FOCUS (jul25fcs.htm)

July 25-28, 2004
vol 15, no. 162

The Movement From Inside The Vatican to Restore the Old Mass and Church Teaching!

    Editor's Note: When you read the following you might think it was written by Bishop Bernard Fellay or Father Gomar DePauw or Father Lawrence Smith or Father Louis Campbell or any of the writers for The Remnant, Catholic Family News, the Angelus, The Fatima Crusader, The Latin Mass Magazine, or any of the contributing writers to this publication The Daily Catholic, but in truth, it is a combination of two editorials published in the two most recent issues of INSIDE THE VATICAN Magazine by editor-in-chief Robert Moynihan. He is a veteran Vatican journalist, versed in five languages, with Ivy League blood flowing through his veins - for he holds a Bachelor's from Harvard and a Doctorate from Yale. But coursing through his blood is also the sensus Catholicus and more and more it is truly revealing itself in his editorials and content. Keep in mind his magazine has fast become one of the most respected and well-produced glossy print publications anywhere. Over the past decade, its editions have gained greater influence within the Vatican as well as outside it. Having subscribed for seven years, we have seen a progressive path away from progressive thought to a most conservative stance to the last several issues illustrating a truly Traditional bent. Over the past year Moynihan has not been afraid to publish Pope St. Pius V's Quo Primum, Pope St. Pius X's "Oath Against Modernism," Pope Pius XI's Mortalium animos and the entire Ordinary of the Latin Mass along with several other pre-Vatican II documents and articles most favorable to Tradition. It is with renewed hope and prayerful optimism that more within the hallowed halls of the Holy See are being won back to Tradition. The following are the most recent two editorials published by Moynihan. We have utilized Douay-Rheims scriptural quotes where applicable. The first "Restore the Old Mass" is from the May issue, and the second "Restore Church Teaching" is from the June/July issue.

Restore the Old Mass

Robert Moynihan, Editor,

    "Upon the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept: when we remembered Sion: On the willows in the midst thereof we hung up our instruments. For there they that led us into captivity required of us the words of songs. And they that carried us away, said: Sing ye to us a hymn of the songs of Sion. How shall we sing the song of the Lord in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten. Let my tongue cleave to my jaws, if I do not remember thee: If I make not Jerusalem the beginning of my joy." Psalms 136: 1-6 (DRV)

    On April 23, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued a 60-page instruction: Redemptionis Sacramentum ("The Sacrament of Redemption"). It is the result of a long and serious deliberation on how the Mass is being celebrated today in the Church, and sets forth a standard of solemnity to be followed everywhere. (Even in Rome, I would hope: A couple of weeks ago, at the Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, I heard "Danny Boy" played during Communion.)

    No one can deny the desire on the part of the authors of this instruction to impart a sense of the sacred to the new Mass.

    But, after studying the catalogue of '"do's and don'ts" in the document, one senses a reluctance on Rome's part to get to the true root of the problem: namely, the new Mass itself.

    There have been books written on what's missing in the new Mass, by Cardinal Ratzinger among others, and the authors of this instruction are aware of these studies. But they do not pinpoint the real source of the 40-year secularizing of the Mass. The problem is that the New Mass attracts and "enables" abuses because it was intentionally shaped to diminish the "transcendent" and emphasize the "profane" dimension.

    The new Mass has turned out to be a rite too rapidly produced and too influenced by the rampant secularization of the 1960's. Patching it up is a vain effort.

    At least in this one area, it is possible for the Church to take decisive action.

    The successor of Peter can even tomorrow issue a solemn decree more or less as follows: "The cries of God's people are at last heard: the 'winter' is over, the true 'springtime' is come: the ancient, holy liturgy of the Roman rite, cherished by so many saints, will, with no further delay, be restored in all the churches of Christendom..."

    Then the Pope would set forth the steps by which innovation, experiment, and individual artistry would come to an end and the ancient sacrificial offering of the Mass - in all dignity and solemnity - would be restored. Some will argue that such an action would be a grave mistake, that making such a liturgical change would both "impede ecumenical progress" and "further confuse the faithful."

    I understand these arguments, and feel their force.

    But I am persuaded that the restoration of the old Mass, with its simple solemnity and rich symbolism, would not offend non-Catholics, as is feared, but attract them, and attract them profoundly.

    And I am persuaded that the restoration of the old Mass would not "confuse" the faithful, but "galvanize" them, deepening their Christian faith, confirming them in their love of God and neighbor. And this, in fact, is what the bishops at Vatican II most deeply desired.

    I am convinced that the restoration of the old liturgy would be a consolation to many who have attended the new Mass, not to "participate more fully" in the liturgy, but, out of obedience to a Pope and hierarchy which has asked them to "give up" the Mass they love.

    I am persuaded that the resotration of the old Mass would be a "festival day," a day of universal celebration, and, as such, would mark the beginning of a great renewal in Church life.

    Some will argue that such a restoration would be disrespectful toward Pope Paul VI, who promulgated the new Mass in 1969.

    I disagree. Paul VI was himself hesitant about the new Mass, as he was about so many things. He approved it half-heartedly. It is said that after he attended a "trial run" of the new Mass, he said, "But where is the mystery? The mystery is gone!" He himself felt something was missing in the new Mass, but promulgated it anyway.

    In April, I had a conversation with Father Jean-Marie Charles-Roux, 90, one of the priests who celebrated Mass for Mel Gibson in Rome during the filming of The Passion of The Christ. Charles-Roux was ordained in the 1950's. He knew Pius XII, John XXIII and Paul VI personally. In 1971, after celebrating the new Mass for about 18 months, he asked Paul VI to receive him at Castel Gondolfo. Paul agreed. Charles-Roux said to Paul: "For 18 months I have celebrated the new Mass, but I cannot continue. I was ordained to celebrate the old Mass, and I want to return to it. Will you permit me to do so?" And Paul said: "Certainly, I never forbade celebration of the old Mass; I have only offered an alternative."

    The alternative has become the norm, and the perennial liturgy of the Latin West is now celebrated only in a few chapels here and there, almost furtively, as if in hiding, as if in a time of persecution.

    So let us read "the signs of the times" and restore the liturgy of the ages, the liturgy of Gregory the Great and St. Augustine of England, of Boniface and Bernard, of Francis and Clare, of Aquinas and Bonaventure, of Ignatius and Bellarmine, of Newman and Chesterton, and of our own parents and grandparents.

    Let us preserve from oblivion the beautiful and holy liturgy which we inherited from our forefathers, that our posterity may thank us for having the courage to do what is fitting and just in an age of iron and lead.

(May Issue, 2004 ITV)

Restore Church Teaching

    "Hold the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me in faith, and in the love which is in Christ Jesus. Keep the good thing committed to thy trust by the Holy Ghost, Who dwelleth in us."
    St. Paul, Second Letter to Timothy, 1: 13-14

    Last month, in our May issue, we wrote in this space that the "old Mass" could and should be "restored" throughout the world - a position some our readers appreciated. Now we would like to carry our thought a step further. We believe not only that the "old Mass" should be restored, but that the entire perennial doctrine of the Church must be "rediscovered" in our time, in order to renew the Church from within.

    The crimes and sins of our time - the pedophilia scandals above all, but also the widespread acceptance of abortion along with the general loss of a sense of the holy and of the need for self-sacrifice in the humble service of God and others - are not without precedent. Therefore, they should not unduly trouble us. Human sins, never call into question the truth of the doctrine handed down from Christ.

    Yet concern about the teaching of Catholic doctrine is wide spread. I have heard it expressed in the most diverse circumstances. During a trip to Moscow in December 2001, Metropolitan Kiril, the number two man in the Russian Orthodox hierarchy, told me he was "worried" about the orthodoxy of modern Catholic theology. Professor Jaroslav Pelikan, renowned for his study of the history of Christian doctrine told me in the summer of 2002 that he was "alarmed" by the "superficiality" of much modern Catholic theology - and by the way Rome appeared to countenance various theological trends which contain heretical tendencies. "I am quite concerned about Rome", he said. And even in Rome, a number of Vatican officials have expressed to me privately their concern about the lack of profound orthodox Catholic doctrine in many parts of the world.

    Even John Paul II, despite repeated efforts to reaffirm traditional teaching, as for example in Dominus Iesus, has expressed his own concern about Catholic theology. In his recent autobiographical book, Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way (May 2004) he acknowledges that he has perhaps been too lax in the way he has governed the Church.

    It has always been the chief concern of the successor of Peter, the bishop of Rome, and his fellow bishops, to "guard the deposit of the faith" ("custodire depositum fidei"). This "deposit" has always been considered a treasure of inestimable value, the "pearl of great price," the "saving truth" about what Jesus Christ, God incarnate, said and did. His appearance in this world marked the beginning of the end of the reign of sin and death, and so also the appearance of God's kingdom, promised ages before to the Jews and awaited for long centuries by all Israel.

    The apostles were willing to die to protect and hand down this "deposit," this truth. And Popes have always been particularly at pains to ensure that nothing of this "deposit" is lost. Pope Pius XII, for example, made this point very clear when he vouchsafed his "dying words" to the Italian Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, whom he esteemed highly: "Depositum custodi, depositum custodi," Pius said ("Protect the deposit of the Faith, protect the Deposit of the Faith") - as Peter Hebblethwaite reports in his Pope John XXIII (New York: Doubleday, 1985).

    What has happened since the time of Pius? Some good things, yes; * but also, a massive wave of confusion.

    Whether due to the Church's leadership or to the general secularization of modern society, the result is:

    1. Vast numbers of Catholics know little of their faith;
    2. Millions of Catholics openly acknowledge that they do not believe in the Real Presence;
    3. Many Catholics do not participate in the sacramental life of the Church;
    4. Many Catholic politicians wrongly believe they can support laws legalizing the killing of innocent infants and still be in communion with their Church...
The list could be continued.

    If Catholics seem to have lost their Catholic sense ["sensus Catholicus"], no longer recognizing or opposing or opposing false doctrine, the world in general seems to have lost the sense of good and evil. Abortion, for example, considered evil worldwide prior to the 1920's, is now considered a positive "right" by nearly all nations. Homosexuality, likewise, formerly regarded as a vice, is now regarded as indifferent, or even a virtue.

    St. Paul made it abundantly clear: "But though we, or an Angel from Heaven, preach a gospel to you beside that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema." [Galatians 1: 8]

    What does this mean? Simply stated, that the essential doctrines of the faith cannot change. And Councils, and Popes, and bishops, must defend these perennial doctrines.

    The Four Last Things - "Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell" - are the most crucial issues confronting the human soul. Working toward salvation is an arduous task. It can be won only after a life-long battle with the world, the flesh, and the devil. This battle is made exceedingly difficult by our fallen nature. Just as an army hardens its soldiers for battle, so the Church has always prepared her members for a battle far more important than any physical one, because the outcome will determine the fate of souls for eternity. It is time to begin to restore the perennial teaching of the Church.

Robert Moynihan

    * DC Editor's Note: I would respectfully ask Robert or anyone else if they could list "some good things" that have resulted since the time of Pius? I am referring to anything that has evolved from the actions of Vatican II that have strengthened the Church or the sensus Catholicus of the faithful and made it better now than before Vatican II for the salvation of souls. The fact is no one has been able to submit such a list because it is impossible via the syllogism Our Lord provided in Matthew 7: 15-21. A bad tree cannot yield good fruit. Period!

    Considering Moynihan's move toward returning to the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church, we encourage you to subscribe to this glossy monthly magazine to see what is happening in the epicenter of the Church - Rome. This month there is a fascinating article on how Traditional Catholic "Oratory" Established in Berlin in which Father Goesche is reviving the Immemorial Mass of Tradition in Berlin. I might add, also, that no publication was more thorough in covering the entire The Passion of The Christ controversy and conquest by Mel than INSIDE THE VATICAN

    July 25-28, 2004
    vol 15, no. 162