Assessing Vatican II: A Response to My Critics

POPE PAUL VI PRESIDES OVER MEETING OF SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL IN 1963

It’s ironic to me that my recent article, “Fifty Years Later—Vatican II’s Unfinished Business,” has provoked anger among many traditionalists, because for most of my priesthood I have angered liberals who consider me an arch traditionalist. Nevertheless I want to respond to those traditionalists who include both the SSPX and my fellow Catholics still fully united to the Church. I assure you of my prayers and support for your passionate defense of Church practices through the ages.

Nevertheless, I stand fully by my article and support the Second Vatican Council, called by one pope, John XXIII, and brought to a close by his successor, Paul VI. The grave errors and outrages that blighted the Church in the following years—and which traditionalists rightly deplore—cannot be blamed on the council, but on the frailties and sometimes the hidden agendas of those who implemented it. But should we really be shocked that the Church is home to human imperfections? Of the first 12 disciples, one-twelfth went over to the enemy, a future pope loudly denied Him, and all but one deserted Him, just when He needed them most.

The point is, Christ did not shrink from leaving His Church in the hands of imperfect people. We must separate our anger over the damages of many unwise decisions throughout the years from the ongoing mission of the Church. And let’s not forget that the 20th century was hardly the only century of missteps. Yet in every age, the Church regains Her footing.

That firm footing (which of course never completely deserts the Church) continues to be restored into the 21st century in exciting ways. The Year of Faith and the powerful evangelization of our new Pope Francis show the Holy Spirit continuing to heal His Church. I rejoice with my traditionalist friends on the ongoing restoration and if I had unlimited space, I would cite many examples of this. But here are just a few of the timeless notes of the Church, which I would continue to defend right along with my critics:

  • Reverence at receiving Communion—kneeling preferably—and maintaining the rules that protect the sacred.
  • Modesty in women’s dress
  • Solemn, majestic liturgy, including music
  • A disciplined, catechetical approach to teaching the faith.

I agree with traditionalists that there are many more  (to name them all would take a catechism), and yes, sadly, some parishes and pastors are less than vigilant about them. The answer is to keep teaching and instructing. Like a battleground after a war—and yes, the decades following Vatican II were like a desolate, postwar battlefield—new ground must be tilled, new seeds planted, and destructive weeds pulled. That takes patience and time, but we trust that God has both to give.

Reforms Allow Greater Access to Sacraments
Where I part company with my critics is when “rules” trump the love of Christ and His access to human beings. In this regard, Vatican II rightly freed the Church’s hands.

I became acutely aware of this while serving for 11 years as director of prison ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver. The old “rules” which required specific Mass linens, receptacles and rubrics, for example, would have seriously limited my ability to offer Mass for prisoners who deeply needed the Real Presence of Christ.

The old rules didn’t allow for lay extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, either. As one priest, I could not possibly distribute Holy Communion to every prisoner in my care and still complete the rest of my priestly duties. To eliminate the ability of Church approved and instructed laity to take the Blessed Sacrament to literally thousands of Catholic prisoners every month when these prisoners desperately need the Lord—that seems a terrible lapse of charity.

And speaking of tradition—can the traditionalists forget the holy young layman Tarcissus, who took Holy Communion to prisoners in the early Church? It was necessary then and is necessary now.

Traditionalists who oppose these changes seem to say, “No, the important thing is that a priest and no one else distributes Communion! If that means these prisoners only receive once a year instead of once a month, so be it!”

These critics of the council should remember what Jesus said about the Pharisees. “They bind up heavy loads, hard to carry, to lay on other men’s shoulders, while they themselves will not lift a finger to budge them….   Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, you frauds!” (Mt. 23:4 & 13.)

The Pharisee Mindset meets Modernism
The Pharisees whom Christ rebuked don’t just exist in Bible history. There is a Pharisee mindset, which exists through time and is part of our broken humanity. In other words, Christ wasn’t just chiding the Pharisees who stood before him. He was emphasizing to the people of His times that He was praying for all those who would believe in him through the word of the apostles (John Ch. 17:20). In other words, he was speaking to us! We must guard against becoming Pharisees as well.

And what is this Pharisee mindset? Well, first of all, it is the error at the opposite end of the moral spectrum from the radical modernists who say that, when it comes to interpreting Scripture and Church dogmas, “Anything goes!” That free-for-all code, the modernist heresy, was called by Pope Pius X “the synthesis of all heresies,” because it encompasses them all. In recent centuries the Church’s greatest battle has been against that many-headed monster, modernism, which Pope Pius X masterfully outlined in his prophetic 1907 encyclical, Pascendi Dominici Gregis.

We all know—too well—the outrages and disruptions caused by modernist inroads in the Church. But in reaction to that heresy, the Church has been, in effect, abandoned by many people at the other end of the spectrum as well. These well meaning people have retreated to the mindset of the Pharisees, who hold up rigid rulemaking as the greatest good. I am convinced that many ultra traditionalists (including many of my critics) believe they are doing the right thing. After all, every war brings confusion and deceit, and in this ongoing war against modernism, Satan has set a reactionary trap for many who don’t fall for the obvious allurements of modernism, which is to run after anything that is new, innovative, and culturally acceptable. The rest of us may recognize these evils of modernism. But that doesn’t mean Satan gives up on us! For many of us, unless we remain vigilant, he offers the temptation of the Pharisee mindset, which relies on rules rather than the power and authority of God’s love. This trap is far more subtle, but it is equally designed to enslave people and separate them from the Church.

Examine Closely Council Documents
And so we come to the crux of our disagreement—Vatican II. The Council that Pope John said would “throw open the windows of the Church” also swept in these two great temptations—modernist thinking and, in reaction, the Pharisee mindset. But this is not the fault of the Council, but part of the mysterious battle between good and evil. If anything, the forces of evil which Satan hurled against the Church after the Council prove that the Council was good, because Satan had to stop its fruits from growing, at all costs.

I urge traditionalists to say a prayer to the Holy Spirit and then crack open the Vatican II documents, and really read them with an open heart. You will see that no essential doctrine of the Church has been discarded—only enhanced. The documents only reveal the open arms and the mercy of Christ.

Critics of the Council who reject these documents out of hand deprive themselves of an opportunity to find Jesus Christ.

For example, ultra traditionalists take great offense at this Vatican II statement:

Those who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ and His Church, but who nonetheless seek God with a sincere heart and, moved by divine grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation. Nor shall divine providence deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those, who through no fault of their own, have not yet arrived at the explicit knowledge of God, and who, not without grace, strive to lead a good life (Lumen Gentium, no. 16).

Traditionalists counter with Boniface VII’s statement in his bull, Unam Sanctam, that “outside the Church there is no salvation” (Nov. 18, 1302, Denz. No. 468, 30th edition).

Of course what Boniface said is true. But how God introduces His Church to each individual cannot be fully gleaned by any human being. Vatican II merely acknowledged that God is free to distribute his grace where He wills—and that He has access to each human heart in ways that we are not privy to.

The traditionalist error is to believe that human beings are allowed to be, in effect, the mystical gatekeepers of God’s mercy—that they can somehow penetrate every aspect of God’s providence and speak with the authority of God. This is pride. No individual can rightfully block God from gaining access to the soul of any human being.

Our proper role on this earth is far more humble, even as we must remain vigilant. We are to abide by Church discipline, doctrine and the Magisterium. These laws stand immutable and firm as ever. In other words, we all agree, with ringing truth, that certain sins are mortal, that hell is real, and that our free-will choices determine our eternal destiny. We all believe Christ gave the Church the power to loose and to bind sin.

We are also called by the Church to believe in the divine purpose and role of Vatican II while preventing the Church from becoming a watering hole for modern Pharisees.

The Damaging Effects of Rigidity
If this had ever happened—of course the Holy Spirit would not allow it—rigidity would end up governing everything. For example, I ask the traditionalists: If every person has to have an express knowledge of Jesus Christ to be saved, what would they say is the fate of adults in far flung countries, bereft of missionaries? And what of infants, including the pre-born? What about the dying Hindu beggars whom Mother Teresa lovingly rescued from the gutters of Calcutta? Are they all categorically damned?

Instead, the Church rightly interprets Boniface’s statement to mean that the only door to salvation is the Church—in other words, Christ’s authentic call to faith does not come through Buddhism, or Islam, or any other religious tradition. But this does not mean that God, through the power of Christ and in His own mysterious ways, cannot save Buddhists and Muslims. Such enlightenment can come in mysterious ways known only to God, including in the womb. This is possible, as we know from the account of John the Baptist leaping in the womb of Elizabeth upon recognizing Jesus in the womb of Mary. So Vatican II teaches that “those too may achieve eternal salvation.” “May” means that, of course, they too will have to make a decision based on their own free will, like each one of us.

Likewise, extreme traditionalists need to be very careful when they start pinning people with narrow and exacting literal interpretations of the Scriptures and Church teaching. That’s because Pope Boniface, in the same document as above, also notes that all humanity,  “by necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff” (Denz. no. 469, 30th ed.).

On one hand, Traditionalists cite Boniface as correct, yet on the other hand, they deny Boniface when they reject the authority of the six Roman pontiffs who, since 1963, have, in their writings and pronouncements, both explicitly and implicitly, declared the authenticity of Vatican II.

Why Religious Coercion was Abandoned
There is another objection. Some traditionalists claim that the Church reversed Her teaching in no. 4 of the Document on Religious Liberty by calling for “freedom or immunity from coercion in religious matters.”  Instead of making the state subject to the Church, they say she now makes the Church subject to the state. But they have misunderstood the meaning of this document. In brief, the document has to do with “freedom from coercion in civil society” in relation to the state and “it leaves intact the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duties of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ.” This is pointed out in the very first paragraph. So the Document on Religious Liberty has nothing to do with people’s relation to the authority of the Church which is aptly set forth in Lumen Gentium, no. 14.

Nevertheless, these modern traditionalists condemn the document because it makes the point that the state should not force anyone to accept a set of beliefs. Do traditionalists really want a society where they could coerce Muslims, atheists, or even their Lutheran neighbors to be Catholic?

In fact, the spirit of the Church, as well as Her teaching, is the very opposite, and best proven by the fact that the sacraments are never valid when a person resists, or is forced to receive them. This holds true for every sacrament, including marriage, baptism, and confession.

Let me conclude this way.

God asks for our love and our hearts, but He also put us on earth to use our brains. It should not make us angry to periodically re-evaluate the man-made “rules” we developed over time, and ask whether they continue to serve the Church and Her mission to win souls.

Yes, some rules are immutable and should continue. Others are more a product of one’s culture and the times we live in. God gave us the intelligence, judgment and prudence to periodically examine and re-evaluate all the holy trappings—trappings, not doctrines—which we have put in place to support Christ’s Church on earth.

Vatican II was such a time of re-evaluation. Did some people misuse it? Yes. But the world that once looked in awe at a pope carried aloft on a fancy throne has vanished. We may lament the passing of a more dignified age, but that doesn’t mean we should bring back papal thrones! Remember that Jesus walked in sandals and let a woman wash his feet. He was not afraid to “re-evaluate” traditions when needed. Praise be to God that, through the Holy Spirit, the Church which Christ founded is not afraid to, either.

Fr. Regis Scanlon, O.F.M. Cap

By

Fr. Regis Scanlon, O.F.M.Cap., is spiritual director and chaplain for Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s Missionaries of Charity in Denver, as well as being one of the spiritual directors for the Missionaries of Charity in the western United States. He was director of prison ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver, from 1999 to 2010; a chaplain for Missionaries of Charity at their now-closed AIDS hospice, Seton House, and at Gift of Mary homeless shelter for women in Denver from 1989 to 2008. His articles have been published in Homiletic & Pastoral Review, The Catholic Faith, Soul Magazine, Pastoral Life, and The Priest. He has also made three series for Mother Angelica's EWTN: “Crucial Questions,” “Catholic Answers,” and “What Did Vatican II Really Teach?”

  • AcceptingReality

    It is true that Vatican II itself is not the problem, rather the abuses and errors promulgated in implementing it. The paragraph you quoted from Lumen Gentium is a good case in point. Traditionalists are frustrated by the way modernists use this as an “out clause” in many matters of morality. For instance, in discussions about abortion, a traditionalist will say that abortion is intrinsically evil and can never be advanced or supported without incurring sin. A modernist will say that being Catholic they are supposed to follow their conscience and their conscience tells them abortion is a right that must be preserved. It would help matters if matters of forming the conscience in accord with Church teaching were addressed from the pulpits of parishes but that is not the case. Most priests are too concerned with upsetting someone so all is kept on a vague politically correct level. Very little truth with regard to the main issues of the day comes from the pulpit. I would guess that reality is at the heart of traditionalist criticism.

    • Ford Oxaal

      Very true. And it is a serious obligation to properly form your conscience, and those of your children. That is the piece studiously ignored by the modernists.

  • http://www.facebook.com/verkonika Veronica Salazar

    Wonderful post, father! You convey my exact thoughts. God bless.

  • franthie

    It seems to me that in almost line after line of his above article, Father Scanlon has created a fictitious layer of Catholics called ‘ultras’ to whom he imputes all sorts of simple beliefs that have always been understood in a much more complex and nuanced way.

  • Dick Prudlo

    The name calling continues. So, let me understand the wisdom: the rubrics required disposal so Fr. Scanlon can provide Holy Communion to the prisoners of the world. That certainly is a loving cause, and charity is what we should all be about. NO? Where is that charity when it comes to a Catholic who has read “Those Documents” and finds them underwhelming at best in safeguarding the Faith handed down? But, anecdotes aside, the wisdom in explaining away the “time bombs” found in those documents have laid low the Church of Christ and all the whining coming out of the Neocatholc’s about the beauty and love found in VAT II is the Holy Spirit’s voice is complete bunk.

    History has given us all the evidence necessary. We find it is the prelates and not the laity that provides us with the heresy.

  • Joe DeCarlo

    Father, how was it that only priests distributed Holy Communion pre-Vatican II when we had a 90% attendance at mass?
    Today, the problem is people are in a hurry to get mass over with. The church has placated the people with a much shorter mass and a much shorter sermon. I’ve heard people complaining that the priest went over the limit of an 8 min. sermon. I attend the Latin mass, which of course is much longer, and the sermons are longer than 8 mins. People don’t run out of mass, almost stepping on the heels of the priest as he walks down the aisle. Many stay a few mins. after mass in thanksgiving to the Lord for the greatest prayer
    Secondly, Vatican II was a disaster, and was not needed. Pre-VII, we had full churches, seminaries, convents, Catholic schools, and long lines at confession. What was the reason for the “update?”

    • http://www.facebook.com/toniace1 Toni Aceto

      well, how many priests are available in your parish? We only have one! Joe, whenever priests only distributed Communion, we had several priests assigned to one parish, and they would come out during Mass to assist with Communion. You are blaming Vatican 2 for the negative consequences in the Church: maybe you should instead blame the HUGE cultural shift that took place in the 60’s and the 70’s that we are still reeling from and suffering from today.

      • Alecto

        Vatican II accelerated the impact of those cultural shifts instead of insulating and congealing faith. Now, only now, the same clergy that spent millions destroying churches only to replace beauty with repugnance, offer up the same tired boring excuses for their mistakes. Maybe a “mea culpa” is more in order? Otherwise, the term “in the world but not of it” means absolutely nothing coming from them.

      • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

        I think you got it backwards. The HUGE cultural shift that happened in the ’60s and ’70s, where BECAUSE of VC II.

        • Ford Oxaal

          Yes, this is how I see it too! Here is what I think is happening: God is tired of Protestantism. So he had the Catholic Church lower her standards a notch. Now the Protestant Churches are underwater. When the Catholic Church comes back up, there will be less division.

          • John200

            Ha, ha, that should be the opening line of a very good comedy routine. Nice formulation. Thanks for the laugh.

        • Alphonsus_Jr

          Exactly. As the Church goes, so goes the world.

      • Joe DeCarlo

        Yes, the cultural revolution had much to do with it, but the church wanted to update in order to communicate with modern man. The church should have held it course, and stayed with the status quo. We have two priests at our Latin mass parish. We have a 95% attendance rate. Pre-vatII, we had two priests who distributed communion to a full church-90% attendance rate. The mass was at least 1 l/2 hours, unlike today, where people rush out, even right after communion.

      • Joe DeCarlo

        So, you have one priest. So what? What is the rush to get out of church?

        • Ford Oxaal

          We are lucky to have a communion rail, great priests, and all altar boys!! We have reverence and majesty at Mass. But the biggest issue for me is no confessions before Mass — what an opportunity to save souls!! Of course you would need confessors that are properly formed. Some of the young priests up and coming today are top notch — there is a renewal — they compare favorably with the confessors of FSSP.

          • Joe DeCarlo

            Yes, we have all that, but we also have confession before mass. Why don’t you suggest it to your pastor?

      • whatsup54321

        Precisely. The huge and wildly numerous cultural shifts impacted every facet of everyone’s lives in the West. Amazing how some ignore these realities and use Vatican II as a scapegoat. Perhaps a study of systems theory would help some people. Very few effects, if any, come from one singular cause. Multiple causality is the name of the game with nearly everything in reality.

    • Jambe d’Argent

      I think that the insistence on the frequent reception of the Eucharist (which actually predates Vatican II), when not accompanied by constant reminders about being in a state of grace, has inadvertently contributed to the spiritual cheapening and even quasi-desacralization of this most important Catholic sacrament. It is enough to watch the Sunday Mass crowd lining up en masse (pun unintended) for the communion to realize that something is seriously wrong (and, please, don’t give me the platitudes about not knowing the real state of these people’s souls, a commonsense approach is completely sufficient here – last Sunday I saw in my church a man who walked in AFTER the anamnesis and then happily went on to receive the host…) Priests should remind the faithful AT EACH AND EVERY MASS that only the ones in a state of grace can communicate without incurring a sin. An occasional review of the appropriate rules (see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06278a.htm ) would also be very useful.

    • whatsup54321

      There were more priests then (in numbers and in who showed up for each Mass) and less people who received Communion.

  • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

    Misunderstood….misused…..imperfect? Fr. Scanlon, there is no need for you to apologize or excuse the results and outcome of VC II. After reading the book “The Second Vatican Council: The Unwritten Story” by Roberto de Mattei, I am convinced Vatican II accomplished exactly what it set out to do, and much more. This is the one book you should read to know exactly what really happened. And if you do, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

    • Ford Oxaal

      Can you give us the long and short of it?

      • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

        I can try, but it is very complex. Let me preface it by stating that the book is academic in tone and extremely well researched and documented (e.g., lots of footnotes, references, documents, diary entries, etc.). I think it is the best researched book I have ever read on any subject (and I have read many, many academic books and articles in my life, having several graduate degrees, including a doctorate). The bottom line is that John XXIII within months of his election called the Second Vatican Council to “reform and modernize” the Church. (This is something both Popes Pius X and XII resisted, since they both knew that the progressives would take advantage of it, and would open a pandora’s box). It is unclear why Pope John XXIII called for a Council at all and without consultation, and also whether he was complicit with the whole scheme or was snookered by some manipulating bishops. Anyway, Pope John XXIII then placed many of the “progressive” bishops and cardinals, mostly from France and Germany in influential committees and positions and they, along with some others from South America (the Liberation Theology crowd), ran the agenda and the show for most of the council period (which lasted about four years). The “traditionalists” (which, by the way, included Arch. Marcel Lefebvre) were politically outmaneuvered by the “progressives” (which, by the way, included soon-to-be Pope Paul VI and later-to-be Pope Benedict XVI). So, what started out to be a Council that would open the doors of communication and dialogue between the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations (protestants, eastern orthodox, etc.), was hijacked by the “secular-progressive” bishops and theologians (who had been waiting in the wings for many decades to make drastic changes to the Church — going back to the end of the 19th century), with the goals of 1) destroying the “traditional” Catholic faith and church and 2) substituting a water-down version of it which would be nothing more than a front to spread their socialist/progressive agenda world-wide (the universal church….. hmmmm). So, the rest is history, as they say. The book is absolutely fascinating and reads both like a biography and a thriller. I would venture to say that if those who are posting messages that are either open or sympathetic to VC II would read this book, they may very well change their minds. I did.

        Pax

        • Ford Oxaal

          But where does this lead? Is the Novus Order invalid? Is the Pope not the Pope? I don’t think so. Did the Church err on faith and morals? Not Vatican II — the documents are instructive when read in the the right light. I think we need to go to Mass at least as required, and if they make you shake hands, do it genuinely, etc. — let love not be contrived, or whatever the epistle says. You have to admit, Humanae Vitae is the real deal. Whatever happened in the sixties, Humanae Vitae has to be the one teaching the world has, the one anchor to windward, to draw a line between true dignity and utter human desolation at the hands of the utilitarians. This document may represent the Churches finest hour — because it stands up to the most Satanic evil.

          I have read lots of stuff like what you are talking about, and I am sure there were many infiltrators of the Church, and they wrecked the seminaries, took the money, turned things into a Bacchanalia and everything else — but to no avail — God then uses that to test hearts and will eventually bring a greater good from this mayhem — the perpetrators of which Jesus has all eternity to punish. In the meantime, we are still the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the smoke of Satan notwithstanding.

          • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

            A news flash: “Pope Francis says atheists can do good and go to heaven too!”

            http://www.catholic.org/hf/fai

            As you can see, Vatican Council II is really chugging along its true path and doing its thing, as is supposed to. And we ain’t seen nothing yet from this pope — a Jesuit masquerading as a Franciscan.

        • Jambe d’Argent

          “The “traditionalists” (which, by the way, included Arch. Marcel
          Lefebvre) were politically outmaneuvered by the “progressives” (which, by the way, included soon-to-be Pope Paul VI and later-to-be Pope Benedict XVI).” You forgot to mention Karol Wojtyla, another soon-to-be pope…

          • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

            Yes, and I am sure the current Pope has some connection with VC II as well (you might know). Also, see the following:

            “Pope Francis says atheists can do good and go to heaven too!”

            http://www.catholic.org/hf/fai

            As you can see, Vatican Council II is really chugging along its true path and doing its thing, as is supposed to. And we ain’t seen nothing yet from this pope — a Jesuit masquerading as a Franciscan.

            • Jambe d’Argent

              Well, even if the pope does not quite say that (please read some perceptive comments under the article in question), what bothers me is this continuing – and even growing – insistence on treating Catholicism as almost exclusively an ethical system. This trend is deadly for a religion. The core of the religious belief is the link with the supernatural through dogma, ritual and symbols. Vatican II has already shown a deep misunderstanding of this fact in, for example, a directive to avoid “needless repetition” in the Mass (no repetition is needless in an ages-old ritual!) or in limiting the number of side altars and saintly images inside a church. Catholicism has thus become spiritually flat. I’m afraid that the present pope, with his rather naive disregard for papal traditions and liturgical praxis, is only going to make it more shallow yet. Sentimental outbursts cannot replace the sense of the sacred.

              • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

                “Doing” good is much different that “being” good. Jesus calls ALL of us to “Be” united in Him…. to become Him…. Altus Christus, Ipse Christus!

  • http://www.facebook.com/amy.schirmer Amy Williams Schirmer

    Thank you for your faithfulness!

  • Alecto

    I notice any time a conservative Catholic criticizes Vatican II or the ongoing abuses, which continue to cause division and strife among Catholics, the same label is applied: Pharisee. The worst thing Vatican II accomplished was to obliterate unity in the Church. It divided people, not because some are too rigid, or others too flexible, but because the clergy imposed its will, not God’s will. That is not the work of the Holy Spirit.

    In this rapidly changing world, it is necessary that the Church not change. People cling to traditions and rituals not because they’re “pharisees”, but because those traditions and rituals offer comfort and connect generations to each other and to the Catholic faith. Most of all, the fruits of Vatican II are rotten, damaged. That is why I know in my heart it was not from the Holy Spirit. Would the Holy Spirit inspire something that resulted in millions of Catholics leaving or being persecuted by other Catholics simply for wanting to continue to respect tradition? Pedophiles entering the priesthood? No vocations? Looney political focus rather than the real treasures of the Church: conversion and salvation? More than anything, Vatican II challenges belief in papal infallibility and honestly, I am not so sure I believe in that not because I know better, but because of the facts and history of Vatican II.

    It is impossible to go forward without understanding the past and why things happened. Catholics will not evangelize anyone until they reconcile the past. The problem is that the damage is done, and it was done intentionally by those who used the Council as a pretext for their own vanities.

    • Ford Oxaal

      Many American Bishops will be leaving soon — they will age out. Here is the funny thing — we have a seriously liberal bishop — many know the exact number of days and hours he has left. And yet, he is the only priest I have heard or seen in writing around here speaking out against abortion — clearly and unabashedly. So things are not always what they seem. Anyway, we must maintain our charity and be patient. The Catholic Church is indomitable (but we have to maintain our faith in these tough times).

    • Jambe d’Argent

      Let’s not forget that Vatican II chose not to condemn Communism, a truly evil doctrine, for clearly opportunistic reasons. So who is really a Pharisee?

  • PaulF

    Fr Scanlon, I have to take issue with you on just one point, where you say that the errors that followed V2 are not found in V2 itself. I am not a traditional Catholic, I have always welcomed the new liturgy and still do. But there was a problem with V2 teaching. In sections 2&3 of Nostra Aetate (which, I emphasize, is not an infallible teaching document but is nevertheless very influential), the non Judaeo Christian religions of the world were spoken of in terms of commendation. A Christian cannot do that without falling away from faith. The moment you admit in your mind that a religion that rejects the truth about Jesus is good, you are honouring the spirit of Antichrist. You are falling into Satan’s trap. Please see 1 John 4:1-4 re the test of spirits. All those spirits that reject the truth about Jesus are not of God. Our church needs to correct the teaching in sections 2&3 of Nostra Aetate at the very highest level.

    • Ford Oxaal

      Well it is certainly clarified in the new Catechism. And we still say the Creed! One, Holy, Apostolic, and Catholic.

      • PaulF

        Thanks Ford. Can you pass on the clarification to the priests, bishops and popes who still engage in so called ‘interfaith’ activities, telling the leaders of antichristian religions how ‘great’ their religions are, actually joining them when they pray to sinister spirits, and encouraging them to continue in their demonic ‘faiths’? All these activities, which have brought so much poison into the Body of Christ, are justified by reference to sections 2&3 of Nostra Aetate. I wish I could tell every Catholic what a blessing it is to declare the certain, biblical truth that there is only one God who manifests in only one Christ and to utterly reject all spirits who reject him. Nothing advances our prayer life so quickly. When we praise the only one he comes into our presence and makes himself known to us. Such a great blessing to throw away for the sake of an unscriptural, Satan inspired idea, an idea that would be recognized for its falsehood immediately if it had not been uttered on such high authority.

        • Ford Oxaal

          Who do you have more in common with — a secular humanist who puts his sixteen year old daughter on birth control, or a Moslem who desires his daughter to remain a virgin until marriage? I know a great priest from Zanzibar who has a dear Moslem friend. Is that a bad friendship? No. And a good Catholic friend who has the fullness of the faith may eventually win over the friend who is sincere, but has less of the truth.

          • PaulF

            Sorry Ford, I don’t see the connection with the subject under discussion. I’ve known and worked with many people who have not yet discovered the Good News. It doesn’t mean I’ve ever pretended to them that their religion is good when Scripture and pre V2 Tradition tells us so clearly that it is not. I will not follow so many of our hierarchy in making such a shameful pretence. The moment you admit that antichristian religions are good you fall into unbelief and the accompanying spiritual disempowerment, because you are no longer able to declare that Jesus is the only Saviour of the world. The Holy Spirit always bears testimony to Jesus, never to his enemies in the spiritual realm.
            The evils afflicting our church since the mid 1960s are a result of the false direction we took in V2 in regard to other religions. Scripture prophesies it and experience confirms it. What we need to do now is correct it.

            • PaulF

              P.S. – Ford, although it is off subject, I will answer the question in your last post, about whether we have more in common with a secular humanist or a Muslim.
              The test of spirits in 1 John 4:1-4 commands us to test spiritual movements to see if they are of God or if they are not of God. And it gives us a very straightforward rule for making the test: If they confess the whole truth about Jesus they are of God. If they do not they are not. John, and the Holy Spirit, do not require us to decide which of the spirits of Antichrist we have more in common with. If they are of the spirit of Antichrist they are in slavery and they need us to share the Good News with them so that the true Lord will set them free.
              John expresses this again later in his majestic letter: ‘We are well aware that we (who believe in Jesus) are of God, and the whole world (those who reject Jesus) is in the power of the Evil One’ (1 John 5:20).
              Jesus said, ‘Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.’ Blessed indeed. The word of God places the very power of God in our hands. Ford, do not play games with the word of God.

              • Ford Oxaal

                “The word of God places the very power of God in our hands.” And to share that word, you need a decent bedside manner and some thoughtful ammo. Does Nostra Aetate *contradict* Church teaching here? The fact is, the Moslems do have a piece of the truth — monotheism. The more zealous among them want to chop your head off as a Christian because they think you believe in polytheism. Your ability to explain the Trinity is useful here. If you have a good rapport with a Moslem, you can enter discussion on a philosophical, comfortable level, and explain to them that space, an infinite substance in reflection of the Creator, cannot be conceived without a trinity of dimensions — first length (line), then length and width (plane), and finally length, width and height (volume). Space is one, yet not monotone. Same with the other infinity we are familiar with: time. Time cannot be conceived without past, present, and future. Then you can move on to the fact that there is no value add to Islam — Christianity, on the other hand, brings forgiveness to the table, replacing vengeance. Is that an example of too much play, or should I have already shaken the sand off my feet?

                • PaulF

                  No Ford I think your explanations are fantastic, especially about the ‘triune’ dimensions of space and time. Having a good manner and developing rapport is essential I agree.
                  Let me put a different story to you. A young man discovers the gift of prayer and is able to go into his room and be in the presence of the Lord anytime he wants. His life fills with joy, he dreams a beautiful dream for his future, and he hears and reads every Christian author that has anything to teach him about prayer. One of the authors he reads talks about how much we have in common with other religions, how we can learn from them and incorporate their teachings into our prayer practice. The young man suspects nothing. He avidly reads the literature of other religions and tries to incorporate them in his prayer with the Lord. He cannot understand why his prayer and his life suddenly goes pear shaped. The Lord is no longer with him, replaced by a gaping, suicidal distress that he cannot explain to anyone. He goes on to blunder through life, powerless, no direction, subject to every mistake and every sin and every addiction … he ends up in so much trouble that he is forced to face it. With the help of materials from an evangelical ministry he at last learns to make the connection. He at last sees the root cause, the one that Scripture always warns us about: other gods … other gods … other gods. He gains a new knowledge of the power of the word of God and the importance of honouring him alone and having nothing whatever to do with his enemies.
                  I don’t need to look far for the source of this story, Ford. I’ve given you a potted account of my own trajectory. The spirits that reject Jesus are the most horrifying poison, and much, much evil would be avoided if we told people the truth about this. Youths commit suicide and no one even suspects there might be a link with the discs of demonized music in the youth’s bedroom … Ford, it is our brief to proclaim the truth as we have received it from the mouth of God, not to encourage falsehood and idolatry.

                  • Anthony

                    Excellent points, I’m amazed at how we all seem to ignore what our ancestors would have easily seen as Satanic.

                • PaulF

                  No Ford, I think your explanations are very helpful.
                  What I don’t think is helpful is flattering the other side by telling them they have the truth when they don’t. Monotheism is not truth if the spirit worshipped is not the one who sent his Son Jesus into the world. If I were crazy enough to say that there is only one god and his name is Lucifer, would I be telling the truth?
                  I would be telling a falsehood, a disabling falsehood that would place my life under a biblical curse.
                  My point is that there are countless souls oppressed by that curse unnecessarily. If only our church would do what it is commissioned to do, teach the truth as we have received it from the mouth of God, and stop honouring the powers of darkness. We would see an explosion of new life, and a speedy end to the shameful afflictions that just won’t go away as long as we refuse to hear what the word of God is telling us.

          • patricia m.

            I’ve been good friends with Muslims and Jews. I knew they had the wrong religion, I never tried to convert them though. But in my heart of hearts I always feel sorry for them. And in the end, yes, I feel even sorrier for my friends that are atheists.

            • Ford Oxaal

              You must pray for them and try to convert them by your example, and by standing up for your faith when prompted to do so. The thing about atheists is they are searching — they think about things. I have some of my best conversations about God with atheists! It’s the lukewarm Catholics who scare me the most — conversation killers.

    • Dmikem

      I think your interpretation of sections 2&3 of Nostra Aetate is a bit too literal. The Church as always recognized that within every religious community there are elements of truth. Much as the protestant Sacrament of Baptism is considered valid by the Church, the document recognizes the elements of ‘good’ that do not conflict with Church’s teachings. Many faith communities oppose abortion and other moral evils. So I see this document as merely recognizing and praising them for their ‘sound moral’ beliefs. It is not however a blanket acceptance of their doctrines nor is it in any way a recognition that their Church’s is equal to the CC.

      In fact in section 2 it says, “The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.(4)

      The last sentence of the above reference is a caveat….it basically restates Catholic teaching that forever the CC must proclaim Christ “the way, the truth and the life”.

      • PaulF

        Dmikem, if the other religions are true and holy, they point people toward Jesus. Astrology is forbidden to believers, but when the tree Magi followed the New Star, it led them to Jesus, and they went in and worshipped him. That is what the other religions are for.
        The religions we are talking of have not done that. They have been resisting Jesus for centuries, even millennia. That is not true and holy. That is not the work of the Holy Spirit, who always gives testimony to Jesus. It is the work of sinister spirits, the spirits of Antichrist, as we learn from 1 John 4:1-4.
        We must never praise such spirits. It is an abomination to our Lord.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryanjbrady2 Ryan J Brady

    This article makes many great points about ultra-Traditionalist reactions to V2. It seemed to me, however, that many of the negative comments about the Council in the last article’s comments were not necessarily ultra-traditionalist ones that would impute explicit errors or heresies to the Council. Many seemed to merely suggest that the drastic consequences of it indicate that it may have done more harm than good simply because of its ambiguity (which was caused by the liberal periti like Hans Kung who explicitly hoped to make a radical reinterpretation of doctrine possible). Yes, the Holy Spirit protects the Church from explicitly teaching error and doctrines coming from an ecumenical Council are infallible when definitively taught. Yet Jesus did not indicate that everything would be taught in the right way at the right time. Also, this Council was explicitly non-Dogmatic with a few minor exceptions and some of its prudential decisions (such as those in Perfectae Caritatis) were explicitly said to be provisional. Because it was not dogmatic and prudential judgments are based on changing circumstances, it seems possible to me to question the way the documents were written without being a schismatic even if the invective manner employed by some isn’t very helpful and may indicate a lack of the necessary submission of will and intellect spoken of by the Council and Canon Law.

    • Jambe d’Argent

      “…doctrines coming from an ecumenical Council are infallible when definitively taught.”
      Only in the matters of faith and morals, my friend, only in these matters.

  • Watosh

    Well I am told that a good tree can’t bear bad fruit, and that by their fruits we shall know them, I find that excusing Vatican II by saying it was badly interpreted and badly implemented less than convincing. I also wonder when I am told Vatican II did not change Church teaching and yet the SSPX has said they adhere to everything that the church has taught in the past, and that Church teaching as being the truth cannot change is considered outside the Church when at the same time various bishops and Cardinals have embraced positions that were clearly considered heresies in the past and are considered in good standing. Actually SSPX adheres completely to all church teaching, the only thing that they can be charged with is confirming Bishops without the permission of the Pope. The defense the SSPX used was the “necessity ” defense, which can be a legitimate defense. Granted there may be a difference of opinion on whether a necessity existed, but considering that the influence of the Church is at an all time low, Church statistics on Mass attendance, ordinations, religious are abysmal, American women religious are in open rebellion one could get the impression an emergency existed. I mean it strikes me, anyway, as odd that the church has warmly embraced many Protestant, we used to consider them as heretical, sects, and treats the SSPX, that say what you want about it, they subscribe to all the dogmatic teaching of the Church, as lepers. When you argue that they reject some of the less than clear utterances that Vatican II documents are famous for, and keep in mind Vatican II was officially billed as a “pastoral” council and not a dogmatic council, your argument is not on very solid ground. I am just trying to be logical about this.

    • Ford Oxaal

      I was confirmed by Archbishop LeFebvre. I am no fan of modernism (at all), and in fact converted to the Catholic faith under the tutelage of a priest “on leave of absence” from the Baltimore Diocese so he could say the Tridentine Mass. I also taught at Archbishop Lefebvre’s school in Kansas when the illicit consecrations were carried out. But I never joined SSPX.

      Anyway, the issue boiled down to one sentence on religious liberty — one that, if interpreted according to the “hermeneutic of continuity” says nothing remotely heretical. Over time, the fact is, Rome bent over backwards to appease SSPX. The then Cardinal Ratzinger was our friend, and continued his friendship through his pontificate. It seemed a miracle he was made Pope, and it looked like the rift would be healed — to the enormous benefit of the Church. But no, SSPX cannot seem to be appeased. The huge window of opportunity came and went.

      I, for one, could not tolerate their endless running down of the Pope. There were no converts to voodoo after JPII donned some funky outfit in the wilds of wherever he was. If you are sedevacantist, admit it, but please, in any case, extend a modicum of genuine Christian charity to the Pope! Meanwhile, the FSSP has flourished, and my dream would be to have an FSSP chapel in our Diocese one day. One can only hope that SSPX can lay the self-imposed burden of saving the Church back on the Church.

      • Jambe d’Argent

        “There were no converts to voodoo after JPII donned some funky outfit in the wilds of wherever he was.”
        How do you know that? (I’m just curious.) And what about the potential converts to Catholicism from voodoo – do you think they have been encouraged to leave their religion by the pope’s approving gesture?

        • Ford Oxaal

          Well, you are right, maybe there were. But he made up for it with the take down of communist Poland, and the chain reaction that soon followed. (Not to mention promoting the cause of St. Faustina.) Have you read his biography? The one by Weigel (or however you spell it!)? A heroic figure!

          • Jambe d’Argent

            Yes, I have read it (your spelling is correct). Personally, I have many reasons to be proud of JPII but I’m trying to be objective. In my opinion, JPII has achieved some excellent results in world politics but not too many within the Church. Benedict XVI was much more efficient in this respect. Now let’s see what Pope Francis can do – I hope that his concern for the poor (who are the focus of attention of numerous secular agencies as well) will not obscure for him the other, equally important, Catholic issues.

      • Watosh

        SSPX has made some criticisms of the Pope, but because their were no converts to voodoo doesn’t mean that Pope John Paul II strayed from the path a bit. But on the whole. I beg to differ on your belief that SSPX endlessly ran down the Pope. On the whole they always spoke well of the Pope except they did find some actions questionable in the light of official Catholic teaching. The SSPX often praised the Pope in fact. There is a bit of rivalry between the FSSP and the SSPX, some have left one group to join the other. Human nature being what it is the FSSP members obviously feel they have taken the right path and the SSPX members have taken the wrong path, so the FSSP are going to view the SSPX in less than a favorable light and to magnify what they consider its defects. That is natural. Like partisans will do there is a tendency to take anything that the SSPX might say and put the worst construction on it. Democrats and Republicans always seem to operate this way toward each other. A modicum of Christian Charity might be called for here. I myself do try to see all sides, and do try to ascertain the truth. I have read the encyclicals of many of the pre-Vatican II Popes, as I have tried to read the encyclicals of the Vatican II era Popes, and feel constrained to abide by their admonitions. I have supported the FSSP in the past too, and support their efforts. And whatever did I say to cause you to think that I was a sedevacantist? Did I say anything that wasn’t a true observation? It seems you are quick to make accusations, since I was only questioning the logic of some events and how this jibed with traditional Catholic teaching. Catholics do have the right to question questionable things without fear of being called a sedevacantist. Well I am all for the FSSP, and the SSPX and the orthodox Christians we always pray for during mass. I am aware the Pope is infallible under the proper circumstances, but that not every thing he says is infallible. I recall the situation during the Arian heresy. But again saying this is not evidence for considering me a sedevacantist. My allegiance is to the truth and the Catholic church contains the truth. But the Church is composed of humans who do make mistakes, the only thing guaranteed is that the Holy Spirit will make sure the Church does not err in the teaching handed down from Christ. I attend an Eastern Rite Catholic Liturgy, though Wednesday a nearby Church of what was called the Latin Rite, holds a Latin Mass Wednesday evenings and that is a treat. A rather young priest says the Mass and does a superb service. I apologize for being long winded but I plead my age.

        • Ford Oxaal

          “And whatever did I say to cause you to think that I was a sedevacantist?” Sorry!!! Not you in particular, but the general “you” SSPX (hasty post and bad grammar on my part) — they just won’t make the most reasonable of concessions. And officially the SSPX has one stance, but I am talking about down in the ranks — the sentiment was really pretty calumnious to JPII — and that makes it hard to pray earnestly for the Pope’s intentions. The thing went pretty sour after the consecrations. That said, the SSPX families are top notch — no contraception! They fight the good fight — but I really could not believe their leadership could not patch it all up under Pope Benedict. That was a huge disappointment, and makes one wonder about their true colors. They seem to consider the Novus Ordo invalid — even now that the words of consecration in the English vernacular have been redone properly. If that is the case, we will never see reconciliation — and all those families will be yet another sect — a very nice sect, but a sect nevertheless.

          • Watosh

            ARe you sure SSPX claims that the new Mass is invalid? I could be wrong but I don’t recall them ever saying that. they have said that the Novus Ordo, while validt, was to be avoided, but I forget the reasoning, However I do have the impression they have never said it was invalid, but candor and objectivity compel me to say I can’t say this with 100% positiveness. This is something to check out.
            SSPX was ready to okay an agreement when the Vatican then added something that SSPX felt nullified the agreement they had negotiated in which they bent some to the point where some SSPX members felt that they were selling out. So it has not been a case of pure intransigence on the part of the SSPX. They tried to go as far as they felt they could and they moved enough to make some members rebel, which did not reflect well on the SSPX.

            • Ford Oxaal

              I said they *seem* to consider it invalid, or somehow intrinsically harmful to the faith — I don’t follow it that closely anymore, but I am pretty sure they won’t agree to Rome’s request for a stipulation as to the validity of the Novus Ordo. How could Rome demand less?

    • Dmikem

      Watosh, Your support of the SSPX is misplaced. When Lefebvre broke with the Church in 1988 he did so because he rejected some (not all) of the teachings of VII. But more importantly he declared, ” that he has finally understood that the agreement he signed aimed only at integrating his foundation into the “Conciliar Church.” The Catholic Church in union with the Pope is, according to him, the “Conciliar Church” which has broken with its own past. It seems indeed that he is no longer able to see that we are dealing with the Catholic Church in the totality of its Tradition, and that Vatican II belongs to that.

      (cf.http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3032)

      What is extremely clear is the by Lefebvre’s actions and the rejection of all Vatican reconciliation initiatives that he and the SSPX are in schism. There are two reasons I believe this. First, while the SSPX claims to recognize papal authority they reject the popes teachings on VII. This is simply denying the popes ‘Divine right of command’. Secondly, through the illegitimate ordination of 4 bishops they, intended or not, have set-up a rival episcopacy which interferes with clear papal succession. Today the SSPX is not in full communion with the Church which is why doctrinal discussions continue.
      There is only One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and Lefebvre and followers have chosen to leave it.

      • Watosh

        I do find it strange that you demand SSPX to recognize the popes teaching on VII, but I have heard countless Cardinals and Bishops considered to be in good standing who reject some of the official teachings of the Church. It appears that in some minds VII trumps any previous Church teaching, One prominent Vatican official claimed proudly that VII overturned Pius IX’s Syllabus of errors, another prominent Catholic prelate said that VII was the Churches French Revolution. Some Catholic theologians say that the church should ordain women and allow contraception and divorce and they are in good standing. Andrew Cuomo, who lives openly with paramour and is divorced and promotes abortion and acceptance of homosexuality was pronounced a Catholic in good standing by a spokesman for Cardinal Dolan. Pius V made a solemn teaching that the Latin Mass would be the Mass of the church in perpetuity and anyone that changed it significantly was anathematized. Now if church teaching has become anything that a Pope and some revolutionaries want then the sky is the limit. Previously the idea was that the Church taught the truth as handed down from the apostles and the truth doesn’t change so its teachings should not be changed. Popes took an oath to pass down faithfully what they received. Once you admit that teaching can change you are in the Protestant arena. Which is why Pope Benedict went to great pains to insist that VII had not changed anything and should be interpreted by what the Church had taught. But then he insisted,as other Popes did, that to be in full communion SSPX had to accept the changes, because SSPX accepted everything that the church had previously taught. And as been officially stated by Pope Benedict XVI, SSPX IS NOT IN SCHISM, but rather has an irregular status. Now you may not approve of SSPX and there are good grounds for your disapproval of their actions but they are not considered officially to be in schism. I am a mathematician, and I try to be logical. Pope JPII and others now say that the Jews and the Muslims worship the same God that we do. Now it is widely acknowledged that the Jews and the Muslims reject Jesus Christ as God. We regard Christ as our God, they don’t regard Christ as their God, so how can anyone claim logically that they worship the same God as we do? I believe this is their reasoning, (1) there is only one God, (2) The Muslims and Jews worship a God, (3) therefore Muslims and Jews must worship the same God as we do. According to that reasoning the worshippers of Baal worshiped the same God as we do It is comparable to claiming 2 + 2 = 5, if you make 2 large enough. Also recall the time when the church had three Popes, that was a bit irregular. too. In reading Warren Carroll’s history of the church there were a number of times in the past where I would thought, the church can’t possibly survive this scandalous situation, but on reading further the Church always did. I confess I don’t feel that the SSPX can do anywhere near the harm to the church than our current hierarchy has and seems intent on doing. They want to remake the Church. You know I don’t believe there is a person on this earth who doesn’t believe that if they had God’s power they could have designed a better universe. But they don’t so they can’t, but they can try to remake the Catholic Church in their exalted image. Satan is our enemy not SSPX which may or may not have taken an irregular path.

        • Ford Oxaal

          When Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated bishops I thought it incurred a de facto excommunication, and left the school. But then, Pope Benedict said no. And yes, it is puzzling why the modernists or whatever have not been taken to task (although they have not consecrated any bishops — that was a schismatic act on the face of it). And yes, Satan is our enemy!! I am just *very* disappointed that things weren’t patched up during Benedict’s pontificate. It always seemed the leadership at SSPX would do the bait and switch with the Vatican, and I mean for years — and after a while it seemed a bit disingenuous. Hopefully I have it wrong.

          • Dmikem

            Ford, then Pope Benedict did not restore the SSPX to full communion with the Church. In his letter of explanation to the bishops Pope Emeritus Benedict clearly said that lifting the excommunications was a gesture to the SSPX to enter into doctrinal discussions with Rome. Following the discussion the Vatican made a written overture to the SSPX to re-enter the Church which the SSPX rejected (in fact I don’t think they even replied to it). PE Benedict also clearly said that the SSPX has no canonical standing within the Catholic Church and neither do its ministers.

            I hope the SSPX resolves its differenced with the Church of Christ but the ball in really in their court now.

            One final point…..the SSPX nor the LCWR nor Call-To-Action nor Voice for the Faithful etc. can dictate to the Church what it must believe. The pope and only the pope is the head of the Church as appointed by Christ himself.

        • Dmikem

          One thing a good mathematician always must provide is proofs that their calculations are correct. You’ve made a load of allegations but no proofs. Cardinal Dolan did not say Cuomo was a Catholic in good standing, he just refused to say he wasn’t. By the way I’m on record criticizing Cardinal Dolan for his failure to publicly chastise Cuomo.

          I’ve explained ad infinitum why the SSPX is in schism. On fact I provided then Cardinal Ratzinger’s speech to the bishops of Chile where he definitively and repeatedly stated that the SSPX is in schism. I’ve given the Pope Benedict’s speech explaining that the lifting the excommunications was a “gesture” in an effort to bring the SSPX into doctrinal discussions. Nothing Pope Benedict did changed the status of the SSPX within the Church.

          The two things that Levebvre did that moved the SSPX into schism are:

          1. The rejection of the authority of the pope which equates to denying the pope’s ‘Divine right to command’.

          2. By illicitly ordaining the 4 bishops the SSPX is guilty of setting up a rival episcopacy which directly interferes with papal succession.

          The proof that they remain in schism is their refusal to accept papal authority. The SSPX does not have the authority to determine what it will and won’t accept. That is Catholic theology 101.

          I’ve had my say on this…an old saying comes to mind:

          “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice?”

          You hang with the SSPX but I’m staying with Christ’s Church. I leave you with two rhetorical questions:

          1. If the SSPX never reconciles with Rome….what does that mean?
          2. What is an ‘irregular’ status and why are doctrinal discussions ongoing.

          This will be my final word on this thread.

          • Watosh

            Okay, you have reasons. Still….well I have always been drawn to the character of Antigone. And you should recognize that the FSSP could well owe its existence to the SSPX, as Rome allowed them to say the Latin Mass in order to quash the SSPX. Pope Benedict XVI is notorious for saying one thing in the first part of his addresses and ending up saying pretty much the opposite, but officially whether you accept this or not, the fact is SSPX is not considered to be in Schism and an honest objective inquiry would confirm this. One other thing about the SSPX, it is the object of much dislike, even hate in some quarters. I trust you will not deny this, You, and the members of the FSSP regard them as enemies, most in the Vatican regard SSPX with malice, the Jews are adamant against them and have urged the Vatican to reject them and not make any attempt to regularize them, and it is safe to say the Protestant world has no love for them. Now if I remember correctly, Christ warned His apostles that if the world hated Him and crucified Him, to expect even worse at the hands of the world. Now I don’t say this justifies them, but it does give me pause in evaluating them. Now recently I protested a letter a good priest wrote saying that while the Vatican thought the U.S. should not have invaded Iraq, but at the same time recognized there could be legitimate difference of opinions on this. I wrote the priest, whom I had met in a friendly gathering some years ago, giving reason after reason that the invasion of Iraq clearly did not qualify as a just war, and has caused immense, harm and suffering and as such Catholics could not support this war of aggression. He replied that my arguments were not to the point or as he put it, “not really ad rem.” I am beginning to lose my admittedly irrational faith in rational discourse, as it seems like arguing with people is like dealing with an automatic answer system. I have foolishly engaged in discussions about homosexual marriage in which my reasoned arguments invariably are answered by charging me with being a homophobe. On several occasions I tried to show geocentrists that they were wrong, employing all kinds of clearly recognized evidence, but to no avail. They always had an answer. So you would think that I would learn from this. The accepted wisdom is that in the valley of the blind the one-eyed man is king. From what I have observed, in the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man would be quickly put to death. There is evidence of this too. Anyway I tried.

            • Dmikem

              Watosh…..I don’t hate anybody. I wish with all of my heart that the SSPX would rejoin the Church, I wish the LCWR would humbly accept the Vatican’s doctrinal assessment, I wish the womenpriest organization would accept Pope John Paul II’s infallible statement, “Ordinatio Sacerdotolis”, I wish Call-To-Action would come back to the Church……

              Your did remember correctly that Christ warned His apostles people would hate and persecute them in His name. But you have it backwards. It is the SSPX attacking Christ’s Church by denying papal authority and elements of doctrine. So the Church is the victim here….not the SSPX.

  • lifeknight

    Wow! I have read all the comments so far and I remain confused. I am a “product” of the changes of Vatican II and it has made parenting Catholic children today a real challenge…..not to mention a challenge for my own salvation!

    Admittedly, I have not read all the documents of Vatican II, but have had many experiences with both sides of the fence of the Traditional fence. Here is what happens to someone who tries to live “in media stat virtus.”

    Frustrated with inclusion of homosexuals, no mention of abortion/contraception, the murder of Terri Schiavo, and various other problems at the Novus Ordo (another essay), we take our large brood to a TLM. My 12 year old daughter receives a note within days from another child telling her that she should be wearing stockings to church in order to be a good Catholic girl. (Mind you, we donned the mantillas and had the skirts below the knee!) This child, now grown, refuses to attend TLM because of this incident. A second child overheard an argument I had at the TLM with a fellow parishioner regarding Sede Vacantis issue. That child refuses to go to the TLM because she has heard heresy spoken freely there. (A number of TLM people will not attend a Novus Ordo–not even a funeral.)

    I could go on and on. My husband and I PREFER the TLM, but also go to N.O. during the week or on Sundays depending on or schedules. I must admit we avoid some priests who tend to have their own “show” instead of following the rubrics. In general, the people tend to be very nonchalant with receiving the Eucharist and some of the outfits cause one to gasp aloud.

    So, what is a parent to do?

    I think many of you are far more intelligent and enlightened than I and I enjoy your comments immensely. I like knowing the rules and that they apply all the time. Vatican II changed that simple thinking and gave scope to those who want to push the envelope into gray areas. Fr. Scanlon makes some well-reasoned good points, but in the trenches as a parent, one can do only the best that conscience will allow within the basic guidelines of the one, holy, Catholic Church……..whatever they are!

    • Jambe d’Argent

      Did you speak to your TLM parish priest about these issues? I’m sure he would try to publicly address and correct them as our priest has done, in a sermon. Such abuses should stop immediately.

      • lifeknight

        There is no parish. The elderly priest tries to give instruction, but once this type of thing happens it gives credence to those who say TLM people are rigid. (Some are. ) Fortunately some of the brood appreciate the straightforward holiness of the TLM and prefer it over the other Masses.

        • Jambe d’Argent

          You say that there is no parish – so where do you attend TLM and who celebrates it?

  • poetcomic1 .

    Maybe the church should have opened a door instead of a window. Thieves come through windows.

  • patricia m.

    Wonderful article, I’m passing it to all my friends who really care about doctrine. Thanks for the article, very enlightening.

  • Frodo

    Bravo ! Well said, Father.

  • Henry

    Father – thank you for clarifying your position regarding Church tradition. I have no objection to V2 and I find the best understanding of the liberty problem, to have been provided by Thomas Pink.

    So the problem is the “post V2″ (not the actual V2) liturgy. If I could find a NO parish at which there was kneeling at communion or silence before mass or parishioners who weren’t dressed for the beach, I wouldn’t have to drive an hour to a Latin Mass. And I don’t see any NO priests delivering a message of missing reverence. I, of course, accept the NO mass as valid, but I also see its implementation (mostly) as awkward, irreverent and uncomfortable.

    I agree that offering the Eucharist to prisoners is essential. And I thank lay volunteers for doing so. But it’s misleading to assert that this is the typical use of extraordinary ministers. Rather, we witness weekly, the herd of “eucharistic ministers” assembling around the altar table raising their hands with the priest. At distribution of communion, father assumes the position of an observer, sitting next to the altar boys/girls, accompanied by the Kingston Trio wanna-be choir belting out another bad Marty Haugen tune.

    If this is the result of bending and not being too rigid, then I’m as straight as a board.

    • patricia m.

      Also in hospitals, Eucharistic ministers are very important in hospitals. When pregnant with my twins I had to stay for 6 weeks in the hospital and at least 3x a week I was visited by a lay minister that brought me the Holy Host. I was very thankful to have them bring me the body of Jesus.

      • nanda

        I was very thankful that my PRIEST bring my Lord to me at the hospital when I gave birth. Although I agree that are serious reason for EM we know that today this has helped priests forget their priorities.
        Having a EM coming to my room at hospital holding a box with the Holy Host inside – yes a box – and forcing me to receive Jesus even though I was in the middle of my dinner, it is little bit too much for me.

        • patricia m.

          Well, check my case: I was in NYC, and I don’t live there. Therefore even if I had a priest he would not travel all the way to NYC to bring me the host. I prefer to have a EM bring me the host than to have none. As simple as that.

    • Deacon Joe

      Thanks for those comments, Henry (my late father’s name). I feel that the liturgical abuses and parishes run by a particular “clique” are what’s running people out the door in droves. We had a priest once upon a time who allowed kids to run up and down the aisles waving banners,etc. We had a “gentleman”, now deceased, who went on a witch hunt against a well-loved member who had been wrongly convicted of a sex crime many, many years ago. This guy had been a lector, EM, and helped lead the Rosary at weekend Masses. However, the other guy’s witch hunt prevailed, so all the guy can do now is just sit! Because of that he now attends an Independent Catholic church where he’s gotten back what he lost. Prior to his alleged sex crime he had been a seminarian and had received Minor Orders. Now he functions as he should’ve been allowed all along.

    • standtall909

      Thanks for helping clarify the position of some traditionalists, Henry. I agree wholeheartedly. I had to chuckle at the “herd of Eucharistic Ministers” assembling around the Altar because in my parish, I can relate. H and I have finally(I think) been able to gently drive the point home with our Priests that when you have only 50 people tops at the early morning Mass, you really don’t need 3 extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. To me, it’s all common sense. Extraordinary Ministers means just that!………..”Extraordinary”. In other words, when needed. Thank goodness that our Bishop called a halt to the Priests sitting while others distributed the Eucharist! So many things that went haywire in my neck of the woods. Some of the stories would curl your toenails!
      There are indeed some NO parishes that have thrown the baby out with the bathwater, but even here, I do see an improvement over the years. It takes time, but like Fr. said, I think that Jesus will give us enough. We just have to keep faithful and vigilant and PRAY.

  • cestusdei

    Having been a Protestant I ironically see the same spirit among some Traditionalists. They spit off to follow their own way and refused to remain in unity with Peter. This is not Catholic.

    • Jambe d’Argent

      If you were present there, would you remain “in unity with Peter” when he twice denied Jesus? Peter is not what the Church is about – Jesus is.

      • Ford Oxaal

        That was before he was Pope :)

        • Jambe d’Argent

          Not really – Jesus made him the rock of His Church much earlier.

          • Ford Oxaal

            As in Mt 16:18? Pretty sure that is future tense. I *will* build my church… Some keep pushing the birthday of the Church earlier and earlier, but traditionally, it was Pentecost.

            • Jambe d’Argent

              We’re not talking about the beginning of the Church but about the choice of Peter for her leader – two different things, you agree?

              • Ford Oxaal

                Yes, the choice for Peter was made before the birthday of the Church. Now it has been a while since I have studied this, but it seems to me that even if he were pope at the time of his denial, nevertheless, that denial did not have the character of a teaching of the universal church, but rather that of a personal lapse. The fact that popes are *people* combined with the fact that the church existed for more than a generation or two is nothing less than an ongoing miracle. So I would have to agree with cestusdei here. Christ’s most fervent desire before he was brutally killed was for unity among His flock.

                • Jambe d’Argent

                  “…that denial did not have the character of a teaching of the universal church, but rather that of a personal lapse.” But that’s exactly my point! Cestusdei does not say that we should follow Peter only when he speaks ex cathedra – he wants us “to remain in unity with Peter”, period. Which implies that we should follow papal “personal lapses” as well, and leads straight to papolatry.

                  • Ford Oxaal

                    Perhaps we all agree here. This is why prayers for the pope are essential. The disposition should always be to bolster the pope, and if you perceive a fault in the pope, to immediately pray, first and foremost. What is objectionable is when public criticism leads to a presumptively negative/critical disposition toward the pope — which then makes it difficult to pray fervently for the pope.

                  • cestusdei

                    To be in unity with Peter is to be in communion with the Catholic Church. Otherwise you are in schism. You can be more Catholic then the Pope and yet be a Protestant. Very ironic for some Traditionalists.

                    • Jambe d’Argent

                      Sorry, I can’t understand your statement.

      • cestusdei

        “Where Peter is there is the Church” that is what Catholics say. To be with Peter is to be with Christ.

        • Alecto

          I dunno, man, Peter was kind of a flake!

  • Ramon Sanchez

    Excellent discourse! I really can’t add anything to your article but only pray to God that the essence of what you discuss in here takes hold in most minds. and spirits.

  • Jambe d’Argent

    “If anything, the forces of evil which Satan hurled against the Church
    after the Council prove that the Council was good, because Satan had to
    stop its fruits from growing, at all costs.”
    This reminds me of the reasoning used by the witch-hunters: throw a witch into deep water – if she drowns, she’s innocent, if she floats, she’s guilty. Would Fr. Scanlon consider Vatican II a work of the Devil if it were successful?

  • slainte

    Vatican II: too much change, too quickly.

  • Howard Kainz

    We need to avoid the fallacy of “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” — the fact that A happens after B doesn’t mean that A is caused by B. By coincidence, Vatican II took place at a time when a massive change in sexual morals was in the offing, bringing about “modernism” with a vengeance.

    • Jambe d’Argent

      I would like to know how you can reconcile this opinion with a belief that the council was guided by the Holy Spirit. Your explanation (well, not exactly yours, it is rather commonplace among the defenders of VII) implies that the forces of secularism were much stronger than any divine guidance, doesn’t it?

  • Perplexed

    Forgive my great ignorance. If, given the discussion about LG 16 and the discussion under the heading “The Damaging Effects of Rigidity,” why send missionaries at all. It seems, if the people are living a good life (by whose standards?) why add to their troubles by introducing them to all the conflicts in the Catholic Church?

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    Contrary to what everyone seems to assume, I sincerely believe that Vatican II had little or no impact on the average “Joe and Jane Catholic.’ The vast majority of Catholics have never read a Vatican II document from cover to cover, let alone is able to explicate some of Vatican II’s essential teachings. Don’t believe me? Then ask people 40 years of age or older if they have every read a Vatican II document or could tell you what the main teachings of the Council were. I mean, really ask Church-going faithful Catholics (don’t even bother with CINO’s).

    If you ask those who came of age or were adults during the early 60’s what was Vatican II all about, they will tell you that the Council deliberations centered on: removing altar rails, turning the altar so that the priest could face the people, saying Mass in the vernacular, allowing for annulments so divorced Catholics could remarry, not requiring nuns to wear habits any more or live in convents, that Catholic schools should close, that Catholicism was but one among many denominations and that it really didn’t matter what brand of Christianity you followed, and that the Council said that we no longer needed to be a missionary Church and that would be left to ‘those Protestants.’ Did I leave anything out?

    No, what we think was the influence of Vatican II was really NO INFLUENCE AT ALL. Rather, Vatican II was hijacked by dissenters whose agenda was to modify Church teachings and practices. Also, what we refer to as ‘the influence of Vatican II” was nothing more than regnant secularism overtaking the Church and masquerading as religion.

    Now that the dissenters have been shown to be the frauds they always were and are now dying out, the Church can get back to the continuity that has been there all along. Notice that altar rails are re-appearing, Mass is being prayed in Latin in more and more churches, vocations to the priesthood by men confident in their sexuality is increasing, religious sisters are living more and more in community and wearing distinctive garb, Mass is being prayed ad orientem giving full meaning to its sacrificial nature and as a prayer offered to the Father, many people are calling into question the abuses of annulments, it no longer is a disgrace for Catholic married couples to have more than 2.1 children per family and missionary zeal is on the increase. Who knows, we might even manage to see some bishops and priests being martyred for the faith by our government.

    • slainte

      I ask these questions respectfully. Why was Vatican II necessary?
      The pre-Vatican II church required man to worship and conform himself to God by obedience to the Pope and magisterium who collectively encouraged Catholics to engage in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy which edified the individual, saved souls, and built the Church (ie., through the missionary effort).
      How does the Vatican II mandate for “social justice”, reading the “signs of the times”, and focusing generally on “Humanism” improve what the church had already been doing for hundreds and hundreds of years (ie., Catholic hospitals, schools, charities, universities, foreign missions for conversions, etc.)?
      Or was the Council’s mandate to cause unity by and anong christians (bring the Protestants home) by making the church seem less dogmatically “Catholic” and by eliminating the showy aspects of Catholicism (statues in churches, devotions to saints, mantillas, latin mass, ) etc. Thank you.

  • M.F. Sparrow

    I agree that Vatican II is not the cause of troubles in the Church today or in the years since the Council. Perhaps much of the misunderstanding of the Council was created by inaccurate, or better yet, unspiritual, press coverage. The story the press told about the Council–that the liberals triumphed over the conservations–colored its reception. For an account of the Council which sees the Holy Spirit at work uniting the “conservatives” and the “liberals” see the recent e-publication by Paul C. DeCelles: The Second Vatican Council: Ecumenical and Apolitical. It’s, well, it’s apolitical.

  • lifeknight

    OK. I am still following all these posts and my confusion is intact. Read how varying opinions about Vatican II lead to personal attacks. Accepting Reality hits most closely to reality in my opinion. Shop around for a decent parish—just like a good Protestant! God help us all!

    • Jambe d’Argent

      Why would you consider shopping around for a decent parish a “Protestant” thing? I fail to see any connection.

      • lifeknight

        Because to them (Protestants) it can be about the person who tells you what you want to hear. The best in “preaching.” i find it disheartening to have to tell my children to go to this priest or another for confession. It is a reality that we must shop around for our spiritual “food.” Sadly the marketplace is not expansive at this point in time.

        • Jambe d’Argent

          WHAT you want to hear or HOW do you want to hear it? It seems that you confuse the two. There is absolutely nothing “Protestant” in looking for a truly orthodox Catholic parish. On the other hand, if the parishes offered different teachings, then perhaps it would be “Protestant” – still a strange term to use -to look for one that “tells you what you want to hear”. But Catholic parishes don’t offer different teachings, do they now?

    • patricia m.

      I do shop for a parish, until I find one that suits me and then I become a parishioner Not every parish has decent masses, or a decent priest. There were times in my life that my commuting for mass was around 40 minutes; nowadays is 30 minutes-40 minutes. And I have a 5 minute walk church just around the corner. Is it wrong to do that?

      • lifeknight

        I think we are in survival mode. You can no longer give counsel to a person in strife to go see the parish priest. You now need to know exactly the orientation of that priest. He could lead a friend into sin…This is the current reality that we all must accept.

      • Alecto

        I live in a diocese that mandates parish membership. I cannot join the parish of my choosing, therefore I am stuck with whomever the gay-friendly, illegal alien friendly, flavor of the month is. I have refused to join the parish and made clear to the diocese that I am not a serf, I am not tied to the land, and I’ll attend mass where I believe my soul is best fed.

  • Malachy

    A delightful article that makes a lot of sense. The dooming trend since Vatican II was the sex scandal. “Celibates” having boyfriends move into the rectory with them, bishops paying off their lovers with diocese funds and the mortal sins and criminal attacks on boys destroyed the Church.

    Until it’s completely resolved…with years of penance and mortification…the Catholic Church remains an open sewer. Holy Water can’t disinfect it. Talk is cheap.

  • Robert Galente

    I wonder if this archconservatives have really read this
    article by Fr. Scanlon. I think that they just see the words Vatican II and go into a blind tantrum. Fr. Scanlon said that the Traditionalists believe that God sends people to hell if
    they have never heard of Jesus before they die. I don’t see any Traditionalists,
    Archconservatives or SSPX responding to his statement. Is this really what the Traditionalists
    believe?

    • Skip G.

      With so much mention of the Latin Mass in this thread, if any of you are in or near Odessa, TX, St. Elizabeth’s Church is celebrating a Latin Mass this Sunday at 1:30. Fr. Mark says everyone is invited!

    • Jambe d’Argent

      That’s what St Augustine of Hippo believed…

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  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Many of the troubles of the Church today have their roots in the Modernist Crisis at the beginning of the last century, but not in the way that many people imagine.

    Just as the documents of VII have suffered from misinterpretation, so did Lamentabili and Pascendi. The condemnation of immanentism and subjectivism generated a suspicion, not warranted by their teaching, of spiritual experience generally and had a chilling effect on the interior life. Even the writings of Thomas à Kempis, St Francis de Sales and St Louis de Montfort, which had nourished the devotion of generations of Catholics, fell into neglect.

    Abbé Henri Brémond famously declared “In the course of the normal development of man there occur moments in which the discursive reason gives place to a higher activity, imperfectly understood and indeed at first disquieting.” Too many modern Catholics spare themselves « l’inquiétude religieuse »

    Pope Pius X recognised the danger and tried to counter it with the beatification of Bl John of Ruysbroeck, as did Pius XI with the rapid beatification (1923) and canonisation (1925) of St Thérèse of Lisieux.

    English Benedictines like Abbot Chapman and Dom Cuthbert Butler tried to familiarise English-speaking Catholics with Walter Hilton, Julian of Norwich and the anonymous “Cloud of Unknowing,” but to little avail. Except for the Carmelites of the Reform, the tradition of spiritual direction was all but lost.

    • Ford Oxaal

      Quite a lot of meat on this post. Well done! Rather than attempt a comment, I will try to carve out the time to learn from it :)

    • ColdStanding

      Getting Catholics to exclaim “Excelsior!” has long been a challenge. St. Peter Damian was of the opinion that the monastery was should only be considered as a preparatory stage before entering fully into the hermetic life. Only the Carthusians have lived close to that standard. Imagine the horror if we heard regularly that sainthood was not the ideal, but the requirement for salvation!

      It is vitally important that these important writings in the science of the saints be revived. At the very least a renewed emphasis on spiritual reading, prayer and active meditation.

      Here is St. Bonaventure’s Life of Christ:

      http://archive.org/details/stbonaventuresli00bonauoft

      One way to follow Jesus Christ is to actively meditate on His life, death, and resurrection. Just thinking about His Holy Wounds is said to bring great graces. Remember that prayer for the living and the dead is a spiritual work of mercy, so even if you are, by inclination, a wall flower, you can do good works for others.

      • ColdStanding

        I bet you could even find some very useful books to help in your spiritual life from the good folks at Sophia Press!!

        Thanks, Sophia Press for hosting Crisis Magazine. I enjoyed the books I received.

  • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

    Dear Fr. Scanlon, a news flash for you:

    “Pope Francis says atheists can do good and go to heaven too!”

    http://www.catholic.org/hf/faith/story.php?id=51077

    As you can see, Vatican Council II is really chugging along its true path and doing its thing, as is supposed to. And we ain’t seen nothing yet from this pope — a Jesuit masquerading as a Franciscan.

    • v schraa

      No. What he said was that even atheists can do good and based on that as a starting point we can work from there. Truly, I think some of you are insincere bloggers just trying to stir up even more dissent, or if you really believe what you say, you’ve exempted yourselves of all personal responsibility for the care of your own souls, wallow in bitterness and blame your misery on everyone else, including the Holy Father.

      • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

        I am shocked. “Doing” good is much different that “being” good. One can do a lot of “good”, with “bad” intentions. Doing good, requires “right” intention. Can an atheist sin? The atheist DOES NOT believe in sin, the atheist DOES NOT believe in heaven or hell. Ask an atheist if “lying” is ok? Is it moral or immoral? If it is immoral, what is the basis for this immorality? The Ten Commandments? A “personal” ethic? There a lot of atheists who are “pro-abortionists” and think they are doing a lot of good for society, the family etc. They are doing a lot of “good” ….. it satisfies the Pope. Jesus calls ALL of us to “Be” united in Him…. to become Him…. Alter Christus, Ipse Christus!

      • v schraa

        As for Atheists, all I know is that they say they don’t believe in God. But, as to whether or not they’re aware of sin or immorality, I would believe that they are (whether or not they admit it is another thing). St. Paul said that the law is written in our hearts, it’s written in theirs too, so yes, they can know right from wrong and can do good things, heroic things, such as dying on a battle field for instance. I think you’re reading a tad too much into the Holy Father’s words.

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  • Dmikem

    Father….with this article you have hit a grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth…..WOW. I have long held that VII must be accepted but the negative fruits do not. Bad liturgies, bad music, illicit liturgies (like costume masses), removal of communion rails, de-emphasis of the Sacraments, removal of the Tabernacle to a side chapel, removal of statues, kneelers (in some places), putting the choir in front of the congregation, banning of Catholic music and chant in favor of protestant tunes by Marty Hagen et al, abandonment of any kind of dress code, elimination of cry rooms, overzealous use of EM’s while the priest(s) sit watching, assuming the ad populum posture, banning the use of Latin, replacing alters with tables etc. were not things VII asked for or even suggested.

    What is needed is a concerted effort to rid the Church of these ‘modernist’ practices and return the NO to a reverence celebration of Christ’s sacrifice.

    Magnificent article.

    • ColdStanding

      Uhh, much as I agree with you that these things are needed, I would be hesitant to draw the conclusion that Fr. Scanlon desires these things, too. He has said much of what was used in worship before the change can be dismissed as “trappings” and that the new mass and council “untied” his hands from adherence to the pre-1962 rubrics. If his hands have been untied, freed from the discipline, for modifying the mass to suit the particular needs of his ministry to the special community of prisoners, it is difficult to see how he would object to another priest’s desire to modify the mass for some other special community, like clowns or other alternative dispositions.

      • Dmikem

        I guess I missed where Fr. Scanlon did or introduced any illicit or even heterodox view or practice re: the NO mass. With respect to his prison ministry I think he was (and he is not the only priest serving a prison ministry to complain) only saying that due to the large number of prisoners the logistics of distributing communion by the priest only is very difficult. I have no objection to the use of EM’s in that situation provided they have been properly trained.

        I’ve never witnessed a Fr. Scanlon NO mass but from his comments (which is all I have to make a judgment) I’m betting it is reverent and focused upon Christ’s Sacrifice made present.

        • ColdStanding

          You have mixed up two elements of his article. He talks about his needs in his prison ministry and how the NO mass has helped him do this, in his opinion, more effectively. Later he discusses how it would be, in his assessment, impractical for him to distribute communion all by himself to all the people that attend at least some of the masses at which he is the celebrant. Sunday, I assume. In other words, he gives two examples as to how the NO mass changes have helped him.

          Further, I am not suggesting that his exercise of the sacrament of Holy Orders is in anyway out of line with the standards of the Councilar Church.

  • Bill Russell

    Re: Extraordinary Ministers –
    There is one parish in the archdiocese of New York with six priests (!) plus a deacon (!) and yet they also “need” 130 Extraordinary Ministers (!!). And nothing is done about this.

    • Jambe d’Argent

      More chiefs than Indians…8)

  • steve5656546346

    The problems after Vatican II did NOT come from outside the Church: that would be impossible.

    God is all powerful: for that reason, the Church can affect society; but not vice versa. Christianity arose after Pentecost against all odds, an thrived in the midst of persecution.

    The Church can only be damaged from the INSIDE: saying “yes” to a falling culture. Damage to the Church is only possible through internal betrayal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Lynch/100001521971172 Thomas Lynch

    We have to put ourselves in order Now or it will be to late

  • Custos Rotolorum

    I mean this in a kind way~~~but piety is no substitute for Christ’s power. The Church has traduced the marvelous opportunity it had in V2. From the fresh air blowing through the newly open windows to the painful, but necessary ‘aggiornamento’, the spirit of JohnXXIII animated a way for the Church to drag itself out of the Tridentine era. Immediately, the Cardinal Ottavianis of the world began backfilling. The eras of John Paul II and Benedict XVI confirmed a regression to Catholic triumphalism. No matter how holy JP II was (and he was), his life experience taught him to think of the Church under siege. The Church is saddled with a generation of bishops world-wide who learned quickly that docility, orthodoxy for its own sake, and a heads-down demeanor was best. Have a look at the televised meeting of American bishops. The “After you, my dear Alphonse” proceedings do not portray a vibrant living and growing Church.

  • St.Olafsdottir

    Critics of Fr. Scanlon — please seek out Pope Francis’s homily this week (5/20/13, story posted on newadvent.org) “Don’t make an 8th sacrament out of pastoral customs” — the Holy Father is saying in a different way what Fr. Scanlon says — simply that God does not intend His Church to “get in the way” of the love Jesus wants to extend to every person. A misplaced emphasis on rubrics and customs does not bring God’s love to the lost or the searching. Way to go, Fr. Scanlon! Keep teaching!

    • Jambe d’Argent

      If you don’t need the Church, why don’t you become an Evangelical? Incidentally, your patron saint (whose daughter you claim to be) murdered quite a few political opponents and fellow Norwegians, didn’t he? So much for Christian love…

    • ColdStanding

      The fact that some might, in their continuing encounter with and cultivation of their Christian vocation, have a “misplaced emphasis on the rubrics and customs” does not give licence to misplace the rubrics and customs.

      That some fail in their math equations, does not mean we should do away with math.

  • Joe DeCarlo

    Father, Chaplains during WWII didn’t have the proper linens, etc for mass. I saw pics of a chaplain using a boulder as an altar. Poor excuse, Father.

  • Larry

    Traditional Catholics are such a small minority in the Church it hardly seems worth Fr. Scanlon’s time to respond to these traditionalist critics. For better or for worse, few “Novus Ordo” Catholics have any clue as to what traditional Catholic do or think and wouldn’t be interested if they did. To point out their “errors” seems to paint all with a broad brush and further deepen the chasm between the two “rites.” I don’t think Pope Benedict would approve.

  • Attalus

    To those who insist that the pre-Vatican II Church was so strong and healthy – I ask, then, why did so many of its members fall away in the aftermath of the cultural upheaval and sexual revolution which began in the 1960’s? Don’t blame it on Vatican II! I knew many pre-Vatican II Catholics, and very few of them understood the Real Presence, or could explain or defend basic Catholic teachings about the Papacy or Devotion to our Lady. They attended Mass regularly as long as the prevailing culture encouraged and approved of “going to Church on Sunday.” But when the culture changed in the sixties, many of them changed right along with it without nary a fight.

  • Matthew-Anthony Hysell

    Dear Fr Regis:

    Splendid! Thank you for this timely essay.

    Pax et bonum,
    Fr Matthew-Anthony Hysell

  • http://veritas-in-caritate.blogspot.com/ Matthew-Anthony Hysell

    Well said, Fr Regis.

    I would also add that the problems after the Council did not result from the Council but from those who flourished immediately prior to it. That should be enough to tell us that we have a significant portion of the “Old Guard” to thank for the disarray following the papacies of +John XXIII and +Paul VI. Moreover, that should tell us that things were not so spectacular great prior to the Council, as the traditionalists would have us believe.

    In any case, thank you for your response. Know that this brother-priest of yours will remember you in his prayers.

    Pax et bonum,
    Fr Matthew-Anthony

  • steve5656546346

    1. The bishops who implemented Vatican II were (almost without exception) were the same bishops who were at Vatican II: did they not know the meaning?

    2. Regarding some of the comments, because Christ is King, the Church can affect the greater culture, but the greater culture cannot–in the final analysis–cause problems within the Church. Just like in our personal lives, a temptation may come from without, but when we consent to let it in the fault is ours.

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