Rorate Caeli

Those who return to the past are not outside the Church

August 2014

In times of perilous confusion we should take a step back.
Isn’t that perhaps what we do in life? Faced with a confusing situation, difficult to untangle, which makes us worried and perplexed, we pause and then take a step back, avoiding the advance into danger.
It is what we have done with regard to the faith. 

Yes, we believe that illustration renders the idea of our choices. We love the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ and our Mother, we love the Pope and the Bishop, but faced all around us with the evident confusion in Christian life, we reject an advance into ambiguity and uncertainty and we ask for the grace to stay with true Christianity.
Essentially our position is that. Consequently we believe, and we have always believed, that we are not in disobedience.
We would be in disobedience if we had invented “another [type of] Christianity”, if we had invented “our Mass”, “our pastoral work”, our catechism”, if we had recognized “other superiors” outside the ones that the Church has given us in the Pope and Bishop.
We do nothing of this sort.  Judging the new pastoral, the new rite and the new catechesis to be filled with confusion, we have simply availed ourselves of the rights that the Church has always recognized to souls at times of crisis: we follow  past praxis and doctrine of the Church i.e. the sure one, the one before the crisis exploded.
In fact, regarding the Mass, we don’t go looking for any ancient rite whatever, but we follow the Missal of 1962, the one promulgated by Pope John XXIII, seeing as the slight modifications and additions made to that reform didn’t touch the substance of the Mass of Ages.  We haven’t run off in search for something that we like, but we obey the reforms of the Church, the sure ones and only the sure ones. And this is what we are doing with all the other aspects of discipline regarding the Sacraments and the entire apostolate.
Doing so, we are certain  of not going outside the Church, which is the same one as yesterday and today.  We don’t have two Churches, one before and one after the Council. No, there is only one Church! However, in that same Church, we have acceptable and unacceptable  reforms; the reforms that place the faith and Christian life in danger, in conscience,  are unacceptable.   And since the Faith is the supreme good, no-one in the Church is permitted to expose it to dangers.
We  are fully aware of expressing a harsh judgment about the changes made by the “modern church”.  On the other hand,  a dispassionate  look at the disastrous results  of “modernization”  in the Church over the last decades are undeniable. The last reform of the Missal, and subsequently of all Catholic life,  is killing Catholicism in our countries. To deny it is ideology.
Let’s ask and live for the freedom  of God’s children, who loving Holy Mother Church, say to Her legitimate Pastors: we continue  with what you once taught us, and continuing in Tradition we are certain, despite our poverty, of our contribution to the edification of the Church Herself.
We link then two positions that in conscience seem to us to be indistinguishable:

1.     A great love and respect for the Church

2.      A vigilance in never mixing the great Tradition of the Church with the ambiguities of the post-conciliar reforms and not only concerning the Rite of the Mass.

Love and rigorousness, together.
Moreover, loving the Church concretely means preserving Her treasure  which was constituted by Divine Revelation i.e. Tradition and Scripture together.   Revelation has declared and transmitted  what the Church has always believed in and practiced , starting with the Catholic Mass.
We err then, having understood the terrible danger inside Catholicism today, by crying in private and not intervening out of respect for the Church.  The one who truly loves the Church defends Her.
What appears to be disobedience is not.  On the contrary, it is the greatest service that a believer can give to Her Mother.
Those who talk of disobedience with regard to the “Traditionalists” (not a nice term but we use it to convey the idea) , are doing so out of ignorance: they think the Church has absolute authority over everything.  No, the Church obeys Jesus Christ - it is His Body; She must guard what the Lord has consigned to Her – Truth and Grace. The Church doesn’t invent, She transmits.
For this then,  the decision to stay within the surest Tradition [of the Church] cannot be illegitimate.
The one who stays with the past is not outside the Church. On the other hand, the one who invents a new Christianity is out.
Translation by Rorate's Francesca Romana.