Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rod Dreher on why the Latin Mass is treated worse than child rape

Rod Dreher, "Is The Latin Mass Worse Than Child Rape?" (American Conservative, July 13, 2014):
Michael Brendan Dougherty writes in praise of Pope Benedict XVI for establishing that the Tridentine Mass (also known as the “Latin Mass,” or the “Old Mass”) is always and everywhere licit. The papal ruling came in a document titled Summorum Pontificum. MBD says — rightly in my view — that even nonbelievers ought to be grateful for the old mass’s comeback, because it has inspired so much beautiful art over the centuries. In his 1980s book Once A Catholic, the writer Peter Occhiogrosso interviewed a number of prominent, or semi-prominent, people who are or who once were Catholics, about their life in the Church. One of the most surprising things about it when I read the book as a brand-new Catholic was how many people interviewed in the book — even an ex-Catholic like the avant-garde rock musician Frank Zappa — missed the old mass.

Anyway, MBD, who is himself a Traditionalist, writes that the pope’s intervention did not save his parish:
Summorum came too late to save that community in Poughkeepsie. In the New York Archdiocese as then ruled by Cardinal Edward Egan, the offense of saying this Mass and publishing tracts in its favor was treated as a far more serious crime and scandal than clerical pederasty. Cardinal Egan suspended my Poughkeepsie priest, and effectively exiled him from the life of the church. Priests who knew about the situation observed darkly that if he had raped children instead of saying this Mass, his career would have been better off.

The modus operandi then was that these Latin Mass people — “the crazies,” as they were called in the archbishop’s office — should be contained in Saint Agnes in midtown Manhattan or in a few obscure parishes along the Hudson River. Egan was all too happy to see that Poughkeepsie parish closed and the building sold. He smudged us out like a penciled mistake.
This is a provocatively stated point, but nevertheless a sound one. The current cardinal archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, had a South African priest sent packing after he had the temerity to defend the Latin mass community in a homily (partial transcript here), and now threatens to shut down Holy Innocents, the parish where NYC has its only daily Latin mass. Meanwhile, Cardinal Dolan tolerates things like the “Pre-Pride mass”.

Why does Cardinal Dolan consider the Latin mass a greater threat than a mass said as part of a Gay Pride festival? It’s mind-boggling. As you know, I’m no longer Catholic, and never was a Traditionalist Catholic, but for the entire time I was a Catholic communicant, I never understood the fear and loathing so many within the Catholic institution had for the Latin mass.

By the way, under the plan Cardinal Dolan is considering, Holy Innocents parish will be merged with nearby St. Francis of Assisi parish — which hosts the Pre-Pride Mass. Priorities, I suppose.

UPDATE: Dominic, a reader and former Catholic seminarian, says in the comments thread:
There is a very visceral attachment to this era of boundless optimism by some of the people who lived through it or participated in it which is very unfortunate and will not be gotten rid of until they’re gone.
I think he’s really put his finger on something important, perhaps the most important thing about the ideology that cannot tolerate the Latin mass. It stands as a rebuke to the entire postconciliar project. To be clear, you can certainly support the Council and the Latin mass. When I was a Catholic, I did both (though I did not attend the Latin mass). But the endurance of the Latin mass, and its rebirth in the hearts of Catholics too young to have been raised in it (so they cannot plausibly be accused of nostalgia), is intolerable because it challenges the ideological optimism of the conciliar mindset. That strikes me as a plausible explanation. You? [emphases added]
[Hat tip to JM]


Paul Carrozzo said...

As a life long Catholic of 74 years, I grew up on the Latin Rite, altar boy and Master of Ceremonies as a college student. Why do we need the latin rite, what benefit does it offer, a Priest talking in Latin,his back to the people,responses that most have no understanding its meaning; most Catholic schools do not teach Latin anymore, so again I ask WHY? I love the Mass in the venacular, lucky enough to travel to many countries and hear in the native tongue,beautiful.
People, the latin Mass is beautiful and if some parrishes want to have it, ok, but stop this drumbeat for the change back universally.

Victoria DePalma said...

Are you *currently* being sent into Hell forever ... automatically excommunicated (outside) of God’s Catholic Church ?

Answer: Yes you are ... you can reverse it ... please continue.

Council of Florence, Session 8, 22 Nov 1439 -- infallible Source of Dogma >
"Whoever wills to be saved, before all things it is necessary that he holds the Catholic faith. Unless a person keeps this faith whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish eternally."

You must believe the Catholic Dogma to be in the Church ... Dogma you have *never* seen.

Site > ... infallible Dogma throughout.

The Catholic Faith *is not* Bible interpretation ... it is the Catholic infallible Sources of Dogma. The Catholic Church didn’t even define the Bible’s New Testament Canon until 397 A.D. at the Council of Carthage.

- - - -

Can a group which enforces the opposite, the opposite, and the opposite of the Catholic unchangeable Dogma be the Catholic Church?

No, it cannot possibly be the Catholic Church ... and promotion of the opposite of the Catholic Dogma is exactly what the vatican-2 heretic cult does ... and has been doing since it’s founding on 8 December 1965 at the Vatican.

The vatican-2 heresy does not have the Office of the Papacy ... only the Catholic Church has the Papacy.

The Dogma cannot “change” or be “reversed” ... God does not “change”.

The founding documents of the vatican-2 heretic cult … the “vatican-2 council” documents … have well over 200 heresies *against* prior defined unchangeable Dogma. Every (apparent) bishop at the “council” approved the mountain of heresy, which caused their automatic excommunication, see Section 13.2 of the below site.

- - - -

Section 12 > Anti-Christ vatican-2 heresies (50 listed) ... followed by many Catholic corrections.

Sections 13 and 13.1 > Photographic *proof* of heresy at the Vatican.

Because of … the Catholic Dogma on automatic excommunication for heresy or for physical participation in a heretic cult (such as the v-2 cult) …

… we were all placed, body and soul, *outside* of Christianity (the Catholic Church) on 8 December 1965 … the close date of the “council”.

Section 13.2 > Catholic Dogma on automatic excommunication for heresy or participating in a heretic cult such as ... vatican-2, lutheran, methodist, evangelical, etc.

Section 107 > St. Athanasius (died 373 A.D.) ... “Even if the Church were reduced to a handful ...” - - during the “arian” heresy ... we are there again, but worse.

Section 13.3 > Matt 16:18, Gates of Hell scripture ... is *not* about the Office of the Papacy ... four Dogmatic Councils defined it ... that heresy will not cause the Dogma to disappear.

Section 13.4 > The vatican-2 heretic cult does not have the Office of the Papacy only the Catholic Church has the Papacy.

Section 13.6 > The Catholic Dogma on Jurisdiction and Automatic Excommunication for heresy define that ... God has allowed Catholic Jurisdiction ... for Mass and Confession to disappear from the world. There is no such thing as Catholic Mass outside of the Catholic Church.

Non-Catholic heresies such as “vatican-2”, “sspx”, “sspv”, “cmri”, etc. ... do not have Catholic Mass.

Section 19.1 > Dogma on Abjuration for *re-entering* Christianity (the Catholic Church) … after being automatically excommunicated. A Formal Abjuration is provided here also.

Section 10.2 > Returning to a state of grace, in places and times when Confession is not available, like now.

- - - -

Second Council of Constantinople, 553 A.D. -- infallible Source of Dogma >
"The heretic, even though he has not been condemned formally by any individual, in reality brings anathema on himself, having cut himself off from the way of truth by his heresy."

Blessed John Eudes, died 1680 >
“The greatest evil existing today is heresy, an infernal rage which hurls countless souls into eternal damnation.”

Everything you must know, believe, and do to get to Heaven is on > >

Our Lady of Conquest
Pray for us

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

When Ormond Rush, Massimo Faggioli, John O'Malley and the Boys from Bologna start to flip around phrases like "living tradition" and "progress in tradition," it is understood that "tradition" is an empty vessel of a noun. "Living", "progress" -- that's the cream in the oreo.

So "Dei Verbum" is first among equals: "for there is a growth of spirit in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down."

Guaranteed "growth" for whatever the pets of the Spirit have to say. A new understanding, a new wording, is "a growth of spirit." In the dark old days, St Therese of Avila and John of the Cross would warn novice mystics to beware oracular urges because they were as likely (or more) to come from diabolical sources as from heavenly ones. No need for such caution today: a new understanding is a "a growth . . . in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down."

And that's why the Novus Ordo has to crush out the TLM like a cigarette butt: because it too, like everything the "we are all saints" V2 oracles promote, has to be understood as a growth in understanding, a growth of spirit, not as the insipid anti-liturgy it is to any pew boob paying attention. New, improved, better than ever: why, you could almost swear that David Ogilvy was channeling to contemporary V2 hermeneuticists.

Sheldon said...

Paul C.,

The simple answer is because the vernacular Mass, as you call it (the Mass as it is celebrated today with the priest facing the people, with no Latin, with no Gregorian chant, with altar girls, with lay eucharistic ministers, with people filing up and receiving in their hands, with no altar rail, with wonky 70s-style "hymns" like "Gather Us In" which have no Catholic meaning, with guitars and such), is not the Mass mandated by Vatican II. None of these things was mandated by Vatican II. In fact, the council fathers would be aghast at all of these things.

JM said...

"Why do we need the latin rite, what benefit does it offer, a Priest talking in Latin,his back to the people,responses that most have no understanding its meaning..."

I think this question needs to be made into an essay question contest for traditionalists. The Church is the one who felt the need to change the Mass, apparently. Why did it do so, what has been the effect, and is it even possible to hope for any sort of shift back? As a cultural artifact, it is incontestably of a higher aesthetic calibre than the Norvus Ordo, but in terms of spiritual nutrition, if the latter is just as good as the former, are we majoring on minors?

OR, are there problems with its ingredients ... But of course if we go there we can't continue to parrot the insane mantra that we are in the middle of a New Springtime and have been blessed with a succession of amazing modern popes. People will retort that there are always ups and downs. Which is a dodge that just the extinction of nuns sand the evaporation of priests pretty much shows up.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

"In fact, the council fathers would be aghast at all of these things."

Seriously? Sheldon, SC was the beginning of the "reform", not the end of it. The pope of the council was the pope of the Novus Ordo.

The council did not end when the bishops went home. Its "spirit" was meant to continue into the far future as the agenda of the leaders of the council, men whose names we all know. Maybe Rahner would have blinked at the phenomenon of a pizza mass, but he was German after all, probably more of a strudel guy.

Anyway, IMO the majority of V2 fathers would not have been aghast by the things you mention. They thought of these sorts of things as materializing out of the "spirit" of the council -- THEIR council, their agenda -- in due time.

PAUL said...

I have no interest in ever attending the English form of the mass never!!, at age 60 I see more vocations, more young people attending the Latin mass, and also, that NO mass is just that, NOTHING, no meat in it, shake hand all you want,sing those 1960 songs, and keep blabbing in church as most do with out any respect to the for Our Lords House, I have served mass 50 yrs yes I said 50 years and that man Paul who is 74, well I started in Latin and in 1970 englsih and 14 yrs ago back to Latin, THANK GOD

Sheldon said...

Of course you're right about the "spirit" of the council, Ralph. But I was using "council" literally to refer to the one that ended in Dec. 1965. Pope Paul's new mass wasn't even promulgated until, what was it, 1970?

The point is simply that the new vernacular Catholic mass as most of us experience it today was not what the Constitution on the Liturgy prescribed. It was, as you point out, the product of the "spirit" of the council run hog wild.

Several documents of the council themselves may have some pretty serious problems, if they were the products of compromise, as Cardinal Kasper has recently declared. Try reading them as a modernist, and you'll see all sorts of things in them you may have missed at first. They have numerous loopholes, and endless "options," as you have pointed out in other posts. But that's another discussion.

JM said...

Even if you interpret Vatican II in the most conservative way possible, it is impossible to miss the essentially modernist-friendly winds wafting through its beams. The most conservative piece is Dei Verbum, and its primary author has explained again and again -- amidst orthodox believers plugging their ears and singing "I'm not listening / I'm not listening!" -- that it softens the earlier stance on inerrancy. So no matter how you spin it, it represents the Church bending to modernity, and not simply rephrasing things in more pleasing idiom. To insist otherwise. . IMHO, is to suspend disbelief or to display a rather arresting obliviousness to the history of theology. If we can cherry pick portions to help present orthodox doctrine, great. But pretending everything there is is simply orthodox compromises credibility, Joseph R. and Scott Hahn notwithstanding. Conservative writers need to man up and call things for what they are, copying Francis's charming style of plainspeak.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

The biggest misunderstanding here is that "the Spirit of V2" was something that occurred after the council was over and everyone had gone home: and especially that it was a distortion or misrepresentation of what happened at the council. If you believe that, then you believe that the culmination and final fruit of V2 was its documents. This is close to what the Pope Emeritus believes and tried with little success to sell during his time as Pope Activus.

The alternative, which I believe to be more credible, is that "the Spirit of V2" is something that originated in the event of V2, an event which occurred between the years of 1962 and 1965. The "spirit" pervading the event was never meant to evaporate in 1965. It was a spirit of revolution. It was meant to go on and on, and the documents were not meant to be the final fruit, but only the first: they were meant be, as Rahner put it, "the beginning of the beginning." How would this emanation of "spirit" be continued? Not from the ambiguously written documents, but from the very clear and very radical agendas of the leaders of V2, men like Rahner and Balthasar and Schillebeeckx, who, lamentably, did not disappear in a puff of smoke after the council disbanded.

SC was never meant to be the last word on liturgical "reform." It was a modest outpost on the road leading from Beauduin, Jungmann, Guardini, through (in some respects) "Mediator Dei," Pope Roncalli, Pope Montini, and finally Bugnini and beyond. IMO it is simply not credible to think that SC can be held apart from the remainder of council documents or the "spirit" of the gathering of men who sought to "revolutionize" the Church. Christopher Ferrara has written incisively on this point, see

Pertinacious Papist said...


Your link doesn't seem to work. Have you got a title to the article?


Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Sacrosanctum Concilium
A Lawyer Examines the Loopholes
by Christopher Ferrara, Esq., American Catholic Lawyers Association

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

"the leaders of V2, men like Rahner and Balthasar and Schillebeeckx"

Balthazar was not a participant at V2, as I should have made clear. But it is a small point (though it apparently rankled the hell out of HIM). Balthazar's heavy breathing would have fit comfortably with that of the council, despite his post-conciliar jostling with Rahner

JM said...

R D-D's final point was one I long resisted, but it becomes obvious on extended thought. 1) prolix and verbose documents using ambiguous language are meant to be open to interpretation, or they would be written otherwise. In this case, the upshot is doctrinal exactitude is communicated to be something that does not matter. 2) John O'Malley's book -- liberal -- on the rhetoric of V2 is convincing. The Levering rejoinder-- conservative -- is not. More on point is evangelical David Well's "Revolution in Rome>"

Pertinacious Papist said...

"It was a modest outpost on the road leading from Beauduin, Jungmann, Guardini, through (in some respects) "Mediator Dei," Pope Roncalli, Pope Montini, and finally Bugnini and beyond."

Echoes of Buzz Lightyear's "to infinity and beyond!" Or of Fr. Joseph Gelineau, S.J., who described the new liturgy as a "permanent workshop." What a scary notion. If liturgy were a dance, the steps would be changed every Sunday -- which is just about what happens, even if you consider the setting of the Psalm antiphon, which turns congregations into catatonic zombies.

So the link was to Ferrara's article. Yes, I've read that, and it's one of the most depressing things I remember reading when I first read it, because it confirmed just too many worries about the development of the Novus Ordo.

Pertinacious Papist said...

JM, This would suggest, then, that if Kasper is right about the "compromises" in the final formulations of the V2 documents, that the contributions successfully incorporated into the text by the Rhenish party were, in effect, the "time bombs" cited by the late, great Michael Davies, or, to mix metaphors, was noses, or a composite text that became in effect a virtual "tabula rasa" that could be re-interpreted (in principle) endlessly. Is that sort of what you're suggesting here?

JM said...


Yes. The idea that we are where we are despite the intentions of the V2 fathers simply does not hold water. They may have been ambivalent, or naive, but they hardly showed a concern for hammering out good and effective documents that were on point. If the were passionate about maintaining orthodoxy in the face of European theological nonsense, it is hard to see that.

The curse of Catholicism, if there is one, seems to be the authoritarian impulse of "Rome says," or "Father says," and therefore the pewsitter has no responsibility other than to follow along. The attendees at Vatican Ii thus felt right in simply acquiescing to voices like Rahner and whomever else had a way with words. The leaders then played off this by taking advantage of the doctrinal tepidity and rhetorical obliviousness all around. Anyone who attempted an incisive intervention got bounced out, witness Lefebvre.

Anonymous Bosch said...

I was just thinking recently about the discrepancy between (1) the all-too-humanness of our popes, despite their charism of infallibility when defining doctrine, and (2) the virtual papalotry of many neo-conservative Catholics today.

They seem to suppose that the pope couldn't stumble over spelling a word or calculating a sum. It's absurd. We owe his office respect, but he's a man who puts on his undershorts one leg at a time just like you and me. He needs our prayers.