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“The Mask Has Fallen”: Interview with Dr. Kwasniewski in Inside the Vatican
Rorate Caeli ^ | December 21, 2021 | Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

Posted on 12/21/2021 7:36:50 AM PST by ebb tide

“The Mask Has Fallen”: Interview with Dr. Kwasniewski in Inside the Vatican

The following interview appears in the January-February 2022 issue of Inside the Vatican magazine (reprinted here with publisher’s permission). The issue also features ITV’s annual “Top Ten People” of 2021, plus former Anglican archbishop and Catholic convert Gavin Ashenden on his embrace of Rome; Darrick Taylor reviewing Julia Meloni’s The St. Gallen Mafia; and Tad Wojcik on the prospects for ethical vaccines. Go to for information on subscribing.

Inside the Vatican: You have edited a substantial new book called From Benedict’s Peace to Francis’s War. Tell us what this book is all about, and how the idea came to you.

The motu proprio Traditionis Custodes and its accompanying letter prompted a worldwide flood of articulate and passionate responses, showing that the question of the Church’s relationship to her tradition—her duty to her own heritage and to the faithful who are sustained by it—is of vital importance for a broad segment of the faithful, even those who are not self-professed “trads.” As I scrambled to keep up with the reactions, the conviction grew in me that the best essays, articles, interviews, lectures, etc. should be gathered into a single volume for convenience and “for the record.” Already early in September Angelico Press approved the concept and I got down to work, selecting, collating, editing, annotating, and, of course, contacting authors and publishers for permission. It was what I like to call a “grad school project”: I was working on it night and day, so that it could be available as soon as possible.

What will the reader find in the book?

We set basically a two-month window: materials written in the period of two months after July 16, 2021. Most of the content was published already at dozens of different websites, but there are several substantial pieces, especially by Dr. Joseph Shaw, that appear in print for the first time (having been given as talks), a number of translations that also appear only in this anthology, and finally a number of fresh translations of articles that had been poorly served in their initial appearances. The final result was rather ambitious: seventy entries by forty-seven authors, including five cardinals (Brandmüller, Burke, Müller, Sarah, and Zen), three archbishops (Aguer, Gullickson, and Viganò), two bishops (Mutsaerts and Schneider), eight priests, two religious, and twenty-seven laymen, from twelve countries.

Their opinions range widely across the conservative and traditionalist spectrum (and there’s even a famous French atheist, Michel Onfray), but the common denominator is that all the contributors see Traditionis Custodes as an unwise, unjust, irreligious, and damaging move. I can confidently say that every argument against its fallacious reasoning, unorthodox theology, ecclesiological incoherence, pastoral insensitivity, and even papal self-sabotage is to be found in these pages.

What have you learned since you started to put this book together?

For one thing, I’ve learned that it’s very hard to make an anthology! There are many good writers today, and sometimes I stared at a certain piece and wished I could include it, but had to keep an eye on the total length (it’s still a big book, 400 pages!). It was important to me to avoid redundancy or newsy journalism or military pep talks. I was going for incisive commentary, deep analysis, searching critiques—the kind of thing that will not grow quickly outdated but have a resonance and relevance for years to come. As a result, some authors were disappointed that they weren’t included. Also, I’ve discovered how fussy certain authors can be about appearing in print alongside other authors….

Can you be more specific?

Let’s just say that Archbishop Viganò is a third rail for a lot of people today, and that he’s treated as an untouchable leper—someone you wouldn’t touch with a ten-cubit pole. I find this attitude terribly disappointing; to my mind, it undercuts the credentials of the ones who exude it. For goodness’ sake, this is an anthology of nearly fifty authors: not everyone speaks for everyone else, indeed no two people speak for one another exactly. And the objections to the title of the book were even more laughable, in my opinion. Nearly every author in the book uses the metaphor of peace and war, and yet some of them pretended to be astonished at the title, as if it’s not a pithy description of a state of affairs transparently obvious to everyone.

Have you had reactions from the Vatican itself or its officials?

Certainly not. They always remain silent about unpleasant things, but I’m sure they’ve noticed it. At this point there is so much incoherence in the “application” of the motu proprio—the Pope has contradicted himself on multiple occasions since July 16, the Vicariate of Rome has gone beyond the motu proprio as well as departing from its provisions, the bishops in different countries and dioceses are issuing contrary prescriptions and proscriptions—that I imagine they are very busy just dealing with radioactive fallout.

From American Church officials?

Again, nothing. The recent meeting in Baltimore of the USCCB tells us that members of the Universally Supine Conventicle of Craven Bureaucrats are too busy making plans for the eventual closure of the churches in their dioceses to concern themselves with robust arguments on behalf of tradition or against its denigrators. With a few exceptions, they seem to be content consigning the most faithful and dynamic portion of their flocks to carefully controlled ghettoes or to the SSPX.

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the US bishops, in view of still further evidence of the loss of faith in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, have been discussing how they might “better catechize the people on the Real Presence,” when meanwhile there’s a worldwide campaign against an ancient form of the Mass whose texts and ceremonies so profoundly express, eloquently emphasize, and effectively reinforce faith in that Real Presence?

How has the book been received so far by the public?

Extremely well. The laity and lower clergy are buying it, because it’s so comprehensive, galvanizing, and useful in the efforts we are making and must make to oppose this motu proprio and all that it stands for. As many of the articles show, TC isn’t just about “the Latin Mass.” It’s about an entire modern mentality, a system of rupture with the past, an attitude of negation toward the traditional Faith of the Church across the centuries. It enshrines a certain ideology that is, in fact, in its death throes, but still controls the levers of power. So yes, there’s obviously quite a bit of urgent interest in TC and, for that reason, the anthology meets a serious need.

Do you think the TLM is in danger of being eradicated, or do you think that’s never going to happen?

Unquestionably the Latin Mass is here to stay. If the progressives couldn’t stamp it out in the 1970s, when there were far fewer traditionalists and the Church’s hierarchy, especially the pope, could still expect and sometimes even receive prompt assent to their decrees, however absurd, then there’s not even a remote chance of the now dinosaurian nostalgics and their ambitious hangers-on getting away with it in the 2020s. As a matter of fact, TC has re-energized a traditionalist movement that was in danger of a bit of complacency and comfort. Things had become almost easy in some places, and now suddenly it’s “back to the seventies” where you have to fight for what you love. That’s the secret of persecution: it makes the Church stronger. The same will be true here.

So you think the traditional movement will be stronger as a result.

In my 25+ years of writing on these subjects, I’ve never witnessed such an intense reaction and resolve as I see now. It’s not merely that attendance has been steadily climbing at TLMs since Covid hit, and again since July 16. It’s also that TC was like a sudden warning signal. So many priests and laymen have contacted me to say that they are learning how to say or serve or sing for the old Mass, adding it quietly to their parish or personal schedule, ramping it up, spreading it, doing it secretly—whatever it takes to outwit and outlast our enemies. No doubt about it: TC will backfire with historic thunder.

It doesn’t help TC that it emanated from a Vatican notorious for theological modernism and moral corruption. It bears the stench of its origins. The very fact that it’s this pope at this time trying to stomp out the TLM makes it easy for every right-thinking Catholic to see what’s really up. The Latin Mass is the emblem and embodiment of all that the new post-conciliar version of Catholicism hates and must destroy.

Many journalists talk about how small the traditional movement is, how it’s numerically insignificant. What’s your impression?

Interesting, isn’t it, that a “tiny movement” deserved such a heavy hammer? In reality, it’s not so small, and that’s why the hammer “had” to fall. The movement for Catholic tradition embraces not only hundreds of thousands of laity and thousands of priests (I’m counting diocesan, Ecclesia Dei, and SSPX clergy), but also difficult-to-estimate numbers of conservative sympathizers and curious Christians on the margins.

The internet has brought our oft-repeated concerns over liturgy, doctrine, and morals in front of huge audiences. For example, the first episode of The Mass of the Ages has been viewed on YouTube over a million times now. Statistics show that traditional Catholics are having much larger families and many more priestly and religious vocations (proportionally speaking). This alone shows the diabolic nature of TC, which attacks the primary locus of Catholic demographic growth in the Western world. “By their fruits you will know them.” This is true on both sides.

But things are looking pretty bad with the implementation in Rome itself, and in many dioceses.

Let’s just say that things are very chaotic. I’m reminded of the situation after Amoris Laetitia, when something that was a mortal sin in Poland was declared no longer a mortal sin in Germany. So, too, with the contrary approaches to TC: some bishops, like Archbishop Sample of Portland, are dispensing with nearly all of its onerous provisions, while other bishops, like Robert Guglielmone of Charleston, decided to kick the traditional Catholics in the gut by banning their Triduum, Christmas Midnight Mass, and most of the sacraments in the usus antiquior, right on the verge of his retirement. With shepherds like that, who needs wolves?

As I mentioned before, the Vicar of Rome’s decree even contradicts the pope’s decree in a number of ways. It’s anarchy. Many Catholics will suffer. Divisions will worsen and harden. The SSPX will grow exponentially. Diocesan clergy will experience stress, anxiety, and hardship. Seminaries will see seminarians who entered enthusiastically under Summorum’s provisions departing glumly under TC’s. All of that will now belong to Pope Francis’s permanent record in history and will not fail to be reviewed by the true and eternal head of the Catholic Church in a judgment yet to come.

In this situation, do you have any reasons for hope?

Yes, for sure. Pope Francis has done us an immense service: he has exposed the absolute impossibility of reconciling Catholicism as it has always been believed, understood, and lived, with a certain kind of post-Vatican II “We Are the World” project. (How much of that project is already contained within the Council, and in what way, is a topic for another time.) These days very little effort is invested in elaborate pretenses that everything is really fine, everything can be reconciled, everything is still Catholic. A certain openness has descended on us that comes as a freeing and healing balm. We can finally see what things are like in the light of day and call it as it is.

Painful, no doubt, but absolutely necessary, like an addict having to admit his addiction before he can want help or look for it. The Church on earth has been sick for a long time, but the sickness has been hidden under artfully contrived cosmetics. The mask has fallen (one might anachronistically say), and we are staring reality in the face. This, to my mind, is immensely helpful, since we can better assess just what needs to be done—and start doing it, or keep doing it, energetically.

[Another review of this book appeared today at LifeSiteNews: ‘From Benedict’s Peace to Francis’s War’ will help Catholics fight for the soul of the Church.]

Image: John Nash, "Oppy Wood, 1917. Evening.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: apostapope; apostatepope; dictatorpope; francischurch; mercilesspope; pagan; satanspope

1 posted on 12/21/2021 7:36:50 AM PST by ebb tide
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To: Al Hitan; DuncanWaring; Fedora; irishjuggler; Jaded; JoeFromSidney; kalee; markomalley; ...


2 posted on 12/21/2021 7:38:00 AM PST by ebb tide (Where are the good fruits of the Second Vatican Council? Anyone?)
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To: ebb tide
Many journalists talk about how small the traditional movement is, how it’s numerically insignificant

It only took twelve to change the world.

3 posted on 12/21/2021 7:40:41 AM PST by Jim Noble (The nation cannot be saved until the GOP is destroyed)
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