Why I left the Society of St. Pius X: An Open Letter to Fr. Gołaski

“I thus began a new search, in the place where I had least expected to find Christ’s Church. Was it messy and full of confused and broken sinners? Yes. But I also found something beautiful…”

(Image: iam_os | Unsplash.com)

Editor’s note: A slightly different version of the following essay/letter was emailed to Rorate Cæli at the end of December 2021. 

Dear Fr. Wojciech Gołaski,

I read your open letter to Pope Francis and to our Order with sympathy and understanding, and yet also with great sadness. I understand the pain you feel about the restriction of a liturgical rite that you have come to love and treasure. But I do not understand why you implicitly recommend your example to all of us in your decision to join the structures of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). I can only surmise that this is because, as of yet, you know only the favorable facade which this priestly fraternity and its associates present to the world. Allow me to take you backstage, behind the Catholic props. Since I have been intimately connected to the SSPX from a young age, I would like to share my experience with you, and with all who may be considering joining its separate life from the Church, especially the members of our Dominican Order to whom you addressed yourself.

Let me be clear: I have never been abused in any way by a member of the SSPX. I had a very happy childhood, and I will be forever grateful for the dedication and excellence of the many priests from whom I received my Christian formation. There are, however, certain principles of thought and action which they have received from their founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, that are not only tearing them apart from the Church, but also from each other. These principles have the same effect as those found in Protestantism. The more a Catholic progresses from “traditional” to “Traditionalist”, the less Catholic he or she will become. The “experiment of Tradition”, as Archbishop Lefebvre termed this movement and as he himself shaped it, has an inherently divisive trajectory. I know…it tore my own family apart.

My mother and father are converts from Protestantism, and they came into the Church when I was five. As is often the case, they had certain preconceptions of what life in the Church would be like. After all, it was supposed to be a safe haven away from the problems of Protestantism. What they discovered, however, was that God’s Church on earth was a mess (as it has always been). They were exposed to bad liturgies and poor catechesis. My parents had also been in the military and were high achievers, and most Catholics came across to them as undisciplined pukes in their (non)practice of Catholic religion. Gradually my parents came into contact with the traditional Catholic movement, and it immediately drew them in. All this happened in about two years, and I became an officially inducted “Trad” at the age of seven. My first holy communion, confirmation, and religious formation all took place under the auspices of the SSPX.

Shortly after “coming into Tradition,” my mom discovered Sedevacantism, which demonstrated to her several logical and historical problems with the doctrinal positions of the SSPX. These are what had prompted the first splinter group of priests to break away from the Society in 1983, called “the Nine”. Among them were the now well-known Traditionalist priests Daniel Dolan, Donald Sanborn, and the late Anthony Cekada. They refused to accept the reformed 1962 Missal of Pope John XXIII, and believed that the ecclesiological position taken by the Archbishop and his Society was inconsistent with the Tradition of the Church. These priests were expelled, and lengthy legal battles over real estate ensued. Mom came to embrace their position as her own, although she continued to receive the sacraments from the SSPX chapel our family attended.

My dad admired the leadership of Archbishop Lefebvre, and also that of Bishop Richard Williamson. He believed that they had achieved a delicate balance between the two extremes of the “Novus Ordo church” and Sedevacantism. Following their example, he did not completely reject the possibility of a sedes vacans, but he found it problematic in several regards. This allowed a period of relative peace in our family, as my parents did not completely disavow each other’s positions, and they were united in their rejection of the “conciliar Church”. Besides the SSPX chapel, where Mass was available only every other weekend, we would also attend Masses offered by the priests of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI), which they would offer in our houses on the off-weekends. As my dad liked to say, “We’re all on the same team.” This lasted until a parishioner snitched to our SSPX pastor, who threatened to ban us entrance to the chapel if we continued to open our house to the naughty Sedevacantist priests. This seemed very ungracious, considering the CMRI did not forbid its followers to attend the SSPX chapel. But perhaps it is to be expected in a turf war.

I received my vocation to the Dominican Order when I was eight, after reading a life of St. Dominic by Mary Fabyan Windeatt. I was eager to join as soon as possible, so upon learning the minimum age required by canon law, I wrote to the community associated with the SSPX in Avrillé, France. They generously offered me an opportunity to attend their high school, while at the same time participating in their postulancy program. My parents were very supportive, and I arrived there in Summer of 2011. I spent a year of discernment with this beautiful community, until I decided to return to the United States to complete my high school education. Before I left, I had the pleasure of a private audience with a family hero, Bishop Williamson, who had come to visit our community in Avrillé. He kindly agreed to meet with me, and gave me wise and helpful advice regarding my vocation. I did not exactly know what he was doing in Avrillé, but the reason would come to light later. I had begun to hear rumors of “infiltration” and “compromise” in the SSPX. This was strange, but not quite as strange as my homecoming.

Upon my return in 2012, my family was walking around with candles and believed the earth was the center of the universe. My parents had become enamored with the writings of Charles A. Coulombe and Solange Strong Hertz. These were two intelligent Traditionalists who had followed the logical trajectory of Traditionalist principles, and they were advocating ideas and doctrines which, interestingly, most Traditionalists would reject. Coulombe advocates for Feeneyism, and points to the Aristotelian philosophy of St. Thomas as facilitating the Church’s betrayal of the traditional dogma extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. Hertz branches out even more broadly, indicating that brick-making and electricity are of demonic inspiration, that the Church has compromised herself by accepting heliocentrism and democracy, and that these two led to universal salvationism. I did not quite know how to react, especially since I had studied encyclicals by Popes Pius XII and Leo XIII which contradicted Hertz’s narratives. Whose interpretation should I accept, the Popes’ or Hertz’s? Both made solid appeals to Tradition and Scripture. Had the Church of Rome gone off track even before Vatican II?

It was at this time that the possibility of a second major split in the SSPX began to loom on the horizon. Lefebvre’s vacillations between acceptance and rejection of Rome had produced two kinds of priests, which we called “hardliners” and “softliners”. The tension between these two groups came to a head at the height of the Society’s discussions and negotiations with Rome. Three of the SSPX bishops wrote a letter to Bishop Bernard Fellay and the General Council, warning them that to make a merely practical agreement with Rome would be unfaithful to their founder’s mission and apostolate, and could lead to its destruction. They received a hot retort, which included an astounding and telling rebuke that their “dialectic between the truth and the faith on the one side and authority on the other is contrary to the spirit of the priesthood.” How could they say such a thing? Was this dialectic not the foundation on which the SSPX rested, the guiding principle that gave the Archbishop his special balance between two extremes? Were his ordinations of priests and consecrations of bishops contrary to the spirit of the priesthood?

The authorities of the SSPX tried to do damage control as they had done with “the Nine” in 1983. Ironically, the first man to be expelled was the one who had been in charge of damage control for the first splinter group: Bishop Richard Williamson. Why was he expelled? For following the example of Archbishop Lefebvre, and refusing obedience to his superiors in the name of truth. Other priests started leaving the Society, many more than in 1983, where they coalesced to form a new “resistance”. This included my own beloved Dominicans of Avrillé. What was I to do? The Society was my family, the one true “remnant” of the Church. But so were the Dominicans in Avrillé and the priests and bishop who had left. Should I stay with the first resistance, or should I join the resistance to the resistance? The emotional pain and confusion I went through during this time is indescribable.

Dad still trusted the leadership of Bishop Williamson, and so he leaned toward the Resistance. Mom thought that the chickens had finally come home to roost for Lefebvre’s Society, and she gravitated more toward the Sedevacantist groups. I was a Trad Non-Denom. Dad invited two of the Resistance priests to come say Mass at our house. One of them was especially charismatic, and when he spoke it made me want to jump up and follow him immediately. Thankfully my head cooled after they left, and I recalled a conversation I’d had with the quieter priest at the dinner table. He’d told me that the Church’s compromise with the modern world hadn’t begun at Vatican II, but could actually be traced to serious errors in the encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII. The oddity of this claim struck me with its full force. Wait…so now I had to sift through the teachings of a pope I’d thought was rock solid? Hadn’t Archbishop Lefebvre based much of his rejection of the post-conciliar magisterium on Pope Leo XIII’s magisterium? Maybe I should start looking for errors in Pope St. Pius X! The Council of Trent!

Around this time, Mom had begun listening to a lot of talks by Gerry Matatics, and recommended that I listen to them. I had generally shied away from Sedevacantism, since the Fathers of Avrillé were staunchly opposed to it. But at this point, I needed options. I had to rediscover the true remnant. And after all, had not the famous Dominican Michel-Louis Guérard des Lauriers, the ghost writer for the Ottaviani Intervention, become a Sedevacantist? So I began my research. An especially powerful realization came to me when I read Fr. Anthony Cekada’s article “Resisting the Pope, Sedevacantism and Frankenchurch”, where he states in conclusion that “all traditionalists, therefore, are really sedevacantists—it’s just that they haven’t all figured it out yet.” It rang true. All my life I had prayed for the pope, seen his picture in the sacristy, or heard his name in the Mass…but in reality he was just a figurehead, a “cardboard pope” as Cekada termed it. The SSPX (and SSPX-Resistance) was indeed Sedevacantist; not in theory, but in practice, definitely. They acted independently from the popes, whether the seat was vacant or not. Sedevacantism and the Recognize-and-Resist position were in reality two sides of the same coin. At least the Sedevacantists’ doctrine was consistent with their practice.

I found more contradictions throughout SSPX writings and apologetics, especially when they argued against the Sedevacantists, Feeneyites, or their own Resistance, as was seen in the letter above. Another example can be found in the treatise Is Feeneyism Catholic? by Fr. François Laisney, FSSPX, where he states that the fundamental error of Fr. Feeney was “to follow his own interpretation of the dogma [outside the Church there is no salvation], and to re-interpret the Scriptures and the documents of the popes according to his own views. In one word, it is to put his views before the Church’s teaching.” Why was this true for Fr. Feeney (who was a good Traditionalist, and would have emphatically stated that the view was not his, but that of the Tradition, I am sure!), but not true for Archbishop Lefebvre and his priests? I found another remarkable inconsistency in the writings of Michael Davies, a prolific apologist for Lefebvre and the SSPX. He wrote three enormous tomes about everything that could be imaginably wrong with the Novus Ordo Mass, only to write a little booklet directed at the Sedevacantists (I Am With You Always), where he argues that in its officially promulgated edition, Pope Paul VI’s Missal is free from error in faith and morals and protected by the Church’s infallibility in her universal disciplinary laws. Needless to say, Angelus Press does not offer this title.

While Sedevacantism seemed to bring more consistency, it certainly did not bring any consolation. In his talk “Unauthorized Shepherds: Why the SSPX, SSPV, CMRI, and Similar Post-Vatican II Traditionalist Clergy Are Not Priests of Christ’s Church”, Gerry Matatics convincingly makes the case that Traditionalist clergy can exercise no official ministry in the Church, based on the teaching of St. Francis de Sales in The Catholic Controversy. Bypassing the intricate canon law debates about epikeia and supplied jurisdiction, he challenges Traditionalist clergy to demonstrate how they have received either mediate or immediate mission. Of course, none can accept his challenge, for the simple reason that they have no proof of apostolic succession, the papal mandate (mediate mission) and they are not working miracles (immediate mission). Matatics conclusion: hopefully there is an underground Church somewhere in Asia, but in the meantime we’re stuck being “recusant Catholics” at home. Matatics is a brilliant example of intellectually honest and consistent Traditionalism. After converting to Catholicism before his friend, Scott Hahn, he then proceeded to research Tradition until he was alone in his house. I recalled what a priest had once told my parents: “When you take Protestantism to its logical conclusion, you ultimately end up alone.”

How had I ended up alone? I wasn’t a Protestant! Had I not faithfully followed the rule of faith, Tradition, as I had been taught to do? I remembered my prayer to Archbishop Lefebvre at his tomb in Écône: “Help me to be faithful as you were…help me to hold fast to Tradition.” Where was Christ’s Church, his Bride, my Mother? I had looked for her desperately, but I could not find her among the cacophony of Traditionalists, each one clinging to the teachings and traditions most dear to them. As far as I was concerned, my spiritual father’s “experiment of Tradition” had failed me. His bishops, priests, and their flocks were splitting and scattering, each retreating into their respective foxholes. I now realized that every Traditionalist has two choices: be content with a party line and don’t question it, or trust your own understanding of Tradition and thump your Denzinger at everyone else.

I was now ready to consider the unthinkable. Was Frankenchurch, the Novus Ordo Monster, maybe…my Mother? Had I actually been raised a good little anti-Catholic, proud and prejudiced? According to St. Francis de Sales’ criteria, only the modern Catholic Church could lay claim to both mediate and immediate mission. And only the post-conciliar Church exercised the fullness of all three rules of faith: Scripture, Tradition, and a living Magisterium with Christ’s own authority. I wasn’t fully aware of this latter rule of faith until I began to study the traditional constitution of the Church. I had been given the impression that we had a Magisterium, which I now understood were merely past acts of the Magisterium, and that this guiding role had in fact been usurped by Archbishop Lefebvre, the SSPX, and any person or group that claimed to have the fullness of truth. I had been forced to learn the hard way that the Traditionalist movement only had “little magisteriums” with self-delegated authority, usually in conflict with other little magisteriums.

I thus began a new search, in the place where I had least expected to find Christ’s Church. Was it messy and full of confused and broken sinners? Yes. But I also found something beautiful: reverent and sincere Novus Ordo liturgies, eucharistic miracles and miracles through the intercession of the saints, Catholics who knew and loved their faith, orthodox doctrine preached by good priests and bishops, and men and women with high levels of sanctity who had never attended a Tridentine Mass. The Church may sometimes appear disfigured, but she is alive! I also discovered a great and holy man whom I had always believed was a personification of evil: your fellow countryman, Pope St. John Paul II. Archbishop Lefebvre called this man an “antichrist,” and drew cartoons of him denying Our Lord and being summoned by two demons into hell. But I encountered a man who, though imperfect, loved Christ above all else and spent his life and pontificate bearing witness to him. Why had I been presented with such a caricature?

I informed my parents of my intention to return to the Church I had been baptized in. This is when hell broke loose in my family, and all semblance of false peace fell away. They were shocked, horrified, and embarrassed. They blamed themselves and blamed each other. Then they cemented themselves into their chosen Traditionalist foxholes, and it became a household war. Mom wanted dad to become a Sedevacantist to prevent any of my nine siblings from following my example, which she thought was caused by the SSPX’s dysfunction. But dad refused to budge. My siblings and I began to experience the suffering often caused by mixed marriages. When they weren’t attacking each other, they threw everything they could at me in an attempt to bring me back. But I had set my hand to the plow, and I was not looking back. In the midst of this family rancor and bitterness, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace come over me. The crushing weight of being alone and solely responsible to find and preserve the faith had been lifted from my shoulders. I was with the Church now; I had nothing to fear. I had chosen to trust my Mother. I had chosen hope, hope in Christ’s promises that he would always protect and guide his Bride until his return in glory.

Our family’s saga continued over the years. I left home to marry a devout young Catholic woman and start a family. My parents eventually ended up alone, which brought them quickly to their senses, although not before some of my siblings almost lost their faith. But God’s mercy is great and abundant. During the Year of Mercy, my parents returned to the Church. It has been a hard road for us, and things are still not easy. But we are again one family in Christ. There is a verse in Proverbs that has been been passed down like a family heirloom from my great-grandparents, and through this harrowing and difficult journey through the Traditionalist movement it has taken on a new significance for us: “Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct thy paths.”

Dear brother, perhaps you now better understand why your letter caused me sorrow. There has been great harm done to souls in the SSPX and in the various splinter groups which its own false principles have produced. It is disappointing that you and other prominent and influential bishops, clergy and laymen have chosen to grant it your approbation on such short acquaintance. You and they are now responsible for the many unsuspecting Catholics who will now flock to this schism. Yes, it is a schism. The sophistry and subterfuge which have attempted to conceal this ugly reality is sickening. My family is still healing from being broken by this deadly sin against charity.

Why have we forgotten two classic definitions of schism: “setting up altar against altar” (St. Cyprian) and “refusing to act as part of the whole” (Cajetan)? The SSPX has discouraged its followers from attending even Tridentine Masses offered by priests in communion with Rome. They have nothing to do with local bishops unless it is in their favor. They have rejected an ecumenical council, an officially promulgated Missal, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, parts of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, canonizations, and most of the magisterial teaching of five popes! And what of the illicit ordinations and consecrations? Who has the audacity to call this mere disobedience? Do not repeated acts of disobedience over half a century qualify as refusal of submission to the authority of the Church? The SSPX even comes under the anathema of the Council of Trent (Session XXII, Canon VII), by its claim that the reformed liturgy contains “elements dangerous for the Faith” (The Problem of the Liturgical Reform). Do you indeed now align yourself with an excommunicated Archbishop who called the new rites “bastard sacraments” and newly ordained priests “bastard priests”?

Brother, I beg you to reconsider your words and your actions. Their far-reaching consequences may be much more grave than you realize. Do not lose your place under the Mantle.

In our holy father Dominic,

Mr. Andrew Bartel, O.P.

December 26, 2021
Feast of the Holy Family


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About Andrew Bartel 1 Article
Andrew Bartel is a lay Dominican of the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. He lives with his wife and their three children in Montana, where he works as a glazier. He is also pursuing a degree in English and Philosophy.

141 Comments

  1. Thank you, Andrew Bartel, for this very informative essay/letter. It was sad reading about your unhappy experiences with groups not aligned with the one, true Church. So good to know that you found peace in the Church where true peace exists.

    • Hallo from Ireland
      Here is the final vote from the Irish jury.
      Vaccines tainted with fetal contribution, extraction.

      Novus Ordo (Pope Francis ) vaccine is OK no sin committed
      SSPX ( Athlone and Dún Laoghaire ie standard SSPX, OK no sin committed
      Sedevacants ( about 100 people in Ireland, OK no sin committed
      SSPX Resistance ( Cork and Longford ) it’s a “mortaller”, do not take vaccines tainted with / by abortion.

      Now who do we think is the right crowd to be with?
      Regards

      Splitcans

      • Your list is inaccurate.. sedevacantists (CMRI for sure) oppose the kill-shot..strange u have a different opinion in Ireland..

        • Bishop Sanborn Talks About Controversial Issues
          9,134 viewsNov 24, 2021

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          Hallo Jack Kennedy

          I could be wrong.
          I was going by the UTube video on Roman Catholic Media
          Bishop Sanborn Sedevacant bishop.
          Regards

          Splitcans
          7.6K subscribers

          • Hallo again,
            It appears I have painted all sedes in Ireland with the same brush as sedes overseas.
            Good to know CMRI position on Covid abortion tainted jabs ie against jabs.
            I do think the UTube video of Bishop Sandborn can give rise to people making the same mistake I did. ie sedes are pro abortion tainted vaccine
            Thanks for comment.
            I ask the Moderator to remove my earlier message 13 Jan 2022 as I do not wish to paint all as accepting or rejecting the jabs if there are sedes of differing stances.

            Regards
            Splitcans

  2. Thank you for this wonderful piece. I’ll pray for you and your family, and for all others in the same messy situation. (I did my time with the SSPX and came back as well).

  3. Lay Dominican Andrew Bartel offers us a strong rationale in his apologia to resist the draw to separate forms of stability and [a personal view] remain within the breastworks of Christ’s Mystical Body, wherein is the call to arms.

  4. Thank you for the link to the open letter of Fr Golawski. His exuberance of discovering the TLM, expresses what I experienced – be it as a layman. The last practising layman of my generation in a Vatican 2 Catholic family… Vatican 2 has devastated the faith of two generations in my family. Only the Protestant members of my extended family go to church on Sundays from generation to generation… If I may, “Conversion” is what you really write about? It is important to be always reconverting towards Christ. After Vatican 2, even within the Trad movement, the apparatus of living devotions promulgated by Popes lost its lifeblood. Those devotions provided for conversion. I greatly appreciated your text. The movement of Lefevbre was a reaction to a reactionary council: it cannot be separated from it. It is necessarily a time-bridge. And has played a vital role. However, its role is far from over. The evil wrought by the Council aftermath is yet to end, and the Apostasy is in full swing… Thank you for writing this piece. Keep the faith. Vatican 2 works for the first generation grounded in Real Deal catechism and religious practice…

    • And yet it wasn’t the Council but the people who abuse it that was the problem. After all, Lefebvre signed all of the conciliar documents.

    • There’s nothing wrong with the Council.
      There are people that abused the Council and pretended to use it to do evil things.
      But there is nothing wrong with the Council.
      If you think there is, the problem is in you.

  5. Yes, it is a schism.

    With respect, I don’t believe this is the position of the Church, and its inclusion undermines the overall point of the essay.

    • It would be hard to say it’s the position of the Church, at least in *this* century (1988-1999 might be another story), when the Holy See has so often treated the Society as being *not* in schism. Rome is not in the habit of granting sacramental permissions, or canonical first resort authority, to entities it considers “in schism,” let alone allowing such priests to celebrate on altars in St. Peters.

      That said, I think there are pretty obviously some people attending SSPX chapels working with schismatic mindsets. Not everybody, not even most, to be sure. Andrew’s family seems to have been in that box.

    • The Church has consistently tried to be overly nice to the SSPX, partly because she realizes that a lot of this Cult’s followers have their hearts in the right place, and want only good. But the SSPX is really a cult, and are in a de facto schism, that has not yet been declared a formal juridical schism. As the articles says, everything about them is Protestant in the highest degree.

      • Samtom911, please. Lefevbre never believed he had done otherwise than found a fraternity in communion with the Pope. In 1988 Cardinal Siri – elected Pope in 1958 but forced to stand down for brother Roncali – was still alive. He retained the Munus, the grace of office. The freemasons placed Roncali on his throne. The church within the eclipsed church remained loyal to Siri. He held the Munus, the grace of office. The active ministerium of Roncali and Martini was “without the grace” according to Malachi Martin. Ganswein’s Extended Petrine Ministry has formalised the post-conciliar situation? Siri died in 1989. That makes PPBXVI the only pope to have held both munus and active Ministerium for the duration of his pontificate. And he retains the munus even as we read and write. So you see, there have been 2 bishops for most of the post-conciliar Apostasy as Malachi Martin hinted at, and finally Ganswein explained…

      • Samton911, for about 50 years I believed people like you. That’s why I avoided SSPX. If it wasn’t for all the lies and misinformation, I could have been a part of their community a lot sooner instead of dealing with the garbage at the Novus Ordo parishes. SSPX turned out to be completely different from all the awful rumors I have heard about them. Oh well, better late than never.

  6. What responsibility does the late Pope Paul VI have in forcing Catholic families in the 1970’s to the “peripheries” who simply wished to worship at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as their ancestors did? “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful”. Pope Benedict XVI understood this. How pastoral is it today for Pope Francis & Cardinal Cupich to try and force broken families like the Bartels
    ( and there are hundreds of families with similar experiences) who have humbly submitted themselves to Holy Mother Church, and are now being told to go back to the “ peripheries” as they are sheep who “smell of incense” and we have no room for such sheep in the fold? It seems an ideological outcome is more important to certain churchmen than the salvation of souls? Ideology won’t matter in hell for those who chose it over Charity. How difficult is it to allow those priests & Bishops who wish to provide the Ancient Rite of the Mass and Sacraments to those faithful who pray this way?
    Not very, it’s been happening since 2007 when Pope Benedict sought “an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church”.
    The faithful never asked for the Mass to be changed in the 1960’s & 70’s, and now that recent polls show that 70% of Catholics attending Mass in the Novus Ordo don’t believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord why try to force those who do believe Out because they prefer the older liturgy?
    “In necessary things unity, in doubtful things liberty, but in all things, Charity”, St. Augustine of Hippo

    • It’s so ironic that VII was repeatedly billed as the “age of the laity,” which would entail listening to those of us n the pews, taking our views and wishes into account, etc., etc. If only that had been adhered to, especially in the reform of the liturgy which was first, last and always a top-down, force-fed clerical imposition for which the laity were not consulted and the anguish of those – and there were many – distressed by the drastic changes were completely ignored. Instead, they were simply and repeatedly commanded to “obey.” But wait: Isn’t this the Age of the Laity? Again, OBEY! This did not have to be, and shouldn’t have been, and we unfortunately cannot escape the fact that it was the presumption and obstinacy of Paul VI that made it happen.

      • All very well to “hear the laity.” That’s why there are numberless Baptist sects. It’s every man his own Pope. Why bother to be a Catholic? Why have seminaries since we’ll just express our opinions and that’ll be quite adequate. It’s more complicated when we have a Pope dedicated to self glorification as well as tyranny. But the church has survived things as bad. How about Avignon? How about Alexander VI? In all this the focus is wrong. I know it’s simplistic, but putting our Lord and His Mother in the center of our lives spares us so much pain amidst the chaos. What else, Who else matters?

        • I’m not sure if you’re responding to my comment, but if you are, I don’t understand your point. Can you elaborate?

    • “How pastoral is it today for Pope Francis & Cardinal Cupich to try and force broken families like the Bartels ( and there are hundreds of families with similar experiences) who have humbly submitted themselves to Holy Mother Church, and are now being told to go back to the “ peripheries” as they are sheep who “smell of incense” and we have no room for such sheep in the fold? It seems an ideological outcome is more important to certain churchmen than the salvation of souls?”

      Could not have said it better myself, Doug.

      • Samton, many people don’t reject Christ in the eucharist these days. There’s no need to, since they don’t believe in His Real Presence to begin with.

    • Well, first of all, you don’t get to choose whatever liturgy pleases you. If you think you must, then you are a protestant. If your heart is in the right place, the Novus Ordo will never bother you at all, no matter how many screechy songs or goofy things are adopted within it. Because it delivers Christ to you each and every time, no matter what songs they sing. Do you think you can reject Christ when he is made present in front of you? If he is there, and you are all huffy because of the songs or the language or the style of the church, you have your priorities seriously screwed up.

      • The liturgy isn’t intended as a vending machine from which the laity get Christ. The liturgy is intended as a means of propitiatory sacrifice wherein the laity *offer to God* what is His due. We receive communion because it is the part and parcel of that propitiatory sacrifice.

        What makes the Novus Ordo such a mess is the very thing you yourself allude to: you can put as many “screechy songs or goofy things” in it, and pretend it’s okay, because after all, *we* get what we want out of it in the end.

      • And you must be oblivious to the fact that the Lord of beauty is our Great God. He demands, He deserves deep reverence, piety and silence and always–BEAUTY. Floor shows, strobe lights, hideous music and foolish, show off clergy deny this. In fact, they show contempt for the Holy Eucharist which should inspire overwhelming awe. Why do you think the Latin Mass parishes are growing so fast? Why do you think they are full of active families and bursting at the seams with children? Perhaps ugly doesn’t bother you. It is an offense to worship. Or haven’t you noticed?

    • The faithful never asked for the Mass to be changed in the 1960’s & 70’s, WELL SAID!!
      The real schismatics are the N.O.s who have infiltrated Holy Mother Church..

  7. Andrew Bartel’s search and discernment led him to return to the “conciliar” Church recognizing in it living (application of) scripture, tradition, and magisterium. Serial bashers of Pope Francis and rejectionists of the Vatican II Mass by appealing to dead (application of) scripture, tradition, and magisterium are unknowingly starting the journey in the opposite direction towards schism coupled with a budding sedevacantism clearly expounded in this open letter.

    • There’s a huge difference between “serial bashers of Pope Francis” and those who have given up on making any sense of his mixed messages and ridiculous assertions. I pray for the Pope – like I pray for other family members and friends who seem to be deeply confused about the basic teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church. I’ve begun wondering if he’d bipolar.

    • I have watched the papacy of Jorge Bergoglio. He has sought to “accomodate” those who do not accept RC teaching (thus alienating his own flock), each time failing to understand the meaning of the phrase “You are a people set apart” (Deut. 7:6-11) and the Lord’s warning “They will hate you for my Name’s sake” (Matthew 10:22), as well as His teaching “The road to eternal life is narrow” (Matthew 7:14). The RC Church does not exist to accomodate non-beievers, those given the opportunity to accept the teachings of Christ but reject it. The reason he has not been able to fulfill the rapprochement Paul VI and JP II is precisely because of his attitude of denying his flock for the sake of inclusion in the world. I can tell you I am appalled at what Bergoglio has done. Were I a juror on a panel deliberating Bergoglio’s behavior and fate I can assure you I would, with the knowledge of the inspired passages I have quoted here, have to sentence him to exactly where he deserves to be for all eternity– and it is not heaven.

      • V, Rev. Chrysostomos, although you always boldly display your title – V. Rev. – you seem reluctant to refer to the present Pope of the Church as Pope. Anyway, that is your problem.
        I believe that Pope, while welcoming sinners and tax collectors, is not accommodating any secular or non-Catholic teachings or values. Believe me, he is a very faitful Catholic whose understanding of Christian discipleship is profound. This is why he is so much more Christ-like in life than most of his detractors. I believe that it is his hope that by reaching out to these people some good things might happen. Do you remember what God told our first parents in the beautiful garden? Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Yes, we need all of mankind to be involved in this mission.

        • Believe me, he is a very faitful Catholic whose understanding of Christian discipleship is profound.

          If you say so …

          Any reasonably catechized eighth-grader knows this is utter nonsense. Faithful Catholics and, more to the point, faithful shepherds don’t persecute members of their flock and treat sacred doctrines like playthings.

        • Let us talk about fruit. At Matthew 7:15-23, Jesus speaks about the fruit of false teachers and of false teachings.

          Jesus died in order that all MAY BE saved; nevertheless, NOT ALL WILL BE saved. He teaches us to beware false teachings, and His fruit is ALWAYS good.

          Calling oneself Catholic, holding authority in high position in the Church does not guarantee that one speaks words which are good and true. St. Robert Bellarmine’s volume of some 400+ pages addresses papal teaching, when it is protected and true and when it’s false and in error. Not every Church authority preaches the Gospel according to Christ. Not all teach the sacred deposit of the faith as taught by the Church for millennia.

          Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians 11:1-4 and his first letter to Timothy, chapters 1, 4, and 6 contain lessons on true and false teachers. His second letter to Timothy, chapter 4, and to Titus 2:1 can enlighten the humble student. I wish you good reading.

          Finally, the love and fruit brought forth by the Very Rev. Chrysostomos is an unknown factor. Sure, he fails to idolize the pope to the standards of your ‘belief,’ but who are you to judge?

          • Nobody is judging the VERY REV Chrisostomos here, and definitely not me. Is it wrong for me to point out to him where he is wrong? Why is that upsetting you? BTW, I do not idolize Pope Francis. In many posts I have been quite critical. However, I do respect his special position in the Lord’s Church, and also his discipleship. I am aware that he is hated by many Christians just as our Lord was also hated by the righteous, religious people of his time.

  8. This article is a useful contribution at a time when the SSPX gets sorely tempting, and when traditionalists start to look right time and again. The problem with schisms is that they are much like like toothpaste, genies and Humpty Dumpty. We still haven’t healed the East-West split after a thousand years or so. In many ways, as the writer observes, the SSPX pays lip service to the papacy but in practice really doesn’t believe in it, warts and all.

    • Thank you, Mr.Bartel. I would only point out that there is no such thing as Feenyism not are the communities validly religious communities in Still River “traditionalist”. Furthermore they have the approval of their local bishop. Nor have they ever been associated with the SSPX.
      There are those who consider themselves Feeneyites but it’s something of their own making and not associated with the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who have always been faithful to the Holy Father and continue to be so.

  9. One has to agree with Rich. The 1962 Missel Clans are providing vital Perfusion to a body contaminated with freemasonic poison. That poison is designed to leave an empty shell. Unfortunately, the Roman Immune System is heavily compromised. The importance of that Perfusion is yet to be appreciated, as the Church suffers Argentinian fits of Apostasy. Immunocomprise will doubtless require a complete transfusion and angelic anti-modernists to recover. Beware of triumphant Malware 😉

  10. This reminds me of the traditionalist Catholic author and Canonist John Salza, who was a strong supporter of the SSPX. However, he is also a strong opponent of Sedevacantism (he actually wrote a book refuting it) and after studying the arguments of the sedes in order to better refute them, he came to the conclusion that their arguments were almost identical to those of the SSPX. He wrote a several essays on the website onepeterfive.com, which I strongly recommend.
    https://onepeterfive.com/against-sedevacantism-errors-supplied-jurisdiction/
    https://onepeterfive.com/does-the-sspx-have-an-extraordinary-mission/
    https://onepeterfive.com/the-sspx-is-transgressing-divine-law-reply-to-xavier/

  11. I grew up with Novus Ordo since I was born after Vatican II and had same experience as Mr. Bartel, where my parents were divided. Basically, in the conciliar church, everyone has the freedom to believe whatever they want to. The true teachings of the Church were mocked. Extraordinary Ministers didn’t even believe in the Real Presence, Abortion was accepted, regular Confession was mocked and discouraged, St. Paul was labeled a chauvinist, and there were so many other strange, false teachings. I can go on and on describing how dysfunctional it was. It’s still the same today after all these years and hasn’t even improved no matter where I move and which parish I go to. My mom even lost her faith and stopped believing in the Real Presence, thanks to the conciliar church. I just don’t recognize Catholicism there and don’t sense Our Lord there either. Now that I’ve been with SSPX for almost a year, I discovered we are all united in the Faith and not divided like it is in the conciliar church. We all believe in the same basic teachings of the Church. I thank God for Lefebvre establishing a place of unity, refuge, and sanity.

    • No, in the “Conciliar Church” you do not have the freedom to believe whatever you want. Sorry, that indicates you do not understand what this is all about.

      • And that’s why a Eucharistic minister who never believed in Real Presence can distribute Holy Communion for 30 years. Pro abortion activists can be Eucharistic Ministers also. That’s why they give Holy Communion to people like Biden but denied it to people like myself. Communion on the tongue is a problem for them but nothing else. I can go on and on to prove my point samton 911

        • So what? We are called to be faithful. It has no bearing on our soul if people sitting next to us are in error and living sinful lives and happen to be allowed in to Mass. You want to judge everyone around you and decide BY YOUR OWN AUTHORITY who can or can’t receive communion. IT’S NOT YOUR PLACE! Your job is to mind your own soul. Stop looking all around you. Focus on receivin the Eucharist.

          • Kelley J
            And it’s fine for them to judge me and deny me Holy Communion but that supposedly is not my business? And no, it’s not about looking at everyone around me. I was making a point about Catholics being able to believe whatever they want to believe in the Conciliar church and no judgement is placed on them but they’re quick to judge people like SSPX. You missed my point. It’s about hypocrisy AND scandal. And also I should add, about jeopardizing the faithful, leading them astray. You should care when there are major scandals surrounding you. people like you pretend they don’t exist. It IS my business when I’m forced to attend Novus Ordo with all the liturgical abuses right in front of me. So you might be totally insensitive to the abominations. Your senses may be deadened. Some of us are actually awake! Some of us are not in denial. It IS my business, especially if I go to Mass and they have weird entertainment of Amazon looking tribal dancers in the house of God with bowls of incense in their hands offering them up in opposite directions from the tabernacle. And I’m supposed to pretend that’s not diabolical? A normal person wouldn’t be able to sleep that night after a shock like that, especially when priests can explain it away with bad excuses. Is it not our business to defend the rights of God?

  12. And here we have detailed for us the excruciatingly painful fruits of the chaos wrought by the Catholic Church of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s when the Church hierarchs and the sheepish sheep accommodated themselves so well to the dominant culture. Instead of evangelizing the culture and proclaiming the fullness of truth in Jesus Christ, the Church instead was evangelized by the culture and fell for it lock, stock and barrel. Look at these accommodationists who promote homosexuality, the reception of Communion for the divorced and remarried, Communion for those who directly promote the killing of innocent human life in the womb, environmentalism, abortion tainted vaccines for everyone including children, etc etc. And the names associated with is accommodation: Bergoglio, Cupich, Tobin, McCarrick, Mahoney, etc, etc.

  13. I’m a convert in Australia after Anglicans by 4 votes in Synod decided to ordain women as priest. Each day we convert or we revert. I commend Meschler Sj Garrigou-Lagrange OP 3 Ages 2 vol Guardini Virtues and Prayer Kreft Paulj Glenn Tour and Introduction to Philosophy Dubay Fire etc J. Aumann OP Spiritual Theology. We all teach and listen and do but Prayer is primate most Popes say. They say St Thomas Aquinas is model of Faith and Morals and books on him and Aristotle’s Logic by Spangler are great. In Jesu Babe Mary’s icon bl us virus less Sts Jos Al Roche. Badde on Nanoppello and OL Guadelupe is awesome also as visit to Padua Loreto Assissi and Jerusalem. Latter mags in Loreto OL Pompei Contact CCS here all produce mainly error reports like Divine office if not at Mass as highest Act.

  14. It should be these publications produce mainly error free reports with or without Imprimatur. They produce sensitive sensible material that’s not vulgar like Modern media. I have the grace to study at Wagga St Vianney Seminary College and also rely on inspiration of St José and Escriva and Fatima for help in edifying

  15. After reading this I get the idea that the SSPX and Sedevacantist can be likened to Luther and the protestant revolution. They weren’t wrong in their belief that the Church and specifically the Pope were committing a grave error. Did they go about it in a way that didn’t fix the Church but instead caused unnecessary schism and heresy, Luther most definitely but to an extent yes even Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

    To put plainly Vatican 2 had it’s legitimate parts and the Novus Ordo mass is not one of them. It was the result of infiltration by both Freemasons and Communists into the Church. As they say, you can judge a tree by the fruit it bears. The Novus Ordo and the misuse of the Vatican 2 council has resulted in the complete degeneration of Western society. For examples you can look no further than these: the sexual revolution, feminism, legalized abortion and euthanasia, homosexual “marriage,” “trans-rights,” the disintegration of the nuclear family, globalization, BLM, anti-fascists, the climate change lie, the spread of atheism, paganism, humanism, and satanism. These are just to name a few.

    If you want proof of the office of the Pope slowly becoming anti-Pope then look no further than the syncratism of kissing the Quran, accepting statues of Buddha and placing them on the alter at a Catholic church, allowing worship of a pagen demon diety on the grounds of the Vatican and parading the idol around as well. The fact that they can’t get parishioners to come back after covid lockdowns and are actively attacking the TLM because that’s the parishes that are thriving and telling you to resist the spirit of the age and the abortion derived vaccines.

    Now what Luther and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre should of done was what Saints who saw the Church and Pope going astray had done for centuries. They should of become a doctor of the Church, respecting the Popes authority while at the same time correcting their error. Staying in communion with the Church and Magisterium while simultaneously admonishing their mistakes and sins with charity.

    To claim the Tridentine mass is dead application of Scripture is to deny the eternal life that it brought to countless Saints before the Novus Ordo mass. If you don’t believe the Novus Ordo is a protestant watering down of the Catholic mass go to multiple types of protestant services then the Novus Ordo mass (both conservative and liberal) then the TLM. You’ll see a stark difference in many things. The most obvious of which is the anthropomorphic change. Is the mass said to offer Christ to God the Father at the benefit of the laity there to witness the offering or is it a celebration of humanistic and self aggrandizement while Jesus waits to be handled and profaned by people who don’t even believe his flesh is the Eucharist.

    I am a cradle Catholic and i can assure you I would of been sent to hell if my wife hadn’t led me to the TLM. I lived a lukewarm Catholic life and that was a direct result of the poor catechism i recieved by my Novus Ordo parents and the Novus Ordo churches i attended. Do I believe the Novus Ordo Masses are invalid, no. They are one change away from being so though. If you don’t believe me then look into the rumblings that Pope Francis is planning to change the words of consecration.

    To surmise: the traditional movement should of been like the doctors of the Church, the Novus Ordo mass and misuse of the recent Vatican Councils have led to the problems we are experiencing today as True Catholics, the Novus Ordo Mass is barely valid and the TLM has the true fullness and completeness of the sacrifice of the Mass, there has been a line of Orthodox Popes and heretical Popes (or at least in grave error) since Pope John XXIII. Do I claim the Seat of Peter was empty, no. Do I believe certain Popes were elected not by the Holy Ghost but by dubious men trying to destroy the Church from within, yes most definitely.

    • Almost all of this is pure nonsense. You seem to have believed all the propaganda that the SSPX has given you. Your stuff about accepting the statues of Buddha is totally wrong. Yes, I know you have been told that stuff wherever you get your information, but just be aware that these breakaway sects like the SSPX, always lie a lot to get new people into their clutches.

      Christ is in the Novus Ordo mass. That is all you need to know. If you don’t like the Novus Ordo mass, it is almost always because of the lack of faith of the priest performing it, not because of the Novus Ordo itself. Christ is in that mass – who are you to reject him?

      The “Novus Ordo” does not have churches and it does not have teachings. If you did not get proper teaching at your parish, that has nothing to do with the form of the mass that they use and everything to do with the very low quality of priests. So focus on the priests. The form of the mass has nothing to do with it. Of course, the slant in the SSPX will be that everything bad is because of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo. But that is false, false, false. But since they are protestant, they have to justify their rejection of the one true church somehow, and that is how they do it.

  16. Mr. Bartel’s family situation is sad, and it’s clear that many of the attitudes within SSPX/Sedevacantist circles are at least partially responsible. I also think he’s right to recognize the holiness and beauty present in the “Novus Ordo” Church (to use the term many traditionalists use). That holiness and beauty is clearly there and to deny it shows ignorance, whether intentional or not.

    That being said, there’s a big elephant in the room. Why do SSPX/Sedevantist communities exist today? It’s not like a bunch of people just decided to randomly take a path divergent from the one being taken by the larger Church. *Something* happened, and an honest assessment shows that much of what is promoted as Catholicism in today’s Church is divergent from what was promoted as Catholicism in the past (as just the latest example, see the “Synod on Synodality”).

    Like I said, Mr. Bartel rightly recognizes the good in today’s conciliar Church, but what does he suggest we do about the bad? Ignore it? Try to explain it away? He says that “recognize and resist” is essentially the same as sedevacantism, but if we are not to resist errors coming from Church leaders, then what? We’re not talking about minor issues, either, but fundamental ones like the reception of Holy Communion.

    While there is clearly a danger of setting oneself up as his own pope among traditionalists, there is also a danger in blindly following every dictate of today’s Church as part of the “living magisterium” as well. We should rightly lament the small number of people who leave the Church from the traditionalist angle, but we should not ignore the millions of people who have left the Church from the modernist angle because error has been allowed to run rampant. That is what dominates today’s Church and that is what most traditional Catholics are trying to resist, even if some sadly lose their moorings in the process.

    • Thank you for that explanation, Eric. I left the conciliar church after 50 years for serious reasons. I can’t tell you how difficult it was going from one parish to another searching for a sane community but feeling like I was just being transferred from one insane asylum to another. It just made sense to leave, and I didn’t feel like I could continue making excuses and explaining away things that were clearly diabolical. The truth is that the SSPX desires unity. We are not the ones who don’t want unity. We are simply not welcome. Everyone else though seems to be welcomed. It reminds me of how progressive leftists chant the mantra about being “inclusive” but yet we all know how they exclude Christians. That is the hypocrisy of it all.

      • Thank you for this. We began attending the SSPX services during the COVID crisis because they seemed to be the only ones who really cared about the flock. We met at a fairgrounds for in-car Masses which our bishop could have done since we always complied with government mandates. But we were abandoned. After the churches reopened we considered the debt of gratitude we owed to the SSPX and continue to attend for Sunday Mass. The story here is compelling about one man’s personal experience, but there are many who could tell equally compelling stories about the family disasters caused by the post Vatican II errors and liturgical abuses. I have my eyes open, but will continue to attend the SSPX church. The TLM might very well be nothing but a nostalgic memory if not for Archbishop Lefebvre.

    • Eric, I’d add that, while the “holiness and beauty” of the NO can be there, it usually isn’t, as it is celebrated in the great majority o churches at present. As I’ve often noted here and elsewhere, just try and see if you can persuade any local parish to allow the NO to be celebrated in Latin with chant, polyphony and the solemnity ordinarily associated with the EF High Mass. The hostility I’ve encountered when making such a request is indistinguishable from the vitriol you get when requesting the EF, at least prior to the Pope’s punitive motu proprio of last July. And it’s not just Latin: the Roman Canon has all but disappeared, and the answer is again NO when you request that it be used even occasionally in English, once again, that’s IN ENGLISH. Same answer: it’s “too pre-VII.” It’s that kind of arrogant obstructionism that has to be at least a part of what makes so many “rad-trads” what they are.

      • “The hostility I’ve encountered when making such a request is indistinguishable from the vitriol you get when requesting the EF”

        I’ve encountered it first hand. And I know priests who have been removed and reassigned for trying it, even when they can identify a large cohort of parishioners who want it.

    • Mr. Sammons,

      I would not say that “Mr. Bartel’s family situation is sad”.
      I would say that it IS messy, YET beautiful and complete.

      Matthew Kelley’s new book, Life is Messy, offers some insight:
      “The Japanese have a beautiful artform called Kintsugi. It is a form of ceramics, and I have been meditating on it for the past several years. In our disposable culture, if we break a vase or a bowl, we throw it away and buy a new one. This simple act allows us to maintain the illusion that life is not messy. It plays into our delusion of perfection. But life is messy, perfect is a myth, and the wisdom of the Japanese art of Kintsugi has much to teach us. When a vase or bowl is broken, artists gather up the broken pieces and glue them back together. Though it is how they put them back together that is steeped in wisdom and beauty. They mix gold dust with the glue. They don’t try to hide the cracks. They own them, honor them, even accentuate them by making them golden. They celebrate the cracks as part of their story. This is a beautiful lesson. They don’t pretend that the vase was never broken. They don’t pretend that life is not messy.”

    • SSPX communities exist because some people will always disagree with the church on something. After Vatican I, a splinter group formed saying the church had no right to declare the doctrine of infallibility, and they formed their own church.

      The devil will always lead people away from the one true church. And some people will always follow him into a new Protestant church, because of pride.

      What to do, given the huge mess that has befallen the church today?

      Well, the FIRST thing you do is, you do not leave the church, form a schismatic group of cultists, who basically worship Archbishop Lefebvre. That is the very last thing you do. You work to reform the real church. You do not break away. You do not start insane little theological nitpicking struggles, you do not form an entirely different magisterium – as the article says. The SSPX runs around and, in my opinion, lies and misleads all the time, slandering numerous popes, misrepresenting Vatican II, etc.

      Whatever you do, you don’t do what the SSPX has done

      • Samton911, your total dishonesty is disturbing. SSPX does not worship anyone but God, the Holy Trinity. How awful it is to make an accusation like that. You have no shame! Also, SSPX does recognize the pope and that’s why we pray for his intentions every Sunday. I have been attending for almost a year and they are the most humble and kind folks I’ve ever come across in my life. I don’t know what your problem is! Why do people like you have such hatred of others wanting to worship differently from you, to worship the same way the Saints did? Why is that so wrong? No one can explain that to me!

  17. I guess the SSPX won’t have to worry any more about priests in communion with the Roman Catholic Church celebrating the Tridentine Mass.

  18. Everybody seems to be losing the way; and his way. But our faith is not like that. It’s an important consideration because as the world goes forward in its novelties things won’t necessarily resolve properly and in all truth.

    SSPX is in an on-going dialogue and a somewhat reconciled relationship with the Holy See. I believe the “openness” of it should be respected; in other words, this or that thing shouldn’t be used to “nail” them in some captive state.

    If I can offer a personal general reflection about Lefebvre, I always felt that if a right insight into Lefebvre is absent, he will not be understood as should be and the best he had to offer would continually be neglected/contorted.

    https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/11/pope-personally-calls-traditional.html

    https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2022/01/the-radical-claim-and-fatal-flaw-of-tc.html

  19. It’s refreshing to hear that John Paul II played a positive role in your spiritual journey. He was always hated by the Left, but now the Right seems to hate/despise him too. The light of his encyclicals is needed more than ever before as a remedy to Bergoglio. Bergoglio has succeeded in pushing people towards two extremes. He is a brilliant divider.

    I hope that your witness and journey will speak to others who have gone down the self-righteous path of a traditionalism that indeed ends up becoming essentially Protestant and lonely. Only humility will save the Church.

    • Peter, I certainly don’t despise John Paul II, but I do wish that he had been more attentive in his episcopal appointments, a roster that includes the likes of Mahoney, Bernardin, May, Daneels, Martini, Pilarczyk, McCarrick, Kasper, Trautman, Marx and….a certain Jorge Bergoglio who was decidedly not one of his admirers. He also seemed blind to the debasement of the liturgy which took place on his watch, often at his own Masses. Of course he produced documents, documents, documents documents and more documents, but what good was that if the many bishops he appointed were so hostile to them, including the present Pope? And amid all of this, he never ceased in his incessant soaring praise of VII, as if everything had turned out exactly as we all had hoped?

      As one of his one-time fervent admirers, it took me a very long time to come to this conclusion, since I basically wanted so much to believe that things were exactly as I hoped they would be when JP II was elected in 1978. But to continue to believe as I did would have been manifest self-deception, and I finally had to face the truth that I had for so long sought to rationalize or avoid. Not where I wanted to be at all, but there was no way to avoid it.

    • In comments sections on the internet, you can always tell the SSPX people because they bash JP II and accuse him of all sorts of terrible things. This is because they are infuriated that JP II excommunicated their cult leader, Lefebvre.

      • Samton, as I’ve told you many times previously, I have nothing whatsoever to do with SSPX. I’m the assistant organist and cantor, member of the Knights of Columbus, CCD and RCIA instructor in a regular diocesan parish in the diocese of Metuchen. What is the difficulty in understanding that?

      • Samton911, I criticized what JPII did decades before I even knew of the existence of SSPX. So you think we can’t criticize what he obviously did? But you have no problem criticizing those who are scandalized by such abominations? So we aren’t allowed to defend God? You deny things you see on video with your own eyes. Are you blind? That doesn’t necessarily mean I dislike him. I appreciate other things he did but still think an apology for the scandals would have been appropriate.

  20. The writer and his family make a critical mistake, seeking Truth in a manmade structure and involving themselves in all the manmade whackadoodle schisms and ideas, where they should have simply seen themselves as faithful Catholics seeking beautiful and contemplative worship with other seekers.

    You can find them scattered thinly throughout all congregations, SSPX, FSSP, Novus Ordo…just as the majority in all the above are still concentrated upon empty superficialities, such as his family went through.

    How much time did his family, or does any other family of any congregation, spend in silence and loving attentiveness to their creator?

    A more traditional form of worship is superior for fostering that interior life, but only if that is followed. There is no salvation apart from interior union with God. Not in mantillas, incense clouds, stand/sit/kneel, sign of peace hugfests, or modern art dance or up-to-date music and rap mass.

  21. I take it that this author, in returning to the conciliar Church, now submits to Francis’ “magisterial” teaching that those in objectively adulterous relationships can receive absolution and Holy Communion with no intention to refrain from adulterous sexual relations.

    I recognise that there are major problems within the world of traditionalism, but such is clearly the result of the doctrinal chaos that has plunged so many into confusion. To this day, one can find published on the Vatican website, a prayer offered by John Paul II for the protection of Islam. This is one of the many reasons why you will be silenced in the novus ordo milieu if you even suggest praying for the conversion of non-Catholics.

    I eventually decided to scrap the legalist arguments against the SSPX and recognise that God has used Lefebvre to provide a life line for the faith of millions of Catholics. I could either attend one of the many local diocesan parishes where the faith is completely obscured by a silent apostasy, or I could find refuge with the Society. Canonical, legalistic unity is just not worth raising children in an environment that will certainly encourage them to abandon the unity of faith, as the last half century clearly demonstrates.

    Anyone attacking the SSPX in the age of Francis is either knowingly malevolent or an ignorant legalist.

    • Don’t be absurd. Just because someone returns to the one true church and abandons the cultic fake church that he was brought up in, does not mean he has adopted the silliness of Pope Francis, which pretty much everyone understands.

    • Sean – Read your response. It confirms the worst stereotypes of traditionalists. Freemasons? Satan? C’mon dude. He’s a brother in Christ writing about his real world experiences. Your response is uncharitable and smacks of cultish thinking.

      Sadly the trad world is full of Masonic conspiracy theories and anti-semitism. In fact, Bishop Williamson is even on record denying and/or minimizing the Holocaust. I don’t understand why traditionalism gives birth to such idiocy and ugly conspiracy theories.

      • Andrew, St Maximilian Kolbe in his 2 volumes collected writings explains that he witnessed freemasons marching through the streets of Rome 13 May 1917 crying Satan will rule in the Vatican. His investigations proved to him that WW1 had been orchestrated in a Swiss meeting by French and German Luciferian freemasons. The aim from the outset was to exterminate 19 million Catholics and break the father to son chain. He has dates, names. This is no conspiracy theory. It is simply a fact that the vainqueur indoctrinates the youth with myths… that means you, my friend.

  22. It’s absurd to label the SSPX schismatic simply for wanting to worship the same way the great saints have worshiped. Seriously? The faith is the same as it always has been so what’s the problem? Eastern Catholics have a different liturgical worship. Is that a problem? I grew up in the conciliar church and was part of it for 50 years and have constantly witnessed heretical teachings and other abominations there. I too have many family members in the conciliar church and there is no unity in the faith among them. The same holds true for the bishops and priests. Their actions speak louder than words in revealing what they actually believe. People are starting to notice the lack of charity towards the SSPX. It’s senseless to cast them off like lepers for no legitimate reason. The SSPX desires unity the same way our Lord desired it. It’s the Popes and bishops who have no interest because they are so full of hate. There is no other explanation I can think of.

    • Nobody accuses them of being schismatic for wanting to use the TLM. However, most people do realize there is something really wrong with the SSPX, who has basically said that they are the true magisterium of the church, and everyone else is wrong. Look, when the pope has to excommunicate a nutty bishop because that bishop thinks HE is the pope and can appoint his own bishops that is a sign your hero is really a goofball.

      • Samton911 knows nothing about SSPX. They recognize the Pope but also understand he has no authority to endanger the flock with some of the nonsense we see. We do have a right to disagree on some common sense issues.

      • Samton911, Lefebvre had no choice and didn’t want to do what he did. He had a responsibility towards the flock. And I am grateful he preserved the TLM. For you to think that’s such a crime is bizarre! You criticize something so small but you give a pass to the serious offenses committed by church leaders.

        • Boyd, I was a member of the SSPX for roughly nineteen years, and I can see that you display many erroneous notions that the group has indoctrinated you with, which they did to my family and me. It took a great deal of catechism re-reading, praying to God with an open, honest heart to show me where the real Catholic Church is, and much critical thinking on my personal journey out of the group.

          They “recognize” the Pope, but they do not OBEY him, nor does the Pope recognize them. Just because they may have the qualifications to be in a group, doesn’t mean they are if the group’s leader doesn’t allow it. That is, after all, the essence of a visible hierarchy and being in communion with it.

          Lefebvre DID have a choice; it’s called free will. He freely chose to disobey the Pope by consecrating bishops without Rome’s approval. There was no emergency; Rome was willing to allow one bishop for the continuation of the group and preservation of the TLM. He subsequently failed to trust Rome and God. The Catholic Church is indefectible and protected by Christ in a VISIBLE way until the end of time. The Church saves us, we don’t
          save the Church. By thinking the Pope was endangering the flock, and acting on the error that he himself somehow knew better than JP II, he excommunicated himself according to Canon law. That is the sin of false pride, and not the material of which saints are made.

          The SSPX has continued to run false narratives regarding the New Mass, Vatican II, and anyone openly in communion with Rome. They fail to remind people that many souls went to hell during the time the TLM was the only form of worship pre-Vatican II. Instead, they hide behind Catholic beliefs and use the Latin Mass as their tool to make Rome the scapegoat for the Church’s problems. It’s classic Protestantism at its finest.

          • Wow! Thanks for this post in which you clearly express the troubles you had and the realization of the truth that set you free.

  23. Excellent piece. Thank you for your honesty. I think you make many excellent points.

    My struggle is with where to go, what to do? The SSPX has some serious issues BUT so does the mainstream Church. It’s almost like these days one has to pick the least damaging option. It’s so depressing.

    I don’t even know what “being in full communion” means anymore. For example, German bishops who promote actual heterodoxy are “in full communion” but those who want the TLM are persona non grata? Pope Francis literally mocks Catholic who want to follow Church teaching. He calls us names all the time.

    It makes no sense, and at a certain point the whole thing will collapse under the weight of its own absurdity. I’m not a TLM person. I just want to go to a reverent Mass and follow the teachings of the Church as outlined in the Catechism, but in today’s Church that makes me rigid etc. the cognitive dissonance is too much, that is why people go to the SSPX. I’m not sure what I’m going to do. But if being “in communion” is meaningless then all options are on the table.

    PS: I was very angry and upset to learn that the one thing the SSPX has in common with the mainstream Church is it’s ability cover up abuse. Shameful. If the SSPX wants to be taken seriously it cannot fail in this most basic and obvious moral issue. No cover ups!!!!

    • I think you’ve been listening to too many Church Militant programs. Much of their attack on the SSPX is dishonest. We’re recorded many of them on my blog. LesFemmes-thetruth. We have an entire page on Church Militant. They have smeared the SSPX with non-credible witnesses, distortion of fact, loaded language, etc. I’m sure there are abuse cases in the SSPX as there are everywhere, but they have used tabloid journalism which is completely untrustworthy.

      • Mary Anne – I’m very sorry to say, but you’re wrong. Abuse and cover up has happened in the SSPX. Please don’t make the same fatal error of what countless of well meaning (but very misguided) Catholics have done before you: protect guilty priests and an institution at the cost of victims and the truth. If you care about the SSPX and the many good priests/religious in the Society, and above all the victims and innocents in their care, you’ll want the SSPX to be transparent and ruthless in rooting out the cancer of abusive priests and religious. Abusive priests will utterly destroy the SSPX and, more importantly, hurt countless of innocents.
        Don’t be a “useful idiot” for abusers and manipulators. Sadly, I see SSPX whistleblowers and victims disbelieved and even villainized. It’s awful and shameful and does lend credence to the impression that the SSPX has cultish tendencies and will protect the institution above all else.

      • Nonsense. If there is one thing I can say after studying the SSPX now for many years, it’s that they lie. They lie a lot. And they always attack people who expose the goofiness that is the SSPX. I might not agree with Church Militant on much, but they approach the SSPX from a Catholic perspective, and they basically have it right. The SSPX are never to be trusted. I wish that were not the case, I would love to go to their TLM services. But I will never go to a place who attracts you with the mass, then subtly starts underminng your faith in the Catholic church by telling you lots and lots of lies.

        • Samton911, interesting! It looks like you’re projecting again. I am grateful Lefebvre preserved the TLM. He was thinking primarily about the needs of the flock. Why is that such a crime? It seems like an act of love to me. You view such a small issue as a crime while ignoring the serious offenses committed by many church leaders. Bizarre! Get your priorities in order!

  24. I may sound like a Protestant or something but lately I’ve put away all the theology, syllogisms, debates etc and just sat down with the New Testament in a readable translation. It’s so refreshing. Like drinking straight from the source. Try it. It immediately cuts through all the fog in both the Church and the world.

    PS: loving the Good News translation. It’s readable. It also has an imprimatur.

    • All translations have their good points and their bad ones. There is no perfect translation. Readability is nice, but it can sometimes be achieved at the expense of accuracy. The solution is to compare a variety of translations, to try to get at what the authors are saying. Among Catholic translations, the best ones are the Confraternity Version and the RSV Catholic Edition, but there are others that are worth reading. The only translation I would toss into the wastebasket is the so-called “Living Bible”, which is a very tendentious work.
      And I wouldn’t worry about “sounding Protestant”. There are worse things in the world, something that the more thick-headed type of Catholic has a hard time grasping.

  25. Only a Church containing the fullness of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty could bring back a family like this. Likewise, only evil could tear them apart. We know too many similar bleeding sous. I thank this author for his story and pray it will continue to lead others.

  26. As a traditionalist, the kinds of problems Andrew and his family ran into in SSPX communities have long been a concern of mine, a point of hesitancy about giving into my frustrations with a painfully corrupt (morally and doctrinally) establishment Church in trying to keep my access to traditional sacraments and formation life.

    With each passing year I become more sympathetic to Archbishop Lefebvre, and why he acted as he did; and yet I can also understand why he delayed doing what he did until 1988. Staying under the canonical umbrella can come at a high price (and the FSSP pays it, every day), but so too can moving outside of it. Marginal movements attract marginal personalities, and this certainly happened with the Society after 1988; and the defection of more moderate voices (FSSP, Le Barroux, Campos, IBP, Transalpine Redemptorists, and any number of individual priests, religios, and laypeople like Andrew) only magnified the influence of the marginals. This was especially true, alas, in North America in the 1990’s and 00’s, which for many years was under the leadership of Bishop Richard Williamson and Fr Peter Scott, who unfortunately helped shape and further some genuinely unhealthy pathologies in SSPX communities. Not that there weren’t (or aren’t!) good, well formed, even holy priests and laity in the Society, because there absolutely *are*. But the inevitable insularity is at risk for becoming unhealthy, especially once more marginal personalities achieve a critical mass in a community. And this cannot only drive off more psychologically balanced people – and it has, in droves (my old Institute of Christ the King oratory was packed with such refugees) – but also make it hard to attract and convert new ones, too.

    Unfortunately, back to the margins seems to be where those in charge in Rome seem to want all of us to go, no matter how docile we may have been to the requirements and rules of the hierarchy. I will never criticize those who go to the SSPX or some other, independent existence in order to ensure their spiritual integrity; I’m glad they are out that as a lifeboat, or as a friend of mine puts it, “the last knot on the rope.” But I fear what it may portend for the social and psychological health of traditional communities going forward, if this purge is not arrested.

    • Richard, you always have the most well reasoned comments. I think most people would like to be sympathetic to the SSPX. But after close examination, you realize they make as many mistakes as any other alternative. And, there is something so deeply rooted in the SSPX that makes it impossible to really adhere to what they say. In the end, they are simply Protestants, no matter what they say. I think we are all going to be treading water for a very long time. Oh, well, I would rather do that than get into what I think is a lifeboat, only to find it is the mouth of a shark.

  27. I am Catholic. I attend both Novus Ordo and Tridentine Mass as well as Byzantine. I think the SSPX can come close to being Jansenist. I don’t want to give up the Tridentine Mass. here in Detroit we have a Bishop who is very generous.

    • Judith, I just looked up the beliefs of Jansenism to find out if you are being honest and I’m sad that you have to resort to lying. I have not been taught any of those crazy beliefs. What a ridiculous claim!

    • Respectfully, Judith, your approach won’t carry. Lefebvre himself reacted against Jansenism. SSPX have his example and must be faithful; all of us too.

      Jansenism issue is interesting though from the perspective that it involves a component sterility / religious rigidity. “Neo-Pelagian” would be redundant.

      If the Holy Father is trying to get at something else with “neo-Pelagian” this still has to be clarified I think. It’s unfair if it all falls on SSPX!

      In the meantime other things are let to slip through – Jansenism, legalized homosexuality, pro-life labelled “narrow-minded”, rubber-stamped divorce, etc.

  28. Mr. Bartel writes: ” And only the post-conciliar Church exercised the fullness of all three rules of faith: Scripture, Tradition, and a living Magisterium with Christ’s own authority. I wasn’t fully aware of this latter rule of faith until I began to study the traditional constitution of the Church. I had been given the impression that we had a Magisterium, which I now understood were merely past acts of the Magisterium, and that this guiding role had in fact been usurped by Archbishop Lefebvre, the SSPX, and any person or group that claimed to have the fullness of truth. I had been forced to learn the hard way that the Traditionalist movement only had “little magisteriums” with self-delegated authority, usually in conflict with other little magisteriums.”

    It is not only the SSPX that replaces the living Magisterium with “past acts of the Magisterium”. We can see this also among those who claim to be faithful to the Church, yet who set up the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” as THE Magisterium. One example is Fr. David Wilton, CPM, Superior of the Fathers of Mercy. In a homily o nFeb. 28, 2021, he said: ““And it’s very important to pay attention to the true Magisterium of the Church. There are false Magisteriums of the Church, teaching heresy. How do we remain faithful to the true Magisterium of the Church? This is my suggestion: pick up the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” Read it, Get to know it Form groups that are going to read it together. Get to know it. That is how you’re going to know what the true Magisterium of the Church teaches. Take up the encyclicals of the various Holy Fathers. Read them. That is what the Church teaches…If [someone] comes up to me and says something that is contrary to the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, I have every right to say to that person, ‘I’m sorry, but the Church does not teach that.” He makes no mention of the role of the Pope in the Magisterium, even though the Catechism says: ““Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a “definitive manner,” they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals.” (#892)
    Fr. Wilton’s homily can be watched at https://youtu.be/PBgpUWouMdE

  29. “{This allowed a period of relative peace in our family, as my parents did not completely disavow each other’s positions, and they were united in their rejection of the “conciliar Church”’

    Andrew, you could clearly see that very division here. A small section who, still remain in the Church that they despise or denigrate, do their best to hog some Catholic sites. I am glad you enclosed ‘conciliar Church’ with quotation marks because we should never refer to the true Church founded by Jesus on a “Rock” as anything but the Church.
    I am glad you saw the Light and left the group which Cardinal Burke says is in schism. Like all Protestant groups, these people blame the Church and the Pope.

  30. The period surrounding and since Vatican II have seen tremendous upheaval and confusion which have caused immeasurable heartache for many on all sides of a number of issues. Though I have compassion, I cannot accept you and your family’s confusion and pain as proof that the SSPX is bad or wrong or in schism when many in authority in the Catholic Church have said that the SSPX is NOT in schism. If pain and confusion experienced in any group were proof of that group’s illegitimacy then we would all have to live as hermits because pain and confusion are suffered by people everywhere.

  31. I have read the article, and I have to say that it is anecdotal and lacking in a serious examination of the problems, which are occasionally addressed briefly. It also ignores the ‘elephant-in-the-room’, as it were, which caused the Society’s irregular situation: the rupture in doctrine, liturgy, and practice following the Second Vatican Council. The author claims that the Traditionalist movement “has an inherently divisive trajectory”, but the division was caused by the actions of the Popes in their innovations. As generally Traditionalists love the truth, it is unsurprising that there is division between them concerning what we should do in this unsure situation. Who caused this obscuration? Ultimately, Paul VI and the Modernists.

    The article is also more of an attack on the Traditional movement in general than the SSPX. I would also say that a long article of that format is not a good medium for addressing the issues raised, especially as it does not follow a clear Thomistic layout. It addresses far too many issues than can be diligently addressed, mixes it in with a kind of biography, and only uses limited syllogistic reasoning.

  32. This is an example of intellectual curiosity causing havoc. What do all of these nuances have to do with practicing one’s faith? You go to Mass and Confession, go home and pray your rosary and live your life! All the politics of the rest that was described is a useless exercise. That a family was torn apart is a sure sign of error and likely demonic influence.

  33. I would love a Church where Latin rite Catholics can choose to go to a St Paul VI liturgy or St Pius V if they fancy it. I am no fan of Pope Francis channeling his inner Pope St Paul VI on the Old Mass but schism is worst. The Church Fathers with one voice say with St Augustine “There is no excuse for Schism even upon the admission the Church is being ruled by wicked and sinful men”.

    Enough of the SSPX. If they would have just come home then Pope Francis would have less Ammo. Just saying….

  34. I think it always comes from a matter of perspective. I came from where he left and as always you have to pick your problems. My family was broken up, destroyed, from my aunts and uncles to my parents all with the advice from where you are going. Ask yourself a question: if your wife were to think of leaving you and went to that chancellery and she asked for advice what advice would she be given? If you haven’t looked around I think you should. It’s the same place I went to be a seminarian only to discover, even in conservative circles, I was shamed for my devotions and the reading of the saints. Essentially, there is no good solution. Just picking the least of your problems.

  35. I’ll stick with Father Golaski O.P. and Father Z on this one. I pray you listen to Dr Taylor Marshall. Sorry I just don’t agree with you Mr. Bartel. You had the Latin Mass, for us deprived of it, we would have loved to be in your position. I have only been to a handful of Latin Masses and I pray there are more offered and that one day I can attend the TLM daily and exclusively like Saints of the past.

  36. So a person who attended the SSPX all his life came to the realisation that his fellow travellers were subject to probation like every other baptised Catholic that ever lived? Let’s be honest here, the internal problems of the SSPX have nothing to do with its raison d’être and everything to do with the humam condition. Yes there are problems within the SSPX but these days you take you must choose which problems you want to live with: those that put to the test your growth in holiness, or those that pose a direct threat to your faith and morals. You’ll come up against the former anywhere you go, but you’ll only be exposed to the latter in the so called ‘main stream’ Church (take your pick).

  37. Maybe people argue about the wrong council. Maybe Vatican One should be examined. Would Catholics be better off following the Orthodox model where churches are divided on national lines and the leader is considered “First Among Equals” but in reality a figurehead?

  38. When I attend the TLM with my family at our local SSPX chapel, we have the opportunity to receive the sacraments without the social and political nonsense associated with our Diocese. For this, I am truly thankful. Deo Gratias for Archbishop Lefevre and his little society of good priests.

  39. This reads more like an account of the disfunctions of his family and their various theological/philosophical predilections than a rational and coherent indictment of the Society of St. Pius X. Have there been individuals in the Society who are off the rails? Sure. I lived and worked with the Society for several years and had some serious issues with some of them. But you can find people who are off the rails everywhere, and I would dare say that there are plenty in the mainstream Church and society at large.

  40. Porter Girl, thank you for your concern and kindness. I don’t believe in blind obedience to a pope when it contradicts logic and reason. God gave me an intellect for a reason. I just don’t see the big deal of him consecrating bishops if, as you say, they would allow for one anyway. And what were they waiting for? For him to die? Sounds suspicious. JPII committed far worse offenses than that, like Assisi and kissing the Quran. Failing to trust a pope is not nearly as bad. I don’t understand why he couldn’t just forgive him and move on. Wouldn’t that be the charitable thing to do? But instead he cast them off as if they weren’t worthy of God’s mercy. Think about it, the popes are even forgiving of wicked bishops all the time, those who commit far worse offenses and are more disobedient. But they’re still accepted. It’s incredibly hypocritical. Why the double standard? Regarding your last paragraph, Catholics should be able to choose what form of worship is healthy for their spiritual life. Why is that a problem?

  41. Boyd, Catholics CAN choose which form of worship, which is why the Fraternity of Saint Peter was created. They are in full communion with Rome and exclusively offer the TLM. There are also many Eastern Catholic Churches with various rites one could pick, all united to Rome. We as Catholics must always be in communion with Rome. That doesn’t equal blind obedience. It doesn’t mean that one must let go of judging bishops’ actions, nor being outraged when pro-abortion politicians are given Holy Communion. But there is an element of surrendering our will to conform with what God has designed. He gave us the Church, with all its peoples’ failures. He promised to be with it until the end of time. We don’t need to wander off searching for it, it’s right there where He said it would be: gathered around Peter.

    • Porter girl, FSSP is being phased out by the Pope. Have you not been paying attention to what has been coming out of Rome the past year. Read the documents carefully. Plus, the bishop does not allow FSSP in my area. I don’t think you’re aware of the hostility bishops & many priests have towards trad people. Keep in mind, just when you think they have open hearts and appear to be unbiased, pay attention to their actions. There’s a lot of deception in the conciliar church.

    • Porter girl, look at what bishops did to FSSP in France & Mexico in the past year. No regard for all those parishioners who financially supported them all those years. They were just kicked out because of intolerance. The same thing happened to a So. Cal. community in 2006, when their TLM priest had to retire, the bishop intentionally appointed a hostile priest who was totally intolerant and told them it was sinful to kneel after the Agnus Dei, the sin of disobedience to his man-made rules (which you use as an argument in your previous comment as criticism of Lefebvre). There’s a local newspaper article about the story. Now bishops are using the recent documents & dubia as excuses to limit FSSP. What’s been happening in the past year vindicates Lefebvre showing you why he did not trust the Church leadership. It is naive of you to suggest in your comment that he should have trusted them when they have proven to be untrustworthy. I used to think the same as you.

      • Boyd, I do realize the TLM is being restricted, and I think it’s really a shame. But if you look at this in the context of history it may make more sense, rather than just looking at a snapshot in time.

        The FSSP was created immediately after Lefebvre’s 1988 consecrations and subsequent automatic excommunication. It was specifically designed for SSPX members, but also open to anyone, who were still attached to the TLM but wanted to stay in union with Rome (‘Ecclesia Dei’ is the Vatican document detailing this).

        The TLM became popular. Very popular. More than anyone really expected. It attracted younger people and many who never experienced it in its pre-Vatican II heydey, and many who were never “refugees” affiliated with the SSPX in the first place. What started as a temporary solution to help people eventually transition to the “New Mass” (i.e. older people dying out, former SSPX-ers eventually accepting the Novus Ordo) became more permanent.

        Fast forward to today, and I think the Vatican’s concern is that a division has been happening in many (not all) TLM communities whereby SSPX-type attitudes have infected otherwise devout people-they just don’t want to be associated with “mainstream” Catholics and there’s an air of snobbery in thinking they’re better than those “poor souls” in the “conciliar church” who “don’t know any better.” I have personally experienced this on occasion. I had those same attitudes myself. It’s characterized by a profound lack of charity.

        I think Rome is trying to eliminate these divisions by having only one form of Mass for the Latin rite, as Vatican II had originally intended.

        • Porter girl, FSSP parishes can only survive with a tolerant bishop but when he is replaced with some closed minded, hateful bishops they’ll end up like the communities mentioned in my previous post, expelled as castaways, since they have no protections. The conciliar church is full of backstabbers who break their promises. In the end they will have to make the same decision as Lefebvre. I’m just being realistic.

          • Boyd, we shall have to see what becomes of the FSSP and other TLM communities.

            Catholics know the One True Church exists with a visible hierarchy, cannot fall into error, and is indefectible until the end of time.

            Try visiting an Eastern/Byzantine Catholic Church. Their liturgies are very reverent, beautiful, and quite similar in feel to the TLM. Their Churches don’t seem to have the same distressing chaos that you describe in the “conciliar” church.

            Blessings to you.

  42. “Well, first of all, you don’t get to choose whatever liturgy pleases you. If you think you must, then you are a protestant.”

    ???

    The Eastern Catholic Churches have their own liturgies (Ukrainian, Greek,Maronite…etc) but they are all in full communion with the See of Peter.

    https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/the-rite-not-to-be-roman

    …and so are the Ordinariates…

    https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/how-an-anglican-bishop-becomes-catholic

    …I “choose” to go, at times, to the Ordinariate, which I find beautiful…

  43. I love the SSPX and belong to Our Lady of Sorrows in Phoenix. THese are good and holy men of God and I find it disturbing to consider them to be sedevacantists

  44. I went through a phase of dating Christian and religious but non-Catholic woman in my college years. Beyond the obvious heresies, each denomination had it’s veneer of pleasantries but often by the second or third social gathering the biting comments would ensue. “Oh, you’re (fill in the blank).”

    Thankfully God brought my Catholic wife into my life and the rest is history.

    To this end we have been fortunate to attend solid NO parishes. Due to kids, and life we haven’t been able to be super involved in parish life but have always found everyone welcoming and good people.

    However, we lived for a period at a parish which had both NO and TLM masses. I’m not trying to pick a fight and nor is this a commentary against the TLM but beyond the Mass, I felt like I was back at those non-Catholic churches. The Masses were beautiful but it was only a matter of time before the comments. “Oh, your wife works”, “Hmmm, you don’t homeschool?” “Well, I believe a man should…” It was a different world, and we weren’t in it.

    I don’t particularly like the direction the Church is taking either and believe the TLM should be allowed and celebrated. But let’s not kid ourselves that two churches don’t exist and schism is not occurring. To this end I understand where the author is coming from completely.

  45. Is division a work of Christ or a work of the antichrist? Answer: Mt 10:35, Mt 25:32

    I do feel for this young man and his family who have been through a great deal, and come out the other end united in Christ, through His cross. However, I disagree with his thesis that Traditionalism is the cause of division, an honest search for Truth will always bring the soul into conflict with mother and father, brother and sister etc because the sword of Truth cuts and divides by its very nature in order to reach the very heart of where the fullness of Truth is to be found which is revealed in a communion of love.

    So let us not be afraid.

  46. Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, 1813-1855, once said: “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” It gives me no joy to see that Mr. Andrew Bartel’s letter of December 26, 2021 seems to do both.

    His letter is an extensive collection of extremely negative and painful personal experiences that seem to have inflicted on Mr. Bartel great emotional anguish, doctrinal confusion, and spiritual turmoil. These experiences have left behind terrible scars that are now reflected by Mr. Bartel’s present state of mind.

    However, these experiences, while negative and painful, do not justify in any way his decision to join the members of the Modernist camp currently in control of the Church’s official structures. Their control, too, shall pass and holy prelates will one day return in full force.

    Fidelity to Catholic Tradition is not and can never be the cause of division within the Church. It is, rather, the source of the Church’s unity, vitality, and resiliency. It is the members of the Modernist camp who confuse, divide, and destroy the Church with their infidelities, ambiguities, and never-ending penchant for novelties.

    The best measure of performance is results. Or as Our Lord Jesus Christ put it: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Has Mr. Bartel forgotten that actions speak louder than words? That wolves in sheep’s clothing exist? That we should look at what the Modernists do, rather than listen to what they say? Since when do Modernists, regardless of how high they may have managed to climb in the Church, get to decide who or what is authentically Catholic? Since when do they who disobey Tradition get to impose their errors in the name of obedience?

    Didn’t Catholic Tradition build and fill churches? Hasn’t Modernism emptied and shut them down? Hasn’t Mr. Bartel seen the utterly staggering statistics renowned Catholic theologian Romano Amerio exposes and explains in his monumental work “Iota Unum,” published in 1996? Would Mr. Bartel deny that, since then, the crisis and the destruction in the Church has only gotten horribly worse?

    Why haven’t those pushing all the Modernist gimmicks and novelties of the last 60 years started their own Modernist denomination, instead of confusing, dividing and spiritually raping Catholics, pillaging and destroying the Church’s artistic and architectural heritage, while shamelessly plundering the Church’s resources and patrimony?

    Is this behavior truly worthy of supposedly decent, ethical, and moral individuals? Shouldn’t the Modernist have left the Church if they didn’t like what she believed, how she prayed, and what she represented? And what are Catholics faithful to the Magisterium supposed to do now? Close our eyes? Cover our nose? Plug our ears? Suspend logic? Play dumb and pretend we don’t see the frightening corruption, debauchery, and rot in plain sight? Really?

    Is so-called “respectability” so valuable as to purchase our complicity and silence? All because we miss our friends and our Novus Ordo pews? Seriously? And ignore and betray our informed Catholic conscience? Isn’t Christ, not Man, the one we should be worshiping and serving? Now do you understand what is at stake here, Mr. Bartel? You and yours are in our prayers.

    • “However, these experiences, while negative and painful, do not justify in any way his decision to join the members of the Modernist camp currently in control of the Church’s official structures.”

      Absolute rubbish. The Church is not “modernist’ but it definitely relevant in today’s world which is not Euro-centered anymore. It is true that pushy progressives on the one side and rigid ritualists on the other are harming our Lord’s Church. These groups want the Church to be as they desire it to be, but the Holy Spirit and the Rock, our Pope, will keep it moving along the narrow path.
      Adam brought death and destruction into our world by rejecting God’s Will (and by opting to go his own way with Satan’s help) but Jesus – the new Adam – brought Life and joy by successfully completing his mission. And to make the blessings contained in the New Covenant, our Lord established a unique family – the Church – in which the members are in union with Him. It is only because of this union that the blessings flow through Jesus to us. What I am saying is that our Lord established just one thing, namely, his Church. And, as Catholics, we believe in the special role that the “rock”, plays in this Church.
      We were not made for liturgy. Our liturgy is simply our response to our Lord and his loving, redemptive mission. Pope Pius V made Latin mandatory at a time when the Church was mostly in what was once the Roman Empire. That was the language of the people then. Now, in today’s world, the Church is different, mostly non-European, and so we need to acknowledge this beautiful feature.
      I believe that Andrew Bartel’s hurt was not due simply to liturgy but to the hatred and divisions that arose from the fanatical adherence to their favorite forms of the liturgy. I appreciate his view.

      • MAL’s absurd labelling of my comments as “absolute rubbish” is what is absolute rubbish. MAL distorts what I wrote and attacks straw men. Indeed, the Church is not and never will be Modernist, but it cannot be denied, as clear as it is, that today Modernists control positions of immense power in the Church. And they bully, marginalize, and persecute everything and everyone having to do with fidelity to Catholic Tradition and orthodoxy.

        It took nearly two millennia for the enemies of the Church to realize they could never successfully undermine the Church from the outside. From Nero to Napoleon, the Church’s enemies succeeded only in creating sympathy and martyrs for Christendom.

        This all changed in the mid-19th century, when clandestine societies pushing Modernist and Marxist ideologies hatched a plan to infiltrate and sabotage the Catholic Church from within. The objective was clear: from positions of power force Catholics, under pain of being disobedient, to disobey the Church’s beliefs, customs, prayers, liturgy, and Christo-centric worldview.

        When one looks around and pulls back the curtain on their diabolical plan, one notices how these enemies of Christ strategically infiltrated the seminaries, then the priesthood, then the episcopacy, and eventually the cardinal-electors all with the eventual goal of getting one of their own elected pope.

        So it is absolutely preposterous to so much as think that the maligned and persecuted Catholics who have remained faithful to the beliefs, prayers, liturgy and traditions taught and safeguarded by the Church for millenia can, somehow or someway, be denigrated as “disobedient,” “divisive,” or “schismatic.”

        The horribly endless apostasies, betrayals, scandals, corruption, and spiritual desolation plaguing the Church today are not caused by Catholics being faithful to Tradition, orthodoxy, and the restoration of all things in Christ, but rather by those who have fanatically betrayed Tradition, abandoned the Mass of Saints and Martyrs, dethroned Christ the King, and hoisted at the Vatican the gnostic and igalitarian Revolution’s colors instead.

        Had the Modernists currently scourging Holy Mother Church never persecuted Catholic Tradition, silenced sound doctrine, and suppressed the Mass of Ages, would the Church have ever needed saintly Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre to have valiantly founded the much persecuted, slandered and hated SSPX? Would Catholics even be having this conversation? Obviously not.

    • “Didn’t Catholic Tradition build and fill churches? Hasn’t Modernism emptied and shut them down?” Absolutely true.

      Pew surveys of beliefs and practices of nominal (predominantly NOM) Catholics show little difference between them and other secular Christians. Survey results specific to TLM attendees point to fervently held moral and doctrinally orthodox beliefs and practice. https://www.lifesitenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Traditional_Latin_Mass_National_Survey_v.2.pdf

      • Lifesite? This survey was done by the liturgyguy and not be Pew Research centre. This is a pro-TLM site. No wonder! I wonder if people were asked if they reached out to help the homeless, the poor and other disadvantaged people.
        Anyway, it is good to know that these people still have faith.

        • If only you had eyes to see. Pew did in fact do research just as my post states and just as LifeSite reports. The spirit which finds antipathy to LifeSite citations can review Pew surveys elsewhere.

          BTW, LifeSite is Catholic. It’s curious that one who often invokes the Holy Spirit recognizes neither the gift of natural truth nor supernatural Truth when gifted to her. One does walk naked in His sight.

        • Mal, why would they be asked if they “reached out to help the homeless, the poor and other disadvantaged people” if the topic is liturgical preferences? Sounds as if you’ve automatically written them of as lacking in charity.

          • Glen, sometimes questions can be loaded’ they can be worded to solicit certain answers. And this research was a “pew” survey conducted not by the well-known Pew Research centre but by a site dedicated to the TLM cause.

          • The Index of Forbidden Books now lists itself as officially off limits. If the posts had a brain they’d merit a thought.

  47. God is timeless. His Son is the Truth the Way and the Life. Keep your eye on the prize through devotion to His Blessed Mother.

    Many of the comments which have been posted remind me of one of the most famous quotations of all time: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Faith, Hope and Charity, these three, and the greatest is Charity — the love of God, first, and of our neighbour for love of Him.

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