And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.—Jesus Christ in St. Matthew 24:10-14
Why are traditional Catholics so mean to each other? I don’t mean people like Virginia senator Tim Kaine who described himself as a “traditional Catholic.” By “traditional Catholic” I mean people who actually believe that the doctrine and liturgy of the Catholic Church can change by no man. So, why are trad-Catholics so mean to each other? Of course, the most common answer we all hear is: spiritual arrogance and hypocrisy. I don’t deny there is a certain truth to this, even in my life. But on the opposite side of the coin, we also hear that trads are mean because they are reacting as the “spiritually abused children of the Church.” I don’t deny there is a certain truth to this, even in my life. But today’s blog post is neither accusation nor exoneration. It’s a new analogy that I had never heard before, and it came from a friend.
First, let us take a look at a heroic 20th century Catholic priest. Fr. Gommar A. DePauw served as a combat medic in World War II with the 9th Belgian Infantry Hunters Regiment. He was taken prisoner by the Nazis at Dunkirk in 1940. After escaping prison camp, he returned to Belgium and was ordained a Catholic priest. Fr. DePauw’s parents had immigrated to the United States, so he followed them. He served as a priest in New York City, later studied at CUA and even taught at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary. He eventually incardinated in the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 1955. During the Second Vatican Council, he was called to Rome to serve as a peritus, meaning he was asked to be a theological advisor to bishops at the Council.
Before looking at his below letter to Pope Paul VI, it should be noted that Fr. DePauw was a combat medic who assumedly rescued both his superiors and his inferiors while fighting the Nazis. The virtue obedience ran deep in his blood stream. He never wanted to disobey his superiors as a medic or as a priest. But when he saw Catholicism being dismantled by the hierarchy in the 1960s, Fr. DePauw felt stretched on the cross between his allegiance to the pure doctrine of Christ and his desire to be obedient to the hierarchy. Notice in these 15 Aug 1967 letter excerpts to Pope Paul VI the deep respect Fr. DePauw holds for Paul VI, even as he holds Jesus Christ and His Divine Revelation higher:
I still vividly remember that December 1, 1965 evening when Your Holiness personally blessed me and my work with the traditionalist Catholics who selected me to be their spokesman ….Today’s condition of the Catholic Church is beyond the point of doctrinal heresy, factual schism, and even apostasy. It is in a state of chaos and utter collapse resulting from the systematic destruction of first our liturgical and other traditions, and now our very beliefs and morals…
In open violation of all past and present liturgical directives, the Roman Catholic Liturgy, once the envy of all other religions, has for all practical purposes been destroyed. And it gives us very little personal satisfaction to know that all those responsible for this destruction were in advance irrevocably anathematized by the still valid solemn decree of the Council of Trent: “If anyone says that the Mass ought to be celebrated in the vernacular only, let him be cursed.”(Canons of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, n. 9.)
Coercive changes have subrogated our traditional practices with the “litniks”of our Church Establishment daily intensifying their attempts to subjugate the “people of God” to becoming “Protestant” Catholics..But, not only our liturgical traditions have been destroyed. The very beliefs and morals of our Catholic heritage are now up for grabs in our so-called “Church of the Aggiornamento.” Steadily, day in and day out since Vatican II, silt has subversively been shunted in to the minds of the Roman Catholics in America. Our “Catholic” universities, seminaries, and colleges are bluntly rejecting the religious character that justifies their existence, and their teachers of the “new theology” are calling into question, if not outright rejecting, every tenet of our doctrinal heritage ….
Your Holiness …. taking a closer look at the “Conciliar” church forced upon us in the name of Vatican II, and simply judging the tree by its fruits, we are tempted to agree with one of your own immediate collaborators in Rome who has been quoted as characterizing the recent Vatican Council as “a sinister farce acted out by a number of good-for-nothings, some of whom, despite the gold crosses on their chests, don’t even believe in the Holy Trinity or the Virgin.”
Your Holiness, if no immediate action is taken by you, the public reality of the Catholic religion will phase out very soon. Already the memory of a “real” Mass is fading away from the minds of our younger generation, while their elders are growing indifferent or bitter over a Church which, if all her former beliefs and practices were so irrelevant as to be replaced so quickly and drastically, they prefer to forget as the biggest hoax ever on record.
Your Holiness, take one last, hard look at the dying embers of your Church and ours! And decide, bluntly and honestly, whether you wish to be a Pope, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Supreme Pontiff of the one true Church, or to perpetuate your current image of the BISHOP of Rome, the first among equals, with a place of HONOR but without authority within the ranks of a so-called “college” of Bishops …..
May we, the traditionalist Catholics whose unworthy spokesman I am, help Your Holiness out of the impasse your enemies cornered you into, by humbly submitting to you the following requests:
Vatican II must be annulled.
Publicly announce via all available international public media that you are again exercising the prerogatives of the Supreme Pontiff of Christ’s One True Church, and that the interregnum of Vatican II is over …. Maybe it was precisely the fear of this horrendous possibility that caused the Holy Ghost to have Pope John [XXIII] declare from the very start that Vatican II, unlike all previous Ecumenical Councils, was not a doctrinal Council but simply a pastoral one, thus leaving the door open for any future Pope to eradicate it from the records.
Your Holiness, when honest people commit a blunder they admit it and try to undo it as quickly as possible. Vatican II has so far produced nothing but confusion and disunity among the people of God’s Church. It takes humility and courage to admit that even a Pope, outside the realm of his infallible ex cathedra definitions, can commit a blunder. But it is this kind of humility that endears a truly great leader to his subjects. Even so, you know better than all of us together that to lose face is nothing compared to losing souls.
Rescind that falsely interpreted and abused “Collegiality” decree immediately and permanently. The burden of the Papacy cannot be shared and was never intended to be. To Peter and to him alone were given the keys of the Kingdom. Peter and Peter alone was appointed to strengthen the faith of “his brethren,” the first bishops who governed the primitive Church not just with but under Peter. Stop wearing that Bishop’s mitre and place the papal tiara back on your anointed head where it was placed the day you accepted to serve as Christ’s Vicar and Supreme Pontiff. You accepted the job; you have tasted the privileges – now, taste the responsibilities; they are the two sides of the same coin. Give us another opportunity to let the world know once again that: “HABEMUS PAPAM!” We have a Pope!
Your Holiness! If we do not receive a satisfactory answer from Your Holiness or at least are given an opportunity to discuss our requests and proposals with Your Holiness personally – within the next month, we shall consider our requests denied and our proposals rejected, and draw the sad and tragic conclusion that Our Mother the Church has temporarily abandoned the best ones of her children. I pray to God and to His blessed Mother whose Assumption we commemorate today – and millions all over the world are joining me in this prayer – that such a dark and tragic day will never come. But, if we have no other choice, we will jealously protect the small but still burning candle of our traditional Catholic Faith, and patiently carry on our spiritual “Resistance” movement without the hoped-for papal approval ….
Your loyal and devoted son in Jesus Christ,
Fr. Gommar A. DePauw
His full letter is here.
Notice that Fr. DePauw is not asking that he become Pope. Notice that Fr. DePauw is not even asking Pope Paul VI to step down. He is asking for him to exercise his grace of office. As an ex-combat medic, Fr. DePauw simply wanted someone who would lead him into a battle for eternal souls—the souls that he wanted to rescue from Satan! Fr. DePauw would give his life for his Holy Father, and all he asks in return is not power, nor a red-hat or a special appointment from the Vatican. He only wants a spiritual father who will give his life for his flock by keeping Catholicism alive at all costs so that he can follow him into battle. Now, in 2019, Fr. DePauw’s 1967 letter now rings strangely prophetic: “Your Holiness, if no immediate action is taken by you, the public reality of the Catholic religion will phase out very soon.” We know De Fide that the Faith will remain alive in a few hearts, but there is something spooky about that phrase.
We traditional Catholics are often compared to Martin Luther. Our modernist and even neo-con accusers say about us: As Martin Luther was Sola-Scriptura, so “rad-trad Catholics” are Sola Conciliar, relying on their own interpretation of Tradition and tradition to think they know better than the current hierarchy. But Fr. De Pauw’s letter proves that he did not want to overturn the hierarchy. In fact, he clearly wanted to be a follower. People like Fr. De Pauw and many of us “rad-trads” have simply looked for the post-Conciliar Popes to rally us, to lead us, to father us under the battle standard of the Cross of Jesus Christ. Yes, there are some very strange rad-trad cults (especially in the NW of the USA and upstate NY) who live to simply critique the hierarchy. They wouldn’t be happy if Archbishop Lefebvre were raised from the dead and made Pope! But most “rad-trads” are not in that camp of sociopathic cultish complainers. In fact, most traditional Catholics have have been hungering for a leader to take a battering ram to the gates of hell. With some significant exceptions, most “rad-trad” keyboard warriors never wanted to take a battering-ram on the very hierarchy of the Church that they wanted to die with. Most of us want all nations to come to know Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church.
So, what does this have to do with why traditional Catholics are so mean to each other? I said this would not be an accusation or an exoneration. But in full disclosure, I will admit this is closer to an exoneration of traditionalists than an accusation. I was talking to a friend about why “rad-trads” are always fighting in the social media and she came up with a this brilliant analogy about what she knew about horses. (Her speciality is super-weapons for military, so she would admit her limited knowledge on horses. Thus, if any horse enthusiasts write me with corrections, I will certainly edit this paragraph.) In any case, my friend explained to me that when the male-leader of a herd of wild-horses is absent, all of the other male horses will fight and even bite each other. However, when the alpha-male returns to lead the herd, not only do the other male wild-horses obey, but they actually stop biting each other. In fact, the band of male wild-horses not only stops fighting, but they fall into hierarchical order themselves!
Does this remind you of the debates that Latin Mass Catholics have on line all the time? Look: We recognize the post-Conciliar Popes as Popes. But it seems that most modern Popes have been concerned with showing the world (and the flesh and the devil) that they don’t have to be so afraid of Catholics. Catholics are not so different from you! It’s like the message is: We too believe in a better world and progressive humanity! Same with the bishops. Now that the Western hierarchy has moved past the 1970s social justice kick, the “conservative ones” now want to show the Western world that we’re essentially hipster Protestants, tacking on the Eucharist and Our Lady. Perhaps this helps maintain the “conservative” title in order to keep Republican neo-con Catholics in giving their big money. A message has now become one of damage control: We are not all child-molestors. We are not all believers in the Inquisition. We are not all against gays. We want Jesus to reign in all hearts (but let’s not talk about Him as King of Nations.)
All the while, the rad-trad men who actually believe in the Social Reign of Christ the King keep studying St. Thomas Aquinas, and biting each other on line and in-person. We debate each other with vicious teeth on whether it is permitted to go to an SSPX Mass. We debate each other with hateful spite on who is the true reigning Pope. The women even debate each other on how long dresses need to be, all the while maintaining satanic hatred under their breath while using pious feminine modest language. Just this past week a rad-trad called me in a private email: “compromised Bergoglian clergy.” Just this past week, a famous non-rad trad but conservative neo-con leader of the Catholic world (who is usually hailed as being on his way to “canonization” at his own enormous conferences) sent me a private message on Facebook: “You, You need to shut the hell up on social media.”
Some of it is arrogance. Some of it is woundedness. But I propose today that a large part of it is that we need a leader and a father. We miss a Pope who cares for us and wants to conquer the entire world for Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. We will indeed fall into line under an alpha-male Pope. Scratch that: Most of us will fall into line under the alpha-male Pope who holds traditional dogma and liturgy. But note well that it’s not just us looking for our rad-trad tendencies to finally be rubber-stamped in a letter red seal so that we can feel our socially awkward time machine to the 18th century or 1950s has been vindicated. It’s more that a future Pope will make Catholicism one again where there will be only one Mass and one dogma, and those who hold to this will no longer be called “schismatic.” The only thing to be debated will be truly speculative theology. Even for that, I see that for wild-horses to stop biting each other on speculative theology, we will need an alpha male at the very head of the flock who will take the battering-ram not to us traditionalists, but straight to the gates of hell that Christ said would never prevail against the Church. (Mt 16:18)
I blogged here on the two possibilities of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart either being the return of Jesus Christ or the era of peace being the move from this fifth age of the Church to the sixth age of the Church, an era described by many prophets and saints as “an era of peace” that would have the Great Council to hammer out more heresies than any council in the past, ruled over by “The Great Monarch” and “The Great Pope.” When you read the ancient prophesies of that “Great Pope” you see a man who is an alpha-male leader, a man who will not care for ecumenism. He will not conquer for his religion like a Muslim Sultan, but he will be a man of compassion who will lead martyrs to shed their blood in peace and charity for the furthering of the only Gospel under Heaven on Earth, the Holy Catholic Church.
Remember from the analogy above that the male wild-horses not only respect their new leader. They stop biting each other. They not only stop biting each other. They actually fall into a hierarchy or order of obedience and rank themselves. Until that alpha-male wild-horse Papa lead us into that peace, I simply suggest that rad-trads first stop biting each other and secondly meditate on these Scripture verses:
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.—Gal 5:14-15
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.—Titus 3:3-7
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.—Phil 1:27-28
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.—John 13:34-35