Catholic Self Harm

In the light of yesterday's news, I have been thinking about this ancient image of the Church:

The pelican symbolises Jesus our Redeemer who gave His life for our redemption and the atonement He made through His passion and death. We were dead to sin and have found new life through the Blood of Christ. Moreover, Jesus continues to feed us with His body and blood in the holy Eucharist.

This tradition and others is found in the Physiologus, an early Christian work which appeared in the second century in Alexandria, Egypt. Written by an anonymous author.

Reference to the pelican and its Christian meaning are found in Renaissance literature: Dante (1321) in the “Paridiso” of his Divine Comedy refers to Christ as “our Pelican.”

John Lyly in his Euphues (1606) wrote, “Pelicane who striketh blood out of its owne bodye to do others good.” Shakespeare (1616) in Hamlet wrote, “To his good friend thus wide, I’ll ope my arms / And, like the kind, life-rendering pelican / Repast them with my blood.”

John Skelton (1529) in his Armorie of Birds, wrote, “Then sayd the Pellycan: When my Byrdts be slayne / With my bloude I them revyve. Scripture doth record / The same dyd our Lord / And rose from deth to lyve.”

The pelican also has been part of our liturgical tradition. As mentioned in the question posed by the reader, the image of the pelican feeding its baby pelicans was a popular artwork on an altar frontal.

In the hymn “Adoro te devote,” the sixth verse (written by St. Thomas Aquinas and translated into English by Gerard Manley Hopkins) reads,

Like what tender tales tell of the Pelican Bathe me, Jesus Lord, in what Thy Bosom ran Blood that but one drop of has the pow’r to win All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.

Pope Francis wounds the Church but does not feed his flock, instead, at a time when sacramental worship is in dangerous decline in the Western world, the Pope denies the faithful access to the Sacraments.

On November 21, 2016, the Holy See published Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera, dated November 20. In paragraph 12 of the document, the Holy Father extends beyond the Year of Mercy the faculty to hear confessions granted on September 1, 2015, to the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X
"For the Jubilee Year I had also granted that those faithful who, for various reasons, attend churches officiated by the priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, can validly and licitly receive the sacramental absolution of their sins. (See the Letter according to which an indulgence is granted to the faithful on the occasion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, September 1, 2015.) For the pastoral benefit of these faithful, and trusting in the good will of their priests to strive with God’s help for the recovery of full communion with the Catholic Church, I have personally decided to extend this faculty beyond the Jubilee Year, until further provisions are made, lest anyone ever be deprived of the sacramental sign of reconciliation through the Church’s pardon."

Are we, therefore, in a position where the canonically irregular SSPX can legitimately administer the Sacraments of the Church but the loyal FSSP & ICKSP cannot? What madness is this?

If the purpose of Canon Law is the salvation of souls, how does it serve the salvation of souls to limit the access of the faithful to the Sacraments?

I would be confident in saying I do not know one single Catholic who takes their faith seriously who has anything other than love for the Traditional Latin Mass.

Gregory Dipippo remarks on the New Liturgical Movement blog:

This is a pertinent reminder of the sterility of modernism. Which brings me to this post from October which analyses the thought process behind the moto proprio:

So faced with thousands upon thousands of young Catholics joining the arduous Chartres Pilgrimage one might think any prelate who is even half awake might see something positive going on? Perhaps even the Holy Spirit moving? Beginning to undo the disastrous exodus of the last fifty years?

But no. They see threat. They see "psychological and sociological problems". They see a need to force these young people to accept what is best for them: not the Mass of the Saints, the Mass of Paul VI, of Bugnini, the Mass that has failed to inspire them, failed to feed them.

If there are "psychological and sociological problems" in the Church, I submit it is with these men, not the young people making Pilgrimage to Chartres!

As Rod Dreher wrote yesterday:
"They will never, ever, ever admit that there was a problem with the Council, or that there is anything worthwhile in what it displaced. As a former Catholic who has been Orthodox for sixteen years, the scandal of the ruling class of the Catholic Church sacking its own precious heritage, liturgical and otherwise, is both astonishing and painful. Painful, not only because I have friends and acquaintances who are not hotheads, and who have been deeply enriched in their faith by the Latin mass. Yes, of course there are some Latin mass fanatics who are a source of division — but they by no means characterize the mainstream of the Old Rite community, and besides, you can find far more anti-Tridentine fanatics, especially in power. In general, and in my experience, Latin massgoers are among the most faithful Catholics I know. And the leadership of the Church, from Pope Francis on down, spits on them."
It deserves to be pointed out what an opportunistic turncoat Archbishop Roche is — Corpus Christi Watershed has done just that. Here's what Roche said about the so-called "Extraordinary Form" in an interview (obviously from some time ago, but I can't find a particular date for it):

“The Church has given us the celebration of the Mass in two forms. The Ordinary Form is the Mass that was developed under blessed Pope Paul VI in the 1960s; that is the Ordinary Form. That is the form that every Catholic Christian should hold as being part of their Catholic life. The Extraordinary Form is another expression, which is older than the ’69 Missal, and is a valid expression of the Church’s liturgy. I think what both have to learn from each other is, on the one hand, the wide application of the Scriptures (which is available in the Novus Ordo Missae), and on the other hand a real sense of reverence and worship…”

Now, granted, he's still wrong about all kinds of things — that's his hallmark — but this is a very different tune from the Responsa. Why? We all know why. He doesn't actually believe or understand it. He is an ambitious, company man, like all of Francis' cronies (Grech, Cupich, Paglia, Coccopalmerio, Zanchetta, Beccui, Farrell, the list goes on and on...).

Meanwhile, his predecessor Cardinal Sarah, posted this on Twitter:

A picture speaks a thousand words right there!

Chris Altieri found it difficult to filter out the polemic in the Responsa, despite uncle Arthur's critique of polemic:

"It’s hard to offer a straight report and analysis of the responses’ contents, and hard to resist the temptation to psychologize them, mostly because of the snark and pettiness that bleeds through almost every syllable."
Michael Matt makes some excellent points here:

"To the proposed question:
"Why would a pope be cracking down on faithful Catholics in the middle of a worldwide lockdown, at Christmastime, and when millions are afraid, out of work and suffering economic collapse? He’s got nothing better to do? This is the moment when this obsessed globalist decides he needs to take away the spiritual consolation of millions of faithful (and disproportionately young) Catholics? Is he possessed, or just senile?

"The answer is:

"Francis is implementing a global ban on Old Normal Catholicism in order to make room for the New Normal Religion of Equity and Climate Change.

"A monstrous act by a monstrous little man, to be sure. But here's the thing: The monster has jumped the shark. This is not 1972. The world can see clearly now that the Novus Ordo experiment has left the Church in the shambles of global clerical sex scandal and apostasy.

"So when the Pachamama Papa decides to take a crack at destroying the healthiest movement left in the Church today—a movement bursting with vocations, new religious orders, new churches being built, and teeming with millions of young adherents—it's not going to go over at all well. Catholics have had enough of this man, which is why he will most assuredly fail in his effort to do what Paul VI and an entire Ecumenical Council could not pull off some 50 years ago. 

"But, by all means, Holiness, do carry on. This act of desperation only means the revolution against the Faith of our fathers has failed. One does not persecute that which one does not fear has the potential to rise up against him. Francis is not on offense. Francis is on defense, and he will now unite the Traditional Catholic Counterrevolution—the clans—like nobody ever has."

To close, there is an excellent post on Rorate Caeli which puzzles at why Traditional Catholics are the exceptions from Pope Francis' "synodality" and mercy. It is worth quoting at length: 

The Synodal Church, which has unleashed the revolution of tenderness, has today given another evident sign of the direction its synodalities and tendernesses are taking, with the resolution of some dubia raised by the bishops to the Congregation for Divine Worship about the application of Traditiones custodes. Of course, the answers to these dubiathat were quickly resolved and not like others that are still waiting to be responded, are all ordered to further stifle the traditional liturgy in the Catholic Church. Synodality, Pope Francis explains to us, demands that the Church listen to all men, and he insists on "all", without any kind of exception. But the facts, which are more eloquent than words, tell us that there is a "collective" that should not be listened to but rather, should be massacred: it is the "collective" of traditionalist Catholics.

They are a hindrance that one must get rid of as soon as possible. 


There are some details in the document that cause expressions of incredulity. For example, it says: "Moreover, this celebration [referring to the traditional Mass] should not be included in the parish Mass schedule, since only the faithful who are part of the group participate in it. Finally, it should not coincide with the pastoral activities of the parish community." A documented discrimination, lest the "normal" faithful catch the traditionalist virus. The faithful of this "group" must remain isolated and shielded, avoiding any contact with the normal people. And I recall that, just five days ago, the Vatican apologized for having caused pain to the LGBT community for removing from its official page a link to a site of that "group" that defends the rights of homosexuals. The poor things had felt discriminated against. I wonder if the cardinals of the Curia or Pope Francis do not perceive the pain they cause to the Catholic faithful who prefer the traditional liturgy and who also feel discriminated against by provisions such as these. We do not expect a public apology as the LGBT did; much less do we expect them to include links to traditionalist sites on the Vatican's official website. We are content if they will not persecute us and let us continue to exist.

Regarding the document itself, unfortunately it will not affect the faithful of Spain or Hispanic America too much, since, in this portion of the globe, these cruelties had already been perpetrated by the bishops many years ago. It will not be very noticeable. The damage could be notable and considerable in France, Great Britain, and the United States, where the traditionalist movement is strong and has many years of history. The question is to see how far it will be obeyed. So much chatter about synodality may give the bishops arguments to put their foot down or to pretend to be distracted. Many of them sincerely appreciate the traditionalist faithful and their priests, and know that they are not contagious or harmful, but custodians of the Catholic faith. If they are sincere and act out of an eagerness to shepherd the sheep entrusted to them, it is likely that these provisions will be heeded but not obeyed. And let Bishop Roche send the Vatican gendarmerie to enforce them.

According to Fr. Claude Barthe, the most serious and complex problem will be in the seminaries of the Ecclesia Dei religious communities, since the document explicitly forbids the use of the Pontificale Romanum prior to the liturgical reform. That is, it forbids conferring the sacraments of confirmation and holy orders according to the traditional rite. And the many seminarians who fill those seminaries are there because they wish to be ordained with that rite, and then wish to celebrate it. Banning the traditional Pontificale Romanum is a shot in the heart of these communities (rumor has it that other shots will be fired in February). Considering this, Fr. Barthe insists that the duty is to resist an unjust law. And I agree. It will be those in charge of these institutes who, advised by those in the know, will begin the resistance in the way that can be most effective.

Some final thoughts:

1. The situation today is certainly much worse than it was a year ago. But it is much better than what we had for decades under the pontificates of Paul VI and John Paul II. It is worth bearing this in mind. 

2. In my opinion, the fundamentalists of Vatican II -- like Bishop Viola, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and executioner of all these evils, together with his advisor Andrea Grillo -- woke up too late. The traditionalist movement is too numerous to be dispersed by force of documents and the bishops have had many years to see the fruits of the traditional liturgy in their faithful. 

3. This document only fuels the fire. The pax liturgica that Pope Benedict had achieved has been broken, and there will be war. And war causes damage, serious damage in many cases, and no bishop with Catholic faith will want bloody wars in his dioceses. We will have to bear the rain and hope that Bergoglio dies as soon as possible. I am hopeful that his successor, whoever he may be, will return to the pax Benedictina, if not out of conviction, at least so as not to see his pontificate stained with blood.

4. When, a few days ago, Cardinal Burke announced with great fanfare that his return to public life would be with a series of pontifical Masses and traditional ceremonies, it caught my attention. The oven was not ready for hot buns, and yet he dared to speak and act according to his conscience. A man who saw the face of death and who was about to cross the Lethe, is no longer the same (I say this, but I have not had the experience. And I know several who had it, and remained as bad and sinful as before.) But maybe the cardinal will dare to stand up and, for example, celebrate a priestly ordination following the traditional Pontificale. What could happen? Would Bergoglio, the king of mercies, dare to do so? The same one who granted permission to the priests of the FSSPX to celebrate the sacraments of marriage and penance according to the traditional ritual, would he suspend a cardinal of Santa Romana Chiesa for an analogous act? What would happen if such a thing happened? It would create a new Lefebvre, and that does not suit anyone, least of all him.


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