EFORE I SAY even one word, let me affirm that the Catholic Church is experiencing a crisis—which is nothing new in her 2,000 year history. Many great saints were reforming saints: e.g. Saint Charles Borromeo, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, and Saint Francis of Assisi. (Many female saints were also reformers.) We desperately need a reforming saint; at least when it comes to our so-called “developed” nations.
Roche “Clarification” • On 4 December 2021, Archbishop Roche—who replaced the saintly Cardinal Sarah upon his retirement—published a series of Responsa ad Dubia. (A “dubium” is a single question; the plural is dubia.) In several places, Archbishop Roche explicitly contradicts Traditionis Custodes, the motu proprio issued by Pope Francis on 16 July 2021. What should we do in such a situation? But wait…there’s more.
Pecking Order • The basic point Archbishop Roche tried to make is that he wants Catholics to ostracize those who love the Extraordinary Form until they learn to prefer the Ordinary Form. If the EF is allowed at a parish, Archbishop Roche says the true parishioners are supposed to make it clear the EF people are the lowest priority: the lowest on the totem pole. In essence, Roche says they’re technically Catholic, but they need to understand there’s a pecking order—and they (and their children) belong at the bottom. Not long ago, Archbishop Roche insisted that the Ordinary Form must learn things from the Extraordinary Form; but maybe he changed his mind? 1 In any event, we must now address a major problem with Archbishop Roche’s Responsa.
Not What You Think • Archbishop Roche and his allies have a major problem, which may prove insurmountable. Perhaps you think I’m about to cite Vatican II, which declared: “Even in the liturgy, the Church has no wish to impose a rigid uniformity in matters which do not implicate the faith.” Or perhaps you think I’m going to attack bishops who have not lifted a finger to implement the specific items Vatican II mandated. But that’s not what I’m talking about!
The Real Problem • Archbishop Roche fails to realize that 85% of those who prefer the Extraordinary Form originally came from Ordinary Form parishes. I will use myself as an example. In the early 1990s, my family attended an Ordinary Form parish—which just happened to be the wealthiest parish in the city. (That’s because the parish was located in the wealthiest part of town.) The school had a program which challenged families to “adopt” poor teenagers from Central America, letting them live in your house for one year. Out of the entire school, only two families took up the challenge—and my parents did! (That meant as children we got to know some awesome kids from Guatemala). Indeed, my parents were very popular and involved at the parish; and after Mass we children got angry because so many parishioners insisted on greeting my mother … and to young children it seemed like the socializing would never end!
Putting Jesus First • That parish had everything—except the faith. At the parochial school, our teachers promoted heresy, including saying women could become priests. I once got in trouble for insisting to one of my teachers—whose name was Ms. Stone—that God was omniscient. The teacher said: “God has a general idea of how things will turn out, but He certainly doesn’t know everything!” My mother (as a volunteer) taught First Communion classes for years, but was unable to defeat the rampant heresy—after all, she was only one person. By the way, the liturgical music was goofy, disrespectful, and flippant; it did not reflect what Vatican II said. Vatican II said: “every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others.” When my parents discovered the Traditional Latin Mass—promoted at that time by Pope Saint John Paul II—we embraced it.
Cupich Will Fail • Those who currently hold power are attempting to “elevate” the Christmas letter by Cardinal Cupich, hoping it will influence other bishops to ostracize Catholics who prefer the Missale Antiquius. They have given the Cupich letter great prominence—and all of it smacks of premeditation. But Cardinal Cupich will fail. Paragraph 5 of his letter says that giving Catholics “catechetical resources” will cause them to stop preferring the Extraordinary Form. But I could show you videos of Ordinary Form Masses approved by Cardinal Cupich which are celebrated in such a disrespectful, goofy, profane way it would make your blood boil.
An Indisputable Fact • Cardinal Cupich fails to understand that 85% of those who prefer the Extraordinary Form originally came from Ordinary Form parishes. The Extraordinary Form goes back as far as we have documentation; all the way back to the Gelasian Sacramentary, the Gregorian Sacramentary, the Leofric Missal, the Rodrade Sacramentary, and the Leonine Sacramentary. That’s at least 1,400 years! If the Missale Antiquius survived the 1980s, it will survive the efforts of Cardinal Cupich. Archbishop Roche says the Missale Antiquius should not be listed in the parish bulletin (to remind EF people they’re lowest on the totem pole). He fails to realize millennials get their Mass times online!
Addendum • As far as I know, Pope Benedict XVI never celebrated the Extraordinary Form while he was pope. However, he warned against treating EF people “as if they were lepers.”
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 The existence of sycophants is nothing new in the Catholic Church. For example, Pope Stephen VI excavated the dead body of a previous pope, putting his rotting corpse on trial in the Lateran Basilica. He cut off three fingers of the corpse as “punishment.” Pope Stephen VI appointed a deacon to supply the “voice” of the dead pope—during the corpse’s “trial”—and I really feel that deacon (whoever he was) should be named as the patron of ecclesiastical sycophants.