If You Love the Latin Mass…

…so much so that you would rather attend a Latin Mass held by an heretical and schismatic group, such as the SSPX, than a Mass in the Novus Ordo in your own diocese and parish, then you are not a faithful Catholic Christian. You have in fact already departed from the Catholic Faith by heresy and schism. And you are committing an objective mortal sin by rejecting the Mass of the Church, and Her authority from Christ to determine the form of the Mass. Who set you up as a judge over the Church, to judge and condemn Her decisions on the form of the Mass?

Here is an example of one such poor lost soul. Unfortunately, Fr. Z. failed to correct his grave error, instead sending him into the arms of heretics and schismatics. The vast majority of Christians do not realize how grievous the sins of heresy and schism are in the eyes of Jesus and Mary, and how severe will be the punishment of those sins in Purgatory or in Hell — for those who commit the sins, and for those who lead poor little souls into those sins.

{18:4} Therefore, whoever will have humbled himself like this little child, such a one is greater in the kingdom of heaven.
{18:5} And whoever shall accept one such little child in my name, accepts me.
{18:6} But whoever will have led astray one of these little ones, who trust in me, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck, and to be submerged in the depths of the sea.

The leaders of the SSPX have decided that their own understanding of Sacred Tradition is infallible, and that an Ecumenical Council and every Pope since that time, with the Bishops united to them, have all erred and gone astray. The SSPX has decided that they have the authority and ability to decided what is and is not of Sacred Tradition, to such an extreme degree that they would reject the Magisterium, and replace it with their own judgment.

And many conservative Catholics have done nearly the same thing, judging and condemning Vatican II — or at least denigrating the Council will all manner of disparaging and condescending remarks. And they speak the same way toward any decision or teaching of the Church, and any remark by the Pope, that does not agree with their own thoughts.

As for the Latin Mass, Pope Francis was right that certain conservatives are using the Vetus Ordo (the Old Order, i.e. the Latin Mass) in a way that does harm. Pope Francis said: “What is worrying, though, is the risk of the ideologization of the Vetus Ordo, its exploitation.” (Source)

I’ve seen this many times on the far right among Catholics. They use The Latin Mass as a banner to wave. They use a set of conservative elements in worship in order to separate themselves from the rest of the Church. They use TLM and Communion only on the tongue while kneeling, and the idea that the priest should face the altar during Mass, and many other points of exterior form, as if these identified those who are most faithful in the Church.

They speak as if the exterior act of attending one particular version of the Mass made them better Catholics than everyone else. They say, correctly, that the Jews were not saved by following the exterior precepts of the Old Covenant disciplines. But then they exalt the conservative version of the New Covenant disciplines as if these could save.

What they don’t seem to realize is that, even if you control every point of form in the Mass, so that the whole Catholic world worships in exactly the same way, exteriorly, the people will still have the same sins. This excessive focus on exterior form is Pharisaism: the exaltation of exterior acts above the eternal moral law and above the love of God and neighbor.

But certain persons among these ultraconservatives have gained a large audience, much influence, and money by turning the older form of the Mass into the basis for a pseudo-political subdivision within the Church. They use elements of conservatism to attract an audience, to separate them from the rest of the flock, and to convince them to listen only to conservative voices in the Church. They obtain a large audience by telling the most conservative members of the Church what they want to hear. And TLM is exploited by them as a way to draw an audience, obtain their acceptance, and lead them away from the rest of the Church. It is a type of exploitation.

If any Catholic is upset by certain errors found among liberal priests, religious, and theologians, these leaders sell them on the idea that the solution to all these problems is found in becoming thoroughly conservative. They speak as if all liberals have gone astray, and as if the correct answer to every theological question must be the conservative answer.

It pains me to see souls being led astray by certain Catholic leaders, who exploit the conservative Catholic subculture by promoting the Latin Mass, ranting against liberals, and hitting all the conservative talking points.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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