Traditional Catholics/What exactly is your position?
QUESTION: I am slightly confused on what "position" you actually hold. What exactly is your position? Are you a sedevacantist? Are you a member of sspx? Are you a catholic that attends the novus ordo missae but still holds on to a lot of the old traditionalist doctrines an beliefs? Are you a member of a traditional Latin mass parish that is part of a diocese? Or do you belong to an "independent" traditionalist catholic parish that only celebrates the Latin mass? What exactly is your position? I am curious. Thank you and God bless.
ANSWER: My "position" is simply that which every Roman Catholic is morally bound to believe, namely that our Lord Jesus Christ founded a Church which in over 1900 years has described itself in the minutest detail, and which exists to this day, now commonly identified by many as "traditional" or even "traditionalist."
You can open up any classical catechism from, say, 1960 on back however far one wants to go, and what is described therein is plainly and obviously not Novus Ordoism. Catholic tradition alone answers the description given in all classical catechisms, and does so in full, as the Church necessarily always must, per the doctrine of indefectibility.
"It often happens that the mind of a person who is learning a new science, has to pass through all the phases which the science itself has exhibited in its historical evolution." - Stanislao Cannizzaro, Italian chemist, 1826 - 1910 In my observation, there seem to be about three stages to transferring from the Novus Ordo religion to the Roman Catholic Faith, corresponding to the three phases that Catholics in general were historically obliged to experience in their own collective understanding of their strange new ecclesial circumstance.
To those who have not seen a real Catholic Mass or any other official or public action of the Church or any local group of Catholics, all of this must seem strange and incalculable. For such persons, one church is as good as another, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Novus Ordo, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Assembly of God, foursquare Gospel, and so forth. Until the time of Vatican II, Catholics simply all had something that all other "Christians" didn't, and the only reason more people didn't sign up right then was the high moral standards that came with such knowing. When a Protestant saw a Catholic Mass, a part of his soul was envious, but he would tune that out as he reminded himself that "Well, I could never truly live up to what it takes to be a Catholic!" So he would deceive himself into dismissing it all as mumbo jumbo as he attempts to content himself with the comparatively dry Protestant services of various sorts.
But just see today, for example, a real and authentic Roman Catholic Mass (Tridentine, though perhaps some Eastern/Alternate Rite Masses might do, if any be preserved as of yet at this time), and only then does one gain of a glimpse of a whole spiritual world which one has not entered. As always, there are some who are intimidated by this and turn their back on God forever. But others realize, "This is what my soul has hungered for all my life. I never even imagined that something like this could even exist. My God, there really must be a God because no mere human could ever have come up with this."
So, one then enters what I am calling here the first phase. "Why don't they do this at my local parish church?" Back in the 1960's when all of this nonsense was first emerging, most Catholics saw the "problem" or even "crisis" as being primarily a liturgical one. In being "vernacularized" the Mass was not being brought out more clearly, but instead its more mystical and spiritual aspects were being watered down or even eliminated, replaced with prosaic generic blessings that any Protestant could equally have invented. In this time the saying was "It is the Mass that matters." Perhaps for a while they struggled to make things "more Catholic" by introducing small Catholic details, more classical hymns, benedictions, public rosaries, or persuading their Novus Ordo presider to wear a biretta, and the like. But all of these things are like drilling holes in water, as no real move in a Catholic direction is actually accomplished.
But then one also begins to see something of the reason, namely that even the "official policies" coming from the Vatican are plainly false and destructive to Faith. The bridge from that first phase to the second is the saying "Let the law of prayer determine the law of belief." ("Lex orandi, lex credendi.") On close examination, even the "most official" changes are clearly denuding the ceremony they describe of all Catholic content, and even at times announcing heresies (e. g. a "preface" meant to be used with the so-called "fourth Eucharistic prayer" that explicitly proclaimed the Father alone to be God, to the exclusion of the Son and the Holy Ghost - the Arian heresy). One also sees the validity at least threatened, as the sacramental forms are altered, and as the consecrational form of the Mass is replaced with a mere narrative, and similar mutilations being performed on the other sacraments, to varying degrees.
So one now enters the second phase, namely that which realizes that heresies have gained a clear foothold. One finds modernism, liberalism, irenicism with heretical groups and teachings (false ecumenism and religious indifferentism), outright denials of basic Catholic teachings such as transubstantiation the merits of saints, and indeed a seeming compendium of everything which the Church has dogmatically condemned throughout Her history with the greatest of Her infallible and irrevocable authority. By this time, one should not only be attending the Catholic Mass exclusively, but also basing their beliefs and life on the classical catechisms of the Church, avoiding those more recent "attempts" at same that teach nothing, or worse, error or even heresy. To avoid the overall heretical climate (or even for being explicitly asked to leave), one might reasonably have recourse at this phase to the SSPX which is careful to preserve all the sacraments in their faithful Catholic forms and screen out the heresies, one by one, as they come along. In the 1970's and 1980's the SSPX grew from practically nothing to easily the largest Catholic organization on earth (deservedly so at the time) and remains so even now, though research into the full nature of our current ecclesial circumstance has since moved beyond them. Once again they are still "drilling holes in water" trying to bring the Vatican organization back to the Catholic Faith and Liturgy through diplomacy, and still (despite the "lifting" of fictitious excommunications against them) availing nothing.
But this phase also raises new questions. There are Catholic doctrines coming to bear here. The Pope is infallible; the Church is indefectible. How does one reconcile those doctrinal truths with a "Pope" and "Church" that have made errors and heresies and liturgical ruin their raison d'etre? And where does that place real Christianity? Most Catholics do intuit, at least on an inarticulate level, that the erroneous and heretical "pastors" obviously cannot, at least as such, be speaking for the Catholic Faith, or with any real authority capable of binding the conscience of mankind. Even the nature of authority in the Church becomes something of a question. How is it that "popes" and "church" do not speak for the Catholic Popes (and the Catholic Church)?
For many, phase three is seen as little more than on terms of recognizing the fact that the Church has no pope. Oftentimes, this is seen in terms of the recent and current Vatican leadership's failure to function at all within the parameters for any Successor of Peter. But of course there must be much more, and there is. In the fine print of Vatican II, and couched in terms that the prelates signing on to them failed to grasp fully, a schism of sorts was decreed between the Church itself versus however much of its former resources could be detached from it and then subsequently turned against it. I suppose the "slogan" for the transition to this phase would have to be "For every heresy there is also a schism."
But the aspect of schism, and for that matter the whole of the science of ecclesiology, especially as it applies today, does not appear to have been studied much as of yet. But in fact evidences of this schism have been seen all along, just not recognized for what they were. From the earliest times of "the crisis" faithful priests would be shuffled off to obscure parishes, or even sent to "reprogramming" centers to be forcibly brainwashed into the new religion. Others, most notably Abp. Lefebvre, would be spoken of as "excommunicated" (though it never actually took place!) and then "being excommunicated" came to be treated as though it were a communicable disease. But mark here, it is the Novus Ordo side which has, despite its obscenely generous yielding it makes to every error and heresy out there, been the side throwing up all the walls and burning all the bridges between its members and traditional (real and authentic) Roman Catholics. It is they who are guilty of the "crime" of schism, who have created their own sect, with its own organization distinct from that of the Church, and with which the Church has no legal continuity, and they who have moved to "include" everyone except real Catholics.
Their willingness to tolerate, or even to some degree cater to, real Catholics under the terms of the various Indults of 1971, 1984, and 1988, or now under the famous "Motu Proprio" of 2007 reflects in fact nothing more than a kind of dhimmitude much on par with the manner in which an Islamic nation might tolerate some few Jewish or Christian citizens (but as second-class citizens) within certain few isolated towns allocated to their use, or the way certain English citizens sought to remain loyal to both Crown and Pope by taking refuge in the American colonies that eventually coalesced into the State of Maryland, under the terms of the Protestant King's "benign neglect."
Their leader fails to be pope, first of all because he is not the leader of the Catholic Church but of this new Vatican organization Novus Ordo sect, second of all because what jurisdiction (now only of a secular sort) he has expressly does not extend to the whole of the Church (a real pope's jurisdiction must be and is over the whole Church), third of all because he leads in the manner of a head of parliament and not as a monarch representing the King of Kings, and fourth of all (of late) he cannot be "Bishop" of Rome owing to not being validly consecrated a bishop in the first place. Plus (of course) the men have been open and public heretics. But their failure to hold or obtain the papacy (due to those other reasons) is antecedent to their ability to show themselves open and public heretics. Had they attained the office they would not be heretics at all, or else if interiorly harboring heresy it could go no further than private conversations, as it was with Pope John XXII who is known to have erred in the realm of his private teaching, but not in his teachings made to the Church.
So, in summary, the Novus Ordo is another religion, the state religion of the now fallen and heretical Vatican organization, and as such is no different than any other Protestant sect. Catholic in fact and name cannot attend their services, except passively for some strong reason, exactly as with attending the services of any other Protestants, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and so forth. It is reasonable to expect that some few Novus Ordo members, though materially not Catholic, might nevertheless be "Catholic-at-heart," exactly on par with validly baptized Protestants sincerely trying to follow Christ the best they (mistakenly) know how, so God's mercy can possibly apply to some in their personal judgments.
Catholic tradition, whether surviving in dhimmitude in the fringes of the Vatican organization under the terms of the "Motu" or in any uncorrupted alternate Rite (should any still exist), or conscious of the heresies (but not of the schism) of the Vatican organization as with the SSPX and some other few (now seemingly "independent" but not really) priests from way back when, or even at least somewhat cognizant of the Vatican organization's schism, at least in the form of realizing that the recent and current Vatican leaders are not actual Successors of Peter, all taken together comprises the real and actual Roman Catholic Church today.
The Sede Vacante finding, though indisputably true, cannot be held as binding on the Catholic Faithful, owing to the complexity of the issues involved; even an ill-instructed cleric on this point might reasonably be excused (God will have to judge).
A fairly detailed and comprehensive, but brief overview of the whole situation is presented in my video series, "Sedevacantism - The Catholic Perspective." In that, I take the "Pope" question and build around it the whole larger picture of what it is that has been going on and how it is that the Church is without a pope, and even something of how the next pope must come about:
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QUESTION: That was a munch longer response that i had hoped for but i do thank you for your time and your response. Now with all this being said what are your views on "br. Peter Diamond" and the "most holy family monastery"?
Thanks and God bless.
ANSWER: I cannot recommend recourse to their materials since there is much in them which has not been carefully checked for veracity or for relevance to the topic at hand. While one can give them some limited credit for discovering the Sede Vacante fact, they have marshaled against the Vatican leadership all sorts of arguments and cases and facts (and "facts"), some of which are good while others are a discredit to their intended case.
Sometimes one might find information of merit, but on has to dig for it, and even then one might not notice the higher quality.
I do have a very serious problem with their having taken the (at least) erroneous position of Fr. Feeney regarding the established doctrines of Baptism of Blood and of Desire (explicit and implicit).
On this question in particular I have responded in detail, creating a lengthy and detailed scholastic examination of what I call their "treatise" on that subject. The response was written in a manner as to exclude all considerations of my "position" as such, and as such makes no distinction between the real Church and the modernist Vatican organization (nor does it claim some fictitious connection between them). However a careful and detailed at-length reading of my "Scholastic Dishonesty Feeney" series will show what real scholarship looks like, in contrast to the serious misquotes of the Dimonds, who show themselves to be untrustworthy to a most serious degree.
This first link is to the main body of the work, as it stands, including an introduction not found elsewhere.
But these next three links are for an "interlude" coming between installments 12c and 13 of the main body of the work, and therefore of particular relevance since my "position" is not concealed but openly mentioned therein, and perhaps to that extent somewhat off topic, but also able to address a serious and relation question regarding these things which is of interest to informed traditional Catholics:
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QUESTION: So, how is one supposed to know if a "priest" is validly ordained? And there for having the ability to validly distribute the sacraments. How do you know that your independent parish priest is validly ordained? If priests can only be ordained by a higher clergy member then how do we know they are valid also? This is a topic that has been bothering me.
Thanks again and God bless.
As is always the case, this is a matter of recorded history. Even when there was a pope, people used to ask the same questions. "How can we know that this pope was truly chosen by real successors of the apostles (and from there about every bishop he recognizes, and from there every priest, and so on)?" The same challenge is always raised and in all cases answered by a careful study of history. The exact successions of the valid and lawful traditional bishops is known and verified. Given that the whole point of their self-sacrificing careers was to continue the Roman Catholic priesthood, there really is no room to doubt their intentions, and the form, matter, and minister is established in each case.
Most traditional priests today belong to some one or another order or community or "society" of traditional priests, or at the very least have a known and familiar bishop to whom they can have recourse for any episcopal sacraments, and who also knows of them and can vouch for their validity as a priest. Such groups as the Society of Saint Pius X, or the Society of Saint Pius V, or the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen, or the Trento Priests (in Mexico) and other similar clerics in various parts of the world all belong to this category.
More difficult would be the cases of those few remaining priests ordained by the Church way back when and still functioning in a priestly capacity (e. g. Fr. Procoprio, or our own local Fr. Bell), but not associated with any traditional Catholic group in particular. But all of these priests are the high side of 75 or so and none of them will be much longer in the earth in the years to come. Sometimes priests who are members of one of the known groups is obliged to leave, and of course the reason for his departure must be examined, sometimes it is mere political differences, sometimes more serious.
In these sorts of cases, a good indicator is a long-held and established congregation in which the fruits and gifts of the Spirit are abundant. Fly-by-night con artists tend to come out of nowhere and always seem to be just beginning to put together a congregation (because they have none), and cannot speak of where or when or by who they have been ordained, or worse, whatever information they provide along that line does not check out. In these days of rapid internet communication, it is easy to find any bishop named and how to contact him, to learn of who he is and how he became a bishop (if not known already), and whether he ordained the priest in question and regards him as being in good standing.
Using (for example) the directory of Latin Masses, one cannot go wrong, so far as I can tell, as no listing gets there without some real history of a known congregation obtaining a known priest from some known source for truly qualified, trained, and validly ordained priests. The only thing I don't care for is the smiley faces (or "Grr!" angry faces?!?) attached to each Mass location. The latter are merely meant to imply some risk, vanishingly small with the SSPX, but somewhat more serious with the Novus ordo (which it calls "diocese" - a bit of a misnomer since real dioceses would only belong to the real Church) in which the celebrant (or any replacement called in should the primary celebrant fall ill) might not be validly ordained. Out of the whole SSPX of over 600 priests, less than a half dozen have been allowed in under circumstances in which the validity of their orders has not been satisfactorily verified. In the category of "diocese" as the Directory puts it, this is a much larger and rising concern as some celebrants, especially fill-ins, may have been "ordained" only for the Novus ordo, and then knowing of the authentic Mass only what they can remember from some 3-day seminar they once had several years ago. As time goes on this kind of scenario is bound to become much more common, though the "Motu" did occasion some number of old timers to come out of retirement and finally resume what they were originally ordained to do way back when.
When a priest is not valid, his sacraments do not work and the grace is lacking from his congregation, and this is so despite his doing everything right so far as anyone can tell. Of course if he isn't doing everything right that shows up rather promptly as well.
But for a good and detailed account of the history, and who these valid and lawful clergy are, my own book is a solid historical source: The Resurrection of the Roman Catholic Church. It can be ordered online or read online in its entirety at: