by Pauly Fongemie
2b. WHOM DO I BELIEVE?
Now we will look at the eight groups of Catholics either calling themselves "hyphenated" Catholics, or who have earned a special designation by virtue of the need to distinguish one group from another; a "hyphenated" usage seems an oxymoron, and mostly it is, but it is the situation we find ourselves in so we better deal with it and now is as good as any:
Please be advised that any given time in any given locale or parish, one or more of the groups may not be in existence and that sometimes part of one group may "overlap" with another. Please note that not everyone who may fit the description of a category actually belongs there and there are some who do but who appear to be otherwise. In other words, because this is a very general overview, some simplification is necessary, and we need to heed the caveat about stereotyping. The purpose here is not to stereotype or "box in" individual Catholics per se, but to provide a means of becoming aware of currents of belief and practice in the Church in America and other English-speaking countries. Also be advised that when I use the terms, liberal or conservative, I am using the terms that the media have used and that are by now commonplace, so as to not add to the complexity unnecessarily. These two terms are political and so normally would not be applied.
These groups are:
Catholics without an organized aim;
2. Modernists or liberals, who seek to change the Church's hierarchical structure and Her beliefs;
3. Neo-Catholics or conservatives, who hold right beliefs but are reluctant to face facts about the theological and moral decay within Rome itself;
4. Cultic movements or secret associations that seem more traditional than liberalist;
7. Sedevacantists, whom we have already discussed;
8. Traditionalists, who are what all Catholics once were, comprising the overwhelming majority of Catholics until the last generation, period.
An examination of these segments of the population calling themselves Catholic will help us sort through the WHOM TO BELIEVE conundrum.
Cultural Catholics constitute the largest number of church-attending Catholics. There are those who are cultural Catholics but who attend Mass infrequently: I am speaking of those Catholics who are more active, since there is no point in discussing the latter as you would have little or no contact with them. Going to Sunday Mass and contributing to the support of the parish is pretty regular, born out of generations of habit, with some sentimental affiliation attached to membership in the Church. They are the ones who have been the most affected by the modernist agenda, they pride themselves on being Catholic, but who have ceased to hold the entire faith and its attendant morality, retaining but parts of it, although they do not know that they do not, of if they do, they no longer think it is necessary as they actually believe that doctrine or truth can change. Now, they may seem to fit into the liberal category, and in the practical realm, that may be the case, but they are largely unreflective and uncritical in their assessments, more taken up with the cares of the world, than the problems in the Church [the one exception being the last round of scandals which were heavily publicized by the media]. Many of them are personally pious as best as they know how, but the Catholic faith does not influence their political or social actions other than in a vague way, usually more liberalist than conservative or Traditionalist.
Just one of the results is the practice of inculturation in the Mass and other devotions. By this I mean permitting pagan and other questionable practices to be blended with the Catholic, such as the syncretism of New Age techniques, prayers taken from Hindu texts, and here in Maine, at least, among some Native American Catholics, smoking peace pipes at Mass and participating in sweat lodges as part of the liturgy also. If you are ever extended an invitation to attend one of these events, decline, or remove yourself as soon as you discover this is what is happening. Sometimes Hindu and other pagan prayers, which are from the devil, are introduced through CCD programs and at workshops. Some prayers at these workshops and other diocesan conferences are propaganda modes for the eco-pagan resurgence, prayers for saving the earth or the invocation of the elements; one of the worst I ever heard was an invocation that Heaven would be on earth for the world was so wonderful, that we would retain our bodies as they are now, that sort of thing, in other words, subversion through inversion. It can be subtle or blatant, depending on how "far advanced" into the revolution the crowd is. For instance, at a woman's conference, a prayer to Mary invoked her as the model for liberation for feminists. Later on speeches were given exalting contraception and "reproductive rights", a code word for abortion. The applause was deafening, and one of the Maine bishops was among the most approving. And this was pretty tame at the time; feminist liturgies conducted by the midwives of the new paganism: mocking the Mass, "liturgies" where the glorification of women was the "worship" were in the offing: The blasphemy so impudent that words actually fail. I do not think that a lifetime of reparation could begin to repair the insult to Heaven. One of the organizers of that hellish brew was the QUIXOTE CENTER, see below.
Many of the laity are hapless victims, caught up in a spiraling vortex of war declared on the Blessed Trinity that they can scarcely perceive and respond to as soldiers of Christ but:
The main points to remember: they attend Mass, get married in the Church, have their children Baptized, and tend not to ask enough questions about the strange going-ons in their parish, even if they should notice. Some do not want to know as the implications are too frightening to contemplate, but most of them do not know and do not know that they do not know. Tradition, as rightly understood and upheld by the Church until recently, is alien to them as they see Traditionalists, that is Catholics like their parents and grandparents once were, as a bit weird. They comprise many, if not most, of the Catholics you meet within your parish. They are a hard-sell on Tradition in its entirety because they have been so inculcated with the "spirit of Vatican II" that they are not receptive as a group.
Individuals within this body are sometimes given the grace to cooperate with grace and wake up. This is not meant to dismiss or disparage the rest, for as we, the older generation die off, they are left to the snares of the various organized movements and groups who want to change the Church; they require a great deal of patience even if they are impatient with the rest of us. They are not "organized" and they have no "agenda" in of themselves. Much of their belief-practice is based on emotional feelings and a simple pragmatism: they have mixed in a lot of Americanism and see Catholicism as a religious version of Americanism, but they are largely unaware that this is what they have done. They buy into limited families [that they and not God may decide the number of children] for the most part [meaning I know of a number of exceptions, thank God] and use contraception right along with their liberal counterparts; but most of them are no longer aware that contraception is a mortal sin. [Liberals know it is but do not care.] If they divorce and "remarry" they sometimes still come to Mass although some of them still know they cannot receive Holy Communion. Most cultural Catholics either send their children to the few Catholic schools still left, which are almost all liberal, or to the public schools. Traditionalists can set the example by home schooling but most will not follow, at least not in the beginning. Some are not in the position to do so for various reasons, which is not their fault. The overwhelming majority of them are your generation or younger than I am. Older Catholics tend to fit into the other categories, number-wise.
The liberals exploit them by giving them titles and busy little tasks once reserved for the clergy, the most egregious being in the Mass [see the Michael Davies books], and as hospital chaplains. By definition a chaplain is an ordained man, either a priest or deacon; this is canon law and Tradition. But many many hospitals have lay Catholics working as chaplains, complete with the title displayed on a name tag, in violation of Church law. Some of the laity are now in the habit of going to "confession" to these laymen and laywomen, and I have heard some of them say they prefer it. This is how deep the disorientation has wormed its diabolical path into our midst.
Modernists or liberals
This group is the smallest in actual number, but the best organized, financed, powerful one within the Church today. They were once more numerous, but they are dying off now. However, the effects of their actions live on in the perception of a lost patrimony and in the "laicization of the clergy" and the clericalization of the laity". Many modernists derive their incomes or their powers from Church positions, whether lay or clerical. Many, many of them are members of religious communities, especially nuns, and priests.
They do not hold to Tradition at all, except when it can be manipulated for a purpose, such as using obedience through Canon law wrongly applied to get us to comply with dissent or another disobedience they approve of, or the use of antiquity, which in of itself is not always part of authentic Tradition, to water down beliefs through faulty practices, as they have done with the Mass; they seek to change the hierarchical structure of the Church as instituted by Christ; truth is relative according to them and they have positioned themselves as being for "diversity", a tactic they wield just until they attain enough power within a parish or chancery, and then they are the most despotic or tyrannical, outdoing the tyranny they claim the Church hierarchy wrongly uses. They do not believe in the Sacramental system for the most part, see the laity as the source of whatever Sacraments they still want to preserve, and have no use for the Papacy as it has always been, in of itself; they actively support abortion or politicians who are abortion-supporting-----count the bumper stickers for openly pro-abortion politicians in your parish parking lot on any Sunday; cultural Catholics often do so also, but not actively and purposefully, but rather, they do so by default because the faith seldom informs their actions in the body politic. Modernists favor the homosexual agenda almost completely, remarriage after divorce, abortion rights, and contraception as an absolute right.
A disproportionate number of the leaders are homosexuals who identify themselves as "gay" or lesbian. They cynically have taken advantage of the homosexual scandals to influence other liberalized, but well-meaning Catholics to help "change" the Church, like exploiting the Voice of the Faithful operating mainly in New England. Thus they organized a propaganda campaign through VTF to expound tirelessly in the media that the issue was pedophilia, not homosexuality, when at least four bishops, and a spokesman for another, are on record as admitting that the real problem is homosexuality, since most of the cases involved teenage boys, not young children. Whenever someone says he is "gay" this means he almost always dissents on homosexuality. Chaste Catholics who are afflicted with homosexual temptations tend not to identify themselves this way publicly.
They are very diverse in the number and kinds of organizations they form; here are but a few:
CALL TO ACTION; DIGNITY; NEW WAYS MINISTRY; THE QUIXOTE CENTER; PAX CHRISTI; CORPUS; THE WOMEN'S ORDINATION CONFERENCE; CATHOLICS FOR A FREE CHOICE; WE ARE CHURCH; VOICE OF THE FAITHFUL; WATER. This last one being a variation of Wiccan-lesbianism.
Some modernists not only send their children to the liberal Catholic schools, but they teach in them, which is partly the reason the schools are so liberal. They do not care one whit about the rights of other parents who may disagree with them-----so much for the diversity they claim is their hallmark. Another hallmark is the tactic of "dialogue", the technique of using debate to "change" Church doctrine; however, the debate is always on one side only, or else the debate is closed off by ad hominem attacks. One way they accomplish this is the use of the word "judgmental": When they do not want to hear the truth, they label the defender of the Church judgmental, which is ironic because to do so they are truly being judgmental. Sometimes they employ the terms, "dogmatic" or "rigid". Recall that true judgmental attacks are the judging of the heart or intention of the person so as to condemn him as an individual. When someone calls you judgmental for upholding Catholic doctrine, he is by definition judging your heart: for stating truth cannot be a judgment as truth exists apart from any judgment you or I may might be tempted to make. If I say 2 + 2 = 4 and you say 2 + 2 = 5, one of us is wrong. I am not judging your heart, merely disputing the conclusion you drew from the facts. No one says that I am being judgmental here. Well, truth is not only mathematical.
They are skillful in the wording of phrases they use as propaganda so as to not tip their hand: when a heresy or blasphemy or error is pointed out, they say they are misunderstood, all the while knowing that we know they know we know, but cannot prove it to the bishop's satisfaction, not that he is inclined to take corrective action even if we could, in almost every case. Heads, error wins, tails, the truth loses.
Modernists have largely taken over the seminaries as clerics, the chancery apparatus as both laity [laity includes non-ordained religious under Canon law] and clerics; they head the educational posts in many parishes and on the diocesan level. They are the "fifth column", so to speak, within the center of the Church as institutionalized activity, using their positions to spread revolution, usually through "workshops" and conferences that the laity attend, and who then go back to their parishes and put pressure on the priest or promulgate revolution through parish council decisions and in catechism classes. Except when defending Holy Mother Church as a necessity before them, or because of their actions, they are to be avoided, for they are cruel, conniving, bold liars who will sap your strength and waste your time. Some of the liberals on the parish level are lukewarm Catholics who have been duped and they repeat the lies unknowing that is what they are doing. They may be more cultural-Catholic than dissenting outright: this is where one of the overlaps occur. But by and large liberals openly dissent on doctrine and morals, they know that they do so and what the Church still teaches, but are defiant.
Modernists [they like to fashion themselves as progressivists] are the new pharisees who heap regulations and rules after rules on the average Catholic who may object, thus to quell any initiative on the part of such a person and to isolate and or marginalize him. If that does not work, they forsake the thin line of respect and use the cruelty they are so skilled at exercising, usually by punishing the person in some manner, by denying a justice owed or arranging for a right to be denied. Just try passing out a pro-life petition at some parishes, for instance. Priests who uphold Catholic moral doctrine on homosexuality can be exiled to an out of the way place as a chaplain where they cannot influence parishioners. If parents object to a sex course, they can be excoriated then dismissed. Chances are the bishop will not come to their aid. Some are so scandalized they leave the parish and even the Church, unfortunately. This is what the liberals want, compliant prey to pray and obey their blasphemous, heretical, sacrilegious nostrums or if not, to leave, their faith shattered. Time was that dissenters left of their own accord, now they deliberately remain in order to destroy.
But you may ask, I thought we are not permitted to judge the intentions of another?
Recall, that we are not permitted to judge rashly, that is without sufficient knowledge and the intention must not be to cause harm to another. This does not apply to a crime. One must still have sufficient knowledge, yet have the duty to protect the innocent. One way to have sufficient knowledge is by the admission of the felon. When leveling a charge, one is not permitted to judge the state of the person's soul were he to be judged by Christ. Now the modernists are in the process of committing ecclesiastical or moral crimes against the Church and by extension every member of the faithful who have a right to justice, which includes the truth. By their own words they have revealed their intentions and sometimes by the context. We are not supposed to be stupid: God has given us reason so as to make right judgments, if for no other reason than self-preservation and to protect the innocent. One example that includes both aspects occurred in my presence: a dissident nun who was an activist for the lesbian cause gave an address to an assembly of the faithful in which she boasted that as the vocations director for her order, she deliberately discouraged novices, saying she "wanted a vocations crisis, so the laity will have to do it." In the same speech she called Pope John II "the enemy of gays and lesbians, we need a new Pope." The thrust of her speech, too long to quote at length, but which I possess in my files, was that the hierarchy had to go, celibacy was very bad and oppressive, that a lay-centered Church was needed, among other atrocities. Her speech was a rallying cry for revolution against the Divine order. This is a crime of sheer perfidy. I had no trouble naming her in my documented report to the Ordinary of our diocese, who at the time was ill. He passed the report to the Auxiliary bishop who was the one who applauded the feminists in the example above, so he did nothing, urging me to become more liberal myself. I have no regrets and have no fear before Christ my judge on this account. Given the circumstances it was my duty under pain of serious sin. I had given my original report without names, innocently being a bit scrupulous and the Ordinary wrote back requiring me to submit the names.
But let us proceed to the methodology of the revolutionaries:
If you object to a liturgical abuse, the modernist usually demands that you show them in Church law or some document where it says that they cannot do it. This puts the typical Traditionalist at a disadvantage if he fails to recognize that when someone is making a claim against Tradition and even common sense, the burden is on the dissenter, not the Traditionalist. All you have to do is ask the modernist to show where it says that he may or even must exercise the abuse. Almost always this puts the onus back on the dissenter and he is caught off guard. Believe me, if there was such a document or a written rule on his side, the liberal would be waving it around with much fanfare. We have to be wise and clever when dealing with the foe, but not in a sinful manner. Christ is the rule. When He was on trial, He was asked if He said that He was the King of the Jews. He never denied it, but merely said to His accuser: "You say that I am." In other words, the "crime" [as they saw it] of "claiming" Kingship had to be proved by them. He was direct but not directly provocative.
Liberals have contempt for Tradition but not necessarily for the Catholics who uphold it, as they respect the persistent fidelity of Traditional Catholics, recognizing dedication and passion itself, since they, too, are very dedicated. However, this respect is thin because their crueler instincts can dominate depending on the individual and the situation. They will amusedly tolerate the Traditionalist, just until he becomes a thorn to pry lose. Many, if not all, diocesan newspapers are infected with modernists and or much of their thinking. Most cultural Catholics do not read these papers, a point in their favor, so the liberals primarily write for themselves as an adjunct to the secular papers and the prevailing trend of paying lip-service to religion in general, while practicing apostasy. Unfortunately, because it is a diocesan paper, the priests think they ought to read it and much mischief is spread this way. Two of their nationwide periodicals are the NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER and AMERICA Magazine. Their electronic media are all the secular networks, period. As well financed and organized as they are, if they thought they needed a cable channel, they would have one, believe me. They have no need as the mass media are their unsolicited sycophants. Non-Catholic foundations and wealthy individuals who have either atheist or non-Catholic and liberal goals sometimes finance various endeavors promoted by modernists, such as with Catholics for a Free Choice.
One more warning, some modernists are wont to introduce the ENNEAGRAM into parishes, a pagan form of personality identification. Stay away: Satan can burrow into the tiniest of crevices and inhabit one's mind, thereby to infest the soul. At the very least you would be tempting God with the presumption that He will protect you even though you dabble in novelty. The popularity of the ENNEAGRAM appears to be waning as other nonsense comes to the fore in modern man's vain attempt to seek fulfillment in anything that magnifies himself. At the very least, what is someone who represents the Church doing promoting personality enhancement? Why not just as well promote the horoscope, color coordindation in fashion tailored to personality and the like? The ENNEAGRAM has nothing to do with advancing growth in holiness, no matter what the people involved with it pretend or have been taught to repeat. I liken it to the ouji board: it is said that this is a harmless game, yet some have had strange things occur to them after being involved with it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church warns us about this sort of thing, including fortune-telling. Why would any practicing Catholic with a regular devotional life seek after a "spiritual or psychic personality" enhancement technique disseminated by Catholics who are not Traditional and even anti-Traditional? By nuns known for their attachment to liberal causes? And why are they not spending their time with the "better things" like good religious? I have never met a Catholic who became involved with the ENNEAGRAM who was a better Catholic afterwards, but seemed to be more modernistic than ever, less inclined to defend what little Tradition they claim to believe in. Stay away or extricate yourself from it if you are involved now!
Modernists also use ridicule, but they are not so good at this, believe it or not, as is the next group:
Neo-Catholics or conservatives
This group is the next largest in number, comprising between a fourth to a third of the typical parish; they are primarily middle-aged and older. They identify themselves as Traditional Catholics: the designation of "neo-Catholic" was formulated by some Traditionalists who wanted to distinguish one kind of Traditional Catholic from another, much like traditional conservatives are called conservatives, while the latter day conservatives interested in American intervention are called "neo-cons". Chris Ferrara, in his book, THE GREAT FACADE, dissects the phenomenon of neo-Catholicism under a penetrating microscope. I recommend that you purchase it as it is an invaluable tool for any Catholic trying to makes sense of things. I use the term "phenomenon" not to be sensational, but carefully, intentionally. Since this group identifies itself as Traditionalist, in that sense there can be said to exist an overlap, but only in that sense. For neo-Catholics are the biggest obstacle to many otherwise good, faithful Catholics waking up all the way and seeing the debacle as it really is. They are the best ally the enemy has.
Because, as the saying goes, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Orthodox in belief and morality, staunchly pro-life, personally pious, they either despise or strongly disapprove of Traditionalists, whom they characterize as "schismatic" and "integralist", a vague term that sounds officious but is meaningless, and yet fools a lot of otherwise orthodox people into shutting up and making sure they hobnob with the "right-thinking Catholics", meaning the non-liberal popular ones. Their position is this in a nutshell: The bishops are lax in their duty, some have apostatized even, but if the Pope "allows" any deviation from authentic Tradition, then we must be silent and accept things. The indefensible suddenly becomes defensible, intensely so. They are in error about the limits of infallibility and thus accord no blame to a Pope, even though as Church historians some of them know better. If a bishop allowed altar girls it was bad, very bad, but if the Pope does, it must be okay and they make any excuse they can, including making things up as they back track. It would be comical except it is so sad and pitiful. And when I say this I am not mocking them, I am just very disappointed, because most of them are so good in every other way. Because they are willing to forsake any criticism of the Holy See for the sake of an erroneous sense of loyalty, some neo-Catholics have uncritically fallen into error by rationalizing a Vatican prelate's statement that "the Jews no longer have to convert." Those who have done so accept this heresy as dogma, thereby abandoning the Jews they should have abundant charity for, that supernatural charity that yearns for their coming to Christ, their Redeemer.
Neos operate on the basis of fear, although this is largely sub-conscious on their part. Down deep they know the extent of the "diabolical disorientation" but refuse to believe that the corruption is as far as the Vatican, or if it is, it is not as entrenched as deeply as it is, even though Our Lady of Salette warned that "Rome would lose the faith". But how can I possibly know this? I was one of them for almost 15 years. I had right beliefs, but I did not have all the facts, that is I was unwilling to draw necessary conclusions in accord with right reason and with the eyes of faith with those facts I did grasp. When the late Fr. Malachi Martin provided me with all the facts, I lashed out at him, "killing the messenger because I could not bear the message." He was very kind and patient with me and never struck back in anger, but continued to be firm about the truth. Eventually God gave me the grace I needed to cooperate with the graces He had already provided through precious souls like Fr. Martin who once worked for a Vatican bishop and was the author of many books on Catholicism, such as THE JESUITS, and Michael Davies, the Catholic chronicler of the Mass and its history, among many other important works, and who also befriended me. Then, through the pro-life movement I met Traditionalists who suddenly started to just seem to be there for me. I attribute this to the intervention of God, Divine Providence bending down to earth with a guiding hand. The situation was by then so rotten in the Novus Ordo establishment that I woke up from my fear-induced stupor and faced facts head-on. I also know many Catholics just like me who are also Traditionalists-----they went through the "neo phase", too.
On some deep level neo-Catholics know that if they bring themselves to be thoroughly honest, then they have some difficult decisions to make, that their lives might be so disrupted that they risk losing their friends, or positions, etc. They are much attached to human respect and its comforts. This is what happened to me, but once I worked up my courage, God permitted me new and better friends whom I cherish as gifts from Heaven. Neo-Catholics stand for the truth, yet fear the consequences of the conclusions they would have to draw, in fidelity to truth. Fear is one of those powerful emotions that can cause people to act uncharacteristically and this is what is happening in much of this crowd: they attack Traditionalists, more intensely than they confront the actual enemy. I will give you an analogy drawn from childhood, which is apt because they tend to behave immaturely:
We all know that when a young man still in adolescence is "sweet on a girl" he is teased by his friends and associates at school. Rather than maintain silent patience, thereby acquiring more virtue, he sometimes hurts the girl he really likes, behind her back, by making some slight of her, to show the others he isn't "Sweet on her", even though he really is. His righteous anger [with controlled patience and stoicism] should be directed at the injustice of bullies mercilessly taunting him, but he directs it at the innocent girl because he is yet to be the man that he will become.
This is what is happening in the Church: the Traditionalists have become the "straw men" to knock down because it is easier than face facts that need attention. They also use another psychological device, that of positioning, that is, creating a non-existent extreme to counterpoint the real enemy, thus making themselves out to be the only "true" Catholics, "moderates". Of course this is an illusion because it is manufactured and moderation is not always a virtue as not just any middle way approach is valid. Let's briefly look at the term "extreme": We human beings have a habit of calling our opposition extremists, so as to dismiss its views as not worthy of discussion or consideration: we attack them as individuals or as a group, not their views. This is very American, unfortunately. Political exchanges are conducted almost exclusively on this basis. It isn't that a particular person who is called an extremist isn't or that some who are not called this are not, only that "extreme" must be in relation to another position that is righteous and valid, and applied with human reason, conforming to reality. For instance, if you were drowning, would you want a fairly good, middle-of-the-road swimmer or an extremely skilled swimmer to rescue you?
Truth by definition and its very essence is extreme, because it is exclusionary, it excludes error, and by American standards, this is considered extreme, in the pejorative sense. The same with actions and practices. For instance, I am a practicing Catholic, not a Saint, just a regular sinner hoping to do better. But a liberal I know thinks I am a "fanatic" or extremist because I still uphold the Friday penance, year round. Actually this is mandated by the Church, the abstinence from meat aspect being mandatory only on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. In other words, we can substitute another penance on all other Fridays. I am just following the law and for that I am a "fanatic", her word. So we have to get out of the habit of just accepting every application of the term "extremist": we have to know who is saying it and what their own position is, not just accept the term uncritically. For instance if that liberal had called me a fanatic because I whipped myself into a bloody mess every Friday, instead of refraining from meat, she would have had a point.
Neo-Catholics view modernists and Traditionalists as equally extreme and thereby wrong. The media does the same with pro-lifers and abortionists-----positioning them as equals at opposite poles, as if their moral positions could be balanced on a double sided scale. Well, we know this is false as there can be no right to kill an innocent person deliberately. To uphold the sanctity of life is not extreme, it is just plain human, natural; the claim that one has a positive right to kill is extreme, most extreme. If I said some abortion is okay, the moderate approach according to Americanism, would that really make me a virtuous Catholic operating in moderation? Of course not! Well, you get the idea . . .
Neo-Catholics by and large see the Traditionalist position as Schismatic, that is, they think that Traditionalists do not accept the authority of the Holy Father, which is what Schismatic means in its most fundamental form. Again this would be comical if we wanted to poke fun at them, which we do not. We want to help them wake up and for this we want to understand them and how they perceive us so as to reach them. Almost every Traditional Catholic I know has written to the Holy See to use its authority to curb abuses, to no avail, but we wrote and wrote and wrote until we saw that it was useless. But at least we tried. Now, simply put, if we denied the rightful authority of the Pontiff, would we have made all that effort to ask him to use it? Their position that Traditionalists are Schismatics is irrational on its face. Neo-Catholics are not thinking when they make this false charge. But the charge sticks like a wet noodle to a pot because most people do not think critically and the minute the term "schismatic" is thrown about, most Catholics flee, as if from the plague that they see Traditionalism as. And of course that is the aim of the neo-Catholic: to label, disparage, thus to dismiss our claims because they are too fearful to examine them in earnest. The-----if you are "bad", then, your claims must be wrong-----psychology.
Neo-Catholics also have some power, they have national press and media outlets, such as CRISIS Magazine, THE WANDERER, a weekly newspaper, and EWTN channel, among many others, such as ADOREMUS Bulletin. EWTN is also an outlet for the Charismatics and OPUS DEI, both of whom are described below. One of their primary lay organizations is CATHOLICS UNITED FOR THE FAITH. The neo-Catholic periodicals do not enjoy much respect from the modernists because the liberals, at least, are smart enough to know the weakness of the neo-Catholic position and that in the end the neo-Catholics will give in as long as the Pope does not stop some abuse by approving it rather than using the discipline to stop it. In other words they are paper tigers, who devise excuses when the Holy See rewards disobedience and dissent. A prime example is the recent encyclical that was due out on the liturgy. The original draft would have stopped many of the abuses at Mass, but the American bishops so complained [they are all liberals, with four exceptions] that the initial draft was watered down; they complained again, so the final draft [some time in 2004] will be merely a restatement of earlier documents that had no teeth to them, for much the same reason. I recall when the encyclical was first proposed in the Catholic media. I know some neo-Catholics very well and they got all excited. I told them they were wasting their breath and that their hopes would be dashed as the new encyclical would go the way of all modern encyclicals, into the dust-bin of history never to be seen again, except when useful tools for liberal propaganda. One said that I "was gloomy".
This is the third tactic of dismissal this group employs to avoid facing facts. Like the pejorative, "extremist", the word, "gloomy", is applied as a form of dismissal. Gloomy, in what way and in reference to whom? This ought to be the natural reaction for a thinking person, but many Americans are no longer in the habit of thinking as they ought to, thanks to universal, dreary public school indoctrination and the mass media with its easy slogans and quick sound bites from which one is supposed to distill what is important, but which only serve as distractions. So, when someone uses the word "gloomy" to describe a Traditionalist, we might be tempted to slink away into the social banishment prepared for us. Catholics who are true soldiers of Christ must not be put off by this sort of remark, simply because it is not true. If someone is truly gloomy, and this is usually due to temperament, which in of itself is not a sin, he dwells only on the darker side of matters almost to the exclusion of brighter realities. But this is not the typical Traditionalist I know, or the typical any kind of person I know, apart from those so temperamentally predisposed, who are a minority. When the neo-Catholic calls a Traditionalist "gloomy" he means "I do not want to deal with this matter, but I can't admit it to you or to myself." Down deep my conservative friend knows his hopes will come to naught, as they have repeatedly, but he was irritated with me rather than with himself. Anyway, we went on to discuss more pleasant matters, hardly a dwelling on gloom and doom. I expect to see him by the time the designated-for file-13 document is issued, and he will raise the matter again. He is one of the few "neos" that can admit he was wrong, and apologize, as he always does, with grace and charm. I have tried to persuade him to extricate himself out of the neo-Catholic camp, but he is not quite ready. I can be patient. He is an "over-lapper"------his close friends are both Traditionalists and neo-Catholics, but his endeavors keep him with the latter much of the time and he is genuinely confused, but only for now.
"Conservatives are indispensable to the revolution, for they supply the inertia which sustains its momentum until the new orthodoxy can be locked into place. Religiously correct rather than religious, in the U.S. they are direct spiritual descendants of those cultores fidei who dutifully imbued generations of Catholic school children with Americanism. Lending a semblance of stability to change, they actually serve to accelerate it. In the final analysis they do not subscribe to Catholic tradition at all, but to that "living tradition" which was hatched in the Council's decree on revelation and which is nothing more nor less than the generally accepted ecclesiastical status quo of the moment." [Solange Hertz, ON THE CONTRARY, Veritas Press, p. 76.]
This category is more difficult to capture, not only because their numbers are impossible to calculate, since they are either both insular and changing, and because some operate secretly and sometimes deceptively. Various groups rise up and then disband. They are not groups properly speaking, but organized movements that filter Catholicism toward a special kind of spirituality or religious enthusiasm. Actually they are not categories of Catholics, properly speaking, but their influence is such and the focus so extensive for each movement or association, that it is necessary to mention them briefly.
These movements are organized around a figure of singular charisma or other power or attraction and seem to ebb and flow on the fortunes of that person; sometimes the organizing principle is not a person but a certain type of spirituality. The ones that are not based on secrets per se are those that center on Marian movements that arise from non-approved or questionable "appearances" of Our Lady. Strictly speaking these are subsets comprising members from all but the liberal camp, who have gone to extremes by putting their efforts into promoting these questionable causes, so much so that Catholicism is identified or has the effect of appearing thus by the "prophecies" connected to the unapproved "appearance." One such cult was Our Lady of Scotsdale, which may have dissolved by now; another was Bayside, whose leader is now dead. I have not heard anything about them for some time. I do not know about the Scotsdale prophecies, but the Bayside ones were proven to be bogus. Scotsdale was never declared of supernatural or Divine origin, at the very least. There are so many of these springing up now. Whenever the Church is weakened by sin and laxity a vacuum occurs and people are inclined to cling to something they think they can count on. This is just human nature. So spurious Marian appearances fill the void for many such "dislocated" persons, who are personally pious but easily deceived because they lack discernment, and this is what is happening today at a frightening pace.
The aftermath of the Second Vatican Council created a serious crisis of authority within the Church. The ordinary faithful have not received unequivocal teaching and guidance from the hierarchy to which they have a right and had been accustomed to in the past. Cardinal Ratzinger noted:
". . . that individual bishops have abdicated their authority to national episcopal conferences which, only too often, have been manipulated into propagating the opinions of so-called theological experts of dubious orthodoxy. Parish priests frequently abdicated their authority to parish councils, and Rome itself has sometimes appeared to speak with an uncertain voice. But certainty is what the faithful seek, and when they do not receive it from the Magisterium they will seek it elsewhere." [Michael Davies, MEDJUGORJE, A WARNING, Remnant Press, p. 1]
The best known and largest in membership of such false Marian apparitions is Medjugorje.
The bishops of the locale's diocese have investigated it at length and declared it not to be of Divine origin and specifically requested the faithful not to organize pilgrimages there, but this warning has been ignored. Today there is a veritable Medjugorje industry and hundreds of websites dedicated to its promotion. Rome has not issued an official declaration as of January, 2004, but has left the matter to the Yugoslavian bishops.
In brief, the seers have repeatedly contradicted themselves, do not appear to have reformed their lives, the heresy that all faiths are equally good for salvation is taught as coming from the lips of Our Lady, a blasphemy! If this was true, imagine the waste of the bloody Sacrifice on the Cross while she kept watch and a sword repeatedly slashed her sorrowful heart! The bishop has been slandered because he did not approve of the going-ons. The messages about fasting that are supposed to be so integral to the apparitions are already in the Bible and in the Magisterium. Then there are the banalities that cannot be attributed to the Mother of God without insulting her, much like the banalities uttered by the Charismatic "prophets", one of which you will find below.
But you object,
so many people who went there and have had conversions, healings, etc."
Some of it is pure fraud, which is kept hidden by the organizers and directors of the much-vaunted serial apparitions. A few have visited there and come home renewed in their faith. But remember, God can effect good from evil. If someone experienced a conversion while a passenger on a plane being hijacked, would you then say, "Let's have experts hijack planes so there will be many conversions"? No, you would not and it is the same with Medjugorje.
This type of phenomena is nothing more than seeking after visions for the sake of doing so, to find a faith outside the ordinary means of Divine Revelation. By this I am not referring to the acceptance in humility of a Church approved and promoted apparition or mystic. I am speaking only of those apparitions that have been determined to be fraudulent or not of Divine origin, if not deliberately deceptive, and the insistence by Catholics to disregard the findings. As St. John of the Cross teaches: "This power of the evil spirit reaches very far. He can foretell pestilence, earthquakes, Divine punishments, death; all with at least a high degree of probability. From the fact that sometimes the predictions are actually fulfilled, however, we must not hold that their Divine origin is thereby proved. Often such are nothing but diabolical divination." [Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book 2, Chapter 21.]
A Traditional priest offers this advice: "In our post-Conciliar era, Satan is really busy sifting the Hierarchy, clergy and laity. Millions have fallen away from the true Faith. None of us mortal people are free from the tricks, temptations and allurements of Satan. In order to save ourselves from falling into his trap, we have to be alert and use traditional means of salvation. St. Peter had his reason when he warned his disciples: 'Brethren, be sober, be watchful, for your adversary, the devil, like a roaring lion goes about seeking someone to devour. Resist him steadfast in the Faith'." [1 Peter. 5: 8-9]
An example of the second kind of movement in this category is the much controversial OPUS DEI. Membership is growing, although some have left when they wake up to the cultic mentality that keeps a hold on them. Now the term cultic has two meanings, one positive, meaning worship, but we are using the term in its not so positive sense, meaning mind control. They have much influence in their way among both the neo-Catholics [less so] and the cultural Catholics who are searching to be better Catholics [more so]. They are international, have a prelature from the Vatican, that is an honorary title of approval from the Holy See in recognition of the work undertaken by a priest. In this case it was founded by a Monsignor Escriva, who is now dead and has been canonized. I presume he had good intentions that went awry later. Ironically the Vatican guidelines on cults helped to bring to light the questionable tactics of this group, but such is the state of affairs in Rome that what she gives with the right hand, she takes away with the left more often than not. Among these are:
The use of "love-bombing", that is overpowering techniques that employ affection and the use of flattery; memorized answers like slogans to honest questions, outright evasions or conflicting answers; the demand to unquestionable surrender to the leader; not telling family members about the methods used; the separating for a long period of time recruits from their families; relentless recruiting which almost seems like the main purpose, rather than salvation, almost like a chain letter. As I understand it, the original idea was to sanctify work, but there has been so much controversy surrounding OPUS DEI that I suggest being very wary if you are ever approached by a recruiter. A number of priests are members, and they are in the neo-Catholic camp, but most are lay people, many of them young and fresh out of college. This is a an over-simplification, but I just wanted to touch on this organization as a caution.
There is a third movement to be careful of, which I placed here because I do not know where else to put it: Worldwide Marriage Encounter. At first glance it looks very good, the enrichment of marriage, and who could be against this, right? Well, guess again. The methods are dubious and seem to work for those couples who want a fuller appreciation of their spouse on a sentimental, emotional level. My husband of 37 years and I did not know what we were getting into several years ago when we joined. We left within two weeks when we saw the spiritual "unveiling" that was mandated, and the invasion of privacy. Couples are expected to write love letters to each other, then share them with the group. I am not making this up. This is not Catholic. Heck, this isn't even normal, even if you are not Catholic. There was no help for couples who were struggling with issues of faith and the challenges of modernity and other such matters, which would bring a couple many graces and much closer in the way God intended for marriage. Too much expectation was on feelings and validating the other for the sake of validation; it seemed to us that the methods and the process kept you so busy you had less time for traditional devotions. I do not know if the techniques are the same now in 2004 than they were in the 1970s, but my advice is to avoid this movement. A few of the couples we knew are still happily married-----you have to have a good marriage to be eligible-----but some of them are divorced and have even left the Church. Of course that could have happened even if they had not joined, but it sure did not help either. The entire time I felt like I was infected with a Satanic type of pestilence and wept often and almost suffocated I felt so unCatholic and so personally violated, spiritually. As soon as we disassociated ourselves, those feelings went away. A priest heads up each encounter and there are more experienced couples who give the presentations which take place over a weekend retreat, with group meetings later. During the introductory weekend couples were expected to live as brother and sister for the weekend; it was not the self-control, which is easy for couples who are married through the grace of God, because you are married for the right reason in the first place, it was the technique of separation, in of itself. Mind-control or emotional-laden movements that promise self-fulfillment or empowerment tend to use separation first, then total group immersion, as part of their methodology for a period of time. When we joined we were still in the neo-Catholic phase, although that term had not been coined back then. I have no idea who joins now or who they appeal to, although all the local parishes have members and recruit in the parish bulletins and with posters and Marriage-Encounter Sundays. Dedicated couples have decals to place on their car window or front door. Each couple is assigned a prayer couple and each paired couple prays for each other, the only good thing I could see. Our team couple must have prayed very hard because we received the grace to escape in the nick of time! I got the idea they see themselves as super-couples. I know of one couple that still holds hands while receiving Holy Communion together as a couple, not two separate people, so to speak, which seems odd to me, although they are a very nice couple and most sincere and dedicated as Catholics. Receiving our Sweetest Savior in Holy Communion is the only intimacy that should occur at that time, not intimacy between husband and wife.
Charismatic Catholics are a special breed, if you will; they self-identify as Charismatic Catholics, although Charismatic spirituality [I call it charismania] is not Catholic at all. The phenomenon began in the 1950s with some Protestants. Essentially this form of spirituality-----note, I do not say worship-----consists of prophecies derived from "speaking in tongues", empowerment through the Holy Spirit [usually just named "the Spirit"], "being slain by the Spirit", "healings" and a lot of emotion, shouting, and physicality while in this frenzy. All of this takes place on a continuum, some Charismatic religiosity being rather low-key while others go so far as to exhibit the kind of emotional activity described in CLOSEUPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT by John Vennari. You can purchase it HERE. [As of January, 2004.] The movement has the approval of the Vatican, calling it the "fruits of Vatican II." Now, approval for an entire movement is strange, because movements are changing phenomena and depend on cult personality for much of the definition. Approval for such a changeable entity, that might not retain the same attributes after the approval was granted, is unprecedented and defies authentic Tradition, not to mention common sense.
There are at least 30 major websites and many, many books dedicated in some form to this movement, and these are only the so-called Catholic ones. I use the adjective, "so-called" deliberately because the roots are Protestant and many of the conferences are headed or co-headed by Protestants. One of the more prominent magazines published by Charismatics is NEW COVENANT, which is mild compared to what goes on at some of the conferences, probably because the editors are not as extreme as the frenzied crowd. Ironically some of the Protestant websites are blatantly anti-Catholic. Catholic-bashers disguised as friends.
But you counter, "I thought speaking in tongues and healing are in the Bible?"
Indeed, they are. But as all our understanding on or about Scripture must originate with the Church, based on Apostolic Tradition, we need to know what the Church has always taught about the charisms [extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, extraordinary because they are given to a select few by the ordained will of God] of the gift of tongues and healing.
When those Apostles were given the charism of tongues at Pentecost, it was for evangelization, not power and spiritual frenzy: By speaking in tongues, the Church means that the person with this charism, can either understand other real languages and or dialects once unknown to him, or can speak in other languages that he previously could not, for the sake of evangelization, to convert large numbers of people at one time as happened at Pentecost, when the Apostles received tongues of flame that descended upon them. This did not last indefinitely and was not a continued charism as the Church grew and had adherents in every language. This gift is sometimes referred to as Glossolalia.
The "speaking in tongues" that occurs at these charismatic revival sessions and/or Masses is entirely different. It is an unintelligible gibberish, not valid languages or dialects, and the same stock phrases, consisting of poly-syllabic sounds, repeated over and over in different patterns of six that in turn form a pattern, and the people caught up in the hysteria follow suit. Then since it is obviously a sham, someone who claims the power of prophecy has to "interpret" for the duped. In order not to be proven a fraud later on by actually making a real prophecy-sounding pronouncement, which could be later disproved, that person usually says some banal, regularly occurring ideal or action or otherwise readily known prescription, such as "God wants us to love one another." It takes all that gibberish for this? It is not banal that we are to love one another as "He has loved us", but it is, to use this method of bringing it anew to our attention. The danger is that in the hands of a major huckster who wants to lead Catholics astray, the interpreted prophecy could be a heresy, etc. A local priest, now deceased, who was in charge of a center that let out the hall for these activities finally realized how phony it was and warned me away from them. He was later transferred and I do not know if he ever stopped the scam.
I attended twice. Both times were Masses where the people lined up to be "slain in the Spirit." This consisted of the priest praying over the person until he or she was so overcome by "the Spirit" that the person fell into a swoon and was "caught" by two others standing just behind. The "catchers" had taken turns swooning prior. I and a friend were the only two attendees who did not swoon. The first time no one said anything, but the second [and last] time the priest became angry with me and said I was not trying hard enough and tried to scare me into swooning almost as if he would be shamed if he "lost" someone. I was so shocked and horrified I never went back, thanks be to God. This sort of thing is pure emotionalism and serves no purpose for salvation. I went to see the center priest I mentioned for discernment. The Charismatic priest, who behaved as I have described, was once a very good Traditional priest, but he changed dramatically after he got involved with the movement, becoming liberal in his views, and for now, at least, appears lost.
Let's stop and think for a minute, think as Catholics: We receive the power of the Holy Ghost when we worthily receive the Sacraments, in a most character forming way when we are Baptized and Confirmed and when priests are Ordained. When we make a novena to the Holy Spirit or otherwise honor the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, or call on Him, we also receive His grace, and so forth. We have no need, and ought never to think that we have such a need, to be demonstrative in a public manner about this. Confirmation is public, of course, but there is no frenzied group think-action or emotional demonstration. The reception is interior only.
Now as for healing, yes, God does will that some persons are healed directly by Divine intervention. Usually there is no way to prove it if the illness or condition was not deadly or intermittent to begin with. Claims of healing that require proof are those that involve the intercession of a proposed Saint and are provided for the canonization examination before Sainthood. The claims of healing of major cures at these Charismatic events, especially at the hands of a Protestant ranting, even screaming, "Be healed", "I command you to be healed . . ." at the person are questionable at best. Perhaps the person thinks he was and is sincerely claiming it. But I advise you stay away altogether and be very skeptical about any claims. It is the fruit of Vatican II, for certain, the false spirit of ecumenism. Because of its emotional component it has a huge power over many individuals who forsake thinking like Catholics almost entirely. Lesser manifestations can be seen in some Catholics who are not Charismatics in of themselves but have copied the expressions of their fellow Catholics who are, such as holding hands at the Our Father, raising their hands and standing at Mass, etc. There is no liturgical directive requiring these forms of participation, by the way. Of course there is none saying they cannot do this, so people think they ought to or can. There is no liturgical directive saying that either I can or cannot chew gum while the priest delivers his sermon. Whenever we catch a glimpse of someone who does, we know it is wrong. It should be the same with hand-holding, but we seem to have lost our Catholic sense along with our common sense.
Just as some Catholics have sought certainty in fraudulent apparitions, some have sought the same certainty in the Charismatic movement which renders the Magisterium unnecessary, as each individual Christian can "communicate directly with the Holy Ghost" and thus bypass the teaching authority of the Church. No matter how sincere, misguided yet well-intentioned many of them seem to be, the movement is Satanic at its core. The devil can disguise himself as an "Angel of Light." The devils are legion and confusion is the sign. Recall in the Old Testament how the Tower of Babel came to be------punishment for pride. Charismania is a manifestation of the modern Tower of Babel and swine inhabited by demons. Some of the Charismania involves runting around like pigs and squealing, I am not kidding! Mr. Vennari has documented this in his well-researched book. Avoid their meetings and conferences and liturgies as if you were fleeing to save your soul, because you will be.
Some who identify themselves as Traditionalists are actually Schismatic.
A Schismatic is someone who retains his Catholic beliefs almost entirely but who no longer submits to the Holy See as the authority given by Christ. Schism [Greek: schisma, to split] is a separation from the unity of the Church, from communion with the Church, from the head of the Church or from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Pontiff.
The Eastern Schism was a series of disagreements, quarrels and breaks which led up to the severance of the Eastern Church from the Western Church. The assumption of power by Photius in the 9th century caused one break. The schism of Cerularius in the 11th century was another. The disagreements came to a head with the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The Council of Florence  had affected a brief reconciliation but political pressures on the Eastern Church by the Turks led to a final and complete break in 1472 when Constantinople withdrew from the Church. The break has hardened over the years and it was not until Vatican Council II that a serious attempt was begun to explore reunion.
The Western or Great Schism was not really a Schism but a dispute rooted in politics. The background was the residence of the Popes in Avignon, France. Upon the death of Gregory IX in 1378, the residence of the Pope was a major issue at the conclave to elect his successor. The conclave elected Urban VI, an Italian. However, some of the electors, largely the French, complained of Italian pressures on the election and asserted that the election was invalid because it was made under threats of violence from the Roman mob. They reassembled and elected Clement VII, a Frenchman, who took up residence at Avignon. The various princes divided their loyalty between the two claimants of the papacy. The Latin and French monarchs supported Clement, and the German and English supported Urban. The quarrel ended with the election of Martin V in 1417.
A Schismatic is one who knowingly and deliberately separates himself from the Catholic Church and voluntarily embraces Schism.
Generally, Schismatics retain the valid rites of the Sacraments at the time of the break, but it is a mortal sin to knowingly go into Schism. "Old Catholics" is one Schismatic group. Over the years the ordinations and the line of Apostolic succession were broken, so the validity of their Sacraments is most questionable. The number is exceedingly small and they remain rather obscure. Currently the best known group of Schismatics, canonically speaking, are the bishops and priests-----but not the laity who attend Masses at their chapels-----of the St. Pius X Society. This occurred in 1988 when the Church-approved Society, headed by the now deceased Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre consecrated four bishops without the approval of the Holy See. They were excommunicated as a punishment and declared Schismatic. There is controversy about the canons applied for the punishment, that it may have been an abuse of authority; however, the Pontiff does have full or plenary power to do this, whether or not it was a wise move. The Society of Pius X was approved by the Holy See for the express purpose of training and ordaining men for the Traditional Roman Mass, which was making a comeback. Because of the wide apostasy and liberalism of most of the bishops, the Archbishop wanted to have his own bishop, rather than have his priests under bishops who were not favorable to Tradition. The Vatican had promised him that he would be able to have another bishop, but the Holy See kept putting him off. Fearing the worst, that eventually the Society would be crushed when he, its only bishop, died, he disobeyed the Pontiff and ordained those four bishops anyway.
Now, God, as we said, can work good out of less than favorable circumstances. In his conscience, which he was obliged to follow, even if it was erroneous, provided he had done his best to inform it with the mind of the Church, he may have thought he was acting out of concern for the salvation of souls. Under Canon law, even though objectively an excommunication is declared, subjectively, if the person under the edict is convinced that he is acting without sin because the situation is so critical, then the sin is not imputed although the act remains.
As a result of his actions he and the bishops and priests who went with him were excommunicated, but the Holy Father urged the bishops of the world to help to promulgate the Roman Mass, a few of them complying, only a few. The priests who stayed with the authority of the Holy See were rewarded with their own society, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.
Meanwhile the Pius X Society continued to grow, open seminaries, ordain men and operate chapels for the faithful. Cardinal Ratzinger in the Vatican issued a clarifying statement some years ago that said in effect that the laity who attend Masses of the Society of Pius X are not ecommunicated and are not in schism and that if they find it necessary [not just convenient] to attend Mass at their chapels because of the gravity of the situation in their own dioceses, they may do so to fulfill their Sunday obligation. They are not to join these parishes per se. Think about this for the moment: the Vatican admitting that the crisis exists in some dioceses, so much so, that the laity have permission to attend Pius X Masses, yet the holy See does nothing to correct the injustice that causes this to occur. Imagine!
Archbishop Lefebvre was a validly ordained bishop within the Apostolic line and the priests he ordained after the break are validly ordained. The four bishops are true bishops, by power, but without jurisdiction from the Holy See. They ordain validly but illicitly. The Masses are valid. Priests, however, need a valid bishop from which to receive faculties for performing marriages and to hear Confessions and to preach. Under canon law supplied jurisdiction is granted by the Church if a crisis occurs and there is no other way to obtain an emergency faculty from a bishop. Thus, a non-faculty priest could hear validly and licitly the Confession of a dying person when no other priest is available. There are other such valid reasons for supplied jurisdiction, but these are limited even more by Church law. So, while the faithful can attend Pius X Masses under most circumstances they may not have the priest hear their Confession as it would not be valid, not just illicit. I say most circumstances. Elderly people who must travel great distances to receive a valid absolution in their diocese because of "priestless parishes", but who have a Society chapel nearby may be exempt. That is known only to God. My advice is that if you should ever find yourself in this situation, make every attempt to locate a diocesan or FSSP priest first. God will not be mocked and He has said that "what the Church binds I bind, and what the Church looses, I loose."
let me add that disobedience, in of itself is not a Schismatic act, for
canon law provides for procedures to remedy the action without going so
far as to declare someone Schismatic. It was how the Archbishop
that got him into trouble with the Vatican, not disobeying per se.
If disobedience itself was Schismatic than almost every bishop and
who adhere to the bishops' disobedience through false obedience, would
be in Schism because they disobey the Holy See on a regular basis.
of the current crisis have commented that what we have in America is an
informal "schism", meaning the hierarchy has departed from Tradition to
such a degree that the religion they hold is essentially a different
than Catholicism. The Society of Pius X does not consider itself to be
Schismatic because it may disobey the Pontiff while acknowledging his
as Pope, and praying for him at every Mass and there is something to be
said for this, considering the definition of Schismatic:
I do not hold that the excommunication was valid and that Archbishop
Lefebvre was in good conscience and died in the state of grace, that
some day he will be declared a Saint. And I think the Vatican knows it,
too, but for "political" reasons and because of pride, it is reduced to
merely permitting the laity to attend SSPX chapels for Mass. This tells
me all I need to know. I would have no problem attending a Chapel of
the SSPX in my diocese, if one were available. I read the literature of
the SSPX, purchase a number of the books they publish, etc. Every SSPX
priest prayers for the Holy Father at Mass, so he does not even meet
the formal definition of a Schismatic. The designation is a canonical
one used by the authority in the Church, but morally speaking, as in
the time of St. Athanasius, it is not binding. I say this but do not
encourage Catholics in general to go this way and that way. Only, that
given the times, every Catholic is constrained to save his soul and
sometimes he may have to be disobedient [under great duress] to a weak,
vacillating Holy Father, without disregarding his rightful office. I
leave the final judgment to God.
We have already discussed this classification. Many Sedevacantists are also Schismatic, with their own hierarchy, but with ordination pedigrees hard to validate. Some attend Pius X Chapels for Mass.
Traditionalists remaining within Holy Mother Church are the fastest growing group of Catholics today, although their numbers are still small relative to neo-Catholics who are also better organized. Traditionalists are essentially what almost every Catholic once was before the "disorientation". They uphold all the Magisterium and all of Tradition that is not permitted to change and/or be abrogated, which includes the Traditional Roman rite for the Sacraments in Western countries. The fact that the Church has attempted to change Tradition by unwise liturgical decisions does not negate the Apostolic Tradition and the righteousness of the cause; these abuses of power and imprudent, even impudent decisions only serve to show the wisdom of Divine Providence in giving the Church the guidance of Sacred Tradition. The Novus Ordo establishment is but a crumbling shell, a great facade while the Traditional seminaries are growing. Just as the laity and St. Athanasius were Christ's instruments for saving the Church from the Arian heresy, so those Catholics who uphold Tradition and try to have more Traditional Masses said in their dioceses and teach their children to do likewise, will also be God's instruments.
In fact to be a Catholic is to be Traditionalist, period, so it is an anomaly to have to call oneself a Traditional Catholic, rather than Catholic, but such is the state of the Church in these times, it has become a necessity for obvious reasons. There are two kinds of Traditionalists: the regulars and the independents. We will discuss the latter first.
Independents consist of validly ordained priests who continue to have [rare] or once had full faculties from a diocesan bishop but operate without his mandate if the faculties are no longer granted; the priests hear Masses, etc., in homes or little chapels around the country. They do not deny the authority of the Holy Father as the Vicar of Christ and do not have their own bishops like Schismatics and some Sedevacantists; they are often retired priests who still say Mass; in the case of the independents the situation with the bishop became impossible so they quietly ignore him and as a matter of conscience, continuing to say the Roman Mass validly, and hear Confessions under the emergency provision in canon law. Whether or not such priests are individually justified is between them and God. Most are considered holy by those Catholics who have them for priests. There is but one caveat here, that some unscrupulous or ill-suited men who could not get ordained normally, may have been ordained by "bishops" who are not real bishops, then open a chapel or have a circuit as an independent. You would have to know the priest first, know his background. Occasionally an inactive priest who left to marry will "reactivate himself" on the independent circuit, a real scandal when discovered. When an independent Traditional priest refuses to provide his ordination background, etc., or does so incompletely, an alarm bell should go off. Of course he could fake it and how would you know? Even more rarely, a confirmed homosexual will "set up shop" as a Traditional, independent priest. He likes the "dress-up", etc. When unmasked, the laity can be truly demoralized. I tell you this not to be suspicious of every independent priest, per se, but so that you will notbe too scandalized if you ever hear of such a case. Indeed, fortunately, such a case is quite rare.
As I said, if you know that priest was a diocesan priest for certain or ordained for a religious order but left because of conscience-----he was refused permission to say the Traditional Mass, for instance, and he felt he must so as not to disobey authentic Tradition and to help save souls-----his Masses are valid. But the longer the crisis perdures, the more difficult it will be for the succeeding generation to validate ordination lines as the older priests die off.
Regular or ordinary Traditionalists consist of both the laity and clergy and religious. Priests remain within the hierarchical structure of the Church, either as priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, the Institute of Christ the King, and other Traditional orders approved by Rome, or are diocesan priests, both secular and of religious orders who say the Indult Roman or Traditional Mass by permission of the bishop. The Institute of Christ the King is one of several new orders that serve in dioceses to provide the Traditional Mass [or Latin Mass], and the other Sacraments in the Traditional Roman rite. The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter [FSSP] has its own seminaries and as priests work for a diocesan bishop, but retain full faculties for all the Sacraments of the Traditional Roman rite, sometimes have their own Traditional parishes and schools. It depends on the bishop. Regular Traditional laity either join the FSSP parishes where they exist and if they can travel the distance that may be required, if not, they may attend the FSSP Masses when possible but also attend independent chapels, the Masses of the Pius X Society and Indult Masses of the diocese. Often it is a blend of two or more options, depending on the diocese, the locale and the family circumstances.
In most dioceses there are some very good priests in the Novus Ordo rite, who either do not realize that they can petition to say the Latin Mass, even though they actually do not need permission since the Roman Mass was never officially abrogated and because the bull Quo Primum, of St. Pius V cannot be abrogated; or have and were refused by the bishop, but they stay out of obedience, hoping for the best. They sacrifice themselves for the sake of the laity so that if they cannot hear a Traditional Mass, at least they will have orthodox teaching and assistance for Traditional devotions and good catechism classes for their children. These priests generally have parishioners who want to remain within the Novus Ordo rite and refuse to abandon them. The independent Traditional priests referred to earlier have parishioners who do not want to remain within the Novus Ordo for reasons of conscience, and they refuse to abandon them.
Except for the Sacramental rite, these Novus Ordo priests are very Traditional and once you begin to network and make friends who are Traditional and or devout, orthodox Catholics, you will find the priests more often than not. You may have to travel over 300 miles in some cases. But they are there.
Traditionalists, like neo-Catholics and some cultural Catholics have the size families that God sends them, and tend to have five or more children on average. Almost to a family they home school like many neo-Catholics. However, getting the Sacraments for their children that do not involve a lot of modernism can present a serious problem. Traditionalists in this situation either try to travel for instruction to Traditional priests or work with the local parish to home school for catechism class as well. Some neos do likewise. Many Novus Ordo pastors are good about this and try to help and be cooperative because they know that the Church teaches that the parents are the primary teachers of their children. However, there are some modernist pastors who loathe Traditionalists and make life Hell on earth for them when they learn that these parishioners want to home school even for Sacramental preparation. Each family has to decide the best course of action when this occurs, a real martyrdom, what the Church calls a "dry" martyrdom because there is no actual dying or "blood."
Traditionalists' one failure is a lack of a cohesive organization, which is partly due to the efforts it takes to home school and support a family on one income, and drive long distances for Mass and devotions, and partly because of the other groups who consider themselves Traditionalist, such as the Sedevacantists and Schismatics, which causes time to be spent defending one's position viz. a viz. these groups. There are other reasons, but this is mainly what it boils down to.
Traditionalists consist of older Catholics and the young, who are having larger families who will have larger families in turn. In fact, the greatest number are young families and the number of families, not just the individual size, is increasing as more and more Catholics wake up and realize that the great apostasy or diabolical "disorientation" is widespread and they have had enough. Sometimes a Traditionalist family may be the only one in their locale, but they network through Catholic home schooling, the internet, the chapels where they attend Mass, and at Traditionalist conferences. They receive their news from THE REMNANT and CATHOLIC FAMILY NEWS, see earlier. There are a number of other good publications, but these two are indispensable in the United States. Very few have television and some do not even have the internet or e-mail, although they are starting to take a chance to have some limited internet because of the Traditionalist resources, especially if they still have a family they are home schooling.
Why do Traditionalists go to such lengths to maintain Tradition?
They do so because they know it is their duty in conscience to uphold Tradition as best as they can; because they cannot and will not permit their children to be tainted by modernism, as God has made them the first and primary teachers of their children, who belong not to them but to Him; because they love the Church with every fiber of their being since they love Christ with their whole heart, soul, mind and strength, and He loves His Church. Not only are they willing to make these sacrifices for the children God has entrusted to their care, they willingly sacrifice themselves as soldiers of Christ on His behalf and His Bride's. They are willing to risk the loss of human comforts, prepared to lose familial affiliations if need be ["I come not to bring peace, but to divide, father against son . . ."], endure censure, isolation and ridicule, even "exile" for the sake of following the Martyrs, Doctors of the Church and all the Saints who always and everywhere were willing to give up all in order that not one iota be lost and to see that our Sacred Patrimony is handed down whole and entire to succeeding generations . . . or as St. Paul instructs: "to seek the better things . . .
Cultural Catholics do not have most
facts but believe out of sentimental habit.
Modernists know the facts but strive to invalidate them.
Neo-Catholics have most of the facts but are afraid of the conclusions.
Cultic movements control certain facts for their own ends.
Charismatics ignore facts in favor of a special personal power they think they receive.
Schismatics have the facts but react to them by separating themselves from the authority of Church that resides in the Papacy, while recognizing that this authority exists.
Sedevacantists have the facts but draw the wrong conclusion, that is, that the authority should be there but is non-existent, so, forming their own "Church".
Traditionalists have the facts: one group, ordinary Traditionalists, tries its best to adhere to all the authority of the Church, knowing that they will have to resist the constancy of contamination; another group, independents, operates within a separate conclave, with its own chapels [not a separate "Church"], bypassing the local hierarchy only as a means of avoiding as much as the possible the turmoil that comes from having to steel oneself from being constantly "tampered" with. That is, both groups deal with the facts as they are, but respond differently after assessing the risks.
In Part 3, you will learn how to live, as a Catholic, fully striving to save one's soul, to live amid apostasy within and all manner of evil without and yet to rejoice that God has given you the grace, that you are one of the His remnant, to find the sweetness of sacrifice, and the solace of the rich treasures of Catholic devotion and the abundance of His grace. You are about to become a Saint . . .
HOW DO I KEEP THE FAITH AND SAVE MY SOUL?
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