Followers of the preconciliar liturgy plan a pilgrimage to Rome

Several Catholic organizations, including “Una Voce,” have joined up for an international gathering, “Coetus Internationalis pro Summorum Pontificum,” Italian media are reporting.

Summorum Pontificum is the papal decree of 2007 by which Pope Benedict XVI allowed greater room for the pre-Vatican II liturgy as the “extraordinary form.”

The pilgrimage to Rome is to take place November 1-3. More details will be given on September 10th in Rome, it is reported.

h/t KIPA


  1. The only advice I might give to pilgrims: carry plenty of duct tape. Certainly, it’s useful just for blisters and for many more emergencies. Sadly, Chaucer’s Physician and his fellow travelers didn’t know of the universal adhesive. Per the usual disclaimer, take the advice of an actual doctor first before setting foot.

    I forgot: one can easily drive, fly, or take the train to Rome now 😉 Regardless, I hope that the traditionally-minded pilgrims recognize that St. Peter’s is a symbolic destination of pilgrimage for all the Universal Church. It’s quite possible that a most solemn EF pontifical on one altar will be within earshot of a joyous Mass of another liturgical culture on a nearby altar. I once remember standing in the nave of St. Peter’s, only to be nearly run over by a bishop leading a throng of rejoicing pilgrims to a large altar. Every pilgrim joined in the singing of beautiful hymns of a tradition that I had never heard before, and some played instruments which I could not easily identify. St. Peter’s, in its great physical and metaphorical space, encompasses and enriches all Catholics with the liturgical expressions of the worldwide faithful.

    This diversity of liturgy celebrated in St. Peter’s daily is a dynamic beauty which complements the static beauty of marble and bronze. I would be quite saddened if some of the planners of this St. Peter’s pilgrimage might characterize the event as another step in the “restoration” of the EF to a high prominence in the liturgical life of Catholicism’s largest church. Even though the EF has been largely absent from the basilica from the late 1960’s until the last five years or so, the continuous liturgical life of St. Peter’s in the years since liturgical reform has not lacked authenticity because of the EF’s hiatus. EF celebrations contribute to an already vibrant flow of liturgical life in St. Peter’s without supplanting pre-existing liturgical diversity.

  2. Vatican Insider has a article on this in which it reports some interesting data:

    September 2010, three years after the implementation of the “motu proprio”, the Paix Liturgique group published some figures on the situation in a newsletter. The quantitative and qualitative study concerned thirty countries where Catholicism has the strongest presence.

    The data was obtained from two independent sources. The findings revealed that the Tridentine Mass is celebrated in 1,444 locations.
    Of these, 340 celebrate mass once a week;
    313 celebrate Sunday mass but not regularly, so not every week;
    324 celebrate mass every Sunday but at times that are not convenient for families (so not between 9 and 12).
    Finally, 467 places celebrate mass every Sunday at family friendly times.

    Essentially, one in three masses are family friendly (32, 3%), whilst one in four masses is not celebrated on Sunday.

    An interesting comparison can be drawn between the masses celebrated by the Society of St. Pius X, not taken into account in the first figure which did take into consideration masses celebrated according to Benedict XVI’s “motu proprio”. Lefebvrian groups organise a total of 690 masses and one in two of these is celebrated according to Benedict XVI’s “motu proprio” and in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

    Certainly appears to be a very modest movement in comparison to all the ethnic liturgical diversity (even just in the USA) and other movements.

    I am not sure what the comments about SSPX mean. Are some SSPX groups now organizing EF Masses said by diocesan priests are not members of SSPX?

    Would appreciate the comments of those who know more about this.

    1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #2:
      I think some are using the 1962 missal and during the canon pray for the pope and the local bishop and see themselves in full communion with the diocesan church, although officially the clergy are canonically suspended. This is true of the parish SSPX in Atlanta which is very family friendly and otherwise, a rather lovely small parish.

  3. Jack observes “(The EF) Certainly appears to be a very modest movement in comparison to all the ethnic liturgical diversity (even just in the USA) and other movements.”
    Please note that I typically assist at OF celebrations but using the stats Jack reports we see EF Masses celebrated at 1,444 locations with 467 EF Masses every Sunday at family friendly times and 324 more at less than convenient times still on Sunday. Note, however, that the 791 EF parishes providing Sunday Masses in the areas polled would outnumber the total number of parishes & individual celebrations within whole dioceses and eparchies in the USA. For example, there are approx. 400 parishes in the Archdiocese of NY but only about 125 in the diocese of Rochester. Priests in Rochester could provide for six Masses every weekend in each of their parishes and still not equal the 791 celebration figure mentioned in the poll above (it seems most parishes offer about 3 Masses/cathedral offers 5). There are, therefore, more Masses offerred any given Sunday in the EF in the territories included in the poll Jack mentions than in the entire diocese of Rochester, NY. The Maronite eparchy reaching from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River but based in Brooklyn would have to offer more than 14 Divine Liturgies in every one of their parishes every Sunday just to come close to the Sunday figure you mention for the EF celebrations. Is Catholicism in Rochester only a “modest movement” Jack – what about the Maronites in the eastern US?

    Consider taking a look at the other surveys from P.L.: 66% of English and Welsh Catholics would like to attend EF once a month and nearly half would do so every Sunday if they could! ( Polls in Italy and Germany gave similar responses. My observation is that the expansion of the EF is a still unmet pastoral need. The “signs of the times” would suggest that bishops, priests, religious superiors respond…

    1. @Shane Maher – comment #5:
      We need more data on what people mean when they respond to the survey, and what their level of interest is in the old Mass.

      This is only anecdotal – not hard data – but I’d be curious how much it applies more broadly. When Summorum Pontificum came out in 2007, both my mother and my older sister said they’d like to attend a 1962 Mass, they’d be interested to see once again what they knew from earlier times. That’s over 5 years ago now, and neither of them has ‘gotten around to’ attending a 1962 Mass yet. My sister lives in Minneapolis where such Masses are readily on offer. My mother lives one town away from where 1962 is offered, the town she grew up in, and the town which is consolidated with her home town into one school district.

      There are at least two people who would be a “yes” on the surveys you cite, but haven’t had the motivation to go even once in five years, though the opportunity is there.

      I attended the pre-Vatican II Mass in the town neighboring my home town recently. Recently ordained priest celebrated. A grand total of 17 people were present. A few older couples, one or two single men, a mother with her teenage son, and a few guys in the back row whom I suspect wanted a quick, early Mass to fulfill their obliagation where they would be left alone. (They didn’t pick up the Latin-English booklet.) One lady accosted me after Mass, obviously anxious to welcome a new face into her cause. She had driven from 50 miles. This tells me that they draw from a wide geographical area – and almost nobody shows up.


      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #6:
        Your experience seems a bit atypical. The smallest EF I ever attended was way out in the county and had about 25 people. My usual EF has between 50-100 depending on the time of year, and the ones in more urban areas easily get 100-300 people.

      2. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #6:
        I forgot my missal yesterday, and just followed along from memory rather than take a red booklet (the EF is rather easy to follow once you’ve been a number of times). Re-reading your post and your mention of the “guys in the back,” I wonder how you would have judged me were you at the same mass.

      3. @Jack Wayne – comment #25:
        Were you in the back pew, did you come late, did you look bored and uninvolved, did you leave after Communion? That’s what I’m talking about here. I don’t mean to be judgmental of them, but to record accurately what I observed.

      4. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #26:
        I didn’t sit in the very back that time, but typically do. I don’t know what constitutes “looking bored” to you, so I don’t know about that. I’ve come late and left early sometimes – but usually for good reasons.

        So out of 17 people, how many did you judge to be participating, or there for good reasons? The impression I have is that you were looking for a negative experience, and found it.

        What are the specifics of this Mass – is the church easy to get to? Is the Mass offered at a “family friendly” time? Is it in close proximity to an EF that is at a better time/location? Is the Mass said regularly and advertised? It’s possible that you found the rare EF that fails in the best circumstances, but I have my doubts based on what you describe and my own personal experience.

  4. “One lady accosted me after Mass, obviously anxious to welcome a new face into her cause.”
    My guess is this lady was exercising her ministry of “Greeter”. Some might call the action you saw as “accosting” as a “warm” and “welcoming” parish.
    There were less than twenty people in the church where you attended the EF? I’m certain that they would welcome more but I wonder whether this Mass was at a convenient time or was it one of those out-of-the-way placements? You say “almost nobody shows up” – yes that can happen. Consider the 20 people reported here to be attendeing the Episcopal cathedral’s service in Newfoundland
    or the 20 people attending this Methodist church in Australia:

    1. @Shane Maher – comment #8:
      Shane – I was there. You weren’t. “Accosted” is the word, and it wasn’t warm or welcoming.

      I’m not sure what non-Roman Catholics Newfoundland or Australia has to do with this discussion, unless someone has recently cited data to claim that tons and tons of people really do want to go to the Episcopal cathedral in Newfoundland or this Methodist church in Australia.


  5. I thought wherever two or three gathered, oh never mind…
    But more to the point, I think the TLM fills a “niche” for those who are drawn to it, much like the charismatic movement and its spirituality and style of Masses. But we have to admit there is an antipathy amongst a rather large number of clergy who are not willing to allow this Mass in their parishes because, as many here, they simply don’t like it and are fretful of pre-Vatican II things.
    But I think, in addition to that, those of us in the clergy who are quite open to it are fearful of replacing one of our regular Ordinary Form Masses with the TLM as an imposition on those who for years have attended that particular Mass and have no desire for a Latin Mass. But these same people would be very upset if their English Mass was made into a Spanish Mass.
    So I think the main problem with the TLM not advancing apart from what I have described is the language it is in, not its order, not its lectionary, not its ad orientem, not kneeling for Holy Communion, not its rubrics, not the quiet canon and certainly not its solemnity. If the TLM could be celebrated in English, save, lets say the Roman Canon, I think it would spread like wild-fire. Latin is the preventative.
    But then again, perhaps having the EF Mass is a way to maintain our Latin heritage in all places, the Latin Rite, and the remnant who like it and celebrate it will do it for the rest of the Church. I’m conflicted as you can see.

  6. I attend the Fraternity of St. Peter parish in Hampton Roads, Virginia, and we are an established parish of the Diocese of Richmond (one of two in this Diocese that celebrate the Extraordinary Form exclusively, a seriously surprising fact). We have two Sunday Masses, Low Mass at 8AM and High Mass at 10:30AM, and both are very well attended. We have parishioners from all over the region, some even coming up from North Carolina to hear Mass at our church. We have every age group as well. I’m 22 years old and in grad school at Pat Robertson’s Regent University, and I have a number of classmates who also attend St. Ben’s, as well as professors and other staff from the University. St. Ben’s just built a church that seats about 300 that was dedicated one year ago, and we’ve already outgrown it! The thing that makes the difference at our parish, I think, is the fact that we don’t just have Mass once a week on a Sunday afternoon in the basement chapel at the local Hospital (or some other sort of incarnation of that), but we have a full parish life centered on the 1962 Missal. We are able to exist in community within our parish, which is not possible for many people who attend the Trid Mass at a Novus Ordo parish or some other location. I’m extremely thankful to be a parishioner at St. Ben’s, and I would hope that more EF parishes would be established wherever possible so that people can experience both the beauty of the Traditional Latin Liturgy and the beauty of a vibrant orthodox parish life.

  7. Fr. McDonald cites “antipathy amongst a large number of clergy”, but I wonder if he has ever spoken to the priests of his own diocese who do not celebrate the EF. He attributes to them simplistic thinking – “they don’t like it” – but I wonder if he has asked them, personally and in a respectful way, what their motivations may be. The accusation that they “are fretful of pre-Vatican II things” is vague to the point of being meaningless.

    I suspect that, were to to enter into a fraternal dialogue with his brother priests, he would quickly discover that we are really not the “imbeciles” he makes us out to be.

    1. @Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh – comment #11:
      Your translation of my post to include the inflammatory and unwarranted term “imbeciles” is quite interesting. Antipathy isn’t imbecilic, it’s disinterest or what I suspect, more frequently, a lack of seeing a need for the TLM when one has the Mass anyway. And yes, the ones I have spoken to simply don’t want to learn it and think the laity don’t need it. They indeed have an antipathy toward it. It’s more work too! You’ll have to tell us in a fraternal dialogue that avoids insulting attributions why you don’t celebrate it. I have no doubt that being an imbecile is not a part of it.

  8. IMO and based upon my experience with many priests, they do not support TLM or any pre-Vatican II styles because they believe in both the spirit and documented directions set by the fathers of Vatican Council II. Thus, to go back to an earlier liturgical expression (even if justified legally via SP) for many of them feels rationally as if they are creating confusion, community division, etc.

    Some have mentioned the specific events in which they have had to deal with a very small minority that is outspoken about TLM (their rights via SP) when that priest/pastor has to decide with his parish council on what is best for the good of the community parish.

    Sorry, they would react significantly to someone characterizing their stance as *simply don’t want to learn it and think the laity don’t need it. They indeed have an antipathy toward it.” This is a simplistic judgment that is slanderous. It dismisses valid pastoral decisions and concerns about SP and the divisiveness it has caused. It negates or ignores the reality that most conferences of bishops strongly voted against both JPII’s indult and SP.

    (even as I type this, it feels like we devolve into a *have more experience or folks to support my stance than you do* argument)

    NB – given the most recent post on commenters and emotional arguments rather than *learned discussion*, would propose that if you looked at many (most) of the topics posted, the topics themselves are oriented to this type of TLM/EF vs. the *other side*. So, could post the internal memos/notes from conferences of bishops and the relevant Synod) that advocated for no SP but papal perogative went forward. Do you think that this type of documentation would change either the tone or the discussion?

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #13:

      Bill: Thus, to go back to an earlier liturgical expression (even if justified legally via SP) for many of them feels rationally as if they are creating confusion, community division, etc.

      I thought that this thread was about a traditionalist pilgrimage to St. Peter’s. My German is admittedly extremely poor, but I read nowhere in the brief article that the pilgrims intended to spark an explicit ideological debate by celebrating Mass in the basilica. Heck, the article merely stated und auch einen Gottesdienst im Petersdom feiern; “and also to celebrate a liturgy in St. Peter’s”. This could be anything from a half-hour low Mass to a pontifical liturgy complete with solemn Terce. Who knows what ideological statement the pilgrims will make?

      Bill, certainly not every priest should say the EF. The older liturgy is not suitable for many, if not most, parishes. Still, St. Peter’s provides a fundamentally different nourishment than a small church community. While a relatively limited liturgical menu is often quite appropriate for the sacramental diet of small communities, St. Peter’s represents a roiling stew with liturgical ingredients of all periods, places, and cultural practices. Even a few hours in St. Peter’s enriches a person with many new liturgical experiences which he or she might never see otherwise.

      The EF, in all its expressions, is an integral component of the wonderful diversity of the Universal Church’s all-inclusive parish. To deny traditionalist pilgrims the celebration of the EF out of a fear that the celebration of the EF in St. Peter’s might pressure priests to say the liturgy more often where they normally reside misinterprets the role of the basilica in the life of the Church.

  9. Fr. McDonald – On your blog you wrote: “…progressive liberal Catholics are, how shall I say, imbeciles.” This is not a “translation” but your own words. Not only that, but you assert that those who do not share your views are “either totally ignorant or completely diabolical and without shame.” Your solution to this: “…an exorcism is the only remedy.” Again, your words.

    If you find the words inflammatory, remember they are your own.

    1. @Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh – comment #14:
      It’s hard to have a conversation about something I posted above about “antipathy” and then you drag in something from somewhere else about something else altogether different and (then as I recall corrected by me). Why not deal with what I wrote above and offer us a fraternal explanation as to why you have no desire to celebrate the EF Mass. No priest, as far as I know, is forced to do so. But I do think that a stable group of parishioners who request it do have a “right” to it under SP. So how would you accommodate these people, say for instance, you were in a large downtown east Georgia church well equipped for it and you yourself didn’t want to celebrate it, who would you get or would you get anyone? Just asking.

  10. Sorry, Jordan. Was responding to both Fathers’ comments. Yes, it was off topic but so were both responses and that does happen in blogs. I will put myself in time out.

    A couple of observations:
    – you can do whatever you want in St. Peter’s. But, don’t ignore the reality that folks see and hear about St. Peter’s and thus deduce that the same thing gives them permission to do that in their tiny corner of the universe – rightly or wrongy? (and keep in mind that your approach is used constantly by any number of large, national Marian shrines – not sure that this is either edifying or goes to build up the church)
    – key point from above – *……think that a stable group of parishioners who request it do have a *right* to it under SP. So how would you accomodate these people?*

    As usual, pastoral decisions are messy. Some bishops have determined that they would designate one parish to be EF. Others have left it to their pastors. Recognize, tho, that even if you have a *stable* group asking, this can create pastoral issues (no different than if a parish had an increasing group of latinos and wanted a bilingual mass). Also, the stats cited in another blog indicates that requests for EF and actual EF masses is a tiny percent of what is celebrated.

    Jordan – to your point – you continue to advocate for EF or TLM as if it is just another rite or enculturation. That is your right and opinion. Allow me the same courtesy in saying that I do not hold that same opinion; nor do I see SP or EF as another rite or enculturation. SP is a papal directive that can change this generation or next; it is not enculturation by any agreed upon definition. It is predicated upon an obsolete and now reformed ecclesiology and liturgy. Given that, find that this specific papal pronouncement to be divisive and polarizing. Would agree with your feelings but only in a *temporary*; time limited approval. Nor do I agree or advocate for those who think that the EF can somehow *mutually enrich* our current liturgy.

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #17:
      – you can do whatever you want in St. Peter’s. But, don’t ignore the reality that folks see and hear about St. Peter’s and thus deduce that the same thing gives them permission to do that in their tiny corner of the universe – rightly or wrongy? (and keep in mind that your approach is used constantly by any number of large, national Marian shrines – not sure that this is either edifying or goes to build up the church)

      Come on Bill. They don’t need a celebration in St. Peter’s to give them permission, they can read the permission on the Vatican web site in Universae Ecclesiae:

      18. Even in sanctuaries and places of pilgrimage the possibility to celebrate in the forma extraordinaria is to be offered to groups of pilgrims who request it (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art. 5 § 3), if there is a qualified priest.

      1. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #21:
        Good point – some folks don’t seem to understand that the EF is an integral part of the Roman rite. No priest needs permission from his bishop to celebrate the EF. Keep in mind what Pope Benedict said: “There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the Liturgy growth and progress are found, but not a rupture. What was sacred for prior generations, remains sacred and great for us as well, and cannot be suddenly prohibited altogether or even judged harmful.”

  11. In my diocese there are a few priests (all ordained less than 15 years) who are open to or even keenly interested in the unreformed Roman Rite (sorry, but that is an accurate descriptor). One of them actually celebrated a solemn high Mass in his parish just because it was permitted by SP. I’m told there was a decent turnout (it was on a weekday), but that was the last “EF” he celebrated. Just from asking around, it seems the rest of them just seem to know instinctively this is not something their own parishes are open to. So while it is of some interest that the present Pope and certain other prelates believe the unreformed rite contains elements worth preserving, not even Benedict is using the EF publicly. I say more power to the German pilgrims on their journey to the mother church.

  12. If someone, young or old, is taking this pilgrimage out of the Love of God, and to increase and deepen his or her faith, then I would say more power to this person, and who gives a twit whether the EF or OF is celebrated. If indeed this is the purpose of this pilgrimage, then fine, and I would have no trouble with it. However, if the real agenda is to promote the EF in a very public manner, with lots, hopefully, of media attention, then we have another situation entirely IMHO. It will be interesting to see which Cardinal, greets these pilgrims on St. Peter’s steps.


  13. Roman Catholicism is defined by communion with the bishop of Rome, and the use of the Roman rite is an expression of that. The proponents of the EF are in a difficult position because they proclaim their communion with the Pope but do not use the rites he uses. This is obvious with the SSPX, who use the earlier rite as somewhat of a rebuke of the bishop of Rome.

    The pilgrimage serves to reinforce the communion with Rome despite the dynamic I am trying to describe above.

  14. The idea of liturgical pluralism is appealing. It is the official position of Una Voce. At a recent talk in Poland, their president described

    … the position that the Una Voce Federation has pursued since its foundation in that the old rite retained its full right of citizenship in the Church – there is the old rite and there is the new one, but they are on an equal footing.

    If this were all such groups had to say, I would be more enthusiastic about their growth. But they say a lot more. The Poland talk begins with the usual accusations: that ‘the integrity of the Catholic faith has been shaken to its foundations’ by the new Mass; that the Spirit of Vatican II ‘carried all before it in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. … Those who questioned the changes were ridiculed and outcast by the powerful modernist international clique that controlled the bishops and the media.’ Annibale Bugnini (what a deliciously evil sounding name he has) gets trotted out. And ‘the bishops of the world were failing in their duty’ when they were hoodwinked into accepting the work of Consilium.

    With few exceptions, many of them commenters on PTB, the advocates of the Tridentine Mass that I have met want not only to see it made more available but also to see the normative rite go away. Fr Z says that the new rite is ‘goop’, ‘baby food’, etc. The Una Voce website is littered with material from the odious Michael Davies. Liturgical pluralism works in one direction only. If a future pope did suppress the Mass of Pope Paul VI, Una Voce would be the first to cheer.

    It does not help that Pope Benedict, rather than speaking with una voce on the issue, speaks in ambiguous terms that irritate progressives and traditionalists alike.

    Traditionalists in the postconciliar decades were not treated well. But the militancy of their successors, their willingness to swallow dodgy scholarship (Gamber, Davies and many others) and their readiness to pocket any concession all make the case for liturgical pluralism difficult.

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #22:
      Traditionalists have no monopoly on extreme positions and hyperbole; the left is just as bad, but so disorganized and fragmented, it doesn’t pose the same threat as the FSPX does. But one must keep in mind that the extremes that many have experienced when the “left” is in charge has made for the extreme right.
      I doubt seriously that the EF will ever become the Ordinary Form of the Mass. But it does not take a clairvoyant to figure out that the OF Mass will more than likely get a revision and make it more like the EF but remaining the OF. How will this be done. Just watch what Pope Benedict has been modeling. It’s the OF Mass through and through, but the Official Introit, offertory and Communion antiphons are being chanted. In vernacular Masses, he always uses the Latin for the Preface and Eucharistic prayer and even the Our Father, but nothing else. People kneel for Holy Communion at his “station.” I don’t know about the traditional Prayers at the Foot of the Altar returning or the EF’s Offertory Prayers, could become yet another option which the OF is well equipped.
      As far as AWR’s comment about people at the back of the Church–it’s awful no matter where and who! Participation always gets better the closer to the front you get. My first parish assignment had a communion station at the entrance of the Church and in its vestibule. for the heavily attended 9:30 Organ/choir Mass and the 12 noon Folk Mass. When I had that position which meant I stood in front of the entrance doors, communicants (at both Masses) would receive Holy Communion and then walk right around me and exit the Church. I threw what we call down here, a “hissy fit” with the pastor to convince him not to have a station back there and he finally agreed.

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #27:
        . In vernacular Masses, he always uses the Latin for the Preface and Eucharistic prayer and even the Our Father, but nothing else.
        For the masses we normally see at Christmas and Easter, or special occasions when EWTN televises, yes you’re right. However, I’ve seen his masses on pastoral visits throughout Italy where the EP III is sometimes said in Italian. A few years back, I believe at Holy Thursday, he also sung part of the canon in Italian.

  15. Fr. Allan J. McDonald : @Jonathan Day – comment #22:Traditionalists have no monopoly on extreme positions and hyperbole;

    Indeed. Things like Jonathan Day describing Michael Davies as “odious”.

    That’s the Michael Davies that Cardinal Ratzinger described this way:

    I have been profoundly touched by the news of the death of Michael Davies. I had the good fortune to meet him several times and I found him as a man of deep faith and ready to embrace suffering. Ever since the Council he put all his energy into the service of the Faith and left us important publications especially about the Sacred Liturgy.

  16. The Pope most definitely does not always only use Latin for the anaphora. I too recall his use of vernacular. And he has given communion in the hand at his station, too.

  17. Here is one of Davies’ milder claims:

    … the Fathers of Vatican II were caught up in an artificially created consensus, which resulted in most of them abandoning the attitudes of a lifetime almost overnight. There can have been few more dramatic examples of mass conditioning since Hitler hypnotized the German people. It still seems hard to believe that almost all the three-thousand almost totally orthodox Catholic bishops who entered St. Peter’s Basilica on Oct. 11, 1962, would emerge from it on December 8, 1965, as little more than programmed puppets, men who were happy to abandon the accumulated wisdom and spirituality of 2,000 years in favour of the clichés fabricated by the Liberal “experts’, and repeated ad nauseam in the media they controlled as ‘new insights’ in tune with the contemporary mentality.

    Quod scripsi, scripsi, Samuel. Cardinal Ratzinger occasionally got it wrong; in this case, he got it very wrong. If the traditionalist movement wants to make a hero of this man, so much the worse for them.

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #31:
      Jonathan, I too have learned the hard way that you and many here don’t like hyperbole. But when someone who is supposedly enlightened castigates someone like Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict and the Reform of the Reform crowd, hyperbolic rhetoric is welcomed? We all must keep in mind that the wonderful tradition of hyperbole goes back to the Sacred Scriptures, Jesus Himself and presumably to a much longer oral tradition prior to that. It does slice and dice and cuts through bone and marrow. We see it quite often coming out of various circumstances in the Middle East and Southern Europe.

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #32:
        Dear Fr Allan, I am going to pursue this line bit further, not to pick nits but to try to make two points that seem important to me for these debates.

        First, I was not intentionally indulging in hyperbole in what I said about Michael Davies. The passage I quoted is very close to sedevacantism, and it is not atypical of his writing. Davies’ overblown rhetoric has caused terrible anxiety for many Catholics, leading them to wonder whether the Holy Spirit has in fact abandoned the Church or whether they can trust the Church to withstand the gates of hell. It has led more than a few into the SSPX. His work represents bad scholarship, weak ecclesiology and pastoral recklessness. I didn’t know the man, he may have been perfectly gentle and personally saintly, but most of his published work is simply dreadful. So will happily amend my statement to “the odious writing of Michael Davies”, but I stand by that.

        Second, it is not disrespect for Cardinal Ratzinger or even Pope Benedict to point out an error on their part. Every living soul, with the exception of a sitting pope under certain very limited circumstances, makes errors. It is part of being human. Identifying errors is one way we come to the truth.

      2. @Jonathan Day – comment #34:
        Why just pick on traditionalists who call into question the working of the Holy Spirit in a Council. There are many progressives who are equally guilty of driving people from the full communion of the Church or attracting them to a less than full communion experience of it in their particular take on the Church. The situation with the LCWR is a case in point, not in terms of all the good works they do, but some of their more “odious” theologies concerning the nature of the Church and Holy Orders. This last sentence of mine will raise the hackles of not just a few here who would canonize them, like so many on the right canonize SSPX.
        I absolutely agree with you in terms of your last paragraph, but it is a two way street. My comment here might be best under the “Deleted” post, but there is a tendency to allow the most godawful rhetoric directed toward traditionalists in terms of lace and cappas that gets a pass here and is even encouraged. It’s not so much that people don’t like these sorts of things, it goes way, way deeper and is much more insidious.

      3. @Jonathan Day – comment #34:
        Actually I was referring to the hyperbole of Davies and the points he wanted to make, not yours, but I’m glad you repented and corrected it although hyperbole makes great reading and stimulus as in yours, Davies and mine! 🙂

  18. The Internet, no less including Catholic blogs, suffers from a surfeit of hyperbolic rhetoric. As a result, the marginal returns in communication from it are not what they might otherwise be; hyperbole has become a marker for laziness, among other things. Whispering can be much more effective on the Internet, just as in homiletics – more people will strain to listen to a truth that is whispered more than to a truth that is delivered in a caustic or self-serving way.

  19. Pope make mistakes and errors simply because they are human beings capable of poor judgment. In his books about Christ, this Pope made very clear that his words and concepts are not infallible and welcomed criticism (presumably for his theologian peers). Pope John Paul made a horrible error with regard to his placing confidence in Marciel. He no doubt did that because he bought into the pious and rigidly orthodox front that went with one of his two lives. But there were many who attempted to bring the truth to JPII and he seems clearly to have rejected that. Much harm was done by letting this man strut around Rome as a friend of the Pope, handing out “gifts” to various prelates. I pray that somehow all of that will one day come to the light. I won’t hold my breath.
    I believe Pope Benedict has made a serious mistake in his comments about the 1962 Missal. Of course it was “abrogated”. Indults were eventually given so as to provide a recourse for people who wanted to leave the LeFebvrists and rejoin the Church. In order to issue SP, he compromised his obligation to respect the role of his brother bishops in the governance of the universal church. The fact that VI recognized his primacy needn’t have been found in conflict with the teaching of VII about collegiality. I believe he has erred in dismissing bishops as if they were branch managers. That process should never be used without consulting with a panel that includes diocesan bishops. There’s enough Cardinals who fit that description that it should not be a hardship. These are just my informed opinions. I know I am a member of the lowerarchy and have no voice in these matters.

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