Rorate Caeli

Editorial - 7 Years of Summorum:
Catholic Tradition must be Embraced in its Entirety, without Ambiguity


Editorial: Radicati nella fede, September 2014
Newsletter of the Catholic community of
Domodossola and Vocogno, Diocese of Novara, Italy

Difficulties are not always bad for us; they are certainly not in essence evil. This is true for the spiritual life and is particularly true for the life of the Church. There is only one evil: losing Christ and His grace. Evil is eternal damnation, not suffering.

We are so immersed in the pagan mentality of this world, that we are no longer aware that we think the same way as it does. Too often we think that suffering is evil and what is worse, we judge the goodness of things, the rightness of our decisions and the work we begin, on whether they give us peace and serenity. If they don’t cause us suffering, then these things are good for us.

This way of thinking and weighing things is as far away from Christianity as you can imagine. It is in practice, a rejection of the Cross of Christ. This is true about everything, even for the return to Tradition and the Old Mass.

In the years after the promulgation of the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, in which His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI stated openly that the Traditional Mass had never been abolished and gave faculty to priests to once again celebrate it, after it came into effect in September seven years ago, many were so intimidated by the resistance put up by the diocesan curias against the return of Tradition in the Church, that they surrendered right from the beginning - in that which should have been a “glorious battle.”

Many priests deeply convinced that a return to the “Tridentine” Mass was needed, became frightened at the possible punitive measures they could have faced and did nothing more; thus the faithful entrusted to them did not even have time to realize what was at stake. We daresay that all of these punitive measures (made up of resistances – threats – large and small restrictions – transfers or confinements) concerning priests, who decided to celebrate the Old Rite, in themselves are unjust, but they have also been a good thing.

Indeed, the sufferings they have caused us, the sufferings to priests and faithful who asked to leave the disastrous post-council liturgical reform, have, all in all, been a good that God has providentially allowed, so that the struggle to live and die as Catholics and not as “crypto-Protestants, is purified.

What is it that we are trying to say? Simply that sufferings experienced for Christ, besides sanctifying those who experience them with Him, preserve[us] from a much greater evil for the Church in this age: ambiguity!

How did the disaster in modern Catholicism progress so far? Precisely with the method of ambiguity: some traditional aspects in the Church were apparently saved, but they were emptied of any real content and were re-interpreted according to a mentality no longer completely Catholic.

After the Council this is what happened: first the Mass was translated into Italian, then the texts were changed, then the priesthood was “re-styled” in a more democratic way, [so much so] up to reaching the modern hypothesis of modifying the Sacraments ( an example: the request for Communion to the divorced and civilly remarried). Ambiguity is the method of practical Modernism in the Church: it pretends to respect Tradition, but it changes the reality of the Faith and morality under the pretext of deepening the Faith itself and adapting to changed times.

The Demon’s latest weapon would be that of permitting a Traditional Mass here and there, inside a de facto modernist, Protestantized, ecclesial context , so as to “anesthetize” the consciences of Traditional priests and faithful.

Immediately after the Council, the Demon put the consciences of many Catholics to sleep under the pretext of obedience: how many bishops, priests and faithful there were, lamenting, sacrificed the Truth on the altar of false obedience, opening themselves up to dangerous novelties!

Today, in an age which is no longer Christian and essentially disobedient, the Demon is using another weapon: unity. So they will concede a little Tradition to you, as long as it doesn’t become an exclusive choice, otherwise – they will tell you – you are rupturing unity. Under the pretext of unity in the Church they are asking you to accept all the reforms and innovations that are the rage today, and which are literally burning the field of God, forgetting that unity is based on the Faith.

This is why the hierarchy’s resistances and the sufferings of harsh measures are a good pain, because they spare us from the deceit of false obedience and false unity. In short, they spare us from ambiguity.

To return to the Traditional Mass, without embracing all of Catholic Tradition, would be deadly folly.

In fact, because the small and great persecutions our brothers and sisters in the Faith suffer, tell us that the Catholic life of today i.e. how it is lived and promoted, has nothing at all to do with the Tradition of the Church.

For sure, perhaps a little Latin will come back in some hymns; perhaps they will dust of some vestments and standards for processions; but all of this will be experienced in a far too human way, not [truly] Christian. There will be the façade of traditional folklore, but inside there might well be a “Protestant congregation”.

Well then, dear priests and faithful, blessed be the small and great sufferings that we will have to experience and the small or great alienations which we will be subjected to if they stop this mortal deceit from reaching us, making us seek in all humility, the grace of Christ and the Church of all time.

[Translation, slightly adapted for optimal understanding: contributor Francesca Romana]