Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 4

“The Mass of All Time vs. The Mass of Our Time”

In preparation for the 1981 Eucharistic Congress, a questionnaire was distributed, the first question of which was: “Of these two definitions: ‘The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass’ and ‘Eucharistic Meal,’ which one do you adopt spontaneously?” There is a great deal that could be said about this way of questioning Catholics, giving them to some extent the choice and appealing to their private judgment on a subject where spontaneity has no place. The definition of the Mass is not chosen in the same way that one chooses a political party.
Alas! The insinuation does not result from a blunder on the part of the person who drew up the questionnaire. One has to accept that the liturgical reform tends to replace the idea and the reality of the Sacrifice by the reality of a meal. That is how one comes to speak of eucharistic celebration, or of a “Supper”; but the expression “Sacrifice” is much less used. It has almost totally disappeared from catechism handbooks just as it has from sermons. It is absent from Canon II, attributed to St. Hippolytus.

Read the full book:

Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 3

“What They Are Doing to the Mass”

I have before me some photos published in Catholic newspapers representing the Mass as it is now often said. Looking at the first photo I find it difficult to understand at what moment of the Holy Sacrifice it has been taken. Behind an ordinary wooden table, which does not appear very clean and which has no cloth covering it, two persons wearing suits and ties elevate or present, one a chalice, the other a ciborium. The text informs me they are priests, one of them the federal chaplain of Catholic Action. On the same side of the table, close to the first celebrant are two girls wearing trousers, and near the second celebrant two boys in sweaters. A guitar is placed against a stool.
In another photo the scene is the corner of a room which might be the main room of a youth club. The priest is standing, wearing a Taizé-like alb, before a milking-stool which serves as an altar; there is a large earthenware bowl and a small mug of the same sort, together with two lighted candle-ends. Five young people are sitting cross-legged on the floor, one of them strumming a guitar.
The third photo shows an event which occurred a few years ago, the cruise of some ecologists who were seeking to prevent the French atomic experiments on the Isle of Mururoa. Amongst them was a priest who celebrated Mass on the deck of the sailing ship, in the company of two other men. All three were wearing shorts, one is even stripped to the waist. The priest is raising the Host, no doubt for the elevation. He is neither standing nor kneeling, but sitting or rather slumped against the boat’s superstructure….

Read the full book:

Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 2

“They are Changing Our Religion!”

Firstly, I must dispel a misunderstanding so as not to have to return to it. I am not the head of a movement, even less the head of a particular church. I am not, as they never stop writing, “the leader of the traditionalists.” They have come to describe certain persons as “Lefebvrists,” as though it were a case of a party or a school. This is an abuse of language.
I have no personal doctrine in the matter of religion. All my life I have held to what I was taught at the French Seminary in Rome, namely, Catholic doctrine according to the interpretation given it by the teaching authority of the Church from century to century, since the death of the last Apostle which marked the end of Revelation.

Read the full book:

Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 1

“Why are Catholics Confused? Who can deny that Catholics in the latter part of the twentieth century are confused? A glance at what has happened in the Church over the past twenty years is enough to convince anyone that this is a relatively recent phenomenon. Only a short time ago the path was clearly marked: either one followed it or one did not. One had the Faith—or perhaps had lost it—or had never had it. But he who had it—who had entered the Church through baptism, who had renewed his baptismal promises around the age of twelve and had received the Holy Ghost on the day of his confirmation—such a person knew what he had to believe and what he had to do.”

Read the full book: