[Previously published post, now available here]
When I made the decision to go to Ecône forty-three years ago, I was told by many friends and advisers that I was going too far, that I was being too radical. Instead, I should stay within the structures that had embraced Vatican II, the New Mass, and Modernism, and work for change from within.
I have heard this same theme repeated to me over and over again during these same forty-three years. In January of this year, a Novus Ordo priest whom I have known since 1969 told me to “come home,” sounding again the familiar theme that the right path is to work from within, to overcome the Modernists within the Novus Ordo structures. This admonition came from the same priest, nevertheless, who says that he agrees with me in nearly everything I say.
Now that fifty years have transpired since Vatican II, can we really say that the movement from within has succeeded? After a half a century of resisting from within, has the tidal wave of Vatican II receded? Has the Catholic faith become stronger in the souls of baptized Catholics? As we look around at the vineyard of the Church, is it flourishing with deep faith and obedience to the commandments of God? Are the sheep of Christ in good hands? Are they confirmed in the doctrines of the Catholic Faith?
Is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the central act of worship of the Catholic Church, in good order? Has progress been made to turn back the tide of the devastating liturgical reform of Vatican II?
The answer is, of course, no. What words can we muster to describe the state of the Catholic Church today: Disaster? Ashes? Hiroshima? Great Apostasy? Is there, indeed, a word that could adequately describe the collapse of an institution which has taken place in the past fifty years?
Recently a Novus Ordo priest by the name of Father Thomas Kocik published a letter entitled Reforming the Irreformable? He is most noted for leading the charge over the past two decades of a movement known as the Reform of the Reform. This movement sought to “fix up” the Paul VI Mass of 1969, so that it would become something acceptable to Catholic tradition, something that could be legitimately called continuity.
In this letter, Fr. Kocik declares that such a project is no longer possible. He states:
[T]he ‘reform of the reform’ is not realizable because the material discontinuity between the two forms of the Roman rite presently in use is much broader and much deeper than I had first imagined. In the decade that has elapsed since the publication of my book, The Reform of the Reform? A Liturgical Debate (Ignatius Press, 2003), which concerns almost exclusively the rite of Mass, a number of important scholarly studies, most notably those of László Dobszay (†2011)6 and Lauren Pristas,7 have opened my eyes to the hack-job inflicted by Pope Paul VI’s Consilium on the whole liturgical edifice of the Latin Church: the Mass; the Divine Office; the rites of the sacraments, sacramentals, blessings and other services of the Roman Ritual; and so forth.8 Whatever else might be said of the reformed liturgy—its pastoral benefits, its legitimacy, its rootedness in theological ressourcement, its hegemonic status, etc.—the fact remains: it does not represent an organic development of the liturgy which Vatican II (and, four centuries earlier, the Council of Trent) inherited. (The full text of the letter can be found on the New Liturgical Movement website)
Such admissions on the part of someone who has tirelessly worked from within are truly startling.
What has “working from within” obtained? Modernism has triumphed, and is in full control in all Catholic institutions. The New Mass is everywhere celebrated. All of the life signs of the Church, and particularly belief in the dogmas of faith, are alarmingly low. The most that can be said for “working from within” is that here and there tiny pockets of liturgical tradition may be found, all operating nonetheless under the aegis of Modernism and in the doctrinal discontinuity of Vatican II. It has obtained for us a liturgical High Church, that is, isolated communities of Modernists clothed in the trapping of tradition. After fifty years!
What has “working from without” obtained? It has (1) assured the continuity of a valid episcopacy and a valid priesthood; (2) preserved the faithful from Modernism; (3) trained priests who are firm against the Modernist heresy; (4) preserved the integral traditional Mass and traditional sacraments; (5) preserved the pre-Vatican II traditions and practices of the Catholic Church in all things; (6) preserved what alone can claim continuity with the Catholic Church’s tradition.
If our numbers are not strong, it is because for the past half-century the “workers from within” have reviled and scorned us as renegades. If they had joined us, tremendous pressure could have been put upon the Modernists to abandon their program.
Time has told that working from within is a failed strategy.
Nor for a single moment should anyone think that I concede that we have been working outside the Catholic Church. What sets you outside the Church is heresy. It is those who have embraced the Modernist heresy that are working outside the Church. Those who have resisted the heresy are inside. It is adherence to Catholic doctrine which keeps you inside the Church; it is adherence to heresy that sets you outside.
After fifty years of failure, it is high time that those “working from within” should scrap their plans, and look for something more successful.
I was thinking what would Our Lord might give as an example. (It’s like a basket of apples. A few become spoiled and they begin to affect the rest. The spoiled ones will become rotten and be thrown out. But if there are still some apples in the barrel that are good they must be pulled out so they don’t become spoiled as the others.) I believe those that are true to tradition must separate themselves from modernists in order to save the children of God and themselves as well. For they will surely become as the rotten apples and be thrown out.
Well said Your Excellency
‘After fifty years of failure, it is high time that those “working from within” should scrap their plans, and look for something more successful.’ For more than 18000 days priests and lay have been manufacturing excuses to remain united with manufactured falsehood. Unfortunately it seems people will cling to dead branches as if their reputations depended on it.
On a happier note, this too shall pass.
Your Excellency, I might encourage you to remove and/or re-write this article. If sedevacantism is true (or even sedeprivationism), does this not logically imply that the Vatican 2 group is a heretical non-Catholic group and that no success could be had in it? How could one work within a heretical “church” in order to restore Catholicism? The question is not whether this would be successful or not, but rather if the novus ordo is Catholic or not (which it is not). Though, again, wouldn’t success be logically impossible within a heretical sect?
I think this is precisely what his article implicitly implies. It is impossible to work within a structure of a heretical hierarchy, because it presumes pride that one can be able to on a daily basis have to swear holy obedience to men who lack the Catholic faith. Some might be tempted to say that this is not Universally the case, that there are still some good people inside the Conciliar Church and altough some are operating under good willed ignorance (the same is not the case to those WHO do know better). It is an understandable response in the initial years, and I am sure that everyone at some point had that sort of attitude. However, 50 years after the fact to presume the same level of ignorance as there was in the 70’s after the initial shock of the heretics in power, is intellectually untenable. The only reason why they now allow the true mass is because there are no more valid priest’s now. So Mr. liturgically conservative pastor at your local St. Teilhards Church will not make a real dent to the system because they are confecting true sacraments.
The problem is that from the top down, all the men are heretics. The only man who I think has the Catholic faith inside the Conciliar Church that is a “Novus Ordo Bishop” is Athanasius Schneider, who has a very hardline FSSP et al. type of position. He advocated having some sort of Syllabus of Errors on Vatican II, to clear up the misunderstandings and ambiguities within the text. The problem ultimately lies that they all follow the new Catechism, new Code of Canon law, and this leads ultimately even at the most conservative estimate to a loss of faith. You are to be the judge of everything that the magisterium puts forth, and sift to see whether it is Catholic or not. This is especially hard to those who have a very simple faith, and of course one should never put mass attendance above the Catholic faith.
I wanted to make a correction in my post: “So Mr. liturgically conservative pastor at your local St. Teilhards Church will not make a real dent to the system because they are NOT* confecting true sacraments.”
Quite agree Bishop. Trying to work within the counterfeit Conciliar Church is like trying to work within the Anglican Church, or any other sect that has abandoned any and all of the sacraments. The true Catholic Church, as Jesus Christ founded it, is still visible – for those who have eyes to see – though small and, as far as I know, not present in the occupied Vatican. That [true Church] is where Catholics belong.
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Luther would have agreed with the schismatics, that “reforming” the Church from within is impossible. It’s also a load of nonsense.