3 March 2022

Pope Francis attacks the Holy English Martyrs

Reading the Scriptures at Mass in a non-vernacular language is, according to our Holy Father, "like laughing at the Word of God". 

I find this a remarkable insult to hurl at our English Martyrs. 

It is a good thing that, some years ago now, after reading S John Henry Newman on the Suspense of the function of the Ecclesia docens, I concluded that we must now be in precisely just such a period of Suspense. I cannot see how else one can fit PF into any sort of Catholic Ecclesiology.

The earliest of the English Martyrs were attached to the Sarum Rite ... not really, Fortescue explains, a 'Rite' but a dialect of the Roman Rite. S John Fisher ... the Holy Carthusian Martyrs ... John Forest ... the blessed Benedictine Abbots ... Blessed Thomas Plumtree who restored the Sarum Rite to Durham Cathedral ... layfolk such as the glorious yokels martyred in the South West and Oxfordshire, and the Lord Chancellor and Cardinal Pole's martyred mother and Thomas Percy Earl of Northumberland. (There is still a sweet little stained-glass window of him in the former, 1820s, Catholic Church in Alnwick, beneath the shadow of his castle. Secularised, the church is now a museum.)

And the readings in the Sarum Rite were not done in the vernacular.

Those martyrs were "laughing at the Word of God"!

Then, in 1576 at Douay, they started to teach the young men the 'Tridentine' Rite ... young men whom S Philip Neri addressed in the streets of Rome with the words Salvete flores martyrum. The last beatified martyrs were Fr Thomas Thweng and William Howard, Viscount Stafford, condemned for "the Plot" in 1680.

And the readings in the Tridentine Rite were not done in the vernacular.

They, too, were "laughing at the Word of God".

I wonder if it will ever occur to this obsessed person to apologise for his campaign of hatred against Catholic worship; against so many holy priests who have used the Authentic Form of the Roman Rite, including our Martyrs.

So many heroic lives; so much blood.

And all, we are taught by the Summus Fidei Magister, so that those martyrs could "laugh at the Word of God".



Expeditus said...

Laughing at the Word of God is something that could be attributed, alas, to many translations. That is why I am not comfortable with the extravagant claims often made for Lectio divina. Better to stick with the original languages!

Catherina of Siena said...

This is a quite astonishing thing to say, even for this Pope. One sometimes wonder if his mind is starting to deteriorate seriously now. After all, he is not exactly young anymore. (Also, on the other hand, not very old...)

Prayerful said...

It is the custom of people of the Spirit of V2 tendenz (leftist generally too) to attack people, to accuse them of what they themselves are guilty of. The Pater Noster has had a theologically illiterate translation in Italian thanks to Pope Francis, who tolerates and protects those engaged in sacrilege. I speak of disrespectful NOMs, not the abomination of desolation which was placing a symbol of the new age demon pachamama (lower case in deliberte) on an altar in St Peter's basilica or the worship given to an idol of that demon in the Sistine gardens.

Matthew F Kluk said...

The Pope who changes Our Lord's words in the Our Father has no problem laughing at or mocking anyone or anything. Let us keep reminding ourselves and him that the bell will soon be tolling on his life and pontificate.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. I almost become inured to his haughty hatred because I suspect many of his complaints are psychological projection but that is really no comfort because it is my faith he finds frivolous when not fetid.

In the Light of the Law "A canonical primer on popes and heresy" is an excellent production that I have to read and re-read to lead me away from an emotive response to what this Pope says and does.

Keep Calm and Catholic on.

Dad of Six said...

I am personally praying the Litany of the 40 Martyrs for the removal of recent restrictions on Vetus Ordo. This was a timely blogpost; I pray for PF daily.

frjustin said...

"Reading the Scriptures at Mass in a non-vernacular language is, according to our Holy Father, 'like laughing at the Word of God'. I find this a remarkable insult to hurl at our English Martyrs."

Not to mention at every Eastern-rite Church in communion with Rome, as well as at the papal Magisterium of Pope Adrian II (867-872), who gave St Methodius authorisation to use the Slavonic Liturgy.[Đorđe Radojičić (1971). Živan Milisavac (ed.). Jugoslovenski književni leksikon [Yugoslav Literary Lexicon] (in Serbo-Croatian)]

St Methodius was ordained as priest by the pope himself, and five Slavic disciples were ordained as priests. The newly made priests officiated in their own languages at the altars of some of the principal churches.

frjustin said...

To be clear, I meant that the Russian liturgy, for example, has always been celebrated in Church Slavonic, which is not the vernacular of modern Russia. Nor is the Greek Orthodox liturgy celebrated in koine Greek, which is not the vernacular of modern Greece.

coradcorloquitur said...

One more---among many---heart-rending insult from the one who is ostensibly our common father. If he is a father, Francis is certainly an abusive one; or one in sore need of a psychiatrist (the latter has been my theory from the beginning of this pontificate, and a more charitable one among the other options, I think). Your ecclesiology, dear Father Hunwicke, cannot be poor Francis's given that you are a Catholic and he does not seem to be one. I have never in my seven decades of life encountered anyone in a position of authority so filled with gratuitous hatred or with a more uncouth manner of expressing it. It is truly astonishing. And just for the papolators out there (should any be left after the traumatic last seven or eight years): I do pray for Francis---for his spiritual, mental and physical health and, above all, for his conversion to orthodoxy and Catholic tradition. May God bless and help him.

Colin Spinks said...

But, surely laughter is exactly the correct response to the "God of surprises"? Also, one doesn't to go as far back as the English Martyrs; Canon 928: “The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out *in the Latin language* or in another language provided that the liturgical texts have been legitimately approved"; Sacrosanctum consilium 36: “Particular law remaining in force, the *use of the Latin language* is to be preserved in the Latin rites” S John Paul II: “The Roman Church has special obligations towards *Latin*, the splendid language of ancient Rome, and she must manifest them whenever the occasion presents itself” (Dominicae Cenae, 10). "The Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting therefore that the language it uses should be noble, majestic and non-vernacular" Pope John XXIII, Canonised in 2013 by ... oh, now let me see...Pope Francis

Mary Kay said...

Powerful words, Father.

OreamnosAmericanus said...

I parted ways with the Church of Rome several decades ago, but as a lifelong student of religion I have followed developments along the way.

This pope is an unprecedented problem for Catholicism.

Even if the Church manages to right itself and survive in its ancient European homelands and her offshoots, how to make theological sense of Bergoglio The Discontinuous will be no easy task. No easy task.

If the much-ballyhooed Council of renewal and aggiornamento had NOT taken place and if the Roman Church had remained itself in the way that the Orthodox have done, I do not, cannot, know if the current Catholic collapse would have been avoided.

But I am pretty certain that the ethos of "the Church Effervescent", as an old priest called it, has done nothing to stop it and is very likely to have accelerated it.

All a part of the collapse of the entire Western world and the turning of all its elites against its most traditional people and realms, apart from which I do not think the tattered state of Rome, as embodied in this Peronist chaplain to the UN, can be understood. It is all immensely sad.

Greyman 82 said...

I've given up taking Bishop Bergoglio (as I now refer to him) of Rome seriously, I'm afraid. He is, in my view, unworthy of the office he holds and his words carry no authority with me. The sooner he vacates his position the sooner we can have a pope who respects Tradition and those Catholics devoted to it. Still, we have had popes for worse that Bishop Bergoglio over the centuries and the Church has survived. The present times of persecution of devotees of Tradition will pass.

kedwardrobinson said...

Bizarre as it undoubtedly is to even think it, the Holy Father is theologically (if one may so speak of him) a modern Liberal Protestant. This is not to judge him at all: it is merely a statement of the obvious. And it is especially apparent, perhaps, to those of us who have finally come to Catholicism through more than one protestant ecclesiology. It is characterised by a pick and choose attitude to Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition, always with an eye to what conforms most comfortably with the Zeitgeist.


Bernonensis said...

En verba idiotae
contra evangelium!
Francisce, rideo te
inimice fidelium.

armyarty said...

I wonder what PF the usurping pain in the as we go through life would make of the worship in the Temple of Jerusalem, which was certainly not in the vernacular language, but is where the Holy Family came on several occasions recorded in holy scripture. Indeed, the old liturgy of the temple formed the basis of the sacred liturgy itself.

Remember, too, that Our Blessed Lord was fulfilling prophesy when he drove the money changers from the temple: "Zeal for thy house hath consumed me" He came with a whip- something like a cat o' nine tails- and not with a reformed, vernacular liturgy. If using Hebrew instead of a Babel of commonly spoken languages was a mockery of God- then The Christ would have reacted with fury at it!

But, he did not.

Pope Francis has reduced Christianity to something almost Shakespearean, in that his version of salvation history comes down to being a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, and signifying nothing.

Matthew F Kluk said...

Well said.

John the Mad said...

I wonder if it will ever occur to this obsessed person to apologise for his campaign of hatred against Catholic worship..."

Barring divine grace in the form of a papal conversion I cannot see it happening.

Fr Edward said...

Newman was official accused of heresy on the matter of 'the suspense of the teaching office of the Church' during the Arian controversy. He maintained that for 56 years, between the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople, the only reliable indication of the judgement of the Magisterium of the Church lay solely with the 'consensus fidelium', and not from the mouth of the Pope or the established organs of the Church's teaching office. It was an outrageous claim to make, for good or ill.

He never really gave any clarification, and as usual the affair was appalling mismanaged by the Roman authorities. Still it was probably the thing that did him the most damage, and from which his career and charism never recovered, until made a Cardinal, and even then many were wary. So by the theory he gained; the Pope's personal displeasure, the reputation as "the most dangerous man in England", and a formal accusation of heresy.

This is after all an absolutely massive doctrinal assertion, and one which, as we see in our own times, has direct bearing on the the faith and lives of Christians. And, although I understand why it has been invoked in recent times, I wonder that without some magisterial guidance, it may be rather reckless and misleading to promote what may indeed be heresy.

Questions such as these are pertinent: When is a particular suspense declared? Who declares it? When does it cease? Is one free to pick and choose which statements are 'in suspense' and which are not by one's own participation in the 'consensus fidelium'? Who is in and who is out of the 'consensus fidelium'? Do we look to Rome, Econe, Oxford, The Tablet, The Latin Msss Magazine, The Angelus... for the thumbs up or thumbs down? And these need long answers, showing working out and references, not mere opinions and assertions.

Perhaps Newman's theory should be submitted to the CDF, before we pin all our hopes on it.
It would be extremely interesting to see the workings out of their conclusion, rather than a Yes/No response to a dubium. And imagine the fun if the Pope did approve it as 'sound' or at least as a doctrine suitable for pious ears.
Of course, if one doesn't like the response, I'm sure it can be faithfully set aside in good conscience, as simply more proof of the suspense of the teaching office of the Church. There's nothing to loose then, I guess... I hope.

John Vasc said...

Apart from PF's apparent inability to understand the Latin language that is the very root of his own two Romance 'vernaculars' - does he then also imagine that Catullus and Virgil are being mocked by being read in Latin? Does he for a moment grasp the concept of language?
Do we laugh in the face of Flaubert, Hugo, Proust, Zola, Goethe, Musil, Dante and yes, Beowulf too, unless we read them only in our rather debased contemporary Ingsoc 'vernacular'?
(Though truth to tell, I actually welcome such blatant idiocy, because it is so OTT that even the most bigoted modernists will begin to protest that their pudding is being far too over-egged to remain credible to the masses.)

Gaetano said...

At certain Papal Masses, the Gospel is chanted a second time in Greek. It is doubtful that many apart from the Greek deacon have any understanding of what is said.

This is not “laughing at God”. It has solid historical and theological foundations, and echoes the interdependence of the lex credendi and the lex orandi.

Furthermore, the chanting the Gospel in both Latin and Greek echoes of universality of the Catholic Church, even when the Liturgy is celebrated in a particular community. Indeed, it manifests a liturgical ecclesiology that recognizes the Bishop of Rome as the universal pastor.


Joe Stenson said...

Your statement that Pope Francis has "attacked the english martyrs" is False and you know it, Fr. Hunwicke. We are now going through a terrible war in Ukraine and the angry obsession of traditionalists with 'Bergoglio' continues unabated. I prefer listening to the Liturgy of the word in the vernacular, because I can understand what is said. The leader of the Ukrainian church in America appeared on EWTN 'The World Over'yesterday and was very pleased with pope Francis response to the Russian invasion, who called it 'diabolical',and went into the russian embassy to demand a stop to the atrocities. The Ukrainian bishops have asked this Pope to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart , I hope and pray that Francis does this soon, but even if he does the Consecration his critics will continue to attack him. Remember the 3rd secret of Fatima showed troops killing the Pope in Rome. Has it ever occurred to you Fr. Hunwicke that Francis could be the one ?

DP said...

The endless midlife-crises of elderly progressives would be amusing if they weren't running the show.

I will just add that "laughing at the Word of God" is a weird flex from a man who bowdlerized the text of the Our Father for the Italian Church and has no end of pique with the Lord's words about marriage.

Prayerful said...

PF had a stint in a diocesan seminary, which did not result in ordination, before studying to be a Jesuit. It might be a reasonable to surmise there is a hostility in him to Latin.

mwidunn said...

And, yet, Bl. Anthony Rosmini-Serbati described the situation of continuing to use a language for the Mass and Sacraments that people no longer understood as one of the "wounds" of the Church! Just sayin' . . .

motuproprio said...

Can I add to your list of martyrs our local ones, St Richard Reynolds, a Briggetine, and Blessed John Hailes, a parish priest, both of whom would only have used the Use of Sarum. They witnessed on the same scaffold as the Carthusian protomartyrs.

Joe Stenson said...

Last Christmas Pope Francis said the Mass in Latin at St. Peters. He has no hostility towards Latin, as many think. Recently he met with members of the Fraternity of St. Peter and said that the restrictions of TC did not apply to them. This Pope is sometimes too blunt and rough in his statements, granted. But there are bishops far too his left, like Marx, Parolin, and Hollerich (the worst). The Holy Spirit will never allow the Magisterium to be corrupted, in spite of bad bishops. +

DP said...

Let us know when he himself calls Russia's invasion an *invasion* and condemns Russian actions specifically.

It's only his flock being killed by Russian explosives, after all.

coradcorloquitur said...

"Amoris Letitia" plus innumerable false and corrupt pronouncements of Francis on planes, interviews, and sundry public venues (such as his recent affirmation that apostates, great public sinners, persecutors of the Church, et al are part of "the communion of the saints")already corrupt the ordinary Magisterium (if not the infallible one). But for some people the horrible reality we all face in the Church is too catastrophic to accept, so their cowardly and dishonest way of dealing with the destruction of the Church before their very eyes is to blame and calumniate the victimized orthodox Catholics---lay, clerical, and episcopal. Or blame it all on bad bishops---as if those bishops have not often been appointed by Francis and their heresies quietly tolerated by him. Those who refuse to defend the Church and Her Truth in order to defend Francis, for such is the cruel dichotomy Francis and other Modernists have created, will have much to answer for before the Eternal Judge.

armyarty said...

We should all keep in mind that PF delights in driving everyone crazy by saying things that he either does not mean or will shortly contradict. I also predict that he will say or do something extremely trad within the next few weeks. Because he has a pattern of being intentionally divisive and upsetting.

Two thoughts: First, the "vernacular" liturgy is an ersatz compilation of odds and ends, some of which are entirely new. In the name of being a means of creating unity with the Protestants, Paul VI allowed almost every point of continuity maintained by both Catholics and Protestants to be abolished. Everything from the calendar to the liturgy and every tradition or sacramental was scrutinized to determine if any of the pre-reformation custom was maintained by both Catholics and Protestants. If it provided any point of unity, then it was abolished. The same is true for any customs or practices that survive in popular culture. If the Epiphany is a popular holiday with Spanish speaking groups, the U.S. conference of Catholic Bishops will all agree to not observe it. So, hundreds of thousands of Catholics observe it, while being ignored by the Church. Lovers still do exchange presents on The Feast of Sts Cyril and Methodius, because, yes that is what JP II made out of St. Valentines Day. If it has popular appeal, or resonates, it has to go. Circumcision, anyone? No, apparently, the Novus Ordo Calander is adamantly NO-CIRC! Best replace it with a Marian feast. All the better to attract Protestants! Strange coming from the people who were so hostile to the Holy Rosary! JP II even "improved" it, something widely approved of by people who never say it.

My second thought is that you cannot expect that PF receives the same Divine Assistance as other popes, because he was the nominee of a faction that backed a palace coup. Being the Roman Pontiff does not suspend the operation of free will. If the current occupant of the office gets his jollies throwing around insults, crushing people he dislikes, spreading confusion and division, what do you expect? We just have to live with it, and pray for better times. I suppose that he receives about the same amount of grace being pope as an unmarries man gets being a father. How much is that?