In this letter addressed to Bishop Barron of the WORD ON FIRE ministry, Fr Cipolla rightly focuses on what the Mass has become since the Second Vatican Counciland the mighty cultural pressures surrounding it. Was the Council more of a political contest than a religious one?
“A Response to Bp. Barron’s Criticism of Traditionalism”: You can’t Evangelize the Revolutionized World With a New Mass Locked in the 1960s Revolution — A Letter by Fr. Cipolla
I have written many Letters to the Editor in my lifetime to the New York Times and to the Wall Street Journal—bona fide credentials of my moderate and centrist persona—and now I feel compelled to write this letter to you to respond to your recent article called “The Evangelical Path of Word on Fire”. I am a Catholic priest, soon to be an octogenarian. It would seem more prudent at this time in my life to lay aside those things that threaten the peace and equanimity that one should strive for at this stage of my life. But alas, my Southern Italian genetic makeup does not make it easy to live a laid- back life at this time when I should give oneself over to contemplation and remembrance of things past.
I have followed your career in the Church for some years now, with a good deal of admiration for your stand against what you call liberal Catholicism. St. John Henry Newman, that great opponent of liberalism in religion, would approve of your battle against “beige Catholicism”. Your many instructional DVDs show clearly that you understand the important role of Beauty in the Catholic faith. You are obviously of man of real faith who loves the Church.
Your brief article refers to two types of Catholics that manifest themselves at this time and that you consider to be aberrant, for very different reasons, from your understanding of Catholicism , which you speak about as Evangelical Catholicism. The first is “liberal Catholicism”, which has predominated since the years after the Second Vatican Council. You describe this type of Catholicism as “culturally accommodating…unsure of itself..a Church that had allowed its distinctive colors to be muted and its sharp edges to be dulled.” You agree that, in the words of Cardinal George, that liberal Catholicism is “a spent project”.
The St Aquinas Seminary is the seminary of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) in America. The SSPX is an order of priests whose purpose is to guard the content of the Catholic faith by preserving and promoting the traditional Latin rites and the traditional unadulterated priesthood. A few years back, they posted a video which shows what daily life is like for an SSPX seminarian: A Day in the Life of a Seminarian – St Thomas Aquinas Seminary.
It gives an intriguing picture of seminary training before the radical changes to the priesthood that followed the Second Vatican Council. I speak from experience. From 1959 to 1962, I attended a junior seminary in Australia. The routine of that junior seminary was pretty much the same as that depicted here in America in 2016.
The debate about the Second Vatican Council has not ceased. If anything, the scrutiny of the course of the Council, its participants, and its documents is a strong as ever. Below is an article on a book that has recently been released.
RORATE EXCLUSIVE—New biography describes great influence of Fr. Joseph Ratzinger in Vatican II
Rorate is pleased to publish the following article by Dr. Maike Hickson, in which she summarizes the information on (then Father and peritus) Joseph Ratzinger’s involvement in the Council as detailed in Seewald’s magisterial biography, the first volume of which will be released in English on December 15. While some of these facts are already well-known, they have never been presented with as much detail and coherence as Seewald offers. Hickson worked from both the original German edition and the forthcoming English translation. In publishing this critique, we acknowledge at the same time how indebted we are to Ratzinger/Benedict XVI for taking crucial and countercultural steps on behalf of the restoration of the authentic Roman liturgy.
Archbishop Viganò on the importance of good literature for the restoration of Christianity
December 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has recently written a preface for a book, Gratitude, Contemplation, and the Sacramental Worth of Catholic Literature, a collection of essays written by my husband Dr. Robert Hickson over the course of several decades. Being a distillation of his life work, this new book aims at presenting to the readers a whole set of inspiring books – most of them Catholic – that can help us restore a Catholic memory. That is to say, these books can help us revive a sense of Catholicity that comes to us from time periods and regions where the Catholic faith was an integral part of the state and society, from a lived faith.
We are very grateful to Archbishop Viganò for his preface, which highlights the importance of culture – and importantly, literature – for the revival of Christianity, and therefore we decided to publish it here (see full text below). His comments aim at turning our minds to the future, preparing the ground for a time where Christ again will reign in the heart and minds of man. His preface is therefore a sort of manifesto of faith and hope, and a wonderful instruction for us on how to go about preparing the ground for Christ.
Cardinal George Pell shared his suspicions that up to €100m in unregistered cash owned by the Vatican could be hidden in foreign bank accounts at a secret meeting with Australian bankers in London’s financial district in 2016 — but four years later his questions remain unanswered.
In a new book citing confidential letters, documents and transcripts of private conversations between cardinals, Italian investigative journalist Gian Luigi Nuzzi recounts in detail the campaign of intimidation and psychological warfare unleashed by the Vatican’s old guard against attempts by Pope Francis and his German predecessor Benedict XVI to clean up the finances of the Holy See.
The intimidation included a Watergate-style break-in and the theft of a dossier of documents relating to the 1982 murder of the Vatican banker Roberto Calvi just weeks after Pell’s appointment as financial tsar. This was interpreted internally as a Mafia-style warning to busybody outsiders.
Nuzzi’s 835-page tome, The Vatican’s Black Book, documents more than 50 years of financial skulduggery by sections of the Roman curia to avoid proper scrutiny and accounting for the millions in cash donated by Catholics around the world each year.
I have tried to resist the idea that we have an apostate on the see of Peter. It is such a shocking thought. How could it be? But the evidence piles up. The latest is the news that Marxist ex-priest Leonardo Boff is a particular friend of Pope Francis who reads and re-reads his Marxist scribblings. Edward Pentin, in his article below, quotes Boff’s crass rubbishing of St John Paul II and Cardinal/Pope Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. Is there a clearer sign of this man’s corrupted mind – and of Francis’s apostasy? Once again we are exposed to the deadly fantasies of a man locked away in a dark theoretical nightmare. I think there must be a special place in hell for unhinged theorists.
Liberation Theologian Leonardo Boff is a Keynote Speaker at Vatican’s ‘Economy of Francesco’ Conference
The controversial former Franciscan priest was disciplined by the Vatican in the 1980s, for disseminating Marxist-oriented ideas that demonstrated ‘a profound misunderstanding of the Catholic faith.’
VATICAN CITY — The controversial Brazilian liberation theologian Leonardo Boff will be a keynote speaker at the Economy of Francesco, a three-day international Vatican-organized conference that starts tomorrow aimed at making finance inclusive and sustainable.
A former Franciscan priest, Boff will speak on “socio-ecological responsibility: global view, territorial actions” along with Father Vilson Groh, who works with the poor in the favela (slum) of Florianopolis in southern Brazil.
According to the Economy of Francesco organizers, the Nov. 19-21 conference aims to propose ideas that “move and live for a fairer, more fraternal and sustainable economy and give a soul to the economy of tomorrow.”
Some 2,000 economists and entrepreneurs under the age of 35 from around the world will take part in the live-streamed meeting which will include a 24-hour “marathon” of online exchanges on the second day.
Archbishop Vigano, Pope Francis’s most outspoken critic, recently raised serious questions about the Second Vatican Council. He has joined a long line of critics over the years, with Archbishop Lefebvre of the Society of St Pius X at the forefront. Archbishop Vigano has followed Archbishop Lefebvre in demanding the documents of the Council be jettisoned and the Church start again, with Traditional belief the starting point.
I follow St John Paul II and Benedict XVI in their interpretation of the Council documents. The documents should be read in the light of Tradition – according to the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’. Any apparent ambiguities are resolved by placing them in the teaching of what went before Vatican II. There have been a number of crucial documents following the Council that have corrected the alleged ambiguities.
The collapse of the Church after the Council was due to the adoption of the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’, which ignored the documents and created a whole new church, which was the stated aim of its promoters. The so-called ‘spirit’ prevailed politically, not doctrinally. The overthrow of the Traditional Church was a political victory.
The political forces for the new church were tightly organised before the start of the Council. On the 11th of October 1962, the opening of the Council, they went into operation. Their political manoeuvring and manipulation steamrolled the thoroughly unprepared Traditionalists, those defending the centuries-old Church. Several years’ work in the preparatory documents were tossed out and a new start made, at the head of which were some of the most notorious dissenters in the years following the Council. Indeed, it was only the intervention of Pope St Paul VI at critical points that stopped the Council tipping over the edge into heresy.
My thesis that the Second Vatican Council was primarily a political contest is grounded largely on Fr Ralph Wiltgen’s THE RHINE FLOWs INTO THE TIBER, reissued in 1978 as THE INSIDE STORY OF VATICAN II, and Roberto de Mattei’s magisterial THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL (AN UNWRITTEN STORY). There is also my experience of the Council and its aftermath. I was sixteen in 1962 and nineteen when the 1960s cultural revolution and the student rebellion exploded on the West in 1965. The Council wrapped up in December 1965.
In a very informative discussion of the Council, Patrick Coffin interviews Dr Ralph Martin about his new book A CHURCH IN CRISIS: PATHWAYS FORWARD. The discussion gives depth to my views. Highly recommended.
I was looking for a cover of a novel by an Australian Catholic for the banner of a new FB group page THE AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC WRITERS’ FORUM (to be developed). I had a few of Christopher Koch’s novels on hand and chose Highways to a War, the 1996 Miles Franklin Award winner. I then looked around for some information about the now (almost) forgotten Christopher Koch and found this inspiring article by Karl Schmude.
Christopher Koch: A novelist for an age with no answers
As the novels of my Conciliar series often play out in the Netherlands, the article below is of interest for background information.
‘Great apostasy’: Cardinal analyzes why Netherlands lost Catholic faith in few short decades
Cardinal Willem Eijk’s new book ‘Ferment in the care of souls’ helps answer the question about why the Netherlands has become one of the most secularized countries in the world today.
September 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Why are the tiny Netherlands, whose missionaries represented over 12 percent of Roman Catholic priests and religious bringing the faith to foreign countries around 1960, today one of the most secularized countries in the world? Of all the questions addressed by Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk in his recent book of dialogues with Italian journalist Andrea Galli, this was the one that struck commentators most.
The Cardinal borrowed his answer from a book written in 1947 after a meeting of nine laymen and priests in his own diocese of Utrecht years before a major crisis hit Dutch Catholicism. In Ferment in the care of souls, these concerned Catholics, he said, “saw that the bond between Catholics and the Church was no longer based on the contents of the faith.”
“Membership in the Church was essentially a community factor: one went to Catholic primary school, then to Catholic secondary school, and was a member of Catholic associations, especially in the sports and scouting fields. One was Catholic for reasons of social belonging, because one grew up in Catholic structures, not on the basis of a lived faith,” Cardinal Eijk remarks. It was a faith that “could not withstand such radical culture changes as those of the 1960’s.”
That time of prosperity and growing individualism gradually led to the “hyper-individualism” that Cardinal Eijk has more than once pointed out as being at the root of modern-day Holland’s rejection of God – as in this interview with LifeSite in May 2019, many of whose themes are present in his new book, Dio viva in Olanda (“God lives in Holland”). Revealingly, the subtitle of his book is a quote from Saint Luke: “When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?”