Men of the Council
November 14, 2022
This past October 22nd,, the retired Archbishop of Philadelphia, the Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., spoke to Catholics attending a Eucharistic Symposium at the cathedral in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, and answered questions pertinent to Catholic life today. Present in the audience were Catholic laity and clergy, including Philadelphia native and local Ordinary, Bishop Michael Burbidge, who recently crushed diocesan Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) celebrations in his jurisdiction.
The archbishop noted that he has dealt with TLM Catholics who, if scratched, would ooze anti-Vatican-II blood. He never bothered to ask why this might be. He and his like-minded fellows never ask such questions. They are not with traditional Catholics in their concerns.
Why will these ecclesiastics not be wholly with us? (Play on words intended.). After all, we TLM-ers are simply striving to be faithful to our Holy Catholic Church as were our forebears of happy and sainted memory. Shouldn’t these men bearing the name “Catholic” be solidly with us?
Archbishop Chaput, who in the past opened the doors to the celebration of the TLM since his early days as a bishop in Rapid City, South Dakota, seems to find it all too easy today in retirement to dismiss many TLM Catholics as some kind of schism-leaning, noisome whiners too odd for his tastes. His episcopal motto, “As Christ loved the Church,” is a noble ideal, but he seems to fall short of its realization, given his Arlington comments. Are the lowest and most despised members of the Mystical Body of Christ to be scorned? Let not the head say to the feet: “Go away; either get on the Vatican II bandwagon or get lost!”
I would agree that many traditional TLM-loving Catholics, myself included, are odd, but only because we are part of a small but increasing minority of baptized Catholics who hold to the integral Catholic Faith and its perennial practice, and who, therefore, question what has happened to the Church since the opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962. I would suggest that fidelity to Holy Mother Church requires us to at least examine Vatican II with a critical eye.
Prelates in our present day, such as Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, both well-known figures in traditional Catholic circles, have been critical of Vatican II, although they differ as to what the Church will have to do with it when the Faith returns to the City of Rome and the spotless Bride of Christ returns from her present exile. These men are not alone in their critical views of the Council. They were in fact preceded by others as early as the opening of the conciliar proceedings in October of 1962.
The former Archbishop of Philadelphia apparently believes that the touchstone of fidelity in the Catholic Church is at a minimum the full-throated and unquestioning acceptance of every jot and tittle of the sixteen Vatican II documents officially promulgated by Paul VI. This very same Paul VI declared in his closing address to the Council that the finished work of Vatican II stands as a testimony to the (unbelieving) world that “we too have the cult of man,” to the denigration of Jesus Christ and the mission of the true Church. Should this not raise eyebrows? Yet Chaput, without shame or hesitation, spoke for himself and nearly all post-conciliar bishops when he declared: “I am a man of the Council.” This conciliar revolution is the idol to which they swear fealty.
Therein lies the answer for our inquisitive minds. Why is Chaput so dismissive of traditional Catholics in his replies to Arlington Catholics? Easy. He is a man of the Council. He cannot abide criticism of Vatican Ii, else his house of cards, called the “Conciliar Church” (and, more recently, the “Synodal Church”) be exposed for the fraudulent Antichurch that it is. He would never ask dangerous questions that might point to an unpleasant reality. He dare not honestly address our concerns, lest he become like us and see the true evils afflicting the Church today. No, it is much easier to ridicule and dismiss what cannot be faced.
If he holds Vatican-II-skeptical, traditional Catholics, who are faithful to the entire patrimony of the Church, its dogma and doctrine, its moral teaching, its timeless liturgy and rich devotional life, as near-schismatics if not worse, then it is he who has distanced himself from the Church. As he echoes Bergoglio, he by his own words condemns himself, not us. He and his fellow travelers have declared that the old Faith is dead, and that Vatican II ushered in an entirely new ecclesial reality that must not be questioned, much less repudiated. They tell us with unaccustomed gravity that we must embrace their novel enterprise with enthusiasm or lose our Catholic credentials.
For all their efforts, these churchmen cannot sweep truth under the rug. By the very ambiguity of its texts alone—let’s leave aside elements of error and heresy—Vatican II and the evil it has spawned cannot be a work of the Roman Catholic Church.
You see, the post-conciliar churchmen, having ditched their true Spouse, have gone a-whoring with the post-conciliar religion. Not only will they not be with us on the side of the unchanging and immutable religion given to us by Christ and His Church; they cannot be with us, or it will be their undoing.
Are we not allowed to question Vatican II, their “super dogma,” their “new Advent” and “new Pentecost” ushered into the body ecclesial by “the Spirit?” What spirit, I ask? Why is the entire Vatican II enterprise alone immune from criticism and condemnation while these “men of the Council” dismiss the Church as it was up to the eve of Vatican II?
Allow me now to tread too close to home. Let’s move beyond Chaput & Co. to the traditional Catholic milieu. While we, no more nor less than Catholics at large, have our faults both individually and collectively, and I myself am at the head of the line here, it strikes me as strange that so few voices are willing to rise above the crowd and to declare to the powers ensconced in the ecclesial structures that “the emperor has no clothes.” Why such pathetic if not treacherous silence on the part of so many?
For the past two to three years many traditional Catholics have at best shrugged their shoulders in the face of attacks aimed against them. How about lockdowns of churches and sacramental life in the name of a virus? Or jab evangelization by clerics? Or Traditionis Custodes? Hello? Anyone? In the midst of these evils, too many Catholics in traditional circles have bent over backwards to try to please these “men of the Council” failing in their duties as spiritual shepherds. Much more tragic still are the painful and embarrassing efforts too many of them have made to convince their conciliar overlords that they, too, embrace the Council and that they, too, are faithful and loyal to the very “men of the Council” who would destroy them.
Where among the lay faithful and the lower clergy are the voices of truth to challenge these “men of the Council?” Why are we effectively begging these men wedded to a new religion for permission to believe and to act as Catholics? How sad to see so many Catholics effectively saying to their clerical superiors: “Please mock us, beat us down, spiritually abuse us . . . so we may have your permission for a TLM and the practice of our Faith.” Co-dependency, anyone? Stockholm Syndrome? Fear unbecoming a follower of Christ and His Church?
May the Lord rouse us from our slumber, prod us in our laziness, and banish all fear from our pusillanimous hearts. We will soon hear in the sacred liturgy the words of St. Paul to the Romans (and we ourselves, heirs to their Faith, are Romans, too!) that “it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is passed, and the day is at hand..”
May these “men of the Council” be struck with fear and awe when they witness in faithful Catholics what they least expect. May they live to see those whom they presently ridicule and “scratch” with condescending pablum newly arisen from slumber, ready and happy to bleed. Yes, to bleed. To bleed with deep red faith, hope and charity, for the love of Jesus Christ and His one, true Church.