Friday, September 8, 2017

What went wrong in the traditional Catholic movement in Malta (Part 4)

As soon as Pro Tridentina (Malta) was officially launched, problems started to appear. The original founders had decided to assist any person, or group of persons, who were attracted to the Tridentine Mass. Unfortunately, this meant that some persons, of extremist ideas, attended the Tridentine Masses that were either organised by Pro Tridentina (Malta) itself or were given publicity by the same organisation.

What type of extremist ideas are we talking about? They can be grouped into three:

Sedevacantism: the theological position of those traditional Catholics who most certainly believe in the papacy, papal infallibility and the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, and yet do not recognize the post-Vatican II popes as legitimate successors of Peter in the primacy. In other words, they do not recognize him as a true pope. The word sedevacantism is a compound of two Latin words which together mean “the Chair is vacant.”  The sedevacantist position is founded on the Catholic doctrines of the infallibility and the indefectibility of the Church and on the theological opinion of the great Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine. A main exponent of this position distributed literature during some Tridentine Masses and also said that Benedict XVI was a satanist.

Conclavism: the claim to election as pope by a group acting or purporting to act in the stead of (i.e., under an assumption of the authority ordinarily vested in) the established College of Cardinals. This claim is usually associated with sedevacantism, that the present holder of the title of pope is a heretic and therefore not truly pope, as a result of which the faithful remnant of the Catholic Church has the right to elect a true pope. At least two people are known to be supporters of one of these 'popes', based in the United States of America. One of them was an altar server.

Devotio Moderna: among those who think themselves traditional Catholic, a tendency to replace the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and certainly the Divine Office, by "private devotions," such as an excessive attachment to Fatima or Medjugorje, Borġ in-Nadur or other apparitions. These misguided people talk far more about side issues  than about the centrality of God in the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ, after Who our very religion takes its name. It has brought about in some Catholics the heretical notion that privately reciting the Rosary is more important than assisting at the Holy Mass or at the Hours of the Divine Office. 

Notwithstanding that none of the founders or committee members of Pro Tridentina (Malta), belonged to any of the above positions, having people associated with the organisation has damaged the same organisation. 

Unfortunately, these people are still known to gather regularly wherever Tridentine Masses in Malta are held. The Apostolate of Saint Paul Malta (ASPM) which is a Catholic community in Malta that is doing sterling service in Birkirkara, has lately attracted these extremists. One hopes that, this time round, history will not repeat itself.

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