Opinion: The spiritual capital punishment of faithful Catholics

The moral analysis of rejecting Vatican directives canceling the widespread celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is worthy of robust debate, adjudication, and repeated appeals for clarification.

Altar with chalice and Missal in the Basilica of St Nicholas in Rome (t0m15/us.fotolia.com)

The Vatican directive aiming to effectively eliminate the widespread celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Mass requires the cooperation of bishops and priests (Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes and “Responses to doubts” of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments). The Vatican action is the equivalent of spiritual capital punishment. It not only willfully marginalizes faithful Catholics devoted to the Extraordinary Form (EF), but it also places a wedge between the celebration of the Mass and segments of Sacred Tradition by eliminating the complementarity of the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms.

Of course, the Pope and the bishops have a right to regulate the celebration of the Sacraments. In 2007 Pope Benedict XVI wrote in Summorum Pontificum: “It is therefore permitted to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal, which was promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated [emphasis added], as an extraordinary form of the Church’s Liturgy.” The assertion was unexpected and provocative. Benedict’s legendary orthodox theological expertise and precision endows it with great weight.

Whether the Church has the authority to suppress an entire liturgical form (and whether Pope Benedict holds this view) is open for discussion. Since the sacred liturgy is an indispensable vehicle of Sacred Tradition, a presumed right to suppress an entire form seems far from certain. Few would deny that the post-conciliar Novus Ordo represents a significant repackaging of the Mass (and other rituals). Benedict was keenly aware of this sorrowful legacy and the ensuing liturgical ruptures from tradition. He attempted to heal them by urging “organic growth from existing liturgical forms” and “reform of the reform” — directing attention to the legacy of the Extraordinary Form. Summorum Pontificum is authoritative primarily because it removes any ambiguity associated with claims that the Church suppressed the EF.

The prayers of the EF and its widespread celebration preserve the Deposit of the Faith — lex orandi, lex credendi. Its continued celebration accentuates Pope Benedict’s maxim of “organic growth from existing forms.” The prayers of the Mass of innumerable saints preserve what Catholics believe. It’s not surprising that the doctrinal chaos that followed the Second Vatican Council correlates to the liturgical upheavals at the same time. Liturgical ambiguity and uncertainty have doctrinal effects. Poor liturgical translations – effectively remedied by Liturgiam authenticam – added to the confusion.

Obedience to Vatican decrees is the default response of a faithful priest. He is bound in conscience to obey just directives from ecclesiastical authorities. Obedience also binds Church authorities to Sacred Tradition and the moral law. Church authorities may reasonably regulate and tweak the celebration of the Mass. (An example of the gradual development of the Roman Canon – a beautiful homestead of Catholic prayers – was Pope John XXIII’s 1962 insertion of Saint Joseph into its litany of saints.) But bishops have no right to deny the faithful the sacraments.

The decision of the hierarchy to shut down all public Masses during the pandemic seems to illustrate the supreme power of bishops regulating the celebration of the sacraments. However, an increasing number of priests now reject, in good conscience, the exercise of that presumed authority because it deprives the faithful of their right to the sacraments. Many priests – and perhaps bishops – will consider repetition of a forced Mass shut down a grave injustice. (The sense of the Faith doesn’t need academic credentials.) Hence, disobedience to unjust directives may indeed express a priest’s obedience to the Church.

In an opinion piece in The Catholic Thing, Father Gerald Murray highlights the mean-spiritedness of the Vatican’s directives. Father Murray demonstrates that the mandates are cruel and incoherent. The reasons invoked for effectively suppressing the EF smear the reputations of the clergy and laity devoted to the EF. But most of those who participate in the Extraordinary Form do so peacefully, reverently, and with orthodox faith.

These liturgical directives could provide the foundation of future mandates hostile to traditional Church teaching. The (alas, expected) aggressive suppression of the EF by gay-friendly bishops has already begun. But the same bishops are more likely to overlook Novus Ordo liturgical abuse. Many bishops – particularly in Germany – propose “blessing” so-called LGBTQ unions (so far, with impunity). With the support of prominent prelates, Vatican approval of “synodal” same-sex blessings is no longer beyond the pale.

Hence, the new Vatican liturgical directives dislodge extensive swaths of the heritage of orthodox worship from Sacred Tradition and open the door to immoral innovations. So priests and bishops may face a crisis of conscience. With hindsight informed by the pontificate of Benedict, they may conclude they cannot cooperate with the attack on the sacred without sin.

Strategies may vary. There are reports of unresolved canonical questions. Honest and direct conversation is the stuff of authentic dialog. But habitual vindictive proclivities punish good-faith dialog. Hence, simply ignoring the problematic directives may be the better course. A bishop could craft a completely unintelligible policy governing the EF (like the USCCB holy day regulations) that concludes with, “When in doubt, the first rule of pastoral charity is the salvation of souls” (cf. c. 1752).

The Pope famously disdains “doctors of the law.” He tolerates divergent responses to Amoris Laetitia (and refuses to answer the Dubia). He frequently warns us of the danger of “rigidity.” These patterns suggest his teachings and directives do not bind in conscience or practice, and he doesn’t care. Perhaps the new directives are non-binding “discussion documents.” Who are we to judge?

Possibly, ecclesiastical authorities will treat the celebration of the Extraordinary Form like the myriad liturgical innovations and atrocities (remember “Clown Masses”?) that comprise ongoing post-conciliar liturgical chaos. If so, maybe priests openly celebrating the Old Mass have nothing to fear.

Archbishop Francis Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận, while imprisoned by the Communists, secretly celebrated Mass using the palm of his hand as a chalice and ciborium, violating most of the Church’s liturgical legislation. Nobody, except Communists, would object to his heroic devotion to the Mass. Under the tyranny of unjust Vatican decrees (or are they merely suggestions?), perhaps priests and bishops could similarly justify, in conscience, furtive celebrations of the old Mass to avoid vindictive censure.

In the months and years ahead, the moral analysis of rejecting Vatican directives canceling the widespread celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is worthy of robust debate, adjudication, and repeated appeals for clarification – or just neglect, hoping for healing in time – although that seems unlikely without pushback. But a detailed examination of the binding relationship of the Sacred Liturgy to the Church’s Sacred Tradition is long overdue.

In the meantime, Vatican officials should apologize for their cruel and unusual punishment of faithful Catholics devoted to the Latin Mass of the Extraordinary Form.


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About Father Jerry J. Pokorsky 18 Articles
Father Jerry J. Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington. He is pastor of St. Catherine of Siena parish in Great Falls, Virginia.. He holds a Master of Divinity degree as well as a master’s degree in moral theology.

61 Comments

  1. I appreciate the courage behind this article in today’s climate. In the long run, we really will have to have a reasoned discussion on the limits of authority, evem “supreme” authority. We may even have to reconsider or at least clarify some of the teachings of the First Vatican Council.

    • Clarify some of the teachings of the First Vatican Council?? That Council was written in Latin without ambiguity. There is absolutely nothing to clarify. Catholics today are asking that the Church explain the reasons for each change made in the Church, during and after Vatican ll. This is long overdue because the changes didn’t bring light to Catholics, only darkness and the proof are all around us.

  2. Dear Archbishop,

    Your eminence, I write to you asking that Usus Antiquior be allowed to hold its place in Catholic worship in the Archdiocese but also throughout the whole of the Holy Catholic Church, perennially.

    As a grace of prayer liturgy, the Latin Mass shares the integral components of sacrament and form with the Novus Ordo, in all of its many permitted and practiced variants and vernacular languages (traditional choir, folk, praise & worship, contemporary, low mass, english, spanish, tagalog, german, italian, polish, french..et al), as well as the Ordinariate of St Peter Use, the Byzantine, Armenian, Syro-Malabar, Coptic, Maronite, Melchite… and other non-Roman Eucharistic rites.

    If the Mass is unity in Spirit, and mystically there is only One Mass, past present and future, how is the paternal form not in union with all these modes of Eucharist; how can Latin Mass be disincluded from the pangeant of catholic totality and diversity, if it remains structurally identical with those it begot.

    Thank you!

  3. I’m new to the Catholic faith. But I believe I read that from The Council of Trent no one has the authority to change the liturgy.
    Please explain to me, as I said I’m new!

    • Aimee, acceptance of the Council of Trent means accepting that the Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Church) has the authority to regulate the sacraments. If the Magisterium could do so at Trent, it can do so now. The details can be debated, but the bottom line is that we can confidently receive what the Holy Spirit gives to us through our mother the Church: the Tridentine Mass and the Novus Ordo and all the Eastern Rite Masses are part of Tradition.

  4. Thank you for this article.

    The present attack on the traditional Latin Mass is an attack on Tradition itself and, as such, an attack on the essence of the Church. It is hard to wrap your mind around the idea that the Pope is attacking the essence of the Church, but here we are. I will never, ever accept Traditionis Custodis. Nor will I ever accept any Church document that says that the Pope or the bishops can suppress the Traditional Latin Mass. Tradition is greater, infinitely greater, than the hierarchy. The strong correlation between heterdoxy and moral corruption on the one hand and support for Traditionis Custodis on the other is very telling.

    Catholics who do not want the Church ending up like the Anglican Church (women priests, etc.) need to understand that they have a stake in the struggle over the Latin Mass even if they are content with the new Mass. This is because the traditional Latin Mass is the only roadblock to “the revolution.” It is for this reason that it has been attacked. The buzz-word Catholicism (“encounter, listening, diversity, inclusion,” etc.) that this Pontificate and its supporters are pushing is just the beginning for them. They are seeking to lay the foundation for the reign of modernism. They believe that the Latin Mass Catholics will put their foots down and say: No! And they are right.

    • DXM, the TLM is not the one roadblock to “the revolution:” the Holy Spirit is.

      Tradition is not “infinitely greater than the hierarchy.” On the contrary, Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium function much as a three-legged stool, giving stability to the Church. In the words of Vatican II, quoted in CCC 95,

      “…in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.”

  5. An excellent and courageous article. May God bless you father, and all those other members of the clergy that defend the Gospel against those within the Church who are more interested in kneeling to the culture than to Christ.

  6. The most compelling piece I’ve yet to read defending the ongoing use of both the EF and the OF. Thank you, Father.

  7. Obedience is always rewarded; maybe not by man, but certainly by God. It is far better to err on the side of obedience than follow the lead of the “Clown Mass” innovators in attempting to skirt the Magisterium. Obedience demonstrates trust in God, that He will give us all that we need.
    During Covid, the bishops deprived us of the sacraments. Whether they acted rightly is between each of them and God, but regardless of their decisions, God will always give us all that He desires us to have.
    At this time, it is important to remember that, although other injustices may exist, as long as a person has access to the Novus Ordo sacraments, he is not deprived of the sacraments. If we think of what, and Who, we are given in them, how can we not be grateful?

  8. I wonder whether the restrictions on the Latin Mass are capital punishment or suicide? The Church is losing members in great numbers. In South America, it has lost its preeminence to Pentacostals. Of course, related to the morale of Catholics is the refusal to have babies. Catholic schools are closing, notably in my neck of the woods, near Chicago. Does any of this promote Unity? Are we supposed to believe that the Holy Sprit is guiding the Church? All I can do is repeat Jesus’ words, “By their fruits you shall know them.”

  9. I utterly reject the ultramontane ideology that any Pontiff has authority to outlaw the prayer of The Extraordinary Form of the Mass, that was held sacred by The Church prior to his election as Pontiff. That includes the Pontiff Francis and Pope Paul VI.

    Such actions indicate to me that such men disbelieve in something stated in the prayers of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, which means that they have committed a silent apostasy.

    My sense is, from the implementation of the New Order of the Roman Rite, is that they probably disbelieve, among other things, that there can be final damnation, which is explicitly part of the prayer of the Roman Canon (almost never prayed in the NO (presumably by occult direction from the typical contemporary apostate Bishop, reinforcing occult directions given by apostate seminary directors), which professes a belief in the very words of Jesus, and his authority to judge men at his second coming.

      • Not him either. None of them.

        But then again, I recognize that some ideas of what it means to be a Catholic propose contrary views, such as the Pontiff may do as he pleases, hence, he might orchestrate idolatry in Rome, and then insist that people must pretend for him that he did not orchestrate idolatry.

        It’s all a matter of the type of man who has been elected to a position of power.

      • In addition Mr. Northon, it would be a mistake for any of us to conclude that just because a Pontiff declares that he has exclusive authority over something, then by such declaration he also implies he has unlimited authority.

        For example, can a Pontiff assert that he has the authority yo change the very words of Jesus, in, for example, The Lord’s Prayer?

        No we do not believe that, even though the Pontiff Francis did that very thing. So he joins other Pontiffs who stumble by acting with power, yet without authority.

        So Pontiffs, including the very bad Pontiffs, often commit error in exercising their power, as we can see.

      • Larry,
        In what specific paragraph would we find that “the pope” holds exclusive authority to change the liturgy?

        From Mediator Dei, Paragraph 50: “The sacred liturgy does, in fact, include divine as well as human elements. The former, instituted as they have been by God, cannot be changed in any way by men. But the human components admit of various modifications, as the needs of the age, circumstance and the good of souls may require, and as the ecclesiastical hierarchy, under guidance of the Holy Spirit, may have authorized. This will explain the marvelous variety of Eastern and Western rites….”

        Pius IX attributes the variety of rite to guidance by the Holy Spirit. How, then, can Mediator Dei be used to support Tradiones Custodes’ suppression of the “marvelous variety of rite” without questioning where, in truth, the Holy Spirit did guide?

        Paragraph 57: “The Church has further used her right of control over liturgical observance to protect the purity of divine worship against abuse from dangerous and imprudent innovations introduced by private individuals and particular churches.”

        Shall we discuss “innovation?” Okay. Let’s point to the failure of the Novus Ordo Missae to follow guidelines set forth in VCII’s Sacrosanctum Concilium. Let’s talk innovation. Yes, let’s.

        Finally, Paragraph 58: “It follows from this that the Sovereign Pontiff alone enjoys the right to recognize and establish any practice touching the worship of God, to introduce and approve new rites, as also to modify those he judges to require modification.”

        This paragraph DOES NOT GRANT a pontifical right to SUPPRESS the celebration of a rite. That the purpose of Traditiones Custodes is to suppress cannot be denied, or can it?

        • Paragraph 58: “It follows from this that the Sovereign Pontiff alone enjoys the right to recognize and establish any practice touching the worship of God, to introduce and approve new rites, as also to modify those he judges to require modification.” I don’t understand your reasoning that this does not grant the pope the right to “suppress” any rite. It says he can “modify” any rite. Modification would involve commanding all to observe the modification and to cease and desist observing the unmodified version, or in other words, to “suppress” the previous one. The Novus Ordo is a modification of the older mass, which in itself is the 1962 version of even older versions, those previous versions having been “suppressed”, if you will, by John XXIII’s introduction of the 1962 missal. You’re playing word games.

          • Paul VI, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 4 (closing paragraph in the opening page, preamble statement of goals) –

            “Finally, in faithful obedience to Tradition, this most sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal authority and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way.”

      • And Pius XII was wrong. The liturgy does not belong to the Pope, nor does the Church. We continue to pay a heavy price for the nonsense of Vatican I.

        • Well, Pope St. Pius V would be the first to call you out on your error. After all, in promulgating the 1570 Missal for what is now called the Tridentine Mass, he abolished all other uses and rites throughout the Latin Church except those rites known to have existed for at least 200 years. So, I guess you’ve got a problem not just with Pius #12, but with #5 also.

  10. You can’t make this stuff up…

    In 2009 Pope Benedict, probably uninformed by the Curia about Bishop Williamson as a Holocaust denier, lifted the excommunication against him and three other Lefebvre bishops. Today in 2021, only a decade later, Pope Francis, arguably misinformed by his select entourage and their survey, in his moto proprio effectively banishes hundreds of thousands of observers of the Extraordinary form (and of centuries of organic Catholic Tradition).

    So, thanks for this article. About which, and in a spirit of fraternity, we might even go intercultural by simply recalling the Russian proverb: “One word of truth outweighs the whole world.”

    The Continuity of Tradition, or the clericalist Cancel Culture: choose one…
    Or, why not elevate the Novus Ordo, as Pope Benedict intended with his less ham-fisted moto proprio of 2007? Interculturally, we might find a clue from the Malabar Catholic Church: https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2021/08/30/indias-syro-malabar-catholic-church-to-adopt-uniform-liturgy/

  11. Thank you for this article.
    As converts to the Church 15 years ago I can only say that my husband and I lack the proper words to express our pain and sometimes also ” holy anger “. We loved Pope Benedict XVI, during whose papacy we felt like beloved children in a fathers loving and secure arms. The repetitive claims of PF about ” rigidity ” and even saying that those who appreciate the TLM are suffering some kind of psychological illness is not only absurd ( to my knowledge PF is not a psychologist) but mean spirited. His remarks directed against Cardinal Burke, at that time still recovering from Covid-19 after having been in a ventilator, were shocking. Unimaginable. Never could we have imagined that any Pope would have expressed himself with such malice and arrogance. His private letters of endorsement of heretics like homosexualist James Martin and homosexualist sister Grammic, his repetitive lauding of homosexuals and transgender people, climate change and immigration ( read: Muslim immigration) are so tiring. We have been attending a NO Mass always since where we live there is no TLM Mass. We did however have an opportunity to do so a year ago and saw the enormous difference; reverence silence beauty. Whilst in the NO Mass there are always ladies ( here in southern Spain!!) chatting loudly before and after Mass.
    Electric hammering guitars oftentimes, excruciating voices flamenco style. People coming late and rushing out as soon as the priest has left the altar. Anything but edifying. The NO can be beautifully celebrated but that’s not what we see in most parishes.
    A well known German historian recently said in an interview that he “would remain faithful to the Roman Catholic Church but also that he ” sincerely, didn’t know if he would survive another Bergoglian pontificate “.
    My husband and I can only testify to this. We will always remain Roman Catholics but apparently at a great cost. We look at Christ and the saints and pray.
    We will also start attending the TLM as soon as often as possible from now.

    • “…His repetitive lauding of homosexuals and transgender people…” Homosexuals, yes, but I believe he’s on record opposing transgenderism. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  12. We would strongly suggest that the Vatican discuss the ( mostly homisexual) sex abuse in the Church Church instead of attacking faithful traditional Catholics with mean spirited motu proprios and restrictive letters where their disdain and yes, hatred of these Catholics, is demonstrated with chilling clarity.
    A clever distraction to divert the lime lights from the reportedly widespread global gay subculture in vast parts of the Church?

    • You make some very good — and very sad — points, Cecilia.

      But don’t give up. The Church needs Catholics like you who love our Lord.

      And don’t be discouraged. The Church has been in many messes — believe it or not, some even worse than this — before. The Holy Spirit will not leave us orphans.

  13. Still wondering how inclusiveness, diversity, dialogue and global climate stability are served by eliminating the form of the Mass that has been celebrated longer than the English language has existed.

    Could someone please ask Bergoglio that?

  14. This is an outstanding piece, and I for one would request that those who follow such things let us all know if/when Fr. Pokorsky is disciplined for having written it.

    I wish this were said in jest, but it is not.

  15. It’s all where we are. History as it really was, does not lie.

    Rereading a small 4 1/2″ x 7″ sixty page book (Communism As I Know It) by my good late friend, Father Vladimir Kozina, first written in the mid 1960s, and having gone through six editions, I felt as if I were reading a true news report of today.

    This small book describes what Our Lady of Fatima, without mentioning our good Mother’s messages, said would happen if we did not heed her words of conversion, and pray the rosary every day. Messages Mother has given us in every subsequent apperition, approved or otherwise, underscore the same, perennial Gospel message.

    I will here quote from a portion of the first pages of Father’s little book. It is by way of his introduction that he delves into a deeper expose of this “philosophy” of Satan enacted by the Communist regime which we are now witnessing in both world and Church governments. The first part of the book is information, the second exposes, in his personal life, family life and social life HOW it is practiced by the regime. I quote:

    “What is communism? Communism is an inhuman organization, to use Mihajlo Mihajlov’s definition. Communism is a world-wide tyrannical conspiracy which strives to destroy the entire established social order, of which our American Democracy is a part.
    Communism does not know national or state borders. In it’s essence, in it’s being Communism is an international organization….It persues world revolution. It wants to subdue the whole world and rule over the whole of humanity with an iron fist.
    But Communism is more than an organization or, what many mistakenly think, just another political party. Basically, Communism is a false philosophy of life! And knowing this totalitarian Red hell first-hand, I dare to say: Communism is a psudo religion! It has a false “Messianic” idea and mission. It preaches a doctrine of salvation of man. It persues paradise on Earth not by peaceful means but by force, by the “dictatorship of the proletariate” to quote Karl Marx. We say that Communism is totalitarian, not only to the extent of outlawing other political parties and suppressing freedom of speech and freedom of press, but because this dictatorship of the proletariate degrades man to the level of a robot. Man is robbed of his individuality, of his human dignity, and is transformed by force, of course, into a collective body of the Communist system. His private property becomes a monopoly of the Communist Party. Communism claims to have total control over man and exerts absolute power over his life. Communism, as a psudo social system, is death to free society, and leads mankind into an international concentration camp of the Gulag Archipelago’s dimension.
    As a false religion, Communism is athestic. Yes, more than that! Communism is by it’s very nature against God. Communism threatens every established religion on Earth. It’s final goal is to rob man of his belief of the eternal God and substitute this most natural desire of every man with a psudo idea of earthly paradise where he is to “cultivate and take care of it” (Gn. 2:16) not for himself and his family, nor is he allowed to share the fruit of his work with his fellow man in a free enterprise. As a slave he is whipped by the Communist Party to toil in this earthly paradise until death frees him from the clutches of the Party’s absolute power!”

    I finish quoting here. Every word is heavily weighted with the truth of Communism. We see it in forced, force being a key word, all around us by the unmovable, read “rigid” or “iron fist”, mandates of federal state and local authorities, and now of Church authorities, from top down.

    We can sit about and weep, criticize, get angry, point a blaming finger or tongue at what we interpret as”the cause” of all this. We seem to forget that God Himself pointed His Almighty finger at the serpentine cause in the garden. We also forget that Christ Jesus commanded us to pray for those who have authority over us. Moreover we have forgotten, even since this morning, that Our Holy Mother wept tears, begged, warned, encouraged us for our own good to pray, especially the Holy Rosary, to fast, and to amend our lives. This would be our only hope against what is happening as these words pop up across the screen right now. Let Father Kozina, from his place in God’s arms, join his pleadings and warnings to us along with those of heaven.
    Yes, I, I am just as much to blame as anyone. My small efforts must redouble!
    Our Lady of America, of all Nation’s, pray for us.

    • Excellent comments, Donna Mae. Thanks for sharing Fr. Kozina’s wisdom.

      Leftism is everything he claims it is.

      Absolutely diabolical.

      Catholics who vote for Democrats should take note.

  16. It seems to me that each of the Popes since Vatican II has made a monumental blunder over this problem, and all of them seeking unity. Paul VI in giving some bishops the right to authorise the TLM in its final 1967 form, but not allowing it more widely for example to Archbishop Lefebvre. John Paul II in changing that permission to the 1962 Missal. Benedict XVI in denying bishops the right to control what was going on. And now this incoherent attempt cruelly and abruptly to put the genii back in the bottle. I do believe there are some people using the TLM as a political tool, and that needs to be ended, but not in this way, with more collateral damage than useful effect.
    The madness of rigidity was clearly shown by Sheehan of Baltimore banning ANY use of Latin in 1967, just about the time Bugnini at the Vatican was publishing a collection of simple Latin music for the Masss in order to spread it more widely.

  17. #1 During the Pontificate of Francis I have noticed an ever widening of the spirit of dissent on the right. It began among certain traditionalists who had been for years prior willing to speak out against previous Popes and has steadily inched closer to those in the center. While some St. JPII and Benedict Catholics made the transition to Francis quite a few have in various ways joined the chorus of opposition. The current state of things as far as I can discern is tt very few Catholics who identify as conservative will promote his magisterium and quite a few are willing to be openly critical.

    #2 I don’t read the Church and Her Spirit in this kind of attitude and behavior, even if I can be and have been sympathetic due to my own former and present dispositions. I just got done reading the Office of Readings for the second Sunday in Ordinary time where the second reading was taken from St. Ignatius of Antioch’s epistle to the Ephesians. As in so many, if not all, of his letters he speaks often about the importance of the unity and obedience of the faithful under their Bishops and presbyters. I couldn’t help but wonder if from his heavenly position he has a new perspective that might make him supportive of ‘recognize and resist’. My opinion is that his words would rightly move us to recognize that ‘recognize and resist’ should be resisted.

    Thank you for your consideration

    • Hmmm, no, Timothy.
      This pope and his lieutenants seek he destruction of the TLM. They hope a self imposed exile by those who respect and love the beautiful TLM takes place in response to this persecution.
      Yeah, it has come to this, dear faithful pew sitter. Bet on it.

  18. Pope Francis and Arthur Roche: “We are going to update you to the 1970’s, felt banners and banjos, whether you like it or not!”.

    The only way the Church is going to get through our current crisis is for all the 1960’s and 70’s generation, who made such a mess of the Church’s doctrine and liturgy, but refuse to admit their mistakes and insist on doubling down on their failures, to retire or go to their eternal reward above (or, in some cases, below).

  19. Re: Timothy’s post.

    #1. Defending what the Church has always taught and protecting her sacred rites are hardly “dissent” — quite the contrary.

    #2. Surely you recognize some limit on obedience to ecclesial authority.

  20. I profoundly disagree with your theological vision, brother presbyter. Fortunately there is room for many in the Church of Pope Francis. GBU, anyhow!

  21. Did Pope Francis really refuse to respond to the Dubia as claimed by this author?

    There are different ways one can respond to critics. As a matter of fact, he did. “Pope Francis explicitly states that Amoris Laetitia introduces no change in Church law or doctrine. This is a sufficient response to the dubia. Pope Francis does, though, highlight the need for pastors to discern whether people in irregular situations have sufficient knowledge and full culpability and to what extent they can receive the assistance of the sacraments in accordance with footnote 351 of Amoris Laetitia. These pages in Let Us Dream help us understand that chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia involves no change in Catholic law or doctrine. Pope Francis simply highlights the need for pastors to deal with difficult cases on a case-by-case basis with proper pastoral discernment. This type of discernment is nothing new. Any good priest will tell you that he applies this type of discernment on a regular basis, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”

      • Mal this article is about TC and EF and SP – not AL.

        The unresolved dubia will create problems. As I see it Cardinal Burke gives just one example. You left this out in your “intervention”.

        There are other questions, to his line of thinking. For example, At what point is “accompaniment” a sin against the unity of spouses? It’s the faithful who will have to bear up under the contradictions and suffer them; and innocent children who have no idea what’s coming at them when it happens.

        The reason there are so many questions could well be is because AL itself is wrongly constructed/positioned/based.

        There is an analysis that can be made from another, third, angle, more general. The Holy Father wants to legalize civil unions for homosexuals. I don’t want to define what this shows, about sense of judgment, but something’s not right.

        And a fourth analysis is possible. That would be, that while AL might be trying to get at one instance of nullity, it undermines Church teaching altogether and the healing dimension of the Tribunal and continency in the life of the Church.

        And a fifth dimension: Did AL even get the one instance right? We do not know because we do not know. Does faith advance in this way?

        Mal this period of time has been dubbed for “listening”. Perhaps someone has doubts about what he has done and your churning up information could help him be relieved of his doubts and what he did?

        ‘ I do not believe that the Holy Father will ever answer the five dubia — so much time has passed, and he has not yet done so. If he were to answer the five dubia in accord with the Church’s perennial teaching, it would mean that false pastoral interpretations of Amoris Laetitia could not go forward. In other words, what has always been forbidden in the Church, namely, that those who are living in a marital way with someone who is not really their husband or wife should not present themselves to receive the sacraments, would have to be taught. Most certainly, such liaisons do not constitute a valid marriage. Our Lord’s teachings are clear: Marriage is indissoluble, faithful, and between one man and one woman.

        With regard to the notion of “pastoral accompaniment,” while the Church is always accompanying all her members and trying to assist them in leading holy lives, the question becomes: “Where is this accompaniment going?” When you accompany someone, you accompany them to a destination. The destination that must be sought is fidelity to the word of Christ, including His plan for marriage. This means that when people in an irregular matrimonial union are being accompanied, they must be helped to not to receive the sacraments until they are able to rectify their situation, their canonical status. ‘

        https://thewandererpress.com/catholic/news/frontpage/interview-with-cardinal-burke-he-is-with-us-trusting-in-the-lord-in-turbulent-times-2/

          • I read the link and other material bearing on the case you want to make. I haven’t missed anything. The case you want to establish doesn’t speak to the issues raised by others like Cardinal Burke on the one hand; and, on the other hand, has no inkling on the issues I raised.

            It appears to me we can only exchange cordialities.

            I am not from Michigan. The times I would drive by the seminary building in Detroit I would always look up and smile and make a little prayer. Also admire the architecture.

            I pray for the Archbishop of Detroit often.

            Once in a parish there I met one of the most hospitable people ever. I mean, things you just like to relive in your memory which you didn’t cause and can’t repay in full measure.

    • Then why is Germany – in practice now concerning the reception of the Eucharist – stated and followed through with Pope Francis’s approval by way of ignoring the Dubia, giving the Eucharist without qualification to anyone in defiance of Scripture? They claim no ‘personal discernment’ other than a vague desire that becomes paramount.

      The German bishops leading their Synod have publicly and repeatedly stated they will continue to do so…where has the Pope ever addressed the gravity of (I Cor. 11:27-30)???

      Fastiggi, as on the death penalty, ignores the question and certainly the results of Francis’s abandonment on his own Encyclical.

      • Dear Ramjet,
        I don’t think I’m ignoring anything. I just seem to read chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia differently than you and others. I was happy to receive unsolicited support for my understanding of Al from a professor of moral theology at a major Pontifical University in Rome. As for the death penalty, I support what the magisterium of the Church now teaches on its inadmissability. No Catholic should be criticitzed for supporting a teaching of the ordinary magisterium. In Fratelli Tutti, 265, Pope Francis shows that there have always been some in the Church who have opposed capital punishment. Perhaps the most significant of these opponents was Pope St. Nicholas I who, in his November 13, 866 letter to the Bulgarians, writes: “….And just as Christ has led you from eternal death—in which you were held bound—to eternal life, just so with diligence and in every occasion (omni occasione) you are to save from death not only the innocent but also the guilty, in accordance with the most wise Solomon: “Save those who are led to death; and do not cease freeing those who are brought to execution’ (Prov. 24:11).” (Pope Nicholas I, Epistula 97, cap. 25; PL 119, 991; cited in Fratelli Tutti, 265). Doctors Feser and Bessette try to claim that Nicholas I was only making a “prudential” judgment. They are mistaken. Nicholas I opposes executing the guilty for theological and Scriptural reasons. I don’t want to get into a long discussion again on the death penalty. By adhereing to what the Church now teaches on the death penalty I am following what Lumen Gentium, 25 and canon 752 of the 1983 CIC teach about adhering to ordinary teachings of the magisterium with religious submission of intellect and will. If you, Fr. Rutler, Fr. Murray, and others wish to dissent from what the Church now teaches on the death penalty, that is your choice. You have no right, though, to criticize me or any other Catholic for adhering to ordinary teachings of the Catholic magisterium.

        • If AL is wrongly composed as to sacrament of marriage and to other things, family life, society, etc., it’s not for Fastiggi to make the compensatory adjustments. There’s quite a trap there.

          Separately, JPII expressed the power over capital punishment when he reserved it for certain cases. Same for Nicholas. The idea that there could be no grace or mercy in this (capital punishment) particular process of justice, so that it is to be absolutely shunned, has a falseness in it. The blood of saints and of repenting sinners that flowed under sentence of death, stand witness to this.

          Proverbs 24:11 contains mercy and compassion, that’s true! and moreover it applies outside capital punishment, as for example, resisting legalization of “homosexual civil union” or even disrupting an abortion in progress.

          An arbitrary narrowing down of a saying or arbitrary channeling of a topic is not like Thomas Aquinas.

          I still don’t see why AL and capital punishment should feature in the Comments here. This is an article about liturgy. The author used the phrase “capital punishment” in the title to give a highlight of his views and direction contained in the article, that would follow.

          Fr. Pokorsky also uses another word, “cancel”, which Fastiggi hasn’t addressed. The idea that cancelling sacred things in favour of other sacred things, will correct a “lack of grace”, is another false idea.

          Furthermore, the second set of sacred (the New Rite), has trouble in it that is not being addressed properly. Putting the straits upon the first set of sacred (the EF) is not the way to address that.

        • “to dissent from what the Church now teaches on…” This ridiculous comment speaks volumes about the mess we are in. The Church no longer teaches what it has always taught, and modernists like Fastiggi do not even try to conceal it.

          • Dear Timothy,

            I had to laugh when you called me a “modernist.” I say this because just this morning I was criticizing the modernist, Alfred Loisy in my Christology class. Actually, my view towards the Roman Pontiff corresponds to that of the chief opponent of modernism, St. Pius X. Here is what St. Pius X taught in his Major Catechism of 1905 about how Catholics should look upon the Pope:

            Major Catechism (Catechismo Maggiore) of St. Pius X (1905)

            204. Come deve comportarsi ogni cattolico verso il Papa?
            Ogni cattolico deve riconoscere il Papa, qual Padre, Pastore e Maestro universale e stare a lui unito di mente e di cuore.

            204. How should each Catholic behave towards the Pope?
            Each Catholic should recognize the Pope as Father, Shepherd, and universal Teacher and be united with him in mind and heart.

            I invite you to join me in following St. Pius X on how Catholics should look upon the Pope.

          • Why should Robert Fastiggi have to try to conceal Church teaching which has been evolving over the years?
            On December 12, 1999, John Paul II made an appeal to all those in authority, “that they reach a consensus on the abolition of capital punishment.” It is a “cruel and unnecessary” punishment, he had explained earlier, on January 27, 1999.
            In 2011, Benedict XVI also called for consultation among all authorities to “arrive at the elimination of the death penalty.” https://aleteia.org/2017/10/11/francis-asks-for-update-to-catechism-on-death-penalty/

          • Catechism of Christian Doctrine, England and Wales, 1889, Revised Edition 1985 Catholic Truth Society -:

            108. What is temporal punishment?
            Temporal punishment is punishment which will have an end, either in this world, or in the world to come.

          • Catholics are to conform themselves to the heart and mind of Christ. To suggest we look on the pope with the same unity of heart and mind suggests that Jesus looked so on Peter as Peter denied knowledge or association with Christ.

  22. The Holy Spirit operates in th Church. His work is manifest in those faithful who continue to worship as the Church taught at Trent. Clergy must not discourage those Catholics who are attached to the Fetus Ordo else they might be obstructing the works of the Holy Spirit.

    We must also remember that unjust orders compel no obedience.

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