16 March 2011

And now I burn Summorum Pontificum

How very sad. Patricius seems to have finally flipped. First there was his absurd 'oath against 1962' then there was his little fit about not being allowed to be a substitute subdeacon. Encouraged by the calmer Rubricarius, various rants followed including some that are amusing and others that are rather dark, about recent popes and their being akin to the anti-Christ for their liturgical reforms. The Pimpernel has challenged him before.

Now we are treated to his rant on the occasion of his burning of Summorum Pontifucm and are pompously told that "liturgical legislation in the Roman Church in the last century (especially in the last four years) indicates that Rome is in a state of de facto schism with her own Liturgy". How very, very sad.

The poor young man is consistent. That is he his consistent in travelling along his chosen trajectory of estrangement from the visible centre of unity of the Church of Christ. Sad. Serious.

He is also a warning. To the young - if you indulge in a riot of historico-liturgical fetishism and set yourself up as the sole arbiter of the Church's liturgy, and stamp your foot long enough waiting for the Church to recognise your supreme authority on these questions, it can lead you out of the Church, no matter how intelligent you are or how good some or all of your points may be. To the not so young - if you encourage or indulge this sort of thing you may well be partially responsible for the effect it produces. Beware of the sin of scandal.

For Catholics claiming to be traditional, even all Catholics, there is a little theological dictum that seems relevant to the Pimpernel, "Extra ecclesiam nulla salus" . The Church is our mother and we must stick with and within her, especially if she's having a tough time. Even then she gives us life. Even then she is the narrow door.

Let's pray for him. If burning Summorum Pontificum has helped him vent his Saturday afternoon frustrations, no big deal. But if, as he seems to say, it's an act of defiance and separation from the Church and her Visible Head on Earth, he needs our prayers.

Add Patricius to your prayer intentions for Lent. Whether he believes it or not, praying for him in the liturgy of the Church of Rome as it is celebrated today will help.


  1. The intellectual life must be grounded in reality, either by working in the fields or by changing diapers (http://www.conversiondiary.com/2011/03/my-life-changing-diapers.html), otherwise we will be tempted to make absolute our interior life whether it be intellectual or spiritual. Personally I am not gun-ho about celebrating the Novus Ordo, especially since I have studied it closer. I would prefer to always say the Usus Antiquior. However, in my circumstances it is not always possible. A priest does not celebrate mass for himself, it is for the sanctification of the faithful and of the entire Church. It is in a life of service to others that we are freed from our own willfulness and rebellion. Let us pray Patricius learns that truth cannot be entirely live without the service of our mind and heart to Holy Mother Church.

  2. Jack O'Malley16 March 2011 at 14:22

    I am in a state of profound chagrin at Patricius' actions. For a man who writes so persuasively about botched liturgy, he has sold himself short.

    The elegant response would have been to don a phelonion (preferably a folded one), tack up a list of ninety-five or so liturgical theses on the door of the parish church, then burn Summorum in a thurible while processing to the local Orthodox church. And put the whole charade on youtube. Really, the private barbecue grill is just plain bathetic. If liturgy is anything, it's public.

    Perhaps he could form a Fraternal Order of Patricius to restore the ancient Celtic liturgy, the correct date of Easter and a proper tonsure. It's all at least pre-1962. The initials might give pause however.

  3. I wonder if young Patricius is a living extension of the Screwtape Letters, with Rubricarius as his Wormwood...

  4. “A little learning is a dangerous thing”, Alexander Pope noted, and a lot of ‘learning’ can be a downright disaster to one’s Faith - if not tempered by humility. On numerous occasions Pope Benedict has admonished theologians about the danger of Pride in their knowledge and expertise. Their role is to question, research, expound and explain Church teaching, not to create new doctrines. The admonition applies to us all, especially if we believe we have some knowledge or expertise – or that we know more than the Church – or even God. That didn’t work too well for Lucifer. Pride does go before a fall.

  5. Humility is only half the issue. The key term to describe Patricius' intellect is 'raw', or perhaps 'unformed'.