This morning’s Cincinnati Enquirer features another write-up on Covington bishop Roger Foys’s admonition to his flock to steer clear of the SSPX chapel in Walton, Kentucky. There’s a video included that features a (monotonous) monologue from the pastor, who spends most of his time accentuating the atmospherics of worship there, e.g., kneeling, receiving on the tongue, clothing, cassocks. I’m all for traditional practices too, but he doesn’t really explain why they’re important. It’s as though he’s saying, “If you like this sort of thing, stop by.” Well, what if you don’t? Isn’t he really making the same argument as the modernists, that it’s all a matter of personal preference? (In fairness, he does explain in the article that there’s more to the SSPX’s stance than just “the Latin Mass,” but his first impulse seems to be toward making a show of outward appearances.) Here’s a snip from the article:
The Rev. Adam Purdy, one of three priests who minister at Assumption, said he read the letter from his pulpit the following Sunday.
“I told them he’s right,” Purdy said. “This is the way jurisdiction in the church works. I respect that, but that also assumes that there is no crisis within the church … that people don’t have any kind of objections to the ‘happy unicorn-ride’ version of Catholicism which exists today.”
Foys said he was compelled to write the letter in the diocesan newspaper to stave off confusion created by Purdy’s church and others like it.
That’s because, unlike other Catholic churches, Assumption operates outside Vatican authority. The traditionalist church, which opened its doors in late 2010, is led by the Swiss-based Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), a religious order that rejects reforms that stemmed from the Second Vatican Council.
SSPX churches, including the Walton church and two others in Cincinnati – St. Gertrude in Sharonville and Immaculate Conception Church in Norwood – are best known for retaining the traditional Mass, performed in Latin with the priest facing the altar, just as it was before the Vatican II reforms.
The rift with Rome goes deeper than that, though.