I first learned of this video being a member of Fr. Morrison's e-mail list. It seemed that neither Fr. himself nor any listmember who had seen it could recommend it highly enough. Against my usual predilection against buying any videotape recommended on an e-mail list, I took the plunge and ordered a copy, and upon receiving it, viewed it. With one viewing I promptly joined the ever-growing chorus of those who cannot recommend it highly enough.
Coming, as my own Website, in 1999, it truly is the perfect complement of my own on-line book, The Resurrection of the Roman Catholic Church. It really is a case of "You've read the book; now see the movie!" Typical of any movie-of-the-book, not all subplots and details can escape the editor's cuts or the cutting room floor, and here the main omission in relation to my book is the explanation my book is able to provide as to what it is that has been really going on, why God has permitted all of this and where He is going with it. Perhaps it's just as well that the video omits that sort of material since it is not well known nor (as yet) widely accepted.
That much aside, nearly every other point my book makes is made in this video. The clear and dramatic differences between the Roman Catholic religion and the Novus Ordo religion are demonstrated in a matter of seconds, thus summing up pages of my own material in one or two short scenes. As in my book, the damage to each of the Sacraments is demonstrated, not only the damage to the Mass, although that gets the main attention as it does in my book.
The Video has virtually seamless perfection from its humble start with the ringing of Altar bells to get our attention clear to the close of the ending credits that freezes on a little girl representing the future of our Church, our children. Introductory material includes the Papal Coronation Oath, and then many short scenes, mostly from the Novus Ordo in its frequently seen abuses, interspersed with equally short scenes of the traditional Mass, and the contrast is truly stark.
The video then officially starts with the holy sounds of Gregorian chant in the background as the positive effects of the Church on all of culture, in art and music and so forth is shown, along with glimpses of how things were and a narrative describing what the Church was to all Catholics for thousands of years.
Then along comes Vatican II and all the ghosts of Luther and Calvin which has been laid to rest back at Trent are shown swirling back to life as the genie of Modernism is let out of the bottle and a new church is born. The schism between traditional Catholics and Modernists is explicitly mentioned here; it was consummated back at Vatican II.
In showing the changes brought about, the first thing focused on is Church architecture. The contrast between that which is truly Catholic and that which is Novus Ordo is again truly staggering. It really is every bit as drastic as the French revolution, which is also mentioned here. So, what is so different about the new architecture?
One significant (but difficult to see) difference is the lack of any relics on or in the altar. In the studied, artsy-fartsy funky fashions of the Novus Ordo, altars are made from wood, glass, plastic, etc. with no attempt to sanctify them with relics. This is sharply contrasted with how the Catholic Church does it, namely that there are always relics (the antimensium) on the altar, representing the tombs of the Christian Martyrs in the catacombs upon which ancient Masses were said.
One scene I found personally interesting here is a photograph of a Mass during World War II which used the hood of a jeep as the altar. A Philippine lady of my own personal and frequent acquaintance had attended such Masses herself, but what she has forgotten is that even in such difficult circumstances as that, some relic was still used (typically sewn into one of the cloths used on the altar). That made the hood of that jeep more holy than the typical Novus Ordo glass "altar," or more appropriately, "table."
Crucifixes go from having the suffering figure of Christ removed (or in some cases being replaced with a "rising Christ"), to being removed altogether, or even replaced with "plus" signs. Tabernacles get removed to places of obscurity, despite explicit orders from the Holy Office to the contrary. With the repository of Christ's Body and Blood so hidden, many stand with Mary Magdalene saying "They have taken away our Lord."
The beautiful and glorious statuary is taken out, either leaving a blank room, or being replaced with bizarre, grotesque art which only mocks or demeans the sacred figures ostensibly portrayed. Beautiful stained glass full of rich meaning, kneelers, altar rails, side altars ¾ all gone! Snippets of liturgical dance shown, and the loss of reverent dress and decorum again starkly contrasted between Catholic and Novus Ordo Churches.
In this video's one attempt at visual humor, a Novus Ordo presider (who in other parts of this video is shown making it quite clear that he is only and exactly that) is shown doing a little "limbo" dance instead of teaching about the Catholic doctrine of Limbo.
Further changes include the shortening of nun's habits, the irreverent new vestments worn, the giving away of the Papal ring and crucifix (which latter was then replaced by yet another blasphemous crucifix), the giving away of the Papal tiara, and some truly astonishing things said by Paul VI to the United Nations, to the effect that they are mankind's last hope for peace.
Dr. David Allen White is then quoted enlarging on the tremendous impact the Catholic Mass has had on classical music, as opposed to the Novus Ordo, regarding the cultural legacy of which, Dr. White is unfortunately not quoted. He had gone on to state in his speech that the only cultural legacy the Novus Ordo has given us as of yet is Beavis and Butt-head.
The video then launches into its detailed account as to what happened to each of the seven Sacraments. The material presented could have come almost straight from my fourth chapter. One tiny oopsie here is that the narrator states that the Novus Ordo reduced the stages of Holy Orders from 8 to 2, but actually it is 3 (deacon, priest, and bishop, everything from subdeacon down to porter having been arbitrarily deleted).
In discussing the Mass, it is here that Christopher Ferrara is quoted as giving Paul VI's declarations in a nutshell: "This is your new form of worship. Get to like it! The tradition of 1500 years is gone. Why? Because I think it's a nifty idea!" In order to be allowed to use that quote, the "In the Spirit of Chartres" Committee, Inc. agreed to enclose a letter from Mr. Ferrara to the effect that he did not regard the new "Sacramental" forms as being of doubtful validity.
To balance that, the Committee also included a response from John F. Arnold which responds to Mr. Ferrara's claims. Really, both of them have a point. Mr. Ferrara bases his claim on the fact that the Church could never promulgate invalid Sacraments. Mr. Arnold answers by showing where the Magisterium has already infallibly declared that the very changes the Novus Ordo made to the Sacraments would indeed imperil their validity.
How to solve that fascinating quandary? This of course is an example of what is beyond the scope of this video or its attached materials to answer, but of course the book lays it all out: The Vatican institution, by having formally and publicly and legally and in actuality renounced its former identity with the Roman Catholic Church, declaring and defining itself to be merely some organization "in which the Church subsists," has thereby ceased, as an organization, to BE the Church, and as such has rendered itself capable of doing what Mr. Ferrara correctly points out the Church could never do, namely promulgate doubtful or invalid "Sacraments."
The video continues with quotes from Gerry Matatics regarding the Sacrifices of Cain and Abel, and showing that the Novus Ordo is like that of Cain "...which earth has given and human hands have made..." and the traditional Mass like that of Abel, a point also straight from my book. The false ecumenism is briefly explored, as are the shocking statistics of decline of every indicator for growth, in the numbers of nuns, seminaries, seminarians, percentage of Catholics attending Church, and so forth. What would make the decline even more shocking and powerful would be to contrast that against the growing world population; even in those places where the total number of seminarians or nuns, etc. have held rather constant or even slightly increased, the overall population there has doubled or tripled since 1965, making the percentage significantly lower.
Only after this is it acknowledged that some Novus Ordo churches really do manage to avoid the abuses mentioned or shown in this video, but the point is still driven home that the basic changes to the ceremonies, even when done reverently enough, are truly serious and a major threat to their validity, and to the spirituality of those in attendance. It is after all those "official" changes which are at the crux of what it is that has gone wrong, not the abuses they engender.
All of that has taken place in less than 40 minutes, and yet they are just barely getting started. Having shown the difference between the Catholic and Novus Ordo religions, the important point is now made that the average ordinary Catholic has every right to attend the traditional Mass, as ordered by Pope Saint Pius V in Quo Primum, and again affirmed in 1985 by Cardinal Alphonse Stickler and a Papal Commission of nine cardinals. Pope Felix III is then quoted to good effect that Catholics have not only the right, but the sacred duty to fight the present evil by attending and supporting only the traditional Mass and those priests who do it.
Even more important, the Catholic alternative to attending the Novus Ordo (or staying at home) is then well and fairly represented, all major categories of traditional Mass shown and treated with respect, and pointed to as sources of the true Faith for those attending, and even more, as that truly faithful remnant of the Church which can never be destroyed. One clearly sees in this video the smooth continuation of the Church throughout this rough period despite the mass-defection of so very many to the Novus Ordo. There has always been a faithful remnant of the Church, ever faithful to Her traditions and sacred Faith.
Which leads me to probably just about the only thing I would have done differently. I wouldn't call it "What We Have Lost," because "We" traditional Catholics never "Lost" it. Part of the Mark of Apostolicity is that there have always been traditional Catholics, adhering to the traditional Mass, and at least some few assisting at a traditional Mass each and every single day of each and every year throughout this Conciliar and Post-Conciliar period (excepting only, of course, Good Fridays).
It is therefore, not at all a question of wanting to "go back" to some "previous" liturgical and doctrinal forms. It is rather the restoration of those eternally existing and eternally new and yet ever the same liturgical and doctrinal forms being permitted to regain the wide distribution they once had. That's one of my own main contentions, and actually it comes out here in the video as well.
Strong as all of that material of the video is, the final few minutes absolutely steal the show, with an intense and deeply moving parallel shown between the Way of the Cross, and the situation of the Church today, with the duties and responsibilities of the individual Catholic also made clear along the way. This powerful closing sequence never fails to bring tears to the eyes, even on viewing it again and again. It is exactly the point (if anything even better presented) made in chapter 2 of my book, and picked up again in my conclusion.
Some might fault this video for exaggerating the problems of the Novus Ordo by showing only some of the more ridiculous abuses that have occurred, as if the point would be lost if more "typical" or "normal" or "reverent" occurrences of the Novus Ordo were used instead. Granted the point would be weakened somewhat if that were done, but what those who criticize this video on that basis fail to mention is that the newly written "liturgy" intrinsically engenders such abuses. Really, abuses follow from the Novus Ordo just as naturally and logically as unwanted pregnancies (or contraception and abortion) follow from fornication.
Others might fault its lack of deep scholastic analysis, but really, this is a short film meant to drive home to many simple, pious Catholics, the fundamental point that the Novus Ordo religion is not the Roman Catholic religion. All of that deep scholastic analysis is available, in my book, and in many of the books mentioned in the Bibliography of my book.
This is a powerful, moving video, and like those who encouraged me to buy it, I too cannot recommend it highly enough. Some recent and upcoming events are of interest. Since its release in 1999 in the American NTSC format, it has since come out in the British and Australian PAL and the French SECAM formats as well. The producers and distributors of this video have always charged the same rates for copies of it, regardless of which format (or combination of formats), or even if it was sold to those in their home state (they absorbed the state tax in that case). Since then, they have obtained a tax-exempt status and so even their local State taxes no longer apply to them at all. It has also been slightly revised to exclude the Christopher Ferrara quote and replace it with a quote from John Vennari about Jean Guitton. Since that change (made early on), they have no longer included the letters from Christopher Ferrara and John F. Arnold. As a public service and for reference, I am keeping the Mr. Ferrara quote I discussed above, along with his letter and that of Mr. Arnold, as archives here. ISOC has since made available a special edition, expanded from 50 to 60 minutes especially for the cable TV market, and they rightfully encourage all of us to publicize the tradtional Catholic movement by helping to bring about its broadcast on many local cable TV stations. There is also a Spanish edition, and the special edition with additional footage of Dr. White at the start and end is now available on video CD.
You may be wondering why this is called "Your Webmaster's Review." It is a measure of the value and importance of this video that in gratitude and thankfullness I have so much appreciated it, and so much believe in what the "In the Spirit of Chartres" Committee is doing that I freely offered to build them their entire Website for free, and to maintain it for them. It is my free gift to ISOC, a labor of love given with all of my thanks and eager support for all that they do and stand for. I feel I cannot do enough.
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