Echoes of the Resistance
Book review of Reasons for Resistance: The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church Speaks
on the Post-Vatican II Crisis, by Jason A. Roberts
Jacksonville, FL: Queen of Martyrs Press, 2011, 71 pp.
There is an interesting small book circulating in traditionalist circles that was written by Jason A. Roberts; it is entitled Reasons for Resistance: The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church Speaks on the Post-Vatican II Crisis. This booklet contains a five page Introduction, 10 pages profiling those who will be quoted (Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and priests, and documents issued by ecclesiastical bodies), 36 pages of quotes concerning problems with the post-conciliar liturgy and Vatican II and, finally, a nine page conclusion followed by eight pages of endnotes giving quote sources.
The primary goal of Reasons for Resistance is to demonstrate to Novus Ordo Catholics that – according to the Hierarchy itself - all is not well with the New Liturgy and the teachings of Vatican II. I believe this primary goal is achieved. The quotes, which can also be found in larger and more complete studies, are sufficient in quantity and quality to make one at least question the Council and its fruits.
In this way Roberts’ work provides good reasons, as the title states, to refute those who question or oppose the traditionalist position. Problems, difficulties, concerns and objections are affirmed by some of the highest members of the Catholic Hierarchy: “What is presented here are quotes which articulate the arguments against a univocal acceptance of the Second Vatican Council, the New Order of Mass and the other post-conciliar sacramental rites by clergymen (often among the highest-ranking of the Church) who are either in or have died in ‘good standing’ with Rome.” (p. 4).
Roberts politely assumes that many Novus Ordo Catholics may not know of those arguments presented by the Catholic Hierarchy against Vatican II and its fruits: “It may come as a surprise to many that the reasons why traditional Catholics hold the positions that they do have already been articulated by the Church’s own Hierarchs as they offer assessments of the Second Vatican Council and its effects. Many of the voices of opposition and criticism of the Council, its ‘spirit’ and its new liturgical practices which were imposed upon the faithful have come from within the Church. Indeed, these voices are often heard directly from or very near those who have occupied St. Peter’s Chair.” (p. 3).
Then, armed with these quotes, in an attempt to “turn the tables”, Roberts affirms that, in truth, it is the traditionalists who are listening to the Hierarchy by not running head-long and univocally toward Vatican II and its novelties: “They [traditionalists] assert that they are faithful Catholics precisely because they have been listening to and believing the words of the post-conciliar Church’s Hierarchy when they raise objections to the changes that the Second Vatican Council ushered in.” (p. 4).
Catholics are getting tired of Vatican II novelties
Another interesting point raised is that these quotes come from sources that are not always traditionalist: “What must be specified is that those quoted herein do not necessarily brand themselves as ‘traditionalists’. Nevertheless, their words are not insignificant or irrelevant in light of the post-conciliar era wherein the Church at times appears to be a house divided against itself.” (p. 4).
Some sample quotes follow:
Pros and Cons
- “We can say the theological correctness of the Tridentine Mass corresponds with the theological incorrectness of the Vatican II Mass.” (Cardinal Stickler, p. 29)
- “If the Church were not divine this Council (Vatican II) would have buried it.” (Cardinal Siri, p. 50.)
- “The schema of the Liturgy proposes confusion and complication. If it is adopted, it would be an immediate scandal for our people. … Changes are not needed.” (Cardinal McIntyre, p. 35)
- “Vatican II is the French Revolution in the Church. … One cannot understand the French or the Russian revolutions unless one knows something of the old regimes which they brought to an end. … It is the same in Church affairs: a reaction can only be judged in relation to the state of things that preceded it…” (Cardinal Suenens, p. 49.)
As is common in small works, this book is not very thorough in its analysis. In fact, it does not pretend to be a conclusive study: “This work is not intended to be a comprehensive treatment of the challenges faced by the Catholic Church since the inauguration of the Second Vatican Council. There have been many fine works published in the past that treat of such matters, and undoubtedly there will be more to come as the long-lasting impact of the Council progresses.” (p. 4). I agree. Case in point is the 11-volume series (Eli, Eli, Lamma Sabbactani) on the Second Vatican Council authored by Atila S. Guimaraes. Seven volumes have been published to date, four more volumes are to come.
I disagree with the Author when he tries to save the Council suggesting that “statements of rupture in the Council documents are to be struck and denounced, and those statements which are … ambiguous in regards to pre-conciliar Catholic theology must be defined in the light of Catholic Tradition.” (p. 41). I do not believe that ambiguity can or should be saved. For the sake of the Church and the purity of her doctrine, Vatican II with its murky waters must go.
Also, perhaps due to its brevity, there are some aspects of Reasons for Resistance that could mislead the faithful. By presenting quotes from progressivists such as Card. Suenens and Card. Ratzinger without making any reservations, one could receive the false impression that these men are at depth opposed to Vatican II and its changes. This is certainly not the case. The truth is that these men are the ones principally responsible and culpable for the crisis in the Church; their admission of some mistakes in the Council or in its fruits often contradicts what they affirmed on other occasions favoring those mistakes.
Ratzinger: The Tridentine Mass is a "dead liturgy"
For instance, Bishop Edward J. Slattery says: “Even before his election as the successor to St. Peter, Pope Benedict has been urging us to draw upon the ancient liturgical practice of the Church to recover a more authentic Catholic worship. For this reason, I have restored the venerable ad orientem position when I celebrate Mass at the Cathedral” (p. 30). That quote can lead one to think that Joseph Ratzinger was always favorable to the “ancient liturgy.” This is not objective, Fr. Ratzinger defined the Tridentine Mass as a “dead liturgy,” as it can be read here. Thus, the message of Reasons for Resistance at times misleads the reader.
Notwithstanding, I find Roberts’ idea of creating a small pocket book with selected quotes that arm traditionalists to be a good one. We need a full arsenal of works focusing on this or that aspect of the Conciliar Revolution in this time of crisis. I encourage this young writer to continue in the effort to fight against Progressivism and to build the Reign of Mary.
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