Below is a continued analysis I wrote on a recent letter from Archbishop Viganò to a layman. His words are in black italics or bold. My words are in bold orange font below. AB. Viganò’s full letter without my additions can be found here.
Dear Mr. Kokx, 1 Sept 2020
…continued from part 1…
Therefore let us not give in to the temptation to abandon – albeit with justified indignation – the Catholic Church, on the pretext that it has been invaded by heretics and fornicators: it is they who must be expelled from the sacred enclosure, in a work of purification and penance that must begin with each one of us.
Archbishop Viganò is correct that the purification and the penance required of the Church must start with the very traditionalists’ own lives who read his writings. But the wicked commanders need to start jumping ship from an ancient boat that was led by timeless principles. It needs to be the end of the days of us mid-ranking lieutenants being silenced. For example, Fr. Altman was piously shamed by “commanders” (as per my last blog post analogy of the Navy) for believing we have to preach specifics and not just pious platitudes as the USA approaches another French Revolution.
It is also evident that there are widespread cases in which the faithful encounter serious problems in frequenting their parish church, just as there are ever fewer churches where the Holy Mass is celebrated in the Catholic Rite. The horrors that have been rampant for decades in many our parishes and shrines make it impossible even to assist at a “Eucharist” without being disturbed and putting one’s faith at risk, just as it is very difficult to ensure a Catholic education, Sacraments being worthily celebrated, and solid spiritual guidance for oneself and one’s children. In these cases faithful laity have the right and the duty to find priests, communities, and institutes that are faithful to the perennial Magisterium. And may they know how to accompany the laudable celebration of the liturgy in the Ancient Rite with adherence to sound doctrine and morals, without any subsidence on the front of the Council.
First, it is humorous (and true) that Archbishop Viganò refers to the TLM as the “Catholic Rite”! But Viganò did all of his work as a Nuncio under the Novus Ordo system. Why is he just now blowing the whistle on such liturgical abuses if he knew of so many horrible things as the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States? Archbishop Viganò humbly confessed in an earlier letter his failures of the past in matters of capitulation and compromise: “I confess it with serenity and without controversy: I was one of the many people who, despite many perplexities and fears which today have proven to be absolutely legitimate, trusted the authority of the Hierarchy with unconditional obedience. In reality, I think that many people, including myself, did not initially consider the possibility that there could be a conflict between obedience to an order of the Hierarchy and fidelity to the Church herself. What made tangible this unnatural, indeed I would even say perverse, separation between the Hierarchy and the Church, between obedience and fidelity, was certainly this most recent Pontificate.” Well, the “impossible” has happened and we have to figure out how to be obedient to Divine Revelation in matters of Divine Law, the timeless Magisterium in matters of Ecclesial Law and obedient to our Ordinary in the very rare cases of decrees of Particular Law (which can never change the faith, morals or liturgy of the Catholic Church.)
The situation is certainly more complex for clerics, who depend hierarchically on their bishop or religious superior, but who at the same time have the right to remain Catholic and be able to celebrate according to the Catholic Rite. On the one hand laity have more freedom of movement in choosing the community to which they turn for Mass, the Sacraments, and religious instruction, but less autonomy because of the fact that they still have to depend on a priest; on the other hand, clerics have less freedom of movement, since they are incardinated in a diocese or order and are subject to ecclesiastical authority, but they have more autonomy because of the fact that they can legitimately decide to celebrate the Mass and administer the Sacraments in the Tridentine Rite and to preach in conformity with sound doctrine. The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum reaffirmed that faithful and priests have the inalienable right – which cannot be denied – to avail themselves of the liturgy that more perfectly expresses their Catholic Faith. But this right must be used today not only and not so much to preserve the extraordinary form of the rite, but to testify to adherence to the depositum fidei that finds perfect correspondence only in the Ancient Rite.
Life should not be this complex for us simple Catholics…but it is. And that’s the cross we have to bear after an infiltration into the Church of modernists that God warned us about in both Pope St. Pius X and most especially Our Lady of Fatima. Yes, simple and pious Catholics who want to save their children’s souls or worship as Catholics in every century have worshipped (for example ad orientem—Pope Benedict XVI once wrote that Masses facing the people were not even found in Apostolic times!) have to use their free time to figure this stuff out, unfair as it is. Each age of Church history has something “unfair,” and our challenge today is to put our cerebrums on overdrive to figure out how we can be obedient at the grassroots level and at the level of Divine Revelation. Thankfully, the above words of Archbishop Viganò give us all (clergy and laity alike) a hope and a very strong courage that we can be obedient to both Particular Law and Divine Law if we just bend over backwards. It’s not fun, but Summorum Pontificum shields the conscience of us all of priests ordained for a normal diocese in order to choose the ancient Mass, the ancient blessings, the ancient rites (including exorcism), the ancient Divine Office, ancient absolution and all of the old-rite sacraments. Sometimes we just have to get Jesuit, er, creative, in bending over backwards to make those at the level of Particular Law understand that they can not overcome Divine Law. Fr. Nolan FSSP recently quoted Acts of the Apostles quite accurately: “We must obey God rather than man.”—Acts 5:29
I daily receive heartfelt letters from priests and religious who are marginalized or transferred or ostracized because of their fidelity to the Church: the temptation to find an ubi consistam [a place to stand] far from the clamor of the Innovators is strong, but we ought to take an example from the persecutions that many saints have undergone, including Saint Athanasius, who offers us a model of how to behave in the face of widespread heresy and persecuting fury. As my venerable brother Bishop Athanasius Schneider has many times recalled, the Arianism that afflicted the Church at the time of the Holy Doctor of Alexandria in Egypt was so widespread among the bishops that it leaves one almost to believe that Catholic orthodoxy had completely disappeared. But it was thanks to the fidelity and heroic testimony of the few bishops who remained faithful that the Church knew how to get back up again. Without this testimony, Arianism would not have been defeated; without our testimony today, Modernism and the globalist apostasy of this pontificate will not be defeated.
There are “Catholics” who have hijacked the Church who will be known in the future as modernist clergy (the majority of clergy today, unfortunately.) There are also their counterpart Catholics fighting this hijacking of the Church (unfortunately, we are known as “traditionalists”) and finally there are Catholics (most of the world) who are either too asleep to recognize this battle or think that “God loves us too much to let 99% of the bishops of the world be in error.” Well, God does love us a ton. But if you read the Old Testament, it is always Israel who is unfaithful to God, not vice-versa. When the New Israel (the Catholic Church) is unfaithful to God, extremely odd anomalies of Church history can indeed take place, like when 99.9% of the world’s bishops stopped believing Christ was God in the Arian crisis. Only a few bishops maintained the faith: St. Athanasius of Egypt, St. Hilary of France and St. Nicholas of modern-day Turkey. Is it too impossible to grasp that perhaps the modernist counterparts to this under modernism are Archbishop Lefebvre, Archbishop Viganò and Bishop Athanasius Schneider? Perhaps these men are not in the unitive stage of prayer like the previous saints just named. Perhaps they are. But in a time of this much darkness in the Church, any accolades that even lukewarm priests like me receive comes down to this old adage: “At dusk, even dwarves cast long shadows.”
…to be continued…