Vigano on the Traditional Mass

The following are excerpts from a recent letter by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano to the Bishop of Novara, Italy. His comments pretty well sums up the deploarble attitude of too many prelates in the current Bergolian church towards those faithful Catholics who yearn for the beauty and reverence of the traditional Sacred Liturgy, which is every Catholic’s rightful patrimony.

“Most Reverend Excellency,

“Your recent decision to suspend the celebration of the Tridentine Liturgy in the church of Vocogno and in the chapel of San Biagio in the Ossola Valleys (Piedmont, Italy) has provoked a great bitterness in the thousands of the faithful and in the priests who are tied to the Traditional Rite (here). After years of application of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the coldness with which you have executed Traditionis Custodes has aroused deep indignation, despite the fact that the Code of Canon Law gives diocesan Ordinaries faculties that would permit you to derogate from it…

“The “church of mercy” finds itself exercising its power with the force of coercion, which fails when it ought to instead be used to heal situations that are much more serious: theological deviations, moral aberrations, sacrileges and irreverences in the liturgical ambit, The image of the (present day) Hierarchy given to the people of God is summed up in the adage: Strong with the weak; weak with the strong. Which, if you will permit me to say so, is the exact opposite of what you pledged to do as a Bishop.

“The multiple appeals to parrhesia and synodality are daily disavowed by authoritarian decisions, moved by that clericalism that is so often deplored in words. What hateful crime did the faithful of Vocogno and San Biagio commit to deserve being deprived of the traditional Mass, which was recognized by Benedict XVI as “never abrogated” and today is cancelled as divisive because it is contrary to the ecclesiology of Vatican II? Where did the famous hermeneutic of continuity go? Where is the attention for the people of God and the listening about which so many bishops speak at the Synod on synodality?

“In the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed we profess that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic: she is one not only in her diffusion across the entire world, but also in the passage of time and in the unfolding of events. The faithful Catholic is in communion not only with the Church of his own time, but he must necessarily also be in communion with the Church of all times: with the Church of the catacombs, of Constantine, of Saint Bernard, of Saint Pius V and Blessed Pius IX. The lex credendi – and the lex orandi that expresses it – cannot be susceptible to adulterations dictated by the latest fashions or contingencies. But if the lex orandi born from the modernist mind of Annibale Bugnini is recognized as the only cultic expression of the “conciliar church,” this means that the doctrine it expresses is other than – is opposed to – the teaching of Our Lord to the Apostles, handed down over the centuries and faithfully guarded by the Catholic Church. If this rupture with the Tradition is recognized and admitted by the drafter of Traditionis Custodes himself (i.e., Pope Francis), this places the “conciliar church” outside of Catholic Tradition, thereby eliminating any legitimate authority to promulgate laws in contrast with the purposes for which the Lord instituted that authority.

“I do not know if Your Excellency shares this vision, and if you consider the Holy Tridentine Mass as irreconcilable and extraneous to the “synodal church.” It seems to me that your decision, beyond revealing an exercise of episcopal authority that has been unchained from the duty to guard the depositum fidei, demonstrates a worrisome distance from the ecclesial body, a victim of the volubility and idiosyncrasies of a Hierarchy that follows its own ideological program without having even the slightest concern for the consequences that it may have. The result is a very unflattering image of Shepherds, in whom the rerum novarum cupiditas [greed for novelties] tramples with impunity the immutable Magisterium of the Church, the legitimate rights of priests, and the spiritual necessities of the faithful; who, as you know, ask nothing from their Bishop other than to be allowed to be free to enjoy the use of a rite that for centuries has been the praying voice of the Church, and which sixty years of failures and aberrations cannot render illegitimate only because it brings to light deceptions and falsifications.

“I wonder what teaching the faithful of the Diocese of Novara – and also the millions of traditional faithful around the world – will draw from this authoritarian use of power against the very purposes from which it draws its legitimacy. Whether they obey an order that they consider unjust or oppose it in the name of obedience to God rather than to men, the authority of the Shepherds is totally discredited, because that which yesterday the Church taught and recommended is today despised and prohibited by those holding roles of governance in the Church, while that which earlier was considered contrary to the teaching of Christ is now pointed out as a model to follow.

“What reproach could ever be uttered against the priests and faithful tied to the usus antiquior who – almost all of them without conviction and merely out of conformism – have resigned themselves to the imposition of the Novus Ordo? The fact that they desire the adoration of God? Recollection and decorum in the celebration? The unparalleled richness of the traditional liturgical texts, compared to the deliberate equivocal vacuousness of the reformed rite? The yearning to see the glory of the heavenly Court anticipated here on earth? The pious contemplation of the Passion of Christ in place of a noisy fraternal agape in which the Lord is only the alibi for celebrating oneself? What is so intolerable, so deplorable in wanting to pray with the sacred words handed down to us by two thousand years of Faith?”

Archbishop Vigano incisively hit the nail squarely on the head with one sentence: “The faithful Catholic is in communion not only with the Church of his own time, but he must necessarily also be in communion with the Church of all times.” We must stand with the Church of the Ages which is the entire Communion of Saints, living and deceased, not merely those priests and prelates who have been running things since 1962. The Catholic Church is a continuum of history and tradition, not some current-day novelty. To cut oneself off from that glorious past is just another form of neo-Protestantism. Consequently this “Protestantizing” and watering down of Catholic faith and tradition has caused tremendous demoralization among Catholics since Vatican II, attested by the millions of Catholics who have left the Church into which they were baptized. Unfortunately, rather than evangelizing and transforming the world to reflect the Church, we have allowed the world to infiltrate and transform the Church into its own less than Godly image.

The unhappy consequences of this secularizing process can now be seen throughout a society beset by rampant substance abuse, identity confusion, sexual perversion, abortion, and family disintegration. The Catholic Church is not just some other religious denomination. It’s very name means “universal” and as such it represents the very soul of society and even the world. When that soul is weakened or maligned the entire population, Catholic and non-Catholic will inevitably suffer. The only antidote is to retore the Church to her former health and vitality, not by advocating climate goals or environmntal aims, but by returning to the very core mission and duty of the Church which is the proper and respectful adoration of God through the sacraments He instituted for that very purpose. The Church exists not to improve the world but to sanctify mankind and bring it humbly back to God. To veer from that narrow path, as many current Church leaders seem to be doing, only guarantees that we all end up lost in the weeds.

Francis J. Pierson + a.m.d.g.

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