Editor’s note: The original version of this article contained strong criticism of the laymen of a specific parish, who were mentioned as a counter-model of how to receive the Vatican’s crackdown on the Traditional Latin Mass. It attracted objections from a number of readers, and the offending passages have been removed. LifeSiteNews apologizes for the hurt caused and regrets the criticism of a particular parish. We hope instead to encourage debate and prayer in these trying times.
(LifeSiteNews) — A traditional priest serving a diocese in the United States is calling out the bishops who implement Pope Francis’ unjust commands to suppress the traditional Latin Mass and the traditional sacraments (see full statement below).
In addition to calling out his fellow clergyman, this priest is also calling out the fathers of families who are not resisting these unjust laws.
LifeSite is pleased to publish here the statement from this priest who has to remain anonymous, as an additional voice in the choir of those clergymen who are insisting that Pope Francis’ recent moves against the traditional rite of the Church are unjust and thus are not to be obeyed.
In light of the anguish of many families who have brought up their children in the traditional rite, or of older Catholics who finally have found their home again in the Church’s old rite, and who find themselves now bereft of these gifts, LifeSite has been pleased to publish in the recent time some statements of clergymen proposing arguments on why one can, and should, disobey the latest suppression of the traditional rite of the Mass and its sacraments.
For example, LifeSite published Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s statement entitled The Correct Meaning of Obedience to the Pope, in which he speaks about the limits of obedience when it comes to the salvation of souls.
On 13 March, Bishop Athanasius Schneider repeated his own stance with regard to the ongoing attack on the traditional Mass in the Church. “The Pope has not the power to abolish the traditional Mass,” he stated, adding that this is “because it is a property, a treasure of the entire Church, from all the saints, the Church of all ages.” “Because of the very venerable age and constant perennial use of this order of Mass by so many saints and generations of Catholics, and of almost all Catholic nations,” Schneider insisted, “the Pope has no power to simply abolish this.”
LifeSite also published a statement by Father Alexander Wiseman, a member of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, which bears the title We should obey God rather than man, also arguing that there are limits to obedience.
The layman and liturgy expert Dr. Peter Kwasniewski argues in a similar vein when he says that the attack on the traditional rite of the Church is an “attack on the common good” and thus has to be resisted.
Today, we are pleased to publish a new statement by another priest from another corner of the Catholic Church, a traditional priest serving a U.S. diocese who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal. His words are strong and encouraging to those who wish to remain loyal to the traditions of the Church.
In Father’s eyes, the decrees coming from Rome against the traditional rite are nothing but “tyrannical and unjust edicts,” and he calls out the bishops who implement these decrees in their dioceses. But he also calls on all of us traditional Catholics, inviting us to have just anger.
“Are we Catholics righteously angry at the offenses hurled at God by sinful men, especially the unjust and sinful conduct of our Catholic shepherds who cease not to dishonor God and steal from the glory they are bound to give Him as His sacred ministers?” Father asks, before he adds: “Is there no one burning with a zealous love of God to call these wayward shepherds to conversion and new-found fidelity to Jesus Christ and their sacred vocation?”
Here he especially challenges the fathers of families and their masculinity, whose duty it is to protect the souls of their loved ones.
Please read Father’s full statement below:
FATHER, WHERE ART THOU?
Saint Thomas Aquinas, the premier theologian of the Roman Catholic Church, teaches: “He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.”
The injustices currently plaguing our secular and ecclesiastical worlds are so numerous, grave, and ubiquitous that virtue and goodness seem all but extinguished. These injustices are sinful and, as such, are firstly offensive to the all-good and all-just God. They are attacks against His infinite majesty and detract from the external honor and glory owed to Him by all creatures. Any man who possesses the virtue of justice is rightly provoked to virtuous, holy anger when he sees God gravely offended.
That truth begs the question in our own day, especially in Catholic circles: Are we Catholics righteously angry at the offenses hurled at God by sinful men, especially the unjust and sinful conduct of our Catholic shepherds who cease not to dishonor God and steal from the glory they are bound to give Him as His sacred ministers? Is there no one burning with a zealous love of God to call these wayward shepherds to conversion and new-found fidelity to Jesus Christ and their sacred vocation?
Now, considering injustices, we can think of those presently inflicted on Catholics striving to be faithful to the apostolic Faith, tried and true Catholicism handed down from Christ and the Apostles through our forebears across the ages to us. Why are they the targets of injustice? They adhere to the tradition of the ancient Roman Rite liturgy, whose Mass symbolizes and expresses the integrity of the Catholic religion.
Since the publication of Pope Francis’ decree Traditionis custodes of July 16, 2021, the Roman authorities have striven to limit, marginalize, and eliminate the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missale Romanum) from the life of the Church and of her faithful. Recent moves on the part of Rome seek to coerce diocesan bishops to banish these same celebrations and their attendees from parish churches. Unfortunately, various bishops have seen fit to do Rome’s bidding. Is anyone burning with a righteous anger and rising up against this grave injustice?
A common disease among even good Catholics, cardinals, bishops, and priests included, is that a command or law imposed by one’s superior is necessarily always good and just and, therefore, must be obeyed. This is sheer legal positivism at work. It is a practical manifestation of “might makes right,” that the lawgiver by merely enacting a law makes the object of his law a good and virtuous thing aligned with justice and the common good of his subjects.
Whoa! Not so fast! The law is an ordinance of reason imposed by authority for the common good and duly promulgated by that same authority. Thus, If a law though duly promulgated is unjust, unreasonable, or subversive of the common good, it cannot be a law in the true sense, and thus it cannot bind the consciences of the subjects.
So it is with the recent commands of Rome regarding the Traditional Latin Mass and the treatment of the faithful. Grave injustice and subversion of the common good mark these commands. The Catholic faithful are, in effect, endangered in their Catholic lives and stripped of their rightful claims as members of the Church. Their baptismal rite is that of the Latin Church, and so they have a strict right to their traditional Latin Rite heritage and spiritual patrimony that transcend the illicit innovations unjustly imposed on the Latin Church by Paul VI during the years following the disastrous Second Vatican Council. Rome’s coercion of the bishops is simply unjust, and the actions of bishops to execute Rome’s will in this matter is likewise unjust. What Rome and bishops such as Bishop O’Connell are doing to the Catholic faithful is unjust and immoral. Their deeds done under the false cloak of authority must be denounced and rejected. The faithful, bound by the First Commandment of God and their baptismal promises, must defend and maintain their Catholic life and refuse to be treated as pariahs in their own churches and parishes.
The hallmark of masculinity is this: a man protects the perimeters, guarding those within; whether it be the borders of his own soul, his family, his community, his parish, his country, or his Church. Where are the men of St. John the Baptist who are called to love their families and neighbors by protecting them from all assaults to their well-being, especially their spiritual well-being?
Men with responsibility for others do not have the luxury of suffering privately, disengaged from the fight against evil, and quietly “taking it on the chin” when they are attacked. The eternal welfare of souls is at stake, as is, most importantly, the honor of the Divine Majesty, so grievously wounded by the injustice of ecclesiastics who abuse their authority to steal bread from the mouths of their starving children.
And when such evil is perpetrated, where are the men not only to fight it but to make public reparation to Almighty God for the attacks against His honor and glory? Where are the men taking the lead to make reparation for the harm done to souls and to the places they are called to protect?
The Catholic faithful desperately need leadership, but their spiritual fathers have turned against them, not just abandoning them, but actively working to destroy them. That is the sad reality presently before our eyes today. We cry out in the darkness to our spiritual fathers: “O father, where art thou?” . . . and we are met with the relentless stinging lash of soul-crushing tyranny or, even worse, the cruel indifference of men and fathers who could not care less for the honor of God and the true good of those whom they are called to cherish and protect.
The few who muster the courage to fight with the help of God must confront the darkness if God and His goodness are to regain their place in the Church and the world. They must expect loneliness and pain, as did Our Lord in this world. Such is the price to be paid without flinching. May they be privileged to utter with their dying breath the words of the great Hildebrand, otherwise known as Pope St. Gregory VII, who faithfully endured all for God’s glory and paid the price: “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore, I die in exile.”