answers given by Father Carl Pulvermacher
Q. Several people objected to my saying, in last month's column, that the New Mass was not grace-giving. "It is heresy to hold a valid Mass is not grace giving."
A. First of all, there is a difference between validity and grace-giving. I believe the one may be present without the other. Surely, I do not claim that in every case the New Mass is invalid. I hate to make comparisons but I know you would agree that a valid Satanic mass (Black Mass) would not be grace giving. I certainly do not hold the New Mass is the same as a Black Mass. I merely look at the fruits. So far I have not seen a Catholic who has advanced in holiness because of the graces of the New Mass. No Novus Ordo priest or lay person that I know of has even come close to being lifted to the honors of the Altar—sainthood. Of course, you might say that 15 or 20 years is not enough time to tell. However, we can look at the miserable condition of the papacy, the episcopacy, the priesthood, the brotherhood and sisterhood, and the laity—single and married—and we find it easier to say "no grace giving," than "grace giving." We have material eyes and cannot see the state of grace, so we cannot prove it one way or the other. All we can do is to look at the results of the New Mass. Has anyone ever dreamed that in most of our churches such sacrilegious things could take place as clown liturgies, dancing girls, homosexual masses, Jewish and Protestant liturgies? Our Lord said, "Let no one lead you astray." "By their fruits you shall know them." "Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." I have yet to see a single Catholic who has truly benefitted from the New Mass. Never have I seen a novus ordo convent or a monastery where religious life was not in a state of decline. When we had the true Mass, normal progress was seen. When we adopted the Novus Ordo, we have seen normal decline. I dare any person—cleric or lay—to prove the grace-givingness of the New Ordo liturgy!
Q. Catholics call their priests "Father" in spite of the fact that Our Lord says, "Call no man on earth father" (Matt. 23:9). Isn't this breaking Christ's command? V. C., Spokane, Wash.
A. This is a question that causes some Catholics to stutter and blush. However, there should be no need of this. Our Lord commanded us to honor our father and mother (Matt. 15:3-7). Blessed Mary called St. Joseph "Father" to her Son: "Thy Father and I have sought Thee sorrowing" (Luke 2:48). The husband of our mothers we normally call "father," not "pal" or "Joe" or whatever, but "Father." St. Paul 4:16 calls Abraham the "Father" of us all. No man can stand in any way whatsoever as a father unless God holds him up. So Our Lord tells us never to forget that the power of fatherhood is God's above, and no man in anyway can add or detract from that absolute fact. Surely we know as faithful Catholics that an earthly father shares in the wonderful work of the Heavenly Father's work of creation in bringing a new life into the world. A priest is surely called "Father" because he too brings spiritual life to souls—in Baptism, Confession and the other Sacraments. In some way God upholds this fatherhood of the priest by the grace of spiritual life which He distributes through the hands of his priests. If the priest does not beget spiritual life, he is not a father, just as an earthly man is no father unless he begets or supports earthly life. Calling anyone a father or master who really does not share the life-giving faculty of God the Father is what Our Lord meant when He forbad the calling of anyone on earth your father. No one reading the Bible carefully should ever wonder about this oft-repeated, stupid question. All fatherhood in earth or in heaven is named after Him, the Heavenly Father (Ephesians 3:14).