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Boston Catholic Journal - Critical Catholic Commentary in the Twilight of Reason


The Holy Catholic Faith

Where is it And Who is Keeping it?

The Catholic Church that we Once Knew and Recognize no Longer

Has the Post-Conciliar Church
Lost Custody of the Faith?


All indications are that is has

The “Dark Ages” — that disdainful term for the period in history following the collapse of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D. until the 15th century (a period correctly described as the Middle Ages) is understood by the secular world to have lasted roughly 1000 years, beginning in Florence, Italy.

Within the post-Conciliar Catholic Church, however, it appears that the term extends well beyond the 15th century; indeed, some 500 years beyond it! According to contemporary Catholic thought articulated within the past five papacies, the “Dark Ages” really ended in 1965 at the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council. All the doctrines and teachings prior to that Council were only imperfectly, deficiently, and insufficiently articulated or defectively understood.

The 1000 Years of Darkness

Only the Second Vatican Council finally attained to enlightenment in the divine economy, and after 1,965 years of suspension, it alone has provided the final, sufficient, and correct understanding of God and Church, man and nature. Prior to that, according to post-Conciliar thought, Catholics had essentially lived in darkness, specifically the darkness of the “pre-Conciliar Dark Ages.” It may be said that where the Rational Enlightenment “saved the world from religion,” Vatican II saved the Church from Catholicism.

This argument — that God concealed the “real” truth from us for either 1500 years on the one hand (concerning Protestants) or for 2000 years on other (concerning Vatican II) does not, of course, speak well of God’s munificence, truth, or goodness — and that it is the very argument to be brought against Protestants by Catholics, is good to keep in mind. Why would a good, loving, and truthful God conceal the real nature of the Church, the Sacraments, and true worship from us for so long?

Pay No Attention to What You See!

We are told so many times that what we see is no indication of what is real.

It is true in two venues: the political landscape, which is really of not much interest to us here except as a paradigm of our being told that what we perceive to be oppressive, unjust, and despotic, is really a benevolent government open to all its constituents. We are simply not socially-enlightened enough (“woke” enough) to see it, you understand.

The other venue, of course, is the ecclesiastical landscape, specifically the Vatican, and more specifically the papacies of the Vatican II pontiffs and the various Dicasteries under them. Within this crumbling landscape we are told that all the dismantling, removal, renovation, and ultimately the detritus following Vatican II has resulted in a more beautiful, vibrant, healthy, and faithful Church, with pews filled at Sunday Masses; a Church brimming with baptisms, confirmations, marriages, vocations, ordinations … a chrysalis bursting in a renewal of all things holy and good! We are simply too “rigid,” too “backward,” not “progressive-enough” to see it. Because we do not “walk in Accompaniment with the Spirit,” we are blind … you understand.

From Bergoglio’s dismissive perspective, “looking back (indietrismo) is useless,” 1 and given Francis’s insolent treatment of those who worship as our forefathers did for 200 centuries, they are equally useless as well. They are impediments to his progressive agenda; to use his words, they are “imbavagliando,” “gagging” the Church.2

His aggressively Modernist agenda set in motion by Vatican II, apparently, is too far advanced for the possibility of retrenching. It is “useless” to even entertain the possibility of rapprochement with the Mass of the Ages and the 2000-year spirituality inseparable from it; a Mass within which we immediately find sanctity, solemnity, sacrality, holiness, heavenliness, beauty, spirituality, form, sobriety, chant, mystery, the choir of angels; in short, all that is egregiously absent within the bland, mundane, and very worldly Novus Ordo Mass of Paul VI.


What, Exactly, are We to Understand by “Keeping — and Having Kept — the Catholic Faith”?

The notions of Keeping, and having kept, the Catholic Faith can only be understood as retaining (keeping), and having preserved (kept), the one true holy Catholic and Apostolic Faith that has been kept and practiced for the 2000 years prior to Vatican II — even when the practice of that venerable Faith has been unjustly deprived through ecclesiastical duress. That unchanging and unchangeable Faith is kept in the unwavering allegiance to it despite persecution and even deprivation. It can be physically removed from us, but it cannot be taken away from us.

Indeed, why do we keep anything at all?  We only keep what we want and value; what is good and beautiful. Understanding this, we must ask, is there anything more beautiful this side of Heaven than the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? … than the Faith bequeathed to us by our fathers, by the Saints, by the Martyrs — the Faith that has generated the greatest and most brilliant constellation of saints and martyrs in the history of the Church?

It cannot be the case that Faith of the Church for the 2000 years preceding December 8, 1965 (when the Second Vatican Council was formally concluded) is no longer the Faith of the Church now — for if the Faith is different then the Church, which is the embodiment of that Faith, is different, and if the Church is different, the Church is no more. This cannot be. Christ promised that this cannot be.

But it can be said that the teaching of the Church is now vastly different from the teaching of the Church for the 200 centuries prior to John XXIII and his five successors, and most especially in what are presented to us as the “Conciliar” documents of Vatican II, documents that vastly, even essentially, diverge from centuries of incontestably authoritative Catholic teaching.

So much so, in fact, that in its latest iteration under the papacy of Francis, we have begun to ask in earnest, perhaps for the first time in our lives, “has the post-Conciliar Catholic Church, or perhaps more accurately, the “Post-Catholic-Conciliar-Church” — an increasingly different Church that first emerged from Vatican II and has continued to diverge from it through every successive papacy until that rupture with the past has culminated in a Church, together with its hierarchy, largely lost custody of the Catholic Faith?


Since beginning this article some days ago, some alarming news has begun to emerge from credible sources that has necessarily changed the tenor of this discussion, one which, much to our consternation, now concerns not simply the nature of the custody of the Faith vis-à-vis the papacy of Francis and the disaffected ecclesiastical apparatus in the Vatican under him, but concerning nothing less than the integrity* of the Catholic Faith itself. It has come to our attention that under the direction of Pope Francis, English Cardinal Arthur Roche, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, together with other powerful figures within the Roman Curia are preparing to completely abolish  — for all timeand with no possibility of reclaiming — what they perceive as the threat posed by the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in Latin — in other words, The Latin Mass, TLM, as it has been celebrated for 2000 years which must yield to the Novus Ordo (New Order) “Mass of Paul VI” exclusively — a Mass now barely half a century (54 years) in the making … and still in the making. In order to accomplish this with absolute, clinical exactitude, Francis & Friends have determined to stamp out the Latin Mass as something loathsome. 

Such fear of something holy! As though the Mass of 2000 years can be shackled and plunged into a dungeon of unfathomable depth, hidden from sight, concealed as a destructive secret, and made irrecoverable to memory! How can we begin to imagine such malice in the Church toward those within the Church; how are we to begin to grasp the Church promulgating such an evil law and with an iron fist as hateful as the crushing fist of any petty dictator?


Too Catholic (for Ecumenism)

The Latin Mass, however, must go: apart from the many contrived and ultimately superficial reasons for abolishing the Latin Mass, the principal reason is this: it is an impediment to Ecumenism, the very corner-stone of Vatican II. This is the real reason behind the vitriolic, almost pathological animosity exhibited toward the Latin Mass by the liberal, Modernist Church of Vatican II and its principal proponent, Jorge Bergoglio: The Latin Mass is not amenable to non-Catholics; it is … too Catholic, it bears within itself the history, the memory, the devotion, the filial love of two hundred centuries of generations of Catholics who cleaved to the Faith through persecution and hardship and for many, to the point of the shedding of their blood.

Dwindling participation on the Novus Ordo (Vernacular) Mass, and an alarming increase in participation in the (Latin) Mass, especially among young Catholics, appears to be the principal motivation behind this draconian measure. The belief that Traditional Catholics will become Vernacular “Paul VI Mass” Catholics by heavy-handed decree; that they will be forced into this free-form Mass by Procrustean measures, is nearly delusional. It will not happen. I do not know what will happen, but I am confident that this fiction will not occur. Schism may occur. Were this the case, it would appear from several informed sources that Francis himself would be the formal cause of schism, and hence the Schismatic. This is not a shocking possibility.

Of course, we must ponder the question on everyone's mind: the fearful question that wrenches our gut:  where do Traditional Catholics go from here — should the hammer fall on the Faithful?

Who is To Answer This?

Shall Canon Lawyers decide this … who are part of the very ecclesiastical apparatus that is prejudicial against the continued celebration of the Latin Mass?  Even were Canon Lawyers able to answer this (they are not), it is not theirs to decide, for:

Ecclesiastical law derives its formal authority from the supreme legislator understood as the reigning Roman Pontiff who, in his person, “possesses the totality of legislative, executive, and judicial power.”

In other words, since there is no superior above the pope, 3 Francis is exempt from, and not subject to, Canon Law … and will do as he has ever done: whatever he wills —  which, as a matter of record, has not always, or even often, been just, or even good.

Francis alone, then — temporally speaking — will determine where Traditional Catholics go from here, and given his outspoken animosity toward the Latin Mass that preceded Vatican II for 2000 years, and his even greater contempt for Traditional Catholics, it appears that he is prepared to offer us two options only:

  1. Go to the Novus Ordo (New Order) “Mass of Paul VI”    

  2. The second option is intended to be optimally coercive:
    No Mass at all.
    Essentially, “Attend the Novus Ordo Mass or leave the Church.”

What crime, we must ask, have these Catholics committed in continuing to worship in Latin (until Francis repealed Summorum Pontificum, three years ago in Traditionis Custodes, 2021) as their Catholic Religion has always worshipped up to a mere 70 years ago? Is this the crime that will cause them to be expelled from the Church?

Who is prepared to call the Tridentine Mass — the worship of God in Latin a crime?

This Missal, This Mass (the Tridentine Mass), promulgated in Quo Primum (Pope Pius V, 1570):

“Grant[s] to all priests of the Latin Rite the right to celebrate the Roman Mass [0f 1570] in perpetuity.”4

Whether or not, under the iron fist and the unbending will of Francis, matters come to such a destructive, divisive, and unimaginably ignominious conclusion remains to be seen. Perhaps it is rumor after all. By all accounts, we will know by mid-July.

Why the Vatican has said nothing to quash these rumors is a matter of ominous speculation.


Geoffrey K. Mondello
Saturday, June 22, 2024
Feast of St. Paulinus, Bishop and Confessor

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*  integrity: the quality or state of being complete, sound, unimpaired or undivided, uncompromised; 



3 “The First See is judged by no one” (#1404, The Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church, 1983).

4 “We require then that all men, everywhere, shall embrace and observe the teachings of the sacred and holy Roman Church, mother and mistress of other churches; and that at no time in the future should Mass be sung or recited otherwise than according to the manner of the missal which we have published, in any of the churches of the provinces of Christendom, of Patriarchal, Cathedral, Collegiate or parochial status, secular and regular belonging to any kind of order, monasteries, both of men and women, also the military orders, and churches without cure of souls or chapels, in which conventual Mass is customarily celebrated or ought to be celebrated according to the rite of the Roman Church, either aloud with a choir, or in a low voice.”




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