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Triumph Of Modernism: Ecclesial Suicide

November 18, 2021 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


For many years now the Catholic middle-of-the-road attempt to avoid extremes was a recommended and safe conservatism, a refuge for those who favored tradition.
On one side, the extreme to be avoided was the Protestant heresy. Respect for the Catholic past was necessary. We were part of a Church that was 2,000 years old, after all, because founded by the Lord Himself. We didn’t want to make the mistake of rejecting certain essentials as Protestants do, of course.
There were, we knew, ever-spawning new Christian-like sects; splitting apart and reforming again and again, amoeba-like; new cells combining to imitate the old ones but at the same time, by doing so, mitigating against unity in their multiplicity.
The Church is one. It’s in the Credo. We stick together come what may because we’re Catholic. Without unity we cease to be Catholic, so we stay on board the barque no matter the storms.
But there was always at the same time the low hum of Modernism, the disharmonic white noise against which our lives of faith played out. It lured us, by threatening with the penalties for disunity, into a slow denial of Tradition.
This was a gradual extinction of faith, like the proverbial frog in increasingly hot water which kills without warning, the death-blow boiling point inexorably arriving at last. No longer were we aware of the rich and beautiful traditions just beyond our grasp, these having been sloughed off as superfluous burdens by our predecessors. They who had learned it denied us the Latin, chant, and teachings, among other elements of patrimony, which they deemed no longer necessary.
One was to be ecumenical because Vatican II said one could be so and be Catholic. We were told, and we believed, that validity and obedience were the greatest goods. Reminiscence was a private affair, like a trip to a museum, occasional and wistful but not essential or practical.
Ecclesia Dei, the document by John Paul II which gave a permission for that greatest Tradition of the Mass which was never abrogated, opened a kind of breach to the walled-up past.
With this modern approbation a protection of sorts, I ventured as a seminarian regularly on Sundays to Old St. Mary’s in D.C. Rebellious and solitary, I risked official disapproval and a possible eventual barring to sacred orders. This public support of Tradition even led to my inclusion in the official parish 150th anniversary photo. The evidence of my nonconformist ways was now memorialized, amounting for some to an indictment.
I wore the cassock often, a sign taken for rejecting certain contemporary innovations and a clinging to the past. This when others wore the clerical collar and pants, signaling a possibly more accommodating posture before the opinions and preferences of our betters and those who surrounded the bishop in the inner circles of power.
These were impolitic choices, perceived as a slight or insult to the establishment, a move against the much-vaunted middle with its prayers entirely in English, all that was new in music, and stylistic contemporary in liturgy. It was a risk, reeking as it did too much of the SSPX, Archbishop Lefebvre’s order that had started out as an approved reserve of Tradition but which had fallen into canonically irregular status.
The contrary murmurs among establishment clergy in my regard reached a crescendo with a deacon summer evaluation that was deemed so damning it was determined that a second diaconate assignment was necessary if I was to be ordained. As a result, I traveled each week of that fourth and last formation year on Friday afternoons to a parish assignment at a large Beltway parish and then back again to the seminary on Sunday evenings. The needed positive evaluation resulted thanks to a mild and compassionate priest.
Many vocations visibly linked to Tradition, in ways however superficial, never survived the pervasive Modernist seminary gauntlets. Ambitious and career-inclined aspirants did not challenge the narrative. Whatever was new provided the clerical promotion ladder.
Following Ordination I offered Mass entirely in Latin whenever alone, and always incorporated whatever elements of Tradition the new rite made possible. A kneeler and knee cushions on the ship for Sunday Mass on the f’o’csle of the aircraft carrier, for example, after I entered active duty following upon three years’ service in the archdiocese. Like many others I made frequent use of chant and Latin.
Now Modernism is a devouring monster with the cruelly and ironically titled Traditionis Custodes. Those remnants of Tradition urged upon us by monitus in the documents of the Council are now deemed prohibited.
There is now, for those who have clawed their way into positions of power, updating only. Any reference to the past is effectively forbidden. Will all that remains be swept away in a relentless flood of new and manufactured on-the-spot products?
Even the few compromises with the past possible after Vatican II must be eliminated, but certainly the ancient Mass itself. This is the main obstacle to the goals of the Modernists who demand that the Church accommodate the secular triumph of the world and of relativism by constant renewal.
The Modernist attack on the liturgy fails to take into account that the ancient Mass is the essence of Tradition. If it is not Catholic, then nothing is. Its defenders, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, knew this instinctively with their truly Catholic sensibility. Thus Ecclesia Dei and Summorum Pontificum.
The new Mass is possible only with constant reference to its source in the old, as Benedict XVI made clear with his denomination of the two forms of the Roman rite: the “ordinary” and “extraordinary.” Both should coexist so that what was always sacred for the Church will remain so.
The voracious “spirit of Vatican II,” however, is now bypassing and consuming the documents of the Council themselves. Modernism devours whatever compromises enabled it, seeking its own ends alien to faith.
“It’s only the Mass,” they said, “it’s still valid,” “we still have the Eucharist.” But tearing the Eucharist away from its organic source as handed down mitigates against faith in the Real Presence as well as other truths. The process becomes ultimately an ecclesial suicide. Attack the wellspring and the living stream is choked off.
A new book on the St. Gallen Mafia by Julia Meloni says that Bergoglio is the front man of the modernist group of the eponymous book title and is merely following a script with clear objectives: Communion for the divorced and remarried, abolition of priestly celibacy, ordination of women and union with the Protestants. Knowing these goals are the desired result can explain everything else, including the endless synods, each followed up with a new document.
In these unprecedented times, many are wrestling with questions regarding tradition and authority as they attempt to navigate the uncharted waters of Tradition cancellation.
Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
(Acknowledgment: A homily by Fr. James Jackson, FSSP, via YouTube is the source for some words or phrases in last week’s column.)

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