Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi
A leaked FBI memo from their Richmond Virginia office targets those it refers to as Radical Traditional Catholics (RTC). RTC is defined as a subset of those the memo refers to as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVE). An analyst’s note from the memo is clear:
“RTCs are typically characterized by the rejection of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) as a valid church council; disdain for most of the popes elected since Vatican II, particularly Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II and frequent adherence to anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, and white supremacist ideology....”
The memo goes on to refer to trip wire and source development; this is bureau jargon suggesting the need for agent infiltration into what they have defined as RTCs.
The FBI memo reads like a secular appendix to Pope Francis’ motu proprio, Traditionis Custodes; a letter in which he places restrictions on the Tridentine Latin Mass (TLM), marginalizing it until it can be eliminated. Bergoglio rescinded Ratzinger’s motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum of 2007, under which the Latin Mass was considered the extraordinary form of the Mass alongside the Novus Ordo (NO) or ordinary form of the Mass. Ostensibly, Ratzinger was declaring a hermeneutic of continuity, that TLM and NO are both valid forms of the Mass, perhaps this was only to lend more credence to the 50-year-old modernist Vatican II NO by putting it alongside the 1500-year-old TLM.
Bergoglio’s hermeneutic in contrast is one of discontinuity or rupture. In Traditionis Custodes he refers to the NO as the unique expression of lex orandi of the Roman Rite. In writing this he suggests that the Latin Mass (TLM) was wrong or at least insufficient. For 1500 years Catholics did not get it right according to Bergolio. It was not until what many NO advocates refer to as “The Council” (Vatican II), that the church finally got it right.
The intelligence work that composes the FBI memo is abysmal. Details are inaccurate and superfluous. A Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) list of supposedly RTC hate groups included in it is farcical. Vatican II groups are listed such as E. Michael Jones’ Culture Wars as well as Michael Matt’s, The Remnant. The FBI did not bother to vet the SPLC list to properly define their target; SPLC is obviously not concerned with the TLM but has its own agenda and it paints sloppily with a broad brush. They even list a tiny harmless group based in New Hampshire, The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The FBI is arguably just working alongside the Pope. What Bergolio is doing to those traditionalists who consider him a valid Pope and submit to his authority, the FBI will do to those sedevacantists who are out of his reach. Although the word sedevacantist does not appear anywhere in the memo, that is their described target. Sedevacantist Catholics do not recognize any Popes after Pius XII and attend only the Latin Mass. Bergolio has no authority or influence on them except to help swell their numbers every time he opens his mouth and shoves his foot in it. The FBI memo is timely given the death of Ratzinger as some traditionalists continued to recognize Ratzinger as Pope and now face a sedevacanatist dilemma.
Lex orandi, lex credendi refers to the link between prayer and theology. The TLM was at least as much a threat to the hegemony of the modernist NO as, Primo’s and Secundo’s Paradise restaurant was to Pascal’s American philistine cuisine in the movie Big Night. The NO could not exist together with the TLM as the latter was a constant nagging reminder of what Montini, through “The Council” jettisoned. TLM was growing and comprised of many young parishioners while the NO on the other hand is a dying boomer option favored by older priests who never learned Latin and by secularized parishioners who do not want anything to challenge the world spirit. In Savannah, GA where I attended the indult TLM, it was scheduled after the NO Mass on Sunday afternoon at the Cathedral. The parade of masks and miniskirts leaving the NO walking past the conservatively dressed and largely unmasked “indulterers” was a scene that sticks in my mind. It looked like two different churches. Some NO priests who conducted the TLM were affected as well; they were at risk of becoming Catholic, something Bergolio discourages.
So-called conservative pundits are reacting to the FBI leak as expected. They see the memo as an attack on religious liberty. Tucker Carlson is among those missing the point. He listed Mormons, Scientologists and others on his FOX News show as threatened. He is wrong. The enemy of our souls is not attacking sects or cults. He is fine with all happy-clappy, fully vaxed, compliant worldlings who practice any of the many experiential religious options on a theme of relativism. Nor is he attacking the Vatican II NO Mass that his infiltrators created. He worked hard to create religious chaos under the guise of religious freedom and is fine with all such gatherings of those who practice religious hobbies; his sights are fixed on what remains of the TLM.
Frank DeRienzo is a retired Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel. He holds a BA in Philosophy from Gordon College and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts and is a graduate of the US Army Defense Language Institute. He currently works with eLearning technology.