Today, on the last day of this annus terribilis, I am in total awe of a piece posted – thank you! – at Rorate. HEREI am in total awe of a piece posted – thank you – at Rorate. A monumental take down of Traditionis custodes and the Dubious Dubia using Francis’ own categorical declarations about freedom, conscience, clericalism, proselytizing, discernment. A Manual for Resistance. | Fr. Z’s Blog
The writer was a lawyer in Buenos Aires, now a priest with a super CV.
The writer goes through all of Francis’ speeches and documents, back to the beginning of his pontificate, to look for principles by which we are to measure both Traditionis custodes (TC) and the Dubious Dubia (DD – Responses to Dubia).
The result is, simply put, devastating.
Through a systematic presentation of questions and themes that arise from the publication of Traditionis, and the use of Francis’ own words, sometimes strong and even categorical pronouncements about how people really must behave, must think, the writer shows the contradictory disconnect between Francis’ own publicly declared thought and the action his took in TC and the subsequent DD.
This is amazing work. I won’t try to summarize it here, because the writer did such a good job of leading you step by step through the evidence, each quotation of Francis meticulously footnoted.
I’ll give some a tempting examples, which will immediately drive you to Rorate to read the whole thing and then PRINT IT AND SEND IT TO YOUR BISHOPS. I am NOT kidding.
I will, with effort, restrain myself! For example…. (some formatting will be lost):
Although it is tempting to read these texts (TC and RAD) in a fundamentalist fashion, above all we must avoid interpreting or applying Traditionis Custodes and the Responsa ad dubia rigidly. We must take into account the specific way Francis asks us to interpret and live the law. We must do exegesis in the way the Pope himself has asked us to, with freedom and discernment, giving priority to charity. Above all we must avoid rigidity, insofar as, according to him, “Rigidity is not a gift of God.”
The Holy Father points out that one must be
particularly concerned to offer understanding, comfort, and acceptance, rather than imposing [upon needy souls] straightaway, as if they were a rock, a set of rules [be they liturgical, canonical, or disciplinary] that only lead people to feel judged and abandoned by the very Mother called to show them God’s mercy.
Indeed, many souls (both laymen and priests) feel abandoned by the Church in the face of the publication of Traditionis Custodes and the Responsa.
Now, the key to interpreting and applying TC and RAD is discernment, which ultimately cannot be applied from the frigidity of a clerical desk (be it Roman, episcopal, or parochial)—since “clericalism is a perversion.” Rather, the priest must go among God’s people as a shepherd among his sheep, willing to give his life for them (cf. John 10:11).
Indeed, as Amoris Laetitia 305 states:
Natural law should not be presented as an already established set of rules that impose themselves a priori on the moral subject; rather, it is a source of objective inspiration for the deeply personal process of making decisions.
This implies that Traditionis Custodes and the Responsa are merely a “source of inspiration for the deeply personal process of making decisions.” Moreover, one must take into account that, as Pope Francis says, the “attitude that would solve everything by applying general rules” is mistaken and that it is “not helpful to try to impose rules by sheer authority.”
Just as “a pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in ‘irregular’ situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives,” neither should bishops think that it is enough merely to apply moral laws to the priests and laymen who live in “irregular” liturgical or ritual situations, as if these las were stones to throw at people’s lives. By analogy with Amoris Laetitia 305, this casting of regulations as if they were stones (be they of TC, RAD, or the Code of Canon Law) at traditional communities “would bespeak the closed heart of one used to hiding behind the Church’s teachings, ‘sitting on the chair of Moses and judging at times with superiority and superficiality difficult cases and wounded families.’”
In the wake of TC and RAD, many families feel hurt because they feel they are being discriminated against when choosing which rite they want their children to be baptized, confessed, or confirmed in. Indeed we can easily imagine difficult cases such as if five brothers are confirmed according to the solemn traditional rite but the sixth, on top of having to wear his older brother’s hand-me-downs, must now be confirmed in a different rite that appears less beautiful to him.
For Pope Francis, however, the relativity of norms is even more radical. Indeed, he has affirmed that the Ten Commandments are, ultimately, relative, as he stated during a general audience: “Do I despise the Commandments? No. I follow them, but not as absolutes.”
Let the will of Pope Francis when he legislates or gives instructions be clear. If not even the Ten Commandments are absolute, Church norms made by men are even less absolute. What is said by a motu proprio is even less absolute, and what a Cardinal Prefect says in response to dubia is even less absolute than that.
The Pope points out that human precepts must be enforced with moderation:
Saint Thomas Aquinas pointed out that the precepts which Christ and the apostles gave to the people of God “are very few.” Citing Saint Augustine, he noted that the precepts subsequently enjoined by the Church should be insisted upon with moderation “so as not to burden the lives of the faithful” and make our religion a form of servitude, whereas “God’s mercy has willed that we should be free”. This warning, issued many centuries ago, is most timely today. It ought to be one of the criteria to be taken into account in considering a reform of the Church and her preaching which would enable it to reach everyone.
This means that the application of TC and RAD cannot be so demanding that it burdens the life of the faithful. In other words, if the application of this or that precept of TC or RAD in a particular case makes the life of this or that believer burdensome, then those general normals should not be applied.
The Holy Father also insists on the importance of building bridges instead of walls, as in the following passage:
I remember when I was a child one heard Catholic families say, even my family: “No, we cannot go into their house, because they are not married in the Church, they are socialists, they are atheists, hey!” It was exclusionary. Now—thank God—nobody says these things, right? No one says it! These things were said to defend the faith, but with walls. The Lord, on the other hand, built bridges.
This concept of bridges must be taken into account when discerning how to apply TC and RAD. In other words, bishops and priests must avoid expressions like “no, we cannot allow that rite, because they aren’t attached to Vatican II, to the new Mass, hey!” That would be exclusionary. That would be like defending the new rite and the Council, but with walls. But the Lord, on the other hand, builds bridges.
.1 The Deliberate Intention of Making a Mess
The Holy Father exhorts the young to “make a mess,” but this papal request actually extends to all of the baptized, since he has thanked certain people for helping him continue making messes. Therefore, Pope Francis invites all Christians to make a mess.
2.2 The “Revolutionary” Character of Faith
The Holy Father not only calls us to synodality, but also to be revolutionaries, since he considers the Catholic faith intrinsically “revolutionary.”
Therefore, abiding by these papal declarations should encourage many Catholics to carry out a kind of “revolution” against TC and RAD, as long as this involves no lack of obedience to the Pope according to their own consciences. Instead, they might see it as an act of profound fidelity to the Pope and of commitment to following the doctrine he teaches, namely, that the faith is revolutionary.
His Holiness Pope Francis has pointed out that he dislikes young people who do not protest and that he appreciates it when young people are non-conformist, because that is their very essence. Since it would be a hypocritical contradiction to exempt from this judgment those young people who protest against him, or to exempt those young men who are priests, then we cannot but conclude that His Holiness would like to see young priests protesting against TC and RAD.
the Holy Father asks those who feel discriminated against (socially, liturgically, or in whatever fashion) to raise a prophetic voice against the privileges of the followers of the new Mass, who can attend it anywhere without any restrictions, and who discriminate against them to the point of banning them from receiving the Holy Spirit (in Confirmation) in the rite of their grandparents.
One of the things the Holy Father most repeatedly condemns is proselytism, which includes liturgical proselytism, which is why all efforts to convince or force those who sympathize with the traditional rite to adhere to the liturgical reform or to accept the Second Vatican Council in its entirely must be rejected and deplored.
The Holy Father affirms that “proselytism is always violent by nature, even when this nature is hidden” and has said that “proselytism is not Christian” and that “the Church does not grow through proselytism, but by attraction.”
Therefore, no bishop should proselytize their priests, trying to convince them to embrace Vatican II or the new Mass, since Pope Francis condemns proselytism. If Pope Francis prohibits us from converting a heretic to the Catholic faith, with all the more reason a bishop is prohibited from trying to persuade a priest refractory to Vatican II. He cannot proselytize.
There’s so much more I could quote. It is a monumental take down of everything surrounding TC and the DD and all the fake words about unity and accompaniment and Vatican II etc. etc.
I am deeply grate for this GOLD MINE, first published in German at InfoCatholica and now in English, a little abridged, at Rorate.