The Resistance Must Continue
Thomas A. Droleskey
[With the kind permission of Mr. John Vennari, the editor of Catholic Family News, I am posting a revised and expanded version of an article of mine that appeared in the November issue of the newspaper. The importance of this issue is such that I want to make sure the article receives a wide an audience as possible. Once again, my thanks to Mr. Vennari for permitting me to post a revised version of this article that he had run in Catholic Family News.]
All manner of rumors have been floating about for the past five months concerning the possibility of Pope Benedict XVI’s granting what is called a “universal indult” for the offering of the Traditional Latin Mass without the specific, a priori approval of diocesan ordinaries. It is indeed important for the Immemorial Mass of all ages to be “liberated” from the unjust and illicit conditions imposed by the Holy See in 1984 and reiterated by Pope John Paul II’s 1988 Ecclesia Dei motu proprio, issued after the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s papally unapproved episcopal consecrations of June 29, 1988. Nevertheless, however, it is just as important to remind all Catholics that the only “indult” any priest needs to offer the Traditional Latin Mass and the only “indult” any Catholic needs to assist at that Mass was given by Pope Saint Pius V in 1570.
Pope Saint Pius V issued a Missal in 1570 that mandated the use of the Missal of the Roman Curia for all of the dioceses in the world except in those places that could prove local usage dating back more than 200 years. That is, there were some regional variations in the offering of the Mass that had been taught by Our Lord to Saint Peter and the other Apostles between Easter Sunday and His Ascension to the Father’s right hand in glory on Ascension Thursday. Some of those variations were ancient, such as the Ambrosian Rite of Milan, Italy, and the Mozarabic Rite of Toledo, Spain. Other local and regional variations had been made in the years following the efforts of John Hus and John Wycliffe and, ultimately, Martin Luther to introduce novelties into the Christian worship of God. These were efforts, presaging the events of the past fifty years, to “respond” to the work of innovators and heretics by trying to incorporate unprecedented novelties in the framework of the Catholic Mass so as to “win back” those who had gone over to heretics or to even go so far as to “prove” the correctness of the positions taken by the innovators and heretics.
Pope Saint Pius V wanted to make sure that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the perfect prayer offered by an alter Christus acting in persona Christi as he perpetuates the Sacrifice of the Cross in an unbloody manner, was placed beyond the ability of those being seduced by Martin Luther and John Calvin and Thomas Cranmer, et al., to change in any manner whatsoever. Thus, the sainted pontiff imposed the Mass of the Roman Curia, which included some minor emendations recommended by the Council of Trent, including the mandatory reading of the Last Gospel (a practice that had begun as a private devotion of priests in the Twelfth Century and spread throughout the Church between that time and 1570), upon the whole of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church precisely to preserve the Mass of all ages from any taint of novelty and from any hint of being corrupted by the heresies of the many aspects of the Protestant Revolt.
The Papal Bull, Quo Primum, issued by Pope Saint Pius V to promulgate the Missal bearing his name in 1570 stated the following:
“Now therefore, in order that all everywhere may adopt and observe what has been delivered to them by the Holy Roman Church, Mother and Mistress of the other churches, it shall be unlawful henceforth and forever throughout the Christian world to sing or to read Masses according to any formula other than that of this Missal published by Us; this ordinance to apply to all churches and chapels, with or without care of souls, patriarchal, collegiate and parochial, be they secular or belonging to any religious Order whether of men (including the military Orders) or of women, in which conventual Masses are or ought to be sung aloud in choir or read privately according to the rites and customs of the Roman Church; to apply moreover even if the said churches have been in any way exempted, whether by indult of the Apostolic See, by custom, by privilege, or even by oath or Apostolic confirmation, or have their rights and faculties guaranteed to them in any other way whatsoever; saving only those in which the practice of saying Mass differently was granted over two hundred years ago simultaneously with the Apostolic See’s institution and confirmation of the church, and those in which there has prevailed a similar custom followed continuously for a period of not less than two hundred years; in which cases We in no wise rescind their prerogatives or customs aforesaid. Nevertheless, if this Missal which We have seen fit to publish be more agreeable to these last, We hereby permit them to celebrate Mass according to this rite, subject to the consent of their bishop or prelate, and of their whole Chapter, all else to the contrary notwithstanding. All other churches aforesaid are hereby denied the use of other missals, which are to be wholly and entirely rejected; and by this present Constitution, which shall have the force of law in perpetuity, We order and enjoin under pain of Our displeasure that nothing be added to Our newly published Missal, nothing omitted therefrom, and nothing whatsoever altered there in.
“We specifically command each and every patriarch, administrator and all other persons of whatsoever ecclesiastical dignity, be they even Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, or, possessed of any other rank or pre-eminence, and We order them by virtue of holy obedience to sing or to read the Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herein laid down by Us, and henceforward to discontinue and utterly discard all other rubrics and rites of other missals, howsoever ancient, which they have been accustomed to follow, and not to presume in celebrating Mass to introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained in this Missal.
“Furthermore, by these presents and by virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We give and grant in perpetuity that for the singing or reading of Mass in any church whatsoever this Missal may be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment or censure, and may be freely and lawfully used. Nor shall bishops, administrators, canons, chaplains and other secular priests, or religious of whatsoever Order or by whatsoever title designated, be obliged to celebrate Mass otherwise than enjoined by Us. We likewise order and declare that no one whosoever shall be forced or coerced into altering this Missal; and this present Constitution can never be revoked or modified, but shall forever remain valid and have the force of law, notwithstanding previous constitutions or edicts of provincial or synodal councils, and notwithstanding the usage of the churches aforesaid established by very long and even immemorial prescription, saving only usage of more than two hundred years.”
As Father Paul Kramer has noted, Quo Primum is mere a statement in positive law of the actual fact of the matter: that the Immemorial Mass of Tradition is the Mass of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.
Thus, a “universal indult” granted by Pope Benedict XVI would be, in effect, a “left-handed” recognition of that part of Quo Primum that “this Missal may be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment or censure, and may be freely and lawfully used.” Priests of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church have always had the right to offer the Mass of Tradition, which is why all of the canonical penalties imposed upon the bishops and priests of the Society of Saint Pius X and upon diocesan and religious priests who have offered the Traditional Mass “without permission” are unjust and illicit on their very face and have no binding force whatsoever, being in se contrary to the force of Quo Primum.
A “universal indult,” which was, one rumor said, supposed to be granted by November 19, 2005, a date that has come and gone, is unlikely to recognize another perpetually binding right recognized by Pope Saint Pius V in Quo Primum: that of priests of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church to “be obliged to celebrate Mass otherwise than enjoined by Us.” In other words, no priest of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church can be coerced into offering any other Mass, including the Novus Ordo Missae of Pope Paul VI. A refusal on the part of the Holy Father to recognize this part of Quo Primum would place diocesan and religious priests still in the “official structure” of the Church in a situation wherein they would be able to offer the Traditional Latin Mass without constraint (well, at least theoretically). They would not be able to refuse a mandate from their ordinary or religious superior to offer the Novus Ordo Missae. Once again, therefore, the Vatican would be offering traditional Catholic priests and laity a half measure that is premised upon a refusal to recognize publicly and overtly the perpetually binding force of Quo Primum in its entirety.
Furthermore, Pope Benedict XVI made clear in his August 29, 2005, meeting with His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, that Catholics “attached” to the Traditional Latin Mass would have to accept the Second Vatican Council “in light of tradition” and to refuse to criticize the orthodoxy of the Novus Ordo Missae. The Pope, according to Bishop Fellay, specifically said that the Society of Saint Pius X would have to accept the Vatican’s schema for the implementation of the Vatican II novelty of ecumenism. And therein lies the reason why the resistance to the novelties of the past fifty years must continue: The novelties of religious liberty, ecumenism and the Novus Ordo Missae are at odds with the perennial, received teaching of the Catholic Church and must be resisted with all of the strength that Our Lord can send us.
Father Franz Schmidberger, the former Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, noted how popes, including Pope Benedict XVI, must invite everyone into the true Church without fail. Father Schmdiberger state the following at a press conference on Monday, November 21, 2005:
"Instead of leading their members to our Lord Jesus Christ, to Baptism and the confession of faith in his divinity, they refrain from this and so we consider these other religions as very dangerous," he told a news conference presenting a biography of Lefebvre.
"St Peter, the first pope, preached to the Jews and told them that 'if you want to be saved you must do three things: you must regret your sins and convert, believe in our lord Jesus Christ and, thirdly, be baptized,'" he said.
"We expect that every pope who claims to be the successor of St Peter and he (Benedict) is the successor of St Peter, should take the same stand in meetings with leaders of other religions and tell them the same three things," Schmidberger said.
Who will join Father Schmidberger’s call to rebuke Pope Benedict’s embrace of ecumenism and to remind the Holy Father to invite everyone into the Church? Don’t look to our chancery offices. The bishops are the prisoners of the Second Vatican Council. Don’t look to the Norbertines in California, who rebuke people who assist at the “indult” Mass at the Serra Chapel in Mission San Juan Capistrano that they are “leaving the Church” if they assist at “unapproved” Traditional Latin Masses, ignoring the fact that this exercise in mindless sloganeering has been rejected by Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, who said recently that the Society of Saint Pius X, for example, is not “out of the Church” and that it is not in “formal schism.” Oh, no, don’t look to the Norbertines and most others in the indult community to defend the fullness of the Catholic Faith without compromise.
Catholics are entitled the fullness of the truths that Our Lord entrusted to His Mystical Bride, Holy Mother Church, without any admixture of error into the official pronouncements and practices of those who hold ecclesiastical authority and therefore speak in the name of the Church’s governance. Although there is no need for endless, weekly screeds from pulpits against the errors of the past fifty years, including the Novus Ordo Missae, priests must be willing to denounce offenses against God and the Faith and to provide necessary correctives so as to protect the flocks who have sought them out in this State of Emergency from being deceived and/or seduced by the Modernist propositions emanating from Rome and from local chancery offices.
Who, for example, is going to defend Our Lord when His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity are profaned by being distributed indiscriminately to non-Catholics at a funeral Mass offered by a curial cardinal, Walter Kasper, for a Protestant syncretist, Roger Schutz?
Who, for example, is going to defend the integrity of the First Commandment when a Prince of the Church, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, invokes the name of “Allah” in the presence of the Mohammedan king of Jordan, King Abdullah, who contends that he is the forty-third generation descendant of the “prophet” Mohammed?
Who, for example, other than Father Schmidberger and the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X and Fathers Patrick Perez, Paul Sretenovic, Lawrence Smith, Raymond Ruscitto, Ronald Ringrose, Francis LeBlanc, et al., is going to correct the words of the Preacher to the Papal Household, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, that tell Catholics it is wrong to seek to convert Jews to the Faith?
Who, for example, is going to proclaim the dogmatic teaching of the Social Reign of Christ the King when the Holy Father himself speaks of the absurdity of a “healthy secularity” and praises modern states that are founded on the specific and categorical rejection of the necessity of belief in the Incarnation of Our Lord in Our Lady’s virginal and immaculate womb for the provision of personal virtue and social order?
We need our shepherds, priests, to defend the fullness of the Catholic Faith without compromise and without any murkiness or ambiguity. Priests are ordained to the Priesthood and Victimhood of the Chief Priest and Victim of every Mass, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The faithful need their shepherds to act as courageously now as did their forebears in England who resisted the Protestant novelties of Thomas Cranmer and Queen Elizabeth I no matter what it cost them. The faithful need their shepherds to proclaim the fullness of the Faith without fear of any of the unjust canonical penalties that might be imposed upon them by diocesan bishops and/or the Holy See for doing so. The faithful need their shepherds to offer the Mass of all ages without for one second, even by the appearance of silent acquiescence, acknowledging any Vatican preconditions as just and without for one moment acknowledging the legitimacy of the errors of ecumenism and religious liberty.
A noted canon law expert who resides in Europe recently told an American priest “to forget about the law, just save souls.” Indeed. This canon lawyer knows that the faithful have the absolute right to the Mass of all ages without any unjust and illicit preconditions and that they have the right to the fullness of the Catholic Faith without any hint of dilution or compromise with the novelties of the past forty to fifty years.
That is why, good Catholics, the resistance that has been conducted so valiantly by the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X and by their brother priests who have left the diocesan structures or their religious communities must continue even in the face of the granting of a “universal indult.” While it is a good thing for more and more Catholics to have access to the Mass of all ages, it is only a matter of time before Catholics assisting at “officially approved” Masses will be expected to accept the introduction of Novus Ordo novelties (rubrics, readings, postures) as a normal part of what will be asserted as the “organic growth” of the liturgy in the direction of the 1965 and 1969 Missals. Indeed, such novelties have been introduced in various places already. A lowering of the resistance to such novelties, premised upon the fear that many Catholics going to indult Masses have already exhibited of “losing” their Mass, appears to be one of the chief goals of Pope Benedict XVI and his staff.
We should never be surprised or disillusioned by the predictable events of a world where Christ is not King and the authority of His true Church is rejected as unnecessary, if not actually harmful, in the midst of the “realities” of pluralism and religious indifferentism. The only antidote to these perverse “realities” is to keep fast to Our Lady’s Fatima Message, continuing to pray her Most Holy Rosary and to keep the Five First Saturdays (over and over and over again) so that some pope will actually consecrate Russia to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
Even some traditional Catholics protest very publicly that “we don’t need Fatima” to resolve the problems in the Church and in the world. Such people, no matter how sincerely they hold to this position, are fools.
King Louis XIV and the bishops of France refused to listen to the entreaties of Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque to honor Our Lord’s request, made known to her in a private revelation, to consecrate the whole of France to His Most Sacred Heart, choosing instead to consecrate Paris alone. The year? 1689. Yes, that’s right, one hundred years before the onset of the French Revolution. Dare we believe ourselves to be proud enough and sure enough to ignore the Heavenly message of our times, Fatima? We do so only to serve as instruments in the continuation of the spreading of Russia’s errors, which, ultimately, are the anti-Incarnational errors of Modernity in the world and Modernism in the human elements of the Church.
We must pray the Rosary every day with care and devotion. We must exhort all others to do so. Our Lady will use the merits of the prayers and sacrifices we offer her Immaculate Heart as her consecrated slaves in ways that will become manifest only in eternity, please God we die in states of sanctifying grace.
Relying upon our loving Blessed Mother, though, may it be our singular privilege to plant the seeds for the restoration of Tradition without compromise in the Church and thus the flowering of a new Christendom in the world.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.
Saint Jude, pray for us.
Saint Rita, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Pope Saint Clement I, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.
Blessed Francisco, pray for us.
Sister Lucia, pray for us.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, pray for us.