Keep up the fight! Today is the midpoint of Lent.
From the Mozarabic missal, via The Liturgical Year:
Looking forward, dearly beloved brethren, to the hope of the Passion and Resurrection of the Son of God, as also to the manifestation of the glory of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ : resume your strength and courage. Be not daunted by the labour you have to go through, but remember the solemnity of the holy Pasch, for which you are so ardently longing. One half of holy Lent is over: you have gone through the difficulties of the past, why should you not be courageous about the future fast? Jesus, who deigned to suffer fatigue for our sake, will give strength to them that are fatigued. He that granted us to begin the past, will enable us to complete the future. Children! He will be with us to assist us, who wishes us to hope for the glory of his Passion. Amen.
Blessed feast day to all readers! The faithful who assist at Mass at an apostolate of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest– like the Seminary of St. Philip Neri, pictured above, for example– can obtain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions. I’m not sure about the Seminary’s Mass schedule today, but you still have time to attend the Solemn High Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory tonight at 6:30pm.
My God, I love Thee; not because
I hope for heav’n thereby,
nor yet for fear that loving not
I might forever die;
but for that Thou didst all mankind
upon the cross embrace;
for us didst bear the nails and spear,
and manifold disgrace;
And griefs and torments numberless,
and sweat of agony;
e’en death itself, and all for man,
who was Thine enemy.
Then why, most loving Jesus Christ,
should I not love Thee well?
Not for the sake of winning heav’n,
nor any fear of hell;
Not with the hope of gaining aught,
nor seeking a reward,
but as Thyself hast loved me,
O ever-loving Lord!
E’en so I love Thee, and will love,
and in Thy praise will sing,
solely because Thou art my God
and my eternal King!
–St. Francis Xavier
I refuse to pay the local communist propaganda sheet to access their articles. You are free to do so; thus I give you the links here. But two headlines from the P-D today tell you everything you need to know about the well run town we have. How do we solve the problems with Metrolink? Well, clearly the priorities are in order:
In fact, it is a Katherine Bernhardt original. Just parked in a drive in the STL.
Did he or didn’t he? Did Pope Benedict really think he could resign part of the papacy while retaining part? That there were two simultaneous ministries in the papacy, the active and the passive? Or was this merely a way of speaking colloquially about his post-abdication retirement plan?
Are there or aren’t there? Did Pope Benedict correctly note that the Novus Ordo and Traditional Mass are actually two forms of only one Roman Rite? Or was this a way of speaking colloquially about a plan to allow two rites to co-exist without causing upheaval in the Church?
Before his putative abdication Benedict asked us to buy another duality, based on nothing but his say so. This duality may give an insight into his thinking about the papacy.
N.B. I have expressed certain practical cynicism about the efficacy of the putative abdication. I have written on it so much before that I’ll just summarize here: I think it likely the abdication may not have been valid, but this is based on a large degree of speculation. As a result, because a) there are facts I do not and cannot know, and b) I do not have the authority to pronounce on this, I must accept the abdication as a fact. I must do so at least until either Benedict himself publicly claims the throne or until one of the few good Cardinals or Bishops states he thinks the abdication invalid. Then I can reassess. It is partly because Francis as pope is so little to my liking that it probably is true for that reason only. But, really, it is a matter of authority. I have none, and the last thing I want to do is to lead anyone astray. My spiritual director has given me the good advice to exercise necessary humility, and not waste time on this question until and unless developments warrant.
I respect those sincere Catholics who might hold differently. I speak for myself only. And lest you think I take my position out of fear, think again. I only require Benedict to claim it, and I am spoiling to back him. I make no money from this blog; and in fact very few even read it anymore. And I have no fear of the neo-Catholic book shills. But I hold to Unam Sanctam, and desire to submit to the Roman Pontiff as a necessary element of salvation.
This long disclaimer aside, I think the juridical structure of Summorum Pontificum is about as unsatisfying, intellectually, as is the bifurcation of office and ministry in the papal abdication. Trads rightly wlecomed SP, but was it merely because we desired the result? We had to swallow an unreality in order to get what Benedict correctly stated was our right— the Holy Mass. We swallowed the unreality that there were two “forms”of “one Roman Rite”.
A “banal, on-the-spot product”, a “fabrication”, is how Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger described the N.O. “Two forms” of the same Roman Rite, is how Pope Benedict XVI explained Summorum Pontificum.
These two concepts cannot be reconciled without undermining one or the other Missal. Because there was no “development” of the Roman Rite into the train wreck that is the Novus Ordo. And the Traditional Mass is in no way either banal, or an on-the-spot fabrication. These are two rites. Plain and simple. One is handed down over a span of nearly two millenia, almost palpably directed by the Holy Ghost. It safeguards and amplifies the faith. The other was made up in a hurry by a committee of modernists, freemasons and protestants. It weakens and minimizes the faith.
There is one pope at any one time. This is reality. Nobody, not a pope and not a council, can split the papacy into two, or three, or a million pieces. How does one attempt it? If, and I mean IF, Benedict attempted such a thing, look to Summorum Pontificum for the approach. It pits positivistic juridical structure versus objective reality, to distract from the differences between the two, and to dampen investigation into those differences.
Take the Mass. There is one Roman Rite, but it has been wrongly, practically (not validly) suppressed by modernist popes, prelates and priests. Benedict wished to perform an act of justice in acknowledging that the Mass had not been abrogated, but had little interest in the upheaval that such an acknowledgement could provoke. So to rock the boat as little as possible– and we see it was plenty as it was– and leave the N.O. intact, he simply decreed by legislation: there are two forms of one Roman Rite. I have decreed it!
Take the papacy. There is one pope, but evil men were anxious that Benedict, already predisposed to retirement, should get out of the way. Benedict wished (for reasons that are not yet clear, but will become clear in God’s time) to remain in the Vatican–dressed in white, wearing the papal ring, using the papal style– and to keep close to things. So, to provide the rationale for this unprecedented situation, he simply decreed that there are active and passive ministries of the See of Peter, and that he would man the passive one. He wrote his abdication thusly: I no longer have the strength to hold the office of the papacy, so I resign the ministry of the See of Peter. I have decreed it!
So what follows? Beats me.
If we are assuming a valid abdication, it provides a reason why Benedict is sticking around. What we don’t know is why. If we are assuming Benedict really thought the papacy could be partially abdicated and partially retained, it gives credibility to the substantial error/invalidity theory. But we don’t know that Benedict thought this, and he has not explicitly said so. I share Ann Barnhardt’s concern but not her certainty. No words of Ganswein, and no after-the-fact commentary by Benedict himself, provide the conclusive evidence a mere layman would need in order to pronounce on the subject.
What I hold to is mere objective reality: Whatever semantics one uses to pretend there are two forms of the one Roman Rite, there can only be one pope.
St. Gregory the Great, pray for us!
If you want an idea of how our groovy, post-Christian society will handle inconvenient serfs who stand up for freedom, independence, or traditional civilizational existence, check out this story at the UK Daily Mail. Maduro claims the current blackout is the result of a U.S. cyberattack. His opponents claim it is a total breakdown as a result of disastrous socialist policies. I say I find both plausible.
When they come for you and yours, expect it to look like this. Happy Monday!
In my mind I have been dividing time into periods before and after October 2017, the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. Not in a systematic way, of course, but it just feels to me that every day since then, the consecration of Russia not having been done, is a day of God’s mercy tinged with a foreboding of the justice to come. This feeling of mine grows, and as last November was the 100th anniversary of the final death of Christendom, another sad marker is passed.
And so, as the Church’s liturgical year rolls on, this year has felt, to me, like a great big unearned bonus. Bonus Christmas. And now, Bonus Lent. I thoroughly enjoyed the celebration of the bonus Christmas, and I intend to thoroughly make good use of this bonus Lent. After all, no man can say when it will be his last, nor even if he will outlive it.
Some thoughts by smarter and holier men:
The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God’s glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe.
–Pope Benedict XIV, Constitution Non Ambigimus, 1745
More than a hundred years have elapsed since this solemn warning of the Vicar of Christ was given to the world; and during that time, the relaxation he inveighed against has gone on gradually increasing. How few Christians do we meet who are strict observers of Lent, even in the present mild form!
And must there not result from this ever-growing spirit of immortification, a general effeminacy of character, which will lead, at last, to frightful social disorders? The sad predictions of Pope Benedict XIV are but too truly verified. Those nations, among whose people the spirit and practice of penance are extinct, are heaping against themselves the wrath of God, and provoking His justice to destroy them by one or other of these scourges– civil discord, or conquest.
–Dom Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year, c.1850
The modern fast, of course, is nothing compared to the fast Dom Gueranger calls ‘mild’ in the mid-19th Century. That is the decision of the Church, who, out of concern for the weakness of her children, has over the ages allowed for relaxation of the Lenten fast (which is of Apostolic institution), and given freely of dispensations in various times and places. It is the decision of the Church what must be obligatory, for she speaks for Christ. She has allowed such latitude that our present obligatory penitential requirements for Lent (fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and abstinence on all Fridays during Lent) ought to be easily and eagerly accomplished.
Yet even this seems too much. Again, Gueranger:
The word of God is unmistakable: unless we do penance, we shall perish (Luke 13:3). But if our ease-loving and sensual generation were to return, like the Ninivites, to the long-neglected way of penance and expiation, who knows but that the arm of God, which is already raised to strike us, may give us blessing and not chastisement?
A good point, and one reinforced by today’s Lesson from Joel 2: 12-19:
 Now therefore saith the Lord: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning.  And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil.  Who knoweth but he will return, and forgive, and leave a blessing behind him, sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God?  Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly,
 Gather together the people, sanctify the church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of her bride chamber. Between the porch and the altar the priests the Lord’s ministers shall weep, and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people: and give not thy inheritance to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them. Why should they say among the nations: Where is their God?  The Lord hath been zealous for his land, and hath spared his people.  And the Lord answered and said to his people: Behold I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and you shall be filled with them: and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations.