Why Are We Traditional Catholics?
(One Mother’s Open Letter to
Her Grown Children)
Posted 3/22/10) Editor, The Remnant: Thank you
for your article "SOS: Millions of Catholics
Overboard" by Samuel Frankel, Esq (1/31/10 issue of The
Remnant) I could just imagine countless readers of
The Remnant, thinking with a very sad sigh: "Yes,
that is exactly the way it is in my family."
response to my own frustration, I prepared a statement for
my grown children who were raised in the post-Vatican II
church, having been born in the mid-1960's. After
floundering in the Novus Ordo churches for many years, my
husband and I discovered, by the grace of God, the Catholic
Faith was alive and well in a neighborhood SSPX Chapel.
By this time, our adult children were suffering from poor
catechetics, diluted doctrines, pabulum sermons and
undemanding Catholicism. Totally ignorant of the
pre-Vatican II church, our return to "Tradition" was
confusing and bewildering for them.
Where do you begin to explain the relief and joy we felt to
recapture the faith of our youth? It would take hours
of discussion with their undivided attention (no small
task!). In desperation, I prepared the attached
"document", which may be helpful to your readers.
statement has spurred our children to ask many questions and
has opened their eyes to the many abuses they are witnessing
in the local parish. It is our hope and prayer that
this spark of inquisitiveness will eventually help them find
their home– the Traditional Catholic faith. Thank you for
East Patchogue, New York
your parents we have a responsibility and duty to transmit
to you the truth of our Traditional Catholic beliefs.
We are not a “new” religion in conflict with the Catholic
faith. We belong to a relatively small group of
faithful whose purpose is to worship according to ancient
liturgies and preserve for future generations the immemorial
Tridentine Mass. Because you were raised in the shadow
of Vatican II, a Council called by Pope John XXIII and
continued by Pope Paul VI, which ended in 1965, some of the
words we have already used are not familiar to you. It
is our hope and prayer that after reading this, you will
have at least a brief outline of the events that led to the
Catholic Church as you know it and will plant a seed for
NEW ORDER MASS: WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
Pope John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council in l960,
almost every bishop in the world was puzzled. Vatican
Councils historically are only called when the Church is in
some desperate need or is fighting a very serious heresy (a
widespread attack on a dogma of faith, i.e., Mary was not
the Mother of God). But this was a time when the
Catholic Church seemed to be in her glory. We had an
abundance of priests and nuns. Seminaries were full.
Catholic schools were overflowing. It was not uncommon
that attendance at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of
Obligation was standing room only. Almost every
Saturday, there were lines for Confession.
call a council? Pope John was warned by some Bishops
that in their midst were some (not many) liberal Bishops who
would use the council to “modernize” the Church. Previous
Popes, especially Pope St. Pius X, had warned that the
Church must never be “modern”. She must be unchangeable
because what is modern in 1940 will not be modern in 1960
and what is modern in 1960 will not be modern in 1980. By
remaining FOREVER unchangeable, you are always relevant.
Pope John promised it would be a PASTORAL Council and not
DOCTRINAL or DOGMATIC so that the Deposit of Faith (our
beliefs) and the liturgy of the Mass will not change.
It has been said that before he died, he saw the council
change in a direction he was unable to stop and thus
welcomed death knowing the council would die with him.
Unfortunately, it was re-opened by Pope Paul VI, his
successor, who invited 6 Protestant clergy to act as
“observers”. Behind the scenes, these “observers” were
allowed much more input and became unofficial participants.
Thus, the Roman Catholic Mass could become “Protestantized.”
At the end of the council, one of the Protestant ministers
is quoted as saying: “This is the best council the
Protestants ever had!”
not our intention to give you a step by step history of
Vatican II. However, you should know that when
the council closed, the wheels were in motion like a train
at full speed. In the driver’s seat were the
“modernist” bishops who’d used the council like a vehicle to
take it to their own destination—a more “modern” church,
open to innovation, causing weakening of faith and much
confusion. Pope Paul VI seeing the end result of
Vatican II said in no uncertain terms: “THE SMOKE OF SATAN
HAS ENTERED THE CHURCH!”
read the documents of Vatican II (most Catholics have not),
there is nothing in them to justify the numerous changes
made in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It did not
forbid the Mass to be celebrated in Latin. It did not
call for the removal of altars to be replaced by tables.
It did not call for the removal of Communion rails where the
congregation KNELT to receive Holy Communion. It did
not allow Eucharistic Ministers or altar girls. It did
not allow Communion received in the hand. It did not
allow most of the changes made to our liturgical ceremonies
and devotions. Unsuspecting priests and pastors, who
may never have had an opportunity to read the documents,
merely followed orders from bishops who knowingly or
unknowingly were puppets of liberal, modern bishops at the
this did not happen overnight. The changes were subtle.
If you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump out.
If you put a frog in cool water and slowly raise the
temperature, it will boil to death. Some older priests
who would not accept the changes, left or retired.
Conservative, orthodox nuns left the convent. The new
modern ones gladly shed their habits and bought suits,
making them undistinguishable from the rest of society.
Most people, confused by it all, did not question the
changes. Holy Mother Church would not deceive us or
lead us astray. Some just followed in obedience, but
many lost the faith.
the Catholic Church before Vatican II perfect? No, she
is made up of people, and people make mistakes. Even priests
and nuns are not immune to sin. But the church was our moral
compass and there was no moral issue in the world that was
not firmly addressed from the pulpit. Our churches
were built to inspire awe and devotion. Every parish
had weekly Novenas and Benediction with great attendance.
A woman would not dare walk into a church without a head
covering and a modest dress—never pants. Men wore dress
shirts—never T-shirts or shorts.
you worship, so you will believe. So you believe, so
you will worship.” The way we worship reflects our
belief. Receiving Holy Communion without being in the
State of Grace means it is not that important to you.
Going to church dressed like you are going to the beach also
means there is nothing all that special going on. When
anyone could administer or touch the Sacred Host, the belief
in the Real Presence is weakened, and in many cases, lost.
When the Novus Ordo Mass became the rule, the faith of the
people started to die.
this mean that everyone who attends the Novus Ordo Mass is
not holy? Does this mean that every Novus Ordo clergy
is sinful and disbelieving? ABSOLUTELY NOT! What it
does mean is that these very special people who have
maintained their sanctity and treasure their faith deserve
the true worship in the Traditional Latin Mass.
IS THE TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS?
Traditional Latin Mass is that rite of Mass through which
the Roman Catholic Church has worshipped God for centuries,
offering to God the Father the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary
for the redemption of mankind. Ancient church
documents show that this rite was precisely offered
word-for-word by the Popes and clergy even before 600 AD.
Tradition tells us that this rite was used substantially
unchanged for centuries before that time.
1570, Pope St. Pius V in a document called “Quo Primum”
proclaimed that this was the Mass to be celebrated for all
time, even to eternity. He warned that changing the
Mass would destroy the Church and the faith of the people.
He very clearly stated that anyone, including a Pope, who
would alter the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass would be putting
his own salvation in severe jeopardy and would “incur the
wrath of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul”. Starting
with his Papacy, every Bishop had to take a solemn oath
against “modernism” (changing the Faith to conform to the
Latin? Before Vatican II, no matter where you
traveled, when you entered a Catholic Church you knew the
Mass celebrated there was exactly the same throughout the
world. Latin is a dead language. It is not used in
conversation. Therefore, words are never taken away,
added, or meanings changed. For example, the word
“gay” used to mean happy. Today it has a totally
different meaning. Words cannot change like this in a
“dead” language. Faithful Catholics followed the Mass
with their missals written in their own language.
Those who did not use a missal still felt part of the
celebration, standing, kneeling or sitting with the
congregation and sensing the sacrality of the Holy Liturgy.
A French priest who knew no English could offer Mass on Long
Island without the parishioners knowing he could not speak
contrast, when we attended New Order Masses in our travels
today, we never knew what the priest was going to do or how
he was going to do it. Many masses we attended seemed
very foreign, irreverent and sometimes strange.
Novelty is the rule of the day. Unity is gone.
Each Bishop became his own authority in his own diocese and
priests in his parish experimenting as they willed.
Traditional Latin Mass CANNOT be forbidden by any Pope and
it has NEVER been forbidden. On July 7, 2007, Pope Benedict
XVI issued a motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” “liberating”
the Traditional Latin Mass and stating with authority as
Vicar of Christ on earth that this Mass never was and never
can be abrogated. Most Bishops have tried to ignore this
decree, but many priests, thankfully, are now rediscovering
the beauty of the Tridentine Mass.
SOCIETY OF ST. PIUS X
grace of God, one of the Bishops who was an active
participant in the Second Vatican Council became horrified
when he realized that once the New Order Mass could come
into common use, the Faith would die. His name is
Marcel Lefebvre. He was ordained a priest in l929 and
served as a Missionary in Africa. He became aware of
the direction the liberal Bishops were taking the Church.
In l970, with the approval of the Vatican, he founded the
Society of St. Pius X and, with a handful of dedicated
priests, vowed to preserve for us, our children and our
grandchildren the “Mass of All Time”. In spite of much
persecution from within the Church, he held fast and would
not surrender his belief that the Latin Mass must forever be
preserved for the salvation of all mankind. Knowing he
would not live forever, he begged Pope John Paul II to give
him a date when he could consecrate four of his priests as
Bishops, so that they, in turn, could ordain priests.
The act of ordination was never forbidden, but it became
more and more clear to Archbishop Lefebvre that forces in
the Vatican were determined to destroy the Society by
leaving them with no Bishop after his death. After
being denied a specific date time again and being left with
no choice, Lefebvre ordained four bishops without the
expressed mandate from the Pope. In spite of this
Archbishop Lefebvre and the four bishops were never formally
excommunicated. This act was to preserve the faith,
not destroy it. It has never been disputed, even in
Rome, that the priests of the Society of St. Pius X are
validly ordained and that the Sacraments are validly
Society is not fully united with Rome but the case for
Tradition is being presented to the Holy Father at this
moment by Bishop Fellay, Superior General of the Society of
St. Pius X. The Catholic Church did not begin with Vatican
II and no one on earth has the right to condemn or destroy
everything before it. The Society of St. Pius X
acknowledges Our Holy Father as head of the Catholic Church.
Prayers are said for him at every Mass.
– On January 21, 2009, in response to a Rosary Crusade of
almost 3 million rosaries, Pope Benedict XVI lifted to
so-called “excommunication” of the four bishops of St. Pius
THEOLOGY BEHIND THE LATIN MASS VS. NOVUS ORDO
Catholic Church has always spoken of the Mass as a
“Sacrifice” It is an INFALLIBLE TEACHING (without error)
that Christ left a visible Sacrament to His Church in which
the sacrifice of Calvary is re-presented for all eternity in
an unbloody manner.
Novus Ordo Mass is presented as the “Lord’s Supper”, a
banquet meal shared by the community. This is why the
Altar of Sacrifice has been changed to a table. While
the Last Supper is definitely part of the Liturgy, it cannot
be separated from the Cross and Calvary. I know this
is very difficult to understand. Suffice it to say,
that when the MEANING of the Mass was distorted, many errors
and abuses crept into the Church.
FRUITS YOU WILL KNOW THEM
are the fruits of Vatican II? The Council Fathers
predicted a “new springtime” for the Church. Here we
are more than 40 years later and the Catholic Church is in
the “dead of winter”. Priests and nuns abandoned their
vocations by the tens of thousands. Seminarians
decreased by 90% (1965-2002). Teaching sisters
decreased 93%. In l958, 74% of Catholics in the USA
attended Mass regularly. In 2002, the number dropped
to 17%. Catholic churches and schools are closing
rapidly throughout the United States, while Traditional
churches, schools and seminaries are expanding. A
survey of New Order Catholics revealed that more than 80% no
longer believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy
Eucharist. In order to fill empty seminaries, men with
homosexual tendencies (and some active homosexuals) were
allowed into the priesthood (previously FORBIDDEN). This
resulted in many thousands of scarred victims who are still
suffering today. Bishops turned their heads and now
the Church is billions of dollars in debt, resulting in the
selling of more church properties. Beautiful marble
altars were wrecked and discarded in landfills or tossed
into rivers. Crucifixes were replaced by ugly, meaningless
banners. The Tabernacle where the Consecrated Sacred Hosts
were kept at the center of the Altar were moved to the side
or totally hidden away. Beautiful statues of Our Lord,
Our Blessed Mother and the saints were banished in dark,
dusty basements. Stained glass windows depicting the
life of Our Lord, Our Blessed Mother and the Saints have
been replaced with color geometric designs, depicting
absolutely nothing. By canon law, the vessels
used during Mass are to be made of precious metal (silver,
gold). Totally disregarding this directive, cheap
pottery and glass are used, with everyone and anyone
remember when the church choir, accompanied by the organist,
brought tears to my eyes as they sang “Sanctus, Sanctus,
Sanctus.” Leave the guitars and drums at home! I
could go on and on, but you have the picture. Holiness
and sanctity are rapidly fading away! That is why it just
isn’t important any more. That is why most Catholics
who receive Holy Communion have not been to confession in
years and it just doesn’t matter. Sin is not an issue.
No one likes using that word – especially many, many priests
in the pulpit. Our friends, our children, our Catholic
people are being fed stones where once they were given
have re-discovered a treasure we thought was lost.
Unfortunately, you never knew the treasure existed.
This is why you may find it so difficult to understand why
we feel so blessed to have St. Michael the Archangel Church
in our neighborhood. If we did not educate you, we
would be at great fault. What you do with this information
is up to you. We hope and pray that this has given you food
for thought. If you have any questions or wish further
discussion, we would be happy to provide you with any
additional information. Otherwise, there is no more to be
Archbishop Lefebvre, as his life on earth was coming to an
end, expressed the simple but profoundly beautiful sentiment
that “he was handing down what he had been given (the gift
cannot hand down what you do not have. We have found it
again and wish now to hand it down to you, our children,
according to our sacred duty before God as Catholic parents.
To Submit a Comment
Excellent and heartfelt article. I pray for the
success of the Rosary Crusade and that the heart
of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, will be
moved to respond to Our Holy Mother's request;
The consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate
Heart. Holy Mother please help us!
I just finished reading the
article "Why We are Traditional Catholics" (One
Mother's Open Letter to Her Grown Children).
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for that
article. My children having been raised in the
1970s and 1980s in Catholic Church have never had
the blessing of being raised traditional.
They, too, being ignorant of the True Catholic
are unable to understand my devotion to the
The article brings to mind much of what happened in
those days and sadness in me as I recall how I went
along with many others thinking this is the way it
is supposed to be. Somewhere in my
heart, I knew something was terribly wrong. I
thank my Dear Lord Jesus and His Blessed Mother for
leading me to a Society of Saint Pius X church.
Immediately, upon walking into the church to attend
mass that Saturday morning I knew I had, at
long last, found my True Faith and would Never,
Never go to a Novus Ordo mass again. I eventually
became a Third Order person in the Society of Saint
I love the Mass. It saddens me to leave church when
the Mass is over but I will be back for the next
Mass! As long as I am alive! I thank God for the
gift of being able to attend a True Mass and
being able to hear the True Faith preached in the
weekly sermons, and being able to be attend
benediction, processions and all the wonderful and
glorious traditions of the Traditional Catholic
Faith that I cherish each and every moment.
God Bless Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre for holding
fast and keeping the True Faith. His perseverance
and love of God has given us the gift of attaining
Heaven! Thank you Connie Bagnoli, I will pass this
article on to my children with my prayers for them
and you and your family for speaking the truth so
Another New Yorker
Instaurare omnia in Christo!
The "Why We Are
Traditional Catholics" is a great article. We
are fortunate to have an Archbishop in Omaha who has
been very welcoming towards Catholic Tradition. In
Omaha our Immaculate Conception Parish is
exclusively Traditional Latin Mass. My wife and
I are blessed to have six children who all have a
strong Catholic Faith. I am sending the article
along to them. Thank you.
A "fruit of Vatican II" that is
omitted is the liberation of tens of thousands from
their marriage vows through diocesan tribunals that
declare marriages null for reasons that are not
official. The Holy Father has made this clear
every year when he speaks to the Rota in January and
emphasizes a particular abuse.
Yet I do not hear traditional
Catholics complaining about divorce and remarriage
as long as there is a declaration of nullity.
They should not be trusting the diocesan tribunals
any more than they do not trust bishops, priests, or
laity who are in charge of parishes.
The article could have been
written by us!
Patricia Winter, FL
As an Eastern
Orthodox Christian it is easy to see that
the SSPX and other Latin Mass movements
represent authentic Catholicism. Traditional
Catholicism has much in common with the
liturgical piety of the Orthodox. But I am
confused by the following admission:"
The Society is not fully united with
Does the Vatican I dogmatic text allow one
to be in the Roman Catholic Church yet not
be directly under Rome??? Can one be "in the
Church" yet not in direct subordination and
continuing obedience to the Roman See? If
the answer is No, then why are the SSPX
constantly praised among Traditional
Catholics if they are not directly
subordinate to Rome?
As an Orthodox, I am constantly told by
traditional Catholic friends that I need to
"submit to Rome and to the Roman Pontiff,"
but then the same people will praise the
SSPX, so I am really a bit confused by all
Bradley in Ft. Worth, TX
"united" with a small "u". The SSPX has
never questioned the Church's infallible
teaching on the theology of the papacy.
The SSPX fully recognizes Pope Benedict as
the legitimate successor of St. Peter and
Vicar of Christ on Earth, and, in fact,
prays for him by name in the canon of every
Mass offered by a SSPX priest throughout the
world. The SSPX has prudential disagreements
with Holy Father in much the same way St.
Catherine of Siena disagreed with Pope
Gregory XI but always recognized his
authority as visible head of the Church on
earth. There's a vast difference between
that and the Orthodox who deny the
theological underpinning of the papacy
Why Are We
Traditional Catholics? is a modern
example of inspired writing. Please do
not allow it to gather dust in your
archives. It says it all and it says it
well. It is worthy of a repeat
performance on frequent occasions. I
believe it is one of the reasons that
God inspired the creation of the
Boca Raton, FL
Yes, an excellent
article indeed. I am working to make it
more apt and appropriate to send to my
own apostate former wife and four
apostate daughters and my seven pagan
grandchildren. Any suggestions anyone?
flawless article, one very much
worth sharing when inquiring minds
ask why we do what we do. Thank you!
I couldn't have said it better.