Rebuttal to Schismatic Traditionalists (3)

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Continued from “Rebuttal to Schismatic Traditionalists (2)”



Sectarian Mentality


For good motives, such as to protect ones family and children etc., it is easier than one may think for a person or a family or a group to fall into a sectarian mentality especially today with so many problems and scandals as well as our modern cultural, social and religious crisis.[1]  After one slides into a type of sect, one tends to not consider another point of view or to read or listen to other outside information or reasoning so that one becomes ever more entrenched in one’s own mentality.  One spends time almost exclusively with those in one’s own group and interprets everything, including reasons contrary to their beliefs, according to their own sectarian logic.  One feels he is in a special group, better than the others, and among the “few” saved.  Often members of the group feel that they are called to save the Church after the chastisement or after the period of the Great Tribulation![2]  No one can help them because they know it all and they are specially called by God!  Without humility even charitable works have no merit before God.  Over the years, in a closed group, one does not realize how far he or she or they have slowly slid from reality and an objective view point; everything is interpreted in one way only.  The sedevacantists have many of the same bizarre, quasi-Jansenistic practices as the SSPX.  "The truth shall set you free!"[3]


It is a natural tendency of creatures to seek and be drawn to the Creator especially in tumultuous and confusing times.  We feel our limitations and helplessness in such times and we seek one outside of ourselves and more powerful to help us.  Stable patterns are needed and sought after.[4]  Many people seek a certain routine and security such as what the Church seemed to maintain before the Second Vatican Council: e.g., calendar of saints, the same Mass, rules, rigorism, juridicalism, casuistic moral and disciplinary laws, etc.  But there is also the risk of closing in on one self as a group, maintaining a strong sense of identity and fear of outsiders.  This tendency is a common unhealthy element of cults.  And yet cults and their memberships today are growing very rapidly as the 1986 document on New Religious Movements points out.  Thus there can be the real temptation to pull back to some of the sectarian tendencies present in the Church prior to Vatican II.  And yet if the Church does not reach out to the multitudes that feel alienated[5] and not attracted to the Church, will she be fulfilling or at least going forward in her call to be ever more Catholic?[6]


It is hard to leave a schismatic traditionalist group all by oneself.[7]  Jesus said to His disciples: "Think not that I have come to send peace upon the earth: I have come not to send peace, but the sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.  And a man’s foes shall be those of his own household.  He that loves his father or mother more than me (or His Church?!?) is not worthy of me: and he that loves his son or daughter more than me (or His Church?!?) is not worth of me."[8]



God Is Faithful


God does not abandon His Spouse, the Church, even though it is filled with sinners like you and me; if God does abandon the Church because of sinners, the Church would have ended immediately after the death of Christ!  Look at the 2000 year history of the Church with all the sinners and heretics.  And yet Christ said about His Church that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."[9]  Often one does not really know what the Church is.  Otherwise one would not be prone to leave her.  It is important to study regularly the "The Catechism of the Catholic Church” and read if possible a good book on the history of the Church.


Like their protestant counterparts, the schismatic traditionalists believe that the Church is indefectible!  The Protestants, as does the CMRI and all those who broke away from the Catholic Church, believe that the Church went bad and thus God is using their particular group or founder to put everything straight to continue until the end of time etc.  But indefectiblity means that the Church will last until the end of time in the same WAY and FORM that Christ founded the Church.  Jesus founded the Church on the apostles and in particular on Peter, “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail.” [10]  Thus Christ founded the Church with a hierarchy: the apostles and their successors, and on Peter, the first Pope and his successors.  The Protestants have thrown out all the Popes and councils of the Church in the last 400 years.  Most of the schismatic traditionalists have thrown out all the Popes in the last 50 years as well as an Ecumenical Council and thus they have forfeited the divine ecclesial attribute of indefectibility.  Is it not blasphemy to say that Jesus was not able to found a Church that would last until the end of time in the MANNER and FORM that He founded it, as if Jesus needed Martin Luther or King Henry VIII or CMRI or whoever… to fulfill His promise?  Indefectibility refers to the imperishable duration of the Church and her immutability until the end of time.  The First Vatican Council declared that the Church possesses “an unconquered stability” and that, “built on a rock, she will continue to stand until the end of time” (Denzinger 3013, 3056).


Five hundred years ago there were many sinners in the Catholic Church which caused the Protestant Reformation; today there are many sinners in the Church which cause many to leave the Church.  A good husband does not abandon his wife when she becomes old and not pretty.  If Satan cannot get you on the extreme side of the liberals, he will try to get you on the other extreme which is even worse.  As said above, 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.  My Dad used to say that “I’d rather have an ugly box with a diamond inside than a beautiful box that is empty inside.”


These schismatic traditionalist groups feel that only their small group has valid sacraments and the fullness of the truth from the Holy Spirit and that all the rest of the Catholic Church does not have valid sacraments or the fullness of the truth since 1962, the beginning of VCII!  What presumption!  Would God allow such a thing to happen?  What kind of a God do they believe in?  Did God abandon the Israelites in the Old Testament when they were so frequently unfaithful to God?  God did not abandon the Church all these centuries; why would God abandon the Church now at the Second Vatican Council?  Certainly times are difficult.  But to abandon the Ship now!?  Now when God needs us the most to fight for the truth!  It is interesting that the dream of Saint Don Bosco, depicted in the Salesian Church in Turin, Italy, shows the big Ship as the Church, with the living Pope at the helm, in a bad storm being attacked by other boats while steering the Ship of Christ between two pillars with the Eucharist on top of one pillar and our Blessed Mother on top of the other.


It seems that the schismatic traditionalists do not believe in a God who is Love and loves each and every human being personally and immensely.  This leads them to develop a self-styled religion in which holiness is based on being better than others who they fondly judge less holy, or sinners or outright damned, instead of being based on a personal relationship of love with Jesus Christ.  This attitude does not come from humility or a child-like trust in God’s mercy and love.  What kind of a God do they believe in that would abandon his entire Church 50 years ago and only give valid sacraments to their little self-righteous group?  Is this their idea of God-love that only their little group is loved and protected by God?  Their religion is not based on God-love and the response to this immense love but rather it is based on feeling more holy and privileged than the others because they are in a special group and they follow all the rules and explanations dictated by the leaders of the group.



The Body of Christ Re-crucified


Satan is working hard to destroy the Church; the devil would be very happy if many or all people would leave the Church in this critical time in the history of the Church and world.  The Church, the Body of Christ, is being crucified anew.  Two thousand years ago even most of the apostles abandoned Jesus on the cross.  Will we too abandon Jesus and His Body, the Church, in this critical time as so many did 2000 years ago and throughout the history of the Church???  These priests and laymen and so called “bishops” who encourage people to leave the Church in this crucial period, I think we can apply to them Christ’s words: "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin"![11]


If one reads even a little of the history of the Church one would know that there have always been bad priests and bishops and laity, but God did not abandon His Church!  Remember the Arian heresy when the majority of the bishops were Arians, and yet God did not abandon His Church.  There was a group in the early Church (Montanists) which condemned and had no mercy for those who fled from martyrdom.  The Church instead did not condemn those who fled martyrdom but rather offered encouragement and the mercy of Jesus in confession.  The Pharisees and Scribes did not associate with "sinners", but Christ did; Jesus even sought out sinners.  Will God abandon His Church in the most difficult time in the history of the world?


If the Catholic Church were not the true Church, the devil would not waste his time with her.  Instead the devil is attacking the Catholic Church in every way possible especially today; Satan tries to get us to jump off the Divine Ship on the left side with the liberals or on the right side with the schismatic traditionalists.  Now is the crucifixion of Christ’s Body, the Church, the saving Ship with the living Pope at the helm.  Now is the time to defend and fight for our Holy Mother Church; it is NOT the time to abandon her!  Instead of abandoning Christ’s Body, the Church, in this crucial time, we must help and teach others to prudently fight and stand up for the Church, as many are doing, especially now when things are much more difficult.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going!  The Catholic Church is much bigger than just one town or state or country.  Christ will never abandon the Church, His Body, as He promised, no matter how ugly and covered with "blood" she becomes.


Our Holy Mother Church needs each of us, especially now more than ever!!!



Distinguish Between Dogma and Church Discipline


Although the Latin Mass is of “priceless worth” one must not use the question of the Latin Mass as an excuse or justification for leaving the Church!  Because it is obvious that to say the Mass in Latin or in the vernacular is not a question of faith or dogma or doctrine; it is a matter of Church discipline which can be changed by the Church with the Pope’s approval.  A priest can say the Novus Ordo reverently just as a priest can say the traditional Latin Mass quickly and irreverently.  When the Pope at the Council of Trent said that one must not change the Latin Mass, he was addressing all the priests and bishops at that time.  Because in the years preceding the Council of Trent there was a great variety of ways that the priests and bishops celebrated the Mass; over the centuries it got out of hand.  So for the sake of unity at that time in history, the Pope ordered that all priests and bishops say the same Mass in Latin.  This was what was needed in Church discipline at the time of the Council of Trent.  This does not mean that all the Masses before Trent were invalid!  No Pope can bind all future Popes in matters of Church discipline.


On the other hand if a Pope defines a dogma "ex cathedra", this definition remains forever.  In this case the defined dogma was even before (always) an infallible truth from God.  The dogma only defined the truth more clearly in our human language.  But one must distinguish between dogma and Church discipline.  Dogma can never be changed; Church discipline can be changed in time to suit the needs of the Church in a given period.  If one does not make this distinction, there will be much confusion and false conclusions!!!


The Latin Mass is certainly of great value!  Pope Paul VI said at his Audience Address of November 26, 1969: “It is here that the greatest newness is going to be noticed, the newness of language.  No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass.  The introduction of the vernacular will certainly be a great sacrifice for those who know the beauty, the power and the expressive sacrality of Latin.  We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance.  We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant.  We have reason for regret, reason almost for bewilderment.  What can we put in the place of that language of the angels?  We are giving up something of priceless worth.  Why?  What is more precious than these loftiest of our Church’s values?”


“The answer will seem banal, almost prosaic.  Yet it is a good answer because it is human, it is apostolic.  Understanding of prayer is more important than the silken garments in which it is royally dressed.  Participation by the people is worth more – particularly participation by modern people, so fond of plain language which is easily understood and converted into everyday speech.”



Legitimate Changes in the Mass and Ordination Rites


Several centuries after the Council of Trent, at the recent Second Vatican Council the Church decided, with the approval of the Pope, that what was need in Church discipline today was to offer the Mass in the vernacular.  The Church also offered several choices for the Canon of the Mass besides Canon number one which corresponds to the original Tridentine Mass.  But in all the new Canons, the ESSENTIAL WORDS of the Consecration remained the same.  Only the words that surround the essential words of the Consecration can be changed as was done at the Second Vatican Council, as well as at the Council of Trent for that matter.


The main arguments used by schismatic traditionalists to illustrate the "invalidity" of the ‘Novus Ordo Missae’ (New Order of Mass) are: "mysterium fidei" (mystery of faith) has been deleted from the words of the consecration and "for all" has been substituted for "pro multis" (for many). They believe these changes are tantamount to heresy. But, once again, there is not much weight to these arguments.

The words "mystery of faith" are not found in any of the scriptural accounts of Our Lord’s institution of the Eucharist; they are not found in other formulas of consecration recognized as valid by the Church; and hence, they are not required for a valid consecration.[12] Also, nothing heretical is being asserted by the use of the words "for all men" in the consecration formula, for Christ died "for all" (2 Cor. 5:15). Traditional Catholic theology has always distinguished between the "objective redemption" of all men by Christ and the "subjective redemption," whereby the grace merited by Christ on the Cross actually proves fruitful only in the case of those who cooperate with his grace and achieve salvation.[13]  It is actually a heresy (Jansenism) that Christ did not give himself for the redemption of all.


The inclusion of the words "for all men" in the consecration formula no more implies heresy that all men will necessarily be saved, than the previous formula "for you and for many" necessarily implied the opposite heresy (Jansenism) that Christ did not give himself for the redemption of all.  The consecratory formula of the Mass is not, in the nature of the case, the place where the Church’s full doctrine is, or could possibly be, expressed.[14]  Since the phrase "for all" is proven not to be heretical, it therefore in no way invalidates the Novus Ordo Mass.


Of course, the aforementioned explanations should not be necessary since the only words needed to make the consecration valid are "This is My Body" and "This is the cup of My Blood." And the only other requirements for the Mass itself to be valid are valid matter (bread and wine) and a validly ordained priest (with the intention of confecting the Sacrament) to celebrate the Mass.


The Declaration entitled ‘Instauratio Liturgica’, dated January 25, 1974, and issued by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, should clarify (though not with the traditionalist fringe) any confusion over many of the renderings in the vernacular version of the Mass:[15]


This same reasoning holds also for the words of ordination of a priest or a bishop.  The essential words of ordination or consecration have always remained the same.  But the many words that surround these essential words can and have been changed over the centuries.  Can one really think that the Apostles 2000 years ago used the same words to ordain a priest or bishop as the words that were used at the time of the Council of Trent???  Or for that matter, were all the words of the Mass 2000 years ago identical to the Tridentine Mass???  The essential words, yes!  But the many surrounding words have been added for embellishment throughout the centuries.  The essential words of ordination or consecration are still the same today.  Thus to say that the ordinations today are invalid because the surrounding words or embellishments are different is absurd!  With this same illogic, the Tridentine Mass as well as the ordinations in the time of the Council of Trent would be invalid because the words of embellishment in these rituals were not used 2000 years ago when the Apostles celebrated the Mass or ordained a priest!!!


The Holy Mass is certainly very important.  But we must also not fall into sacramentalism with a nice reverent Latin Mass, but rather receive the sacraments to do the will of God better, which is to love God in a personal way and to love one’s neighbor ever more diligently.  We must not fall into the trap that the Pharisees and Scribes fell into; they felt they were holier than all the others because they followed a rather large set of rules and regulations.  “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get”” (Lk 18:11-12; Mt 6:5; Mk 11:25).[16]  We must always distinguish between the ends and the means.  The end is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ by doing his holy will; the means are prayer and the sacraments to help us do the will of Christ, which is to love ever more God and neighbor, and thus to arrive at union with Jesus himself.  Thus it is possible to go everyday to the Holy Mass and to pray everyday the Holy Rosary and yet fall into the trap of pride which is so common in the schismatic traditionalist groups.  Without humility there is no virtue!  Without humility one becomes slowly blind to the truth and to reality in their proper prospective.



Continued in “Rebuttal to Schismatic Traditionalists (4)”


[1] See the article ‘A Psychological Analysis of a Cult at Necedah, Wisconsin’.  See also

[2] Mt 24:21; Apoc 7:14.

[3] Jn 8:32.

[4] Napier, Augustus and Whitaker, Carl, ‘The Family Crucible’; Haper & Row, Publishers, N.Y., 1988, pp. 83, 99.

[5] Cf. ‘Sects or New Religious Movements: Pastoral Challenge’, L’Osservatore Romano, N. 20, 19 May 1986, (1.2) p. 5.

[6] See ‘Concluding Remarks’ in the article “The Impact and Interpretation of ‘Subsists In’ (Vatican II)”.

[7] See the article ‘A Psychological Analysis of a Cult at Necedah, Wisconsin’.  See also

[8] Mt 10:34-37.

[9] Mt 16:18.

[10] Mt 16:18.

[11] Lk 17:2; Mt 18:6; Mk 9:42.

[12]The Pope, the Council, and the Mass’, by James Likoudis and Kenneth D. Whitehead. Catholics United for the Faith, 1981, p. 114.

[13] Ibid. p. 98.

[14] Ibid. p. 99.

[15] Ibid. pp. 103-104.

The liturgical reform which has been carried out in accordance with the Constitution of the Second Vatican Council has made certain changes in the essential formulae of the sacramental rites. These new expressions, like the other ones, have had to be translated into modern languages in such a way that the original sense finds expression in the idiom proper to each language. This has given rise to certain difficulties, which have come to light now that the translations have been sent by episcopal conferences to the Holy See for approval. in these circumstances, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith again calls attention to the necessity that the essential formulae of the sacramental rites render faithfully the original sense of the Latin "typical text." With that in mind it declares:

When a vernacular translation of a sacramental formula is submitted to the Holy See for approval, it examines it carefully. When it is satisfied that it expresses the meaning intended by the Church, it approves and confirms it, stipulating, however, that it must be understood in accordance with the mind of the Church as expressed in the original Latin text.

[16] .See also “The Holy Catholic Church and Private Revelation”, Ch. 7 (

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