I would like to open this topic with the opening verse of the Tantum Ergo:
(St. Thomas Aquinas, 1227-1274; translated by Edward Caswall. Public domain.)
Tantum ergo Sacramentum|
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui;
Praestet fides supplementum
Down in adoration falling,|
Lo, the Sacred Host we hail.
Lo, o'er ancient forms departing,
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying
Where the feeble senses fail.
In the context of all of our struggles against the synthetic
"rite" of the Novus Ordo and for the authentic Catholic Roman Rite of all ages, I can't help wondering if at least for some persons some of the words in the above may at times be sung with something less than full enthusiasm.
For in this verse God is praised for causing the ancient forms to depart and for new rites of Grace to prevail. Is that not exactly the claim that lies at the heart of the whole Novus Ordo? Is not this ancient hymn, penned by Saint Thomas Aquinas himself, therefore praising, centuries in advance, the coming of the Novus Ordo Missae? I wouldn't put it past the Novus Ordo apologists to attempt this very chain of argumentation. So appalling is the depth of their ignorance I fully believe that many of them would be quite capable of it. What a great, powerful, and compelling case indeed it would make for the whole Novus Ordo, if only it would stand up to an honest and scholastically sound examination! But does it?
The one refutation upon which such a case falls down upon is the fact that this hymn is praising the replacement of the ancient Jewish sacrifices of the Temple (animals, grain, wine, etc.) with the Christian sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross, as it was in the time it happened, as well as how that time and place is made present in the Mass by the Church under the New Christian Covenant. The Old pointed to the New, lead up to it, and in a way continues almost seamlessly in the New. So incredibly much of the Catholic Mass is drawn from the Jewish Temple worship: Tabernacles, altars, sacrifices, priests, incense, washings, and finally, the varying degrees of holiness to the places successively closer and closer to the Most Holy of Holies.
Yet also much truly is new under Christ, a perfect and Divine sacrifice to fulfill all sacrifice, a sacrifice of unending power and efficacy so unlike the animal sacrifices which must be repeated again and again afresh and anew with new animals. This is the one sacrifice which does more than merely cover the sins of the people, as the past sacrifices had done, but now also pays the full price of their sins, our sins. This is the cause for praise for which Saint Thomas has penned his glorious hymn sung at every Benediction.
Still, for all that, the question remains. Are we Catholics not being like the Jews in clinging to past rites and belief instead of getting in step with the times and embracing the new as so many seem to have done? For the central lynchpin of our traditional Catholic teaching is that what God has revealed as True cannot and does not ever change, hence all that is in conflict with that unchanging doctrine is therefore in a state of defection from it. God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, and changeless, without so much as the turning of a shadow. If that be not true then our whole basis for resisting the Novus Ordo falls down, irretrievably.
And yet, is that not exactly what we have in the transition from the
Jewish Covenant to the Christian one? Under the Jewish covenant, we did not
eat pig, nor shellfish, nor even meat and dairy products in the same meal
(so much for cheeseburgers…). While a Christian would commit no sin in
fixing himself to eat a ham and cheese sandwich on rye on a Saturday
afternoon, a Jew doing the same would in that one same act violate at least
three of the Kashrut (כַּשְרוּת Jewish Kosher Laws) all at once. What gives? Did God change His mind?
If nothing else, this has to give God's Own Church a taste of how the Jews must have felt to have their own traditions so significantly seemingly swept aside in favor of new and different traditions. For though we got to see the person and character of the Messiah, so many of the things long expected of Him had to continue to be delayed and continue to be delayed even now. It should increase our compassion for Jews and what they have gone through since the Church now finds Herself in a rather comparable situation. No, we cannot compromise even one particle of our doctrine, but we can be reminded of our duty to be respectful to all persons, especially those most in need of our prayers.
One can see from this what a transition it was from the Jewish Covenant to the Christian Covenant, and why so few grasped it at first. To add further distance, and apparently adding insult to injury, some quarters of the Christian Church even mandated various things opposed to Jewish practices, for example the use of leavened bread as hosts for use as the Holy Eucharist in the East, while the West has always followed the Jewish practice of using only unleavened bread for sacred purposes.
But in fact the Jewish Law did not simply disappear, for Christ came not to destroy but to fulfill. We fulfill that Law by remaining in Him, remaining in a state of Sanctifying Grace. Yet how can we remain in a state of Grace while doing some of the very things which Jews, in the commission of which, would sin and alienate themselves from the same God? Much of the New Testament, and especially the Apostle Paul's writings therein, is addressed to that question, and to this the Ancient Church Fathers and Doctors have added much, and I don't presume to add to it all now.
In a very tiny nutshell (which is to say, in any attempt to summarize so much theology in so little space, at least some degree of distortion is unavoidable), the differences amount to disciplinary differences, and are even prefigured in the similar differences between the Jewish Covenant with Moses and the various previous Covenants with Abraham, Noah, and all the way in the beginning, Adam. For example, before the Flood, all meat was forbidden, and before that even the fruit of a certain tree.
The standard imposed upon all Mankind by Noah amounted to seven basic laws:
1) Prohibition of Idolatry: - There is only one God. You shall not make for yourself an idol.
2) Prohibition of Murder: - You shall not murder.
3) Prohibition of Theft: - You shall not steal.
4) Prohibition of Sexual Promiscuity: - You shall not commit adultery.
5) Prohibition of Blasphemy: - Revere God and do not blaspheme.
6) Prohibition of Cruelty to Animals: - Do not eat the flesh of an animal while it is still alive.
7) Requirement to have just Laws: - You shall set up an effective government to police the preceding six laws.
The Council of Jerusalem (Acts chapter 15 in the Bible) basically served to reaffirm that these basic parts of the Law would continue to be binding on the Church's Gentile believers, although the remainder of the Mosaic Law would not.
Such a change can only be explained as the transition from one Covenant to another, as each Covenant is an agreement between Man and God. By that token, if the Novus Ordo religion were truly that of God, it would mean that the Christian Covenant has been abrogated in favor of some new Marxist Covenant. Are the Novus Ordoites prepared to admit that? But their religion can have no substance or value to it unless that indeed would be the case. Even with all of that, how can one explain the transition from the rather strict and complicated Law of Moses versus the more forgiving Law of the Gospel?
I think one part of the idea was that the Jewish Covenant was to create a cleansed and purified society and nation, as a prefigurement of our Lady who was conceived as already being cleansed and purified of all sin. Just as the sinless and Holy Child is born of the perfectly cleansed and sinless mother, the sinless Savior of Mankind is born of the ritually cleansed nation of the Jews. But though it was necessary that His Mother should be sinless in all her existence, never was it necessary that His disciples should be as perfectly free from sin. It is enough that they turn from their sin and from their own little selfish lives to Him. Likewise it was necessary that the Jewish Nation, from which He came, had been pre-cleansed by the Law of Moses, but enough that the Gentile nations of which most of His followers would one day come to be comprised of should be cleansed after the fact by turning away from their sins and to Him and His Holy Church.
At least that is how I explain it to myself. For I must admit I too have a certain difficulty comprehending such a change from that of the Mosaic Covenant to that of the Christian Covenant, and it is just one of those things I must accept on the authority of Sacred Scripture, Infallible Church teaching, and the harsh fact that God has in His Providence nevertheless permitted the fullness of the Jewish Law to become impossible to fulfill. For the Temple is no more, the animal sacrifices have ceased, there is no Theocratic State of Israel, and the sacred line of the Levitical Priesthood has become hopelessly lost among the intermarrying of tribes, and even with intermarrying between Jew and Gentile. For if Christianity could ever be truly falsified I see no alternatives but Judaism and Atheism, and the latter is for me unacceptable.
But if Judaism be true, then of the 613 laws how many of them simply cannot be followed again due these harsh circumstances? Blessed is he that learns the Law and keeps it, but even without the problems of original sin and of our own sins how is anyone at all to keep it and be blessed if so many of them are not possible? Of course Catholics have also at times found themselves in the same circumstance. Think of the Japanese Catholics who for several centuries had no clergy and yet still managed to preserve their faith. But even then the Japanese could go to Mass when visiting other countries, and once in a while a cleric did get smuggled in. All the same, it is one thing for a Jew in confinement to be unable to visit the Temple when he ought, and he must content himself with having his mind on the Temple, but quite another for there to be no Temple.
If we really have transitioned from the Christian Covenant to some new Novus Ordo Marxist Covenant, then there is one most interesting difference. In the early days of Christianity, the Christians were persecuted by the Jews. It was only several centuries later they had sufficiently grown in size to "turn the tables" and even begin persecuting Jews, which seems a rather shocking lack of Christian forgiveness as I see it. But now a bunch of corrupt churchmen come together in a council called Vatican II and by their own limited human authority decree a new Divine Covenant into existence, and this time they are armed with the whole force and wrath of the world, the flesh, and the Devil at their beck and call. And they have wasted no time in persecuting right from the get-go those of us who alone remain of the Christian Covenant, namely we traditional Catholics.
But you know what I think? I think that the "New Marxist Covenant" has already passed its peak, and has nowhere left to go but downhill. Perhaps in less than 500 years there will be more of us traditional Catholics than Novus Ordoites, and by at least a couple of orders of magnitude. Will we be more forgiving of our persecutors this time? For that matter, ought we be? Forgiving, yes. Welcoming (as is), no.
For one foreseeable future for the Church might be seen in present Judaism today. There are three main basic kinds of Jews, Orthodox, Conservative, and "Reform." The Orthodox are quite comparable to the traditional Catholics, committed to adhering to the whole Law (or at least as much of it as is feasible given the absence of the Temple, etc.), and do all in their power to take it very seriously. Likewise it is only the Traditional Catholics who truly adhere to the entirety of the Christian Gospel and Church and Faith, and again take it most seriously. One other interesting thing that the Orthodox Jew and the Traditional Catholic have in common is that neither of us is interested in engaging in "ecumenical dialogue." Another is that where they lack the Temple, we lack a valid and true Pope. So the race is on to see which happens first, last, and best: Do they get a Temple or do we get a real Pope? I think I have already made it clear in all my writings which horse I am backing. Truth is One. It's either them or it's us; it isn't anybody else.
Then there is the Conservative, and here one finds in both Judaism and Catholicism quite a continuum from the nearly Orthodox/Traditional to the nearly Reform/Novus Ordo, some availing themselves the authentic Divine worship in the non-vernacular liturgical language, while others are far removed from it, totally immersed in the modern irreligious culture.
And finally, there is the Reform, much comparable to the Novus Ordo, except that where the Reform does seem to be accepted as Jewish by virtually all Jews, the Novus Ordo is clearly not Catholic, unless in the secrecy of the hearts of some very misled persons. Even many of the same horrific liturgical abuses are as much rife in Reform Judaism as they are in the Novus Ordo. In that they are also victims of the same satanic strategy as the Novus Ordoites themselves.
So is the Christian Covenant finally thrown aside, to be given the same fate as the Jewish Covenant? Must we too now proceed to endure centuries of persecutions and pogroms as the Jew has long known far too well? Must we remain scattered and few and disunited until some such time, centuries hence, that some monstrous regime slaughters six million of us? Are we to be called perfidious for failing to see the glorious Springtime of the New Man-made Pentecost of Vatican II? I know that in a certain prayer recited by the Church once a year we make reference to "perfidious Jews." But is "perfidious" a descriptive adjective or classifying adjective? Does it mean to imply that all Jews are perfidious, or does it mean to single out certain particular Jews who merely happen to also be perfidious?
And by the way, I just thought I would mention here that "perfidious" in this particular liturgical usage merely means "unbelieving," and in this case, quite specifically "unbelieving in the messianic claims of Jesus of Nazareth." It was never meant as an insult and should never be so taken. It is simply a bare fact that they themselves would not deny (as understood here) and why it is they are in our prayers.
To me there is a world of difference between trying to follow the Law (as expressed in the Torah) versus opposing the Lawmaker Himself and His Divine prerogative to abrogate His Own Law in favor of a New and higher Law should He so choose. I for one believe in the God Who is not bound by any limitation, save that which He freely chooses to impose upon Himself. For example we can know that He chooses not to sin, nor to tolerate the faintest trace of iniquity within His entire Being. And if He, in His Divine and Infinite glory, should elect for a brief span of time to confine Himself to the apparently limited frame of one single Man, how dare we have the temerity to limit His Divine Mercy from doing this should He so choose? If someone would like to argue that He didn't, that's one thing. But if one wants to argue that He couldn't, that's quite another.
But did God change His Law with Vatican II? Does the power of binding and loosing, such that what is bound (or loosed) in earth is therefore bound in Heaven, extend even to the power to abrogate the entire Christian Covenant? To repeal the sacraments, and even turn what's left of their dissolving "church" into one big "sacrament" itself? To transfer unrepentant thieves, murderers, rapists, sorcerers, and idolaters from the fires of Hell to the glories of Heaven? For the whole Vatican II religion stands or falls with this. How many would admit that the Second Vatican Council did, if truly meant by God and eternal, truly abrogate Christianity itself? Very few, I would think.
Does that represent a superior Law? I think I could argue quite easily and persuasively that going from Moses' permission of divorce to the original Edenic prohibition of all divorce, rendering all Christian Marriage indissoluble, is a clear improvement, for it is written that God hates divorce. (Malachi 2:16) So how is going back to allowing divorces (through the "back door" of free and easy and infinitely repeatable "annulments") supposed to be yet a further improvement? This is not the "light getting brighter and brighter unto the fullness of day" but blinking on and off like a Christmas tree bulb.
The past changes of the Law are understandable, for man was created perfect in the image and likeness of God, and as such he had but to obey and that indeed would have been enough. But instead he sinned, and through that sin came in all the hardships of life, including death. The ground was cursed, not that the ground itself had changed, but that the man in his newfound sinful arrogance, could not admit to himself that it was his own newfound stupidity that he no longer tended the ground as he ought and did, but lazily expected it to tend itself. It is something akin to a poor workman who blames his shoddy workmanship on his tools. In that perspective any new lives born into the world were not joyfully received but resented for the pain and burden and inconvenience they brought into his pathetic new life.
For a fallen man, it was suitable to have a fallen Law, one that cut all sorts of slack that Adam and Eve had no need of, or right to. Even the Christian Law is only a partial return to that fullness that will exist eternally in Paradise and Heaven. At least the Messiah's first coming was enough of an event in the salvific history of Mankind that a partial return could be made and a good Law abrogated in favor of a better Law as the flawed and limited substitutional sacrifices of animals gave way to the final and ultimate sacrifice which they all prefigured.
Is the Christian Law really better? I wonder how many have really seen it. I readily admit that there is much beauty to the Law of the Torah and in the rabbinic interpretations thereof (especially pre-Talmud era, pardon my Christian bias), but to compare all that to the Christian New Testament is truly comparing apples and onions. Far more comparable would be the whole field of Catholic Moral Theology and Canon Law. If the Catholic Moral Theology and Canon Law could be laid side by side with the Torah and full depth of Jewish rabbinical interpretation thereof, no doubt a great deal would be in common, but the differences would be truly of most interest. Obviously the above example regarding Christian marriage shows the Christian model superior, but would this pattern describe all differences? Only an exhaustive search would answer that question, but my Faith certainly tells me which one I should expect to be the more obviously perfect.
In going to the new Vatican II religion, moral theology has been completely rewritten, and even a new "code of canon law" generated, in accordance with the new religion. But whatever preferences a Jew and a Catholic would have regarding their respective Laws, both would readily have to agree that the Vatican II "Law" is patently inferior to both. So much of what both lay out in great detail to ensure fairness and justice is now left to personal and subjective interpretations by questionable "officials" with references to vague ideals of uncertain merit.
Furthermore, what great salvific event has transpired? Has some significant prophecy been fulfilled in some special way that it never has been before nor ever could be again in some future date? Has the Messiah put in any sort of an appearance, Himself personally? I don't even see the claim anywhere afoot. Has the world ended and the Millennial Kingdom begun? Has anything at all happened except that a bunch of mostly corrupt men gathered in a room and conspired to dissolve the Church? Vatican II is an unqualified disaster for all concerned. Certainly for the Catholic who is most directly adversely affected. But though a kind of trickle-down insanity the rest of the world is also the loser. Witness the grave moral decline on all fronts.
Might one from the above glean an idea that I am some kind of Jewish sympathizer? I wouldn't go quite that far. But one thing I will say, and that is I am sick to death of times when my fellow Catholics who, when speaking of the "great conspiracy," for some reason seem obsessed with emphasizing its supposed "Jewishness." Well excuse me, but if that's the case why have they not exerted their incredible political and economic power to destroy the Pork industry and make only kosher foods available in the local supermarket? If they can put all of Europe (and most of the world) on the Metric system, why can't they also put so many people on the Jewish calendar?
Of course, there are bound to be some members of the conspiracy who happen to have Jewish mothers, or even some very few who have been Bar Mitzvah'ed, etc., but apart from such technicalities (on par with the technicality which would make any validly baptized person a "Catholic" no matter the degree of their defection from the Faith in every sense of the word) they are no more Jews than I am, or even for that matter, than those who love to go on and on about the supposed "Jewish conspiracy." For from a devout Jewish perspective it
is as much a departure from that faith to join the great conspiracy as
it would for a Catholic to become a Freemason. At most, one might concede a disproportionate number of those in the conspiracy to be of Jewish ancestry, due to the simple fact that the price of entry is a great deal of money.
In case you haven't noticed, Jews, almost to a man, are quite keen on getting a higher education which enables them to get better and higher paying jobs, to which they work harder, live frugally, save their money, and invest it carefully and wisely, over many years, and even across generations. Even more important, when one or another of them is down on his luck the others gladly pitch in to help get their fellow Jew back on his feet. And they do this even where one may disagree violently with another about a great many things. Rabbi argues virulently with Rabbi over some finer point of Rabbinical Law, but at the end of the day they have a drink together, laugh it off, and there exists a powerful bond between them, almost, or in a way even more than, that of family. Why do we all know so much more of the Jews who died under the Nazis than we do of all the others? Because of their strong sense of family and community in which no one is forgotten. "One does not perish among Jews."
In what few occasions I have had to be around them, I have felt it myself. It is something quite profound and in a way even emotionally moving. I can recall sitting at a dinner some years ago among them, and across the table from me sat a garrulous old woman who was forever going on (and on and on and on!) about her son (or was it her nephew?) and his progress through medical school, and despite the perfect boredom such a situation would normally inspire, I am amazed to find that I am actually interested to hear it. That familial bond among them is so strong that even I, an evident outsider, neveretheless sense it, but how that is I do not know. I
have nothing of Jewish blood in me, and as a faithful Catholic the most I could ever aspire to be among them would be a "Righteous Gentile." But, given my overt desire to bring them to my Lord Jesus Christ, I don't see them commemorating me thus in Yad Vashem, even should I voluntarily take a bullet to save the life of a Jew. After all, in all justice Pope Pius XII should be honored there for he also risked and sacrificed much to save many Jews from the Nazis, but he isn't, and the only reason that is, is because he converted the Chief Rabbi of Rome to Catholicism and Jewry has never forgiven him for that.
But this peculiar bond among them, it is something to be seen. Is that conspiracy? Certainly not in that grand sense of those who are out to take over and oppress the whole world as the new tyrants, or secretly gathering together and laying out some sinister plan. Be all that as it may, that is most definitely an example we Catholics would do well to learn from. They get along so well and support each other because their own Law demands as much from them. Surely our own Higher Law would demand at least as much, if not more, from us? Yet how easily we "excommunicate" fellow Catholics we disagree with on some equally fine point of Canon Law, and therefore refuse to help them in their time of need. The flaw is not in our Law, but in ourselves, in our failure to live up to it.
When the Messiah first came to them, making a point of being seen by them as a nation before Divine Judgment would scatter them to the ends of the earth, and humbly riding on the back of a donkey as some prophecies predict, they were not worthy of Him, else had they but all followed Him as a Nation all the Messianic promises could have been fulfilled right then. That is why He must one day come again in the clouds, as other prophecies predict. And what mere man can change nature itself, so that Mankind should cease to have greed and lust and selfishness and war, through His mere coming? Will they be worthy this time? I pray that they are when He returns in full glory. But even closer to home, are we ready? Are we worthy? We have already excommunicated Him in the person of our fellow Catholic with whom we have some petty disagreement, why should we imagine ourselves any more ready to greet Him when He comes than we are to greet the least of His brethren?
Griff L. Ruby
Griff's book is available from iUniverse.com Books for $26.95 or can be read on-line at www.the-pope.com We at The Daily Catholic strongly urge you to share it with all you can for that could be the gentle shove that moves your friends back to where the True Faith resides forever, rooted in the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church as Christ intended and promised.