Monday, July 17, 2017

Traditionalists Attack Summorum Pontificum

Any traditionalist reading the title of this post will definitely accuse me of losing my mind. Traditionalists feel that Summorum Pontificum - which opened up the Traditional Latin Mass to the entire Church - was probably the most important and significant document in the last 50 years. They would never attack it! And yet, that is exactly what they do.

This is quite apparent from a blog post by Father John Zuhlsdorf in which he quotes from a sermon given by Fr. Richard Cipolla, pastor of St. Mary’s in Norwalk, Connecticut. I have actually been to St. Mary's for a conference on the Mass and have heard Father Cipolla speak. This was several years ago when I was still a strong supporter of traditionalists. The conference had a couple of different speakers, and I remember one speaker who praised Archbishop Marcel LeFebvre as an unsung hero and saint who saved the TLM from extinction. I also remember Father Cipolla reluctantly excusing himself from the conference because he had to go celebrate that "other Mass", rolling his eyes in disgust as he made this comment.

These two attitudes seem to have only hardened among the traditionalists at St. Mary's if we are to judge by Father Cipolla's words. The sermon is supposedly in praise and celebration of the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum. Yet, if you read the Motu Proprio and the Letter to The Bishops accompanying it, you will be hard pressed to link these documents with the ideas and positions in Father Cipolla's sermon.

Pope Benedict XVI gave us Summorum Pontificum to prevent a large scale schism in the Church, as he wrote in the Letter to the Bishops:
I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. 
It was Pope Benedict's hope that Summorum Pontificum would unite the Church.  This is not how the traditionalists see it, and unification is certainly not the goal of Father Cipolla.  Father Cipolla described his understanding of Summorum Pontificum as follows:
It freed the Church from the terrible bonds of a deliberately modern liturgy imposed in a most un-Catholic way a liturgical form based on personal rationalizations that claimed to be based on scholarship.  
Whoa!!  The accusations and condemnations contained in this short statement by Father Cipolla are mind boggling, especially coming from a priest who promised obedience to the Church.  I don't think that defining Summorum Pontificum as an instrument that "freed the Church from the terrible bonds of a deliberately modern liturgy imposed in a most un-Catholic way" will result in "an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church" as Pope Benedict desired.  This statement by Father Cipolla seems deliberately designed to set traditionalists in direct opposition to the rest of the Church.

Father Cipolla makes it very clear that he believes the Ordinary Form of the Mass needs to be relegated to the trash heap.  He attacks the Ordinary Form of the Mass as "a liturgical form based on personal rationalizations that claim to be based on scholarship."  Does this in any way conform with the ideas and principles of the Motu Proprio?  Hardly.

In his accompanying letter to the bishops, Pope Benedict wrote:
There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. . .The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.
This statement by Pope Benedict completely rejects the condemnation leveled at the New Mass by Father Cipolla.  Pope Benedict upholds equally the validity and sacredness of both forms of the Mass. Father Cipolla sees the New Mass as an artificial construct foisted upon the faithful in order to destroy the faith.

Secondly, by saying that Summorum Pontificum "freed the Church from . . . a liturgical form based on personal rationalizations that claimed to be based on scholarship", Father Cipolla is attacking the credibility and intentions of Blessed Pope Paul VI, who gave us the New Mass, and of all others who helped to put it together, which includes many bishops and priests. Father Cipolla claims this was "imposed" on the Church "in a most un-Catholic way." Father Cipolla is upset that the Ordinary Form of the Mass was deliberately created.  He thinks the Mass is only real if it just sort of comes about over periods of hundreds of years.  But the world in the early 1960's was in a crisis, and could not wait hundreds of years for a new Mass to serve its needs.

The TLM is a beautiful liturgy. But it is most definitely Eurocentric. Everything about it is from European culture, from the language - Latin - to the heavy vestments to the music and even the architecture of the churches. The world needed a Mass that could be made relevant to all cultures. Traditionalists seem to believe that God is white European. The Church, in her great wisdom guided by the Holy Spirit, says that God doesn't belong to any one culture but to all cultures. Why can't the Mass use vestments that reflect the culture in which it is celebrated? Why can't it use the music of different cultures? Why is the organ the only instrument that can be used in the Mass?  Why is Latin the only language that can be used in the Mass?  Does God speak only Latin?

Traditionalists remind me of Michal, the wife of David, when she condemned David for the way he celebrated when the Ark of God was brought to Jerusalem. II Samuel 6:
16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.

For the traditionalist, sacredness is only what they consider to be sacred.  But out Lord doesn't consider the outward actions as much as what is going on in our hearts.  Plus, I am not a Church historian, but I can say that the Church has never been a democracy. The Magesterium makes decrees, and the faithful are obligated to follow them. Matthew 16:18-19.

Father Cipolla also makes it very clear that he, like Father John Zuhlsdorf, rejects Pope Benedict's statement that the two Masses are two forms of the same rite.  In the Motu Proprio, Pope Benedict wrote:
These two expressions of the Church’s lex orandi will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s lex credendi (rule of faith); for they are two usages of the one Roman rite.
In his letter to the bishops, Pope Benedict wrote:
It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two Rites”. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.
Father Cipolla stands in defiant rejection of these statements of the Supreme Pontiff, showing great hubris with the following:
The document itself is flawed, with its artificial creation of two forms of the Roman Rite, with its talk of a coetus, a group of the faithful who go to the bishop or pastor and ask for the Traditional Roman rite.
Not only does he reject Pope Benedict's plain statement that the Ordinary Form and Extraordinary Form are "one rite", but Father Cipolla hates the fact that he is not allowed to take his parish in any direction that he wishes, but instead, he must first clear it with his bishop.  This attitude is a direct result of his rejection of the Ordinary Form as a valid and sacred Mass.

Father Cipolla tells us that the TLM is "God given" while the Ordinary Form of the Mass is the result of "committees":
The Orthodox believe that the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom and the Liturgy of St. Basil are God-given. And I would dare to say that the same is true for the Traditional Roman Mass. It is God-given. It developed in the womb of the Church like a pearl in an oyster. It has nothing to do with committees or consilia appointed to invent a new form of Mass that has relevance only to those who wrote the texts, whether on a napkin in Trastevere or in an office in the Vatican.
Father Cipolla then tells us:
The irrelevancy of the Catholic Church is this post-modern age is in great part due to the irrelevancy of a liturgy invented in the modern age and now already obsolete in the post-modern age of freedom defined by the naked self.
Oh, really??  The New Mass is the reason so many have left the Church?  The sexual abuse crisis has nothing to do with the "irrelevancy" of the Catholic Church?  The horrendous abuses that occurred in places like Ireland have nothing to do with people rejecting the Catholic Church?  And what about the fact that in the western cultures, ALL religions are being rejected.  The fastest growing religion in our culture is "None."  It isn't just the Catholic Church that is suffering.  All belief in God has been affected. But you wouldn't know it by the hubris-filled statements of Father Cipolla and other traditionalists.

Father Cipolla then tells his fellow traditionalists that they must "evangelize":
We cannot retreat from the sad situation in the liturgical life of the Church and therefore in the very life of the Church. We must not hunker down and do our own traditional thing and consign everyone one else to some terrible boring and bland version of the Eucharistic liturgy and thank God that we celebrate the real thing. We must evangelize, my friends.
This is as far as one can possibly get from the true spirit of Summorum Pontificum. Remember, Pope Benedict gave us this document in order to unify the Church. He did not do this so that traditionalists could stand in judgment of everyone else and condemn them for accepting the Ordinary Form of the Mass, claiming that only traditionalists "celebrate the real thing" while the rest of us have this "terrible boring and bland version of the Eucharistic liturgy."

Father Cipolla ends his sermon making it unmistakably clear that he completely rejects Summorum Pontificum and its call for unity with the following statement:
Together we look forward to the time when the Traditional Roman Mass will once again be the Ordinary Form of the Mass. May this be the will of God.
Father John Zuhlsdorf gave "Father Z kudos" to Father Richard Cipolla for this travesty of a sermon. He says, "Fr. Cipolla is right to call people to action."  Father Zuhlsdorf also completely rejects Summorum Pontificum.

Father Richard Cipolla, Father John Zuhlsdorf and all of the traditionalists who think like them are actually promoting rebellion and disobedience to the Magesterim of the Church.  They have completely twisted the meaning and intention of Summorum Pontificum to be not a document that unites the Church, but one that is a weapon used to destroy everything and everyone who does not accept the TLM as the one and only true Mass.

The traditionalist movement wants desperately to destroy the Ordinary Form of the Mass.  They don't seem to care that this Mass is accepted and honored by the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  The traditionalists don't care that Mary, the angels and saints are at this Mass and that bread and wine are changed into the Body, Blood and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  They are convinced it is evil and must be wiped from the face of the earth.

I know Pope Benedict released Summorum Pontificum with all of the best intentions.  Summorum Pontificum is actually a very beautiful document that, used correctly, can result in great unity in the Church.  But sadly, Summorum Pontificum resulted in the release of a dangerous and deadly movement that is threatening the souls of untold numbers of people.



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    1. I really hope no one is foolish enough to send so much as a dime to Voris. He always has enemies he is fighting. It is never about love, mercy or compassion. It is always about destroying a person or organization. He even wants to destroy the Catholic Church and rebuild it in his own image. He is a sick, sick man. Pray for him, but stay away and do not give him money.


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