Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Revealing Dietrich von Hildebrand letter takes issue with previous Wanderer editor over new Mass

F.Y.I. [Disclaimer: See Rules 7-9]: "The Remnant Scrapbook History ~ In The Beginning" (Remnant, February 18, 2015) offers a meaty history of a couple of traditionalist brothers involved in the beginnings of two newspapers, The Wanderer and The Remnant, the second founded by Walter Matt as a result of a falling out over the new Mass with his brother, Alphonse Matt, who was then left as editor of The Wanderer. Walter Matt opposed the liturgical changes and Alphonse supported them.

Walter Matt’s strong stand against the new Mass was not shared by everyone, but Dietrich von Hildebrand quickly allied himself with Walter Matt and his fledgling Remnant in trying to mount a "Catholic counterrevolution." In a letter dated April 27, 1970, von Hildebrand wrote a letter to Walter Matt’s brother, the new editor of The Wanderer, summing up, in effect, the substance of the issue that had separated the two Matt brothers. Von Hildebrand wrote:
Dear Mr. Alphonse Matt:

I thank you very much for your kind letter. But I believe that there is some misunderstanding. You assume that the new ordo missae and especially the rubrics constitute for me merely a personally painful change by replacing something very beautiful and perfect with something less beautiful and less perfect. But unfortunately it is my conviction that the new ordo missae is the greatest pastoral mistake and that its consequences for the Church may be disastrous.

I agree however completely with you that it is a grave problem, whether one should criticize it publicly or only intra muros. Concerning this problem every one must follow his conscience. But I frankly cannot understand that you do not only abstain from a public criticism of the new ordo missae but make the “Wanderer” an instrument for propagating and praising the new ordo. You even suggest in your letter, dear Mr. Matt, that I should join this propaganda. As you say that you agreed with my article in “Triumph” in which I stress that obedience to practical decisions of the Pope does not imply approval of them – it is difficult for me to understand why you expect me to utter a univocal approval of something which seems to be, from the purely religious point of view, a “suicidal” practical decision. I do not believe that a mere loyalty to the present Pope who does not act against those who destroy the Catholic faith daily more and more – like Kueng, Schillebecks, Padovano, Greeley and many others – and who does not use the means by which the Church survived through 2000 years: anathema and excommunication – can preserve Catholic faith untarnished.

Dear Mr. Matt, it is painful for me to disagree with you because of my sincere admiration for the “Wanderer” throughout the past years and our warm personal union in Christ. This disagreement, however should in no way affect our friendly relations.

Faithfully yours in Christ
Dietrich von Hildebrand


Scott Woltze


Alice always calls Dietrich "a giant", and he is.