Dialogue with Traditionalist “Boniface” Regarding Modernism in the Church

Dialogue with Traditionalist “Boniface” Regarding Modernism in the Church November 17, 2016


Venerable Pope Pius XII (r. 1939-1958) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]




The first indented part was something I wrote prior to 2002, which was included in my book, Reflections on Radical Catholic Reactionaries. I then had a discussion with “Boniface”: a well-known legitimate traditionalist, who runs the large website, Unam Sanctam Catholicam. I invited him to my house not long ago, to give a presentation on traditionalism, so we have met. His words will be in blue.


Arguably, our present crisis was much more the fault (i.e., following convoluted reactionary reasoning) of Pius XII than Paul VI, because the former ought to have stamped it out before it took root and started corrupting the seminaries and colleges and theologians and entire orders. Fr. John A. Hardon said that the “revolution” began around 1940. Liberals don’t pop out of nowhere, fully in bloom in all their hideous glory. The wheels were in motion long before Vatican II, in the “good ole days.” They had to be, or else there couldn’t have been liberals at Vatican II, trying to subvert it (just as with all previous ecumenical councils in Church history).

But – because of the Holy Spirit and God’s promises — they didn’t manage to corrupt the council, and thus, for this and the other reasons above, Blessed Pope Paul VI is falsely and slanderously charged by reactionaries. Could he have been more forceful and vigilant? Sure, but then again Pope St. John Paul the Great was, and that didn’t gain him that many more brownie points or Good Housekeeping Seals of Approval from hyper-critical reactionaries.

Uh…yeah, Pius XII was largely to blame as well. He opened the door to historic-form criticism with Mediator Dei, he promoted several progressives, and though he legislated against modernism (Humani Generis), he failed to follow up his legislation with a vigorous campaign as did Pius X. He also opened the door to attacks on Latin his new Latin Psalter that replaced ecclesiastical Latin with Ciceronian Latin. Pius XII definitely shares some of the blame.

That’s not how Christopher Ferrara was talkin’ in his lovefest interview with Michael Voris two nights ago. It was all, “no pope before Vatican II would ever do this, that, and the other . . .” The usual radial Catholic reactionary boilerplate, in other words . . .

That’s not to say there isn’t a profound difference with the way things were handled by Pius XII and post-Conciliar popes, but I do not think it is a fundamental point of traditionalist-minded Catholics that Pius XII never did anything wrong. There are many things done today that a pre-V2 pope would have never done.

I agree. Pre-VCII popes couldn’t write on the Internet or have “The Holy See” website.

That’s not to say pre-V2 popes were perfect, only to say that there was a shift in thinking.

What role do you suppose Pius XII’s opening the door for higher-critical exegesis, which Pius X had forbidden, play?

I think that was a bad move. I take a rather dim view of those strains of thought, and we Catholics should have learned the lessons of Protestant liberalism: that nothing good comes of it. I think he probably just thought it was legitimate “scholarship” and that Catholic theologians would always be checked by Catholic authority. Wrong! Hindsight is always 20-20, ain’t it?

They also wouldn’t call interfaith prayer meetings with pagans,

Why not? St. Paul cited pagans twice in his sermon on Mars Hill, and commended pagans for their religiosity in praying to the unknown God. What is your premise: that a Protestant can’t pray to God in a room next to a Catholic doing the same thing: that it is a scandal for a fellow Christian to pray to our same Lord and God?

give up the papal tiara,

So what? Jesus rode on a donkey; Pope St. John Paul II was buried in a plain wooden casket: more humble than yours or mine will probably be. But keep majoring on the minors! Miss the forest for the trees!

replace the coronation with an inauguration, or tell Protestants to remain in their churches rather than converting. Or have Masses like the one we just witnessed in Copacabana at World Youth Day.

Paul commended the pagan Athenians for their religiosity; likewise, we can commend in that sense, those in other religions for their piety according to what they know. Jesus did the same with the centurion, who was no Christian.

Well, that’s not the same as encouraging them to pray to their false gods, but, okay.

I don’t want to argue about it, but having dialogue with pagans is not the same thing as inviting them all to the center of Christendom, inviting them to pray to their false gods for worldly ends, then allowing them to go away feeling confirmed in their false religion. And a Protestant is not the same as a pagan.

[see these two links for defenses of the ecumenical conferences in Assisi: one / two]

Please note, I am not saying it was wrong or bad if Paul VI gave up the Tiara; I am only saying it is something a Pre-Vatican II pope would never do, which was the original statement.


Meta Description: Dialogue with Catholic traditionalist “Boniface” about various fundamental issues of dispute.

Meta Keywords: ecumenism, Extraordinary Form, idolatry, Latin Mass, Old Mass, Radical Catholic Reactionaries, TLM, Traditional Latin Mass, traditionalists, Tridentine Mass, modernism, theological liberalism, heterodoxy, Catholic dissidents

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