“One could say that the two Masses have built two cities: the Mass of All Times has built a Christian city; the New Mass seeks to build a humanist and secular city.”—Fr. Pagliarani
Earlier this week I took an RV retreat in Utah. One of the things I listened to was Steve Cunningham’s “Utah” episode on Sensus Fidelium on his new series, “How Catholicism Came to the United States.” Utah saw the dawn of the Catholic faith with two Franciscan priests (both named Fr. Francisco and both from Spain) who were here before the Mormons, fighting deserts and storms with little food, little provisions, little clothes and little hope of making it to Monterey, CA across the Colorado river.
Historians had some debate as to which of the two Franciscan Franciscos were actually in charge, but listening to the podcast I realized there was no competition because first of all, they were great friends and secondly, because they believed in obedience and there was no question who was in charge. This is the case, even if the other Fr. Francisco had some stronger type-A personality. Within obedience, there was no question if they were establishing an earthly city or a heavenly city. They were establishing a heavenly city, but they didn’t mean that in the cultish way that Mormons would later mean it. By heavenly city, we mean the Catholic Church, established by grace working within their tremendously ascetical life. They established it through the sacraments, especially through the Holy Mass.
Rewind to a different saint 1300 years before the Francisco-Wild-West duo: St. Augustine wrote City of God as Rome was about to fall to barbarian invaders in the 5th century. The main point of his book is that the “City of God” will continue on as the “City of Man” collapses. I think a lot about his book as the second greatest Empire in history, the USA, collapses before our eyes. The citizens of both cities intermingle here below, but “we have here no lasting city” as the Apostle Paul wrote even before St. Augustine. All saints understood we want to populate the eternal City of God with as many people as possible in this escape pod of the Catholic Church as the City of Man goes down like the Titanic. All earthly empires will collapse.
But isn’t it unfair to say that the new Mass builds a humanist city as found in the opening quote at the top? Just look at the Abu Dhabi declaration. Here’s some quotes from the Vatican News website itself to show their view is man-centered, not God-centered:
The firm conviction that authentic teachings of religions invite us to remain rooted in the values of peace; to defend the values of mutual understanding, human fraternity and harmonious coexistence.
Dialogue among believers means coming together in the vast space of spiritual, human and shared social values and, from here, transmitting the highest moral virtues that religions aim for. It also means avoiding unproductive discussions.
The above two quotes from Vatican News start to sound a lot like the quote from Fr. Pagliarani SSPX: “One could say that the two Masses have built two cities: the Mass of All Times has built a Christian city; the New Mass seeks to build a humanist and secular city.” Nobody can fault the SSPX for implying (along with the above quotes from Vatican News) that there’s obviously a new man-centered worship in place of an ancient God-centered worship.
Fr. Francisco and even Fr. Francisco who brought Catholicism from Spain to Utah (via Mexico) would not have recognized the new religion described above at the Vatican News website. The new Mass (with its new doctrine) is nothing like what St. Francis of Assisi would have attended (or recognized) as an ordained deacon and stigmatist. It would not have transmitted across Utah the whole doctrine of heaven and hell. In fact, facing constant heat, cold, Indians, mountain men, animals, parched tongues and at one point eating “nothing but roasted leather” could have only been endured for the establishment of a City of God fully apart from this earthly City of Man, as beautiful as they may have found this land of Utah to be.
But we priests who are concerned with the salvation of souls are never called to make a peace-pact with what the Council of Trent calls “the world, the flesh and the devil.” That city of man is collapsing all around us, which in part explains the explosive growth of the Latin Mass in the Western hemisphere. Again, as Fr. Pagliarani wrote, “The Mass of All Times has built a Christian city.” Everybody, even liberals, secretly knows this, I suspect. Yes, everyone knows that the Catholic faith and Catholic liturgy cannot change. In any case, that eternal city of traditional worship and traditional doctrine is flourishing. The explosion of young adults seeking out the traditional faith and liturgy are doing so because they recognize it as Apostolic Catholicism. As for the city of man, we see that this secularist and humanist city being built up by the now face-masked-modernists, with their hip (and increasingly vaxxed-only) liturgies, is collapsing.