Above: Mass for the St Catherine Trust Summer School in the Shrine of St Augustine of Canterbury, Ramsgate, England. Photo credit: Joseph Shaw.
Credible reports have now surfaced of a new document coming from Rome against the Roman rite.
"It is scheduled for release sometime in April or May…" — Trad priest to @RobertMoynihan on a follow-up to Traditionis Custodes
Paul VI issued Missale Romanum on April 3 (1969). Perhaps the new document will drop on that date (Monday of Holy Week 2023). https://t.co/HnpedQ2QR9
— Matt Gaspers (@MattGaspers) January 19, 2023
After one year of Traditionis Custodes last July, we saw that it was indeed “night and day” compared to the reaction of the bishops to Paul VI in 1969: the vast majority of bishops refused to enforce the ban on the TLM.
Now in 2023 with Papa Ratzinger dead and gone, even with more reports of dioceses cracking down, the status quo of Benedict remains unchecked.
Does His Holiness truly believe that more Dictator Pope actions will enforce this arbitrary will? Notwithstanding attempts to justify this unlawful ban on the Roman rite, the reasoning behind the ban has been shown to be unjustified, weak, misinformed, and tyrannical (see Fr Rivoire’s devastating canonical critique). But because many bishops see themselves as “vicars of the Roman pontiff” (contrary to Lumen Gentium, 27), many bishops will be obeying whatever new order comes down from the Vatican. So we need to prepare ourselves.
Let’s prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.
Let’s talk spiritual first.
1. Establish your heart in the cross of suffering. It is written by the Prophet:
The just shall be in everlasting remembrance: he shall not fear the evil hearing. His heart is ready to hope in the Lord: his heart is established, he shall not be moved until he look over his enemies (Ps. cxi. 7-8).
Incline my heart into thy testimonies… It is good for me that thou hast humbled me, that I may learn thy justifications… Unless thy law had been my meditation, I had then perhaps perished in my abjection (Ps. cxviii. 36, 71, 92).
We must settle it in our hearts right now to suffer all things and embrace the cross of Jesus Christ. Unless we suffer with Him, we will never reign with Him. Let us establish our hearts in suffering and prepare for desolation. This is the spiritual heart of every Christian as the Blessed Apostle says, Always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies (II Cor. iv. 10).
If we do not embrace sufferings deep in our hearts, we will never endure the sorrows of this life, nor the sorrows of this Church corruption.
2. We do not deserve the Latin Mass. Another spiritual consideration comes from the fact that we are unworthy of the venerable Roman rite. If we have it, it is an inestimable grace. Yet we did not merit this grace. It came to us from God Almighty. He did not give us this grace because we deserved it. Therefore if it is taken away, say with Job: The Lord Gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Or with the good thief: “I am receiving what I deserve for my sins. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.”
Remember our forefathers in Japan, Ireland, England, deprived for centuries of the Latin Mass. Deprived even of Sacraments and priests. Let us endure even as they, knowing that what we suffer in reparation for our sins and in penance for our enemies is for the greater glory of God and for the salvation of our souls (and theirs).
A Latin Mass which is perfect liturgically, with all the “smells and bells,” if it is offered with a prideful heart, is a stench in the nostrils of the Lord (Is. i).
3. God deserves the Latin Mass. At the same time, we know that Almighty God is glorified more fittingly in the venerable Roman rite. So without contradiction, we must at the same time strive to establish the Latin Mass wherever possible, for His glory, and re-establish it if it is taken away.
We also think of our children, for whom we embrace every sacrifice to pass down the precious gift of Faith and the venerable Roman rite to them. We will fight for them too, for the salvation of their souls, so that they can have the greatest means of salvation.
4. Worry and anxiety come from the devil. We have been presented with a good spiritual opportunity here. If there is a Latin Mass restriction really coming, God has given us the holy fast of Lent to prepare for crucifixion with Christ. If your heart is disturbed by anxiety and worry, remember that these things come from the devil. Septuagesima comes in two weeks. Then Lent. Prepare yourselves for death with Christ.
If any man come after me and does not take up his cross, he cannot be my disciple.
If and only if your spiritual life is on track and you are not consumed with worry and doubt, then move to these practical considerations.
5. Form your conscience with True Obedience. Pick up a copy of this and read it with your priest (he can get a free copy here). Here’s some excerpts:
Today, a true appeal to conscience can and should be made by Catholics who see vital goods being violently taken from them or evils being pressed on them. This is not to be “progressive”; it is to be human and Christian. It is to be rightly traditional, knowing and witnessing to the perennial value of what has been loved and venerated before us and was always handed down with unwavering fidelity (51).
This is critical for us to understand by means of the Catholic doctrine of conscience.
We are not the revolutionaries or the disobedient. Let us be absolutely clear about this: to attack the traditional Latin Mass (or any of the traditional liturgical rites) is to attack the Providence of God the Father; to reject the work of Christ, the King and Lord of history; to blaspheme the fruitfulness of the Holy Ghost in the Church’s life of prayer. It is contrary to the practice of every age of the Church, of every saint, council, and pope prior to the twentieth century. It contradicts several key virtues of the Christian life, most notably religion, gratitude, and humility. It implies the rejection of the dogmatic confession of faith contained in the traditional Latin lex orandi in its organic unfolding over at least 1,600 years, which is contrary to the theological virtue of faith; it implies the rejection of the communion of the saints in a common lineage and patrimony of ecclesiastical worship, which is contrary to the theological virtue of charity. In all these ways and more, the postconciliar liturgical reform, its subsequent ruthless implementation, and Pope Francis’s renewed efforts to extinguish the preceding tradition are unreasonable, unjust, and unholy, and therefore cannot be accepted as legitimate or embraced as the will of God. As St. Thomas Aquinas famously says: unjust laws “are acts of violence rather than laws . . . Wherefore they do not bind in conscience.” A repudiation of our Catholic liturgical patrimony is tantamount to disobedience to God; and we will be obedient to God through our “disobedience” to the revolutionaries (52).
This Lent, offer to God unceasing prayer to form your conscience about true obedience. God is faithful. He will not disdain a humble heart who entreats Him for wisdom. He will guide you into the proper discernment of conscience to make the right choice.
6. Start constructing your private altar. Through many decades the Latin Mass survived in basements on home altars because our forefathers in the Trad movement understood true obedience. They were vindicated by Pope Benedict. If we must return underground, God be praised. Let us offer unto Him a true and perfect sacrifice, even if it’s in the basement. See the treatment of this topic at New Liturgical Movement (here, here, and here).
7. Follow the practical steps from Kwasniewski. In a recent article Dr. Kwasniewski went through a number of other practical steps which apply here. There’s a great deal of practical wisdom that can be successfully exploited in your diocese.
8. Contact the SSPX. If you have no priests willing to offer true obedience on this matter, then it is time to contact the SSPX, which may be the only way to have the Latin Mass in your diocese in times to come. Always maintain a faithfulness to your bishop as much as you can, and pray for the day when your bishop will bring the Latin Mass back “mainstream.”
Prepare for suffering, and give thanks to God.
T. S. Flanders
Timothy Flanders is the editor of OnePeterFive. He is the author of City of God versus City of Man: The Battles of the Church from Antiquity to the Present and Introduction to the Holy Bible for Traditional Catholics. His writings have appeared at OnePeterFive and Crisis, as well as in Catholic Family News. In 2019 he founded The Meaning of Catholic, a lay apostolate dedicated to uniting Catholics against the enemies of Holy Church. He holds a degree in classical languages from Grand Valley State University and has done graduate work with the Catholic University of Ukraine. He lives in Michigan with his wife and five children.