I read today a translation of an excerpt from Roberto de Mattei’s history of Vatican II over at Rorate Cæli, entitled “The Lefebvre affair”. The excerpt reminded me of something a Ukrainian Byzantine priest friend of mine, who would wish, I’m sure, to remain anonymous, had written to me not that long ago.
Only now people high up are beginning to admit what we down below have always known, or at least suspected: Vatican II was a mistake; the Church would have been better off if it had never happened. Tell me. What is to be gained by taking it seriously? What advantage do you gain by reading those documents? Oh, I’ve read them, as I’m sure you have, but to what benefit? It would have been better had I spent that time reading Holy Scripture or St. John of the Cross, or even Lossky, for crying out loud. It was a complete waste of time because I gained nothing from it but confusion. If it defined nothing new, then what is the point anyway? Why bother yourself with something that tells you nothing new, or something old in a confusing way?...
[He concluded his remarks on the subject with:] I tell those entrusted to me: “It is better to pray and practice our faith as it has always been practiced than to worry yourself about the ramblings of the daft men of the Second Vatican Council.”
Compare this with what Mattei writes: “Resistance to putting into effect the Council’s reforms came from the sector of lower clergy and laity, as had happened during the French Revolution , when it had been parish priests and peasants (farmers) who promoted the revolt of the Vandea and the anti-revolutionary insurgences in Europe.”
What both Mattei and my priest friend are referring to is the practice of the faith by “we down below”, the potency of which is often underestimated, but we cannot, however, fail to remember it is extremely potent, nonetheless. The traditional practice of the faith is transforming, not because of human agency, but because of the fact that right religion is being re-established by God through human agency.
The simple practice of our faith, as practiced traditionally, is our mission in this present war that has so devastated the Church militant in these later times. Our operations on this battle ground includes praying our morning and evening prayers without fail, daily reciting the rosary as a family, fostering devotion to the Sacred Heart of the Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, wearing the scapular, praying for the souls in purgatory, and above all fostering a fiery devotion for the Blessed Sacrament and the Traditional Latin Mass.