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Evangelizing the Reluctant Pearl Merchant


Reflections on a Recent Essay by Msgr. Charles Pope on the Future of the Traditional Latin Mass

The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Matthew 13:45-46

The Parable of the Pearl is brought to mind by a recent blog essay by Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington in the National Catholic Register,An Urgent Warning About the Future of the Traditional Latin Mass” (Jan. 7, 2016). Msgr. Pope, a respected pastor and blogger with long experience celebrating Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (EF), is the Archdiocese of Washington’s delegate for implementation of Summorum Pontificum.[1] Indeed, he has standing to opine on the state of the celebration of the EF. Therefore, it is worth paying attention when he sets off warning flares that the growth of the traditional liturgy has stalled. “It seems that a ceiling has been hit,” he says. He presents anecdotal evidence from DC suggesting that it may even be declining. He urges us that if we want the traditional liturgy to thrive and grow, the laity must work a lot harder to make it happen. “Evangelize,” he warns, “or else close and die.”

Some have responded to Msgr. Pope’s essay with differing anecdotal evidence supporting a healthy growth narrative.[2] Others, however, have shared his sense of a stall, noting low attendance at their local EF Masses.

Msgr. Pope’s observations are striking because they cut hard against the typical narrative of remarkable growth of EF Masses in the US in recent years. Catholic sites (including Juventutem DC’s) enthuse about “Unstoppable Summorum Pontificum.” Even secular media outlets like USA Today and the Economist, have recently limned the return of the traditional liturgy.[3] And, of course, those hostile to the EF have bemoaned its resurgence.[4]

In the Parable of the Pearl, the merchant seeks long and hard to acquire the Pearl of Great Price, selling his entire inventory to acquire it when he finally finds it for purchase. For us, the Extraordinary Form is the Pearl. But have we overestimated how many desire it and will sacrifice for it, as Msgr. Pope suggests? Or is the Pearl too often still hidden from view, not available for purchase at any price?

I. Just What Were the Expectations for the Extraordinary Form?

“One of the promises was that if parishes would just offer the Traditional Latin Mass,” Msgr. Pope writes, “each parish would be filled again.” It’s difficult to find prominent or official predictions along these lines. The reactions at the time by traditional societies and groups mostly restricted themselves to simply expressing gratitude for the decree.[5] Still, there was a great deal of exuberance among supporters.

Of course, one could find highly pessimistic predictions, too. Some bishops were also dismissive of the need for it. “I do not foresee a pressing pastoral need on the part of our people,” said Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie.[6] A few, like Archbishop John Vlazny of Portland, even criticized perceived defects in the traditional Mass.[7] A number of dioceses imposed restrictive rules to greatly narrow the wide permission given in Summorum.[8]

So how has the traditional liturgy in the US actually fared?

II. Sifting the Data: What is Actually Happening With the Extraordinary Form?

Chart 1 Growth in Extraordinary Form Masses 1988-2015
Chart 1

The EF in the United States. The record in the US is one of remarkable growth over the past generation:

  • In 1988, Pope St. John Paul II renewed the indult for the traditional Mass when there were only six such Masses (known) in the US. When Pope Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum in July 2007, the number had grown to over 200. Today, according to the Coalition Ecclesia Dei, there are now 476 publicly scheduled regular EF Mass locations in the US.[9] [See Chart 1] While this figure represents only 2.7% of the nearly 17,500 US parishes, it still represents a remarkable rate of growth for a liturgy that had essentially vanished for an entire generation in the context of a clerical leadership that generally discouraged its reappearance.[10]
  • From a handful of dioceses less than a generation ago, we now have roughly 92% of the 195 dioceses in the United States hosting at least one regular weekly EF Mass.[11]
  • Also, we cannot overlook the emergence of canonical communities, taking the form of oratories, personal parishes, personal quasi-parishes, or priories, exclusively (or nearly so) devoted to the Extraordinary Form since the invitation of the FSSP to its first apostolate in Dallas in 1991 – now numbering over 50 in the US.[12]

If some exuberant hopes have not been fully realized, dismissals by those hostile to the Mass have not been borne out, either. If about 500 regular EF Masses in the US remains a modest total, such a prediction 20 years ago would have been utterly laughable.

Yet to count Masses and parishes is not to count the people actually attending them. How many people are actually in the pews?

Because attendance is not taken or published, observers extrapolate or make crude guesses about just how large the lay population engaged with traditional liturgy really is. Still, such an exercise may have some value. Out of the 476 EF Mass locations listed by Coalition Ecclesia Dei, 473 Masses are weekly (nearly all on Sunday); 87 locations have daily Mass, nearly always six times per week; and there are a smattering of monthly Masses (about 100). Assuming an average of 100 attendees per weekly EF Mass and 15 attendees per daily EF Mass, we estimate around 50-60,000 Catholics attending an EF Mass at least a once a week, without taking into account attendance at private Masses.

To put this in perspective, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University in 2010 estimated that about 17.8 million Catholics attended Mass weekly in the US.[13] Given our (admittedly crude) assumptions, this seems to leave attendance at EF Masses in the US at about one third of one percent of all weekly Mass attendance. It could range anywhere from a quarter to a half of one percent, with considerable variation by diocese. Msgr. Pope argues that “numbers matter.” We agree, and these numbers do seem quite modest, no matter how much they have grown over the last decade. At the same time, attendance in the Ordinary Form has greatly declined (from 47% to 24% between 1974 and 2012, for example[14]) – a trend Msgr. Pope himself has noted with dismay in recent years.

As critical as lay mobilization is, perhaps the problem the Church faces goes much deeper.

The EF in the Archdiocese of Washington

Msgr. Pope’s essay focuses on the Archdiocese of Washington. He notes that although there are EF Masses in five different parishes in the Archdiocese, “we’ve never been able to attract more than a total of about a thousand people.” To put it in context, he adds: “That’s only one-half of one percent of the total number of Catholics who attend Mass in this archdiocese each Sunday.”

Juventutem DC, also in Msgr. Pope’s diocese, largely agrees with these numbers. His figures are consistent with our national estimate. It is also true that in absolute numbers in DC, there seems to be slow growth.

But just across the river in the Diocese of Arlington, there has been an explosion of regular EF Masses, most of them in the last few years: 16 such parishes (that’s nearly one in four parishes!), and most of them in the greater DC suburbs, where many families live. This has had the effect, inevitably, of siphoning off many EF Mass-goers from the longstanding DC Masses. As for the attendance decline in the monthly Sunday Mass that Msgr. Pope has graciously celebrated for years, it is more difficult to explain. One possibility, however, is that a much larger number of Solemn High Masses are now available in the greater DC area, making any individual one less compelling to attend, especially since it is not a weekly offering.

Even more generally, there are far more options available to Catholics seeking the EF Mass in the greater Washington, DC area than there were a decade ago. This does not necessarily refute Msgr. Pope’s observations about a ceiling/plateau, or even a decline, but it does qualify them to some degree.

Based on the numbers, against great odds, Summorum Pontificum is being implemented. Without question, it could be implemented much more fully.

So what could be frustrating its growth?

III. Real Obstacles: Sometimes the Laity, but Often the Clergy

Msgr. Pope’s critique seems to assume that a greater demand for the Extraordinary Form exists, or could exist, if only lay Catholics could be brought into contact with it through intra-Church evangelization: “Even traditional Catholics have to evangelize,” he observes. While he does not spell out what that would look like, it is hard to disagree with him in principle. Still, let’s look at the barriers, assuming a serious evangelizing effort were to begin (which we agree is necessary):

  1. Communities that alienate/ignore newcomers. Traditional communities are not always as welcoming as they could be. Whether it’s “the Angry Trad” or a “ghetto mentality,” sometimes there’s a learned, defensive posture at play (though we think this is often exaggerated). Thankfully, the increasing mainstreaming of tradition since Summorum has tempered this behavior. Suffice it to say, yes, it is important to be a welcoming community if we want the EF to prosper.
  2. Pastorally inadequate settings. Traditionally, lay Catholics have received the sacraments in the context of parish life. While parishes have taken different forms over the centuries, there have been some basic commonalities: reasonable accessibility, availability of all the sacraments, pastoral leadership, parish activities directed to spiritual and corporal acts of mercy, and a sense of community. In a parish administered by the FSSP or ICRSS, or a fearless/safe pastor, all of these elements are usually present. Yet short of that, most or even all of these elements are often lacking:
    • Many EF Masses (including the two largest and longest standing ones in DC) are dependent on rotating pools of priests, who cannot provide full-time pastoral care, or by parochial vicars who are easily reassigned – when the priest disappears, the Mass often disappears with him.
    • Such Masses are often not integrated into any larger parish life through its devotional activities, social life, or corporal works, making it very difficult to build a sense of community – something Catholics crave and have come to expect.
    • EF Masses are almost never permitted to replace existing OF Mass times, with the result that they typically are scheduled at times – either very early in the morning, or in the afternoon – which can prove difficult for many Catholics (especially those with small children, and those traveling from a longer distance) to attend consistently.
    • Lastly, location cannot be dismissed as a real concern for some prospective newcomers and even existing attendees; long travel distances can be a deterrent to those with large, young families. Similarly, Masses in crime-prone neighborhoods can be legitimate deterrents to families and singles alike, especially when Masses or activities are scheduled after dark.

In fairness, clergy are not necessarily in a position to address such problems. Nonetheless, the problems remain and they frequently constitute obstacles to growth. They cannot be dismissed, or ignored.

  1. The hierarchy itself. Unsurprisingly, the most common criticism made in social media in response to Msgr. Pope’s essay was the disinterest or hostility of the clergy itself, and more specifically, its senior ranks. Many contend that this is the greatest suppressor of interest in the Extraordinary Form. We agree. Indeed, the supplier in this market can, and often does, act to suppress demand, with:
    • Extrajudicial hurdles  –  policies and interpretations that derogate from the plain meaning and logic of Summorum – these undermine the laity’s faith in the legal structures that underpin the “market” of liturgies (i.e., “No matter what I do, it’s not worth it.”);
    • Segregation – when laity do come forward, according to Summorum’s blueprint, and attempt to promote a new EF Mass, they are directed to previously approved/tolerated indult parishes;
    • Intimidation –  a general tone from the chancery that results in the discouragement and intimidation of priests by superiors for supporting the Extraordinary Form and which creates disincentives to learn it or to grant requests from laity who want to have it and grow it; and
    • Insufficient education – in many cases, a limited knowledge of Latin among clergy of the Latin Church, despite the requirements of Canon 249 and Vatican II’s Decree on Seminaries.[15]

Such treatment can create frustration that is expressed in what may be, or seem like, a decline. It also makes a difficult atmosphere for evangelization. We appreciate that there are many practical barriers to tradition for priests on the ground level. Again, we welcome concrete steps from Msgr. Pope and priests like him who are of good will, detailing how to go about this good work.

Given all this, the problem often becomes far bigger than evangelizing our fellow lay Catholics. We are in the awkward position of evangelizing the hierarchy of the Church. The Pearl of Great Price, so essential to the Church’s life, too often remains hidden away in the merchant’s vault.



[1] Indeed, Msgr. Pope has offered a number of the most high profile Solemn High Masses (and Office) in the region in recent years at his parish (see here, here, here and here just in 2015). We wholeheartedly thank him.

[2] See for example: “Is the traditional movement approaching a moment of crisis?A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics, Jan. 12, 2016; Gregory DiPippo, “How is your TLM doing?New Liturgical Movement, Jan.8, 2016; Jeff Ostrowski, “The Miraculous Rise Of The Traditional Latin Mass,” Corpus Christi Watershed, Jan. 8, 2016; Joseph Shaw, “Reply to Mgr Pope: Are Traditional Catholics doing enough?Rorate Caeli, Jan. 13, 2016; and Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, “TLM: Evangelize or else close and die.” Fr. Z’s Blog, Jan. 8, 2016.

[3] Eric J. Lyman, “Latin Mass resurgent 50 years after Vatican II,” USA Today, March 13, 2015; “A traditionalist avant-garde: It’s trendy to be a traditionalist in the Catholic church,” The Economist, Dec. 15, 2012.

[4] Ron Schmitt noted with alarm that “there seems to be an increasing interest in this “extraordinary form” in our diocesan paper and among some of our clergy.” Ron Schmitt, “Attempt to resurrect pre-Vatican II Mass leaves church at crossroads,” National Catholic Reporter, Dec. 8, 2012.

[5] See the relevant pages of Una Voce, the FSSP, ICRSS, and even the SSPX for their official statements.

[6] Fr. John Zuhsldorf, “Statement of Bishop Trautman on Summorum Pontificum,” July 7, 2007. (Original release is no longer available on the website of the Diocese of Erie.)

[7] Most Rev. John Vlazny, Archbishop Emeritus of Portland, “Liturgical growth and progress in the Roman Missal,” Catholic Sentinel, July 27, 2007.

[8] Indeed, the perception of hostility to the decree among many episcopates was enough to drive Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, then-Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, to issue a warning: “Frankly, I don’t understand this distancing from, and, let’s just say it, rebellion against the Pope. I invite all, above all shepherds, to obey the Pope, who is the Successor of Peter.”

[9] See “Mass Listings,” Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei for the complete list. (NB not inclusive of traditional Latin Masses celebrated by the SSPX and independent groups, or the substantial and growing number of private, unpublicized EF Masses, many of which are attended by laity.)

[10] This is the way in which Pope Benedict XVI characterized the situation since the promulgation of the Pauline Missal at the end of the 1960’s. “I must say, quite openly, that I don’t understand why so many of my episcopal brethren have to a great extent submitted to this rule of intolerance, which for no apparent reason is opposed to making the necessary inner reconciliations within the Church.” Joseph Ratzinger, God and the World (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002), p. 416.

[11] Our calculation agrees with that of Jeff Ostrowski, who also provides his chart of growth of the Extraordinary Form in the US in his commentary of Msgr. Pope’s essay last week.

[12] The FSSP currently lists 38 houses in 35 dioceses in the US (though these in turn also provide Masses at other parishes and locations) and the ICRSS lists 12 oratories and parishes. Mater Ecclesiae in Berlin, NJ is a personal parish dedicated to the TLM serviced by diocesan clergy, a unique arrangement in the US. There are also communities administered by consecrated religious of various sorts, such as the priory of the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem in Charles Town, WV and  the Oratory of Ss. Gregory and Augustine in suburban St. Louis, MO. Mention should probably also be given to the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, a “biritual” clerical institute of consecrated life which makes the EF a prominent part of its liturgical life, administering four parishes in Illinois and Michigan, and perhaps also to a handful of “biritual” diocesan parishes whose Mass schedule and parish life is nonetheless heavily dominated by tradition, such as Holy Innocents in New York City and St. Mary’s in Norwalk, CT.

[12] Calculating attendance even in Ordinary Form Masses is usually done by polling, and results can vary. We use the CARA number because it is the most commonly accepted number.

[13]A Micro-scoping View of U.S. Catholic Populations,” Nineteen Sixty-Four, May 11, 2012.

[14] Michael Lipka, “The number of U.S. Catholics has grown, so why are there fewer parishes?” Pew Research Center, Nov. 6, 2014.

[15] See Optatam totius 19 which says: “Moreover they are to acquire a knowledge of Latin which will enable them to understand and make use of the sources of so many sciences and of the documents of the Church. The study of the liturgical language proper to each rite should be considered necessary; a suitable knowledge of the languages of the Bible and of Tradition should be greatly encouraged.”

76 thoughts on “Evangelizing the Reluctant Pearl Merchant”

  1. For us, the Extraordinary Form is the Pearl.

    For liberals and modernists, the Pearl, it is endlessly preached to us, is us.

    However, in Catholic Tradition, the Pearl is Jesus.

    Let’s not ape the modernists in misidentifying the pearl

    • Ah yes the classic novus ordo song: “We are the light of the world” I think it is called. Also isn’t there something called “We are the City of God”. I dont remember.

      • “We are the light of the world, may our light shine before all, that they may see the good that we do and GIVE GLORY TO GOD.”

        We are called to be salt and light, after all. There are enough terrible hymns out there, we don’t need to blast the ones that are based on scripture.

          • The words of our Lord, Matthew 5:14

            “You are the light of the world.”

            It’s a reminder of what Christ calls us to be, in order to draw more people to Christ and give glory to God.

            I realize it’s a modern, sappy song, but it does have good intentions based on scripture.

          • As I can’t resist the rabbit-hole, let me just say that not all scripture is fit to be sung during Mass. Genealogies aside, hearing your pew-partner braying as God, first-person is distracting. How come you never hear any Maccabees in modern hymns? Or Revelation? Speaking of which, I wish Rev 22:18 applied to the Mass.

          • I think you basically have two goals for Modern hymns, to make people feel good/pious/happy and or reverent, and to instruct people on basic theology. We can argue over whether the theology found within modern hymns is good or bad, much of it is bad. But as hymns today are meant to be instructive to a certain degree, I’d say that one based on the Beatitudes is at least based on an important passage and gives doctrinally impoverished “pewsitters” an important lesson on virtue. On that hopefully everyone can agree, whether you dislike the song, or modern hymns in general.

          • Those modern hymns don’t fit in with the true Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It would be like introducing a marching band song into the coronation of the King or Queen of England. Totally inappropriate to the reverence and holiness of the only place on earth where Christ in his Divinity and Humanity comes to be Adored and Worshipped.

    • For liberals and modernists, the Pearl, it is endlessly preached to us, is us.

      However, in Catholic Tradition, the Pearl is Jesus.

      Let’s not ape the modernists in misidentifying the pearl.

      Your point about the poor exegesis on this pericope is well taken – we have heard it ourselves! It seems to be part and parcel of the anthropocentism which has heavily informed so much of contemporary liturgy and theology, alas.

      But don’t give the metaphor chosen as theme for this essay too much weight. The Pearl *is* Christ; but it is not too misleading (we think) to apply it in a more limited way to the Mass in its ancient and traditional (Roman Rite) form, a Mass whose four ends, as we recall, are Adoration, Thanksgiving, Atonement, and Petition of God, made present in His Second Person directly in the Holy Sacrifice on the altar. We do not worship the Mass, but the Christ made present in it, the Christ who is the Pearl, as Ss. Jerome and Augustine understood it – as you rightly point out.

  2. I know this is anecdotal, but in my parish, which is a stable oratory run by the ICRSP, and has all the sacraments exclusively in the EF, since summorum pontificum, we have grown very slowly. We initially lost a few families to their local parishes as they started EF masses, as these families were driving over an hour, and we’ve been gaining a few families a year since. The cranky trad problem exists here, but that’s greatly overstated. It’s about a dozen people, mostly over 60, that have driven a handful of young Catholics away.

    I do agree with Msgr. Pope that the EF isn’t self-evangelizing as many of us thought. Too many Catholics are either apathetic about the faith, or so far brainwashed in the talking points about the NO.

    • Mr. Traas, I’ve seen some success in simply inviting people to come to
      an EF Mass with me. If I think someone might respond well to what the
      EF Mass offers, I ask them to join me, help them with finding their way
      with the missal and the gestures, perhaps answer their questions later,
      and generally get out of the way and let the Mass speak for itself.

      Sure, there are some “cranky trads” out there (and naturally enough, since
      some folks have been kicked around by their Church for decades simply
      because of their love for the older rite) but I think their occasionally off-putting
      behavior is easily overcome if a few people make the effort to be welcoming
      and considerate to folks who may be new to the older rite. If people aren’t
      coming to the EF at one’s parish, then we should seek them out and bring
      them in.

  3. I think the latin mass community in the USA do a good job of retaining people who come to discover it but the problem is simply the numbers are too few in terms of priests, parishes, and congregation. I think good old fashion marketing is needed.

    I myself have an intention of soon re-joining a knights of columbus council nearby my home (a novus ordo parish even though i dont go to Mass there) and expose the issues of the crisis in the church to the other men there who are not aware of it. Maybe one day I can teach CCD to once more at a regular parish. This is where educating is needed.

    • My SSPX parish tried to start a Knights of Columbus branch at our chapel and were rejected immediately by the Novus Ordo leadership, even though we, unlike other NO parishes, have many young fervent single male parishioners.

      • Those young fervent men would be great candidates to joint novus ordo parish based councils though to help make those members aware of the crisis in the church. It stinks yes but there is opportunity that can come from that too.

  4. The TLM in my area is very friendly. And even if it were grumpy, I’d happily put up with the grumps while experiencing Heaven on Earth. I don’t go to Mass for smiles and hugs. I can get those at Starbucks.

    • I agree, my SSPX parish has been nothing but welcoming to me when I was a newcomer. But like you its not about smiles and hugs in Church, as long as the liturgy is done well and the preaching is orthodox, that is all that truly matters.
      We have coffee time after mass in the basement, to socialize, encourage and help each other. We celebrate birthdays, baptisms and other events, have bbq’s at each other’s homes etc. Having a common love for the TLM and practicing the faith creates a remarkable bond. Too bad this can’t be experienced around the globe, through the true universality of the TLM and faith…

  5. “Given all this, the problem often becomes far bigger than evangelizing
    our fellow lay Catholics. We are in the awkward position of evangelizing the hierarchy of the Church. The Pearl of Great Price, so essential to the Church’s life, too often remains hidden away in the merchant’s vault”

    Great article. Summary says it all. Lot of articles, words and commentaries have been generated in response to Msgr Popes article. However he overlooked or ignored the main Elephant/Gorilla in the DC Diocese. It’s name is Cardinal Wuerl. If one is naive enough to believe that Cdl Wuerl is a celebrant/ supporter/promoter/ of the EF/TLM then one also believes that there are no lobbyist on K Street.

    In the end it still comes down to the leadership and support of the Bishops in their Diocese. The Council of Trent infallibly defined the TLM as the official rite of Church in perpetuity. Its one of those defined doctrines, like No Salvation Outside the Church, that has not changed, but has been conveniently ignored by the Modernist who captured and have run the Church since V2.

    Given the change of leadership with the Bishop of Rome in March 2013, it has become painfully evident that what constitutes sin, mercy, worship and salvation has become an evolving truth. The same flexibility demonstrated as to doctrines, liturgy and reverence for the real presence, makes evangelizing the hierarchy of the Church difficult at best. One Pope makes a difference. If the same energy, support, teaching and implementation was given to Summorum as has been given to Laudato Si this conversation would not be necessary.

  6. Good, article. I just would like to add that given the general context over the years of clergy either actively suppressing or general indifference to the TLM, the growth is remarkable. I would like to ask Msgr, Pope to conduct a thought experiment, of considering what the growth might look like if the Holy Father, Bishops and others actually encouraged the TLM rather than doing next to nothing or creating road-blocks.
    I think the key insight is simply, given a truly equal playing field, the TLM would outperform the Novus Ordo, but again context is key.
    If Pope Benedict XVI had celebrated the TLM in St Peter’s himself, if he had mandated all Cardinals to say it regularly, and each Cathedral to schedule it everywhere in the world, as well as give priests the right and option to choose to say the TLM exclusively, we might not only see great growth in the number of TLMs but also the true beginnings of a restoration.
    But as this never happened, we are left with dedicated laity trying their best to find sympathetic priests and bishops and navigating the path of expansion within a general Church and world climate of hostility and indifference.
    And finally one last note, that a key to understanding the growth needs to include the independent chapels, SSPX and even the Sedes groups. From my experience, I attended the Novus Ordo until 1987, did a couple years at a “Indult Parish” and then found my home at the SSPX. Why? Because I found the Novus Ordo unbearable, the Indult unviable, and the SSPX had everything a Catholic needs, a fervent Priest, a faithful community and a regular schedule of devotions, masses etc. One shouldn’t discount that many other Catholics end up at the SSPX after passing through the half-way-house of the ‘approved’ TLM centers.

    • Thanks for your kind feedback, Rod. We’re happy to respond to your points:

      I think the key insight is simply, given a truly equal playing field, the TLM would outperform the Novus Ordo, but again context is key.

      That is an interesting question – and one we felt was beyond the scope of this response. I think we are all confident that the Extraordinary Form would fare a good deal better with the vigorous support of the Church. How much better is difficult to say. Of course, it is also worth bearing in mind what Dr. Joseph Shaw (Chairman of the Latin Mass Society in the U.K.) has said on this subject this week, that fruitful participation in the EF requires a different kind of formation than is commonly found today among most of those accustomed to celebration of the Pauline Missal, something to bear in mind as a pastoral reality for the clergy and lay organizers of such Masses and communities.

      …a key to understanding the growth needs to include the independent chapels, SSPX and even the Sedes groups.

      This was also beyond the scope of our study, which was working within the context of the 1984 indult and Summorum Pontificum. It’s not an unfair question. The SSPX lists 116 chapels in the U.S. on its website; but beyond that, we have no means to even estimate an aggregate attendance for them, let alone for independent groups.

    • You are missing Peter and you have an invalid Eucharist because you have excommunicated yourselves, and no matter how you “feel”, you are still in schism and will have to give account some day.

  7. I discovered the EF mass providentially while on business in Chicago through a chance meeting with one of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. I’m a cradle catholic who’s only known the Novus Ordo so I didn’t realize there was another valid mass available. I think my experience is typical for most catholics born after 1969. How can one seek for something one doesn’t know exists? For years, I found myself bothered by the Novus Ordo mass, I found it noisy, I disliked the often causal or tired or sometimes irreverent behavior of the priest either attempting to act “cool” or doing offensive things like telling jokes just before the final blessing! I was especially irked with the mawkish music (the worst being the “teen mass” with the most baneful attempts at making rock music sacred). I longed to hear Gregorian Chant but I especially wanted to receive communion more reverently. I thought I was the problem! I actually discussed this with my pastor at the time who told me I was being critical and never once suggested that the things I longed for were present in the EF mass. Perhaps he was too young to know himself. It was only after attending mass at St. John Cantius that I realized better liturgy existed. I felt such a sense of disorientation. It was as if I was attending the mass of a different religion but it dawned on me that it was simply the catholic mass I had seen in my father’s home movies from the 1940’s, a mesmerizing catholic world I thought ceased to exist post Vatican II. I realized I was witnessing something authentically Catholic at St. John Cantius. All of the internal consternation I’d been experiencing for years at the Novus Ordo mass disappeared. I returned from Chicago deeply changed by the beauty and reverence I experienced and set out to find a traditional mass. I think most Catholics are like me, they don’t even realize another mass exists! Or if they do they think the mass they attend is the same as the EF except in English. I live in Maryland so I’m familiar with all the challenges listed in this article and they’re real, so I very much appreciate this article. I was troubled by Mgsr Pope’s article since I only discovered the EF mass a year ago. How many others are like me? There might be five parishes hosting the EF mass but many locations schedule mass at the same time; 8 am. There is also a very real challenge of having the mass available in crime-ridden neighborhoods. The other issue I’ve encountered is a fear or concern created by the terrible way the SSPX has been treated by Novus Ordo catholic new sources over the years calling them Schismatics and Fundamentalists. I guess some of our greatest saints and everyone attending the EF mass for 1400 years up until 1960 are Schismatics and Fundamentalists too then! Thank you so much for this article and I’ll close by pointing out that it was the evangelizing efforts of that kind Canon all the way in Chicago where I was introduced to the EF mass, not anyone in DC especially my old pastor, so hopefully this article gives Msgr Pope a few things to consider.

    • I feel I must point out to you that there was no such thing as an “extraordinary” Mass prior to Vatican II and certainly no concept that there could be two, distinctly different, Roman Rite Masses.
      The Tridentine Mass, or the Council of Trent/Pope Pius V Mass, was the only Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

      If you would like information on the true, Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the following link explains everything about it, from the priest’s vestments, his movements, the orations (or prayers) of the Mass are given, and much, much more.

      • Thanks lwhite, I will read the article and thanks for the link. As for the use of the term “extraordinary” or EF, I was simply following the convention established in the article. I realize there was only one mass prior to Vatican II and that it went unchanged for 1400 years. I also realize that in theory the Novus Ordo is supposed to be a new form of the old rite but I’m sure no one on this blog would disagree that in practice, the Novus Ordo is as similar to the Tridentine form as chalk is to cheese. I feel I must point out too that no mater what term for the traditional mass is used, there always seems to be someone in the traditional movement ready to pounce with a correction. I realize I’ve only been in the movement for a year but in that time, I’ve been told not to use the term “Tridentine” but instead simply refer to it as the “Roman Rite”, others have taken exception to using the term “Extraordinary Form” as you have. I’ve also had someone split hairs, albeit understandably so, when I accidentally referred to the old mass as simply the Latin mass. I realize that’s probably the most imprecise term but the person with whom I was speaking knew what I meant, He just HAD to correct me. I cant’ express how happy I am to find the traditional mass & movement but I don’t love all the hairsplitting over terms. I’m praying we all will one day just have one mass; the Tridentine mass or whatever term is preferred, the one that made great saints of the world and was passed down through centuries and the one that this website was founded to defend.

        • I do apologize after being reminded of how we do tend to “correct” the use of terms that we individually find repulsive.

          I agree with you wholeheartedly and pray as you do that one day God will take pity on us sinners and bring all Catholics back into the fold of Christ’s True Church with proper and reverent worship of Him again the primary focus of Holy Mass.

  8. An aspect of pastoral inadequacy rarely mentioned is the over reliance on low mass, something completely out of place on sundays. Even a solitary priest with minimal assistance from servers and no incense can sing. And on Sunday he should. Low mass is inaccessible for newbies, and will only drive them away.

    • A Sung Mass certainly does seem to be a more accessible way to first experience the Extraordinary Form/traditional Roman Rite. This is why in our own apostolate, we make an extra effort to make every Mass we are involved with a Sung Mass. It does require more work, a little more sacrifice. But we think it is worth it!

    • I disagree. My first few experiences with the TLM was the Low Mass. For a time I even preferred it because I could hear the priest better. The Sung Mass can be very confusing because the priest and schola have different timelines and so one may be confused as to which one they should follow. I now appreciate the Sung Mass more but both are infinitely more pleasing to God than the Novus Ordo and that’s the point.

    • The Low Mass is beautiful in its own way. I love the High Mass, don’t get me wrong, but the reverential silence of the Low Mass is refreshing. It’s sometimes nice to concentrate on prayer in a quiet setting…perhaps that feeling is due to being raised mostly in the noisy, N.O. Mass, where it seems something always has to be going on to make everyone feel “involved.”

  9. In our diocese, we have lots of interest in Latin Mass, but it keeps getting stonewalled. There are Masses available, but they are either way too early or late to get to, due to distance, particularly with kids. They tell you TLM is available, but they deliberately put them at the worst times in parishes far away from the larger population. S.P. is a joke, they do everything to make it go away.

      • I love their chapel located by me, too. Unfortunately, it’s small, the Masses are twice a month at that location, and twice a month at another chapel about an hour away. The Masses are also at 5pm, as they are still considered “mission” chapels, and therefore do not have a resident priest to serve them full time. I hope it grows, so it will become permanent. Want to get away from N.O. ASAP. Even the best one around here still has extensive use of needless extraordinary ministers, so their is still liturgical abuses going on in even the best N.O.

        • Our chapel started out offering an early evening Sunday Mass too. I want to say that that lasted for about 3 years. I’m sure if the attendance grows and more priests are ordained, it will hopefully shift to a better time. Ours is still considered a mission chapel too. It’s a hardship for everyone involved but it is so worth it. O Lord, grant us priests. O Lord, grant us holy priests, O Lord, grant us many holy priests.

  10. I think the emphasis should be placed on improving the New Ordo because that’s where the sheep are to be found. Christ went looking for the one lost sheep out of 100. Now, the 99 are lost and only one remains. Let’s get our priorities straight. Much of the Traditional Mass conversation sounds more like an argument over form and aesthetics, not over substance. If Jesus came again he would go where he could find the most sinners. And that would be the N.O. Masses. Let’s focus on the biggest market.

    • Michael, *all* Masses are full of sinners. Which Mass gives more glory to God (because *that’s* the major point of the Mass)? It’s the TLM.

      • But of course. But, as I said, most of the sinners are to be found at the N.O. Mass. We must work to improve devotion at the new Mass. At our Cathedral parish the new priests incense the altar, open the Mass from the middle of the altar, use altar boys, say the prayer St. Michael after Mass. This is progress.

        • The Reform of the Reform (i.e. fixing the Novus Ordo Mass) was DOA (dead on arrival). Michael, Detroit has several churches which offer the TLM. You don’t go to one of them?! The Novus Ordo is rife with problems, not the least of which is communion in the hand.

          But, you should go where you feel you’re being fed. We’ll see in 10 years where the Masses are. The TLM may not be growing as fast as some might like but the Novus Ordo parishes are imploding, few marriages, fewer baptisms but lots of funerals.

          • I do not think we are communicating Lynne. I live in Venice, Florida where there is a FSSP parish is located nearby in Sarasota exclusively devoted to the Latin Mass. For me, it is more important to try to make the N.O. Mass more devout that to satisfy my personal inclinations by going to the Latin Mass.

          • I cannot find a charitable response to your statement that you would rather subject yourself to a sacrilegious abomination, considering the alternative-the True Holy Sacrifice of the Mass-as simply a personal inclination.

            Holy Mary, Mother of God. Pray for me a sinner.

          • Yes, very harsh but I still believe to be true.

            I have read many critiques of the NO and truly believe it is a sacrilege and an abomination. One such critique was written by a priest in 1971 which is the most thorough one online I have found and will post the link to it. (It’s 254 pages).

            Volumes have also been written about what led up to the reforms in Vatican II, including many papal encyclicals that condemned them and shines more light on how truly unCatholic the NO is.

          • You are sure into this lwhite. I will continue going to the N.O. Mass and the E.F. when I can. Please pray for me that by doing so I will not go to Hell.

          • Michael, I am into this but only because I do not want to go to Hell and I do not want you or anyone else to go to Hell either.
            Do you recall the Church’s teaching on avoiding occasions of sin? Even looking at an object, reading an article, watching a television program, or a movie can lead us into sin if it disturbs our mind and our passions. How much greater is the sin of sacrilege! A worship service ought to be pleasing to God, not simply a place where we are comfortable. The Church has also always taught (and you know this) that the only pleasing worship of God is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
            This is all I will say on the subject. But I do pray daily that all of the poor deceived people who attend the N.O. will somehow find their way back to the True Sacrifice.

          • Have you read the news:



            I can imagine how excited the Novus Ordo parishioner’s must be to hear that the Church’s practice of idolatry will intensify with the signing of “A joint Catholic-Lutheran “Common Prayer” for celebration for 500 years of Reformation” by the Lutheran World Federation and President Kurt Cardinal Koch of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in which the heretic Lutherans and “Catholic” prelates will celebrate together in a “worship service” the Protestant Revolt against Christ and His True Church.

            For example, the Catholics will pray with the heretics asking that the Lord: “Help us to rejoice in the gifts that have come to the Church through the Reformation…” (The opening of the service prayer’s beginning).

            or this one:

            “Thanks be to you O God for the many guiding theological and spiritual insights that we have all received through the Reformation. Thanks be to you for the good transformations and reforms that were set in motion by the Reformation or by struggling with its challenges. Thanks be to you for the proclamation of the gospel that occurred during the Reformation and since then has strengthened countless people to live lives of faith in Jesus Christ.”

            Or one of the readings in the “Thanksgiving” portion of the service begins thus:

            “Lutherans are thankful in their hearts for what Luther and the other reformers made accesible to them….

            Somehow, I don’t believe that a faithful Catholic ought to be praying with heretics and then praise them for their ancestor’s revolt against Christ and His Church.

    • Tragically, the only improvement possible for the NO is to abolish it.

      Benedict’s “Summorum Pontificum”, was a ploy to appease those who criticized the Novus Ordo or pointed out the “old liturgy” (i.e., the Catholic Holy Sacrifice of the Mass) was never abrogated in Vatican II.

      Consider the following comments by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (sic), in his Address to Roman Symposium on May 17, 2011:

      “Summorum Pontificum is only the beginning of this new liturgical movement…Benedict XVI knows well that in the long term we cannot remain with a coexistence between the ordinary and extraordinary forms in the Roman rite, but that the Church will again need in the future a common rite.”

      Cardinal Koch enumerated three distinct points as integral to Benedict’s agenda:

      1. “Summorum Pontificum” is only the beginning of the Liturgical “Reform of the Reform.”

      2. The Extraordinary Form and the Novus Ordo have been placed in a dialogical and EVOLUTIONARY (my emphasis) relationship in which they must enrich one another mutually.”

      3. This process is to be considered intra-Catholic ecumenism which proposes that the old liturgy is also understood as an ecumenical bridge; and that, if this intra-Catholic ecumenism fails, then the old liturgy will not be able to carry out its ecumenical function of bridge-building.

      So the Extraordinary Mass, so-called, is only recognized as an “ecumenical” tool and if does not “evolve” as the committee designed Novus Ordo did, and if the people don’t consider it to be an “ecumenical bridge” (towards what?), then the “old liturgy” will simply be abandoned.

      Consider the fact that Benedict XVI’s theology is that of heretic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin regarding the liturgy (and other things), when he admitted such in the following quote from his July 24, 2009 homily “Celebration of Vespers with the Faithful of Acosta”
      : “The role of the priesthood is to consecrate the world so that it may become a living host, a liturgy: so that the liturgy may not be something alongside the reality of the world, but that the world itself shall become a living host, a liturgy. This is also the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: in the end we shall achieve a true, COSMIC liturgy, where the COSMOS BECOMES A LIVING HOST.” (Emphasis is mine.).

      If one is aware of the heretical theology of Teilhard, one ought to be horrified by this statement by Benedict and put into perspective the words of Cardinal Koch and relate them to the very subject of this article.

      • There is much to be horrified about in the Church today, the least of which is the N.O. Mass. I have no problem with what you say but I think our focus should be to help as many folks as possible get to heaven and most of these folks attend the N.O. Mass. We must deal with reality.

        • “The least of which is the N. O.Mass”?

          The liturgy, or the Mass, is the place where the laity are taught the faith, or where it is corrupted. It is generally the only time the majority of the laity spend time learning about the faith, outside of Confirmation. The liturgy is the most important function of the Church! The N.O. is, therefore, the most important “horror” coming out of Vatican II.

      • I think it must be pointed out that Cardinal Koch does not have the authority to interpret Summorum Pontificum, let alone to carry out any such hypothetical alterations to the 1962 books – books which remain unaltered eight and a half years later, save for the sole exception of Benedict XVI’s modification of the Good Friday Prayer for the Jews.

        Whatever Benedict XVI might have said in other settings, he did the important things – against heavy opposition of his own bishops – that supporters of the traditional Roman Rite had been asking for and insisting on for decades: 1) to officially confirm that the traditional Roman Rite had never been aborgated, and 2) to affirm that all Latin Rite priests had the freedom to celebrate the sacraments according to those books.

        The next steps in the restoration of tradition will have to wait for another pontificate, and, presumably, more propitious circumstances.

        • I appreciate your response.

          But without writing volumes, I cannot express to you fully why I believe the two mentioned “important” things he did were simply a sly deceiving maneuver to calm down those who objected to the NO or wanted to celebrate the “old Mass”. He knew perfectly well that his appointed bishops (and those appointed by his predecessors Paul VI and JPII-progressive Modernists for the most part as he himself was) would never agree to nor provide the necessary means and methods for priests to celebrate the Latin Rite Mass, because as recorded in my previous post, his true intent was to destroy the true Holy Sacrifice of the Mass altogether and codify the blasphemous and sacrilegious Novus Ordo as the only Roman Rite Mass, in the name of “evolutionary liturgy”, the hallmark of heretic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Gnostic/Pantheistic theology that Ratzinger/Benedict adopted wholeheartedly.

          • I’ve read enough of Ratzinger’s writings to know that there are some troubling theologies at work, especially in his earlier years. His role on the liberal faction at the Council is well documented. He was and is not a traditionalist – just a more conservative liberal with some traditional tastes and sympathies.

            I will have to part company on the allegation that he was engaged in “sly deceiving maneuver[s]”, let alone that his intent was to “destroy the true Holy Sacrifice of the Mass altogether.” I just don’t think that is a fair characterization of him.

            But the real disagreement I think we have here is that you reject the Pauline Missal as “blasphemous and sacrilegious” – and presumably invalid – and seem to reject the entire post-conciliar Magisterium as utterly illegitimate. I part company with such a sedevacantist thesis, because it logically refutes the premise of the Church’s self-understanding, i.e., that the gates of hell will never prevail against it; and it is without precedent in Church history. I think the Council and the New Mass were bad ideas, highly destructive to the Church’s life and mission, and the post-conciliar popes a problematic lot, but that is not the same as rejecting it all lock, stock and barrel as illegitimate.

          • Once again, I appreciate your comments and your views.
            Obviously, we disagree and that is problematic in that the divisions among Catholics is a great success for Satan-in my opinion. Greater than the French or Protestant revolutions that led millions out of the true faith and true Church because this time, it is those within the Church leading the revolution with no intent to leave but to finish the destruction of the faith of those who, only through God’s grace, still believe.
            Yet, I have often wondered how it would be possible for the rise of the Antichrist if a billion or more people throughout the world were believing, living, Catholics. The Catholic Church has been the only bulwark against the principalities and powers and rulers of darkness in the world, but with the Conciliar Church’s capitulation to the world, rejecting the very mission in which Christ instituted Her, the time may be very soon.
            I cannot argue the sedevacantist position with you because I don’t have the skill to make a good argument and you have probably heard it by others more knowledgeable than I.

    • I encourage you to read about the development of the New Mass. It was developed with the help of 6 Protestant ministers. And the author Bugnini said his goal was to make the mass so that any faith would find it acceptable. The Mass does not conform to man. Man must conform to the Majesty of Christ. Please do not think I am trying to be troublesome. The sad reality is most Catholics have no idea that the Mass was stolen from them and completely protestinized. Did you know that Luther wanted the priest to face the people and have the homily to be the main focus of the Mass. Well, that is exactly what has happened in Novus Ordo. There is no focus on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It has become the “sacred meal” that was promoted originally by Martin Luther. The focus is now on the priest and not the Body and Blood of Christ. I encourage you to research the history of how the Novus Ordo was developed. It is not just a matter of aesthetics. There are fundamentally different prayers. The confetitor does not mention Mary or St. Michael (who is the most powerful angel and brings protection to the Church). The last Gospel has been omitted (and until I came to Tradition, I didn’t even know what the Last Gospel meant). It took me two years to study, research and find the Truth. Pray to God that Our Lady and Our Lord gives Catholics the grace to see and know the Truth.

      • Yes, yes. I know. I know. I am 81 years old and my wife and I have been through all the Vatican II wars in Detroit trying to raise our 11 kids as Catholics. Detroit was the epicenter of all things bad about Vatican II and had a significant leadership role in making the Church what it is today. We just need to help other do the best they can with what they have. Not ideal, just practical.

        • The Lord say love Him with all your heart, all your strength — not “just the best you have.” Please, if you know the Truth, why would you settle for Novus Ordo? At the very least instruct your children in the Truths of Fatima and pray the Rosary every day. It is a special grace to pass onto your children…no matter what your age.

  11. Such Masses are often not integrated into any larger parish life through its devotional activities, social life, or corporal works, making it very difficult to build a sense of community – something Catholics crave and have come to expect.

    You are exactly correct here. Speaking from my experience, the priest or the pastor never cultivated a sense of community. While we were blessed to have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, there was never a sense of the priest pulling everyone together. I am not judging, I am just confused as to why there was no sense of community. People came from all different locations and no one truly knew each other. And the crisis in the Church was never, ever, addressed.

    Thank God for SSPX. There is the Mass, the community and the Church.

    • The SSPX exists only by the will of the pope. Their future is not certain considering the fact the Vatican is working on its “liturgical reform movement”.

      Read the words of Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity: “in the long term we cannot remain with a coexistence between the ordinary and extraordinary forms in the Roman Rite, but that the Church will again need in the future a common rite.”

      Do you think the Vatican would ever consider abolishing the Novus Ordo? It seems unlikely since it is the preferred rite by the majority of bishops and laity. And the effort, time, and money spent in “revising” it in how many different languages and how many times would be a blow to the egos of the Modernists who created it. Beyond that, its liturgy is the indoctrination of Modernism into the minds of the faithful. How could the Catholic laity be re-indoctrinated in the true faith without creating chaos?

      • IT matters not what man prefers, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass gives honor, adoration and reverence to God. There is no such thing as an extraordinary or ordinary form. There is only one form: it is the Mass of all Ages. Considering it was the Mass of St. Theresa of Liseueax, St. John Vianney, St. John Bosco, and all the countless other saints, I will trust this is what is right and proper. It is the Mass that gives proper and due adoration to Our Lord Jesus Christ. As far pope Francis is concerned, this man is hostile to Catholicism and quite honestly, the Mass of All Ages will exist with or without him or what he says. He says atheists can go to heaven, and that Jewish people do not need to seek Jesus Christ for salvation. It is quite opposite of what Our Lord taught. Note well: if man does not love Truth and the Truth of the Gospel, God will send them a delusion so they believe what is false. St. Paul who saw Heaven and Our Lord Jesus Christ says this: 2 Thess “because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false.”

        • Carolyn, I totally agree with you. I know there is only one valid and true Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. But those who lead the Church, who have the power, the means, and the will, can forbid any priest from saying their phony “extraordinary” Mass at any time.

          Do you think the SSPX leadership would defy a direct order from the pope if he decided to ban the “extraordinary” Mass? They would then be forced to deny that obedience to a valid pope is necessary and then go underground. Do you understand what I am saying?

          • Faith comes before Obedience. If the Pope said they could not say the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the SSPX would continue to say the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. One is not obligated to obey an order that is offensive to God or goes against the Faith. If the Pope said to pray with Muslims, the SSPX would not do that because that would be worshipping other gods. If the Pope said you must pray with Lutherans and Commemorate the Protestant Reformation in 2017, a Catholic simply would not obey that order because it is sin against the Faith and an attack on every martyr that died in defense of the faith and against Protestantism. The SSPX is protected because Jesus Christ said the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. The SSPX has been spreading throughout the world since 1970. Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail. The SSPX was given permission to establish an order and the priesthood and seminaries are growing. We are soon getting a new Church where I live. Meanwhile, the diocese is closing down Churches. Jesus said by their fruits, you will know them. The V2 Church has been closing Churches and schools at a record pace. This is not a sign of success. It is a sign of a dying institution. The institutional church is dying but NOT the Mystical Body of Christ, which many V2 members belong. Many members of the organizational church do not know that Churchmen and church women have robbed the faithful of devotions, Novenas, the First Fridays, the First Saturdays, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Rosary…essentially the essence of Catholicism. Not all are bad, but the ones that know and do nothing are just as bad because they are permitting it to happen and they do not stand up for the Lord and His Church.

          • We have to fear something other than direct orders from this pope. We have to fear the continuation of what happens now: killing the Faith softly by slowly and inexorably teaching error as truth. This is what will change the Church as we know it. So let’s not focus on what the SSPX or the FSSP will do if ordered to do something heretical – it will be quiet, soft, and deadly – it is happening right before our eyes already.

          • There is nothing to fear. The love of God casts out all fear. Follow the Truths of the Faith, find an SSPX chapel to receive the Sacraments and any fear one may have will vanish immediately! Thank God for Archbishop Levefbre and the Society of St. Pius X.

          • “Faith and obedience.” How do you know what to believe? Doesn’t the Church teach that Christ gave St. Peter and the Apostles and their successor’s the authority to teach all that He had taught them and that He would send the Holy Ghost after Him, who is All Truth, so that “the gates of Hell would not prevail” against His Church? Isn’t it through the teachings of the pope and the magesterium that we know what we are to believe?

            My point is this: If a true pope promulgates a Ecumenical Council and the pope approves the teachings of this council, as Pius VI did, the authority of the pope and the Magisterium requires, as a matter of faith and obedience, all Catholics to believe as true what those council teachings are.

            So isn’t the primary question this: Can a true pope and Magesterium teach error and heresy and demand the Catholic’s obedience to them? The SSPX must answer yes to the first part and yet deny the authority of the pope and Magesterium which the Church has always taught are central to the faith of the Catholic and if one denies it, has excommunicated himself from the Church.

            This begs an answer to the questions “can a formal heretic or apostate, i.e., a non-Catholic head the Catholic Church?”, and “if a formal heretic or apostate, i.e., a non-Catholic can head the Catholic Church, how are the faithful to know what to believe?”

          • Can Churchmen elect an apostate? Yes, of course, failed Churchmen can elect an apostate. Men who do not rest in the Holy Spirit can elect someone who goes against the very fundamentals of the faith. Then, in the words of the Great Fr. Malachi Martin, “then you no longer have Peter.” And Fr. Malachi said, in that day, be prepared, because your faith will be tested like never before. One must remember it was Jesus’ own apostle who betrayed Him. And we know that the Church will pass through Calvary just as Jesus did. Every day we see Bishops and priests preaching a different Gospel.

          • So then one never knows whether or not a pope is an apostate. And since we are to be obedient to the pope-apostate or not in your view-we are causing scandal whenever we make any kind of public criticism of what he preaches or teaches.


      • The SSPX’s future is certain. Here’s why: Jesus Christ says the Gate of Hell will not prevail against the Chuch. The SSPX is the Church.


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