Disagreement ≠ Aggression

The Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form, Gregorian chant, the Holy Rosary, Benediction and Adoration, and many other devotions has been part of our Catholic tradition for centuries.  They should be allowed to live, encouraged and be made available when possible.  These are part of our Catholic patrimony, just as is the Mass of St. John Chrysostom, the Ambrosian Rite, the Maronite Rite and the Ordinary Form of the mass.   At some point in history, all of these were in their embryonic state.  As time passed, the traditions became more ingrained in the Catholic community and the rites and customs became more polished.  In other words, none of the older forms and rites was born as we know them today.  Truth and mystery don’t change, but structure and order do.  It is foolhardy to believe that the Ordinary Form of the Mass, the change in styles in how the papacy operates and the birth of newer devotions should be perfect and without need for adjustment here and there.

Imagine what would have happened if Pope St. Pius V had decided to throw out the different rites and forms of the mass of his time.  But he didn’t choose to do that.  On the contrary, he chose to take what was the best of the tradition, polish that which could be polished and jettison that which did not reflect the faith of the Church and the true nature of God.  All of this took time and painstaking labor.  Rumor has it that while St.  Pius V was in the process of consolidating the Tridentine form of the mass that we often refer to as the TLM or the Extraordinary Form (EF), he was not popular with everyone.  He faced some resistance.  Very often, those who resisted him sinned not because they disagreed with the reforms and ideas of St. Pius.  Their sin was worse.  It was the sin of detraction.  They didn’t simply disagree with Pope Pius; they tried to make him look like a fool.

Unfortunately the are elements in the Traditionalist Movement that don’t simply disagree with the Holy Father’s style, his projects, his manner of proceeding or even his way of life.  There are elements in the Movement that have taken it upon themselves to destroy a good man’s reputation.  If one reads some of the Traditionalist sites, one find sentences such as these.

On the Pope’s meeting with the Patriarch of Moscow

“Pope Francis needed the Moscow Patriarch to force him to say some obvious things”

 “An Orthodox Patriarch was needed to make the Church speak up on the family, Christian roots, abortion, and the persecution of Christians…, to make us Catholics say that leaves are green or that two plus two makes four.”

Reaction to the commissioning of the the Missionaries of Mercy by Pope Francis

“Missionaries of Mercy….Another Round of Stupidity from His Humbleness”

“The Missionaries of Mercy, Coming Soon to a Theater Near You”

 “Pope Francis is setting in motion an action which will result in a predictable reaction and he is using his masterful knowledge of psychology to manipulate poor simple minds who are convinced that the Pope is doing the world a favor.”

 On the Holy Father’s vision for the Church and his “ulterior” motives

“For Pope Bergoglio, the papacy is a vehicle for achieving what he dreams, what he wants, what he prefers, as opposed to what has been handed down to him for safekeeping. He intends to leave his personal stamp on the Church in a manner he hopes will be irreversible,”

On the Holy Father’s dignity

 “Then, under a cloud of mystery and bafflement, came Jorge Cardinal Mario Bergoglio . . . and this is what we saw: Francis on [the] logia”

 “It was a man dressed as a simple bishop, whose first words were a thudding banality: “Brothers and sisters, good evening!” A bishop dressed in white, waving to the crowd and telling them, strangely, that he had been elected “Bishop of Rome” for “the evangelization of this beautiful city,” for which he pointedly requested “the prayer of the people for their Bishop.” He was denuded of the traditional symbols of papal authority, later donning the papal stole only long enough to bestow the Apostolic Benediction, promptly removing it once the words were uttered. Even his dull metal pectoral cross was the same one he had worn in Buenos Aires.”

 “Bergoglio is such a loose cannon he’s careered right through the deck and smashed through the hull. A (bleep) from a (bleepin’) country.”

 “But Francis does not think like a Catholic. . . . his pronouncements appear so dated as to be almost deranged”


This not the way that a virtuous man disagrees with another man; the key to healthy disagreement is respect for the dignity and position of the other person.  These comments not only show a lack of respect for the Vicar of Christ, but they incite anger and even hatred.  These are not statements of disagreement.  These statements sound like deliberate attempts to disparage the reputation of none other than the Vicar of Jesus Christ.

One can place the points of disagreement on the table and proceed to present one’s objections to each point, without bringing down the person.  Our holy father St. Francis never allowed the brothers to speak against authority.  But he did allow them to disagree with anything they felt was dangerous to the soul.  He set the example for Christian debate.

I feel sad having to warn our brothers and our friends to be careful of the evil mindset that very often invades extremes, be they extreme liberalism or extreme conservatism.  There is nothing wrong with the traditional elements of our faith.  There is nothing wrong in preserving and making use of the richness of these elements, because they move thee soul closer to God.

Beware of the poisonous talk and accusations that often hide underneath the shroud of righteousness.  Do not be sucked in to such way of thinking, be it from the right or from the left.  Poison is poison, no matter what flavor it comes in.  Anything that detracts from the dignity of another person, calls into question his integrity without proof, and does damage to the reputation of one who is doing good for so many is evil.  Unfortunately, those who are posting these and similar comments all over the Internet do not realize that they are cooperating with evil, rather than defending the holy, which is what they really want to do.

There is nothing to prohibit the Franciscans of Life from participating in activities and services within the Traditionalist community.  These things are part of our Catholic heritage and they serve as channels of grace.  Franciscans of Life are never to participate in detraction of any kind and anyone, especially the Vicar of Jesus Christ, nor are they to associate with those who engage in such evil behavior.  They may disagree and engage in intellectual debates about points of disagreement, always speaking of and treating the person with the opposing point of view as a son or daughter of God and our brother whom we are sent to serve, not to judge.



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