|What Is To Be Done?|
|Tradition and the Epic Struggle for the Soul of the Western Church|
|REMNANT COLUMNIST, Pennsylvania|
Lord, what will Thou have me do?...Acts 9:6
(Posted April 21, 2008 www.RemnantNewspaper.com) In times of national crisis, the Russian intelligentsia will formally address this question to their countrymen. Now I believe the time has come for traditionalist Catholics to do the same. With the issuance of Summorum Pontificum (SP) the strategic situation has shifted dramatically. That is, Pope Benedict XVI has done what we have long been asking the Supreme Pontiff to do: get us a first down then hand us the ball. I fully realize that this initial article will not satisfy everyone. The people who read The Remnant are not likely to be without strong opinions or shy in their expression, and Traditionalists in general are tough—pardon the expression—nuts. How else could they have survived forty years in the modernist desert? Despite scarcity and massive opposition, they somehow managed to retain access to the traditional sacraments and to catechize their children within a hostile secular and ecclesiastical culture. Such people are not now about to take marching orders from anyone.
I offer none. I am merely speaking from the perspective of a traditional Catholic who has seen too much foolishness and lamented too many wasted opportunities. At the same time I’m proud that the irregular army for tradition, once relegated to rear guard action in diocesan backwaters, is now recognized as a fighting force of some élan and power.
Our analysis must be separated from advocacy. What Traditionalists need at this point is not more argumentation but situational awareness; therefore my approach is mostly strategic. Tactical advice on how to petition for the traditional Mass, and what practical steps to take on behalf of Tradition, can be had from such organizations as the International Una Voce Federation and the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei. What is clear to me from the start is that there is no single approach to fit all situations. In fact, I see the fight for Tradition as an ongoing guerilla war on many fronts, but with one ultimate goal: the restoration of the traditional liturgy in its fullness as the first step toward the reconstitution of a full Catholic social order. Effective guerilla action requires shifting tactics in each diocese, indeed each parish.
While we work in tandem our approaches should be tailored to maximize effects in the situation closest to us. The Traditionalist Movement has no central command but exists as a loose confederation of families, small groups, and affiliated apostolates each seeking to advance its own position. Similarly the various traditionalist priestly societies and religious orders work to attract vocations, augment their apostolates, and build for their own futures. There is room for all. Militancy on all sides leads to a converging tide that lifts all traditionalist boats.
Finding the traditional sacraments has long been like island hoping in the Pacific. Our focus now should be on increasing the landmass of the islands until we no longer have to skip from one to another, but can walk across solid land from Baptism all the way to final internment.
So, I ask what is to be done? First, if your are among the minuscule group of Catholics who see SP as a document as significant in its own way as Quo Primum Tempore take the time to thank our Holy Father for it. He has asked us to pray for him, that he may not “flee for fear of the wolves.” Have Masses offered for him and send a letter of support or e-mail to [email protected]. Then, let’s make a start by considering the following recommendations.
Contrary to Bertrand Russell, who quipped that God had not provided enough evidence to enable us to believe in Him, I don’t think that God has presented the human race with a puzzle. That is, by attending to the works of the Lord one can discern “who was the workman” (Wisdom 13:1). He desires all men to be saved and so out of His justice furnished the necessary means. For our enlightenment, comfort, and guidance Our Savior has given us the Catholic Church “ . . . constituted and organized as a society in the present world” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 816).
While the Church preserves and teaches the dogma of the faith “without which it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6) it has also provided from the beginning a perfect cultic correlative to those doctrinal truths—chief of which is the traditional form of the Roman Mass. The liturgy is antecedent to doctrinal statements, and as practiced daily is the most reliable testimony to Christian belief. The faithful find themselves today in a situation in which they have for too long been denied access to the authentic liturgy, the classic fonts of grace and doctrine as our ancestors have known them. But the chief shepherd of the Church is now giving every indication that he wants to make amends. We need to make it as easy as possible for him to do so: that is, open our hearts gratefully to the acceptance of any restoration, incomplete or imperfect as it may be.
We should not neglect to pray for the clergy. Both God and man expect much from them. It should be the chief care—as it is their grave obligation—for priests to celebrate the sacred mysteries with at least exterior devotion and exactitude. The laity, too, must pray the Mass with love. If each Catholic is to have, as he must, a personal and private colloquy with Jesus Christ it should be primarily within the context of the formal public worship of the Church. There is no need to multiply devotions or manufacture ever more creative para-liturgies. We need simply to participate in the liturgical year, observe the cyclical days of penance and joy, imitate the saints, and at due times commemorate incidents in the lives of our Lord and Lady; if we do so fully and with devotion, together with the whole Church, I say there is quite enough to instill in our minds a full knowledge of right doctrine, light enough to increase our love, grace enough to effect our sanctification.
As the Pope reminds us, the situation today calls for "interior reconciliation in the heart of the church.” There is rarely found a parish that does not have its own corps of angels. These are the folks, mostly elderly and female, who attend daily Mass, gather for the rosary, and whisper their novenas. They bow their heads and pray as the liturgical wars rage. We want these angels on our side, but have to be extremely careful when recruiting them. Authentic and gentle catechesis is needed. Once harnessed, their spiritual power will be a blessing upon our efforts.
We should never lose sight of the fact that our struggle for the Traditional Mass goes far beyond liturgical preference. Recycling our trash won’t save the planet but the classic form of the Roman rite certainly can. It is the only force powerful enough to rejuvenate our increasingly frantic and disaffected culture.
“Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries,
nor innovators: they are traditionalists.” …Pope St. Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique
Ecce ego, Domine, quia vocasti me
Here I am Lord, for thou didst call me...1 Sam 3
We cannot expect to win unless we show up for the game. So it is extremely important that each local Traditional Mass initiative succeed. It bears repeating that applications for the celebration of Holy Mass in the Tridentine Rite no longer need episcopal permission. SP explicitly acknowledges that priests have a right, which moreover had never been abrogated, to celebrate the traditional liturgy whenever they want and invite the faithful to attend.
Augmentation of the number of traditional Masses is important not only for the success of the liturgical restoration but also for the daily life of all Catholics. If the faithful fail to petition for the traditional Mass, and if there is not significant regular, predictable attendance, be assured that the Bishops, and through them the Pope, will hear about it. Once Mass in a particular place is discontinued it will be doubly difficult to revive. So before requesting the Mass from your pastor make sure there exists at least a core group who will consistently support it with their presence and their wallets. Priests are busy, and will usually choose not to go out of their way to accommodate what proves to be a small and capricious flock.
Organizers should be ready to train altar boys, prepare catechetical material for the entire parish, sing in the schola, acquire the necessary missals and materials, and do all things necessary to ensure a well-ordered celebration. Most parishioners are in Church for only one hour a week. Should these decide to attend the TLM, efforts must already be in place to ensure they feel welcome. They may not know it yet but they have just entered their Father’s house. We want them to come back, and in order for their first TLM not to be a strange and bewildering experience, Mass booklets and simple explanatory fliers should be ready and available. If your initial traditional Mass initiative is to remain viable, attendance has to expand beyond the core group.
There may be those who are vocal in their resistance to any restoration of the traditional liturgy. Often these will not be the liberals but mainstream Catholics who have invested their time, spiritual energies, and intellectual prestige in defending whatever version of the Novus Ordo revolution happened to be in progress at the time. In any case these folks, who may have called us schismatics or worse, do not need to have their noses rubbed in the fact that the Pope now says that we have been right all along. It is easier to advance in any struggle if our adversaries are given an honorable way of saving face. These good souls may sheepishly attend the Mass, now that they feel the Pope allows them to. Perhaps they will turn a corner in their lives and feel, as Keats writes:
. . . like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken
On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer
From the moment he wakes the average American is cajoled, advised, and often ordered to open his wallet. Out of curiosity I once tried to count how many times in a single day I was importuned. This was to include radio commercials, billboards, phone requests, and even the co-worker selling Girl Scout cookies. I gave up when the number of times reached three digits well before noon.
So your local Latin Mass chapel has plenty of competition and there is no end to worthy charitable causes in need of your money. Nevertheless your lucre, filthy or otherwise, cannot be better utilized than in support of your nearest traditional priest or Mass center. Traditionalist apostolates that you like and trust, especially those that have touched your life directly, are always in need of cash. I’m sure many of my readers would be surprised to learn just how close to insolvency are some of the better known traditionalist journals, publishers, and institutes.
Once the local initiative is on a healthy financial footing we may consider supporting traditional educational and devotional apostolates. We are living through an epic struggle for the soul of the Western Church, and it’s important that its historical and cultural context be understood. Traditionalists have rendered a great but unacknowledged intellectual service to the Church, for it has been by means of their small publications, seminars, and publishing houses that the intellectual argument for the traditional liturgy has been made. Before Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who besides specialists ever gave Quo Primum more than a passing thought? Before Approaches, The Remnant and the Angelus, how many laymen knew that they had rights accorded to them by virtue of immemorial custom? Before Michael Davies and Neri Capponi who knew the difference between abrogation, obrogation, and derogation in Canon Law? What were once arguments on the fringe are now mainstream, and papal authority has finally acknowledged their rightness. There are many worthy apostolates of this kind. Again, those that have been most significant and influential in your own life should be those that benefit most from your money.
Finally, we are dependent on our priests. One Sunday a few years ago, because of some misunderstanding, our priest did not show up at the appointed time. Despite advanced degrees, fat bank accounts, and professional accomplishments the congregation sat there, murmuring and unsettled, mere restless sheep who could do nothing without a shepherd. We need our priests, so always consider responding generously to requests for help from institutes and seminaries that train priests in our traditional rite.
I prefer silent prudence to loquacious folly …Marcus Tullius Cicero
According to the Roman Philosopher Seneca prudence is the “perfect virtue,” for a wholly prudent person would act in the same way as a perfectly virtuous one. And according to Aquinas, the cardinal virtue of Prudence simply means using the right means to a good end. (S.T. II-II Q. 47 )
Unfortunately, forethought and sound judgment in practical affairs have not always been characteristic of Traditionalists, and this failing often leads to discouragement and bitterness. Or as Ovid said, “Believe me, it is prudence that first forsakes the wretched.”
It seems to me that this is because Traditionalists tend to cultivate the hard edges of issues. That is, they are more comfortable with an “either/or” mentality than a “both/and.” This is unfortunate, as our cause can benefit from both “indult” and SSPX Masses, from promoting a one-time parish Mass to forming completely traditional personal parishes. There is room in the traditionalist movement for a range of opinions and different situations will call for different tactics. Our disagreements, I think, are more often than not on secondary matters. Let us never make absolutes out of things that are not by nature absolute.
Generally speaking, existing Traditional Mass communities should not be abandoned even when a more congenial situation presents itself. The few existing personal parishes are spiritual powerhouses, learning resources, and examples to be imitated. In fact, SP encourages the founding of more such communities. So I recommend that if at all possible those who have registered as members of personal parishes continue their association, though it may require long commutes and other inconveniences. Similarly, those friendly parishes with a long history of every Sunday Latin Masses should also be supported.
As long as principle is never sacrificed the best approach for Tradition in general is to employ a variety of approaches. Traditionalists are often cautioned not to use the Mass as a flag, as it were, or standard to set themselves off from their fellow Catholics. Well, while the Mass should never be a sign of rebellion or propaganda, it is for us the supreme sign of unity with one another and with our ancestors. We feel at one with St Benedict and the Little Flower, with the Cristeros of Mexico and our own grandparents. Our devotion to it is absolute, and through no merit of our own we count it as our most precious inheritance. But in all our endeavors to propagate it let us realize that God will do His part, and the holiness of the Mass will work its profound effect out of sight and in silence. Grace from the Holy Sacrifice will fill each diocese with God’s irresistible blessing just as incense fills the sanctuary. St Augustine tells us: “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”
How poor are they, that have not patience!
What wound did ever heal but by degrees? …Othello Act 2, sc 3
It seems gratuitous and unkind to counsel patience to those who have been waiting forty years for justice. Dubious consolation comes from the common assertion that the Church thinks in centuries, or by analogy that a battleship cannot turn on a dime. But while the Church and its leaders can think in terms of centuries, the rest of us have only a single lifetime. We think in years, or decades at the most. In the meantime we have souls to save and children to raise. Thus at various times we have opted for “unapproved” traditional Masses, home schooling, and the SSPX. While the shepherds have allowed wolves to maul the flock, Traditionalists have hoped to be able to say with our Lord:
Those whom thou gavest me I have kept: and none of them is lost…John 17:12
Without a doubt the situation has gotten frustrating. It isn’t enough to have traditional Catholicism one hour a week. We need full immersion in our faith and the stability of a normal parish life. Again, each individual has had to act in his family’s best spiritual interests but time and again I have seen the sad effects—spiritual, psychological, and even material—upon traditional Catholics who continue for too long without the support of like-minded families.
So while as yet most of us cannot attend Mass at our own parish church at a normal time, we can take consolation from the fact that at present more and more diocesan priests are learning how to celebrate the traditional liturgy. Traditionalist initiatives are gradually seeping into the daily life of existing parishes. New associations of the faithful are forming to dedicate themselves to traditional works of prayer and charity while prayer books and missals are being printed at a furious pace. Most of all there is the remarkable devotion of many young families. I see them at every Mass. Where did they come from? I just looked around one day and they were there. God Himself must have raised them up.
One warning: as the Tridentine liturgy becomes, as it were, more mainstream, expect to see those who until recently had no interest in traditionalism (and indeed may have actively opposed any liturgical restoration) come on board. Some will be sincere and some opportunists. But let’s be always humble and charitable, forgetting past injustices. If history is any guide don’t be surprised if some new convert to Tradition starts lecturing you on the theology and history of the liturgy, or the finer points of some obscure rubric. This will be a good time for interior penance, remembering that Tradition is not our personal possession. All are welcome who come home to it.
The Church needs the willing cooperation of battle-hardened Traditionalists. As we are seeing this year with the uncertainty over the date for the transferred feast of St Joseph, the canonical status of the post 1962 liturgical directives and legislation is still to be more precisely determined. For example, many Traditionalists will hold to the Eucharistic fast as practiced under the pontificate of Pius XII, others will follow the older discipline of taking no food or water from midnight. What is certain is that these disciplines do not bind in law. Similarly, the new prefaces are not part of the 1962 missal, and neither are feast days of saints canonized since that time. These issues will some day have to be settled. But while the dust from the liturgical wars is still in the air, I suggest adding nothing new to the missal for at least two decades. There is no urgent pastoral need for additional options, and the new saints can be honored by using the various commons of saints on those days on which a votive Mass may be celebrated.
While all this is happening we must cultivate patience with the failings of our shepherds. Most pastors aren’t cut out to be rebels; they are not by nature scholars or militants and will generally do whatever they are told. A secular priest is more or less an employee of the diocese and the last thing he can afford to do is make his bishop mad. If the bishop makes it clear he will not welcome traditionalist initiatives, most parish priests will not dare to contravene his wishes. If he does there is a real danger that he will quickly find himself assigned as caretaker of Ven. Matt Talbot Parish on Skid Row. Besides, as a practical matter, unless they are confronted with determined parishioners most priests will feel no need to learn how to say the Traditional Mass.
Our Lord never abandoned us and His love has never failed. So we should continue working in charity for the good of all, even when it seems nothing comes of it.
And the Lord direct your hearts, in the charity of God, and the patience of Christ. …2 Thess 3.5
The time for war has not yet come, but it will come, and that soon; and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard.…Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson
I wish to make my position absolutely clear. I believe the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae has been a pastoral disaster from start to finish. I believe that with its promulgation something alien and unhealthy was introduced into the bloodstream of the Mystical Body. I don’t want it here and I don’t want it there. I don’t like the Novus Ordo said in Latin and I don’t like it dressed in satin. At the same time I recognize that the Missal of Paul VI was officially promulgated by the supreme authority of the Church and remains valid and normative for all but a fraction of Latin Rite Catholics. So it is juridically (and descriptively) the ordinary form of worship in the West. What’s more, like it or not, the faithful have a canonical right to it.
It is often said, primarily by conservative Catholics, that the liturgy found in most of our churches today is not what the Fathers of Vatican II had in mind, and that most of the innovations have no justification in the Council documents. This may be true, but the argument is irrelevant. The Church itself is the interpreter of its own documents and as painful as it is to acknowledge, the liturgy we have today was approved, every step of the way, by the highest authorities in the Church. Four Popes, while decrying ever-present “abuses,” have endorsed the liturgical revolution and never officially questioned its legitimacy or desirability.
But this does not prevent us from working charitably and militantly to bring about its demise. I believe it is Christ’s will that this eventually come to pass. But in the meantime we should resolve never to see perpetuated upon others the cruelty that was visited upon us. We will never snatch away the only liturgy that most Catholics have ever known. In the meantime we can hope that the Church will see fit to wean them away from some of the more egregious practices, for example by correcting erroneous translations or eliminating Communion in the hand. So let us dream of a day when only a few parishes in each diocese will be set aside for the Novus Ordo, or maybe one Mass in each parish, until the particular generation attached to it comes to an end.
Now I don't believe—and can't think Benedict believes—that both the Missal of John XXIII and Paul VI are “a twofold use of one and the same rite,” and that "there is no contradiction between the two editions." It is at least arguable that none of the apostolic rites, East or West, differ from one another in spiritual orientation and ethos to the degree that the Novus Ordo differs from them all. It can scarcely be denied that the Novus Ordo did not grow organically from pre-existing rites of the Church and that it is a genetically altered, synthetic compound. So how are we to take it when SP tells us, "It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were ‘two rites’.” While this statement does not correspond to reality we can accept it as a valid utilitarian proposition, true simply by virtue of it having been pronounced so. In any case—and this may be the whole point—it works to our advantage since no priest of the Latin Rite needs to seek additional faculties to use the Missal of John XXIII. Those who recall the need for priests to obtain a special “celebret” can now exorcise that particular memory.
The Church of Rome is the Patriarchal See of Western Christianity. It is unprecedented that one patriarchate be attached to two official rites simultaneously, with different calendars and rankings of feasts. Alternate forms of the Latin Rite such as the Bragan, Ambrosian and Mozarbic, or uses particular to individual religious orders, such as the Carthusian or Dominican, are not strictly speaking proper to the Holy See. So in the end, the Roman Church must someday be attached to a single Roman Rite. It is up to us to ensure that this one rite is not the Novus Ordo—even a traditionalized one—or worse yet a Frankenstein hybrid of the two. It must be the immemorial liturgy as codified by Pius V, with appropriate accretions and organic revisions as may be pastorally required.
Pope Benedict has given indications that he is aware of this. SP expects there to be mutual enrichment between the two missals. While no Traditionalist will deny that the Novus Ordo should incorporate elements of the traditional Rite, blowback of Novus Ordo novelties (such as the three year cycle of readings, bidding prayers, etc) will present an unacceptable situation. Quattuor abhinc annos of 1984 states that Tridentine celebrations "must be according to the 1962 missal and in Latin; there must be no interchanging of texts and rites of the two missals." Though SP has abrogated this document, it is still imperative that there be no elision of the two rites into a single reform of the reform hybrid. Any attempt to impose Novus Ordo style novelties at our Masses should be met with extreme prejudice. So far this does not seem to be a problem, but should a lectoress, female altar boy, or “extraordinary minister of the Eucharist” appear, there is much to be said for administering well-placed kicks to offending posteriors.
The lion shall roar, who will not fear? The Lord God hath spoken, who shall not prophesy? …Amos 3.8
At the conclusion of a lecture entitled “The Traditionalist Movement, Then and Now” given sometime, I think, in the mid-1980’s, the irreplaceable Michael Davies exhorts his listeners to “punch together.” His advice should more than ever be followed today.
In order to “punch together” it is imperative to organize at the parish level and to be persistent. Some people don’t mind being pests and seem to be devoid of any feelings of shame or impropriety in pursuit of what they want. Make an effort to identify those people and utilize them. As Danton, after Frederick the Great, exhorted:
Il faut de l’audace, encore de l’audace, toujours de l’audace,
(Audacity, more audacity, always audacity)
So if you live in an area with no Traditional Latin Mass, gather together some like-minded individuals and request one from your pastor in accordance with SP articles 1, 5, and 7. No episcopal permission, and no justification, is necessary. Contact your bishop only if your efforts fail, and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei only if your bishop takes no action. The option of refusing reasonable access to the classic liturgy has been taken away from him.
It’s reasonable to assume that historic trends will continue and the laity will drive the impetus for growth of the liturgy. But this will not be the case everywhere. For example, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been served since 1984 with at least one traditional Mass every Sunday. This is not much for a diocese of its size. On the other hand, I have never felt that there existed much of a pent up demand for the Traditional Mass. So far, after SP, there has been only minimal expansion. It is my expectation that the number of Masses in Philadelphia’s parishes will increase dramatically in coming years not so much upon demand from the laity, but from the fervor of young priests and current seminarians who are filled with enthusiasm for the traditional rite. Fortunately, Justin Cardinal Rigali has implemented instruction on the theology of classic liturgy and a practicum for saying it at St Charles Borromeo Seminary.
We cannot tell what history has in store for us and what unforeseen obstacles we will have to overcome. We can only fight to win the battles we are engaged in at present and remain prepared for the future. But for the first time in decades Traditionalists enjoy a favorable wind and tide; for the first time, some optimism is justified. The Traditionalist Movement has been energized and now is the time for bold and confident action.
The Modernists in the Church will not meekly stand aside. Opposition will certainly come from the enormous gaggle of diocesan and parish liturgical ministers with a stake in the status quo. They will not willingly give up their standing in the sanctuary. We can live together for a time, but one will eventually drive out the other. That is why some still believe that the interest of Traditionalists will only be protected if we have our own juridic structures. Several types of these have been discussed: a personal prelature, personal prefecture or, best of all, a personal apostolic administration such as enjoyed by the Sacerdotal Society of St Jean Marie Vianney in Campos, Brazil. Whereas the latter is limited to the territory of the diocese of Campos, it is suggested that Traditionalists be granted a structure international in scope. This can either be a single jurisdiction for the entire world or several regional ones. In any case, it would be personal rather than territorial, equal in law to a diocese, and have as its normative liturgy the missal codified by Pius V. It must be directly subject to the Holy See and thus able to act independently from diocesan bishops. Only in this way, it is argued, can the faithful be assured of continuance.
It is my belief however that with SP a separate juridical structure to protect the interests of the traditionalist faithful is no longer required. Though minuscule in numbers, we are no longer a subset of Catholics who need to be sequestered. Again, Benedict’s assertion that both missals form part of one rite places us in mainstream of Latin Rite Catholicism.
So, with our exile over and survival assured (what a pleasure to say), our goals need to expand beyond the preservation of recent victories. We have to punch together to bring about a gradual takeover of parishes, whole dioceses, and religious orders. Punch together until every Mass is a Tridentine Mass, and the Missal of Paul VI is found only in the Vatican archives and antiquarian bookstores. Let us always keep foremost in our minds that our goal is not just the petty victory of one partisan party over another but the good of souls and the glory of God.
Postscript, as dark clouds gather
I now come to what I believe will be a most controversial suggestion. Let us ponder—simply ponder for now—the possibility of petitioning our shepherds to hold another Ecumenical Council. However, let this one be truly ecumenical, with full episcopal representation from the Western Church, the uniate Catholic Churches, and the autocephalous Orthodox Churches of the East. The only purpose of this Council will be to effect the reunion of Christendom under the See of Rome. Let it begin on May 13, 2017 with a solemn consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary pronounced in union by all the Bishops, Catholic and Orthodox alike. Let it conclude on October 13 of the same year with the signing of a statement of reunion. Deus vult! God wills it.
 The question has been addressed not just by political figures such as Lenin but even more so by writers such as Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Solzhenitsyn.
 Traditionalists have long communicated through various magazines and newspapers, and now increasingly through Internet mailing lists and blogs. Now I see where some bloggers have gone so far as to suggest that Traditionalists may make a forceful statement by taking the plumpest of the recalcitrant bishops for a fricassee. Though there are evidently some tasty recipes to be found on the Internet, I do not at present recommend eating your bishop.
 To take another example, we read in the letter accompanying SP: “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.” Had not Archbishop Lefebvre made this point from the very beginning? Unfortunately, its obvious logic has until now made little impression on Catholic leaders. Let’s hope papal endorsement makes it a truism.
 Be not discouraged, keep on, there are divine things well envelop’d
. . .there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell. Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road
 Though it is beyond the scope of this article it should be noted that the Society of St Pius X has been offered just such a personal structure, exempt from diocesan bishops. But so far the leaders of the Society have seen fit to decline. All traditional Catholics should be grateful for the constancy of the SSPX and keep its leaders in their prayers, that they may act in all prudence to ensure the Society’s continued vigor, fidelity, and relevance.