Cardinal Danneels on the Mass, Bishop Bruskewitz on the New Springtime

Godfried Cardinal Danneels, the putatively “moderate” prelate from Belgium, has joined in the anti-Traditional Mass chorus begun by five bishops of France and twenty five French priests. The cardinal said this in a Reuters story:

“The (Tridentine Latin) rite is only the locomotive — the issue is the carriages that are pulled behind it,” Brussels Cardinal Godfried Danneels said last week. “Behind this locomotive are carriages that I don’t want.”

Included among those carriages, no doubt, would be opposition to the dominant indifferentism, ecumensim, modernism, and liberalism, promotion of the Social Reign of Christ the King, and the insistence that outside the Church there is no salvation — all of which traditional Catholic positions European liberals deride as “integrism.”

The French anti-traditional dissidents, whose comments the Cardinal’s echoes, have been written up by Catholic World News and The Conservative Voice.

It all points to this: There is a lot of posturing in the hierarchy on the eve of the anticipated November indult.

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz on the New Springtime

The outspoken Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, gave a hard-hitting address to the Catholic Citizens of Illinois. Besides enumerating the bad fruits of the “new springtime” in the Church, the Bishop spoke of the “clash of culture” between the Church and Islam, a term certain ecclesiastical authorities have explicitly rejected recently. We present here some excerpts from that address, which are particularly worth reading. Italics represent my emphasis. Despite its optimistic talk about Vatican II — an optimism we do not share — this speech is an encouraging example of episcopal virility and fortitude.

At about every third sentence in this address, stop and say to yourself, “there is no salvation outside the Church.” It fits. When you get to the third paragraph, change it to this at every third sentence: “But if there is salvation outside the Church, who cares?” It fits even more.

There must be, I think, a supreme effort to recapture our Catholic faith in all its orthodox splendor, and to take a stand for Christ as in the olden days. The Church has ever been counter-cultural. She has always and ever been that which stands against the age because she is the custodian of the Deposit of Faith, inherently and intrinsically conservative, as Pope Paul VI observed, because she [is] to maintain the integrity of that faith without distortion or mutilation down through the centuries. It is important that we see the truths of our Catholic faith as liberating realities, and not as some kind of constraint, and that true freedom is linked with truth, and that truth trumps freedom and that unless one is in possession of the truth, one is not actually free. The words of Jesus are always appropriate to every age, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

The clash of culture represented by the Muslim demography and onslaught in our time, which reflects the Islamic expansionism of times past, cannot be successfully confronted by an easy-going pluralistic tolerance. It can only be confronted by a reinvigorated Christianity, a reinvigorated Catholic faith. The dynamism, the Tielhardism, the Communism, the Marxism, the Socialism, and countless other isms of the last centuries will never be successfully confronted either, apart from a reinvigorated and grace-filled Catholic faith. This duty to profess again, not just with mouth and words, but with heart and soul, the Catholic faith, the profession of faith, is incumbent, not simply upon priests, religious, and bishops, preoccupied as they are and assailed as they are by abominable scandals in their number and confusion in their thoughts, but also by a laity that takes again very seriously what Chesterton observed. “There are an infinity of angles at which one can fall, but only one at which one can stand.” …

[T]he Catholic Church in the United States, and to a large extent throughout the Western World, is facing a very formidable series of crises. Although the Catholic population of the United States is consistently growing, and now exceeds 67 million out of our total American population of 300 million, we have to remember that almost all of the growth has taken place by way of immigration, and almost none or less than none, by natural demographic increase. It should also be pointed out that the number of conversions to the Catholic faith in our country has fallen precipitously in the last forty years. As a matter of fact, it is an aphorism that probably can be statistically verified that the largest religious group in the United States is the Catholic Church, but the second largest is fallen-away Catholics, lapsed, non-practicing, those who have abandoned the Catholic faith. This leakage from the Catholic faith in the United States, which is undeniable, can be attributed to many factors, at least as far as can [be] observed. Thousands and thousands of Catholics have become Protestants and many thousands more have given up the practice of religion altogether. Except for the total number of Catholics in our country, every other category of Catholic statistics is in decline. There is and continues to be a very steep decline in vocations, a very steep decline in the number of priests, an extremely steep decline in the number of religious, especially women religious. There has been the closing of hundreds of Catholic schools throughout the United States. Many seminaries are closed or have such infinitesimally small enrollments that they ought to be closed. There are many Catholic colleges and universities, some of which are trying to maintain a Catholic identity, but many of which are Catholic in name only. There is a breakdown of authority in the Church, constant and open dissent by people who call themselves theologians; great doctrinal and moral confusion, and Catholics who while professing to belong to the Church are, perhaps, within her pale but outside of her orthodoxy. Catholics in many parts of the United States are confronted by banal, shallow, and irreverent liturgies that have no or only a most remote connection with the holy sacrifice of the Mass. In 1965, all the statistical studies showed that at least 85% or perhaps more of the Catholics in the United States attended Mass each Sunday. The present statistical studies show that this has gone to 27% of the Catholics in the United States attending mass on Sundays. This is still in excess of certain countries in Europe such as Belgium and France, but there are some countries in Europe that have a higher Mass attendance than the United States, such as Poland and Italy. Unfortunately, Mass attendance in Ireland is descending rapidly to the tragic American level. Recent studies show, for example, that in the Archdioceses of Newark, in New Jersey, and Boston in Massachusetts, only 17% of those who say that are Catholic go to Mass at all. At the State University of Nebraska, located in Lincoln where I live, and where most of the Catholics who attend that university are not from the Lincoln Diocese, only 25% of the Catholic student body ever attend Mass on Sunday, and after freshman year, more than half of the Catholics who attend that State university have lost their faith. In nearby Chicago, here, I believe that the census taken each October by the Archdiocese shows that only 22% of those who claim to be Catholic regularly attend Mass.