THE GREAT SACRILEGE
permission to reprint this
defining work was personally granted by
Father James F. Wathen, O.S.J. in 2001.
Chapter Seven

CHALLENGE

See EDITOR'S NOTE for an explanation of this work.




          "And Elias said again to the people: I only remain a prophet of theLord; but the prophets of Baal are four hundred and fifty men. Let two bullocks be given us, and let them choose one bullock for themselves,and cut it in pieces and lay it upon wood, but put no fire under; and Iwill dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under it.call ye on the names of your gods, and I will call on the name of myLord; and the God that shall answer by fire, let him be God. And all the people answering said: A very good proposal."
      3 Kings. 18: 22-24

   It seems that my present situation is very similar to that of the thaumaturgic prophet Elias (c. 850 B.C.) when the Lord God sent him to challenge King Achaz and to humble and rout the numerous prophets of Baal. During those days, as in these, the people, in obedience to the commands of their divinely-chosen king, had allowed themselves to be seduced into idolatry. The wonderful account of the episode in the third book of Kings makes it very clear that Elias found the false priests of Baal very easy to deal with, despite their great numbers. The reason was, of course, their god was no god at all. My case is the very same. Though literally thousands of priests have gone over to the worship of Baal ("The people is Baal"), standing against them is the merest child's play. This is not because the modern Baal is no god either, and his "mass" is no more than idol-worship. And since, as the reader can easily see, Baal's well-bleached clerics have no defense for their craven treachery, it takes no courage to challenge them, one and all.

   Statements made in this acrid little tract are of sufficient importance to create a great controversy and one of such moral relevance as to rasp the conscience of every man who glories in his priesthood. The whole Catholic world is visibly and painfully torn asunder by the question of the so-called "New Mass." The sooner those who truly love God acknowledge the burning immediacy of this question, the sooner will we find a solution to it, and begin anew to worship Him worthily.

   I propose that this controversy be carried on differently from the way the conspirators have proceeded in their ruthless "re-making" of the Church. Instead of pushing out of the way everyone who may disagree with my thesis, that the "New Mass" is nothing but a wicked Hoax, I offer to debate any of Baal's ministers. I challenge any priest to defend his new "faith," his fancy new "mass," and his abandonment of the Faith of the Apostles. Christian chivalry requires that I offer the thousands of ecclesiastical parasites, who now prey on the helpless Catholic faithful, an opportunity to respond to my admittedly harsh accusations and stern demands. Surely, many of them will feel duty-bound to rush to the defense of their spiritual Father and mine, Pope Paul VI, and I should surely hope that every one of them is able to make more sense out of the "Comedy of Errors" known as the "Novus Ordo" than I have been able to do here. Besides this, every priest is going to have to be able to refute my dangerous contention that attendance at the "New Mass" is grievously sinful, for, hopefully, this book will no sooner be on the market than people everywhere will be knocking on the doors of their parish rectories demanding a clear and unequivocal proof that such is not the case. Anyone can figure out that if people stop coming to the local Meal-service, those poaching "presbyters" will be in immediate danger of having to find some kind of honest employment.

   These erstwhile priests claim to be the exponents of the glorious, freshly refurbished Catholic Faith, the stalwart defenders of the divinely-ordained Papacy, and the shepherds of God's people. I say that any priest who has accepted the new-fangled "mass" is an idolater, a fraud, and a coward, and I challenge him to meet me in verbal combat and to try to prove me wrong.

   What I wish to do now is to name the conditions of our confrontation, determine exactly the subject of our discussion, and (also in the tradition of Christian chivalry) offer as much assistance as I can to any prospective combatant, in consideration of his being the decided underdog.

   It seems only proper that you have to face me with people in attendance, Father. The people have been treated as such ignoramuses since the very beginning of your "renewal" of Catholicism. You and your comrades have been insisting that all your Revolutionizing was "for the people," that all these "changes" were an effort to "accommodate" the Mass to the "needs" of the people. Well, now let us just see if you can prove your thesis, with me as your antagonist. Let us submit our arguments to the people and allow them to say which faith they recognize as their own, yours or mine?

   We shall hold our debate, Father, after the fashion of the Scholastic disputations of old, in which matters were discussed and decided on the basis of cold logic and carefully-framed syllogisms. Therefore, you must leave all your trite slogans, catch-phrases, and empty rhetoric at home. You may bring all the documents you want, and so may I. You may have one adviser only. Bring all the friends you wish, provided that they are able to act like Christian ladies and gentlemen; the issues to be treated are too serious to be decided by hecklers and rooters.

   Let me caution you, Father, that you should look before you leap. You must not accept my challenge too hastily, lest you "bite off more than you can chew." I must warn you ahead of time that you will have a most difficult task, not because I am such a fearsome dialectician (Heavens no!), but because, whether you know it or not, you are already not only weaponless, but also naked to my sword. Remember, at our meeting, you will not have your bishop to lay the blame to, nor your parish council to give you the votes you will need.

   Let it be understood, Father, that in our debate, you will have the role of the defender, I the challenger. Please note well the implied distinction. This means, first of all, that it will not be my place to defend the Catholic Faith against you. Neither should I have to prove to you the holiness of the Catholic Mass. Nor will we need to go into a discussion as to whether the Mass can be changed licitly in some of its rubrics; or whether there is presently a need for such a reform. We will not be talking at all about the True Mass, but about that "mass" which you now claim for your own.

   Nor will we begin to argue the fundamentals of the Faith, such as the doctrine of the Primacy of the Pope, or that of Papal Infallibility. If you do not accept these notions as basic, you and I can never debate any question which pertains to Catholic theology. One more thing: should you and I engage in a verbal face-off, I beg you not to plan to divert me with protestations of loyalty to the Holy Father - we preach no schism here! It seems necessary to remind everyone that the Pope does not own either you or me, or the Church. There are limits even to his authority.

   The general subject of our debate will be the contents of this book, specifically the question, "Why the 'New Mass'?" As the defender, you must be able to refute the main contentions made in this writing. They are as follows:

    1. The "new Mass" is no Mass at all. It is rather a deceitful and perverse Mimicry of the True Mass. It is therefore a most horrible Sacrilege, the malicious Hoax of the anti-Christian Revolution.

    2. Paul VI deserves the lion's share of the blame for introducing this obscene Exhibition.

    3. Despite all that Paul VI and the bishops of the Church have done to suggest the opposite, all the laws of the Church which were established to support and perpetuate the True Mass are still in effect. Paul's decree Missale Romanum which purports to invalidate these laws is in itself null and void.

    4. Regardless of the question of the legality of the "New Mass" or of its validity, every priest who has abandoned the True Mass and accepted it, and the anti-religion to which it gives witness, has violated his priestly Oath; he is therefore in the state of sin, whether he admits it or not. Each time he goes to the Table to perform his new "rites" he commits two more sins, one of sacrilege and another of perjury.

    5. Attendance at the "New Mass" on the part of lay people is a mortal sin; it is participation in an act of idolatry.

   These are my contentions, Father, asserted in bold and unmistakable terms for your easy annihilation. You see the advantages I offer you; my words would suggest that I am altogether mad. One thing is most clear: we have something to argue about.

   But the question remains: wild as my words are, can you prove them wrong? Would it not be a frightful thing if you could not, you who "say" this Mock-mass? With a few simple sentences, chosen perhaps from the writings of the Fathers of the Church, or St. Thomas Aquinas, or the decrees of one of the Ecumenical Councils, you should be able to make a perfect fool of me, and expose me to well-deserved ignominy. One would think that all you priests of Baal would jump at the chance to give me a good verbal drubbing for making such outrageous statements. I said above that I wish to offer assistance to any of you so inclined. Here I will add a comment or so about each of these propositions, except the last (it being implicitly included in the first), hoping to warn you of certain dialectical obstacles you will encounter.

1. Now, Father, if you deny anything I am saying, you will have a chance to give the straight of it. Of course, if you cannot, it is a natural question to ask why you continue in your present mode of life? Do you have a reason for your priestly existence? You act as if your "New Religion" is the Old Religion, true Catholicism. Can you prove it? You say your "New Mass" is essentially the same as the Old Mass; an easy thing to say - Protestant ministers, car salesmen, and Black Panthers say all kinds of things. The question is, can you prove the things you claim against someone whom you cannot command to keep silent, against someone who is not afraid of your angry voice and your fierce threats, against someone who knows something of what the official documents of the Church say?

  In all fairness to you, Father, I have to warn you that, before you come to our joust, be sure to study the "New Mass" very carefully. There are many aspects of it which I have found it necessary in the interest of brevity to omit in this writing. But you would be at an even greater disadvantage if you were not very familiar with the subject. Let me give you a further warning while on this point: you will have to do all your reference work on the "New Mass" from the Novus Ordo Missae itself, since, to my knowledge, there are no theological treatises on the vacuous Thing - which in itself is an interesting point. One would think that at the appearance of a brand new "mass" in the Church, there would be a veritable avalanche of exciting, scholarly treatises on it, which expound its profound spirituality, its mystical insights, its doctrinal subtleties. After all, is not the "Novus Ordo" the glorious modern master-work of the Spirit of God? Logically, you should not lack books to do your research in, Father, but, just between you and me, can you give me the title of just one such book? The only thing to be done, of course, is for you to write a book yourself. Call it, "The Holiness of the 'New Mass'." You should find a ready market for it. To date, the only books to be found on this subject busy themselves with explaining the relationship of the "New Mass" to the people, and the wonderful advantages they now enjoy from it, (but which they have yet to discover). Not surprisingly, these books have had a rather thin readership.

  Surely you, Father, would not be "saying" the so-called "New Mass," if you could not defeat me on every point. Other priests may have accepted the order to abandon the True Mass out of blind and slavish obedience and may have never seriously considered the gravity of their action, but you are not so careless as that. It was only after long and assiduous investigation that you made your decision. And when you did, it was on the basis of the easily proved fact that, by golly, this "New Mass" is definitely superior in every respect to the Old One! Neither did you begin to "say" it in fear, but out of a sense of devotion to Christ, Our Blessed Savior, for Whom you would gladly die, were He to ask it. Had you not been certain that it was the Divine Will commanding you to accept these strange new forms, and not merely conniving, fallible men, you would never have taken such a momentous and undreamed-of step. Surely there is not the faintest possibility of any truth in my assertions against this atrocious Concoction, and you can prove this without the least difficulty.

  It is obvious that I do not know what the "New Mass" is all about, and that you do, because after all you "say" it every day. No doubt, Father, you can explain perfectly well why and how you came to take up the "New Religion" with its mocking Prayer-Game. You had a holy purpose in forcing the people in our charge to accept it, despite their misgivings. You told them that they could trust you and the bishops and the Pope; you would take full responsibility for any mistakes involved. When we have our encounter, Father, we shall be speaking about why you have done what you have; it will be unavoidable. You were and are a free man. No doubt you can give a good reason why, all of a sudden, you changed your religion, even while you kept protesting you were not doing so, and no doubt you would be proud to stand before anyone and bear witness to the fact. Surely you began to change your way of saying Mass, not because you had to, but because a new light had dawned in your life. Your thinking had become so thoroughly altered that you were glad to be done with the detestable Mass of the Apostles and to take up the marvelous "Novus Ordo." But, more to the point, Father, were we to meet head-on, you would have to know what the "theology" of the "New Mass" is, to say it better, you would have to be able to prove that it has such. Now this will challenge your ingenuity.   In your defense of your new-fangled "mass," you will have to whip up a good explanation for the trends which have developed as a result of it. Such an epochal thing is the introduction of a brand new "mass," so inspired as it is said to be, one would think the whole Church would be enjoying during these days a wondrous revival of fervor, a veritable "second spring" of spiritual vitality. There should be huge ordination classes; the seminaries should be bulging with priestly aspirants; the monasteries and convents should be multiplying in every quarter; every parish church should require more, not fewer, Masses; there should be holy hours, novenas, all-night vigils, and every other devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, this in ever-increasing numbers. In view of all that was claimed for the "New Mass," and in view of how urgently and ruthlessly it was imposed upon us, we should expect the people to be attending the "New Mass" daily in great hordes. But, one cannot help observing that none of these things has happened, but the very opposite. One does not hear that priests must be granted the privilege of offering as many as four Masses on Sundays; oh no! It seems that many priests are going through what is called a "crisis of identity." Poor fellows, they don't know what they are, priests or "presidents" or "presbyters" or what. And the only thing that will get them out of the confusion is for them to get married. And, as if to avoid some kind of plague, priests are running away, leaving to get married, escaping into retirement, taking up "social work," going to prison (for a more honest form of Revolutionism than their comrades in the parishes and other places), going to mental hospitals. Due to the "New Mass," the faithful are glad enough to go and watch the tiresome Thing on Saturday to avoid having it ruin their Sunday. These trends are not really to be blamed on the "New Mass," are they, Father? Shall we blame them on the War in Vietnam? How about the "Military-Industrial Complex?"

  Will you deny that the Second Vatican Council and its deformed "Brain-child," the "New Mass," have caused a general decline in the moral tenor of the Catholic people? Worse and more symptomatic, they have been largely responsible for the near stoppage in what should be considered the natural and normal growth of the Church. This growth is measured by three statistics: the number of births in Catholic families, the number of vocations to the religious life, and the number of conversions to the Faith. Many married people no longer believe in having children; the truth is, they no longer love children. (Let me hear nothing about the number of children which fulfills the obligation of marriage; every child is a gift of God.- Ps. 126:3). Priests have nothing to convert non-believers to. Their main business is subverting believers, and keeping them subverted. Finally, those in religion do not inspire enough vocations to keep their communities alive, much less increase their numbers. In fact, those who imagine themselves called to religion are looked upon with pity by the laity, for it is certain that after a few months in the seminaries and convents, they will have become embittered rebels, and, in many cases, ferocious Revolutionaries, hating their own heritage, defiant of all authority, and an unbearable disgrace to their heart-broken parents. I do not hesitate to forbid parents from allowing their children to go to those schools of Satan where the "New Religion" is taught, though, of course, I need not mention this since at such places the True Mass is not available. This sterility is certain proof for many contention that the "New Religion" and its impious Song-and-dance are self-worship. They breed nothing but selfishness and pride and an ugly, warped, and reprobate spirit, which despises and contends against Nature and Grace.

  On the subject of the "New Mass" itself, Father, I shall expect you to clear up my tender-souled scruples over its questionable validity. But, much more, there will be the necessity of a perfect reconciliation between the "theology" of the "New Mass" and the doctrines of the Church. I have particular reference to the decrees of the Council of Trent and its outspoken Catechism. Also, it will not be too much to ask you to elucidate the hidden harmony between the "Novus Ordo" and the clarion encyclicals of Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, Humani Generis, and Mediator Dei, To my stunted brain, the "New Religion" and its insipid Side-show stand in diametric opposition to all three of these, and to the teachings generally of this Pope. You will help me, won't you, Father? But I will want to know even more than this: If I am to "say" the "New Mass," I will have to be relieved of my prejudice against its purposeful mistranslations, its Revolutionary tonalties, and its pasted-together ritual.

2. I must warm you in advance, Father, that you must not defend the "New Mass" too ardently, else you will find yourself on the horns of an unmanageable dilemma. For, the more you make of the "New Mass," the more you will embarrass Pope Paul VI, who apparently has almost no regard for it at all. It is my oft-repeated accusation that upon him is the main responsibility for the unfunny Trick which this unholy Concatenation is. Ever since its appearance, it has been the setting for the anti-religious cavortings of certain of the clergy and lay people, and the audio-visual aid for the corruption of the young. Will you be able to explain why Pope Paul has proved utterly ineffective in putting a stop to these desecrations, Father - he who has proved himself so masterful in driving the True Mass from the churches? Yes, I know, Father, you will try to tell me that the Pontiff has condemned these irreverences, has even been known to weep over them publicly. You are easily deceived, Father, They are crocodile tears; it is an act. How could he, the Father of the people, expect his children to know how to behave at the "New Mass" when its very existence is a symbol of his own disregard for the True Mass and for all tradition and law? Once he "abrogated" the laws of the Church which were enacted to establish and protect the Liturgy from abuse, how could he seriously expect his own "Liturgy" to be immune from the same treatment, or worse? Of course he did not expect it to be, and he does not really mind that it is not. And you should have noticed, Father, that Pope Paul pauses amid his tears to appoint bishops whose most conspicuous qualifications for the episcopacy are their non-descriptness, accompanied by a positive loathing for anything which faintly resembles Orthodoxy. His making these nonentities bishops is a sure way of guaranteeing what unfailingly happens: no sooner do they arrive in their new dioceses than they set about bringing ruin to whatever has survived of recognizable Catholicism. This has happened too frequently to be accidental. But I am sure you will be able to give such phenomena a less distressing interpretation when we meet. Still, it would seem a wiser thing for you to let the Pope look to his own defense, Father. You will have all you can do to justify your own infidelity.

3. Every priest who has accepted the "New Mass" has done so on the presumption of the validity of Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Constitution, Missale Romanum. Whether you have ever thought about it or not, Father, this decree is the only thing which stands between you and all the documents of the Church which concern the True Mass. These documents are ratifications of the Apostolic Constitution of Pope St. Pius V entitled Quo Primum. Therefore, such a person as yourself can justify "saying" the "New Mass" provided

    a) that it does not embody a substantial change in the Mass, as the Pope and all his underlings pretend;

    b) that obedience to the "decree" Missale Romanum is morally permissible;

    c) that this "decree" which enacts the changes in the Mass is licit; and

    d) that this "decree" is valid.

   I challenge you to prove even one of these provisos, Father. And since you cannot do so, by what right do you ignore the Church's legislation concerning the Sacred Liturgy? Permit me to ask you a very blunt question: Have you gotten to the point where you let yourself be commanded to do anything, regardless of the morality of the command? I say you have. And it is to be expected. For your moral insensitivity is only another of the sedative effects both of your present acclimation to the stench of the Revolutionary creed and of your own habituation to the state of sin.

   It is inconceivable that Paul VI did not have his reasons for bringing forth a clearly invalid law. No matter what his reasons were, the results are undeniable. The most obvious and worst one is the seeming abrogation of all laws which govern the Liturgy, without putting any in their place. We are all the witnesses of the consequences, a state of liturgical anarchy. Such a procedure is in perfect accord with the overall policy of the present pontificate, which is to promote the "New Religion," of, if you will, the anti-religion of the all-destroying Revolution. Now, Father, you needn't act so shocked at hearing such strong words; you are an accomplice in this entire Program. Are you not taking advantage of this pseudo-legislation called Missale Romanum to cover up your own less newsworthy persecution of the Man of Sorrows?

4. Even should you have been able to fend off all blows till this phase of our debate, Father, you would not be out of the woods yet. We would still have to discuss your curious ethics. You yourself are quite a moral question mark, you know, to simpletons like me. Tell me, what is your route around your priestly Oath? Yes, I see that you are going along whistlingly as if there were no problem. Wu dispensed from this Oath, by whom, and by what legality was this dispensation accomplished? The Profession of Faith is intimately related to the doctrines of the Council of Trent and the "Tridentine Mass." The "New Mass" has no affinity, either doctrinal or liturgical, with that council. Since you perpetrate this sacrilegious Insult daily, if not oftener, you could not be unaware of the fact. It appears to me that, on your own steam, you have nicely commuted your Oath. How does one go about such a thing, indelicate though it is for me to ask? Everyone knows that in the "New Order" to follow one's conscience is the "way to go"- whether to Heaven or to Hell (well, we shall not trouble ourselves with details). Still, it seems a curious thing to see a usually honest fellow like yourself so alter your priestly Oath that it now binds you to a "new faith" and allows you to perform the Great Sacrilege, for no other reason than the good pleasure of Paul VI.

   Theoretically at least, everyone of the priests of Baal should be able and willing to take up cudgels against me. There should be such a great number of them, that they should have to cast lots or draw for high card or something to see which one should come and make an end of me. Everyone of them should recognize that his own condition requires he should be able to parry every single one of my thrusts, for, if he cannot do so, he is in deep trouble. Further, for the sake of the people, all my theses are going to have to be answered, and that pretty quickly, for the longer they are allowed to float around freely, the wider their circulation will grow. If these pastors of souls have any care of their flocks, they will recognize the threat this present sally portends. Through it, horror of horrors, many of their pied followers could be drawn away and find the path back to Catholicism.






      The Great Sacrilege by Father James F. Wathen