Rorate Caeli

Liturgy Unites, Gaslighting Divides

Guns don't kill people, people do. People are the source of division, not the things they use to bring about violence. The voice is one of the most beautiful gifts given to men, and yet men use their voices all too frequently in sinful ways to divide and to hate. This is not the fault of the voice but of the man or woman who uses it for unholy purposes.

So, intentions are key in uncovering in any situation what is the cause of division, if indeed there subsists such a lack of true charity. 

Just as with any weapon, intended for self defense, the things of God can be misused in a sinful way to exclude the truth or to deceive. This is the lack of charity which offends God.

Liturgy is not merely a defense against evil. Through the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the prayer of the Lord Himself and the highest form of prayer, is brought about the greatest source of grace through our Lord Himself truly present in the Eucharist. There can be no greater means of unity nor of charity than reception of the Lord in the Eucharist and cooperation in the graces He thus confers to love God and others through word and work.

In recent weeks the pope digressed on matters liturgical in an address at Rome to the pontifical liturgical institute Saint Anselm on its sixtieth anniversary. He spoke of the new liturgy promulgated after Vatican II and also of the traditional liturgy. He compared the two to the denigration and rejection of the latter.

The pope continued his line first launched with Traditionis Custodes (TC) that there is only one possible liturgy and it is the new one. He repeated the slander, begun in TC, that sinfully impugns the motives of those Catholics who love the rich patrimony of the Church's tradition of prayer:

"When liturgical life becomes something of a banner of division there is the odor of the devil being inside there, the deceiver. “ That's quite a put-down there, Holy Father. Even in a fair fight, baseless insults wouldn't win. But when the attacker has an unfair advantage, using his unrivaled power to silence any who question him, there is indeed at least the smoke of division present.

The motives of those who attend and promote the traditional Liturgy are of the very highest. They live with love for God and others through complete submission of intellect and will to all that the Church teaches in matters of faith and morals. This is the one necessary task of the Church for the salvation of souls. I know this is true because I have served them as pastor for nearly twelve years. Our parish has grown and flourished with new parishioners joining us nearly every week as well as frequent baptisms among our large and growing families.

To his credit the pope in his address acknowledges "legitimate differences", which I would say nearly perfectly describes the situation of those who find that the incarnation of the liturgy in the vast majority of cases looks nothing like what was described in the documents of Vatican II which called for the use of Latin, the music of the organ and the rich tradition of Gregorian chant. The Liturgy in many places today has devolved into a sordid affair more akin to a badly disorganized Masonic meeting.

This is to say nothing of the open heretical promotion of sodomy by the leading German cardinal in the context of the new liturgy with no comment from the pope in response.

A frank family discussion on how Vatican II went wrong in the matter of the Mass is all that the people are asking for. Parrhesia, such an honest airing of differences, has been hailed by this pope as a necessary element of ecclesial life. Alas, the track record is instead a dysfunctional silence in response to any who question even the most bizarre aberrations contrary to Catholic faith and morals advanced by the individuals promoted by this pontificate.

The love of and belief in the Eucharist, which the pope rightly highlights as the source and summit of our lives as Christians, precisely encapsulates the reason for the ceaseless unease among the people of God over many years in regard to the deplorable state of liturgical affairs in many parishes. This reality is the basis of the pastoral solicitude on the part of every pope since Vatican II to concede some basis in ecclesial life for those who find the traditional liturgy a continued source of spiritual strength and fruitful spiritual sustenance. Only now, with Francis, is the door shut to the cries of his spiritual children.

Charity is not "above all openness and attention to others" as the pope said in his recent address to the liturgical institute. No, charity is above all love of God for His own sake and others in Him for the sake of their salvation. Liturgy must reflect these essentials, not become a mundane horizontal celebration of man as is the case with an increasing frequency in liturgical life today. The classical liturgy clearly points to God, directing our love and attention to Him so that, with this as a basis going forward, we have what we need to give to others for their own sake: the supernatural love of God which saves.

The Pope ascribed motives to Catholics who love the traditional liturgy: "It is not possible to worship God and at the same time turn liturgy into a battlefield for issues that are not essential, or indeed for outdated questions and to take sides, starting from the liturgy, on ideologies that divide the Church." The liturgy handed down in the Holy Spirit leading up to the 1960's is either legitimate worship which accomplishes all the pope here describes or we're all in trouble. The highly preposterous canard that the Holy Spirit started the Church in 1968 is more than tiresome at this point. Catholics who indeed love the faith and the Church aren't tolerating these worn-out red herrings from the 70's any more. Move on.

It is simple gaslighting to pick a completely unnecessary fight over the liturgy with the faithful in the wake of the mutual peace which Benedict wrought in this area through the balm of Summorum Pontificum. 

If the liturgy is not essential than what is? Liturgy is our only link to Christ Himself through which grace pours out so richly and infinitely as to bring about the presence of the Lord Himself.

I applaud Catholics who love the liturgy so much as to insist on a serious and exhaustive conversation about it. Would that the pope would see the same logic and respond accordingly. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain, including the many souls who are currently on the margins and hanging for dear life as growing numbers the pope's appointees in Germany and elsewhere misuse their office to promote every form of perversion and unnatural activity known to man.

Holy Father, please do not gaslight your children in Christ. In charity please hear our cries for the Mass that the Fathers celebrated daily during the Council of Vatican II, which liturgy the council did not, and could not, abrogate. Our legitimate differences with you in some matters do not mean we are no longer Catholic, or in league with the devil. In fact, they indicate that we place the charity you yourself call for in highest place where it belongs in our lives.

It is for the glory of God and the salvation of souls that we cling to the Mass of our forefathers in faith. We know that with prayer and grace your heart can be moved in that same charity to recognize that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain if we find that unity in Christ is never harmed by more than one way of praying.

It will be obvious today for any who observe with any degree of seriousness that the "odor of Satan", the true cause of division, is not with those who love and celebrate the immemorial liturgy rightly described by Benedict XVI as sacred and beautiful once and always. No, true division, the work of the evil one, is found with those who promote sodomy, transgender ideology and grooming of minors and who use the new liturgy of Vatican II to do so. The traditional Latin Mass can never be twisted to the evil purposes of those promoted by this pope and that indeed is the reason why they have decided it must go.

The pope is ordering bishops to kick the traditional liturgy out of their churches. This immemorial rule of faith which protects and saves our souls is the last line of defense against the latest in a series of heretical juggernauts being launched from Rome, the "Synod on Synodality". So it must go.

We are capable of defending ourselves and the Lord Himself authorizes us to do so. We truly would be in league with Satan if we refused to follow our consciences on so great a matter as touching upon our eternal salvation. We know our intentions are upright as we parry against the daily blows being delivered by proxies for the pope from Rome and right here in America at the eponymously-titled magazine.

(In photo above: members of Father Cusick’s parish after 11 am traditional Latin Mass on Sunday, May 22. The parish also offers Mass in English every Sunday so as to not exclude or marginalize anyone. An abbreviated version of this contribution appeared this month in The Wanderer Catholic Newspaper.)