Thursday, July 22, 2021

Ideological Litmus Tests as a Condition of Keeping the Traditional Mass

The letter from Bishop Sticka of the Diocese of Knoxville, released yesterday, expresses His Excellency's solicitude for the members of his flock who love the traditional Mass.  In essence, the bishop says he will allow the traditional Mass to continue status quo ante, at least for now, and even grants faculties to all priests ordained by the cutoff date to celebrate it.  However, the bishop also implements the litmus test of accepting all the teachings of Vatican II, as well as the validity and liceity of the implementation of the new Mass. 

One has to pause and hover over that litmus test.  First of all, is there no basis for questioning the liceity of the new Mass, especially in view of the extreme upheaval that resulted from the attempt to completely replace the old Mass?  Does there exist widespread agreement among high churchmen, reached after careful and deliberate consideration, about the liceity of imposing a new, manufactured rite of Mass, however valid, on the Church?  If not, why are the little people not allowed to question it?  

Secondly, why are we not allowed to question an ecumenical council that explicitly was "pastoral" and refrained from defining any dogmas?  Since there are priests and bishops who question parts of the Second Vatican Council, and whose objections are not trivial, why must the people in the pews take sides?

Thirdly, if we need litmus tests, why don’t we have an “acceptance of all the Ten Commandments and all the Precepts of the Church and all the Sins that Cry Out to Heaven for Vengeance” litmus test to let people in to any Mass whatsoever?  Why is there no litmus test to screen out those who reject those parts of Vatican II that were already defined and infallible doctrine before the Council?  And why are we doing this at a time when we have bishops and priests refusing to implement the canonical litmus test of not being a manifest public sinner in the case of pro-abortion and pro-same-sex-marriage politicians presenting themselves for Communion?

To ask some questions is to answer them.


  1. Well written Anita and pleased to discover one other person (there must be many more out there) who wonder why nothing has been said about the abuses in the Novus Ordo. I have been to the Latin Mass about 3 times over the last 6 months. I love kneeling at the altar rails. When I made my first Holy Communion back in 1964 that was how church was for everyone and there was a real sense of community in the event. Then getting back to my seat having a good 10 minutes of quiet time with the Lord. In many Novus Ordo masses communion time is drowned out with hymn singing,often up to three hymns some of dubious theological quality. Because it's all congregational singing one feels obliged to sing. Wouldn't it be good for Francis now to look into the many abuses of the Novus Ordo. Come Holy Spirit.

    1. I don't remember where I heard or read this, but someone commented to the effect that when you have Priest A who celebrates the Novus Ordo in Latin, ad orientem, and with as much reverence as he can muster; and then you have Priest B who plays to the crowd, cracks jokes, and does all manner of things not appropriate for Mass; it is actually Priest B who is doing it correctly -- that is, as intended. Based on the crazy ways the Novus Ordo is celebrated in so many places, one cannot help thinking that its liturgical abuses are not bugs, but features.

      It should be noted that Pope Benedict, who surely deserves a huge discount of years in purgatory for having taken the traditional Mass out of mothballs, nevertheless himself failed to correct abuses to the Novus Ordo. There were some good documents about it issued during his reign, but the abuses persist. I don't have a lot of confidence that that is going to change.