THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH VERSUS THE PEOPLE OF GOD
Having lost a substantial portion of their Catholic authority, the hierarchy gained in exchange the power to teach heresy and propagate evil. This is because Catholic infallibility is always inextricably interwoven with Catholic authority. Where Catholic authority goes away, Catholic infallibility goes with it.
While it is true that quite a number of those in leadership positions in the Church before Vatican II had harbored certain heretical beliefs and all manner of "pet" theories or even formed unholy alliances with Masons, Communists, and others hostile to the Church, the authority they possessed in the Church and the guarantee of the guidance of the Holy Spirit prevented them from making any public acts, mandates, or teachings which were contrary to the Faith. Ambiguous, ill-conceived, unfortunate, dangerous, or even malicious, yes; explicitly contrary to Faith and Morals, no. Once they signed away a portion of their authority at Vatican II however, they also signed away the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit, and in that gained the power to make evil mandates, teachings or public acts. The Charism of infallibility is not like the priesthood which is an indelible mark on one's soul which one retains throughout eternity, but only something which one has while they function as pope. When Pope Celestine V signed his resignation, he lost not only the Catholic authority he had exercised as pope, but also the Charism of infallibility which he had enjoyed as pope. Though a portion of the Church continues to subsist within a tiny portion of the Vatican institution, the remainder of the Vatican institution, the many portions not subsisted in by the Church, has defected starkly from the religion of Christ. This chapter is the story of that portion of the Vatican institution which is no longer Catholic.
Most Catholics first became aware that something was wrong when they started noticing changes being made to the Mass as they knew it and architectural changes began to defile the Church buildings. Conservative Catholic publications such as The Wanderer would repeatedly say of each new aberration that it would be the last ever to be tolerated, only to be later contradicted by further outrages. Tabernacles were torn out from their place and installed in nearby closets and basements; altars were separated from the wall and then later smashed into powder and replaced with funky wooden tables; altar rails were removed, along with statues. Even Protestants, brought in to do the actual altar smashing, have been known to shed tears over having been hired to perform such a blatant sacrilege. Communion began being handed out by "helpers," and then "in the hand," and finally altar girls have made an appearance. Parishioners soon came to sense that their obedience was being exploited for nefarious purposes, and they then realized that they have no power to stop it from happening. For those reasons it can properly be said that "Malaise is a defining characteristic of the new Vatican institution."
In some parishes, the problem becomes more obvious as the "priest" presiding might dress like a clown or even use hand puppets, stuffed animals, balloons, or food fights. Admittedly, those more extreme things have come to be categorized as "abuses" which go beyond the liturgical norms, even for the new "Mass." To their credit, the highest echelons have even spoken out against some of the more extreme abuses, but no real authoritative action has been taken to stop them from happening. How can it, since they regrettably no longer have the authority to do any good anyway? I will not elaborate with further instances of abuses and horror stories, such as "liturgical dance," etc. since practically everyone in contact with the new Church has been exposed to many such abuses and, I am sure, could tell quite some stories of them. However, even the craziest abuses contrived by some "Father Bozo" have a place in the plan of God. Their place is to draw attention to the fact that "There is Trouble in Vatican City."
Even in certain traditional countries where such abuses have not much occurred, there has nevertheless been a tremendous power shift. Where before, the high standards of the Catholic traditions not only inspired people to convert, but even inspired many of those who didn't convert to at least seek the highest and noblest expressions of their own traditions, now it is whatever nobility remaining in the surrounding culture's pagan traditions that sustains the local "Catholic" parish's reverence. Directly, the problem is that the new "Mass" has such loosely defined rubrics and forms that practically anything is allowable from clown and puppet masses to Voodoo and Santeria masses clear to reverent, dignified masses even said in Latin, serenaded by Gregorian Chant and having an almost fully Catholic flavor to them. In promulgating such a loosely defined service, the once Catholic hierarchy has once again, in yet another way, abdicated any right or power to tell Fr. Bozo that he can't clown around.
There are some who think that it's enough to push for more reverence to be used, but that thinking has two basic fallacies (not counting the false assumption that the Vatican institution promulgating it was still the Catholic Church). The first fallacy is that as long as the new "Mass" is the official worship of the Vatican institution, clown, puppet, Voodoo, and balloon masses will also be every bit as "legitimate" as reverently said Latin Novus Ordo masses complete with Gregorian Chant, and perhaps even more so in some cases. One Bishop Beezlebub somewhere in Canada is even known to have forbidden the Franciscan Friars of a monastery in "his" diocese to say any mass in Latin, even the Novus Ordo! Clearly, that diocesan See is entirely vacant!
The second fallacy with the approach of pushing for more reverent "masses" in the Novus Ordo format is the seriously flawed nature of the Novus Ordo prayers themselves, along with their associated rubrics. Under the acid rain of Annibale Bugnini and his committee, nearly every prayer of the Catholic Mass was simplified, watered down, and deprived of any and all pith. For example, prayers for the intercessions of the Saints which not only reiterate but draw their strength and effectiveness from the truth of the Catholic doctrine of the Communion of the Saints are replaced with prayers which vaguely ask for a nice day.
The most central and basic prayer is called the Canon of the Mass. This prayer, which grew gradually and organically over the course of the first six centuries, was officially canonized at the Council of Trent after remaining utterly stable and unchanging for nearly a thousand years. Acts of canonization are by definition acts of the Infallible Magisterium of the Church and as such irreversible and irreformable. Canonization is that process by which the Church formally recognizes that something or someone is perfected, be it a saint, a scripture, or a prayer. That which is canonized cannot be officially changed, since any such change would put it in an imperfect and therefore inferior state, and would furthermore carry with it an implicit denial that it had ever been canonized in the first place. A canonized saint cannot be "de-canonized," even though the observance of that saint's feast day can be displaced from the calendar by some new saint or feast day. To come out with even one let alone several new "canons" of the Mass is every bit as nonsensical as coming out with one or more new "canons" of Scripture. The four "canons" of the new "Mass," along with all other new canons, official or improvised were all ruled out for all time when the prayers of the consecration of the Mass were canonized at the Council of Trent.
Even Canon Number One, which is sometimes called the "Roman Canon" because it retains at least a somewhat similar sequence of prayers to the prayers of the Catholic Canon of the Mass, is no good because of something done at the very core, with the words that Jesus Christ Himself said, as repeated at every Catholic Mass of every Rite, Eastern and Western, and as recorded in Scripture.
At so sacred, precious, and intimate a moment of the Mass, He is speaking not to the "all" for whom He died in order to offer them an opportunity to be saved, but only the "many" who would actually accept His gift. What has been said from the days even before the Bible was written is as follows: "Who the day before He suffered took bread into His holy and venerable hands, and with His eyes lifted up to Heaven, to Thee, God, His almighty Father, giving thanks to Thee, He blessed, broke, and gave it to His disciples, saying: Take and eat you all of this. FOR THIS IS MY BODY. In like manner, after He had supped, taking also this glorious chalice into His holy and venerable hands, again giving thanks to Thee, He blessed and gave it to His disciples saying: Take and drink you all of this. FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL TESTAMENT: THE MYSTERY OF FAITH: WHICH SHALL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR MANY UNTO THE REMISSION OF SINS. As often as you do these things, you shall do them in memory of Me." The underlined words here are the exact words of Christ Himself during that famous "last supper." The rest, describing what actually took place on that momentous occasion, have been recited by the Church ever after.
It is worth pointing out that the four descriptions of this event in the Bible not only differ somewhat from this, but from each other as well. Since they are describing a single event which happened only one time, and not several or many separate events which could have varied from each other, it is clear that each is telling only part of the story, and indeed different parts. Each biblical account as given is a proper subset of the prayers and words of Christ as given above. The only phrase missing from all four biblical accounts is "the mystery of faith." Although slight variations to the above have been shown in the Eastern Liturgies, all such variations are clearly traceable to characteristics of the distinctive grammar of the various languages in which the Eastern Rite Mass is said. The point of all of that is that it must be believed that the above underlined words are exactly what Christ said on that occasion and the remainder, an accurate description of what He was doing at that very moment.
Perhaps you have noticed that the way this prayer is now said at the Novus Ordo "Mass" is not quite what you just read. In fact it reads (in Canon One), "The day before He suffered he took bread in His sacred hands and looking up to Heaven, to you, His almighty Father, he gave you thanks and praise. He broke the bread, gave it to His disciples, and said: Take this, all of you and eat it: THIS IS MY BODY which will be given up for you. When supper was ended, He took the cup. Again He gave You thanks and praise, gave the cup to His disciples, and said: Take this, all of you, and drink from it: THIS IS THE CUP OF MY BLOOD, THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT. IT WILL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR ALL SO THAT SINS MAY BE FORGIVEN. Do this in memory of Me. Let us proclaim THE MYSTERY OF FAITH: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again / Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life, Lord Jesus, come in glory / When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory / Lord, by your cross and resurrection you have set us free, you are the Savior of the world" (emphasis and capitalization mine).
Here, I shall chart out just what happened to one phrase of this in going from the original to the Novus Ordo:
As you can here see, even the Bible shows up the deficiencies of the ICEL vernacular translation of the Novus Ordo Missae. Pope Benedict XIV in his encyclical De Sacrosanctae Missae Sacrificio confirmed the teaching of Saints Thomas Aquinas and Alphonsus Liguori that "for you and for many" is the correct understanding of Christ's words, and that "all" is not permissible. Even more obvious than that, one can see that Annibale Bugnini and Co. have no objection to changing Christ's words even as found in sacred Scripture. While that is the most crucial change in the new "mass" for reasons I will get to later, there are many other changes which I will here illustrate with just a few examples:
Early in the Mass, one encounters a prayer, known as the Confiteor, which goes like this: "I confess to almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the saints, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. (strike breast three times here) Therefore I beseech Blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, to pray to the Lord our God for me." Experienced altar boys will remember saying also "and to you, Father" after each occurrence of the phrase "all the saints." Priests insert the phrase "and to you, my brothers" at this point. It has long been known, taught, and understood that the setting for this prayer is that one has just been brought into Heaven, before the very throne of God. Aware of one's own unworthiness to appear there, one begs His angels and saints seen there to "pray to the Lord our God for me."
Contrast that with the Novus Ordo version of this prayer: "I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, (Strike breast once here) in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God." Notice the change in position. Where the first takes place in Heaven, in the very sight of God, His angels, and His saints, the second clearly takes place only on the earth, in the Novus Ordo church building, and surrounded by "you, my brothers and sisters." God, His angels, and His saints are only addressed in the Third Person since they are not present. Why would they be?
I take the next example from the Libera Nos, a prayer which is said after the Pater Noster (Our Father). "Deliver us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all evils, past, present and to come, and by the intercession of the blessed and glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, together with Thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and Andrew, and all the saints, mercifully grant peace in our days: that through the bounteous help of Thy mercy we may be always free from sin and secure from all disturbance. Through the same Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end." The Novus Ordo equivalent of this reads as follows: "Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ."
The original ICEL translation of the preface (the prayer which goes right before the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy)) which was to be used whenever the fourth of the new "canons" was to be used began like this: "Father in Heaven, it is right that we should give You thanks and glory. You alone are God, living and true." That reading clearly and indisputably affirms the Arian heresy that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not God, but only the Father "alone." This translation was fixed in late 1985 (the same time that "all men" was replaced with "all" in the words of Christ) to read, "Father in heaven, it is right that we should give you thanks and glory: you are the one God, living and true." That current ICEL translation, like the Latin original of that Novus Ordo prayer is now rendered harmless, but the explicitly heretical version had been allowed to stand for nearly seventeen years.
One can chart a logical progression from the slight, trivial changes made in the few years preceding the Council, and even the tolerable if strongly ill-advised changes recommended at the Council in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (1963), on into the more serious changes made more or less in accordance with that conciliar document during the mid-1960s, and clear through the seriously deficient Latin Novus Ordo Missae which itself is in turn much less harmful than the vernacular translations (such as ICEL's) which introduce yet more problems, and finally culminating in Fr. Bozo's "mass" littered with abuses of every sort.
Even the most small and seemingly harmless changes at the top have a way of becoming drastically serious by the time they work their way to the bottom. It is just like the rotation of a wheel: a small movement near the hub results in a large movement at the rim. Now, the hub is Christ, who cannot be moved even slightly from His place at the right hand of the Father, but the rim is where the faithful reside. Popes and Ecumenical Councils are so very close to the hub that a change (movement) which would have been of no noticeable consequence if done at the rim would be catastrophically significant if done so very close to the hub. Such a continuum from the slight evil at the top to the significant evil at the bottom has been an excellent tool for Satan to use to divide the Catholic faithful who seem to be at a loss to agree as to where to draw the line.
For those who might be curious as to what liturgical changes took place in the Mass before the Council, here is a thumbnail sketch: In 1955, Pope Pius XII in a sadly mistaken attempt (no doubt at the advice of his secretary Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Paul VI) to gain control over a growing faction which ostensibly existed to study the origins of the details of the Liturgy, but which was actually nothing but a group of subversives bent on destroying the Church, decided to give his approval to a small revision they had proposed to the Holy Week Liturgies, namely the omission of a couple readings and the shortening of a couple other readings, and permission to do the Saturday (before Easter Sunday) Liturgy in the evening. As a diplomatic gesture, that should have been enough to satiate any reasonable requests that anyone could ever care to make, but after his death it was used as a precedent for further changes.
In 1960, John XXIII gave approval to a not quite so slightly revised Missal in which the opening prayers at the foot of the altar and the closing reading from the Gospel of John were suppressed on certain days, several Collects (the distinct daily prayer before the readings) were deleted, ember day lessons became optional, several Feasts, such as Saint Peter's Chair in Rome or the Finding of the Holy Cross or the Seven Sorrows of Our lady were either abolished or downgraded, and many Octaves and Vigils of Feasts were also abolished. In 1962, John XXIII added the name of Saint Joseph to the list of Saints in the Canon, changing a prayer which had been utterly unchanged for over 1400 years, and which had furthermore already been canonized (perfected) in the form it had enjoyed all those years.
So far, I have only used portions in the unchanging parts of the Mass to illustrate the difference between the Catholic (tridentine) Mass and the Novus Ordo (the "New Order") "mass." There are also the prayers which change from day to day over the course of the Church's liturgical year and seasons, namely the prayers of the feasts and the saints on the calendar. First of all, one finds many saints shuffled around from one day to another, many more deleted, and their prayers changed, in the Latin as well as the vernacular. I provide here as an example only one of the prayers in honor of Saint Gertrude the Great. "O God, who didst prepare for thyself a pleasant home in the heart of the holy virgin Gertrude..." both old and new start, as translated directly from the Latin. The old continues, "by her merits and intercession do Thou mercifully wash away from our hearts the stains of sin and grant that we may rejoice with her in heavenly fellowship." The new continues, "by her intercession do Thou mercifully enlighten the darkness of our hearts that we may joyfully experience Thee working and present within us."
In the book The Problems With the Prayers of the Modern Mass (See Bibliography) the changes in the prayers for specific days, feasts, and saints are covered in far more detail. A specific set of themes of the changes has also been noted, namely that certain topics are changed or deleted wherever they occurred:
Furthermore, the very words, "Grace" and "soul" have been systematically eliminated from all the prayers, both common ("Ordinary") and daily changing ("Propers"). All of that is just yet another mark of the Novus Ordo being a soulless religious service devoid of any capacity to convey any Grace.
Some might allow that such changes were obviously ill-advised, but still claim that they were allowable on the basis that worship has always been subject to the discipline of the bishops, cardinals, and pope of the Church. Since discipline, unlike Faith and Morals, is always revocable and changeable, subject only to legitimate Church authority, many assume that the changes made to the worship in the Novus Ordo Missae are allowable. To some extent that is true, but only to a certain point. Worship contains some elements which are by their nature subject to discipline, but other elements of worship enter the arena of Divine Revelation which is higher than Faith and Morals. Tampering with Divine Revelation is such a serious thing that not even a pope has the authority to do that, let alone any mere "president" of the semi-Catholic Vatican institution. I point that out because some people tend to treat the exact manner of worship as being merely "disciplinary," which is inferior to Faith and Morals in roughly the same sense that Divine Revelation is superior to Faith and Morals.
This issue of discipline, Divine Revelation, and worship bears some discussion. There are some very superficial aspects of worship which do in fact fall merely into the category of discipline, such as what language is to be used or which particular saints will be honored in which geographical areas. The use of the Latin language itself is not really the issue. There are many good reasons that the Church has so long used Latin for all of its official documents, actions, and liturgies (excepting only the liturgies of the Eastern Rites). It is not the bare fact of using the vernacular (especially for those portions of the Mass which are spoken to the people, such as the homily or the Scriptural readings), but that a) the Latin text itself was corrupted, and b) a further corrupted translation was made into the vernacular languages. Most curious and interesting of all here is the fact that all the same further corruptions show up in virtually all of the vernaculars: The "for many" of the Latin (even the Latin Novus Ordo) became "for all" in nearly every vernacular translation (Polish is one of the minuscule handful of exceptions). And in every vernacular, the phrase "the Mystery of Faith" was transferred to a new sentence and introduced with the added words "Let us proclaim the..."
There are several reasons put forth by the Church as to why She has used Latin for Her official language for so long. From a theological standpoint, the main reason is that since Latin is what is commonly referred to as a "dead" language, it is no longer in a state of flux. This way the meaning can stay absolutely the same across all the many centuries the Church shall endure so that "the Faith which was once for all delivered to the Saints" may be perfectly preserved clear to the end of time. Furthermore, nearly all the great questions the Church has faced during Her history were settled in the Latin language, and so therefore these infallible declarations of popes and councils are kept alive in the exact words and meanings originally spoken. Finally, Latin is a source of global unity for the Church. The Mass is the same almost no matter where one goes and can also be attended by persons of differing vernacular languages and of equal value to all. Nevertheless it must be conceded that the use of the Latin language is only a disciplinary concern, revocable at any point no matter how ill-advised that would be. The changes in what the prayers literally say and mean is quite another matter.
When the books of the Bible were being canonized, the criteria of this canonization was not only so much a matter of whether a book was written by this or that person or in this or that time, but whether the book had a good effect on the faith of those who were listening to it being read as part of the Liturgy. Several books which were prominent in the early Church and of indisputable authenticity, such as the Epistle of Barnabas or the Revelation to Peter, were rejected from the canon for that reason.
An excellent clue to just what happened to these and other rejected books is provided in an ancient document known to the scholastic community as the "Muratorian Fragment" which happens to be the oldest known attempt at producing a list of books for what would come to be known as the New Testament. It lists most of the books of the New Testament as we know it today, and as just one more book it also mentions the Revelation to Peter as being "received by the Church but which some persons would prefer not to have read in Church." Anyone familiar with the contents of the Revelation to Peter would see at once why some persons did not wish it to be read in Church, namely that it contains extremely graphic depictions of the end of the world and Hell, right down to specific details of the tortures of Hell. (Dante's Divine Comedy has since come to serve as a literary equivalent.) Some were understandably concerned that such depictions would unnecessarily frighten small children, while others might have been concerned that repeatedly hearing it read might encourage a puerile and unhealthy interest in them. Even though Peter undeniably wrote the Revelation to Peter, it was excluded from the canon of the Bible because it was decided that readings from it were unsuitable for use in the Mass. Not being used in the Mass, the Revelation to Peter gradually fell into disuse, and is only known in fragmentary form to the scholastic community today.
The point of that bit of Church history is this: The books of the Bible were chosen for their usefulness in Christian Liturgy. All of the things said in the course of Christian Liturgy (other than the Homily and any special announcements or prayers) fall into one of only three categories. There are prayers, such as the Canon of the Mass, which are always prayed at every Mass and which were pretty much fixed by the fifth century after they had been honed and refined to perfection under centuries of persecution (otherwise known as the "Ordinary" of the Mass); there were prayers associated with particular saints or feasts which were written when these saints were canonized and these feasts were added to the calendar (otherwise known as the "Proper" of the Mass); and finally there was scripture to be read. The Bible is therefore actually a part of Christian Liturgy. It is therefore a part of a larger corpus of works which, collected and taken in their entirety, constitute the entire Liturgy, of which any actual Liturgy used in any actual time and place must be a proper subset.
The Bible falls under the category of "Scripture," and the rest of the Liturgy, since it was only orally transmitted in the beginning and committed to writing later, is a prominent portion (along with the other writings of the ancient Church Fathers) of what is called "Tradition," which the Protestants fault us Catholics for "adding" to Scripture. One fact from which we can see that the prayers of the Liturgy, like the Bible, must never be changed is that virtually all of the great Church Doctors and theologians have argued from details, even in the very turn of phrase, of various Liturgical prayers, as one would from Scripture, something one would not do if those prayers were changeable at the whim of any Church authority.
There is a place for discipline in all of this, and that pertains to the selection of a particular subset of the totality of Liturgy which is to be used in this or that time and place. A good example of this would be the Gospel reading for Good Friday. It is a matter of Church discipline that the reading for the Passion should be taken from the Gospel of John instead of Matthew or Mark or Luke, but it is certainly not within the domain of Church discipline to rewrite the Passion as given in John (or Matthew or Mark or Luke), nor to substitute for it an excerpt from The Last Temptation of Christ.
Likewise, it is a matter of Church discipline to choose which (if any) saint is to be honored on a given day shared by two or more, or even to grant permission for one saint to be honored in one geographical area and the other saint in another, but it is beyond the domain of discipline to rewrite the distinctive prayers used to honor any of those saints. Another example: In the Eastern Liturgies, there comes a point at which the priest exclaims, "The doors, the doors!" The doors he is talking about actually separate the altar from the faithful in attendance. The priest must go through these doors to the altar where he can confect the sacrament. Since Western Church architecture seldom has such doors, the discipline of the Western Liturgy has long been to omit that exclamation. Certainly, it is within the Pope's prerogative to apply or forbid the Eastern practice universally (either of which would be a grave mistake), or to sustain the status quo, but he has no authority to change that exclamation to "The windows, the windows!" One more example: It is a matter of discipline as to whether or not the Gospel of John is to be read at the end of the Mass, but it is beyond the domain of discipline to rewrite John or to replace it with a reading from Shirley MacLaine.
What would one say of a Bible translation which was 99.95% accurate, but the remaining 0.05% error consisted of a systematic removal of each and every reference regarding what Christ's death on the Cross achieved for us? As Cardinal Ratzinger wrote (in his preface to Klaus Gamber's book, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy (see Bibliography), "in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it - - as in a manufacturing process - - with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product."
The new Mass as promulgated by Paul VI therefore goes well beyond the domain of Church discipline. It literally changed and negated a large portion of the Revelation as given to us by God, including Christ's words at that crucial point illustrated above, and is therefore a change of not only doctrine, but even the very source on which doctrine is based, namely Divine Revelation.
The changes in the prayers of the Mass are only the initial drops of poison into the recipe for saying the Mass. That poison has diluted and spread to many other areas of the Mass, including the rubrics and even the music. In the area of rubrics, the priest(?) faces his audience virtually the entire time, prays the Eucharistic prayers aloud, and in such a manner as to include the entire audience as participants. One sees in this no mark of the priesthood he should have received at his ordination. He faces the people; the people face him, and in some (more and more) places the people even face each other. Altar and sacrifice are reduced or even eliminated, and replaced with table and supper. All of these actions positively reek of a Man-centered religion rather than a God-centered religion. Having communion placed in one's hands cannot help but impart the impression that it is after all merely ordinary bread or merely symbolic of Christ's Body instead of actually being Christ's Body. No wonder consecrated hosts have frequently turned up under the pews, or even in the pockets of clothing (found at laundry-time)!
Let us now take a look at what else of significance happened when they changed Christ's words. You might have noticed that some of His words as given above were in BOLD CAPITALS while the rest were not. In old (pre-Vatican II) Missals, the exact same words are usually made to stand out in a similar way. The clear consensus of the Church Fathers and Doctors, scholars and theologians, has long been that those words, no more and no less, constitute what is called the "form" of the sacrament. The "form" of a sacrament is one of the four essential ingredients necessary in order for a sacrament to be what the Church calls "valid."
The validity of a sacrament is strictly a measure of whether or not the sacrament actually took place, i. e. if it "worked." An invalid sacrament is one which did not work. In the case of the Mass, if the sacrament is valid, you no longer have bread and wine on the altar, but the actual Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ our Lord. If it is not valid, you still have merely bread and wine. Four things must all be correct in order for any sacrament to be valid:
The form is the words actually spoken, the matter is the physical material used, the intention is the intended purpose or goal of administering the sacrament, and the minister of the sacrament must have certain qualifications. If any of these things is not correct, the sacrament is not valid. The bread and wine do not become the Body and Blood of our Lord; the couple do not marry; the penitent is not absolved; the dying soul is not healed; the soul of the recipient receives no indelible mark of Baptism, Confirmation, or Holy Orders.
The Novus Ordo changes the words, thus gravely damaging the form of the sacrament of the Mass. Providing that the other three considerations are met, the priest who says Christ's words at this point does the work of Christ. God Himself has promised that. That is what is meant when the Church teaches that the priest (or bishop) is at that very moment "alter Christus," another Christ. On the other hand, there is no promise from God regarding a priest who says the words of Annibale Bugnini, ICEL, and Co. instead at that point, since they are not Christ's words. Even though the words "Thou shalt commit adultery" are each quoted from a passage in God's word, as presented in this sentence they are not God's words. It is the omission of one of God's words in the middle, namely "not," which alters the meaning and renders it mere Man's words.
One small objection worth addressing here is the claim made by some that changing "many" to "all men" or "all" and removing the phrase "the mystery of faith" to another place could be harmless to the validity of the sacrament because one can sometimes find respectable scholars who seem to list the words "this is my body; this is my blood" as being all that is needed, thus seeming to be able to do without the words, "of the new and eternal testament: the mystery of faith: which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins," from the necessary form of the sacrament. An example of this would be Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma which says at one point "the words of instruction demonstrate ... that at the Last Supper Jesus effected the transmutation with the words, 'This is my body; this is my blood.'" That may seem to threaten the case I am making here, but the solution is readily apparent. The phrase "this is my blood" as used by Ludwig Ott here and also by others as well is in fact a kind of shorthand for "for this is the chalice of my blood of the new and eternal testament: the mystery of faith: which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins." One can see that it would be quite tedious to write out the entire form every time one wants to refer to it. As another evidence that "this is my blood" is only a paraphrase with which one refers to the entire form, neither Jesus Himself at that Last Supper nor any priest in any Rite of the Church since then has ever said "this is my blood," but always "this is the chalice of my blood ... ." Finally, De Defectibus, a short papal decree printed in the front of all old Missals for priests to use in the Mass, states that the necessary and unalterable form of the sacrament is given as the long form as shown in BOLD CAPITALS in this chapter.
One is therefore permitted to doubt that the Novus Ordo is even a Mass at all. The validity of the new "mass" is one of the difficult questions put before the Church today. At this point, I will only provide the reader with a relatively vague, general compromise consensus on this issue. At the one extreme, even the most hard core traditionalists have at least grudgingly conceded the possibility that some very few Novus Ordo masses said under all of the most optimum conditions possible may have been valid. At the other extreme, many of those who are caught up in the new Novus Ordo religion, yet still retaining just enough orthodoxy to understand and believe in the concept of validity with respect to sacraments have in fact admitted that some instances of the new "mass" have definitely been invalid. The difficult question is, "Where, between those two extremes, does one draw the line between validity and invalidity?"
My own opinion here is to draw a distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic validity. Intrinsic validity applies to the Tridentine and Eastern Rite Masses which have God's promise resting upon them. Providing that all four conditions are met, God must honor an intrinsically valid mass with His Divine Presence. That is like someone coming up to you and asking for some money which you have already promised to pay him. Justice obliges you to pay up regardless of your feelings about the person in question. Extrinsic validity is like someone coming up to you and begging for you to please give him some money. Out of charity or mercy you may see fit to give him some, but there is no obligation in justice for you to do so. Extrinsic validity applies to the Novus Ordo Missae. God never promised His Eucharistic Presence at such a man-made prayer meeting, but filled with compassion and mercy, especially for those misguided souls who are honestly trying their best to be good Catholics but who just simply don't know how to do it, it is conceivable that He may see fit to honor some of these meetings with His Presence, especially where deep reverence for the Blessed Sacrament remains.
The next aspect of the validity issue is the matter, in the case of the mass, the bread and wine which are to be used. It is impossible for any priest to transubstantiate an Oreo cookie and Kool Aid into the Body and Blood of Christ, valid ordination, correct form, and intent notwithstanding. Here, at least, the official (albeit unenforced and unenforceable) rules of the Novus Ordo are still within acceptable bounds (providing we ignore the time that John Paul II is said to have once allowed a parish in Africa to use cakes of millet or cassava root and corn wine).
Another aspect of the validity issue is one regarding the intention of the minister of the sacrament. The other three considerations are more or less external and readily verifiable as to whether or not they have been observed. Intention resides entirely within the mind and heart of the priest himself. Nothing he says or does can absolutely establish just what his intention is. That would seem to get a little spooky since it is always possible for a priest to say a perfectly correct tridentine mass and yet have no intention to confect the sacrament and so therefore he would render it invalid. To prevent this issue from posing a danger to the Church, it has been ruled that a "presumption" must be made that the priest's intentions were correct, unless there is clear, publicly available evidence to the contrary. For example, if a priest states at the beginning of the "mass" that he has no intention to confect the sacrament or "do what the Church does" then that "mass" is invalid, no matter in what Rite, Eastern or Western, Tridentine or Novus Ordo, it is said.
Given the heretical training one typically finds in Novus Ordo seminaries, the "presumption" concerning intent works the opposite way for the Novus Ordo Missae. One must presume that the intent is defective unless there is clear, publicly available evidence to the contrary. Where the intention is defective, whether by presumption or by clear, publicly available evidence, the "mass" is invalid. There is one other consideration regarding the validity of the new "mass." That is the fact that the new "mass" is clearly a parody or satire of the Catholic Mass, very sacrilegious at best and explicitly blasphemous at worst. There is a certain horror at the prospect that some instance of the new "mass" might actually be valid, sort of like encountering the warm carcass of a freshly mutilated animal; you can't help but hope that the poor creature is not still alive. Given the irreverence frequently shown towards the "Blessed Sacrament" (?) in Novus Ordo churches, any true Catholic might rather hope that it wasn't validly consecrated, at least in those instances.
Has any defense ever been put forth for the Novus Ordo? A remarkable and significant fact is that only one defense has ever been put forth for it. This defense boils down to the following: "Pope Paul VI promulgated it, giving it his fullest support and approval. Since the pope cannot err concerning something so very important, it must somehow be perfectly fine, good, edifying, and valid. Who ever heard of a pope promulgating invalid or irreverent sacraments?" As I have already explained in the last chapter, Paul VI had already relinquished his and the hierarchy's exclusive claim over the Catholic Church, a significant portion of his authority, his papal role, his infallibility and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Had he been able to promulgate the Novus Ordo "sacraments" while yet retaining all of that, it would have been the End of the Church and Christ's promises to be with the Church until the end of time would have stopped cold right there.
Without that one argument, just imagine trying to defend the Novus Ordo Missae. You can't, and neither can I nor anyone else. In particular what is lacking is any semblance of a scholastic argument in its defense. All other masses said by the Church, both Tridentine as well as each and every Eastern Rite (Byzantine, Malabar, Antiochian, Monrovian, etc.) have a clear and well documented pedigree. One can easily chart their valid change as they grew and achieved final stability into their current forms.
By contrast, the Novus Ordo Missae has absolutely no precedent anywhere within the entire history of the Church. One can find a pedigree for it which goes back a few centuries, but this pedigree is of no use to those who would want to defend it since this entire pedigree takes place outside the Catholic Church. In particular, this pedigree consists of several "masses" written by Thomas Cranmer, Martin Luther, and John Calvin. The details of this pedigree have been admirably demonstrated in Cranmer's Godly Order (See Bibliography) for those who wish to know more about it.
If I have talked rather long and hard about the Mass, it is primarily because that aspect of the new Church is what has been most scrutinized and studied by the traditional Catholic community. It is also because the Mass is the sacrament most often seen in the ordinary day-to-day life of the Church. The fact is that what was done to the Mass was also done, in varying degrees, to each of the other sacraments as well. Their validity (in many cases) is also imperiled. Allow me to step through the other sacraments and point out what was done to each:
While the form and matter of Baptism are retained, many of the new priests have been taught that Baptism "welcomes the recipient to the Community of the People of God," rather than that it washes away all sin and all penalties (in the next life) for such. Since they baptize with the wrong purpose in mind, it must be presumed that the intent is not valid unless that priest has clearly demonstrated that he knows and intends "to do what the Church does," namely to remove the stain and penalty of Original Sin together with any actual sins already committed by that soul. Furthermore, since there is often little to no concern as to the validity of sacraments, they may accept as valid a highly questionable Baptism given in some other church, or even skip Baptism altogether, as happened to a large number of souls in Canada not that long ago. Other (admittedly less serious) injuries to the Rite of Baptism are:
The sacrament of Marriage, as performed in the wedding, is probably the least adversely affected sacrament as regards form, matter, intent, and minister. Where the current Vatican institution most errs with respect to this sacrament is the way that annulments have become so easy to obtain that there is never a question of whether or not you can get one. Of course you can, no matter what. If only King Henry VIII of England could have come to the twentieth century (especially in the United States where it is, by far, the worst), he could have gotten as many annulments as he wished.
Thankfully, to his credit (this being his one shining moment!) Paul VI in Humanae Vitae managed to pick up the expected morality regarding the regulation of births precisely where Pius XI left it in Casti Connubii. On the level of the local parish however, one is doing well if he is able to know that only natural methods, based on periodic (or total) abstinence, may ever be used to regulate or limit births. The "something more" which one virtually never hears is that regulating births by total abstinence for any reason or even no reason at all is always allowable, providing only that both partners willingly agree to it, but regulating births by periodic abstinence is only allowable for "serious motives ... which derive from physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife or from external conditions."
Unfortunately, the new Church has a new (and different) doctrine regarding the purpose of marriage. The Catholic Church teaches that the primary purpose of marriage is the children, not only making them but also raising them in the faith, and that the secondary purpose of marriage is the mutual help (practical assistance, companionship etc.) of the spouses. In the new Church, these two purposes are treated as being equal to each other, and several important documents even list them in the opposite order as if to imply that the secondary purpose of marriage is of more importance than the primary purpose.
The crucial words of the form and the matter of Confession in the new rites are still within acceptable limits, but intention is more of a gray area. There are two weaknesses in the New Religion's understanding of this sacrament which often injure or invalidate the intention for it, but it must be admitted that there are still many priests in the New Religion who validly absolve from sin. These two weaknesses are 1) the tendency to minimize sin in a number of ways, such as by refusing to clarify its seriousness or distinction between venial and mortal sins, to educate the penitent in knowing which actions or omissions are serious and which are not, or in the denial that some serious sins are sinful at all, a refusal to take serious sins seriously, and finally an all too generous willingness to excuse it, and 2) the tendency to see sin in terms of breaking with the Community of the People of God rather than breaking with God Himself, thus causing them to be more intent on "restoring the penitent to society" instead of bringing peace between the penitent and God.
Another innovation is the introduction of a public "reconciliation service." This service is modeled quite loosely on the new "mass," complete with the new Confiteor, the Pater Noster (Our Father), scripture readings, and a homily. At best, such a service is only a tedious, useless, and time-consuming activity which precedes or surrounds a more or less conventional visit to the confessional. At worst, it is used as a replacement for the confessional, with only some vague and virtually always invalid "general absolution" being given.
The sacrament of Extreme Unction can only be described as having been completely done away with. In, roughly, its place the "Anointing of the Sick" lacks even the most rudimentary, crucial, and essential words of the form of Extreme Unction, "By this Holy Unction may God pardon thee whatever sins thou hast committed by the evil use of sight, smell, or touch." That is like having a "mass" which omits the words "this is my body." The matter of that sacrament (olive oil, blessed by the bishop, or in some rare and exceptional cases where granted permission by the Apostolic See, the parish priest) has been replaced with "any oil of plant origin," and again the standards as to how it is to be blessed have been significantly relaxed. Beyond that, the intention is totally changed. The intent was to prepare the soul of the dying to meet its maker.
Granted, on many occasions, especially in cases where the danger of death was from injury or disease instead of old age, the recipients would frequently get better and go on to need this sacrament again the next time they were in danger of death. Now, only earthly health is thought of, and this new "sacrament" (at best, mere "sacramental") is no longer given to those who are so old they are expected to die soon. Also, this is now often done in public settings, as an adjunct of their new "mass" or "reconciliation service" instead of privately, as indicated in Scripture: "Let him call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." Such "services" are unquestionably invalid. The official priestly request for the forgiveness of sins, an essential component of every Rite's sacrament of Extreme Unction, and even mentioned in the Biblical account ("...if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him..."), is entirely missing from "the anointing of the sick."
The sacrament of Confirmation has been altered roughly on par with the mass, thus similarly imperiling its validity. The blow to the cheek with which the bishop symbolically prepared the recipient to accept blows of persecution as a soldier of Christ has been replaced, usually with a handshake or something similar. Gone from the new form of the sacrament is any clear concept of receiving the indelible mark of confirmation on the soul, but only a more vague reference to being "sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit." The old form read as follows: "I sign thee with the Sign of the Cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
In 1972, with a stroke of the pen and nary an explanation, Paul VI deleted the following steps in the reception of Holy orders: Tonsure, Porter, Lector, Exorcist, Acolyte, and Subdeacon. The essential forms for the orders of priest and bishop which Pius XII clearly defined in Sacramentum Ordinis are, for the priesthood, "Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty Father, to these Thy servants, the dignity of the priesthood; renew the spirit of holiness within them so that they may obtain the office of the second rank received from Thee, O God, and may by the example of their lives inculcate the pattern of holy living," and for the episcopacy, "Fill up in Thy priest the perfection of thy ministry and sanctify him with the dew of Thy heavenly ointment this Thy servant decked out with the ornaments of all beauty." The new forms are sufficiently different to again imperil the validity of the sacrament, and also the intention is often no longer to empower the recipient to go to the altar and offer sacrifice, to absolve from sin, and in the case of the bishop, to empower him to ordain priests to those ends.
Another point worth mentioning is the lack of any real training in the Catholic faith seminarians now receive in the seminaries. Where they used to learn Latin, Canon Law, Church History, Thomistic Theology, and how to perform the sacraments, they now learn Community building, psychoanalysis, and a new "theology" based on the writings of Teilhard de Chardin and many others who echo his ideas to a greater or lesser extent, and whose works have, for the most part, been censured by the pre-Vatican II Church while still under popes Pius XI and XII. In modern seminaries, discipline is lax, homosexuality is tolerated, and many seminarians have their faith completely destroyed. More about that can be read in the books Are Today's Seminaries Catholic? and Goodbye, Good Men (See Bibliography). The rampant spread of homosexuality among the Novus Ordo clergy has led to widespread "priest-abuse" scandals in which minor children (usually teenage boys) are seduced (recruited to homosexual behavior) by sexual predators in clerical garb. Even more scandalous has been a widespread policy of protecting these predators from the consequences of their bestial acts through various legal and other subterfuges.
The loss of reliable Holy Orders is especially dangerous since an invalidly ordained priest is no priest at all and therefore useless for all sacraments except Baptism and Marriage, no matter how well and traditionally he does them. Moreover, if a bishop fails to obtain a valid consecration to the episcopacy, he fails to gain not only the power to ordain priests and give the sacrament of Confirmation, but most importantly, he lacks the power to consecrate new bishops validly and continue the Church.
As you should now be able to see, the new "sacraments" pose a major threat to the very existence of the Church. Yet even all of that is only the beginning of the problem. There are two areas in which the Vatican institution especially departs from the belief and practice of the Catholic Church and Faith: Ecumenism and Religious Liberty. In addition to those two areas, common cause has been made with Masons and Communists, even at the highest levels. One repeatedly would hear bishops and cardinals say that we must join the Communists in their fight for "Social Justice," an ironic misnomer if ever there was one, since Communism has always been, and is by its very nature, Oppression Incarnate! Real, authentic Catholic social justice is of course poles apart from communistic "social justice" as each can quite properly and accurately be defined as a total negation of the other. Finally, the prohibition against involvement in Masonry was quite pointedly removed from the new (1983) Code of Canon Law.
In the area of ecumenism, there have been major compromises with those who reject Catholic teaching on many points. It may sound so very high minded and idealistic, the "hope that all nations, while differing indeed in religious matters, may yet without great difficulty be brought to fraternal agreement on certain points of doctrine which will form a common basis of the spiritual life," but see what a complete loss of faith hides behind those noble-sounding words! By the time you encompass all nations, there are no "certain points of doctrine" to "form a common basis of the spiritual life."
Such an ecumenicalism, expressed in those very words, is exactly what was condemned by Pius XI in the Encyclical Mortalium Animos. In it, he states that, "such efforts can meet with no kind of approval among Catholics. They presuppose the erroneous view that all religions are more or less good and praiseworthy, inasmuch as all give expression, under various forms, to that innate sense which leads men to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Those who hold such a view are not only in error; they distort the true idea of religion, and thus reject it, falling gradually into naturalism and atheism. To favor this opinion, therefore, and to encourage such undertakings is tantamount to abandoning the religion revealed by God." What the pope rightly perceived is that certain teachings of the Church have to be regarded as "unimportant" in order to make common cause with those who reject those teachings. The very notion of allowing any Church teaching to be "unimportant" is a tacit permission to hold any and all Church teachings to be "unimportant," the deepest heresy.
In the Vatican II schema on ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, it is recommended that there be a greater fidelity to the original calling of the Church, which if actually performed would be a good thing in any case. Unfortunately, the way things have worked out, this call to fidelity has been used only as a pretext for spreading a false and heretical primitivism in the Church. We would have reached other Christians best by being fully, completely, and honestly Catholic in the fullest sense of that word, and by defending rather than hiding or apologizing for the Church's impact on history. The Church has always and consistently been a force for good, for civilization, for honor, for the happiness, prosperity, and well-being of every society which has been guided by Her throughout history. We Catholics have nothing to hide, and nothing to apologize for.
Instead, the Vatican institution hides our heritage, our history, and our doctrine by gutting nearly all references to such from its liturgy and catechisms. It has become a Church without a past, all in the name of being ecumenical; it is now just like all of those other denominations which really have no past, except that it once had one and they never did. In addition, "dialogue" has come to replace evangelism all around the world in every mission field. The Vatican institution does not bother with trying to make Catholics, or even the pseudo-Catholics of the post-Vatican II variety, out of persons of other faiths. Now, it is considered enough to encourage Muslims to be "better" Muslims, Hindus to be "better" Hindus, Buddhists to be "better" Buddhists, Mormons to be "better" Mormons, and so forth.
The practical upshot of these ecumenical distortions to our Faith has been the removal of the doctrine of the Godhead of Christ. Though many Novus Ordo "catechisms" may still make passing mention of the doctrines of the Trinity or even the Deity of Christ or the Incarnation, in practice these doctrines have been systematically removed. These doctrines most of all are "offensive" to Jews who reject their Messiah, Moslems who relegate Jesus Christ to the mere status of "just another prophet," Hindus, Buddhists, and all other Pagans of all sorts to whom Jesus can only be (at most) just some other guru. The very idea of "God" becomes merely some sort of vague "great architect," at most an impersonal and ineffective balancing force of nature. That the Great God should be personal, and incarnated as the God-Man Jesus Christ at a particular time and place, and with all the authority to tell us what is right and how to live, has become just yet another part of the secular and godless world's "political correctness" which is tacitly accepted by the Novus Ordo "church."
It is fair to ask whether or not there is any possible ecumenism which might have validly been intended by a Conciliar document. The answer is yes, there is another kind of ecumenism, one that would exist strictly as a stopgap measure for enlisting the aid of souls who have serious doctrinal defects, but who do have a sincere attachment to Christ, in attainment of a goal. An excellent example of this would be the fight against the evils of abortion, a fight in which we are helped greatly by many Christians of other denominations. This is a stopgap form of ecumenism because the souls of those other Christians are still at risk of being lost due to their separation from the Church Christ founded. It can often take a great deal of time and effort to dismantle the errors which keep a soul out of the Church, or to win them over, sometimes without a word. During that time, in the interest of social order, or some other mutual concern, there certainly does need to be a protocol for getting along with them and working together for the common good. But at no point would it be right for such a protocol to confirm the heretic in their error, whether directly or indirectly, by action or omission.
The false ecumenism based on treating other religions as equals (not to be confused with treating the people of other religions as equals) is what lies at the heart of what went wrong at Vatican II. Those statements about the Church "subsisting in" the Vatican institution were intended to grant the non-Catholic religions the power to confer Grace. That is impossible, and in fact it is heretical to claim otherwise. Only the Catholic Church can have the power to confer Grace. Since the doctrinal impact of such a statement is heretical, the Holy Spirit could not have allowed such a statement to pass unless there were a way for that statement to be applied exclusively to the disciplinary realm, where it has always been possible to detach the Catholic Church from the Vatican institution.
Religious Liberty, defined as the loss of the Church's temporal authority over the secular rulers, has been taking place over the past five centuries, and so much of that cannot be blamed on Vatican II. What can be blamed on Vatican II is the fact that what few Catholic nations as still existed were de-Catholicized, even in many cases where they could have remained Catholic indefinitely. In view of the almost total secularization of the modern world, to say nothing of the American tradition of the separation of Church and State, it will not do here to cite the numerous popes and councils which have defined with great precision the role of the Church in relation to secular authority, which the new "Religious Liberty" of Vatican II contradicts. Many today have never seen how Catholic authority can function within Catholic nations, and might therefore imagine that the old popes were wrong to condemn Religious Liberty. Therefore, I prefer to defend and explain, rather than state, the teachings on this subject of the reliable popes such as Pius IX and Leo XIII.
First of all, the separation of Church and State is and always shall be a myth. Any state, that really is a state and not merely some stretch of land with total anarchy prevailing (such as Somalia), must have an authority structure and laws. There can be no authority without a purpose for that authority, and the laws it maintains and enforces are its purpose. Likewise, laws are merely ideas unless maintained and enforced by some authority. The laws of a nation must "hang together" in some sense, be at least kind of a set, and not merely an assortment of meaningless ad hoc rules.
Philosophically, the basis of Law is Ethics. The ethics of a society define its purposes and its goals, its priorities and its concerns. Human life, of at least some sorts, is commonly a priority in most societies, but only some will include all human life, others might include animal life, others, the environment, etc. Some place a premium on art and literature, others on science and technology. Some value comfort and the avoidance of all pain while others value personal strength and integrity, or even ability to tolerate pain. The list of possible variations is endless. In any society, its Law and Ethics are its art and study of carrying out its objectives.
The basis of Ethics, however, is Religion. It is a culture's religion which defines its world view. In these modern times, many make the mistake that Atheism is not a religion, but it is. What a person believes is always a religion regardless of whether one believes in zero, one, two, or many gods. The world view, or religion, of any nation which takes "Religious Liberty" as some kind of philosophical axiom instead of merely an acknowledgment of its particular incompetence in religious matters, is a world view in which "God" is merely an idea, a concept in people's heads, some figment of their imagination welling up from their unconscious. In such a world view, there is no "The God" out there in any objective sense, only people's subjective opinions about Him, Her, It, or Them. While the Church cannot be blamed if a state, on its own initiative, should elect to proclaim itself incompetent in religious matters, there is a great evil in the Vatican II mandate that "the Church" must teach that all states are necessarily incompetent in religious matters and so must therefore treat all religions on an equality basis. Such a teaching, if ever actually claimed by the Church (and not merely the Vatican institution), would make the Church (and Christ Himself) culpable and carry with it the logical implication that there is no objective standard for judging religious truths.
That world view is a religion, regardless of whether they call it such or not, which is quite alien to Catholicism, or even Protestantism or Judaism or Islam, for that matter. When the United States was being founded, its religion was primarily Protestant, with perhaps just a trace of Masonry, and in some localities such as Maryland, even Catholicism (hence the name). "America," as founded, was a Christian nation, at least in the Protestant sense of the word. Over the last forty years or so, it has gradually shed most aspects of its Christian heritage, the only remaining present vestiges being "In God We Trust" on our currency and the use of a Bible for swearing in a witness or inaugurating a president.
The American "State" has indeed separated itself from the Christian Church, but all that means is that the guidance provided to our government has gone from being that of the (Protestant) Christian Church to that of another Church. This other "Church" has no name, no parishes, no congregations, no preachers, no visibility, and no public recognition of its existence. This "Church" of the American Mindset holds all (other) churches to be equally true, in other words equally false. This Church with no name also has no catechisms and no publicly acknowledged doctrines. One just has to try to infer its teachings from the actions of those who practice it in the arena of American Politics and Law. Perhaps there are elements of Atheism, Masonry, Humanism, Existentialism, Empiricism, Rationalism, and perhaps sometimes even a vague Theism, but that is probably just a start of the list. The key doctrine of this religion which concerns us here is its denial of any objective reality of God other than its own unknown and unknowable belief, the real basis of the teaching known as "Religious Liberty."
Even a pure Atheist, in the modern western European sense, will still believe that there exists an order in the Universe, parts of which are discoverable, and that a hypothesis can be either true, by being in line with that order, or false, by being at variance with that order. On that point at least, the Atheist and the Catholic and all degrees of unbelief and belief in between can agree, while certain Far Eastern modes of thought will allow that any hypothesis can be both true and false in exactly the same way and at the same time. People who use those Far Eastern modes of thought (and their revival in the West in the form of the "New Age") have no concept of the principle of contradiction, namely that if A is true, A cannot also be false at the same time.
What the Western thinker has, Atheist and Catholic alike, is at its heart a belief in an objective reality. Such a belief is essential in the physical sciences, such as Physics or Chemistry. In those, the fundamental criteria for judging any hypothesis is the science experiment. If you mix this chemical with that at a given temperature, such-and-such occurs. If your hypothesis predicted that it would, then that hypothesis is correct and graduates to the status of a "theory." If not, then it is false and we go back to the drawing board. The experiment can be repeated as many times as one likes, with always the same results, because the chemicals, the temperature, and the chemical processes which cause the such-and-such to occur are objective realities. If they were not, if they were mere subjective experiences or opinions, then one could cause the experiment to come out any way one likes without having to change the experimental procedure.
Just as matter and energy exist "out there" as objective realities, so do God, Angels, Heaven and Hell, Eternity, and all elements of a theology. Contrary to current popular opinion, theology has every bit as solid of a foundation in reality as any other science, one which even has objective, clear, and indisputable tests with which one can determine which theology is true and which are false. Indeed, theology used to be called the "Queen of the Sciences." This is the point at which the Atheist and the Catholic part company. While both resort to objective tests to ascertain the nature of material reality, the Atheist arbitrarily refuses to admit any objective tests to ascertain the nature of spiritual reality. Where the test in Physics or Chemistry is the science experiment, or in Mathematics, the mathematical proof, the primary test for theology (as it is for Law, History, and Literature) is scholarship. Few would argue that one of the greatest scholars of all time is Saint Thomas Aquinas. Through his intensive study of every known (in his lifetime) document which could have any bearing on the study of God, he managed to be able to explain every conceivable spiritual, moral, ethical, or other religious experience of all of Mankind with an understanding as simple and clean and elegant as "E = mc2" and every bit as profound.
The American government still sets certain standards for certain things, even though such standards are being successively relaxed in many cases, and already entirely so in religious matters. For example, we still have a system by which schools are "accredited." This means that what they teach is compared against some objective standard and if found satisfactory, the schools are accredited, else they are not. (For the sake of argument I will here ignore the fact that such an accreditation process is often abused.) A school of Obstetrics which taught the "stork theory" of child delivery and which therefore sent its students out hunting birds or harvesting cabbages would understandably not get accredited, even with today's lax standards. A Catholic nation is merely a nation which applies the same standards to its religious education as this nation still applies to its medical education.
It is way beyond the scope and scale of this work to step through all of the documentation which proves that Jesus rose from the dead, and that Roman Catholicism is the only religion He founded, nor even the methods of pseudo-scholarship with which false doctrines are "proved" by non-Catholics of every sort, but rest assured that our Catholic Faith is supported by all reliable scholastic sources in a way which no other faith before or since has ever been. A good set of books to get started on for this is the three volumes of Radio Replies by Fathers Rumble and Carty, published by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc. These books contain summaries of Catholic apologetic arguments directed towards all manner of opposing doctrines. Also recommended is Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating, published by Ignatius Press, and The Catholic Controversy by Saint Francis de Sales, though these books primarily address Protestant objections to Catholicism, and these books are also published by TAN Books (See Bibliography). The Catholic Church has the right and duty to teach that Her doctrines are correct and all other doctrines therefore incorrect. This prerogative is not a product of arrogance but rightly deserved because the Catholic Church, unlike all others, has "done its homework." At the very least, it can never be the duty of the Church, or of individual Catholics, to support, sustain, or defend non-Catholic religious doctrines. Therefore, within this book, I take it as an assumed premise that Catholicism is true and all other belief systems, no matter how well meaning many who hold or even teach them might be, are false, and furthermore have been proven false where Catholicism has been proven true.
Given that Catholicism is true, it becomes crystal clear why a Catholic nation must prevent those of other religions from expounding their false doctrines. Even in the case where this effort requires the use of corporal force, such force is justified even though it may not be a pleasant thing to witness. A Catholic nation which has the guts to protect its citizens from dangerous and divisive ideas is a strong nation which can only have a bright prospect for its future. Contrary to popular twentieth and twenty-first century misconceptions, such censorship is a good and worthy thing to do. Teachings which advocate divorce are every bit as destructive to the family as pornography, if not more so. Why is it that so many Americans feel so free to censor one, but not the other? Censorship can only become ugly and dangerous by being used to silence the truth, never by silencing deceptive and stupid opinions. In any case, the Truth can never be silenced anyway.
When the Council opened in 1962, there were still many Catholic nations: In Europe there were Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and certain Cantons of Switzerland which were still Catholic in Law and not merely in demographics (such as France and Poland). In the far East, the Philippines and even Vietnam were Catholic. Several nations in Africa, especially those which were still controlled by the Catholic European nations, such as Rwanda, were also Catholic. Finally, practically every nation of Central and South America was Catholic. Even granting that several of these nations, such as Spain, Belgium, and some of the African colonies were pulling away and might have ceased to be Catholic nations with or without the Council, there remains a great many others such as Portugal, Ireland, Columbia, Ecuador, and the Philippines which would cheerfully have remained Catholic nations to this day and well beyond it as well.
What, you may ask, did the Council have to do with the loss of those Catholic nations? In "obedience" to the almost certainly heretical schema on Religious Liberty, the presidents of the Vatican Institution, or part-time "popes" if you will, approached the leaders of each of the few remaining Catholic nations and got them to sign new agreements (Concordats) to the effect that they shall cease to restrict the propagation of false doctrines. As a result, these countries are going Protestant, Communist, Moslem, or whatever. They are even ceasing to have large numbers of Catholics in them. I lay that at the door of those faithless Vatican II Council Fathers who signed the schema on Religious Liberty. How many souls will burn in Hell because these faithless "shepherds" conspired, yes I feel justified to use that strong term, to expose them to false doctrine, and that without even preparing them for it by warning everyone against it?
The Roman Catholic Church could never have done such a thing, yet in its name the ex-Catholic Vatican institution did it. To believe that the Vatican institution is still the Catholic Church is to believe that the Gates of Hell have triumphed over the Catholic Church. They most certainly have triumphed over the Vatican institution! Let us step through the Marks of the Church to see if they still apply to the Vatican institution now that it has become detached from the Catholic Church and has also embraced a New Religion:
ONE: One must admit that the Vatican institution has done a very good job at pretending to have a oneness which it in fact no longer enjoys. However, the collegiality of bishops means that bishops now vote on issues at "Bishop's Conferences," and it is a well known fact that wherever groups of people vote on issues, invariably there forms parties or factions among them. Amongst the bishops there exists "Conservative" factions and "Liberal" factions. As shall be seen later this book, there is even a Traditional (read: Catholic) faction, although it is very small, while at the other extreme there are bishops who are still pushing for priestesses even though John Paul II has, to his credit, put a stop to that notion for the time being.
The American and European hierarchies are seriously out of step with the hierarchies of other countries in granting marriage annulments to all who ask (the hierarchies of many other countries still have much more Catholic standards). One bishop in Washington State, in every way but name, had set himself up as an American pope, another in Wisconsin has made himself famous for being opposed to nearly every Catholic moral virtue. The new liturgy is said in so many different languages instead of Latin (plus the relative handful approved for the Eastern Rites), that even many individual parishes are divided between groups of different language-speaking peoples. The unity of prayer which is enjoyed by Jews in their Hebrew worship, Catholics in their Latin worship, and Muslims in their Arabic worship, is altogether lost to the Vatican institution.
Novus Ordo "believers" are also not really united to each other since most of them don't believe in being truly subject to the Supreme Pontiff. Some want priestesses while others want liturgical aberrations as yet unimagined by any Fr. Bozo and still others want homosexual marriages recognized, and many, all too many, want contraception, or even abortion. Granted, there are conservatives who still believe in the principle of submission to the Supreme Pontiff, but they are just one more small (and shrinking) faction within the Church of the People of God.
Even the publication of the new "Catholic Catechism" has failed to unify in that bishops disagree with each other as to whether to embrace it or not, and even those who do embrace it disagree with each other as to its interpretation (just like with the Vatican II documents on which it is substantially based). What is right? What is wrong? Practically every "priest," bishop, religious, or lay catechism teacher with their one-day training in "Building a Community," has their own idea, even about things long since settled by the Church. One? The pretense wears extremely thin and threadbare. They can't even keep it down to "Several."
HOLY: One good hard look at their sacrilegious new sacraments (to say nothing of the abuses they are powerless to stop), and their atmosphere of mundane, banal triviality, should confirm to any objective observer that the word "holy" does not describe the Vatican institution in any way. More "Catholics" of the Novus Ordo variety per capita have abortions than any other group of people. There is almost no more reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, even where it may be validly consecrated, since their "extraordinary" Eucharistic ministers often spill the Sacred Blood and trample it without a thought. There are no special areas set apart as holy and only for the priests, making all places equally holy, in other words, equally unholy. Finally, where the Catholic Church was started in the First Century by our Lord Jesus Christ and partakes of that holiness, the present Vatican institution defined itself into existence in 1964 and is therefore no more capable of being holy than its many and faceless founders. Need I say more?
CATHOLIC: The Vatican institution no longer even claims to be for everyone, since in their ecumenical dialogue they are obliged to accept and agree that "Catholicism," even of their strange sort (let alone authentic Catholicism), is not for everyone but only for "Catholics." They also no longer teach the entire council of God, the other meaning of "Catholic." One seldom hears about any subject which is unpleasant or unecumenical. Some topics have dropped clean away, such as the merits of the Saints, and even many of the Saints themselves. Even the Saints who remain are seldom heard of, as are Hell, Purgatory, Sin, the value of an individual soul to God (as opposed to some collectivist whole of the community), or the proper use of periodic abstinence. Explicit agreements of "non-proselytizing" have been reached between them and the schismatic East Orthodox, the Jews, the Lutherans, the Chinese "Patriotic Church," and so forth.
The entire character of their services is markedly alien to the Catholic character of the pre-Vatican II Church. Indeed, to apply the name "Catholic" to the Vatican institution is an abuse of language. They have already taken a new name for themselves, and I believe that it is just to award them their new self-appointed name in order that all may know precisely which Church is being spoken of. The name they have taken is the "People of God." They are the Church of the People of God, which does not mean that they are God's people any more than the Eastern schismatic "Orthodox" are truly orthodox in all of their doctrines (most, yes, but not all), or that "Christian Scientists" are either Christians or scientists. They want to be called the People of God, let them be called such; they can no longer be called Catholics. Another name by which they have very occasionally referred to themselves by, and by which the traditional Catholic community frequently refers to the Church of the "People of God" is the "Conciliar Church" (a term first coined by Cardinal Benelli in a private correspondence with Abp. Lefebvre), owing to its having been invented at the Second Vatican Council.
APOSTOLIC: In refusing to even try to convert those of other religions, the Vatican institution has relinquished the apostolic mission of the Catholic Church. Many Jesuit priests had suffered much to bring the gospel to the American Indians, in many cases being tortured to death by fiendish methods which only the very most savage of the American Indian tribes could even conceive of. What has it come to now? I, the author, have personally seen the Snake God of the pre-Catholic Aztecs honored in a Novus Ordo parish in my hometown. The Vatican institution has no apostolic mission and therefore no apostolic authority.
Even the succession of bishops which can be traced clear back to the original twelve Apostles is gravely threatened by the doubtfully valid new sacrament of "Being an apostle like Gandhi, Helder Camara, and Mohammed;" that has replaced the highest degree of Holy Orders which confers the episcopacy (makes a validly consecrated bishop). The new Church seldom ever refers to any document previous to the Second Vatican Council or John XXIII, and then only to defend some general point which most people would agree with anyway. Indeed, the new Church, with its new religion, has absolutely no official existence previous to Vatican II and John XXIII. It is as if some guy who calls himself John XXIII for no particular reason just comes out of nowhere and convenes some Council which he decide to call Vatican II, again for no particular reason, and from that springs into existence an entire Church, the Conciliar Church of the People of God, a Church ready to hold hands with the whole wide world and sing a song of brotherly indifference, and which has absolutely no continuity with the original Twelve Apostles. Apostolic? No.
THE CHURCH IS THE MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST: The Vatican institution on the other hand resembles not so much a shepherd with his flock of sheep as a vivisectionist with his laboratory rats. "Let's try this new liturgical experiment, whoops there goes another hundred, oh well, now let's try something else..." The Catholic Church could no more "mature" into the current Vatican institution any more than Christianity could ever "mature" into Devil worship. Remember, the Vatican institution has detached itself from the Catholic Church, and only the latter can now be the Mystical Body of Christ.
THE POPE IS INFALLIBLE: Why, then, was it possible for a translation of a liturgical prayer which teaches that only the Father is God (the Arian heresy) to receive full ecclesiastical approbation (approval of Paul VI) and to stand unchanged clear to his death, and indeed for nearly seventeen years? Why was it possible for him to change God's Divine Revelation as prayed by the Church from the very beginning? One just has to face the fact that whatever infallibility Paul VI might possibly have enjoyed at some other points of his papal (?) career was certainly not engaged when he did those things.
THE CHURCH IS INDEFECTIBLE: But the Vatican institution is not. It has defected from the Catholic faith in so many ways that the sheep are bailing in droves, like mice jumping off a sinking ship. They just can't get out fast enough as they trip over each other running out the door. It is fair to ask whether it will exist after another three centuries or so (probably not, unless they repent and return to Catholicism and re-identify themselves with the Roman Catholic Church by abrogating Vatican II in its entirety).
THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT: Clearly, the Gates of Hell have had no difficulty triumphing over the Vatican institution, now that it is no longer identical to the Roman Catholic Church. Such evil fruit is not something extraordinary, but merely the natural result of the legal and canonically established detachment of the Vatican institution from the Roman Catholic Church. The evidence is irrefutable; the verdict is in: The Vatican institution and establishment no longer constitutes the visible unity or structures of the authentic and historic Roman Catholic Church!
Any reader who has not seen any "Catholic" church other than their local Novus Ordo parish and others like it would have to admit that what I have described is what has become of their local parish. Unless you have understood and accepted the fact that your local parish is not Catholic but another Church (properly called the "People of God") you would have to feel total despair regarding Christ's promise to be with His Church always, until the End of Time. Like Jesus dead and buried, your local ex-Catholic parish is nothing but a corpse, spiritually moribund. No wonder so many are leaving. Christ's promises would seem to have proven to be nothing but hot air.
Yet despite everything mentioned above, this lengthy chapter is but a cursory overview of the many evils and scandals committed by the church of the People of God. Worst of all is the overall betrayal against the Faith by the Novus Ordo church of the People of God. Mistaking it for the indefectible Catholic Church, many have had their trust in God Himself rankly violated and shattered. How can anyone trust again? But as following chapters will go on to show, God has indeed kept His promises to His Church.
While I have you at this low and depressing pass, allow me to point out some interesting observations. A number of paragraphs ago, I stated that the test of valid theology is scholarship. That is primarily true, but on occasional and very rare instances, we have the luxury of what can only be described as a kind of scientific experiment. Nearly two thousand years ago, certain Jews and Romans conspired to see what would happen if they killed this Man from Nazareth. They found out the hard way, and have been paying for that lesson ever since. He comes back, "to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, ... the Power of God." Today, we are in the midst of another such "science experiment."
One of the great claims the Catholic Church has long and often made in its defense is that if ever they were to change the religion from that of Christ to another, there would be an outcry. It would be widespread, nay universal, as the entire Church would have been outraged at any attempt to change their faith on the part of the leadership of the Church, and well documented. Every Christian denomination other than the Roman Catholic Church has had to claim that the leadership of the Church could, out of their admitted personal corruption in certain cases, change the faith from that of Christ to something else, and no one would ever notice, or only some small few who would soon die out. At the heart of every non-Catholic but Christian church there is always the claim that "You Catholics have deviated from the religion of Christ, and we are restoring it."
Catholics have always responded by pointing out the absence of any documented evidence of any outcry which surely would have existed if the Vatican leadership were to have ever introduced any "new" doctrines or deleted or changed any "old" doctrines. Only now do we get to see before our very eyes precisely what would happen if the leadership of the Church, or at least of that which many still mistake for the Church, were actually to attempt such a change to our religion. If the Church can be so changed now, if a whole new set of sacraments and commandments and doctrines can be invented and successfully imposed on it as has happened since Vatican II, with no permanent survival of what the Church had always been before, then it could have been so changed at any point in the past, and all of Christ's promises to be with the Church until the End of Time would have to have been just so much empty talk.
Let's also take a look at another claim certain Protestants sometimes make as a way of claiming that the leadership of the Church could just change the religion as suits their purposes and get away with it: It is claimed by these people that in the era of Constantine the Church was persuaded to let in all sorts of pagan customs, so as to expand it and make it acceptable to most Romans. By incorporating such pagan customs as the worship practiced in other religions, as for example was quite vividly practiced at Assisi in 1986 when John Paul II and leaders of almost every other religion each prayed to their respective gods to bring world peace, we see now that doing that does not bring the pagans in, but merely drives the Christians out (along with practically everyone else, except for a few foolish pagans who, by their participation in the Scandal of Assisi, showed themselves every bit as unfaithful to their own ostensible traditions as to the true Gospel).
I do not want to end this chapter on such a low note. Really, you should not view your local People of God parish as just an entombed dead body, but rather as an empty tomb. Do you remember what an angel, camped at another empty tomb nearly two thousand years ago, had to say? "He is not here; He is risen!" He is risen indeed! Up until this point, all that I have done is lay down the why's and wherefore's of what many call the traditional Catholic movement, but what I call the Mystical Body of our arisen (again) Savior, the visible unity of the Roman Catholic Church!
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