Here is a new article at Rorate Caeli: Enough is Enough: “We Reject the New Mass because it is not Traditional”. This argument has been made in different forms by others. At OnePeterFive, founder Steve Skojec has called the new Mass “diabolical”:
“The attack on the liturgy that we have witnessed over the past half-century can be understood as nothing less than a diabolical attempt to strike at the heart of our most important and intimate connection with Our Creator — and also to confuse and disorient us through this loss of perspective. We have been given over to idolatry – the idolatry of self, such that we see the world only through the lens of our own desires. Christ’s sacrifice has been replaced with food and fellowship, His altar of oblation turned into a table, His priesthood adulterated by those persons who intrude upon the domain of the priest but do not possess the ability to act in persona Christi….”
Pope Francis decided to restrict the Latin Mass in Traditionis Custodes. He did not abolish it, but only restricted it. The document does propose that the Pope has the authority to abolish the Latin Mass, and that is true. But so far, the Pope has not done so. However, know this: The Roman Pontiff exercises the authority of Christ over the whole Faith, and so he can abolish the Latin Mass and can institute a new form of the Mass. Such a decision and action by the Roman Pontiff is of Christ, and cannot be rejected without grave sin.
Preferring the Latin Mass, while accepting the Novus Ordo Mass is licit and faithful. But we see from the many expressions of those who are inordinately attached to the Latin Mass that they reject any other form of the Mass, whether instituted by Popes or Ecumenical Councils. They have exalted themselves above the Church to judge all things, and to condemn whatever is contrary to their own minds. That is not faith. To reject the Novus Ordo Mass is schismatic, as it rejects the authority of the Church as exercised by Vatican II and the subsequent Popes. If the Novus Ordo Mass were invalid or evil or gravely contrary to faith and morals, then the gates of Hell would have prevailed over the Church. And that is the implied claim of all those who reject the Novus Ordo Mass or Vatican II or the recent Popes. But since Christ promised that the gates of Hell would never prevail over the Church founded on Peter and his successors, such claims are schismatic, rejecting the authority of Christ, and are heretical, rejecting the indefectibility of the Church promised and taught by the divine mouth of the one Savior, Jesus Christ.
Why not have the Latin Mass as the only form of the Mass in the Roman Rite? The path of salvation is intended by God to include holy Communion and the holy Mass. It is possible to be saved without receiving Communion. But the ordinary path of salvation is to be Catholic Christian and to receive the Sacraments according to one’s state of life. Therefore, the Mass cannot be narrowed so much so that knowing one language, Latin, is required to participate in that salvific Sacrament. The Mass cannot be narrowed so that one must be a conservative or even a far-right conservative in order to be saved. And very many Catholics would NOT attend Mass if it were only in Latin. Souls would be lost to Hell. It doesn’t matter which form of the Mass is objectively better. What matters is which form of the Mass is better at saving souls. For the Church is the Ark of Salvation. It is not an exclusive club where one must hold far right opinions and follow a far right priest in order to enter and be saved. These Latin Mass communities are very conservatives; their priests who say the Latin Mass are very conservatives. So much so that they reject Popes and Councils for not being conservative enough. They are conservative to the extent of schism and heresy. And so the Pope not only acted with prudence, but also with grave necessity in restricting this form of the Mass which gave rise to communities where schism and heresy flourishes.
The restriction of the Latin Mass occurs because so many Latin Mass community leaders reject Popes and Councils, and also because they reject the Novus Ordo Mass and the very authority of the Church to decide the form of the Mass. If they were to get their way, so that the Latin Mass were the only Roman Rite, then many souls would be lost because they find it difficult to attend Mass in a language they do not know, and because they were not willing to accept a subculture, with its many opinions and errors that are not part of the Gospel of Christ. Such a path for the faithful cannot be tolerated. Once this schism and heresy is defeated, I think that the Church will remove the restrictions on the Latin Mass, since there is nothing wrong with that form of the Mass itself.
It used to be the case that all priests in the Roman Rite said the Latin Mass: liberal, moderate, or conservative priests said the same Mass. But now the Latin Mass has become a breeding ground for priests and laity who reject the very authority of the Popes and Councils, and who substitute the majority opinion of conservatives or traditionalist in place of the authority of the Church. They reject the Novus Ordo Mass and they reject the teachings and decisions of discipline of the Shepherds appointed by Christ. Their attachment to the Latin Mass is idolatry, as proven by their rejection of Christ, who speaks and acts through Popes and Councils.
Rejection of holy Water
Peter Kwasniewski and Fr. John Zuhlsdorf reject the current ritual for blessing holy water, claiming that it is ineffective and therefore no different than ordinary water. Kwasniewski calls the containers of holy water in churches “birdbaths”. This claim concerns a sacramental, not a Sacrament. But it is more serious than it may seem at first glance. The claim implies that the Church has gone astray in Her rituals, so much so that She mistakes plain water for holy water and so much so that She now lacks the ability and authority to bless water, producing holy water. It is as if the Church were a blind guide, unable to tell that Her ritual lost its effectiveness, and as if the Church were powerless, unable to so much as bless water. Such a set of claims is heretical, as it contradicts the indefectibility of the Church, and schismatic, as it implies a rejection of the authority of the Church to made decisions on Her rituals.
The accusers of holy water, Kwasniewski and Zuhlsdorf, reject utterly the charisms given to the Roman Pontiffs and the body of Bishops to guide the faithful on the path of salvation. If it were true that the Church could go so far astray that She would not be able to distinguish between an effective ritual and an ineffective one, or if it were true that the Church lacks the authority and assistance of the Holy Spirit to decide that a new ritual is correct, and to make it effective, then the Church would have lost Her indefectibility and Her authority. And that is the implied claim of all these accusations against Popes and Councils, against Pope Francis and Vatican II and the rest. They do not accept the authority and ability of the Church to made decisions on doctrine and discipline, and to guide the Church aright. They wish to replace the Shepherds of the Church with themselves, these accusers of Roman Pontiffs, accusers of the body of Bishops, accusers of Ecumenical Councils. They are nothing but false accusers of Christ himself.
For it is the authority of Christ which decided to change the ritual for holy water as well as the form of the Mass. And this authority was exercised with the charisms of grace from the Holy Spirit. The Church cannot err gravely in Her decisions of doctrine and discipline. And persons who reject these decisions of the Church are rejecting the authority of Christ and the guidance given to the Church by the Holy Spirit. We have faith in God, and so we trust the Church. They have faith only in their own judgments and their favored subculture (a culture which gives them power and money). They falsely accuse Christ who accuse the Church of defecting, of erring gravely in doctrine or discipline, or of failing in faith.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.
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I cant post comments on “cum ex apostolus officio”. Is that article closed for comments?
Your comment was deleted by me. Do not claim that your understanding of messages from private revelation are absolute and certain. Do not post your views on Covid restrictions.
I think it was a very very very bad idea for Pope Francis to restrict the use of the Old Mass. Indeed I think it was irrational and gravely imprudent. But of course he has the right to do it from Christ according to the teachings of the One True Catholic Church. If ye dinny acknowledge that last bit you have NO MORAL AUTHORITY to offer any prudent criticism of how Pope Francis governs the Church whatsoever. I do NOT believe every pastoral policy the Pope puts forth is good (in the prudent sense mind you) but if ye are going to trash the New Mass and deny the Pope has the authority he has from Christ himself well then. You all but vindicate his actions here. I believe there are rational & faithful Traditionalists who have been abused by the Church needlessly. I believe restricting the Old Mass will only drive them into schismatic groups like the SSPX or SSPV and that lot. But the Radtrad lunatic faction does real traditionalists no favors. Just saying…
PS Speaking for myself I remember Pope St John Paul II extremist critics. They put me off ANY criticism of the Pope. But IMHO I think Pope Francis has screwed up a lot. So I do think sober and reasonable criticism is sometimes merited. We have a right under canon law to make our feelings and needs as Catholic known to the Church. But it must be done with prudence, restraint and we must not harm people over all trust in Christ to preserve his Church and the Papacy.
Francis is not my favor Pope these days and I gave him a chance. But he is NOT the worst Pope. Reasonable criticism of his policies are good but we should also acknowledge when he does do good(and he has. Of the top of my head he took the shackles off the Eastern Rite Churches. Love that bit. I do. Cheers).