Archbishop Sample: A House Divided Cannot Stand

I like Pope BXVI’s thoughts on the matter.
“The Church’s teaching authority cannot be frozen in the year 1962 – this must be quite clear to the Society. But some of those who put themselves forward as great defenders of the Council also need to be reminded that Vatican II embraces the entire doctrinal history of the Church. Anyone who wishes to be obedient to the Council has to accept the faith professed over the centuries, and cannot sever the roots from which the tree draws its life.”

That right there says it all to me. The Church can move forward, but there must be a measuring stick.

Tradition is it.

The Church approved both Masses—the OF and the EF. Therefore, proper honor and respect are due to them. Attacks, insults and belittling slights to either Mass have no place in the Church. Neither Mass themselves are divisive. The division in this area exists in the prejudicial minds and hearts of people on both sides with un-charitable intention. It must stop. This was what Pope Benedict referred to when he talked about reconciliation in the Church in Summorum Pontificum. Abundant grace flows from the OF and EF. No one is less “catholic” by going to/preferring one Mass or the other.


In “The Ratzinger Report”, Cardinal Ratzinger—Prefect for the Doctrines and Faith (later Pope Benedict) spoke about hermeneutic continuity in the Church: The good Cardinal said one can not accept the Vatican 2 Council any more than one accepts the Council of Trent or any Ecumenical Councils before that.

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OK but, just as we’re always going to have the poor, with over a billion Catholics we’re always going to have some who are (almost literally) convinced they’re more Catholic than the Pope. You luckily realize this has no necessary connection to the Extraordinary Form or the Ordinary Form or whether or not somebody thinks altar cloths ought to have lace on them or whatever. It is a choice, according to Archbishop Sample, to indulge in behavior that divides the Church and (in the case of the example you’re citing) reflects badly on the EF and in doing so plays into the hands of the Evil One.


sure, just the opposite for me

What do you mean?

Probably Phil means that while Cilla’s experience of negativity was with EF people who were derogatory of the OF, his experience of negativity was with OF people who were derogatory of the EF., . .a situation which is not uncommon for many of us and which probably explains why so many passionate emotions come forth on this topic. I do not doubt that errors have come forth from individuals on BOTH sides; however my personal experience over the last 50 some years has been far more negativity from OF people against the EF. Possibly it is related to the area (Northeast US), possibly to the ages (people in their early 30s and younger in 1970 to people mostly ages 50-80 today, though I and others go against that demographic), the fact that until 2007 in the places I lived there was no option for any EF or TLM and so the vast majority of people never had any contemporary EF to attend and often based their visceral negative and loudly condemnatory reactions to their own emotions and impressions from some 50 years ago. . . whatever, in some places and among some groups/demographics there is a much larger proportion of ‘anti’ EF and indeed anti-traditional anything that came before 1960 (the ‘traditions’ of CITH, felt banners, guitars, etc. are not considered ‘traditions’ themselves even when they date back 50 some years, but rather are considered ‘regular, normal’ and 'not traditional at all!) people who are very vocal.

I suppose that in some places the converse exists, although how it does so considering that so few places in the US even have a TLM (often at some ungodly hour like ‘every 4th Sunday at 4 p.m.’) seems surprising. Although having attended some absolutely horrific OFs myself, I can imagine that for a younger person who had grown up with said things as “THE Mass” being exposed to a TLM, like so many people who are converts, they would be quite vocally against the abuses they had lived through in some (by no means all!) OFs and would tend to speak more harshly than all the people here who apparently have found some Garden of Eden where for 50 years the OFs they attend have been absolutely perfection with all a person could ask for!

I think the attitudes one has towards the OF and the EF can come out of any of a number of different things, such as whether or not someone finds Latin to be edifying or alien. Certainly what sorts of people one has known who were either very attached to traditional ways of doing things or not has something to do with it. The musical experience one associates with each can affect people very emotionally, too. While that has to do with the quality of the music, that is not the only thing that makes a musical experience either edifying or alienating or something in-between.

Reading Archbishop Sample’s pastoral letter on music, for example, it was striking to me that he goes out of his way to be appreciative of those who have been providing liturgical music in his Archdiocese, whether or not that music was meeting the norms he was to lay out. He tried very hard not to make his guidelines for the improvement of liturgical music into a criticism of people who he recognizes have worked very hard to provide music they felt was fitting, and done so out of a labor of the love of God. He never expresses a doubt about their devotion to the Lord or the genuineness of the gifts they offered to the Church.

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You make it sound like traditionalists are virtually blameless in this divisive rhetoric but you mustn’t listen to people like Taylor Marshall and Tim Gordon which most Catholics all around the world know are the common voice of the traditionalist movement in the US.

Loudest and most common aren’t quite the same thing.


Do you find their words and attitudes towards the Ordinary form insulting and divisive? I do. They think without doubt that they are better than the rest of us who faithfully attend the Eucharistic miracle anamnesis, without obsessing about how bad the whole thing is. Young people and new Catholics need to hear these attitudes thoroughly denounced as offensive to Christ Himself.

Yes, that was beautifully put!

I was giving my personal experience as a woman of 63 who had lived in a specific place (the Northeast with a short happy bump to the South) and whose parish experiences were the above. Again, I said I’m sure other people based on where they lived, their ages, other demographics etc had different experiences.

In my neck of the woods the main anti-thrust has been from people who love the OF (and I also love the OF just as I love the EF, both being valid rites) but who, unlike me, really have a loud, condemnatory and vocal animus against the EF. Again, that’s my experience, not made to make EF lovers look ‘good’ and OF lovers look ‘bad’, but simply my experience.

As far as people go, I’ve read Infiltration, liked some of it, had concerns with some of it; a mixed bag. I like Peter Kwasniewski and Father Z and Anthony Esolen and REALLY like Cardinal Sarah, but I also enjoy Thomas Merton even when I get a little confused (he’s very nuanced IMO) and C.S. Lewis. I like a lot of older devotions like the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, but I also like the Liturgy of the Hours which is ‘newer’. I don’t think of bloggers or writers as being ‘traditional’ or ‘progressive’ because I don’t like to label people. A person can write absolutely winning thoughts on some aspect of the Faith (like Origen did) and then be totally, totally wrong on others (like Origen was) so claiming that he was either a perfect saint or a perfect heretic based on a given work doesn’t give a clear picture because he was NEITHER of the above. He was a man who got some things right and others wrong. The ‘label’ I give is 'man" not ‘saint’ and not ‘heretic’. That’s why I don’t label people today as ‘traditional’ or ‘progressive’, because they most probably are not EITHER; they are people with traditional views on some things and not-traditional on others. People, not labels.

It seems that you are trying to minimise the culpability of traditionalist dissent by making your own personal experience out to be ‘the norm’. Pope Francis has numerous times labelled a particular problem area in the Church with the term ‘traditionalist’ and it isn’t a hidden problem. Every other thread on Catholic forums is an attack on something Pope Francis said, wrote or did and it’s always the same names. Fr Ripperger has identified an ideology within the traditionalist movement that is very divisive and that is the constant criticism of Pope Francis. These are the things that should be attended to by self examination rather than defending it.

Wait, I really think you misunderstood me.

I don’t think there is a huge ‘traditionalist dissent’ problem out there, no offense to Pope Francis, whose words I think are as gravely distorted by the media in one particular way as his predecessor’s words were gravely distorted by the media in ANOTHER way.

Why is it perfectly all right for say Cillade to present ‘culpable traditional actions’ (which she experienced personally just as much as my experiences were personal to me) as “THE NORM” while my opposite experiences are trying to 'minimize traditionalist dissent"??? That does not seem fair or just.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t listen to them. I’m just saying that it is a mistake to make the loudest “proponents” for anything into the voices of what everyone in their “movement” thinks. Real people are rarely as extreme as the talking heads. We can get some very uncharitable pictures of a lot of people if we automatically believe they’re thinking the way people say they do when they are shouting to get their personal slice of the virtual world’s attention.

I’d like to think that Archbishop Sample and Pope Benedict have really voiced a more commonly-held attitude. Not the most commonly heard, perhaps, but more the way the majority think, provided they haven’t fallen into believing what the talking heads tell them about other people they don’t really know well at all.


stpurl… I admire your sense of patience, persistence and charity. You shine in instances where I would have failed. I have much to learn from your examples.

May God continue to bless you and your family.

Amen. So many divisive sentiments going on within the Church.
This matter as settled by Pope Emeritus Benedict xvi.
If someone wishes something different, let them take legitimized
steps in the Church hierarchy and stop with the divisive hurtful
emotionally charge rhetoric.
We need to promote vast signs of life and charity with objective
humble moral virtue in all things, and support those who do so,
who have influence in laws and practice over others.


I agree. As with most things these days, the loudest have this way of getting attention as if they were the majority. That is really unfair to the majority who take any given broad position.

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