Helpful Pope Francis the Great Clarifier, continues to helpfully clarify
I want to start this with a stern note: I gave up ChurchBlogging three years ago. I don’t want to start again. I’m not going to be doing a big apologetic for the Traditionalist position, or even explain what it is. If you haven’t done the reading, this isn’t the class for you. Go do the reading then come back.
This substack, World of Hilarity…
is not that kind of blog. We talk about the Faith here, not Church politics. If you’ve come here from Twitter expecting this to be about All That, you’ll be disappointed. But I’m making an exception because a Thing happened yesterday that a great many people are talking about, but few are saying anything very sensible about.
I’m just going to explain why it’s all working out the way it ought to and people shouldn’t be upset. I’m NOT getting back into things; this will be a one-off and then we’ll go back to talking about what we were talking about. OK?
(Also, if you’re not Catholic - though you should be - this will all just be a bunch of insider baseball you can ignore.)
~“Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, My Chosen One, in whom My soul delights. I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations. He will not cry out or raise His voice, nor make His voice heard in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break and a smouldering wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow weak or discouraged before He has established justice on the earth. In His law the islands will put their hope.” Isaiah 42
What concord hath Christ with Belial?
Only the real counts
Why am I not mad? Why am I not freaking out? Why am I not panicking? Why, in fact, am I something along the lines of ferociously joyful? Because a very grave evil, that has duped a great many people with quite a lot of comforting, sleep-inducing lies for quite a long time, is coming to an end. An entire regime of Un-Reality is collapsing before the inexorable demands of the Real. And the defeat of lies, the defeat of UnReality is always a triumph for Christ who is Truth incarnate.
I’ll grant you that it’s like being woken up with a cattle prod, but after the first shock wears off, it’s better than staying asleep while the barque slides further towards the falls. Only true data is useful data. Only the Real actual thing that is really happening will help anyone make any useful decisions. I’m rejoicing because we’ve had fifty years of falsehoods, and as of yesterday reality is finally reasserting itself, like a beachball held under bobbing back up to the surface. After decades of falsehood and confusion, the Real is coming back, which can only be in accordance with the will of God, who can only be the God of the Real, and not of falsehood. I am rejoicing because the holy will of God, His sovereignty over Reality, is being made manifest.
But the Real is painful. Yes. That’s why we call it The Cross
We complain, of course (with some justification) that this action of the pope’s will result in real suffering, real hardship, perhaps even in places genuine harm. It will certainly at the very least create a massive upheaval in the status quo, and be a massive inconvenience in some parts of the world. Things are going to change in real on-the-ground, non-abstract ways. This is going to hurt. And that’s all true.
But we have put this off a long time and pain deferred, pain and difficulty avoided is pain and difficulty allowed to grow huge. For fifty years we have cringed and grovelled and thanked the abusive Catholic leadership for the scraps we’ve been thrown, all in the name of a false and destructive distortion of obedience. And out of a fear that if we didn’t we’d get nothing.
Well, here we are now, fifty-odd years along and we’re about to be getting nothing anyway. Or at least, you are. We out here in the non-Anglo-sphere have had next-to-nothing all along.
You all have been given a great gift
It might help (or maybe not) to know that for the rest of the world, Summorum Pontificum was a dead letter the minute it was promulgated. I think Benedict really had little idea of the seething hatred most bishops harboured for the old religion and it’s embodying liturgy. It’s only in the US that it made a large impact, with significant expansion of the Mass in very short time. This had a spill-over effect in the rest of the Anglo-sphere, with a little growth in Canada, Britain and Australia.
But though the expansion was granted to the right people, in my opinion, the people with the most energy and ability to get things done, (here’s the hard part) the Anglosphere isn’t the whole world. The number of TLM parishes established under Summorum Pontificum’s provisions in Italy, for example, was never more than could be counted on one hand. As of today it’s three. Yes, three. Compared to, I think something like a thousand in the US. I don’t know the numbers for Asia, Africa, South America, Oceania but I’d be willing to bet its even less than here.
For whatever reason the US and France are today what we might call the “heartland” of the Traditionalist movement. For the rest of the world, it simply isn’t an issue. There is no “Old Mass” or “Old Religion” - even Vatican II is a largely forgotten piece of ancient history, remembered only by the older people. The New Normal is so completely accepted and the old religion so totally memory-holed - for the vast, vast, vast majority of Catholics around the world there is little awareness that there ever was anything else.
So, give this some thought; you all (most of my readers are Americans) have been given this abundance by God for a reason and it’s not just for yourselves. You have been granted the responsibility of re-gathering the truths that the rest of the world threw away. The Traditional movement in the US exploded with the issuance of Summorum Pontificum, and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t an accident, and it wasn’t just for your own sakes, but for the whole Body of Christ. You were given what the rest of the Catholic world has rejected so that you could keep and preserve it, but also spread it. And now you’re being asked to suffer for it.
I submit that for the American Trads right now, their task is to stiffen the sinews, tighten the belt, build up the spinal bone mass, and start figuring out how you are going to live the Faith without the Mass for the time being, and how you are going to spread that Faith to the parts of the world who have forgotten it.
Why so cheerful?
It’s not because other people will be suffering. It’s because the end of the whole business is finally in sight. The reason I’m rejoicing is that it is only once this regime of falsehood that has held the Church in its grip for 60 years is totally defeated that anything like the Christian life in this world can resume, and this is the first time in my lifetime that I have seen something concrete happen to that end. There are no more comforting, sweet and soothing lies about the “hermeneutic of continuity” and “reform of the reform” issuing from the papal chair. The end of that nonsense alone should be cause for joy.
There is only the truth now, finally openly acknowledged, that there cannot be two opposed Truths in one Church. And this letter from the pope has made it explicit; there have been two rival, competing religious ideas - two incompatible religions, implacably opposed in their goals, their doctrine and understanding of the meaning of human life and the nature of God - residing in the house of the Church, and that cannot be tolerated any longer.
And about that, he is absolutely right. A house divided cannot stand. The War in heaven over the souls of men isn’t the kind that gives out bronze medals or participation ribbons. One side wins and the other loses. We. Must. Choose.
The divided house must fall, not only in the sense of it being inevitable, but in the sense of it being necessary. Unless it falls, unless the lies are entirely eradicated and replaced with truth, unless Truth reigns unequivocally, unchallenged, we will continue to be in confusion, in fear, in a slavish condition of oppression - totally opposed to the true nature of Christian freedom - that is satanic in nature and in origin.
This pope, for eight years, has given me the first hope I’ve had in my own lifetime that the stalemate - propped up by the meaningless, heretical gibberish of “hermeneutic of continuity,” the soft compromising lie of “conservative Catholicism” - is finally being broken. I’m excited that the war is back on and that the people who love compromise, comfort and convenience are finally being forced to choose between good and evil, Christ and antichrist. Christ or chaos.
But, he’s the pope! It’s the Mass! What do we do??
What is your Faith actually about? Who do you worship? The regime of falsehoods has included the evil lie that the pope is the centre of the Faith. That he can use the Church for his own ends, like a tool or a toy. Papolatry literally means “worship of the pope” - the trite old Protestant accusation has come effectively true. And now all that is collapsing.
Pope Francis Bergoglio has made it clear that he intends to purge the Church of the remaining Catholic elements. It will be a Catholicism-free Church. Which means a Christ-free Church. And what does that mean? It means it will not be the Church.
He’s not capable, he has no power to alter the nature of the Church established by Christ. He can’t purge Christ; he can only purge the falsehoods, the errors, the heresies that he himself holds and promotes. He’s purging himself, along with all the people who reject Christ and the Faith, he’s sawing off the branch he’s sitting on. The tree remains.
Things are going to be weird for a while, but these things remain true.
Who do you worship?
The Church and the Faith aren’t about the Mass. They’re not about the pope or about the bishops. We know this because the Faith has survived in places and times when we haven’t had any or all of those things.
It certainly isn’t about your comfort, your preferences or your convenience. Conservatives and Traditional Catholics have a lot in common, and one of these is their favourite liturgical slogan: “The Mass isn’t about you.” And that is absolutely true. But the Faith isn’t about the Mass either.
The reason I started with the quote from Isaiah above and the image of the Pantocrator, is to correctly orient what we’re really talking about. The Church, the Mass, the Catholic Faith - in fact, all human life and all of creation, all that exists or will exist - is about Christ, and Him alone, and our one and only task in life is to choose, every day, whether we will have Him or not. Whether we will know, love and serve Him, or something else.
Start with Christ, and you will have ordered all the rest correctly. Start with the Mass, or the pope or any other thing, worship any of those things instead of Christ, or ahead of Christ, and you have an idol.
And we have had idols galore in the Church since the close of Vatican II, and very little Christ. That’s the reason, and no other, that it’s all been falling apart.
I’m going to stop here for now. It’s getting late.
We’ll do some more specifics on this tomorrow:
The text itself
Why the text is actually immaterial -
it’s a political signal to grant permission to already-hostile bishops
it’s a means of duping the still-credulous, creating more strife and arguments
the “questionnaire” was a ruse intended to provide cover and plausibility
Confusion is a tool of the devil; you can just decide to stop being “confused”
The true Faith can’t keep living like Cinderella in the Church’s attic
The reservation has become a concentration camp
The Mass is the embodiment, the “incarnation” of the religion; the New Mass embodies a New Religion
The difference between “development” and abrogation - the death penalty: a yes can’t turn into a no
The conundrum of “accepting Vatican II” - it’s a trick question
Where the religion is, where the Faith in Christ remains, there is the Church - they can’t purge the Real
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