Monday, October 31, 2016

Thank God for The Glorious Counter Reformation


Image result for ignatius of loyola apotheosis
prays Holy Spirit will "help us rejoice in the gifts that have come to the church thru the Reformation"

Well, what are theses gifts?

  • A depleted protestant Bible
  • Ecclesial Communities, lacking Holy Orders and therefore the Holy Eucharist and the means to Grace. 
  • The elevation of an individual theologian over the whole Catholic Tradition. and a decided break with that Sacred Tradition.

We can add into the mix the massacre of peasants, anti Jewish pogroms, the rise in witch trials, the growth of superstition, the beginning of German nationalism.
The Reformation was welcomed by  European princes because it placed them over the Church and reduced the Church and the clergy to mere arms of the State.
We can add the destruction of Christian culture, not just the vandalism of religious houses and the iconoclastic destruction of Christian heritage.

Frankly, I see little that we should rejoice in, except for one thing, as an Oxford preacher once said, either at the Oratory or Blackfriars, "... except for one thing, by God's providence, the coming of the Glorious Counter Reformation".
It was the Glorious Counter Reformation that enabled the Catholic Church to withstand Protestant aggression through force of arms, that would have laid the West open to the expanding Ottoman empire.
It was Glorious Counter Reformation that enabled the Gospel to be preached to the Americas and to Asia and the Glorious Counter Reformation that gave Europe new a vibrant spiritual intellectual and artistic life.

48 comments:

philipjohnson said...

Well said Fr!Its just a pity that Francis thinks that The Deformation was a good thing.Maybe he is Protestant after all!Good post Fr.

Gillineau said...

I think you'll find that, at the Reformation, the God of surprises was just being surprising. For example, one can imagine the surprise of Nicholas Garlick as he was hung drawn and quartered. 'What a surprise!' he must have been thinking, as his arms came off.

Jacobi said...

No good came to Christ's Church from the Reformation, but enormous damage did, such as further heretical sects and a culture of growing heterodoxy which persists and grows to this day, as does the latest wave of Islam.

It is an event to be deplored by all Catholics

Mike Cliffson said...

HEAR HEAR

Scelata said...

Spoil sport.
Next you'll be telling families they shouldn't throw parties to celebrate the anniversary of Dad deserting Mum by running off with the baby-sitter

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

Patrick Langan said...

Thank you Father for your appropriate blog on this sad day! "Thank God for the Glorious Counter Reformation"

JARay said...

I agree entirely Father. This business of Pope Francis going off to celebrate the Reformation is a massive blunder and just shows that he has no idea about Europe and his thinking is still locked into South America. I also agree with Jacobi and would also agree with Mike Cliffson but I would make that "Here Here" because it is where I stand not what I have heared.

Physiocrat said...

Pity the Swedish bishop when he was obviously embarrassed by the questions he was confronted with TV, as though the cracks can be ignored and papered over regardless.

pattif said...

I wonder what the Jesuit martyrs make of all this.

D said...

Thank-you Father for telling the truth!

Physiocrat said...

At this time it is worth remembering that next to the tomb of Pope John Paul II is that of Queen Christina of Sweden. This is the inscription.

======================================
D.O.M.
CORPVS CHRISTINAE ALEXANDRAE
GOTHORVM SVECORVM VANDALORVMQVE
REGINAE
OBIIT DIE XIX APRILIS MDCLXXXIX
======================================

To God, the Best, the Greatest
Here lies the body of Christina Alexandra
Of the Goths, Swedes, Vandals
Queen
Died 19 April 1689

======================================

Ferdinand said...

Good thought.

Physiocrat said...

Nevertheless, the Mass liturgy at Malmö was pretty good. But that was down to the Swedish Catholics.

Abigail said...

Thank you Father Ray Blake, it's mortifying to be in Germany at the moment with all this Luther flag-waving and jingoism. The irony of celebrating a tragedy. But we still have the Divine Comedy of the Church.
Abigail, Berlin

Maureen Lash said...

The creation of the Ordinariate is a celebration of the gifts from the Reformation, is it not?

Michael Leahy said...

The Ordiniariate is a celebration of gifts that endured in spite of the Reformation. Pope Benedict welcomed them to the degree that they were Catholic, not to the degree that they were Protestant.

Mr. Brian Batty, OP said...

Thank you for the very good post, Father.
The Counter Reformation happened to be the theme of an annual conference my regular church hosts! Here's a breakdown: http://catholicism.org/keeping-the-counter-reformation-going.html

mark wauck said...

Wow! Thanks so much for pitching it straight, Fr Blake. It's not like we don't all know this to be true, but when so many are rejoicing that Francis did nothing UNSPEAKABLE at ReformationFest (but hold your breath during the return flight), it's reassuring to have someone point out that, NO, the emperor hasn't any clothes. The mere fact of a pope publicly presenting untruth as truth is scandal enough--and does real harm to trusting souls.

Sixupman said...

Anglo-Catholicism pre-Vatican II was inexplicable as, more often than not, to the untutored eye and ear it was to all intents identical to Catholicism. My grandmother warned me not to hear [M]ass at one of their churches in error.

Sixupman said...

Omitted to mention enetering such Anglo-Catholic church engendered a 'warm non-empty' feeling - as also in Germany in High Lutheran churches - as opposed to many sterile Catholic ones.

Richard Duncan said...

I'm not sure whether Bach's St Matthew Passion counts as one of the gifts of Lutheranism. Maybe Bach would have composed it anyway. But I certainly thank God for it.

fidelisjoff said...

Like it. Well done, Father!

John Vasc said...

I'm just wondering: when Pope Francis said there is 'more that unites than divides us', perhaps he was just talking about him and us?

Physiocrat said...

Bach raises another question. Should we use his music at Mass? SMP works in many Lutheran themes, composed by Luther himself or his followers - Cruger, Nikolai, etc, with the specific intent that they should be NOT-Catholic.

Not only does this music mean that genuinely Catholic music is not sung, it also changes the overall sound of the liturgy in a fundamental way.

It is as if one visited the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and found that the pictures had been locked away in the basement.

Maureen Lash said...

Sixupman, Anglo Catholic churches before the council were very easily distinguished from Catholic churches in that they used the words of Thomas Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer in place of the Latin mass. To one profoundly deaf it would have looked the same however.

Michael Leahy, if the Ordinariate is only importing the bits of Anglicanism that were re-invented in the late nineteenth century in imitation of Rome, what on earth is its point?

Nicolas Bellord said...

Well it could have all been worse. Anyway unity between the Catholic and Lutheran churches is never going to happen as the latter sails off into the sunset.

Richard Duncan said...

I don't see why you can't use Bach at Mass, if the piece is appropriately chosen and the choir is up to it. I am reminded of Pope Benedict's response to someone who queried the use of the "Protestant" music of Bach and Handel in the Catholic liturgy: "Which note is Protestant? The B Flat or the A?"

Sixupman said...

M Lash: I refer to Anglo-Catholic churches which used in both Latin and English pryare books identical to our own Missals, except for the nomenclature given to the Pope and absence of imprimatur.

Physiocrat said...

Catholic music is, like Jewish music, written for a text in a sacred language. It is typically melismatic, and modal ie not in the major or minor keys; the latter correspond respectively to the Ionian and Aeolian modes, respectively, about which Plato had pronounced and unflattering views.

Following the Reformation, a body of music was produced with the specific intention of being NOT-Catholic. These are hymns written for vernacular texts, in a major or minor key, and it is not melismatic but has, typically, one note per syllable. It has a completely different effect on the listener. It arises from a different spirituality.

Bach's church music, such as the cantatas, compilations of cantatas, and organ pieces incorporates Lutheran hymn tunes such as Wachet auf, Eine feste burg (used in Mendelsson's Reformation symphony), Nun danket alle Gott, etc. Mixing them into a Catholic liturgy creates an unhappy and incoherent blend from both a stylistic and spiritual aspect; think of pouring Vindaloo sauce on sushi. There is plenty of Catholic organ music written on Catholic liturgical themes, which deserves performance and is in keeping with the style and spirituality of Gregorian chant. Some is of the finest quality and too much of it is neglected - Frescobaldi, Muffat, Couperin, de Grigny, Duruffle, Messaien.

We should not let them get squeezed out by Bach and Buxtehude, whose music does not really belong. Listen to them by all means - at concerts or on the radio or in recordings. They do not belong to the Mass, which, after all, is not a concert, but an act of worship.

The other issue is

James said...

@physiocrat
It's nice that you've studied Music 101, but which Mozart or Haydn masses are modal? And do you really think that five centuries' worth of Protestant composers had nothing to think about save 'being NOT-Catholic'? Get a grip.

Steve Rudd said...

John Vasc he was probably quoting Jo Cox

Physiocrat said...

@James - I inserted the word TYPICALLY... specifically to take account of the comment which you made.

A musical setting for a Latin Mass text is obviously Catholic music.

The sort of music that composers write is naturally going to be influenced by the composers' spiritual orientation, consciously or otherwise. The Lutheran and Calvinist composers of the immediate post-Reformation period were consciously striving to produce music which reflected their theology and attitudes. These were redefining their understanding of the Christian faith in a new and different way. The music was written to promote that aim.

Later Protestant music reflects the subsequent developments - the High Church Anglican music of the seventeenth century, the Nonconformism of the eighteenth, the Oxford movement of the mid-nineteeth and the muscular Christianity of the British Imperial period.

Another issue is the practical one regarding its place in the Mass. Protestant hymns normally find their way into the Mass as replacements for parts of the Proper - ie the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons. These form part of the reading. There are specific instructions about this in the General Instruction for the Roman Missal.

there are four options... (1) the antiphon from The Roman Missal or the Psalm from the Roman Gradual as set to music there or in another musical setting; (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the diocesan Bishop, including psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) a suitable liturgical song similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the diocesan Bishop.

Thus, the use of hymns of any kind is a last choice. An important reason for the first choice is that these pieces, in particular, the Introit, are set to music which indicates the church seasons and feast days, acting as a signature tune setting the theme of the Mass. After a couple of years, people get to recognise the music, which is particularly important for children growing up in the faith. It is not a good thing if this music is squeezed out, which is what happens almost universally.

As a practical matter, congregational hymns do not work well at the Offertory or Communion as at both times they are sitting, kneeling, looking for change to put in the collection or queueing for communion.

What is Music 101? Is it the music played in room 101? Why do I need a grip? Please read more carefully before replying with things you think you disagree with. But many thanks as it was an opportunity to develop my thoughts on this subject further.

Rod George said...

Yes let us give thanks for the glorious counter reformation. But that was then and here we are
in 2016 in the post Vatican 2 era embracing not just protestantism but other false religions.
What we need now is another glorious revolution to rid the church of its rampant modernism and
its protestantised ecumenical liturgy.We need priests and bishops to embrace wholeheartedly the TLM and have the courage to speak out and defeat the enemies from within the Church who are hell bent on destroying Her. Our Lady of Fatima pray for us.

Maria Anna said...

@Physiocrat - 101 I think it's short for "one on one" = analytical.

Thomas said...

@Maria Anna: 101 is American jargon for the first chapter of an educational course, i.e. the absolute basics. (Apologies if you were being sardonic or whimsical in some way).

Simple Simon said...

I love my Church, but my Church is no more. Can anyone seriously make a case that the four marks of the Church can be discerned in todays Roman Catholic Church? As hard as I have tried, I cannot make a case for 'Apostolic' or 'One'.

Physiocrat said...

So it is an American way of doing a put-down on someone by purporting to have superior knowledge.

Deacon Augustine said...

Simple Simon, to steal an idiom from the modernists and correct it with the definite article: "We are the Church."

It doesn't matter how many heretics and apostates remain in the body of the Church, or how high the offices they hold. As long as two or three are gathered together in Christ's Name, united in the faith we have received from the Apostles, then the Catholic Church which we confess in the Creed is present and still very much alive and kicking.

We may be fewer in number than we once thought, and we may be getting fewer in number by the day, but the Church lives on in us because Christ lives on in us and neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature (even be he Pope) will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Maria Anna said...

@Thomas - no I wasn't sardonic. I really thought it meant what I was saying. Silly me :-)

Simple Simon said...

Deacon Augustine, I agree with everything you have said, except for your opening sentence. The Church which is no more is the Church into which I was baptised. There was unanimity of belief. In today’s Church, if you have a visiting Cardinal or Bishop, or priest as the main celebrant at Mass, unless you know the man, you have absolutely no idea what to expect from the homily. The celebrant could be wonderfully orthodox, or a heretic or an apostate, or possibly sooner than we expect, a visiting Lutheran. That there is a de facto schism in the Church is self-evident. When Pope Francis was Archbishop Bergoglio, had he presented his views on marriage as per AL to Pope John Paul 2 or Pope Benedict, they would have sent him homewards to think again. This was the fate that befell Cardinal Kasper when he tried it on. Their views were not acceptable because they were inimical to the Church’s defined doctrine. When Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis, immediately Kasper’ peculiar theology is exalted and JP and Benedict’s orthodox theology is no more. What I do not get is how Bergoglio’s unorthodox views become orthodox simply by the mere fact that he is now Pope Francis. The reasoning put forward to legitimise the illegitimate I find absolutely unconvincing. So, the Church which taught me the faith is now no more. Just a memory among my souvenirs. Made into a desolate wasteland by wanton thieves. Certainly, I have absolute faith in Our Lord’s assurance that the gates of hell will not prevail. Certainly, I believe our Lady’s promise that in the end her immaculate heart will triumph will become reality. But Jesus also asked us to reflect on the possibility that when he returned he might find no faith on earth. So it is imperative that we fight the good fight for him in our own time. Silence or inaction is no longer an option. If I happened to be on an aeroplane with Pope Francis I would have only one question to ask him. It would be ‘Holy Father, for what died the Son of God’. Tell me, tell me true.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Such challenging times we live in. Every Catholic needs to immerse himself in doctrine, more doctrine and even more doctrine. It's a shame that the people in the pew can't trust their teachers any more but that is the sad fact. Dissent is rampant even at the highest levels of the Church.

Poor Jesus. When He returns will He find any faith on the earth?

Gervase Crouchback said...

I was brought up strict Protestant and was told to thank God for martin Luther.Then over a number of years through conversing with a Lutheran minister who became a Catholic i was received into the Church. I do thank God for the Christian foundation now truly settled in the Catholic Church.For all the talk of how great Luther was lets remember he called the Epistle of james 'the Epistle of Straw";he wrote anti Semitic sermons and texts and his preface to the Apocalypse of Blessed St John "Moreover he seems to me to be going much too far when he commends his own book so highly [Revelation 22]—indeed, more than any of the other sacred books do, though they are much more important—and threatens that if anyone takes away anything from it, God will take away from him, etc. Again, they are supposed to be blessed who keep what is written in this book; and yet no one knows what that is, to say nothing of keeping it. This is just the same as if we did not have the book at all. And there are many far better books available for us to keep." Idont celebrate Reformation Day now but All Hallows Eve.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

Deacon Augustine says.... “We may be fewer in number than we once thought, and we may be getting fewer in number by the day”.
Without getting into what/who you mean by “we”, if it is what I suspect, then you are unaware of the slow but steady increase in priestly ordinations in the “Old Rite”, Deo gratias. At the same time, in many (European) countries, diocesan ordinations (vocations) are decreasing steadily. Fortunately, priests from Africa are saving the day in England and France, probably elsewhere too (I hope).
These newly ordained “Old Rite” priests must surely have growing congregations ? Surely this means we are not fewer etc.
The loosest of terms are used simply to avoid bogging down in definitions.





















Maria Anna said...

Imho, Luther's only valid accusation against the Church of Rome was that at that time they did not offer any comfort and support for his general problems against God and everything else. Not that Orthodoxy had. For heresies of a bishop 20 years of 'low' cleaning work in a monastery is required, plus deep regret. Forbeit Luther was a self appointed bishop, this would've lowered his work into..humbleness.

Valdemar said...

I would add to the list a diminution of use and trust in the Bible by Catholics. The abuses caused by Protestant exegesis caused scandal that made it difficult for Catholics to go to the Bible even after it became widely available. That has hurt the Church even today.

Protestantism can be demolished by proper exegesis of the Sacred Scriptures, but most Catholics have no idea where to begin.

Simple Simon said...

Valdemar,the quality of popular introductions to Scripture for beginners is very variable. Catholic exegetes have presented us with some very peculiar takes on Sacred Scripture. Compare Kasper's inability to believe in the historicity of Jesus' miracles, and his decidedly Lutheran understanding of the nature of God's mercy, to Benedicts 'Jesus of Nazareth'. The one is ridiculous and dangerous. The other sublime. Kasper's views on God's mercy have been canonized by Cupich would you believe and imposed on Chicago's faithful. And what are we to make of Pope Francis' effort at unpacking for us Our Lady's mind and heart as she stood at the foot of the Cross? Or his startling interpretation of what happened at the feeding of the five thousand? Has he confided to anybody what he understands Mt.28:18-20 to mean? Run for your life if Fr. Richard Rorh OFM is coming to a parish near you to set the people free with his takeon Scripture as opposed to what the Church teaches.As far as I know Rorh is still a priest in good standing. Incredible but true.
I think Protestantism is safely demolished by the Magisterial doctrinal teaching, which of course will give us proper exegesis of Scripture when required.

RJ said...

Why does God allow evil?..only so that an even greater good may come of it. I think this is what Aquinas says.

Aneas said...

I love that Pozzo in Sant'Ignazio. One of my favorite churches in Rome.