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Thursday, February 10, 2022

The Tragedy of Newchurch

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The Tragedy of Newchurch

 In September of 2021, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone announced the “Rose and Rosary for Nancy” campaign to soften the heart of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi is a Democrat politician representing California’s 12th congressional district, which lies within the bounds of the San Francisco archdiocese. Hence Archbishop Cordileone’s personal intervention. The issue at hand is abortion. While Pelosi claims to be a Catholic, she has proven to be one of the most fanatical proponents of in utero infanticide in American history. (She is also a tireless proponent of homosexual “marriage,” which she claims is “consistent” with Catholic teaching.) As the ordinary of Nancy Pelosi’s archdiocese, Archbishop Cordileone has the duty to set Pelosi straight when she errs, and to prevent others from going astray when she (or anyone else) errs publicly.


His Excellency’s commitment to upholding Catholic teaching is very welcome, and the “Rose and Rosary for Nancy” campaign he is still running is a laudable, inspired idea. Praying and fasting, as Archbishop Cordileone calls “Catholics and others of goodwill” to do, for those in the darkness of mortal sin is precisely what we as Christians should be about. Pelosi has doubled down on her abortion stance in the face of Archbishop Cordileone’s loving outreach, disagreeing with His Excellency’s statement that abortion is child sacrifice and arguing that “it’s none of our business” if women abort their children. But Pelosi’s defiance is not the measure of success. Praying and fasting are true Christian responses, and Archbishop Cordileone has shown himself to be a brave Christian leader, confronting grave evil and urging a peaceful response to a public outrage.

All in all, a most admirable pro-life record. Would that other bishops had a tenth of Archbishop Cordileone’s guts.

Archbishop Cordileone has taken other heroic pro-life steps, too. In November of last year, for instance, a couple of months after he publicly reminded the Speaker of the House that she was in grave error about the Catholic teaching on abortion, Archbishop Cordileone wrote a letter to students at Archbishop Riordan High School after some students there staged a boycott of a pro-life talk given at the school. His Excellency later visited the school to admonish the students not to be “victim[s] of the culture,” reaffirming his commitment to teaching students about the dangers of being pro-choice.

All in all, a most admirable pro-life record. Would that other bishops had a tenth of Archbishop Cordileone’s guts.

And yet, a closer look at Archbishop Cordileone’s actions on other fronts reveals some trouble among the elect.

While His Excellency has been fearless in demanding that the murder of the innocents be stopped, standing against the entire Democrat-controlled Washington-media-academia complex to make his voice heard, he has been much less than fearless in his acquiescence in the face of Pope Francis’ own attacks against Catholic teaching, namely, the Latin Mass. Repeating the strange new dogma from the Vatican, Archbishop Cordileone warns that those among the faithful who feel drawn to the Traditional Mass should “affirm the validity of the Novus Ordo form of the Mass”. Outwardly, His Excellency gathers his sheep. Inwardly, His Excellency scatters them.

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Archbishop Cordileone’s stances are not just confusing, they are contradictory. On the one hand, the archbishop is not pro-choice. He teaches, rightly, that there is no “choice” involved in the lives of innocent children. There is no array of options to include killing a child. “Pro-choice” masks a horror, and His Excellency refuses to compromise on this fundamental point—there is no “pro-choice Catholic” position on abortion. On the other hand, however, Archbishop Cordileone is pro-choice. There are two Masses, and choice between them must be affirmed. It is forbidden to say that A is not B.

Either/or here, both/and there. Huh? Catholics, Archbishop Cordileone insists, must be pro-choice about the liturgy. There is a “pro-choice Catholic” position on the Sacrifice of the Mass, but there is not such a position on child sacrifice.

In this twisted heap of illogic we can see the tragedy of Newchurch. The contradictions and confusion are not incidental to Newchurch. They are inherent in it. There is no way to be pro-life and Newchurch. For Newchurch is, at heart, a humanistic, man-made institution founded on relativism and compromise. Modernism is Newchurch’s identity. Newchurch is antithetical to the singularity of Christ’s Cross. Newchurch is legion, is pro-choice to its very core. Those who want to remain Catholic will have to find their way out of Newchurch at some point. There is no future in Newchurch, only steadily deepening chaos, despite the best efforts of good men like Archbishop Cordileone.

But the truth is that Newchurch is a horrible tragedy. It thwarts the good that men would do. 

Newchurch may seem to be comedy, with its “clown masses” and its bumbling, ad lib theologizing carried out in front of airplane bathrooms. But the truth is that Newchurch is horrible tragedy. It thwarts the good that men would do. Take Archbishop Cordileone. What His Excellency seems not to realize is that his efforts are undermined by the very institution he represents. Not the Catholic Church. Newchurch. The Novus Ordo cabal. Archbishop Cordileone is not pro-choice on abortion. Amen to that. But he is—has to be—pro-choice on the Mass. For Newchurch was born pro-choice. It was born in schism, rupture, chaos, duplicity, misdirection.

Think about how Newchurch was born—in bifurcation. After the bait-and-switch of the Second Vatican Council, Newchurch leaders went to extraordinary lengths to argue that they had not done what they had plainly pulled off. “Everything is just as before,” we were told. But then why the need for a years-long gathering of bishops and “observers,” including Protestants? Newchurch is the Vatican II sham-show, on repeat forever. The Catholic faithful have been asked for nearly sixty years now to suspend disbelief and to pretend that the Novus Ordo, the New Coke version of the real thing, is the equivalent (somehow) of the actual Mass.

Newchurch cannot have just one liturgy for just this reason: Newchurch is mockery, a mock-up of Catholicism. It can never preach Christ and Him Crucified, because that would be an insult to Newchurch’s god and Satan’s: “diversity.” When Archbishop Cordileone instituted a monthly Traditional Latin Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco, shortly after Pope Francis issued his motu proprio Traditionis custodes attacking the same Mass, the archbishop couched his decision in plurality and choice. “The Mass is a miracle in any form,” His Excellency wrote.

Take Archbishop Cordileone. What His Excellency seems not to realize is that his efforts are undermined by the very institution he represents.

Christ comes to us in the flesh under the appearance of Bread and Wine. Unity under Christ is what matters. Therefore the Traditional Latin Mass will continue to be available here in the Archdiocese of San Francisco and provided in response to the legitimate needs and desires of the faithful.

This sounds like a very Catholic response to the actions of a very anti-Catholic pope. But it is not. It is pure Newchurch.

Consider what is meant by “The Mass is a miracle in any form” and “Unity under Christ is what matters.” These statements cannot both be true. If the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the confection of Christ’s Body and Blood, and if the people at Mass really believe this, then whatever changes might occur in the liturgy will be organic and gradual, with Christ at the center and with Heaven as the guide. But if the Mass is the creature of men, and not of God, then the Mass is not holy at all. It is an instrument, a symbol, a thing some do. If the Newchurch position that Mass is a spectrum of possibility, “a miracle in any form,” is valid, then Christ is not on the altar, He is in our minds, to be projected on whatever object we choose.

And if that is true, then the Protestant escape hatch will immediately present itself, the fig leaf which most Protestants use to cover their heresies: “Unity under Christ is what matters.” Yes, but if Christ is whatever we say He is, then what kind of unity will there be?

Pope Francis seeks no unity under Christ. He seeks obedience to his whims, and under his own authority.

The answer is seen in the papacy of Jorge Bergoglio. No Christian unity, but the “unity” of the iron fist. Pope Francis seeks no unity under Christ. He seeks obedience to his whims, and under his own authority. As a mere human being, however, this authority is inevitably limited. There will always be gaps, dissenters, places beyond Francis’ control. So Francis has entered the familiar spiral, that of the power-mad tyrant. Traditionis custodes is the sad denouement we see in the life of every strongman, the moment the mask of political theology slips and the distorted face of power-lust shows through. There are two ways to deal with plurality—the Holy Spirit, or the bullwhip. Francis rejects the former, and so is left with only the latter. His word is law. Francis is thus both representative of Newchurch, and Newchurch’s culmination. When “Pope Emeritus” (another Newchurch invention) Benedict XVI, then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, warned against the “dictatorship of relativism” at a homily to the conclave following the death of John Paul II, he could hardly have imagined that he would be pope and that his own successor would turn out to be the dictator.

The relativism of the Vatican is not a sidebar to Vatican II. Relativism is the solvent by which, the Modernists who did the bidding of Satan at the Council hoped, the Church would be dissolved. This relativism, as Benedict intuited, has spawned monsters, most hideous of all Pope Francis. There are many governments and other institutions around the world which are persecuting Christians. The Vatican is the most egregious of them all. The Vatican persecutes Christians in all dioceses, everyone who wishes to attend the real Mass. Under the sway of Newchurch, the Vatican must do this. It has no choice. Because it professes nothing but choice. Because the Vatican hates most that which it professes to, but cannot, control: the Body of Christ. That is real “unity under Christ.” The Vatican rejects it.

The Church, and the Flesh and Blood on the altars, are the same. In declaring itself arbiter of the latter—in setting up a false “mass” in place of the real Mass, and passing that fake mass off as a continuation of the real one—the Vatican exiled itself from the Church. To “reform” the Mass is not to reform it, but to deny it. To deny the Mass is to send oneself into the darkness of exile. That exiled camp of lost souls is Newchurch.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was probably speaking of Newchurch when he prophesied that the antichrist would set up an ape of Holy Mother Church. Newchurch is this ape, I think. It is also a fetish, a stand-in for the real Church.

I have often said that Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was probably speaking of Newchurch when he prophesied that the antichrist would set up an ape of Holy Mother Church. Newchurch is this ape, I think. It is also a fetish, a stand-in for the real Church. I know many self-professed Catholics who are intensely devoted to the rituals and saints of the Church. But they follow Francis into schism, refusing to believe that the pope could be doing what he is plainly doing. An associate once told me that he had no need to contest Francis’ provocations. “I have the Latin Mass whenever I want it,” this person said. He attends the Novus Ordo, but he also has the TLM to hand as desired. He is pro-choice on the liturgy. He cannot not be. Not conceptually, and not under Francis’ new revelation, the Argentinian’s new law. Newchurch was born pro-choice.

Francis may be the antichrist. What he offers the Church is “anychrist,” an array of religious options from which to choose. Francis’ devotion to Pachamama is not singular. This is what frustrates Francis so when his idolatry is pointed out to him. Idolatry? But Francis has many more idols than just the wooden she-devil from the Amazon. Pachamama is just one idol of many, an infinite number. Pachamama is one choice, but there are many more. Anything, anyone, can be Christ under Newchurch. For Newchurch is choice itself.

When Francis writes to Sister Jeannine Grammick of New Ways Ministry, and to Fr. James Martin of, well, “all ways” ministry, to commend them for their work, he is speaking with the voice of Newchurch. When Francis’ brother Jesuit, Father Pat Conroy, tells the Washington Post that Catholics should be pro-choice, and that Planned Parenthood should remain in business, he is simply preaching from the Newchurch pulpit. Father Conroy was the chaplain to the U.S. House of Representatives for ten years across five congresses, and gained notoriety for using public prayer to advocate for Democrat legislation. When it came time for him to retire, “Catholic” Nancy Pelosi chose as his successor a Presbyterian woman. Newchurch again. Archbishop Cordileone claims to support Francis, but does Francis support Archbiship Cordileone? After Archbishop Cordileone began his “Rose and Rosary for Nancy” campaign, Francis invited Pelosi to the Vatican for a private meeting. And “President” Biden, too, for good measure.

Sure, Archbishop. You can be pro-life. But that’s just one of many options. Because Newchurch is pro-choice. Faith is a “constant and restless movement, ever in search of God,” Francis tells us. One would hardly know—and perhaps Francis sincerely doesn’t—that God is in the tabernacle, the tabernacle toward which Newchurch insists that the priests of that God turn their backs. If Newchurch were to turn around and rediscover what it abandoned, it would stop being Newchurch. That is the promise. But as long as Newchurch is Newchurch, it will continue to destroy whatever good things good men try to do.

That is the tragedy of Newchurch.

--Jason Morgan is associate professor at Reitaku University in Kashiwa, Japan

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Last modified on Thursday, February 10, 2022
Jason Morgan | Remnant Correspondent, TOKYO

Jason Morgan is an associate professor at Reitaku University in Chiba, Japan, where he teaches language, history, and philosophy. He specializes in Japanese legal history. He’s published four books in Japanese and two book-length Japanese-to-English translations. His work has also appeared at Japan Forward, New Oxford Review, Crisis, Modern Age, University BookmanChronicles, and Clarion Review.