Here are some responses to Traditionis Custodes (TC) with my commentary.
Taylor Marshall has a good video asking traditionalist Catholics to refrain from bad behavior in response to the decision of the Pope, but instead to pray, be charitable, remain calm, etc.
The problem with Dr. Marshall’s response is that he openly states he will resist the Roman Pontiff, like Paul did to Peter, he claims. But Paul merely corrected Peter, once, for a fault in his behavior. Paul did not reject the authority of Peter. Paul did not oppose Peter at every turn. Paul did not lead a group of Christians in opposing Peter. Paul did not accuse Peter of heresy. And Paul did not, like Taylor Marshall, write a book accusing Peter of being a Pope for Satan (in the book “Infiltration”). So Dr. Marshall is not like the Apostle Saint Paul.
Steve Skojec at OnePeterFive
Skojec runs a website that has published many attacks on the Roman Pontiff and the Magisterium. There are many articles there from prolific schismatic and heretic Carlo Vigano, as well as from Dr. Kwasniewski, who has accused many Popes and multiple Councils of grave error and failures in faith, contrary to dogma. His website and his own writings attack the Catholic Faith. Recently, I quoted Skojec’s vicious assault on the Novus Ordo Mass, accusing it of destroying the Faith. If that were true, that the successive Popes, in deciding to implement the Novus Ordo Mass very broadly, had gravely harmed the faith (especially in the extreme way that Skojec claims), then the Church would no longer be indefectible.
Indeed, many of the articles at 1P5 are predicated on the same heresies: that the indefectible Church has defected; that the never-failing faith of the Roman Pontiff has failed; that the unblemished Apostolic See has become a leper; that the First See is to be judged and condemned; and that the Popes and Councils of the Church cannot be trusted.
How does Skojec respond to TC?
Skojec “What was done today by this pope was an act of abuse — not just by him, but by all the wheedling bishops around the world who have been clamoring for this for the past 14 years. Francis isn’t a liturgy guy, but he is very much concerned about things that affect the balance of his power and the spread of his ideology. Nobody has opposed him more fiercely than traditionalists”
Skojec is a schismatic and a heretic, sad to say. He has no willingness at all to submit his mind and heart to the teachings and decisions of the Supreme Pontiff. Unless the Pope makes every decision according to his own understanding, and teaches each teaching according to Skojec’s own mind, he will not accept it. That is not faith. Reach his “Crippled Religion” post. It is a man describing his slow agonizing loss of faith. Now at this point, he might have some faith left, or perhaps none. But his faith does not show. He does not treat the Vicar of Christ with Christian charity. The Pope restricts the form of the Mass that Skojec likes, so he calls it an “act of abuse”. Was it also so for Pope Saint Paul VI? And any Bishops who agree with the Popes are denigrated and maligned by Skojec. The faith of the Saints, it is not. Where is the obedience that formerly was a frequent topic among conservative Catholics? Gone. They don’t talk about that virtue anymore.
No one has opposed Pope Francis ‘more fiercely than traditionalists’. Right. And now you are reaping what you sowed. You opposed the Second Vatican Council fiercely. You opposed the papal Magisterium fiercely. You gloried in every malicious and hateful remark you could write or publish, Steve. And now you are complaining that the Pope restricted that form of the Mass which heretics and schismatics use as a rallying cry. He did the right thing, and you have not done so since you started your blog.
LifeSiteNews.com reached out to Dr. Peter Kwasniewski. Here is his response to TC in brief:
Pope Francis “steps in and essentially says he wants to abolish the whole thing – in just a matter of years, it sounds like. He wants to phase it out completely.”
Kwasniewski: “It’s hard to describe the magnitude of this, but it’s kind of like telling millions of Catholics just to jump off a bridge or hang themselves. The tone of the documents is very much treating tradition-loving Catholics as if they were lepers who need to be quarantined or isolated.”
My reply: that is a malicious extreme exaggeration to a document of the holy Father and Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis. It is right and just to ask the faithful to be joined together in one form of the Mass, in the Roman Rite, for the sake of unity. And what prompted this action was a grave concern, which has been harming the Faith and the faithful: the TLM has become an emblem and standard around which has gathered opponents of Vatican II, of Pope Francis and of other Popes and Councils — like Kwasniewski.
Dr. Kwasniewski has accused many Popes of failing in faith, contrary to the dogma of Vatican I — also found in perennial Church teaching — on the charism of truth and of never-failing faith. Kwasniewski has accused Vatican I of needing an exorcism. That is an absolutely wicked thing to say about an Ecumenical Council, since the Church, the Roman Pontiff, and the body of Bishops gathered with the Roman Pontiff are “perpetually assisted by the Holy Spirit” [Pope Saint Paul VI, Solemni Hac Liturgia]. His rejection of so many Popes and of both Vatican I and II is utterly schismatic and heretical.
Now here’s some nice hypocrisy from Kwasniewski:
First, he says this: “no competent theologian has ever simply equated what a Pope or a Council has said or done with the Holy Spirit. Yes, these things are done in the name of the Holy Spirit, but not all have been successful.”
Then LSN asks: “Then who is leading the traditional side?”
And Kwasniewski replies: “There I would say the Holy Spirit!”
So when it is an Ecumenical Council or Pope teaching or deciding contrary to his own views, he distances the Pope and the Council from the Holy Spirit. But when it comes to his own side of the controversy, he claims the Holy Spirit is guiding them.
What I would say is that love, faith, and hope are of the Holy Spirit, and so is obedience to the Church, the Magisterium, the Ecumenical Councils and the Popes. We do not pick and choose which things we like or dislike, and then associate the Spirit only with those we like.
Sammons accuses Pope Francis of giving his children a serpent instead of a fish. That is a gravely immoral accusation to make against the Vicar of Christ. The Church is indefectible. She never gives Her children a serpent instead of a fish, and certainly not through the decisions of the Roman Pontiff which are protected from grave error. And it is not as if this decision were particularly new. Pope Saint Paul VI restricted the Latin Mass so that it was entirely unavailable, except to schismatics. The permissions given by Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI for the Latin Mass were in the hopes that those who enjoyed this form of the Mass would be unified despite a different liturgy. But the adherents of the TLM — many but not all of them — treated the Novus Ordo as if it were a grave sin. They used the Latin Mass as a way to form communities that rejected Vatican II and especially Pope Francis. That was not what John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI envisioned. So the TLM communities are the ones who have failed in faith, not the Pope.
Do the supporters of the TLM wish to go back to the time of Pope Saints Pius V or Pius X? Neither of them would have permitted the kind of open rebellion against the authority of the Church and open malice against the person and office of the Roman Pontiff that comes from the conservative and traditionalist subcultures. Those who attack the Magisterium and the Popes and the recent Council are just like the modernists. I recently reviewed some documents against Modernism, and they read like a criticism of the current conservative subculture. The rejection of Church authority, the appropriation to oneself of every decision that should be made by the Church, and so on. The critics of Vatican II and of Pope Francis are modernists in conservative clothing. I still remember when conservatives used to preach faithfulness to the Magisterium and that the Roman Pontiff can barely err, to a limited extent, in non-infallible teachings. Now they accuse him of every offense under the sun.
You are the ones with the serpent in your hands, and it shows in the way that you treat the authority of the Church with open malice.
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (Fr. Z.)
Fr. Z. says: “Hence, I am forced to remark that the vulgarity of this document is matched only by its cruelty.” He also claims that people “ought to be horrified by the brutality of his document.”
No, you are not forced to treat the Roman Pontiff as if you were above him in authority, as if you had the right to judge the First See, Fr. Z. And this type of malice directed at any decision of the Roman Pontiff is a sin against Christian charity.
The Supreme Pontiff has the authority from Christ to decide matters of doctrine and discipline. He has the keys of Saint Peter, and he has authority over one billion Catholics and more. But Fr. Z. has a large following online, so he puffs himself up and judges the Pope.
I see nothing cruel or vulgar in the document. It is a clear attempt to return to the decisions of the Second Vatican Council and Pope Saint Paul VI to reform the Mass, making it more accessible to the people of God and to those in the world who might soon enter the Church. Requiring anyone who wants to be saved to learn Latin and put on a traditionalist straight jacket, where every possible question is decided by the subculture and imposed on you, is an unnecessary obstacle to salvation.
The Church will not return to a Latin-only Mass for everyone. There are only two options, Novus Ordo for most and TLM for some, or Novus Ordo for all. And when the Church gave the traditionalists what they wanted, and broadly permitted the TLM under Pope Benedict XVI and initially under Pope Francis, what happened? They used it as a way to build a rebellious community which rejects Vatican II, treats the Novus Ordo Mass like a diabolical assault on the Church, and rejects the papal Magisterium and the Magisterium in general. The permission to celebrate the TLM led to a community of heretical and schismatic former-Catholics, who set themselves up as judges over Popes and Councils, refusing to be taught or led by anyone outside their own community.
So Pope Francis took away the TLM. How is this surprising?
Fr. Z.: “The TLM brings forth this awareness in a way that the Novus Ordo does not. That’s why its enemies want to destroy it and to cut out your hearts like an Aztec on a ziggurat. Do not let them dishearten – de-heart – you.”
The mistreatment of the Ordinary Form of the Mass chosen by every Pope since Pope Saint Paul VI is one reason why the TLM must be restricted. And what does Fr. Z. tell priests to do? “Fathers…change nothing”.
He tells them to ignore the decision of the Roman Pontiff.
Fr. Z. “You cannot be legislated out of Heaven. Legislators can make it harder for you or easier, but, ultimately, they are not the boss of you. At your judgment, you will not find popes, priests or bishops between you and your Savior.”
Right. At the particular judgment, you will not have your blog or your followers or the community of hatred toward Papal and Conciliar authority that you have built for so many years, Fr. Z. You will be alone before God and left to explain why you rejected the authority that Christ gave to Peter? Why you refused to believe Christ’s words, that the gates of Hell would not prevail over the Church? Why you so many times claimed that Popes have failed in faith, when Christ promised they could never fail in faith? Why you separated yourself from the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops, to set up your own little online Church, run by “Fr. Z.”?? And why, when the Holy Spirit led the Church in one direction, so clearly throughout an Ecumenical Council and many Pontificates afterward, did you fight against those Church leaders and lead others to do the same?
Yes, there will not be Vicars of Christ at the particular judgment, just Christ. And you will explain yourself to Him and then be judged.
Mr. Gordon, not so long ago, decided to accept the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. This led to his split with Taylor Marshall, at least in part. So I have to commend Gordon for that decision. However, he still rejects the decisions on discipline of Vatican II and Pope Saint Paul VI afterward, regarding the Novus Ordo Mass.
Some comments from Gordon’s YouTube channel:
“Francis’ Pontificate… it is a chastisement…. God does this from time to time.”
“this hateful, hateful old Pontiff, Francis”
“Don’t give in to Francis. Don’t give him what he wants.”
“He has free will. He’s a wicked Pontiff, that’s clear.”
“He wakes up each day motivated by hatred.”
All these judges over the mind, heart, and soul of the Roman Pontiff, of the Vicar of Christ. They will be judged by God. Timothy Gordon cannot see the soul of the Pope. So he cannot support his claim that the Pope is wicked. It is a false accusation, necessarily, because Gordon has no way of knowing if the claim is true.
I would argue that God does not permit Popes to commit certain types of sins, such as intending, planning, or attempting to corrupt or harm the Church, due to the indefectibility of the Church and the charism of truth and of never-failing faith of the Pope. But even if Gordon disagrees on that point, he cannot substantiate his claim that the Pope is interiorly wicked or interiorly anything. So it’s a type of false accusation.
Perhaps I’ll post some more commentary on reactions later.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.