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Some thought provoking material on erroneous popes and the efficacy of radical changes to the Liturgy January 12, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, different religion, episcopate, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, Papa, persecution, Revolution, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.
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Via Eponymous Flower, an interesting statement from Cardinal Juan de Torquemada, brother of the more famous Cardinal Tomas Torquemada, both of Spain:

“…..the Pope could, without doubt, fall into Schism . . . Especially is this true with regard to the divine liturgy, as for example, if he did not wish personally to follow the universal customs and rites of the Church. . . . Thus it is that Innocent states (De Consuetudine) that, it is necessary to obey a Pope in all things as long as he does not himself go against the universal customs of the Church, but should he go against the universal customs of the Church, he need not be followed . . .

Tancred then links to this paper at Catholic Apologetics, which argues that St. Pius V’s declaration in Quo Primum, that the Mass he codified and regularized after the Council of Trent – which was absolutely nothing more than a process of codifying the long-extant Roman Liturgy as the normative Liturgy for the entire Church, and eliminating a handful of relatively new liturgies that had developed in the preceding 200 years – was the Mass offered by the Church since ancient times and which would remain codified as such, as a formal decree binding on all Catholics for all times upon pain of excommunication.  It is absolutely vital to note that Pius V did not “invent” or bawlderdize the extant Mass as offered in most of Christendom – he instead regularized all the prayers as offered in Rome (but also most other locales) as the normative form of the Mass for all time going forward.  The vital quote from Quo Primum is this:

…….it shall be unlawful henceforth and forever throughout the Christian world to sing or to read Masses according to any formula other than that of this Missal published by Us; this ordinance to apply to all churches and chapels, with or without care of souls, patriarchal, collegiate, and parochial, be they secular or belonging to any religious Order, whether of men (including the military Orders) or of women…….by this present Constitution, which shall have the force of law in perpetuity, We order and enjoin under pain of Our displeasure that nothing be added to Our newly published Missal, nothing omitted therefrom, and nothing whatsoever altered therein.

Furthermore, by these presents and by virtue of Our Apostolic authority We give and grant in perpetuity that for the singing or reading of Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal may be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment or censure, and may be freely and lawfully used. Nor shall bishops, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious of whatsoever Order or by whatsoever title designated, be obliged to celebrate Mass otherwise than enjoined by Us. We likewise order and declare that no one whosoever shall be forced or coerced into altering this Missal and that this present Constitution can never be revoked or modified, but shall for ever remain valid and have the force of law, notwithstanding previous constitutions or edicts of provincial or synodal councils, and notwithstanding the usage of the churches aforesaid, established by very long and even immemorial prescription, saving only usage of more than 200 years.

So…….the TLM will always be a valid Rite of the Mass, it may always be offered by any priest and assisted at by any faithful, and, more importantly, that no one can be forced or coerced to offer or assist at any Mass other than the Mass codified by St. Pius V under pain of excommunication.  Also, anyone who tries to alter the Mass is violating a direct papal command carrying the penalty of excommunication.

Ever since Vatican II and especially the unleashing of the Novus Ordo, there has been great argument as to how the binding decree of Pius V could possibly be reconciled with the massive, totally unprecedented changes inflicted on the Mass with the Novus Ordo.  I am not throwing out the brief excerpt below as a definitive stand, but more as a starting point for discussion, consideration, and further study*:

Quo Primum is a solemn papal decree binding on the Church “in perpetuity” and condemning any whom would depart from it, as the pope indicated.

First, in issuing the solemn decree, the pope is carrying out the decrees of a dogmatic council. Second, the Mass contains much essential doctrine (remember: lex orandi legem credendi statuit). Third, the Traditional Roman Rite of Mass is not an exceptional rite, but the universal rite of the Church, being the rite of the See of Rome. The pope was simply restating the 16-century Sacred Tradition of the Church in this case. [Quo Primum made the TLM as we now know (roughly, there were changes in the 50s) the official Mass for the Western Church.  It permitted other ancient Rites, like the Ambrosian and Mozarabic, but codified the ancient Roman Rite, used in probably 90% of all parishes in western Christendom, as the official Rite going forward.  It did NOT invent a new Rite, it didn’t cobble together a Mass differing from the one before, and thus there is really no such thing as a “Tridentine” Mass, meaning one that was put together at, or as a result of, the Council of Trent, as the Novus Ordo was an ostensible implementation of the changes “demanded” by Vatican II (it wasn’t, it went infinitely beyond what Sacrosanctum Concilium indicated)]

At no time in the future can a priest, whether secular or order priest, ever be forced to use any other way of saying Mass. Thus it can be said that the refusal of the new liturgy and adherence to the Traditional Mass, the suspension and any canonical pain are invalid in virtue of the Bull Quo Primum of St Pius V which give to all priest the perpetual right to celebrate the Mass of “St Pius V” and declares null and void any censures against a priest who celebrates this Mass”. [This is a very strong statement, but is it contrary to the intent of Quo Primum?  If not, then what?] Further St. Puis V would not have made us of the severe condemnatory language that is used in Quo Primum if he were making some minor editions but rather it is because he was binding for all eternity the Mass of the Roman rite.

We must not wrongly think that Pope Pius V was “binding” something new. He was simply acknowledging that he was bound, as all popes are, by the Sacred Tradition of the Church. The fallacy that may be made is the “Tridentine Mass” idea. There is no essentially “Tridentine Mass.” What is being talked about is the Latin (Roman) Mass of Sacred Tradition, as it was said at the Roman See, in essence from the beginning, but basically in the form we know it since at least the 6th century, and in most parts even earlier. Pope St. Pius V, was not introducing a new Mass; he was canonizing the Roman Mass which has been handed down to us from the Apostles. To further confirm this venerable Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) himself said in response to a request that he add the name of St. Joseph to the Canon of the Mass, “I am only the pope. What power have I to touch the Canon?”

Lets us not forget that when Pius V wrote “in perpetuum,” he knew exactly what he meant by those words:

“By declaring Ex Cathedra that Quo Primum can never be revoked or modified, St. Pius V infallibly defined that Quo Primum is of itself irreformable. –Fr. Paul L. Kramer, B.Ph., S.T.B., M.Div.

Further is the fact that this issue can be compare with the Gelasian decree in which the fourth century Pope attempted to name for all time which books constituted scripture and which did not. Was he attempting to bind all his successors to the same set of Biblical books? (Of course he was!) Could a later pope validly change that list by adding new books to scripture, or deleting any long accepted New Testament writings? (Of course not!) [Awesome point.  When are we going to see modernists try to incorporate Gnostic drivel into the Canon of Scripture?  One almost wonders why they haven’t tried……]

……….In addition to Quo Primum, two other documents have traditionally been printed at the front of every approved Roman Missal: Pope Clement VIII’s Cum Sanctissimum (1604) and Pope Urban VIII’s Si Quid Est (1634). Although both of these papal bulls renew the censure of excommunication imposed by Pope St. Pius V, neither of them contains this most grave imprecation……..

Now there are certain counter-arguments:  the Mass must be allowed to organically develop, the Mass was of course updated with new propers for the feasts of new Saints, there were very rare and very minor changes made prior to the 1950s, etc.  But what was wholly novel about the Novus Ordo was its creation, out of whole cloth, its abandonment of vast swaths of prayers used in the Mass since the most ancient times (in particular, the sacred Canon), and its radical changes not only to the calendar of Saints but to the entire set of readings  used for centuries.  Many of those readings had been in use for 1300, 1400, even 1500+ years.  Never in the history of the Church had a Pope or Council arrogated to themselves the right to totally remake the Mass.

My primary reason for linking to the article and posting an excerpt is this: Pope Benedict never fully defined the rights of priests associated with the TLM in his Motu Proprios liberalizing its use (and very rightly so, as the TLM was not, and never could nor can be, rightly “abrogated”).  The primary weakness in his Motu Proprios Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae is this: he did not address the situation, which likely should have been foreseen, that priests who started offering the TLM might come to love it, and, even more, recognize the grave deficiencies in the NO, and thus arrive at a conclusion, from the deepest reaches of their conscience, that they could only, in good faith and for the good of souls, offer the TLM.

Given the great force of the binding decree promulgated by St. Pius V, its reiteration by subsequent popes like Blessed Pius IX, and the fact that the TLM has been confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI as a form of the Mass fully equal in right to the Novus Ordo, it seems to me that demands by bishops that priests NOT offer the TLM, or only do so in a limited manner, are invalid and unjust, or at least, that a very strong argument could be made in support of that position.  This is an argument I hope to flesh out more over the coming weeks and months.

*- I fully recognize that this whole matter of the validity of the grave novelties associated with the Novus Ordo is as complicated as it is dangerous.  I advise readers not to get too excited by anything they read, nor jump to any great conclusions.  It’s not a very far walk from contesting the validity of the Novus Ordo to declaring that popes have engaged in formal heresy and are thus invalid.  Please don’t take me for supporting anything of the kind.

JPII/Benedictine generation of priests will have a hard time saving the Church January 12, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, different religion, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Holy suffering, manhood, mortification, North Deanery, persecution, priests, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition.
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That’s one of the prime takeaways from a post by Rorate Caeli recently.  While the relative orthodoxy of the younger generation of priests certainly does give rise to some hope, both due to their limited numbers and the near-total control of the levers of power by liberals in virtually every diocese, it will be a long, long time before these relatively orthodox men will be in a position to influence the Church on a broad level.  By then, Francis and his successor(s) may well have totally remade the priesthood by allowing priests to marry, admitting openly perverse priests, and even flirting with the idea of women priestesseses.

Long story short, don’t pin your hopes on any biological solution, or on a quick turnaround in the Church.  It is likely things will get a lot worse, before they get better (if’n and a when’n).  I excerpt portions of the post I found particularly meaningful below (my emphasis and comments):

It is said that the John Paul II/Benedict XVI generation of priests will “save” the Church from the straits in which she finds herself. This belief presents an untenable myopic vision of the future. The current generation of younger priests has largely been formed by the previous generation that contributed to the dire straits in the first place. What formation has thus been imparted to our newer generation? It would not be wise to do a happy dance and wave our pompoms while singing “the crisis is over” as Ross Douthat recently indicated[Well, I can say that, locally speaking, most of the young priests ordained in the Diocese of Dallas in the last 6-7 years have been pretty solid.  Some have at least a degree of overt attraction to tradition.  But their numbers are still quite few.  And, as indicated above, their degree of knowledge regarding the constant belief and practice of the Church is often quite limited, owing to the generally still deplorable state of the formation they receive.  So while there is some room for hope, it will be a very long, uphill slog.  The key thing is simple lack of numbers, the priesthood (and especially the office of pastor) is still dominated by liberal clerics of the preceding generation, and, in spite of their rapid aging, that will continue for many years to come]
The fact is that new priests get ordained and find the Communistic environment of fear and silence continues in parish life, albeit modified. Now, instead of seminary formators watching them, they have their secret police parish pastor keeping a sharp eye on them. Do not think for a moment these pastors are not keeping tabs on the “young pups” and making reports to authorities at the Diocesan chancery office(s). [Oh Lord do they!  The stories I could tell.  And not about anything so dramatic as actually offering Mass facing the Lord!  Oh no, I’m talking simple things like adding a single Latin prayer or dressing in traditional vestments!  The drama such instances of “rebellion” cause!]
A young priest wearing the cassock or a biretta will be a conversation piece at the rectory dining room table, followed by such epithets as “rigid,” “overly conservative,” and the like. [Oh indeed.  Such things cause quite a stir]  Moreover, if he likes to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form, you might as well put the straitjacket on him. In the parlance, these men need to be “broken.” If such tendencies are noted in seminary, they will most likely be assigned to work with a parish priest entrusted (tacitly or overtly) with the task of “breaking” the spirit of the newly-minted priest. [Once again, I don’t know much, but what I do know corresponds so very well to all the above.  First of all, in the Diocese of Dallas, it has been very clearly communicated to young priests that the TLM is expressly forbidden to them outside very unusual circumstances, a private Mass, or something to that effect.  It has been made very clear that there is only ONE parish where the TLM is offered in Dallas, and that will remain the case for a long time to come (certainly as long as our current bishop remains in office).  Even more, the bit about assigning young priests of orthodox tendency to certain parishes, with certain pastors, to be “broken” is very much spot on.  If you track the locales where young priests tend to be assigned in our own diocese, you will find a very clear pattern emerge.  That is not accidental. Even more, I have seen the kind of manipulation, the “breaking,” that goes on a number of times.  Things like shaming a young priest for holding a too orthodox view, making dark hints about the impact such views might have on his career, and using manipulative techniques to remind a  young priest that adhering to more traditional, orthodox beliefs is so very divisive, and won’t that just upset people and cause him a lot of problems in the future? I could be much more specific, but won’t, for now]
Another form of fear that is used by the pastor is a morbid fear of their comrades the people. In other words, “we do not do ‘X’ here in this parish because it will not go over well with the people” (Read: they will not like me and take their money/resources elsewhere). This line of thinking is based upon human respect, which is a condemned practice in the spiritual life, for “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). [That’s precisely the kind of manipulation I refer to above]
Human respect has a vicious tendency to neglect the saving truths (and pursuant ways of action) of Christ that lead us to heaven. In the case at hand, a practice (ad orientem) that directs people specifically to the worship of God as opposed to focusing upon man is being neglected because “the people” will not tolerate it. Who is the custodian of the Truths of God and His holy Church here, the priest or the people? [“The people” are just an excuse. The post-conciliar Church is as viciously clericalist as any in her long history, if the people were clamoring for more Tradition, their views wouldn’t count for diddly squat. Unless the money started to suffer, then, maybe, but it would be with great reluctance and fought every step of the way.  References to the concerns of the people are in essence just a mask for a pre-determined ideology of revolutionary origin]
One can certainly understand in the light of the current state of affairs that restoring ad orientem worship of Almighty God would be an uphill battle, one that requires the greatest of caution and care. Few priests, however, are climbing that hill and we need to pray for them. They are horribly brutalized by their respective Dioceses and this is an understatement. In seminary formation, they are socialized or conditioned to fear things like Latin and tradition. [Indeed.  It takes enormous guts and faith to fight through the minefield that is the seminary program, in this diocese as in almost all others, and even if a man manages to hang onto his pre-formation faith, he will face obstacles and opposition at almost every turn.  These young priests need constant prayer, and perhaps even more, penance, as do their often unjust superiors.]
In one case known to this writer, a group of women ran a priest out of a parish by complaining to his Diocese using the right key words to the authorities. This priest did nothing except what he was supposed to be doing as a priest, bring the tradition to the people (Latin, Chant, etc.). He now serves in a parish out in the boonies that is usually assigned to priests who experience troubles with the bottle or pornography. It is unjust, and while such atrocities make saints and are a sign of God’s favor, we must never think that it is acceptable for Ordinaries to persecute their priests as such (i.e. to do evil that good may come about).

Priests are forced to compromise their mission because they do not want to “jeopardize their priesthood” (to use their expression). Let us remember that a priest is a priest. One’s priesthood (in se) is not necessarily jeopardized. It is his ability to exercise the ministry which is at stake. His Ordinary can restrict the priest’s faculties by making him have as little an influence as the Ordinary is canonically able to do (nursing homes and boonie-parishes being likely options).  [Once again, spot on and fully supported by local trends.  Most all of the most orthodox priests, and especially pastors, are relegated to the furthest periphery of this diocese.  Not all priests in the far suburbs/exurbs trend orthodox, but virtually every orthodox pastor (relatively speaking) is consigned to a parish on the periphery.  Young priests undergoing the “breaking” process know that fate awaits them if they steadfastly adhere to their orthodox views.  It is a test of each man’s courage, and not all are able to stand it.]

There is much more.  There are certain highly “desirable” parishes, certain locales that tend to either be seen as very comfortable, or having a lot of resources, or being in a hot location (some priests enjoy a more thrilling nightlife than you or I), or being in a “friendly” neighborhood (ahem), etc.  These are often the same parishes where young priests are assigned, giving them, as it were, the carrot and the stick.  Locals can probably think of some of the more desirable parishes, they tend to be in wealthier parts of town and nicer areas.  Note, a parish does not have to be in the boonies to be  undesirable, being in a rough inner city parish with poor financial prospects is also not always desirable.

Quite worldly concerns, I know.  Diocesan politics are as banal as they are byzantine.  Really, the quoted text, and my comments, only scratch the very surface of this matter.  A priest today has to be as much or more politician, and often of a Machiavellian type, as he is devout man of God and shepherd of souls.  That’s a core aspect of the post-conciliar clericalism that is so rampant today, a priest is often judged by ordinaries less by his devotion and ability to move and save souls than he is by his political and financial acumen, blind obedience to whatever the chancery bureaucracy (dominated by lay liberal types) demands, and his general willingness to go along with the powers that be, and perhaps most especially the post-conciliar zeitgeist.

Of course, things vary.  Some dioceses, some bishops, are better than others.  Dallas has not been blessed with a particularly orthodox bishop in almost 50  years.  Farrell is an improvement over his two disastrous predecessors, but he’s not exactly a Finn, Burke, or Bruskewitz.  So much in the Church depends on the outlook of the bishop, but even with a fairly orthodox/traditional bishop, the unmoving bureaucracy remains overwhelmingly progressive.  The progressives seized almost total control of power in the Church from the national conference level on down in the late 60s, and they have a death grip on it.

It’s going to be a very long row to hoe.  Do pray for the young priests, they may not be explicitly traditional, but, then again, Fr. Michael Rodriguez and Fr. Peter Carota did not start out that way, either.  They face sufferings and pressures we’ll never really know.  Pray that they retain that light of faith and openness to the Church’s great, life-sustaining Tradition.  May God bless them and their apostolates.

Ugly smear directed at the FSIs January 12, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in different religion, episcopate, error, General Catholic, huh?, martyrdom, mortification, persecution, religious, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church, Tradition.
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Via Eponymous Flower, the London Daily Mail has run a very ugly smear article against the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, claiming that sisters were forced to engage in acts of self-abuse, eat out-of-date food (and???), sign vows in their own blood, take the discipline, and other sundry things.

The accusations stem entirely from one disaffected woman who left the order years ago.  I won’t quote any of the Daily Mail piece here, if you want to read it, you can go there.  I did want to say a few things, however.

First, this is the word of one woman.  Her claims have not been substantiated to any degree. Given the climate that surrounds the FIs (male and female) right now, the ongoing persecution and attempts to paint them as insane extremists desperately needing the (thus far) totally unsubstantiated Vatican intervention, I am highly dubious of her claims.  There is ENORMOUS room to wonder whether these claims are not some attempt by liberals within the Church (or without) to justify the Vatican’s blundering, draconian, and abusive intervention in a formerly growing, thriving order.  That is to say, these claims seem just a bit too convenient to me, especially given that the source is an Italian newspaper with a very close connection to a number of the most progressive members of the Italian episcopate.

Second, worldlings have always expressed horror at many penitential practices long found acceptable within devout religious orders in the Church, and associated with too many Saints to list.  Josemaria Escriva, whatever you think of the group he founded, took the discipline regularly.  Saint Catherine of Siena, one of the Saints to which I am most attached, not only denied herself virtually all food, but on several occasions drank the puss from absolutely sickening wounds, not to do something gross and horrific, but to overcome her natural revulsion for individuals afflicted with such wounds and to better serve them, seeing in them the still-present image of their Creator.  Numerous other female Saints have done similarly over the Church’s long history.

Those are just a handful of examples from a variety that could fill an encyclopedia.  I have read a great many books on a great many Saints, and I have found myself at times shocked at some of their penitential behavior, but we must keep in mind that this behavior both flowed from, and was a result of, the enormous faith and practice of virtue in these holiest of souls.  It is a great mistake to discount behaviors as “excessive”, “fanatical,” or “disgusting” simply because we do not understand them.  There were generally extremely good reasons for all these “extreme” examples, and the devotion they reveal are not to be trifled.  Part of me wonders whether some of those who express shock and dismay at such things – even among some fairly devout Catholics – might not have a bit of unconscious envy of the kind of faith indicated by such practices. I won’t say any more than that.

Note, however, that, in every instance I can think of, all the myriad examples of such incredible practices were voluntary.  That is an extremely important point.  But done voluntarily, such things as daily “self-flagellation,” eating less than desirable foods, and even signing vows in blood have been a regular feature of religious life for many, many centuries.  The world, and the worldlings who run the Church, may not understand them, they may even be repulsed by them, but that does not mean they are necessarily wrong, unholy, or against good practice of the religious life.

Now, it’s possible these claims are all true.  I’m very doubtful, but it’s not impossible.  It could be there was a particular convent where disordered practices developed, and where nuns were forced (that being the key) to engage in very trying penitential practices not as a fruit of Grace, but out of some excessive notion of obedience.  If so, then that would be a very bad thing, and a concerning indictment of the FIs.  But for now, I remain so exceedingly skeptical as to basically discount the claims, especially given the source.  I tend to think that, failing to find any real structural problems with the order, the people dedicated to its “reform” (re: destruction) are now turning to rumor, innuendo, and general calumniating.

We’ll see what develops.  Remember, even most relatively active Catholics are convinced that Bishop Robert Finn was a bad guy who concealed abuse, when what happened to him was on the contrary one of the biggest railroad jobs I’ve ever seen.

Don’t believe everything you read.  Except here, of course.

Is the traditional movement approaching a moment of crisis? January 12, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Liturgy, persecution, priests, sanctity, scandals, secularism, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.
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Msgr. Charles Pope, who offers the TLM regularly but who I would certainly not call a traditional priest, penned a piece for the National Catholic Register in which he asserted that at least as far as regards his experience of the TLMs he offers, he feels that interest in the TLM has reached a plateau, and may soon drop.  He seems to attribute this at least somewhat to TLM goers, possessed a fortress of solitude mentality and often, if not positively unwelcoming to newcomers, at least highly reticent to “evangelize” in favor of the TLM and with perhaps a hint of desire to keep their precious TLM all to themselves.  I’ll admit I’m reading a bit between the lines in that last bit of analysis, but I think it’s being hinted at.

For the most part, I think Msgr. Pope is off track.  Yes, the TLM appeals to only a niche of Catholics.  When 2/3 or more of even weekly Mass-going Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence, the idea that the TLM is going to have mass appeal is a dubious one.  But, more specifically, I think Msgr. Pope has drawn bad conclusions from a far too narrow data set.

He seems to base his analysis almost entirely on his experience in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC.  He laments that even though the Archdiocese has “generously” made available TLMs in 5 locations, attendance numbers have remained flat at around 1000, all told. Now, it does seem that many of these TLMs are at less than optimal times or in inconvenient locations, but even still, I’d argue that his experience is far more a product of the old real estate maxim – location, location, location – than it is any shortcoming on the part of the TLM or its adherents.

Look, Washington, DC is one of the most liberal regions in the country.  It is dominated by those with a statist, progressive outlook. I don’t think I’m declaring anything extraordinary when I claim that the TLM generally appeals far more to those of a conservative outlook than it does to those of a more progressive bent.  Surely there are more than 1000 conservative Catholics in the DC area, but who knows what panoply of factors is playing into Msgr. Pope’s experience?!? Simply throwing one’s hands in the air and declaring doom seems excessive based on the very limited examples he provides.

Eponymous Flower provided a graphic that, to me, seems to largely belie Msgr. Pope’s claims: the number of TLMs being offered continues to grow:


In our local environment, the only TLM parish permitted in the Diocese of Dallas (and the only location where TLMs will EVER be permitted, or so I am told by non-TLM local priests) continues to grow, and rapidly.  That growth has continued even though the FW Diocese, only ~25 miles away, is creating a new TLM parish, and there are now two full-time priests assigned in Tyler, only about 90 miles away.  All of these three parishes continue to experience sustained growth, but, then again, DFW is a far more conservative area than is DC.

This experience is not isolated to North Texas.  In Arizona, in parts of California, in the KC area, the TLM continues to attract growing numbers of the faithful.  Numbers of Masses available would not steadily increase over decades were the same tiny population continually subdivided among more and more available TLMs.

Regarding evangelization of the TLM, I’m all for it.  I’ve done a great deal of that for years on this blog, even to the point of losing a good chunk of my circa 2010-11 readership.  But we must face facts:  even in Archdioceses blessed to have several TLMs, public advertising and evangelization for tradition is often highly frowned upon, if not expressly forbidden, as is essentially the case in our own fair Diocese of Dallas.  As a result, I would wager than 3/4 or more of even weekly Mass-going Catholics in this Diocese still have no idea that the Traditional Mass is available, or even just what is quite meant by the term.  There are huge institutional barriers throughout out the country and world to evangelizing in favor of the TLM and the entire traditional practice of the Faith, or even simple public announcements that such Masses are regularly available.

But I believe there may still be another factor at play: there is a huge difference between a parish, or a priest, who offers TLMs, and a fully traditional priest, grounded in the pre-conciliar Faith, formed according to rigorous scholastic methods, and desirous to see the whole post-conciliar Revolution consigned to the ash heap of history.  The problems Msgr. Pope describes seem to be localized in parishes tending towards the former, whereas the growth I allude to above is generally focused in parishes where the priests have fully embraced Tradition and who steadfastly advocate in favor of it, and not Gospel music in the Mass.  The TLM, glorious as it is, is really just one component – the most important component, certainly – of a broader mix that includes traditional catechesis, practice of traditional virtue, building up of a community of families and individuals dedicated to learning all the pre-conciliar aspects of belief and practice, etc., etc.  The TLM as a standalone in a Novus Ordo parish, with a priest mostly seated within the Novus Ordo milieu, is probably always going to be a more problematic, and less attractive, beast than a full-up trad parish.

In other words, if Msgr. Pope is concerned about shrinking attendance at his TLMs……and he certainly seems to be……..his best recourse might be to take a long look in the mirror.

Having said that, again, I’m all in favor of evangelizing not only for the TLM but in favor of the entire pre-conciliar practice of the Faith. I’ve tried to do so with my own frail efforts on this blog, and in other ways as well.  I have personally brought several dozen individuals to their first TLM, or their first TLM in decades.  I’d love to sell the TLM more personally in local NO parishes, but opportunities to do so are rare, and when I have I have found the response fairly disappointing.  Getting people to transition from the NO environment, even when they are quite conservative, is generally a long and involved process.  I guess one advantage of mixed-ritual parishes is the ability to interact more regularly with those who don’t regularly assist at the TLM, and to try to sell them on its virtues, but, again, that process of “conversion” is generally long and involved.

Look, my readership has always skewed heavily conservative, but even there, as I said, I lost nearly all my original cadre of readers when I transitioned from being conservative to more explicitly traditional.  They simply wouldn’t “go there.” It was one of those things where no amount of argumentation or demonstration of virtue, historical continuity, etc., would sway them. So I think we’ve got to realize, in this present crisis, many souls simply are not going to respond to the traditional message.  As a result, ultimately, the Church is going to shrink to a tiny fraction of its present size.

But, there remain a whole bunch of souls out there who will eventually, by the Grace of God, embrace the traditional practice of the Faith.  I don’t think the growth of the traditional movement is in any way capped.  I’m sure it won’t constitute 50% of the Church in my lifetime, but it will continue to grow, and steadily.  But I do think the tendency will be for more and more explicitly, entirely traditional parishes, and that the hybrid parish will eventually become a passing relic, like the Novus Ordo Latin Mass.

One critical thing we need to push for, is the right for any priest, Ecclesia Dei or no, to offer the TLM exclusively, and take his parish in that direction if he be a pastor.  That would be a huge help right now.

Outta time.  Any thoughts?