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To His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI : An Open Letter from Traditional Catholics
The Remnant ^ | 05/02/05 | Christopher A Ferra and Michael J Matt

Posted on 05/02/2005 12:03:36 PM PDT by murphE

To His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI : An Open Letter from Traditional Catholics

The undersigned were privileged to be among the great crowd in Saint Peter’s Square who first encountered Your Holiness in person upon his election as Roman Pontiff.  We knelt, with tears in our eyes, to receive your first apostolic blessing “urbi et orbi,” administered from the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica. As Your Holiness pronounced the Latin formula absolving the faithful of venial sins and imploring the grace of final perseverance, our hearts were overjoyed; for in that blessing the Church and the world were reminded once again of what your own predecessor, Pope John II, admitted has been all but forgotten since the Second Vatican Council: the Church’s perennial preaching on the Four Last Things, which is to say, her preaching on the very reason for her existence. 

As we participated in that supremely Catholic moment, it seemed that a turning point had been reached in the ecclesial crisis of the past forty years, during which God’s people have been wandering in the desert of what some still dare to call the postconciliar “renewal” of the Church. As that biblically significant period draws to a close, Catholics throughout the world are hoping that, at long last, the beginning of this pontificate might also be the beginning of true reform and restoration in the Church.

It is with this hope in mind that we, ordinary laymen, address Your Holiness in this public way. We do so in keeping with the law of the Church, which¾providentially enough in an age of mass communications, but an inaccessible Pope¾provides that “The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires…they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful…”[1]

We write to Your Holiness from what has come to be known in the Church (for want of a better term) as the “traditionalist” perspective. The very emergence of the term “traditionalist” bespeaks the magnitude of the ecclesial crisis that now confronts Your Holiness, for never before in the Church’s history has it become necessary to coin a special term to describe Catholics whose practice of the Faith has simply remained unchanged in the midst of a totally unprecedented liturgical, pastoral and even theological upheaval.

Candor requires us to note that the traditionalist polemic has consistently raised serious objections not only to certain statements and actions by the conciliar popes in the name of the Council, but also certain statements and actions of the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Yet Your Holiness, when he wrote and spoke as Cardinal Ratzinger, more than once expressed respect and sympathy for the traditionalist position contra the manifestly unfavorable postconciliar innovation of the Church. In 1984, for example, you said:

The results of the Council seem cruelly to have contradicted the expectations everybody had, beginning with John XXIII and Paul VI…. [W]e have been confronted instead with a continuing process of decay that has gone on largely on the basis of appeals to the Council, and thus has discredited the Council in the eyes of many people. The net result therefore seems negative. I am repeating here what I said ten years after the conclusion of the work: it is incontrovertible that this period has definitely been unfavorable for the Catholic Church. [2]

It is this “continuing process of decay” that Your Holiness is charged by God Himself to arrest and reverse for the good of the Church and the world.

The Liturgical Collapse

This ecclesial decay, whose existence every sensible Catholic now admits, is certainly related to the de facto suppression of the traditional Latin Mass by your predecessor Pope Paul VI, a decision that even Your Holiness, then Cardinal Ratzinger, rightly described as “a breach into the history of the liturgy whose consequences could only be tragic.”[3] Your Holiness, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, explicitly linked the ecclesial crisis to this liturgical tragedy: “I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part on the collapse of the liturgy.”[4]  Holy Father, the liturgy has collapsed!  How is this possible in the Roman Catholic Church, wherein such a thing has never happened before and would have been considered absolutely unthinkable by any pope before the Council?  The answer is that for the first time in Church history a pope, Paul VI, allowed the received and approved rite of Mass to be abandoned in favor of what you yourself, as Cardinal Ratzinger, called “fabricated liturgy… a banal, on-the-spot product.”[5]

These words of yours come from the preface to the French language edition of The Reform of the Roman Liturgy by the eminent liturgist Monsignor Klaus Gamber.  In that groundbreaking work, Msgr. Gamber, with your personal endorsement as Cardinal Ratzinger, described the suppression of the traditional Latin Mass in favor of the Mass of Paul VI in the most dramatic terms possible, exceeding even the harshness of some traditionalists in his assessment:

[T]he traditional Roman rite, more than one thousand years old and until now the heart of the Church, was destroyed. The real destruction of the traditional Mass, of the traditional Roman Rite with a history of more than one thousand years, is the wholesale destruction of the faith on which it was based, a faith that had been the source of our piety and of our courage to bear witness to Christ and His Church… Many Catholics agonize over the question: what can be done about the loss of our faith and of our liturgy? [6]

The consequences of the postconciliar liturgical experiment launched by Paul VI speak for themselves. Do not those consequences, so clearly tragic for the Church, bespeak divine disfavor of the experiment? We too, along with millions of other Catholics, ask: “What can be done about the loss of our faith and of our liturgy?”  Holy Father, we are constrained to declare to you in conscience that the answer to this question can only be to restore the Roman Rite fully and completely to its traditional form.

Restoring the Traditional Mass

Holy Father, we implore you to restore the sacred liturgy without delay!  Release the traditional Mass of the Roman Rite from the preposterous quarantine to which it has been subjected since 1970.  The long-buried truth, now widely known in the Church, is that the traditional Latin Mass was never legally forbidden in the first place, because Pope Paul’s promulgation of his Novus Ordo Missae in 1970 did not equate with a de jure prohibition of the traditional Missal. 

As Cardinal Alfons Stickler revealed ten years ago, in 1986 John Paul II convened a commission of nine cardinals to advise him on the legal status of the traditional Mass. Your Holiness (then Cardinal Ratzinger) was a member of that commission, along with Cardinals Stickler, Mayer, Oddi, Casaroli, Gantin, Innocenti, Palazzini, and Tomko. As Cardinal Stickler explained, by a vote of 8 to 1 the commission agreed that Paul VI had never legally suppressed the traditional Mass as opposed to merely promulgating the Novus Ordo. By a vote of 9 to 0 the commission agreed that every priest remained free to use the old Missal.  

Indeed, speaking as Cardinal Ratzinger, you observed that a de jure prohibition of the Church’s own received and approved rite of Mass would be contrary to her very nature:

It is good to recall here what Cardinal Newman observed, that the Church, throughout her history, has never abolished nor forbidden orthodox liturgical forms, which would be quite alien to the Spirit of the Church…. The authority of the Church has the power to define and limit the use of such rites in different historical situations, but she never just purely and simply forbids them. Thus the Council ordered a reform of the liturgical books, but it did not prohibit the former books….[7]

Only last year the faithful learned that Paul VI himself acknowledged he had never forbidden the traditional Mass. In an interview with Father Jean Marie Charles-Roux, 90, one of the priests who celebrated Mass for Mel Gibson in Rome during the filming of The Passion of the Christ, it was revealed that “Charles-Roux said to Paul: ‘For 18 months I have celebrated the new Mass, but I cannot continue. I was ordained to celebrate the old Mass, and I want to return to it. Will you permit me to do so?’ And Paul said: ‘Certainly, I never forbade celebration of the old Mass; I have only offered an alternative.’”[8]

It is manifest, therefore, that no “indult” is really required to have recourse to that which was never forbidden and which, according to her very nature, the Church never could forbid. Holy Father, we humbly submit that it is your duty as Roman Pontiff to nullify the legal sham by which the traditional Roman Rite¾the very heart of Catholic worship and piety for 1500 years¾has been unjustly suppressed. You yourself acknowledged as Cardinal Ratzinger that the very credibility of the Church as an institution is at stake in this matter: “A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent.”[9]  In the name of God, Holy Father, we beseech you to end this madness!

We beseech you also, Holy Father, to restore the traditional rubrics of the Mass as well as its text: Let the altar be oriented once again to the East, as it was from the first days of the Church, rather than toward the people, who are not the object of divine worship. Your Holiness himself has lamented the sudden loss of this crucial element of the Mass.  Abolish the abuse of communion in the hand, which allows the Sacred Host to be purloined and sold to Satanists in Rome itself, and even to be auctioned on the Internet.[10] Put a stop to the scandalous spectacle of altar girls, whose very presence on the Altar of God contradicts 2,000 years of tradition and undermines the doctrine of a sacred priesthood configured to the manhood of Christ, the High Priest of our religion. Act decisively, Holy Father, on the very words you pronounced as Cardinal Ratzinger in your meditations this past Good Friday: “How often is the holy sacrament of his Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there!” 

In sum, Holy Father, we urge you to follow the advice of the great liturgist whose criticisms of the New Mass you endorsed before your election to the papacy. As Msgr. Gamber has written—again, with Cardinal Ratzinger’s endorsement: “[T]he traditional rite of Mass must be retained in the Roman Catholic Church, not only as a means to accommodate older priests and lay people, but as the primary liturgical form for the celebration of Mass. It must become once more the norm of our faith and the symbol of Catholic unity throughout the world, a rock of stability in a period of never-ending change.”[11]

The Bane of “Ecumenism” and “Dialogue”

But reversing the “continuing process of decay” Your Holiness himself has lamented surely involves more than ending the failed liturgical experiment, as urgent as that task is.  Two other novelties, also quite unknown in the Church before the Council, are clearly afflicting her most grievously today. We mean, of course, “ecumenism” and “dialogue.”  

The organs of world opinion are unanimous in praising Your Holiness for remaining “committed” to ecumenism and dialogue. The world evinces a curious determination to hold Your Holiness to this “irrevocable commitment” by making certain that you “follow the path” of your predecessor.  With boundaries set by their praise, outside of which lies the implicit threat of their denunciation, the voices of the world are seeking already to fix strict limits to the Pope’s freedom of action in addressing the ecclesial crisis. But the Catholic’s first instinct is to be suspicious of the world’s approval of these novelties and its insistence that Your Holiness continue to pursue them. Our Lord Himself taught us that He would be a sign of contradiction to the world and that the world would hate Him and His disciples for the very reason that they are not of the world, but were sent by God to oppose the world’s designs and topple its many idols.

What the world applauds, therefore, is hardly likely to aid the cause of the Gospel. Is this not obvious in the case of ecumenism and dialogue? After forty years of the ceaseless invocation of these unheard-of novelties, we have seen only confusion, disorder and a waning of the faith of Catholics.  At the same time, the members of non-Catholic religions have drawn no closer to the Church.  Quite the contrary, they are farther from her than ever, even on matters as fundamental as the natural law, and the entire Western world now exhibits what John Paul II himself called “a silent apostasy.”[12]

Holy Father, it is not as if ecumenism and dialogue were doctrines of the Faith the Church is unable to abandon. These vague notions, never sufficiently explained to the faithful, emerged in the Church only an historical moment ago. They are not new doctrines which require our assent, for the Church has no power to devise new doctrines. As the First Vatican Council solemnly declared: “For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the Successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth.”[13] Ecumenism and dialogue cannot, therefore, be the objects of faith, but only contingent pastoral undertakings which are either successful or unsuccessful, rather than true or false.

Can the Church not admit that these undertakings have failed, and failed miserably? Ever since ecumenism and dialogue rather mysteriously assumed the status of programmatic imperatives for the Church, every empirical indication of her well-being has deteriorated drastically. After the sudden emergence of ecumenism and dialogue around 1965, the Church witnessed an immediate, precipitous and quite unprecedented decline of conversions, vocations, Mass attendance, and even adherence to the doctrines of the Faith on the part of those Catholics who have not formally defected from the Church since the Council. And yet in the very address that opened the Council, your own predecessor, John XXIII, hailed the Church’s robust health and praised the zeal and fidelity of her members.  What is the difference in the Church between then and now?  Aside from the destruction of the Roman Rite, whose impact cannot be underestimated, the difference is this: ecumenism and dialogue. 

Holy Father, we implore you to free the Church from the veritable tyranny of these novelties, imposed upon us in the name of a merely pastoral Council, even though they are not doctrine, have no roots in Tradition and thus have no claim on our faith.  Worse, at the same time ecclesiastical authorities insist upon these novelties, the integrity of the Faith itself is no longer enforced. What a mystery of iniquity this is! Again, as Cardinal Ratzinger, your own remarks have confirmed the “traditionalist” view of our situation:

The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.

This idea is made stronger by things that are now happening. That which previously was considered most holy¾the form in which the liturgy was handed down¾suddenly appears as the most forbidden of all things, the one thing that can safely be prohibited. It is intolerable to criticize decisions which have been taken since the Council; on the other hand, if men make question of ancient rules, or even of the great truths of the Faith¾for instance, the corporal virginity of Mary, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the immortality of the soul, etc.¾nobody complains or only does so with the greatest moderation. I myself, when I was a professor, have seen how the very same bishop who, before the Council, had fired a teacher who was really irreproachable, for a certain crudeness of speech, was not prepared, after the Council, to dismiss a professor who openly denied certain fundamental truths of the Faith.

All this leads a great number of people to ask themselves if the Church of today is really the same as that of yesterday, or if they have changed it for something else without telling people. The one way in which Vatican II can be made plausible is to present it as it is; one part of the unbroken, the unique Tradition of the Church and of her faith.[14]

Holy Father, the only way Vatican II “can be made plausible” is to cease the effort to persuade people that the Council has imposed dialogue and ecumenism (along with the liturgical experiment) upon the Church¾as if, per impossibile, these were new doctrines of the Faith. How much more evidence is needed before those in authority will finally admit that these novelties of praxis are poisoning the life of the Church and that we should be done with them?

Abandoning Ecumenism

Regarding ecumenism, with its the endless pursuit of an ill-defined “path to unity” with the Protestants and the Orthodox, we ask in conscience: When will the Church abandon this plainly fruitless activity and return to what your predecessor, Pius XII, called the teaching of the Encyclicals of the Roman Pontiffs on the return of the dissidents to the Church”?[15] As your predecessors taught us, Holy Father, all that is necessary for Christian unity is that those who are outside the Church return to her.  A mere 37 years before Vatican II, Pope Pius XI addressed the following words to the Protestant members of the nascent “ecumenical movement” which that great pope had rejected as a threat to the integrity of the Faith:  “[I]f, as they continually state, they long to be united with Us and ours, why do they not hasten to enter the Church, ‘the Mother and mistress’ of all Christ's faithful? Let them hear Lactantius crying out: ‘The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling. For life and salvation are here concerned...’”[16]

Holy Father, how can the Church deny or in any way obscure the revealed truth that the only “path to Christian unity” is the path to Rome? For too long Catholics have been told that they must engage in a “search for unity” with non-Catholics, as if to say that we will all end up somewhere other than Rome. How could this notion fail to cause confusion in the minds of the faithful, while leaving the non-Catholic interlocutor confirmed in his errors? Even John Paul II admitted the legitimacy of this concern:

There are people who in the face of the difficulties or because they consider that the first ecumenical endeavours have brought negative results would have liked to turn back. Some even express the opinion that these efforts are harmful to the cause of the Gospel, are leading to a further rupture in the Church, are causing confusion of ideas in questions of faith and morals and are ending up with a specific indifferentism. It is perhaps a good thing that the spokesmen for these opinions should express their fears.[17]

Yes, Holy Father, we believe it is a good thing that these fears are expressed, for in the 26 years which have passed since your predecessor wrote those words, it has become increasingly apparent that these fears were entirely justified and have been confirmed by the existential fact that ecumenism has not only failed to draw the Protestants and Orthodox into unity with the Church, but has also produced among Catholics confusion, indifferentism and even defection from the Faith. And how could it be otherwise if Catholics are no longer being taught that the only center and source of Christian unity is the very Church to which they already belong, but rather are taught that they must make an “ecumenical journey” somewhere with those who are outside the Church?

Abandoning Dialogue

As for the novelty of dialogue, we ask Your Holiness to consider the marvelously concise assessment of the brilliant scholar Romano Amerio, a member of the Council’s Central Preparatory Commission:

The word was completely unknown and unused in the Church’s teaching before the Council.  It does not occur once in any previous Council, or in papal encyclicals, or in sermons, or in pastoral practice.  In the Vatican II XE "Vatican II"  documents it occurs 28 times, twelve of them in the decree Unitatis Redintegratio.  Nonetheless, through its lightning spread and an enormous broadening in meaning, this word, which is very new in the Catholic Church, became the master-word determining postconciliar thinking, and a catch-all category in the newfangled mentality.  People not only talk about ecumenical dialogue, dialogue between the Church and the world, ecclesial dialogue, but by an enormous catechresis, a dialogical structure is attributed to theology, pedagogy, catechesis, the Trinity, the history of salvation, schools, families, priesthood, sacraments, redemption—and to everything else that has existed in the Church for centuries without the concept being in anybody’s mind or the word occurring in the language.[18]

When in the history of our Church has she become harnessed to a term that has no sanction whatever in the usage of Tradition? The answer, we believe, is never. And what, Holy Father, does “dialogue” mean in the context of the Church?  Amazingly enough, we have been given no clear answer to this question, even though, for the past four decades, the entire Church has been engaged in this ill-defined activity in the name of the Council. As Jean Cardinal Daniélou admitted in his book Why the Church?: “Dialogue is an essential theme of the Council, perhaps the most essential . . . But this word ‘dialogue’ can have extremely different meanings. One of the tasks of the Church since the Council is to define precisely what ‘dialogue’ means.”[19] The confusion is further evidenced in the Vatican document “Dialogue and Proclamation,” issued by the Pontifical Council on Interreligious Dialogue in 1991. This document frankly declares that “Interreligious dialogue between Christians and followers of other religions as envisaged by the Second Vatican Council is only gradually coming to be understood.”[20]

Holy Father, what besides grave alarm should the faithful feel when they see the leaders of the Church, for the first time in her history, committing her members to an activity they themselves are unable to define with any precision? How can this pursuit of the nebulous be anything other than what Sister Lucia of Fatima referred to as “a diabolical disorientation” in the Church?

In all candor Holy Father, we must ask: Instead of dialoguing with the world, when will the Church resume teaching the world with the authority of God speaking, as Our Lord Himself commanded when He said: “Go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded thee.” If the Church whose mission is to teach busies herself with endless dialogue, when will she provide a clear answer to the question that is most important to man: “Teacher, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting? (Matt. 19: 16-24).” And if the Church no longer answers that question with clarity and a peremptory authority conferred by Christ Himself, then what is the reason for her existence?

Fatima and the Return to the Tradition

Only eight years after the Council’s end, Paul VI, surveying the early results of the Council’s much-vaunted “opening to the world,” was forced to admit that “the opening to the world has become a veritable invasion of the Church by worldly thinking. We have perhaps been too weak and imprudent.”[21] This remark was an implicit admission by the Vicar of Christ himself that the entire conciliar aggiornamento had been a failure: instead of the Church penetrating the world with greater effectiveness, the world was penetrating the Church and subverting her.

Holy Father, we respectfully maintain that the time has come for the Church officially to recognize what has long been manifest: that the new liturgy is at war with liturgical tradition, that ecumenism is at war with evangelization, that dialogue is at war with the Church’s duty to teach with divine authority the truths necessary for salvation.  By these novelties the Church’s ramparts have been breached, and the enemy has invaded her. Can it be denied any longer that the “opening to the world” is the postconciliar crisis in the Church?  We realize that what we are saying is that somehow the very leaders of the Church have allowed her to suffer a massive insult to her integrity, just as they did in the 4th century.  But a Catholic must admit this rather than continuing to call “evil good, and good evil.”[22]

It has been reported that Your Holiness plans to travel to Fatima to canonize Francisco and Jacinta Marto, the beatified Fatima seers who preceded Sister Lucia to their eternal reward.  As the “continuing process of decay” extends into nearly every corner of the Church, we are convinced that the Message of Fatima not only predicted, but also provides the key to ending, the ecclesial crisis. 

In fact, one of your great predecessors seems to have been convinced of this. In 1931, when he was still Vatican Secretary of State serving under Pius XI, the future Pope Pius XII made an astonishing prophecy about the coming upheaval in the Church, which he expressly linked to the Message of Fatima:

I am worried by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to little Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide that would be represented by the alteration of the faith, in her liturgy, her theology and her soul…. I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her ornaments and make her feel remorse for her historical past.[23]

A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted.  She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, “Where have they taken Him?”[24]

Holy Father, have we not witnessed since the Council precisely a suicidal attempt to alter the faith in the Church’s liturgy, theology and very soul? Have we not searched in vain for the red lamp in the denuded sanctuaries of the postconciliar “liturgical renewal”? Is not this state of affairs predicted in the Third Secret of Fatima, whose contents Pius XII must somehow have learned, as the portions of the Fatima Message thus far revealed to the Church say nothing of the things he foresaw? Did not Our Lady promise the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart if her request for the consecration of Russia were heeded, while warning us that, if it were not heeded, the Church and the Holy Father would have “much to suffer” and that “various nations will be annihilated”? Could not the ecclesial crisis have been avoided¾could it not, even now, be ended¾if the Pope and the bishops would simply consecrate Russia by name to the Immaculate Heart, instead of deliberately avoiding such mention (as Cardinal Tomko has admitted) for the sake of continuing useless “ecumenical dialogue” with the perpetually obdurate Russian Orthodox Church?

What has been the result of the attempted ecclesial suicide foreseen by Pius XII in light of the Fatima Message?  Here too Msgr. Gamber speaks with the most dramatic frankness:

Great is the confusion!  Who can still see clearly in this darkness? Where in our Church are the leaders who can show us the right path? Where are the bishops courageous enough to cut out the cancerous growth of modernist theology that has implanted itself and is festering within the celebration of even the most sacred mysteries, before the cancer spreads and causes even greater damage?

What we need today is a new Athanasius, a new Basil, bishops like those who in the fourth century fought against Arianism when almost the whole of Christendom had succumbed to the heresy. We need saints today who can unite those whose faith has remained firm so that we might fight error and rouse the weak and vacillating from their apathy.[25]

Msgr. Gamber’s direct analogy to the Arian crisis of the 4th century is a message to the whole Church that the current crisis is of a similar¾or rather, an even greater¾magnitude. In fact, Cardinal Newman’s own description of the Arian crisis serves to describe the condition of the Church today:

The body of bishops failed in their confession of the Faith…. They spoke variously, one against another; there was nothing, after Nicea of firm, unvarying, consistent testimony, for nearly sixty years. There were untrustworthy Councils, unfaithful bishops; there was weakness, fear of consequences, misguidance, delusion, hallucination, endless, hopeless, extending into nearly every corner of the Catholic Church.  The comparatively few who remained faithful were discredited and driven into exile; the rest were either deceivers or deceived.[26]

Holy Father, a growing number of the faithful are coming to realize that the crisis in the Church has arisen precisely from a misguided effort to change her in the name of the Second Vatican Council, just as Pius XII foresaw in his apprehension of the “innovators” all around him.  The evidence of our senses, and reason itself, tells us that this effort has been an incalculable blunder of prudential judgment.  Here again Msgr. Gamber speaks the truth with fearless candor: “Is this the spring people had hoped would emerge from the Second Vatican Council? Instead of a genuine renewal in our Church, we have seen only novelties. Instead of our religious life entering a period of new invigoration, as has happened in the past, what we see now is a form of Christianity that has turned towards the world.”[27]  In your own sermon before the conclave, you too, Holy Father, seemed to concede the magnitude of this undeniable disaster:

How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking... Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and 'swept along by every wind of teaching', looks like the only attitude (acceptable) to today's standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain…

Catholics of good will can no longer disagree on the diagnosis, but now the question remains: What can be done to cure the disease? All the evidence of our bitter experience with the postconciliar “renewal” points to only one answer: abandon the worthless novelties of the past forty years and return wholeheartedly to Tradition.  Restore the Mass. Bring an end to “ecumenism” and forthrightly seek converts once again, as the Church did for nearly two millennia after Saint Peter converted 3,000 of his fellow Jews with a single sermon exhorting them to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins. Terminate the fruitless “dialogues” that have lead nowhere and produced nothing, and return to the divine teaching that transformed pagan nations into Christian commonwealths and laid down the moral and spiritual foundations of Western civilization.

Only the Roman Pontiff can accomplish such a massive task of true reform and restoration. And we dare to say to Your Holiness that only the Roman Pontiff will be held accountable for the consequences to the entire Church and the world if that task is not accomplished, and if, instead, the Church continues to be held in thrall to manifestly destructive innovations which have only harmed the cause of the Gospel.

In saying this we know that we are doing nothing less than publicly reproving the Vicar of Christ. But at this point in the ecclesial crisis, after so many years of incalculable suffering in the Church, it would be a failure of charity and a betrayal of our duty as confirmed soldiers of Christ not to convey these concerns to the Pope in the only way that we can.  Speaking of the moral duty of a subject to reprove even the Roman Pontiff when there is reason to believe the Faith is endangered, Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches: “when a man reproves his prelate charitably, it does not follow that he thinks himself any better, but merely that he offers his help to one who, ‘being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger’…”[28] 

Holy Father, you have asked for the prayers and support of all the faithful as you carry the immense burden of the Vicar of Christ. In your sermon at the papal installation Mass you specifically implored the faithful to “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.”  That is a prayer we do indeed address most fervently to God through His Blessed Mother.  But have you not considered, Holy Father, that the wolves you rightly fear include not only those who openly attack the papacy and the doctrines of the Faith, but also those who would have Your Holiness continue on the same course that has nearly reduced the commonwealth of the Church to ruins?

The radical crisis Your Holiness himself recognizes cannot be ended by anything less than a radical correction. The replacement of certain elements of the destroyed Roman Rite cannot begin to repair the damage done to the Church in the name of the Council.  We beg you, Holy Father, to abandon the course of novelty so recently established and return to the ancient and unbroken course of Tradition, which is the only way to safety and salvation: “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”[29]  Surely this divine prescription is what Our Blessed Mother had in view when she said at Fatima: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”  God grant that Your Holiness will be the Pope whose bold actions in favor of Tradition, taken with the aid of Our Lady of Fatima, will bring on her heavenly Triumph and restore the Church for God’s glory, the salvation of the elect, and the good of the whole world.

Your loyal subjects in Christ,

Christopher A. Ferrara

Michael J. Matt

The Remnant

U.S.A.


 

[1] CIC (1983), Can. 212, §2.

[2]L’Osservatore Romano, November 9, 1984.

[3] Ratzinger, Joseph, Milestones: Memoirs: 1927-1977 (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 1998), p. 148.

[4] Ratzinger, Joseph Card., La Mia Vita, quoted by Michael Davies in The Latin Mass, Fall 1997.

[5] Preface to French edition of Reform of the Roman Liturgy, by Msgr. Klaus Gamber.  See, n. 6.

[6]Msgr. Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy (Una Voce Press: San Juan Capistrano, CA: 1994)., pp. 98-99.

[7] Address by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ergife Palace Hotel, Rome, Saturday 24 October, 1998.

[8] “Restore the Old Mass,” Inside the Vatican, May 2004.

[9] Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth, p. 176.

[10]As reported by Catholic News Agency on July 15, 2004 (quoting Fr. Aldo Buonaiuto in Famiglia Cristiana magazine): “A true ‘market’ for consecrated hosts exists. They sell for 80-500 euros, depending on the size of the host, the prominence of the church from which they were stolen, and who consecrated them…. Some cults perform rituals with the consecrated hosts while under the influence of LSD or cocaine, led frequently by ex-priests who have offered themselves in the service of Satan.” The world’s press has abounded with reports of how Hosts consecrated at the papal Masses of John Paul II were being auctioned on “EBay,” the online auction service.

[11] Gamber, op. cit., p. 114.

[12] Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Europa (2001).

[13]Denzinger, 1836.

[14] Address to the Bishops of Chile (1988).

[15]AAS 42-142.

[16] Mortalium animos (1925), n. 11.

[17] Redemptor hominis (1979), n.6.

[18]Iota Unum, p. 347.

[19]Jean Cardinal Daniélou, Why the Church? trans. M. F. DeLange. (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1975, p. 6.

[20]Dialogue and Proclamation (1991), n. 4b.

[21]Speech of November 23, 1973.

[22] Isaias 5:20.

[23]Roche, Pie XII Devant L’Histoire, p. 52.

[24]Ibid., p. 53.

[25] Gamber, Reform of the Roman Liturgy, p. 113.

[26] John Henry Newman, On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine (Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, 1961), p. 77.

[27]Msgr. Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy, p. 102.

[28]ST, IIa-IIae, Q. 33, Art. 4.

[29]Jer. 6:16.



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Religion & Politics; Worship
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1 posted on 05/02/2005 12:03:42 PM PDT by murphE
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah; Gerard.P; vox_freedom; te lucis; donbosco74; rogator; Robert Drobot; ...

Ping


2 posted on 05/02/2005 12:06:19 PM PDT by murphE (The crown of victory is promised only to those who engage in the struggle. St. Augustine)
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To: ELS
Here's the nine cardinals you asked about on another thread.:

As Cardinal Alfons Stickler revealed ten years ago, in 1986 John Paul II convened a commission of nine cardinals to advise him on the legal status of the traditional Mass. Your Holiness (then Cardinal Ratzinger) was a member of that commission, along with Cardinals Stickler, Mayer, Oddi, Casaroli, Gantin, Innocenti, Palazzini, and Tomko.

3 posted on 05/02/2005 12:19:45 PM PDT by murphE (The crown of victory is promised only to those who engage in the struggle. St. Augustine)
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To: murphE
obedience
obedience
obedience
obedience
obedience
obedience
obedience

The body of bishops failed in their confession of the Faith…. (By extension the accusation is that the Holy Spirit failed)

They spoke variously, one against another; there was nothing, after Nicea of firm, unvarying, consistent testimony, for nearly sixty years. There were untrustworthy Councils (Again, convicting the Holy Spirit of failure), unfaithful bishops; there was weakness, fear of consequences, misguidance, delusion, hallucination, endless, hopeless, extending into nearly every corner of the Catholic Church. The comparatively few who remained faithful were discredited and driven into exile; the rest were either deceivers or deceived.[26]

Holy Father, a growing number of the faithful are coming to realize that the crisis in the Church has arisen precisely from a misguided effort to change her in the name of the Second Vatican Council, just as Pius XII foresaw in his apprehension of the “innovators” all around him. The evidence of our senses, and reason itself, tells us that this effort has been an incalculable blunder of prudential judgment.(The Holy Spirit stands convicted yet again) Here again Msgr. Gamber speaks the truth with fearless candor: “Is this the spring people had hoped would emerge from the Second Vatican Council? Instead of a genuine renewal in our Church, we have seen only novelties. Instead of our religious life entering a period of new invigoration, as has happened in the past, what we see now is a form of Christianity that has turned towards the world.”[27] In your own sermon before the conclave, you too, Holy Father, seemed to concede the magnitude of this undeniable disaster:

There's a grand canyon between the Council and its implementation. There's no doubt that the spirit of the council was violated in its implementation. That does NOT, however, convict the Council itself, nor its goals, of being fraudulent or bereft of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I can create the world's greatest anti-hystamine drug to soothe allergies, but if the intended beneficiary uses the ingredients to create crystal meth, it doesn't make the medicine immoral or misguided, but the manipulation of said medicine is worthy of conviction.

If the seat of Rome is "vacant" or in need of "reproval", then the gates of hell have prevailed. Will one of the traditionalists please rationalize their position?

4 posted on 05/02/2005 12:20:32 PM PDT by Rutles4Ever
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To: Rutles4Ever

"If the seat of Rome is "vacant" or in need of "reproval", then the gates of hell have prevailed. Will one of the traditionalists please rationalize their position?"

Agreed. What makes their position any different than the private interpretation of our Protestant brothers?

Good point on implementation of Vatican 2. We haven't seen it because of the common dissent in the Church, esp. in the US.

Obedience.

Regards


5 posted on 05/02/2005 12:35:44 PM PDT by jo kus
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To: Rutles4Ever
BXVI, in one of his first statements, indicated that both Dialogue and Ecumenism will not only continue, but will likely be given a priority in this papacy.

As for the liturgy, the Novus Ordo is not going anywhere. The Tridentine Mass should be widely available, preferably in a Tridentine Rite so that those who wished to attend would not be at the mercy of a priest or bishop who simply refuses to permit it.

6 posted on 05/02/2005 12:40:28 PM PDT by sinkspur (If you want unconditional love with skin, and hair and a warm nose, get a shelter dog.)
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To: Rutles4Ever

What do you think the Holy Spirit's role is in an ecumenical Council?


7 posted on 05/02/2005 12:43:08 PM PDT by Gerard.P (The lips of liberals drip with honey while their hands drip with blood--Bishop Williamson)
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To: sinkspur

Actually the Novus Ordo should be defined as "the optional Vernacular Rite of Paul VI" and the inaccurate term "Tridentine" should be recognized as the only "Latin Rite."


8 posted on 05/02/2005 12:45:21 PM PDT by Gerard.P (The lips of liberals drip with honey while their hands drip with blood--Bishop Williamson)
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To: Rutles4Ever

The Holy Ghost would fail in the Church officially taught error. Bad cardinals and bishops cannot be considered such a failure. By your logic Christ would have failed by picking Judas as an Apostle.


9 posted on 05/02/2005 12:48:26 PM PDT by Pecavi
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To: Rutles4Ever
I would like to see the return of the Latin Mass in it's complete form and teaching, my soul craves this and I am a convert, not a cradle catholic.
I also think the new mass could be reformed and brought under control and presented and taught as it was supposed to be. It was hijacked.
I think we could have both masses.
I do not think we should cut off communication with the world and other religions.
I do not think, Christ himself would cut off communication.
Ecumenism is good, carried out as it should be, a good way to teach the world about catholicism.
A good job and example of such just preceded with Pope John Paul II's death, the conclave, and new Pope.
I love tradition, I want tradition, I crave tradition, but I do not go along with not communicating with the world.
10 posted on 05/02/2005 12:48:37 PM PDT by rose
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To: murphE
Christopher Ferrara and Michael Matt continue to seek entrance to a sanctuary from which they were ejected. God bless their tireless efforts to restore His dismantled Church to Him.

Roman Rite Catholics have been making similar pleadings to those who took the demolition ball and crane to His House. And therein lies the problem. Ceaseless attempts to rid the flock from the presence of wolves is heartbreaking, and doomed before they put pen to paper. The heresy ridden cardinals and bishops have diluted the chair of Peter into a mere figurehead; an image of what used to be, but no longer is. Encyclicals are now worthless scribble. Everybody's equal. Every bishop is in total command his own fiefdom. This is a church gone mad, and from which a return to sanity is lost on those who do not see or hear, because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. - Matthew 13:13

Terri Schiavo, please forgive us.
Our Lady of La Salette, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church and Protector of the Faithful,
pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Pope Saint Gregory the Great, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Pope Saint Leo the Great, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us.
Saint Padre Pio, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, fierce fighter of the Arians, pray for us.
Saint Clare, the great apostle of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, pray for us.
Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart, pray for us
Saint Michael the Archangel, protect the faithful from the snares of the disciples of Lucifer in disguise, and
bring ruin to those who intimidate, oppress, imprison, torture, and murder His faithful servants
throughout the world.

11 posted on 05/02/2005 12:54:46 PM PDT by Robert Drobot (Da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos.)
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To: Rutles4Ever
obedience
obedience
obedience
obedience
obedience
obedience
obedience


You seem to be implying that some form of disobedience has taken place. Where and by whom?
12 posted on 05/02/2005 12:55:11 PM PDT by te lucis ("A Catholic likes using his mind on his Faith, like burnishing a treasure." -Bp. Richard Williamson)
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To: Rutles4Ever
Again, convicting the Holy Spirit of failure

Uh, you do realize that the passage you're annotating was authored by Cardinal Newman, right? And in fact, that it was delated to Rome as heretical by the Bishop of Newport, and yet the accusation was quashed?

You can see his quite successful defense of the passage here.

The three clauses which furnished matter of objection were these:—I said, (1), that "there was a temporary suspense of the functions of the 'Ecclesia docens;'" (2), that "the body of Bishops failed in their confession of the faith." (3), that "general councils, &c., said what they should not have said, or did what obscured and compromised revealed truth."

(1). That "there was a temporary suspense of the functions of the Ecclesia docens" is not true, if by saying so is meant that the Council of Nicæa held in 325 did not sufficiently define and promulgate for all times and all places the dogma of our Lord's divinity, and that the notoriety of that Council and the voices of its great supporters and maintainers, as Athanasius, Hilary, &c., did not bring home the dogma to the intelligence of the faithful in all parts of Christendom. But what I meant by "suspense" (I did not say "suspension," purposely,) was only this, that there was no authoritative utterance of the Church's infallible voice in matter of fact between the Nicene Council, A.D. 325, and the Council of Constantinople, A.D. 381, or, in the words which I actually used, "there was nothing after Nicæa of firm, unvarying, consistent testimony for nearly sixty years." As writing before the Vatican Definition of 1870, I did not lay stress upon the Roman Councils under Popes Julius and Damasus [Note 3].

(2). That "the body of Bishops failed in their confession of the faith," p. 17. Here, if the word "body" is used in the sense of the Latin "corpus," as "corpus" is used in theological treatises, and as it doubtless would be translated for the benefit of readers ignorant of the English language, certainly this would be a heretical statement. But I meant nothing of the kind. I used it in the vague, familiar, genuine sense of which Johnson gives instances in his dictionary, as meaning "the great preponderance," or, "the mass" of Bishops, viewing them in the main or the gross, as a cumulus of individuals. Thus Hooker says, "Life and death have divided between them the whole body of mankind;" Clarendon, after speaking of the van of the king's army, says, "in the body was the king and the prince:" and Addison speaks of "navigable rivers, which ran up into the body of Italy." In this sense it is true historically that the body of Bishops failed in their confession. Tillemont, quoting from St. Gregory Nazianzen, says, "La souscription (Arienne) etait une des dispositions necessaires pour entrer et pour se conserver dans l'episcopat. L'encre était toujours toute prête, et l'accusateur aussi. Ceux qui avaient paru invincibles jusques alors, céderent à cette tempête. Si leur esprit ne tomba pas dans l'heresie, leur main néanmoins y consentit ... Peu d'Evêques s'exemterent de ce malheur, n' y ayant eu que ceux que leur propre bassesse faisait negliger, ou que leur vertu fit resister genereusement, et que Dieu conserva afin qu'il restât encore quelque semence et quelque racine pour faire refleurir Israel." T. vi. p. 499. In St. Gregory's own words, [plen oligon agan, pantes tou kairou gegonasi; tosouton allelon dienenkontes, hoson tous men proteron, tous de husteron touto pathein]. Orat. xxi. 24. p. 401. Ed. Bened.

(3). That "general councils said what they should not have said, and did what obscured and compromised revealed truth." Here again the question to be determined is what is meant by the word "general." If I meant by "general" ecumenical, I should have spoken as no Catholic can speak; but ecumenical Councils there were none between 325 and 381, and so I could not be referring to any; and in matter of fact I used the word "general" in contrast to "ecumenical," as I had used it in Tract No. 90, and as Bellarmine uses the word. He makes a fourfold division of "general Councils," viz., those which are approbata; reprobata; partim confirmata, partim reprobata; and nec manifeste probata nec manifeste reprobata. Among the "reprobata" he placed the Arian Councils. They were quite large enough to be called "generalia;" the twin Councils of Seleucia and Ariminum numbering as many as 540 Bishops. When I spoke then of "general councils compromising revealed truth," I spoke of the Arian or Eusebian Councils, not of the Catholic.

I hope this is enough to observe on this subject.

3. A distinguished theologian infers from my words that I deny that "the Church is in every time the activum instrumentum docendi." But I do not admit the fairness of this inference. Distinguo: activum instrumentum docendi virtuale, C. Actuale, N. The Ecumenical Council of 325 was an effective authority in 341, 351, and 359, though at those dates the Arians were in the seats of teaching. ...


13 posted on 05/02/2005 12:55:11 PM PDT by gbcdoj (And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. ~ John 1:5)
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To: Rutles4Ever
If the seat of Rome is "vacant" or in need of "reproval", then the gates of hell have prevailed. Will one of the traditionalists please rationalize their position?

I'm not a sedevacantist. (though it is not a heresy to be one) But there is this strange attitude among conciliarists that they believe the promises of Christ guarantee a lot more than they do. Christ promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church. That implies that the Church must DO something against the gates of Hell. Neos tend to think the phrase means the gates of the Church will withstand the powers of Hell and somehow keep the smoke of Satan out of the Curia. If they think that, then they have a problem with Paul VI who was no traditionalist.

14 posted on 05/02/2005 12:55:57 PM PDT by Gerard.P (The lips of liberals drip with honey while their hands drip with blood--Bishop Williamson)
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To: Gerard.P
Actually the Novus Ordo should be defined as "the optional Vernacular Rite of Paul VI"

But it's not, is it?

Define it however you wish. There is no apparent clamoring for the wholesale return of the Tridentine Mass among even the world's bishops, to say nothing of priests and laymen.

How many bishops celebrate the Indult?

15 posted on 05/02/2005 12:59:50 PM PDT by sinkspur (If you want unconditional love with skin, and hair and a warm nose, get a shelter dog.)
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To: Rutles4Ever

What disobedience is there in this letter? Please explain what you mean.


16 posted on 05/02/2005 1:00:36 PM PDT by murphE (The crown of victory is promised only to those who engage in the struggle. St. Augustine)
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To: sinkspur
BXVI, in one of his first statements, indicated that both Dialogue and Ecumenism will not only continue, but will likely be given a priority in this papacy.

Ah, but will it be true ecumenism, in the mold of Bl. John XXIII?

We address Ourselves now to all of you who are separated from this Apostolic See. May this wonderful Spectacle of unity, by which the Catholic Church is set apart and distinguished, as well as the prayers and entreaties with which she begs God for unity, stir your hearts and awaken you to what is really in your best interest.

May We, in fond anticipation, address you as sons and brethren? May We hope with a father's love for your return? (Ad Petri Cathedram §79-80)


17 posted on 05/02/2005 1:01:16 PM PDT by gbcdoj (And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. ~ John 1:5)
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To: gbcdoj
May We hope with a father's love for your return?

Since BXVI desires dialogue, he will never use such words. In point of fact, he avoided them.

18 posted on 05/02/2005 1:05:19 PM PDT by sinkspur (If you want unconditional love with skin, and hair and a warm nose, get a shelter dog.)
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To: sinkspur

Accuracy in defining things is not a hallmark of the Curia in the post-cociliar period in the Church.

There is even less clamoring for the Novus Ordo (declining attendance), or priests that want to celebrate it(priest shortage).

At best there is a droning acceptance and accompanying loss of faith in supernatural reality. Most Catholics don't know the Old Rite so they won't clamor for steak if all they know is chipped beef.

If I can define it however I wish, I'll define it as the "Sucky Rite" but that's just my own poetic description.


19 posted on 05/02/2005 1:06:52 PM PDT by Gerard.P (The lips of liberals drip with honey while their hands drip with blood--Bishop Williamson)
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To: jo kus
If the seat of Rome is "vacant"

No one here has stated that, and you didn't even have to read the whole letter to see to whom it is addressed.

or in need of "reproval", then the gates of hell have prevailed.

So the gates of hell prevailed way back when Paul rebuked Pope Peter I?

Why don't you read the letter instead of attacking things it doesn't say.

20 posted on 05/02/2005 1:08:13 PM PDT by murphE (The crown of victory is promised only to those who engage in the struggle. St. Augustine)
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To: murphE
Your loyal subjects in Christ,

They spend an age running a ruler over the new Holy Father, measuring him against their idea of Catholicism, then lecture him at length about what he should and should not do before finally signing off as "your loyal subjects".

Let's be honest shall we? You're loyal only in so far as the Holy Father's ministry coincides with what you consider to be appropriate. That is not loyalty.

Lecture him, berate him, measure him, do whatever you wish. But when it's all over don't go down on one knee with faux humility and say "master."

You have your own agenda. And drop the pretentious "An Open Letter From Traditional Catholics." Nobody appointed you guys as spokesman for anything. How about "An Open Letter from Two Dissidents." You're either Catholic or you're not and the Pope is Catholic.

Only puffed up peacocks send unsolicited advice to the Pope. Instead of telling him what he ought and ought not to do, shut up and listen.

21 posted on 05/02/2005 1:17:16 PM PDT by marshmallow
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To: Rutles4Ever
If the seat of Rome is "vacant" or in need of "reproval", then the gates of hell have prevailed.

Where, when did Christ ever say that Rome would always have the Faith?

Also how did you develop this absurd notion that the Holy Spirit approves of Vatican II and all of its rotten fruit?

22 posted on 05/02/2005 1:31:54 PM PDT by Judica me
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To: marshmallow
How about "An Open Letter from Two Dissidents." You're either Catholic or you're not and the Pope is Catholic.

What has either author dissented from? Be specific.

Only puffed up peacocks send unsolicited advice to the Pope.

St. Catherine of Siena, a Doctor of the Church, mystic, stigmatist, and obscure Third Order Dominican, did one better. She told the Pope to his face what to do. Thank God for puffed up peacocks.
>
Instead of telling him what he ought and ought not to do, shut up and listen.

Read.
23 posted on 05/02/2005 1:34:38 PM PDT by te lucis ("A Catholic likes using his mind on his Faith, like burnishing a treasure." -Bp. Richard Williamson)
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To: marshmallow

Last time I checked, the Pope didn't appoint you his axe man on who can and who cannot make requests of him.

Since that's your attitude, why don't you sit this one out on the bench and he'll call you when he needs you, okay?

It's only schismatically minded neo-Catholics that want to impose false rules on the Holy Father about what he can and can't accept from Catholics that cite his own writings and make a request.

I seem to remember him stating that part of his ministry was going to be listening and not just talking. I can't believe you would put yourself against the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ on Earth, Patriarch of the West, the Supreme Pontiff.

I for one, will heed the Holy Father's words. I agree with everything they stated and I'll put my name to a petition to send to B16.


24 posted on 05/02/2005 1:43:35 PM PDT by Gerard.P (The lips of liberals drip with honey while their hands drip with blood--Bishop Williamson)
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To: Judica me
Where, when did Christ ever say that Rome would always have the Faith?
St. Robert Bellarmine
Lib. iv. De Rom. Pont. c. 4. sect. 1
Second Proposition: Not only the Roman Pontiff is unable to err in faith, but also the particular Roman Church. However it must be observed in this place, that the firmness of the Roman Church in the faith ought to be received in one sense, and the firmness of the pontiff in another: for the pontiff cannot err by judicial error: that is, when he judges and defines a question of faith. But the Roman Church, that is, the Roman people and clergy, cannot err by personal error, so that all together err, and no faithful would be in the Roman Church, adhering to the pontiff. For although each one individually can err, however it cannot happen that all together would err, and the whole Roman Church become apostate.

Lib. iv. De Rom. Pont. c. 4. sect. 5
For the authorities cited ... Agatho and Nicholas, popes and confessors ... assert that not only the pontiff, but also the Roman Church, is unable to err ... Another testimony is that of Pope Sixtus IV, who first through the Complutensian Synod, then also by himself, condemned (damnavit) the articles of Peter of Osma, of which articles one was, "The Church of the City of Rome can err". And although these statements seem to owe to be understood especially by reason of the pontiff, since however the Roman Church is not only the Pontiff, but the Pontiff and the people, so when the Fathers, or the Pontiffs, say that the Roman Church cannot err, they want to say; "In the Roman Church there will always be a Bishop teaching Catholicly and a people believing Catholicly."

First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church

So the fathers of the fourth Council of Constantinople, following the footsteps of their predecessors, published this solemn profession of faith: The first condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith. And since that saying of our lord Jesus Christ, You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, cannot fail of its effect, the words spoken are confirmed by their consequences. For in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been held in honor. Since it is our earnest desire to be in no way separated from this faith and doctrine, we hope that we may deserve to remain in that one communion which the Apostolic See preaches, for in it is the whole and true strength of the Christian religion.


25 posted on 05/02/2005 2:01:10 PM PDT by gbcdoj (And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. ~ John 1:5)
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To: rose

Communication must be maintained: you are correct. It seems to me that we are at a crossroads these days. Protestants came along and introduced the widespread notion that individual interpretation of Scripture is what the Apostles intended. Now, when a knowledgeable Catholic tries to have a discussion with them, they take issue with the most basic things, and no real communication can take place. They will usually criticize a priest who does his best to explain the Church's teaching in the specific case, which ends up sounding like a lecture, and the Prots are miserable unless they interfere and question too many things. There is a real rift in communication as a result.

So, along comes "dialogue" ("dialog" seems to have a more technical connotation) which is supposed to make everyone feel good. But if we accurately define what it is that has been going on under the banner of "dialogue," we can immediately see that it is nothing Catholic. Why do I say this?

Let's start with a good definition:

dialogue: a mutual verbal exchange (intercourse) between a Catholic and a non-Catholic in which they both endeavor to "discover" the truth, presuming from the start that neither one has it.

Do you see the problem with this kind of discussion?


26 posted on 05/02/2005 2:52:09 PM PDT by donbosco74 (Sancte Padre Pio, ora pro nobis, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.)
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To: gbcdoj

Are you calling Our Lady of La Salette a liar?


27 posted on 05/02/2005 3:01:45 PM PDT by Judica me
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To: donbosco74
Don't forget true dialogue. Leo XIII, Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae:
But if, among the different ways of preaching the word of God that one sometimes seems to be preferable, which directed to non-Catholics, not in churches, but in some suitable place, in such wise that controversy is not sought, but friendly conference, such a method is certainly without fault. But let those who undertake such ministry be set apart by the authority of the bishops and let them be men whose science and virtue has been previously ascertained. For we think that there are many in your country who are separated from Catholic truth more by ignorance than by ill-will, who might perchance more easily be drawn to the one fold of Christ if this truth be set forth to them in a friendly and familiar way.

28 posted on 05/02/2005 3:02:24 PM PDT by gbcdoj (And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. ~ John 1:5)
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To: Judica me
From the Acta Apostolicae Sedis,

THE SUPREME SACRED CONGREGATION OF THE HOLY OFFICE

CONCERNING THE COMMONLY CALLED "SECRET OF LA SALETTE."

It has come to the attention of this Supreme Congregation that certain ones are not lacking, even from among the ecclesiastic assemblage who, responses and decisions of this Holy Congregation itself having been disregarded, do proceed to discuss and examine through books, small works and articles edited in periodicals, whether signed or without a name, concerning the so-called Secret of La Salette, its diverse forms and its relevance to present and future times; and, this not only without permission of the Ordinaries, but, also against their ban.

So that these abuses which oppose true piety and greatly wound ecclesiastical authority might be curbed, the same Sacred Congregation orders all the faithful of any region not to discuss or investigate under any pretext, neither through books, or little works or articles, whether signed or unsigned, or in any other way of any kind, about the mentioned subject. Whoever, indeed, violates this precept of the Holy Office, if they are priests, are deprived of all dignity and suspended by the local ordinary from hearing sacramental confessions and from offering Mass: and, if they are lay people, they are not permitted to the sacraments until they repent.

Moreover, let people be subject to the sanctions given both by Pope Leo XIII through the Constitution of the offices and responsibilities against those who publish books dealing with religious things without legitimate permission of superiors and by Urban VIII through the decree "Sanctissimus Dominus Noster" given on 13th March 1625 against those who publish asserted revelations without the permission of ordinaries. However, this decree does not forbid devotion towards the Blessed Virgin under the title of Reconciliatrix commonly of La Salette.

Given at Rome on 21st December, 1915.

Aloisius Castellano, S. R. and U. I. Notary.

THE LITTLE WORK IS CONDEMNED: "THE APPARITION OF THE VERY HOLY VIRGIN OF LA SALETTE"

DECREE

Wednesday, 9th May 1923

In a General Session of the Supreme Holy Congregation of the Holy Office, eminent and reverend Lord Cardinals appointed for protecting the faith and morals, proscribed and condemned the little work The Apparition of the Most Holy Virgin on the holy mountain of La Salette, Saturday 19 September 1845. - Simple Reprinting of the entire public text by Mélanie, etc. Society Saint-Augustine, Paris-Rome-Bruges, 1922; ordering those to whom it looks to take care to withdraw examples of the condemned book from the hands of the faithful.

And the same holiday and day of the Most Holy Lord. N. D. by the foresight of divine providence Pope Pius XI, in the customary audience of R. P. D. Assessor of the Holy Office has commissioned the report himself and approved the resolution.

Given at Rome from the Holy Office on 10th May, 1923.

Aloisius Castellanus, S. R. and U. Notary.


29 posted on 05/02/2005 3:07:55 PM PDT by gbcdoj (And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. ~ John 1:5)
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To: gbcdoj
Funny that you quote St. Robert Bellarmine, who also said the following:

"Therefore, the true opinion is the fifth, according to which the Pope who is manifestly a heretic ceases by himself to be Pope and head, in the same way as he ceases to be a Christian and a member of the body of the Church; and for this reason he can be judged and punished by the Church. This is the opinion of all the ancient Fathers, who teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction, and outstandingly that of St. Cyprian (lib. 4, epist. 2) who speaks as follows of Novatian, who was Pope [antipope] in the schism which occurred during the pontificate of St. Cornelius: "He would not be able to retain the episcopate, and, if he was made bishop before, he separated himself from the body of those who were, like him, bishops, and from the unity of the Church."

Clearly this doctor of the Church erred. You should submit a petition to Rome to revoke his canonization, which was obviously in error.

30 posted on 05/02/2005 3:12:59 PM PDT by Judica me
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To: Judica me

You're a sedevacantist?

What manifest heresy has Benedict XVI committed?


31 posted on 05/02/2005 3:13:55 PM PDT by gbcdoj (And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. ~ John 1:5)
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To: Judica me

I looked back at your posts and you do acknowledge the pope. What am I missing? Is your text somehow supposed to contradict mine?

Naturally, a Pontiff who became a notorious heretic could not be Pope. One who does not belong to the Church cannot be the Head of the Church. But this is not detrimental to the inerrancy of the particular Roman Church, which I proved from Bellarmine and Vatican I.


32 posted on 05/02/2005 3:18:04 PM PDT by gbcdoj (And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. ~ John 1:5)
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To: gbcdoj

Can an occupant of the Papal throne be a manifest heretic?

Is it possible?


33 posted on 05/02/2005 3:18:44 PM PDT by Gerard.P (The lips of liberals drip with honey while their hands drip with blood--Bishop Williamson)
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To: gbcdoj

What is the definition of the particular Roman Church?


34 posted on 05/02/2005 3:19:29 PM PDT by Gerard.P (The lips of liberals drip with honey while their hands drip with blood--Bishop Williamson)
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To: murphE

I copied another's comment that said..."If the seat of Rome is "vacant"

You responded "...No one here has stated that, and you didn't even have to read the whole letter to see to whom it is addressed." followed by "Why don't you read the letter instead of attacking things it doesn't say."


Good advice. I think you have me confused with the poster that I was responding to. I never stated that I thought that the AUTHOR implied there was no Pope, merely that the Sedevacantists should explain their position. If you are one, please explain how you are different than a Protestant and his private interpretations. If you are not, then don't worry, it wasn't addressed to you.

Regards


35 posted on 05/02/2005 3:21:30 PM PDT by jo kus
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To: Gerard.P
"It can be believed probably and piously that the supreme Pontiff is not only not able to err as Pontiff but that even as a particular person he is not able to be heretical, by pertinaciously believing something contrary to the faith." (St. Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, book 4, cap. vi)

This is my opinion, but it is not a matter of faith. Of course, Bellarmine's counsel about the theoretical possibility of a manifestly heretical Pontiff ought to be held together with his comments elsewhere:

Moreover, even though somewhere, by God's permission, a credulous people should be easily seduced by their pastor, no Catholic would dare say that therefore the people should be discouraged from obeying their prelates, or should themselves become judges of their pastors, and decide on the doctrine that is being preached to them. We know from present experience among the Lutherans that the danger of heresy is far greater by making this kind of concession to human liberty, than it will ever be from the simple obedience of the people. ("Tractatus de obedientia," in Auctarium Bellarminianum, ed. Le Bachelet (Paris, 1913), p. 385)

36 posted on 05/02/2005 3:23:45 PM PDT by gbcdoj (And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. ~ John 1:5)
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To: murphE

Thanks. Do you have a source for that quote?


37 posted on 05/02/2005 3:35:03 PM PDT by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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To: Gerard.P
The local Roman Diocese. Thus he continues in c. 4, sect. 2:
It must be observed moreover, that the Roman Church cannot err in this unfolded way, still can be understood in two ways. In one way, that it cannot err, while the Apostolic See persists at Rome: however it will be otherwise, if the See is transferred. In another way, that it cannot err simply, or fall off, since the Apostolic see cannot at any time be transferred from Rome to another [place].

38 posted on 05/02/2005 3:36:40 PM PDT by gbcdoj (And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. ~ John 1:5)
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To: Gerard.P

"There is even less clamoring for the Novus Ordo (declining attendance), or priests that want to celebrate it(priest shortage)."

A false parallelism. To entirely blame the Novus Ordo for the lack of attendance or priestly shortages is a false presumption. Because these developed parallel doesn't mean that one contributed to the other. The problems that so many mention that followed Vatican 2 were already within the Church and society. Do you blame the sexual revolution on Vatican 2, also? And the Vietnam protests? Don't you think society itself had something to do with overthrowing authority and doing away with the reverant? Why do you think the Church felt the need to write "The Church in the Modern World?" Because the Church was losing relevance - BEFORE Vatican 2.

I would say the problems are more complex than your simple conclusion that the changing of the Mass to the vernacular and putting in inclusive language is behind all of the Church's problems. I disagree with that liturgical move, but to say it is THE cause of the problem doesn't make sense.

I would point more to the dissent within the American Church in implementing ACTUAL Vatican 2.

Regards


39 posted on 05/02/2005 3:40:24 PM PDT by jo kus
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To: gbcdoj; Rutles4Ever
I looked back at your posts and you do acknowledge the pope. What am I missing?

Look back at post 25. When I said the following: "Where, when did Christ ever say that Rome would always have the Faith?" You replied with the following quote from St. Robert Bellarmine:"Not only the Roman Pontiff is unable to err in faith, but also the particular Roman Church".

If you agree that is is possible that a person who has been elected by the college of cardinals as the Supreme Pontiff can be a manifest heretic and capable of losing the Faith, then we are on the same page.

I am, in no way, saying that this is the case with Pope Benedict XVI. My point was to Rutles4ever (in post 4) that the seat could be vacant but that the does not mean that the gates of hell have prevailed.

40 posted on 05/02/2005 3:56:05 PM PDT by Judica me
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To: gbcdoj

Thanks for posting that. I'm just curious as to at what point God has suspended the free will of the Pontiff in order to prevent him from being in error.

As far as the second quote you gave from Bellarmine. That is a very temporal statement he refers to with his reference to Lutherans.

Today's circumstances are quite different from then.

By God's permission the majority of bishops and prelates can credulously be seduced by their pastors and then pass it along to the credulous masses.


41 posted on 05/02/2005 4:50:51 PM PDT by Gerard.P (The lips of liberals drip with honey while their hands drip with blood--Bishop Williamson)
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To: Gerard.P

Yet the principle still applies. Even the more learned sedevacantists (eg the www.traditionalmass.org types) make egregious errors in their explanation of the Pontiff's purported "heresies".

Worse yet are www.novusordowatch.org and other such persons. The latest I saw on NOW was that B-16 was a heretic for his proposal that the Lutherans could be restored to the Church by means of suitable adding to the Augsburg Confession, sort of a completion of all the Catholic elements that were missing. Left unmentioned in the denunciation of his 'heresy' (and I'm sure Ratzinger discussed this in the preceding pages), is that this idea has been floating around among Catholic churchmen since the 16th century.


42 posted on 05/02/2005 4:56:05 PM PDT by gbcdoj (And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. ~ John 1:5)
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To: murphE

Those dissenters who reject in practice the lawful authority of the supreme pastor of the Church, in defiance of Sacred Tradition as taught by the magisterium at Vatican I and going back to the apostles, have been awfully quiet since the passing of the late pontiff, whom they never ceased to unfairly malign as unorthodox in the most scandalous ways possible. I had thought they might see sense now that the Holy Spirit has actually elected a Pope who has written extensively on some of the problems of the liturgical reform, and who issued Dominus Iesus condemning relativism in religion and overall upheld the faith. But no, it would appear that at least Messrs. Matt and Ferrara have gone back to their old tricks of lecturing the Pope and telling the magisterium that it must measure up to their subjective interpretation of Tradition or else. I had hoped there might have been an opening with the advent of our Holy Father Benedict XVI, and perhaps there still could be one, but it would require an immense change of heart from the proud schismatics who do not acknowledge the role of the magisterium in the interpretation of doctrine, and who need to realize that not every single practice in existence in the Church in 1962 was part of the unchanging deposit of faith handed down from the apostles. They would be better off acknowledging in practice the legitimate authority of the Holy Father, submitting to his authority (as was said must be in my eponymous papal bull), and working positively within the Church to help restore reverence in the liturgy, condemn false compromising ecumenism (as opposed to true ecumenism that seeks good relations with others where we can agree), and promote a correct understanding of Vatican II as part of Tradition and not in opposition to it, rather than trying to pull down the Church and promote schismatic parallel structures.


43 posted on 05/02/2005 4:56:42 PM PDT by Unam Sanctam
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To: Rutles4Ever
If the seat of Rome is "vacant" or in need of "reproval", then the gates of hell have prevailed. Will one of the traditionalists please rationalize their position?

Did the gates of hell prevail April 3, 2005 through April 18, 2005?

44 posted on 05/02/2005 4:59:00 PM PDT by Grey Ghost II
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To: marshmallow

I was amused to see, in the opening party of their letter, these "loyal traditionalists" praise the new Holy Father for the text of the Blessing he chanted, "Urbi and Orbi," [to the City and to the World] after the announcement presenting him on the loggia of St. Peter's.

They said that such sentiments had not been heard in years.

I guess they would be shocked to find out that the ancient formula used - and the modern book containing it - have now been made official in the first official book of conclave rites to be published in centuries - precisely by a man whom most of the Traditionalists despise:

Archbishop Piero Marini, is chief among the Papal Masters of Ceremonies and the head of the "Officium de Liturgicis Ceebrationibus Summi Pontificis" (Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff) and was responsible for compiling both the Ordo Exsequiarum Romani Pontificis (Order of Burial Rites for the Roman Pontiff) and the Ordo Rituum Conclavis (Order of the Rites of Conclave), both of which were approved by Pope John Paul II in 1998 and which are easily available from the Vatican Bookstore (www.paxbook.com).

He is also a first rate scholar on the history and theology of Roman liturgy: he's the one who made sure that ancient form of Blessing would be the FIRST BLESSING and new Pope gives; he's also responsible for restoring the Pallium to its more ancient form (the new Pallium with the red crosses that Pope Benedict received).

The Traditionalists, no doubt, would be shocked to find that someone they consider a "Novus Ordo litnik" actually did all the work to bring those rites to fruition.


45 posted on 05/02/2005 5:09:24 PM PDT by TaxachusettsMan
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To: jo kus
"There is even less clamoring for the Novus Ordo (declining attendance), or priests that want to celebrate it(priest shortage)."

A false parallelism. To entirely blame the Novus Ordo for the lack of attendance or priestly shortages is a false presumption.

The stated purpose of the Novus Ordo was to reinvigorate the Mass, encourage "active participation" and appeal to Protestants. The Novus Ordo did not have the desired effect.

Because these developed parallel doesn't mean that one contributed to the other.

It also doesn't mean they happened independently of one another.

The problems that so many mention that followed Vatican 2 were already within the Church and society.

And Vatican II blew the lid off of them and allowed them free reign in the Church.

Do you blame the sexual revolution on Vatican 2, also?

Had the Church remained firm and loosened none of the disciplines at the time, I believe the sexual revolution would have been restrained, especially among Catholics.

And the Vietnam protests?

No. That situation was mainly Paul VI's fault. His meddling in affairs while being suckered by Metropolitan Nikodim allowed the VC to re-arm for the Tet Offensive. Paul VI cost the U.S. that war.

Don't you think society itself had something to do with overthrowing authority and doing away with the reverant?

And the Church allowed itself to be dictated to by the society.

Why do you think the Church felt the need to write "The Church in the Modern World?" Because the Church was losing relevance - BEFORE Vatican 2.

As Malcolm Muggeridge stated just before Vatican II the world was ready to convert to Catholicism and suddenly The Catholic Church converted to the World. Paul VI prior to the council when he was Pius XII's secretary stated that the Church was never in finer shape. The Church didn't feel the need to write "the Church in the Modern World" modernists in the Church felt the need to write it.

I would say the problems are more complex than your simple conclusion that the changing of the Mass to the vernacular and putting in inclusive language is behind all of the Church's problems.

The Novus Ordo is not the Traditional Latin Mass put into the vernacular. To compare the two and see which one expresses the doctrine of the Church better is like night and day.

I disagree with that liturgical move, but to say it is THE cause of the problem doesn't make sense.

I didn't say that. I responded to the assertion that no one is clamoring for the TLM. As you said, the problems existed in the Church prior to Vatican II. But Vatican II ended all resistance to those problems.

I would point more to the dissent within the American Church in implementing ACTUAL Vatican 2.

Had there been no Vatican II,there would not have been a "spirit of Vatican II" so the excuse for the dissent would not be there. Plus, this a worldwide problem, not an exclusively American one. And as a final point, Vatican II did not mandate the Novus Ordo. So an actual implementation of Vatican II could happen while scrapping the NO.

46 posted on 05/02/2005 5:10:40 PM PDT by Gerard.P (The lips of liberals drip with honey while their hands drip with blood--Bishop Williamson)
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To: Gerard.P; sinkspur

"Actually the Novus Ordo should be defined as "the optional Vernacular Rite of Paul VI" and the inaccurate term "Tridentine" should be recognized as the only "Latin Rite.""


An interesting observation where Novus Ordo suddenly becomes the Latin Rite, thus devaluing the Traditional Mass, and which Anglicans happily use as an alternative to the Book of Common Prayer. No doubt this universality in practice is not lost on the new pope which will ensure its survival and be worthy of more tinkering to reflect papal quirkiness and evolving social expression. To suggest that the Traditional Mass can coexist with Novus Ordo is like comparing heaven with hell.


47 posted on 05/02/2005 5:12:04 PM PDT by Wessex
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To: TaxachusettsMan

You might say, when asked if JPII would restore a few token traditions his response was, "Over my dead body"

He certainly wasn't anxious to do anything traditional during his calamitous pontificate.


48 posted on 05/02/2005 5:13:58 PM PDT by Gerard.P (The lips of liberals drip with honey while their hands drip with blood--Bishop Williamson)
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To: TaxachusettsMan

Thanks for your post. It appears that Ratzinger will retain Marini as Papal Master of Ceremonies, which is a good thing.


49 posted on 05/02/2005 5:17:57 PM PDT by sinkspur (If you want unconditional love with skin, and hair and a warm nose, get a shelter dog.)
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To: Wessex
To suggest that the Traditional Mass can coexist with Novus Ordo is like comparing heaven with hell.

Your stupid analogy aside, this is why I favor a Tridentine Rite. Simply granting a universal indult will be taken by some as a mandate for the TLM. Even more resentment will be created when bishops and priests continue to refuse to celebrate it.

The TLM deserves a canonical jurisdiction that is free from arbitrariness. That won't happen outside an apostolic administration that is separate from the diocesan bishops.

50 posted on 05/02/2005 5:27:27 PM PDT by sinkspur (If you want unconditional love with skin, and hair and a warm nose, get a shelter dog.)
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