September 14-29, 2001
volume 12, no. 149

Sustaining the Outrage    part three

By Michael J. Matt, Editor, The Remnant

Reprinted from The Remnant Newspaper with permission

    Consider, if you will, St. Thomas More kneeling in that little redbrick stone church I've just described. What would he have done at the sight of such anti-Catholic impudence? There is no question that he would have become enraged by what I saw. We know from the tomes he wrote against Martin Luther and his heresy how forcefully Thomas More sought to purge the Church of such ghastly Protestant error. He would not have tolerated it; he would have decried it as an affront to the Faith.

    Think of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. What would she have done if she had walked into our little church on the day when the bulldozers were creating the "worship space"? Ask yourself: What would she have done when she witnessed statues of Our Lady being knocked over or beautiful images of the angels and saints being blasted into chunks of concrete along with the rest of the high altar? Is there any question how ardently she would have objected or how much she would have wept over such a thing?

    How about Joan of Arc. Please! She would have called for her battle horse and donned her armor. What do you suppose Our Lady thinks when she looks down from heaven and sees the New Mass going on? We needn't think of her reaction to it in terms of its validity or invalidity…not in the sense in which a theologian might carefully critique it. Rather, let us think of her reaction to it in a simpler sense…in her capacity as our mother; as one who loves us and wishes, more than anything else, to see us safely in heaven with her. Let us think of her in this sense at the New Mass. Where once millions of her children knelt on kneelers with heads bowed, hands folded, and lips moving in silent prayer at the moment when the Sacrifice of Calvary was being re-enacted on the altar, she now sees a comparative few linking arms, celebrating themselves and "feeling good"; she hears voices raised, not in sacred song, but in the tasteless rhymes and rhythms of pop music with profoundly Protestant lyrics; she watches her children taking the Body and Blood of her Son in the hand and, at least by the face of it, utterly for granted. What do you think she thinks when she sees such devastation in the wake of a revolution which even some popes have called liturgical "renewal"?

    Her sadness should fuel our outrage!

Outlasting the Outrage

    It would seem obvious that the enemies of the old faith would, by this late hour, have but one final hurdle to cross before achieving total success in their diabolical efforts, and that is to outlast the outrage of faithful Catholics. When we become tired of the fight, when we begin to wonder if we're right to fight, when we allow doubts to come up with the sun, when we lose the sense of Catholic indignation at seeing what they've done to the Mass and to the faith of our fathers…then their victory is assured. They need only outlast us, for they already outnumber us a million to one. Once we die out, shut up or just fade away, their victory is guaranteed.

    Because we have done nothing more than desperately cling with might and main to the old faith, as we were taught to do at all costs by Catholic priests in Catholic schools before the Council, we can have confidence that we are right, and that the new theologians, the new liturgists and all the ecumaniacs in Rome itself are dead wrong. And so we must nurture that confidence, and then we must resist.

    To bolster this point, allow me to quote a most appropriate passage from a sermon by Cardinal Francis Bourne, Archbishop of Westminster in the early part of the last century. His sermon was preached at the celebration of the eighth centenary of the coming of the Cistercians to Waverley, July 18, 1928, at Waverley Abbey. It is not necessary for me to draw the parallel to our own situation today; the Cardinal's words speak for themselves.

        We, the Catholics of England, come here today as to a true spiritual home. We come not as strangers and foreigners, but as fellow citizens with those who once made this a sacred spot by their unending prayers and by their lives consecrated wholly to the service of God and their fellow men.

        We are singing today the same old litanies in the identical ancient tongue. We are offering up the same sacrifice which day by day they offered in this place. We are using the same time-honoured chant, and we are praying for those who are passed away in the same words and with the same faith in which they prayed. We have no need to cast about for new ritual, or to devise new prayers for such an occasion as this. We take up the old work of praise in the same form and according to the same ritual, wearing the like vestments as they used in bygone days. We are here today as though the Catholic Church had never left this hallowed shrine. In faith, in worship and in discipline we stand where the Cistercian monks stood so long ago, and we know that those whose memory we venerate and celebrate are singing in unison with us before God's Throne. Were it given them to come among us for a brief space in the mortal shapes which once were theirs, they would find nothing strange in our worship, or in our teaching, or in the ecclesiastical discipline under which we live. Perhaps their manner, and intonation, and accent, and some of their words would be strange to us as they utter our mother tongue. Probably we should understand one another better in Latin, or even in archaic French, but in the things of the spirit and in all those matters which really count, deep down in our minds and hearts we should find ourselves wholly at one with them. Of whom else could the same be truthfully said today save of us, who represent the old Church in union with the Apostolic See?…

    Occasion Sermons, Bourne, Francis Cardinal, Longmans, Green and Co, London, 1929


    Sustain the Catholic outrage…that is what we must do…the outrage that comes from the realization that what Cardinal Bourne was talking about is, except in a few Traditional Catholic outposts, all but gone in the Church of our time, thanks to Vatican II, the Liturgical "Reformation", and the attempted Protestantization of the Church. The New Mass isn't the same from one month to the next; God only knows what a grotesque mutilated form of it could possibly still exist 800 years from now. It's unthinkable. But the old Mass lasted, and lasted, and lasted…uniting Catholics throughout history in the same worship, the same theology, the same Faith.

    That link between us and our fathers in the Faith was severed completely in 1969. And Catholic unity even in the present is, throughout the world, disappearing. What united Catholics for two thousand years is being cast aside now in the name of ecumenism and progress and the Second Vatican Council. If St. Thomas Aquinas walked into a New Mass today, can we imagine him doing anything except excusing himself for having mistakenly entered a non-Catholic church?

    Catholics today are at a real crossroads, and we should not fool ourselves: Things are not improving by leaps and bounds, as some would have us believe. Yes, the Novus Ordo apparatus appears to be crumbling, but this does not mean that a groundswell restoration of the old Faith is under way. Certainly, the Novus Ordo churches are closing and attendance figures at the New Mass are plummeting. But what is there to take its place? A couple of Traditional Catholic priestly orders? An Indult Mass or two? Please! There is evidence only of a very tiny remnant that is still desperately hanging on…that is all and that is anything but a groundswell resurgence of Catholicism.


SUNDAY, September 30th: Part Four of Sustaining the Outrage

For the first part of this article, see Part One
For the second part of this article, see Part Two

September 14-29, 2001
volume 12, no. 149
Return to Today's Issue