MORE QUESTIONS AND OBJECTIONS
Why Be a Traditional Catholic?
A traditional Catholic is one who believes that Jesus Christ created a Church, and that the Roman Catholic Church is that Church. That being the case, the traditional Catholic is one who endeavors to serve God in the manner that God directs rather than one's own preference, or the preference of those who are hostile to the Faith. A Traditional Catholic is simply a Catholic, as all serious and devout Catholics were only fifty years ago. In the more recent decades, many have slurred and distorted the commonly understood meaning of "Catholic" into something quite alien to what that word has meant for the past almost twenty centuries. By calling ourselves "traditional Catholics" we identify ourselves as Catholics in the sense understood over most of that historical period rather than in the slurred and distorted sense many have mistakenly come to think it means today.
Are not the newer Catechisms easier to read and follow?
The problem with the new Catechisms is that they are tainted with the follies of our modern age, with Communism, Humanism, Atheism, pluralism, multiculturalism, collectivism, and so forth. As a result, many even basic Catholic doctrines get short shrift, if treated of at all, and frequently in vague terms that may mislead or else oversimplify to the point of distortion. Traditional Catholics have no patience for such blather, fluff, and psychobabble; they want the straight stuff which they can commit to memory and to heart, and believe and live by.
No one likes having to "unlearn" something they previously made the mistake of learning and taking to heart. And no one likes to waste time learning something they already sense they must one day unlearn. While the older Catechisms immediately begin laying the groundwork, first with standard prayers we truly ought to know, and then by teaching us what we are to believe (the Creed), what we are to do (the Commandments), and how we are to obtain God's Grace (the Sacraments), and finally, in some cases (such as the Course in Religion by Fr. John Laux M. A., published by TAN), how we can know and prove that what we have been taught is really the Truth of God (Apologetics), the new "Catechisms" blather on and on about circles of family and community, political correctness, the environment (!?!), and how much better off we are today now that Vatican II has swept away all those strict and meaningless rules from the Dark Ages.
Why do you want to go back to what was? Can't you just accept the fact that things have changed now, and are going to be different from now on?
This is not a question of going "back." There have always been Catholics holding to the traditional Latin Mass and Sacraments and teaching and Church throughout this entire period of mass defection. That Church is eternal and cannot be destroyed, and has already begun a tremendous comeback which shall continue to expand. These Catholics have already marched forward precisely as Catholics were meant to march forward into the new millennium. Those who have gone over to the new ways have not matured their Faith but abandoned it. Everyone is obligated before God to return to the Faith (or keep it), and whoever fails to do so shall have much to answer for.
What are the three basic groups?
Traditional Catholics seem to come in three basic types: Indult, Sedevacantist, and Society of Saint Pius X, to list them alphabetically. The Indult Catholics are those who have cut some deal with the Modernists in Vatican City to retain their Catholic worship with their blessing. The Sedevacantist Catholics are those who have analyzed the present situation theologically and ascertained that the Vatican leadership has no claims on our Catholic obedience, owing to a loss of office on their part. The Society of Saint Pius X Catholics are those who maintain a delicate balance between the first two positions. A few other Catholics may also adopt some combination of any two or all three of these positions, or even choose to stay out of these questions altogether, just holding on to the traditions of our Faith.
Why don't you count the followers of Fr. Leonard Feeney as traditional Catholics?
When Fr. Feeney broke off from the Church by refusing to obey (or even go on an all-expenses-paid journey to Rome, complete with an audience with the Pope (Pius XII) so as to plead his case), the establishment he stepped out of was still identical to the Roman Catholic Church. When he left the Vatican institution, he left the Church. Like all others who left the Church, he subsequently veered into error, namely the claim that a soul cannot be "saved" unless literally baptized with water. The Church had already explicitly taught otherwise, namely that a soul can be not only justified, but saved, by a Baptism of Blood or Desire.
Indeed, Feenyites are the perfect test case, since they were in the beginning reacting against another heresy, namely that any vaguely well-intentioned soul automatically thus obtains a valid Baptism of Desire, their motives differ little from the motives of traditional Catholics. The reason they have wandered off into error and traditional Catholics have not is not that traditionalist Catholics are "better people," but simply because the orgainization they left was still identical to the Catholic Church, so that in leaving it they left the Church. Once Vatican II was on the books, the Vatican institution ceased to be identical to the Roman Catholic Church, so departing from it (as necessary for most traditional Catholics) no longer meant departing from the Church, thus the characteristics of the Church also continue to be with the traditional Catholics.
Why do you feel free to disregard the contentions the home-aloners make regarding the lack of valid and/or licit orders among the various groups that comprise the traditional Catholic movement?
First of all, allow me to make an important distinction. There are many Catholics who pray the Mass at home, going to no traditional Mass (let alone any non-Catholic worship service). There are some who, due to geographical distance, health, or other valid concerns, are unable to attend at any of the thousands of valid and licit traditional Latin (or Eastern Rite) Masses. There are others who deny the validity or licitness of the Catholic bishops, priests, or orders who have maintained the traditional Faith and Sacraments. The first sort are not "home-aloners" in the heretical or dissident sense at all, and as such doing precisely as they ought.
It is the other group with which I take issue, since they are, in fact, heretics. There is one indisputable Catholic teaching which these people have ignored or flagrantly disregarded, both in theory and in practice: The relative priorities of the various types of Law and Teaching which exist. At the absolute top is Divine Positive Law, and in a similar catagory would go all laws and teachings which are Divinely revealed as being from God himself. In a qualitatively lower rank goes "Ecclesiastical Law," namely those laws and disciplines which the Church imposes. A basic example of the first would be the Ten Commandments of God; an example of the second would be the Six Commandments of the Church. In a qualitatively lower rank still would go all manner of secular laws, of nations, provinces, cities, families, and the various by-laws of businesses and social clubs.
At the top level, God's Laws, Teachings, and Divine Revelation, which all Catholics are morally bound to believe, is the teaching that the Church is Apostolic (the fourth Mark, after One, Holy, and Catholic). Part of what that means is a valid and licit Apostolic Succession, namely that there must always exist valid and licit bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. At a lower level, namely that of Ecclesiastical Law, comes all of the finer points of what ordinarily makes for a licit bishop of the Church. In particular, the requirement for a pontifical mandate in order to consecrate a bishop was first imposed in 1951 by Pope Pius XII. As such, it is merely a piece of Ecclesiastical Law. Where Ecclesiastical Law makes Divine Law impossible to carry out, it is the Ecclesiastical Law, and not the Divine Law, which gives way by becoming ipso facto null and void at that point.
The heretical home-aloners have reversed that by putting Ecclesiastical Law above Divine Law. They believe that a mere disciplinary law, imposed as late as 1951 by Pope Pius XII, can actually prohibit God from carrying out His promises to continue the Church! Now think it through: You have a law which states that each episcopal consecration must be explicitly approved by the Pope. You also have (since all of these heretical home-aloners are also "Sedevacantists" (in the worst and most degenerate sense of the word) who believe we have had no pope since 1958, nor in any possible attempt to obtain a pope (such as several small groups have carried out) a long and protracted, and interminable period with no pope at all to give that approval. It is only a matter of time before the very last bishop approved by Pope Pius XII dies off, due to old age. All other bishops are illicit, and many are invalid as well. Once that happens, the valid and licit Apostolic Succession is permanently and irrevokably removed from the face of the earth! The Church ceases to be Apostolic, and can never be so again! God has failed us all! Christianity has been for nothing! We might as well make a religion of playing golf every Sunday morning...
For the heretical home-aloner, all bishops in the Vatican institution are heretics, or at least have been party to heresy which amounts to the same thing, and all bishops outside the Vatican institution are illicit due to the lack of any Papal mandate. That means (according to them) that the Church has already vanished. It's all over!
Granted, most home-aloners don't actually claim that the Church has vanished, even though that is the logical implication of their beliefs about it. Many of them wiggle out of that necessary and inescapable logical deduction by positing that maybe, somewhere, somehow, perhaps in some far off country, maybe in Siberia, who knows(?), there might still exist some faithful bishop of the Church, lawfully consecrated, and (due to his confinement and isolation) unaware of any of the heretical direction which the Vatican institution has taken over the last forty years or so, in other words faithful and licit. While I concede the remote theoretical possibility of there being such a bishop, maybe as many as half a dozen or so, as of this writing, their numbers must be vanishingly small and falling precipitously. Such conditions of confinement and isolation (and doubtless torture as well) do not engender longevity, let alone sanity. Such elderly and physically weak persons could hardly be expected to make any escape, and as long as they continue faithful they can forget about ever being released.
We already have before us a case of a bishop who really was confined in China since 1955, a Bishop Ignatius 龚品梅 (Kung, Pin-Mei), to be precise. At great length, the Chinese communist government finally released him. After years of badgering, pressuring, and torturing him, the schismatics finally got to him, and he lost either his Faith, or his sanity. I think he still possessed these as late as 1985 (which is why he was not released then) when he was allowed to eat at a large and crowded table opposite some "Apostolic visitors" and broke out in song to commemorate his continued fidelity to Peter. There is no evidence that he had any idea at that time what the "Peters" had been doing or saying over the 30 years of his confinement. However, when he got out (in 1989), it was with perverse relish and sickening glee that this bishop celebrated the heretical Novus Ordo Missae, the "Mass" of the Chinese Patriotic Church and of all other (non-Eastern-Rite) schismatics. He was released because he finally caved and came to be in full, public, bilateral, and voluntary union with the Chinese Patriotic Church, and for that reason, John Paul II made him a "Cardinal." He now solicits funds, ostensibly so as to fight the Chinese Patriotic Church, but actually his "pope" has already granted recognition to the Chinese Patriotic Church and is actually in warm and fuzzy ecumenical union with them. This, to me, is fraudulent. Such a horrific example does not bode well for the possibility of there being some other as yet unreleased bishop who is still faithful and sane. As for Archbishop 龚 himself, one can only hope and pray that the peace and quiet of his closing days allowed for him to regain some of his sanity or integrity. Evidence that this might indeed have happened is that after he died (March 12, 2000), his funeral Mass, presumably at his own request, was in the Tridentine form. Alas, he died before ever gaining such strength or integrity to continue the Church as the home-aloners would have liked.
When the last of such faithful bishops dies off, that idea must die. If it has not happened already, it is bound to happen quite soon. And the crisis will still be with us. Worse still, even if, by some incredible miracle, one such bishop should finally arrive out of some prison after decades of confinement, isolation, and torture, still faithful and sane, how will we know for sure that the man we have is really the actual bishop and not some impostor? What records can prove that he is really the same man? I doubt that it can truly be valid or licit to recognize as a bishop a man whose identity is impossible to verify.
The same can be said regarding a number of other "secret" promises, dispensations, and so forth which several otherwise fine and good priests of the traditional movement have had recourse. I have already come across the following examples: "My bishop was given special permission by the Pope (Pius) to consecrate bishops without a papal mandate," "My priest was made irremovable Pastor (or given permanent faculties) in his parish in the good old days," "Our parish was incorporated in the good old days to belong to a group of laymen, and to grant temporary faculties to any visiting priest, for all time," "My priest was given a special dispensation by the Pope to retain his faculties no matter where he goes or where he says Mass." Doubtless, there are others as well. Of all such things I must say this: All such "promises," "dispensations," and "installments" are, for all practical and reasonable purposes, to be regarded as entirely bogus. In my opinion, I think they really are all bogus, although I do concede a remote possibility that one or two such claims may in fact turn out to be authentic. However, even in such a case, the authentic documentation needed to prove it is no doubt deeply hidden in some recess of the Vatican archives, where no one will ever find it. We have reached a point at which it would be vastly easier to create an utterly convincing forgery than it would be to track down an authentic original, even if it really did exist.
All such claims made by the heretical home-aloners are therefore dead ends, and furthermore inimical to the serenity of God's saints. What is needed is an obvious, visible, and accessible official document which grants jurisdiction to such "irregularly" consecrated bishops. I maintain that Lumen Gentium is such a document. It is obvious; it is confirmed by Pope and Council; it is readily available to everyone for checking and verification. It is visible, and therefore provides visible recognition to any and all such truly Catholic bishops "irregularly" consecrated since November 21, 1964. As discussed in Chapter Three of this book, that document grants jurisdiction to any Catholic bishop or priest, whether inside or outside the Vatican institution. At another point, that same document explicitlystates that bishops who are validly consecrated, but outside the Vatican institution now HAVE jurisdiction.
So, to sum up, there is the basic fact that the Divine necessity of continuing the Church renders (at least for the duration of this current crisis) the mere Ecclesiastical law imposed by Pope Pius XII, which applies even if my theory regarding Lumen Gentium were somehow mistaken (and the only possible area of weakness towards that comes from the direction of "Was Paul VI really a Pope in the first place?"). Apart from that extremely unlikely proposition, there is the law mandated at Vatican II, namely in Lumen Gentium, which effectively removes Pope Pius XII's law from the books, until such time as Vatican II is revoked, and thus granting real, visible jurisdiction to all such traditional bishops and priests. Finally, there is the basic existence of the Church. Either the traditional Catholic movement as I have written about is the Roman Catholic Church, or else there is no such church at all. And it is sheer nonsense to claim membership in a church which one denies the existence of.
You describe the Uniate Eastern Rites as being still traditional. Is that therefore a good safe haven for traditional Catholics over the long term?
The disasterous Liturgical ruination "mandated" during the 1960's and 1970's had no application to the Eastern Rites. They were as yet left alone and allowed to continue as they had all along, and as such were by far the main place the Church still subsisted within the Vatican institution during those years. Unfortunately, the Devil, having done what he can to the Latin Rite, is now beginning to turn his attention to the Eastern Rites. Abuses which were unheard of even as late as the mid-1980's in the Eastern Rites have since sprouted and multiplied, and the Eastern Rites are now progressively being vernacularized and corrupted. As of the turn of the millennium, their level of damage was quite comparable to the level of damage the Latin Rite had suffered by the year 1966. The Eastern Rites are still valid; their vernacular tranlations are as yet sufficiently faithful as to be unquestionably valid, but they are increasingly doing without the iconostasis, and pews are becoming a frequent find. While pews are perfectly appropriate in the Latin Rite, they have no place within the Eastern Rites, except for a very few seating places for the elderly, infirm, and nursing mothers. The recently published Eastern Rite (St. John Chrysostom Byzantine) liturgical books even contain directions to the people in attendence to "sit," thus rendering official the abuse of having pews. Further damage is certainly on the way, and the Eastern Rites are those who might be most affected by the Balamand agreement, should they be foolish and ignorant enough to take it into account. The Eastern Rites are rapidly losing their status as a safe haven, although many Eastern Rite parishes as yet remain (however barely) within acceptable bounds.
In recent years, the SSPX has begun their "Transalpine Redemptorist" project which exists to preserve faithful Uniate Eastern Rite Catholic Churches. For information about them, I suggest their Website, http://www.redemptorists.org.uk.
Vatican institution leaders often make such a big fuss about being ecumenical and friendly with other churches. Why can't they be so friendly to traditional Catholics?
The real problem is that the Vatican establishment, by going Novus Ordo, has simply entered the same darkness that all other schismatic bodies have entered. Their ecumenism with Protestants etc. is perfectly easy to explain, merely the fellowship which darkness has with darkness. Their inability to deal in a similar "ecumenical" fashion with traditional Catholics (other than the few within their questionable "care") is a direct result of the fundamental (and eternal) schism that exists between light and darkness. Only true light can fellowship with true light, hence it is only a matter of time before the SSPX and the other traditional Catholic bodies and independent priests must recombine and reconstitute the resurrected Roman Catholic Church. True, many indult Catholics are also a true light, but theirs is a true light held hostage by the surrounding darkness of the Vatican establishment. It is only a matter of time before the captive light of the indult Catholics must either escape, convert the surrounding darkness back into light (by restoring the totality of Catholic tradition to the totality of the Vatican establishment, a daunting task indeed!) or be extinguished.
Leaders and representatives of the Vatican institution frequently refer to their organization simply as the Catholic Church, and yet you give more weight to those few references in Lumen Gentium and other Vatican II documents stating that their organization merely "subsists in" the Catholic Church than to all of those other references they make to the contrary. How do you justify that?
A simple illustration should suffice. A married man could remove his wedding band and put it in his pocket and walk into a bar and claim to all of the lonely women that he attempts to picks up there that he is single, free, and available. However, if the records at the courthouse say he is married to so-and-so, who is alive and well at such-and-such a place, then that should similarly take precedence over all of the times he claims a single status to all of his girlfriends and lovers. The documents of Vatican II are the Vatican institution's most formal and weighty attempt to define its new existence as an organization in which the Church merely "subsists." Furthermore, the entire membership of the Vatican institution hierarchy participated in and gave their consent to the production and promulgation of those documents (even though some few did so grudgingly owing to their desire to adhere to the Church). Therefore any and all attempts on the part of individual leaders and representatives of that organization to claim identity with the Church are in precisely the same catagory as that married man's public protestations of a state of singleness.
I've heard that [such-and-such traditional Catholic organization] is like a cult. What do you say about that?
One has to put such charges in perspective. By the current secular viewpoint one would have to regard the Catholic Church has having always been a "cult," to say nothing of some explicit names of certain parts, such as the "Cult of Mary" and so forth. Let us examine a couple parallels one could draw:
David Breese, who wrote "Know the Marks of Cults," writes "One of the marks of a cult is that it elevates the person and works of a human leader to a messianic level. The predictable characteristic of a member of a cult is that he will soon be quoting his leader, whether Father Divine, Prophet Jones, Mary Baker Eddy, Judge Rutherford, Herbert Armstrong, or Buddha as a final authority. A messianic human leader has used the powers of his intelligence or personality and with them imposed his ideas and directives on the ignorant."
Could that not, with equal validity be applied to Jesus Christ Himself, since He, as a man walking about on the earth some 2,000 years ago or so, nevertheless claimed to be God, accepted worship and adoration from His followers, and whose every word is final and utterly authoritative? Or again, what about another common mark of cults which is to conclude that everyone who is not a member of it loses out? The Church does, after all, teach that "Outside the Church there is no salvation." Is that not cultish?
(If you happen to be Protestant, or Moslem, or Jew and are enjoying that comparison of Christ to the likes of Rev. Moon, etc., or the Church to a cult, bear this in mind: Protestants also say the same things of Christ, that He is God and His words are authoritative, and the same thing of Christianity in general as Catholics say of the Catholic Church. For Moslems, it would be Muhammed, who, although not claiming to be God (or Allah, in their theology), neverthess makes himself greater than Jesus as the only "Seal of the Prophets" or for Jews it would be their roughly similar views of Moses and the Torah.)
One must face and come to grips with the fact that the Church Jesus Christ founded has from the beginning possessed what the insipid, lukewarm, banal, and worldly sorts would all have to categorize as "cultic qualities." For the Church (the traditional Catholic movement taken as a whole) to seem any different, now that would be out of order! Therefore, when for example, certain detractors and opponents declare "Oh! The SSPX is a cult!" all they are saying is "Oh! The SSPX is just like the Church has always been!"
All of which brings us to the real issue here: "How is Jesus Christ different from Rev. Moon or Jim Jones or any other bogus cult leader?" If Jesus were truly like these hoaxers and frauds, then all of Christianity would be (and have been from the beginning) a total hoax and a fraud. Is there a real difference? The claims made are quite similar. What differs? The fundamental difference is results. Jesus delivers the goods and makes good on His promises; the others do not. Jesus works real and certifiable miracles; the others do not. And I don't mean the silly and mass-produced hysteria-induced "miracles" of the Pentacostals and like sorts, but real and substantial miracles which bear examination and stand up to all tests, including that of time.
Jesus, alone of all of those claiming any messianic or Divine qualities, has come back from the dead in His resurrection, and then again as His Mystical Body the Church He comes back from the death mandated at Vatican II. That latter is a broad-based, slow-motion miracle which has been taking place before our very eyes, and absolutely no less miraculous than His original physical resurrection way back then. Destroy, corrupt, or eliminate any cult leader's organization, and it is destroyed, corrupted, or eliminated, never to recover. But do the same to Christ's Church and even though many may be misled and many defect and many die, that Church continues, undestroyed, uncorrupted, and uneliminated.
Furthermore, while real miracles (of the dramatic sort which flagrantly violate physical or natural laws and are not publcity hoaxes, but real) have always been quite scarce, but what few of them which still take place all take place among traditional Catholics. When someone dying of a terminal disease recieves the Last Rites and recovers to go on and live many more years than medically expected or possible, it turns out that he recieved his Last Rites from a traditional Catholic priest who administers the true Sacrament of Extreme Unction, never from the Novus Ordo "Anointing of the sick." Another interesting fact is that the only exorcists today who are truly effective in ousting Satan from a Satanically possessed soul are all traditional Catholic clergymen. All of them! Think about that.
The only reason one hears more about "miracles" in the non-Traditional Catholic community is that there is where the hoaxers and publicity seekers are. Traditional Catholics are not what they are because of "signs and wonders," but because they have carefully studied the issues and made the decision and committment to do the right thing. As Scripture states (Mark 16:17) the signs and wonders follow the believers, not the other way around.
Did not Padre Pio predict that Abp. Lefebvre would "tear apart the community of the faithful" with his disobedience?
An unknown Novus Ordinarian writer, plainly acting in bad faith, once put forth the claim that Padre Pio and Abp. Lefebvre had met under the following unfortunate circumstances:
Among the many, many people who came to see Padre Pio was Archbishop Lefebvre who, later clinging stubbornly to Catholic Tradition, as he called it, questioned the authority of Vatican II and was removed from office by Pope Paul VI.
The archbishop had a meeting with Padre Pio in the presence of Professor Bruno Rabajotti. This witness reported that at a particular moment Padre Pio looked at Lefebvre very sternly and said: 'Never cause discord among your brothers and always practise the rule of obedience; above all when it seems to you that the errors of those in authority are all the more serious. There is no other road than that of obedience, especially FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE MADE THIS VOW.'
Padre Pio could give this advice because he had had to obey some rather questionable orders himself. His attitude was to put this in God's hands because He would find a way for truth to triumph. It seems Archbishop Lefebvre did not see things in quite the same way even if he did respond to Padre Pio with: 'I will remember that, Father.' Padre Pio looked at him intensely and, seeing what would soon happen, said: 'No! You will forget it! You will tear apart the community of faithful, oppose the will of your superiors and even go against the orders of the pope himself and this will happen quite soon. You will forget the promise you made here today, and the whole Church will be hurt by you. Don't set yourself up as a judge. Don't take powers that do not belong to you and do not consider yourself as the voice of God's People, as God already speaks to them. Do not sow discord and dissension. However, I know this is what you will do!'
Fortunately, we have the Archbishop's own response to this false accusation:
For several years now this slander, a fabrication from start to finish, has been circulating in Italy. I have already refuted it, but lies die hard; there is not one word of truth in the page of that magazine you photocopied for me.
The meeting which took place after Easter in 1967 lasted two minutes. I was accompanied by Fr. Barbara and a Holy Ghost Brother, Brother Felin. I met Padre Pio in a corridor, on his way to the confessional, being helped by two Capuchins.
I told him in a few words the purpose of my visit: for him to bless the Congregation of the Holy Ghost which was due to hold an extraordinary General my Chapter meeting, like all religious societies, under the heading of aggiornamento (up-dating), meeting which I was afraid would lead to trouble...
Then Padre Pio cried out. 'Me, bless an archbishop, no, no, it is you who should be blessing me!' And he bowed, to receive the blessing. I blessed him, he kissed my ring and continued on his way to the confessional...
That was the whole of the meeting, no more, no less. To invent such an account as you sent me the copy of calls for a satanic imagination and mendacity. The author is a son of the Father of Lies.
Thank you for giving me the chance to tell once more the plain truth.
While the above-quoted lie is attributed to a "Pascal Catanco" or "Cataneo," the name is plainly a pseudonym and no such individual has ever been identified with any of Padre Pio's known friends, associates, or acquaintances. No one has proved willing to step forth and say "I am the one who first wrote that," since five minutes interrogation of such an individual would readily show that they never knew Padre Pio, but were merely cashing in on his good name. How fortunate we are that the Novus Ordo liar was foolish enough to have published this lie while Abp. Lefebvre was still alive and in a position to answer it.
Traditional Catholics come across to me as a bunch of kooks, crazies, cranks, and crackpots, pushing all the most absurd conspiracy theories, apparitions, visions, seers, or end-of-the-world gloom and doom, and even all the most pathetic attempts at a "theology." Why should I wish to be associated with that?
If one searches the Internet, one can find dozens, perhaps in time even hundreds of postings by some of the most bizarre and opinionated persons, passing themselves off as traditional Catholics, and perhaps sharing our desire for the Latin Mass and true doctrine and Sacraments etc. To put this into perspective, such persons actually make up less than one hundredth of one percent of all traditional Catholics. It also has not helped that there are certain persons who are hostile to authentic Catholicism and who like to showcase these examples as being representative of Catholicism, in an attempt to repel their followers and readership from it.
Probably the best way to overcome this false perception is to attend any of the traditional Latin Masses going on these days and taking the time to get to know the parishioners by and large. What one finds is perfectly normal people who simply, quietly go to church, raise families, live rightly, and show truly Christian love of neighbor.
Why can't the Church "baptize" the more modern philosophies such as Existentialism, Phenomenalism, Teilhardism, and Marxism, etc. the way it once "baptized" the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle?
The ancient pagan philosophers did the best they could to formulate order to the universe, subject only to the common fallen condition of all Mankind. Their philosophies reflect logical thinking, rational ideas, sensible and practical results. By contrast, these and all other modern "philosophies" (actually "malosophies," to coin a word) were concocted in the presence, and in defiance of, a known and well-developed Catholic philosophy.
They are the products of Post-Christian European paganism, a paganism based on a rejection of known truths, rather than the ancient paganisms based on sincere though limited human effort. It is therefore quite impossible to bring forth anything positive from these deliberately erroneous systems of "thought," and the only proper thing for them is to anathematize them altogether. They can no more be "baptized" than can the Devil their creator.
Did not Cardinal Ratzinger refute your claim about the infamous "subsists in" clause in Lumen Gentium?
Let us start by looking at the actual comments of Cd. Ratzinger which he wrote in opposition to Liberation Theology. While one can and should praise his effort to oppose that heresy, the approach used shows that he either did not understand the Vatican II text or else was committed to concealing its true meaning:
". . . In order to justify [his position], L[eonard] Boff appeals to the constitution Lumen Gentium n. 8 of the Second Vatican Council. From the council's famous statement, 'Haec ecclesia (sc. unica Christi ecclesia) Catholica subsistit in ecclesia Catholica' (This Church - namely the sole Church of Christ - subsists in the Catholic Church), he derives a thesis which is exactly contrary to the authentic meaning of the council text, for he affirms: 'In fact it (sc. the sole Church of Christ) may also be present in other Christian churches' (p. 75). But the council had chosen the word subsistit - subsists - exactly in order to make it clear that the one sole 'subsistence' of the true Church exists, whereas outside her visible structure only 'elementae ecclesia' - elements of the Church exist: these being elements of the same Church tend and conduct toward the Catholic Church (Lumen Gentium, n. 8)."
And this proves nothing. I did not get my discovery regarding what the Vatican II text says from reading Leonard Boff, but merely from the same place he got it, namely from a close and careful reading of the text itself. No matter how much one might try to explain it away, there is no way a thing can "subsist in" itself, let alone possess differing boundaries from itself. While there most certainly is some room for different interpretations of the text, no legitimate interpretation would allow "subsist in" to be the same thing as "is," nor indeed anything but "is not."
Leonard Boff of course employed this same grammatical observation for very different ends, namely so as to declare an overlap between his leftist ideology and the Church. Given what several popes have had to say about communism and socialism, there could never be an overlap between any leftist ideology and the Mystical Body of Christ. The two are intrinsically mutually exclusive. In one sad sense however, Mr. Boff does have a point, namely that his leftist ideology most certainly does subsist in a portion of today's Vatican institution. But it does not subsist in any of those portions of today's Vatican (Indult and some Easter Rite) in which portions of the real Church subsist.
Even Cd. Ratzinger's comments seen above show a certain ambiguity and two-sidedness to it as he first seems to claim that "subsists in" is some special fancy sort of way of saying "is" ("that the one sole 'subsistence' of the true Church exists"), but then also admits that it also means "is not" ("outside her visible structure ... these being elements of the same Church").
Why can't the Novus Ordo be considered acceptible if done without any abuses?
Because the Novus Ordo intrinsically engenders abuses. It is just like fornication (which it is spiritual fornication, since it being false worship, is therefore worshipping a false god). Just as fornication engenders contraception, unwanted pregnancies, abortion, transmission of sexual diseases, and even perversions, the Novus Ordo ceremony engenders such abuses as Communion in the hand, Altar girls, invalid breads, irreverence, and even such sick and goofy things as clowns, donkeys, hand puppets, animal Communions, animal sacrifices, and so forth. Just because there may yet remain some few isolated instances of fully reverent and abuse-free Novus Ordos, well that's just like there being some fornicators out there who through sheer luck, somehow manage to avoid all of those various ills. The fact remains that sooner or later, the odds must eventually catch up with all of them, and then watch out! Here come the abuses!
A fair follow-on question to that would be, "How is it that the Novus Ordo engenders abuses; what is the mechanism?" The big difference between the Catholic Mass and the Novus Ordo (in their official forms) is that the Catholic Mass is thickly-laden with the deep mysteries of God, of transubstantiation, of His friends the Saints and their continual intercessions for us, of the awesome and frightful mysteries of eternal Heaven and Hell, whereas the Novus Ordo has none of that. For transubstantiation, it substitutes a caricature of the prayers of consecration with its doubtful and defective form, and for the remainder the caricature of an option of either a flawed copy of the Roman Prayer, an even more flawed version of a disused Eastern Prayer (which, by the way, was never used even in the East at such a point in the Mass), or other "Prayers" of unabashedly human (and amateurish at that) origin. The merits and intercessions of the Saints are entirely removed, as are all references to Grace, the Soul, Purgatory, Hell, and indeed everything which the natural man cannot grasp. Prayers for the Saints to apply the merit of their personal sacrifices to our deep spiritual need are replaced with prayers that we all have a nice day. The whole ceremony is reduced to a collection of amateur greeting-card verse, the most extreme expression of total banality itself. It is poetry by committee, uninspired and uninspiring.
Such a banal and theologically empty service constitutes a religious vacuum, and as is well known, nature abhors a vacuum. Something has to be done to liven it up, and since a return to the Catholic Mass is almost always ruled out, that spells abuses. Some, such as Altar Girls, invalid breads, or hard rock music, are done purely for shock value. Others, such as Lay Eucharistic Ministers or audience participation in recitation of the banal "prayers" are done with the idea that such things will involve the people more and make them participants, as if that could hold their interest. Still others, such as many of the most extreme examples where clowns and donkeys and hand puppets are used, are done purely for entertainment purposes. They have even given Communion to a dog. That the dog doubtless recieved on the tongue is scant consolation.
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