Punishing Even the Poor Souls
by Thomas A. Droleskey
False religions offend the honor and the majesty and the glory of the true God of Divine Revelation, the Most Blessed Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.
False religions make a mockery of the Divine Revelation that God has entrusted exclusively to His Catholic Church for Its eternal safekeeping an infallible explication.
False religions make the very identify and Holy Name of God a matter of individual "preference," a view that was "ratified" by the conciliar "archbishop" of New York, Timothy Michael Dolan, almost exactly two years ago now (see Whatever You Want).
False religions brutally punish souls. for whom Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood to redeem, with an endless cascade of liturgical abominations and doctrinal errors that mutate and spin off in thousands of different, quite contradictory directions.
Most false religions spare not even the dead, punishing them very brutally with the belief that they are in Heaven and thus have no need of our prayers.
The false religion known as conciliarism (and, contrary to what Bishop Richard Williamson contends, is a false religion; someone needs to send him Gregorius's The Chair is Still Empty) has been particularly brutal on the Poor Souls in Purgatory.
Sure, the doctrine of Purgatory is still "on the books" in the counterfeit church of conciliarism. "Mass" stipends continue to be taken for deceased Catholics. The Commemoration of All Souls on November 2 is known as "Black Christmas" in many former Catholic parishes that are now in conciliar captivity as that is the day when those little envelopes with "Mass" stipends get opened and their contends divided amongst the priests/presbyters. Some "traditionally-minded" presbyters in my acquaintance opined to me in the past that is is the cash windfall on "Black Christmas" that will keep the doctrine of Purgatory "on the books" even though most of its lords disparage its existence.
As noted many times in this site, most especially in From Sharp Focus to Fuzziness, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI does not believe in the doctrine of Purgatory as taught by the Catholic Church and defined solemnly at the Council of Trent. Much of his "new theology" is really a warmed over version of the "fuzziness" and ambiguity of the false doctrines taught by the Orthodox churches. It is indeed very telling that the conciliar "pope" did not make any mention of Purgatory on November 2, 2012, or when he staged a Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo liturgical service for deceased "cardinals" and "bishops" on November 3, 2012. (See Your Greatest Evil Resides In The Apostolic Palace.) This is pretty much the "norm" in many, although far from all, conciliar venues.
Catholics have been so malformed by the steady diet of error and
profanation that they have been fed by the conciliar revolutionaries
that they recoil in horror when they are told that they and/or their
"bishops" or "pastors" are steeped in one error after another.
elderly Long Island man, showing off his paunch in a Knights of Columbus
windbreaker, nearly punched me in the face on November 2, 1997, when I
confronted his "pastor" over the latter's lack of belief in Purgatory after the latter had given a "homily" without once mentioning Purgatory or to exhort those listening to him to pray for the Poor Souls who are suffering there.
I had questioned the pastor outside of the church in Sea Cliff, New York, as to why he had not mentioned Purgatory. The man, who was probably a true priest, responded as follows in a spirit of effeminate righteousness, "I talked about life. I talked about love." "What about Purgatory?" I asked.
That is when the old Knight of Columbus put his fist to my face and shouted, "Shut
your (expletive deleted) face. Fawdda's right. There ain't no Purgatory
no more." Catholics have learned to defend conciliarism's errors at the
point of fisticuffs, if necessary, oblivious to the fact that their own sensus Catholicus has
been destroyed and replaced by the synthetic falsehoods of Modernism's
false religion, conciliarism, which have, both advertently and
inadvertently, reinforced the falsehoods of Modernity itself.
Lack of belief in Purgatory was epidemic on Long Island under the egregious reign of the late John Raymond McGann from 1976 to 2000.
A dentist, now deceased, was incredulous when I mentioned that I was offering up the suffering associated with what turned out to be his botched root canal job on one of my teeth (that had to be extracted in January of 2005 in February of 2003 to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, trusting that she would the merit earned from an endurance of the pain for the needs of the Poor Souls in Purgatory.
"Purgatory!" the dentist exclaimed. "I thought they got rid of that."
I assured the dentist that one of his patients, now a "monsignor," could set him straight if he did not believe me.
Using a diminutive of the priest's first name, the dentist said, "(Nickname of priest) believes in Purgatory? I'll have to ask him.
The epidemic of a lack of belief in Purgatory in the conciliar structures is not, course, confined to the revolutionary stronghold known as the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
A Catholic man in his seventies in a Midwestern state assured us within the past five years that his deceased wife was in Heaven. He did not want to hear about the simple Catholic teaching that we can never presume the state of any person's soul after death, that we must pray for that soul and have Masses offered for the soul's happy repose. No prayer is ever wasted. Our Lady will direct the fruit of the prayers and Rosaries for the deceased that we pray and the Masses that we arrange to have offered for them to some other suffering soul if the one(s) we are praying for has (have) been released from Purgatory or, God forbid, have been condemned to Hell. Our job is to keep praying for the deceased no matter what.
Similarly, a Catholic woman in her late forties assured us recently that her husband, who had died after a long struggle with cancer, was in Heaven. She as most adamant in not wanting to hear a word about Purgatory. "I have my beliefs," she told us. And those beliefs were taught to her by one conciliar revolutionary after another.
Time and time again the story has been the same no matter where we have traveled. This is no accident. This is the direct result of the conciliar revolution, which has begun to manifest its rotten fruit in Catholic cemeteries.
The false religion of conciliarism is all about the celebration of "human dignity" and of our own "essential goodness." The collects of the "ordinary form" of what is said to be the Roman Rite in the counterfeit church of conciliarism has no references to a God Who judges or to the possibility of the eternal loss of one's souls for all eternity in Hell. The emphasis in false liturgy of a false liturgy is on a perverted, distorted, sentimentally-driven view of the "love of God" that is at the foundation of the "new theology" that Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI learned during his seminary days and to which he remains so very committed. Indeed, a distorted concept of "love" is what has been at the essence of each of his "encyclical letters" thus far, and there is one on the horizon that is said will contain the heresy that souls in states of Mortal Sin lose Faith because they have lost Charity.
Such heresy has been "communicated" in any number of ways in the counterfeit church of conciliarism. It has wrecked the sensus Catholicus of ordinary Catholics and replaced it with Martin Luther's sin of Presumption so that most of them believe that there is almost nothing that they can think, believe, say or do that will cost them what they believe is yet another "entitlement program," entrance into the glory of the Beatific Vision of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost for all eternity in Heaven.
The effects of the blasphemies, apostasies, sacrileges and heresies of conciliarism are everywhere to behold, yes, even, as mentioned just above, in cemeteries.
We visited Saint Mary's Cemetery in Hamilton, Ohio, on Friday, November 9, 2012, to pray the entire Rosary for the souls buried there. We could not, though, but notice the "novel" headstones of those who have died in recent decades that are but a reflection of the novel practices and beliefs of the false religion that is conciliarism.
It would have been wrong, we believe, to have photographed those headstones as to do so would be to violate the privacy of the relatives of those who have died and, given how word about these articles seems to get around to those who are mentioned in them even though they may never have heard of this site beforehand, we did not want to unduly antagonize those relatives, who are themselves victims of the falsehoods of the false religion of conciliarism.
Suffice it to say that headstones were adorned with photographs, some of them featuring people who were dressed very immodestly during their lives and thus, unbeknownst to the relatives, heaps on the souls of their loved ones even more time in Purgatory (if their souls are there), of the deceased. Catholic cemeteries have become a veritable reflection of the "celebration of self" that is the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo worship service.
Other headstones have etchings of guitars or automobiles or footballs or baseballs. Some had photographs of the deceased's favorite automobiles. The emblems of local sports teams adorned or were etched into the headstones of some of those who had died in recent decades. One of those buried in Saint Mary's Cemetery in Hamilton, Ohio, had the Chevrolet emblem engraved into his headstone. Several had stone statuettes of dogs or cats that were made part of the burial plot.
This is all pagan. Every single bit of it. This new paganism is, though, simply a manifestation of the "reconciliation" that the false conciliar religion has made with the false spirits of the "world," a "reconciliation" that is sewn into the very "fabric" of the "Second" Vatican Council, the "magisterium" of the conciliar "popes" and, of course, the false, sacramentally barren liturgical rites that all but a handful of warring Catholics believe have been issued by the Catholic Church.
Mind you, we are not blaming the souls buried in Saint Mary's Cemetery or their relatives for doing that which was not done prior to the dawning of the age of conciliarism and would have been thought impossible before that time. Not at all.
I am, though, attempting to explain that the Poor Souls are being punished by concilairism just as much, if not more, than anyone else in this time of apostasy and betrayal.
This is why we continue to have a solemn obligation to pray and to make sacrifices for the Poor Souls, not only in this month of November but on every day of the year in every month without exception.
Believe me, the souls in Purgatory for whom we pray and have Masses offered as we entrust them to the loving care of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary will be grateful to us for all eternity if we remain steadfast in our fidelity to their needs. They will pray for us to have a happy, holy, sacramentally-provided for death. They will be our best friends for all eternity if we befriend them now.
Keep up those prayers and thoughts for our beloved dead, who are being punished after death by the conciliar revolutionaries who deceived them during life. May we never make any concessions whatsoever to the falsehoods of concilairism or to the nonexistent legitimacy of the men who claim to be its "shepherds" but who are nothing other than spiritual robber barons who expelled themselves from the bosom of the true Church long ago.
The words of Pope Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907, explained very clear that:
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. (Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907.)
Modernists fasten even on the dead, punishing even the Poor Souls in Purgatory.
The path to Heaven can be trod only by those who are willing to bear the Cross and to lift it high in their daily lives. considering it our privilege to hear the Immemorial Mass of Tradition offered at the hands of true bishops and priests who reject conciliarism, seeking only to live in such a way that we will be ready at all times to die in a state of Sanctifying Grace as a member of the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation and without which there can be no true social order.
It's the Faith that matters, the entire Faith without any compromises, now and for all eternity.
Aren't we willing to suffer some more for the Poor Souls as we consecrate ourselves anew to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Immaculate Heart of Mary, triumph soon!
Our Lady of Fatima, 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
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints
Material Concerning Paragraph Fifteen of the General Instruction to the Roman Missal
(As found in Blind to Truth, Blind to the Horror of Personal Sin)
This is all very reflective of the spirit of conciliarism that is reflected in the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service itself, which deemphasizes the horror of personal sin and thus our need as sinners for Holy Mother Church to impose upon us external penances to discipline our frequently disordered and unruly bodies and souls:
The same awareness of the present state of the world also influenced the use of texts from very ancient tradition. It seemed that this cherished treasure would not be harmed if some phrases were changed so that the style of language would be more in accord with the language of modern theology and would faithfully reflect the actual state of the Church's discipline. Thus there have been changes of some expressions bearing on the evaluation and use of the good things of the earth and of allusions to a particular form of outward penance belonging to another age in the history of the Church. (Paragraph Fifteen, General Instruction to the Roman Missal, 1997.)
Who says that forms of "outward penance" belong to "another age in the history of the Church? Revolutionaries, that's who. Revolutionaries whose hatred for the need to do personal penance for one's sins is indicative of their lack of appreciation for the horror of personal sin (see Having No Regard for the Horror of Sin and Just A Matter of Forgiveness?). Revolutionaries who, although they would be loath to see the analogy, are just as much in league with the adversary, who hates the Holy Cross and the fact that believing Catholics, despite their own sins and failings, embrace It and love It as they attempt to lift It high with joy and gratitude in their own daily lives, as the social revolutionaries who make no pretense at all of their open hatred for Christ the King and the very instrument upon which He redeemed sinful human beings.
A Matter of the Faith, Not of Any Kind of "Personal Preference"
(Adapted from G.I.R.M. Warfare)
The wreckage wrought by the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service is truly mind-boggling.
A synthetic liturgy, which was the product of men who believed that a "new age of energy" had dawned upon man, continues to demonstrate its inherent degeneracy as time progresses. We have, as I have noted on so many occasions in the past, become a congregational church. Each parish has its own distinctive ways of "doing" liturgy. The Mass varies widely from priest to priest even in the same parish. Sadly, the Novus Ordo contains enough approved options within it to make it the plaything of a particular priest, who feels free to give himself a little bit of "variety" now and then by using the options available to him most arbitrarily. There is nothing of a permanent nature which is beyond the ability of national episcopal conferences, diocesan liturgical commissions, parish liturgy committees, or individual celebrants to tamper with as circumstances dictate. The result is impermanence and instability, the exact opposite of what a liturgical rite is supposed to produce.
Although many presbyters who have been installed (the conciliar rites of episcopal consecration and priestly ordination are as bogus as the Novus Ordo itself) since 1969 have come to appreciate the beauty and the permanence of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, some of these men have been coopted by the new order of things into professing publicly that the Mass of the Roman Rite, the Mass of our glorious, living liturgical tradition in the West, is merely a matter of preference, not an exercise of the worship of the Blessed Trinity which is inherently more perfect, more beautiful, more glorious, more befitting the dignity of God than the banality offered by the Novus Ordo. One such priest, who was known once (and not so long ago) for his stirring defense of the importance of the restoration of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition for exactly these reasons, has let the allure of a pastoral appointment and the careerism engendered thereby to lead him to state that the "same Lord" is present in both Masses, that a preference for the "old" is a personal matter which ought not to detract from the objective good found in the new Mass. This is all so reminiscent of what a fictional character once told a blackmail victim of his as to why it was so easy to stoop to the use of whatever means deemed necessary to achieve a particular end: "Once you lose integrity, the rest is easy." And the Novus Ordo makes it easy for men once known for their courage to lose their integrity and to try to convince others positivistically that what is a matter of objective truth is simply a matter of personal preference, which is nothing other than the method used by liberals to attempt to reduce all matters of worship and doctrine to the level of subject preference rather than objective truth.
The principal end of the Mass is the worship of the Blessed Trinity. The nature of God demands that we, His creatures, worship Him. However, the worship we are to offer the Father through the Son in Spirit and in Truth must befit His dignity as God. It must of its nature be an expression of beauty. We are creatures who have bodies and souls. Our bodies contain within them the senses which are affected by the environments in which we find ourselves. Even the smallest detail of the environment in which we find ourselves affects our senses, whether or not we realize it. Thus, a Catholic is called to recognize the fact that every aspect of his home life, for example, is to reflect beauty and order. We are to remind ourselves that we, although sinners who have marred the beauty of our sins by the stain of our sins, are meant to live for all eternity in the glory of beauty Himself, the very Beatific Vision of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. If this is so in the right ordering of our domestic lives, how much more is it to be the case with respect to the Sacrifice of the Mass?
As a work of beauty, the Mass must reflect permanence and stability. The infinite perfection of God is of its very nature permanent and stable. As far as is possible, therefore, the Sacred Mysteries must convey the Infinity, Permanence, Transcendence, and Stability of the Blessed Trinity. This is why the various Eastern liturgies are rich in symbolism (melodious chant, icons, grails signifying the "holy of holies" beyond which the laity are not to pass). A solemn High Latin Mass conveys this symbolism different than do the Eastern liturgies. However, the glory of Gregorian chant, the waft of incense, the fixed, prescribed rituals (such as the thirty-three Signs of the Cross which are made by a priest during the celebration of Mass in the Traditional Latin Rite), the singing of the Asperges me, Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Collect, Epistle, Gradual, Lesser Alleluia, Gospel, Offertory, Preface, Pater Noster, Communion, Postcommunion, and Ite, Missa est, and the dignity of the priest acting in persona Christi convey collectively a beauty and order reflective of the organic nature of its development over the first centuries of the Church. No human being could have created such beauty and order synthetically. Its development over time itself is expressive of how Catholics began to appreciate and understand the nature of the Mass and the beauty and reverence due God in His Infinity as God.
As I have noted in the past, there are those who have justified the Novus Ordo on the basis of an appeal to antiquarianism, the exaltation of what is alleged to have been the simpler rites of the first three centuries of the Church. As Monsignor Klaus Gamber pointed out in The Reform of the Roman Liturgy, the efforts of early Twentieth Century liturgists such as Pius Parsch to discover the "roots" of the liturgy were based on false assumptions and bad history. Indeed, as Pope Pius XII noted in Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947, said antiquarianism was really little else than an effort to project back onto the past a reality which never existed in order to justify "reforms" which were at odds with the whole history of authentic liturgical development and destructive of the ends of the Mass.
To the extent, however, that the rites were simpler in the first few centuries of the Church, there are two very simple explanations as to why this was so. First, the Church was underground in most of the world until the Edict of Milan was issued by Emperor Constantine in 313 A.D. Yes, there were churches and basilicas which had been erected prior to that time. However, given the fact that various Roman emperors engaged in periodic, episodic persecution of the first Catholics between 67 A.D. and 313 A.D., a good deal of the reason why the earlier rites were simpler in form and rubric was that the Mass was said "on the run" a good deal of the time. This is why priests celebrated Mass in their street clothing (a chasuble was garb worn by ordinary Roman citizens) so that they would not be suspected of "anti-state" activities while walking above ground-and so that they could escape readily if they had to flee the place where they were celebrating Mass. Interestingly, this vitiates one of the arguments made by supporters of women's ordination to the priesthood. The fact that women wore chasubles during Mass did not mean they were priestesses or deaconesses. Chasubles were simply street garments. Period. Thus, part of the reason the rites were simpler in the first few centuries than they later became is explained by the necessity of the times. When the period of persecutions ended with the Edict of Milan, Catholics came to realize over time the beauty which was due God. It was then that huge cathedrals and basilicas began to be built. It was then that the rites began the steady process of growing in their ornateness and beauty.
Second, as the late Dr. Adrian Fortesque noted so ably in his works, the Mass of the Roman Rite underwent few changes (principally effected by Pope Gregory the Great) from the fifth century forward. And the changes which did manifest themselves occurred slowly, organically, imperceptibly. Indeed, the Missale Romanum promulgated by Pope Saint Pius V in 1570 so perfectly reflected the grandeur of tradition that it was adopted universally in one diocese after another even though the Holy Father had permitted places which had rites of their own dating back more than 200 years to keep those rites. With several exceptions, including the Ambrosian Rite in Milan, Italy, and the Mozarabic Rite in Toledo, Spain, the Missale Romanum was embraced everywhere as a fitting expression of what had developed into a fixed rite over a thousand years before.
In addition to the splendor of the rites, the beauty which is owed God in the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries concerns the appearance of a church itself. The High Altar, positioned in the back of the sanctuary so that the priest is in conversation with God, is of utmost importance. The altar conveys the sacrificial nature of the Mass, in contradistinction with the use of a table (almost a requirement by many diocesan liturgical commissions today for the building of new churches and the wreckovation of older ones), which conveys a mere meal or banquet.
The steps leading to the altar convey the fact that we must make an effort to approach God, that we need His ineffable grace to climb the stages of spiritual perfection so as to offer our own lives right readily in a sacrificial manner in union with the Sacrifice offered in an unbloody manner at the hands of a priest. The Communion railing signifies several things, including the distinction between the priesthood of the ordained priest (which is different both in degree and in kind from that possessed by the lay faithful as a result of their baptism) and that we possess by virtue of our baptism. Thus, the communion rail also signifies that the holy of holies is reserved for those who are themselves consecrated to handle the Sacred Species as well as for those chosen to assist them during the unbloody representation of Calvary. The communion rail also signifies the distance which separates us in this vale of tears from eternity. Although we desire Heaven-and are given a foretaste of Heavenly glories in the celebration of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition (as well as in the Eastern Divine Liturgies), we are still in this vale of tears. There is a distance which separates us from eternity.
Additionally the beauty befitting God in a Catholic church, which is meant to provide a fitting ambiance for the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries, requires that there be a Crucifix to orient us to the fact that there is no other path to Heaven than by embracing our own individual crosses on a daily basis. There must be images of the Sacred Heart, the font of Divine Mercy formed out of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Statues of the Blessed Mother, who made possible our salvation by her perfect acceptance of the will of the Father at the Annunciation, must be visible to remind us that she stood so valiantly by the foot of the Cross. Representations of Saint Joseph, the head of the Holy Family and the Patron of the Universal Church, must be present, as well as statues of the individual patron saints of the church and/or diocese. We, the faithful, must not be positioned in the "round." As our participation in the Mass is principally interior (requiring an active effort on the part of the intellect and the will), our attention and reverence will be affected necessarily by our being positioned in direct view of the High Altar, which is the focus of our attention during Mass, and upon which is placed the tabernacle where the Eucharistic King awaits our worship before and after Mass.
The music, therefore, which is sung or played during the Mass must uplift our souls to God, not reflect the banality of this world. It is meant to reflect the beauty, solemnity, reverence, permanence, stability, honor, dignity, and glory that are due God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Though, as Pope Pius XII noted in Mediator Dei, new musical compositions are not to be excluded from the celebration of the Mass just because they are new, any composition which proposes itself to be played in Mass must of its nature reflect the elements noted above. What we have seen in the counterfeit church of conciliarism is the canonization of the profane to such an extent that the music played in stagings of the Novus Ordo service is meant to reflect the spirit of the world rather than to reflect the permanence and beauty and solemnity of the Sacred Mysteries. There is simply no substitute for Gregorian Chant in the Roman Rite. It is more than a little telling that the various Eastern rites have never permitted profane compositions to be included in their ancient chants. The destruction of order, reverence, nay, even belief in the Real Presence, in the Latin rite has been made all the more possible by the profane music introduced in the past forty years.
Finally, and so very importantly, we must present souls to the Blessed Trinity which are as beautiful as they can be. Though we may have much to do to make reparation for our forgiven mortal sins and for our unforgiven venial sins (as well as for our general attachment to sin), we are to be minimally in a state of sanctifying grace in order to receive Holy Communion worthily. The inherent nature of the Mass does not depend upon the beauty of our souls. However, its efficacy in our own lives depends upon the extent to which we prepare to root out all that is ugly, selfish and thus displeasing to the Blessed Trinity. An important symbolic representation of this is the attire we choose to wear when hearing Holy Mass. An outward display is frequently a pretty good sign of an interior disposition (or lack thereof).
A second constituent element of the end of Adoration is solemnity. Calvary was no joke. It was not a gabfest. Our Blessed Mother did not say to Saint Mary Magdalene, "Hey, Mary! You look great today." The Mass does not need endless improvisation or adaptation. It is what it is. Our Lord embraced the will of the Father in His Agony in the Garden. He offered Himself up on the wood of the Cross to pay back in His own Sacred Humanity what was owed to Him in His Infinity as God, that which we could not pay back on our own with our finite bodies. Our Lord paid back to Himself the blood debt of our own sins. Our puny, finite little minds cannot possibly even begin to fathom the horror and the pain Our Lord experienced as He effected our redemption on the heights of Golgotha. Our Lord fulfilled the Father's will so that His Infinite Mercy could be extended to us sinful creatures, who do not merit that mercy but who are the beneficiaries of this gratuitous, unforced gift of gifts. There were silence and tears among the several faithful souls who stood by the wood of the Cross. They were not distracted by the flies and the heat and the noise of the crowd busily jeering Our Lord. Our comportment must be exactly that which was demonstrated by the Blessed Mother, Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Mary Magdalene, and the handful of others who were at the foot of the Cross on the first Good Friday.
Every aspect of the Mass demands solemnity, sobriety, reverence. The priest in the Immemorial Mass of Tradition did not come out to greet the people (quite a significant change in all liturgical tradition, both in the East and in the West). He came out to pray at the foot of the steps leading to the High Altar, preparing himself and the faithful gathered (if any) for the perfect prayer which is the Mass. He is in conversation with God. We unite our prayers with those of the priest. However, the focus of a priest in the Immemorial Mass of Tradition is not the people. It is Christ, the King.
Although there are responses that the coir sings in a Solemn High Mass, the priest addresses us as a priest, not as an entertainer who has to add something of his personality or his own wordiness to "make" the Mass a more "complete" experience for us. The entirety of the Mass must convey solemnity, especially at that sublime moment when the priest utters the glorious words, Hoc est enim Corpus Meum. . . . Hic est enim Calix Sanguinis mei, novi et aerteni testamenti: mysterium fidei, qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum. The very solemn nature of the Roman Rite did this. No priest had to exaggerate the elevation in order to convey that which is lacking in the essence of the Mass (as some do in the Novus Ordo). No priest had to improvise words to emphasize that the words of consecration are indeed the most important part of the Mass (as some do quite idiosyncratically in the Novus Ordo). Every aspect of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition conveyed reverence and solemnity.
Solemnity is also conveyed in the Immemorial Mass of Tradition by the very positioning of the priest in conversation with God (or ad orientem, in the case of the actual, Eastward orientation of the High Altar of a particular church). As I have noted on other occasions, the first person to celebrate a "liturgy" facing the people was Martin Luther. Father Joseph Jungmann, who was a supporter of "liturgical reform" but was intellecdtually honest about some points despite the questionable nature of much of his other research, noted, "The claim that the altar of the early Church was always designed to celebrate facing the people, a claim made often and repeatedly, turns out to be nothing but a fairy tale." We do not need to look at the priest and he does not need to look at us. Both priest and people are called to focus their attention on God, not on each other. While a particular priest celebrating a particular Mass is important in that there would be no Mass celebrated at that time without his having been ordained to the sacerdotal priesthood of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, his individual personality is unimportant, totally irrelevant. We need to focus on the work he is doing in persona Christi by virtue of the powers given him by God at the moment of his priestly ordination. The orientation of the priest toward the High Altar of Sacrifice is an important constituent element of the solemnity befitting the Adoration of the God the Father through the God the Son in Spirit and in Truth.
Permanence and Transcendence are two other constituent elements related to the end of Adoration found in the Mass. A rite is meant of its nature to be fixed, not ever changing. Pope Pius XII noted in Mediator Dei in 1947 that the human elements (or accidentals) of the Mass are subject to change. If such change should occur, he noted, it should occur organically, slowly over the course of time. Rapid change bewilders the faithful. Constant, unremitting change (and the variations that exist within parishes, among parishes, and among priests) lead people to conclude that doctrine itself must be subject to the sort of change and evolution evidenced in the liturgy. Everything is up for grabs, including the nature of God Himself. Nothing is fixed in the nature of things or by the Deposit of Faith Our Lord entrusted to the Church through the Apostles. That this is one of the chief goals of the liturgical revolutionaries is plain for all to see, and is something that has been the fodder of much discussion over the past forty years.
A liturgical rite is meant to reflect permanence. God is unchanging. Our need for Him is unchanging. His truths are unchanging. As the liturgy is meant to provide us with a sense of same sort of security we find in our earthly dwellings, our homes, as a foretaste of the security we will know in our Heavenly dwelling if we persist until our dying breaths in states of sanctifying grace, it is obviously the case that it should reflect the permanence and transcendence of God and of the nature of His revelation. The Immemorial Mass of Tradition conveys this sense of permanence by virtue of the fixed nature of the rites (the gestures, the stability of the liturgical calendar, the annual cycle of readings, the repetition of the readings of a Sunday Mass during the following week if no feast days or votive Masses are celebrated on a particular day). It also conveys the sense of permanence and transcendence by its use of Latin, a dead language.
As Dr. Adrian Fortesque pointed out in his works, Latin is by no means a necessity for the celebration of the Mass. The various Eastern rites are offered in different idioms. And Latin itself was once the language of the people. (Indeed, one of the ways to rebut the charge made so sloganistically by Protestants that Catholics desired to "hide" the Bible from the people prior to the Protestant Revolt is to point out that when Saint Jerome translated the Bible from the Hebrew and the Greek into the Latin Vulgate, he did so to make it accessible to the people. Latin was the language of the people at that time.) The fall of the Roman Empire in the West, however, led to Latin's falling into disuse as the vernacular of the people. This was an "accident" of history, admitting, obviously, that all things happen in the Providence of God. This "accident," however, wound up serving to convey the sense of permanence and transcendence which is so essential to the Adoration of the Blessed Trinity in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
As Latin is now a dead language, it is no longer subject to the sort of ideological manipulation and deconstructionism found in a living language. A dead language is what it is. Its words have a permanent meaning. This "accident" of history, which, of course, has occurred within the Divine Providence of God, has helped to convey the sense that God is permanent, His truths are permanent, our need for Him is permanent, and our worship of Him must reflect this permanence. Furthermore, Latin conveys the universality of the Faith. A dead language is beyond the ability of anyone, including a priest, to manipulate. Thus, the Mass of the Roman Rite is the same everywhere. It is the same in New York as it is Spain. It is the same in the United Kingdom as it is in Japan. It is the same in Nigeria as it is in Argentina. It is the same in its essence in 2010 as it was 1571. This furthers the sense of permanence as a constituent element of the end of Adoration.
Latin also conveys the sense of the Mysterium Tremendum. Although it is possible to pray the Mass with a priest by the use of a good Missal (such as the Father Lasance Missal), even those who are fluent in ecclesiastical and scholastic Latin understand that Latin conveys of its nature a sense of mystery. The Mass after all contains within it the mysteries of salvation. We know intellectually what the Mass is and what takes place therein. However, not even the greatest theologian in the history of the Church understands fully how these mysteries take place. We accept them as having been given us by Our Lord through Holy Mother Church. We want to plumb their depths by means of assiduous prayer and study. No human being, however, can possibly claim to understand the mystery of God's love for His sinful creatures, no less His desire to reconcile us to Himself through the shedding of His own Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. Latin conveys the sense of the tremendous mystery which is the Mass.
Again, it is not an incomprehensible language, as some defenders of the new order of things contend so arrogantly. Even illiterate peasants in the Middle Ages understood the Mass as a result of their being immersed into it week after week after week. Indeed, they had a better understood of the nature of the Mass (and of its ends) than do the lion's share of Catholics today, immersed as they have been in almost forty years of vernacular and banality. Nevertheless, Latin conveys the beauty and the glory and the honor and the permanence and the transcendence and the mystery associated with God and His Revelation.
To be sure, Latin is not an absolute guarantor of such qualities. The constituent prayers of the Mass must express the fullness of the Holy Faith, something which is not done in the Latin editio typica of the Novus Ordo. A simple comparison of the prayers found in the Missale Romanum promulgated by Pope Saint Pius V and the Novus Ordo of Giovanni Montini/Paul VI demonstrates that the expression of the faith has been changed quite radically (as I noted when analyzing Paragraph 15 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal in Change for change sake). This is especially the case with feasts of the Blessed Mother, as I noted in last months' analysis of GIRM. That those responsible the current synthetic liturgy felt free to tamper with the expression of the faith indicates that it is not simply Latin in se which is the guarantor of the permanence associated with the Adoration of God in the Mass. It is the use of Latin and the prayers which most fully express within themselves the Deposit of Faith which convey such permanence and universality. And, naturally, as Latin is the Mass of the Missale Romanum of Pope Saint Pius V, it does not need to be translated into a living language for its celebration by the priest, who thereby is simply an agent to whom has been entrusted our glorious liturgical tradition, to be celebrated in all of its beauty and splendor.
The second end of the Mass we need to examine is that of reparation. The Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice offered by a sacerdos, that is, one who is able to offer a sacrifice. By its perpetuation in an unbloody manner of the Sacrifice offered by the Son to the Father in Spirit and in Truth, each celebration of the Mass adds honor and glory to God and grace to the world. Satisfaction is thereby given to God for the sins of men. The fruits of this satisfaction may be applied to a specific soul presumed to be in the Church Suffering in Purgatory (which is one of the principal reasons for having Masses said for the dead). Additionally, however, the faithful are to remind themselves that they have an opportunity in each Mass to make reparation for their own forgiven mortal sins, their unforgiven venial sins and their general attachment to sin. Almost all of the prayers contained within the Immemorial Mass of Tradition reflect man's duty to do penance for his sins and to be aware of a God Who, though merciful, is also just. The prayers at the foot of the altar, the Confiteor, and the Kyrie do this in a very specific way at the beginning of Mass. Many of the Collects and Offertories and Secrets and Communions and Postcommunions also do this.
Consider, for example, the following, said by a priest as he ascends the steps to the High Altar following the prayers at the foot of the altar: Aufer a nobis, quaesimus Domine, iniquitates nostras: ut ad Sancta Sanctorum, puris mereamur mentibus introire. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. "Take away from us our iniquities, we beseech Thee, O Lord; that, being made pure in heart we may be worthy to enter into the Holy of Holies. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen."
Consider also, the Collect for Septuagesima Sunday: Preces populi tui, quaesumus Domine, clementer exaudi: ut, qui juste pro pecatis nostris affligimur, pro tui nominis gloria misericorditer liberemur. Per Dominium. "Do Thou, we beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously hear the prayers of Thy people, that we, who are justly afflicted for our sins, may be mercifully delivered for the glory of Thy name. Through Our Lord." Also, Quinquagesima Sunday, which fell on February 10, 2002: Preces nostras, quaesumus, Domine clementer exaudi: atque a peccatorum vinculis absolutos, ab omni nos adversitate custodi. Per Dominum. "Of thy clemency harken unto our prayers, O Lord, loose us from the bonds of sin, and keep us from all adversity. Through Our Lord."
Consider also the prayers at the blessing of the ashes on Ash Wednesday: Oremus, Deus, qui non mortem, sed penitentiam desideas peccatorum: fragilitatem conditionis humanae benignissima respice; et hos cineres, quos causa proferendae humilitatis, atque promerandae veniae, capitibus nostris imponi decernimus, benedicere pro tua pietate, dignare: ut, qui cinerem esse, et ob pravitatis nostrae demeritum in pulverem reversuroscognoscimus; peccatorum omnium veniam, et praenia paenitentibus repromissa, misericorditer consequi meramur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen." O God, Who desirest not the death of sinners, but their repentance, most graciously regard the frailty of human nature; and, of Thy loving-kindness, deign to bless these ashes, which we intend to put upon our heads to express our lowliness and win Thy pardon, that we, who know that we are but ashes and for the guilt of our fall shall return to dust, may be worthy to obtain, through Thy mercy, the forgiveness of all our sins and the rewards promised to the penitent. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen."
Finally, consider one of the Collects to be said in Votive Masses in honor of the Seven Dolors of Our Lady: Cordibus nostris, quaesumus, Domine, gratiam tuam beningus infude: ut peccata nostra catsitgatione voluntaria cohibentes, temporaliter, potius maceremur, quam supplicis deputemur aeternis. Per Dominum. "Of Thy goodness pour Thy grace into our hearts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that, bridling our sinful appetites with voluntary discipline, we may suffer temporal mortifications rather than be condemned to eternal punishments. Through Our Lord." There are no such expressions in the Novus Ordo whatsoever. It is an expression of a different faith, of, the belief that the force of the energy unleashed by "the general will" can effect a new spirit in man and thus in the Church.
These are clear expressions of the Reparation as one of the four ends of the Mass. And it is this spirit of reparation which is supposed to uppermost in our minds and our hearts as we hear Mass, mindful of our own need to make reparation for our own sins by cooperating with the graces we receive in Holy Communion, as well as the actual graces which flow out in the world as a result of the offering of each Holy Mass. As penitents who are aware of the debt we owe but cannot pay back on our own, we are supposed to be reminded by the very spirit of the Mass that we are to called to be co-redeemers of Our Lord by our patient and loving embrace of whatever crosses (physical, emotional, spiritual) we are asked to bear to make satisfaction for our own sins, to say nothing of offering the merits we earn for the Poor Souls in Purgatory and for the conversion to repentance and the true Faith of all erring, unrepentant sinners. Indeed, black was required as a liturgical color in Masses offered for the dead to remind us that physical death is a punishment for Original Sin. We are to grieve over what sin has done to the order of God's creation while at the same time we give thanks to Him for His ineffable mercy. The Mass, therefore, is supposed to remind us of the great mercy extended to us by God in permitting us to endure redemptive suffering for our own sake and for the sake of the salvation of the whole world.
As the unbloody perpetuation of the Sacrifice of the Cross, the Mass teaches us that there is no other path to an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Paradise than the Cross. That is why, you see, the replacement of the Crucifix in churches with representations of the "Resurrected Jesus" or of barren crosses coincide with an expression of the faith which no longer stresses a spirit of interior penance or of a need for external acts of penance. Souls which grow to love God with a fever pitch voluntarily take unto themselves whatever sufferings and humiliations which come their way without complaint, understanding that their sins deserve far worse than they are asked to bear in this vale of tears. None of us suffers as his sins deserve. Our Lord is infinitely merciful. He only permits us to bear what we have the capacity to bear by means of the graces He won for us on Calvary, and which are extended to us in each and every celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. One who loves God understands his need at all times to make reparation. Those who are totally consecrated to Our Lady give her, who is our Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate, all of their sufferings and merits to be used as she sees fit for the honor and glory of the Blessed Trinity and for the salvation of souls. What a tremendous trust in our Blessed Mother and a surrender of our attachment to our merits to give to the one who stood at the foot of the Cross as her Immaculate Heart was pierced with a sword of sorrow all of our merits gained by our acts of penance and mortification. Such a spirit can develop only when the Mass emphasizes our need for reparation, which is why its solemn and reverent celebration is so essential to the right ordering of individual souls.
The Confiteor found in the Immemorial Mass of Tradition expresses the desire on the part of both the priest and the faithful to express sorrow and contrition for sins. Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beatae Mariae semper virgini, beato Michaeli archangelo, beato Joanni Baptistate, anctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, omnibus Sanctis et vobis fratres, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo, et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper virgenem, beatum Michaelem archangelum, beatum Joannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Pualm, omnes Sanctos, et vos fratres, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum. "I confess to almighty God, to blessed Mary ever virgin, to blessed Michael the archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to you, brethren, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed; through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I beseech the blessed Mary ever virgin, blessed Michael the archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, all the saints, and you, brethren, to pray to the Lord our God for me." It is no accident that the Confiteor found in the editio typica of the Novus Ordo has been much simplified. Although it does contain the triple mea culpa, there are no references to Saint Michael the Archangel or to Saint John the Baptist or to Saints Peter and Paul. There are reasons for this, and they relate to de-emphasizing the end of Reparation in the Mass.
The Confiteor found in the Immemorial Mass of Tradition has the priest and the server (praying for the people) confession sorrow for sins to almighty God and to the Blessed Mother, Saint Michael, Saint John the Baptist and to Saints Peter and Paul. Why? Well, the Blessed Mother was conceived immaculately without any stain of sin on her soul. Sin is what caused her to undergo her Seven Dolors. It grieves her now, which is why she has visited us sinful, ungrateful men on so many occasions in the past 470 years. Saint Michael is the one who won the victory over Lucifer when he rebelled against God in Heaven. Saint John the Baptist was freed from Original Sin at the Visitation when he leapt for joy in his mother's womb as he heard the voice of the Mother of the One Whose precursor he was meant to be pierce his ears. He lived a live of austere penance and mortification, calling sinners to a symbolic baptism of repentance to prepare the way for his Lord and Savior. Saints Peter and Paul were sinners. Saint Peter denied Our Lord three times. Saint Paul persecuted the infant Church, presiding over the stoning of Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr. However, their fidelity to the spread of the Gospel brought them to Rome, the seat of the most powerful empire in the history of the world. They were willing to shed their blood for Our Lord, thereby planting the seeds for the growth of the Church which itself would be headquartered from thereon out in Rome. They were purified by their martyrdom, giving us an example of how we must be willing to die to all things, especially to the influence of sin in our lives, in order to be prepared to die a martyr's death in behalf of the Faith. We need their intercession to help us avoid sin and to embrace a spirit of mortification and penance in our daily lives. Thus, you see, there is no place for such expressions in a synthetic liturgy created by men who no longer believed that there was a need for penance and mortification, no less the invocation of those who lived sinless lives-or were purified of sin by means of their willingness to die for the Faith.
Alas, the most telling expression of the end of Reparation found in the Mass is in the words of the Consecration of the Chalice: Hic est enim Calix Sanguinis mei, novi et aeterni testamenti: mysterium fidei, qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum. "For this is the Chalice of My Blood, of the new and everlasting testament, which for you and for many shall be shed unto the remission of sins." ". . . . Which for you and for many shall be shed unto the remission of sins." Although we cannot offer of ourselves the propitiatory sacrifice offered once by Our Lord to the Father on the wood of the Cross-and although we in the laity cannot do so by uttering the words of Consecration, we can and must nevertheless be inspired by the Mass and fortified by the graces received therein to make a sacrifice of our lives in reparation for our sins and those of the whole world. There is no other path to Heaven than by doing so, which is why it is so essential for the Mass to communicate its end of Reparation clearly and unequivocally.
The third end of the Mass to be discussed is that of Petition. It is in the Mass, which is the perfect prayer, that the priest prays for us to the Father through the Son in Spirit and in Truth. Petitions are made for the forgiveness of sins, as well as to help us to cooperate with the graces we receive in the Mass. Many of the Collects and Offertories and Secrets and Communions and Postcommunions found in the Immemorial Mass of Tradition make very direct petition to God for our needs, especially as they relate to the salvation of our immortal souls. Indeed, the Offertory Prayers recited at the Offering of the Host and the Offering of the Chalice petition God in a most beautiful way that we might have the right disposition to enter deep into the sublime moment of the Consecration.
All of that being true, however, it is in the Roman Canon (and in the Prefaces) that we find the most perfect expression of this end of petition in the Mass.
The priests asks first of all the Father to bless "these gifts, these presents, these holy unspotted sacrifices, which we offer up to Thee, in the first place, for Thy holy Catholic Church, that it may please Thee to grant her peace, to guard, unite, and guide her, throughout the world; as also for [there is, of course, no true pope at this time] our Bishop, and for all who are orthodox in belief and who profess the Catholic and apostolic faith."
You see, there is no need for the silly, inane, often ideologically laden "petitions" which are offered in the Novus Ordo during what is now called the General Intercessions. All of the petitions and needs of the Church and the world are contained in the very structure of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, especially as they are expressed in the Roman Canon.
The first part of the Roman Canon asks God to bless the gifts and sacrifices which are about to be offered up to Him, in the first place for the Church, the holy Catholic Church, as well as for the Sovereign Pontiff, the local Ordinary, and for those who "are orthodox in belief and who profess the Catholic and apostolic faith." Words count. Words matter. We do not ask God's blessing on heretics, apostates, schismatics, or dissenters. We ask for God's blessing on those who are true believers in the Deposit of Faith. The Roman Canon is not an exercise in religious indifferentism (can the same be said of the recently composed "Eucharistic Prayers"of the Novus Ordo?). This is a very important petition.
"Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy servants (here the priest and the faithful remember interiorly those in the Church Militant they desire to pray for; there will be more concern This is a beautiful summary of the true needs of others, starting first with the salvation of their immortal souls. None of us is guaranteed to persevere until the point of our dying breaths in states of sanctifying grace. No one is so guaranteed, including our closest friends and relatives. We must pray ceaselessly for our-and their-spiritual well-being, both now and at the hour of our deaths, which not even a terminally ill person knows. There is thus no need for people to pray out loud in church during Mass about this sick relative or that sick relative, thus descending into endless displays of narcissism and sometimes even false piety. The Canon expresses all of our needs so perfectly. Isn't it a petition of our prayers to pray for all of the needs of the faithful?
"Having communion with and venerating the memory first, of the glorious Mary, ever a vigin, mother of Jesus Christ, our God and Our Lord: likewise of Thy blessed apostles and martyrs Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Thaddeus; of Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy saints; for the sake of whose merits and prayers do Thou grant that in all things we may be defended by the help of Thy Protection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen."
Again, it is no accident that a priest or a presbyter in the Novus Ordo has the option of omitting almost all of the saints listed in what is now called Eucharistic Prayer I (The Roman Canon). There is a need to "rush" through the Canon after what is usually an excessively long "Liturgy of the Word" (including the General Intercessions). If the Roman Canon is used at all, long lists of saints should be omitted. Their absolute inclusion in the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, however, indicates that we are to be grateful to them for their fidelity, and to offer our petitions to them, who have gained the crown of eternal glory, for our protection and help by the grace of God. We need the help of the saints to become saints ourselves.
"Wherefore, we beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously to receive this oblation which we Thy servants, and with us Thy whole family, offer up to Thee: dispose our days in Thy peace; command that we be saved from eternal damnation and numbered among the flock of Thine elect. Through Christ Our Lord Amen."
Asking God to receive the oblation which is being offered up by the priest and the people (who unite their prayers with his by their interior participation in the Mass), the priest asks God to dispose our days in His peace, not the peace of this passing world, and to command that we be saved from eternal damnation in order to be numbered among the flock of His elect. We are not assured of our salvation. We must work out our salvation in fear and in trembling. We are reminded of this in no uncertain terms in this part of the Roman Canon, the Hanc Igitur.
Following the Consecration of the Host and the Chalice, thanks is given in the second part of the Canon as the priest asks God to look upon the gifts just offered "with a gracious and tranquil countenance." In the Supplices te rogamus the priest asks that God's holy angel will take the offerings to His altar on high, "that as many of us as shall receive the most sacred Body and Blood of Thy Son by partaking thereof from this altar may be filled with every heavenly blessing and grace." After this point, though, the Canon petitions God directly for the needs of particular souls of the dead for whom he and the faithful pause to pray as well as for all of the souls of the faithful departed. Memento etiam Domine, famulorum famuliarumque tuarum (name of deceased) qui nos praecesserunt cum signo fidei, et dorminunt in somno pacis. Ipsis Domine, et omnibus in Christo quiestcentibus, locum refrigerii lcuis et pacis, ut indulgeas, deprecamur, per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. "Be mindful also, O Lord, of Thy Servants (name of deceased), who have gone before us with the sign of peace and who sleep the sleep of peace. To these, O Lord, and to all who rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and peace. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen." No need for maudlin displays of sentimentality or pompous expressions of concern for the decease. Everything is included in the Canon.
The Nobis quoque peccatoribus continues with a petition that "To us sinners also, Thy servants, who put our trust in the multitude of Thy mercies, vouchsafe to grant some part and fellowship with Thy holy apostles and martyrs; with John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcelinus, Peter, Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, and will all Thy saints. Into their company do Thou, we beseech Thee, admit us, not weighing our merits, but freely pardoning our offense: through Christ Our Lord."
Obviously, the Pater Noster itself is a prayer of petition offered by the Divine Redeemer Himself. However, the Immemorial Mass of Tradition does not contain the Protestant doxology which has found its way into the Novus Ordo. The prayer as uttered by Our Lord Himself is recited by the priest. Each of the individual petitions found in the Pater Noster have been the subject of extensive exegesis by sound theologians over the centuries (including entire chapters dedicated to the subject in both the Catechism of the Council of Trent and the Catechism of the Catholic Church). Each petition provides food for meditation, summarizing, if you will, the entirety of a Catholic's interior life of prayer. Although the prayer is recited by the priest, the faithful do not remain inert and inactive. They pray the prayer to themselves, meditating on our constant need for God's help, mindful, especially, of the fact that we who have been forgiven much are called to offer that forgiveness right readily. People who are about to partake of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man must understand that the Lord they receive in Holy Communion means to conform them to Himself in all aspects of their lives. This prayer of petition summarizes the Catholic Faith and the Mass itself.
The prayers said by the priest after the Pater Noster and the Agnus Dei are his own personal petitions for the needs of the Church and to prepare himself for the reception of Holy Communion. Once again, the faithful are called to read those prayers silently, understanding how succinctly the truths of the Mass are summarized just prior to the priest's completion of the sacrifice by his partaking of the Sacred Species. The Novus Ordo simplifies all of this, leading in most instances directly from the Agnus Dei to the priest's and to the faithful's reception of Holy Communion, thus de-emphasizing our need to petition God just prior to our encounter with our Eucharistic King.
While it is the ordained priest acting in persona Christi who perpetuates the Sacrifice of the Cross in and unbloody manner, the faithful do offer their petitions in union with those offered by the priest in the name of the entire Church. It is in this way that the laity exercise the common priesthood they have by virtue of their baptism. The common priesthood of the lay faithful is exercised in the context of Holy Mass by means of fervent, interior prayer of the heart, mind, and soul, which is offered up to the Father in Spirit and in Truth as they are sanctified by the worthy reception of Holy Communion and by the fruits which flow forth from the Mass. No member of the laity needs to have a "role" in order to feel "involved" in the Mass. The laity do not belong in the sanctuary as readers or extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist (the proliferation of which has resulted in what the revolutionaries desired: a blurring of the distinction of the priesthood of the ordained priest and the common priesthood each Catholic has by virtue of his baptism). They do not have to engage in elaborate processions bearing various gifts to the altar, where they are greeted invariably by a "presider" who tells them a little joke or two before sending them back to their pews. They do not have to be "ministers of hospitality" or "ministers of greeting." The mania for activity, a total rejection of the true concept of active participation found in Pope Pius XII's Mediator Dei, has resulted in the replacement of true interior participation with mindless activity and verbosity, all of which detract from the nature of the Mass, turning what purports, ableit falsely, to be the Sacred Mysteries into an anthropocentric, communitarian exercise of mutual self-congratulations.
The participation of the lay faithful in the end of Petition found in the Mass requires them to be recollect before Mass, to spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, to pray some of the wonderful prayers found in the various Latin-English hand missals, many of which have been reprinted in recent years. True participation in the Mass requires us to follow the Mass carefully, meditating upon the beauty of the prayers, some of which have been cited in this commentary. The Mass is ever ancient, ever new. Its fixed nature conveys the inestimable treasures contained in all of its rites and prayers.
There is constant food for thought, no matter how many times we have celebrated a particular feast day or have heard a particular reading. And just as it is the case that honor and glory are added to God and grace is added to the world each time a priest celebrates Holy Mass, so is it also the case that our prayerful, interior participation in Mass (and the prayers we offer therein, as well as those we offer before and afterward) helps to build up the Mystical Body of Christ. Each ligament in the Mystical Body helps to support each other, as Saint Paul noted. None of us in the laity knows the efficacy of our prayers here in this vale of tears. But we are called to be faithful to our prayers, both the formulaic prayers found in the Mass and in Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary and our own mental prayer, the development of which is an important part of passing through the stages of spiritual perfection. It is the Mass which provides us the perfect framework to become more perfect lovers of the Blessed Trinity who are ever eager to serve Him in all aspects of our daily lives. Indeed, our very lives are meant to be offerings of praise and petition to God. That is why we are to be prepared for Holy Mass. For it is in the Mass that we are reminded day in and day out to conform everything about our very being to the standard of the Sacrifice of the Cross, which is re-presented before our very eyes in the greatest miracle we can ever behold in this mortal life.
As I noted throughout my own analysis of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal in G.I.R.M. Warfare, the Mass is complete and valid even when offered by a priest without a congregation, something which has been under attack by liturgical revolutionaries for some time now. No member of the laity needs to be present to make a Mass "valid." A priest celebrating Mass by himself without a congregation is praying in the name of the whole Church. And, as noted earlier, an entire company of witnesses is with him mystically as he offers Holy Mass. While it is good for the faithful to attend Mass during the week to receive the spiritual fortification they need to do battle with the forces of the world, the flesh, and the Devil, the petitions offered by the priest for the entire Church, including the faithful, are all that are necessary for the good of Holy Mother Church. The rubrics and the prayers of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition convey this throughout.
The Eastern liturgies contain numerous, sometimes even repetitive, prayers of petition to the Blessed Trinity. As is the case with the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, the Eastern liturgies emphasize man's dependence upon God in all of its prayers. However, "modern" man, who believes in his own essential goodness, wants to reduce expressions of petition found in the prayers of tradition and to replace them with ever-changing prayers of topicality, which are to be prayed aloud by people seeking narcissistically to be noticed in the context of the production called "the weekly liturgy." It is the Immemorial Mass of Tradition in the Latin Rite which orients man properly in his petitions to God, respecting the hierarchy Our Lord Himself established for the offering of those petitions.
The final end of the Mass is Thanksgiving. As each of us knows, the word "Eucharist" mean Thanksgiving. It is in the Mass where the priest and the laity (if any are assembled) give thanks to God for all He has given them, starting with the great gift of our Catholic Faith and all of the treasures contained therein. Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi? Calicem salutaris accipiam et nomen Domini invocabo. Laudans invocabo Dominum, et ab inimicis meis salvus ero. "What shall I render unto the Lord for all the things that He hath rendered unto me? I will take the chalice of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. With high praises will I call upon the Lord, and I shall be saved from all mine enemies." The rubrics and the prayers found in the Missale Romanum are found with expressions of gratitude. "Is there no one else to return thanks but this foreigner?" We, who are adopted sons and daughters of the living God by virtue of Our Lord's Redemptive Act, are called to be ever thankful to God, understanding that it is in the context of Holy Mass that we are to give such thanks as we are given the privilege of transcending time at the unbloody re-presentation of Calvary.
We are to give God thanks for everything. We thank Him for his many blessings to us, especially having the privilege of being fed by Holy Communion. We thank Him for the crosses and humiliations He sends us to make us more dependent upon Him and detached from our pride and selfish desires. We thank Him for the unmerited gift of His Divine Mercy, extended to us so freely in the baptismal font and in the confessional. We thank Him for not treating us as our sins deserve. We thank Him for the Deposit of Faith entrusted to Holy Mother Church. We even thank Him for living in these difficult times. We are to thank Him for living in these difficult times as He has known from all eternity that we would be living in them and that the graces won for us on Calvary are more than sufficient for us to deal with the difficulties we face. We thank Him for the gift of our families and friends. We thank Him for keeping us close to Him. For, as Saint Paul notes in his Epistle to the Romans, it is only God Who can prompt us to love Him more fully an to keep close to Him at every moment of our lives. And we thank Him for giving us our Blessed Mother to be our intercessor and true Heavenly mother, as well as for giving us all of the angels and saints who desire to assist us as we walk the rocky road that leads to the narrow gate of Life Himself.
Part of the way we express our Thanksgiving to God in the Immemorial Mass of Tradition is in the very beauty of the sacred rites. The beauty of the rites and the care taken to appoint a particular church demonstrate not only our desire to adore God but also our desire to thank Him for enlightening our intellects and strengthening our wills by means of the true Faith. God is due honor and glory. He is also due ceaseless acts of Thanksgiving. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro. Dignum et justum est. "Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is meet and just." Indeed, every single one of the sixteen prefaces found in the Immemorial Mass of Tradition begins with an expression of thanks: Vere dignum et justum est, aequem et saltuare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus. "It is truly meet and just, right and profitable, for us, at all times, and in all places to give thanks to Thee, O Lord, the holy One, the Father almighty, the everlasting God." (The Preface for Sundays, Missale Romanum).
As is the case with each of the ends of the Mass, the end of Thanksgiving is meant to flow out of the Mass. The beauty and solemnity of even a low Immemorial Mass of Tradition convey a sense of security and stability conducive to urging the faithful to stay after the conclusion of the Prayers after Low Mas added by Pope Leo XIII. As the Mass is a foretaste of Heaven, which is our true home, it is right and fitting that we should desire to stay after Mass for more than a token period of time to express our thanks for the sublime privilege of having been kept alive for one more day to hear Holy Mass one more time and to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. None of us knows whether the Mass he has just attended will be his last. None of us knows when he is going to die. Each of us needs to pause in order to give thanks to the Father through the Son in Spirit and in Truth. And one of the fruits of the end of Thanksgiving found in the Mass is our desire to spend extended times in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass. Although I have written about Eucharistic piety extensively in these pages, suffice it to say that our love of the Mass should impel us to offer our own adoration and thanks to God before the Prisoner of the Tabernacle. Eucharistic piety is the key to developing a more intimate love of God and a greater appreciation of the mysteries contained within Holy Mass.
As Pope Pius XII noted in Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947:
"The fact that the sacred function, liturgically considered, has come to an end does not dispense him who has communicated from making his thanksgiving. On the contrary it is most seemly that after he has received Holy Communion and after the Mass is over he should collect his thoughts and, in close union with his Divine Master, pass such time as circumstances allow in devout and salutary converse with Him. It is therefore an error, due to paying more heed to the sound of words than to their meaning, to say that such thanksgiving out not to be prolonged after the ending of Mass, on the ground that the Mass itself is a thanksgiving, and also that it comes under the category of private devotions and is not directed to the benefit of the community.
"On the contrary, the very nature of the Sacrament require that Christians should become holier by receiving it. The congregation has been dismissed, it is true, but the individual members of it, united with Christ, ought to continue to sing in their souls a hymn of praise, 'giving thanks always for all to God and the Father in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.' The liturgy of the Mass itself recommends this, when it bids us recite the following prayer: 'Grant, we beseech Thee, that we may remain for ever in thanksgiving . . . and never cease from praising Thee.' And so, if at all times we must thank God and never cease from praising Him, who shall dare to find fault with the Church for urging her priests and the faithful to remain for some time after Communion in converse with the Divine Redeemer, and for having inserted in the liturgical books special indulgenced prayers for priests to recite in preparation for Mass and Communion and in thanksgiving afterwards?
"Far from discouraging the interior sentiments of individual Christians, the liturgy fosters and stimulates them in order to increase their likeness to Christ and through Him to guide them to the heavenly Father. And this is why it requires those who have communicated at the altar to render due thanks to God. The Divine Redeemer loves to listen to our entreaties, to speak with us familiarly, and to give us a refuge in His Heart which burns with love for us.
"Indeed, these acts of private devotion are quite necessary, if we are to receive in abundance the supernatural treasures in which the Eucharist is so rich, and to pour them out upon others according to our powers, in order that Christ Our Lord may reach the fullness of His power in the souls of all."
As the Immemorial Mass of Tradition is Christocentric of its nature, its very sense of reverence and beauty and splendor and mystery impel the faithful to say a while longer after Mass in a prayerful thanksgiving. Can the same be said of the Novus Ordo service, wherein the cacophonous noise and activity and "simplicity," which appeal so much to those who have a limited span of attention and whose faith has been attenuated by the banality found in the context of a bogus liturgical service? Are the faithful prone to make a good thanksgiving after their service in the Novus Ordo world? And is their tendency to bolt right out of the pew not related to the inherent invalidity and other flaws and inadequacies contained within the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service.
Those priests presbyters who contend while offering or simulating celebrating the Mass of our fathers that a commitment to the Immemorial Mass of Tradition is simply a matter of personal preference are either fooling themselves or engaging in a dangerous, positivistic game in order to secure their own pastoral privileges. No right thinking priest who has to do all of the work involved in the celebration of the Missale Romanum can contend that the Novus Ordo communicates the ends of the Mass as beautifully, splendidly, permanently, reverently, solemnly, and universally as the Immemorial Mass of Tradition. Indeed, no right thinking priest who has celebrated the Immemorial Mass of Tradition cannot come to recognize over the course of time the inherent harm contained within the Novus Ordo precisely because of its being a synthetic product of revolutionaries bent on changing the expression of faith (which has resulted by and large in a destruction of the faith and a loss of belief in the Real Presence and of the sacerdotal and propitiatory nature of the Mass itself).
A mere matter of preference? All one needs to do is to look at the heritage of the preceding 1500 years prior to the unprecedented changes wrought by the Novus Ordo to see the fruit produced in souls by the Immemorial Mass of Tradition. Indeed, it was the Immemorial Mass of Tradition which served as the bulwark of the Faith when it was under siege by the Protestant Revolutionaries and, in due course, by the various ideological revolutionaries in Europe and here in the United States. Even though the life of the Faith was indeed being attacked violently in Europe and Latin America in the Nineteenth Century and undermined more subtly in the United States in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, those many Catholics who remained in the one sheepfold of Peter were true believers. It was the Mass which kept them from having their faith entirely eclipsed by the forces set loose in the world during the Renaissance and have been permutating ever since. Once the Mass was replaced with a synthetic concoction, however, the bulwark was gone. The Novus Ordo service thati represents itself falsely as a Catholic Mass became a place to canonize the profane and to glorify the spirit of the day. Gone was the need for personal penance and mortification. In were endless efforts to sin against the supernatural virtue of Hope by presumption. Gone was reverence. In came showmanship and spectacles to tickle the ear and to delight the eye. A mere matter of preference? Not at all.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!
Saint Joseph, pray for us!
Saint Rose of Lima, pray for us.