In case you are wondering what or who is responsible for this blog, the purpose of this blog, and questions central to this blog, here you go! Below are a few questions that have been posed to me on FaceBook, and a few more questions that I thought might be pertinent.
Is this blog the official website of _________________?
No. This blog is neither an official or unofficial website of any organization, fraternity, confraternity, association, order, or club. It is solely the product of one person's love for the Traditional Latin Mass and traditional Catholicism.
Is the author of this blog a sedevacantist?
No, the author of this blog is not a sedevacantist. I recognize that there is a pope, Francis (and Benedict XVI... hmmm), and I recognize the legitimacy of all the post-Vatican II popes. I'm not affiliated with any sedevacantist or semi-sedevacantist group.
Is the author of this blog a priest or former priest?
No, I'm neither a priest nor a former priest. I'm married and a father of four children (with more, hopefully, on the way). I'm a former seminarian (Graduate of the Pontifical College Josephinum), and a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division (C Company, 3rd of the 504th PIR).
No. I didn't get kicked out of the seminary. I left on my own volition after I witnessed the deaconate ordination of an openly homosexual man, and countless other depravities that have no place in a Catholic seminary. After searching to no avail for a conservative or traditional path I ended up joining the Army and becoming an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division. I'm a civilian now, with a a wonderful family and a rewarding day job.
Is the author of this blog affiliated with the Society of St. Pius X? What is the author's position in regards to the SSPX?
No, I'm not affiliated with the SSPX in any way. I admire Archbishop Lefebvre, and hold his memory in great honor. I believe that he is a saint of the Church, and ought to be canonized. I can understand why he did what he did given the situation in 1988. I knew first hand, as a seminarian at the time, the kind of hatred the liberals and modernists in power had for traditional Catholics and the Traditional Latin Mass. I was well acquainted with the crisis of the modern, post-Vatican II Church, and I believed then, and still believe today, that there was a state of necessity that precipitated the seemingly illicit episcopal ordinations of 1988. The Society had a canonical structure, and it was unjustly taken from it for no other reason that the Society's fidelity to the Catholic Faith. I also admire Bishop Bernard Fellay and many priests of the SSPX, and I pray for the day that the current injustice that denies the Society of St. Pius X a canonical structure will be rectified by Rome.
Currently, I regularly hear Mass that is offered by a priest of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, and am a member of a parish in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
What does the author of this blog think about Bishop Williamson of the "Strict Observance" ("of the godliness of Bishop Williamson", as I like to add)?
Would the author of this blog attend a Mass offered by an SSPX priest? go to Confession to the same?
I would attend a Mass offered by a priest of the SSPX, especially if no other Traditional Latin Mass were available. Where I currently live too many novus ordo priests here say the wrong words or use leavened bread, or some other such nonsense or abuse. Most of these abuses render their Masses invalid, not just illicit. I simply don't have the time or patience, especially having to put up with the banal kitsch offered at all novus ordo Masses, to try parish after parish to find a licit and valid novus ordo Mass. It would be much easier to just attend an SSPX chapel if there were no other Traditional Latin Mass in the area.
I would not, as a matter of regular practice, go to Confession to an SSPX priest until the SSPX has full canonical recognition. However, the election of a progressive like Bergoglio as Pope Francis is making me re-think some of my positions regarding the SSPX.
Does the author of this blog attend the novus ordo Mass as well as the Traditional Latin Mass?
No. Why should I? Why would I want to? If I want kitsch in my life, I'll purchase a garden gnome.
Because of that answer, does the author of this blog fall under the censure of Universae Ecclessiae, n. 19?
I don't think so, but this is a bit confusing. I do not impugn the licit promulgation of novus ordo, and I believe the novus ordo is a valid Catholic Mass. That, however, does not mean that I have to like the novus ordo, or that I can't criticize it, or that I have to participate in it. It certainly doesn't mean that I think the novus ordo is doctrinally sound or pastorally prudent or a fully authentic expression of the Catholic faith. In that sense, the novus ordo is not "legitimate".
I think that, perhaps in the distant future, once the current crisis of faith that is afflicting the Church Militant, and in a particular way, her leadership, draws to a close, the novus ordo will be abrogated because it will be deemed "illegitimate" based on the above points.
If anyone wants to argue these points, they are welcome to do so. But just because one doesn't like the novus ordo does not mean that that person has abandoned the main body of Catholicism. Rather, the recent instruction document makes clear that those people have, not just a place in the Church, but a cherished place, at that.
What is the author's views regarding the Second Vatican Council?
Pope Paul VI, the reigning pontiff at the close of the Second Vatican Council, said this regarding the unique and revolutionary nature of Vatican II:
In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statements of dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility, but it still provided its teaching with the authority of the Ordinary Magisterium which must be accepted with docility according to the mind of the Council concerning the nature and aims of each document. (General Audience of 12 January 1966)
As a pastoral Council, the Second Vatican Council was a watershed event, an utterly unique Ecumenical Council. No other Ecumenical Council ever claimed to be "pastoral" in nature, or to limit itself to the Ordinary Magisterium (as opposed to the Extraordinary Magisterium). This fact alone gives us some insight into why there is so much confusion regarding this Council.
But one can not assess the Council without realistically assessing its effects. The equivocal and ambiguous nature of the Council allowed a perverted few to seize the reins of power in the Church. As a former seminarian, I saw first-hand the incredible depravity of the powerful liberal cabal that came to power in the Church’s seminaries, chanceries, and parish offices, and I saw the deleterious effects on the souls of the innocent due to a thoroughly un-Catholic liberal ideology at work in all the institutions of the modern Church. Consequently most Catholics today know next to nothing about their faith, nor do they take the tenants of the faith seriously enough to have any effect on how they live their lives, or seriously enough to be efficacious for the eternal salvation of their souls. A revolution of disordered passions, pride and sensuality swept through the Church and the rest of Western civilization as a result of Vatican II.
How can the predominance of the liberal interpretation arise spontaneously on its own, independent of the documents, themselves? Those who initially interpreted the documents, and those who implemented the Council, those who supposedly "hijacked" the Council and caused the current crisis, were the very people who participated in the Council, and were even those who wrote the documents! It is simple common sense that dictates the documents of the Second Vatican Council contain the errors that are seminal to the post-Vatican II disaster and crisis of faith. If the documents of the Council are not infallible, then they are, indeed, fallible, and can contain error. Right judgment reveals three major errors and one minor error contained in the documents: (1) collegiality, (2) religious liberty (3) ecumenism, and (4) the minor error of intentional ambiguity and equivocation throughout. To some degree each one of these errors contributed to the crisis of faith currently afflicting the Church Militant.
Today, the Roman authorities insist on treating the Second Vatican Council as infallible in regards to our (the traditionalist's) "acceptance" of the Council. This acceptance means we may not point out the errors of the documents. However, the same authorities refuse to declare the Second Vatican Council infallible, because, simply, they can not. It did not possess the marks of infallibility, and it was proclaimed by the reigning the Pontiff at the time that the Council defined nothing new infallibly. The Second Vatican Council is the super-dogma that traditional Catholics cannot regard as anything other than infallible! It is the litmus test for traditionalists, the only thing that is binding for traditionalists. But the Council, at the same time, is not infallible, it is not binding. The Roman authorities, in their madness, want us to hold as infallible what is not infallible, while at the same time all manner of people can reject and attack what is infallible, on any number of doctrines, and yet they enjoy "full communion" without censure from Rome.
The current crisis of faith, the dismal state of the Church demonstrates that Vatican II contains errors, and the Vatican II litmus test is a failure, clearly evident by the growth of traditionalist societies, fraternities and communities. It is time for a traditional Catholic counter-revolution: a return to Our Blessed Lord, to Jesus Christ as He reveals Himself in the Gospels and in Tradition; a return to right reason and worship, hierarchy, modesty, and austerity; in sum, the fullness of the Catholic Faith.
As Pope Benedict XVI stated, some people erroneously regard Vatican II as a super-dogma. I certainly don't. However, can the Church and Western civilization be saved by regarding it at all? I don't think so.
It's time to abandon the liberal experiment that is Vatican II.
What makes you qualified to manage this blog?
Well, nothing really. I'm a former seminarian, and studied philosophy and theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum for six years. I'm a writer and occasional columnist for The Remnant Newspaper. Above all, I'm a husband and a father--a layman. I love the Traditional Latin Mass and its commensurate spirituality, and the beauty that flourishes wherever the Immortal Mass flourishes.
The seminary was an eye opening experience. It showed me the extent of Satan's grasp on the minds, hearts and souls of a small but well placed group of liberal heretics and malcontents who have spent over fifty years now tearing the Church militant to pieces.
Luckily, I found traditional Catholicism. Traditional Catholics have a love for the Traditional Latin Mass, its commensurate spirituality, and an intense love for the Catholic Faith as lived and expressed prior to the aberrations brought about by the implementation of the Second Vatican Council.
Since discovering the Traditional Latin Mass and traditional Catholicism, I've immersed myself in the thought and writing of St. Thomas Aquinas, Dom Prosper Guéranger, Romano Amerio, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, and other traditionalists. I've deepened my knowledge and appreciation for Catholic history, art and sacred music.
I started blogging to promote the Traditional Latin Mass. For the most part, it remains just that. However, it is my hope that I can help to promote the Traditional Latin Mass by utilizing my studies in philosophy, Thomistics, Dogmatic theology, and Patrology, coupled with my intense love for the Traditional Latin Mass, my common everyday experience as a traditional Catholic layman, and my worldview shaped by the thinking of Romano Amerio and Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira.
What's the purpose of this blog?
In a nutshell: to help Catholics foster a spirituality and piety centered on the Traditional Latin Mass in the spirit of Dom Prosper Guéranger, O.S.B., and, especially, by rediscovering traditional methods of hearing the Mass. For more information read this: Re-Discovering a Traditional Liturgical Piety.
Why all the pictures?
I like pictures more than words.
How do you define a "traditional Catholic"?
A traditional Catholic is any Catholic who desires to believe and practice the Catholic faith as it had been believed and practiced prior to the introduction of the post-Vatican II era novelties, specifically the novus ordo Missæ, religious liberty, ecumenism, and collegiality. A love for the Traditional Latin Mass and its commensurate spirituality are important marks of the traditional Catholic, but that does not constitute the whole.
To avoid being a mere aesthete, in addition to promoting the Traditional Latin Mass the traditional Catholic embraces the missionary spirit of Sts. Francis Xavier and Isaac Jogues, who believed without equivocation that there is no salvation outside the Church. The traditional Catholic presses the truth that Christ endowed His Church with a hierarchical constitution, and he promotes the Absolute Sovereignty of Jesus Christ over all creation, entrusting himself and all peoples to the two Hearts, the Sacred Heart of Our Blessed Lord and the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary.
I also use the term "traditionalist". I don't see anything wrong with the term, though it can be less specific.
What is a Method of hearing Mass?
A method of hearing Mass is a set of meditations intended to help the faithful unite themselves to the intentions of the priest and the one Sacrifice of Christ, mystically made present at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There are very many methods, each providing various meditations, themes and elements on which to focus. Some methods focus on offering adoration, others, thanksgiving and praise, others make intercession to grow in virtue and overcome vice, still others focus on making reparation. The goal is a mystical union with the offering of the priest, and Christ on Calvary, His Resurrection, and His Glorious Ascension into Heaven. These methods of hearing Mass give the faithful a spiritual treasure trove that helps them to worthily participate in such a way that their whole lives are transformed by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Unfortunately the Liturgical Movement of the 20th century all but buried these methods in the past, and it is one of the intentions of this blog to rediscover that traditional liturgical piety that had these methods at heart.
Aren't the old Methods of Hearing Mass private devotions that we should avoid at Mass?
Not at all. There is nothing private about a devotion intended to unite an individual with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the public worship of the Church. Uniting oneself to the public worship of the Church is to act publicly, not privately. The nature of the question reveals a two-dimensional understanding of "active participation" that includes only vocal communal prayer. To meditate on the Passion of Christ, re-presented in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, is something done internally, but it is an activity that mystically joins the individual to the public action of Christ on a much deeper and meaningful level than mere vocal prayers.
Are you saying that one shouldn't follow along in their missals during the Traditional Latin Mass?
No. Following along in the missal, paying close attention to the actions of the priest, reading each of the priest's vocal prayers, is a legitimate method of hearing the Mass. It is even recommended by St. Leonard of Port-Maurice, as posted on this blog here:
However, as St. Leonard points out, "few persevere in this method" because our minds "become wearied under the necessity of reflecting on the great variety of acts gone through by the priest at the altar." St. Leonard goes on to explain that there is an alternative to this method.
The first method of hearing holy Mass is used by those who, book in hand, accompany with the utmost attention all the actions of the priest, repeat at each of these a vocal prayer, as laid down in the book, and thus pass the whole of Mass reading; and there is no doubt that if this be united with a right consideration of the sacred mysteries, it is a most excellent method of assisting at the holy sacrifice, and of great spiritual fruit.
Many traditional Catholics, who love the reverence, mystery and beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass simply do not know that there are different methods of hearing the Mass than just this one method of slavishly following along in the hand missal.
Do methods of hearing Mass replace paying attention to what is happening at the altar?
No. All legitimate methods of hearing Mass depend on what is happening at the altar. While methods of hearing Mass vary in regards to meditative content, they all have one of two things in common:
1. Meditations correspond to what is happening at the altar. See this method of hearing the Mass.
2. The actions of the priest at the altar supersedes, or punctuates, a meditative exercise being used as a method of hearing Mass. An example of the former would be suspending praying the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary at the appropriate times, such as the Collect, Gospel, consecration and elevation of the Sacred Host, etc… (see here).
A method of hearing Mass is only legitimate if it unites the faithful with Christ’s one Sacrifice on Calvary (which is presented in an unbloody manner at every Mass), AND (just as importantly) with the intentions and actions of the priest at the altar.
Are you against the "dialogue Mass"?
I have investigated both sides of the Dialogue Mass controversy and have concluded that the Dialogue Mass is a poor and rather unbeneficial method of hearing the Mass. I have written about the Dialogue Mass at The Remnant Newspaper, but for a more current presentation of my position please click here: Assessing the Dialogue Mass.
Does this include not singing the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus or Agnus Dei at a Missa cantata?
No, I think that the congregation should feel free to join the choir in singing these parts of the Mass during a sung Mass. There's certainly nothing wrong with singing.
There are, however, times when the congregation will not be able sing the various Mass parts, and this ought to be acceptable as well. For example, there are some very complex Mass arrangements that are very beautiful and valuable treasures of the Church. It's a shame, and even an injustice to the laity, that these beautiful pieces should continue to collect dust because of some crazy interpretation of "active participation." One also participates in sacred music by receptively listening and allowing that sacred music to shape internal prayer and meditation. If the sublimity and beauty of our Catholic heritage should be limited by my singing voice, then all of it is lost!
I left a comment, but it didn't get published. Why is that?
Comment moderation is now on all the time. Recently I was goaded into a tit-for-tat that was nothing but a complete waste of time. There was no convincing me, and there was no convincing the other guy. After taking some time to think about it, I came to the following conclusions:
1. Ars Orandi isn't a discussion forum for the general public. If you want that, go to AngelQueen or Fisheaters or Catholic Answers or Wherever.
2. Ars Orandi is primarily for traditional Catholics, and is primarily for the spiritual and intellectual nourishment of traditional Catholics.
At times I will post articles and opinion pieces that are critical of novus ordo, mainstream Catholicism that will, no doubt, enrage novus ordo, mainstream Catholics. At times I will post articles and opinion pieces that might enrage "SSPXers". At times I will post articles that might enrage sedevacantists. At times I might post articles that will enrage cat owners.
I don't have a problem with these enraged masses sending me comments for moderation, and if the comments are reasonable and actually address the points in the post, I will probably publish it. However, I will not publish comments that even hint at an attack or make insinuations about traditional Catholics or traditional Catholicism in general, especially comments that insinuate that traditionalists have a monopoly on sanctimonious hypocrisy, are schismatics when objectively they are not, etc.
3. I'm not perfect, and I do make mistakes. Corrections are welcome. I will usually post these comments, make the correction, and kindly thank you. However, if you wish to "correct" my understanding of the faith, my prayer life, or how I live my life, and you are not my bishop, my pastor or my wife, you can probably safely assume I will delete your comment without having finished reading it. I simply don't have the time for that kind of thing. (Note to wife: please don't post corrections here; you can just let me know at the dinner table as is standard operating procedure.)
4. I will not usually make long replies to any comments. Publishing your comment is really all the further comment I need to make.
5. At-a-boy comments, and "I love this post" comments will always be published. I'm a choleric, so sue me.