In late December, I began an animated video series that features the attempts of a Novus Ordo pastor to reindoctrinate a group of Traditional Catholics in the wake of the Motu Proprio from Rome. The cartoon follows Father Timmy of “Saint Silly’s” parish as he attempts to show the Trads (whose church has been shut down and taped off) how good things are in the post-Vatican II Church.
The videos have been very successful (by Catholic Cyber-Militia standards, anyways; but then again the bar is pretty low). They’ve drawn way more viewers and comments than our videos normally do. The comments are, by and large, positive. There have been a few negative comments worth pondering as well. One was from a guy who didn’t like the robot voices I used to animate the cartoon. Gotta say I agree with him. Real human voice actors are always better!
And there were several more serious comments, the most thoughtful of which were from a viewer named Adam. They are thought-provoking, and my thoughts have been provoked, else this whole tedious blog post wouldn’t have been written. But I digress…
Some of Adam’s comments included the following:
Wow. And Trads wonder why Pope Francis thinks they are uncharitable…… This whole video is disgusting. This won’t heal the rift in our Church. When the motu proprio was released, so many Trads suggested that the best way to deal with it was with extreme charity and love, and to prove the Holy Father wrong in his reading of Traditional Catholics. I’m seeing none of that here…..You’re just reinforcing what people already think Trads are like…. Sarcastic, holier than though, rigid, prideful, and uncharitable. That’s all I see here.
And Adam certainly has a point with some of his points. When this motu proprio crisis first broke last July, I added my feeble voice to the Trad online maelstrom of responses, warning that “now is not the time for nastiness.” I expect I followed my own advice in a less than perfect manner. And yet, the bosses in Rome can’t expect us to not fight back. Many are fighting back eloquently, citing the words of men like Pope St. Pius V to point out the ridiculousness of Traditionis Custodes, and highlighting all the inconsistencies of that mean-spirited motu proprio. I really have nothing of any significant intellectual value to add to those arguments, but I did want to respond. I chose the path of humor (or at least my odd interpretation of humor) and started making some videos like the one below (the video he responded to is linked at the bottom of this article).
Adam was sincere in his criticism, and here is my response:
Thank you, Adam, for your comments! They’re most welcome here, and I do want to respond to some of the points you made.
I never imagined the video as a tool for healing the “rift in the Church.” And indeed, there’s no denying that a rift exists; it’s a big one. The rift, however, is entirely of the Modernists’ making. They were the ones that went absolutely ape in their wild interpretations of the Vatican II documents. So much damage was done in the name of that so-called “spirit of Vatican II.” A rift was inevitable, and one can argue that a rift was exactly what men like Bugnini (the chief architect of the New Mass) had in mind. Even Pope Francis himself seems to confirm the existence of the rift in the words he uses in his motu proprio and the accompanying cover letter. This silly little video of mine was not designed to heal the rift; its intent was to use humor to point out the rift’s very existence. I think most of the video’s viewers already knew of the rift, but you see some comments indicating that more than a few Catholics only became aware of this crisis over the course of the past few years.
You point out that when this motu proprio first hit us, many Traditional Catholics advised a mild response. If we respond with love, kindness, and charity, we’ll prove the Pope wrong. That’s a bit naïve. Pope Francis knew exactly what he was doing when he issued Traditiones Custodes. He was declaring an open war of extermination on people like me and many of the Catholics who watched this video. It is erroneous to assume that the motu proprio was simply a reaction to Trads being nasty on social media, as some claim. His hostility to Tradition goes back years. He never misses an opportunity to attack Trads. You yourself have used his favorite insult: “rigid.” He thinks adhering to the teachings of the Church which date back to the time of the Apostles, believing what has always been believed, is somehow bad. To Francis, “rigid” in the most damning of accusations. For us, “rigid” is a badge of honor. (As a side note, another word Francis has used to describe us is “coprophagia.” Very merciful description, that…)
Traditional Catholics are seeing none of the mercy extended by Francis to just about every group imaginable. No “accompaniment” for us. No “going to the peripheries” to conduct “dialogue” with us. Instead of dialogue/mercy/etc., we are assaulted with cruel and vindictive order to cease worshipping in the manner in which Catholics have worshipped for well over a thousand years, with instructions for immediate execution of the same. As Bishop Athanasius Schneider put it, “My initial impression was of a shepherd who instead of having the smell of his sheep, is angrily beating them with a stick.”
No, the Pope isn’t merely destroying 1500+ years of worship because guys like me make fun of the post-Vatican II Church and all its odd novelties. This was part of his agenda for a very long time. There is a very large faction in the Church hierarchy (the majority, one suspects) who see the Traditional Latin Mass as a threat to their agenda. That’s the real issue we’re dealing with here.
As our way of worship is systematically exterminated before our very eyes, we are told that we MUST return to the Novus Ordo Mass as a sign of unity. As you might be able to tell from these videos, there’s more than a little evidence that something’s a bit “off” with the New Mass. These abuses are not universal; the more extreme ones are less common now than they were for decades. Other abuses, such as the ill-advised practice of receiving Communion in the hand, however, are widespread. As are the insipid homilies, the ambiguous doctrinal teachings, the general lack of reverence. If they truly want us to return to the Novus Ordo Mass, they had better get hot in addressing the flaws, errors, abuses and bad practices which make it the way it is.
That being said, I know many good priests who are Novus Ordo priests and even more good people who are Novus Ordo parishioners. I wish them nothing but the best, and I hope that their rite can be reformed to the point where the types of things we see at our fictional “Saint Sillys” can rapidly become a thing of the past. But the fact remains that our Pontiff has declared open war on Tradition—not just the Mass, but Tradition itself. By his cruel diktats, he has made it clear that he wants us wiped from the face of the Earth. He is wrong. He is in error. He will be resisted. May our good Lord grant Pope Francis the gift of true conversion, and may he yet become the sort of man God truly intends him to be.
Thanks again, Adam, for your comments. I hope you continue to tune in.
And here’s the video in question: