Say what you will about Francis, at least he has integrity

In his letter to bishops, Francis claimed that he was moved to issue his Motu Proprio because adherence to the Traditional Latin Mass is “often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican Council II itself.” 

His Hostileness went on to say:

To doubt the Council is to doubt the intentions of those very Fathers who exercised their collegial power in a solemn manner cum Petro et sub Petro in an ecumenical council, and, in the final analysis, to doubt the Holy Spirit himself who guides the Church.

Francis is very nearly correct. One may even say that he is demonstrating a higher degree of intellectual honesty than his immediate predecessors, Ratzinger included, each of whom also pledged allegiance to the Almighty Council but were too weak to even attempt to carry out its liturgical wishes as he is. 

The truth of the matter is that devotion to the Traditional Roman Rite – and more to the point, insistence upon its continuation according to the 1962 (or earlier) Missal – necessarily entails a rejection of Vatican Council II. As current events plainly demonstrate, however, very few seem bright enough to realize this fact, and fewer still possess the integrity to admit it aloud. 

So, listen up those of you who are wailing and gnashing your teeth over Traditionis Custodes: 

If you believe that Vatican II is a valid ecumenical council, the Novus Ordo is a valid Mass, and Francis is a valid pope and the visible head of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, then cease your incessant whining about Bergoglio’s assault on the Traditional Latin Mass. On second thought, if you believe any one of these things, put a sock in it, you have no right whatsoever to complain: Not only are your positions entirely inconsistent with one another, your actions are far more Protestant than Catholic. 

This applies not just to Peter and Polly Pewsitter, but also to any number of high-profile Catholic commentators who should, and perhaps may, know better. Some examples:  

I think of all the people I’ve met in recent years who have discovered the traditional Latin Mass and found it to be a source of strength and comfort in their spiritual pilgrimage here on earth. They don’t reject Vatican II; they don’t think they are better than Novus Ordo Catholics; they don’t hate the pope. By and large, they don’t concern themselves with Church politics. They simply love the beauty and reverence and richness of the traditional Latin Mass—a beauty, reverence, and richness they could not find at their local parish.

– Eric Sammons, Crisis Magazine

This is utter nonsense, on a number of levels, but let’s just look at one: They don’t reject Vatican II…

If one doesn’t reject Vatican II and therefore believes that Sacrosanctum Concilium is the product of a valid ecumenical council, approved by valid popes, then there is no justification whatsoever for insisting that the Catholic Church retain the Latin Mass as it existed in 1962.

In other words, there is no reason whatsoever to expect more than just one Roman Rite to exist in our day. The only thing such a person can reasonably expect to find in the Church [sic] today is the “reformed” Traditional Latin Mass and guess what; it’s readily available and it’s called the Novus Ordo!  

There is no indication that the Council Fathers ever imagined, or desired, for the ancient rite to carry on just as it was alongside whatever the “reform” happened to produce. None.

Forget any arguments about whether or not the so-called reform that actually took place met with their expectations; it did for some, not so much for many others. It also matters not one whit whether or not the reform reflects the letter of the conciliar text. Either way, the “reformed” liturgy was approved by the same “Saint” Paul the Pathetic who approved Sacrosanctum Concilium, and not one of his successors have ever challenged that approval.

So, if you happen to consider Francis the Holy Roman Pontiff and Vicar of Christ, suck it up, buttercup. No one wants to hear your disjointed claims of liturgical hardship. 

This brings me to Dr. Joseph Shaw, President of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, who told LifeSite News:

Pope Francis appears to be punishing all priests who celebrate the Traditional Mass and all the laity who attend it for the alleged sins of a few: who ‘reject Vatican II’, whatever exactly that means.

Really, he doesn’t know what that means? Please, he knows precisely what that means, that particular potato is just a little too hot for him to handle. Just for fun, check out his organization’s FAQ page and their answer to the question: Isn’t the theology of the Traditional Mass at odds with the theology of Vatican II? The tap dance routine that follows puts Fred Astaire to shame!

As it is, Shaw is plainly suggesting that the Second Vatican Council and the TLM are in some way compatible. He couldn’t possibly be more wrong on several levels, the most obvious of which has been mentioned. 

The Council called for the Roman Rite to undergo a reform and it did. Shaw may not like what it produced, but last I checked, it’s the pope’s call whether or not the reform is acceptable, and Francis, whom Shaw calls “Pope,” insists that it is. So there.

If Bergoglio really is the Holy Roman Pontiff gloriously reigning, or even belligerently reigning, then who in the Hell is Joseph Shaw or anyone else to piss and moan about his liturgical judgment?

And then there’s the inimitably witty Fr. John Hunwicke, whose vocabulary alone is enough to make the “full communion” trad-cons swoon. He writes:

Vatican II was an Ecumenical Council (albeit, a pastoral Council), just as much as all the other Ecumenical Councils. What it mandated, possessed auctoritas [a sense of authoritativeness].

If you happen to agree with Fr. Hunwicke and sincerely believe that Vatican II is as much an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church as any other and, therefore, possesses real authority, then spare us your lamentations over the “Pontiff’s” latest ruling, you have no leg to stand on.

Now, let’s hear from Dom Alcuin Reid, another revered figure in such circles: 

+ Our Holy Father Pope Francis has, last Friday, enacted legislation in respect of the usus antiquior of the Roman rite – the more ancient form of the liturgy – in the light of his grave concerns that its celebration has endangered the unity of the Church and fostered division within it, including a rejection of the legitimacy of the Second Vatican Council and of the Magisterium of the popes following it. These are grave concerns, and any pope is right to address them when he believes they exist. 

“+ Our Holy Father…” That alone sums things up rather nicely, does it not? Reid went on to state, as if to reassure Modernist Rome of his conciliar bona fides:

So too, we have no business other than to affirm the Second Vatican Council as a legitimate Ecumenical Council of the Church and to hold as true that which any Ecumenical Council, including the most recent one, defines to be a matter of faith. 

Well, then, if that’s where you’re coming from, take your Novus Ordo medicine like a big boy and quit your bellyaching. 

We could go on, but you get the point. 

Traditionis Custodes is a Godsend inasmuch as it forces all who express devotion to the Traditional Roman Rite to reexamine their beliefs concerning the Second Vatican Council; the Novus Ordo; the papacy and the Church, each in the light of authentic Catholic doctrine. If only this be done with the same degree of consistency and intellectual honesty that Jorge Bergoglio is showing, I dare say that many will come away singing a different tune than they are today.

This challenge applies all the more to public figures, especially those whose work is published by media outlets that lay claim to tradition – Remnant and Catholic Family News immediately come to mind.

It also applies in a uniquely profound way to individual churchmen, in particular those attached to societies like the Fraternity of Saint Peter and Institute of Christ the King, as well as to those societies themselves.

All of that said, it seems to me that the onus rests most squarely upon the SSPX:

Will they speak the plain truth about the utter invalidity of Vatican Council II; the present claimant to the Chair of St. Peter; the institution that he heads and the bogus liturgy that it celebrates, or will they play the shrinking violet, subtly encouraging Our Lord’s enemies as they usher the naive all the way to Hell? 

The days of having one’s traditional cake and eating it too are over.