Catholic Squire: I refrained from posting this sermon once the Holy Father was elected, as I figured more would come later where this sermon given would be even more appropriate and important. In the last few days we have seen a number of things restored by Pope Benedict XVI start to be dispensed with or put aside on occasion by Pope Francis and so, in order to calm the water, I want to share a sermon given by a priest on Passion Sunday after Pope Francis' election:
One of my favorite Popes is Pius XII; I personally pray to him and I can see no problem recommending that others pray to him. After Pius XII death, Saint Pio was asked what he thought of him, and with a bright smile Saint Pio said he had seen Pius XII in paradise. So if he has the stamp of approval of Saint Pio this is good enough for me. And he is one of my favorite Popes because he was completely full of the spirit of his office. He understood what it meant to be Pope…He was full of gravitas; his bearing was always dignified and communicated the sublimity of the papal office, and he was full of romanitas…
he understood what it meant to be Roman; in the first place He was born into an important Roman family with close ties to the papacy and after he was elected he carefully followed all of the traditions of the papacy. And the Church as a whole benefited from this, and there was a legitimate pride that Roman Catholics had in being Roman. There was a spirit of romanitas throughout the entire Church.
This was evident above all in the liturgy; if you’ve seen some videos of the pre-conciliar Papal liturgies, the spirit of the ancient Romans was still alive in them and all the wisdom accumulated over the ages was present there. It’s unfortunate that these Papal liturgies have fallen out of use, but thank God some cardinals and many bishops and priests are still saying the traditional Roman Mass. And the old Roman spirit is kept alive in this way; so the missal on our altar is a like a treasure box. And we open that treasure box every day and pull out old treasures that were put in there ages ago by holy old monks who had been meditating on the Scriptures for their entire lives. And there are also some newer treasures in there too, like the newer feasts from the 19th and 20th centuries. But one of the greatest treasures is the Latin language itself, without Latin it’s impossible to have genuine romanitas. And this is something I have been trying to teach my dear Latin students in school. I think it is very hard for young people to understand the importance of Latin, especially when there’re being beaten over the head with declensions and conjugations. But what is contained in the Latin language is so valuable it’s beyond description; the thought of the earlier ages for starters is enshrined there. And so when we appreciate the Latin language we have an important part of the Roman spirit.
Now during and after the Second Vatican Council, this Roman spirit broke apart, and today we are picking up the pieces. Anti-Romanism gained a lot of steam, and eventually swept through the entire Church. This is a complex problem, with many different facets and I will mention a few aspects of the problem today. First, is the dismissal of the Latin language and the traditional Missal. During the discussions of the Second Vatican Council, the floor was open to any father who wanted to make an intervention and say something. And of course there were many Eastern bishops in the Church who had genuinely good things to say. But they also made some unfortunate suggestions; for example, adopting the vernacular. In the Eastern churches the vernacular has been used for ages, and these fathers said it would be a good thing for the Roman church to follow their lead. And this harmonized perfectly with what the liturgical innovators were saying, and so eventually the Latin language was dropped and the missal was rewritten and the riches contained in our missal were put aside.
Now the Fraternity of Saint Peter is specifically dedicated to repairing this damage. If you look on our coat of arms there are three tears there, and the first tear symbolizes the traditional liturgy. Through it, we can restore the roman spirit to the roman church, and we can regain that legitimate sense of pride in being Roman. But there are other important things we need to do to accomplish this; and the other two tears on the coat of arms give us some direction. The second tear symbolizes the traditional philosophy and theology of the Roman Church, and it’s immeasurably important to restore these.
But the third tear symbolizes fidelity to the Roman See. This fidelity is an integral part of the Roman spirit. And it always has been. Just think of the solid Jesuits of old, “God’s Marines”, they took special vows of obedience to the Pope, and during the counter-reformation they become the bulwark of the Holy See. and through their obedience they restored the church after its ruin during the reformation. They didn’t pick and choose which Pope they would be obedient to, but they took vows, and bound themselves under pain of sin to obey whoever sat in the chair of Peter no matter what the consequences were. And this was a very powerful tool in the hand of the almighty, the Jesuits spread throughout the entire world and brought salvation to countless souls who would otherwise have been damned…and they brought them the roman spirit too I might add.
And so a lack of obedience to the Holy Father and a lack of due respect for his office and for his person is a part of the breakdown of the roman spirit…And unfortunately we've seen a number of traditionalists fall into this. But to restore this proper respect we need to realize some things. the Pope is the common teacher and ruler of all, and so the fourth commandment implies that we must obey, reverence and honor him. he feeds the flock by the authority of St. Peter Himself, and on him the foundation of the entire Church’s structure stands. So the Church is a monarchy, it is not a democracy; the Holy Father is not chosen by consent of the faithful, and the cardinals don’t need anyone’s approval when they elect him.
To reinforce my point here I chose some excerpts from Pope Saint Gregory VII’s Dictatus Papae which outlines the powers of the Pope;
-the Roman Church was founded by God alone
-the Roman pontiff alone can by right be called universal.
-a sentence passed by the Pope may be retracted by no one; he himself alone may retract it.
-the Pope may be judged by no one.
-he who is not at peace with the Roman church shall not be considered catholic…and so on, there are 22 other powers that this document lists.
And so even if new Our Holy Father is assuming a very humble attitude in his new duties, the exalted position he fills has not changed. And our duties toward him have not changed. It may be that we will have some questions in the future, or we may disagree with him over certain things, but these things must always be expressed with reverence and reserve. We should always keep the office he holds in mind…Above all it will be important to pray for the Pope as a son or daughter would pray for their father. The Pope needs our spiritual assistance to fulfill his office well.
It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired. I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue. I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe. I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great.....