Monsignor Viganò: “We must strenuously defend the right to the Catholic liturgy”
Considerations on the feared modification of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum
by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
On the occasion of the Philosophy Symposium dedicated to the memory of Msgr. Antonio Livi which was held in Venice on May 30 (here), I tried to identify the elements that constantly recur throughout history in the work of deception of the Evil One. In my examination (here), I focused on the fraud of the pandemic, showing how the reasons given to justify illegitimate coercive measures and no less illegitimate limitations of natural freedoms were in reality prophasis, that is, pretexts: ostensible reasons that are actually intended to conceal a malicious intent and a criminal design. The publication of Anthony Fauci’s emails (here) and the impossibility of censoring the ever more numerous voices of dissent with respect to the mainstream narrative have confirmed my analysis and allow us to hope for a blatant defeat of the supporters of the Great Reset.
In that address, you may recall, I dwelt on that fact that the Second Vatican Council was also in a certain way a Great Reset for the ecclesial body, like other historical events planned and designed in order to revolutionize the social body. Also in this case, the excuses given to legitimize liturgical reform, ecumenism, and the parliamentarization of the authority of the Sacred Pastors were not founded on good faith but on deceit and lies, in such a way so as to make us believe that we were renouncing things that were unquestionably good – the Apostolic Mass, the uniqueness of the Church as the means of salvation, the immutability of the Magisterium and the Authority of the Hierarchy – for the sake of a higher good. But as we know, not only did this higher good not come about (nor could it have), but in fact the true intent of the Council manifested itself in all its disruptive subversive value: churches were emptied, seminaries deserted, convents abandoned, authority discredited and perverted into tyranny for the sake of the wicked Pastors or rendered ineffective for the good ones. And we also know that the purpose of this reset, this devastating revolution, was from the very beginning iniquitous and malicious, despite being clothed in noble intentions in order to convince the faithful and the clergy to obey.
In 2007 Benedict XVI restored full citizenship to the venerable Tridentine liturgy, giving back to it the legitimacy that had been abusively denied it for fifty years. In his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum he declared:
It is therefore permitted to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal, which was promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Church’s Liturgy. […] For such a celebration with either Missal, the priest needs no permission from the Apostolic See or from his own Ordinary (here).
In reality the letter of the Motu Proprio and the implementing documents associated with it was never completely applied, and the cœtus fidelium who today celebrate in the Apostolic Rite continue to have to go to their Bishop to ask permission, essentially still abiding by the dictate of the Indult of the preceding Motu Proprio of John Paul II Ecclesia Dei. The just honor in which the traditional liturgy ought to be held was tempered by its being placed on an equal level with the liturgy of the post-conciliar reform, with the former being defined as the “extraordinary form” and the latter as the “ordinary form,” as if the Bride of the Lamb could have two voices – one fully Catholic and another equivocally ecumenical – with which to speak at one moment to the Divine Majesty and at the next to the assembly of the faithful. But there is also no doubt that the liberalization of the Tridentine Mass has done much good, nourishing the spirituality of millions of people and bringing many souls closer to the Faith who, in the sterility of the reformed rite, have not found any incentive either for conversion or even less for spiritual growth.
Last year, displaying the typical behavior of the Innovators, the Holy See sent a questionnaire to the dioceses of the world in which they were asked to provide information about the implementation of Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio (here). The way in which the questions were written betrayed, once again, a second purpose, and the responses that were sent to Rome were supposed to create a basis of apparent legitimacy for imposing limitations on the Motu Proprio, if not its total abrogation. Certainly, if the author of Summorum Pontificum were still seated on the Throne, this questionnaire would have allowed the Pontiff to remind the Bishops that no priest needs to ask for permission to celebrate Mass in the ancient rite, nor may a priest be removed from ministry for doing so. But the real intention of those who wanted to consult the Ordinaries does not seem to reside in the salus animarum so much as in theological hatred against a rite that expresses with adamantine clarity the immutable Faith of the Holy Church, and which for this reason is alien to the conciliar ecclesiology, to its liturgy, and to the doctrine it presupposes and conveys. There is nothing more opposed to the so-called magisterium of Vatican II than the Tridentine liturgy: every prayer, every pericope – as liturgists would say – constitutes an affront to the delicate ears of the Innovators, every ceremony is an offense to their eyes.
Simply tolerating that there are Catholics who want to drink from the sacred sources of that rite sounds like a defeat for them, one that is bearable only if it is limited to little groups of nostalgic elderly people or eccentric aesthetes. But if the “extraordinary form” – which is such in the ordinary sense of the word – becomes the norm for thousands of families, young people, and ordinary people who consciously choose it, then it becomes a stone of scandal and must be relentlessly opposed, limited, and abolished, since there must be no counter to the reformed liturgy, no alternative to the squalor of the conciliar rites – just as there can be no voice of dissent or argued refutation against the mainstream narrative, and just as effective treatments cannot be adopted in the face of the side effects of an experimental vaccine because they would demonstrate the latter’s uselessness.
Nor can we be surprised: those who do not come from God are intolerant of everything that even remotely recalls an era in which the Catholic Church was governed by Catholic pastors and not by unfaithful pastors who abuse their authority; an era in which the Faith was preached in its integrity to the nations and not adulterated in order to please the world; an era in which those who hungered and thirsted for Truth were nourished and refreshed by a liturgy that was earthly in form but divine in substance. And if all that until yesterday was holy and good is now condemned and made an object of scorn, then allowing any trace of it to remain is inadmissible and constitutes an intolerable affront. Because the Tridentine Mass touches chords of the soul that the Montinian rite does not even begin to approach.
Obviously, those who maneuver behind the scenes in the Vatican to eliminate the Catholic Mass see decades of work compromised in the Motu Proprio, they see a threat against the possession of so many souls whom today they keep subjugated and their tyrannical hold over the ecclesial body weakened. The same priests and bishops who, like me, have rediscovered that inestimable treasure of faith and spirituality – or which by the grace of God they have never abandoned, despite the ferocious persecution of the post-council – are not disposed to renounce it, having found in it the soul of their Priesthood and the nourishment of their supernatural life. And it is disturbing, as well as scandalous, that in the face of the good that the Tridentine Mass brings to the Church, there are those who want to ban it or limit its celebration on the basis of specious reasons.
Yet, if we place ourselves in the shoes of the Innovators, we understand how perfectly consistent this is with their distorted vision of the Church, which for them is not a perfect society instituted by God for the salvation of souls but a human society in which an authority that is corrupt and subservient to the elite it favors steers the needs of the masses for vague spirituality, denying the purpose for which Our Lord willed it, and in which the good Pastors are constrained to inaction by bureaucratic shackles which they alone obey. This impasse, this juridical dead end, means that the abuse of authority can be imposed on subjects precisely in virtue of the fact that they recognize the voice of Christ in it, even in the face of evidence of the intrinsic wickedness of the orders that are given, the motivations that determine them, and the individuals who exercise it. On the other hand, even in the civil sphere, during the pandemic, many people obeyed absurd and harmful rules because they were imposed on them by doctors, virologists, and politicians who should have had the health and well-being of citizens at heart; and many did not want to believe, not even in the face of evidence of the criminal design, that they could directly intend the death or illness of millions of people. It is what social psychologists call cognitive dissonance, which induces individuals to take refuge in a comfortable niche of irrationality rather than recognize that they are victims of a colossal fraud and therefore having to react manfully.
So let us not ask ourselves why – in the face of the multiplication of communities tied to the ancient liturgy, the flowering of vocations almost exclusively in the context of the Motu Proprio, and the increase in the frequent reception of the Sacraments and consistency of Christian life among those who follow it – there is a desire to wickedly trample an inalienable right and hinder the Apostolic Mass: the question is wrong and the answer would be misleading.
Let us ask ourselves, rather, why notorious heretics and fornicators without morals would tolerate their errors and their deplorable way of life being placed into question by a minority of the faithful and clergy without protectors when they have the power to prevent it. At this point we understand well that this aversion cannot fail to be made explicit precisely by putting an end to the Motu Proprio, abusing a usurped and perverted authority. Even at the time of the Protestant pseudo-Reformation, tolerance towards certain liturgical customs rooted in the people was short-lived, because those devotions to the Virgin Mary, those hymns in Latin, those bells rung at the Elevation – which no longer existed – necessarily had to disappear, since they expressed a Faith that Luther’s followers had denied. And it would be absurd to hope that there could be a peaceful coexistence between the Novus and Vetus Ordo, as well as between the Catholic Mass and the Lutheran Lord’s Supper, given the ontological incompatibility between them. On closer inspection, at least the defeat of the Vetus hoped for by the supporters of the Novus is consistent with their principles, just as the defeat of the Novus by the Vetus should likewise be hoped for. They are mistaken therefore who believe that it is possible to hold together two opposing forms of Catholic worship in the name of a plurality of liturgical expression that is the daughter of the conciliar mentality no more and no less than it is the daughter of the hermeneutic of continuity.
The modus operandi of the Innovators emerges once again in this operation against the Motu Proprio: first some of the most fanatical opponents of the traditional liturgy call for the abrogation of Summorum Pontificum as a provocation, calling the ancient Mass “divisive.” Then the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asks the Ordinaries to respond to a questionnaire (here), the answers to which are practically pre-packaged (the Bishop’s career depends on the way he goes along with what he reports to the Holy See, because the content of his responses to the questionnaire will also be made known to the Congregation of Bishops). Then, with a nonchalant air, during a closed-door meeting with the members of the Italian Episcopate, Bergoglio says that he is concerned about seminarians “who seem good, but are rigid” (here) and the spread of the traditional liturgy, always reiterating that the conciliar liturgical reform is irreversible. Furthermore, he appoints a bitter enemy of the Vetus Ordo as Prefect of Divine Worship who will be an ally in the application of any future restrictions. Finally, we learn that Cardinals Parolin and Ouellet are among the first to desire this downsizing of the Motu Proprio (here). This obviously leads “conservative” Prelates to come scurrying in defense of the present system of the co-existence of the two forms, ordinary and extraordinary, giving Francis the opportunity to show that he is the prudent moderator of two opposing currents by moving towards “only” a limitation of Summorum Pontificum rather than its total abrogation: which – as we know – was exactly what he was aiming for from the start of his operation.
Regardless of the final outcome, the deus ex machina of this predictable play is, as always, Bergoglio, who is even ready to take credit for a gesture of clement indulgence towards conservatives as well as unloading the responsibilities for a restrictive application onto the new Prefect, Archbishop Arthur Roche, and his followers. Thus, in the event of a choral protest of the faithful and an unhinged reaction by the Prefect or other Prelates, once again Bergoglio will enjoy the clash between progressives and traditionalists, since he will then have excellent arguments to affirm that the coexistence of the two forms of the Roman Rite causes divisions in the Church and that it is thus more prudent to return to the pax montiniana, that is, the total proscription of the Mass of all time.
I exhort my Brothers in the Episcopate, Priests, and laity to strenuously defend their right to the Catholic liturgy solemnly sanctioned by the Saint Pius V’s Bull Quo Primum, and by means of it to defend the Holy Church and the Papacy, which have both been exposed to discredit and ridicule by the Pastors themselves. The question of the Motu Proprio is not in the least negotiable, because it reaffirms the legitimacy of a rite that has never been abrogated nor is able to be abrogated. Furthermore, in addition to the certain damage that airing these novelties will cause to souls and to the certain advantage that will come from them to the Devil and his servants, there is also added the indecorous rudeness displayed to Benedict XVI, who is still living, by Bergoglio, who ought to know that the authority the Roman Pontiff exercises over the Church is vicarious and that the power which he holds comes to him from Our Lord Jesus Christ, the One Head of the Mystical Body. Abusing the Apostolic authority and the power of the Holy Keys for a purpose opposed to that for which they were instituted by the Lord represents an unheard-of offense against the Majesty of God, a dishonor for the Church, and a sin for which he will have to answer for to the One whose Vicar he is. And whoever refuses the title of Vicar of Christ knows that by doing so the legitimacy of his authority also fails.
It is not acceptable for the supreme authority of the Church to allow itself to cancel, in a disturbing operation of cancel culture in a religious key, the inheritance it has received from its Fathers; nor is it permissible to consider as being outside of the Church those who are not prepared to accept the privation of the Mass and the Sacraments celebrated in the form that has molded almost two thousand years of Saints. The Church is not an agency in which the marketing office decides to cancel old products from the catalog and propose new ones in their stead according to customer requests. Imposing the liturgical revolution with force on priests and the faithful in the name of obedience to the Council, stripping away from them the very soul of the Christian life and replacing it with a rite that the Freemason Bugnini copied from Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer, was already painful. That abuse, partially healed by Benedict XVI with the Motu Proprio, cannot be repeated in any way now in the presence of elements that are all largely in favor of the liberalization of the ancient liturgy. If one really wanted to help the people of God in this crisis, the reformed liturgy should have been abolished, which in fifty years has caused more damage than Calvinism has done.
We do not know if the feared restrictions that the Holy See intends to make to the Motu Proprio will affect diocesan priests, or if they will also affect the Institutes whose members celebrate the ancient rite exclusively. I fear, however, as I have already had the occasion to say in the past, that it will be precisely on the latter that the demolishing action of the Innovators will be unleashed, who can perhaps tolerate the ceremonial aspects of the Tridentine liturgy but absolutely do not accept adherence to the doctrinal and ecclesiological structure that they imply, which contrasts sharply with the conciliar deviations that the Innovators want to impose without exception. This is why it is to be feared that these Institutes will be asked to make some form of submission to the conciliar liturgy, for example by making the celebration of the Novus Ordo mandatory at least occasionally, as diocesan priests must already do. In this way, whoever makes use of the Motu Proprio will be constrained not only to an implicit acceptance of the reformed liturgy but also to a public acceptance of the new rite and its doctrinal mens. And whoever celebrates the two forms of the rite will find himself ipso facto discredited above all in his consistency, passing off his liturgical choices as a merely aesthetic – I would say almost choreographic – in fact, depriving him of any sort of critical judgment towards the Montinian Mass and the mens that gives it form: because he will find himself forced to celebrate that Mass. This is a malicious and cunning operation, in which an authority that abuses its power delegitimizes those who oppose it, on the one hand by granting the ancient rite, but on the other hand making it a merely aesthetic question and obligating an insidious bi-ritualism and an even more insidious adherence to two opposing and contrasting doctrinal approaches. But how can a priest be asked to celebrate a venerable and holy rite in which he finds perfect coherence between doctrine, ceremony, and life at one moment, and at the next a falsified rite that winks at heretics and contemptibly keeps silent about what the other proudly proclaims?
Let us pray, therefore: let us pray that the Divine Majesty, to which we render perfect worship celebrating the venerable ancient rite, will deign to enlighten the Sacred Pastors so that they desist from their purpose and indeed promote the Tridentine Mass for the good of Holy Church and for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity. Let us invoke the Holy Patrons of the Mass – Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Pius V, and Saint Pius X in primis, and all the Saints who over the course of the centuries have celebrated the Holy Sacrifice in the form that has been handed down to us, so that we may faithfully preserve it. May their intercession before the throne of God beg for the preservation of the Mass of all time, thanks to which we are sanctified, strengthened in virtue, and able to resist the attacks of the Evil One. And if ever the sins of the men of the Church should merit for us a punishment so severe as that prophesied by Daniel, let us prepare to descend into the catacombs, offering this trial for the conversion of the Shepherds.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop
June, 9th, 2021
Feria IV infra Hebdomadam II post Octavam Pentecostes