This comment epitomizes the reasons why I have not wished to be identified with the traditionalists (qualifiy that as you like, “radical traditionalists,” “Catholic reactionaries, etc.; my definition is here.) Unfortunately, the whole effort to extricate ourselves from this mess, has only confirmed the reasons why we wanted to free of the problem in the first place.
The commenter writes:
How do you show that no conspiracy exists? Easy you let people whom the conspiracy theorists (for want of a better term) trust to go in and show that there is no conspiracy,
That really sums it all up. “Conspiracy theorists” is actually the precise term. Innuendo becomes plausible theory, which immediately becomes probable fact and the lack of evidence along with the number of times the innuendo is repeated turns into the “modernist reeducation project of the See of Peter against the unimpeachable Friars of the Immaculate.”
But conspiracy theory is a logical fallacy because as a worldview, a philosophy of history, it takes a lack of evidence itself as evidence. Notably, this happens only when the conspiracy theorist’s view of the way things ought to be is threatened.
Conspiracy theory does not run on fact. Facts are counterproductive to conspiracy theory because they undermine the philosophy. Conspiracy theory burns pure, high-octane gossip and innuendo, first whispered from the shadows by someone who does not want to take responsibility and then broadcast by everyone else on the authority of the Nameless Darkness.
This is what happened with us. Instead of entrusting ourselves to Christ in His Church, certain individuals within the community chose, contrary to their profession in the Church, to put gossip into the hands of ideologues, who, before the they received it already had an agenda against Pope Francis. The reason for that agenda doesn’t matter. The ghosts put ammunition into the hands of Internet guerrillas who acted in a way that is wholly incompatible with religious life.
Conspiracy theory, especially when it is fueled in this way, if not diabolical, is pathological. It may not start out that way. Like scruples, it might just be at first a temptation or a certain proclivity of conscience. But when it is characterized by stubbornness, especially in the face of the authority willed by Christ in His Church, it can turn into a real affliction.
And just like someone with scruples, no amount of explanation, examination, review, rehashing, independent investigation will do, because the problem is not one of evidence or the lack thereof. It is not even fundamentally an intellectual problem. Conspiracy theory is willfulness bubbling up from wanton fear.
There is only one solution to conspiracy theory, just at there is one, and only one, solution to scruples: breaking the will, not satisfying the intellect. In the Church that means supernatural obedience.
Fear of the Church is a horrible thing. There are plenty of things to be afraid of. But this is why we have hope in Christ through His visible Church. That is why Christ said He who hears you hears me. Man is not in charge. Christ is in charge. Either one believes in the providence of God or one does not. There is no place in conspiracy theory for the providence of God.
I am not saying that everything is great in the Church. It is not. But if one thinks that the providence of God is somehow related to how great things are, he is making the same mistake common among so many in the Old Covenant, namely, that God is present only when it seems that way.
All that said we might quote Tolkien more exactly—words which he places on the tongue of Arwen Undómiel, as she speaks of her fate, which was to share the mortality of men.
Aragorn first says to her “I speak no comfort to you, for there is no comfort for such pain within the circles of the world,” and then suggests to her the possibility of her seeking the West. Then there is this exchange between the two of them:
“Nay, dear lord,” she said, “that choice is long over. There is now no ship to bear me hence, and I must indeed abide the Doom of Men, whether I will or nill: the loss and the silence. But I say to you, King of the Númenoreans, not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall. As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last. For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men, it is bitter to receive.”
“So it seems,” he said. “But let us not be overthrown at the final test, who of old renounced the Shadow and the Ring. In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound forever in the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory. . .”
Perhaps Tolkien is echoing Chesterton in “The Ballad of the White Horse,” where Our Lady speaks to the nearly beaten King Alfred:
“I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.
“Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?”
There are no natural answers to the situation within our Institute—no satisfaction for those who want relief apart from the appointment of Christ. Our only solidarity can be in the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary. If not Her, the Friars of the Immaculate have nothing to offer. She is our only excuse to exist, and our only joy and hope.
Wonderful post, Father, and deeply spiritual. I expound on certain elements of it here – http://thwordinc.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-arm-of-flesh-vs-body-of-christ.html . It is so tempting to despair at the state of the Church, but do we have “joy without cause”? “Faith without hope”?
Well said Father. I am grateful to you for continuing to shed light on the situation.
Let us continue to battle from and find refuge in the Heart of the Immaculate till the storm passes and then for all eternity.
Not really much of a response Father, you’ve taken the quote from my response grossly out of context and instead of acknowledging the human fears of Traditionalists and seeking to dispel them them as I suggested you might; you, like all the neo-conservative enablers of liberalism attempt to use the baton of false obedience to silence the voices of dissent. WELL NO!!! 40 years ago you and yours attempted to silence those who love the Church and her truth and you almost succeeded, but enough of us survived to start the restoration of all things in Christ and we will teach you that you should have killed us when you had the chance.
God forgive you Jack. You are really out of control now. You need to think about what you are saying and what you are posting. Look at the hateful world out there, do you want to be part of that message? No need to talk this way.
I love the TLM, but as I’ve travelled the world, I experience how grateful people are to hear their own language, in terms of the Liturgy. The church is not in danger of faltering on this account. The good Lord still comes to us in the Holy Eucharist, and Father Angelo is a good and holy priest, who is only pointing out that we still need to be obedient, and not self indulgent, when it comes to the TLM.
Dear Jack, you compromise your soul by speaking this way, claiming to be saving tradition…. c’mon now. Will it take Christ himself to explain why people in the world need the Word in their language? Isn’t it part of the Mission?
Please pray for me, and I will pray for you. I will ask Our Good Mother to ask her Precious Son, to fill your heart with peace and good will, once again….for I hear the anger and pain you hold there, in it’s place….it’s causing you to lash out.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. AMEN!
I gave the actual quote in context because it is about solidarity in suffering among the Fallen. I can offer you that kind of solidarity, but I cannot in conscience concede the justice of your cause or capitulate to your demands. Neither would be honest or charitable.
I notice that Fr. Z refers to the “spectacularly hostile treatment” of Cardinal Braz de Aviz to our Institute as though Pope Francis does not support the actions of the Congregation for Religious. But at the same time, he seems convinced that the most recent visit of Bishop Felly with Cardinal Muller has much to say about what Pope Francis thinks. And this is the trusted source you want to sort through our business? In fact, he is the only one among those you have named that, to my knowledge, has an opinion about the FFI.
This illustrates precisely my point about conspiracy theory. You don’t know me and you haven’t a shred of evidence to back it up. But you don’t need evidence. You already have it all figured out. This is precisely the reason why I want nothing to do with traditionalism.
I have a question for you Father that I only just thought of; why does obedience apply to me and mine in the present, yet not to you and your fellow friars when you had your LAWFUL Superior thrown out and scentenced to virtual house arrest? Now call me an ultramontanist but don’t you think that’s a LITTLE hypocritcal? Thank God that the FI Sisters are ignoring the Fox Comissar
Again, another problem with traditionalist thought. When traditionalists think the faith and their welfare are in jeopardy, anything is justified, including propaganda campaigns against the pope. But when religious exercise their canonical right of appeal and do so privately in a respectful way, they are hypocrites.
Every Catholic, including a religious with the vow of obedience has the right of appeal. Our vows mean nothing, if they are not an ecclesial reality.
Father- well done again: obedience then is to do the will of others when you don’t want to, eh?
Ave Maria, Father Angelo.
I am writing from Spain. I decided to write because all these crazy messages that people send you all the day. I want that you know that the fruits of your work in this blog goes beyond the seas. Thanks to the Friars of the Inmaculate, and especially to you and Fr. Peter Damian, I realized a month ago that Francisco is the Pope and that the CVII is Catholic, and that JXXIII and JPII are really in heaven.
Before that time I was a narrow minded Sedevacantist-traditionalist. I don’t know if I was really a catholic; a Conspirationist catholic fits better. I understand the way of thinking of Jack. I had the same anger, the same bitterness and hate. I too feel that I was called by good to be the new San Athanasius, San Agustín or San Francis, that will bring peace to the church and that eventually I will die martyred by modernists. That also I had to leadership a new crusade, not to muslims (that will be justificable) but to Europe and the New World Order, against his One Religion, and against his leaders, the wicked Zionist.
This is the deep (or not so deep) thoughts of a traditionalist, no matter the specific position. In a time of one and a half year, I have attached to the lefevrism (our Pope is our enemy), Feynism (there is not baptism of desire), sedeprivationism (we have only a legally Pope; we will call you to inform that is a full Pope), pre-1914 sedevacantism (there is no pope since the dead of San Pius X), sedevacantism (there is no Pope), Conclavism (we have to elect a new Pope) and “homealoner sedevacantism” (Christ has destroyed the visible Church to punish for our sins, so we only can pray the mass in our home).
These are the most important heresies of our century. There is more, but I only appointed the ones I attached (and in the order that I adhered to them). There is also more subgroups (especially in conclavism) and there is also some who reject all the popes from Inocent III (1130) onwards.
In all this stages not only I claimed to be more Christian (like did all the heretics on the past) but also I though about me to be the best Roman Catholic. And I think this is an important point. I remember not to understand how the Christian Faith were fully expressed in the Catholic Church today; I saw that some historical characteristics of the Catholic Church lacking today and so confused me.
Other thing that was the core of all those positions is that I always thought that CVII was an heretic meeting, and that the new mass was nearly a satanic worship. And is obvious that not one of these two things was something that I could really analyze, in my ignorance. And the question that flows from that statement is: Why then you call these two things heretic?
I now realized that I was (and all the traditionalist still doing) using the cause-effect demonstration of Thomas Aquinus. There is and effect that we see objectivily, then It must be a cause, a necessary cause. I see that after CVII (an specially after promulgating the new mass) has been a crisis (and continous today) in the Catholic Church. I have seen lots of priests doing crazy things in their “masses”, I have seen that JPII has kissed the Koran and that the lasts Popes has going into mosques and zinagogues; I have also seen the meeting of Assisi of 1986 (Cardenal Ratzinger didn’t assist, and when he was Pope and decided to repeat the meeting do it properly, praying only with Christians) and others things. This is the effect. What is the cause, then? It could be the misinterpretation of the texts of the Council and the New Missal, or the texts itself? I chose the second. More easy way and, in fact, more human way (modernist indeed). Because that choice implies that the Catholic Church is only an human institution (the better) and that there is not supernatural order guiding it.
And is this post-conciliar crisis (and misinterpretations of the acts of the Popes) the true reason in which I (and do almost all traditionalist) set the basis to affirm that there is a break in CVII (and eventually that there wasn’t a pope). I realized know that no matter what occurs in the future. If a traditionalist from the future ( if were possible) come to now and tell me the most bizarre things about the priests or bishops or popes of the future, I will say to him: “Christ will be with our always, and the doors of hell will not prevail”. This is the supernatural order by which is guided the Church. If I see something strange, no matter how obvious may seem, I MUST think that I AM MISTAKEN, and that there is things that I didn’t grasp (a deeper meaning of the sentence of a enciclycal, or the intention of some apparently “scandalous” act).
Out of this, It is possible to the recent Popes to had made mistakes? Could they, with good intention, do bad things? I think that very Popes in history, with good intention, had did bad things.
Two months ago, continuing the history of events, I came to doubting of my sedevacantist point of view (I trusted traditionalism to be true) and read a lot of books of 19 century. I come to realize that didn’t was all perfect in the past days of the Church (in liturgical aspects for example). But what did convince me was to realize that it was contrary to the mandate of Christ (that we be humbles) to think that I could, by personal analysis, judge that the CVII is a break in Catholic faith or tradition, that the mass that the Pope give to me is a bad mass, and decided, based on these personal judgements, not to obey the pope (or, when I felt incomfortable with this, say that there was no pope). It is impossible been humble if you think that you are more inteligent and pius than 3000 bishops and 2 Popes (CVII) or in general more faithfull than all 1.299.000.000 peoples in the world. When you think that all this people are offending God when they go to mass (normal mass I mean), you instinctively treat yourself with more regard and mercifulness. Your little faults are nothing when you think that almost everyone is involved in the “satanic” new mass. So, Christ can allow that one catholic be forced to act like this in order to remain catholic. Because is impossible to please God acting like this. So, God may permit worse things to occur inside the Church, but NEVER will allow that these things justify the disobedience to the Pope (or the negation). And more than that, I think that nothing justify not to profess devotion to the Pope, no matter what he did or what he do.
At first, I didn’t understand all this, but I do understand that I could not be Catholic denying for myself the existence of a Pope. So I come back to lefevrism from “homealoner” sedevacantist. Although I still believing that Francis was a heretic; a Pope and a Heretic. Quickly I began to sense that I was not all the humble that Christ demand us to be, so I started to think on the possibility that CVII could be not only not dogmatic, but also non heretic. In this “coming and going” I remember have seen months before in traditional blogs (all said the same and it was clear that they were repeating a other site-news) the report that the Franciscan of the Inmaculate, trying to be catholics inside the church, had been suffered and injurious intervention that obliged them to choose between be Friar or to be catholic. The Pope was called in all the blogs a traditional catholic-prosecutor, nearly a monster (it must be noted that the most catholic blogs that insults and permit insults again the Pope are always those who have a photo of the Pope and are traditionalists). I remembered that and went to the main page of the Order and saw some videos. The vocations video was astonishing. In that same moment I discovered that I was been deceived (or I deceived myself) to believe that the only traditional people were in lefebvrism. Then I come across with one that shocked me the most: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMu60dibGSw
I don’t know if Father Manelli in the video is saying mass facing the altar or the people, I only know that I will rather prefer to be in that mass than in a lefevrism Latin Mass.
I discovered then your blog and began to read something about the hermeneutic of continuity. With your texts I have understand many things. There is much more that I still don’t know what to think, but I know that there is nothing to worry about if we trust the Church. Thanks to that I have realized that the Religious Liberty has his roots in Catholicism, that the Ecumenism of CVII clearly explains what is the correct ecumenical act and what not. Collegiality is explained in the same documents annexed. The liturgy text (Sacrosantum Concilium) did not say anything wrong, and also the Misal of 1969 that is designed to say mass facing the altar, although allows saying to the people. But, I have said, if all the Versus populum were said like that of Manelli nobody will remember the TLM.
This discover have been gone along and continous today, meanwhile I growth little by little in faith. Parallel to this I have been reading your explanations of the real situation of the Order and I think that the intervention has been a good thing for the order. The cripto-lefevbrism is something so dangerous that is better to throw it apart. Is like a little fire, if it growth will burn all. Why? Because in his roots have the seed of the own judgement’s self-steem, the most dangerous of all things, that led to pride and disobidience. Is the seed that promote the thought (in one degree or another) that the person is obliged to save the Church. I think that is better to do the two masses without any exclusive preference, than to use only the TLM. Because it implies that you agree those who say that there is a break in tradition, and that CVII and the new Mass are ot catholic. This is the message that implies the exclusive use of TLM.
I wanted to write this message because I have seen an increasing disrespectful messages, and I wanted to show that there is people that see the current situation of FFI improved rather than destroyed. Please, Father Angelo, continue with your great blog. Yoy have helped me so much, and your helping a lot of people.
One feels the contrition as well as the sincerity as they read your commentary. Welcome back from the brink. God is good.
+JMJ+ Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
For someone who lived through the revolution in the Church you seem to display absolutely no recognition of its occurence; I take it then you would dispute the deformation of the sanctuary matched only in my own country by the actions of Henry VIII’s men , the occurence of clowns passing itself off as the Holy Sacrifice, of bishops taking no action against hereteical groups such as Call to Action and Catholics for a common good but by gollly cracking down on those ingrates who wished to worship in the way their fathers worshiped and to remain faithful to the teachings of the Church, of Bishops (before SP) routinely refusing permission for Una Voce members to have their Requim Masses said in the Old Rite, of cardinals spouting off heretical nonsence and getting away with it left right and centre, of Church teaching being distorted or watered down with the result that women think it is acceptable to dress for Mass as if they were going to the beach, of irreverence towards the Blessed Sacrament that would have been thought shocking only a few decades ago, of religious houses closing becuase those inside were not living their charism.
Why Father do you call yourself my enemy? I want only what I presume you do; to see the Sable Banner flying proudly from the Tower of Ecthellion, to see the City of the Guard renewed in all her Glory, as a Convert of Six years I have only heard the tales of those days, where Religious houses were overflowing with Vocations, where one could trust in the Orhodoxy of one’s Bishop etc etc.
It has been my observation that Congregations and Diocese’s such as Lincoln, the FSSP, the SSPX, Benedictines of La Barroux and Norche that stick to the old ways are the few becons of light in the Church today, the FI I fear will go down in the history of the Church as a wonderful congregation that was runined by men who thought they knew better than their founder.
I can only speak from my own experience but I prefer that the Church prays the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours in her official language, I was in Fatima some months ago and it was annoying that I couldn’t tell what part of the Mass we were in unless I was at the English or Portugese (similar to Latin) Masses, time was that a Man could walk the lengh and breadth of the Earth, and assuming that he was at a Latin Rite Mass would not even need a missal to know what part of the Mass he was at, a singular language of prayer also helps us to bind our idendities as Catholics, Archbishop Leferbvre noted this in his excellent booklet “an Open Letter to Confused Catholics”, it is a little outdated having been written in 1983 but it cleared up a lot of confussion in my mind.
We have many years of history prior to Summorum Pontificum. We have never had clown masses and many people have been attracted to our Liturgy because of our reverence and orthodoxy. When SP came along we also celebrated the EF. I was one of the first, who began years before SP because there was an indult Mass that I helped with. I am sorry that is not good enough for you, but that does not make me a modernist wrecker.
You don’t know what you are talking about. I am not your enemy and I pledge a solidarity of suffering, but I cannot satisfy your convictions.
I guess Jack, where you are annoyed, I am inspired 🙂
I really didn’t like the “New Mass”, as we called it, when it was instituted. I thought, ” Oh really, this seems so very Protestant!” But now, I have many years since the introduction of the Novus Ordo, and I see how important it has become to each local community, and to the very young. And yes, I do think a lot of things about Vat II were misinterpreted, and tradition got trampled in some places. So it is up to us to revive, encourage, teach, and spread the word about our precious Catholic traditions…especially, my favorite… First Friday. But I don’t think we ought to fight about it, and be divisive….that makes satan smile so, let’s not give him that.
If we remember the primary reason we are there, and participate in the Eucharistic Miracle, with humility and respect, we join with the Saints, and can never lose our way in the mass! It is the same mass, really, where ever we are, and what ever form we celebrate. And Jesus comes to us the same humble way, every time. I never feel annoyed or jipped, unless it’s I who have come unprepared, distracted, angry, or unworthy.
Frankly, I like having two forms, and consider us lucky to have two forms!
I think the Holy Father will find a way to help us through this. If we are obedient to him and honest with ourselves, we will never lose our cherished Latin Mass. We will inspire more people to become Catholic, and those who have fallen away to return. (And…. the FI will grow their beautiful brotherhood, and inspire more vocations than ever!)
Hail Mary’s are coming your way Jack. I ask Our Lady to soothe your ruffled soul, and extol your sacrifices to her Precious Son, so that He might grant you grace and peace. Ave Maria!
Father I am not insinuating that the FI have ever said clown Masses. Do you think I do this for FUN!!!! Do you think I ENJOY watching the clergymen in the Religion I adopted trashing the Faith before my eyes whilst mocking and persecuting those who still hold to it whlist doing nothing to deal with the LCWR crowd? Whatever internal problems the FI has, I doubt that they compare to the SInswana Dominicans who proudly provide escord services for the abortion mills, do you think I ENJOY having to adopt a protestant mindset (basically ignoring my Bishop) in order to remain faithful to the teachings of the Church?
DO YOU have ANY idea of the Psychological Trauma that the past year and the undoing of Pope Benedict’s legacy has put me through? The only thing worse was a couple of years ago when after several months of talks, my candidacy for entering religious life being terminated on the grounds that my parents are divorced
Everyone is suffering, including the friars on both sides of the issue. Traditionalists don’t have a monopoly. All I ask is that people don’t pretend to know about our family when they don’t and to otherwise allow the Church to do its job
“I am not saying that everything is great in the Church. It is not. But if one thinks that the providence of God is somehow related to how great things are, he is making the same mistake common among so many in the Old Covenant, namely, that God is present only when it seems that way.”
SImple and sage, Father. Great point.
When the powerful are not transparent, it’s quite easy for them to write off their critics as conspiracy theorists. We want facts and the truth. Don’t you? We would like to see due process. Wouldn’t you? We would like to see a respect for conscience and a fair application of canon law. Wouldn’t you? Regarding this situation, a friend of mine (a pastor of three parishes and an ecclesiastical office holder in a diocesan curia) said, “Liberals are ruthless.”
I (an ecclesiastical office holder in another diocesan curia, and Salesian trained, like you) can’t seem to find reason to disagree.
Patrick Archbold characterized it this way:
“[N]obody will allowed to leave the order for three years!!
“That. Is. Insane.
“These friars are in jail serving a three year sentence without a trial. What could possibly justify such action? One can only surmise that they are determined to drive these men from the priesthood for the crime of ‘crypto-lefebvrianism’ and they will be not allowed any escape into a diocese. They want them gone.
“This is a travesty of unspeakable proportions and it is up to the Holy Father to put an end to this madness.”
I am a normal Catholic who would never darken the door of an SSPX Church due to their refusal to end their schism (yes, schism) with Rome, likes the Extroardinary Form, and loves Vatican II. Father Geiger, I am sure that even you think suspension a divinis and a ban on leaving the order for three years is breathtakingly overreactive. But I was a subscriber to the FFI Youtube Channel for years. I knew your institute long before you were blog-fodder. I even recommended your order to my brother when he was discerning a religious vocation.
“We direct the cry of each generation against those vices of which it is in least danger and fix its approval on the virtue nearest to that vice which we are trying to make endemic. The game is to have them all running about with fire extinguishers whenever there is a flood, and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gunwale under. Thus we make it fashionable to expose the dangers of enthusiasm at the very moment when they are all really becoming worldly and lukewarm. . . .Cruel ages are put on their guard against Sentimentality, feckless and idle ones against Respectability, lecherous ones against Puritanism. ”
Your writings on traditionalism have some insight. But this is a situation where “by your fruits you shall know them.” The intervention you requested has had torrid fruits for your Institute.
I think the request for intervention entailed a certain gluttony of delicacy — another Lewisism. In a Church with far more Modernism than Traditionalism, you overreacted to a level of Traditionalism you disliked in your institute – perhaps too high, but not dangerously so. You appealed because it was your canonical right but friars suspended a divinis do not have their ecclesiastical rights respected. But the growth of your institute is a thing of the past, the ecclesiastical rights of your brother friars are not being properly respected, your seminary is closing, and other problems are occurring.
Just because your request was canonically legal does not mean it was prudent and morally justified.
I am sure a part of you regrets your decision. I believe there were problems. But I do not think that if you were in charge of the institute you would be suspending people a divinis for seeking to become diocesan priests.
Do not worry about me. I will not fit into your definition of “traditionalism.” I will not disobey Pope Francis. But, boy, do I wish you had never filed your complaint. You cannot say so because your vows of obedience, your desire for institutional privacy, and the human psychological tendency to justify the decisions we have made but I suspect a part of you agrees with me.
I refuse to be scandalized by this or to let it shake my faith. But it does make me sad.
I will get to all this shortly. Just a word for now:
Don’t pretend you know what I think, what I regret and what I agree with.
You are talking out of your hat.
Antiphon from today’s Morning’s Office:
“I have joyfully shared Christ’s sufferings and now I rejoice exultantly when His glory is revealed.”
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