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More Crypto-Lefebvrism from Rorate Caeli

New Catholic at Rorate Caeli claims to be taking the high road of honesty under the patronage of the Sol Iustitiae, even though he assiduously avoids permitting, even by way of links, anything that points out the errors made on the blog. A case in point is the grossly exaggerated figures concerning the departures from our Institute, which still have not been corrected. He has not even acknowledged that there might be a problem with his facts.

At least my superiors and Andrea Tornielli have the intestinal fortitude to put their real names on what they write and to correct their mistakes, rather than lurk in the darkness spouting lies and calumnies and then pretend they have no responsibility for what they say and do.

Regarding New Catholic’s claim that he cannot comprehend what I mean when I call Rorate Caeli “crypto-Lefebvrist”: Anyone who has been associated with the traditionalist crowd knows very well that among many there is one narrative for the public and another for the initiated.  That stream of traditionalist thought beginning with Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira overtly recommends this practice, but it is not restricted to the TFP and those who venerate de Oliveira, like Roberto de Mattei.

The rationale is universally applicable one.  It is based on the sky-is-falling mentality and the perpetual persecution complex that comes into play whenever one is held accountable for what one actually believes and is trying to do.  Even if they don’t like to buck the traditional teachings of the Church concerning honesty, they liberally use mental reservations, convoluted theological gymnastics, and outright lies.

Am I saying this about all traditionalists?  No.  Am I generalizing?  No. But there is a problem among those who live in the liminal region of sympathy with the SSPX.

I and other members of my community have had numerous conversations with traditionalists who claim they never said what I know they did say—for example, that the new Mass is illicit, that the members of the SSPX are the real Catholics, that our Institute had no policy of preferring the Extraordinary Form.

Try this experiment:  The next time someone says to that the SSPX ought to just be regularized without making the Society formally agree to anything—and if you spend any amount of time around traditionalists, this is very likely to happen—question them on what they actually believe about the validity of the new Mass and the authority of Vatican II.  I guarantee you that most who hold this position and are not already members of the SSPX will hop around like rabbits if you question them closely on what they actually believe.  There is a reason why a person sympathizes with the SSPX in this way but is not yet a member.

Recently, one of the commenters here implied that some members of my Institute have acquired the belief that the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is superior to the Ordinary Form because Universae Ecclesiae 19 legitimizes the idea that the Ordinary Form might be licit according to ecclesiastical law, but illicit according to divine law. This is basically the same thing as saying the novus ordo is licit but not pleasing to God.

I think that this use of UE 19 is bad theology, simply because UE 19 is not a theological source, but a means of determining, among those on the outer parameter of good standing, who may and who may not benefit from the provisions of Summorum Pontificum. To say that someone cannot be deprived of the benefits of the Church for standing on the line between what is and is not doctrinally acceptable is not an argument in favor of that position. But I think the commenter was right that there are friars in my Institute who believe this.

But seriously, how many religious superiors in good standing do you think would ever put their name behind such a belief, stated as it is above, when they know there is a danger of this getting back to the Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated life? You might say it is a perfectly legitimate belief. But even were that the case, it still raises concerns when it is found, not in someone who is trying to come back to full ecclesial communion, but rather in someone who is attempting to mainstream the idea in an ordinary religious community.

This is why there is a distinction made between those societies previously in an irregular state who were regularized under the previsions of Ecclesia Dei (which is what is touched upon in UE 19) and those communities that adopt the use of the Extraordinary Form in Summorum Pontificum 3. The latter communities do not come under the purview of Ecclesia Dei, because Pope Benedict made clear that Summorum Pontificum and its application have nothing to do with calling into question the “authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions” concerned “the liturgical reform.” On the other hand, in the interests of ecclesial communion the Church has provided a narrow avenue for those who might otherwise remain as they were, namely, in an irregular state.

Throughout his dialogue with the Holy See, Bishop Fellay continually referred to the shift in thinking that was taking place in the Church and that the tide was in favor of “Tradition,” so that it was only a matter of time before the Council was merely a footnote about a bad time in modern Church history. Mainstream traditionalists talk all the time about how wonderful the SSPX is and that it is truly an injustice that they do not have canonical status. But if you even mention the possibility of “crypto-Levebvrism” suddenly everyone is confused and really has no idea what it is all about.

This puts into context the eloquence of New Catholic, who writes “Crypto-Lefebvrism

is nothing, it means nothing, it has no theological meaning, it is a handle that allows some to say “it means whatever I think it means,” and is as empty as the accusations of mental illness made by Soviet apparatchiks against those opposed to the regime. This unjustified heavy-handedness from above is the exact opposite of all that is in the documents of Vatican II, and can only be justified by what Marco Tosatti calls, “the cruelty that is typical of closed environments.” Tosatti is right, cruelty is all that is left of those who, under disguise of goodness, appealed to have the Traditional Mass banned, seminary closed, and superior general placed under confinement: “A goodly apple rotten at the heart: o, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!”

I am almost left speechless by the kettle calling the pot “a closed environment.” Having our seminarians removed from the insular world in which they lived to the Roman universities is anything but a closed environment. Our seminarians now will actually have contact with other religious and future diocesan priests. The Holy Father has made his mind on this matter abundantly clear, and in the Roman Catholic Church, among believing Catholics, especially religious, that really is sufficient reason to obey with confidence. And the really great this about this is that our seminarians will learn what it means to be part of the universal Church instead of a crypto-Lefebvrist sect.

New Catholic knows that we who appealed to the Holy See did not ask to have the “Traditional Mass banned” nor have the “seminary closed,” nor did we ask to have the former superior general “placed under confinement.” And he knows that the Traditional Mass has not in reality been banned. But he also knows that the disciplines imposed on our Institute do in fact have to do with the crypto-Lefebvrism that he continues to promote all the while he pretends it does not exist.

Filed under: Catholicism, Church, Holy Father, Liturgy, Religion Tagged: Benedict XVI, crypto-Lefebvrism, crypto-traditionalism, Franciscan Friars the Immaculate, New Catholic, Pope Francis, Rorate Caeli, Summorum Pontificum, Universae Ecclesiae

Fr Angelo

Author Fr Angelo

I am Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate, and a priest for more than twenty years. I am now studying in Rome for my licentiate in Theology.

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Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Chris Ferrara says:

    I see nothing here approaching an actual definition of “crypto-Lefebvrianism.” Your own rhetoric demonstrates that it is essentially an epithet.

    Your entire argument concerning the licitness of the Ordinary Form founders for the simple reason that there is no one “Ordinary Form,” but rather aplenitude of options which make it impossible to speak of “the” Ordinary Form.

    On the other hand, if by Ordinary Form you mean the Latin Typical Edition of the Mass of Paul VI celebrated in Latin with a high altar, Gregorian Chant, and no communion in the hand or altar girls, a la the Brompton Oratory, no “crypto-Lefebvrist” would deny validity or legitimacy.

    As for “the” Ordinary Form as celebrated in the typical parish today–a spectacle replete with novelties and abuses the Popes before Vatican II would have viewed with utter horror–who wouldn’t question legitimacy in innumerable cases, even though bare validity remains?

    Do you think God is pleased by altar tables, altar girls, communion in the hand, lay ministers distributing the sacred species and spilling or dropping them on the floor where they are trampled under foot? Do you think that God is please by a liturgy whose invention and imposition Msgr. Gamber—writing with the full approval of the future Pope Benedict XVI—called “the real destruction of the Roman Rite”?

    God, then, is pleased with the “real destruction of the Roman Rite”? Is that the story you’re going with? Is that what a Catholic is now required to believe, contrary to all evidence of liturgical ruin and loss of faith? What is this if not an ideological demand that requires suspension of the use of reason?

    Talk about using the Mass as an ideological banner! The ideologues are those who oppress good priests because of a “traditionalist drift” toward sound liturgy at the same time the rest of the Church is wracked by widening apostasy, “the collapse of the liturgy” (the last Pope’s own words) and unspeakable clerical scandals involving sins that cry out to God for vengeance.

    May God help the FFI prevail against the brutal repression you helped provoke against an order of orthodox priests and religious, founded by a holy man both of whose parents are Servants of God. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    • Fr Angelo says:


      Crypto-Lefebvrianism is basic agreement with the SSPX without actually entering into the irregularity. It includes all the hoping around and double talk, like the statement: “no crypto-Lefebvrist would deny the liceity of the New Mass.” I hear them do it all the time. And as you and I both know, Bishop Fellay does not bother to talk about liceity. He just says the new Mass is evil.

      Well, Pope Benedict talked about the Ordinary Form, so I guess it’s really not so impossible.

      I don’t know why you are ranting about what goes on in the parishes. All I want is to be left alone by your crowd so we can go back to doing what we have always done, which would include the celebration of the EF, just without all the baggage that the ideology brings. You may not agree with me, but I know you know what I am talking about.

      Did you know that in America we have for years (long before SP) celebrated the Mass ad orientem and often Latin? And always using Gregorian chant with Communion kneeling and on the tongue? No you did not. Nor do you care to, because that doesn’t fit your narrative.

      You and your friends really don’t know what is happening in our Institute. You accepted the narrative against the Commissioner because it suites your agenda. You don’t know us, and if the TLM were not at issue, you wouldn’t give us the time of day.

      This is not about your care for us and our well-being. It is about your house of cards.

  • Chris Ferrara says:


    I haven’t been to this blog for quite awhile. I see that you have avoided my principal points. I make it a practice not to continue dialogue with people who do this. I have limited time, and this is one way to conserve it.

    Chris Ferrara

  • Fr Angelo says:

    Sure thing, Chris. I get it. On the off chance you’re interested.

  • Chris Ferrara says:

    Well, I took your suggestion and went to your linked article. I supposed I should have been surprised to see this, given you elastic term “crypto-Lefebvrianism.”

    You write: “Bishop Fellay has made reference to bishops who act in this fashion, who are in agreement with the SSPX, but more or less camouflage their intentions in order not to be removed from influence (1:14:00-1:16:30).”

    Ah, so even bishops, the very successors of the Apostles, are infected by the dread disease, hiding their evil thoughts from the higher authorities. You should sniff out these traitorous prelates and turn them into the Vatican. The way you did your own superior.

    You article demonstrates quite well who are the “ideological Christians” in this affair. On with the purge!

  • Chris Ferrara says:


    Well, I took your suggestion and went to your linked article. I suppose I should not have been surprised to see this, given your elastic term “crypto-Lefebvrianism.”

    You write: “Bishop Fellay has made reference to bishops who act in this fashion, who are in agreement with the SSPX, but more or less camouflage their intentions in order not to be removed from influence (1:14:00-1:16:30).”

    Ah, so even bishops, the very successors of the Apostles, are infected by the dread disease, hiding their evil thoughts from the higher authorities. You should sniff out these traitorous prelates and turn them into the Vatican. The way you did your own superior.

    You article demonstrates quite well who are the “ideological Christians” in this affair. On with the purge!

    – See more at:

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