The Bergoglio Effect in Ireland: “The Mass has ended”

by Antonio Socci, unofficial English translation by the From Rome blog.

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That Ireland, ancient fortress of Catholicism, has gone over to the people of “gay” marriage (“and who am I to judge”, as the Bishop of Rome is want to say), is a historical event.  If this sounds like the profound rumble of an avalanche, as in the collapse of a mountain falling down, it is just to ask, “Is this an Bergoglio effect?”

Besides, in South America, the Church has already been crumbling for years (the statistics are horrible); now in Europe, the heart of Christendom.

That which renders secularism dominant — as Cardinal De Lubac used to say — is the propulsion and instrumentalization of “a Christianity ever more in the minority, reduced to a vague and impotent theism.”

Barack and his Puppets

Today, only such a theism is permitted.  Instead, the Catholic Church as She has been known upto now is threatened even as regards Her existence.

There is only place for a ridiculous laicized parody of Herself, as the humanitarian “courtesan” (as Andrea Emo would have it), as an “agency for religion” which on the great life issues submits herself to the dictates of Obama-like ideology, which renounces proselytism and the “Catholic God” (as Bergoglio says, “There exists no Catholic God”), which dissolves herself into an ecumenical freemasonry of so many religions, which busies herself with the climate and the recycling of garbage, teaching good manners (Good Morning! Good Evening! Thank you! and Pardon me!) and goofy-pleas for the help of the poor.  But for the true Catholic Church, there is no longer any seat at the table, as the drama of the last great pope, Benedict XVI shows, “fired”, self-incarcerated and silenced.

The True Church

The Church has illumined and conquered the darkness of the world of the gods and has rehabilitated the history of a pagan and anti-human age:  the Church of the Word of God made Flesh, who has the presumptuousness to announce the Truth, the Church of the great Saints, of the Martyrs, of the Missionaries, the Church of the Divine Liturgy and of the masterpieces of Art, the Church of Mother Teresa, of great ideas, of great popes, of Padre Pio, with Her outbursts of the supernatural, the Church which has held Herself firm head-to-head with the ferocity of the Mohammedan and the great genocidal totalitarianisms of the 20th Century: this Church, today, no longer has the rights of citizenship.

Yesterday, Msgr. Galantino (Secretary of the Italian Bishops’ Conference) — according to a tweet from Alberto Mingardi — seems to have said at a conference:  “When the  Church was Catholic and the Mass was in Latin …”.

A Freudian slip which is explosive and revealing.  In fact, today, we are in the midst of the last act of the “liquidation of the Catholic Church,” as Giuseppe Prezzolini foretold, a layman but concerned with the abyss to which the Catholic world was running, anxious as it was to be “modernized” and to surrender to all the ideological fashions of the moment.

But, to liquidate the Church, it is not the persecutions, nor the hatred of the secularist, but — as Paul VI said — it’s the “self-demolition” from within which is the cause.

The way to the abyss was undertaken not with the Council — as certain lefebrvians think — but at its end, exactly 50 years ago, with the “post-Conciliar” age.

In the days following, in the newspapers, one was reminded of the 5oth anniversary of the first Mass in Italian, and another layman like Elémire Zolla, in those days, came to underline the event in apocalyptic tones:  “The 7th of March, the Mass dies, Gregorian chant dies.  Heard for the last time.  Now, as a dry branch, the Church shall be burnt.”

In reality, the problem was not only the use of the vulgar language in the liturgy (a thing, which I think is  positive), but the successive “liturgical reform” of 1969 and above all the de facto, but illegal, banning of the Mass of the preceding millennia of Catholic liturgy.

Joseph Ratzinger made us understand, many years afterwards, the enormous error, even theological, which was committed at that time.  Which would have colossal consequences, even in the tragic loss of faith.

To Save the Cathedral

But, curiously, in those days, the ones to raise the alarm, in a dramatic manner, for this Church which in an instant has refused its own bimillenarian rite (that around which our Cathedrals were constructed), were above all the laymen-intellectuals.

Who protested with the same consternation with which we contemplate, today, the tragic devastation wrought by Isis in the ancient Middle-East.

On September 5, 1966, there was issued the first appeal to Paul VI to safe-guard the Latin-Gregorian liturgy (a few months before the devastating flood which struck the ancient, Catholic beauty of Florence).

That manifesto/appeal was signed by some 40 great intellectuals and it is impressive, today, to read some of their names: Jorge Luis Borges, Salvatore Quasimodo, Eugenio Montale, Giorgio De Chirico, Robert Bresson, Jacques Maritain, François Mauriac, Gabriel Marcel, Maria Zambrano, Cristina Campo, Elena Croce, Wystan Hugh Auden, Jorge Guillen, Elémire Zolla, Philip Toynbee, Evelyn Waugh, Salvador De Madariaga, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Julien Green, Elsa  Respighi, Francesco Gabrieli, José Bergamin, Fedele D’Amico, Luigi Dallapiccola, Victoria Ocampo, Wally Toscanini, Gertrud von Le Fort, Augusto Del Noce, Lanza Del Vasto.

The appeal made a great impression, even in the Vatican, but di not succeed in stopping the landslide.  Thus, in 1971, another was made, and the number of intellectuals who added their names was even more.

I remember some of their names: Agatha Christie, Graham Greene, Harold Acton, Mario Luzi, Andrés Segovia, William Rees-Mogg (the director of the Times), Joan Sutherland, Guido Piovene, Giorgio Bassani, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Ettore Paratore, Gianfranco Contini, Giacomo Devoto, Giovanni Macchia, Massimo Pallottino, Rivers Scott, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Colin Davis, Robert Graves, Yehudi Menuhin, Kenneth Clark, Malcolm Muggeridge.

Self-Demolition

It was for the most part, useless, but little by little the same Paul VI became aware of the tragedy which was in course:  the collapse of religious practice, the thousands of priests and religious who abandoned the habit, the catholic intellectuals who submitted to marxism, the great part of the youth seduced by the myths of the revolution (by Fidel Castro, by Mao, by the Vietcong, by Che Guevara, and last by Stalin), the spread of the Theology of liberation and of the modernist theologies which demolished Catholic Doctrine.

Paul VI, in his last years, spoke in ever increasing dramatic tones:  “We believed that after the Council there would have come a day of sunshine in the history of the Church.  There came, instead, a day of clouds and storms, and of darkness”, “from somewhere the smoke of Satan has entered into the temple of God”, “the opening to the world was a true invasion of worldly thought in the Church … We we have been, perhaps, too weak and imprudent.”

Paul VI denounced “those who try to knock the Church down from within” and he began to cite the books of Louis Bouyer, “The Decomposition of Catholicism” and “Religieux et Clercs contre Dieu.”

To his friend Jean Guitton, he confided:  “There is a great turmoil in this moment in the world and in the Church, and what is in question is the faith.  I find myself, now, repeating the obscure phrase of Jesus in the Gospel of Saint Luke:  “When the Son of man returns, shall He still find faith upon earth?”  What strikes me when I consider the catholic world,” the Pope continued, “is that inside Catholicism there seems to sometimes prevail a mentality of the non-catholic type, and it might happen that this non-catholic thought within Catholicism becomes stronger tomorrow.  But it shall never represent the thought of the Church.”

Then, thanks be to God, there arrived John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger.  The Barque of Peter was tirelessly repaired, the compass of the Faith found its way and a generation of young people experienced anew the beauty of Christianity.

But this was the spring which was bitten by some sort of powerful and obscure frost, which for the first time in the history of the Church, placed before us the drama of a “Pope emeritus” self-imprisoned in the Vatican and of a “bishop dressed in white” which was acclaimed by all the eternal enemies of the Catholic Faith, who has brought the Church into a submission with the worldly ideologies of the 70’s (having even re-exhumed the theology of liberation and its founder Gutierrez, which now pontificates from the Vatican).

We seem to have reached the final abyss.  Unless God….

(Published in the Libero, May 24, 2015:  this English translation is currently unapproved, but if the author gives us some corrections, it will be amended in the next few days.  — The translator, while not agreeing with all of the authors judgements, nevertheless believes that the article poses significant contributions to Catholic thought for the present hour).

 

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Priestly Solidarity and the Altar

Immagine 052Signs and Symbols are not reality, they signify or indicate it.  And a good sign or symbol indicates in a manner understood by all, that which it was intended to indicate.

There are many such signs and symbols in the Ancient Roman Rite which are not so easily understood today.  Part of this has to do with the great cultural changes which have taken place since the time of the Protestant Reformation and the French Revolution.  In the second, just mentioned, phase of cultural change, the slogan of the day was, “Equality, Liberty, Fraternity”.  In the name of a slogan, often what happens is the opposite of the slogan.  In the French Revolution, the slogan was practiced as if it meant, “Superiority for the Revolutionaries, Liberty to do as we please to our enemies, and Fraternity in homicide and the destruction of the State and Church.”

Egalitarianism is one of the doctrines which are consequent to the slogan of the French Revolution, “Equality!”.  So deep is this only-apparent value in French Society today, that you must beware when taking a train, because the first class car is not the first car in the train, it can be positioned anywhere among the many coaches.  When I happened to be in France a few years ago, I asked a Frenchman the reason for this bizarre practice, and he said, “We are a nation that abides by equality for all.  If the first class car was always first, it would mean that all others were second class citizens!”  To which I wryly remarked, “Well if equality is so important to the French, tell me, why is it that the First Class car is still called “First Class”?”

Egalitarianism seeks as a philosophy to affirm the equality of all, by means of symbols, which are not so apt; they are not so apt, because as a philosophy, Egalitarianism is not really about equality, it is about disorder.  Right order requires, as I mentioned in my previous post on the Short Treatise to Order and Disorder, a relation among superior and inferior, before and after, father to son, etc..  When you affirm that all should be equal in dignity or rights, then you are affirming that there should be no order.  That is why the slogan of the French Revolution was the slogan of a chaotic political movement which pushed the slaughter of thousands of noblemen and clergy and anyone else who decried its own barbarity.

In the recent history of the Catholic Church we have seen the pervading influence of modern culture, the culture in which we live, find its way into proposals regarding how the Church should be or is conducting its Mission in the world.  Some of these proposals have taken root in the manner in which the liturgy is conducted.  And one of these regards where the priest stands when offering the August Sacrifice of the Mass.

Now, to be a priest, is to be a mediator, and to be a mediator is to stand between the two things among which one mediates. As Aristotle remarked, a means participates in both extremes.  And commenting on this observation of the great Philosopher, St. Bonaventure drew out its conclusion regarding Christ’s own Priesthood:  to be our Mediator, the Son of God became man, so that having assumed a singular human nature, the Man Christ, the Eternal Word could occupy, as it were, a middle position between the Eternal Father and sinful humanity.

The Incarnation, therefore is signified by an intermediary position.  And thus, the priesthood’s proper role as mediator can rightly be signified by an intermediary position.  The Redemption, too, is signified by an intermediary position, because it is precisely when God become Man is put to death as a criminal, that the Son of God as Mediator takes the absolute position between the All Holy God and sinful humanity.  The position from which the great prayer of Christ upon the Cross obtained the Redemption of the world!

This is what, I believe, is signified in the ancient practice, found in all the liturgies of East and West, known in popular terms, today, as the position Ad Orientem.

When a priest offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass he must stand at the Altar.  If he stands at the Altar facing the people, the Altar is between him and the people.  If he stands Ad Orientem, the people are at his back, and he is between Altar and people.

Priestly Solidarity, that is the solidarity a priest should have with his people, as mediator for them with God, is signified well when he stands at the Altar and faces Ad Orientem, that is, toward the Tabernacle, the Aspe of the Church, the liturgical direction of God. Doing so, makes him take an intermediary, and hence sacerdotal position, the position of a mediator, who prays for AND with his flock, to God, supplicating Mercy, seeking pardon and grace.

Ad Orientem, therefore, can be seen as the optimum position for the priest offering sacrifice, for the mediator, for the sacerdos who wishes to stand together with Christ, in the most significant physical position possible, with the One who offered Himself on behalf of mankind to the Father, and who now offers Himself again for the flock gathered in prayer with His priest on earth.

In such wise, the Altar no longer divides priest and people; the priest no longer looks down upon his flock, but rather, with them, looks up to God. — Seen thus, it is easy to understand why the alteration of the position where the priest stands to offer the Sacrifice, affected the architecture of churches and the desire of architects to depart from the classical forms of Catholic church design (But I’ll leave that topic for another post).