The removal Fr Michael Rodriguez from his parish by his Bishop has been seriously underreported. This priest is clearly being persecuted for standing against the homosexual mafia in El Paso and standing up for Church teaching on homosexuality. Here is recent interview with this Diocesan priest from the Remnant...
(www.RemnantNewspaper.com) Michael J. Matt (MJM): First off, Father, I'd like to thank you for the stand you've taken in recent months in defense of the Church's moral teaching, especially with respect to so-called 'gay marriage'. Catholics all across the country have been following your case, and we're delighted to have a chance today to ask you a few questions. Before we get into the "controversy", however, I wonder if you'd mind telling us a little something about your personal background?
Father Rodriguez (FR): Not at all. I was born in El Paso, Texas, on August 23, 1970, the middle child of five. Many years later my parents adopted a sixth child, my youngest sister. As I grew up in the early '70s, I was completely unaware of the disastrous post-Vatican II revolution that was sweeping throughout our beloved Catholic Church. Thanks be to God, I was raised by parents who were staunch Catholics with their childhood roots in the pre-Vatican II Catholicism of México. An example of the depth of these roots is that my maternal grandmother (born in 1906, in Aguascalientes, México) never accepted the Novus Ordo. She left this passing world in August 2002, always true to the Ancient Rite. Requiescat in pace. Even though my parents had accepted and adapted to Novus Ordo Catholicism during their post-collegiate years, they nevertheless raised us similar to how they had been raised: fidelity to Mass (albeit the Novus Ordo) and Confession, praying the Holy Rosary at home in the evenings, praying novenas and the Stations of the Cross, etc. As I reflect back on my childhood, it was a time of great grace and blessings. Even though my parents failed to hold fast to all the venerable traditions of our Faith and the Ancient Rite, they still did an excellent job of instilling the Faith in us. Interestingly enough, we four older children (born between '67 and '74) are now ardent supporters of the Traditional Latin Mass, even more so than our parents.
MJM: And are there one or two persons in your life that mentored you and helped you to remain open to God’s call?
FR: My parents, Ruben and Beatrice, were the ones who were most instrumental in my eventual discernment of a vocation to God's holy priesthood. Through my father, God blessed me with discipline, fortitude, perseverance, and a love for study. Through my mother, God graced me with the convictions of faith, awe for the Catholic priesthood, a tender devotion to our Blessed Mother, and a love of religion.
MJM: At what point in your life did you know you had a vocation?
FR: I was raised in El Paso, TX, but spent four years (1981-1984) living with my family in Augsburg, Germany. We returned to El Paso, and I began high school. Following my junior year, I spent the summer (1987) at M.I.T. University in Cambridge, MA. I was participating in a special program for gifted minority students from around the nation. The program was geared to recruiting us to study engineering and science at M.I.T. as undergraduates. Well, our good God had different plans for me! I left El Paso that summer thinking I'd study electrical engineering (like my father) upon graduating from high school, only to return from Boston six weeks later, announcing that I wanted to enter the seminary! My mother was overjoyed.
MJM: Clearly, someone was looking out for you. Do you have a favorite saint, by the way?
FR: My favorite saints are: St. Michael the Archangel, St. John the Baptist (largely due to my 9 1/2 years at this El Paso parish), St. Paul the Apostle, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and, to no surprise, the holy Curé of Ars. I have a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under three of her specific titles: Immaculate Conception (I was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 8, 1996), Mater Dolorosa, and Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.
MJM: And, liturgically—where would you place yourself? I know you offer the traditional Latin Mass, but is it accurate to describe you as an outright “traditionalist”?
FR: Liturgically, I'm 100% behind the Traditional Latin Mass, which is without question the true Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. Theology, liturgy, Catholic spirituality and asceticism, and history itself all point to the obvious superiority of the Classical Roman Rite. Unfortunately, all of my seminary formation was in the Novus Ordo, and I only "discovered" the Latin Mass about six years ago, so I still have a lot to learn in terms of "real Catholicism," i.e. "traditional Catholicism."
MJM: What was it initially that led you to begin offering the old Mass?
FR: About six years ago, several members of the faithful began asking me if I would be interested in offering the Traditional Latin Mass. At the time, there was serious concern on the part "El Paso's remnant" of traditional Catholics that the Jesuit priest who was offering the Latin Mass twice a month (under the 1988 Ecclesia Dei "Indult") was going to be transferred. Thus, they were looking for another priest who would be willing to offer the Latin Mass. At first, I declined, not so much because I wasn't interested, but due to the immense workload which I was already carrying.
As the weeks passed, I began to study the prayers and theology of the Traditional Latin Mass. The more I studied, the more my awe and amazement grew. I was "discovering" not only the true Catholic theology of the Mass, but also the true Catholic theology of the priesthood, and so much more! Throughout my first nine years of priesthood, I had struggled to make sense of the very serious problems which exist in the Church. At this point, it was obvious that an extreme crisis pervaded the Church and her hierarchy, but why? I just couldn't quite understand how all of this "diabolical disorientation" had come to pass . . . until the brilliant light of the true Catholic Mass ("Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam . . .") began to penetrate my priestly soul. This "discovery" of the Traditional Latin Mass has been, by far, the greatest gift of God to my poor priesthood.
MJM: So this gives us an idea of how Pope Benedict's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum can and does impact priests who might otherwise never have had the opportunity to discover this great treasure. Given how it impacted you, how do you believe Summorum Pontificum will impact the Church long term?
FR: Unfortunately, both Summorum Pontificum and Universæ Ecclesiæ have plenty of weaknesses. Nevertheless, these documents do represent an initial step in what will probably still be a long and arduous "Calvary," i.e. the quest of traditional Catholics to restore the Cross, the Mass, the kingship of Jesus Christ, and true Catholic doctrine, outside of which there is no salvation. In Article 1 of Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI writes that "due honor must be given to the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V for its venerable and ancient usage." This directive of our Holy Father is currently being disobeyed almost universally. In the accompanying letter to the world's bishops (July 7, 2007), Pope Benedict XVI writes, "What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place." These remarkable words of our Holy Father are also being disrespected and disobeyed almost universally, especially by many bishops. Finally, Universæ Ecclesiæ, No. 8, states very clearly that the Ancient Rite is a "precious treasure to be preserved" and is to be "offered to all the faithful." Where in the entire world of Catholicism is this directive actually being obeyed? The same number from Universæ Ecclesiæ emphasizes that the use of the 1962 Roman Liturgy "is a faculty generously granted for the good of the faithful and therefore is to be interpreted in a sense favourable to the faithful who are its principal addressees." This is an astounding statement. This statement from Rome means that the use of the 1962 Missal doesn't depend on a particular bishop's liturgical views, preferences, or theology. It's not about the bishops! On the contrary, it's about the faithful! Where in the entire world of Catholicism is this directive actually being obeyed?
MJM: Are you now able to offer the old Mass exclusively?
FR: Since I began my new assignment (Sept. 24, 2011) out in the rural, isolated missions of the El Paso Diocese, I've offered the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively. I consider this to be a marvelous and unexpected blessing from Providence in the midst of a very difficult trial. I hope to continue offering the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively. If it were strictly up to me, I would never celebrate the Novus Ordo Missæ again. However, the sad reality of having to "obey" in the Novus Ordo Church that has largely lost the Faith, and the need to reach out patiently to Novus Ordo faithful who have been so misled, means that I will probably be "forced" to celebrate the Novus Ordo occasionally. In these instances, however, it will be the Novus Ordo ad orientem, with the Roman Canon, the use of Latin, and Holy Communion distributed according to traditional norms.
MJM: Up until last year, I believe, things were pretty quiet in your priestly life. What happened to change all that?
FR: The local, and even national, "controversy" that has engulfed me is due to the fact that I have been vocal in promoting what the Roman Catholic Church teaches in regard to the whole issue of homosexuality. It's a disgrace, but the City Council of El Paso has been adamant in trying to legitimize same-sex unions. This goes completely contrary to Catholic Church teaching. I've made it clear to the Catholics of El Paso (and beyond) that every single Catholic has a moral obligation before God Himself to oppose any government attempt to legalize homosexual unions. A Catholic who fails to oppose this homosexual agenda, is committing a grave sin by omission. Furthermore, if a Catholic doesn't assent to the infallible moral teaching of the Church that homosexual acts are mortally sinful, then such a Catholic is placing himself / herself outside of communion with the Church. These are the Catholics who are actually excommunicating themselves, not the Society of St. Pius X!
MJM: I can understand why the civil authorities and media might find this “controversial”; but why would your ecclesial superiors find it so?
FR: The dismal response of both civil and ecclesiastical authorities to the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church in regard to homosexuality demonstrates how extreme the current crisis of faith actually is. It really can't get much worse. There's hardly any faith left to lose! Even a pagan, bereft of the light of faith, can arrive at the conclusion that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil. Reason, natural law, and consideration of the male and female anatomy more than suffice to confirm this moral truth.
MJM: And yet you must go where the bishop tells you to go. Is this difficult for you?
FR: In my particular circumstances, obedience to my bishop has been incredibly difficult. Nevertheless, obedience is essential to the priesthood, and I intend to be obedient. One consoling aspect of "sacrificial," "death-to-self" obedience, is that the Holy Ghost will always come to one's assistance. I'm reminded that my poor sufferings are nothing compared to those of Mater Dolorosa and our Divine Redeemer. If I'm counted as one even slightly worthy to suffer for the Faith and the Traditional Latin Mass, I will consider myself profoundly blessed. God is so good.
MJM: As you are already living through a form of persecution, I assume you foresee more to come not only for you personally but for all Catholics who stand in defense of Church teaching. But what about the future? Any hope?
FR: Yes, I do foresee plenty of persecution still to come for all those who remain steadfast in the Faith and in their adherence to the Ancient Rite. However, the promise of our Savior cannot but fill our souls with hope, "Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice's sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven." (Mt 5:10-12)
MJM: How can lay Catholics best survive this crisis of faith?
FR: In order to overcome this crisis of faith, we must (1) do everything in our power to recover the Catholic Faith: the Ancient Rite, traditional Catholic teaching in doctrine and morals, the theology and philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, traditional Catholic piety and devotions, and a traditional Catholic “code of living” or “rhythm of life.” (2) On a daily basis we must strive to pray, study, fast, do penance, and practice charity with the aforementioned goal in mind. Finally, I strongly urge all faithful Catholics to (3) pray the Holy Rosary daily and heed our Blessed Mother's Message at Fatima.
One of the hallmarks of the Traditional Latin Mass is its exquisite and concentrated focus on eternity. If we are to survive and overcome this terrible crisis of faith in the post-Vatican II Catholic Church, we have to keep our intellect and will focused on eternity. We cannot lose hope when, from a worldly perspective, all seems lost. Jesus Christ promises “the kingdom of heaven” to those who endure persecution, and “a great reward in heaven” to those who suffer for His sake. (Mt 5:10-12) The final goal is heaven! Like St. Paul, we must press ahead towards the ultimate “prize” (Phil 3:14) and never cease to “seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.” (Col 3:1)
MJM: Like so many others, Father, I find myself deeply moved by your powerful witness not only to the Faith itself but also to the Catholic priesthood, which, as you know so well, is under diabolical attack. Thank you for this example of what it means to be a Catholic in an era of persecution. May all of us have the courage to follow your lead through the rough seas still ahead.
From Catholicculture: "Bishop Edward Daly, the retired Irish bishop who is calling for a change in the discipline of clerical celibacy, “was ‘deeply disappointed’ by an experience of celebration of the Mass in Latin some years ago, which he found ‘lifeless and somewhat meaningless,’” according to an Irish Times report on his newly published memoirs. Bishop Daly added that he is “very happy with the liturgy and language of the Mass as we now have it.”
Are certain masses more meritorious and efficacious to your soul than others? Is the Novus Ordo inferior to the Tridentine in terms of obtaining grace? This may be a foolish question to many --but so many are in the dark and consider the two rites to be of equal value. They are not. The following article entitled the Merit of A Mass by Father Chad Ripperger F.S.S.P., which originally appeared in Latin Mass Magazine lays it out beautifully. Beware however once you read it you will refuse to put up with anything less than the best and most efficacious of worship.
"Among the traditional faithful there appears to be a kind of intuitive sense that the old rite of Mass is more efficacious than the new rite. Many believe that they derive more spiritual gain from the old rite of Mass than from the new. However, to give a more precise expression to the intuitive sense of which is more efficacious, the new or the old rite, it is necessary to make several distinctions. Since the purpose of this article is very specific, i.e. to ascertain which ritual is more meritorious or efficacious, certain issues regarding the value or efficacy of the Mass will be avoided.1
Yet, to answer the question of whether the old rite of Mass is more efficacious than the new is of paramount importance. It is the point of departure between priests of the respective rites, since each holds that he is saying the Mass that is best for the faithful.2 Nevertheless, the question is a key one since, in the end, whichever ritual is more meritorious ought to be the one that the Roman authorities encourage. Since one of the primary obligations of those in authority in the Church is the glory of God through the salvation of souls, they have the obligation to encourage and, in some cases, require the ritual of the Mass which is most efficacious.
I. Distinctions of Merit
The distinctions within the different kinds of merit of the Mass are first founded on a distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic merit or value. The Catholic Encyclopedia says:
We must also sharply distinguish between the intrinsic and the extrinsic value of the Mass (valor intrinsecus, extrinsecus). As for its intrinsic value, it seems beyond doubt that, in view of the infinite worth of Christ as the Victim and High Priest in one Person, the sacrifice must be regarded as of infinite value, just as the sacrifice of the Last Supper and that of the Cross. …But when we turn to the Mass as a sacrifice of impetration and expiation, the case is different. While we must always regard its intrinsic value as infinite, since it is the sacrifice of the God-Man Himself, its extrinsic value must necessarily be finite in consequence of the limitations of Read More...
"The heart of liturgical worship is the Mass. Just as the redemptive work of Jesus reached its culminating point on Calvary by His death on the Cross, so too the liturgical action, which continues His work in the world, has its climax in the Mass, which renews and perpetuates on our altars the Sacrifice of the Cross. Jesus has willed that the precious fruits of redemption...be applied and transmitted to each of the faithful in a particular way by their participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. This fountain of grace which Jesus opened on Calvary continues to pour over our altars; all the faithful are obliged to approach it...Holy Mass is truly the "fountain of life". By offering and immolating Himself continually on our altars, Jesus repeats to us, "If any man thirst let him come to Me and drink."
The Sacrifice of the Altar "is not merely a commemoration of the Passion and Death of Christ, but is a true and proper sacrifice, in which, by immolating Himself in an unbloody manner, the great high priest renews His previous act on the Cross. The Victim is the same, so is the Priest, nothing but the manner of offering is different -- bloody on the Cross, unbloody Read More...
These are the famous words of Pope St. Celestine in the year 431 to the Ecumenical Council at Ephesus. Years later St Vincent of Lerins adhered to this rule when he cited it in his own doctrine --where quod ubique, or universitas est incertum, i.e. where universal agreement on a point of doctrine is uncertain, the faithful must then inquire into the quod sempor or antiquitas i.e. into the constancy and antiquity of the churches teaching on the matter.
St Vincent stated: "Let nothing more be granted to novelty because no addition should be made to antiquity, let not the clear belief of the ancients be polluted by an intermixture of mire."
And what does the bible say on the topic of tradition and novelties:
"So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us." 2 Thessalonians 2:15
"Now I praise you because you remember me in everything, and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you." 1 Cor. 11:2
"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us." 2 Thessalonians 3:6
Our culture is obsessed with change and novelty. Our political leaders shove change down our throats and disregard the wisdom of those who came Read More...
"We are witnessing an unusual sight: a Roman Catholic solemn mass, celebrated according to an ancient Latin rite effectively outlawed 40 years ago. And it’s taking place in the 13th-century chapel of Merton college, Oxford, which has been Anglican for 400 years." Damian Thompson
The rest of this article is a must read. The quiet revolution that is sweeping across Catholicism is nothing short of miraculous and reveals God's mercy and love for His people.
While on the subject of the latin mass, I have re-posted an excellent video showing the transformation of an altar for latin mass. (also if you haven't seen this one --you really should!).
Finally, I highly recommend The Spirituality of the Ancient Liturgy Part I and The Spirituality of the Ancient Liturgy Part II, both by Father Chad Ripperger, F.S.S.P. which appeared in the Latin Mass Magazine.
-- Bishop Fernando Arêas Rifan of Brazil, on the Latin Mass quoted by Zenit.
Since July, when a decree from Pope Benedict XVI lifted decades-old restrictions on celebrating the Tridentine Mass, seven churches in the Washington metropolitan area have added the liturgy to their weekly Sunday schedules.
"I love the Latin Mass," said Audrey Kunkel, 20, of Cincinnati. "It"s amazing to think that I"m attending the same Mass that has formed saints throughout the centuries."
In contrast to the New Order Mass, which has been in use since the Second Vatican Council in 1969 and is typically celebrated in vernacular languages such as English, the Tridentine Mass is "contemplative, mysterious, sacred, transcendent, and [younger people are] drawn to it," said the Rev. Franklyn McAfee, pastor of St. John the Beloved in McLean. "Gregorian chant is the opposite of rap, and I believe this is a refreshing change for them."
Susan Gibbs, the director of communications from the Archdiocese of Washington, said the attraction demonstrated by the young adults is "very interesting."
Besides the liturgy"s rich historical content and spiritual Read More...
Naples, Sep. 17, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Bishop Raffaele Nogaro of Caserta, Italy forbade the celebrate of the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass on Sunday, September 15, despite the permission granted by Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) for all priests to use the older liturgical form.
The Italian daily Il Messagero reports that Bishop Nogaro ordered Msgr. Giovanni Battista Gionta to cancel plans for a Mass using the 1962 Roman Missal at the Shrine of St. Anne. Msgr. Gionta, who had scheduled the Mass at the request of local Catholics, posted a note at the shrine to announce that he was changing plans. "I obey the bishop," he explained.
Il Messagero said that Bishop Nogaro ordered the cancellation of the Mass "so as not to set a precedent." The bishop said that he was taking action to help his people pray properly, since "to mumble in Latin serves no purpose."
Elsewhere in Italy the effective date Read More...
From Newbusters--LA Times Claims Latin Mass 'Leaving Some Polarized'
Here is the L.A. Times most negative take on the move to Latin: Traditionalists are pleased, but others see an erosion of Vatican II reforms.
From National Post: What's Latin for 'No one is happy?'
From the Epoch Times: Latin Mass a Looming Headache for Catholic Parishes
Here is a bishop who has fought back the tears about the return of Latin, and more creation of false conflict by the secular liberal media: Bishop mourns Latin decree, Jews ask for clarity
A claim that the motu proprio is welcomed by the Bishops of England and Wales: Bishops of England and Wales welcome Pope's call for unity
Some reaction from the Society of Pius Read More...
"The Latin language is venerable on account of its origin and its antiquity; it is the language in which the praises of God resounded from the lips of Christians during the first centuries. It is a sublime and solemn thought that the Holy sacrifice is now offered in the same language...with the very same words as it was offered in times long past, in the obscurity of the Catacombs." The Catechism Explained, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Spirago & Clarke (1927)
"There is also an element of mystery about the Latin tongue; it is a dead language not understood by the people. The use of an unknown tongue conveys to the mind ... that a mystery is being enacted. In the first centuries of Christianity a curtain used to be drawn during the time from the Sanctus to the communion to conceal the altar from the sight of the worshippers. This is now no longer done, but the use of an unknown tongue has something of the same effect, by inspiring awe..." The Catechism Explained, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Spirago & Clarke (1927)
The use of Latin also protects the Church against error and Read More...
"The church's windows are broken, its beige bricks are sooty, its paint is chipped. The 300-foot steeple, a hallmark of the St. Louis skyline, is pulling away from its foundation. One day it could tumble into traffic on Gravois Avenue.
St. Francis de Sales church, often called the Cathedral of South St. Louis, is an ideal home for a group of Roman Catholic priests devoted to restoration. But restoring this 19th-century neo-Gothic church to its former glory is only one reason St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke assigned the priests to oversee St. Francis de Sales.
The real mission of the group, called the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, is the restoration of the traditional Latin Mass.
The 1,600-year-old Mass isn't used much today, but it's making a comeback.
That effort will get a boost Friday when Burke — one of the most devoted supporters of the old Latin rite among U.S. bishops — will ordain two deacons of the Institute at the Cathedral Basilica. Burke has ordained members several times in Italy, where the institute is based outside Florence. But Friday will mark the first time members of the 17-year-old institute will be Read More...
This following article from Slate is entitled "Can the Latin Mass Make a Comeback?". It seems like asking if water or air can make a comeback. It is as if the return to the Tridentine Latin Mass is a mere trend, when in reality all of creation awaits the return of its mystery, reverence and grace.
"When word began to spread last year that Pope Benedict XVI might release a document that would allow some changes in the ways Catholic worship on Sunday mornings, the reaction in some quarters approached giddy enthusiasm. "It's coming … it's coming!" wrote one blogger of the imminent release of the papal decree. (As it turned out, its release was not so imminent. Catholics who were waiting are still waiting, though reports now suggest the announcement could come in a few weeks.)
Most Vatican documents, it's probably safe to say, are not designed to provoke such fits of anticipatory glee. So, how to explain the excitement?
The long-rumored document—said to take the form of a motu proprio, a personal initiative of the pope—would allow for broader use of the Tridentine, or, as it's commonly known, Latin Mass, by permitting Read More...
Here is secular analysis of the Pope and his mission to restore latin to its proper place in the Church, from Expatica:
"Pope Benedict XVI may have raised a few eyebrows with his red Prada shoes and Father Christmas-like "camauro" hat but the German-born pontiff is no revolutionary on Catholic Church matters.
No one was surprised then when the German-born Pope Benedict XVI issued strict rules on how to celebrate Mass and reaffirmed the importance of the celibacy rule for priests this month.
However, there was one minor aspect of this apostolic exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis (Sacrament of Charity), that will likely make waves: His decision to encourage the use of Latin in Church.
"I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant," the pope wrote in his message to clergymen and ordinary Catholics.
The traditional Tridentine Mass in Latin was replaced with updated liturgies in local Read More...
It is precisely because of counter cultural priests like Fr. Johnson that the Tridentine Rite was kept alive and so many are now anxiously awaiting the motu proprio.
Here is Fr. Johnson's obituary from the L.A. Times:
Father Daniel Johnson, a champion of pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic traditions and the centuries-old Tridentine Mass, has died. He was 77.
Johnson died Sunday at a Duarte hospital after a long illness.
"He was a pioneer in reforming liturgical reform," said Michael J. Sundstedt, a longtime parishioner at St. Mary's by the Sea in Huntington Beach, where Johnson served as pastor for 25 years before retiring in 2004.
When Johnson arrived at the tiny wooden church in 1978, it was in danger of closing because membership had dwindled to about 400 people, church administrators recalled.
Johnson began walking door to door in the neighborhood, sometimes in the rain, inviting people to church. He also visited the Huntington Beach Pier every evening, striking up conversations.