How Many Roman Rites? (Guest: Peter Kwasniewski)

A recent series of articles by three respected Catholic scholars argued for the superiority of the new rite of the Mass over the old. We’ll talk to a liturgical expert about the two rites, their relationship, their development, and how they compare.

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How Many Roman Rites? (Guest: Peter Kwasniewski)
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(Note: We provide this transcript as a service to our readers, but we do not guarantee 100% accuracy in the transcription. Feel free to contact us if you notice any errors.)

Eric Sammons:

A recent series of articles by three respected Catholic scholars, argued for the superiority of the new rite of the mass over the old. We’re going to talk about that today with liturgical expert about the two rites, how they compare. And basically what we can learn about the liturgy from those articles and from his new book.

I’m Eric Sammons, I’m your host. This is Crisis Point. I’m the editor-in-Chief of Crisis Magazine. And before we get started, I just want to encourage people to hit the like button, to subscribe to the podcast, to let other people know about it. I really appreciate when you do that. Also, we’re on all the different social media channels at Crisis Mag. Oh, and one thing I do want to mention, we are in the midst of one of our two fundraising campaigns. So please go to CrisisMagazine.com/donate to please donate to the project. We make all of our material, all of our podcasts, all our written material for free but we do need your support.

Okay, let’s go ahead and get into it. We have Dr. Peter Kwasniewski with us. A lot of times I like to go through a bio, but I don’t think it’s necessary for you anymore. You’ve been on the program, everybody knows who you are. But I want to emphasize one of your latest books. I don’t even know what your latest book is, because you put them out so quickly. It’s like impossible to say what your latest book is. But The Once and Future Roman Rite, it’s an awesome book from TAN, Returning to the Traditional Latin Liturgy After Seventy Years of Exile. And I feel like I mentioned in the opening that there was a series of articles at the… What was the place? Church Life Journal and Notre Dame by three scholars. And I know this book was long time coming written. But I almost feel like it’s just a take down of those articles in a sense, which I know that wasn’t the intention, but it’s almost like providential.

So what we’re going to talk about today is generically about the liturgy, about the two rites, the Novus Ordo, the Traditional Latin Mass. And by the way, I just know some people that get hung up on the names for these liturgies. I used to use the terminology extraordinary form and ordinary form. But I feel like Pope Francis himself has eliminated those as categories by his own words in Traditionis Custodes. But anyway, we’re going to talk about those two rites, forms, whatever with Dr. Kwasniewski today. And also address those series of articles at the Church Life Journal. So welcome to the program, Peter. I love having you here.

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Thank you so much, Eric. And by the way, this is actually my latest book.

Eric Sammons:

Okay, here we go. What are we up to right now? What’s the number, do you know?

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

It’s past 20.

Eric Sammons:

Once you get past 20, you don’t have to keep track anymore.

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

As with a really large family, it’s like how many children do you have? Oh, I don’t know. It’s somewhere up there.

Eric Sammons:

Exactly. It’s like when I talk to Scott Hahn, I don’t even bother asking him what number is he on now, because like you said once you’re past 20. I still tell people I have eight because I have a very distinct number. But eventually you get up to your level. So let’s start off the discussion. I want to start off the discussion with some basic principles of the liturgy, and specifically something you address in this book, which is the development of the liturgy. I know there’s long been the analogy of the organic development of the liturgy. What do we mean when we talk about how the liturgy develops in general?

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Right, exactly. No, and in fact that’s a major part of this book. Several chapters devoted to trying to understand what we mean when we say the liturgy develops. Now, first of all, it does develop. That’s a fact. Every once in a while you meet a traditionalist who thinks that Christ instituted the solemn high Tridentine Mass at the last Supper. No, He didn’t. He was transforming the traditional Jewish ceremonies into the core of the Christian mass, the representation of the sacrifice of Calvary. So what He did, He was a traditionalist in that sense. He was taking the Jewish ceremonies but then transforming them from within, fulfilling them. And in a sense planting a seed within the church that was going to grow into a mighty tree. He planted an acorn and it grew into a mighty oak tree. And that’s what we mean when we talk about the development of the liturgy.

Just like doctrine develops, it doesn’t essentially change. But the full expression of it emerges over many centuries and often requires quite a bit of fighting as we see in the ecumenical councils. So similarly with the church’s public worship, that acorn it’s going to grow into a giant trunk and it’s going to put out many branches. What are those many branches? Well, it’s the development of the liturgical chant. It’s the development of which texts are we going to pray when we come together for liturgy. It’s the development of the calendar. And of course the celebration of all the saints which can’t develop until they’re actually our saints to celebrate. So in this way, I think the organic metaphor is helpful because although the liturgy is the work of human beings assisted by the Holy Spirit, nevertheless, it’s the work of thousands of human beings over thousands of years and often without anybody’s name being attached to it. And usually by a process of gradual dissemination, not some kind of top down imposition. So there’s an organic nature to it. It unfolds over long periods of time and with the contributions of thousands of people.

Eric Sammons:

One thing I thought on the development was that basic understanding, I think most people understand that on some level. But one thing your book brought out that I had never thought of that I was like, whoa, this is a new way for me at least to see it. Is that the development is not linear in the sense of just the same level of development over 2000 years. And roughly, it seems to me and correct me if I’m wrong here, seems to me that there are almost like three general phases when it comes to development, up to the time of maybe Pope Gregory the Great around 600 AD. Then from that time to about Trent, post Pius V. And then from Trent to today, or I should say 1960s because obviously… Or 1950s or so, we’ll just say 20th century. But there’s these three phases and the way that liturgy developed isn’t the same.

It seems to me not same rite or something. Can you explain that to us because I felt like that was a major thing for me? I was like, whoa, that makes a lot of sense but I hadn’t thought of it before.

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Yes. No, what you’re saying it’s a crucial point. In other words, at the beginning, the first few centuries there’s the most development. There’s actually quite a bit of fermentation you might say, that’s now taking a different metaphor than with a tree growing. But there’s a lot of the apostles go out and preach the gospel around the world. And wherever they plant churches, all of those nascent Christian communities are worshiping in an accord with what they were taught by the apostles. St. Paul is very clear about this. There’s already a paradosis, a traditio, a handing on, going on in those early centuries. But there isn’t a fully developed public formal official worship of the church. It’s under development, it’s under construction you might say, although that’s not the best phrase perhaps. But the church has always also been fiercely conservative. In other words, we want to hold onto what has been given to us by our God fearing forefathers.

And this is the attitude you find in the church fathers in a huge way. Even by the time you get to the fourth century and the Cappadocian Fathers like St. Basil the Great, he just hammers on this point that what we are doing is what we’ve been taught to do, what’s been handed down to us. And yet he is also able to contribute to the liturgy. He can both have that conservative attitude and he can help build up the liturgy. The Greeks even have something they call the liturgy of St. Basil. So he’s contributing to it while also being fiercely conservative of everything that’s already been handed on. And that attitude perdures throughout the centuries so that by the time you get to roughly about the year 1000, the liturgical rites of East and West are already essentially complete. The order of mass, the order of the service, the order of the divine liturgy is essentially complete.

It’s been augmented and enhanced over the centuries, but it’s now received by Christians as a totality, as a body of prayer. And it’s something we wouldn’t dare to change. Why would we change what we’ve inherited from our Holy Fathers, the saints? And so really the Roman liturgy it has various strata of development. That’s part of the reason why this can be confusing to people. The central part of the Roman liturgy, the Roman canon, is already there in the sixth century. It’s very ancient. And by the time Gregory the Great touched it up, we know that he actually worked on it. He did the final edit, the final redaction of it. But it was already a prayer that he himself was familiar with. It wasn’t something he invented whole cloth. But other parts took more centuries, the Gregorian chant took more centuries to develop.

But by the time you get to about the year 1000, you’re dealing with a pretty well articulated body of liturgical prayer that everyone would have recognized as traditional. And therefore good and holy and to be maintained as a rule of faith. Remember, this isn’t just about aesthetics. This is about our faith is confessed in these traditional rites. That’s why we’re not going to dare to modify them in any significant way. By the time you get to the Council of Trent, it’s not as if Pius V… This is a terrible myth, it’s not as if Pius V created the Tridentine rite or something like that. He codified, he canonized, so to speak, the rite that was being used by the Papal court that had been used for many centuries prior to that. Even essentially back to Innocent III at the turn of the first millennium, we’re talking about that Roman rite.

Pius V essentially codified what the Church of Rome was doing for many centuries. And because of the authoritative nature of his stamp of approval… Some people call it his canonization of the Roman rite, as a result for centuries after that the attitude was, we’ve got it. We have our liturgy in full blossom. This is the fully mature oak tree. And oak tree doesn’t keep growing perpetually until it reaches the clouds. It has a natural terminus of development when it’s perfected as the kind of being it is. This is something that Aristotle brings out in the physics, everything grows to the point of its perfection. And so, one of the things you see in liturgical history is that the rate of growth tapers off at a certain point and then what you see is continuity. Almost like a straight line, which the liturgical progressives they call that fossilization or ossification or it’s become frozen.

No, that’s not… It just does perfectly what it’s supposed to do. It confesses the faith in the Trinity and the incarnation in our Lady and the Saints. It celebrates the liturgical year and it professes all the dogmas. It teaches the moral lessons of the Christian life. What more could you want? Why would you change something that has reached this mature and full form? And certainly that’s the attitude in the East. In fact, the attitude in the East they almost go overboard because they talk about the divine liturgy as if it came down from heaven. And it’s eternally the same, it’s never changed. Well, that’s balderdash. Their liturgy developed just the way that the Roman one did. But in the East I think partly because of the schism, but also partly because they seem to have a healthier instinct in this regard, they’re content with keeping things the same for very long periods of time.

And in the West and I think it’s part of the temptation of the Western mentality, it’s what some people call the Faustian mentality, we always want to be tinkering. We always want to be improving. What’s the latest model? What’s the new technology? This is almost like a Western vice. It brings about good things too of course, especially in the realm of technology. But it leaves us feeling sometimes restless with simply what we’ve inherited. Just to give one example, I’ve been singing Gregorian chant now for 30 years and I never get tired of it. It’s the most beautiful music. No one has ever written melodies more beautiful than the Gregorian ones. No one has ever written music that more perfectly suits the texts of the liturgy and of sacred scripture. And they are just infinitely fascinating and subtle and beautiful and satisfying. And so I never get tired of singing chant. And nobody I know who sings chant ever gets tired of singing chant. So in that sense, we don’t need a new form of sacred music. We just need to do well the form that we’ve humbly inherited.

Eric Sammons:

That’s a very anti-modern way of thinking because I think it’s… In fact, I will admit growing up modern, it’s very difficult to not think automatically that things can improve. That we’re going to progress and there’s progressivism, if that’s the term that things will always get better. And I think though that analogy of the oak tree is beautiful because the difference between acorn and a one year old tree is humongous. But the difference between a 100 year old oak tree and 101 year old oak tree is not even noticeable, if any. And so I think that was… And you have a great diagram. I meant to ask you actually to send me a copy so I can put up on the screen, but there’s this great diagram on page 52. You’ll have to buy the book to see it well, where you basically show the Holy Spirit’s action.

There we go. For the first however long that is, there is more development and there’s preservation always of course, but it’s more development. And then as we get closer maybe by a time of Trent for example, there’s not that need because now we are the 100 year oak tree. It’s not going to change that much. And to say that doesn’t mean there’s no change. It’s not like a 100 year oak tree doesn’t get new leaves. When there’s new saints we add them to the calendar, things of that nature obviously. Now, during this time… Let’s stay pre 20th century for now because I know things change them. Before the 20th century, how did the church distinguish between growth and corruption because obviously there is a difference? How did the church say, okay, what’s the difference between those two?

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Exactly. And by the way, I should just mention in connection with that chart, with the lines that go diagonally like that. The point I’m trying to make is, and this is a very important point, the Holy Spirit is equally at work in preserving what God has given as He is at work in bringing new things into existence. See, the whole… I just want to digress for a moment here, the whole synodal process which is constantly invoking the Holy Spirit, whatever spirit it is. As Martin Mosebach says, “It’s a spirit, all right. But it’s not a Holy Spirit.” They keep invoking the spirit to justify novelty and innovation. As if to say the spirit isn’t working unless we have novelties. Well, I’m sorry, but that is completely contrary to the entire mentality of Jewish and Christian religion from the very beginning. In the Jewish religion, God gives the people what they need.

Here’s the law, here’s your worship. Do it faithfully. If you don’t do it, you’re going to go into exile and be destroyed, whatever. So He gives it to them and they have to receive it and they have to keep… And even observant Jews to this day are just doing what they were given. We think they’re mistaken because we think that there was a fulfillment that was already prophesied in the Messiah. But what does the Messiah do? He comes and He gives us a new Moses, He gives a definitive law. This is the new covenant. This is never going to change. The mass, the sacraments, the moral law, our need for grace and so forth is never ever going to change. And in that sense, it’s not surprising that every catechism that exists for the past 1000 years is teaching exactly the same thing in different words. There might be some different wording, sure, of course. But our faith is changeless.

We don’t put a premium on novelty. In fact, if you read the Church Father’s, novelty is like a swear word. And so the when the Holy Spirit preserves what he himself inspired in the church, whether in the form of dogmatic formulations or in the form of the example of the saints, or in the form of the liturgical rites, which I prove in my book. I have many quotations. Everybody in the history of the church attributed the development of the liturgy to the Holy Spirit. This is not my idea. The Holy Spirit is just as much of preserving those things as in bringing things to be when they need to be brought into being. So anyway, but yes, so you were asking-

Eric Sammons:

About the difference between growth and corruption in liturgy.

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Yes, right. Now, this is another key point. The Protestant reformers, the Protestant revolutionaries, rebels, their view was that the church had gone off the rails early on. That the so-called corrupt Medieval church was simply the outgrowth of early errors. For example, having a hierarchical episcopal government which they didn’t think was apostolic in the New Testament. And having sacramental rites and having the body and blood of Christ worshiped, which they said was idolatry and so forth. So for the Protestants in general, obviously with various nuances depending on who you’re talking about, for the Protestants in general the Catholic church had gone off the rails. The original Church of Christ worshiped with this kind of pure, simple, evangelical home style mass. That’s how they conceived of Christian worship, the way the early Christians did it which they had to reconstruct because we don’t have records about these things.

The Catholic church has never had the attitude that only the early Christians were the true Christians. And everything that happened in subsequent centuries was somehow a falling off or a falling away. On the contrary, as we’ve already discussed, the view was what God gave had to be reflected on, had to be meditated on and internalized and extrapolated and augmented. And I mean just something as basic as this. The Christians were being persecuted for the first three centuries. But once you get to the Emperor Constantine, he says, “Okay Christians, you’re free to worship now in public.” What do they do? They come into the basilicas and they celebrate glorious liturgies, almost instantly that happens. Why? Because it was like pent up energy. That’s what they wanted to do all along. And they just couldn’t because they were stuck in the catacombs and people’s houses and living rooms, kind of like traditionalists today sometimes.

And so the Protestant view of corruption is really a view of sort of massive corruption across the history of the church. And curiously enough, maybe not, the modernists in the Catholic church kind of revive that view because they also see the Middle Ages as a time of corruption, of superstition, of abuse, of confusion. People being very confused about what the liturgy is and how it’s supposed to function. They say, for example, that the liturgy used to be more communitarian, more an action of the whole people. But now in the Middle Ages, it became clericalist and sacerdotalist. And focused just on the priest and the people were detached and silent detached spectators who prayed the rosary and whatever. And all of this by the way is so tendentious. All the serious scholarship shows how deeply engaged the laity were in the liturgy, all the way into the Middle Ages and beyond.

Eamon Duffy is a name that comes to my mind. Father Uwe Michael Lang just published a huge scholarly book with Cambridge University Press, proving how much the laity understood and were engaged in the liturgy. But also that it was meant to be focused on the altar and on the sacrifice. And it was meant to be sacerdotalist. In other words, our liturgy is a priestly liturgy. Jesus Christ is the eternal high priest. You can’t escape that. The laity and the clergy are ontologically distinct from one another. So anyway, the view of corruption that you get with the Protestants and the modernists is fundamentally not compatible with the Catholic faith. And that’s why when the liturgical reformers basically said, we have to scrap a whole bunch of stuff from the year 500 to the year 1500 or beyond because it’s just wrongheaded.

They have to be wrong when they say that. That doesn’t make any sense, if you believe that the Catholic Church is governed by the spirit of God. If you believe that Christ never abandons His church and that she’s always offering to him the most pleasing homage. And even the Papal documents also disproved that, Mediator Dei for example.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, it’s very similar to the Mormon idea, the Great Apostasy, that there’s this falling away completely for… And then all of a sudden the Holy Spirit’s just basically not doing anything for 1000 years or something like that, allowing chaos to reign. Now, one last question about the kind of pre 20th century development of the liturgy because I think this is the foundation for addressing a lot of the confusion today about the liturgy. And what was the role of the Pope when it came to the Roman liturgy before the 20th century?

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Yes, exactly. I really appreciate your questions. You’re really sort of targeting right into the nodes, the main points here. So one of the things I bring out in the book is that popes prior to Pius V had very little role to play in the regulation of the liturgy of Catholics. We have to try to imagine a world in which communication took months or years. And a world in which books were for a long time written by hand, which is extremely laborious and time consuming. And even with the invention of the printing press, books were still expensive and not so easy to acquire. So in a world like that, every local church throughout Europe had its own prized missal which might have been a handwritten copy. And they were not going to change that. They were attached to it. This is the way we prayed, our fathers prayed, our grandfathers prayed, our great, great-great grandfathers prayed this way.

There are some famous examples of missal from the middle ages that have very carefully written in additions. So in other words, they’re taking into account changes, but they’re not going to change the missal. The changes have to be modest enough to be able to pen into the margins, or not changes but certain growth or development. So basically for 1500 years, the Catholic Church East and West is worshiping with handed down rites that a pope has never approved. These don’t have papal approval, the Pope has nothing to do with them. This is just what we’ve always done. Why did Pius V intervene so decisively in 1570 with his bold Quo Primum to… And we’ll talk in a moment about what he actually did. Why did he intervene? Quite simply because on the eve of the reformation in the 15th century and the early 16th century, there was a chaotic liturgical situation. There were already hearses proto Protestant and Protestant hearses that were causing modifications to the public prayer of the church.

Missals were being edited in heretical directions. There were many diversities in local rites, and there were mistakes that had entered in through copyist errors and so forth. Basically, it was a pretty chaotic situation by the time you got to the late middle ages. So I think what that showed is that some kind of centralized action was necessary, was at least justifiable for the sake of unifying the church against the Protestant revolt. That’s really the fundamental motivation in Pius V and in the Council of Trent itself.

Eric Sammons:

So interesting. What does Pius V actually do?

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Right, so what he does in Quo Primum is he doesn’t say, all right, boys and girls, it’s time for a new liturgy. We’ve had a committee. We’ve produced a new liturgy. Here it is. Everybody has to do it. If you don’t like it, suck it up. No, this is not what he says. He says, we have carefully reviewed the manuscripts of the Roman rite as we’ve inherited it. We’ve corrected it of whatever textual problems there might have been. But in other words, we’ve tried to restore it to what the Papal Court has been doing for centuries. So what we’re giving you is utterly traditional and totally reliable. And if your local liturgical rite is not older than 200 years, then you have to adopt the Roman missal that I’m promulgating. Why did he say… But if it’s older than 200 years your local rite, then you may keep it and you can only get rid of it with the unanimous consent of the bishop and his chapter.

Okay, let’s think about this for a second. Everybody knows how difficult it is to get a group of opinionated people like a cathedral canon and a bishop to agree unanimously about something. So Pius V was trying to make it difficult to get rid of older, traditional, local rites. He wasn’t trying to impose the Roman unilaterally on everybody. And why 200 years? Well, for the simple reason that if you go back 200 years from 1570 you get to 1370. And that’s about the time when heretical fermentation, the proto Protestant errors are beginning to arise in Europe. So he’s trying to find a sort of window of safety. Beyond 200 years it must be Catholic because it’s old. This is so contrary to our modern mentality. Catholics nowadays tend to think it must be Catholic because the Pope an hour ago said it was. That doesn’t make any sense. It’s the older it is and the more unanimous and universal it is, the more Catholic it is. That’s St. Vincent of Lerins right there.

Eric Sammons:

And people should realize that the process of reformation was the fulfillment of a lot of problems that were creeping up. And so you’re right, the liturgies and like what the… And so you had these issues of… And with the advent of the printing press and more texts being out there, there’s more opportunities for like you say, corruptions in the text. So I can totally see why Pius V would want to do this, because it’s like, okay, now we’re starting to get chaos here. We need to have something. But I think the fact that he kept the ones that are older than 200 years is very telling to his attitude. Now, let’s jump ahead though. I want to now get to the 20th century. So in the 20th century, we have a lot of…

There is the kind of mistaken notion, that when it comes to the liturgy that all of a sudden in the early 1960s at Vatican II or right after it, now all of a sudden people start talking about the liturgy and let’s change it all up and nothing preceded it. But that as we know isn’t really true. So talk a little bit about the liturgical renewal movement that started really in the 19th century, but really came to a fore in the early 20th century. And how the popes reacted to that, the good, the bad, the ugly of all that.

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Right. Yeah, so there’s of course this gigantic movement that was called the Liturgical Movement, very simple name for it. One can argue about exactly when it began and how it began. But conventionally, and I think justifiably people say that Dom Prosper Gueranger, the founding Abbott of Solesmes monastery was in a sense the grandfather of the Liturgical Movement. Why is that? Because in a post French revolution, France and Europe, Gueranger in the 1830s was saying, we need to go back to the soundest sources of the liturgy. Now, what did he mean by that? He didn’t mean the early Christians as reconstructed by German scholars or something like that. No, he meant the high medieval monastic liturgy. The liturgy with chant, with full splendor of ceremonial, with deacon and sub deacon. This is what he meant, and incense and so forth. So he meant the fully developed traditional Roman liturgy.

That’s what we need to get back to as opposed to lots of regional neo-Gallican liturgical rites of the times. So you have to remember, France was pretty resistant to the reforms of the Council of Trent. And they held tightly onto a bunch of local customs that were of dubious quality. This is a big subject in itself, and we’ll get kind of dull to go into all the history. But Gueranger was looking at a situation where in France, there was some of this disarray and arguably you could say corruption in the liturgy that he sought to remedy by bringing in the solemn Roman Tridentine liturgy. Now anyway, so that’s Gueranger’s aspiration. Other people became excited about this project. There was a flourishing of monastic life and monastic liturgy throughout Europe. And so by the time you get to the early 20th century, you have many Benedictines, not just Benedictines but they were some of the key figures from Belgium, from France, from Germany, all of them gung-ho about liturgical renewal.

But again what they meant, and this is something you can see by reading Schuster, Pius Parsh, Guardini, they meant for the most part a recovery and reclaiming and deeper understanding of the inherited rites of the Catholic church. Not a radical reinvention, or a thorough redaction, or a severe simplification, no. But just bringing the knowledge of the riches of the existing liturgy to the people through workshops, conferences, publications, pamphlets, hand missals primarily. And by improving the beauty and the quality of the liturgical celebration. So encouraging sun mass, high mass, solemn mass, as opposed to always just low mass and things like that. So the Liturgical Movement is mainly a movement of recovery, of reclamation, of renewed understanding of the treasures already there. That’s how I would put it.

Eric Sammons:

And then yeah, I was going to say just in the 20th century then, what did the popes do or the church do but really through the popes, what did they do before Vatican II in response to liturgical renewal? How did they change the liturgy?

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Exactly. So I would say the church was always cautiously enthusiastic about the Liturgical Movement. I put it that way because there were always some oddities in the Liturgical Movement. When you read the authors I mentioned, Schuster, Parsh, Guardini, they have wonderful things to say, very enlightening and illuminating. And they make you really appreciate the traditional Roman liturgy. Their work is almost useless for the Novus Ordo because it doesn’t even match it anymore. But there are always these little oddities. Like Guardini for example, in the 1920s was already experimenting with Versus Populum celebration of mass towards the people. Why? Because all of the Liturgical Movement experts were under the mistaken impression that the early Christians worshiped Versus Populum. Wait, we know that’s not true now. The work of Uwe Michael Lang and Stefan Hyde, among others, has blown that out of the water.

So we know that the vast majority of Christian celebrations in East and West were ad orientem from the beginning, just as the church fathers themselves say St. Basil, St. John Damscene, et cetera. But the 19th and 20th century scholars thought, oh, no, it was Versus Populum from the beginning. And then at some point later on, maybe in the fourth century when we had Basilica liturgies for the first time, that’s when people decided to face East. And so we need to get back to this early practice. There was always that kind of antiquarianism in the Liturgical Movement. That was their temptation that was in a way their fall, you might say. And it’s what they had in common with the Protestants and the modernists as I was saying earlier. The idea that the early Christians had it right, and we started to get it wrong as time went on. Or at least if not wrong, then less perfect over time rather than more perfect over time, which is what I argue as the Catholic point of view.

For example, in the early Christians maybe they had communion in the hand, but then that was universally abandoned because the church developed a better way, a more reverent and a safer way to give communion. That’s an example of growth of perfection, not of deviation. So Pius X responded enthusiastically to the Liturgical Movement through his Motu Proprio Tra Le Sollecitudini in 1903, which tried to bring about a total restoration of Gregorian chant and polyphony in churches. Why? Because he had the same problem we do now after Vatican II, secular music creeping into the church. In his day it was opera. So all of the church music sounded like operatic arias with tenors and sapranos (singing), just kind of all this. And he said, this is ridiculous. We need to go back to the authentic church music. So in a way, yes, it’s looking back but it’s not looking back in this artificial antiquarian way. But rather just looking for the richest sources of the Roman liturgy itself.

So Pius X did that. He also controversially reformed the Breviary. And that is more controversial because in order to address some real problems that had crept in, with for example, so many feast days crowding out the Ferial Psalter, the Psalms of the weekdays. He did a pretty radical reconfiguration of the Roman Psalter that was just before World War I. And that was the first time arguably, that a Pope had so radically changed the inherited rites, in this case the Breviary. So I think Pius X, there’s a reason why Pius XII later, and Paul VI invoke Pius X as an example, because they say, well, look, he completely reconfigured the Breviary so we can do that with other things too. So I think with Pius X there’s an interesting question there of did he go overboard? Was his correction to certain problems an excessive correction?

The next really major change is Pius XII. Pius XII Once again, on the one hand he very sternly rebuked the Liturgical Movement of that time of the 1940s for their false antiquarianism. For thinking that earlier is always better. And that if we somehow got back to the second century Christian mass, that that would be better than the fully developed Tridentine rite. No, he condemned that out of hand. And he also condemned other liturgical movement abuses like they said they didn’t want black vestments, he condemned that. They said they wanted the altar to be a table instead, he condemned that and so on and so forth. On the other hand though, Pius XII instituted a new Holy Week in the 1950s from basically 1954 is when the whole thing was… And that was also quite radical because the Holy Week ceremonies are some of the richest in the church. And he pretty strongly reconfigured those in a way that’s quite odd.

He abbreviated a bunch of things. He moved things around. He introduced things that had never been there before like the priest and the people saying our father together, which was just never part of the Roman tradition. The priest always said our father and everybody always said the response at the end, that’s the way it is in every single missal that we have. Thousands of missiles for thousands of years that’s the way it was. So Pius XII also is this Janus-like figure where in some ways he critiqued the Liturgical Movement. And in other ways he seemed to kind of run with the more extreme side of it. And then by the time you get to Paul VI, then that’s when really the deluge occurs. Because with the earlier change as I mentioned, Pius X, Pius XII, they left almost everything intact except for the things that I mentioned that they modified. But that leaves a lot of other rites and books intact. Paul the sixth changed literally everything, every page, every prayer, every line, it’s all changed.

And so in a way, Paul VI is far more radical than any of these earlier members of the Liturgical Movement, who only sought to rediscover the treasury of the church’s inherited prayer.

Eric Sammons:

Okay, so now we’re at the 1960s Vatican II. We’re not going to detail everything that happened there, you can find at other places. I want to switch now a little bit to these articles at the Church Life Journal. It’s a journal out of the University of Notre Dame. And I think I wasn’t super familiar with them, but I feel like I’ve read some decent articles there before in the past that were solid. And so there’s a series of articles that start back in September, and it’s now December and by three scholars. I’m not familiar with the first one, John Cavadini, he’s a professor at University of Notre Dame. Father Thomas Weinandy, how do you pronounce?

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Weinandy.

Eric Sammons:

Weinandy. I don’t know personally, but I know of him. And he’s done some very good things, and I have a very generally good impression of him. And the third one was Mary Healy, who’s a professor at Sacred Heart Seminary. And my full disclosure, I’ve been friends with Mary Healy for 20 years. I lived very close to her when she was in charge of a Charismatic Catholic Community. I lived right down the street from it, interacted with her a lot. I have a very high respect for Mary. That being said, I don’t want to link these articles. They actually just on December 1st, they published the combination of all five articles into one big article in case people just want to read it straight through. And what they do is they detail through their views of the liturgical renewal, the good and they say the bad. And it essentially becomes a defense of the Novus Ordo, other liturgical changes that happened under Paul VI.

It’s a defense of that and explain the fallacies and the problems, the air, so to speak, in the old liturgy. Now, before I ask you question about… I just want to state, so first of all like I said, I have a high respect for Mary. The other scholars I do think seem to be solid scholars. But I will just be blunt, I found it embarrassing for them to read these articles. I thought there were so many problems with it. And my big thing was I felt like it was an academic paper that was outside of reality. The stereotype of the Ivory Tower scholar seemed to be in effect here because they were repeating the promises of… And I encourage people read what was promised in the 1960s with this liturgical renewal and then compare it to reality. And that’s what I was doing. I was trying to compare it to reality. So first, before we get into details, what was your general impression of these articles?

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

I share your opinion that they were embarrassing to the authors and to the journal where they were published, because frankly these authors are completely out of their depth. This is not their wheelhouse, and they seem to have done almost no research. I published a little article a couple of days ago at Rorate Caeli just listing almost in bullet point form all of the ways in which they didn’t do their homework. For example, they don’t seem to have read a great scholar like Michael Fiedrowicz talking about the theology history and form of the Roman liturgy. It’s extremely rich, and they seem to have no understanding of where it came from and why it developed the way it did. They don’t acknowledge how many of the people who participated in Paul VI liturgical reform later had regrets about it. And expressed their regrets either at the time or afterwards, Cardinal Stickler, Louis Bouyer, George Martmore, Cardinal Antonelli, there’s a long list of these people who said this isn’t…

And then of course, all of the evidence that the reform wasn’t what Sacrosanctum Concilium called for, wasn’t what the bishops agreed to. That research is exhaustive at this point. I myself have published articles, Matthew Hazel detailing the speeches of the bishops at Vatican II exactly saying what they wanted and what they didn’t want, which is not at all what happened afterwards. So it just goes on and on. The comparison I used in a Facebook post is like when you read an astrophysicist talking about theology. Like somebody goes and asks Stephen Hawking, who his mind is full of equations about the Big Bang or something. And they say, do you believe in God? And then he starts talking about God, he has no idea what he’s talking about.

He’s like at a third grade level, no, not even that, like a kindergarten level when it comes to God. And I’m sorry, but again, to be blunt, these articles reflect a kindergarten grasp of liturgical history and liturgical theology. And even of the canonical complexities. So for example at one point, this was particularly risible. At one point in this series, they sort of blithely this 1974 document saying, “Everybody has to use the Novus Ordo a missal. There’s no room whatsoever for using the Tridentine mass.” And they don’t mention the Agatha Christie Indult. They don’t mention the fact that the old missal was always being used. That John Paul II convened a commission of nine cardinals in 1986 to investigate, and come once and for all to a determination of whether Paul VI had actually abrogated the Tridentine mass.

They came to the conclusion unanimous, I think eight out of nine said, no, he never did abrogate it canonically or legally speaking. It was always permissible. And that was the basis of Summorum Pontificum. And so there are complexities here, layers upon layers that they just sort of in a cartoon like fashion they just run roughshod over all of that. So it’s deeply painful.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, not only just hit some of the high points or low points as it were, one of the major arguments they make throughout the articles is the idea of active participation. The idea of the laity participating in the mass. And they give an image of before Vatican II of basically no layperson had any idea what’s going on. They’re not even paying attention. Maybe they’ll look up when the bells ring and that’s about it. But they’re just there. They’re checking in, they’re checking out, they don’t care. And now after the reforms, they kind of make it sound like people are now engaged because they’re saying the responses. They know what’s going on. It’s more tridentarian, all these different things they say. How would you respond to that general idea of active participation, that the new mass is better at it than the old?

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

It’s almost difficult to know where to begin with claims of that nature. But the place I would begin is this, the simplest form of active participation is for people to show up for mass. And that’s not been happening since the Second Vatican Council. Granted, the difficulties predate the council, and I’m not blaming everything on the Novus Ordo liturgical reform. But it is a fact that there is a mountain of evidence that the lay people didn’t ask for the radical liturgical reform. And that many of them were displeased by it. The work of sociologists, Mary Douglas and Anthony Archer, the work on rituality of many different anthropologists and sociologists, mountains of evidence and data showing that as the liturgical reform ramped up, more and more people were leaving the church. Now, that could just be a coincidence or a correlation and maybe not causation. But as I say we have evidence of people saying, when the liturgy began to change, I was confused.

I was bewildered. I was scandalized. I stopped going to church. I know personally people who stopped going to church in the ’60s and ’70s because of these things. And who thanks be to God came back later when the Tridentine mass began to be celebrated again, it was always permitted. And so basically what I would say is these scholars or whoever wrote the article, whichever one of them wrote the article, they seem to have a godlike omnipotence to know how all Catholics were praying before the council and how all Catholics are praying now. And they’re wrong on both counts. And so in terms of before the council, there is so much evidence of Catholics loving the liturgy of using their missals. I remember Bishop Robert Reed, the auxiliary bishop of Boston, he put up that wonderful picture of his mother’s missal, where it shows where she kissed the missal at the consecration.

You could see a bit of lipstick on the paper. And he says, this is active participation. That is to say his mother knew what was going on. She was following it. She was following it with love and adoration. So to enter into the sacred mysteries with love, with adoration, with humility, with desire for holiness, that is the heart of active participation. And there is tons of evidence that was present before the council and is present after the council. I’m not trying to say it’s a black and white situation. But to make it seem as if our participation in the liturgy can be measured simply by whether we’re standing, sitting, making responses, singing, holding up our hands, whatever, is totally superficial. And the popes themselves have said that again and again, it’s interesting ironically they cite Mediator Dei of Pius XII in 1947 as if it’s supporting the reformed liturgy.

But in fact, everything Pius XII says is supporting the traditional Roman liturgy, which is expounding and defending against the radicals of the Liturgical Movement. And he makes it clear, he has the best discussion of participation. He says, “That we are members of the mystical body of Christ. And when the priest offers the sacrifice in the altar, we unite ourselves in spirit, in mind and heart with that sacrifice and we offer it with ourselves to God. And when we do that, that’s the deepest form of participation.” Well, the simple question then is which form of the mass more accentuates the high priestly offering of the sacrifice of calvary, which is truly the body and blood of Christ. And which one therefore opens up to us the deepest possibility of the deepest participation? The question in a sense answers itself, at least if you have experience. And this is what I’m going to say, when I read those articles one of the things that disturbed me the most is that they read like articles of people who have no experience of what they’re talking about.

That is to say why were traditionalists upset by those articles. I think the main reason is that we couldn’t see ourselves in their descriptions. We don’t know what’s going on. And we are just praying our rosary and daydreaming and oh, the bell rings, something must be happening as if it’s like Pavlov’s dog or something. No, that’s absurd. And then the authors have the cheek to say, well, if traditional Catholics are attending more actively at the traditional mass, that’s because of Vatican II and because of the Nova Ordo. You see they want to have their cake and eat it too. If there’s anything good happening, it’s like George Weigel frankly. His position is this, if anything good is happening in the church today it’s because of Vatican II. And if anything bad is happening it’s because Vatican II hasn’t been implemented. Well, sorry, but that is the most ideological position that’s possible. There’s no way to prove that. It’s like… Anyway, you understand what I’m saying.

Eric Sammons:

Yes, definitely. Now, let me just use one example of active participation and have you addressed that. And that’s the use of vernacular. Now, I will admit publicly and I think people who follow my stuff know this, for somebody who tends to traditional Latin mass, I’m not a big Latin guy. I’m not one. I love the ordinary, for example, and I’m not that big on that. But they make the argument that the vernacular basically increases the active participation. And what they say does make sense on the surface in the sense that, okay, when it’s a vernacular, you can actually respond with your own language. You understand what the priest is saying, then you can respond to what they’re saying. And so they say just by definition, having the liturgy in the vernacular increases active participation. How would you respond to that?

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Yeah, what I would say is this, that the perspective of these three authors is… I don’t know if they really hold this, but the perspective that emerges from their articles is one of pure rationalism. And what I mean by rationalism is the idea that instant, immediate, verbal comprehension is the best or only way to interact with the liturgy or to interact with God for that matter. And again, I would just say experience shows that this isn’t true. And even I would say anthropology shows that it’s not true, because when for example we attend a liturgical rite that is dense with an atmosphere of mystery, when you have people bowing and whispering, and you have incense, and you have the chant, and there’s this intense sense of communion in prayer, in the mystery of what’s going on, this actually is something that can capture the heart and the mind much more powerfully than just somebody blathering on in your own language, which goes in one ear and out the other.

I can just tell you from my experience, I prayed in the Novus Ordo for many years. And there were many times when I would leave mass and I would say, it was as if I wasn’t even there. I can’t remember any of the readings. I don’t remember anything I said. I don’t remember if there was a Gloria or a Creed or anything. It was so absolutely like water off a duck’s back. Now, of course that’s not optimal on my part, but we’re not always our best. We’re not like machines that just go in and just automatically perform at their best functionality. But when I started going to the traditional mass, the very strangeness of it and the challenge of it actually enticed me to learn more. And I was like, why is the priest doing that? I want to find out why he is doing that.

Look at this prayer I just read in the missal. I’ve never seen a prayer like that in the Novus Ordo and that’s because it doesn’t exist. They took out over 50% of the mass. And so there was so much both in the way things were done in the silence, now it’s like, wait a minute, I’m being excluded from something. What’s going on here? And even the paradox then of the exclusion, or the strangeness, or sometimes the barrier that you hit is actually the thing that entices you to find out more and to go deeper. This is not hard to understand. This is just part of human psychology. It’s like the psychology of the Marines. Their strategy is to say, we want a few good men and we’ll find them. Their whole strategy is, we are tough, we’re hard and if you want that, come to us and we’ll make a man out of you, whatever.

And so the way the traditional liturgy works and I think this is true with all traditional liturgies, East and west, is that it presents a certain challenge to us. Not a challenge that we’re incapable of dealing with. Not like the Marines. We don’t have to go to bootcamp, but a challenge where we never get to the end of it. We never get to the bottom of it. So there is something there for the children to watch. The little boys can watch the thurifer and playing with fire and think that’s really cool. And the octogenarians who are in the congregation can still be pondering and meditating on these rich prayers and ceremonies of the mass for decades. And so that’s where the rationalism that drove the liturgical reform… And it did and we can prove that, that’s not just an assertion. The rationalism that drove the reform has created a liturgy that is in a sense immediately comprehensible and you can wrap your mind around it.

And you know what? When you can wrap your mind around something, you get bored of it. You get tired of it. It requires of you a certain kind of virtue that ordinary Catholics are not supposed to have, by which I mean you have to be a like scholar of the new lectionary to really get into it. You know what I’m saying? It’s like the liturgy is supposed to be something that can appeal to a factory worker, not somebody who has to study for 20 years to figure out why this is such a nice three year cycle of readings or something like that. No, you see what I mean? So the old energy speaks powerfully in a language of symbols. And I think Latin is one of those symbols. I like to talk about what I call the sonic iconostasis, Latin silence and chant. These three things present us with a kind of sonic iconostasis that’s equivalent to the Byzantine icon screen. It both reveals and conceals. It shows us something about what we’re doing, but it also hides something from us, from our secular profane gaze.

Eric Sammons:

I think it’s actually interesting because it’s actually one of the frustrations that I’ve experienced and I know a lot of the people experience who attend the traditional Latin Mass, is it’s often actually difficult to explain how we appreciate it and what we think of it because it goes beyond, like you said kind of beyond rationality. It’s not anti rational, but it’s beyond that. I can’t explain in words what the experience is like, and I’m not trying to get emotional experiential here. But the fact is, when I attend I’m not deep in my trying to follow along with every word and knowing exactly what’s happening and all that stuff. I’m just there and as part of the worship. And you can tell right now I’m not even able to explain it. And so what happens is when you talk to a good Catholic who maybe has never attended the traditional mass, and you’re trying to sell him on it but not really.

You’re just trying to explain it and you can’t. And so what you end up doing is… And everybody I know says this, they just them saying, just go for a month or two and I won’t have to explain it to you.

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Right. Well, but basically that’s how it is with anything that’s awesome. So if somebody says, why are you a Catholic? You can think about it for a bit and say, well, I’m a Catholic because I love the saints. And the beauty that the church has produced over the centuries has to come from somewhere supernatural. And the doctors of the faith are really coherent, and they explain the world that we live in. And you can say a bunch of things, but you’re always going to feel totally unsatisfied with what you’ve said because it’s a comprehensive whole. It’s a way of life, it’s something too deep to be fully articulated. And that’s also true about anyone we love. If somebody says, why do you love your wife? Well, you could say, well, she’s beautiful and she cooks well and she loves her children and she’s a great mother.

And you can say all these things, but at the end of the day it’s like, well, she’s who she is. I love the person. The person is like an irreducible, immense mystery. And so think about the liturgy. The liturgy we have, the traditional liturgy is something we’ve inherited from 3000 years of prayer. And I say 3000 years because it goes, the traditional Roman rite has many Jewish elements to it which were purged from the Novus Ordo. And then replaced with fake Jewish things like the Berakah blessing at the offertory. And I mean fake in the sense that they were never there before, they just got shoved in. And so the 3000 years of God’s journey with man and man’s journey with God, this is going to be something massive and dense. And it’s not going to be always rational and logical and coherent. And it’s something you have to grow into. And that’s the way it should be. That’s the way God is. God is somebody we have to have a relationship with for decades, to be ready to die and to meet him.

And so it seems to me that if there were a liturgy that were immediately comprehensible, that wouldn’t be a good liturgy. That wouldn’t be the liturgy of Almighty God.

Eric Sammons:

Right. Now, I want to… We’re going long but I hope you don’t mind. I want to keep going because there’s one more thing I want to talk about because I think it’s related to this. It’s also related to your book, The Once and Future Roman Rite from Tan Publishing. And that is the question of what is the Roman rite? How many Roman rites are there? So first in general, there are different rites in the church. You have of course the Roman, you have the Byzantine Rite, the Ambrosian Rite and things like that. These are different types of liturgies. And today though, there was this idea of forms that are within a right. And so for Benedict actually, Pope Benedict used the idea of ordinary form, extraordinary form. You all say the idea of was the ordinariate, is that a form of the Roman Rite? Is it a different rite, things like that? So why don’t you first just break down briefly the difference between rites and forms and how that all works in the church.

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Okay, so this is a pretty complicated question but is part of the reason I wrote my book. I would say one of the main themes of this book is to argue that there is only one Roman Rite. That it is the traditional form, the usus antiquior, whatever you want to call it, the classical Roman, you can call it 58 different things but we all know what we’re talking about. And so that’s the Roman and the Novus Ordo is not the Roman Rite. It’s the modern rite as Klaus Gamber called it the Ritus Modernus versus the Ritus Romanus. It is the right of Paul VI but it’s not the Roman Rite. Why do I say that? Well, I draw this out extensively, but basically on the broadest level there is more in common between the Tridentine rite and any Eastern rite, or any other rite in the church that was handed down from tradition than there is between the traditional Roman Rite and the Novus Ordo.

Okay, that’s why I say I have this one chapter called Two Brothers and a Stranger, meaning the Tridentine rite and the Byzantine Divine Liturgy are two brothers and the Novus Ordo is a stranger from them. And I show that in regard to 10 principles. I’ll just run through them real quick. I won’t even define them, I’ll just list them. The principle of tradition. The principle of mystery, the principle of elevated mode of discourse, the principle of ritual integrity or stability, the principle of density, the principle of adequate and repeated preparation, the principle of truthfulness, the principle of hierarchy, the principle of parallelism and the principle of separation. And so I go into all those 10 things and just show that the Novus Ordo is the outlier. In all of the liturgical history, a total outlier.

And just to give one concrete example, there is no Christian liturgy in its fully developed form, east or west, that is full of optionitis. That enables the priest to in a sense build your own adventure, to decide which penitential are you going to use, and which readings you’re going to use, and which an anaphora or eucharistic prayer you’re going to use, and which final blessing and so forth. That’s a complete novelty in church history. The church got away from extemporization as quickly as possible. In other words, there was definitely extemporaneous prayer in the early church. But guess what? As soon as they had great prayers already written, they went with those and they didn’t look back. And there was never a time when people said, oh gee wiz, we really miss those days of extemporaneous prayer. Nobody, because they knew that extemporaneous prayer is something you do in a sort of initial ferment of charismatic development.

It’s like, okay, God’s given. He’s dumping out the graces on the church fathers and they’re going to formulate their prayers. And now that we’ve got these prayers of bishop so and so, we’re just going to run with those forever. That’s the way that it’s been. Okay, so that’s the most broad level. But then when you get into the nitty gritty with the Roman rite itself, you can point to aspect after aspect where the Roman rite does one thing or acts one way and the Novus Ordo acts in a different way. I’ll just run through those real quick. Ad Orientum, ancient and fixed Eucharistic prayer, elaborate offertory with a sacrificial nature of the gifts mentioned. The treating of the Eucharist with utmost veneration down to the last detail. The hierarch is structured only male ministerial functions at the altar.

The expressive use of church buildings and their parts, the separation of the sanctuary and the nave, for example. The chanted, fixed liturgical texts. The inclusion of all of Christian doctrine including the hard and difficult truths. The elevated linguistic mode, whether you’re talking about a sacral hieratic language like Latin or just very elaborate and poetic language like the Byzantine liturgy. And then all of these things are required. They’re not optional, none of them are optional. And so when you put all that together you end up with a traditional liturgy such as the Roman rite. And the Novus Ordo either has the opposite or something different or makes it optional.

And so at this point, how can you possibly be talking about the two forms of the same thing, that is totally incoherent. Now why did Benedict do that? I think Benedict was not making a theological statement. He was too smart to make a theological statement. He was trying to come up with a legal fiction. It was a legal mechanism to enable both rites to coexist. I really think because Benedict had this fundamental sense of, it is such a big mess that I can’t fix it unilaterally. He had a humility that Paul VI lacked and that Francis lacks, namely that church men on Earth have created a huge bloody mess. And the only way we can really resolve this with Christian charity and patience and giving enough room for divine providence, is just to let these two rites run side by side. And who knows where that’s going to go.

Some people thought, oh, they’re going to mingle together and influence each other. I don’t really think that’s true. Actually I think the opposite was happening and that’s why Francis cracked down. But he just had the humility to say, let these two things go and in a sense, may the best rite win. It was kind of his attitude. So it’s a canonical structure or fiction that doesn’t hold up to historical or theological examination. And if you try to make it something more than a legal fiction, it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Eric Sammons:

Right. And that definitely goes against one of the key points that I brought up in the article, is that they’re saying that the Novus Ordo is the modification I guess, the development of the ancient Roman rite. But really it’s hard to say. That was one of the first things I noticed when I went to the traditional mass for the first time. I had already been going to the Eastern liturgy off and on, mostly I was going Novus Ordo. I remember thinking like, wow, this is a lot like the Eastern liturgy. That’s the first thing I thought of was thinking of the Byzantine instead of the Novus Ordo.

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Yeah. Let me just say on this point, it’s extremely important to recognize that what Cavadini, Healy and Weinandy have done in that part that you mentioned, is that they have succumbed completely to nominalism. The nominalism that whatever the Pope calls the Roman rite is the Roman rite. And so if a pope came along, let’s say Pope Annexaglus the first or whatever, and he says, you know what folks, I really love the Byzantine liturgy. And this Roman liturgy is just substandard. And so now the Roman rite is going to be the divine liturgy of St. John Christ system, that’s the Roman rite. Well, according to the logic of Cavadini, Healy, weinandy, then that would be the Roman rite. Wouldn’t it? And at this point you’re in la-la land, you’re with William of Ockham in nominalism and volunteerism. And so, one of the underlying premises of this Church Life Journal series, which is brought out to some extent but not as much as it could be. I think because the authors are fish in water so they don’t see it as clearly as some others do on the outside, is that they are hyper-papalist to…

That is they can’t imagine a Pope ever making a mistake even in regard to a prudential judgment like liturgical reform. And so for them what the pope says must be the truth. And it does become the Mormons or the Moonies or something like that, because it’s like, well, Pope Francis says that traditionalists are abusing their privileges in the church. And therefore he must be right and they must be wrong and so forth. So they don’t seem to have any sense of how that position of hyper-papalism ties them up into knots, because Benedict was right when he was pope. But now Francis who’s saying exactly the opposite is right because he’s the pope. And pretty soon it’s like where does the principle of non-contradiction end up in all of this?

Eric Sammons:

Right. Okay, I think we’re going to wrap it up here. We’re getting long, but a couple of things before we go. First is I just want to encourage people to get the book, The Once and Future Roman Rite from Tan Publishers. I will put a link to that obviously in the show notes along with the Church Life Journal articles as well. Anything else, what are you up to? I’m sure you have 15 books coming out soon. So what else do you want to kind of let us know about?

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

So I do want to let readers know about two books, they’re not by me. There’s one book by a French canon lawyer, Father Reginald-Marie Rivoire of the fraternity of St. Vincent Ferrer in France traditional community. Father Rivoire is an expert canon lawyer and he wrote this book called Does Traditionis Custodes Pass the Juridical Rationality Test. It’s a fairly technical canon law study, very accessible, however. And I highly recommend it because what he does is it’s a devastating critique of Traditionis Custodes and of the Responsa ad Dubia, showing that they are canonical nonsense basically. That they’re so illogical and irrational in regards to their premises, that they have no binding force. Now, that doesn’t mean of course that people aren’t going to treat them as if they have binding force. But he’s proved that Canonically speaking, they don’t. So this is a really neat book.

It comes from my publishing house Os Justi Press. You can find it on Amazon or on Os Justi.com. The other book I just want to mention also from Os Justi Press is Dr. John P. Joy’s book, Disputed Questions on Papal Infallibility. Some of you may have seen a number of John Joy’s writings have been published at OnePeterFive, but in a lot of different articles scattered over a long period of time. And this is the definitive version of all of them put between two covers. And I just want to say, this is the single best treatment of papal infallibility I’ve ever read hands down. It is luminous and serene. And he is absolutely in support of Vatican I, but he shows precisely what it means and what it doesn’t mean. And it’s so refreshing. It’s such a refreshing read. So I just wanted to mention those two books.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, definitely. Send me the links to those and I’ll make sure I put those in the show notes as well so people can get them from you. Okay, well, I think we’re going to wrap it up there then. I really appreciate, Peter, this taking a lot of time here today to discuss that. That was an important topic and I really appreciate that. And hopefully we’ll have you on again soon. You’re a good regular guest here at Crisis Point.

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski:

Thank you so much, Eric.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. Everybody else until next time, God love you.

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