Sydney or Sodom?

The just-concluded World Youth Day 2008 demonstrates that the crisis in the Church is far from over.

Christopher A. Ferrara

Protecting Youth from World Youth Day

(Posted July 21, 2008 In a fundraising appeal by Karl Keating of Catholic Answers some months ago, entitled “Sidney or Sodom?”, Keating issued what has become a triennial admonition from him: attendance at World Youth Day poses a grave threat to the faith and morals of Catholic youth. As he has in previous years, Keating argued that it is urgently necessary that Catholic Answers send representatives to World Youth Day to distribute hundreds of thousands of copies of Catholic Answers tracts in order counter the malign influences to which Catholic youth will be subjected at the event. This year Catholics Answers literature was supposed to neutralize the propaganda of homosexual activists who were in Sydney to distribute condoms to the young people, as well as “the radical anti-Catholics… who always descend upon World Youth Day like birds of prey.” [i]

This year, Keating warned, World Youth Day attendees are “facing a one-two punch” from both homosexual activists and radical anti-Catholics. And because tens of thousands of the young people flocking to Sydney “aren’t well-catechized” (to say the least) they were “highly vulnerable to slick propaganda—not only from anti-Catholic Protestants and dissident Catholics, but this time from the radical homosexual activists too.”

As Keating further warned: “The devil knows how to get to our youth.” And the devil would get them at Sydney unless Catholic Answers intervened, because this year World Youth Day “pilgrims” will be subjected to a “new assault on their sexual purity… coming from the homosexual activists as well as dissident Catholics who are pro-gay, pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-condom…”

In short, Catholic Answers had to be at Sydney to “counteract the anti-Catholicism that is so prevalent at World Youth Day.” As Keating concluded: “I need your help to put in place a proper defense strategy which will counteract the immorality, confusion, lies, distortions, and deceptions that will be rife at World Youth Day.”

Prevalent anti-Catholicism, immorality, confusion, lies, distortions and deceptions. This is what “our youth” were facing in Sydney.  But not to worry, for Catholic Answers would be there to protect our youth from World Youth Day for only 33 cents per young person, or $165,000 in total. That might seem like a lot of money, Keating admitted, but “if it saves hundreds of souls, it’s a small price to pay.” On the other hand, if Catholic Answers were not there to distribute its literature, those same souls could be lost.  The loss of young souls was a real risk at WYD08. That is why, as Keating wrote apropos Sydney, “Catholic Answers is once again going into action to protect our Catholic youth, as we do at every World Youth Day.” Yes, as Keating has been warning since at least 2002, every World Youth Day poses a threat to Catholic youth.

Yet the very inventor of World Youth Day, “John Paul the Great,” never seemed to notice that his cherished innovation had opened up a veritable deathtrap for souls. Rather, John Paul was consistently delighted by the vast throngs of cheering teenagers, which he took to be a sign of the Church’s post-conciliar vitality.  In The Great Façade I noted the remarks of one gushing neo-Catholic commentator concerning WYD 2000:

As Pope John Paul II looked out at the vast throng of joyful youth, hearing their shouts of “Viva il Papa” and “Giovanni Paulo” and “JP II, we love you!” ringing in the air—everywhere they gathered with the Holy Father—no wonder he wiped tears from his eyes, swayed with the young as they sang, waved his arms in the air, and let a glorious smile break through, again and again. Here he saw, before his very eyes, the fulfillment of the words of Vatican II to the young, in its blossoming and growth (since the first World Youth Day, over 15 years ago).[ii]

John Paul II as a philosopher, it is said, was a phenomenologist who held that one can intuit the essence of a thing by reference to one’s subjective experiences of phenomena as signs of the real. The phenomenon of World Youth Day, rather than objective data about the actual state of ecclesial affairs, was the sort of thing that persuaded John Paul that the Catholic Church on his disastrous watch was in the midst of a great renewal—even a liturgical renewal, as he never ceased to claim.

Implicit in Keating’s pitch for money to send doctrinal CARE packages to Sydney was that neither the currently reigning Pope, nor Cardinal Pell, nor any of the bishops and priests president at WYD08 would be able to protect the souls of Catholic youth from those who would attack their faith. And Keating was right, although not merely for the reasons he cites. That is why (as I acknowledged six years ago in The Great Facade) the distribution of Catholic Answers tracts at the World Youth Days is actually a worthy undertaking, and what Catholic Answers provides may well be the closest thing to a solid Catholic formation the vast majority of the WYD “pilgrims” have ever received.

But in approaching WYD as an apologetical challenge and thus a fundraising project for his apostolate, Keating fails to address the fundamental objection to the event: If WYD is such a danger to “our youth,” if souls really were at risk in Sydney and Catholic Answers had to be there to protect them from spiritual harm against which they would otherwise be defenseless, then did not Catholic parents have a duty to forbid their children to attend in the first place? Why on earth should parents allow their children to journey halfway around the world to spend a week in what Keating himself suggested was a cauldron of anti-Catholicism, immorality, confusion, lies, distortions and deceptions?

Keating would no doubt reply that WYD itself is not the problem, but rather the enemies of the Faith who flock there to prey on souls. But that very threat would be reason enough to keep “our youth” from attending, especially since Keating himself implicitly argues that the members of the hierarchy present in Sydney, including even the Pope, could not guarantee the spiritual safety of the attendees.  Parents can hardly be expected to rely on Keating’s assurances that their children will all be protected by an emergency distribution of Catholic Answers pamphlets.

Furthermore, neither Keating nor anyone else in the neo-Catholic establishment has raised any objection to the very nature of WYD as a rock and pop festival and co-ed sleepover with spiritual addenda. Even apart from the external enemies of the Church who have gathered in Sydney to attack the Faith, WYD08 was, like all the other WYDs, a massive, pullulating occasion of sin. After the mornings of feeble “catechesis” (attended by a largely bored and drowsy few) and an outdoor Novus Ordo Mass full of liturgical abuses, there were long afternoons and evenings of unchaperoned partying, including rock concerts, followed by nights of bivouacking by teenagers in the dark, both literally and figuratively.

What antidotes will Catholic Answers offer to these elements of WYD?  None whatsoever. Quite the contrary, aside from the nefarious activities of more obvious enemies of faith and morals, WYD is entirely consistent with the neo-Catholic version of Roman Catholicism. Not only Catholic Answers, but EWTN and the rest of the neo-Catholic establishment, will present WYD08 as a great triumph for the Faith.

The Debacle in Sydney

Father Peter Scott of the Society of Saint Pius X in New South Wales was putting it mildly when he told the press regarding WYD08: “I’m not in favour of World Youth Day because of what happens and what has consistently happened since it was initiated by Pope John Paul II… It has become an occasion for a very secular approach to religion, it’s become just a happy party—a week of partying and concerts and worldly activities with very little that is truly holy and sacred and prayerful, and Catholic for that matter.”

But what do Father Scott and the Catholics who attend SSPX chapels Down Under know?  As a neo-Catholic commentator in Australia, one Paul Collins, huffed: “In a way they [SSPX] want to live in a kind of a cultural cul-de-sac. They’re kind of almost self-imprisoned.” Kind of. But traditional Catholics are funny that way. Whenever paganism reemerges in society—as it always does whenever Catholicism wanes—they tend to keep to themselves, and away from circuses where (as Keating himself insists) there is a risk of losing one’s soul.

The roaring crowds of teens in Sydney reminded me of the passage in Saint Augustine’s Confessions wherein he describes the fate of a young former student of his who allowed his friends to drag him off to the gladiatorial games:

For, although he had been utterly opposed to such spectacles and detested them, one day he met by chance a company of his acquaintances and fellow students returning from dinner; and, with a friendly violence, they drew him, resisting and objecting vehemently, into the amphitheater… He protested to them: “Though you drag my body to that place and set me down there, you cannot force me to give my mind or lend my eyes to these shows…”… When they got to the arena, and had taken what seats they could get, the whole place became a tumult of inhuman frenzy. But Alypius kept his eyes closed and forbade his mind to roam abroad after such wickedness. Would that he had shut his ears also! For when one of the combatants fell in the fight, a mighty cry from the whole audience stirred him so strongly that, overcome by curiosity and still prepared (as he thought) to despise and rise superior to it no matter what it was, he opened his eyes and was struck with a deeper wound in his soul than the victim whom he desired to see had been in his body.

Thus he fell more miserably than the one whose fall had raised that mighty clamor which had entered through his ears and unlocked his eyes to make way for the wounding and beating down of his soul… For, as soon as he saw the blood, he drank in with it a savage temper, and he did not turn away, but fixed his eyes on the bloody pastime, unwittingly drinking in the madness—delighted with the wicked contest and drunk with blood lust. He was now no longer the same man who came in, but was one of the mob he came into, a true companion of those who had brought him thither[iii]

Fr. Stan Fortuna

Mutatis mutandis, Augustine’s moving account of the ruin of a young soul who failed to flee an occasion of sin could apply to the young Catholics who immersed themselves in the mass events at Sydney, “drinking in the madness” of such things as performances by “the rapping priest,” Father Stan Fortuna, or Metratrone, a  “Catholic heavy metal band from Italy.”

I am not, of course, suggesting that WYD is the equivalent of a pagan gladiatorial contest in late fourth-century Rome. As always at WYD, there are elements of the sacred to be found. 

The problem, however, is that these elements are combined with and undermined by numerous elements of the profane, some of which are in fact neo-pagan. If rapping  priests and “Catholic heavy metal” do not represent a paganization of Catholic youth, then I don’t know what would.

No one is more acutely aware of the paganism of rock music than the currently reigning Pope. It was the former Cardinal Ratzinger who wrote as follows in The Spirit of the Liturgy, evoking (for me at least) the passage from St. Augustine quoted above:

Rock… is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe.[iv]

It was also Cardinal Ratzinger who observed that rock music is diabolical and who, once he became Pope, cancelled the annual Christmas pop concert at the Vatican in which “John Paul the Great” had indulged for thirteen consecutive years.[v] And it was Ratzinger who was strongly opposed to John Paul II attending the infamous 1997 “Eucharistic Congress” at which Bob Dylan performed. The Cardinal “was so appalled at the prospect of the pontiff sharing a platform with the ‘self-styled prophet of pop’ that he tried his utmost to stop the spectacle….”[vi]

The spectacle indeed. For the very reasons Cardinal Ratzinger himself has expressed, Catholics should deplore World Youth Day and demand its abolition or reform. For World Youth Day is another spectacle that exists for no other reason than the last Pope’s seeming addiction to novelty. Pope Benedict’s very presence at Sydney validated the novelty of World Youth Day in its entirety, no matter what the Pope said that would contradict the low and worldly spirit that always pervades the event. In his address to the youth upon his arrival in Sydney the Pope declared: “Do not be fooled by those who see you as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth.”  But of what import was this advice when throngs of young people, that very day, would spend hours listening to rock and roll, the very theme music of the universal marketplace of novelty that is the New World Order?

It is not as if the sacred and the profane were easily separable at WYD, so that young people could avoid the profane and concentrate on the sacred. Consider one of the signature events of WYD 2008: the politically corrected “Stations of the Cross” enacted at various locations in Sydney. This attempt at the sacred was made a mockery by such revolting profanations as a group of male dancers prancing around and grappling with each other to illustrate the “kiss of Judas,” with a shirtless “Jesus” in black jeans being administered the kiss after being bowed low in the arms of “Judas.” Two of the “Stations,” including the Crucifixion, featured a wailing Gospel singer accompanied by strings, piano and percussion: “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”—boom-chik! boom-chik! The seventh “Station” included commentary read by a woman with a ludicrous painted face and aboriginal feather headdress. The eighth “Station” depicted Jesus walking toward Golgotha to the accompaniment of light funk with a samba feel: “You are—boom-bop—the Saviour of the world.”

And most of the “Stations” included commentary (read by a lay couple attired in semi-casual black) that reduced the Passion to a series of lessons on social justice and self-improvement. The commentary for the ninth “Station” lamented “the loss of civil liberty” in various parts of the world and prayed: “Lord help us to see that we have the power to build a better world, right now.” The eleventh “Station,” where Jesus entrusts Mary to John, was characterized as a “call to unity… mutual care and harmonious living,”  so that we might be “open to real relationships” and “not stay sealed off from one another for fear of being hurt.”

There were not only profane elements, but outright heterodoxy in these “Stations of the Cross.” The commentary for the thirteenth “Station,” where Jesus is taken down from the Cross, declared that Jesus died so that “we might live more fully,” and that “heaven is our homeland, to which we will all joyously return one day.” The idea that the souls of the departed will be returning to heaven is, to say the least, a theological novelty; but the idea that all the souls of the departed will “return” to heaven is simply heresy. Nowhere during the “Stations of the Cross” was it made apparent that Christ died for our sins so that some portion of humanity, by the divine election, will attain eternal beatitude.

Also heretical, or at least proximately so, were statements in the commentary that Jesus has “unshakeable faith” in the Father, that “his whole life has been a witness of faith in the Father,” and that “he must also maintain hope in the Father.” The very suggestion that Christ in His human nature is a believer with hope in the life to come negates His divinity. That is precisely why in 2007 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under Pope Benedict himself, condemned the idea of “Christ as believer” in the writings of Father Jon Sobrino, SJ, noting that “the filial and messianic consciousness of Jesus is the direct consequence of his ontology as Son of God made man. If Jesus were a believer like ourselves, albeit in an exemplary manner, he would not be able to be the true Revealer showing us the face of the Father.”

No wonder even a sympathetic observer admitted in an email forwarded to me that “I watched the Stations and to be totally honest spent more time squirming in discomfort than being edified.” Perhaps Catholic Answers should issue a tract correcting the defective theology of this major event in the official program of World Youth Day. The young people who left Sydney thinking that Christ is a believer and that all souls will return to heaven one day have succumbed to material heresy. The “Stations of the Cross” were arguably a much greater threat to the faith of the WYD “pilgrims” than the activities of a few anti-Catholic activists who, as it turns out, were cordoned off by the police and subjected to special regulations that imposed heavy fines on anyone “causing ‘annoyance or inconvenience’ to participants in the Catholic festival.”[vii]

Another Disastrous “Papal Mass”

The final “Papal Mass” at Sydney was likewise a mixture of the sacred and the profane.  It was, moreover, a demonstration of how, after forty years of the reign of “John Paul the Great” and his ill-starred predecessor, the Roman Pontiff has lost any effective control over the Roman liturgy. 

The “liturgy” in Sydney, contrary to everything Benedict has written and said on the subject, was “the heresy of formlessness” in action: a ridiculous ad hoc farrago of Latin phrases interspersed among the banal vernacular and cheesy orchestral music passed off as solemn and reverent. There were, as always, casually attired lay readers and presenters of “the gifts,” and bidding prayers by the laity, including a ludicrous petition by a teenage girl (who laughed because her mike was off) that the Holy Spirit would “inflame the hearts” of the Pope and the bishops to preach the Gospel. (My own heart was inflamed, which I attribute to the stress of watching this thing after having eaten some spicy meatballs.)

The Kyrie, the Gloria and the Sanctus—if one can even call them by those names—were nothing but starting points for laughable outbursts of musical exhibitionism. The sung parts of the “Papal Mass” were pompous oratorios filled with declamatory drivel such as “You have made us a new creation!” The traditional liturgical words were shamelessly distorted to suit vocal melodramatics, and Latin alternated with the vernacular. Throughout there were trilling violins, rousing march tempos (thrum-thrum-thrum went the strings during the Kyrie), ham-handed tympani booms, and schmaltzy arrangements that sounded like they were written by a Metro Goldwyn Mayer contract composer in the early 1960s under the instruction: “Make it lush, bubala!” In short, our cultured Pope must have undergone nearly two hours of mental torture.  

And, of course, that great contribution of “John Paul the Great”: liturgical “inculturation.” During the “Gospel procession” a band of well-muscled Fiji islanders in grass kilts or loincloths, with black splotches painted on their faces, proceeded to hop, twirl, gyrate and squat their way up the long and winding ramp leading toward the altar platform, while jabbing sticks in the direction of the Pope or the book of the Gospels they were carrying on some sort of sedan chair. It looked as if this little tribe was whipping itself up to the attack the Roman Pontiff, seemingly incited by the rhythmic chanting and clacking wood block of a “choir” sitting on the floor in flowered shirts. The Pope, it must be said, was clearly disgusted by this display, which probably explains why the camera did not focus on him for more than a second or two during this part of the “Papal Mass.” The Pope’s disgust might have been occasioned in part by the fact that, as reported approvingly by EWTN, the band of Fiji islanders included a priest and two seminarians.

When it came time for the distribution of Holy Communion, a velvet kneeler was produced so that the Pope could administer the Host in the traditional manner to fifty or so people, in keeping with his recent decision to end the abuse of communion in the hand at papal Masses. At the same time, however, every one of the clerics distributing Holy Communion to tens of thousands of other people blithely ignored the Pope’s example. It was understood that the Pope was merely expressing his “preference” in an age of collegiality and liturgical diversity. One could not ask for a more evocative image of the state of the Church today: the Pope and his kneeler, attempting to restore some degree of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, surrounded by a vast sea of irreverence and general liturgical dissolution that he seems powerless to overcome.

The “post-Communion hymn,” by the way, was the supremely banal “Taste and See,” belted out by a pair of soul singers accompanied by a rhythm section that included a full drum set. The esthetic effect was that of a lounge act in an Atlantic City casino. 

Yes, the Pope could simply order the bishops to end communion in the hand, along with the Novus Ordo’s innumerable other abuses, every one of which was on display in Sydney. But if Benedict did so, here is what would happen: Those who wish to obey would obey, and those who do not wish to obey—by far the greater number—would find ways to disobey, just as they have with Summorum Pontificum. They would pretend they received no such order, or that it did not apply to them, or that it required further study and “clarification” from Rome, or that the presbyterial councils must be consulted on how to implement the necessary changes, or that Rome should grant indults, which would be requested in due course while the status quo was maintained.  

In order to restore the liturgy left in ruins by his immediate predecessors, Pope Benedict will have to govern with an iron hand, as Pope Saint Pius X did during the first Modernist crisis. But since the Second Vatican Council, Popes do not seem willing to govern the Church at all, much less with the severity required to end this crisis. Benedict cannot govern the Church as it must be governed not only because it is foreign to his kindly nature to make heads roll, but also because he is a Pope of the Second Vatican Council and its empty novelties, including a meaningless “collegiality,” which continue to neutralize the Church’s divinely established monarchical constitution—even though the conciliar texts alter nothing of the deposit of the Faith.  The Council must be put behind us once and for all before a true restoration can begin.

Reforming World Youth Day

In any event, what we saw in Sydney has  only confirmed that World Youth Day must be added to the list of post-conciliar ills that have to be remedied by this or a future Pope. WYD should be abolished altogether as just another of the failed innovations of the last pontificate. But, sad to say, Pope Benedict announced after the “Papal Mass” in Sydney that there will be still another World Youth Day: at Madrid in 2011. The show must go on. 

If WYD does go on, Catholics should demand that it be reformed from top to bottom. The first step would be to address the intolerable WYD “Papal Masses.” Instead of fiddling around with the Novus Ordo—adding a dash of Latin and a pinch of chant, along with the usual dollops of crass music, gross irreverence and outright sacrilege—why not simply offer the traditional Latin Mass in the traditional manner? This is done each year, even outdoors, during the annual Chartres pilgrimage, an event at which there is not the least risk that the thousands of Catholic youth participating will succumb to the blandishments of enemies of the Church (nor any need of Catholic Answers literature to prevent apostasy). 

But it seems the Pope remains unwilling to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass himself, although he has affirmed the right of the lowliest parish priest to do so at will. That the very Vicar of Christ evidently feels his own celebration of the traditional liturgy would be an imprudent provocation only shows the extent to which the malign “Spirit of Vatican II” continues to tyrannize the Church. This point needs to be stressed: The Pope will not celebrate the Church’s own received and approved rite of Mass! In fact, during the “Papal Mass” at Sydney the Pope would not even use the correct translation of pro multis that he himself has ordered the bishops to adopt. He said, instead, “for all.” The Pope perpetuates the very error he expects the bishops to correct, evidently because (according to the illusory requirements of “collegiality”) he feels he must wait for the bishops to correct it. Yet he did not wait for the bishops to restore communion sub lingua. Clearly, the crisis in the Church retains its apocalyptic element of “diabolical disorientation.”

The next step in the reform of WYD must be the  elimination of pop, rock and rap music from the program. The replacement of these profanations  with Gregorian chant and the polyphony of Palestrina would in and of itself affirm the Faith in thousands of young souls, even without catechesis. For rousing musical entertainment in the evenings—and there is nothing wrong with that—one could draw upon a vast body of traditional folk music from Catholic countries all over the world, a heritage spanning a thousand years or more. Celtic music, for instance, is an excellent substitute for rock. (I note that there was some Celtic music in the WYD08 program). Other wholesome amusements could also be provided for the youth—everything from athletic contests, to displays of juggling and other skills, to readings of poetry and drama, especially Shakespeare.  I have seen young people delight in all of these activities during the Chartres pilgrimage and Remnant Tour, which is almost twice as long as WYD.

Auxiliary Bishop and Coordinator of WYD08, Anthony

Fisher rehearses elements of WYD's liturgical show.

To say that “the kids” at WYD would not be satisfied with such “tame” fare is to admit what Benedict himself has noted in sermon after sermon, including his sermons at Sydney: that we are dealing with a grave problem of neo-paganization in our jaded “free market” civilization. If WYD is to continue, then every one of the tin-eared vulgarians hitherto responsible for its music and entertainment programs should be dismissed and replaced by culturally literate organizers who are competent to address the drastic cultural impoverishment that afflicts Catholic youth all over the world today.

Indeed, it is time for the Church’s leadership to abandon the entire neo-Catholic project of attempting to use “liturgical reform” and pop culture to make the Faith attractive. The Catholic youth who attend World Youth Day deserve  better.  They deserve goodness, truth and beauty, not a band of aborigines slouching toward the sanctuary or the likes of rapping Father Stan. They deserve Catholic liturgy and culture in all their magnificence, and they would respond magnificently if only this banquet were provided to them instead of the trash WYD has offered ever since “John Paul the Great” invented it.

I have heard it said that, despite the liturgical and cultural atrocities, World Youth Days have produced a goodly number of priestly vocations and conversions. I would like to see the evidence for that claim.  But even if it were true, a World Youth Day reformed according to Catholic tradition would produce vastly greater spiritual fruits.  As John Rao has noted, there are more seminarians on the road to Chartres each year than in all of North America.

Pray for the Vicar of Christ

Some disgusted viewers of WYD 2008 will reach the rash judgment that Pope Benedict revealed his true colors by appearing at Sydney. Benedict, they will declare, is just “John Paul the Great” all over again, even if he is partial to Latin in the liturgy.

For the reasons I have suggested, however, the situation is far more complicated than that. Pope Benedict’s addresses, sermons, attire and comportment at Sydney were in marked contrast to those of his crowd-pleasing (and, let us be honest, crowd-milking) predecessor. This is a Pope who has no cult surrounding his personality and is clearly not interested in encouraging one. His preaching to the youth was simple, unpretentious, and wholly orthodox. He offered no applause lines or ringing slogans, but only a series of fatherly lessons about living according to the Gospel in an age of materialism, growing despair and moral corruption. There was no rhetoric about visions of the Church or the “new Pentecost” of Vatican II, which (so far as I know) received hardly a mention. Even at Sydney, even given Benedict’s inability to take arms against a sea of ecclesial troubles, there is still a sharp qualitative difference between this pontificate and the last one, the astonishing breakthrough of the Motu Proprio being only one example among the growing number that could be cited.  

Perhaps the Pope who has abandoned the hideous papal staff of John  Paul II and Paul VI and taken up the traditional ferula of none other than Bl. Pius IX—another seemingly small gesture of great significance—will recover the traditional idea of the Catholic pilgrimage in time for Madrid in 2011. And perhaps Benedict himself will appear at Chartres to offer Mass and greet thousands of Catholic youth who do not need rock music, or even a full meal, to sustain them as they walk 72 miles for the glory of God and in honor of His Blessed Mother.

Perhaps.  Perhaps, but what happened at Sydney naturally causes us to worry. Will the Pope who liberated the Latin liturgy continue to move toward a restoration, or will he ultimately find himself unable (or unwilling) to resist the weight of his predecessor’s legacy of ecclesial innovations so beloved by the world, a legacy that continues to weigh upon the Church like a boulder? I do not know.  But we will all know soon enough. 

Meanwhile, in my opinion, World Youth Day 2008 demonstrates that the Society of Saint Pius X should stay right where it is until the Pope lifts the excommunication that ranks as one of the great injustices in Church history. Only then can we be certain that the “spirit of Vatican II” has loosened its hold upon the Church and that a movement for ecclesial restoration on the order of the revival of Cluny is well and truly underway. Until then, as the sorry events in Sydney would suggest, we must pray that the Pope will find the courage once again to govern with the kingly authority that Christ has given his Vicar, and that the Church’s battle against neo-Modernism does not enter an even more perilous stage.


[ii] Link now defunct.

[iii]Confessions, Bk. VI, Ch. 8.

[iv]The Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 148.


[vi]Richard Owen, “Why Pope tried to stop Dylan knockin’ on heaven’s door,”
 Times Online, March 8, 2007.

[vii] “ Anti-pope activists urge safe sex, toss condoms at Catholic pilgrims in Australia,” AP Report, July 19, 2008.