Bah, humbug!

Dreary Christmas: Semi-Trads excoriate Francis over new Latin Mass Restrictions

Move over, Grinch, Scrooge, and other sourpusses: No one wrecks Christmas like the Frankster!

This past Saturday, Dec. 18, His Phoniness “Pope” Francis (Jorge Bergoglio) issued an utterly merciless decree against those in his Modernist church who attempt to practice traditional Catholicism while nevertheless recognizing him as Pope. As they are dependent on ready access to the Traditional Latin Mass “in full communion” with the Modernist hierarchy as the center of their sacramental lives, Francis knows exactly the spot at which to strike to ensure they will hurt the most. That is exactly what he has done now, and he’s done it with gusto:

Technically, the decree wasn’t issued by Francis but by “Abp.” Arthur Roche, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. However, the document itself makes clear that it comes with “papal” authority: “The Supreme Pontiff Francis, in the course of an Audience granted to the Prefect of this Congregation on 18 November 2021, was informed of and gave his consent to the publication of these RESPONSA AD DUBIA with attached EXPLANATORY NOTES.” Vatican journalist Edward Pentin has pointed out that Nov. 18 was the day the lights went out in St. Peter’s Basilica — an amusing coincidence, for sure.

In any case, being dependent on the favor of Modernist hierarchs to have the Traditional Latin Mass has left the many pious traditionalists in the Vatican II Church extremely vulnerable. This was always the case, but it wasn’t too noticeable for as long as Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum (2007) was applied widely and generously. Even if the Traditional Mass was not prevalent in one particular diocese, people had the option of moving to another. But with the release of Francis’ motu proprio letter Traditionis Custodes on July 16, 2021, and now the follow-up document that tightens the screws even further, the “party is over”, so to speak, and the traditionalists in the Vatican II Church must now embrace the painful practical consequences of their false theological position.

To get the full picture, we advise readers to take a look at our original commentary from back in July:

Now that a few months have passed since the release of Traditionis Custodes, the “Pope” has gotten a pretty good view of the playing field. He has been able to observe closely which of his “bishops” are implementing his guidelines faithfully, which of them are ignoring them or trying to find ways around them (and in what manner), and what questions the original decree left open that require further clarification.

The result of all that is the document released on Dec. 18, the so-called Responsa ad Dubia (“Response to Questions”) about Traditionis Custodes, and it is dripping with contempt for pre-Vatican II Catholicism and for those traditionalists who throughout the past decades were careful to “remain loyal to Rome” by frequenting only the “approved” Traditional Masses offered by diocesan priests or groups like the Institute of Christ the King or the Fraternity of St. Peter. (Before 2007, these Masses were typically called “indult Masses” because they required a special permission called an indult to be offered; with Summorum Pontificum they were called the “Extraordinary Form” of the Mass.) This is evident from the text of the Responsa document and especially from the new regulations themselves, which are so severely restrictive that they border on the ridiculous.

Our latest podcast, dated Dec. 20, provides an overview of the new regulations and also gives some insightful background information that puts everything in context so you have the whole picture:

On a human level, one sympathizes, of course, with the countless good souls who are just trying their best to practice the true and ancient Roman Catholic religion and are now getting slaughtered by the Modernist demons who are unlawfully occupying the Catholic structures, but whom they recognize in good faith to be the lawful Catholic authorities.

On a theological level, however, one must look beyond the subjective and understand that the reason for this grotesque situation is the insane recognize-and-resist theology these people have imbibed for so long, and which their de facto “leaders” continue to stubbornly defend.

In 1943, Pope Pius XII taught: “Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed” (Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 22). In other words, to be considered a Catholic, one must meet three conditions: (a) be baptized; (b) profess the true Faith; and (c) be in communion with the Holy See (Pope) and the other members of the Church.

In light of this, we can easily see that it is simply not possible to practice Catholicism in its integrity while recognizing a public apostate as the Vicar of Christ, the Pope. For if one attempts to do that, one will necessarily run afoul of one of these two Catholic bedrock principles: profession of the true Faith or submission to the Pope. If one submits to Francis the way Catholic doctrine requires submission to the Pope, one will necessarily defect from the ancient Faith; if, on the other hand, one clings to the Faith at all costs, one can only do so by refusing submission to Francis. In either case, the Modernists win in their desire to hurt souls, for both scenarios imply the guilt of mortal sin (objectively). The only way out of this dilemma is to draw the only possible conclusion: Francis is not — cannot be — the legitimate Pope.

For as long as they accept Bergoglio as the legitimate Roman Pontiff, the semi-trads cannot win this battle. They are trapped by their own erroneous theology. Perhaps it is for that reason that they are so furious.

Just below we have collected some of the major reactions that have poured in so far, mostly from the typical recognize-and-resist outlets.

Recognize-and-Resist Reactions to Dec. 18 Responsa ad Dubia:

Since we live in an age of livestreams and on-demand video, a number of pundits have also weighed in on YouTube and on other platforms regarding the Dec. 18 Responsa ad Dubia issued by the Vatican. Here are some of the more well-known ones:

“Bishop” Athanasius Schneider

Brian McCall

Taylor Marshall

Eric Sammons

Peter Kwasniewski

Christopher Ferrara

Michael Matt

Chances are you’ve never heard Michael Matt yell like that before!

It has become standard practice for these self-appointed (with the exception of Athanasius Schneider) “authorities” to “guide” others on how the official acts of the Vatican II Church are to be understood and received, and what is (and isn’t) supposed to be done in response to them. And what is worse, the “faithful” — that is, those who consider themselves faithful Catholics on account of their intended attachment to Catholic Tradition — flock to them precisely to receive instruction from them and affirmation in their beliefs. That is, instead of loyally following the man they recognize as Pope, they turn to individuals of their own choosing (private judgment, anyone?) who argue against the official decisions of the (putative) Apostolic See.

To a real traditional Catholic, however, such a scenario is absurd on its face. The promises of Christ were given to the Pope, to the legitimate successors of St. Peter, and not to anyone else, including those self-appointed “gatekeepers” of traditionalism:

This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this see so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine. Thus the tendency to schism is removed and the whole church is preserved in unity, and, resting on its foundation, can stand firm against the gates of hell.

(First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Chapter 4)

Mother Church, Catholic, Roman, which has remained faithful to the constitution received from her Divine Founder, which still stands firm today on the solidity of the rock on which his will erected her, possesses in the primacy of Peter and of his legitimate successors the assurance, guaranteed by the divine promises, of keeping and transmitting inviolate and in all its integrity through centuries and millennia to the very end of time, the entire sum of truth and grace contained in the redemptive mission of Christ.

(Pope Pius XII, Allocution to the Consistory, June 2, 1944)

Pope Pius XII was adamant that there can never be legitimate Catholic authorities that teach contrary to the Pope or without his permission:

Besides the lawful successors of the Apostles, namely the Roman Pontiff for the universal Church and Bishops for the faithful entrusted to their care (cf. can. 1326), there are no other teachers divinely constituted in the Church of Christ. But both the Bishops and, first of all, the Supreme Teacher and Vicar of Christ on earth, may associate others with themselves in their work of teacher, and use their advice; they delegate to them the faculty to teach, either by special grant, or by conferring an office to which the faculty is attached (cf. can. 1328). Those who are so called teach not in their own name, nor by reason of their theological knowledge, but by reason of the mandate which they have received from the lawful Teaching Authority. Their faculty always remains subject to that Authority, nor is it ever exercised in its own right or independently.

…As for the laity, it is clear that they can be invited by legitimate teachers and accepted as helpers in the defense of the faith. …But all these lay apostles must be, and remain, under the authority, leadership, and watchfulness of those who by divine institution are set up as teachers of Christ’s Church. In matters involving the salvation of souls, there is no teaching authority in the Church not subject to this authority and vigilance.

[T]here never has been, there is not now, and there never will be in the Church a legitimate teaching authority of the laity withdrawn by God from the authority, guidance, and watchfulness of the sacred Teaching Authority; in fact, the very denial of submission offers a convincing proof and criterion that laymen who thus speak and act are not guided by the Spirit of God and of Christ. Furthermore, everyone can see how great a danger of confusion and error there is in this “lay theology”; a danger also lest others begin to be taught by men clearly unfitted for the task, or even by deceitful and fraudulent men, whom St. Paul described: “The time will come when men . . ., always itching to hear something fresh, will provide themselves with a continuous succession of new teachers, as the whim takes them, turning a deaf ear to the truth bestowing their attention on fables instead” (cf. II Tim. 4:3 f.).

(Pope Pius XII, Allocution Si Diligis on the Canonization of Pope Pius X, May 31, 1954; underlining added.)

This makes it abundantly clear that no Catholic has the right to follow some unapproved teacher of his choosing, especially not if that person criticizes, rejects, or otherwise impugns the magisterium, liturgical laws, or disciplinary decisions of the Pope!

In 1912, Pope St. Pius X had already made clear what the proper Catholic attitude of filial submission to the Pope means in practice:

[W]hen we love the Pope, we do not dispute whether he commands or requires a thing, or seek to know where the strict obligation of obedience lies, or in what matter we must obey; when we love the Pope we do not say that he has not yet spoken clearly — as if he were required to speak his will in every man’s ear, and to utter it not only by word of mouth but in letters and other public documents as well. Nor do we cast doubt on his orders, alleging the pretext which comes easily to the man who does not want to obey, that it is not the Pope who is commanding, but someone in his entourage. We do not limit the field in which he can and ought to exercise his authority; we do not oppose to the Pope’s authority that of other persons — no matter how learned — who differ from the Pope. For whatever may be their learning, they are not holy, for where there is holiness there cannot be disagreement with the Pope.

(Pope Saint Pius X, Address to the Priests of the Apostolic Union, Nov. 18, 1912; in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 4 [1912], p. 695; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, n. 752)

Notice that St. Pius X spoke of “the Pope” as such — that is, he was referring to any Pope, he was not just referring to himself, obviously. And indeed, when Leo XIII was Pope and St. Pius X was but a simple bishop in Mantua, he said:

The moment has come to prove to the great Vicar of Christ our unchanging affection and fidelity. For us Leo XIII is the guardian of the Holy Scriptures, the interpreter of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, the supreme dispenser of the treasures of the Church, the head of the Catholic religion, the chief shepherd of souls, the infallible teacher, the secure guide, who directs us on our way through a world wrapped in darkness and the shadow of death. All the strength of the Church is in the Pope; all the foundations of our Faith are based on the successor of Peter. Those who wish her ill assault the papacy in every possible way; they cut themselves adrift from the Church, and try their best to make the Pope an object of hatred and contempt. The more they endeavor to weaken our faith and our attachment to the head of the Church, the more closely let us draw to him through the public testimony of our Faith, our obedience and our veneration.

(Bishop Giuseppe Sarto [St. Pius X]; quoted in F. A. Forbes, Pope St. Pius X [Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1987], pp. 34-35.)

That is traditional Catholicism! Could any of these semi-trad pundits use these words and apply them to Francis? Fat chance! One can quickly see how absurd they would become when applied to a public apostate like Jorge Bergoglio.

The conclusion that Francis cannot be the Pope is not, as so many think, an illegitimate use of private judgment about a matter concerning which one has no authority; it is, rather, the necessary logical conclusion when applying the infallible Catholic Faith to the known facts about Bergoglio. It is simply a deductive logical inference, and, as such, it cannot be mistaken.

Unfortunately, however, many have been led to believe — often by these very self-appointed characters — that they should sooner give up the traditional doctrine on the Pope than the idea that Bergoglio is one!

At this point it will also be good to remind people what the traditional Catholic doctrine is regarding a Pope’s authority over the Sacred Liturgy specifically. Pope Pius XII addressed the matter directly:

The Church has further used her right of control over liturgical observance to protect the purity of divine worship against abuse from dangerous and imprudent innovations introduced by private individuals and particular churches. Thus it came about — during the 16th century, when usages and customs of this sort had become increasingly prevalent and exaggerated, and when private initiative in matters liturgical threatened to compromise the integrity of faith and devotion, to the great advantage of heretics and further spread of their errors — that in the year 1588, Our predecessor Sixtus V of immortal memory established the Sacred Congregation of Rites, charged with the defense of the legitimate rites of the Church and with the prohibition of any spurious innovation. This body fulfills even today the official function of supervision and legislation with regard to all matters touching the sacred liturgy.

It follows from this that the Sovereign Pontiff alone enjoys the right to recognize and establish any practice touching the worship of God, to introduce and approve new rites, as also to modify those he judges to require modification. Bishops, for their part, have the right and duty carefully to watch over the exact observance of the prescriptions of the sacred canons respecting divine worship. Private individuals, therefore, even though they be clerics, may not be left to decide for themselves in these holy and venerable matters, involving as they do the religious life of Christian society along with the exercise of the priesthood of Jesus Christ and worship of God; concerned as they are with the honor due to the Blessed Trinity, the Word Incarnate and His august mother and the other saints, and with the salvation of souls as well. For the same reason no private person has any authority to regulate external practices of this kind, which are intimately bound up with Church discipline and with the order, unity and concord of the Mystical Body and frequently even with the integrity of Catholic faith itself.

The Church is without question a living organism, and as an organism, in respect of the sacred liturgy also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts and accommodates herself to temporal needs and circumstances, provided only that the integrity of her doctrine be safeguarded. This notwithstanding, the temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for the revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with prevailing laws and rubrics, deserve severe reproof.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mediator Dei, nn. 57-59; underlining added.)

Clearly, what today’s semi-trad pundits regurgitate as traditional Catholicism is markedly different from what one actually finds when consulting the Church’s traditional magisterial documents.

In our next blog post on this topic, we will critically analyze what some of these semi-trad celebrities are now saying in reaction to the Responsa ad Dubia, and we will provide further commentary.

By the way: One day after Bergoglio’s Dec. 18 Latin Mass massacre, Vatican News informed the world that “Pope Francis dialogues with society’s marginalized in special broadcast.”

Francis knows exactly how to add insult to injury.

Image source: composite with elements from (Mazur; cropped) and (gillmar)
License: assuming CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 and paid

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