This first talk is from 1976, and yet it reads as if it were written today, and as if it were written to those who rebel against Pope Francis and reject his decisions in Traditionis Custodes.
~ my commentary
Paul VI: “On the one hand, there are those who, under the pretext of greater fidelity to the Church and the Magisterium, systematically reject the teachings of the Council itself, its application and the resulting reforms, its gradual application by the Apostolic See and the Episcopal Conferences, under our authority, willed by Christ. Discredit is discredited on the authority of the Church in the name of a Tradition, to which respect is attested only materially and verbally; the faithful distance themselves from the bonds of obedience to the See of Peter as well as to their legitimate Bishops; the authority of today is rejected in the name of that of yesterday. And the fact is all the more serious, since the opposition we are talking about is not only encouraged by some priests, but headed by a Bishop, however always venerated by us, Monsignor Marcel Lefebvre.
~ These words apply to the situation today exactly, even to the extent that Lefebvre is treated like a Saint or a replacement for the Pope. Those who reject Pope Francis and Vatican II are rejecting the authority of the Church in itself in the name of a version of tradition which is merely their own set of opinions, not Tradition itself.
“It is so painful to notice it: but how can we not see, in this attitude — whatever the intentions of these people may be — that they place themselves outside of obedience to, and communion with the Successor of Peter and therefore the Church?
~ They say “Recognize and Resist” and claim that they are faithful to the Church and remain in communion with the successor of Peter merely by recognizing (what even atheists recognize) that Francis is Pope. Instead, what is required is submission to his authority itself as well as to his teachings and decisions of discipline. All who say “Recognize and Resist” are in formal schism. They are outside the obedience to and communion with the Pope and therefore the Church. An alleged communion with the Pope, absent obedience, is schism.
“Since this, unfortunately, is the logical consequence, that is, when it is argued that it is preferable to disobey on the pretext of keeping one’s faith intact, of working in one’s own way for the preservation of the Catholic Church, while denying it effective obedience. And it is said openly! Indeed, they do not hesitate to assert that the Second Vatican Council lacks binding force; that faith would also be in danger because of the post-conciliar reforms and orientations, which one has the duty to disobey in order to preserve certain traditions.
~ Again, this is exactly the error today. And they will cite any author, theologian, or other source to support their claims, while ignoring what the Popes, Councils, and Saints have taught. They are not keeping their faith intact, but instead enslave their faith (if they still have any) to their own reason and the opinions of a certain subculture that rejects obedience to the Church. This subculture acts like an antipope, teaching with pretended authority contrary to the teachings of Popes and Councils. They treat the subculture, which has become an idol to them, as divine. They utterly reject multiple Councils.
“What traditions? It is this group of men — but not the Roman Pontiff, not the Episcopal College, not the Ecumenical Council — who wish to become those who establish a binding decision on which of the innumerable traditions are to be held as norms of faith! As you see, our venerable Brothers, this attitude speaks as if it were judge over that Divine will which placed Peter and his successors at the Head of the Church, so as to confirm his brethren in the faith and so pasture the universal flock (Lk 22:32; Jn 21:15 ff.) and thus establish him as guarantor and custodian of the deposit of the Faith.”
~ And who are these men and women? They are anyone. Some are priests and some have theological training. But others have no training at all. As long as you are attacking the Popes and Councils, your words are welcome and you can immediately obtain a large audience and much notoriety. They abandon the Church and therefore Christ, and not without being rewarded by the unfaithful. But Paul VI is correct that this attitude of “our distorted version of tradition is above the Magisterium” speaks as if it were above the Divine will, and rejects the role of Peter and his successors in and of itself as the guardian of the Faith.
“And this is all the more serious, in particular, when division is introduced, precisely where congvegavit nos in unum Christi amor [the love of Christ gathers us as one], in the Liturgy and in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, refusing respect for the norms defined in the liturgical field. It is in the name of Tradition that we ask all our children, all Catholic communities, to celebrate the renewed Liturgy in dignity and fervor. The adoption of the new “Ordo Missae” is certainly not left to the discretion of the priests or the faithful: and the Instruction of June 14, 1971 provided for the celebration of Mass in the old form, with the authorization of the ordinary, only for elderly or infirm priests, who offer the Divine Sacrifice sine populo [without the people]. The new Ordo was promulgated to replace the old one, after mature deliberation, following the requests of the Second Vatican Council. Likewise, our holy Predecessor Pius V had made the reformed Missal compulsory under his authority, following the Council of Trent.
~ Pope Saint Paul VI decided, exactly the same decision as Pope Francis, to have one form of the Mass for the Roman Rite. This is the same type of decision as Pope Saint Pius V made. And it comes from the same authority, given to each Roman Pontiff by Christ. The faithful cannot pick and choose which decisions they will accept and which they will reject.
“We demand the same availability, with the same supreme authority that comes from Christ Jesus, to all the other liturgical, disciplinary and pastoral reforms that have matured in recent years in application of the conciliar decrees. Any initiative that aims to hinder them cannot assume the prerogative of rendering a service to the Church: in fact it causes serious damage to it.
~ The Roman Pontiff rightly demands the same authority given to past Popes, including Pius V. The current open rebellion against Traditionis Custodes is causing serious damage to the Church.
“Several times, directly, through our collaborators and other friends, we have drawn the attention of Monsignor Lefebvre to the gravity of his attitudes, the irregularity of his main present initiatives, the inconsistency and often falsehood of the doctrinal positions on which he bases them both, and the damage that comes from them to the whole Church.”
~ The same can be said for those who oppose Pope Francis, Traditionis Custodes, and Vatican II. Their doctrinal positions are false and do damage to the whole Church.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.