Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crude Thoughts: Initial Edition

I always like reading when Brandon of Siris does his 'a whole bunch of fast undeveloped thoughts he's just putting out there' thing, so hey, I'll be doing that now and then. Call it one of my gimmicks, along with the Strawman fun.

So, on we go.

* The claim of 'you don't know what I think, don't act like you KNOW me' sounds like a good self-righteous response to probing criticism and questioning of one's motivations, but it's not a response which has aged well. Don't deploy this shit online when you're on an account with an extensive commenting history which lets anyone browse and reasonably piece together a good portion of your thoughts.

* With respect to Codgitator's rock and a dark place, my response is: the moment someone tells me that I have only two options, my natural instinct is to immediately check if they're right. I don't believe the only options for a faithful Catholic are suffering in silence or sedevacantism. To use an extreme example: the SSPX clearly doesn't believe that either. The fact is that the Pope is bound by past Popes and the deposit of faith, and the existence of shitty Popes - not saying that Francis is - is nothing new. This fast reply does no justice to Codg's long, deliberate posts, but I'll quickly say that the faithful Catholic has obedience to more than just the current Pope. They are likewise faithful to the Church and its teaching, and it seems to me that sometimes, that Church can trump the Pope.

* Being a Byzantine Catholic has made me somewhat skeptical of the idea that the Novus Ordo is uniquely responsible for the corruption and fall of the Church. We never had the NO, yet our churches have suffered as well, certainly in terms of the number of faithful, etc. Now, we're barely a sideshow to the Roman rite, but I can at least provide some first-hand experience on this front, and it tells me that whatever is going on, goes beyond the Novus Ordo.

* Pope Francis has been a bit more encouraging lately, talking frankly about the world's indifference to Christian martyrdom, and even warning about the threat of atheism in Europe. Good God - secularism as a bad thing? *Atheism* as a bad thing? Goodness.

* Is it wrong, even unChristian, to be getting a kick out of the whole Greece/EU debacle? I think it is, and I'm trying to deal with it. Part of me reminds myself that one should never wish ill on anyone, and the option to wish that they would change for the better is always not only paramount, but the only real option. But there is a part of me that enjoys watching an avowedly leftist government overseeing the prospect of having its reign marked by being forced to enact deep cuts in government services, privatizing substantial portions of its economy, and more. And the fact that it may have to do that no matter what, and depending on -how- it does it it may torpedo the monstrosity known as the European Union, is all the better.

* Naturally, I've been enjoying Rand Paul's response to the little Pro-Abortion trap, and it seems to have caused something of a reaction among other GOP presidential candidates. Could you imagine if the 2016 race was the race where the GOP became openly hostile to the near-entirety of the mainstream media? Where they stopped pretending these 'journalists' were, for the most part, anything but partisan shills in the employ of the Democrats? Now that would be one hell of a culture war development.

* Meanwhile, I notice the Sad/Rabid Puppies debacle continues. Brad Torgersen apparently thinks that he can act nice and apologize his way out of SJW hatred, which always baffles me. Have they not picked up the pattern yet? Do they notice that apologizing, that trying to gain SJW sympathy, never has any effect at all? That they see it as weakness? There's a reason there has been collective pants-shitting among people by Vox's presence and association with this debacle - because they know, come hell or highwater, that Vox and company are not people who can be shamed into silence, or apparently, silenced at all. Brad is not Vox, of course, but Brad may actually be capable of learning from Vox here.

* The main effect of the whole Sad/Rabid Puppies event may well be that it gets more conservatives - and other right-wing social pariahs - into sci-fi, at least as readers, perhaps as writers. God, wouldn't that just be the most horrifying thing? Can you imagine people having literary figures as heroes, and for those heroes to be conservative? Be still my dark heart.

Edit: Since there is some confusion, I want to be clear. I'm not advocating schism, or saying that the SSPX option is correct. I'm pointing out that the SSPX - kind of the standard-bearers for the ultra-traditionalists, I suppose - reject Elliot's binary of 'suffer in silence, or become sedevacantist'. I do not think there are only three options available here.

My summarized view is that there are some things the Pope cannot do, tradition and teaching he cannot change. To be loyal to that teaching and that tradition while he tries to undo it is not disloyalty to the Pope, since undoing it is not his option. Nor do I think this is something which can be "pastorally" worked around via technicalities.

54 comments:

malcolmthecynic said...

I commend both Brad and Larry for not succumbing to what must be a very strong temptation to publicly announce Vox Day.

Both of them are right. They are not Vox, and never were.

malcolmthecynic said...

As for Elliot, and I try to like the guy, I once again find him and his commenters over the top.

It sounds dismissive, I know, but I don't really know what else to say. At the same time, Elliott is clearly smarter than me (as are most of the bloggers I read), and like you said saying this doesn't really do his well-researched post full justice...but it's a LONG post.

Church history shows that what we are going through now is nothing new, and while it will probably get better it will also probably "go bad" again, that is, unless we're much nearer the second coming than we think. Which is possible.

The idea that the Pope cannot be a heretic isn't true. I believe it was Pope Honorius who was blatantly heretical. And to say the Church can't be in the grip of heresy ignores the Arian heresy that afflicted not just part of the Church but the majority of the Church.

And frankly, I don't think we are in nearly as bad a place now. It's not like the Mass has never changed before. It's not as if Councils haven't changed the way we've done things. It's not as if the Church isn't growing around the world, and extremely conservative in places like Africa and Asia.

Elliott is right in one sense, though- if we have to suffer in silence, that's what we have to do. The other option is to leave the Church. And that is no option at all.

Graham Esposito said...

Rand Paul came within a hair's breadth of throwing the flawless media gauntlet: It's time to ask the pro-abortion crowd how long they plan on using rape victims as their human shields in the culture wars. If someone is perfectly fine with the legality of murdering a child exiting the birth canal, why should ANY sane person be morally intimidated by the dialectacle threats made by that type of demagogue.

Crude said...

Malcolm,

I like Elliot. If I disagree with him, at least I'll know he'll be doing his homework, making a case, and being even in tone. I think his binary case fails here - it simply doesn't work, and we have more options.

The key issue that Elliot doesn't sufficiently address, in my view, is that loyalty to the Church requires loyalty to the Church, period. That means loyalty to the Pope, but it also means loyalty to things the Pope can't change even if he wanted to.

Graham,

I think you hit on something key. Morally intimidated? The man showed something most contemporary Christians in the West do not - self-respect and courage. Come to think of it, the NRA showed the same.

GoldRush Apple said...

Speaking of Greece/EU, I remember my brother visiting Athens for a few days and saying it was more of a dump than anything else. But hey, they're Europeans so they're automatically cool, mature and enlightened, right?

Son of Ya'Kov said...

> I believe it was Pope Honorius who was blatantly heretical.

That is a myth. It's one anti-Catholic Protestants would bounce around to attack Papal Infallibility & lately Radical Traditionalists have picked it up to justify resisting the Second Vatican Council and the modern Popes.

I wouldn't put much stock in it.

malcolmthecynic said...

Ben,

I don't think it's a myth. I never said he TAUGHT heresy, and CERTAINLY in no definitive way.

malcolmthecynic said...

...Actually, from a bit of research, you're kind of right, and that makes him an even BETTER modern analogue.

His main problem was his failure to teach orthodoxy, not teaching heresy. Similarly, Francis teaches no heresy, and certainly no heresy that is binding on believers to listen to (which is impossible, of course).

Francis has, if anything, remained very impartial (the Synod on the Family) is a good example. If there is an error here, that is it - much like with Pope Honorius.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

BenYachov,

Strange as it has ever been, I want to give you a high five. Thank you for defending Honorius I. And I still appreciate your prayers. I know you think I'm more a scoundrel than anything, but I am really working out my salvation with fear and trembling over here.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Meanwhile, Crude, if you're interested, keep your eyes open for my lengthy response to comments on my "Rock and a dark place" post, hopefully posted tonight.

In the meanwhile, since you mentioned the SSPX, I'm curious why you think it is a viable option. IOW, what is your best (tweetable?) defense of the SSPX?

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

In any event, Honorius I may end up being the watchword for this papacy (and that of his predecessors, but that's neither here nor there).

For, even to FOLLOW heretics in their cunning machinations, is to be judged heretical by the Church. Thus, if a pope, who had been warned for decades by his papal predecessors that the Freemasons were the main threat, were to succumb to their influence and impose as universal law what is basically a Masonic brotherhood luncheon, then he would fall under the same heading as Honorius I, namely: a failed pope.

Isn't Catholicism fun??

malcolmthecynic said...

Crude, I'm with Elliot. I want to know how you can justify becoming a schismatic, because I don't see it.

Elliot,

Perhaps he is a good analogue, but this should encourage us from my perspective.

Crude said...

In the meanwhile, since you mentioned the SSPX, I'm curious why you think it is a viable option. IOW, what is your best (tweetable?) defense of the SSPX?

I don't think I could give a tweetable one. I give the example of the SSPX as a prominent traditionalist group that would seem to go against your binary view, that's all.

The best tweetable defense of the position I give, though, would fall along the lines of: Loyalty to the Pope is meaningless without loyalty to his predecessors and Church teaching. Neither of the latter can be changed.

Anyway, Codg, I'd like to know an answer to a question of my own. If the Novus Ordo is the big worry here, why have there being problems in the Byzantine Rite even though the NO never touched us?

Crude said...

Malcolm,

I'm not justifying being schismatic. I'm using the SSPX as a counter-example to Elliot's binary choice. It's not palatable, but it shows a third option. And I don't believe even -three- options, or at least those three specific options, exhaust the possibilities.

That said, the SSPX will deny up and down that they're schismatic, which I think considerably complicates matters, at least on the surface.

Crude said...

See the updated post edit.

malcolmthecynic said...

Sorry, I just read over my post again and it was worded far more brusquely than I intended it. I only meant to ask what you meant, I didn't actually mean to imply you were okay with schism.

The SSPX can say what they want, but the last couple of papacies, both of which have had Popes sympathetic to the SSPX, have considered them schismatic. Before I'm convinced they're not I want to see a change in that position.

Crude said...

Malcolm,

No apologies necessary. Like I'm the guy who gets to be upset at someone being /brusque/.

The SSPX can say what they want, but the last couple of papacies, both of which have had Popes sympathetic to the SSPX, have considered them schismatic. Before I'm convinced they're not I want to see a change in that position.

I'm not about to downplay the SSPX's problems. On the other hand, they're a pretty weird group of schismatics. For fun - try to find a way to determine the SSPX is schismatic without making it an open question whether large swaths of liberal Catholicism are schismatic.

malcolmthecynic said...

For fun - try to find a way to determine the SSPX is schismatic without making it an open question whether large swaths of liberal Catholicism are schismatic.

Okay. The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and head of the committee dedicated to bringing the SSPX back into the fold, declared them to be in schism.

I don't know. I just am not seeing the huge problems Elliot is. Not because Elliot is wrong on any particular point, but because I just consider it a given that the Church is going to go through hard times. So I'm not panicking, and focusing on much of the good Pope Francis is doing as well.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

@Codj

Right back at you buddy and God Bless. Please pray for me too guy.
All my best & Cheers!:-)

@Crude,

I didn’t take you as defending the SSPX or advocating their peculiar approach
(to put it mildly) for what it’s worth. The "Old Mass cures everything approach” which
some seem to hold seems to me a bit short sighted. The Schismatic Eastern Churches like their Orthodox brethren
in communion with Rome haven’t changed their liturgy in a thousand years yet modernism and malaise have hit them.

@Malcolm
Pope Honorius was not blatantly heretical. He wrote a letter to a Bishop in which he said there was “one will” in Christ but in context it seemed he meant in the sense we could say Malcohm, Crude, Ben, Elliot/Codj etc are of one will as to the existence of God the Trinity. Christ’s human will NEVER contradicted his Divine Will. Of course the heretics made propoganda hay out of it like gays do “who am I to Judge”.

He was condemned for not protecting the Faith but not for formally teaching doctrinal error. In ancient times the term “heretic” had a more equivocal meaning. It could be used for schismatics or persons who didn’t formally hold
false doctrine.

Shalom!!!!

Crude said...

I'm doing the same, Malcolm. I think Elliot goes a bit far with this kind of thing, but then again, I don't recall him ever being anything but headstrong, so hey.

There's advantages and disadvantages to that, as well as to my own approach.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Crude:

If the Novus Ordo is the big worry here, why have there being problems in the Byzantine Rite even though the NO never touched us?

My claim is not that the Novus Ordo is the problem, but rather, that the NOM is the apotheosis of what's wrong with the entire Conciliar agenda. Insofar as Rome is the hub of the ecclesial wheel, and the Latin rite is the most influential rite, problems emanating from and occurring in that See and that rite cannot but have a negative impact on the Church at large (including the Eastern rites). V2 put something very strange in the communal well, and all Catholics have been drinking it for decades. The problems with the NOM are just the most visible and immediate expression of the Conciliar compromises.

Although my latest giant screed SOUNDS like an apologia for sedevacantism--and I admit the position is far more robust than I'd ever imagined--my actual aim is to cut through the angry Rad Trad kvetching and force a choice: if you believe that these are our legitimate pastors, then ACCORDING TO CATHOLIC TRADITION you are obliged not only to comply but also to give internal assent to their shepherding. If, however, you cannot deny that the Conciliar revolution is a perversion of the Faith, then why on earth would you submit to such entities?

IOW: Sede Up or Shut Up* (this recent comment should help articulate my conundrum)

* My position is not quite as binary as you suggest, since I grant that Catholics are allowed and sometimes required to raise their concerns. But that fact provides NO BASIS for the cottage industry of publicly tearing down and second-guessing true bishops and popes in videos, articles, podcasts, protests, etc. As stultifying as it may be, the only form of legitimate resistance is prayer and petition. (And it's extremely stultifying for someone like myself.)

Crude said...

Codg,

Although my latest giant screed SOUNDS like an apologia for sedevacantism--and I admit the position is far more robust than I'd ever imagined--my actual aim is to cut through the angry Rad Trad kvetching and force a choice:

But that's the thing. I don't think you CAN force a choice here. I think you're saying 'These are your options - choose!' when there are more options on the table, for better or for worse.

But that fact provides NO BASIS for the cottage industry of publicly tearing down and second-guessing true bishops and popes in videos, articles, podcasts, protests, etc.

It does provide a basis for, to be blunt, doing that in an indirect manner. The Pope may say 'Who am I to judge', but we're quite capable of promoting natural law, and saying what the Pope can mean, must mean, and can never mean. Frankly, we have vastly more options than the socially liberal wing has at their best.

So why deny us options?

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Crude:

Context. Remember, I'm writing from within the walls of the traditionalist ghetto, while you are a Conciliar conservative. Aside from various minor quibbles, you don't, as far as I know, have any major qualms about V2 and the NOM. Traditionalists like myself do. This means that you are happy to "go along with" the overriding Conciliar agenda, while also insisting on promoting the natural law, piety, etc. My reservations about V2+NOM run much deeper, and therefore see those activities as largely futile until the Church escapes the doctrinal and pastoral impasse which it has built around itself.

So, in that context, my basic point with all this is to resolve a dilemma facing traditionalists. If V2+NOM is as bad as rad trads say it is, then they need to reject not merely its ill effects but also its malicious authors. If, however, V2+NOM is not as bad as sedevacantists say, and does not indicate a true (even if "barely" so) defection of the popes and bishops, then rad trads need to treat those popes and bishops with the same ultramontanist loyalty as they would have liked to have shown the pre-V2 hierarchy. So, perhaps I should summarize the dilemma as "Sede Up or Neo-Cath Up".

Now, recognizing the current hierarchy as true shepherds does not preclude traditionalists from “working to restore Catholic Tradition” in their own ways (this is why you're sort of a traditionalist), but it absolutely precludes publicly denouncing the entire V2 agenda as contrary to God’s will. How can you back the SSPX if “lack of jurisdiction ” is your objection to sedevacantism? The SSPX has no jurisdiction but, like sedes, it uses the old sacraments and rejects the same things about V2 as do sedes.

(And for the record, I believe it is a highly controverted question whether the SSPX was ever truly schismatic, and the latest position from the Vatican is that they are not schismatic so much as "canonically irregular". But in Conciliar theology that's not really saying, since pretty much no one is schismatic and everyone is just variously canonically irregular. Sigh.

(That's why your challenge about liberals vs. the SSPX is apt. The Church is not required to officially anathematize "liberals" or any "liberal" entity/newspaper. For the whole point of an enduring Magisterium is that the Church HAS ALREADY SPOKEN. Simply by rejecting or even just refusing to affirm Catholic dogma, liberals are eo ipso heretical and thus outside the Church. The SSPX reject no tenet of Catholic teaching; they simply deny that Vatican 2 conveys such teaching in a way that obliges them to obey its reforms. And they're right, since, if they had folded decades ago, they would have been BARRED from exercising their "options," to use your term.)

Crude said...

Codg,

Context. Remember, I'm writing from within the walls of the traditionalist ghetto, while you are a Conciliar conservative. Aside from various minor quibbles, you don't, as far as I know, have any major qualms about V2 and the NOM.

I don't think I fit in well with 'Conciliar Conservatives'. As for my attitude - I think the NOM is aesthetically ugly and probably spiritually corrosive. I would like to see it gone, and I think the tridentine mass should be allowed to be celebrated freely and for all time. V2? I'm of my own mind there, but certainly I have agreements with you about it.

My reservations about V2+NOM run much deeper, and therefore see those activities as largely futile until the Church escapes the doctrinal and pastoral impasse which it has built around itself.

I'm not sure how much deeper they are. But I will say I see my reactions as ways to deal with those doctrinal and pastoral impasses, so hey.

The problem I'm having with your replies now is you're saying 'If it's as bad as X says it is, then...' But again, you're dealing with binary reactions that I just don't accept. I need a case stronger than that. And sedevacantists, AFAIK, never say 'X is bad, therefore we're sedevacantists'. They believe there is no current Pope because of this or that reason, 'badness' be damned.

Re: the SSPX, please remember this. The SSPX was declared schismatic when they started naming their own priests, if I recall right. Apparently, the insistent practice of the tridentine mass didn't pull the trigger there. Food for thought.

Simply by rejecting or even just refusing to affirm Catholic dogma, liberals are eo ipso heretical and thus outside the Church.

Last I checked, even Francis will explicitly knock liberals out of the church on excommunication charges if they start naming priests on their own.

Graham Esposito said...

Man, reading this shows me how boring my Protestantism is.

Lately, given all that's been going on, even I've really been anxious for the Pope to say something clearly and directly over the din of the American Left's howling-at-the-moon.

Crude said...

Graham,

Come to think of it, I never hear of any protestant complaints about their... uh, mass equivalent? Do they call it mass when they're not High Church?

Mr. Green said...

Re random thoughts: I wouldn’t even call it a gimmick, it’s not like these are formal academic treatises of some required minimum length. And any of these items is worth standing as its own post, especially in terms of possible commentary. So on with some comments:

Is it wrong, even unChristian, to be getting a kick out of the whole Greece/EU debacle? I think it is, and I'm trying to deal with it.

Like St. Thomas’s comments on appreciating the torments of the damned, there is a natural and righteous satisfaction in seeing justice play out and reality taking effect. But of course in our fallen state its all too easy for this to take smug and self-satisfied form. Something about separating the sin from the sinner, I guess, but I find it difficult too.

I suspect that one of the reasons that Eastern Christians (both Catholic and Orthodox) have managed to hang on to their liturgy better is because it was always “different” (here in the West) to begin with. Western Christianity was the culture for so long, that being out of step with it is going to seem more disconcerting than for Easterners… though of course there are all sorts of other factors at play. As for the Novus Ordo, the idea that it, or Vatican II, caused all of today’s ills has always struck me as really bizarre. A lazy over-generalisation is one thing, but even given that Western civilisation was fine and dandy up until Dec. 31, 1959 when suddenly hippies were invented, where is V2 supposed to have suddenly come from? (Oh, freemasons apparently.) A lot more distinctions need to be drawn (which I think is your point), and not subtle sneaky technicalities, but reasonable common-sense distinctions. The lack of common sense around these issues is often striking.

For fun - try to find a way to determine the SSPX is schismatic without making it an open question whether large swaths of liberal Catholicism are schismatic.

I like Malcolm’s answer! But why would we suppose large swatch of liberal Catholicism aren’t schismatic? Of course, the funny thing is that it’s only modern squishy sentimental inclusiveness that is keeping the SSPX technically in the fold — any pope who was half what the SSPX claim to like would have surely given them the official boot long ago. At least liberal Catholics don’t believe in any of this ecclesiastical-authority stuff anyway, so they have a plausibly (if ignorantly) self-consistent sort of excuse.

And thanks to Ben Yachov for defending Pope Honorius. He seems to be a poster-boy for heretical popes, which given how thin the true story really is, indicates to me the weakness of the whole claim.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

I. Crude on the NOM

"I think the NOM is aesthetically ugly and probably spiritually corrosive. I would like to see it gone".

Alas, if you recognize the authority of its promulgators, you simply cannot say such a thing.

“If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments and outward signs, which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of Masses, are incentives to impiety rather than the service of piety: let him be anathema.”

-- The Council of Trent, Session XXII

"Certainly the loving Mother [viz. the Church] is spotless in the Sacraments by which she gives birth to and nourishes her children; in the faith which she has always preserved inviolate; in her sacred laws imposed on all; [and] in the evangelical counsels which she recommends".

-- Pius XII, Mystici Corporis

"The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the lex orandi (rule of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. ... These two expressions of the Church’s lex orandi will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s lex credendi (rule of faith); for they are two usages of the one Roman rite."

-- Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum

"There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. ... The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness."

-- Benedict XVI, Letter to bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum

This gets at the entire point of my "dark place" screed: who you gonna believe? The popes or your own lyin' eyes (lit by Catholic tradition, statistical decline, common sense, etc.).

II. The bad sedevacantists on all the bad things.

As for sedevacantists, they say that 1) since the Church cannot impose evil, but 2) the New Mass is an incentive to impiety (or "spiritually corrosive") and the Conciliar documents are bursting with doctrinal innovations, therefore 3) such evil could not possibly have issued from the true authority of Christ. It follows that, in deference to Christ's revealed truth and pious worship, the Conciliar reforms must be rejected as vehemently as must be their authors, popes included. The true Church could not impose and promote the errors and sacrilege which have since Vatican II, therefore any pope who sides with such things is not a true member of the Church, and, thus, not possibly its head.

III. SSPX in schism?

Like I said, in the Conciliar age, it's virtually impossible for anyone to incur the guilt of schism. Exhibit #Whatever: The SSPX is not in schism. Or perhaps it's a translation error?

Mr. Green said...

Codgitator: that fact provides NO BASIS for the cottage industry of publicly tearing down and second-guessing true bishops and popes in videos, articles, podcasts, protests, etc.

This is something which has always greatly disturbed me about people in that position. The ease of dismissing authority is questionable enough (—do not the liberals do as much?—), but the apparent lack of charity really undermines confidence in their position, no matter how solid the reasoning may seem to be (not, frankly, that it usually does).

As stultifying as it may be, the only form of legitimate resistance is prayer and petition.

I guess I know what you’re getting at, but it still seems improper to refer to prayer as “stultifying”. And I do think a literal reading illustrates a real risk for a lot of people in this situation: not trusting enough in prayer, but putting too much faith in their own reasoning to guide them — or at least speaking as though they did.

I'm writing from within the walls of the traditionalist ghetto, while you are a Conciliar conservative. Aside from various minor quibbles, you don't, as far as I know, have any major qualms about V2 and the NOM. Traditionalists like myself do.

I’m not quite sure what to make of that. Who cares about “qualms”, subjectively speaking? (I mean, you care about your own subjective qualms from a personal psychological point of view, but only in how to deal with them in a healthy way.) Objectively, either there are problems — in which they are problems for all of us — or there aren’t — in which case they are problems for none of us.

then rad trads need to treat those popes and bishops with the same ultramontanist loyalty as they would have liked to have shown the pre-V2 hierarchy. So, perhaps I should summarize the dilemma as "Sede Up or Neo-Cath Up".

OK, I think this is basically on the right track and why a lot of “ordinary” Catholics don’t get the so-called ‘rad trads’. But I agree with Crude about the importance of avoiding false dichotomies. If there really is a Church, then there really is a Pope, and if there really is a Pope, then we must respect him, and the bishops, and if we really must respect them, then we must respect their disciplines, and if we must respect their disciplines, then the Novus Ordo cannot be the root of all evil, or even of a little bit of evil. There, Q.E.D. That doesn’t mean there are no problems, or that there are no evils seeping in various places, or even that there are no genuine conspiracies (who knows what’s really going on inside the Vatican? I’ve never even been there, and neither have you!) — there has always been evil, even in the Church, but my point is just that things cannot be so crazy that it is impossible, or nigh impossible to figure out what’s going on.

So I’m not impressed by snark about one’s “lying eyes”, etc. I see problems, of course, but not the same problems that you and others claim to see, so somebody’s eyes are lying. Either way, it shows that some things that seem “obvious” are not, and if one has to choose, isn’t it more likely that the convoluted conspiracy-theory is wrong rather than the common-sense view? It seems to me that’s actually the path you’ve started down, you just need to continue a bit further. Sure, there are genuine problems, and yes, we can discuss them; but always with humility and charity.

As the teachings cited in the OP and my reply here make devastatingly clear, we cannot don the hat of a faithful DISCIPLE one day and then don the hat a cunning judge of ecclesial DISCIPLINE the next. We can, by all means, submit our suggestions to the Holy See, but, until we see a great trad revival, ours is but to do and die–not pout and decry.

“But if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.” But nevertheless there is a lot that can be done without pouting and decrying. I want people to resist the actual bad things, but not throw babies out with bathwater.

Mr. Green said...

P. S.: Your “gotcha” question referred to in your comments was, frankly, an entirely justifiable application of the Socratic method. I consider it bad form to get on a high horse and “request” not to be got in that way. Also, I wound not consider “scoundrel” a suitable word to describe you; whatever else you may be, you’re too thoughtful for scoundrelry. (Maybe even occasionally too thoughtful for your own good — I recognise some of the symptoms — but hardly a scoundrel.)

GoldRush Apple said...

"The claim of 'you don't know what I think, don't act like you KNOW me' sounds like a good self-righteous response to probing criticism and questioning of one's motivations, but it's not a response which has aged well."

Add 'get on with your life' from someone who agrees with the party that isn't the receiver of this request. It's a discussion stopper. The party who receives it is basically being called the idiot in carrying a discussion that is only meaningful to him even if said convo has a decent point.

Graham Esposito said...

No, the low church, at its most technical, will say things like "liturgy" in reference to the flow of events of the service, if they name that aspect at all. I know that drives some of the non-denoms crazy, a lot of the ones from my parents generation are still frantically trying to distance themselves from anything that even reminds themselves of the Catholicism of their youth. (At least in New England.)

I go to a pretty young Presbytarian church, and they do a decent job of it. One thing that baffles me is they stick bulletin announcements in between corporate confession and prayers for the church's children. But that's about the extent of what could theoretically concern me.

I don't know how to call myself a pro-Catholic Protestant without sounding like I'm having a theological crisis, but that's where I've been for a few years. The low church has no sense of connection to the past or a sense of how we got "here." The narrative from the presbyter seems to go something like "...and then Paul died and a LOT of awful things happened, and then John Calvin saved the world."

BUT, in Boston, I'm just glad I found a church that doesn't have us handing out condoms in rainbow jumpsuits on Sunday mornings.

Crude said...

Codg,

Alas, if you recognize the authority of its promulgators, you simply cannot say such a thing.

“If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments and outward signs, which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of Masses, are incentives to impiety rather than the service of piety: let him be anathema.”

-- The Council of Trent, Session XXII


Considering when the council of Trent was held, that doesn't seem to weigh against my words at all.

The rest of the quotes seem too vague to worry about. The idea that there can be problems with the mass as it exists that requires changes for the good of the church is necessary for any justification of the Novus Ordo to take place at all, ergo, etc.

but 2) the New Mass is an incentive to impiety (or "spiritually corrosive")

They're not totally interchangeable. An advertisement for abortion is an incentive to evil. The New Mass doesn't need to be that.

I think the Church has made missteps here, but I don't think they come down to Vatican II or the NO. Pastoral mistakes, in fact, don't seem particularly new with the Church. Last I recall, Peter made a few too.

malcolmthecynic said...

This gets at the entire point of my "dark place" screed: who you gonna believe? The popes or your own lyin' eyes (lit by Catholic tradition, statistical decline, common sense, etc.).

The Popes, of course; after all, they ARE a part of Church history, and I'm reading what they're saying with my lying eyes.

I think we may be looking for sharp distinctions when in fact they're really quite fuzzy. One day Francis's pontificate will be a part of Church history as well.

malcolmthecynic said...

Pastoral mistakes, in fact, don't seem particularly new with the Church. Last I recall, Peter made a few too.

Yeah, this is one of the reasons I'm not really freaking out. Looking at Church history I just don't think we're at any worse of a crisis now than we've ever used to be. The Church has gone through tougher times than this and gotten through it, and there are parts of the world very orthodox indeed.

Liberalism may be the new Arian heresy, but the Church survived the Arian heresy.

Crude said...

Graham,

Fair enough, that makes sense. In their defense, the protestants at least have a habit of trying to make their meetings productive somehow - they engage in preaching and attempted conversions which is utterly alien to a lot of Catholics.

Golden,

Add 'get on with your life' from someone who agrees with the party that isn't the receiver of this request. It's a discussion stopper.

Yeah, that tends to be a catcall from the galley. Conversation stoppers at least are transparently that/meant to be that.

I think the 'you don't KNOW what I think/believe/etc!' schtick heralds from a bygone age where (to use one example) the person who actually is agnostic or even Christian-hostile can waltz into a conversation, put on a thin veneer and pretend that they're 'devout' all while attacking Christians, confident that anyone questioning their faith will be judged as being too harsh and judgmental, suspicious of any criticism, etc.

But nowadays it's often as simple as saying 'Yeah, you said you hated Christians and gave up your faith decades ago over here in this comment. You realize your long string of posts are public knowledge?'

Son of Ya'Kov said...

My 2 cents...


>>"I think the NOM is aesthetically ugly and probably spiritually corrosive. I would like to see it gone".

>Alas, if you recognize the authority of its promulgators, you simply cannot say such a thing.

“If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments and outward signs, which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of Masses, are incentives to impiety rather than the service of piety: let him be anathema.”

-- The Council of Trent, Session XXII


You could say the St Pius V Mass is a better liturgy than the NO(that is a valid opinion).

You could at worst say the NO is not as good a liturgy as the St Pius V one.

You msut say they are both lawful and convey the same Divine Grace.

But it is dangerous and comes close to violating Trent to use language like "spiritually corrosive".

OTOH (not that I agree with it) descriptives like "aesthetically ugly" though harsh are not against Trent IMHO.

That is my take.

PS I am not accusing Crude of anything just to be clear...

Cheers.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Mr. Green:

Thanks for your comments. I won't try to reply to all you said, but here are a few points that stick out.

1. Subjectivity matters as far as one's analysis of the objective features of the Conciliar crisis may be blunted by subjective factors (normalcy bias, misplaced ultramontanism, lack of pertinent facts, etc.).

2. I have in fact been inside the Vatican. So, trust me. Heh. ;)

3. As far as convoluted vs. common-sense thinking goes, we've spent over half a century being assured that there is a seamless hermeneutic of continuity, the proof is in the mail. But as people like R. de Mattei, B. Gherardini, R. Amerio, M. Lefebvre, A. Schneider, Super Flumina Babylonis, et al. have made clear, continuity must be demonstrated, rather than merely asserted.

In addition, disdain for a supposed conspiracy theory also ignores patent evidence of unsavory factions at the Council (cf. the recent three-part essay by Brian Miles at One Peter Five).

In contrast, those who object to Vatican II take the common-sense view that when you place its teachings on certain points next to prior teaching on the same points, and the former affirms what the latter explicitly condemned (sometimes to the very word), then we have a problem which runs much deeper than "abuses" of the "authentic teachings of the Council" (whatever those magic-eight-ball-esque things may turn out to be). I can respect and heed the pope all day, but I can't affirm indissoluble ambiguity or outright contradiction just to maintain decorum.

Crude said...

Yakov,

But it is dangerous and comes close to violating Trent to use language like "spiritually corrosive".

Trent was talking about the mass they had. Why should I believe they meant any mass, ever, for all time?

Keep in mind, Vatican II found how to interpret Trent in a way to pretty well ban the very mass that Trent was talking about, so I'm skeptical that this is a clear-cut matter in the way you or Codg say.

My experiences with MO masses has been negative. They seem flippant, casual. More than that, modern. I have sympathy for people who are repulsed by it. It's hard to find sympathy for people repulsed by the tridentine mass, what with its pedigree.

Mr. Green said...

Crude: "I think the NOM is aesthetically ugly and probably spiritually corrosive."
Codgitator: Alas, if you recognize the authority of its promulgators, you simply cannot say such a thing.
Crude: I think the Church has made missteps here, but I don't think they come down to Vatican II or the NO.

Well, those are some of the distinctions that need making. The Mass itself cannot be ugly or corrosive. The way this particular priest or that celebrates it? Of course. It's a very simple distinction, but a very important one. It would be impossible for sacraments not to be able to be performed in an ugly or unsuitable or unhealthy way, because fallen human beings are involved. The Tridentine Mass can be abused and presented in an ugly, appalling way too, if anyone cared to try. I wouldn't like to see the Novus Ordo gone per se, although it certainly could be improved a bit. I would, of course, like to see the abuses gone.


Crude: The rest of the quotes seem too vague to worry about. The idea that there can be problems with the mass as it exists that requires changes for the good of the church is necessary for any justification of the Novus Ordo to take place at all, ergo, etc.

Another distinction: there can be problems with the Mass that aren't problems with the Mass, that is, problems with the mass per se — it doesn't exist in a vacuum, so if the circumstances surrounding the Mass change, then it may (or may not) be appropriate for the Mass to change its form. Another very-obvious yet very-often missed distinction concerns the difference between God and man: God does not change; man always does. Insofar as the Mass (or the Church) pertains to God, it must not and cannot change; insofar as it pertains to man, it can and must. The Mass changed in numerous ways over the centuries; and we can ask whether a particular aspect is the most prudent formulation for a given time and place; we can even argue that accidental details, such as the language used, are "wrong" insofar as a different choice might be better. But as per the Codgitator's various quotations, the Mass in and of itself, the essence of the Mass cannot go wrong, and cannot be shattered or fractured by any official decisions.

Codgitator: This gets at the entire point of my "dark place" screed: who you gonna believe? The popes or your own lyin' eyes (lit by Catholic tradition, statistical decline, common sense, etc.).

Well, the Pope is protected by the Holy Spirit; my eyes are not. So that's an easy one. My eyes lie all the time: they see motion where I know there is only a series of rapidly replaced still images; they see three dimensions where there is only a flat tessellated pattern; they may see a dark place where there is bright sunlight, only obscured by cataracts. If my eyes were trustworthy, I wouldn't need papal infallibility, I could simply judge for myself.

Like I said, in the Conciliar age, it's virtually impossible for anyone to incur the guilt of schism. Exhibit #Whatever: The SSPX is not in schism. Or perhaps it's a translation error?

Do you think (speculate) that, were they charged with formal schism, they would abandon the SSPX so as to remain officially part of the Church? What about their congregations?


Malcolm: Looking at Church history I just don't think we're at any worse of a crisis now than we've ever used to be.

I think our current problems in the West are different... or maybe that isn't especially the case either (doctrinal issues like Arianism make the headlines in history books, but name any period in Church history where some saint or other wasn't setting out to reform degenerate religious orders!). Because they're different it's hard to measure apples against oranges, but I just can't muster any enthusiasm that things are "end-times" bad. (Name any period in Church history that someone didn't think was end-times bad...!)

Crude said...

Green,

The Mass itself cannot be ugly or corrosive. The way this particular priest or that celebrates it?

What else can be ugly or corrosive? The intention behind it? The general purpose of it? Its origin?

Mr. Green said...

Green: The Mass itself cannot be ugly or corrosive. The way this particular priest or that celebrates it?
Crude: What else can be ugly or corrosive? The intention behind it? The general purpose of it? Its origin?

Some people think so. If you’re referring to the way Fr. Progressivepants celebrated mass last Sunday, that’s “a” mass, not “the” Mass. (And even that is at best a casual usage.) Unfortunately, there are those who slip from one meaning to the other and count abuses as evidence that “the” Novus Ordo is “evil”. That’s a problem.

My experiences with MO masses has been negative. They seem flippant, casual. More than that, modern. I have sympathy for people who are repulsed by it. It's hard to find sympathy for people repulsed by the tridentine mass, what with its pedigree.

See, even you slipped there from “they” to “it”. I know what you mean, but does anyone think that if the pope said, OK, no more NO, back to full-time Tridentine masses, Fr. Progressivepants would suddenly stop interrupting mass for his flippant casual banter? Or would he just do it all the more, because “nobody understands Latin and I have to keep the audience engaged”?? Here’s a question: there are priests who say the Novus Ordo in a serious, solemn fashion. In Latin. Facing east! What do you say to someone who is repelled by that?


Trent was talking about the mass they had. Why should I believe they meant any mass, ever, for all time?

Yes, I actually think the quotation as given is probably better read that way.

Keep in mind, Vatican II found how to interpret Trent in a way to pretty well ban the very mass that Trent was talking about, so I'm skeptical that this is a clear-cut matter in the way you or Codg say.

Well, it wasn’t “banned” as something bad, and the idea was not supposed to be that the changes would be seen as a “different” mass. But I agree that things are not that simple. That’s actually what I mean by pushing common sense: people think that “common sense” means “what is superficially ‘obvious’ to me”, but of course someone who thinks that the real world is simple and black and white clearly doesn’t have common sense. Do conspiracies sometimes happen in real life? Common sense says yes. Do conspiracies happen the way they do in the movies?? Common sense says no. This is Chestertonian common-sense: everything is not simplistically easy to figure out, nor is everything impossibly convoluted. Can an ordinary, reasonable person figure out whether there is a Catholic Church, and what Church doctrine is, and who the heck is the Pope? Of course. The devil is in the details, but he isn't everywhere all the time.

Mr. Green said...

Codgitator: 1. Subjectivity matters as far as one's analysis of the objective features of the Conciliar crisis may be blunted by subjective factors (normalcy bias, misplaced ultramontanism, lack of pertinent facts, etc.).

Sure. That is indeed one of the reasons not to put too much weight in one’s own analysis. Really, isn’t there something strange about being told that “normal” is a “bias”? Oh, yes, I know, but the point is that if “normalcy” risks being biased, that doesn’t make conspiracy-theories unbiased, it means they risk even greater bias.

2. I have in fact been inside the Vatican. So, trust me. Heh. ;)

Oh, well, I almost included a qualifier, but decided to risk it figuring statistics were on my side. It’s normalcy-bias at work!

3. As far as convoluted vs. common-sense thinking goes, we've spent over half a century being assured that there is a seamless hermeneutic of continuity, the proof is in the mail.

Who said it’s “in the mail”? The proof is that consistent interpretations are already there. The proof is that God’s protection of the Church is assured (and, as you have shown, even extends to discipline, to a certain degree). As I said, common sense does not mean “obvious to me according to my whims and biases (normal or otherwise)”. Common sense tells us that a Church staffed with fallen men is going to come up from time to time with documents that contain poor phrasing. Common sense tells us that some things will be simple and obvious, but most will not, and will require study and effort to figure out. You know the Bible is full of contradictions, right? Heck, it says in so many words, ”There is no God”! Common sense tells us that some verses of Scripture are easy to understand out of context (“Jesus wept”), but most will require a more honest effort, and some may be nigh-unintelligible (especially without learning from saints and scholars). Common sense tells you that no, quantum mechanics doesn’t “disprove causality” or prove that “logic doesn’t work”. It does not tell you that you can pick up QM with half an hour’s casual reading on the Internet.

So when I appeal to common sense, I mean that I approach Church teaching the same way I approach Scripture — or quantum physics, or any other real-life non-trivial subject. I expect that some of it will be intelligible to the ordinary reasonable man of reasonable intelligence who puts in a reasonable effort. I expect that reality will more or less make sense to me, not that there will be no messy patches or rough edges. As I said, I even admit the existence of the occasional conspiracy — common sense insists that some conspiracies are going to be real, just it also insists that the real ones will not be cartoons. Are there problems, and evils, and even certain confusions? Of course. Always have been, always will. Are things so exaggeratedly bad in a way they never were before that a reasonable man cannot figure out whether there is a Catholic Church or what its basic teachings are or who the Pope is? Of course not.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

@Crude

Forgive me if I disagree but my interpretation of the Canon from Trent in question came from a Traditionalist named Kevin Tierney(an old friend and sometime adversary of mine on the net) who cited it to help talk a friend of his into leaving the SSPX. He succeeded and the fellow started following the FSSP.

So I am not channeling my inner Post Councilor Conservative. I am being a Trad here.

>Trent was talking about the mass they had. Why should I believe they meant any mass, ever, for all time?

Kevin's friend let call him Jake made that counter claim as I recall The problem is the language doesn't limit itself to one particular rite but to the Sacrament itself.

"If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments and outward signs, which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of Masses, etc"

Can we say the above only applies to the Mass of Pius V and not the Eastern Masses?

>Keep in mind, Vatican II found how to interpret Trent in a way to pretty well ban the very mass that Trent was talking about, so I'm skeptical that this is a clear-cut matter in the way you or Codg say.'''

No Vatican One and the Tradition of the Church gives the Pope supreme legislative power over the discipline of the Church so he has the power to ban or suppress any rite or ceremonies he chooses.

He can't ban the Mass but he can change the rites and the general infallibility and indefectability of the Church will prevent him from making changes that invalidate the sacrament.


>My experiences with MO masses has been negative. They seem flippant, casual. More than that, modern. I have sympathy for people who are repulsed by it. It's hard to find sympathy for people repulsed by the tridentine mass, what with its pedigree.

Well these are arguments from aesthetics. Which are valid as far as they go. One should make use of all natural helps to make religion pleasant & move one to worship and contemplation.

Of course speaking from experience I've been to a Latin MO Mass and it was lovely. My first Tridentine Mass a high Mass and it was awesome. But virtually every TLM of the low variety I attended loathed. My late Mother -in-Law complained in her day the Priests would often Mumble the Latin I saw first hand what she was complaining about in the Low TLM.

You can argue Aesthetics and for better liturgy but even the Mass you don't care for gives the same Grace.

PS I liked the Eastern Masses way better than the TLM.


I should get my wife in here she can talk liturgy all day.


Cheers.

Crude said...

Ben,

Forgive me if I disagree but my interpretation of the Canon from Trent in question came from a Traditionalist named

Doesn't matter much to me. I mean, he sounds like an interesting guy, but I don't see how he's getting that interpretation which such certainty, so...

Kevin's friend let call him Jake made that counter claim as I recall The problem is the language doesn't limit itself to one particular rite but to the Sacrament itself.

Okay - I'm not talking about the sacrament, which from my altar boy days I recall is a particular act/formula.

Can we say the above only applies to the Mass of Pius V and not the Eastern Masses?

Trent took place over a millenia after the Byzantine's rite originated.

Well these are arguments from aesthetics. Which are valid as far as they go.

Alright - I think the aesthetics of the NO are pretty rotten and spiritually corrosive. Is this really changing all that much?

Green made the point that I must be talking about particular implementations of it. My reply is simple - I think, overwhelmingly, the logic of giving up the Tridentine mass for the NO was grounded almost entirely on 'aesthetics'. They weren't looking for a bold, new, innovative way to turn the wine and bread into blood and flesh. Tell me I'm not criticizing the sacrament (I agree) but... everything else.

I'll concede it wholeheartedly for the sake of argument. Is my claim now vastly improved? Really?

Mr. Green said...

Crude: Alright - I think the aesthetics of the NO are pretty rotten and spiritually corrosive. Is this really changing all that much?

Well, the difference between an argument that's right and one that's wrong is kinda important. Again, I might know what you mean. BenYakov might know. Even the Codgitator might know. But what about the SSPX bloke who tells people the new mass is "evil"? (What was his name again? ...oh, yeah, Bishop Fellay.) Or the guy who thinks the Novus Ordo is bad because of all the stuff it removed... except when it comes to the expanded number of readings, in which case it's bad because of what it adds. (That's right, more Scripture is now something bad. And no, that's not something from the Onion (Dome).)

I think, overwhelmingly, the logic of giving up the Tridentine mass for the NO was grounded almost entirely on 'aesthetics'.

Yes and no. Using the vernacular isn't really aesthetic. Removing the last first Gospel from its awkward place dangling at/after the end of Mass is largely aesthetic. But I doubt that's what you object to. The bland hymns and cheesy guitar music, the felt banners, the priest facing the audience game-show host-style — these are basically aesthetic issues, but they have nothing to do with NO (other than accidental historical correlation). V2 did not endorse any of that, and in some cases explicitly dictated against it. People just did it anyway. That's why I asked about a NO mass said the way it was intended: with Latin, Gregorian chant, priest facing the altar — where's the problem with that? Or conversely, what about a Tridentine Mass with a talk-show priest and borderline-heretical hymns played on the bongos??

Crude said...

Well, the difference between an argument that's right and one that's wrong is kinda important.

Not when it gets down to exacting detail. There's diminishing returns with this sort of thing, especially in a discussion.

But what about the SSPX bloke who tells people the new mass is "evil"?

How do you know he's not complaining about the same things I am?

That's right, more Scripture is now something bad.

It can be if it's done out of context, with the wrong emphasis. It's a bit like quoting the Pope - it sounds good, until you've heard 'Who am I to judge' for the Nth time.

The bland hymns and cheesy guitar music, the felt banners, the priest facing the audience game-show host-style — these are basically aesthetic issues, but they have nothing to do with NO (other than accidental historical correlation). V2 did not endorse any of that, and in some cases explicitly dictated against it.

The problem I'm having here, Green, is that to hear you tell it, the Novus Ordo was meant to be little more than a very slight re-arrangement of gospel verses, and that what's been done with it has been entirely accidental. Likewise accidental and nigh-inexplicable is the near-universal opposition/hatred of the worst kind of liberals (more and more I ask, is there any other kind?) to the tridentine mass.

You need to give me more, because you're telling me, 'Every pattern you see, every bit of evidence you've accumulated and come across? Throw that out the window. Big misunderstanding. No, the Novus Ordo was always meant to only be this trivial change at best. And the barring of the old mass? Well, who's to say, perhaps that was because they just wanted people to experience the pure holiness of the Novus Ordo while it had that 'new car smell. No mistakes were made here.'

That's not easy to swallow.

I'm not going to pretend that the Novus Ordo or even Vatican II was the fall of the Church, the moment when corruption and decay (or, I suppose, the smoke of Satan) finally managed to slip inside. Nor am I going to pretend the traditionalists are always right, or even sane. But what you've laid out here is simply hard to accept.

Mr. Green said...

Crude: How do you know he's not complaining about the same things I am?

'Cuz that's not what he said. (Here's a better report with more context.)

It can be if it's done out of context, with the wrong emphasis.

Which of course is not the case with the Novus Ordo going from one reading to two.

to hear you tell it, the Novus Ordo was meant to be little more than a very slight re-arrangement of gospel verses, and that what's been done with it has been entirely accidental.

Actually, that's not too far off. Here's an interesting piece about what V2 actually said. By the time you get from that to the implementation and "the liturgists" and the local parish council and some individual priest, yeah, we're a lot of steps away from anything infallible. And accidental, as opposed to essential (not as opposed to "on purpose" — conspiracies or not, it's within the power of any individual priest to celebrate the NO reverently and respectfully... good luck getting any support from the parish and bishop in some places, but that's more of a political context, certainly not anything written into the Council).

you're telling me, 'Every pattern you see, every bit of evidence you've accumulated and come across? Throw that out the window. Big misunderstanding. No, the Novus Ordo was always meant to only be this trivial change at best. And the barring of the old mass?

What evidence did I say to throw out? All I'm saying is that it isn't evidence of Magisterial fallibility, or sedevacantism, or anything else crazy like that. It's a sign of bad priests, bad laity, bad bishops (whether morally bad or intellectually bad or just having a brain-dead sense of taste in what sort of music is remotely suitable for church no doubt varies from case to case). Is that something you disagree with?

As for "banning" the old mass, I think that's a wrong way to look at it. Did the 1962 revisions "ban" the 1955 missal? Did the 1955 "ban" the 1920? Or the 1884? Did Trent "ban" the Gallican rite? The Sarum?? (Seriously, did it? They were out of use, but I don't know when or if there were official pronouncements about that.) Any form of the Mass that was approved at some point is clearly valid and could in theory be used at any time. But the Church has the authority to prescribe an official, licit form. If she chose to let each priest choose his own rite at will, I'd be the first to travel to every parish in town to see all the different variations, but would it be prudent for the Church to do so? I doubt it. If there hadn't been so many abuses, the question probably never would have arisen.

I don't think my position is strange... in fact, the point is that it's not strange, it's just bad people doing bad things same as always (some bad things are worse than others). I'd submit that any claims to the contrary (end-times/remnant/invasion of the pod-popes!!!!!!) are going to need to be spelled out quite specifically and with a heavy dose of supporting argumentation.

Crude said...

'Cuz that's not what he said.

He said the new mass is evil. I don't see how your new link provides any additional context for that.

Which of course is not the case with the Novus Ordo going from one reading to two.

That's not exactly the meat of their claims.

As for "banning" the old mass, I think that's a wrong way to look at it.

Don't you think you're hitting a point here where this kind of explanation is getting a little too close to spin-doctoring?

Tell me the logic behind the Novus Ordo. What was the point of it at all, as far as you see it? And why was it necessary to immediately suppress the tridentine mass?

Mr. Green said...

Crude: He said the new mass is evil. I don't see how your new link provides any additional context for that.

Sorry, I meant that wasn't the same thing that you're saying. If Fellay merely means that the abuses are evil, then he's pretty bad at stating it.

That's not exactly the meat of their claims.

I don't know what particular claims you're thinking of, but here's the specific piece I had in mind: Is Reading More Scripture at Mass Always Better? If there's anything in that mess that you think constitutes a reasonable argument, I'd be curious to hear what.

Don't you think you're hitting a point here where this kind of explanation is getting a little too close to spin-doctoring?

Maybe I'm just too used to hearing the term "suppressed" used in reference to some kind of plot. If you get promoted, and don't continue to perform your old job part-time, would you say that your previous position had been "immediately suppressed"? I guess in a very literal sense, it might be true (if "immediate" means "half-decade transitional period"), which is why I asked whether you would call all the other changes after Trent, and before, as "immediate suppression". Since you didn't answer, I'm not sure how you interpret that phrase. The point of the reforms was not to let each priest make up his own form of mass — it was supposed to be a revision of the existing form of the Latin rite, so of course when the new changes went into effect, the old changes went out of effect. When we ended up with a liturgy that went beyond what the council itself called for, and then further changes and abuses on top of that, it certainly felt like a whole "different" mass, making it easy for people to pit the old and new versions against each other as competing masses rather than as differences within the same form, as with previous changes. But as I said, by that point we're no longer talking about V2 itself.

As for the point of the Novus Ordo, it was an attempt to clean up various issues (aesthetic simplifications), restore some earlier ideas that had been lost over the centuries, and introduce some vernacular so that people could better understand the liturgy. These goals are all perfectly worthy, and if carried out properly would be beneficial. Some of them clearly so — V2 was called to deal with the changes in modern society that were going on in the sixties... and the twentieth century... and the post-reformation modern world... and "act like nothing happened" is not a very constructive strategy. Some of the changes were not particularly better or worse, just different; and some may even have been a step down, but only a slight step. The real problems, as always, lie not in the use of the NO but in the abuses, and it makes no more sense to blame V2 or the Magisterium for abuses than it does to blame the Holy Spirit for bad translations of the Bible.

Crude said...

Sorry, I meant that wasn't the same thing that you're saying. If Fellay merely means that the abuses are evil, then he's pretty bad at stating it.

You distinguished between the sacrament versus how the sacrament is performed. How do you tell the difference between Fellay criticizing one and the other?

If there's anything in that mess that you think constitutes a reasonable argument, I'd be curious to hear what.

I think the very general point of 'Reading more scripture isn't always a good thing, depending on how it's presented' would hold. To use one example: I imagine forcing people to memorize large portions of the Bible may well be spiritually detrimental. That would be the problem with the presentation, not the Bible, but the same issue holds.

I guess in a very literal sense, it might be true (if "immediate" means "half-decade transitional period"), which is why I asked whether you would call all the other changes after Trent, and before, as "immediate suppression".

If your case here rides on me accepting that there was never any suppression of the Tridentine mass, because the Novus Ordo -is- the Tridentine Mass, and the whole thing is a big misunderstanding... then I don't think we're getting anywhere. You think you're being very specific and deliberate, but I can't interpret it as anything but hoping like crazy that all the problems here can be solved by working overtime with the definitions of words.

You imply that it's just some big point of confusion that the mass as it is is referred to a new mass, but it's not like it was called so by its detractors alone.

These goals are all perfectly worthy, and if carried out properly would be beneficial.

I don't agree even there. If the goal was to communicate in the vernacular, you can do that without changing the mass - you give explanations of the mass. For the literate, you give handouts if you please.

I will personally agree that in the broad sense - attempting to evangelize a world that was going through substantial changes - the aim of Vatican II was sound. I say that myself.

And yes, 'Act like nothing happened' sometimes is the best course of action, because for a whole lot of the Church - if it means a damn thing at all - cultural changes are irrelevant. Pardon my french, but right now a good portion of the western world masturbates itself into a frenzy over glorifying and dramatizing LGBT activist schtick. Insofar as the mass, our dogma, our teachings and our reasoning goes, what's the proper response? Really, 'act like nothing happened', because not a one of those things should change in response to the world.

Mr. Green said...

Crude: You distinguished between the sacrament versus how the sacrament is performed. How do you tell the difference between Fellay criticizing one and the other?

By his words. This wasn't some random anonymous throw-away comment on a website or something; it's a bishop making a public statement about one of his central issues, in the context of "validity" and "liceity" which apply to the sacrament itself, not its form or abuses thereof. Though if you really want to argue it's ambiguous, you've got a great technicality in that he didn't actually say it was evil, just that he tells people it's evil. (I don't think that helps much....)

forcing people to memorize large portions of the Bible may well be spiritually detrimental.

Sure, I absolutely agree with that (and the general point behind it). If that were what the linked article said, I would agree with it too... but it wasn't.

You think you're being very specific and deliberate, but I can't interpret it as anything but hoping like crazy that all the problems here can be solved by working overtime with the definitions of words.

No, just the problem of not identifying what the real problems are. And I don't think anyone can deny there are plenty of misunderstandings all around. The word "suppressed" is not simply a synonym for, say, "ceased" — it has specific connotations. Would you say that last year's phone book was "suppressed" when this year's came out? It's implies there's something wrong by definition, but if someone doesn't like the changes, he needs to make a case for it. Or if he wants to argue that the new version should have been only an alternative option all along, again, argue for it.

If the goal was to communicate in the vernacular, you can do that without changing the mass - you give explanations of the mass.

That's fine; I never said the changes — even as originally intended — were the only approach, or even the best one — reasonable men can differ on that. Actually my word "beneficial" could imply "better", so since I'm concerned with precise wording, let me rephrase that: the goals were worthwhile and could in principle be carried out in a worthwhile way; there is nothing intrinsically bad or evil about them. Are they unequivocally better than what we had before? No; there are always trade-offs. If properly carried out, would they overall be better than what we had before? Maybe; nobody can predict the future, but I think that the original motivations are at the least plausible.

And yes, 'Act like nothing happened' sometimes is the best course of action, because for a whole lot of the Church - if it means a damn thing at all - cultural changes are irrelevant.

OK, that's a good point. In fact, I'll admit that (even aside from the Church) "do nothing" can be the right thing to do sometimes. It definitely wasn't the right thing in this case, though — but even that is something that can be reasonably debated. Despite seeing so much written about it that is not reasonable, it's certainly possible to discuss the issue in a way that doesn't impugn infallibility or Church authority.

Insofar as the mass, our dogma, our teachings and our reasoning goes, what's the proper response? Really, 'act like nothing happened', because not a one of those things should change in response to the world.

Sure, in the abstract. If "teachings" means dogma or the concepts themselves, that won't change. However, if "teaching" means actual, practical communication of those concepts, then it can't not change. People don't speak or think the same way they did 1000 or 500 or 100 years ago, so the way things are taught has to change too. The Mass isn't just a lesson, but it does encompass instructional aspects. Lex orandi, lex credendi and all that.

Crude said...

By his words. This wasn't some random anonymous throw-away comment on a website or something; it's a bishop making a public statement about one of his central issues, in the context of "validity" and "liceity" which apply to the sacrament itself, not its form or abuses thereof.

I think you're on thin ice when you have to argue that Fellay is at once saying the sacrament *specifically* is evil, yet is valid. If I take a look at Fellay's interview, I can see this:

"And Francis tells us that the best fruit of the Council, the best illustration of the Council’s efficacy, is the new Mass. We agree: the new Mass is indeed the fruit of the Council. But the difference is that he says it is good and we say it is evil."

I'm pretty sure the sacrament pre-existed V2.

No, just the problem of not identifying what the real problems are. And I don't think anyone can deny there are plenty of misunderstandings all around. The word "suppressed" is not simply a synonym for, say, "ceased" — it has specific connotations. Would you say that last year's phone book was "suppressed" when this year's came out?

I would if the relevant authorities punished anyone who used it.

Maybe; nobody can predict the future, but I think that the original motivations are at the least plausible.

Maybe, in the broad sense. I get touchy when I hear about how, supposedly, the Church went to modernists and protestants and said in essence 'How can we make the mass something you'd feel comfortable with?'

It definitely wasn't the right thing in this case, though — but even that is something that can be reasonably debated.

Why not? Tell me the Church needed to update how it evangelizes and I'll agree, even with mistakes made. Tell me it needed to, in various contexts, talk in new ways and try new ideas, and I'll agree again.

What was gained here? What could have been gained here?

Sure, in the abstract. If "teachings" means dogma or the concepts themselves, that won't change. However, if "teaching" means actual, practical communication of those concepts, then it can't not change. People don't speak or think the same way they did 1000 or 500 or 100 years ago, so the way things are taught has to change too. The Mass isn't just a lesson, but it does encompass instructional aspects. Lex orandi, lex credendi and all that.

What lesson do you think was learned by the world here? Do you think it was a good lesson?

Mr. Green said...

Crude: I think you're on thin ice when you have to argue that Fellay is at once saying the sacrament *specifically* is evil, yet is valid.

But he doesn't want to say that the NO is valid. I mean, I agree it may be hard to formulate an entirely consistent position against them, but that's because I don't think the SSPX are consistent themselves: they want to insist on the Church's authority so they're not sedevacantists, but they want to disregard it when it condones the NO. I think the Codgitator is spot on as far as that goes; if the Magisterium is infallible, that can't be entirely divorced from practice, so you can't reject the Mass wholesale — which calling it "evil" sure seems to do, when you've just referred to validity and liciety, which apply to the sacrament, not the abuses. The interview you linked to is very drily amusing, but again I don't see how to read that as referring to abuses, he never even uses the word. If the argument is that the SSPX are really just the same as the FSSP, then why are they borderline schismatic?

I would if the relevant authorities punished anyone who used it.

OK, disregarding the prescribed rules for saying Mass is punishable, so the NO is just the last in a long line of "suppressions", since all the changes since Trent, and beyond, are in the same boat. (And it's still going on, like the new English translation that suppressed the previous one.) Of course, when somebody gets all worked up about this long-standing tradition of suppressions only when it's a change he doesn't like, it pretty obviously isn't about the "suppression" after all.

Oh, and I'm not even sure there was ever a time when the Tridentine Mass was fully suppressed everywhere, since the "Agatha Christie" indult took effect in 1971. Maybe there were some months between that and the introduction of the 1970 Missal?

Maybe, in the broad sense. I get touchy when I hear about how, supposedly, the Church went to modernists and protestants and said in essence 'How can we make the mass something you'd feel comfortable with?'

I guess it's what they did with the answer that matters, not asking the question. I can only suppose that someone thought if they played up some Protestant familiarity, more Protestants would come running to convert, which is bizarrely naive to say the least. But there's still a big difference between saying the Mass ought to be more explicitly Catholic (which it should), and saying it's erroneous or evil or invalid (which it isn't).

Why not? Tell me the Church needed to update how it evangelizes and I'll agree, even with mistakes made. Tell me it needed to, in various contexts, talk in new ways and try new ideas, and I'll agree again.

I agree with your agreement. But the Mass is evangelisation too. Not solely, not even most importantly, but it is an aspect, so it's valid to react accordingly. If people simply don't understand your language — which modern people sadly but undeniably do not, and I don't just mean Latin! — then it is prudent to adapt the way you talk. You or I might learn some Latin or read handouts or attend catechism sessions, but most people just won't do that, so there comes a point where using the vernacular is hard to turn down. I genuinely think that if the Mass were all in Latin, overall Catholic understanding would be even worse than it is. (And yes, even just in matters of vernacular language, we could nevertheless be doing better.)

What lesson do you think was learned by the world here? Do you think it was a good lesson?

The world as in those watching the Church from the outside? I'm not sure. For typical Catholics? I think that where they aren't misled by specifically bad parish priests, etc., they have a somewhat better understanding of their faith and a somewhat more confident and expansive attitude than they otherwise would.