We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Purple Wig

"I ceased in the year 1764 to believe that one can convince one’s opponents with arguments printed in books. It is not to do that, therefore, that I have taken up my pen, but merely so as to annoy them, and to bestow strength and courage on those on our own side, and to make it known to the others that they have not convinced us."

― Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, The Waste Books

What was the point of the last two posts? You tell me. The singular thread was self-delusion. Well, here is some more on that topic, but with words by others (with the usual reference in the hyperlink). It's just the usual mashup of what others have put more precisely.

Self-delusion writ small:

But the man--tragically--had lived so long in an ivory tower that I think he both lives in a world of unattainable ideals and has failed to appreciate where most of the Church was regarding the Liturgy, ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue, role of the laity etc. Especially when it comes to Liturgy, Benedict's German bourgeois background comes to the fore. His style is that of an affected aristocrat wanna-be and so the faux elegance of a world of papier-mâché recreation of an ancien regime Catholicism with its eighteenth-century furnishings and pomp appeal to him. For a clue to who he is, look at his refurbishing of the papal apartments from the modern elegance of Paul VI's redecoration (which the John Paul's had retained) to the baroque decor with which Benedict surrounded himself. It is the fantasy world of the younger son of a civil servant in Weimar Germany. Now, Cardinal Burke’s affinity for dressing up like the Queen Mother betrays the fantasy world of a lonely and fatherless boy from rural Wisconsin whose mother should have taken a cue from Sheldon Cooper’s mother and “had him tested.”

Self-delusion writ large:

It does little use arguing against the liturgy of Paul VI. Rome rarely changes its mind, especially on matters that could cause it to lose face. Additionally, there is the simple matter of historical precedent. Pius X, not Paul VI, got the ball rolling on the deconstruction of the historic liturgy of Latin Christianity. This is the paradox of the current liturgical climate in the Roman Church; the debate centers around 20th century mutations of the Latin tradition that progressively divorced the Roman liturgy from the Latin tradition, the Missal of 1962 included ...

Those fixated on the Missal of 1962 often do not see how it was, in its own time, a considerable departure from the Latin liturgical tradition, nor how the 20th century reforms, beginning with Pius X, were all steps in a thoroughly accepted thesis (even within the papacy) that a comprehensive liturgical reform was desirable. Indeed, the Concilium understandably viewed itself as brining [sic] the work of Pius X to completion, so long had the discussion of a comprehensive liturgical reform floated around the halls of the Vatican. Thus, for anyone "in the know", anyone who has access to the streams of historical data or thoroughly lives in the internal Vatican culture that cultivated the prospect of liturgical reform in the 20th century, the liturgy of Paul VI is the consummation of a long process, the end point of a trajectory begun by the first "mega pope" of modern history.

Of course, a constant in this trajectory is the authority of the Roman pontiff in the context of Roman Catholic ecclesiology. The concept of the papacy that emerged in the post-Tridentine period created a figure who was scarcely answerable to anyone; in all matters, the Roman pontiff became the law himself. How the eventual definition of papal infallibility led to such a thorough disregard of the ancient Latin law of prayer remains a scarcely tapped area of research. To my knowledge, only Gregory [sic] Hull has really made any efforts in the area, although one may argue Alcuin Reid has alluded to it. Yet, this remains a serious question that Roman Catholics (responsible ones at least) and all persons concerned with the survival of the Latin tradition (or Traditional Catholicism) ought to concern themselves. The answers may well be more difficult than the question, depending upon the role the cultus of the papacy has in one's concept of the Church. 

Some people have gone stark raving mad.


  1. Dear Sir,

    I am writing, somewhat in the manner of a Letter to the Editor, to ask that you be a bit more plain in your meaning. I have been reading your entries in this weblog for some time, having been introduced to them in turn by the weblog of Patricius (i.e. I have been both informed and entertained by your entries, but, to tell truth, I am more than a bit puzzled by your three most recent entries.

    My point is that you say that "some people have gone stark raving mad." To whom do you refer? Dr. Tighe, for calling Anglicanism 'a vast self-delusion'. I would say rather that he is vastly mistaken. Yourself, for penning (I suppose in jest) a conspiracy history of Anglican sedevacantism? I doubt it, but I have no doubt that many sedevacanists (Roman or otherwise) are self-deluded. The author of churchhistorysurprise, for his rather uncharitable words concerning both Benedict XVI and those who favor the vetus ordo? Perhaps a bit nearer the mark. But the author of arealiveone? I fear that he may simply be prophetic concerning the continuation of the novus ordo in the RC Church. His words are all the more poignant, in that, like Cassandra, he does not particularly wish what he sees to come to pass.

    Please understand: I do not wish to criticize you. I do, however, rather like what you have to say. I simply would wish to know what it is you are thinking here.

    My thanks in advance for your attention to this letter.

  2. This blog is designed to please no one but myself. Even so, it is very rare that I actually hit the mark. Again, there is plenty of blame to spread around and I must, in due course, enjoy my well-deserved share.

    Self-delusion is, of course, nothing new. Freud stated plainly that reality is just "too much" for us. So long as our dreams are beautiful and pure -- as once was the vision of a Christmas, in a child's eye -- we have little to fear. “Que sçais-je?" Not much.

    The most devastating point is *the last* offered in this post, as given admirable expression by others. Take it as a paradox, if you wish: the very thing most destructive of the Latin rite and its traditions has been none other than the sublimed over-elevation of the Roman pontiff. Just what the proper response to this profound realization is remains something yet to be discovered.

    1. Dear Mr. Sullivan,

      Thank you for your kind reply. I would agree with you that, in the words of T. S. Eliot, "...Humankind/can not bear very much reality."

      I would also agree that nothing is more destructive of and to the Latin rite as an opposition of Holy Tradition with what has been called the Magisterium. A friend of mine has remarked that the Christian East was the triumph of Tradition over the Magisterium, while the West was the triumph of Magisterium over Tradition. I see nothing in Church History which contradicts this view.

      Finally, I would agree in entirety with the final sentence of your reply. I am afraid that I am thoroughly at a loss for an answer, although I believe that the beginnings of one would be in uncovering and remaining faithful to our Holy Traditions.

      May you have a blessed Christmas. Christ is born!

  3. P. S. Our personal avatar, for this post, is Dame Edna -- a "woman" who knows absolutely nothing and, hence, is capable of discussing everything with anyone. Thank you, John Barry Humphries, AO, CBE!