In order for the Antichrist to ascend to power, he has to remove the major obstacles which stand in his path. Those who focus first on politics or economics will be oblivious to his rise and may even find themselves supporting him unwittingly. Politics and economy are not obstacles to him because as sacred scripture notes, the world is already in the clutches of the evil one as God has given him license to for a short time before his ultimate destruction. He does not need to get control over what he already has been allowed to and already does have control over. If he who can offer Christ, God incarnate, all of the riches of the earth and the power therein as part of a simple test in the desert, then certainly the same and more can be offered to any mere man.
If riches and power are not the obstacle to him, then the object which he has to remove therefore must be spiritual. Specifically, it will be to remove that object or objects which provide the means through which with man’s help the grace of God flows into the world. The grace of God can be likened to a water supply and a home which the water is used in to the world, and the pipe through which the water flows as the conduits of this grace. If the antichrist, who wants to bring about the destruction of the human race by, say for this example, setting fire to the house of humanity, he needs to prevent the house from having any means to put out the fire, which in life is the grace of God and in the example is the water, and as such he will attempt to turn off the pipes so that when he goes to burn the house down there will be no means of stopping the fire once it is started.
Now the grace of God is limitless and the ways which He can transmit that grace to the human race equally limitless. However, certain means are more effective than others because God has designated them as His chosen means. For example, it is clear that Christ did not have to suffer and die on the cross for the sins of man- this is obvious. However, He chose to because this was part of His plan and it was through that means that He brought reconciliation to the human race. In the same way, God has certain means of transmitting his grace more quickly and effectively than others because they were chosen by Him. As the Catholic Encyclopedia notes,
Almighty God can and does give grace to men in answer to their internal aspirations and prayers without the use of any external sign or ceremony. This will always be possible, because God, grace, and the soul are spiritual beings. God is not restricted to the use of material, visible symbols in dealing with men; the sacraments are not necessary in the sense that they could not have been dispensed with. But, if it is known that God has appointed external, visible ceremonies as the means by which certain graces are to be conferred on men, then in order to obtain those graces it will be necessary for men to make use of those Divinely appointed means. This truth theologians express by saying that the sacraments are necessary, not absolutely but only hypothetically, i.e., in the supposition that if we wish to obtain a certain supernatural end we must use the supernatural means appointed for obtaining that end.
This is not to place a limitation on God, but to rather identify that contrary to popular contemporary sentiments which view the transmission of God’s grace in an almost entirely individualistic way with no set parameters, the Church has always taught that God gives many means for dispensing grace, but it is all done in an orderly fashion with certain means being able to lead men to grace quicker than other and certain ones being able to transmit more grace than others.
A highway running in an orderly fashion, sorted by different types of access. Just as the DOT (theoretically) tries to order the flow of traffic so to maximize efficiency and promote the largest number of people getting safely to their destination, God has provided men with the road maps that lead to His grace and ultimately, will lead man home if he follows them. Certain roads get a man to God’s destination faster than others.
There are many recognized, public conduits of God’s grace, such as the Sacraments of the Church. These are visible signs of God’s grace and mercy and means by which He transmits His grace to us such as Baptism, Marriage, and the Holy Eucharist. However, as the Church has always said, the greatest conduit of grace is the Holy Mass because:
…as Christians we venerate in the bloody sacrifice of the Cross the one, universal, absolute Sacrifice for the salvation of the world. And this indeed is true in a double sense first, because among all the sacrifices of the past and future the Sacrifice on the Cross alone stands without any relation to, and absolutely independent of, any other sacrifice, a complete totality and unity in itself; second because every grace, means of grace and sacrifice, whether belonging to the Jewish, Christian or pagan economy, derive their whole undivided strength, value, and efficiency singly and alone from this absolute sacrifice on the Cross. The first consideration implies that all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, as well as the Sacrifice of the Mass. (source)
Since the sacrifice on the Cross was what reconciled man with God and appeased the just wrath of God, as the mass is the greatest conduit of God’s grace that He has given to us.
A detailed explanation, part-by-part, of the Mass and what happens.
The great Catholic saint and mystic of the 20th century, St. Pio of Petrelcina, noted the importance of the mass. He said that as the mass is the sacrifice through which God’s grace is made most abundant to man, it is more important that the mass is said than even should the sun be extinguished:
“Every holy Mass, heard with devotion, produces in our souls marvelous effects, abundant spiritual and material graces which we, ourselves, do not know. It is easier for the earth to exist without the sun than without the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”
“If we only knew how God regards this Sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single Mass.”
Great saints throughout the ages have echoed the same:
“When Mass is being celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the divine victim immolated on the altar.” – St. John Chrysostom
“The angels surround and help the priest when he is celebrating Mass.” – St. Augustine
“The heavens open and multitudes of angels come to assist in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.” – St. Gregory
“If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy.” – St. John Vianney
Since the mass is the greatest means of communicating God’s grace to the world, then one of the prime targets of the wrath of the antichrist before he comes will be the destruction of the mass, as it is the main conduit of the water of God’s grace. This destruction can take place by one of two means.
Muslims burning an effigy of Pope Benedict XVI after his Regensburg address.
But it is not just Muslims. Many Hindus, Jews, atheists, and governments have been throughout history and still are equally vicious persecutors of the Church. Some of them are honest enough, at least in private, to admit they do not even care for reason, but simply hate the Church because they hate Christ. In the words of the infamous American pornographer Al Goldstein, “The only reason that Jews are in pornography is that we think that Christ sucks. Catholicism sucks. We don’t believe in authoritarianism.” Ford then asked, “What does it mean to you to be a Jew?” To which Goldstein responded, “It doesn’t mean sh*t. It means that I’m called a kike.” Ford also asked, “Do you believe in God?” Goldstein said, “I believe in me. I’m God. F*ck God. God is your need to believe in some super being. I am the super being. I am your God, admit it. We’re random. We’re the flea on the ass of the dog.” (source)
First, the mass can be stopped by being abolished from without. This comes in the forms of persecution, apostasy, anti-clericalism, the LGBT, the rise of demon worship, false beliefs and hatred of Christ and His Church that populate the world. The rise of paganism and the persecutions of the Muslims which are happening around the world in every country are examples of external persecution that are building up and make no secret of their intense hatred of the Catholic Faith and all it is for. Just as in the past and even in many nations today, they will begin persecutions except using their positions of power and influence in the world as well as their technological wares, they will be able to effect greater persecution over larger numbers of people more quickly than before.
This also include heresy too. It does not matter that man styles himself a “Christian” but continues to persist in an erroneous sect because that is the essence of heresy from it Greek root literally means ” a choice”:
The term heresy connotes, etymologically, both a choice and the thing chosen, the meaning being, however, narrowed to the selection of religious or political doctrines, adhesion to parties in Church or State. (source)
Protestant heretics in their natural and subversive state. As we have noted, heresy is a form of rejection that cannot be separated from subversion. There is no worse crime that a man can commit by blatant, unrepentant heresy, since it is to reject saving truth and lead others into perdition. It is for this reason that notorious heretics were justly executed for centuries by legitimate authorities.
According to the classical Christian definition of heresy, it is choosing another teaching instead of following that which is taught as truth because one does not like it. St. Paul warned in both 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy to stand firm against all false teachings:
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)
Jesus had even harder words on heresy from John 6. This was when after clearly explaining multiple times to the Jews that He had to give His flesh as true food to eat (which is the fulfillment of the grain offering of Daniel 9 that the Antichrist will stop as we explained above), they did not want to hear what he had to say:
Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”
Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” – John 6:41-68
In other words, Jesus told his own disciples that they can buzz off if they don’t want to accept His teachings, or if they want to claim they accept Him yet persistently refuse to acknowledge clearly revealed truth. This is the reason why Our Lord again makes explicitly clear in Sacred Scripture:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’- Matthew 7:21-23
Heresy has already infected the entire world and has caused and is causing much damage in undermining the work of the Church. It could not be a better cover, for while men think they are doing the will of the Lord they are nothing but tools of the antichrist because all of them lead people away from the truth. It is irrelevant what their intentions are, because intention does not matter- action is what counts. it does not matter that Adam did not intend to sin as he did- the fact is that he did.
Adam and Eve.
Action matters. Not intentions.
Second, the mass can be stopped by stripping it of its power from within. This is the more insidious evil because as opposed to assault from external forces, it has to come by traitors in the ranks of the Catholic “faithful” themselves, either by people who ignore the requirements for a valid mass or from men who illegally say the formula has changed so to give the appearance of a valid mass when it is not.
A “clown mass.” There are many heretical priests who partake of these “things,” which are blasphemous farces. These “masses” are neither valid nor have any good to them, but are a sign of the decrepit state which the Church is facing today.
Catholic.com has an excellent article about the validity of a mass, and it identifies three points that must be present, for if any one of them is missing, the mass is not valid:
-Right intention. This means the priest has to actually intend to say the mass and consecrate the Eucharist. While a priest is supposed to believe that Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ because it is, over 60% of American Catholics do not believe this. I cannot speak for priests, but if the state of the people is any indication, then it is likely there are many priests who do not believe and likewise do not intend to consecrate at mass. This speaks to the reason why it is very important that when going to mass that one finds a priest who is reverent and cares for the sacredness of his office. This is not so much a problem with priests who celebrate the Latin mass or who are members of the SSPX, but can be an issue with priests who celebrate the contemporary for of the mass that has been used since the 1960s, called the Novus Ordo.
Because this matter deals with individual temperaments, it is less of an issue that one would need to corrupt in an institutional sense. The best way to remedy this problem is to find a faithful priest.
-Correct matter. This means using the proper bread and wine during mass, not Welch’s 100% Grape Juice in little plastic cups and Wonder Bread cubes that are thrown into the garbage like cocktail hors d’ouvres after “services.” If this is taking place, then its clear the priest doesn’t believe, and goes back to the first issue. This is an individual consideration, not an institutional one.
-Proper form. This means celebrating the mass in its proper order. This is where the corruption can take place because one can invalidate the consecration of the Eucharist as well as the entire sacrifice by using an improper form, either by direct choice or by deception into thinking that a valid mass is being celebrated when it really is not.
Now this might seem as an “obsession” about the mass, but it is an obsession worth obsessing over, because it is at the mass that Christ instituted at the last supper that the Eucharist becomes Christ- body, blood, soul and divinity. The reason for the mass is the Eucharist, and without a valid mass there is no valid Eucharist. To deny the Eucharist is to spiritually starve oneself to spiritual death. Therefore, the question of validity is a matter of life and death to a Christian.
The reason for mass.
As I alluded to above, there has been a TREMENDOUS amount of controversy since Vatican Council II in the 1960s about the validity of the mass. This would seem to be merely an internal conflict, but its strikes to the heart of the Church because without the Mass, there is no Christ, and if that is the case, the mass is no different than just a guy preaching with some music playing. In other words, it is the difference between the Catholic Faith and all heresies throughout Church history, from the Nicolaitans to the Protestants and all in between or who may come after. But more than just the difference between truth and heresy, the proper form of the mass or not is the difference between either severely reducing or shutting off the flow of God’s grace to the world.
Make no mistake, it is error to say that the current form of most Catholic masses, called the Novus Ordo (N.O.) is invalid, because it clearly most are since they meet the three requirements listed above. The problem with the Novus Ordo is that it is a stripped down version of the Latin Mass that is susceptible to error, misinterpretation, and ultimately provides for a reduced flow of God’s grace in a way that Latin mass is not. Dr. Peter Kwasiniewski, writing for the Catholic Blog One Peter Five, elaborates on this in an article about the mass, noting how this is the mass which formed countless saints for centuries, was the mass of the Crusaders, and converted countless men to the true Faith, standing as a and often times the only bulwark for centuries amidst social and political turmoil:
If we take a conservative estimate and consider the Roman Mass to have been codified by the reign of Pope St. Gregory the Great (ca. 600) and to have lasted intact until 1970, we are talking about close to 1,400 years of the life of the Church—and that’s most of her history of saints. The prayers, readings, and chants that they heard and pondered will be the ones you hear and ponder.
For this is the Mass that St. Gregory the Great inherited, developed, and solidified. This is the Mass that St. Thomas Aquinas celebrated, lovingly wrote about, and contributed to (he composed the Mass Propers and Office for the Feast of Corpus Christi). This is the Mass that St. Louis IX, the crusader king of France, attended three times a day. This is the Mass that St. Philip Neri had to distract himself from before he celebrated it because it so easily sent him into ecstasies that lasted for hours. This is the Mass that was first celebrated on the shores of America by Spanish and French missionaries, such as the North American Martyrs. This is the Mass that priests said secretly in England and Ireland during the dark days of persecution, and this is the Mass that Blessed Miguel Pro risked his life to celebrate before being captured and martyred by the Mexican government. This is the Mass that Blessed John Henry Newman said he would celebrate every waking moment of his life if he could. This is the Mass that the Fr. Frederick Faber called “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven.” This is the Mass that Fr. Damien of Molokai celebrated with leprous hands in the church he had built and painted himself. This is the Mass during which St. Edith Stein, who was later to die in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, became completely enraptured. This is the Mass that great artists such as Evelyn Waugh, David Jones, and Graham Greene loved so much that they lamented its loss with sorrow and alarm. This is the Mass so widely respected that even non-Catholics such as Agatha Christie and Iris Murdoch came to its defense in the 1970s. This is the Mass that St. Padre Pio insisted on celebrating until his death in 1968, after the liturgical apparatchiks had begun to mess with the missal (and this was a man who knew a thing or two about the secrets of sanctity).
The classical Roman rite has an obvious theocentric and Christocentric orientation, found both in the ad orientem stance of the priest and in the rich texts of the classical Roman Missal itself, which give far greater emphasis to the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice of Our Lord upon the Cross. As Dr. Lauren Pristas has shown, the prayers of the new Missal are often watered-down in their expression of dogma and ascetical doctrine, whereas the prayers of the old Missal are unambiguously and uncompromisingly Catholic. It is the real McCoy, the pure font, not something cobbled together by “experts” for “modern man” and adjusted to his preferences. More and more Catholic pastors and scholars are acknowledging how badly rushed and botched were the liturgical reforms of the 1960s. This has left us with a confusingly messy situation for which the reformed liturgy itself is totally ill-equipped to provide a solution, with its plethora of options, its minimalist rubrics, its vulnerability to manipulative “presiders,” and its manifest discontinuity with at least fourteen centuries of Roman Catholic worship—a discontinuity powerfully displayed in the matter of language, since the old Mass whispers and sings in the Western Church’s holy mother tongue, Latin, while the new Mass has awkwardly mingled itself with the ever-changing vernaculars of the world. (source)
Any person who has been a Catholic and lived through the transition from the Mass as it was said for centuries until the abrupt post-Vatican II changes will note the massive changes that happened. There has also been a notable, measurable, exponential decline that can be directly correlated with Vatican II.
In all fairness, it must be noted that there were many problems existing in the Church leading up to Vatican II, and there was a looming decline in the Church. While many people attended, much of it, especially in the United States and Europe, was or was becoming something of cultural practice instead of actual belief. There were many people who were in the churches but did not understand what they believed even in fundamental ways. However, these are not problems uncommon to the Church from history. Indeed, there is likely a not a problem that has not existed among the human race that has not been found in the Church and in the worst possible form. Yet this is the miracle of the Catholic Faith, since the Church is the only institution which has survived since antiquity, seeing the rise and fall of empires, civilizations, and entire peoples, all the while often times being managed in the most inefficient way possible by the most incompetent and unqualified of people and undergoing the worst crises one could conceive of, yet still managing to survive, recover, and grow through and beyond them in ways that no human organization ever could manage to do. It is a testament to the words of Christ is sacred scripture that:
And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. -Matthew 16:17-20
The issue here is not whether the church will survive or not, because God Himself will see to it that She will. The question here is rather that which Jesus Himself asked his disciples:
I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” -Luke 18:8
The Three Seers of Fatima- Lucia dos Santos, Francisco Marto, and Jacinta Marto. The Most Holy Virgin revealed to them three secrets, and the revelations, which are officially recognized by the Catholic Church, are regarded formally as some of the most important visions of Our Lady for our times and history.
The precipitous and really, historic decline of the Catholic Faith that we are seeing take place becomes even more alarming when juxtaposed against the revelations of Fatima, and in particular the Third Secret, of which there is much controversy over because there is a tremendous amount of questions over whether or not it has been completely revealed, to which the growing questions are met with silence from Church authorities.
“As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests.”
“The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.
“The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them” (source)
However, there may be even more that is not being said. In an article from the Catholic Traditionalist website One Peter Five, noting that part of the message involves a “bad council” and a “bad mass”:
Today, on the Feast of Pentecost, I called Fr. Ingo Dollinger, a German priest and former professor of theology in Brasil, who is now quite elderly and physically weak. He has been a personal friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for many years. Father Dollinger unexpectedly confirmed over the phone the following facts:
Not long after the June 2000 publication of the Third Secret of Fatima by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told Fr. Dollinger during an in-person conversation that there is still a part of the Third Secret that they have not published! “There is more than what we published,” Ratzinger said. He also told Dollinger that the published part of the Secret is authentic and that the unpublished part of the Secret speaks about “a bad council and a bad Mass” that was to come in the near future.
Father Dollinger gave me permission to publish these facts on this High Feast of the Holy Ghost and he gave me his blessing. (source)
It is of note that Sr. Lucia dos Santos, one of the Fatima visionaries, explicitly stated that the Third Secret was to be revealed publicly no later than 1960, especially considering that Vatican II happened a mere two years later:
It was under the direct order of her bishop and, with the assistance of Our Lady, that Sister Lucy dos Santos wrote the third part of the Secret down on January 2, 1944. Speaking to Sister Lucy, the Queen of Heaven told her that it was God’s Will that she commit the Secret to paper and entrust it to her bishop and, through him, to Pope Pius XII. At that time, the Blessed Virgin also indicated that this part of the Secret was to be revealed to the Faithful no later than 1960.
Upon learning that her bishop was unwilling to open the envelope containing the Secret, Sister Lucy “made him promise,” in the words of Canon Galamba, “that the Third Secret would be opened and read to the world upon her death or in 1960, whichever would happen first.” If her bishop died first, it was agreed that the Secret would be confided to the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon. Despite this agreement, the Secret was, in fact, delivered to the Vatican where it has remained undisclosed to the public for over fifty years.
Since 1960 when, after reading the Secret, Pope John XXIII decided not to reveal the contents publicly, there has been growing speculation concerning what it contains. While in the past, speculation often identified the Secret with all sorts of cataclysms and disasters, more recent scholarship has indicated that it most likely concerns the widespread chaos, confusion and loss of faith that has gripped the Roman Catholic Church over the last three and a half decades. (source)
Again, I emphasize that I am not saying the Novus Ordo mass is in itself invalid. What I am stating is that there is a body of evidence which strongly indicate the decline of the Faith and increasing abuses of the Faith from within the Church is tied to the changes made at Vatican II that have been warned about by numerous people and per the Fatima messages are also including from God Himself.
Since Vatican II, the common understanding was that the “old mass” (as some called it) was banned, and this view was promoted by many bishops, who took extraordinary measures to insure the traditional mass was not said. However, some priests insisted it was not, noting that it was never banned and that it could not be banned based on Catholic Tradition itself. Such was the impetus for the formation of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) who continued to say the traditional mass (and are not to be confused with the Society of St. Pius V (SSPV), who are sedevacantist heretics) on the basis of this argument, maintaining they were neither heretics nor schismatics, but simply continuing in the tradition of the Church as it always was.
In 2007, a long needed clarification came from Pope Benedict XVI, who said, echoing the position of the SSPX and in direct opposition to those who said the “old mass” was banned, said that both forms of the mass were permitted:
In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions – the liturgical reform – is being called into question.
This fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two Rites”. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.
As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted. At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal. Probably it was thought that it would be a matter of a few individual cases which would be resolved, case by case, on the local level. Afterwards, however, it soon became apparent that a good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood. This was especially the case in countries where the liturgical movement had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier Form of the liturgical celebration. We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level. Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them.
There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place. Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness. (source)
In the following decade since this clarification, there has been a tremendous growth in the popularity and prevalence of the Latin mass worldwide as well as within the SSPX. However, there is talk coming from the Vatican that Pope Francis and his associates are directly looking at attempting to reverse the work done by Pope Benedict, possibly going so far as to expressly (and illegally) forbid the saying of the Latin mass:
Sources inside the Vatican suggest that Pope Francis aims to end Pope Benedict XVI’s universal permission for priests to say the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), also known as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. While the course of action would be in tune with Pope Francis’ repeatedly expressed disdain for the TLM especially among young people, there has been no open discussion of it to date.
Sources in Rome told LifeSite last week that liberal prelates inside the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith were overheard discussing a plan ascribed to the Pope to do away with Pope Benedict’s famous document that gave priests freedom to offer the ancient rite of the Mass.
The overheard plans are nearly identical to comments from an important Italian liturgist in an interview published by France’s La Croix earlier this month. Andrea Grillo a lay professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St Anselmo in Rome, billed by La Croix as “close to the Pope,” is intimately familiar Summorum Pontificum. Grillo in fact published a book against Summorum Pontificum before the papal document was even released.
Grillo told La Croix that Francis is considering abolishing Summorum Pontificum. According to Grillo, once the Vatican erects the Society of Saint Pius X as a Personal Prelature, the Roman Rite will be preserved only within this structure. “But [Francis] will not do this as long as Benedict XVI is alive.”
The plan, as related to LifeSite, involved making an agreement with the Society of St. Pius X and, with that agreement in place, sequestering those Catholics wanting the TLM to the SSPX. For most, that would strip them of access to the TLM since there would not be nearly enough SSPX priests to service Catholics wanting the TLM worldwide.
Moreover, LifeSite’s source suggested that the plan may explain a May 20, 2017 letter by the recently ousted Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller. Even though Cardinal Müller wanted the SSPX fully reconciled to help fight modernists in the Church, the May 20 letter seemed to scuttle an agreement between Pope Francis and the SSPX which would see them get a personal prelature. The letter includes provisions long known to be completely unacceptable to the SSPX, thus nullifying an understanding SSPX leader Bishop Bernard Fellay believed was imminent.
The LifeSite source suggested that the May 20 letter by Muller perhaps was written because he knows what Francis was up to and wanted to avoid the plan to bury Summorum Pontificum with Pope Benedict. “It’s directed not so much against Fellay but against the agreement,” said the source. “Pope Francis was very angry that document came out from Cardinal Muller and some say that’s why he made the decision to dismiss him.” (source)
At the same time this is happening, there is an active move under way lead by Pope Francis himself and his colleagues to bring about a shared Eucharist with the Lutherans:
Pope Francis and the global Lutheran leader have jointly pledged to remove the obstacles to full unity between their Churches, leading eventually to shared Eucharist.
They made the commitment in a joint statement signed before a congregation of Catholic and Lutheran leaders at the conclusion of a joint service in Lund, Sweden, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation.
The statement was signed by Pope Francis and Bishop Munib Younan, who is president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which was founded in Lund in 1947. After they finished signing, the congregation stood for a long round of applause as the two leaders hugged each other.
The two leaders appeared to single out married couples where one partner is Catholic and the other Lutheran. “Many members of our communities yearn to receive the Eucharist at one table, as the concrete expression of full unity,” they noted.
“We experience the pain of those who share their whole lives, but cannot share God’s redeeming presence at the Eucharistic table,” they said, adding: “We acknowledge our joint pastoral responsibility to respond to the spiritual thirst and hunger of our people to be one in Christ.”
“We long for this wound in the Body of Christ to be healed,” they continued. “This is the goal of our ecumenical endeavors, which we wish to advance, also by renewing our commitment to theological dialogue.”
In their statement, the leaders acknowledged that “Lutherans and Catholics have wounded the visible unity of the Church.”
“Theological differences were accompanied by prejudice and conflicts, and religion was instrumentalized for political ends,” they said, adding later: “Today, we hear God’s command to set aside all conflict. We recognize that we are freed by grace to move towards the communion to which God continually calls us.”
As well as pledging to work towards intercommunion, the leaders prayed that Catholics and Lutherans will be able to witness together to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and work for justice and peace.
“We urge Lutherans and Catholics to work together to welcome the stranger, to come to the aid of those forced to flee because of war and persecution, and to defend the rights of refugees and those who seek asylum,” they said, adding that their “joint service” must also extend to God’s creation. (source)
Interfaith relations with the goal of bringing heretics into full conversion and reconciliation with the Catholic Church is imperative. However, as this article notes, this is not about actual reconciliation, but rather an intercommunion- with the Lutherans remaining separate from the Church and still persisting in their current beliefs. This remains consistent with Francis’ stated view that people should not proselytize, i.e. actually convert people, but allow them tor remain along their own paths:
It’s fair to ask what kind of Catholic Church we as Evangelicals want to see. At lunch I asked Pope Francis what his heart was for evangelism. He smiled, knowing what was behind my question and comment was, “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. I want people to find Jesus in their own community. There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.” (source)
The abundant lack of clarification coming from Rome in combination with a consistent pattern of openly self-contradicting, vague, and highly questionable statements and actions coming from Francis and his supporters on many issues make both the intercommunion issue with Protestants and the seeming disdain Francis has for the Latin mass all the more serious. Latin mass or not aside, the simple fact is that the Lutherans or any other Protestant, barring formal readmission to the Catholic Church either as as separate rite (such as the case with the Anglican Communion in the Catholic Church) or by reception into the Roman Rite cannot receive communion because the Lutherans do not believe that the Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ and as such do not have a valid mass. To say that a person who denies the Real Presence in the Eucharist could receive the Bread of Life is either (a) to desecrate the Eucharist and commit open blasphemy or (b) to formally not consecrate the Eucharist and reduce it to a mere symbol, and thus at the same time invalidate the pass because the consecration of the Eucharist is the essential part of the mass.
Daniel 9:27 notes that as part of its rise to power, the antichrist will stop the grain offering, which is the prefigurement of the Eucharist:
He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place[f] shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator.
Am I saying that Pope Francis is the antichrist? No.
Am I saying that Pope Francis is directly working to bring about rise of the antichrist? No.
Am I saying that the Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon? No.
I am saying that Pope Francis actions toward the Latin mass and intercommunion, in light of Catholic teaching and whether he intends them to or not, may result in the creation of conditions favorable to the rise of the antichrist.
Right now, the Catholic Church is in poor condition worldwide, caused by a historic apostasy that has been going on for almost 60 years directly following Vatican II and amidst many warning signs that a change would cause disastrous results, particularly concerning the mass. The Church is facing massive persecution from without worldwide, especially in areas that were once considered ancient lands of Christendom. She is also facing massive persecution from within, as due to decades of poor catechesis, bad leadership, and a lack of faith the “faithful” are for the most part a group of baptized pagans declining in number and with a poor understanding of what the Faith teaches (this does not include the 60%+ of “Catholics” worldwide who are Catholic in name only). While the Church will never fail because Christ said she would not, what holds the faithful together is really the graces which flow from the mass and in particular through the Eucharist.
Again, if a change to the Novus Order mass in its current state is made so to allow for intercommunion with the Lutherans, than barring their clear conversion and acceptance of the Faith the Eucharist will either be illegally permitted to be desecrated or simply not consecrated at all. Both are terrible options, but the latter is the more likely, and would immediately invalidate the mass, as it would stop the “grain offering” for the majority of “masses” said around the world. As far as Catholics who persist in saying the Traditional mass, they would be immediately “ghettoized” as a rejected, scorned minority in the walls of the Church and possibly charged with false claims of heresy for their actions.
I am not saying this will happen, but neither am I saying it will not. I am saying that the warning signs are clear, present, and under the administration of the current pope, who has made countless dubious statements and refuses to answer simple and legitimate theological questions posed about his stances on matters of faith and morals, there is much to be concerned about.
What happens at mass
Ultimately, the Mass is the big target because through it flow the graces which as the saints say sustain the entire world, and are naturally more important than even the Sun itself. It would not need be entirely extinguished either, but simply suppressed enough over a large enough segment of the world that the supply of grace is cut off to such an extent that, using the example I gave earlier of a water supply, house, and the pipes that bring the water to the house, the water supply flow is so reduced that it cannot stop a fire should one start. As we have been warning, the greatest persecution of Christians in history is not behind us. It is ahead of us. It will come from the enemies of the Church from without, but also from those apostates within. We have been aggressively warning that Christians need to prepare themselves now, and if need be to move to safe areas while there is still time.
Keep your eyes on the state of the mass, because if “intercommunion” without conversion is allowed by the Pope in combination with the suppression of the Latin mass, then he will have cut off the flow of the greater part of God’s grace to the world as He designed it to flow and will have made himself either by accident or action a tool of the antichrist.