first of all into confusion the Christian religion, and next, by natural sequence, invaded the precincts of philosophy, whence it spread amongst all classes of society. From this source, as from a fountain-head, burst forth all those later tenets of unbridled license which, in the midst of the terrible upheavals of the last century, were wildly conceived and boldly proclaimed as the principles and foundation of that new conception of law which was not merely previously unknown, but was at variance on many points with not only the Christian, but even the natural law. (Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885.)
Dogma is not only able, but ought to evolve and to be changed. This is strongly affirmed by the Modernists, and clearly flows from their principles. For among the chief points of their teaching is the following, which they deduce from the principle of vital immanence, namely, that religious formulas if they are to be really religious and not merely intellectual speculations, ought to be living and to live the life of the religious sense. This is not to be understood to mean that these formulas, especially if merely imaginative, were to be invented for the religious sense. Their origin matters nothing, any more than their number or quality. What is necessary is that the religious sense -- with some modification when needful -- should vitally assimilate them. In other words, it is necessary that the primitive formula be accepted and sanctioned by the heart; and similarly the subsequent work from which are brought forth the .secondary formulas must proceed under the guidance of the heart. Hence it comes that these formulas, in order to be living, should be, and should remain, adapted to the faith and to him who believes. Wherefore, if for any reason this adaptation should cease to exist, they lose their first meaning and accordingly need to be changed. In view of the fact that the character and lot of dogmatic formulas are so unstable, it is no wonder that Modernists should regard them so lightly and in such open disrespect, and have no consideration or praise for anything but the religious sense and for the religious life. In this way, with consummate audacity, they criticize the Church, as having strayed from the true path by failing to distinguish between the religious and moral sense of formulas and their surface meaning, and by clinging vainly and tenaciously to meaningless formulas, while religion itself is allowed to go to ruin. "Blind'- they are, and "leaders of the blind" puffed up with the proud name of science, they have reached that pitch of folly at which they pervert the eternal concept of truth and the true meaning of religion; in introducing a new system in which "they are seen to be under the sway of a blind and unchecked passion for novelty, thinking not at all of finding some solid foundation of truth, but despising the holy and apostolic traditions, they embrace other and vain, futile, uncertain doctrines, unapproved by the Church, on which, in the height of their vanity, they think they can base and maintain truth itself." (Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1907.)
To penetrate still deeper into the meaning of Modernism and to find a suitable remedy for so deep a sore, it behooves Us, Venerable Brethren, to investigate the causes which have engendered it and which foster its growth. That the proximate and immediate cause consists in an error of the mind cannot be open to doubt. We recognize that the remote causes may be reduced to two: curiosity and pride. Curiosity by itself, if not prudently regulated, suffices to account for all errors. Such is the opinion of Our predecessor, Gregory XVI, who wrote: "A lamentable spectacle is that presented by the aberrations of human reason when it yields to the spirit of novelty, when against the warning of the Apostle it seeks to know beyond what it is meant to know, and when relying too much on itself it thinks it can find the truth outside the Catholic Church wherein truth is found without the slightest shadow of error." (Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1907.)
Let them be convinced that the social question and social science did not arise only yesterday; that the Church and the State, at all times and in happy concert, have raised up fruitful organizations to this end; that the Church, which has never betrayed the happiness of the people by consenting to dubious alliances, does not have to free herself from the past; that all that is needed is to take up again, with the help of the true workers for a social restoration, the organisms which the Revolution shattered, and to adapt them, in the same Christian spirit that inspired them, to the new environment arising from the material development of today’s society. Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalists. (Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907.)
The Church is without question a living organism, and as an organism, in respect of the sacred liturgy also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts and accommodates herself to temporal needs and circumstances, provided only that the integrity of her doctrine be safeguarded. This notwithstanding, the temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for the revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with prevailing laws and rubrics, deserve severe reproof. It has pained Us grievously to note, Venerable Brethren, that such innovations are actually being introduced, not merely in minor details but in matters of major importance as well. We instance, in point of fact, those who make use of the vernacular in the celebration of the august eucharistic sacrifice; those who transfer certain feast-days -- which have been appointed and established after mature deliberation -- to other dates; those, finally, who delete from the prayerbooks approved for public use the sacred texts of the Old Testament, deeming them little suited and inopportune for modern times.
The use of the Latin language, customary in a considerable portion of the Church, is a manifest and beautiful sign of unity, as well as an effective antidote for any corruption of doctrinal truth. In spite of this, the use of the mother tongue in connection with several of the rites may be of much advantage to the people. But the Apostolic See alone is empowered to grant this permission. It is forbidden, therefore, to take any action whatever of this nature without having requested and obtained such consent, since the sacred liturgy, as We have said, is entirely subject to the discretion and approval of the Holy See.
The same reasoning holds in the case of some persons who are bent on the restoration of all the ancient rites and ceremonies indiscriminately. The liturgy of the early ages is most certainly worthy of all veneration. But ancient usage must not be esteemed more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity. The more recent liturgical rites likewise deserve reverence and respect. They, too, owe their inspiration to the Holy Spirit, who assists the Church in every age even to the consummation of the world. They are equally the resources used by the majestic Spouse of Jesus Christ to promote and procure the sanctity of man.
Assuredly it is a wise and most laudable thing to return in spirit and affection to the sources of the sacred liturgy. For research in this field of study, by tracing it back to its origins, contributes valuable assistance towards a more thorough and careful investigation of the significance of feast-days, and of the meaning of the texts and sacred ceremonies employed on their occasion. But it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive tableform; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in Churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer's body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See.
Clearly no sincere Catholic can refuse to accept the formulation of Christian doctrine more recently elaborated and proclaimed as dogmas by the Church, under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit with abundant fruit for souls, because it pleases him to hark back to the old formulas. No more can any Catholic in his right senses repudiate existing legislation of the Church to revert to prescriptions based on the earliest sources of canon law. Just as obviously unwise and mistaken is the zeal of one who in matters liturgical would go back to the rites and usage of antiquity, discarding the new patterns introduced by disposition of divine Providence to meet the changes of circumstances and situation.
This way of acting bids fair to revive the exaggerated and senseless antiquarianism to which the illegal Council of Pistoia gave rise. It likewise attempts to reinstate a series of errors which were responsible for the calling of that meeting as well as for those resulting from it, with grievous harm to souls, and which the Church, the ever watchful guardian of the "deposit of faith" committed to her charge by her divine Founder, had every right and reason to condemn. For perverse designs and ventures of this sort tend to paralyze and weaken that process of sanctification by which the sacred liturgy directs the sons of adoption to their Heavenly Father of their souls' salvation (Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947.)
Catholics could always count on the surety of the doctrines proclaimed and the stability of the worship offered by Holy Mother Church in the centuries before the dawn of the era of conciliarism and its rage for innovation and novelty. Indeed, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI noted in his Christmas address to his conciliar curia on December 22, 2005, that innovation is something good for the life of the "Church:"
It is precisely in this combination of continuity and discontinuity at different levels that the very nature of true reform consists. In this process of innovation in continuity we must learn to understand more practically than before that the Church's decisions on contingent matters - for example, certain practical forms of liberalism or a free interpretation of the Bible - should necessarily be contingent themselves, precisely because they refer to a specific reality that is changeable in itself. It was necessary to learn to recognize that in these decisions it is only the principles that express the permanent aspect, since they remain as an undercurrent, motivating decisions from within.
On the other hand, not so permanent are the practical forms that depend on the historical situation and are therefore subject to change.
As noted two days ago in Contradictors Contradicting Each Other as They Contradict the Faith, this is pure Modernism, used by the Modernists of the counterfeit church of conciliarism to bewilder Catholics with the complexity and the ambiguities and "nuances" of the new ecclesiology and false ecumenism and religious liberty and a "healthy secularity" and the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo itself. Innovation, uncertainty, confusion and complexity have been imposed upon Catholics in the conciliar structures by and with the consent of the antipopes of the past forty-nine years. Millions have been driven out of the true Church as a result, many into the waiting arms of Protestant evangelical and fundamentalist sects. As Pope Saint Pius X noted in Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1907:
It remains for Us now to say a few words about the Modernist as reformer. From all that has preceded, it is abundantly clear how great and how eager is the passion of such men for innovation. In all Catholicism there is absolutely nothing on which it does not fasten
The Modernist passion for innovation has produced a liturgical abomination, which was designed of its nature to appeal to Protestants by stripping the Catholic liturgy of anything that could offend them (Annibale Bugnini, 1965). Instead of attracting Protestants to Catholicism (or conciliarism's ape thereof), the Novus Ordo drove Catholics out of the Church, some for good. The late Monsignor Klaus Gamber, who was not a traditionalist and was in favor of what the man who wrote the French preface for his The Reform of the Roman Liturgy called "the reform of the reform" (that man was Joseph Ratzinger, who praised a book calling the Novus Ordo a "rupture" with the Roman Rite, something that Ratzinger denied in Summorum Pontificum was the case, giving us a contradictor contradicting himself!), noted the matter this way:
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.
This is an excellent description of what the conciliar spirit of novelty and innovation has wrought in the life of ordinary Catholics, is it not? It is no wonder that many Catholics today no longer believe in basic tenets of the Faith even though some of them are maintained by the counterfeit church of conciliarism. The counterfeit church of conciliarism has undermined even its own opposition to abortion and contraception and other evils because it has undermined the very surety of Catholic teaching and popular piety that has been handed down to us over the centuries. No one can possibly even begin to calculate the harm that was done not only by the introduction of the Novus Ordo in 1969 but by the removal of various saints from the universal calendar of conciliarism and the re-writing of the Collects of the Propers of the Masses for those saints who remained on that calendar so as to eliminate all references to the miracles they wrought. Saint Raymond of Pennafort being carried aloft on his cloak over the sea to keep a preaching assignment? The body of Saint Catharine of Alexandria being moved by angels to Mount Sinai? "Modern" man simply cannot accept this as being true, right? Why should a poorly catechized Catholic in the conciliar structures think that the Catholic Church has any "final" word to say about anything, including abortion, when what he perceives as its officials are engaged in a never-ceasing effort to introduce novelties of one sort or another in things great and small?
The latest such innovation involves a "new" Nativity scene in the Piazza di San Pietro in the Vatican that places the Birth of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in Nazareth, not Bethlehem:
LONDON: The traditional nativity scene built each Christmas in front of St Peter’s Basilica has shown Jesus being born in a stable in Bethlehem for 25 years. But, this year, the Vatican will do away with the manger.
The Vatican has decided to abandon the traditional stable and the straw-ladden setting, shifting it to Nazareth, and placing Jesus in his father Joseph’s carpentry shop in a bid to reflect the more straightforward scenario as described by St Matthew.
"It’s time for a change and a return to St Matthew’s gospel," Daily Telegraph quoted a spokesman of the State Department of the Vatican, which organises and builds the giant presepe, or the nativity scene, as saying.
"In fact, in place of the sheep and hay, there will be a model of three rooms. Jesus will lie in Joseph’s shop, complete with the typical work tools of a carpenter...On one side, the shop will be flanked with a covered patio, on the other there’ll be the inside of a pub, with its hearth." The new setting was inspired by two verses in St Matthew’s gospel, Chapter 1:24 and 1:25, the Vatican said, which state: "When Joseph woke up, he did as the Angel of God ordered and took Mary into his house. Without them knowing each other, a child was born and he called his name Jesus."
But, a decision has been made to place the nativity scene in Nazareth regardless, the spokesperson said. The traditional depiction of Jesus in a manger comes from St Luke’s gospel, which said there was no room at the inn”. But it is Matthew’s gospel which forms the basis for the Angelus prayer, and the view of Jesus in a carpenter’s workshop matches the Franciscan tradition. The nativity scene at St Peter’s for Christmas was started by Pope John Paul II in 1982. No more traditional nativity scene in Vatican
Remember what Pope Saint Pius X wrote in Pascendi? Here it is once again?
It remains for Us now to say a few words about the Modernist as reformer. From all that has preceded, it is abundantly clear how great and how eager is the passion of such men for innovation. In all Catholicism there is absolutely nothing on which it does not fasten.
Time for a change and a return to Saint Matthew's Gospel? Here we see efforts by Modernists, whether with our without the approval of the the Modernist-in-Chief who lives on the fourth floor of the Apostolic Palace, to place one Gospel against another, one of the oldest tricks in the trade of Modernist Scriptural exegesis, dating back to the efforts of liberal German Protestant Scripture "scholars" in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century that influenced so many so negatively in the Catholic Church. This is also an effort to further convince ordinary Catholics that we really can't be sure about where Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was born. Imagination and innovation can be brought to bear on the matter, which is being made to appear to be an "open" question, one of legitimate speculation and debate.
The news article above from The Times of India contains the incredibly stupid assertion that verses twenty-four and twenty-five from Chapter One Saint Matthew's Gospel serve as the basis of The Angelus, which we pray at six o'clock in the morning, noon, and at six o'clock in the evening (and midnight if we have happen to be awake at that hour). What idiocy!
Here are verses twenty-four and twenty-five from Chapter One of Saint Matthew's Gospel as found in the Douay-Rheims Bible:
And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife. And he knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. (Matthew 1: 24-25.)
How does this form the basis of The Angelus? Perhaps one ought to look at the following passages in Saint Luke's Gospel and that of Saint John the Evangelist to find the basis of The Angelus:
And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth. (Luke 1: 26-40)
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (John 1: 14)
Time for a change? When has a true pope of the Catholic Church sought to change the place of the Birth of the Divine Redeemer? When?
While it is true that Saint Francis of Assisi instituted the Nativity Scene in the year 1223, subjecting himself to great criticism as an "innovator" who was engaged in a sacrilegious endeavor, it must also be remembered that Saint Francis of Assisi sought and received the permission of Pope Honorius III to do so. Pope Honorius listened to the great apostle of poverty, Saint Francis, who wanted to depict the poverty of Our Lord's birth for the wealthy of Assisi, reminding them that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity came into the world in utter poverty and died in ignominy on the wood of the Holy Cross, condemned as a common criminal and buried in a grave that belonged to another man, Joseph of Arimathea. Our Lord was born in the wood of the manger, a feeding trough for animals, to die on the wood of the Holy Cross, which has become for us the true manger from which we are fed His very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist. Our Lord was born in a cave after His foster-Father, who had returned to the city of his own live, the City of David, Bethlehem, found that there was no room for Him in the inn. Is there any room for Him in the "inns" of our hearts? Saint Francis wanted to illustrate these points graphically so that people would come to realize how the Nativity of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is meant to change every aspect of their lives bar none.
Saint Francis was true to the actual historical account of the Nativity of Our dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The innovators of the counterfeit church of conciliarism believe that it is "time for a change" and a "return" to Saint Matthew's Gospel which not only nowhere contradicts the account given in the Gospel written by Saint Luke but states quite categorically in Chapter 2 that Our Lord was indeed born in Bethlehem!
When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of king Herod, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. Saying, Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him. And king Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Juda. For so it is written by the prophet:
And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the captain that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, privately calling the wise men, learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them; And sending them into Bethlehem, said: Go and diligently inquire after the child, and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I also may come to adore him. Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.And having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their country.And after they were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him. Who arose, and took the child and his mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod: That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called my son.
Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. But when Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph in Egypt, Saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel. For they are dead that sought the life of the child.
Who arose, and took the child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But hearing that Archelaus reigned in Judea in the room of Herod his father, he was afraid to go thither: and being warned in sleep retired into the quarters of Galilee. And coming he dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was said by prophets: That he shall be called a Nazarene. (Matthew 2: 1-22.)
A time to "return" to Saint Matthew's Gospel? Who is kidding whom? Do the conciliarists really think that Catholics are this dumb?
Well, the truth of the matter is, of course, that the conciliarists only care about themselves and their novelties and innovations that place into doubt the Received Teaching of the Catholic Church in ways that are both great and small. It was just over a year ago now that Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI gave his personal approval for the "world premiere" of The Nativity Story motion picture, which portrayed Our Lady as a sulky, moody, disrespectful teenager, thereby denying the doctrinal effects of her Immaculate Conception. This blasphemous motion picture that was an affront to each of three members of the Holy Family was given a glowing introduction by the now John "Cardinal" Foley, the longtime president of the "Pontifical" Council for Social Communications. These are the correlative proofs of the spirit of apostasy and betrayal that characterizes the counterfeit church of conciliarism down to the littlest details.
Some will say that the display in Saint Peter's Square is no "big deal." Neither was the conciliar Vatican's endorsement of The Nativity Story. No big deal? Really? Consider these words of Saint Teresa of Avila:
"Know this: it is by very little breaches of regularity that the devil succeeds in introducing the greatest abuses. May you never end up saying: 'This is nothing, this is an exaggeration.'" (Saint Teresa of Avila, Foundations, Chapter Twenty-nine)
Although marred a bit by the Americanism in which he had been steeped as a child, Father Charles Constantine Pise's 1851 defense of Catholic Tradition is something that is rejected by conciliarism, which sees nothing as stable, views truth itself as subject to different interpretations at different times according tot the circumstances of the moment, anchored in one place for a time only to be lifted up and anchored anew somewhere else. Alas, Who is Truth? God Himself? An entire cloud of witnesses testifies against the absurdities of Modernism that have been institutionalized by the counterfeit church of conciliarism, which must be rejected completely as being an enemy of the Divine Redeemer and thus of the sanctification and salvation of souls.
Breaking with conciliarism and the nonexsitent legitimacy of its apostate officials strains friendships and subjects one to all manner of humiliations. While we hope for a happy reunion in Heaven with those from whom we might be estranged at the moment, we also recognize that Our Lord became Man in Our Lady's Virginal and Immaculate Womb and dwelt amongst us to suffer and die for us on the wood of the Holy Cross. We must suffer and die with Him every day, yes, the die the slow martyrdom, if you will, of calumny and rejection and ostracism for refusing to think that men who can tamper with the historical place of Our Lord's Birth are members of the Catholic Church in good standing:
And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God. For think diligently upon him that endured such opposition from sinners against himself; that you be not wearied, fainting in your minds. For you have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin: And you have forgotten the consolation, which speaketh to you, as unto children, saying: My son, neglect not the discipline of the Lord; neither be thou wearied whilst thou art rebuked by him.
For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Persevere under discipline. God dealeth with you as with his sons; for what son is there, whom the father doth not correct? But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are made partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons. Moreover we have had fathers of our flesh, for instructors, and we reverenced them: shall we not much more obey the Father of spirits, and live? And they indeed for a few days, according to their own pleasure, instructed us: but he, for our profit, that we might receive his sanctification.
Now all chastisement for the present indeed seemeth not to bring with it joy, but sorrow: but afterwards it will yield, to them that are exercised by it, the most peaceable fruit of justice. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, And make straight steps with your feet: that no one, halting, may go out of the way; but rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness: without which no man shall see God. Looking diligently, lest any man be wanting to the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up do hinder, and by it many be defiled.
While we pray, indeed without any bitterness whatsoever, for those who attack the Faith and who confuse and bewilder and deceive the faithful, recognizing that our own sins have contributed rather mightily to the Mystical Passion and Death of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we nevertheless must remain faithful despite our own sins and never once cede to apostates any claim of being Catholics who have any authority from God to command the obedience of men.
Christmas Day is six days away. Have we prepared to welcome the Christ-Child anew in our souls by making room for Him in the "inns" of our hearts by means of a good, integral Confession of our sins? Are we determined to do penance and to fast and to observe the laws of partial abstinence this Ember Wednesday? Are we really trying to say as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit? Are we joyfully offering up each of our crosses to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother? Are we praying for those from whom we are estranged? Do we forgive those who have injured us without harboring grudges for a single, solitary moment? Do we seek forgiveness from those whom we have hurt? Do we remember the Poor Souls in Purgatory each day? Are we meditating upon the Four Last Things (Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell)? Are we taking day each day to read at least a few passages from Sacred Scripture and to do some spiritual reading several times a week? Are we trying to live as the Holy Family lived?
Christmas Day is six days away. May Our Lady help us to keep the Tradition of the Catholic Church at all times so that we can celebrate Christmas Day and the entire Christmas Octave and Season with a gratitude that God has, through absolutely no merits of our own, sent us His graces through her loving hands to cling fast to Him in the catacombs where there is a complete and total rejection of the spirit of those who, to use the words of Pope Saint Pius X, have a such an eager passion for innovation.
Isn't time to pray a Rosary now?
Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saint Elizabeth, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Andrew the Apostle, pray for us.
Saint Eusebius, pray for us.
Saint Barbara, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Francis Xavier, pray for us.
Saint Peter Chrysologus, pray for us.
Saint Bibiana, pray for us.
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Saint Nicholas, pray for us.
Saint Ambrose, pray for us.
Pope Saint Melchiades, pray for us.
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Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
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O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.