Detection and Overthrow
of the ‘Traditionalist Catholics’
Falsely So-Called,
Introduction, Clarification, and Part 1

[Clarification: With the revising of my treatise into a sixteen url format (for easier reading and assimilation) all references to treatise urls in this work have been changed to reflect the current treatise outline. I have also taken this opportunity to revise this work into an easier to read format. Unlike the treatise where I consciously removed any and all polemic - most of it in December of 2000 and whatever remained in December of 2002 - in this work it remains in many spots though the I removed some of the more excessive parts from my own sections. Matt and Art were more restrained then I was admittedly - probably because it was a piece of my writing that was being grossly contorted. (Having only a few writings on the web at the time I was unaccustomed to such a gross caricaturing so I did not handle it as well as I should have.)

This work was not originally addressed to those who erred in good faith but instead was "directed at the rebellious and self-righteous so-called ‘traditionalists’ who are contumacious in their questioning of the validity of the Pauline (Novus Ordo) Missal, the authority of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, and who are persistently disobedient to The Sovereign Pontiff" (from the Outline Disclaimer). It is unfortunate that sometimes this kind of tone needs to be taken with people but for those who are not of good faith and who are blatantly dishonest about the truth, sometimes dealing with them can get ugly. Experience runs an expensive school but sometimes it is the only way that fools will learn. And the people addressed in this project are fools and they have no idea what they are talking about - an assertion that will be amply sustained as this project examines their many errors and omissions and sets the record straight. - I. Shawn McElhinney 1/25/03]


by Matt1618

Shawn McElhinney wrote a Treatise defending the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church, against attacks from so-called "Traditionalists", who style themselves as Catholics. That is available here: Prescription Against Traditionalism. It is a broad ranging defense of the Magisterium of approximately 325 pages. There have been many attacks on the Magisterium of the Church by people who in effect call themselves more Catholic than the Pope, but by their actions show themselves not to be. Shawn gives a comprehensive defense which I highly commended then, and I highly commend even more now.

Shawn wrote this piece in measured tones. There are some people, open to reason, and wanting to be in communion with Christ’s Church, but swayed by some arguments that the Church has caved in to modernism, who have benefited from Shawn’s insights. On the other hand, some Ultra-Traditionalists didn’t like this treatise. Their whole theological system was destroyed by Shawn’s excellent treatise. As their side was destroyed by this treatise, they didn’t like it. The authors of Three Ultra-Traditionalist WebPages, self-promotingly labeling their web pages as the best three ‘Traditionalist’ web pages around, decided to write a supposed ‘rebuttal’ of Shawn’s treatise. Although Shawn exposed Ultra-Traditionalist errors in the areas of the authority and infallibility of Vatican II, Schism, history and elsewhere, the Ultra-Traditionalists decided to focus on the one area which has alot of nuance and opinion. I guess it was figured that if this one section of the Treatise could be attacked, people could ignore the rest of the treatise.

This response to their critique of Shawn’s Treatise is not meant to be an attack on those who accept the validity of the Pauline rite Mass but prefer the Tridentine rite. This response focuses on those who wrote this ‘rebuttal’ who have attacked the Holy Catholic Church and its living Magisterium, and those with a like mindset. As they have castigated all those faithful to the Magisterium as liberals, modernists and heretics, their errors will be further exposed in this rebuttal. The tone of this one will be harsher than that of the original treatise written by Shawn. For those who may be offended, please bear with us and understand that we are defending the Holy Catholic Church, its honor, and our honor. We have been personally attacked. The articles written by the Ultra-Traditionalists are devoid of reason all the while giving the appearance of them really being more Catholic than those sadly misinformed Popes who have authorized the Pauline Rite. Although this rebuttal responds to specific attacks from people who are on the right of the "so-called Traditionalist" movement, (As Cardinal Ratzinger called this movement), this also responds to those who are in this movement who are not quite so extreme. We do not want those who are not as flagrantly disobedient to the Church as our opponents to disregard this Project. That is because many of the attacks of our opponents on the Mass (who call it heretical) are similar to others whose attacks of the Mass are less extreme. However, because we are attacking extremists whose views are farther out than others, we would not want the less extreme so-called "Traditionalists" (who still attack the Pauline Mass-but to nowhere near the extent of our opponents) to ignore this defense of the Mass. This defense of the Pauline Mass refutes the numerous errors and misreading of history of such people as Michael Davies (who is used both by Schismatic and non-schismatic so-called 'traditionalists' alike) et. al. His shallow and misleading historical inaccuracies are exposed throughout this project.

What do we see when we go into this issue and these specific opponents? First, it is the fact that these folks who put quotes around my name as a heretical 'Catholic' will misuse any past Pope to serve their purpose of rebelling against Christ's Church while pretending to be obedient to its Tradition. They commend Schism by their praise of the Society of St. Pius X. Here is the critique of Shawn's work: A PRESCRIPTION AGAINST THE NOVUS ORDO. We will dissect this critique, item by item. Now, in the original introduction, we called our opponents cowards because they did not provide the link to Shawn's Treatise. In an email exchange, they promised they would provide the link. We hereby retract the claim that they are cowards as they now will provide the link. We apologize for calling them cowards on this issue.

Who are these folks, who self congratulatingly call themselves the authors of the Best Three "Traditional" Catholic web pages? My introduction to two of the three webmasters came about when they came to the Catholic Converts Message Board, challenging me to a debate on the issue of the meaning of ‘No Salvation Outside the Church’. They overwhelmed that board with rude and malicious attacks on me and anybody who didn’t agree with them. I guess rudeness and lying are traits of those people. That apparently is not a sin in their eyes. Because I believe in the Church’s interpretation of the doctrine "No Salvation Outside the Church", and not Father Feeney’s interpretation, I have been labeled a heretic, and they put quotes around me as a ‘supposed Catholic.’ As I have demonstrated in many articles their labeling of people like me as heretics would likewise taint Pope Pius IX, St. Pope Pius X, Pope Pius XII, Pope Paul VI & Pope John Paul II as heretics as well. These articles can be found here: No Salvation Outside the Church: Its meaning. But while they easily condemn me and others who are loyal to the Church as heretics, they are too cowardly to name the popes just mentioned as heretics. Also, many Saints from the time of St. Justin Martyr, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, etc. would also be labeled heretics, & even the papal founder of the 1st EENS (No Salvation Outside the Church) declaration, Pope Innocent III, do not cut the mustard for them, as they accepted baptism of desire (at a minimum, they held that if one desires to be water baptized, but dies before being water baptized they would achieve salvation.) I do not intend to get into this issue in this article, it is just that when these folks quote Popes and Saints, if they can not fit them into their mold, they totally ignore or explain away statements made by them, but are too cowardly to declare these Saints and Popes as heretics. Now let us see, we have St. Pope Pius X, St. Augustine, Pope John Paul II, St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope Paul VI, on the one hand teaching something that these people call heresy. These folks don’t have quite the courage to call these Popes and Saints heretics. But they are ‘courageous’ enough to label me and others like me as heretics. I teach what these Saints and Popes do on the efficacy of baptism of desire, I am called a heretic. And we have someone who separates from the Church while calling themselves more Catholic than these Popes and Saints. Now let me see, what shall I do? Should I align myself with the current Pope and canonized Saints, and get called a ‘heretic’ by web pages run by people who condemn canonized saints as well as a valid Ecumenical Council? Or do I avoid being called a ‘heretic’ by abandoning the beliefs of the Popes and canonized Saints and throw my hat in the ring with people whose beliefs were condemned by the Holy Office Letter to Father Feeney more than 50 years ago. Not too close of a call for me.

We will see that likewise as they misuse Saints, they also misuse people like Cardinal Ottaviani. Cardinal Ottaviani is used often as a whipping boy against the Mass, with the ‘Ottaviani Intervention’ given in many Schismatic (and even non schismatic) ‘Traditionalist’ sites, as ‘proof’ that the Pauline Mass is a sacrilege, betrayal of the faith, or whatever. It is true that before the Pauline Rite was officially established, in its unfinished form, the Cardinal did have some initial reservations about it. Nonetheless, the fact that he later spoke in defense of the Pauline Mass when it was finally established, somehow doesn’t make into the link provided by our critics. We will see this documented in this url. In any case, whatever Cardinal Ottaviani thinks on the issue, why in the world are Feeneyites quoting him in attacking the Mass? Our critics think that the Holy Office Letter that condemned Father Feeney is heretical (even though the teaching in that letter has been confirmed in a valid Ecumenical Council, whose validity was demonstrated by Shawn’s Treatise). However, who was the person who was at the Holy Office who signed this supposedly ‘heretical’ letter? Ohhh. It was Cardinal Ottaviani!!!! If our critics call us heretics, do they have the consistency and temerity to so label Cardinal Ottaviani as a heretic? If so, then why do they use him? Or at a minimum say, "Well, He is a ‘Catholic’ heretic, but at least he has some good things to say here." Why, before they give the link to this ‘Ottaviani Intervention' don’t they inform the readers that the good Cardinal not only changed his mind on the Pauline Rite, but he had an earlier ‘Ottaviani Intervention’ years earlier which condemned their hero Father Feeney? I wonder why these folks don’t link to his 1949 ‘Ottaviani Intervention’? I’ll let the readers consider the incomprehensibility of our opponents!!

In any case, back to the background of the critics of Shawn’s treatise. In early 1999, 2 of the 3 Webmasters came to the Catholic Converts Message Board and overwhelmed the board, saying that on the issue of "No Salvation Outside the Church" I was a heretic, and challenged me to an IRC, chat debate on the issue. Knowing that this format is not conducive to well-thought out dialogue I declined that debate, and instead responded to the challenge by issuing a counter challenge which gave room for an exchange on this important issue, but it would not be a chat debate, but a written debate with an opening statement, rebuttals and closing statements. I thought that venue would give each side more time to think, and accuracy and thoroughness would be better served with my proposed format. After a lot of haggling, I agreed to a chat debate only on the condition that they would agree to the written format that I requested. I then engaged in an IRC debate with Hammer, whose Webpage hosts the critique of Shawn’s Treatise. This debate, which focused on the issue of whether Baptism of Desire is Salvific, with a concentration on the Council of Trent can be found here. I went into this debate only because the 2nd of the 3 Ultra-Traditionalist webmasters agreed to a written debate, though the details would have to be worked out. However, after some initial exchanges, the details and the rules did not get worked out and the Second webmaster did not return emails from me on suggestions for rule changes. There were a few rules that had not been agreed to, but he cut off any future negotiations. Thus, they did not keep to their word. Thus, that was my last dealing with them on this or any other thing. That is the last I will have to deal with them in any way shape or form, except for this rebuttal of this ‘critique’ of Shawn’s work .

In any case, Hammer, the host of the web page, whenever he refers to me, does not refer to my web page, but refers to his self laudatory description of the chat debate which we did have. He lauds his supposed destruction of me, and how I was supposedly caught in contradictions. Of course, in keeping with their ‘tradition’ of not giving things straight, he only links to his own analysis. You have to go through 4000 words of his ‘analysis’ of the debate, in order for you to get the debate itself. Of course, he does not reveal that he could not answer any of the questions that I asked him, which a reading of the debate clearly gives you. I give you the debate itself with the format that he wanted, even though I did not get the debate with the format they had agreed to.

I give this as background on this issue. Now, the present Three Webmasters give a picture of a supposed contrast of the Pauline Rite Mass, with the Tridentine Mass. They show on the Tridentine side a reverent Priest captioned under "The True Mass" and another picture under ‘The New Mass’, intending to show this as evidence as it is false. It is a picture with a Priest breaking rules with women holding up wine (don’t know if it had been consecrated or not yet) right next to the Priest who is obviously going against the liturgical rules by having people at an altar (we are not sure if it is actually at an altar.) This I guess is supposed to reflect the way the Pauline Mass is normally done. Of all the Masses that I have gone to, I have never had Women acting as though they were concelebrants, holding up wine (preconsecration) or the Body and Blood of Christ (after the consecration, of course if it is a woman saying the Consecratory words, it would not become the Body and Blood of Christ). However, this is supposed to be seen as the Ordinary Mass of the Pauline Rite, according to our opponents. By labeling the Tridentine Mass a ‘True’ Mass and giving us such a picture of ‘The New Mass’ it is obvious that they are calling the Mass celebrated by the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, and most Catholics as a False Mass. When you follow the links that Hammer gives thanks and credit to for showing us these pictures which flagrantly violate the rules given to them by the Church, you will see that this link that he is giving credit to actually asks its readers to give the worst picture they can get, of the Pauline Rite Mass. Thus, the deception of our opponents is shown. They try to find the worst pictures they can get of people who violate the rules of the Pauline rite Mass not authorized by the Magisterium, and then put that as the norm of the Mass. They do not give us a picture of a priest who reverently offers the Pauline Mass. Why don’t they give us a picture of a Pauline Rite Mass where there is a priest operating by the rules just as he is supposed to, just as the picture of the Priest offering the Tridentine Mass is given? That is exactly the tactic of the authors of this piece attacking the Mass. They distort and create the worst case scenario for the Pauline Rite Mass, all the while not admitting to any problems whatsoever in the Tridentine Rite Mass.

In fact, all the Council Fathers in Vatican II, knew that there were some problems in the way the Tridentine Mass was being done, and saw that there was a need for some change. A study was done of some of the ancient Masses, and some of the changes were incorporated into the Pauline Rite which reflect that tradition. The critics do not acknowledge that. This tells us up front that the authors of this ‘refutation’ do not want in any way shape or form to give us a true comparison of the Masses. They don’t give us pictures of a Tridentine Mass where the priest says the Mass in a breakneck speed so he can get to something else after Mass. They don’t give us pictures of people saying the rosary during the Mass because they have no idea what is going on during the Mass itself or are tired of having to read and read the translation from a Missal on an ongoing basis. They don’t give us pictures of people going to Mass and playing little to no part in the Mass at all. The Pauline Rite Mass in fact restored some features shown by Shawn that are indeed ancient, but are blasted by folks who claim to represent true ‘tradition’ better than the Magisterium. As we will see in this rebuttal, and as shown by Shawn in his Treatise, Pope Pius XII saw the need for some changes. Even Pope St. Pius X wanted to make changes not only to the Psalter, but to the Mass itself. The Pauline Mass is indeed a true restoration, not a denial of tradition.

What about the idea that these people are trying to preserve true Catholicism while the Pope and the Magisterium do not care about it one bit? Why aren’t these folks just better Catholics? They sure claim to be. Just like Archbishop Lefebvre claimed to be more Catholic than the Pope, these approvers of heresy and schism (the Three Webmasters who gave us this critique) claim to be more pure than the living Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Well, about a century ago, Pope Leo XIII when similarly dealing with the UltraTraditionalists of his time, wrote:

It is certainly true that no man of good sense will ever believe that some private individuals or some bishops have more at heart the rights and liberty of the Church than has the Holy See itself, the Mother and Mistress of all the Churches. Or that in order to procure this good, the Roman Church needs to be prodded by those who, in order to be and to be held as good Catholics, owe the Roman Church submission and obedience before all else...
"Therefore, there can be no legitimate cause for these men, whoever were the first leaders of those concerned today, to be separated from the most holy communion of the Catholic world. Let them not rely on the upright quality of their conduct, not on their fidelity to discipline, not on their zeal in safeguarding teaching and stability in religion. Does not the Apostle say plainly that without charity all this profiteth nothing? (1 Cor. 13:10)...
"From this it follows that they cannot promise themselves any of the graces and fruits of the perpetual sacrifice of the sacraments which, although they are sacrilegiously administered, are nonetheless valid and serve in some measure that form and an appearance of piety which St. Paul mentions and which St. Augustine speaks of at greater length: "The form of the branch,’ says the latter with great precision, ‘may still be visible, even apart from the vine, but the invisible life of the root can be preserved only in union with the stock. That is why the corporal sacraments, which some keep and use outside the unity of Christ, can preserve the appearance of piety. But the invisible and spiritual virtue of true piety cannot abide there any more than feeling can remain in an amputated member’ (Serm. LXXXI). (Pope Leo XIII, Letter Exima nos Laetitia to the Bishop of Poiters, July 19,1893.), The Church (Papal Teachings), St. Paul editions, Boston, 1962, pp. 292-293, as cited in "The Pope, the Council and the Mass", Kenneth Whitehead, James Likoudis, pp. 165-166.
Of course they say that they are not separating from the Catholic Church. Everybody else is separating from the Church, and only they, the ‘Hammer remnant’, and the SSPX, etc. are the ‘true’ Church members. Everybody else, including the Bishop of Rome and all the bishops are heretics. The folks that we are responding to are acting as the amputated members as Pope Leo XIII writes of. They give us the ‘appearance of piety’ but instead are deceivers. It is obvious that our critics like to brag about their appearances, but when they obviously scorn and defame the Mass that was given approval by those who had real authority, they are defaming and scorning the Catholic Church they claim to be a part of. We will respond section by section to their falsities. Of course, we must keep in mind that there are seven sections in Shawn’s Treatise. The fact is, even if the Ultra-Traditionalists were correct in this one topic which they critiqued (and of course they are not), the rest of Shawn’s treatise also destroys their position (six additional theses spread out over thirteen additional urls). By not touching the rest of the Treatise, they are admitting that their whole movement is a fraud, and that they really have no arguments for their position. Although this section that we are responding to is important, the parts that they did not respond to (approximately 75% of the treatise), even more vitally destroys their movement.

Here again is the link to Shawn’s original Treatise: Prescription Against Traditionalism
Now, we will critique each of the sections, one by one. Their 'rebuttal' is in 4 parts. So our critique of their ‘rebuttal’ will also be four parts. Shawn will also critique each of their appendixes and we will also add on other appendixes as well. Below is the First Part.

Part 1-Section 1
by I. Shawn McElhinney

It is the natural tendency of the ignorant to believe what is not true. In order to overcome that tendency it is not sufficient to exhibit the true; it is also necessary to expose and denounce the false. [H L Mencken]

The goal of this project is to exhibit both the true as well as expose and denounce the false Catholicism of these so-called ‘traditionalists’.

The purpose of this overview is primarily for the benefit of any Protestant readers of this treatise. The topic of the Mass is a very delicate one and the discussion in the 3 sections following this one would likely come across as a bit of squabbling over what might seem a "non essential" without a overview to put these factors into proper context. To Protestants who do not worship in a liturgical fashion (and who generally have no idea of the central importance of liturgical worship to the people of God for 3500 years *), this will seem perhaps like a minor argument. In reality though, it is a central argument of primary importance to the people of God. The Mass is the life-blood of Christendom. It is the very core of Christian worship and always has been. The Eastern Churches who share the ancient Apostolic Tradition and pedigree of the Catholic Church do not use the term "Mass" to describe their worship (as we do in the West). Instead, they use the term "Divine Liturgy." This is an excellent description of what the Mass is viewed as by Catholics also. Like us, the Eastern Churches have the understandings about the role of worship: that the liturgy is the center of all worship and that what is of primary importance is what God gives to us not what we give to him. In the following passage, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus notes this very point (along with others of great importance) which helps flesh out this concept so it is better understood:

[Note: This overview was edited out of the treatise in December of 2000 when the work was first given a substantial revision. The material was made into an essay in February of 2001 and is viewable here. Nonetheless, since the work originally contained this overview, my comments on the critique with regards to the overview will remain in this minor revision - ISM 1/25/03]

In the first place, an interesting point about the Eastern Rite. Their Mass can be traced back to the Apostles. While the liturgy which Shawn is presuming to defend can only be traced as far back as Pope Paul VI, and only in the Latin Rite at that.

May I ask for a moment why these people are so concerned about an Overview written at the time for the benefit of potential PROTESTANT readers of the treatise???

Different people, of course, prefer different styles of worship. What is very attractive to one may be distracting or even unpleasant to another, especially when people have been formed in different traditions. Within the Church herself, the liturgical upheaval of the past generation has left us sadly divided over questions of ritual, music and participation. When you add converts coming from different backgrounds, you get an even greater diversity of tastes. Those coming from an evangelical background, for example, almost always find Catholic worship dull and even anemic at first.

I would like to point out very simply the good doctor’s admission above that the recent "liturgical upheaval" (i.e. the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae) has divided the Church, and caused questions as to "ritual, music and participation" which questions did not exist prior to the introduction of the Novus Ordo travesty.

Before 1970 every priest and bishop before the Pauline Rite was promulgated celebrated the Mass with the utmost of reverence and respect??? There was absolutely no mumbling at the speed of light to "get through" the Mass and the movements of the priests were all precise and not at all sloppy??? There was also never any abuses of the liturgy before Vatican II, they all came afterwards??? Get real, the reform of the liturgy did not just happen on a whim but it was instead badly needed. We can argue about how things have happened in practice another time perhaps, but it is naïve to think that if the Tridentine Rite was still the primary rite in the Church that none of what we have seen in the past 30 years would have taken place. There would have been abuses no matter which rite was used because modern man has lost the sense of the sacred. Arguments about which rite or rites best supplies this are arbitrary ones and based on nothing but personal opinions. Since Catholics are not Protestants who exercise private judgment on these matters. (Yet these people criticizing me do this throughout their so-called "rebuttal": what does that tell you???) It is not up to the laity or even priests to make these kinds of judgments. Instead it always has and always will be the Magisterium that makes these determinations.

In other words, the introduction of the Novus Ordo has cast doubt and confusion upon the very center of the Latin Rite, the Holy Mass. This alone is more than enough reason for the Novus Ordo to have never been introduced, and for it to be done away with as soon as possible - for, after all, the above-mentioned doubt and confusion is still in existence today, nearly thirty years after the introduction of the Novus Ordo. At this juncture, it is of use to point out that attendance at the Novus Ordo Missae is not required.

I am sure glad that the Church does not backtrack on these issues just because a bunch of people disagree. If that was her policy then 30 years after Nicaea when the Arians were using the Roman Army to ram their agenda down people’s throats the Church should have just said "no biggie, we can live with ‘homoiousian’ rather then ‘homoousian.’ Rather then consubstantial (homoousian) we can just say that the Son is unlike the Father (homoiousian) right??? They mean the same thing after all (or should I say they can but that was not the Semi-Arian intention) and why all this fighting??? After all, "homoousian" has caused all these problems so it should be "done away with as soon as possible - for, after all, the above-mentioned doubt and confusion is still in existence today, nearly thirty years after the introduction of the homoousian as orthodox terminology." Oh I might add that if Pope Pius XI was Pope before Nicaea he might very likely have written an Encyclical condemning homoousian as heretical…it was after all a heretical term before Nicaea. "Trads" who gripe about the terms "ut unim sint" and "ecumenism" today should keep this in mind since there is a precise parallel in these instances. But then "trads" do not know much about Church history or else they would not constantly open their mouths and demonstrate their ignorance (or set their ignorance into writing as these three so-called "Catholics" who style themselves ‘traditionalists’ have done).

Interestingly enough, it was 56 years before Constantinople 1 stuck the final daggers in Arianism as a doctrinal force within the Church. There were still Arian warlords and small holdout communities that had military muscle after 381 (all the way into the seventh century in remote holdout areas actually: many Arians became Muslims at that time) but doctrinally Arianism for the most part was in serious decline and no longer a threat to orthodoxy. Let us see, it has been 30 years since the Pauline Rite was promulgated. Maybe…just maybe God will see us through this storm as well as He has all the other ones in the past twenty centuries. But alas to the "trad" He is not merely asleep in the boat, He has abandoned ship!!! Therefore manmust save her. I would like to ask the reader if they can tell me what sixteenth century movement started under similar presuppositions that the Church was "corrupt" and they would "restore" her??? I will give you a hint…Zwingli was a part of this movement. So was Luther and Calvin. Of course they argued that the Church could not err but the reason for the "errors" was because the Church was not the corporate Catholic Church but "all believers." Now "trads" argue the same way except with infallibility. You see, they have really painted themselves into a corner because they must find a way to defend infallibility but still be able to rebel against the Church because (in their view) she has "erred." So they have done exactly what Protestants did with the indefectible Church doctrine: they affirmed it but justified their dissent by redefining what the term stood for in a way that the Church had never seen before (well in the "trads" case their Jansenist ancestors actually made the mould that they aped for this one). And they have the temerity to gripe about Modernists when the "trads" by their very own actions act like the very Modernists they constantly gripe about.

"He further admits that the Novus Ordo is "dull and even anemic" to protestants. And, as Traditional Catholics, we certainly agree with the anemic part. Anemic meaning sickly.."

He said "those coming from an evangelical background, for example, almost always find CATHOLIC WORSHIP dull and even anemic at first." That includes the Tridentine Mass also. Evangelicals generally find ALL liturgy dull and anemic at first. So if these authors actually bothered to read something before commenting on it then they might actually see the forest for the trees. But then for all their claims to be "True Catholics" they are anything but authentic Catholics. Martin Luther and John Calvin called themselves Catholics too. Likewise the Anglicans and the "Old Catholics" followed suit. Merely SAYING you are a Catholic does not make it so: you must believe as Catholics believe and true Catholics trust that God keeps His word. These folks claim that God is a liar (by arguing that the Church was not protected from promulgating an invalid liturgy). As Bro. Alexis Bugnolo pointed out (in a rebuttal to Fr. James F. Wathen, author of the fatally flawed book "The Great Sacrilege") infallibility is not so static and easily divided up as these "trads" ignorantly presume (all emphasis is mine)

It is true that infalliblity inheres only in the teaching office, not in the governing office. But this theological distinction exists only on the theoretical level; for in practice the exercise of the teaching office and the governing office normally unite in every document in some manner. ESPECIALLY this is true in the promulgation of liturgical directives AND PARTICULARLY IN THE PUBLICATION OF A MISSAL. It is false that the promulgation of a form of worship does not involving the teaching office of the Church, inasmuch as the lex orandi statuit legem credendi, according to the ancient addage of the Roman Church. Fr. Wathen may want it otherwise, but in this he introduces a distinction non-existent in Catholic Theology. Indeed, the only way it could exist would be if there were no unity of truth and authority in the Church, which could only be if the Church was Herself defectible or vincible. [1]
Our opponents are about as "traditional" as the Jansenists and about as Catholic as Martin Luther. I cover this in my treatise and their attitude throughout this so-called "refutation" is so Jansenistic (in the way they propose to be the definitive interpreters of past Magisterial documents and historical events over and against the Magisterium) that it is not even funny. Also, there have been upheavals after virtually every General Council in history. Our opponents betray their PROFOUND ignorance of history by their comments. But then history as I showed in the treatise is one of a trad’s many weak points (along with consistency, knowledge of the Faith, integrity, and fealty to Christ). This refutation of their sorry work will only highlight that in greater detail.

The critical point to remember is that these questions of style are secondary in Catholic worship for the simple reason that CATHOLIC WORSHIP IS NOT PRIMARILY ABOUT WHAT WE DO FOR CHRIST, BUT ABOUT WHAT CHRIST DOES FOR US. This point cannot be overemphasized. The Mass is first and foremost an action of Christ Himself. At each Mass, through the instrumentality of the priest as "alter Christus", Our Lord reenacts the sacrifice of Calvary in an unbloody manner and becomes present on the altar -- body, blood, soul and divinity -- to nourish us unto eternal life.

[At this point our opponents added a quote about the Mass where they seek to contradict Dr. Mirus’ statement ignoring the fact that I was writing a section for the benefit of Protestant readers. They were also acting like Fundamentalists and looking at Dr. Mirus’ passage out of the context he was using it and the groundwork I was setting to explain the difference between the Mass and non-Catholic worship. In short, they are just looking for any possible way to be critical jerks and ignoring my target audience of the overview which was again (watch carefully) Protestant readers!!!]
I agree. The Traditional Mass is all of the above, but as our opponent has not yet established that the Novus Ordo Missae is 1) a legitimate mass, 2) valid, and 3) pleasing to God, I must state that the above paragraph is irrelevant to his argument.

And for the third time, IT IS AN OVERVIEW WRITTEN FOR PROTESTANTS!!! The whole point is to explain the Mass to them so they understand why the topic of the liturgy is not a trivial one (which it might come across as without the overview). I realize that these "trads" are nothing but "Protestants of the right" of course but surely they are more Anglican then Fundamentalist or Reformed and need not worry about this overview right??? Nope because these people are in opposition to the Magisterium of the Church and they are desperate to find any  kind of argument no matter how trivial to buttress their positions (witness their disgustingly perverse picture of a sacriligeously abused Pauline Mass coupled with a picture of a reverently said Tridentine Mass. Yep, real fair playing field there). Much as Protestants practice Sola Scriptura these people practice Sola Traditio. There is no difference whatsoever except the source for the same private judgment and rejection of the Living Magisterium is inherent in both approaches.

First, these "trads" are the last people in the world to talk about "legitimate" Masses since it it almost a given that they are a part of one of the many schismatic and quasi-heretical "traditionalist" groups separated from communion with the Holy See (and are arguably proximate to heresy also). As for proving that the Pauline Mass is valid, I am not the one that has to prove anything. The Apostolic See promulgated a restored rite to the Universal Church and decreed that it was binding. Unlike these authors I will not insist on the theological novelty that makes the infallibility of the Church or the Pontiff solely juridicial or applicable to external definitions of doctrine. Such a view is alien to the Fathers, Doctors, and Scholastics of the Church who never taught such a purely clinical view of the matter. Nor in fact did Vatican I if these authors actually bothered to read up on the sense with which the decree of papal infallibility was voted on. The chief theologian of the Council (and the architect of the decree itself) Bishop Vincent Gasser was very specific that this decree was much broader then these "trads" erroneously presume. Also, that was only the decree on PAPAL infallibility in the form of defining doctrines and NOT the infallibility of the Church as a whole. The Fathers and Scholastics saw the infallibility of the Church (although the word infallibility was never used) in a very Hebraic manner of embracing not only the governing office but also the sanctifying office of the Church as well. Only later on did "trads" with their Protestant-like dichotomous mindsets impose a false "either/or" like separation between the governing office and the sanctifying office of the Church without recognizing that the two in some manner are united in one function that is Divinely protected.

As for proving that it is "pleasing to God" this is quite a hoot because God cannot even be definitively proven to exist yet our opponents want more proof for the Pauline Mass being pleasing to God then we can provide for God’s own existence. This reminds me of Protestants asking for similar proofs for the infallibility of the Church when they are losing the discussion on Sola Scriptura. Neither I nor our opponents are mindreaders and therefore it is pointless to claim that anything can be shown to be "proved" to be pleasing to God. What pleases God is OBEDIENCE (Numbers 16:8-15; Deut. 10:12-13, 26-28; 1 Kings 15:22-23) and these "trads" are schismatic in that they refuse to submit to the Church established by God and from which culpable separation will result in their damnation. And unlike most Protestants, there is NO EXCUSE WHATSOEVER for these people being apart from the Church so unless they want to perish in the flood, they had better straighten up and obey God. And God is not obeyed when His appointed ministers are ignored and deliberately disobeyed (see Numbers 16; Jude 1:8-3 for examples of ancient "trads" in action).

Note that I am not saying merely that more graces are available in the Mass than in other forms of worship (though this is true). The comparison is not a matter of tallying up the ways in which a particular liturgical style assists worshippers in becoming receptive to the available stock of grace. Such a comparison may be relevant for different liturgical settings of the Mass itself, but it is completely out of place when comparing the Mass with non-Catholic worship. What I am saying is that WHILE A NON-CATHOLIC WORSHIP SERVICE IS A HUMAN ACTION, THE CATHOLIC MASS IS A DIVINE ACTION. There is an unfathomable gulf between them — a gulf so vast that any effort to compare the two without the most careful qualifications and caveats will lead to blasphemy.

This statement is most interesting, especially when one looks as his statement on the difference between a non-Catholic worship and the Catholic Mass, and how the former is a human action, and the latter a divine action. I would like to point out the Novus Ordo Missae is not centered around Christ and God, but around humans.

Who are these people to say whether the Pauline Mass is centered around God or not??? Where are they at all competent to judge what is and is not a God-centered Mass??? Simple, they are not. They are merely expressing an opinion and a weakly informed one at that since it flies in the face of the Pope who in union with the episcopate promulgated a Revised Missal to the Universal Church. Such an action constitutes an exercise of papal infallibility much as the promulgation of a Catechism does; although neither exercise of infallibility is in solemn form. Thus Pope Paul’s comments of the Missal "not being a dogmatic definition" are completely accurate. Dogmatic definitions are solemn in form and the Missal is not dogmatic. That does NOT mean that it has not protected from error though. In fact, a Missal promulgated by the Pope to the Universal Church HAS to be infallible in content from the standpoint of not containing any errors in dogma. The reason is because both a Catechism and the liturgy are not disconnected from faith but in fact witness to it. They also teach and actively promote the faith to the laity. However, this does not mean that the liturgy and the Catechism cannot be abused of course they can. Heck, the Bible is abused all the time and unlike the Catechism or the Missal the Bible is inspired. If inspiration of a book does not prevent abuse of its contents and message then why would anyone be naïve enough to presume that a non-inspired source like a Catechism and the Revised Missal would accomplish this purpose??? People sin and no matter how detailed and orderly a Missal or liturgy is, the priest celebrating can still mess it up if he does not follow proper protocol and the rubrics. The problem is not the Mass itself but those who abuse the Mass.

For people who are claiming that I need to "prove" the validity of the Pauline Mass they have it completely backwards. I do not have to prove anything. In reality since these people are claiming that the Supreme Pontiff promulgated to the Universal Church a defective liturgy, the burden of proof is on them!!! These "trads" have already shown that they have no idea what Magisterial infallibility really is and how it relates to the Church organically. Vatican II covered this in detail in Lumen Gentium 25 (reaffirming the teaching of Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis 20) which was an affirmation of the way in which the decree on papal infallibility was understood by the Council Fathers of Vatican I. I already went over in meticulous detail the ignorance of these self-styled "traditionalists" on the Council, the teachings of the Council, and infallibility pertaining to doctrines of the faith as the Church has always understood it. (These points were covered in the treatise.) These themes will also be revisited a bit later on in this refutation. In short though, "trads" are notoriously ignorant about the true scope of infallibility that their attempts to "correct" me are almost laughable. Infallibility is NOT some solemn legal definition that only applies in detached juridicial statements by a Pope or Council on matters of dogma. In fact, the Catholic Encyclopedia notes the following on the subject:

As regards matter, only doctrines of faith and morals, As regards matter, only doctrines of faith and morals, and facts so intimately connected with these as to require infallible determination, fall under tbe scope of infallible ecclesiastical teaching. These doctrines or facts need not necessarily be revealed; it is enough if the revealed deposit cannot be adequately and effectively guarded and explained, unless they are infallibly determined.  [2]
The liturgy is so intimately connected to both faith and morals that it requires infallible determination in the sense of being protected from containing any errors. The Eucharist is celebrated at Mass. An invalid Mass would mean an invalid Eucharist and the faith cannot be adequately guarded without assurance that any officially promulgated Missal would be protected from error. To claim otherwise is to be other then a Catholic since that is precisely what Martin Luther did (in claiming that popes and councils and erred and contradicted one another: this is both a yes and a no answer that would take far too much time to explain here. Suffice to say that Reformed Protestants argue in much the same manner that these fellas do but their intent is to disprove the Church). Yet again "trads" act like Siamese Twins to the Protestant "reformers" they love to denigrate so much (especially Luther) and especially the Jansenists who (as I showed in the treatise) made eerily similar claims as these "trads" are doing as to the Church and how she is endowed with infallibility.

Hence the reason why the Priest faces the people, for their benefit period.

Again, facing the people is not a novel concept but an ancient one. As the Rt. Reverend Dom Fernand Cabrol noted in "The Mass of the Western Rites" (and which if our opponents had bothered to read my Addendums they would have seen me speak of this: how funny that they did not address my sources there):

Today, as the altar usually has a retable and a tabernacle, the priest when standing before it turns his back to the people; so that when he greets them with "Dominus vobiscum" he is obliged to turn round. The Bishop would be hidden on his "cathedra" at the back of the apse, and could hardly follow the ceremonies, therefore his throne, as well as the stalls of the clergy, have been moved to places before the altar. But if we wish to  understand the ancient positions, it will help us to remember that at that time the altar was a "table" (hence its name of "mensa") of wood or stone, forming either a solid block or else raised on four feet, but in any case without a tabernacle; so that the officiating priest would face towards the people, as he does to-day at "San Clemente."In our own churches, of course, he officiates on the other side of the altar; the Gospel side being the left and that of the Epistle the right. As we explain elsewhere, another consideration has brought about these changes: the practice of turning in prayer towards the East, the region of that light which is the image of Christ, Who Himself came from the East. The question of the orientation of churches was an important one in Christian architecture from the fourth-twelfth centuries. [3]
These so-called "traditionalists" need to get an education on these matters before they open their mouth and further reveal their ignorance. Whether the priest faces the people or not has nothing to do with the licitness of the Mass since nowhere is it required that the Sacrifice of the Mass be said facing in ANY direction for validity. Both postures have been used historically and only a person with a defective historical foundation would dare claim otherwise. Of course historical ignorance is the "trad" stock in trade along with making arbitrary judgments on matters they know next to nothing about (which is virtually everything: I only scratched the tip of the iceberg in my treatise). But I digress…

Hence the reason why it is no longer even called an altar, but "sacrificial table."

As I noted in the treatise, the Greek word for altar actually translates as ‘sacrificial table’. Likewise, Webster’s dictionary defines an altar as a table also (also dealt with in the treatise). I take it these fellas have never read the GIRM where the altar is referred to specifically as an altar in virtually every instance where it is referred to??? The only exception is when they speak of either the surface of the altar itself (the table portion) or tables that may be used outside of a church). Here is what the GIRM says on the matter:

259. At the altar the sacrifice of the cross is made present under sacramental signs. It is also the table of the Lord and the people of God are called together to share in it. The altar is, as well, the center of the thanksgiving that the eucharist accomplishes.
260. In a place of worship, the celebration of the eucharist must be on an altar, either fixed or movable. Outside a place of worship, especially if the celebration is only for a single occasion, a suitable table may be used, but always with a cloth and corporal.
261. A fixed altar is one attached to the floor so that it cannot be moved; a movable altar is one that can be transferred from place to place.
262. The main altar should be freestanding to allow the ministers to walk around it easily and Mass to be celebrated facing the people. It should be so placed as to be a focal point on which the attention of the whole congregation centers naturally. The main altar should ordinarily be a fixed, consecrated altar.
263. According to the Church's traditional practice and the altar's symbolism, the table of a fixed altar should be of stone and indeed of natural stone. But at the discretion of the conference of bishops some other solid, becoming, and well-crafted material may be used. The pedestal or base of the table may be of any sort of material, as long as it is becoming and solid.
264. A movable altar may be constructed of any becoming, solid material suited to liturgical use, according to the traditions and customs of different regions.
265. Altars both fixed and movable are consecrated according to the rite described in the liturgical books; but movable altars may simply be blessed. There is no obligation to have a consecrated stone in a movable altar or on the table where the eucharist is celebrated outside a place of worship (see no. 260).
266. It is fitting to maintain the practice of enclosing in the altar or of placing under the altar relics of saints, even of non martyrs. Care must be taken to have solid evidence of the authenticity of such relics.
267. Minor altars should be fewer in number. In new churches they should be placed in chapels separated in some way from the body of the church.
268. At least one cloth should be placed on the altar out of reverence for the celebration of the memorial of the Lord and the banquet that gives us his body and blood. The shape, size, and decoration of the altarcloth should be in keeping with the design of the altar. 'The table of a fixed altar should be made of natural stone; this accords with age-long practice of the Church and its own symbolic meaning. Nevertheless the Bishops' Conference may authorize the use of some other generally accepted and solid material susceptible of good workmanship. The structure supporting the table may be of any material so long as it is solid and durable'. [4]
These authors have not only erred but they have told a flat out lie. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Hence the reason why the Novus Ordo is said in the vernacular.

Actually, it was the vernacular Greek language that was used predominantly for the first to third centuries in the West giving way to Latin. Pope St. Damascus I (366-384) was the pope that changed the Western liturgy to Latin specifically because it had become the vernacular tongue. Why do you think the Latin Bible of St. Jerome (commissioned by Pope Damascus) was called the Vulgate. Allow me to help these Latin-challenged "trads" with translation: VULGATE MEANS VULGAR. Latin was the vulgar or vernacular tongue; thus the Mass was changed for this reason.

Concerning the introduction of the vernacular, this is one of the causes of the confusion in the Church today. As Father O’Brien said in his book "A History of the Mass,

The Catholic Church celebrates in Latin for a variety of reasons ... First. Because she did so in the beginning; and as she never changes her faith, she has never deemed it advisable to change her language. If her sacred language changed with those that are changing around her, there would be no end to the confusion that would result, and much disedification would unavoidably be given by using words and phrases in the hearing of the people to which the grossest meanings are sometimes attached. (p. 33)

Fr. O’Brien has no credibility whatsoever because any scholar worth their salt knows that the earliest liturgies were in GREEK. As the Catholic Encyclopedia noted:

B. The Origin of the Mass
The Western Mass, like all Liturgies, begins, of course, with the Last Supper. What Christ then did, repeated as he commanded in memory of Him, is the nucleus of the Mass. As soon as the Faith was brought to the West the Holy Eucharist was celebrated here, as in the East. At first the language used was GREEK. Out of that earliest Liturgy, the language being changed to Latin, developed the two great parent rites of the West, the Roman and the Gallican (see LITURGY). [5]
Now if the Church was so worried about changing the liturgical language, then the actions in the late fourth century certainly are unusual because they do exactly what Fr. O’Brien says they "never did." So let us see, Fr. O’Brien was wrong on Latin being the language "always" used and also that "she never deemed it advisable to change her language." We are not even out of the overview section and already 4 errors have been committed by these people. And they have the GALL to call me "ignorant" when these are simple "Liturgical History 101" topics.

The Church prior to Vatican 2 knew that if the vernacular was to be introduced into the Liturgy, there would be no end to the confusion it would cause.

Oh really???:

60. The use of the Latin language, customary in a considerable portion of the Church, is a manifest and beautiful sign of unity, as well as an effective antidote for any corruption of doctrinal truth. In spite of this, the use of the mother tongue in connection with several of the rites may be of much advantage to the people. But the Apostolic See alone is empowered to grant this permission. It is forbidden, therefore, to take any action whatever of this nature without having requested and obtained such consent, since the sacred liturgy, as we have said, is entirely subject to the discretion and approval of the Holy See. [6]
Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei noted the "advantageous" benefits of using the vernacular in relation to several of the rites so once again these guys err in their statements.

And, as Shawn’s scholar admitted above, the Church has been proven correct on this point.

Dr. Mirus mentioned that there has been an upheaval. Well no kidding, we just had a General Council there is almost always upheavals after a General Council. Read up on Nicaea, Chalcedon, Nicaea II, Constantinople IV, Lyons II, Basil-Florence, and Lateran V for starters. Others could be mentioned but these all are noted for having periods of dissention and outright rebellion for decades afterwards. What is happening today is nothing irregular.

The introduction of the Novus Ordo has 1) split the Church in two, 2) caused confusion among the ranks of Catholics, 3)opened the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to Hula Dance masses, and butterfly masses, clown masses, complete with female Alter servers and communion in the hand. Things that were unheard of, and undreamed of, fifty years ago in the Catholic Church.

The Church has never sanctioned Butterfly Masses, Clown Masses, Gun Masses, and these authors know it. However they are in sore need of anything they can find to buttress their weak case so they jump on abuses. Unless they can find for me one single magisterial document permitting any of these types of masses being said, their case has no merit and they are engaging in blatant lying. I want to see right now the Apostolic Exhortation, Apostolic Constitution, Papal Encyclical, Papal Bull, document from Vatican II, Motu Proprio, or any other Magisterial document issued either by the Pope or by the CDF with the approval of the Pope (or even in the General Instructions of the Roman Missal) where these travesties are if not sanctioned then condoned. Like it or not there are people that disobey no matter who is in charge or what Mass was being said. Again there were many Tridentine abuses before 1970 which is in part why the Council decided to restore the liturgy. But these authors of course ignore real history and stick to their little "Peter Pan" version where everything was serene and beautiful until the "storm clouds of evil Vatican II" when everything went to hell in a hand basket overnight. What happened after the Council was the culmination of many decades of dry rot coming to the surface. This happens periodically throughout history right before the Church rejuvenates herself (which she is doing yet again as we speak).

[CLARIFICATION: I was informed earlier in the year that Hula Dance Masses were approved by Rome. Upon doing a bit of investigation on the matter, I found that they were indeed approved but as usual our opponents cannot separate what has been approved (hula dance masses) from what has NOT been approved and never will be approved by the magisterium (clown mass, garbage masses, butterfly masses, gun masses, etc). If our opponents bothered to EDUCATE themselves on cultural matters they might see the forest for the trees. For information from Adoremus, a liturgical restoration society which has covered this topic, the following link should prove helpful:

My material in the Refutation of Appendix 4 contains additional information on this subject as well as some links to material written by our friend F. John Loughnan who has dealt in detail with this subject as it is beyond the scope of this project to address. As there are enough links here for quick perusal I would ask the reader to wait until the Refutation of Part IV section to resume this theme as our opponents are about to commit a whole slew of elementary errors and I do not want to get off track of this full-scale and meticulous refutation of these falsely labeled ‘Traditionalists’ and also falsely labeled Catholics.

Suffice to say, this concession on our part does not detract from the obvious errors of our opponents who in lumping together Hula Dance Masses with absolute travesties such as clown masses, garbage masses, butterfly masses, gun masses, gay masses, etc only highlight in technicolour their ignorance. The rest of this project will flesh out this profound defect in the self-styled ‘traditionalist’ mindset in spades. - ISM 6/18/01]

Fifty years ago, one could attend Mass anywhere in the world and get the self-same Liturgy that he was accustomed to, understood the liturgy - whether he knew the local language or not - and have known what was going on.

People used to pray the rosary during Mass 50 years ago because many of them did NOT know what was going on. Again, these so-called "enlightened ones" need to get an education before they start telling me that I am "ignorant" as they have claimed I am. To make such a grandiose display in their introduction and then constantly make such obvious elementary school-type blunders would be laughable if not that we are talking about souls at stake who read this garbage put out by these pseudo-traditionalists and are not properly equipped to rebut it.

Whereas, the opposite holds true today. To cite Father O’Brien again,

Secondly. As order is heaven’s first law, uniformity seems to be the first law of the Church, for which reason she makes it her endeavor to have her greatest charge, the due and respectful celebration of the Adorable Sacrifice of the Altar, conducted with the same ceremonies and said in the same language everywhere. This she could not do unless she had fixed on a common language.

Fr. O’Brien’s track record for accuracy as a source is really rather pathetic. The Catholic Encyclopedia’s article on the liturgy (in reference to the early Church) says precisely the opposite of what he is claiming:

[I]t must be said that an Apostolic Liturgy in the sense of an arrangement of prayers and ceremonies, like our present ritual of the Mass, did not exist. For some time the Eucharistic Service was in many details fluid and variable. It was not all written down and read from fixed forms, but in part composed by the officiating bishop. As for ceremonies, at first they were not elaborated as now. All ceremonial evolves gradually out of certain obvious actions done at first with no idea of ritual, but simply because they had to he done for convenience. The bread and wine were brought to the altar when they were wanted, the lessons were read from a place where they could best be heard, hands were washed because they were soiled. Out of these obvious actions ceremony developed, just as our vestments developed out of the dress of the first Christians. It follows then of course that, when there was no fixed Liturgy at all, there could be no question of absolute uniformity among the different Churches. [7]
Even a cursory look at the different liturgies in the West would show that they were different in many ways. As my sister told me after spending time in Rome last year (for 4 months) there is not one single language in Italy but different provinces speak differently and the Sicilian speaks in a manner that differs noticeably from the way they speak in Rome, Florence, Genoa, or Milan (to name 4 such examples). The different liturgies throughout the West before Trent were the same way: there was no wide-scale uniformity as these "trads" have attempted to claim. As my good friend (and an emiment Catholic scholar) Dr. Art Sippo told me via email (when looking over the first draft of part 1 of this refutation):
Despite the pretentions of the trads, Western liturgical forms were regionally diverse and there was no attempt to conform to the Roman traditions. In other words, the various usages in the West were not identical to the Roman liturgy. (I confronted Michael Davies about this on the dais in 1991. He started back pedalling because he knew that [it] was true). The only exceptions were the attempts at uniformity by Charlemagne with the Leonine Sacramentary (which was a failure) and the program of suppression started by Pope St. Pius V (which was a limited success). Conservation of the liturgy was more a trait of the several Eastern Rites. [8]
In light of the books and articles I have read on this subject (and what my sister told me about Italy from her time spent there viz. regions, languages, and cultures), Dr. Sippo’s comments only reinforce my own position on this issue and the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Rites in several places alludes to this as well. Yet again the "trads" err and Fr. O’Brien (this so-called "great source") makes his third error out of three attempts. In baseball terms that means he is batting .000 thus far ladies and gentlemen!!! But then Fr. James Wathen will not fare much better when we examine him and some of his arguments in subsequent sections of this rebuttal. Michael Davies is better then both of these two (O’Brien and Wathen) but even Mr. Davies makes a number of theological and factual errors as well. But all of this will be dealt with in good time as this rebuttal of the sorry "trad" so-called "refutation" of my treatise section on the Mass.
Since the rest of their comments regarding the overview were just their own personal opinions (which mean zilch to me), I have no reason to entertain them or even respond to them. Therefore I will not. These theologically deficient "trads" have made over 14 errors already and most of them are glaring errors. Fr. O’Brien has proven to be a worthless source and therefore any place else where his work has been cited I will ignore it (and advise both Matt and Art to do the same in their respective sections) because he has gotten every point wrong where these authors have cited him. Thus he is an unreliable source and neither I, Matt, or Art need to even give the parts where he is cited as the evidence of these people’s positions the time of day.


I. Introduction: Vatican II on the Liturgy

In this section and the succeeding one, my words will be in bold print, the SSPX's in italics, and any sources quoted in regular type (with occasional underlining or bold type in spots for emphasis).

In the first place, I would like to point out that the Traditional Movement does not consist of the Society of Saint Pius X, and the views that they may hold on various subjects are not necessarily the views of the entire Movement.

So-called "traditionalists" are like Protestants and they vary with how much they follow the Magisterium and how much they do not. (They are also as difficult to speak of monolithically as Protestants are.)

In the second place, the views of the Society make no difference whatsoever as to the legitimacy of the Traditional Mass, or the illegitimacy of the Novus Ordo. The Society is one group among many in the Traditional Movement, granted they may be the largest, but that does not necessarily that Shawn can define the beliefs of the Traditional Movement on the basis of this one group. It would be the equivalent of trying to define the beliefs of the entire Novus Ordo establishment according to the tenets of the "We Are Church" group. It just doesn’t work that way.

I am aware of this. The SSPX is merely an example case in this section and indeed many of their arguments are common to the movement including the views of their hard-liners that the Pauline Mass is if valid then a sacrilege. That would seem to be the view of these authors also so I do not see what their problem is. I have since that time in both subsequent revisions made the piece more explicitly address all self-styled ‘traditionalist’ groups not just the SSPX.

To start with, a look at part of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) from the Second Vatican Council.


[snipping propaganda photo and comments disingenuously placed here to detract from the subject at hand]

21. In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the sacred liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself. For the liturgy is made up of unchangeable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These latter not only may be changed but ought to be changed with the passage of time, if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become less suitable. In this restoration both texts and rites should be drawn up so as to express more clearly the holy things which they signify. The Christian people, as far as is possible, should be able to understand them with ease and take part in them fully, actively, and as a community.

[In their revision they added a section here where they try to argue that the Pauline Mass was not a retoration but a new Mass. They quoted "Pope" Michael Davies’ Encyclical "Missa Papa Joannes XXIII" (promulgated by "His Holiness Pope Davies I" in the 1970’s). I have already demonstrated the falsity of this charge in a smaller essay which interestingly enough I revised after doing the first draft of this section and fixed an error that these authors pointed out and that I will concede later on in this work (thanks for strengthening my essay guys) and it will be in this rebuttal as Appendix A. The claims of these authors is profoundly in error but out of charity (and because their error count in part 1 is so embarrassingly high) I will not count this error. Oh and they quoted "Pope Davies I" citing a prelate who apparently is as ignorant of history and dogmatic theology as these self-styled "traditionalists" are. But we will explain all of this in due time]

Many "traditionalists" as they call themselves react with comments like "the Novus Ordo is either a.) Illicit b.) Doubtfully valid c.) Sacrilegiously valid or d.) An invalid Mass." At the same time, comments are made defending the Tridentine Ritual most commonly along the lines of "the Traditional Latin Mass (Tridentine Rite codified by Pope Pius V in 1570) has been the Mass for the past 2,000 years" or "it is the Mass of All Time" which are comments that betray a profound degree of historical ignorance.

In the first place, the Traditional Mass (which Shawn wrongfully terms the "Tridentine Rite") consists of the Traditions of the Apostles (according to the infallible Council of Trent). Furthermore, it certainly nearly 2,000 years old. The last major change to the Canon, for example, took place during the reign of Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th and 7th centuries - and those were only minor changes. Which, in turn, means that the Canon of the Traditional Mass had been around long before then. Father Fortescue says the following:

"The prayers of our Canon are found in the treatise De Sacramentis (4th-5th centuries )... Our Mass goes back without essential changes to the epoch in which it developed for the first time from the most ancient common liturgy. It still preserves the fragrance of that primitive liturgy, in times when Caesar governed the world and hoped to extinguish the Christian faith; times when our forefathers would gather together before dawn to sing a hymn to Christ as to their God... There is not in all Christendom a rite so venerable as that of the Roman Missal." (1)

The same Fr. Adrian Fortescue who - let us not forget - also said the following:

This brings us back to the most difficult question: Why and when was the Roman Liturgy changed  from what we see in Justin Martyr to that of Gregory I? The change is radical, especially as regards the most important element of the Mass, the Canon. …

We have then as the conclusion of this paragraph that at Rome the Eucharistic prayer was   fundamentally changed and recast at some uncertain period between the fourth and the sixth and seventh centuries...Of the various theories suggested to account for this it seems reasonable to say with Rauschen: "Although the question is by no means decided, nevertheless there is so much in favour of Drews's theory that for the present it must be considered the right one. We must then admit that between the years 400 and 500 a great transformation was made in the Roman Canon" (Euch. u. Busssakr., 86). [9]

Between the 400’s and the early 600’s (Pope Gregory’s time) is less then 200 years. Prior to that time, the canon existed in a "fundamentally different form" and was "dramatically recast.’ In fact, one could call this with all honesty an overhaul could one not???

Initially Mass was celebrated in a more intimate house setting and before Mass there was an "agape" or love feast. The "agape" was dropped in the early to mid second century and the self-styled "traditionalists" of that period probably voiced their disapproval as something along the lines of the modifications being "against tradition." What about the move from primarily worship in private homes to church buildings starting in the 4th century???

Anyone with any understanding of history would know that the reason the Mass was held in private homes and the hidden catacombs was not because the Early Church liked that form of worship, but because of the harsh persecutions of the Roman Emperors. In other words, it was not a matter of preference, but a matter of necessity. It’s kind of hard to build a Church structure in the middle of an empire that was intent upon feeding all Christians to the lions - granted the Romans would have liked it, it would have made their job easier for them.

I used a bit of sarcasm to make a point:

In the second place, his statements concerning the Traditionalists of the time are nothing more than his own speculation. But also, the problem Traditionalists have with the Conciliar church goes much deeper than just where Mass is celebrated. The Traditional Mass was held in the back of jeeps during WWII, in Spain in the 30's in was held in private houses out in the middle of woods to avoid persecution. In Ireland, for over 500 years, it was held in the swamps (Persecution Laws of Ireland and England ). Today, in many places, the Traditional Mass is said in private homes - because no Church buildings are available. Architecture and structure is not one of the major problems Traditional Catholics have with the Conciliar church. If Shawn had taken his time to study our position and Church history, he would have seen that our problems with the Conciliar Church go much much deeper than architecture, and he also would have seen that it was not at all uncommon for Catholics, during times of persecution, to have Mass said in private homes.

I have done some extensive studies on Church history and liturgical history. I am fully aware that the Mass is said wherever it can be in times of persecution. Again that point was one of sarcasm being made there. Calm yourselves boys.

All the complaints about the "High Altar" common to current "traditionalist" objections would have caused a Christian of the first few centuries to look at the objector with a degree of profound puzzlement. After all, there was no "High Altar" used in celebrating Mass but instead a smaller table-form was the altar of Mass in the earliest time periods. Yet to the self-styled "traditionalist" the absence of a "High Altar" is anathema.

In the first place, the Early Christians would also have looked at Shawn with puzzlement if he mentioned 1) Crucifixes, 2) the Bible, 3) female altar girls, and so forth. This does not mean that having Crucifixes is wrong, nor does it mean that we should return to the Early Church practice of removing the Corpus of Christ from the Cross, and just keeping a bare Cross - like the protestants do. All that means is that at that time it was a new development. It does not mean that these things are wrong, nor does this mean that we should return to the Early Church practices.

Who makes the determination which practices are revived and which are dropped??? Again this is the job of the Magisterium guided by the Holy Spirit. I am glad that at least these authors can see that there is some form of fluidity to practices in antiquity. That is a step in the right direction for them.

Furthermore, these are also exterior matters. Not matters of doctrine, nor matters which pertain to the liturgy per se. Nor are they a major problem. If the only problem Traditional Catholics have with the Conciliar church is merely architecture, then there wouldn’t be much to disagree about. The problems run much deeper than merely such exterior matters.

No they do not. The problems so-called "traditionalists" have is that they act like Donatists, Montanists, Jansenists, and Protestants. Just as every schismatic or heretical movement throughout history the "traditionalists" are right and Rome is wrong. These guys are nothing more then the Donatists and Old Catholics of the twentieth and twenty-first century in principle if not exact disagreements. They need to be honest with themselves about this or they will get into a whole heap of trouble with God for knowingly rebelling against Him (see Numbers 16 and Jude 1:8-13).

In the second place, the only reason, a we stated above, Masses were said inside and on tables was because of the fierce persecution of the Roman tyrants.

I know.

The early Church "traditionalist" would also have scoffed at the idea of moving worship from private homes to larger church buildings making a claim along the lines of "well Our Lord never commissioned His Apostles to celebrate Mass in big church buildings now did He???"

In the first place, how does Shawn know what a Traditionalist would do?

Because I was a self-styled ‘Traditionalist’ for well over a decade of my life that is why. I have not forgotten the mentality or the positions that this entails.

He might claim to have been one at some time, but his article shows a very deep misunderstanding of our position.

Actually it is the ‘mainstream’ position of the ‘traditionalist’ whose position I subscribed to. One that held to the ‘pastoral council’ canard and questioned the validity of the post-council sacraments and the possible invalidity of the Mass (though on these latter two I was deliberately agnostic presuming they were valid but having critical doubts). The position of our opponents is one that is a minority position in the ‘traditionalist’ movement since they question the validity of the Revised Missal as well as the sacramental norms of administration. These are points which one of their sources Mr. Michael Davies — despite his deficiencies in many areas — nonetheless vigorously maintains (though he did not always do this).

For example, he thinks that the majority of our problems with the Conciliar changes are architectural and exterior. Of course, this is simply ridiculous.

These so-called "traditionalists" drum up whatever "problems" they can that they think enables them to stubbornly cling to their positions. Notice how these "trads" are getting all defensive about me claiming to read their minds and intentions yet that is precisely what they do with the Fathers of Vatican II, and the Pope viz the Revised Missal!!!

The arguments about changes of the Mass forms along the lines of replacing certain liturgical sections are ones that boomerang back at the "traditionalist" for one very good reason: such modifications are not at all uncommon throughout history. Where is the Te Igitur, Secret, Gloria, or Nicene Creed in the pre-Nicene Masses??? They are not to be found.

And Shawn’s argument here boomerangs back in his direction. The Secret, Gloria, Nicene Creed, and so forth, were not added to a liturgy created on the spur of the moment by a Pope. They were added over a period of time, as the Liturgy developed. With the Novus Ordo Missae everything was added or subtracted by a crowd of liturgists. Not to mention the fact that at that time the Mass itself was not set, the Canon had not yet been completed.

There was a lot more that went into the Pauline restoration then these "trads" claim. The final product was approved as a valid Mass by the Pope who promulgated it to the Church Universal. Thus it is without error in dogma since universal legislation of matters of faith and morals fall under the indirect scope of Church infallibility. I will go into this more later on when discussing infallibility and the "trad" misrepresentations of Vatican I’s intent.

In other words, one was developed over the wisdom of time, with the aid of the Holy Ghost, while the other was created overnight on the spur of the moment.

This is either an outright lie or an honest misunderstanding by our opponents. With extreme "trads" though there is seldom any honest misunderstandings though. However, they espouse a common but serious flaw so I will assume that they are merely misinformed. There was decades of study and research that were utilized in the reform of the liturgy.

One developed over a period of nearly 2,000 years, while the other was created within a decade. Furthermore, the addition of the Gloria and the Credo and so forth, were put there so 1) people would know the Catholic Faith, and 2) to praise God. Whereas the creation of the Novus Ordo Missae do not seem to focus on God and the glory of God, but, rather, seem to focus on the glory and honor of man.

More private opinions. The Pope who promulgated the Pauline Missal claimed otherwise (all emphasis is mine):

WHEN DEALING WITH THE RESTORATION OF THE SACRED LITURGY, the Fathers of the council, by reason of their pastoral concern for the whole Church, considered it of the highest importance to exhort the faithful to participate actively with sound faith and with the utmost devotion in the celebration of this Most Holy Mystery, to offer it with the priest to God as a sacrifice for their own salvation and for that of the whole world, and to find in it spiritual nourishment. For if the sacred liturgy holds the first place in the life of the Church, the Eucharistic Mystery stands at the heart and center of the liturgy, since it is the font of life by which we are cleansed and strengthened to live not for ourselves but for God, and to be united in love among ourselves.
To make evident the indissoluble bond which exists between faith and devotion, the Fathers of the council, CONFIRMING THE DOCTRINE WHICH THE CHURCH HAS ALWAYS HELD AND TAUGHT AND WHICH WAS SOLEMNLY DEFINED BY THE COUNCIL OF TRENT, determine to introduce their treatise on the Most Holy Mystery of the Eucharist with the following summary of truths: "At the Last Supper, on the night He was handed over, Our Lord instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of His Body and Blood, to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until He should come, and thus entrust to the Church, His beloved spouse, the memorial of His death and resurrection: a sacrament of devotion, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is received, the soul is filled with grace and there is given to us the pledge of future glory." In these words are highlighted both the sacrifice, which pertains to the essence of the Mass which is celebrated daily, and the sacrament in which the faithful participate in Holy Communion by eating the Flesh of Christ and drinking His Blood, receiving both grace, the beginning of eternal life, and the medicine of immortality. According to the words of Our Lord: "The man who eats my flesh and drinks my blood enjoys eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
Therefore we earnestly hope that THE RESTORED SACRED LITURGY will bring forth abundant fruits of eucharistic devotion, so that the Holy Church, under this saving sign of piety, may make daily progress toward perfect unity and may invite all Christians to a unity of faith and of love, drawing them gently, thanks to the action of divine grace
However, venerable brothers, in this very matter which we are discussing, there are not lacking reasons for serious pastoral concern and anxiety. The awareness of our apostolic duty does not allow us to be silent in the face of these problems. Indeed, we are aware of the fact that, among those who deal with this Most Holy Mystery in written or spoken word, there are some who, with reference either to Masses which are celebrated in private, or to the dogma of transubstantiation, or to devotion to the Eucharist, spread abroad opinions which disturb the faithful and fill their minds with no little confusion about matters of faith. It is as if everyone were permitted to consign to oblivion doctrine already defined by the Church, or else to interpret it in such a way as to weaken the genuine meaning of the words or the recognized force of the concepts involved…[10]
Again the Pope notes that the Pauline Mass is a restoration and as my essay demonstrates, to claim that the Pauline Mass is "fabricated" underscores a profound ignorance of liturgical history.


[1] Br. Alexis Bugnolo: Response to Fr. James Wathen.

[2] Catholic Encyclopedia: Excerpt from the article "Infallibility", 1913 obtained at the following link:

[3] Rt. Rev. Dom Fernand Cabrol: "Mass of the Western Rites" excerpts (circa 1934) obtained at the following link:

[4] The General Instruction of the Roman Missal Fourth Edition, Ch. V Section IV #259-268 (27 March 1975) obtained at the following link:

[5] Catholic Encyclopedia: Excerpts from the subject "Liturgy of the Mass" authored by Adrian Fortescue, 1913 obtained at the following link:

[6] His Holiness Pope Pius XII: Mediator Dei - Para. 60 (November 20, 1947) obtained at the following link:

[7] Catholic Encyclopedia: Excerpts from the subject "Liturgy" authored by Adrian Fortescue, 1913 obtained at the following link:

[8] Dr. Art Sippo: On the Western Rites (part of an email correspondence)

[9] Catholic Encyclopedia: Excerpts from the subject "Liturgy" authored by Adrian Fortescue, 1913

[10] His Holiness Pope Paul VI: Mysterium Fidei excerpt, c. 1965 obtained at the following link:

©2000, "Detection and Overthrow of the 'Traditionalist Catholics' Falsely So-Called" (Part 1, Section 1), written by I.Shawn McElhinney. (Introductionwritten by Matt1618.) This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the authors.

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