Tag Archives: liturgy

Interview 043 — Taylor Marshall on Bellarmine and can a Pope become a heretic

On 31 January I appeared on Taylor Marshall’s show to speak on the much vexed question of St. Robert Bellarmine’s teaching in On the Roman Pontiff, book 2, ch. 30, as well as teaching from other works of St. Robert that make his teaching on this point rather clear. I read through the entire chapter, explaining the various points according to St. Robert’s ecclesiology, adding what he says in other works. Join us for a fantastic discussion on the topic:

Relevant citations:

On the Roman Pontiff, book 2, ch. 30; book 4, ch. 1-5; 22
On Councils, book 1 ch. 9; ch. 21.

Also, see the latest translation of Bellarmine’s works, On the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:

Interview 038 — Fr. Ripperger on the abuse crisis and the theology of the priesthood

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Image result for Wuerl clericalism memeToday we are rejoined by Fr. Chad Ripperger, PhD, to talk about the abuse crisis in the Church in light of the revelations concerning former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the mass cover-ups carried out by bishops in Pennsylvania as revealed by the PA Grand Jury report, and the allegations against the Pope made by Archbishop Viganó. Instead of rehashing what has made the rounds on news, blogs and op-ed pieces, Fr. Ripperger discusses past Church legislation governing seminarians and clergy, and how the Vatican directed seminaries to deal with the problem of corrupt seminarians before Vatican II. He addresses the problem of homosexuality and the wider problem of a failure to keep chastity among seminarians, priests and bishops. Lastly, Father deals with the argument that everything is to blame on “clericalism” and shows that this is a veiled attack on the Catholic priesthood, and what the theology of the priesthood actually is. Not to be missed.

More resources for Fr. Ripperger
Sensus Traditionis
Sensus Traditionis Press
Society of the Most Sorrowful Mother

Episode Notes

Deliverance Prayers (With an imprimatur from the Archdiocese of Denver)

Our Lady of Sorrows
Diocese admits McCarrick violated minors
PA Grand Jury report shows Bishops covered-up
Archbishop Viganó alleges Pope knew about McCarrick
Illud Horrendum Scelus of Pius V
Religiosorum Institutio
1917 Canon Law, Canon 2359, §2: “If clergy should engage in a delictum against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue with a minor below the age of sixteen, or take part in adultery, debauchery, bestiality, sodomy, pandering, incest with relatives or affines (kin) in the first degree, they are suspended, declared infamous, and are deprived of any office, benefice, dignity, responsibility, if they have such, whatever, and in more serious cases, they are to be deposed.”
Sacramentum Pœnitentiæ (Latin followed by English)
Rudy Kos

More episode notes will be compiled soon. I have to listen to it all again to make sure we link and source everything correctly.

The god of surprises vs. the Tradition on Feet Washing

Just today, the Congregation of Divine Worship, at the command of Pope Francis, has decreed that women must be included in the Mandatum, that is the washing of the feet for Holy Thursday, effective this year. Thus, the god of surprises has come to visit us just in time for Septuagesima and the beginning of Lent.

There are lot’s of things to say, but the most important thing is to treat it dispassionately and in union with the Tradition. Pope Francis has said that those who resist change are closed to the working of the spirit, who cling to the way things have always been done are closed to the message of the Gospel. In spite of the twisting of the sense of Scripture in that particular discussion (my basis for which is the original Italian of Francis’ words, not some media report), let’s give him that for the moment. He posits a dichotomy of those who only want to do things the way things were, vs. those who want to apply new things. Thus we don’t receive a teaching and a praxis conditioned by the tradition of signs and symbols that lead us to Christ, to the teaching of the Gospel and the very person of Christ, but rather to the whims of this or that age. What is new and hip and inclusive in our age will be outmoded in the next age.

Moreover, the opposition is not comprised of those who say we must do everything as it has always been done, but that there is a reason why things have been done this way. Thus, the onus is on the Pope to explain why something in the traditional signs and symbols is somehow insufficient to express the reality of the Gospel. The problem is, he prescinds from this, and simply characterizes the opposition as a stick in the mud. It is one thing if he were to show how the traditional signs and symbols were insufficient for some reason, this is possible and the Church is in fact always in need of renewal. But can he show the use of men alone is somehow opposed to the expression of the Gospel?

The practice of washing the feet of men is supposed to express the relationship of Christ with his Apostles, not merely with the Christian community. Still, for all that, there is ample testimony of the Fathers that could be applied also to the community of the faithful, including examples where women’s feet were washed by the Bishop, just not during the Maundy Thursday liturgy. But then again, that might be too much the way things have always been done. The teaching of the Fathers on the question is well summarized by Cornelius á Lapide, in his commentary on the relevant passage of the Gospel (John XIII:6-10), which will suffice for our purposes here: [NB: My translation. There is a very good translation of this available from Loretto, but I do not have it at hand]

“St. Bernard understands in this place as if it were a  sacrament, a symbol, a type, a figure, a mystical meaning as he explains a little after, on which we will say more soon.
Symbolicly, Origen and St. Jerome [epist. ad Damasus, de prima visione Isaiae] reckon that Christ washed the feet of the Apostles in order that he might prepare them to preach the Gospel, according to what is said: ‘How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, and that preaches peace: of him that shows forth good!’ [Isaiah LII:7; Rom. X:15].
Secondly, S. Ambrose, [de iis qui initiantur mysteriis, cap. vi] reckons that Christ in baptism washes away actual sins by washing the head, but here by washing the feet, he washed the remnant of original sin, that is, the motion of concupiscence, for in this washing of the feet, it is effected to have fortified them so that they would resist concupiscence.
Thirdly, St. Augustine and St. Bernard [de Cœna Domini] say: “By such feet we tread over the earth, the love of the earth is signified, filth and defects, which, while on earth, that is while we live among earthly affairs, just as the dust or mud on our feet it behooves us to wash by tears and penance, especially before holy communion.
Fourthly, St. Cyprian [de Cœna Domini] and St. Gregory [lib. ix epist. 39]: “Of the feet, which are the lowest and last part of man, the washing means not only that we must scrutinize our exterior works, but that we must descend even to the lowest and most intimate hidden corners of our conscience, and purge them from every secret stain and wicked intention through contrition, tears and groans.
From this washing of the feet by Christ, the custom of Milan, and several other churches, sprung up that the Bishop would wash those who were going to be baptized, and thereafter the priests and clerics in the font, who stood straight for this purpose outside the Church; thereafter the Bishop kissed the feet of those he washed, and they placed the outer part of the foot over the head of the bishop. St. Ambrose relates and defends this custom [lib. III de Sacram. cap. 1] and says that it was begun by St. Peter and Christ, wherefore he marvels that it is not kept in the Roman Church. Moreover, the Council of Toledo [XVII, cap. iii] ratifies that the Bishops and priests should wash the feet of the faithful at the Lord’s supper after the example of Christ, and commands the use which had ceased for a while to be recalled.
St. Ambrose relates the mystical nature of this washing [lib. De initiandis, cap. VI] saying: “Peter was clean, but ought to wash the sole [of the foot] : for he had the sin of the first man by succession, when the serpent supplanted it and persuaded error; therefore his sole is washed so that hereditary sins would be abolished.” He alludes to those words of God to the serpent concerning man: “Thou shall lie in wait for his heal,” [Genes. III:15]. The same Ambrose [lib. III de Sacram., cap. 1] says: “Because Adam was supplanted by the devil, and the poison flowing into him and over his feet, therefore you wash the feet so that in that part, in which the serpent lies in wait, shall come upon a greater sanctification, in which afterward he cannot supplant you. Therefore you wash the feet, so that you wash the poison of the serpent. Moreover, it will effect humility, so that you will not blush in the mystery, that we will not disdain obedience.”
Another reason was more literal, because formerly those to be baptized approached with naked feet, that they would conduct themselves with humility. For that reason, this nakedness of the feet is called humility by St. Augustine [lib. de Symbolo ad Catech., cap. 1]; because they will wash the filth that has been contracted on the feet. This custom began to spread from the Church of Milan to others, as is clear from St. Augustine.”

Now, we could go on at length with many more testimonies to the same thing. What we can see is that the objections of some, that the priest will kiss a woman’s foot at the mandatum, was not a problem for St. Ambrose and the fathers of other churches where this custom spread to. Then again, the culture was not as over-sexualized as it is today where you have foot fetishes and other things of immoderate men. I don’t know if such a thought would occur to most priests, but it may to some laity. So if Francis wanted to overturn the custom prevailing in all Churches of only washing men’s feet, he could appeal to this example in the Fathers, that such washings were done from the Lord’s example for the community (men and women) who were to be baptized, and then he might have some ground to stand on in terms of uniting this symbol at the liturgy with the example of antiquity. But then his notion of mercy, trumpeted so much at the last synod in regard to public adulterers, could be exposed to attack by the same example. Again from á Lapide, on John XIII:10:

“Mark, here Christ alludes to those who wash themselves in a bath, who go out from it with their whole body being cleansed, but because they tread upon the earth with their naked feet, therefore they might say the feet, for that reason alone are washed afterward. Mark secondly, Christ speaks anagogically [that is, in regard to man’s final state] that by his custom they rise from corporal washing to a spiritual one, in other words, one who is washed is done so spiritually through baptism, in which I have washed you, O Apostles, or one who is washed through contrition and penance, here is wholly clean in soul, but still needs that he wash only his feet, that is the affects of the soul, again by reason of earthly things, in which they live, are stained by contagion and contract light filth that they must often purge through contrition, castigation of the body and like virtues (of which this my washing is a symbol), and especially before the Sacred Liturgy and reception of the Eucharist. Thus St. Augustine, Bede, and especially St. Bernard [serm. In Cœna Domini] say: “He who is washed, needs nothing but that he should wash the feet. He is washed, who does not have grave sins, whose head, that is intention, and hand, that is the operation and good life, is clean; but the feet, which are the affections of the soul, while we step in this dust, from the whole cannot be of the world, which at some time tread in vanity, lust or curiosity, it rather more behooves the soul that it should fall even now. For we all offend in many things. But no man scorns or slights. For it is impossible to be saved by those, it is impossible that I have washed except through Christ Jesus, and by Christ.”

Whereas, directly contradicting what Christ said, that he who divorces his wife and marries another (Matt. XIX) commits adultery, can that be said to be a light matter? Not a grave sin?

Nevertheless, picking up in the next paragraph with Lapide, we see the relationship of Christ with the Apostles:

“Therefore, Christ, in this washing of the feet of Peter and the Apostles cleanses sins, especially venial ones, because through that and only through His forgiveness does he goad their minds, and admonished them by making internal washing through contrition in their souls, through which venial sins are expiated.
For this reason, priests in the OT washed their feet and hands before the sacrifice, as I have already said. Likewise, many heathen did the same thing, as Brissonius recalls [lib. I De Formulis Roman., pag. 4]. Formerly the Jews did the same thing, as is clear from Mark VII:4, and they still do the same thing today.
Next, St. Augustine [epist. 108 ad Seleucianum] from “qui lotus est“, probably gathers that Peter and the Apostles were baptized before the Eucharist, then because no man has the capacity for the Eucharist unless he has been baptized, for after His death he baptized no man, it is certain that they were all either immediately or mediately baptized by Christ. Then, the “washing” would probably have been the washing done in baptism.”

Thus, the relationship expressed in the washing of the feet of the Apostles by Christ, is not just of a hierarchical relationship, though that is properly one aspect, but one of the intimate communion that his Apostles, as priests conformed to Christ’s very person, share with him in spite of their human nature. They are washed as preparation for becoming priests of the new and eternal covenant, of which baptism is necessary, that is being put to death to the world, and born anew in Christ Jesus. The mandatum, as preserved and passed down in the sacred liturgy of Maundy Thursday, is intended to preserve this identification of Bishops and Priests as other Christs, being cleansed from sin and made unto him, whereas the early Church (as seen in St. Ambrose, St. Augustine and the Bishops of other Churches, as Lapide mentions) also sought to incorporate the symbol of the Bishop conformed to Christ, the suffering servant who is nonetheless God, in the rite of baptism.

As a side note, Catholics should take note that the practice of blessing themselves with Holy Water when they come into Church derives from this ancient practice, which is why the modern practice in many modern churches of removing the holy water during Lent an replacing it with sand is all the more inexplicable.

Now, as I noted, Pope Francis could overturn this particular tradition in the mandatum under the desire to emulate the Baptism of the faithful, but if that were the case he should give very clear reasons as to why the old symbol were inefficient to this, or why the expression of the priesthood as perfectly conformed to Christ as servants no longer satisfies and should be expressive of who we are today. In fact, the very purpose of liturgical symbols is to remind men of changing fashions what the symbols represent and call them back to the gospel—both clergy and laity—not to correspond to changing fashions. What Pope Francis has done, is to destroy a symbol without any particular reasoning or purpose apart from what seems inclusive for today. And therein lies the very problem. A protestant friend of mine very aptly encapsulated the faulty reasoning of this initiative in the following satire:

“I hereby propose that a reasonably accurate modern equivalent of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet would be Jesus doing their dishes. Harder to fit into the Maundy Thursday service, though.”

Could it be that Pope Francis is the one doing things the way they have always been done—since 1965?

Interview 016 – dom Noah Moerbeek on the Poor Knights of Christ

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Noah_mToday we are joined by dom Noah Moerbeek, CPMO of the Milita Templi or Poor Knights of Christ. Noah talks about his order, what it is and what it is not as well as its spirituality. Moreover, Noah, has been a benefactor of this website, as well as the one who commissioned my translation of the Life of St. Galgano, which is now the only account in English of this saint who is one of the patrons of the Poor Knights of Christ. Continue reading

Interview 015 – Fr. Michael Driscoll on Exorcism and the Traditional Latin Mass

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fr_driscollToday we are joined by Fr. Michael Driscoll, a priest of the diocese of Peoria IL, for a frank conversation about the TLM vs. the NO, issues in the liturgy following Vatican II, as well as issues relating to exorcism and his book Demons, Deliverance Discernment: Separating Fact from Fiction about the Spirit World. Continue reading

End of the Reform of the Reform

CaravaggioEcceHomoThe family split in the Matt family, which formed the two different conservative newspapers, the Wanderer and the Remnant respectively, is perhaps a microcosm of conservative movements in the Church here in the United States (in Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere, it is similar but different in many respects, e.g. European traditionalists I have known find the American Traditionalist obsession with women wearing skirts and veils puzzling. Thus not all issues are the same. So what I am going to say here is only intended with reference to the situation in this country).

Continue reading

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross


The Exaltation of the Holy Cross, by Antioniazzo Romano, Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme

Rewritten from a post by the same title on the Old Athanasius Contra Mundum, 14 September 2009.

Today is the feast of the exaltation of the Holy Cross, which is a distinct feast from the finding of the true Cross by St. Helena, which is commemorated in March. This feast, commemorates the victory of the Eastern Roman Empire over the Persians in the 7th century, and the recovery and return of the cross to Jerusalem. In most Traditional Missals there will be a short description of the event, that Heraclius, the Roman Emperor in Constantinople, could not enter the city with the cross because of some spiritual force which stopped him. When he asked the bishop, he was told that it was because he was dressed in kingly robes. To enter, he had to dress in rags, so as to not carry the cross into Jerusalem in a manner above our Lord who carried it in rags. After that he was able to carry the cross in.

However there is much more to this story, and the background history deserves to be told. In the year 570, the Roman Emperor in Constantinople, Maurice, supported Khusru, or Khusroes II (sometimes written Chosroes in western history books) to the throne in Persia, and gave Roman aid to his cause. (Roman here refers to what scholars call the “Byzantine empire”, but I use Roman generally speaking since it was the accepted term by which the Byzantines called themselves as well as what their enemies called them). Khusroes showed his gratitude by ending the war with Constantinople, and ceded to the Eastern Empire half of Armenia, which had long been disputed. After hundreds of years there was peace between Rome and Persia.

Then something else happened. In the year 602, The emperor Maurice was overthrown, and replaced by Phocas, a centurion who was selected by the troops present. He was little more than a monster, who murdered all of Maurice’s family save a few, was a rapist and a completely inept leader. He was entirely ineffectual against incursions by Avars, Slavs and assorted steppe peoples, emptied the treasury and brought the Eastern Empire to near destruction. He was unable to restore order when Monophysite mobs rose all over Syria and Egypt and killed orthodox bishops, replacing them with heretics.

Theodosius, a surviving member of Maurice’s family, escaped to Persia to Maurice’s friend and ally, Khusroes. What landed in his lap was a sequence of events few leaders could hope for. Politically, he could march on the Eastern Empire as Theodosius’ champion, much as Maurice had done for him. He could also use it to take control of a good chunk of territory, if not destroy the Roman Empire for good and reestablish ancient Persia, and on top of that Phocas was a murderer and a barbarous tyrant which appeared to give him the moral right. Best of all he had a pretender he could place on the throne loyal to him.

Though slow to get started, under Khusroes the Persians invaded the Levant and took every city from Antioch to Alexandria, including Jerusalem in 608. They took the true Cross from the basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, and brought it back with them to Persia, and were prepared to march on Constantinople. It appeared as if the Eastern Empire was to be destroyed. However, there was Africa, where St. Augustine lived and preached and which Justinian’s able general, Belisarius, had recovered a century earlier. Its general, Heraclius was a pious man, fully orthodox, and in 610 he set sail for Constantinople with an army, and an icon of Our Lady on the masthead of his flag ship. The coup was almost instant, everyone wanted Phocas gone, and he was killed by a mob.

The reverse of a coin commemorating the Emperor Heraclius

The reverse of a coin commemorating the Emperor Heraclius

Heraclius was crowned in the Church of St. Stephen and could now set on the task of saving the Empire. Phocas had ruined the treasury, and sunk the last gold in the Bosphorus to keep Heraclius from getting it. To fight the Persians, who now marched on Constantinople after three years of unbroken victory, Heraclius needed an army. The loss of Jerusalem had inspired temporary reunion of the Monphyistes, and inspired the Patriarch Sergius of Constantinople to offer to Heraclius all the gold available at that time in the Churches for equipping, feeding and transporting an army. For two years the emperor raised this army. Then in 622, he prayed at Hagia Sophia on Easter Monday then embarked with his troops and an image of Jesus Christ as the army’s banner to Asia Minor, where he won victory after victory and drove the Persians back. He made straight for Persia, preparing to devastate it. He made an alliance with a Mongol people, the Khazars, and with their troops and his own (plus reinforcements of troops which had broken a Persian siege of Constantinople when he was away) he swept into Mesopotamia with a huge force, and smashed Khusroes near the ruins of Nineveh. The latter fled and was killed in an uprising while hiding in the mountains. Peace was made with Persia, and the true cross was returned to Jerusalem, which Heraclius brought to Jerusalem himself. That is the principle event which is commemorated in the liturgy today.

It is worth noting, that in 625, while Heraclius was pursuing his strategy of going straight at the enemy to draw them off from the difficult to defend heart land of Anatolia, the Persians and a Steppe tribe called the Avars, jointly besieged Constantinople. With the army away in Persia, it looked disastrous, and the people prayed to the Blessed Virgin, carrying on vigils and prayers, Liturgies, and processions, and composing a hymn which remains in the Eastern Tradition even today, the Akathistos (Akathist) hymn. Suddenly a hurricane appeared and scattered the Persian fleet, while at the same time creating havoc in the Avar camp and led to their retreat. With the siege being broken, more Roman troops could join Heraclius in the East.

The Tradition is that the Emperor, upon arriving with the cross at Jerusalem, attempted to enter but found himself prevented by an invisible force. He could not enter the city. St. Zacharias, the patriarch of Jerusalem, informed him that he could not carry the cross which the king of kings carried in rags, while he wore kingly robes. Therefore Heraclius divested himself of his royal garments, and wearing a simple tunic he was able to bring the true cross into Jerusalem without any further obstruction.

Pope St. Leo the Great, in a sermon, wrote a marvelous Latin prose which is used in the Breviary today:

O admirabilis potentia Crucis! o ineffabilis gloria passionis, in qua et tribunal Domini, et judicium mundi, et potestas est Crucifixi! Traxisti enim, Domine, omnia ad te, et cum expandisses tota die manus tuas ad populum non credentem et contradicentem tibi, confitendae majestatis tuae sensum totus mundus accepit. Traxisti, Domine, omnia ad te, cum in exsecrationem Judaici sceleris, unam protulerunt omnia elementa sententiam, cum, obscuratis luminaribus coeli, et converso in noctem die, terra quoque motibus quateretur insolitis, universaque creatura impiorum usui se negaret. Traxisti, Domine, omnia ad te, quoniam scisso templi velo, Sancta sanctorum ab indignis pontificibus recesserunt, ut figura in veritatem, prophetia in manifestationem et lex in Evangelium verteretur.

If your Latin is a bit week I have rendered it here:

How amazing is the power of the Cross! O how unutterable is the glory of the Passion, in which is the Lord’s judgment-seat, and the judgment of the world, and the might of the Crucified one! You have drawn all things to yourself, o Lord! and although you spread out your Hands all the day unto an unbelieving and opposing people, nevertheless, the world has felt and owned your Majesty! Lord! You drew all things unto yourself when all the elements advanced one opinion on the curse of the Judaic crime, when the lights of the firmament were darkened, day turned into night, earth quaked with strange tremblings, and all God’s work refused itself to be of use to the impious. You drawn all things unto thee O Lord, because the veil of the Temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, the Holy of Holies itself slipped away from unworthy Priests, that the figure might be changed into truth, prophecy into realization, and the Law into the Gospel.


However, there is one more important facet to this story. Heraclius had returned to Constantinople, and the patriarch Sergius, bowing to pressure from those who thought Church riches ought not to have been given for worldly ends (no matter how necessary), demanded repayment of all the Church’s wealth in full. No man could have seen the firestorm about to come from Arabia, it appeared as if no enemy remained for the Romans to fight, with Persia having been completely laid low and reduced to a conquered nation which sent tributes to Constantinople. Thus it seemed wise to reduce the military apparatus to the same level of weakness it had prior to the Persian assault. There is a tradition, which the Muslims have preserved in the Al-Hadith, that Mohamed had written to Heraclius encouraging him to make the Romans subject to Islam, but all historians, including Islamic ones, agree that it post dates Mohamed and could not be genuine. Whatever the truth of that, no one expected the Arabs to break out of Arabia, and when they did do so, the Eastern Roman Empire was woefully unprepared. To make things worse, Heraclius in later life developed a phobia for water, and refused to cross the Bosphorus, but he did send a decent army to Syria which was subsequently defeated by the Arabs, when a sandstorm rose up. The rest, is another story.

Thoughts on the Divine Office

Originally published as “More thoughts on the divine office” , 18 December 2008.

Already on a few occasions I’ve written about the breviary, but I want to go in a different direction without rehashing too much of what I’ve already thought.

As I’ve written before, and as one could guess, I do not like the new Liturgy of the Hours in any way shape or form. I just fail to see it as an expression of prayer akin to what has always been adopted by the Church, east and west, from the most ancient times. It is modeled after the Quignonez breviary, which had 3 psalms for every office, and was suppressed because it made the prayer of the Church too short and placed psalms without regard for their historical replacement or the tone of the psalm with the time of day. The 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia, drawing on the consensus of liturgical judgment, said concerning Quignonez:

In the light of tradition and of liturgical principles the only possible verdict in that Quignonez’ Breviary, being constructed on a priori principles, violating most of the liturgical rules, must be condemned…. Every hour had three psalms; and in consequence of this severe regularity, there disappeared the deep and historical motive which gave to each hour its own characteristics. (source)

It wasn’t because Quignonez was evil, he was in fact a great churchman, and effected the release of Pope Clement VII from Charles V’s de facto imprisonment. Moreover, he resisted the trends of the time to restore Latin to pagan usage in order to conform with antiquity. Rather, it was condemned because he made a “Novus Ordo” of sorts with the breviary. We don’t even have a breviary quite as good as his for the Novus Ordo and on top of that it doesn’t even have all the psalms. The concept of vigils, or Matins, as it existed in the ancient breviary which made it through the middle ages, was wrecked in the Quignonez version, and likewise in the 1970 version. Three psalms scarcely carries the ancient tradition, although it should be admitted, the two readings in themselves are about the length of the readings of the 2nd and 3rd nocturnes which are divided up in the traditional schema.

The principles of the divine office, the liturgical laws and the characters of the hours were of ancient usage. When St. Benedict laid out what was to become the Monastic Breviary in his rule, he himself was drawing on ancient tradition, particularly Roman tradition (and ironically, is the only breviary today which maintains the ancient Roman Tradition.) This is one reason of course why I pray the Benedictine Breviary, the division of Psalms is roughly the same as St. Benedict laid out and as his early monks prayed. Though it has changed and suffered additions over the years, it is substantially a product of ancient tradition. Akin to praying the ancient form of Mass, there is something both humbling and inspiring about praying the same breviary as ancient and medieval monks did. Another benefit to the Benedictine Breviary is they did not modify their hymns during the reform of Urban VIII, and hence have maintained their ancient style. Moreover, it did not suffer any changes to the psalter during St. Pius X’s reforms, so many features which it drew from the Roman office, such as the Laudes psalms (148-150) are still said at the end of Lauds (from which that hour gets its name), and the use of Psalm 50 every day. The length of psalms in the Benedictine and pre-Pius X Roman Breviary are interesting. The Benedictine breviary for example begins Lauds every day with Psalm 66, and then Psalm 50 are prayed. Two psalms and the canticle differ each day, and then the Laudes Psalms are said. The only difference in the Roman breviary is Psalm 66 was not said. So the hour generally has 8 psalms, and more on Sunday (although they’re short). Vespers in the Benedictine is generally only 4 Psalms, unlike 5 in the Roman. Matins was 12 Psalms in the Roman Breviary and 12 in the Benedictine, which was then followed up by 4 scriptural canticles.

Another interesting thing is that Compline was the same every day, and the tone of those psalms was always defense in the night. The little hours in the Benedictine breviary are exactly the same Tuesday through Saturday, and after a while you start to memorize them. This allows one to better meditate on the thought of the psalms (plus, only monks are going to have the time).

The Pius X reform of the Roman Breviary starts a trend which ends up in the Novus Ordo, though St. Pius X could scarcely have imagined it. First off, while changes had been effected to the breviary throughout time, the Roman Psalter was thought to be in its integrity even older than the Canon of Mass in its current form. The idea of permanence in the liturgy was impugned, and it opened the door to further changes on the principle that Pius X had changed the breviary. However while the change in the distribution of Psalms ought to be a concern, the character of the hours largely remained the same, although now somewhat uniform. 5 Psalms for Lauds, 5 Psalms for Vespers, only 9 for Matins, while all the readings remained the same. The little hours now received psalms that were once said at Matins or at Lauds, so that they would change every day. All of these were motivated by pastoral changes. Yet these rubrics left in place a very important pastoral principle, that the priest could divide up the hour of Matins (which is very lengthy) so as to better accomplish the work of a parish priest. According to a good priest I know, one of the changes made by Bugnini when he served in the congregation of rites before Vatican II, was to eliminate this rubric and require priests to say the whole of Matins in one block and not divide it. Functionally, this meant that priests had to lock up a whole hour of prayer into the divine office. That is one thing for a monk or a country priest, but a priest in a large parish of many souls could have a problem.

This had a practical affect: to create disdain amongst the clergy for the office, which is exactly what Bugnini wanted. That is why when the Novus Ordo breviary rolled around, so many priests willingly accepted it because now: 3 psalms and 2 readings which can be anticipated the day before in the evening or said later in the day!

And if we look at the Novus Ordo breviary, the 1974 liturgy of the hours, there are some very unsavory things about it. Like the Quignonez, ever hour now has 3 psalms (except Compline which has one but inexplicably 2 psalms for Saturday and Wednesday). Moreover, one of the biggest problems with the Pius X psalter, that Psalm 50 is not said every day as is customary, is included. Unlike the Pius X psalter which required Psalm 50 during penitential periods, the Novus Ordo does not, except for Ash Wednesday, require Psalm 50 to be said on a day other than its placement, which is Friday every other week. This bothers me on a number of levels. A friend of mine who was recently ordained, in discussion on this topic, exclaimed “If you stop praying for mercy in the morning, what is going to happen in terms of pride during the day?” Like so many other things, you will stop getting it. It is the same with the Leonine prayers after Mass, or the use of additional collects praying for the Church before Bugnini suppressed them. If you stop praying for the defense of the Church, or from liberation against persecution, can you guess what is going to happen? You will stop getting defense, you cease to see even effective leadership bringing discipline from within. Ask and it shall be given, but what happens if you don’t ask?

This is the problem with many of the changes in both the breviary and the Mass.

Another problem with the Novus Ordo Liturgy of the Hours, is the new Vulgate has no decree behind it of infallibility in faith and morals. The Vulgate most recently promulgated under Pope Clement VIII on the other hand, has that guarantee both from the council of Trent and the Popes on document. John Paul II never extended such authority to the new Vulgate promulgated under his reign. Therefore if you are praying the LOH or the Pius XII psalter, your text is not even assured to be free from error in faith and morals as the traditional breviary and clementine psalter is! Imagine praying the new Vulgate for 4 weeks, shudder!

A lot of people complain about the four week psalter, but this doesn’t present a problem other than its novelty. There is nothing wrong in theory or even per se in practice with saying a four week psalter, except that the Fathers of the Church east and west when they required the faithful to attend the divine office being sung in the Churches, chose a one week psalter not a four. What is important about that is the early Bishops intended it to be done by lay people who had to work as well as pray, and they chose to accomplish the psalms in one week. The reason for this was so the faithful would be familiar with the Psalms and incorporate their prayers into their day. What better prayers are there than those which are scriptural and inspired by the Holy Ghost? It is for this reason the Traditional Mass incorporates so many of the psalms into the Holy Mass, many more than in the Novus Ordo.

The worst element about the Novus Ordo breviary, is the bidding prayers contained at Lauds and Vespers. I’m generally of the opinion that they are worse in Latin than they are in English, because ICEL polishes some of them up. There you have lame, dated, social justice petitions included in a banal manner in the Church’s official prayerbook. Contrast that with the breviary petitions formerly said on certain days at Lauds and Vespers (not every day), with prayers for the Pope, prayers for the Church, prayers for conversions, for defense from unjust persecution, etc. A holy priest I know looked at that in Seminary and questioned his vocation, because in his words “I could not say that nonsense every day of my life, whereas when I looked at the Traditional Breviary, I knew I could do that.”

Thus, even with the problems of the Pius X reform, I would still see that breviary accepted rather than the 1970 Liturgy of the Hours, which is just a mess of liturgical experimentation (replete with “original texts” in various languages not included in the editio typica). The solution in my view, is to permit a certain amount of freedom in which edition of the breviary that priests pray. In other words, allow them to go back to earlier forms of the Roman breviary, or to the monastic breviaries of different orders. Ideally of course, one would want the Bishop to regulate it according to the breviary which he prays, but the result of that is “well, pray the LOH that I pray.” If he does that is. I was invited once to a vocations get together at a chancery, and the Bishop’s breviary was at a table in a hallway. What sparked my curiosity was the fact that it was the wrong color for the season (as the LOH is multi-colored). I moved it, and a sharp outline of dust surrounded it. Told me everything I needed to know!

Sacreligious Communion: The death of civilization


The Victory of Eucharistic Truth over heresy. -Peter Paul Rubens

Originally published 3 June 2010

I have been told, that several years ago there was a Catholic conference in which a member of the Heritage foundation gave a talk and said the problem with Catholicism today is the Mass. According to most figures, 95% of Catholics contracept (I’m not sure what the margin of error is, but regardless we all know it is pretty high), yet the same people receive communion every Sunday. Whatever one makes of those figures, it is not far wrong to reckon a majority of people are in a state of mortal sin yet receive communion. For a society this has disastrous results.

During the Synod of the Eucharist in 2005, (not that a whole lot has changed) then prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Arinze made the same observation:

“The problem we have discussed is that many people don’t go to Mass, and those that come don’t understand — they go to Communion but not to confession, as if they were immaculate.” (source)

Arinze as we know is not a fan of the Traditional Mass. Yet he sees the problem very clearly, and apparently he was not the only one. It is also not the first time the Church has dealt with this problem. To reflect we should look at certain witnesses on the need to be in a state of Grace when receiving Holy Communion.

St. Paul dealt with this question in his time. Writing to the Corinthians, he said:

ἕκαστος γὰρ τὸ ἴδιον δεῖπνον προλαμβάνει ἐν τῷ φαγεῖν, καὶ ὃς μὲν πεινᾷ, ὃς δὲ μεθύει. μὴ γὰρ οἰκίας οὐκ ἔχετε εἰς τὸ ἐσθίειν καὶ πίνειν; τῆς ἐκκλησίας τοῦ θεοῦ καταφρονεῖτε, καὶ καταισχύνετε τοὺς μὴ ἔχοντας; τί εἴπω ὑμῖν; ἐπαινέσω ὑμᾶς; ἐν τούτῳ οὐκ ἐπαινῶ. Ἐγὼ γὰρ παρέλαβον ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου, καὶ παρέδωκα ὑμῖν, ὅτι κύριος Ἰησοῦς ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ παρεδίδετο ἔλαβεν ἄρτον καὶ εὐχαριστήσας ἔκλασεν καὶ εἶπεν, Τοῦτό μού ἐστιν τὸ σῶμα τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν: τοῦτο ποιεῖτε εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν. ὡσαύτως καὶ τὸ ποτήριον μετὰ τὸ δειπνῆσαι, λέγων, Τοῦτο τὸ ποτήριον καινὴ διαθήκη ἐστὶν ἐν τῷ ἐμῷ αἵματι: τοῦτο ποιεῖτε, ὁσάκις ἐὰν πίνητε, εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν. ὁσάκις γὰρ ἐὰν ἐσθίητε τὸν ἄρτον τοῦτον καὶ τὸ ποτήριον πίνητε, τὸν θάνατον τοῦ κυρίου καταγγέλλετε, ἄχρις οὗ ἔλθῃ. Ὥστε ὃς ἂν ἐσθίῃ τὸν ἄρτον πίνῃ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦ κυρίου ἀναξίως, ἔνοχος ἔσται τοῦ σώματος καὶ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ κυρίου.

For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal, and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not. For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. (I Cor. XI:21-27)

What does St. Paul mean? The issue at hand was primarily what liturgical scholars call the “Agape” meal, which was the conducting of liturgical rites in the context of a meal such as men normally eat. Due to the fact that eating and drinking was involved, and some became drunk, men were approaching the sacrament unworthily. There is also the question of time and place, which St. Paul addresses when he says “μὴ γὰρ οἰκίας οὐκ ἔχετε εἰς τὸ ἐσθίειν καὶ πίνειν”, Do you not have houses in which you should be eating and drinking? Thus St. Paul is more or less condemning a liturgical abuse which was introduced by the Church of Corinth. The Corinthians are not respecting time and place, and they have departed from the Tradition. How do we see this? St. Paul says, as the Vulgate renders it: accepi a Domino quod et tradidi vobis, what I received from the Lord I have handed down (tradere) to you. The Greek uses the same word, παρέδωκα, which comes from παραδίδωμι, which like tradere refers to handing something over in order that it might be guarded, or taken care of. Thus when St. Paul instituted the Mass in Corinth, he gave them clearly what he received (accepi) yet they did not follow it, and committed sacrilege. Due to this some of them have died (I Cor. XI:30). Why did they die? St. John Chrysostom tells us:

Here he no longer brings his examples from others as he did in the case of the idol-sacrifices, relating the ancient histories and the chastisements in the wilderness, but from the Corinthians themselves; which also made the discourse apt to strike them more keenly. For whereas he was saying, he eats judgment to himself, and, he is guilty; that he might not seem to speak mere words, he points to deeds also and calls themselves to witness; a kind of thing which comes home to men more than threatening, by showing that the threat has issued in some real fact. He was not however content with these things alone, but from these he also introduced and confirmed the argument concerning hell-fire, terrifying them in both ways; and solving an inquiry which is handled everywhere. I mean, since many question one with another, whence arise the untimely deaths, whence the long diseases of men; he tells them that these unexpected events are many of them conditional upon certain sins. What then? They who are in continual health, say you, and come to a green old age, do they not sin? Nay, who dared say this? How then, say you, do they not suffer punishment? Because there they shall suffer a severer one. But we, if we would, neither here nor there need suffer it. (Homily 28 on 1 Corinthians)

In Homily 27, Chrysostom actually compares the one who receives communion unworthily to the Jews who slew Our Lord on the Cross with malice:

Why so? Because he poured it out, and makes the thing appear a slaughter and no longer a sacrifice. Much therefore as they who then pierced Him, pierced Him not that they might drink but that they might shed His blood: so likewise does he that comes for it unworthily and reaps no profit thereby. Do you see how fearful he makes his discourse, and inveighs against them very exceedingly, signifying that if they are thus to drink, they partake unworthily of the elements ? (source)

St. Thomas asks the question, Would the sinner (i.e. one in mortal sin) sin when receiving Christ’s body sacramentally?

In hoc sacramento, sicut in aliis, id quod est sacramentum est signum eius quod est res sacramenti. Duplex autem est res huius sacramenti, sicut supra dictum est, una quidem quae est significata et contenta, scilicet ipse Christus; alia autem est significata et non contenta, scilicet corpus Christi mysticum, quod est societas sanctorum. Quicumque ergo hoc sacramentum sumit, ex hoc ipso significat se esse Christo unitum et membris eius incorporatum. Quod quidem fit per fidem formatam, quam nullus habet cum peccato mortali. Et ideo manifestum est quod quicumque cum peccato mortali hoc sacramentum sumit, falsitatem in hoc sacramento committit. Et ideo incurrit sacrilegium, tanquam sacramenti violator. Et propter hoc mortaliter peccat.

In this sacrament, as in the others, that which is a sacrament is a sign of that which is the matter of the sacrament. There is however a double reality of this sacrament, as has been said above, there is a certain one which is signified and contained, namely, Christ Himself; yet the other is signified and not contained, to be sure the mystical body of Christ, which is the fellowship of the saints. Whoever therefore receives this [sacrament], he signifies himself to be one with Christ and incorporated with his members. This is done by living faith, which no one has when in mortal sin. And therefore it is manifest that whosoever receives this sacrament while in mortal sin, commits falsity in this sacrament. Therefore he incurs [the crime] of sacrilege, because he is a violator of the sacrament as it were and on this account he sins mortally. (III:qLXXX, a4)

St. Thomas also treats an objection which is quite relevant to our modern context, does someone who is ignorant of his sin, commit a sin when receiving communion? St. Thomas says yes:

Ad quintum dicendum quod hoc quod non habet aliquis conscientiam sui peccati, potest contingere dupliciter. Uno modo, per culpam suam, vel quia per ignorantiam iuris, quae non excusat, reputat non esse peccatum quod est peccatum, puta si aliquis fornicator reputaret simplicem fornicationem non esse peccatum mortale; vel quia negligens est in examinatione sui ipsius, contra id quod apostolus dicit, I Cor. XI, probet autem seipsum homo, et sic de pane illo edat et de calice bibat. Et sic nihilominus peccat peccator sumens corpus Christi, licet non habeat conscientiam peccati, quia ipsa ignorantia est ei peccatum.
Alio modo potest contingere sine culpa ipsius, puta, cum doluit de peccato, sed non est sufficienter contritus. Et in tali casu non peccat sumendo corpus Christi, quia homo per certitudinem scire non potest utrum sit vere contritus. Sufficit tamen si in se signa contritionis inveniat, puta ut doleat de praeteritis et proponat cavere de futuris. Si vero ignorat hoc quod fecit esse actum peccati propter ignorantiam facti, quae excusat, puta si accessit ad non suam quam credebat esse suam, non est ex hoc dicendus peccator. Similiter etiam, si totaliter est peccatum oblitus, sufficit ad eius deletionem generalis contritio, ut infra dicetur. Unde iam non est dicendus peccator.

To the fifth: The fact of a man being unconscious of his sin is able to come about in two ways. In the first manner, through his fault, whether because through ignorance of the law, for which ignorance does not excuse him, he reckons something not to be sinful which is a sin, say if one guilty of fornication were to deem simple fornication not to be a mortal sin; or because he neglects to examine his conscience, which is opposed to what the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 11:28): “Let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice.” So nevertheless the sinner sins receiving Christ’s body, although he is not conscious of sin, because the very ignorance is a sin on his part.

In another case, it may happen without his own fault, say, when he has had grief over his sin, but is not sufficiently contrite: and in such a case he does not sin [by] taking the body of Christ, for a man cannot know with certitude whether he is truly contrite. It suffices, however, if he find in himself the marks of contrition, say, if he “grieves over past sins,” and “propose to avoid them in the future”. Yet if he be ignorant that what he did was a sinful act, through ignorance of the fact, which excuses, for instance, if a man approach a woman whom he believed to be his wife whereas she was not, he is not to be called a sinner on that account; in the same way if he has utterly forgotten his sin, general contrition suffices for blotting it out, as will be said hereafter hence he is no longer to be called a sinner. (Ibid, reply to obj. 5)Thus we see a two-fold issue: receiving communion without right belief (perceiving the body and blood of our Lord in the sacrament), and being worthy of the sacrament. In this, ignorance is not enough to excuse one, because it is a question of the moral law which we should know. Moreover who in the modern context, both with media exposure and the access to technology can not know that contraception is a sin? Let alone the many other things for which Catholics are guilty yet go to communion weekly, some even daily! We speak not of complicated issues of bio-ethics, rather of the pill and prophylactics.

There are other considerations to take into account when we speak of sacrilegious communions. St. Paul says that some of the Corinthians had died. There is a story of King Lothaire, the son of Charlemagne, who was the duke of Lorraine. He had become attracted to a woman in his court, and put away his wife in order to take up with this younger woman. He was ordered by the Pope to cease or face an excommunication, and he made thousands of false promises of what he would do. Again, he asked to be absolved in Rome and to receive Holy Communion from the Pope. The Pope found that nothing had changed and he had no real intention of putting her off. Then he celebrated Mass for the King and his nobles. When communion was given, the King went to the altar and the Pope said to him in a distinct voice “O king, if you are truly resolved to quit this woman and take back your lawful wife, then receive this Holy Sacrament unto life everlasting; but if you are not sincerely resolved, then do not dare to profane the sacred Body of Jesus Christ and eat your own damnation.” Lothaire turned pale and trembled, but he had already made a sacrilegious Confession, and now he sealed his doom by adding a sacrilegious Communion. The King and his court left Rome. They arrived in Lucca (not far away) and were attacked with a fever, could not speak and their nails, hair and skin fell off, whereas the members of his court who did not join him in Communion were spared.
St. Cyprian of Carthage tells of a certain young woman who, after an unworthy Communion, was instantly possessed by the devil. She became quite furious and in her rage bit her tongue to pieces and endeavored to kill herself. At last she died in horrible agony.
The lives of the saints are full of examples of those who profaned the sacrament suffering consequences. There is but one more thing, a great quote from St. John Eudes, that “the presence of wayward clergy is the surest sign of God’s displeasure with his people.”

Forgetting all the illness, murders, crimes, drugs, accidents and rapes in our society, the base abuse of women and so many other things, consider alone the destruction of our children’s lives by molestation and rape. Not only of priests, as it has often been pointed out, there are more molesters by percentage among teachers, doctors and social workers than among priests. Nevertheless that the priest, one who is called apart in a way that the former are not would do these evils merits the indignation even of those who think most of these evils are okay. Sacrilegious communions by those living in sin and receiving communion (even Traditionalists, don’t think they are exempt!), are the cause par excellence of the sex abuse crisis. Yes the Bishops let them in, then hid them. Yes those who held sway under the last Pope protected them. Yes more could have been done. Those are not the reasons God allowed these evils, they are simply the material considerations. God allowed these evils because His people have gravely offended Him, in a way as direct as blasphemy.

You get the leaders you deserve, and the bad lives of Catholic faithful, before and after the Council, have brought the crisis we deal with today. Not only do Catholics not pray enough, they are not Holy enough. Heretofore, I have considered only those who live in mortal sin but receive communion weekly, and in some instances daily. There is however one more way in which the remaining 5% fail to please God, though it does not offend Him as the other 95% (give or take) do. It is in the failure to offer rightly the priesthood of the laity.

Part of this is due to the fact that the traditional teaching of the laity’s sacerdotal character has been obscured and falsely attributed to the participation in the liturgy (doing the readings, distributing communion and things of that sort). The Church first allowed lay participation in the liturgy when she let young boys serve Mass, and that was the only way (except for in mission territories or the US a layman was given permission to be the subdeacon for a Solemn Mass, observing the same rules as clerics who were not ordained to that order) until Vatican II when they came to be doing almost everything. The Church has the authority to allow lay participation in the right no matter how distasteful, untraditional or theologically ridiculous, yet none of that constitutes the “priesthood of the laity”. All of those things constitute the laity mimicking the functions and behavior of the ordained, with or without approval. Even teaching a 1st communion class, since the Potestas docendi of the Church finds its expression at the local level in the Bishop and the priests and clergy in union with him, this is also properly a role of the priest though lay people can conduct it well.

No, the priesthood of the laity involves the interior actions of the faithful both in Mass and in their daily life. The priestly sacrifice can only be done by a priest no matter how many laymen you stick on an altar. I sometimes joke with my priest that I’ll say Mass for him when he’s gone, and it is a good joke but if I got up in all his vestments and performed every action with absolute perfection and precision, no amount of wishing will accomplish the Sacrifice of Mass. NONE.

St. Thomas teaches in the Summa that
Laicus iustus unitus est Christo unione spirituali per fidem et caritatem, non autem per sacramentalem potestatem. Et ideo habet spirituale sacerdotium ad offerendum spirituales hostias, de quibus dicitur in Psalmo, sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus, et Rom. XII, exhibeatis corpora vestra hostiam viventem. Unde et I Petri II dicitur, sacerdotium sanctum offerre spirituales hostias.

“A devout layman is united with Christ by spiritual union through faith and charity, not however by sacramental power. Therefore he has a spiritual priesthood for offering spiritual offerings, of which it is said (Psalm 1:19): “A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit”; and (Romans 12:1): “Show within your bodies a living sacrifice.” Wherefore, it is also said (1 Peter 2:5): “A holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices.” (III; Q. LXXXII; a1 response to the second objection)

So while absolutely distinct, it is absolutely valid. It is not to be confused with the “priesthood of believers” one finds in Protestant doctrines, which deny any ministerial role to the priest something that is totally contrary to all Catholic teaching. It is also not to be confused as in the liberal mindset with a participation in the ordained priesthood. It is a participation in Christ’s priesthood through Baptism.

The Fathers teach that Baptism is actually a being put to death in our old nature, and rising with Christ in a new nature, a New creation in Christ (II Cor. V:17). This is why baptisteries descend, and when you look in many baptismal fonts they have a deep well, which is supposed to represent a grave. You are put to death and rise again. Now we are enabled to do spiritual works by virtue of Sanctifying grace. Thus we offer sacrifice, but it is the sacrifice of our selves. Baptism conforms us to the death of Christ, with a foretaste of the resurrected life (sanctifying grace in the soul). Now there are three parts of a sacrifice, offering, slaying the victim, and consummation. In order to offer ourselves, either at Mass or in life, we need to make a real offering to God, and then slay the victim which means dying to ourselves, and then the consummation which is charity, love of God. Dying to ourselves means rooting out our vices, it means purging ourselves of venial sin. Most people who fit that category of orthodox Catholics trying to lead a good life and stay out of mortal sin mostly simply do not offer themselves correctly, nor die to themselves. This blocks the grace flowing from the Mass, that is from the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary and blocks the merit we can attain in offering. So those who could be making up for the failings around them are also not doing what they could. Hence our Lord said in the Gospels “Yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8)

In all of these ways the Mass is exactly our problem. What however are we to do about it? The first step as always are for those of us to whom Jesus has given the gift of faith (and remember it is a gift He gave us, it is not because we are so smart to see it. Without God we would be tambourine smacking baptists) to be holy and offer ourselves fully with the sacrifice of Christ. The second thing is more practical, what can be done about the sacrilege at Mass?

Most people do not realize that in the Roman Rite communion was rarely given during Mass. After Mass the priest would come out with a ciborium and preform the communion rite. This had a certain utility since those not worthy could easily leave without the social stigma attached to not going to communion. Then in the 20th century St. Pius X changed it so the normative posture is to receive communion during Mass after the clergy. This was done for many reasons, and it was a good change at that time given the circumstances. People needed more grace to fight the onslaught of militant atheism, which caused the most destructive conflicts in human history. Today however, it might be right to reconsider, given the situation in the culture, and the fact that most people simply don’t take the sacrament seriously, to remove it until after Mass (since most people cut out to go shopping after communion anyway, this will cut the numbers receiving communion). This is not something that need be done wholesale but could be done on an ad hoc basis, combined with greater preaching on Eucharistic devotion.

The last thing, is we need another St. Peter Julian Emyard, and we need Eucharistic fraternities such as what existed in those days. You see perpetual adoration, which is good, but there are not enough of those laity who pray and offer up sacrifices and fasts for the spread of Eucharistic devotion. Without more of that all the preaching, catechesis, synods, and papal exhortations in the world will not move modern Catholics out of their sin and into God. Some people simply need someone to merit the gift of faith for them by prayer, fasting and good works. Traditionalists should not imagine that they are immune either, since many a priest who offers the Traditional Mass will tell stories of people who come to the Traditional Mass and are just as worldly as anyone else. Without an end to the sacrilegious communions made by modern Catholics, our society will come to an end. Period. Events in the world should already be telling us, that even if it is not the end times, it is certainly the end times for Western Culture.