Friday, 27 August 2010


''Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated.The process has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt. Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty. To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies - all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinately, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth. Ultimately it is by means of doublethink that the Party has been able - and may, for all we know, continue to be able for thousands of years - to arrest the course of history.'' (George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Book II, Chapter IX).

I'm sorry but it seems to me that Traditionalist Catholics very often exercise the principle of doublethink because, as Moretben says in a comment in my previous post about the hierarchy of liturgical legislation, they go around and around in one series of contradictions after another. How, for example, is it possible for a man to at once accept, and believe firmly and with all sincerity, that the ordinary magisterium of the Church cannot err, and yet to place oneself at variance with the contemporary ordinary magisterium of the Church in liturgical and doctrinal matters? How can a man accept the content of Pastor Aeternus, and yet believe that what Pius XII did to the Sacred Liturgy was wrong, as plainly it was? How can a man claim at once that the Novus Ordo of Paul VI is defective liturgy, as plainly it is, and yet claim also that Paul VI had the authority to carry out the series of reforms throughout the 1960s? How can one consciously use the terms ''ordinary'' and ''extraordinary forms'' to falsely designate a supposed-Old Rite (which is in fact younger than my parents) and New Rite, and to accept (officially we might say) that these are two expressions of the one Roman Rite, and yet to claim also that the New Rite is defective, made-up liturgy and not ''sacred and great'' as Pope Benedict has made out?

The Catholic Tradition need not be riddled so much with scandalous falsehoods and half-remembered traditions. Pope Benedict XVI is an admirable man, clearly very pious and intelligent and concerned for the needs of the Church, but I just cannot accept this ''hermeneutic of continuity'', the euphoria (which still hasn't died down sadly) about Summorum Pontificum and the rest of the nonsensical and futile ''liturgical reform'' he is carrying out. The so-called Benedictine altar-arrangement comes to mind. What do you get from that? How in any way does sticking a row of six candles and a crucifix rectify the liturgical abuse of facing the wrong way? It conveys merely artificiality and pretence, and is moreover a falsely-constructed modern theology of Liturgy designed to explain away, or dumb down, a liturgical abuse. You either face Eastwards, according to the ancient Tradition of liturgical prayer and posture, or you don't. At any rate candles and a crucifix on the Altar are a late Medieval embellishment. If you truly want Tradition then any additional candles would be placed behind, not on, the mensa of the Altar. If I were the Pope, instead of trying to explain away this obvious abuse I'd have said something like: ''Either you face eastwards the next time you celebrate Mass, or I'll excommunicate you. Anyone who dares object to this, our ruling, shall incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul.''

But thank God I'm not the Pope!


  1. Interesting points, and contrasts, Patricius. Thank you! I think I'm beginning to understand your points more. God bless.

  2. The ridiculous "Benedictine altar arrangement" is a counterpart to the new "Traditional" Good Friday prayer for the Jews: an ingenious means of not excluding absolutely the heresies embedded in the Novus Ordo - thus protecting reputations etc, etc...