Tuesday, 25 February 2014


The author of this work is not a Protestant. He is a French divine reared in the communion of Rome, and devoted to her cause in purpose of heart and life; but his great learning having led him to conclusions contrary to those of the Jesuits, he is "under the ban." Proscribed by the Papacy for the fidelity with which he has pursued and illustrated the study of Church History, he accepts the logical consequences of his position, and finds himself a true Catholic at last, receiving the communion in both kinds at the hands of the Greeks, in the Church of the Russian Embassy in Paris.

That is taken from the editor's preface to The Papacy by Abbe Guettee, an indispensable study of that institution by an unsung hero of Church history. Guettee was like to so many others in the history of the West who have taken on the monster of Rome, suffering the pains of isolation, persecution, pariahs of faith, even as the great George Tyrrell in 1909. Why, only the other day I was perusing the New Liturgical Movement blog, a blog I have been reading for eight years, and I came across a comment on Dr Joseph Shaw's Shrovetide video left by some sentimentalist moron. He said every time I see the name of Bugnini I spit up blood, or some nonsense; so I said: "why Bugnini? He was but a servant and emissary." Back came the other: "a servant of whom? Not tradition, that's for sure," so I said: "The pope, of course." Well, I thought this all very innocuous until I received an e-mail from one of the moderators, who said:

Mr Sheridan,

If you wish to refer to the Pope, or any Pope, indirectly or directly as "The Black Foe", you have your own forum in which to do so. You will not do it in ours. If you write anything of the sort again on NLM, I will permanently blacklist you from commenting.
Feeling understandably incensed by this I immediately set about making my sentiments known:
Dear Moderator,
How nice of you to contact me. I am slightly at a loss for words to be upbraided in this way and by you of all persons. I don't recall ever referring to any pope as "the black foe" on any comment thread on the NLM. Unless, of course, you mean the words with which I chose to defend +Annibale Bugnini against what, I am sure you'd agree, was an ill-informed, ad hominem attack and a meaningless contribution. If so, did you even see my comment? Or are you relying on the report and interpretation of somebody else? In which case I am outraged that someone would attribute to me sentiments which I repudiate! How, exactly, were the words ill chosen? They are neither inaccurate nor objectionable. But perhaps the moderators of the NLM prefer scapegoats to common sense? If so their integrity as supposedly informed writers in situ to bring knowledge and understanding is severely compromised and I shall do my utmost to present subsequent NLM articles in this light. And, to be quite honest, I see no moral difference between demonising Archbishop Bugnini and demonising the pope so your decision to scrap my comment and maintain the idiotic one is both arbitrary persecution and personally insulting.

I shall take your threat as evidence that I have already been blacklisted so you needn't worry about any more innocuous comments from me. It is certainly not the first time that I have been expelled from the company of church goers. In any case, with the addition of writers who repeat so many hackneyed lines about the "Benedictine altar arrangement," the reform of the reform and such tosh in grandiloquent style, the quality of the NLM has declined in recent years anyway. I am removing the link to the NLM from my blogroll.
Sincerely yours,
This is the sort of shabby treatment one would expect at the hands of the riff raff of Rorate Caeli who, long before they stopped all comments, blacklisted my own contributions for the simple reason that they lacked the nauseating Ultramontane fanaticism of the others. I was genuinely taken aback by this affront and have, as I said I would, stopped linking to the New Liturgical Movement for which, incidentally, the moderator thanked me! It's no surprise, really. The party line is that 1962 is an acceptable, sublime year; it's all the wicked Council's fault, it was hijacked by liberals; we must obey the holy father; Benedict XVI is the greatest man who ever lived; we submit our judgements, made in moments of temporary clarity, to the judgement of the Holy See; wicked Council; Bugnini had the Devil in him [never mind that he was personally chosen by the highest authority in the RC church!], Bugnini was a Freemason who bullied a weak pope into promulgating a new missal; the New Mass was sprung on an unsuspecting episcopate; Michael Davies was a genius; wicked Council; no wait, the new doctrine is hermeneutic of continuity, development of doctrine; before Vatican II the Church taught that ecumenism was wrong, now the teaching is that it's to be welcomed; wicked Council; the Church is infallible so we apply the hermeneutic of continuity; wicked Council; we reject "fabricated liturgy" but accept the Benedictine altar arrangement, but we don't like Novus Disordo; wicked Council, and so on, and on, and on in an endless, woeful litany of contradictions, corrections and doublethink to drive the Saints to despair. It certainly bothers me. I don't know about you but I can imagine twitching as these mental processes go around their troubled minds. Do you remember Gandalf's description of Gollum in Bag End?
Wicked Council...
Traddie orthodoxy entails a degree of unconsciousness, an effort of mind and will to trample upon reason, even when presented with empirical evidence which shatters their worldview. They must repeat to themselves over and over again their sad, desperate litany; wicked Council, hermeneutic of continuity, Leonine prayers are an indispensable tradition of low Mass, etc. They must always and everywhere refer to the same trad orthodox writers, the same trad orthodox tracts. Otherwise they might forget and become heretics; they might be burned at the stake! To express even a routine interest in the Use of Sarum is to be under suspicion! To go to an Orthodox church while on holiday means moral obliquity and the strictest penance. And so, because of this desperate litany, when presented with the facts, for example, that the liturgical books of 1962 are not in any way similar to the Tridentine books, the myth of the unchanged Canon Romanus since the threshold of antiquity, it means nothing to them; they're not interested. They are content only with their narrow, ill-informed worldview, in spite of all sanity they have found that ignorance makes them confident and prejudiced, quick to anger and condemnation. They would only become interested if the facts were postulated to them by the Roman Curia itself or by a Lefebvrist (and why would they do that?). In other words, by somebody who has passed the test of their orthodoxy. But the fact that they have, to borrow one of Fr Hunwicke's recent lines, "lived under the dominion of a lie" would not mean a thing to them. They have exercised their orthodox faculties and they have obliterated the past. The more clever traditionalist, like our esteemed moderator on NLM, knows that this party line is egg shell thin, ready to crack at the next turn of events from Rome (like the election of a liberal pope!), but they continue to feed the masses with the same rubbish for fear that they might be thrust out by them. They must perforce maintain the party line and adhere to it unquestioningly, without any deviation whatever. Honesty is a thing to be scorned so theirs is the greater sin.
Fabricated liturgy...six candles means right worship...and so the sorry traddie mutters to himself, amidst snarls and grimaces of hatred, as he fumbles through his dog-eared 1961 breviary trying, without hope, to find the right psalms for the day.
If somebody with a store of his own wisdom, gotten in years of earnest study, presents an alternative, more rational and holistic view, then he is a danger, a pernicious heretic who has to be cut off - like Abbe Guettee, and countless others. What did Orwell say about being in a minority, even a minority of one? I expect if a man challenges a deranged mob by himself, armed only with his own sanity, then he can expect nothing but to be hanged from the nearest tree.
While I have enabled comment moderation I have always been very liberal with this because I am of the opinion that most of the treasures of this blog can be found among my readers. I see no wisdom in saying: anybody who is even mildly critical of the holy father or the status quo is barred permanently. That is the death of science. If we understand blogs, catholic ones, as the faithful search for answers to our present problems then to silence people who comment in good faith means that you were never really interested in any answers in the first place, and that maybe you just enjoy complaining and sucking up. How tragic for you.


  1. I have begun to wonder if Vatican I wasn't a rather middle class reactionary caricature of what had gone before. The revolutions rather obviously got rid of the nobility; why would it not be so in the Church as well? The offices remained, but the quality of people left to fill those offices meant a lack of sophistication. The left attacks, the right retreats to a cartoon version of tradition, and subsequently, the left uses said cartoon version of tradition to push their agenda forward. The next generation of right starts further down the line- which is why a lot of them honestly can't understand the 1962 problem.
    Presumably the nobility would be the ones capable of thinking multi-generationally. I don't see that happening much among the lower classes.

    1. August, that is an intelligent, lucid and well-thought-out suggestion. I think you're right! Given this argument, it's hardly surprising that the last real edition of the Ceremonial of Bishops was 1885! Did anybody, half a century later, have the intelligence to produce something even half as decent?

      One of the problems of the modern Trad world is, of course, a class one. They're all thick micks! I am reminded of a certain careerist, but Lawrentian, clergyman who lives but two miles from me. A sensitive working class boy, taken out of his father's simple world by his grammar school education; destined for middle class, middle brow, mediocrity. He performs well enough to earn a place at the country's most prestigious university and so he goes up to Oxford, and what does he find? He doesn't fit in, a touch of the East End of London still clings to him and so he goes back to his family looking for comfort, and what does he find? He doesn't fit in there either! He's neither fish nor fowl! Doomed to forever straddle the classes knowing he'll never belong to either one!

      The inferiority of his upbringing combined with his delusions of grandeur prevent him from having much to do with eccentrics like me. And so if I say to him, "what you do here is the ultimate dishonour to your ecclesiastical betters," (Waugh, Tolkien), he won't listen. Why? Because he's too worried about losing respectability.

    2. I must make a correction. The Leonine edition of the Ceremonial of Bishops was published in 1886, and not 1885 as I had indicated earlier.

    3. I was thinking last night of trying to figure out if I could get a lot of official (presumably Latin, which I don't understand but I don't necessarily need to for this) Church documents. If I can get them in on-line in plain text, then I could go try to find some linguistic programs to throw at them. Vocabulary tends to be an indicator for intelligence, for instance, though the analysis is complicated somewhat by subject matter.

  2. As far as I'm concerned civilised Christendom ended with the Storming of the Bastille. The Church of Rome was well on her downward path by the eve of the Second Vatican Council. The Council of Trent abrogated many noble benchmarks of holy orthodoxy and brought a stultifying mediocrity in its wake. Monarchy and aristocracy are the only natural and proper forms of government, once a nation casts off these Permanent Things, it de facto casts off goodly Christian religion. So it is with the Roman communion, her princes reduced to a mealy-mouthed rabble of unlovely New World peasantry and Old World proletariat. The liturgical books of 1962 were the product of the same era that working class "culture", "popular" music and the monstrous regiment of women came to the fore, yet traddies laud them as though each of their precious Baronius press re-prints were bound the hands of St. Gregory the Great himself.

    1. I'm sure many of them believe that St Peter wore a tiara. A woman I met at Corpus Christi church in Covent Garden said to me once:

      "The pope is not so much the successor of St Peter. He is Peter."

      The woman's intelligence had clearly suffered in some unimaginable way when she swam the Tiber; she was a convert.

    2. I'm not sure the swimming of the Tiber had dulled her intelligence, Patricius! She was just plainly stupid to begin with!