When you get your copy of THE GREAT FACADE with its hundreds of new pages by Chris Ferrara, you're most likely to turn to the up-to-the-minute relevant chapters at the end. With such a book, ones instinct can be to read it from the back ... as if it were Hebrew ... But, if you haven't 'done' the original 2002 chapters, you might miss one of their important themes. It is Chris Ferrara's dispute with the people he calls 'neo-Catholics'. Neo-Catholicism "is the idea that with the advent of the Second Vatican Council a new sort of orthodoxy suddenly arose in the Church - an orthodoxy stripped of any link to ecclesiastical traditions once considered an untouchable sacred trust. It is the idea that by virtue of Vatican II the Church has, in some manner never clearly explained, progressed beyond what she was before the Council to a new mode of existence, and that this progression requires an assent on the part of the faithful that is somehow different from the assent required to the constant teaching of all the previous councils and popes ... in essence, whatever the Pope says or does in the exercise of his office is ipso facto 'traditional' and incontestable by the Pope's subjects."
Neo-Catholicism often has an attractive face. The producers of the bulletin Adoremus resist the banalisation of the Ordinary Form and its corruption by clergy who ignore its rubrics and introduce illegal vulgarities. They would (like George Wegel) praise S John Paul II for what he may have achieved by way of resoration. They can, indeed, be seen as a bulwark against those who would drag the Church further to the 'left'. I recognise it as very much what we, the incoming Ordinariate clergy, received as 'priestly formation'. It was heavily based upon the scrutiny of the documents of Vatican II and the formally Magisterial documents of S John Paul II. The Scriptures, the Fathers, S Thomas, Trent, Vatican I, the documents of the popes between B Pius IX and S John XXIII, either were conspicuous by their absence or were glimpsed only through the prism of the Council and the conciliar Popes. But, for those of us who had imbibed (what Cardinal Manning condemned when he thought he discerned it in Newman) the old Oxford, literary, Patristic tone, it seemed an alien world. I kept my head down ... except when a particular lecturer accused a doctrine contained in one of Blessed John Henry Newman's favourite texts, the 'Athanasian Creed', of being "heretical".
The Great Facade enjoyably exposes the problems to which neo-Catholics fall victim. They are constantly at risk of finding that a rug ... or quite a lot of rugs ... have been pulled from under their feet. Poor Michael Voris used to do a fantastic job of explaing why the Maundy Thursday footwashing is confined to males. He was fearless in exposing the antics of members of the American episcopate. Until, that is, Papa Bergoglo himself performed what Voris had previously characterised as "a grave abuse" ... when Voris instantly fell silent on the subject. Having been left looking silly as Papa Bergoglio outflanked him on the 'left', he even got left with egg dripping from his face when our Holy Father proceeded to outflank him on the 'right': Voris had dutifully promoted the view that the SSPX are in schism, but was hung out to dry when the Roman Pontiff conceded that its presbyters could validly and licitly absolve, at least during the 'Year of Mercy'.
Yes ... there's a lot of fun in THE GREAT FACADE The Regime of Novelty in the Catholic Church from Vatican II to the Francis Revolution SECOND EDITION by Christopher A Ferrara and Thomas E Woods, Jr.. Angelico Press.