Saturday, June 13, 2015


The Catholic apologist seldom distinguishes between what must be rejected with respect and what must be squashed with disdain. Gómez Dávila*

We headed last week's post with an aphorism from the Escolios ("glosses") of Nicolás Gómez Dávila, the Colombian thinker and political theoretician who with surgical precision criticized, among other modern atrocities, Vatican II and the destruction of the liturgy.

You may recall he observed that a Catholic of old, looking at the clergy, liturgy, and theology of the modern Church, is at first outraged, then worried, and lastly overcome with laughter. Since we thought the observation applied equally to the curdled, rancid, hot mess called Tradistan, we reported how the cult "clergy" elicited the identical threefold, progressive reaction.

This week, we'll examine the cult's liturgical practices, once again through the same focusing lens of Gómez Dávila but under the two categories suggested by our favorite aphorist in today's epigraph.  You'll be outraged, then worried, and finally rolling on the floor with belly-busting mirth at the cult-masters' adolescent, self-absorbed pretentiousness and monumental hypocrisy. More significantly, you'll leave convinced that what's on offer from Tradistan is plain-and-simple, make-believe Catholicism, completely isolated from the true faith.


Traditional Catholic liturgy is not a department-store display littered with curious antiques found by overly animated, artsy designers rummaging breathlessly through flea markets in search of cute knickknacks to recreate an artificial mood of days gone by.  Liturgical history is replete with examples of abandoned practices, of interest to the scholarly specialist but with no place in authentic, living praxis. Reviving obsolete practices smacks all too much of the ritual productions of well-to-do, High-Church Episcopalians with their "renaissance Masses," "Sarum Masses," "Armenian Masses" etc., etc.: Lively historical theater and monuments to verisimilitude as well as deep pockets, to be sure, but, in the end, as unreal as a modern-day reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The itch to bring back to life a practice mummified after long years of desuetude is twin brother to the modernists' false antiquarianism: the monomania turns liturgy into performance art. Motivating such revivals is the meretricious spirit of the sleazy showman, or worse, the neediness of the psychologically impaired show-off. The overarching objective is surprise and applause. Entirely absent is the Catholic spirit of seemly, discreet public worship.

Recently, His Ostentatiousness awkwardly contrived, by way of a tasteless kitty anecdote, a painfully transparent ploy to advertise the cult's unearthing of the long-dead-and-buried praegustatio ceremony at the Offertory, where the sacristan consumes an unconsecrated altar bread and some unconsecrated wine. Paraphrasing the Englishman Fortescue, Dannie admits it's a "curious relec [sic!] of earlier days." 

We would guess that in the United States, at least by 1948 but doubtlessly much earlier, that quaint little rite was usually omitted or, perhaps, habitually omitted. In his widely popular Manual of Episcopal Ceremonies (4th edition) -- a much more user-friendly guide than Fortescue in virtue of its granular treatment of the pontifical Mass at the throne -- the American liturgist Aurelius Stehle omits all reference to the praegustatio, not even appending a footnote. (The 1916 2nd edition, BTW, is similarly silent.) Therefore, it's not unreasonable to infer that, in the U.S. at least, the ceremony was rarely, if ever, carried out. Dannie's weird reanimation of the praegustatio, then, essentially introduces a novelty into American Catholic practice, and what he produces, therefore, is a counterfeit or, rather, a "zombie" liturgy.

One tiny detail in "One Hand's" footnote to his tedious cat's tale betrays both his ugly compulsion for acclaim as well as his naïve egotism. At the end he wrote, with the ungovernable candor of  a village idiot, "I think it is safe to say that we are the last prace [sic!] in Christendom to observe this rubric, otherwise fallen into obsolescence." Sorry to burst Wee Dan's silly balloon, but as anyone can see by clicking here (14th photo and later comments), the SGG cult is by no means the last place in Christendom to mark the obsolete rubric.

The preconciliar Church respectfully consigned the praegustatio to the museum archives. Real traditional American Catholics do the same.


A sophisticated and very well informed commenter (5/31/15, 3:41 PM), whom we much admire, anticipated our next example several weeks ago. Nevertheless, we think it deserves repeating in a regular post for all to see the SW Ohio cult leaders' flagrant hypocrisy.

As most of you know, Dannie and Checkie are forever condemning any innovation approved under the influence of Bugnini and other reformers. For instance, Phony Tony wrote with apparent seriousness in his laughably  bad book, Work of Human Hands (p. 405):
... there was a clear causal link between the modernist ideology of leading figures in the twentieth-century Liturgical Movement, the series of incremental liturgical changes introduced during the years 1955-62, the principles for liturgical reform laid down by Vatican II, and the creation of the Mass of Paul VI.
Okay, we think we see his point.

So, then, if the innovations were links in the chain of alterations leading to the hideous New Mass, wouldn't you think that a Tradistani Catholic "bishop" should scrupulously avoid any new practice sanctioned during those terrible years of remorseless liturgical tinkering? After all, didn't the Checkmeister on p. 404 specifically point out that "the seminarian Daniel Dolan" was "[n]otable among" those "English-speakers during the Society's early days...[who] promoted the old Missal and Breviary"? 

Don't even bother to answer those questions: In hypocrisy-infected Tradistan, you can't expect the malformed cult masters to practice what they preach!

In the same
error-filled Work of Human Hands (pp. 76-77), Cekada lists with obvious disapproval the "fairly extensive" changes in the Mass introduced in Inter Oecumenicithe 1964 instruction for carrying out Vatican II's Constitution on the Liturgy, (which was, in Checkie's words, the completion of "the sixth step in the creation of the New Mass"). Nonetheless, Dubious Dan must have considered at least one of those "incremental liturgical changes" fit for Catholic worship, viz., the concession of II.I.48.l, "It is lawful, when necessary, for bishops to celebrate a sung Mass following the form used by priests."

Never mind that the vile 1964 concession was fruit of the leveling spirit of Montini and Bugnini, who no doubt aimed at killing off the pontifical Mass with a much simpler substitute: our prelatical Pagliaccio coveted heightened theater, so he easily made an accommodation with the poisonous devils who spawned the modern liturgy he pretends to abhor.

Speaking for traditional Catholics, Tony Baloney firmly concluded (p. 405) that "Catholics who do not feel at ease with the Late Bugnini of 1969, it seems, should therefore be equally discomfited by the Early and Middle Bugnini of 1955-62." Accordingly, if the clown Dannie were a true Catholic, he should have been "discomfited" by the "Late-Middle" (or is it "Early-Late"?) Bugnini's 1964 concession to cheap theatricality, right? But apparently he wasn't, for in the days when Zany Dannie didn't have a clerical clown crew to pull off a pontifical Mass at SGG or at one of his satellite cults, His Creativity cobbled together an elaborate "pontifical Missa cantata" to impress all the gaping lay folk with his dignity. 

And what an accommodation it was! Two MC's, four torches, thurifer, boat bearer, acolytes, crucifer, pontifical canon, bugia, extra candles on the predella steps, urceus and bacile, silver salver for his zuchetto: you name it -- the whole ball of wax. Anything to heighten the spectacle, with the ol' ringmaster Deacon Dan at the center of the flamboyant circus. A pity it's counterfeit, an ill-conceived, latter-day restoration of a tainted liturgical reform.

From the outset, a genuinely traditional bishop would have disdainfully repudiated the modernists' concession to celebrate Mass in cantu more presbyterorum. He would have insisted that he either celebrate solemnly or say a pontifical Low Mass. He would have distanced himself completely from the impious reformers, even at the cost of foregoing pomp and circumstance. Never would a real traditional churchman have honored Montini and Bugnini.

In sum, an authentic traditional Catholic bishop would have known that everything in the 1964 instruction deserves to be unceremoniously and disdainfully consigned to the liturgical charnel house, leaving the spiritually dead to bury the liturgically dead.

* El apologista católico rara vez distingue entre lo que hay que rechazar con respeto y lo que hay que aplastar con desdén.

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