Protestantism halfway is Protestantism all the way
Editorial: Radicati nella fede, April 2015
Newsletter of the Catholic community of
Vocogno, Diocese of Novara, Italy
|The 19 Holy Martyrs of Gorkum,|
hanged and mutilated by Protestants on July 9, 1572, in Brielle, Holland
Presently we are watching, resigned, at the vertiginous decline of priestly vocations and the related diminution of the priests’ presence among us. Day after day, parishes without the stable presence of a priest are increasing; undeniably, priests are becoming scarcer. More and more churches are now opened sporadically for the celebration of Holy Mass and closed for most of the year. Moreover, even when the priest is still resident in some big parish, his effective presence is progressively diminished, overloaded as he is, by having to guarantee services to innumerable small communities in the area. In many mountain valleys there isn’t even one priest left.
What is there to say? It is a sadly disheartening picture.
What it the greatest danger though? In our view, it is that the solution to all this is being dictated by those who have caused and accelerated the problem! “Protestantized” Christianity started this disaster decades ago and is now offering us the remedies!
All of the liturgical reform in the 60s and 70s focused on the centrality of the Word of God and a complete revision of the millenarian, Catholic liturgy that bent to the demands of the new ecclesiology and new pastoral approach was violently enforced.
This is the new ecclesiology: the Church no longer as the Mystical Body of Christ, but prevalently as the People of God; emphasis no longer on the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Priesthood, which make up the structure of the Church’s hierarchy, but emphasis on Baptism and the laity obliged to become more and more co-responsible in the action of the Church.
From this new ecclesiology, which stressed the community rather than union with God in Jesus Christ, there came about a continual concern that everything be translated into the vernacular for Mass and the Sacraments, so that the faithful didn’t feel inferior to the priests in public prayer. The faithful, co-responsible with the priests in the Church, had to understand everything immediately in order to govern the House of God democratically. Here then is the reason for the excessive importance placed on the Word of God, intended simply as reading the Bible at Masses. The outcome of this is: libidinous creativity in the liturgies of the Word with lay readers, lay commentators, symbolic gestures to accompany the readings, participation in homilies and long-winded prayers of the faithful, followed by a quick, “stripped-down” Consecration which the more illuminated individuals said, was still reserved for the priest, since “we Catholics” would never go all the way down the road to Protestantism.
We could explain it like this. Since the Council, a kind of semi-Protestantism has been progressively formed, which doesn’t eliminate the priest entirely but leaves him a little corner: the Consecration. Yet even this rigorously translated into the vernacular, with the words taken from the Bible said aloud, so that the faithful listening may ratify it all with their “Amen”. Naturally, since the democratizing of the Church needs the assent of the faithful: at [the proclamation of] the “mystery of faith” and at Communion, the faithful by saying their “yes” give reinforcement to the Presence of Christ, made through the priest! It really is a kind of semi-Protestantism!
The liturgical revolution along these lines, wanted to bring a new impulse to Christian life and the mission of the Church in society. However, it immediately became apparent that it was producing confusion. The 1968 social and cultural revolution which was exploding in society precisely during the post-concilar years, was blamed for the confusion. It was said that everything would fall into place eventually, that after the confusion and the mistakes in application, a time of tranquility and fruitful edification would have arrived. We are still waiting for it!
The last attempt along those lines was the interrupted Pontificate of Benedict XVI, who stalwartly promoted a re-balancing of the reform in a traditional sense; but these illusions disappeared with his abdication.
Today the Church is like a field after a battle: in ruins, with bodies left to bury. Not only has society not turned back to Christianity, but there are no more priests to embark on a new mission.
Yet, what do grandchildren of the liturgical and ecclesiastical revolutionaries of decades ago do? They propose replacing the Masses with the liturgy of the Word, animated by laypeople, ending with Sacramental Communion! It is the logical conclusion to the most disastrous, fake reform in the Church! And these descendants - we say this now with certainty - will bring about a consummation of the disaster.
The illness cannot drive away the disease, the plague does not stop the pestilence, unless it makes everyone die - and if it were so, what kind of victory would that be?
Throughout the periods of crises in the Church, She never watered down Her identity in order to reach everyone. On the contrary, She increased in zeal so that Her priests were more priestly and the faithful more Catholic.
In Medieval times, around the year 1000, there was a great crisis and priests united in the parishes, established the canonries so that the ministers of God would sanctify themselves through an almost monastic life. They purified and rendered the liturgy more splendid along with an increase in their prayer. In short, they formed the basis for a profound regeneration in priestly vocations, aware that without the priest there is no Church.
We read recently in the press - in very large letters: “There are no more priests, the laity will offer the Mass” . With this, everyone is able to understand that we are travelling, unperturbed, in the opposite direction of true reform in the Church. Certainly the press exaggerate, the laity would not offer the true and proper Mass, they would read the Scriptures and give Communion: but how can we not see that this is the final phase for the disappearance of the Mass in our midst? We are already used to doing without the priest for doctrine and the laity already interpret the Bishops and the Pope freely ,all we need now is for them to do a pseudo-mass to declare the uselessness of the priest!
What will a seminarian (a living miracle in this Church) think reading such headlines in a newspaper? Will it not be clear to him that the Church has no longer any need of him?
In all of this chaos, one has the secret suspicion that the priests and the faithful re-educated in the spirit of the semi-Protestantized, New, Church, see in the pseudo-masses of the churches (with no priests) the last chance to complete the reform of the Church that Vatican II had left half-done. Yes, they want a church where everyone is a priest, where Christ is born inside the individual conscience and from inside the community; a church in which Christ no longer descends from on high, a church where the priest is a legacy from the past, destined to disappear – or almost: the end of Christianity.
We continue to be increasingly more convinced that we did not err in returning definitively to the Old Mass, which certainly won’t permit this drift. If only more priests and faithful understood this, they would then have the chance of a true re-birth offered by God.
What more has to happen for hearts and minds to be set free?
[A Rorate translation by Contributor Francesca Romana]