October 1983 Print

True and False Obedience

Michael Davies

The American Church: Is it here?  

- Part I -

FATHER KENNETH BAKER, Editor of The Homiletic and Pastoral Review, stated in his June 1983 editorial that:

A major trend in this country is towards an American Church, that is a Church separate and independent from Rome. The locus of this trend is not in the laity, but in the Church leaders: some bishops, priests, nuns, intellectuals, diocesan experts. Another way of saying this is that we are becoming more Protestant all the time. By that I mean the rejection of a hierarchical Church founded by Jesus Christ, primacy of the subjective conscience, and absolutizing Scripture to the neglect of Tradition.

I would go further and claim that the trend has now become the status quo; that the schismatic American Church is already here, and that this is a disaster not simply for Catholics in America, but throughout the entire English-speaking world. It is my experience that what happens in the American Church this year will appear in the English Church a few years later.

I am even prepared to give a date when the de facto establishment of the schismatic American Church took place—it was in 1976 when the hierarchy failed to anathematize the notorious Detroit Congress. Let anyone who doubts this study James Twyman's booklet, Betrayal of the Citadel. This book proves that the Congress Resolutions were nothing less than a blueprint for schism. This booklet is still available and every concerned Catholic should possess it.

If you examine what is taking place in many American dioceses today you will find that it is nothing less than the implementation of the satanic program advocated by the Detroit Congress. The English bishops consented to the following repudiation of papal supremacy under Henry VIII: "The Bishop of Rome hath not any greater jurisdiction granted him by God in sacred scripture in this realm of England than any other foreign bishop." The message of the Detroit Congress was equally clear: "The Bishop of Rome has not any greater jurisdiction in the dioceses of the U.S.A. than any other foreign bishop."


An Historic Article

The December 1981 issue of The Homiletic and Pastoral Review included what I consider to be the most important article to appear in any American journal since the Second Vatican Council. Many of you will have read it, but reprints are readily available if you have not. They should be ordered by the dozen. The author of this article, a priest, had to conceal his name to avoid persecution. He described the contemporary situation in at least six American dioceses. His conclusions were horrific. Before his death Pope Paul VI lamented the fact that we were witnessing the self-destruction of the Church. Well, that process has run its course in these dioceses. Time will not permit me to quote extensively from the article which was entitled "The Plight of the Papist Priest." By a "papist priest" the author means one who is loyal to the authentic papal Magisterium. Magisterium is a word derived from the Latin word "magister"teacher, and refers to the teaching authority of the Church.

I will summarize the conclusions of the papist priest as follows:

1) Many American dioceses are ruled by bishops who are either Modernists or who submit to Modernist control of their diocese;

2) Modernists have a "lock-tight" control of the diocesan bureaucracy;

3) Priests who are loyal to the Pope have been reduced to a minority of one-eighth of the diocesan clergy;

4) These priests are isolated, ridiculed and have no hope of advancement;

5) Most seminaries are totally Modernist, and the students who are ordained from them are totally-programmed Modernists;

6) Modernist influence is particularly dominant in the fields of liturgy, catechetics, and the diocesan press;

7) The situation is certain to worsen;

8) Many American dioceses are already totally alienated from the Holy See;

9) Given the present process of consultation prior to episcopal appointments, there is no prospect of orthodox priests being promoted to the episcopate.

What a terrifying indictment, and readers of the Homiletic will know that, subsequently, issue after issue carried pages of letters from priests all over the country, endorsing these conclusions. Father Baker said that he has never had such a response to any other article. The author claims that one-eighth of the clergy in the average diocese are loyal to the Pope, three-eighths stand in a posture of radical alienation from the papacy, and, as for the remaining one-half, this is what he says of them:

About half the clergy comprise the swing area: a vast mushy no-man's land where the priests will flip-flop wherever and whenever convenience dictates. At present this means conforming to the radical Modernist leadership. For some of these men, a nostalgia for Rome surfaces now and then, but is quickly submerged. Theirs is the tired refrain: "But this is what the bishop wants, and we took a vow of obedience to our bishop."

What could be more plain? Some dioceses in the United States have gone into schism because of false obedience on the part of the clergy, indiscreet obedience, the easy option. The faith was in imminent danger, these priests should have resisted, but they didn't. "I took a vow of obedience," they said, "I was only obeying orders." But whose orders were they obeying? "Satan's masterstroke," claims Archbishop Lefebvre, "is to have succeeded in sowing disobedience to all Tradition through obedience."


A Dialogue in the Spirit of Vatican II

I have already explained that the purpose of our life here upon earth is to "be good"—to practice virtue. I often tell the eleven-year-old children in my class to "be good," but in doing so I am not urging them to practice virtue. What I mean by "be good" is "do what I tell you." The American bishops expect their priests to be good in exactly the same sense, and my word, what good obedient priests they usually have, at least where basically conservative priests are concerned. The liberal clergy do what they like and the bishops either look the other way or actively encourage them—but not the moderate conservatives:

"Get your tabernacle off the altar, and put it out of the way in a corner."

"But why, Your Excellency?"

"Because I tell you to!"

"I hear and I obey."

"Now smash the altar up."

"Mine not to reason why."

"Burn the altar rails."

"Why stop now?"

"Throw out the statues."

"If you say so."

"Get rid of the Baltimore Catechism. Use this textbook."

"Has Your Excellency noticed that it's full of heresy?"

"Full of heresy, full of heresy—can't you tell the difference between heresy and contemporary insights? Have it in your school tomorrow."

"I'll get it there today."

"You need to be re-cycled. Go on a re-cycling course with Father Curran and Father McBrien. They'll update you."

"If you want me updated, then updated I'll be."

"We've got a new sex education course. See it's used in your school."

"I have been re-cycled. I obey. But do they really need to learn about all those perversions?"

"Perversions, perversions! They're not perversions. They're alternative life styles. Your re-cycling isn't complete. Read a few Greeley novels and broaden your mind!"

"I'll subscribe to Playboy if you like."

"I hear you don't have altar girls. What's your excuse?"

"Aren't they forbidden by the Pope?"

"Forbidden by the Pope? Forbidden by the Pope? Whose diocese is this? Get some altar girls."

"There’ll be a bevy of them serving tomorrow."

"And about time too. Get some dancing girls while you're at it!"

"I'll engage a whole chorus line! It will help my people to enter into relevant, contemporary, insightful, outgoing creative liturgy."

"What was that?"

"I said it will help my people to enter into relevant, contemporary, insightful, outgoing, creative—oh, and I should have added meaningful."

"That's really great. You've been renewed at last. Welcome to the American Church!"


Who's "Calling the Shots"?

Yes, there's a good, obedient priest. A priest who is willing to take an axe to Catholic Tradition rather than offend his bishop. But, let's go a little further. Just who is he obeying? He will insist that he is obeying his bishop, but where do his orders really come from? They usually emanate from the manifold commissions which exercise a stranglehold on the American hierarchy. Before the Second Vatican Council, each American bishop ruled his diocese as an independent entity. But after the Council came collegiality. The bishops consulted together, took collegial decisions, and acted uniformly throughout the country. Thus, even those bishops opposed to Communion in the hand permitted it in their diocese because they did not feel able to oppose the collegial decision. But the hierarchy itself, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, almost invariably acts on the advice of permanent committees and commissions. These are dominated by the expert advisers for whom the bishops on the committee are little more than mouthpieces, though often compliant and eager mouthpieces. Thus the handful of bishops on the BCL, the Bishops Committee on the Liturgy, can be manipulated by even one expert adviser into adopting virtually any form of liturgical insanity. The decisions of the BCL are adopted almost invariably by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the NCCB, and, presto!, the latest lunacy is soon being perpetrated all over the U.S.A. The ICEL translation of the Mass used throughout the English-speaking world was described by the late Archbishop J. Dwyer of Portland, Oregon, as "inept, puerile, and semi-literate." I have shown in my book, Pope Paul's New Mass, that it was foisted on the BCL by just one man, Father Frederick R. McManus. You may find this hard to believe, but I have provided all the documentation. The BCL foisted it upon the NCCB, who foisted it upon the Catholics of the U.S.A. and, for that matter, of the English-speaking world. I wonder if these oh-so-obedient priests flip-flopping in that mushy no-man's land have ever bothered to ask themselves precisely who they are obeying. I wonder, too, if at this stage, they would care if they discovered the truth? Compromise is a self-perpetuating process. Each succeeding stage is easier than the one before, and a time comes when there are no more compromises but enthusiastic implementation.


A Bishop Who Has Become a Wolf

Let us take a specific example of the type of bishop described by the papist priest—Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee.

* Archbishop Weakland permits the use of sex education programs in his diocese which could be described justly as constituting child abuse.

* The Archbishop has a task force of twelve militant feminists touring the diocese attempting to indoctrinate Catholic women with their absurd and anti-Catholic propaganda.

* The Archbishop knows very well that it is the wish of Pope John Paul II that religious sisters should wear a religious habit. The extent to which the will of the Pope is defied in this matter in his diocese is a public scandal.

* A survey of priests in the Archdiocese reveals that thirty out of forty-five interviewed were homosexual.

* In April 1983, the Archbishop endorsed what was entitled an "Ecumenical Peace Event" which featured a list of notorious left-wing speakers who gave practical advice on such subjects as civil disobedience and tax resistance.

* In his diocesan paper on 9 July 1983 he described the Eucharist as a memorial in terms that could have been composed by a sixteenth-century Protestant Reformer. He did not specifically deny Catholic teaching, but nowhere affirmed it, which amounts to an implicit denial.

* The Archbishop attended a dinner for seventy ex-priests and their wives where he made a speech which evoked great enthusiasm from them. While a bishop should show compassion and understanding to individuals who have failed to keep their ordination vows, it is intolerable that a Catholic bishop should treat such men as an organized group within the Church, particularly in view of the strong disapproval of Pope John Paul II for the laicization of priests.

* In 1979 Bernard Cooke, a married ex-Jesuit, was invited to lecture to 900 people attending the fourth annual diocesan Religious Education Congress. Lay people in the diocese protested, with every justification: "What twisted logic ordains that our teachers of religion are to be instructed by those who have rejected their commitments to God and His Church by leaving the priesthood or religious life?"

* Two other married ex-priests, Daniel Maguire and Dennis Doherty, both notorious proponents of Modernism, are also regular speakers in the Archdiocese.

* Father Charles Curran, who teaches what one respected American theologian describes as "pornology," has also been an honored speaker there. His teaching is totally incompatible with that of the Magisterium of the Church, or, indeed, with the most basic Judeo-Christian concepts of sexual morality. Once again, protests by lay Catholics at this outrage were rejected with contempt.

* Not only did the Archbishop endorse the visit of Father Curran, but his Director of the Office of Religious Education stated publicly that Curran's views were in conformity with Church teaching. A man who can say this is not fit to be in charge of the education of Catholic children.

* The Archbishop sent a personal letter to all the priests of his Archdiocese urging them to attend a symposium at which two Protestant ministers would speak, Dr. Martin Marty and Dr. Michael Ramsey.

* Even more incredibly, the Archbishop wrote to his priests recommending a crusade given by a Protestant evangelist named Billy Graham. He told his clergy that: "Evangelism is a gift in the Church which can be a source of grace for persons open to a deeper realization of truth." But Billy Graham is not a member of the Church, and rejects a whole series of truths basic to the Catholic faith. How, then, can Catholics deepen their realization of the truth by listening to him? Furthermore, Archdiocesan facilities were put at the disposal of Billy Graham's staff and Catholic clergy urged to be present for indoctrination prior to the crusade.

* The Archbishop justifies the use of lay ministers of Communion even when ordained priests are available, and there is no question of the priest being infirm through age or ill health, and that the Mass will be unduly prolonged. He does it on the grounds that this reflects a renewed sense of baptismal ministry. These ministers should properly be called extraordinary ministers, and should only be used in the most extraordinary circumstances which could rarely occur in the U.S.A. There was never any question whatsoever of these ministers being a manifestation of the "dignity of the baptized," or of some non-existent "baptismal ministry." Never at any time in the history of the Church has there been any suggestion that baptism confers the right to distribute Holy Communion. This has always been confined to the ordained priesthood, except during extreme emergencies in times of persecution or a chronic shortage of priests. Pope John Paul II has stated that distributing Holy Communion is a privilege of the ordained, and almost every case where lay ministers are used is a calculated act of defiance of the Pope.

* The Archbishop states that there is to be no distinction between men and women in selecting lay ministers. The Vatican guidelines state clearly that men must be chosen before women if they are available. He states that without the use of lay ministers the practice of Communion under both kinds could not have been enlarged. As Communion under both kinds is forbidden on Sundays he is perpetrating one abuse to facilitate a second abuse. He states that lay ministers are indeed a blessing and a grace. In most cases they are a public scandal.

* The Archbishop takes it upon himself to dispense Catholics in his diocese from assisting at Mass on universal Holy Days if these fall too near a Sunday, as he does not wish to inconvenience the faithful unduly on holiday weekends.

* The Archbishop says he would not actually advise Catholics to resist the draft if it is reinstated, but he asked those with conscientious objections to write to him so that their letters can be used in support of Conscientious Objectors. It has always been the consistent teaching of the Church that Catholics should be prepared to fight in defense of their country in a just war.

* The Archbishop gave his support to the notorious ERA amendment which was incompatible with the Catholic concept of respect for the exalted role of women in society. It was, thankfully, defeated largely due to the energetic opposition of Catholic women, who, unlike this trendy prelate, have not forgotten what being a Catholic means.

* The Archbishop used his diocesan paper to publish a public defense of Fr. Andrew Greeley, the priest who writes erotic novels and has attacked official Church teaching on a number of fundamental issues such as contraception. The Archbishop insisted upon retaining Greeley's column in the diocesan paper, despite many protests, and put tremendous pressure on his priests to insure that this deplorable journal was read in every Catholic home. The duty of a truly Catholic bishop would be to protect his people from Greeley, but this Archbishop did his best to force them to read him.

* Despite the many ex-priests and others of dubious orthodoxy invited to speak in his diocese, despite his promotion of Billy Graham, the Archbishop acted to prevent a perfectly orthodox priest, Msgr. Cage Gordon, Vicar General of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from speaking in the diocese.

* On Holy Thursday 1982, instead of following the prescribed ritual of washing the feet of men or boys, the Archbishop devised a bizarre ritual of his own which involved washing and kissing the hands of women.

* He allows Mass to be said in a night club with music by a polka band and the use of colored spotlights. Those wishing to receive Communion are seated at tables or the bar.

* The Archbishop is one of the most blatant promoters of the abuse of Communion under both kinds on Sundays in defiance of the Pope. He has made no attempt to curtail the abuse despite the insistence in Inaestimabile Donum that it must cease.

* The Archbishop is aware that the Pope is defied by the use of altar girls in many parishes. He takes no steps to prevent this.

* The Archbishop allows Communion to be given to Protestants in flagrant defiance of the Vatican norms forbidding this. This abuse constitutes sacrilege.

* The Archbishop allows dancing girls in the sanctuary, an outrage never tolerated at any time in the liturgy of the Church and not authorized by any Vatican document, but, indeed, specifically forbidden.

* The Archbishop has achieved public notoriety by his frequent public endorsement for so-called homosexual rights. While those addicted to this perversion should receive compassionate treatment from their confessors on an individual basis, there is no justification whatsoever for treating them as a legitimate group within the Church, or for extending any form of recognition to their organizations. The Archbishop has been singled out for praise by leaders of organized homosexual groups, which is a cause of shame and scandal for every decent Catholic in his diocese. He has even been proved to have used arguments taken directly from homosexual propaganda. He has directed his grotesquely misnamed "Office for Human Concerns" to campaign in favor of pro-homosexual legislation.

* The Archbishop intervened personally to prevent an advertisement for Fr. Rueda's book exposing the homosexual network from appearing in his diocesan newspaper.

* The Archbishop is determined to impose the diabolic RENEW program upon the Catholics in his Archdiocese. By September 1981, 215 out of 265 parishes were already submitting to this sophisticated system of brainwashing which can have no other effect than to destroy the Catholic identity of the participants.

* The Archbishop has received an award for his support of so-called "women's rights." This is simply the infiltration into the Church of the militantly anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, anti-family Women's Liberation Movement.

* The Archbishop is a member of Pax Christi, a so-called Catholic "peace" movement. An appeasement movement would be a better description. Although probably not under direct communist control almost all the causes it espouses are calculated to advance the interests of Communism. He is showing every sign of becoming more interested in politics than religion, and the causes he espouses seem almost invariably to be left wing.

* Despite his sympathy for homosexuals and militant feminists, he shows nothing but hostility to traditionally-minded Catholics who complain to him about the abuses. He regularly accuses them of being in bad faith, insults them, and, in one case, when some Catholic mothers complained to him about public defiance of liturgical law by a particular priest, he replied that this priest was "loyal, cooperative and obedient," unlike their own pastor who was "disloyal and uncooperative and disobedient." It is unheard of for a Catholic bishop to denigrate one of his parish priests to members of his parish.


The Flock Must Defend Itself

Let us make an effort to be totally objective. Can we, in all honesty, pretend that Archbishop Weakland is in communion with the See of Peter? Would it not be a hypocritical pretense to consider him a Catholic in any sense of the word? He is a menace to the faith of the Catholics in his diocese. Could any truly Catholic priest give his obedience to such a bishop, a bishop who is not just openly but arrogantly schismatic? The manifest duty of a Catholic priest submitting himself to the supreme law of charity, showing true Catholic obedience, is to protect his people from such a bishop. On Christmas Day in the year 428 an heroic layman named Eusebius uttered a public protest at the heresy of Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople. There is no space to tell this fascinating and inspiring story now. But here is a comment upon the incident written by Dom Gueranger in his classic study, The Liturgical Year:

When the shepherd turns into a wolf the first duty of the flock is to defend itself. As a general rule, doctrine comes from the bishops to the faithful, and it is not for the faithful, who are subjects in the order of Faith, to pass judgment on their superiors. But every Christian, by virtue of his title to the name Christian, has not only the necessary knowledge of the essentials of the treasure of Revelation, but also the duty of safeguarding them. The principle is the same, whether it is a matter of belief or conduct, that is of dogma or morals.

Well, is Archbishop Weakland a shepherd or a wolf? If you answer "a wolf" then the first duty of the flock is to defend itself. An organization like CUF would advise us to do this by making private, respectful representations to him, and if these fail by taking these representations to the proper authorities. I won't even speculate at the disdain with which this prelate would treat their private representations. He is noted for his sarcasm and his contempt for anyone's opinions but his own. And as for representations to the proper authorities, this brings me to the true plight of the papist priest or layman. There are, at present, no proper authorities in a position to exercise effective control over Archbishop Weakland—and doesn't he know it! This explains his arrogance. The true plight of the papist priest is, then, that loyal as he may be to the papacy, the Pope appears unable to do anything whatsoever to help him. As Dr. William Marra remarked recently: "Roman authority has collapsed." Let the papist priest complain or appeal to the Apostolic Delegate, let him complain or appeal to the Pope. Rarely, if ever, will anything be done. I will not speculate on why this is so. Pope Paul VI showed great weakness in dealing with Modernist theologians and bishops. It may well be that the rot has set in so severely now that Pope John Paul II feels any attempt to eradicate it would be futile. Some conservative Catholics have suggested that in his pastoral visits to various countries, he is appealing directly to the faithful over the heads of the bishops. If this is so his appeals have not been very effective. There is one inescapable fact about the U.S.A. since the papal visit: whatever good intentions he may have had, the situation has grown demonstrably worse. There is no hope whatsoever of salvaging anything from the wreckage of American Catholicism until he removes schismatic American bishops like Weakland from their sees. There is, alas, not the least indication that he possesses the resolution to take this drastic step. About two years ago I had a long meeting with Cardinal Seper, then Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Cardinal admitted to me that the Holy See no longer exercises effective control over the American bishops.

The true dilemma of the papist priest is, then, that he can expect no support from the Pope in return for his support of the papacy. What is the solution suggested by the author of that now famous article? It is, to my mind, depressing and defeatist:

If a remedy is not given by corrective action, the papist priest will have no recourse but to meekly and silently retire, and live out his life (be it years or decades) without public exercise of his ministry.

What a council of despair! Desperate times call for desperate remedies. Let me quote Dom Gueranger again: "When the shepherd turns into a wolf the first duty of the flock is to defend itself." Is this priest defending his flock by throwing in the towel? Of course he isn't! Is he fulfilling his duty to his flock by walking away and leaving the sheepfold unattended for the wolf to ravage? If he does this he is a hireling rather than a true shepherd. No, if a priest examines the situation in his diocese calmly, dispassionately, and feels bound in conscience to conclude that his bishop has become a wolf, to all intents and purposes he has withdrawn his diocese from the jurisdiction of the Holy See, then a truly Catholic priest can best defend his flock by withdrawing his own small sheep-fold from the jurisdiction of the diocese and ministering to his flock independently of the bishop. "You are advocating schism," some Catholics will respond. No, I am not! I am advocating an antidote to schism. This is precisely the action taken by St. Athanasius to preserve the faith during the Arian crisis. He even ordained priests in the dioceses of other bishops to insure that the Catholic priesthood did not die out. Not only did he receive no support from Pope Liberius in his efforts to defend orthodoxy, this Pope excommunicated him. But history vindicated Athanasius, who is now a saint, and Liberius was the first Pope not to be canonized. It is my belief that no priest has the moral right to abandon his people to a bishop turned wolf. If he is forced out of his parish then let him start a new one for those parishioners prepared to join him in a fight for orthodoxy. A growing number of priests are doing this, and with great success. There are dangers, of course, some of these priests have gone into schism, repudiating the Pope himself. Their literature and their sermons are a depressing mishmash of ignorance and bitterness. The greatest danger for such groups, and the first step on the inevitable road to schism, is that they begin to define themselves by what they are against. They develop a negative rather than a positive religion. The final stage comes when they appear to lose all interest in the combat against Modernism and devote all their energies to attacking other traditional Catholics. How such people must delight the Modernist bishops, what an asset they are to the schismatic American Church!


A Right to Tranquility

Interior peace for many Catholics has been the great casualty of the post-conciliar revolution. Going to Mass has become a misery for them, they come away disturbed and distressed. Their tranquility is disturbed by fear of what is happening to their children in the parish schools. So bizarre are the antics of some clergy that they quite reasonably wonder whether the sacraments they are receiving are valid and, in many cases in the U.S.A., these fears have been only too well founded. Catholics shouldn't have to live like that. They have a right to their interior peace and they have a right to indubitably valid sacraments, they have a right to presume that their children are receiving an orthodox education in Catholic schools, and are not being corrupted with degrading sex education courses.

I would like to stress once more an argument which is axiomatic to the case I have put before you. St. Athanasius took the stand he did because there had been a total breakdown of authority within the Church, and heresy was rampant. If this had not been the case he would have been wrong to preach, ordain, and administer the sacraments in the dioceses of other bishops. He would have been guilty of schism. The question that you must answer is whether the claims put forward by the author of the article, "The Plight of the Papist Priest," are true or not. If he was not exaggerating, if the nine points I listed giving the essence of his case really do apply to certain American dioceses, then I do not see how any reasonable person can deny that we are faced with the same situation as that faced by St. Athanasius.

Salus animarum suprema lex: the salvation of souls is the supreme law.

If a priest did decide that his diocese was in a state of de facto schism, and that it was his duty to serve the people outside the jurisdiction of a Modernist bishop turned wolf, rather than simply retiring as the papist priest advocated, would he be entitled to use the Tridentine Mass? I would answer, "Yes," without the least hesitation, and I have the support of competent canon lawyers in this opinion. Firstly, as I have already argued, the entire liturgical reform has been an act of injustice, it has been so unreasonable, so burdensome, and so distressing to so many Catholics that they cannot reasonably be expected to submit to it. Never before in the entire history of the Church has there been such an abrupt and violent breach with Tradition and established custom. We can say with St. Thomas: "It is absurd and a detestable shame that we should suffer those traditions to be changed which we have received from the fathers of old."

Secondly, for a law to be binding it must be properly promulgated, and there has never been any clear papal law promulgated forbidding the celebration of the Tridentine Mass. It has definitely not been abrogated. The only way it could have been replaced is by what is known as obrogation, that is to say, that the legislation of the Bull Quo Primum could have lapsed automatically when the New Mass was introduced. But if that were the case, the Tridentine Mass would have returned to its original status of an immemorial custom, and could only be forbidden by an unambiguous papal command. Such a command has never been issued, and every priest of the Roman Rite is entitled by immemorial custom to celebrate the Mass as it was on the eve of the Second Vatican Council. I won't develop these legal arguments any further as I have a pamphlet available on this subject for those who want all the documentation.

Thirdly, I would maintain that the Tridentine Mass expresses the doctrines of Sacrifice and the Real Presence far more specifically than the New Mass, and that it is far more reverent, God-centered, and conducive to devotion. It is, in fact, a fitting symbol of all that we loved and revered before the Council, all that has been so cruelly and unjustly taken from us since. But I would add an important proviso: those using or returning to the Tridentine Mass should make strenuous efforts to avoid becoming pharisees, to avoid thinking of themselves as the only true Catholics for that is the road to schism.

Fourthly, if the Tridentine Mass is to retain its status as an immemorial custom then it must continue to be celebrated or the custom would lapse. Priests who use it in union with the Pope are, therefore, rendering an immeasurable service to the Church. In the July 28, 1983 issue of The Wanderer Cardinal Oddi assured us that he believes permission for the use of the Tridentine Mass will be granted throughout the Church. "It will be for all the world," he said, "the Tridentine Mass will be authorized when people want it badly enough."


A Warning from St. Athanasius

Soon after Vatican II, Dr. William Marra saw the need for founding schools outside the diocesan structures to safeguard the faith of Catholic children. This was a radical and courageous decision, and one that subsequent events have vindicated. I believe that in some dioceses the situation is now so bad that it will be necessary for courageous priests to found parishes outside the diocesan structures, parishes where the traditional Faith can be learned, loved, and lived. Parishes that are loyal to the Pope, but loyal with true, not false, obedience, so that when the Holy Father or his successor feels able to take forceful measures to rebuild a truly Catholic Church in the United States, there will at least be a remnant of faithful Catholics left to give him their support.

I will conclude by quoting some words of St. Athanasius written in the fourth century. I am sure that you will agree that they apply equally or even more so to our own era:

The Church has not just recently been given order and statutes. They were faithfully and soundly bestowed on it by the Fathers. Nor has the Faith only just been established, but has come to us from the Lord through His disciples. May what has been preserved in the Churches from the beginning to the present day not be abandoned in our own time; may what has been entrusted to our keeping not be embezzled by us. Brethren, as custodians of God's mysteries, let yourselves be roused into action on seeing all this despoiled by others.