Rebuttal to Schismatic Traditionalists (1)

The following document was written with the motive to help my sister and her husband, with seven children, to leave the schismatic traditionalist groups, such as SSPX, SSPV and CMRI, and to return to the one, true Catholic Church.

 

The titles of the reference documents are: “Ecclesiology of the Catholic Church”, “The Declaration of Religious Liberty (VCII)”; “A Psychological Analysis of a Cult at Necedah, Wisconsin” (http://necedah-cult.blogspot.com); “The Impact and Interpretation of ‘Subsists In’ (Vatican II)”.  To view these reference documents as well as this complete article united together in one document, go to: http://schis-trad.blogspot.com.

 

 

 

A Simple, Common Sense Rebuttal to SSPX, SSPV and CMRI

 

 

When I was younger my whole family became rather exasperated by scandalous behavior and bad fruits of some of the Catholic clergy, especially during the Holy Mass.  To give an idea of some of the causes of this exasperation, I offer the following comparison between the Traditional Latin Mass and the Modern Mass celebrated at many parishes today, which I found on one of the internet sites of these schismatic traditionalist groups.

 

 

Traditional Latin Mass:

 

1) Atmosphere of Reverent Worship; Peaceful, otherworldly atmosphere; Emphasis on individual "lifting his heart & mind to God”; the members of the congregation direct their attention to God, not to each other.

 

2) Profound Reverence for the Real Presence: Sixteen genuflections.  The hands of the priest alone touch the consecrated host.  Communion given only on the tongue.

 

3) Fidelity to Catholic Doctrine: Over the course of a year, it is presented all the facets of Catholic doctrine.

 

4) Antiquity: Bulk of Sunday prayers and their arrangement goes back at least to the 300s and 400s AD.  Canon essentially the same since St. Ambrose (d. 397).

 

5) Stability: Everything regulated by precise laws to protect purity of worship and doctrine.

 

6) The Priest is a Sacrificer: the Priest faces the tabernacle, cross and altar (symbolically toward God).  The Priest performs all the actions and recites all the prayers of the Mass.

 

 

The Modern Mass:

 

1) Social, Classroom, Entertainment Atmosphere: Constant standing, sitting, amplified noise; atmosphere like a public meeting; Emphasis on "instruction." Socializing in church before and after the service, and handshaking during the Mass.

 

2) Indifference, Irreverence towards the Real Presence: Only three genuflections required. Lay men and women distribute communion.  Communion given in hand – a practice Protestants introduced to deny Christ’s Real Presence.

 

3) Systematic Omission of Catholic Doctrines: New prayers systematically omit references to hell, judgment, punishment for sin, merits of the Saints, the one true Church, the souls of the departed and miracles.

 

4) Novelty: Old Sunday prayers omitted or stripped of doctrines, and rearranged in the 1960s.  Only 17% of the old prayers remain.  Chunks of the ancient Canon are now "optional."  The words of consecration, Christ’s own words "For you and for many" are changed.  Three substitute "Canons" invented and introduced in the 1960s, and still more invented later.

 

5) Constant Change: Options, options and more options.  Individual priests and parish liturgy committees get to pick, drop or invent texts to push what they think people should believe.

 

6) The Priest is the "President", Actor: the Priest faces the people instead of symbolically "toward God."  The Priest sits off to the side.  His functions are given away to lay men and women.

 

MY COMMENT: St. John, the “beloved disciple” and intimate friend of Jesus who He loved in a special way (Jn 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7,20), did not greet Jesus in a casual way or give Jesus the “high five” when he saw Jesus, the Lamb of God, in his vision of the heavenly Mass (Apoc. ch. 1,4,5,19).  Instead he “fell at His feet as though dead” (Rev 1:17)!

 

 

Slow Personal Conversion

 

I began to read more and more the articles of the traditionalist side.  For a period of three years I even moved to live near and with a schismatic traditionalist group.[1]  But slowly, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I began to see and experience the problems and inherent contradictions in the schismatic traditionalist groups such as the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), the Society of Saint Pius V (SSPV) or the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI), etc.  Finally the scales began to fall from my eyes to be able to see the whole situation from a totally different point of view.[2]  One of the main things that helped me get back on track and in the Church was that I always maintained my allegiance and faith in the true, living Pope, and those bishops united to him, as my anchor.

 

Although the bulk of this written work is a critic about the dangers and problems of schismatic traditionalist groups in general, there is a lot of good in what they believe and promote, otherwise no one would be tempted to join these groups as I and my family were years ago.  We have a lot of common ground.  As pointed out above (and below), the traditional Latin Mass is of “priceless worth.”  The Catholic Church is the one true Church!  All Catholics, even in our governments, should promote and defend the Catholic Church.  We all believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world.  The schismatic traditionalists maintain all of these eternal truths!  If more Christian pastors would diligently seek to satisfy and help the people who have these needs which they find in schismatic traditionalist groups,[3] the Church would loose much less of its faithful; for they are God’s people.  Unfortunately one can jump out of the Divine Ship, the Church, either on the left side with the liberals or on the right side with the schismatic traditionalists; both groups have jumped out and left the One True Church which will sail to her eternal destiny as promised by Christ.  Virtue is always in the middle between the two extremes.

 

Most of the people who fall into the "schismatic" camp are people who have been profoundly scandalized by things that have happened in the Church. In many cases, you will find that they were virtually driven into the schismatic camp by their inability to find the Catholic Faith anywhere around them in their local churches. While it’s all well and good to say, oh, they should just tough it out, keep the Faith and go it alone, many people cannot survive like that and need a community of believers. I think that’s the attraction of the schismatic groups, and it’s one we can all well understand.

 

Besides the irreverently celebrated Masses, often made into a show or worse, a mockery, it must be admitted that there is a crisis in Roman Catholicism, a crisis of belief, orthodoxy and morality. More that 85% of Catholics contracept and less than 35% of Catholics believe in the Real Presence.  Often moral theology has been undermined and subverted.  Regarding these problems, formed in the teeth grinding frustration of liberalism, faithful Catholics have a right to ask why? The schismatics have asked these questions and have decided the roots lie in the very post-conciliar Church herself.  I feel that the incessant pessimism and cynicism of the schismatic traditionalists often runs contrary to a robust faith and trust in God and His Church, and a working knowledge of past crises. The schismatic traditionalists often have a habit of wildly exaggerating the abuses or deficiencies that do indeed exist, but that makes it very difficult to have a reasoned non-emotive discussion with them.

 

Without getting into too much detail, I would like to offer some general, common sense thoughts and comments that helped me see the truth even amidst the many continuing problems and abuses in the Catholic Church.

 

 

Above the Living Pope

 

The schismatic traditionalists blame Vatican II for causing the current crisis in the Church. They claim that the changes decreed by the Council are heretical; hence, it was a false council and "true" Catholics should not assent to its teachings. But there is an obvious problem with this argument: It has been the traditional teaching of the Church that an ecumenical council is guided by the Holy Spirit and thus protected from error. In the words of Pope Pius IX, in a letter to the Abbott of Solesmes: ". . . the Ecumenical Council is governed by the Holy Spirit … it is solely by the impulse of this Divine Spirit that the Council defines and proposes what must be believed. . . ."[4] Therefore, the faithful are obliged to assent to all of the decisions and decrees of Vatican II as interpreted by the continuous living authority of the Church.[5]  Ludwig Ott, whom few "traditionalists" would regard as a modernist, says basically the same about Ecumenical Councils.[6]  Pope Pius XII in his Encyclical Humani Generis (12 August 1950) reiterates the same truth.[7]  Why do the schismatic traditionalists not apply these teachings of past popes before 1958 to the popes after 1958?  Since "traditionalists" pick and choose what they like, just as the modernist "cafeteria Catholics" and Protestants do, can we not conclude that they, too, have departed from the Catholic formal principle of authority.

 

Most schismatic traditionalists believe that all Popes, bishops and priests after VCII are not valid.[8]  But if one does not accept the living Pope, one puts himself above the supreme spiritual authority on earth, and thus in a certain sense one has put himself above God!  If one is not anchored in the living Pope, and in the bishops united to him, one will slowly drift like a boat without a compass or a rudder going where the winds slowly take him, even with a nice reverent Latin Mass. Schism, however, as history shows, commonly leads to heresy.[9]  As Christ said of Himself which can be so admirably applied to His Mystical Body the Church, "I am the Vine; you the branches: he that abides in Me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing. If any one abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burns." (Jn 15: 5-6) Schismatic traditionalists often put private revelation above the Church and her authority (see: http://priv-rev.blogspot.com).  I think it is very important to study the doctrines of the Church and the documents of the Second Vatican Council to be anchored in the heart of the Catholic Church.

 

The schismatic traditionalists pick and choose which Popes seem to fit their mentality and way of seeing things; for that matter they also manage to find a renegade bishop (such as Archbishop Ngo-Dinh-Thuc) to acquire valid but illicit orders for their consecration of new bishops.  Unfortunately this smorgasbord type of behavior is all too common among Catholics who feel they can pick and choose what they like among the teachings of the Church.[10]  Many of these groups promote the idea that the See of Peter is vacant since the time of VCII (a “heretical council”) and that some time in the future we will have a valid and licit Pope.  But who has a direct line to the Holy Spirit that can judge the Pope (or an ecumenical council) and his teachings and decide when the See of Peter is vacant or not?  Who has the gift of infallibility?  Someone in these schismatic traditionalist groups?  What guarantee do the schismatic traditionalists have that they will stay orthodox, since they do not have the “Rock.”  “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this Rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.”[11]

 

It is interesting how so many schismatic traditionalists condemn most or all of the documents of the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church without even reading the documents themselves.  So often they rely on the slanted view of someone else and join in on the condemnation without reading the documents themselves and pointing out specifically what they believe to be false along with their reasons.  This happens so often with groups that break away from the Catholic Church.  Martin Luther believed and followed the vast majority of the teachings of the Catholic Church; he even wrote very highly of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  But as time past, the generations that followed Martin Luther became ever more anti Catholic above all for the sake of an insecure and immature type of self identification.  The Protestants ended up throwing out just about all the traditions of 1500 years while keeping only the Bible, which in itself was also a product of early tradition.  The modern schismatic traditionalists are quickly heading down the same road.  The schismatic traditionalists have thrown out all the gifts to the Church by the Holy Spirit in the last 50 years such as the revelations to Saint Faustina (the Divine Mercy) and so many other graces bestowed on the Church in the last 50 years so desperately needed precisely for our difficult times.  Just as the protestants, the schismatic traditionalists have a very strong tendency to throw out these precious gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to maintain their immature self identity of not being associated with the Catholic Church; they feel impelled to judge or condemn every one outside their little group in order to maintain an attitude of being better and more holy and more orthodox than the entire Catholic Church world wide founded by Jesus Christ Himself.  Jesus founded His Church on sinners like you and me, not on confirmed saints or angels in heaven.  Only their little group is perfect and holy and totally orthodox!  How many similar groups in the history of the Church are no longer in existence; but the same pharisaical attitude continues to show up again and again.  If you cut yourself off from the vine, the branch withers away slowly.  How many schismatic traditionalists refuse ecumenism of the Second Vatican Council but they have never read the Church’s Decree on Ecumenism in the Second Vatican Council (UR); they reject ecumenism because they so harshly judge non-Catholics who were born into their respective religions through no fault of their own.  If one is truly seeking the truth, would a person not want to read both sides of the argument so as to decide for oneself which is right rather than relying on only one point of view or only one side of the argument?  For every article written against the documents of the Second Vatican Council there are thousands of articles that support the council.  But schismatic traditionalists, as those in cults, freely choose to only listen to the one side.  It seems that there must be a hidden motive to choose not to read the documents or the articles that supports the documents of the Church since 1958.

 

There are over 35,000 registered independent Christian groups in the USA.  The schismatic traditionalist groups have the same problem; if one does not obey and find unity in each living Pope, in whom does one obey and find unity?[12]  In a charismatic person like Francis Schuckardt?  In various private revelations?  In a democratic vote?  The schismatic traditionalist groups split up frequently because some are “more traditional” and others “less traditional”, some are more conservative and others too liberal, etc. etc. etc.  It seems that the Protestants have over 35,000 different interpretations of the Bible!  This is precisely why Jesus did not leave us abandoned to our own human opinions; Jesus left us his Church with a living Pope until the end of time!  “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20).

 

 

Continued in “Rebuttal to Schismatic Traditionalists (2)”

 


[1] See the article ‘A Psychological Analysis of a Cult at Necedah, Wisconsin’.  See also http://necedah-cult.blogspot.com.

[2] When I was in the cult at Necedah, Wisconsin I did not see the truth for two years while surrounded by this sectarian environment.  But when the scales from my eyes fell, I finally could see and understand the whole situation from a truly Catholic point of view.

[3] Rm 15:1.

[4] “The Pope, the Council, and the Mass,” by James Likoudis and Kenneth D. Whitehead. Catholics United for the Faith, 1981, p. 38.

[5] Ibid. p. 40.

[6] The Council of Trent also teaches that the Bishops are the successors of the Apostles (D 960); and so does the Vatican Council [ I ] (D 1828). As successors of the Apostles they are the pastors and teachers of the faithful (D 1821). As official teachers of the faith, they are endowed with the active infallibility assured to the incumbents of the Church teaching office.

It has been the constant teaching of the Church from the earliest times that the resolutions of the General Councils are infallible. St Athanasius says of the Decree on faith of the Nicene Council: ‘The words of the Lord which were spoken by the General Council of Nicæa, remain in eternity’ (Ep. ad Afros 2). St. Gregory the Great recognises and honours the first four General Councils as much as the Four Gospels; he makes the fifth equal to them (Ep. I 25) . . .

The Bishops exercise their infallible teaching power in an ordinary manner when they, in their dioceses, in moral unity with the Pope, unanimously promulgate the same teachings on faith and morals. The Vatican Council [ I ] expressly declared that also the truths of Revelation proposed as such by the ordinary and general teaching office of the Church are to be firmly held with ‘divine and catholic faith’ (D 1792) . . .

(Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, ed. James Canon Bastible, tr. Patrick Lynch, Rockford, IL: TAN Books and Publishers, 1974; orig. 1952 in German, pp. 299-300)

[7] “20. Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: "He who heareth you, heareth me" (Lk 10:16); and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians.”

“21. It is also true that theologians must always return to the sources of divine revelation: for it belongs to them to point out how the doctrine of the living Teaching Authority is to be found either explicitly or implicitly in the Scriptures and in Tradition.[4] Besides, each source of divinely revealed doctrine contains so many rich treasures of truth, that they can really never be exhausted. Hence it is that theology through the study of its sacred sources remains ever fresh; on the other hand, speculation which neglects a deeper search into the deposit of faith, proves sterile, as we know from experience. But for this reason even positive theology cannot be on a par with merely historical science. For, together with the sources of positive theology God has given to His Church a living Teaching Authority to elucidate and explain what is contained in the deposit of faith only obscurely and implicitly. This deposit of faith our Divine Redeemer has given for authentic interpretation not to each of the faithful, not even to theologians, but only to the Teaching Authority of the Church. But if the Church does exercise this function of teaching, as she often has through the centuries, either in the ordinary or extraordinary way, it is clear how false is a procedure which would attempt to explain what is clear by means of what is obscure. Indeed the very opposite procedure must be used. Hence Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, teaching that the most noble office of theology is to show how a doctrine defined by the Church is contained in the sources of revelation, added these words, and with very good reason: "in that sense in which it has been defined by the Church".”

[8] From Pope John XXIII onward.

[9] See also “The Holy Catholic Church and Private Revelation”, Ch. 7 (http://priv-rev.blogspot.com).

[10] Pope John Paul II (among many other occasions) spoke firmly against this "pick and choose smorgasbord type Catholicism" in LA in his September 1987 visit: "It is sometimes reported that a large number of Catholics today do not adhere to the teaching of the Church on a number of questions, notably sexual and conjugal morality, divorce and remarriage.  Some are reported as not accepting the Church’s clear position on abortion.  It has also been noted that there is a tendency on the part of some Catholics to be selective in their adherence to the Church’s moral teachings.  It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the Magisterium is totally compatible with being a" good Catholic" and poses no obstacle to the reception of the sacraments.  This is a grave error that challenges the teaching office of the bishops of the United States and elsewhere.  I wish to encourage you in the love of Christ to address this situation courageously in your pastoral ministry, relying on the power of God’s truth to attract assent and on the grace of the Holy Spirit which is given both to those who proclaim the message and to those to whom it is addressed"; taken from the address of Pope John Paul II to the bishops of the United States in Los Angeles on September 16, 1987.

[11] Mt 16:18.  See also “The Holy Catholic Church and Private Revelation”, Ch. 7 (http://priv-rev.blogspot.com).

 

[12] See chapter IX in “The Holy Catholic Church and Private Revelation” (http://priv-rev.blogspot.com).

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Schismatic Traditionalists. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s