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Expectations-setting and the Council January 12, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, paganism, Papa, scandals, secularism, self-serving, SOD.

In light of the previous post on the Synod being used as a prybar against the locked chest of Dogma, perhaps now is not a bad time to take another trip down memory lane to the mid-60s and examine another excerpt from that compendium of correspondence between Evelyn Waugh and Cardinal Heenan called A Bitter Trial.  On the Feast of the Purification, 1964, Cardinal Heenan attempted to head off objections towards the Council through a pastoral letter read in all the parishes and chapels of the Archdiocese of Westminster.  Parts of that letter are presented below.  One might ruminate on how Cardinal Heenan chooses to frame things, the various concerns he references, and how that compares with what we see occurring in the Church a few scant months after the first session of the awful Synod concluded.  I get quite the foreboding sense of deja vu’ reading the below, it seems rather similar to the kinds of apologias for the revolution we keep hearing today:

“…….The faithful also feel strongly about these questions [regarding changes in the Church]. I know that from your letters.  Take, for example, changes in Holy Mass.  Some of you are quite alarmed.  You imagine that everything will be changed and that what you have known from your childhood will be taken away from you.  Some, on the other hand, are all for change and are afraid that too little will be altered. [On a scale of 100, with 0 being no change to the Mass as it existed in 1962, and 100 being its complete dissolution, how far did the reform-cum-revolution go?  Or was the scale of the change less important that the subtlety and cleverness of the changes made?  As for how many wanted change, always keep this in mind, from 13 years after the Council: a 1978 Gallup survey found that 70% of US Catholics would have preferred to go back to the TLM in 1978!!]

Both of these attitudes are wrong.  The Church will, of course, make certain reforms.  That is one of the reasons why Councils are held.  But nothing will be changed except for the good of souls.  With the Pope we bishops are the Teaching Church.  We love our Faith and love our priests and people. We shall see that you are not robbed.  Loyal to Pope John and Pope Paul, the Council will bring all in the Church closer to Christ, and the world itself closer to the Church of Christ.  [Sooo…..how many false statements in that paragraph?]

The Church believes in freedom and while a Council is in progress all are encouraged to speak freely.  It is a time for priests and people to make their voices heard. Some of the views expressed, are, of course, extraordinary.  A few Catholic writers criticize so bitterly that you might think they forget that hte Church is their mother.  But at heart they really do love the Church. [Other parts of the book make clear +Heenan was speaking of the modernist faction’s incredibly hostile criticisms of the Church, meaning Her traditional doctrine] Perhaps they exaggerate to draw attention to their views. But they might easily mislead you. So let me tell you plainly that the Church has no power to alter the law of God.  What is wrong and immoral can never become right.  Nor can any doctrine of the Catholic Church be changed…….I want to assure you, my dear children in Jesus Christ. The Church, the Kingdom of God upon earth, is founded upon a rock. It will not fail you.  For your consolation I repeat the words of Our Lord: “Fear not, little flock, for it hath pleased your Father to give you a Kingdom” (St. Luke XII:32). 

The Church will emerge from the Council stronger than ever. [Indeed, hindsight is 20:20, but this must go down as one of the most wrong predictions of all time.  It was very common during the Council to baldly proclaim this as fact, even while theologians like Msgr. Fenton were saying the Council might fail] We must prepare ourselves to be worthy of that great hour………”

———-End Quote———-

Several interesting points of comparison with contemporary times.  I didn’t include this in the text above, but Cardinal Heenan makes the same statement that we hear so often today, that “things” have somehow changed, and the Church just “has to act.”

Today is a bit different, however, with unprecedented opprobrium being heaped on what are derisively termed “traditionalist” views, but which are nothing more than the constant belief and practice of the Faith.  Never before, in modern times, at least, have we seen a sitting Pope heap scorn on his own curia.  One might not unreasonably fear that rhetoric this heated might be in preparation for something big.

It seems that 50+  years ago, there were the same factions, fighting over the same concerns, with many a prelate in the middle basically trying to not get caught openly rooting for the wrong side.  History may not repeat itself, but human nature is more or less fixed, and historical situations do recur.  Especially when people of enormous influence are determined to make them recur.  All of which indicates that the next year or so will likely be what you might call rather interesting, or exciting, or terrifying, depending on where you sit.

But, then again, who am I to judge?



1. LaGallina - January 13, 2015

“On a scale of 100, with 0 being no change to the Mass as it existed in 1962, and 100 being its complete dissolution, how far did the reform-cum-revolution go?”

Good question. The more I understand the Traditional Mass (and calendar), the less I can stand the Novus Ordo. It really, truly feels like two different religions. (BTW, is the priest allowed to skip the confiteor and the creed on Sunday at N.O. Mass? And I mean, completely skip every Sunday.)

If “lex orandi, lex credendi” is any indication of the situation, I’ve only met one family (in person, not on the internet) that believes in the teachings of the Catholic Church as taught before Vatican II. (They are die-hard Traditionalists, of course.) Going by that statistic, more than 99% of the Catholics I know do not believe in the ancient teachings of the Church.

And that’s not even getting into the issue that the vast majority of Catholics I know do not even know the first thing about the Catholic faith. And I’m not even talking about the complex or difficult teachings, just the absolute basics. (Such as my kids’ CCD teachers not knowing if “thou shalt not kill” included animals, or that it’s a mortal sin to skip Sunday Mass.)

Sounds like the Faith has come awfully close to being wiped out. Our Lady of Good Success, pray for us,

2. c matt - January 13, 2015

History may not repeat itself, but human nature is more or less fixed, and historical situations do recur.

The subtle genius of the Flintstones.

3. steve - January 13, 2015

“…a 1978 Gallup survey found that 70% of US Catholics would have preferred to go back to the TLM in 1978!!”

My understanding of that poll was that 64 percent of Catholics surveyed believed that the Traditional Roman Mass should have been “permitted” as an optional Mass at parishes…not that they would assist necessarily at said Mass.

Anyway, that same 1978 A.D. Gallup survey found that 69 percent of Catholics rejected the Church’s teachings on divorce and remarriage…

…and 73 percent of Catholics rejected the Church’s teachings on artificial birth control.

If we accept the accuracy of that 1978 A.D. survey, we have a majority of Catholics who embraced tolerance in regard to the TLM…

…and very much embraced the Culture of Death.

Tantumblogo - January 13, 2015

Eh, so I just found the link and went from memory. Apparently, my memory was influenced by my preferences!

Thanks for the clarification.

steve - January 13, 2015

Thank you for having referenced the survey as the attitudes of Catholics (well, the relative handful who were surveyed) in 1978 A.D. in regard to the TLM were opposite of the majority of Churchmen then who were determined to consign the TLM to history.

Even today, many Churchmen (and the folks at Chanceries and parishes) are determined to thwart the promotion of the TLM.

But having experienced the Church chaos of the 1960s and, as pertains to the Gallup survey in question, the sense of Catholicism in 1978 A.D., I believe that the survey is valid.

I recall that in 1978 A.D., the majority of Catholics were open to having TLMs offered at parishes.

That said, as I believe the survey had indicated, the majority of Catholics would not assist necessarily at TLM…but if their brothers and sisters in the Faith had desired to assist at TLMs…fine.

The claim today by TLM-haters is that offering the TLM at a parish would “divide” the Faithful. That claim is nonsense.

But the party line is that the TLM is too “controversial” to add to a parish.

During the late 1970s, that feeling was not remotely in place at any parish with which I was familiar.

A TLM then, for example, at Saint Mark (Plano) would not have spawned any controversy.

Richardson’s parishes…same thing. The same at various Dallas parishes known to me.

4. steve - January 13, 2015

I wish to add to the above.

When the New Mass was introduced, the criticisms that I had encountered on a vast scale was that “priests had offered Mass with their backs to us and mumbled in a language that ‘nobody’ had understood.”

I recall vividly that Mass facing the people was a popular reform among the Faithful.

The majority of Catholics in my experiences then embraced the use of vernaculars…but were comfortable with parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin.

Gregorian Chant also appealed to many Catholics.

The reception of Communion in the hand proved popular among Catholics.


There was massive disgust at the wreckovation of churches.

The switch to ugly vestments upset the Faithful,

The silliness of priests during Mass…when they transformed themselves into comedian and showmen…upset the people in the pews.

A moderate reform of the TLM, which featured a mixture of Latin and vernaculars, would have sufficed among a great many Catholics.

Everything else, from the destruction of Friday abstinence to traditional practices and devotions, disgusted us.

The overall destruction of Catholic identity disgusted us.

But that is what our Churchmen had inflicted upon us.

Unfortunately, that program remains alive and well within the Church.

5. Dismas - January 13, 2015

Different religion.

6. steve - January 13, 2015

Different approach.

The dogmas that I received from Holy Mother Church during Pope Saint John XXIII’s Pontificate remain the same.

Different approach…the New Orientation.

Different approach…definitely destructive.


7. Dismas - January 13, 2015

Different religion

Tantumblogo - January 13, 2015

That’s your answer for everything!

Baseballmom - January 13, 2015

Perhaps…. But then, it is also the CORRECT answer. 😉

8. Dismas - January 13, 2015

Long answers confuse. Stick to basics.

LaGallina - January 13, 2015

I think the “different religion” answer deserves some attention. How are the Novus Ordo (and all that goes with it) and the TLM (and all that goes with it) the same religion?

When every single rite of the Old Church has been changed or removed, when the entire calendar is different, when the TLM is celebrated in a beautiful church with a high altar, but the new mass is celebrated in a warehouse, when even the moral teachings differ considerably if you talk to a modern priest and then to a Trad priest. Or if you consider changes in Church teaching such as ecumenism and freedom of religion. Face it, these two churches have very little in common.

As Dismas says so succinctly, “Different religion.”

Tantumblogo - January 14, 2015

You’ll get no argument from me. What we have now in theory and practice would be utterly alien to a Catholic transported in time from, say, 1940 to today.

Where there is some disagreement is in divining whether the Church can be restored from the organization She has now, or whether there will have to be purt’ near a total collapse before any restoration can occur. SSPX folks may tend towards the latter view, and maybe some in the FSSP towards the former, but bear in mind, there is a whole lot of mixing between the two groups, and opinions are very far from uniform.

9. Elvia Leyva - January 14, 2015

I was born after Vatican II and had no connection what so ever to the TLM. We never went to Church, so when I married, I ended up in the Charismatic Renewal in which I spent 23 years of my life. I did it all, I got as deep as one can get there, I “spoke in thongues”, I prayed for both inner and physical healing, I was able to move the emotions of hundreds of people and make them do what I wanted, I laid hands over hundreds, including a couple of priests (one of them kneeling before us), etc., etc., etc.
Three years ago I found the TLM in my own backyard. I started going to the old mass, and even though I didn’t understand it and did not know what to do, it was love at first sight, I was floored and I knew I had found what I was looking for all my life. Soon after I couldn’t stomach the novus ordo, and I couldn’t go back to the shananigans of the renewal. I finally had to make a general confession with my FSSP priest about all the abominations I participated in while in the renewal. My penance was real hard: try to bring back out of the “renewal” and into the real Catholic faith as many as I can for the rest of my life.

steve - January 14, 2015

“…the real Catholic faith”?

Were you Catholic during the 23 years prior to your having discovered the Traditional Roman Mass?


Dismas - January 14, 2015

The question is a set-up and provocative. The fact is there is an authentic Catholic Faith and an aberration that has been promulgated over the last 50 years.

Getting side-tracked into these questions of whether or not well-intentioned Catholics who, through no fault of their own, fall prey to faux-Catholicism are really Catholics or not is not germane, nor is it something we are equipped to judge.

Tantumblogo - January 14, 2015

God bless you. Such an edifying comment, I really appreciate it.

LaGallina - January 14, 2015

What a great story. Very encouraging.

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