Audiobooks

Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 9

“The New Theology”

Among The ravages caused by the new catechism are already visible in the generation which has been exposed to it. As required by the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and Universities since 1970, I had included in the plan of studies for my seminaries one year’s spirituality at the beginning of the course. Spirituality includes the study of asceticism, mysticism, training in meditation and prayer, deepening the notions of virtue, supernatural grace, the presence of the Holy Ghost. Very soon we had to think again. We realized that these young men, who had come with a strong desire to become true priests, and having an interior life deeper than many of their contemporaries, and accustomed to prayer, were lacking the fundamental ideas of our Faith. They had never learned them. During the year of spirituality, we had to teach them the catechism!
I have many times told the story of the birth of Ecône. In this house situated in the Valais in Switzerland, between Sion and Martigny, it was originally intended that the future priests would complete only their first year (of spirituality). Then they would follow the university course at Fribourg. A complete seminary (at Ecône) took shape as soon as it did because the University at Fribourg could not provide a truly Catholic education. The Church has always considered the university chairs of theology, canon law, liturgy and Church law as organs of her magisterium or at least of her preaching. Now it is quite certain that at present in all, or nearly all of the Catholic universities, the orthodox Catholic faith is no longer being taught. I have not found one doing so, either in free Europe, or in the United States, or in South America. There are always some professors who, under the pretext of theological research, express opinions which are contradictory to our faith, and not only on points of secondary importance.

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Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 8

“The New Catechisms”

Among Catholics, I have often heard and continue to hear the remark, “They want to impose a new religion on us.” Is this an exaggeration? The modernists, who have infiltrated themselves everywhere in the Church and lead the dance, sought at first to reassure us: “Oh no, you have got the impression because old, obsolete ways have been changed for compelling reasons: we cannot pray now exactly as people used to pray, we have had to sweep away the dust, adopt a language that can be understood by our contemporaries and open ourselves up to our separated brethren… but nothing is changed, of course.”
Then they began to take fewer precautions, and the bolder ones among them began to make admissions in little groups of like-minded people and even publicly. One Father Cardonnel went round preaching a new Christianity in which “that precious transcendence that makes God into a Universal Monarch” would be challenged. He openly adopted Loisy’s modernism: “If you were born into a Christian family, the catechisms you learnt are mere skeletons of the faith.” And, “Our Christianity would seem to be neo-Capitalist at best.” And Cardinal Suenens, after reconstructing the Church to his own liking, called for “an opening up to the widest theological pluralism” and for the setting up of a hierarchy of truths, with some that must be strongly believed, others that must be believed a little, and others of no importance.

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Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 7

“The New Priests”

To the man in the street, even the most indifferent to religious questions, it is obvious that there are fewer and fewer priests, and the newspapers regularly remind him of the fact. It is over fifteen years ago since the book appeared with the title Tomorrow a Church without Priests?
Yet the situation is even more serious than it appears. The question has also to be asked, how many priests still have the faith? And even a further question, regarding some of the priests ordained in recent years: are they true priests at all? Put it another way, are their ordinations valid? The same doubt overhangs other sacraments. It applies to certain ordinations of bishops such as that which took place in Brussels in the summer of 1982 when the consecrating bishop said to the ordinand “Be an apostle like Gandhi, Helder Camara, and Mohammed!” Can we reconcile these references, at least as regards Gandhi and Mohammed, with the evident intention of doing what the Church intends?
Here is the order of service for a priestly ordination which took place at Toulouse a few years ago….

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Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 6

“The New Forms of Baptism, Marriage, Penance, and Extreme Unction”

The Catholic, whether he be regularly practicing or one who goes to church for the great moments of life, finds himself asking such basic questions as, “What is baptism?”
It is a new phenomenon, for not so long ago anyone could answer that, and anyway, nobody asked the question. The first effect of baptism is the redemption from original sin; that was known from father to son and mother to daughter.
But now nobody any longer talks about it anywhere. The simplified ceremony which takes place in the church speaks of sin in a context which seems to refer to that which the person being baptized will commit during his or her life, and not the original fault that we are all born with.
Baptism from then on simply appears as a sacrament which unites us to God, or rather makes us members of the community. This is the explanation of the “rite of welcome” that is imposed in some places as an initial step, in a first ceremony. It is not due to any private initiative since we discover plenty of variations upon baptism by stages in the leaflets of the National Center of Pastoral Liturgy. It is called “deferred baptism.”

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Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 5

“You’re A Dinosaur!”

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 iCatholics who feel that radical transformations are taking place have difficulty in standing up against the relentless propa-ganda they encounter (and which is common to all revolutions). They are told, “You can’t accept change. Yet change is a part of life. You’re static. What was good fifty years ago isn’t suitable to today’s mentality or way of life. You’re hung up on the past. You can’t change your ways!” Many have given in to the reform to avoid this criticism, unable to find an argument against the sneering charge, “You’re a reactionary, a dinosaur. You can’t move with the times!”
Cardinal Ottaviani said of the bishops, “They are afraid of looking old.”
But we have never refused certain changes, adaptations that bear witness to the vitality of the Church. In the liturgy, people my age have seen some of these. Shortly after I was born, St. Pius X made some improvements, especially in giving more importance to the temporal cycle in the missal, in lowering the age for First Communion for children and in restoring liturgical chant, which had fallen into disuse. Pius XII came along and reduced the length of the eucharistic fast because of difficulties inherent in modern life. For the same reason he authorized afternoon and evening Masses, put the Office of the Paschal Vigil on the evening of Holy Saturday and rearranged the services of Holy Week in general. John XXIII, before the Council, added his own touches to the so-called rite of St. Pius V.
But none of this came anywhere near to what happened in 1969, when a new concept of the Mass was introduced.

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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.

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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….

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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.

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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.”

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