It is now worth pausing to acknowledge that which is concretely what Francis leaves to us as an irreversible novelty.
During an audience held yesterday with the participants in the 68th National Liturgical Week in Rome, Francis declared:
We can affirm with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.
So, there you have it; the word for the week:
Irreversible: adjective – impossible to change or to return to a previous condition (Cambridge English Dictionary)
Many in traditional Catholic media have pointed to the irony of an Argentinian Jesuit who clearly rejects the papal bull, Quo Primum, which established the Missal of Pius V “in perpetuity,” making such a declaration concerning the Novus Ordo.
More remarkable in my view is that the man genuinely seems to believe that he possesses magisterial authority!
Yes, I know… it is a rather unpopular (and not a little costly) position that I have taken, but with every passing day it becomes more and more obvious to more and more people that Jorge Bergoglio, as revealed by his very own words and deeds, is a formal heretic.
In any case, let’s look a little more closely at the text of the audience, shall we…
Phil Lawler over at Catholic Culture responded with an essay under the title: What does Pope Francis mean by ‘irreversible’ liturgical reform?
While I haven’t taken the time to read Lawler’s post, I think the answer is pretty obvious, and it is manifold:
For one, Francis means to say that the protestantized rite of the conciliar sect, otherwise known as the Novus Ordo, is here to stay.
I don’t agree with Francis on much, but on this point I think he is exactly correct.
I would, however, word it differently so as to say:
For as long as Rome continues to reject tradition; i.e., to embrace the Council, the Novus Ordo will remain.
Secondly, Francis’ declaration also means that the Traditional Latin Mass, again, for as long as Rome continues to reject tradition, will be at best tolerated as something “extraordinary;” with the aforementioned protestantized liturgy serving as the flagship rite of the conciliar sect.
Remember the definition of irreversible provided above; impossible to return to a previous condition.
And what is the condition to which Francis is determined never to return?
He gave us the answer when he said, and correctly so:
They are two directly linked events, the Council and the reform…
In other words, it is the pre-conciliar condition to which Francis is determined never to return; one wherein the Holy Catholic Church was preoccupied with the Sovereign Rights of Christ the King as opposed to the rights of man.
This also happens to be a condition wherein she was thriving; her seminaries not only full, but in many places overcrowded; her teaching unambiguous and her moral authority substantial.
Long story short, Francis is gloating.
He represents the victors in the conciliar revolution and he is shouting on their behalf, To us belong the spoils!
And he is right, at least until such time as the Immaculate Heart of Mary triumphs.
In spite of the uproar that Francis’ pronouncement has incited, there really is nothing altogether newsworthy about any of this; it’s really just more of the same.
Some commentators are drawing comparisons between what Francis stated during his audience and the text of Summorum Pontificum; as if they represent contrasting views.
Perhaps they do in certain ways, but I would remind readers that we can thank Benedict XVI for crafting the lie known as “ordinary form” vs “extraordinary form,” as if the former is anything other than a brand new rite invented by modernist men – you know, a “banal on the spot fabrication” as someone once said.
All of this is not to say that there is nothing to be gleaned from Francis’ latest proclamation.
While most regular readers of this space need little convincing, it may be instructive for our neo-conservative friends (and yes, they are among our readership as well) to consider how Francis’ words attest to the protestant nature of the Novus Ordo.
For instance, Francis was pleased to cite the “bright light” of his formative years as follows:
Blessed Paul VI recalled this in explaining the first steps of the announced reforms: “It is good to be aware that it is proper to the authority of the Church to wish for, promote and ignite this new form of prayer, thus augmenting her spiritual mission … and we must not hesitate to be first disciples and then supporters of the school of prayer, that is about to commence”.
To be very clear, in the audience cited (available in Italian) Pope Paul the Pathetic did not speak of a new “form” of prayer, but rather “a new way of praying” (questa nuova maniera di pregare).
Perhaps it is hairsplitting, but it seems to me that the difference is considerable.
The new Mass, which was not yet promulgated as Paul VI spoke in 1965, is not properly considered a new “form” of the one Roman Rite; the bogus claim made by Benedict XVI some four decades later.
Rather, it is a new way of praying; one wherein man places himself at the center.
This new way is the protestant way.
Sure, the protestant will claim recourse to Our Lord’s words, “When two or three are gathered in my name, I am there present,” but at the end of the day, though the Lord makes good on His promise, the protestant “liturgy” is all about the preacher, the book and the people.
With this in mind, one will not be surprised to find that Paul VI, in this same audience, said of the liturgical reform:
One of its main characteristics and aims is the participation of the faithful in the rites that the priest directs and personifies.
Notice, my friends, how the priest is reduced to a “director” of the faithful’s activities.
Having endured the Pauline rite for nearly fifty years now, even the most devoted neo-con will not deny that the personality of the priest bears large on the new Mass. Thus, Paul VI spoke well when he spoke of the rite being “personified” by the priest.
This, of course, is also a prominent feature of the protestant gathering wherein the entire affair, and the congregations’ experience of it, is dictated by the liturgical stage presence of the minster.
And what constitutes the main act in this case?
The book and the preaching.
Paul VI went on to say in the audience cited by Francis:
Now the authority of the Church is extended; modifying certain aspects of the liturgy that are inadequate today in ritual discipline … First of all, it professes the Word of God, that of the Holy Scripture, the didactic and persuasive teaching of catechesis and the homily, and giving the sacramental celebration its clear and mysterious centrality.
Don’t let Montini’s reference to “the sacramental celebration” fool you.
Notice that he says that it receives its “clear and mysterious centrality” by the reading of the Scriptures and the catechesis that follows in the homily – both actions of the priest.
In other words, if the priest fails to proclaim and to preach and to teach on the Word well – which is “first of all” in the Montinian view of the liturgy – the centrality of the sacramental celebration is not “given.”
In truth, the centrality of the sacramental celebration is due precisely to the reality that it is Christ Himself who is acting; both in the offering and in the Sacrifice!
It is for this reason that a lousy sermon delivered at the Traditional Mass, while a shame, in no way detracts from the grandeur of the Sacrifice made evident in the rite itself.
That the priest thus operates in persona Christ, however, is a stumbling block to the protestant and thus does not feature prominently in the sacred signs of the new rite.
This, in response to the directives set forth in Sacrosantum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican II, which made ecumenical concerns a top priority of the liturgical reform (cf SC 1).
If what was stated by Paul VI does not attest well enough to the protestant nature of the “reformed” liturgy, Francis provides an exclamation point when he opines:
The liturgy is life for the entire people of the Church. By its nature the liturgy is indeed “popular” and not clerical, as the etymology teaches us – an action for the people, but also of the people.
This simply does not represent a Catholic understanding of the liturgy.
In truth, while one can say that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not properly “clerical” inasmuch as it is an action of Jesus Christ who is both High Priest and Sacrifice, it is clerical inasmuch as the priest is necessary.
The people, on the other hand, are not in any way necessary in order for the Sacrifice offered to be “life” for the faithful; i.e., it remains the one true Sacrifice that is ever propitiatory and efficacious.
It is thus plainly wrong to say that it is “an action of the people.”
Francis goes on, however, repeating the error:
As many liturgical prayers remind us, it is the action that God Himself performs in favour of His people, but also the action of the people who listen to God Who speaks and who react by praising Him and invoking Him, welcoming the inexorable source of life and mercy that flows from the holy signs.
Yes, the people “act” in the liturgy inasmuch as they assist in a way proper to their state, but the liturgy itself is not “the action of the people.”
Not content to distort the Catholic theology of the Mass, Francis saw fit to distort history itself when he said:
… the liturgical books promulgated by Blessed Paul VI, well received by the same bishops who were present at the Council, and by now universally used in the Roman rite for almost fifty years.
Well received by the bishops?
Here is what Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani had to say in his famous “intervention” about the new rite’s reception:
In October 1967, the Episcopal Synod called in Rome was requested to pass a judgment on the experimental celebration of a so-called “normative Mass,” devised by the Consilium for implementing the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. This Mass aroused the most serious misgivings. The voting showed considerable opposition (43 non placet), very many substantial reservations (62 juxta modum), and 4 abstentions out of 187 voters. The international press spoke of a “refusal” on the proposed “normative Mass” on the part of the Synod.
In other words, only 78 of the 187 bishops present gave their approval to the rite that is “identical in substance” (Cardinal Ottaviani, ibid.) to the Novus Ordo.
At this, I would suggest that even the most seasoned so-called “traditionalist” (aka Catholic) will do well to re-examine (as I recently did) the Ottaviani Intervention.
In conclusion, let us all invoke the aid of Our Lady of Fatima, that the triumph of her Immaculate Heart may come quickly and in our day; extinguishing the “irreversible” aims of the conciliar revolutionaries once and for all.