The US Contingent to Include Dr. John Rao
by Michael J. Matt
An Objection Raised
Traditional Catholic groups and individuals from all over the world will gather in Rome in early November for an historic demonstration of support for the Holy Father and the traditional Latin Mass on the fifth anniversary of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. The organizer of the widely supported pilgrimage is ‘Coetus Internationalis Pro Summorum Pontificum’.
EWTN, CNN, Fox News, BBC, RAI and Al Jazeera will be on hand to cover the traditional Latin Mass in St. Peters on November 3. Unconfirmed rumors have it that perhaps even the Pope himself might be the celebrant. While this remains unconfirmed and highly unlikely (in my opinion), wouldn’t it be grand! However, the likely celebrant is himself quite an esteemed churchman: Angelo Cardinal Comastri, Arch-Priest of St. Peter’s Basilica and Vicar General for the Vatican City State.
Let me repeat that: Angelo Cardinal Comastri, Arch-Priest of St. Peter’s Basilica and Vicar General for the Vatican City State will celebrate the traditional Latin Mass in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome on November 3, 2012. Did you ever think you’d live to see the day!
I’m happy to announce that Dr. John Rao–head of the Roman Forum and, by the way, personal friend of the late Dietrich von Hildebrand and Michael Davies–is a late sign-up to help represent the US contingent on this important pilgrimage. Dr. Rao, Todd Wilson, Eric Frankovitch and I would, therefore, like to extend a warm invitation to anyone reading these words to please consider joining us for what promises to be a truly historic event.
Don’t Go to Rome?
There are some grumblings among traditional Catholics over this pilgrimage. They are naturally concerned about recent reports of a Vatican-backed plan to revise the 1962 missal next summer, and how a show of unconditional support at this point may be interpreted. By way of addressing these concerns, we’re publishing the following letter along with my own response, in the hopes of fostering unified support among all Tradition-minded Catholic Americans for this worthy endeavor.
Editor, The Remnant: Unfortunately, I need to stay here during the pilgrimage to Rome, where pilgrims will support the Holy Father’s liturgical changes. I say “changes” because “reform” implies improvement when the so-called reform is already harming the Traditional Latin rite of Mass. Although the Novus Ordo is improving, the Pope published Summorum Pontificum to launch a new liturgical movement that has already begun to hybridize the Traditional Latin Mass. The 2013 version of the 1962 Missal may even let priests say Mass while they face the congregation.
So I suggest that the pilgrims will hint, perhaps unintentionally, that they support a hybrid. For me, the pilgrimage will be a mixed blessing. While the pilgrims encourage the Pope, they’ll help prolong revolution by evolution. Maybe we should be glad that the new liturgical movement is improving the Novus Ordo. But we members of the Traditionalist movement need to fight against the hybrid.
Why do I write “members of the Traditionalist movement?” Because I believe that traditionalists need to distinguish themselves from New Order Catholics who call themselves “Traditional Catholics” when they’re not traditional in our movement’s sense of the word. The Tradition-minded may include Catholics who attend the Mass of all time merely because they prefer it. Let’s ensure that during the battle for Tradition, we use precise language that won’t concede even the slightest vagueness to the Modernists in Rome and throughout the Church. Even if I could go on the pilgrimage, I would stay at home when I knew that it would send mixed messages to our brave, well-meaning progressivist Pope.
William J. McEnaney Jr.
Schenectady, New York
Michael J. Matt’s Response
Thank you, Mr. McEnaney. I very much appreciate your thoughts on this question and your charitable objections. With reciprocal respect and charity, I’ll try to explain.
As a Catholic newspaper publisher, I believe I’m obligated before God and our subscribers to do everything I can to stay in the fight for Catholic restoration and to keep The Remnant at the forefront of the Traditional Catholic movement. I don’t quite see how I would accomplish this, however, if when invited to go to Rome to help represent the interests of Catholics in America on this vital question, I were to decline on the grounds that the Holy Father might do something, someday with which I would disagree.
I have every intention of going to Rome to thank the Holy Father for initiatives such as his allowing all priests to offer the old Mass (even when the bishops don’t like it), for letting the world know that Mass was never abrogated, translating pro multis correctly, encouraging kneeling for Communion on the tongue, and to beg him before God to continue his efforts to bring liturgical sanity back to the Church
We cannot give up, nor can we absent ourselves from the debate out of fear of association with those with whom we may not be in agreement. Like you, I hope and pray the Holy Father does reform the New Mass. I hope he continues to hold up the model of the Traditional Latin Mass to demonstrate just how far the New Mass has drifted not only from the Mass of all time, but also from the New Mass of Vatican II.
If the Holy Father truly intends to revise the 1962 missal surely he knows that this will mark the end of any possible agreement with the Society of St. Pius X, that traditional Catholics in the Ecclesia Dei communities will defect en masse and that even at the diocesan level only confusion, bitterness and disunity will result from any further Roman tampering with the Traditional Mass.
So the question is: Does the Holy Father really intend to do this?
Last year the Holy Father was reported to have approved the bizarre liturgical shenanigans of the Neocatechumenal Way—the “Protestant cuckoo of the Catholic nest”—one of whose founders has declared that the Mass is not a sacrifice and even denies the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Scandal indeed!, if, in fact the Holy Father had actually done this. Thanks to the Vatileaks controversy in June of this year, however, we now know that he did not. The truth was revealed in a leaked letter from no less than Cardinal Raymond Burke himself, who’d personally penned a letter to Cardinal Bertone (and copied the Pope) essentially taking Bertone to task for having made it appear as though the Holy Father had done this, when in fact he had not. In fact, it was “the Vatican” that had announced the papal about-face on the Neo-Cat liturgy, but even that had applied only to non-liturgical prayers within the Neocatechumenal Way’s catechesis, and not to the Mass.
Cardinal Burke’s leaked letter of January 2012 appeared in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, and therein expressed His Eminence’s dismay at having received an invitation to an event celebrating the “Pope’s approval” for the liturgies used by the Neocatechumenal Way.
After reading Cardinal Burke’s original letter to Cardinal Bertone, Pope Benedict had attached a handwritten note agreeing with Cardinal Burke’s objection.
So, what gives? Good question! But now we’re being told that “the Pope” is bound and determined to revise the 1962 missal. Really?! At a moment when the world is in flames and the Church is staggering beneath the iron-clad fist of atheistic secularism—our 85-year-old pontiff just can’t wait to essentially wage war on the Traditional Catholic movement?
And, not only that, but the Holy Father who in many ways changed the course of Church history by proclaiming to the whole world that the traditional Latin Mass had never been abrogated after Vatican II, is now planning to abrogate it himself? Please!
I have no doubt that “the Vatican” may indeed be agitating to move ahead along these lines—whoever “the Vatican” may in fact turn out to be this time. But the Holy Father himself? Perhaps Cardinal Burke will eventually let us know what’s really going on.
In the meantime, The Remnant most certainly will be in Rome in November to support the Holy Father, to pray for him, and to let his enemies—both inside the Vatican and out—know exactly where we stand and the level of support the Holy Father and his Tradition-friendly reforms can expect from traditional Catholics worldwide.
I would ask Remnant readers who are able to travel on short notice to make every effort to join us. This is a critical moment and a major event, and it is no time for traditional Catholic Americans to make themselves conspicuous by their absence.
Mr. McEnaney calls this a “battle for Tradition.” I couldn’t agree more! See our ad HERE.