The crimethought dragnet widens…

Shake Up the Church, Just Don’t Step Out of Line

Historian Roberto de Mattei has been fired from his broadcast at Radio Maria for being critical of aspects of this pontificate.

This follows on the heels of Radio Maria firing two long time hosts, Mario Palmaro and Alessandro Gnocchi, for a similar infraction after a critical article at the height of the papal interview parade last fall.

So this is how it is to be now. The Pope commands us to shake up the Church. Shake it up, but don’t step out of line.

Well, actually, you can step out of line as long as you step to the left. An entire Episcopal conference can be in open rebellion and that is tolerated because they are stepping away from long held Church teaching.  You can openly ridicule the head of the CDF and you will be tolerated.

If you step the other direction, you will be squashed. Just ask Mario Palmaro, Alessandro Gnocchi, the Franciscans of the Immaculate, and now Roberto de Mattei.

Welcome to the open Church where nobody judges anymore.

Pope Francis on Feb. 14: “Old Mass? Just a kind of fashion!”

Yesterday (Friday, Feb. 14), Pope Francis held an audience with the Bishops of the Czech Republic who came to Rome for their ad limina visit.

In the visit, as it usually happens in such cases, other than the formal address, the Pope heard the questions and comments of the bishops. Archbishop Jan Graubner, of Olomouc, told the Czech section of Vatican Radio what the Pope told him:

[Abp. Jan Graubner speaks:] When we were discussing those who are fond of the ancient liturgy and wish to return to it, it was evident that the Pope speaks with great affection, attention, and sensitivity for all in order not to hurt anyone. However, he made a quite strong statement when he said that he understands when the old generation returns to what it experienced, but that he cannot understand the younger generation wishing to return to it. “When I search more thoroughly – the Pope said – I find that it is rather a kind of fashion [in Czech: ‘móda’, Italian ‘moda’]. And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention. It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion. But I consider greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form, this or that one, can save us.”

Quite so. As the Holy Father reminds us in Evangelii Gaudium (§108):

“The elderly bring with them memory and the wisdom of experience, which warns us not to foolishly repeat our past mistakes. Young people call us to renewed and expansive hope, for they represent new directions for humanity and open us up to the future, lest we cling to a nostalgia for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving in today’s world.”

It’s no surprise that Esquire‘s Best Dressed Man of 2013 would be vigilant of counter-trends to his most fashionable mind, but if we take his words at face value, maybe it’s time for the entrenched masses to relinquish the modish talisman of the Novus Ordo. After all, it’s only the divine liturgy. Liturgy is irrelevant to the Serious Catholic life. As Pope Francis reminds us, we should be focused on the deeper things (just ask Protestants and Jews). I myself certainly feel neck-deep in the current intellectual climate in the Church. Come to think of it, I wonder why Eastern Catholics are so hung up on their antiquated fashions? Let us pray that they may be healed of their addiction and simply homologize.

About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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18 Responses to The crimethought dragnet widens…

  1. It’s times like this that I’m especially grateful for the Divine Liturgy and the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, and His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk.

  2. Lest I forget my Eparch, Richard Seminack, I’m grateful for him too.

  3. Tony Jokin says:

    This is what I don’t get.

    The Vetus Ordo, according to some in the Church, is out of touch with the modern man and no longer life giving. So the original complaints leveled against the Vetus Ordo but condemned by the past Popes, were actually correct. In conclusion then, one must also admit that there was a time in history where the Church was out of touch with legitimate demands and conclusions of men.

    But if that was the case, then the Church no longer has the certitude to say that people who complain about a liturgical forms are wrong. Those who complain after 50+ years of the Novus Ordo maybe correct. Maybe their judgement and allegation that the Vetus Ordo was more life giving than the Novus Ordo is true.

    Yet, there are many in the Church (including Pope Francis it seems) that are ready to attribute it to the fashion of the times. But what reason do we have to think it a transient fashion? Maybe just as there was a justified “fashion” to oppose the Vetus Ordo in the past, maybe it is a justified fashion to oppose the Novus Ordo because of the lack of good fruits. Maybe those who are attuned to the goal to be life giving have noticed how the Vetus Ordo is more actually more successful than the Novus Ordo.

  4. Phil says:

    What is remarkable is that Pope Francis does not has these negative words against the Eastern liturgies. As he pointed out in the interview after the WYD he expresses his sympathy for the Eastern rite, stressing that the West has lost a sense of sacrality (“Ex oriente lux, ex occidente luxus…”).
    This discrepancy between his adoration of eastern style of liturgy and his reluctant behavior towards the extraordinary form of the roman rite might be explained by a deep antipathy against western culture. At least I cannot come up with a better answer albeit I have to admit that I am no clever man…

  5. ErnstThalmann says:

    “It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion”.

    The issue here hasn’t as much to do with liturgical preferences as it does the colossal arrogance and insensitivity of this pope. While I have no particular attraction to the Extraordinary Form – and for theological reasons, I might add – many do, and they deserve something more than the supercilious condescension of this clown. I sit amazed to read of the term “addicted” being used in respect of these believers. Even charitably, an addition is to be seen as a disease. This bird has the chutzpah to equate an attraction to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass with a disease? Lets see, last week Frank was openly discouraging anyone but “sinners” to attend Mass and this week he’s stigmatizing those with a preference for the Extraordinary Form? Is there some way he can be encouraged to resign? Can he be expelled?

    And just to make you feel better, here’s something from National Catholic Regurgitation:

    “Pope Francis met with top officials of the Latin American Conference of Religious and was reported to have said: “They will make mistakes, they will make a blunder, this will pass! Perhaps even a letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine [of the Faith] will arrive for you, telling you that you said such or such thing. … But do not worry. Explain whatever you have to explain, but move forward”.

    This from an article there discussing the downgraded influence of the CDF in Frank’s papacy:

    The Church needn’t have detractors, it has Frank.

  6. Indeed. Historicism cuts both ways.

  7. Proph says:

    “Fashion” is a strange word choice and I wonder if it’s a translation error, because frankly “When I search more thoroughly . . . I find that it is a kind of fashion” is such a profoundly stupid thing to say that I cannot believe he actually believes it.

    The Tridentine Mass, whatever other defects it may have, certainly cannot be accused of appealing to people’s sense of fashion. It is literally the Mass as it was forged in the crucible of the ages. By contrast the Mass we have today is altogether a product of its time, with a lectionary that reflects the ecumenical, pastoral, and other theological prejudices of the 1970s (as Fr. Blake and others have admirably demonstrated), Mass settings cribbed from popular children’s cartoon shows (, and a generally (Scripturally) positivist and (historically) reductionist orientation.

    I increasingly suspect that the key to understanding Pope Francis is that his words, as he speaks them, are meaningless but are simply indicator variables of his general dispositions and attitudes. And his general attitude is the same of the Vatican’s for the last 50 years: “no friends to our right, no enemies to our left.”

  8. Those in favor of the earlier form of the same Roman Rite ought not to get too excited:

    About, Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI averred this Motu Proprio is merely an act of tolerance, with a pastoral aim, for those people who were brought up with this liturgy, who love it, are familiar with it and want to live with this liturgy.

    Again, Pope Benedict XVI:

    The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often

    Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful..

    There is no oxygen at the level of unreal expectations held by the soi disant trads.

  9. I am reminded afresh why I always found The Liturgy Wars so tiresome.

    What B16 said in-flight, in order to quell fears of a Tridentine regression, and not as a single policy statement, was virtually identical to the thinking that prompted the NO. I can almost hear it now:

    “[The Novus Ordo] is merely an act of tolerance, with a pastoral aim, for those people who were brought up with [the Tridentine] liturgy, who love it, are familiar with it [but] want to live with this liturgy [more deeply].”

    Given the banality of the “pastoral” reforms, I am less than wholly impressed by Benedict’s similarly “pastoral” waffling.

    Likewise, we could put his additional bolded statement in the mouth of Pius V as an imagined gloss on Quo Primum:

    “[I]t is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.”

    One wonders why one should bother hewing closely to any liturgical “strain”, since they’re all apparently as mutable as the clerical caste would like. Strange to see that you’ve thrown in with the Glib Tinkerers on this front, but it seems that you were due for an ideological retread. There is a piercing irony in being scolded by certain persons, ordained and lay, for following “fashions” in the Church, when they themselves are but purveyors of the fashionable rage for silent conformity and lobotomized wallowing in universal mediocrity.

    Now, what I do find interesting amidst the piffle is the caveat Benedict adds about the persistence of the EF:

    “The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often. Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.”

    Agreed. Given the presupposition that liturgical formation shall remain ankle-deep, and given that the majority of Latin Catholics shall remain studiously estranged from their Latinate patrimony for the foreseeable future, the normalcy of the NO is certain. Change the presuppositions, however, and you change the certainties. I’ve been told by a friend that Benedict was playing the (very) long-game by issuing Summorum Pontificum. Having carefully reread the passages you cite from the in-flight interview, I am more inclined to agree with him. Would that we could at least return to the spirit of Veterum Sapientia–or would Latin be too “soi disant” and “novel” for your current tastes?

  10. Strange to see that you’ve thrown in with the Glib Tinkerers on this front, but it seems that you were due for an ideological retread

    I was in need of a complete overhaul – tires, transmission, engine, battery; and my serpentine belt; My God, it was as frazzled as the hair of that witch in “Princess Bride.”

    I am in favor of returning to the Mass in Aramaic, the language, presumably, used by Pope Saint Peter.

    Of what use was the language of the Greek Empire or the Latin Empire to my tribes back in the Ol Sod? They spoke Gaelic. Wasn’t a Mass in Latin, rather than Gaelic, conducive to those sainted folks telling their beads rather than actively participating at Mass?

    Were Methodius and Cyril not legitimate Saints owing to their promotion of the vernacular?

    O, and B.C. If you took what I wrote as a scolding, then I owe you an apology for that was not my intent.

  11. Scold not taken, thank you. You are a teacher in the Faith.

    My understanding is that your hyper-atavism is a tounge-in-cheek reductio ad absurdum, a rhetorical gambit intended to hobble traditionalists, but it just as easily runs the risks of proving too much. There’s a name for persons who wish to scour the Church’s praxis and order back to its most radical biblical roots, and it ain’t “Christian Catholics.” Just ask Hus. Perhaps you’d also like to revert to the most ancient canon to go with your atavistic reductio liturgy? And perhaps scrap the entire Roman Canon and the Nicene Creed?

    As for the complaint that a universal language hampers catechesis and devotion, again I direct you to Veterum Sapientia, which I’m sure you’ve read. The complaint is straight out of the Reformers’ playbook. The issue is not whether the vulgar is permissible, for the Church has always granted that it is, in the right contexts, but rather, whether 1) we are anywhere near hewing to what SC called for (hint: it advised adherence to Latin), and if 2) the NO lends itself as well as the VO to a full immersion in the Catholic Faith, regardless how actively one participates.

    You emphasize the fact that your capital city is Rome, and yet you seem remiss to admit that our lingua franca is and ought to be Latin. There is no more official and kingly Ritual than the Holy Mass, our national anthem, as it were, and we are more than within our rights as Christian Catholics to promote as reverent and transcendent a liturgy as possible. This is precisely the point John XXIII makes in VS, of course:

    Finally, the Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular. In addition, the Latin language “can be called truly catholic.” It has been consecrated through constant use by the Apostolic See, the mother and teacher of all Churches, and must be esteemed “a treasure … of incomparable worth.” It is a general passport to the proper understanding of the Christian writers of antiquity and the documents of the Church’s teaching. It is also a most effective bond, binding the Church of today with that of the past and of the future in wonderful continuity.

    Yes, by all means, let’s trivialize the passport we have to “the proper understanding” of our patrimony and the Church’s teaching. It is not snobbery to believe the evidence of one’s eyes that the NO inherently lends itself to abuses. Nor is it snobbery to defend the classical tradition, and to hew to it above all in the Holy Mass. It is simply to indulge in the freedom to breathe the air of one’s home country. You should take seriously Fr. Kocik’s recent argument that the only way out of our liturgical–and therefore spiritual–morass, is by returning to VO as the liturgical norm for reforming the normal liturgy.

    Lastly, perhaps one other reminder from John XXIII is in order for the proper running of your engine:

    “In the exercise of their paternal care [bishops] shall be on their guard lest anyone under their jurisdiction … writes against the use of Latin in … the Liturgy, or through prejudice makes light of the Holy See’s will in this regard….”

    There the Church goes again, being all soi disant trad.

  12. Dear B.C. Lighten-up. Leaden pedantry is not an effective defense against mirth.. You appear to have missed the very words tongue-in-cheekily written as Bornacatholic was describing the Society of Saint Christopher Standing.

    You, similarly, may react, with a passionate objection when I reference another ecclesiastical traditions of a much longer duration than that of kneeling as part of the putative Mass-of-all-time (The Mass is the Mass is the Mass is, apparently a fundamental truth no longer acknowledged if it is even known).

    Bornacathcolic has cause to not take his own self too seriously but (and this is a serious observation) that may be a more difficult task for you given your intellect and industry.

    Pax tecum

    O, and a P.S. Bornacatholic is not a teacher of the faith (‘cept to his children) nor has he ever considered his own self a teacher. He is an amateur Christian Catholic in the radical sense of amateur.

  13. Branch says:

    There are believers who make an idol out of the Liturgy. When Francis speaks of “going deeper”, I think he means to guard us against that temptation.

  14. ErnstThalmann says:

    If that’s what Frank means, why is it that you’re required to tell us? Now I’m not saying it isn’t what he means, but why is it that he requires endless and constant interpretation by apologists when the careful choice of words would obviate all of that? Is he compromised physically in some way, a disease of advancing age, perhaps? Rather than an apology, why don’t you just give him a good swift kick in the ass?

  15. Branch says:

    I said I think that’s what he means.

    I’m not required to tell anyone anything. I’m trying to understand things myself.

  16. ^ This, mutatis mutandis.

  17. ErnstThalmann says:

    Friend, Branch, I think that Frank is quite beyond understanding. All of your earnest trying to understand notwithstanding, a boot to the keester has the merit of honesty and simplicity, markers that Frank with all of his ostentatious humility should find embraceable.

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