What I mean to say is there has been no real progress in the NO world, not in the "indult" societies.
Btw, here is Stephen Heiner's most recent post concerning the interview, dealing a bit with lumengentleman's article (http://truerestoration.blogspot.com/2006/05/whats-next-interviewer-reflects-on.html#links
What’s next? An interviewer reflects on the answers he expected, and did not expect, in the ever-lengthening shadows of Sts. Athanasius and Pius V
I have kept my silence on this matter for longer than a week, for I knew the entirety of Bishop Tissier de Mallerais’ interview for several days before it went to press. In the interest of full disclosure, I should say a few things at the outset:
1.) My college degree is from a college run by the Society of St. Pius X. I lived in St. Marys, Kansas, the home of the largest Traditionalist parish in the world, for 2 years. I am moving there again, permanently, in less than 6 weeks, and my parents are coming, too. In a series of articles on Catholic communities (see sidebar) I explained why I wanted to move to St. Marys.
2.) I have not regularly attended an SSPX chapel since 2002, when I left St. Marys, simply because Our Lady Help of Christians, run by Fr. Patrick Perez, is conveniently 10 minutes from my house, whereas Arcadia is over an hour away. I find myself in uncommon luxury, having two full-service traditional parishes within one hour’s drive of my house, and choosing to be at an independent chapel has never been a matter of “disagreeing” with the Society. For example, when I have gone on retreat it has been with SSPX priests, and just last October I was in Ridgefield for yet another life-changing experience thanks to Fr. Zendejas and the other kind priests there. I may not necessarily agree with everything the Society puts forth as a position, but they have always been, and continue to be, the largest voice for Tradition.
3.) I wanted to speak to Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, as the text of the interview clearly shows, because I had some questions that wanted answers, and when the conversation went where it did, I followed His Lordship down the rabbit hole. He is a man of holiness, grace, and candor, if you have ever had the privilege of meeting him, and hence his words carry great weight for me. Why? Because my local Ordinary hates the Traditional Mass and Traditionalists
and because as a sheep I crave a shepherd, and whatever people may say about Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, the research I have conducted with my limited intellectual gifts has convinced me that the so-called “excommunications” of 1988 are utterly null and void
, and were the unfortunate result of an infection, a virus, at the highest levels of the Church that caused a Pope to allow Charles Curran, Richard McBrien, and Hans Kung to roam the countryside like lions, seeking whom they may devour, yet also caused that same Pope to come down like the days of yore on men who solely wished to “give what they had received,” in the tradition of the Gospel, both in the Faith and in Charity. Taking note of this pestilential virus, I paid no attention to the remarks of a sick father, for I thought them errant. If that makes me an “arrogant layman,” so be it.
4.) My intention in providing a “basket” of articles in response to the Bishop’s interview was to help direct debate, not to cause controversy. Catholicism is not about selective reading, as St. Alphonsus and St. Thomas so ably demonstrate.
5.) It is not lost on me that this interview went to press as we heard the Gospel for Good Shepherd Sunday: Ego sum pastor bonus. Bonus pastor animam suam dat pro ovibus suis. Mercenarius autem, et qui non est pastor, cuius non sunt oves propriae, videt lupum venientem, et dimittit oves et fugit: et lupus rapit, et dispergit oves: mercenarius autem fugit, quia mercenarius est, et non pertinet ad eum de ovibus. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep and flieth: and the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep: and the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling, and he hath no care for the sheep.
6.) Nor is it lost on me that this week in the 1955 calendar, the feasts are as follows: SS Philip and James (Monday), St. Athanasius (Tuesday), St. Joseph (Wednesday), St. Monica (Thursday), and St. Pius V (Friday).
7.) Nor, finally, is it lost on me, that this Friday is the 8th anniversary of the signing of the protocol with Rome by the Archbishop. (I will address the Society’s change of position vis-à-vis that document on this Friday)
Not only as humans, but as Christians, our lives and actions are always (hopefully) seen through the lens of eternity. We know that there is “nothing new under the sun” and that all our happiness and sorrow has had some previous occasion in this vale of tears. When I stopped to ask “Has there been such a dark time in Church history?
” of His Lordship, I did so in the vein of the answers to the questions I was receiving. It is assuredly a very dark time.
Here was (and is) a man who I have observed to be personally pious and who is undisputedly one of the 5 most intellectual men within His Grace’s stolid band, who as a seminary professor and bishop, not only possesses the grace of state and authority from Our Lord to teach and preach, but whose intellectual gifts are certainly up to the challenge. When he speaks, I give him the benefit of the doubt while I read and understand for myself.
As this story moved towards press time, and the various points of view started to come forth from various colleagues who I already collaborate with on other projects
, and that in quite a friendly and easy manner, regarding this interview I noticed somewhat of a “dividing line” that seemed to draw up into the clear “right” or “wrong” paradigms that we Traditionalists have become so used to – and hence, something that came out in a conversation with a good friend of mine from Ohio rang like a clarion. He said“We have only ever known the crisis. We have never seen the Church in her splendor.”
It is true. And that is what I have been musing for the last ten days. How do I effectively recognize that the Pope is the Pope? What does "communion" mean? What of all of Ratzinger’s writings? Why can’t Our Lady get down here and fix everything already?
Well, perhaps the simplest question is the last one, for it can be more easily fitted into the lens of Providence, but it seems as though all of the other questions have to be fitted into one’s own intellectual gifts and prayer life, vis-à-vis their roles as Dr. Joseph Catholic, Mr. Joseph Catholic, Esq. Joseph Catholic, Joe Catholic, or J-Dog C-man. I hope that in answering the questions above I can answer some of the manifold emails I have received from around the world as this story has continued to develop.How do I effectively recognize that the Pope is the Pope?
Here I must speak for myself, for I am not a member of the Society of St. Pius X. [Actually, only the priests, brothers, nuns, and to an extent the Third Order Members can claim such a title. The rest of us simply attend chapels serviced by the Society of St. Pius X, which is simply a congregation
(that has never been legally suppressed
) of the Roman Catholic Church
.] I was at a loss to answer that question, especially given the remarks that the Bishop gave. Sure, I have a picture of him on my desk, yes, his coat of arms appears on all the religious websites I run, yes, I mention his name at the Canon as I follow along in that venerable prayer. But beyond that, what?
Not only do I take the time to resist
their (the conciliar popes’) wishes (as expressed in “following” Vatican II) across 5 papacies, but I directly disagree
with papal pronouncements of all sorts of stripes – be they Angelus addresses, allocutions, books, or encyclicals. I think nothing of lambasting the Pope as ridiculous for thinking he can add to Our Lady’s Rosary
(for truly, how dare he modify a prayer that is not his right to modify?), discussing a new understanding of the Papacy with the Orthodox
(in the murky encyclical Ut Unum Sint
), or failing to lead
in such simple matters as communion in the hand (a sacrilege), or altargirls (a stupid, pointless intrusion of affirmative action into the most sacred Action on this planet).
Since I was born in 1979, I had only ever known John Paul II, so when Benedict was elected, not only was my heart in my throat as the bells began to toll in Piazza San Pietro after the smoke turned white, but tears came to my eyes as I thought that perhaps the crisis might finally begin to end. But alas, His Lordship’s words ring truer than those bells: “He has been pope for a year, and has done nothing!
He is no longer only a powerful curial Cardinal – he (to quote LBJ) “rules the roost” but shows himself paralyzed
by the flawed ecclesiology of collegiality, which one of my colleagues discusses as a heresy
. I’ve grown up with John Paul II, so the fact that Benedict doesn’t have a harem, like dancing girls, or kiss Qu’rans makes me grateful only shows how far removed I am from men like St. Pius V
, whose feast we celebrate this week.
Such a man, I might add, who didn’t tell the Muslims how great they were and prayed with them for world peace, but rather prayed the Rosary for their defeat
. [As an aside, I am almost positive that His Holiness must have personally protested to Our Lord when Paul VI (of infelicitous memory) returned the banner captured at Lepanto to those infidels].
I may be far removed from such great men (like other Piuses – Bl. Pius IX, who said “give me an army praying the Rosary, and I will conquer the world
” and St. Pius X who said: “There is but one party of order capable of restoring peace in the midst of all this turmoil, and that is the party of God
”) and tears come to my eyes when I imagine the solace of the Catholic layman in times of such great intestinal fortitude of his Supreme Pontiff.
How little did that layman worry about the doctrinal content of decrees from the Holy See, for he was free to read them casually. Such a luxury is no longer mine, nor that of my colleagues, but rather than lament, we should rejoice,
for we deserve as our lot naught but death, and should be grateful to prove our worth in the time God has appointed us, which to take from Leo XIII’s prescribed prayer to St. Joseph (at the close of the Rosary) seems to be “her (the Church’s) hour of most need.” Though my heart is heavy with sorrow, I can only give gratefulness to be alive to be able to work out my salvation in fear and trembling.
Such men as those I have listed above, that I have never seen, His Lordship counts as familiars. For one, he knew the Archbishop, undoubtedly a saint,
who, though he knew in his heart that he was right, had to bear the heavy burden of even the appearance that he was outside the Church. What a burden
! And now it is the burden of his spiritual sons, these four men gifted to us in 1988. We cannot reckon what character of wood is that of their crosses, but one must certainly look at the situation in the Church when one observes His Lordship’s remarks. They are “extreme
,” it is said, but what is the state of the Church? Extreme
His Lordship also knew Fr. Barielle, a wonderful priest who has given the ability to preach the Spiritual Exercises to many spiritual sons, and of whose benefit I have received anytime I have attended an SSPX Ignatian retreat (I have now done 3).
Sometimes I wonder if I would be so convicted if I did not indeed grow up in the very Novus Ordo which is poisoning our Church. I myself was raised in the Novus Ordo for 17 years and found Tradition only in 1996. And it leads me to the crux of this first question. Follow my analogy. If I were a subject of a king and he invited me to dinner, how might he react if I told him thanks, but no thanks, I was worried the food was poisoned. The king might laugh, and assuming it was a joke, assure me that everything was fine. If I persevered in my refusal, might he not consider this a grave insult?
Yet, if this Pope were to call me and invite me to his personal chapel tomorrow, with a private plane at the ready, for the Novus Ordo, I would decline. And as my answer I would say “Because, your Holiness, this Mass is the very reason that the Church is in the crisis she is in
.” And what kind of subject can I consider myself if I would be unwilling to obey such a fundamental request of a monarch (the pope)?
Either I am a wicked and disobedient subject, or something is horribly rotten in the state of Rome.
Years ago Archbishop Lefebvre heard an intended epithet that I have long considered a battle cry “They make a banner of this Mass!
” We do indeed. I have accepted this de facto
reality for years, but His Lordship’s remarks threw things into a starker light. The question is thus open…how do I show myself effectively the subject of this pontiff beyond what I have mentioned and mentioning him in my prayers? The answer is, I don’t. So, that begs, am I in “communion”?
What neo-Catholics have been quick to jump on is His Lordship’s dismissal of “communion” to paint him as professing some sort of “heresy.” They conveniently ignore the quote a few lines down that being a Catholic is defined as “being subject to the Roman Pontiff.” He is referring to the stupid (as he calls it, and as it is) idea of “communion” that can be applied to a Church that looks to Taize and Tubingen for leadership instead of to the First See and the teachings of its predecessors. Those so quick to say “Prima sedes a nemine judicatur
” forget that it can indeed be judged – by itself – and when a Pope stands in opposition to his predecessors, he stops saying “Our” and starts saying “I” and indeed, perhaps in recognizing his ridiculous novelties, John Paul II stopped using the 1st person plural when speaking as Pope.
We have, for many years, since the 1986 declaration of the Archbishop at Econe regarding Assisi, spoken of an Eternal Rome.
I can only imagine how heartbroken and yet how convicted the Archbishop must have felt as he read his declaration. I no longer live in those times of a changing ecclesial landscape. For now, those changes have become institutionalized, and even as this Pope dons the ermine he prays in the synagogues. And for that alone, I am sure every worthy predecessor of his hangs his head in shame. So, since Modern Rome
has de facto
abdicated to hang out with people like the ArchLayman of Canterbury, who was scandalously called to "assist" in the opening of the Holy Door (Zita, just inside the doors, must have shuddered) in the Jubilee Year, I must indeed look to Eternal Rome.
Without examining the legal ramifications of Quo Primum
or Missale Romanum
, I would simply agree with Father Perez and say we are suffering under the curse of Quo Primum
. Such imprecations as those that close that bull are unknown to modern man, safe in his air castles, but their inability to be comprehended do not change their utter effectiveness, and I feel we are suffering the wrath of Almighty God, and that Peter and Paul are doing “clean up” duty with bats and clubs.
I cannot, as a Catholic, claim to be in communion with a man who is a heretic. To say that I am in communion with the parts of him that are good and not in communion with the parts of him that are bad is incoherent at best. It would seem that I have wrapped these popes in their office and have let that be their legitimacy. But in the wake of charges of heresy (albeit, held 40 years ago) against this Pope by a man I respect deeply in this confused Church, I must ask myself, should I examine the matter?
And hence, what of Ratzinger’s works?
Should I be obliged to read them? After I spoke to Jacob halfway through his first article on Introduction to Christianity
, I first told myself “no.” I had already slogged through Fr. Dormann’s momentous work on JPII’s thinking, and JPII was nowhere near as developed in his theological thinking when he ascended to the Papacy as this man is.
Furthermore, there is the difficulty that of this man being the successor of Cardinal Ottaviani. He holds the office that was formerly known as Grand Inquisitor – but even that has not escaped the winds of change that John and Paul welcomed into the Church. He ran the so-called “Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith” because no one wanted to hear about the “Holy Office of the Universal Inquisition.” This man, who laughed with Vittorio Messori when asked if he had changed since his day of Concilium, precisely remarked “they changed, not I.”
Certainly it cannot be thought he would call himself to account for his own heresies, if there were any.
Hence, the charges of heresy have never been leveled against him, because he was the one charged with levying such charges in the past.
And further, because the current climate of the church tolerates silly ambiguity, which is what these modern Popes are renown for.
He has written much, and my investigation of this work cannot simply be His Lordship’s remarks and Jacob Michael’s article (as much as I respect him as a colleague). Indeed, I am called to investigate this work myself, because I have the ability and will make the time, for such serious charges cannot go unanswered for me. I must know for myself what His Lordship says with such certainty and conviction.
Is this to be the role of every Catholic? No, it cannot, simply for the high-falutin’ language of Modernism that the Holy Father is so apt to use. Making complex the simple, talking about nothing endlessly, these are their hallmarks
– and they wear such nonsense as badges of pride, and all the blogs that have banner ads of “the Pope’s Publisher” publicizing Ignatius Press probably fail to realize that they are just leading people down to total confusion, given that a simple 3-day encounter with this aforementioned work led my colleague to muse that he would have to read comic books all weekend just to recover.
As for those who would “leave the Society,” whatever that means, over this interview, fine. Let them go. Such ones are only looking for reasons to “leave” rather than to examine what is leading them to seek the Society out. His Grace’s words from Open Letter to Confused Catholics
are no less relevant today, and everytime I re-read that short but salient work I am re-convicted.
And hence we arrive at my last question – why can’t Our Lady come down here and fix everything already?
Well, that blame leads all the way back to Pius XII, who was the first Pope to fail her (and it is painful for me to say that) in her request, for we see manifold evidence that her request was not heeded, for there has been no period of peace, and Russia has not converted, for if constant war and the Ballamand agreement are such “triumphs of the Immaculate Heart” than I need to have a talk with my dear Mother about whether or not there was a “language barrier” between her and St. Lucy that might have led to a “misinterpretation” of the message.
Speaking of such nonsense as His Lordship facing a "language barrier," those who would claim that I “ambushed the Bishop before Mass” or that he “ignored the message of Fatima” or that he was just looking to “shock people” show, respectively, ignorance
of the logistics necessary to arrange such a meeting, ignorance
of the body language of the Bishop (which displayed no hostility towards Our Lady or my question, rather a simple discretion), and ignorance
of His Lordship’s demeanor, which is remarkably like how he describes Archbishop Lefebvre (of felicitous memory) – a man of clear Christian character – gentle, yet strong.
People who read the interview can observe that His Lordship closed the interview to hear confessions, but what you don’t know is that I had to stand outside the confessional at 5pm to stop people from going in so I could take him for the interview. Such bookmarks – squeezing in an interview between the care of souls – show the heart and soul of a lion of the Church.Let it be known clearly – Bishop Tissier de Mallerais is no doddering senile renegade bishop looking to “foul up the negotiations.” He is a good shepherd.
The type this Church needs more of – and as I continue to try to sort through the rubble that was once my Church, that even Frank Sheed wondered was the same one and that Diedrich von Hildebrand referred to as devastated
– I pray for him, and for the man who sits in Rome, who, until I can ascertain more definitely otherwise, is the Patriarch of the West, even if he loathes such a title.
I keep in the forefront of my mind that Benedict is supposed to be Christ’s vicar, and that it is Our Lord's Church, not Benedict’s, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail, though it may seem that all is lost....And even as of old, thou did rescue the Child Jesus from the supreme peril of his life, so now defend God's Church from the snares of the enemy, and from all adversity. Keep us one and and all under thy continual protection, so that supported by thine example and assistance, we may be enabled to lead a holy life, die a happy death, and come at last to the possession of everlasting blessedness in Heaven. Amen.
Published on the feast of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church (Double of the 1st Class)