Rightful Aspirations
Rightful Aspirations
Lt. Col. David Sonnier
Goretti Publications
Dozenal numeration is a system of thinking of numbers in twelves, rather
than tens. Twelve is much more versatile, having four even divisors—2, 3, 4,
and 6—as opposed to only two for ten. This means that such hatefulness as
“0.333. . . ” for
and “0.1666. . . ” for
are things of the past, replaced by
easy “0;4” (four twelfths) and “0;2” (two twelfths).
In dozenal, counting goes “one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine,
ten, elv, dozen; dozen one, dozen two, dozen three, dozen four, dozen five,
dozen six, dozen seven, dozen eight, dozen nine, dozen ten, dozen elv, two
dozen, two dozen one. . . It’s written as such: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 1X, 1E, 20, 21. . .
Dozenal counting is at once much more efficient and much easier than decimal
counting, and takes only a little bit of time to get used to. Further information
can be had from the dozenal societies (
), as well
as in many other places on the Internet.
2007 David L. Sonnier. All rights reserved. Version 2.0. The cameoflage
cover pattern is a public domain image by Summer Woods.
This document may be copied and distributed freely, provided that it is done in its
entirety, including this copyright page, and is not modified in any way.
Goretti Publications
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii
1 Je ne propose rien; j’expose 1
1 From De Oppresso Liber to UNIX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
2 And Then it Happened. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . E
3 The Great Awakening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
4 Exactly What Did Happen? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
5 The Second Vatican Council . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
6 Girls Will Be Boys or From UNIX to Eunuchs . . . . . . . 29
7 Montgomery, Alabama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
8 Fort Bragg, North Carolina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3E
9 The Society of Saint Pius X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
X The General’s Exec . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
E De Oppresso Liber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
10 Whither NATO?: Brussels, Belgium, June 15, 1998 . . . . . . . 91
11 Quo Vadis? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
12 The Big Lie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X1
13 Letters Across the Atlantic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X9
14 Finally! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . E5
15 The US Army vs. The Catholic Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . E7
16 Meet the Press . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
17 Excuses, Excuses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10E
18 Farewell Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
19 Introíbo ad altáre Dei . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
vi Contents
2 Je n’expose rien; je propose. 127
1X A Modest Proposal for an Immodest Era . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
A Ten Years of the Motu Proprio “Ecclesia Dei” . . . . . . . . . . 139
B Letter from “Tim” to the Chaplains at Fort Bragg . . . . . . . . 143
ne of my professors
at West Point commented that it takes a
period of at least five years after a divorce to fully understand what
went wrong. When I asked him why, he said that people are not able
to see events clearly because of human nature their emotions can cloud
their reasoning. With that thought in mind, I’ve held publication of this saga
for five years to ensure that my emotions did not cloud my narration of the
events leading to my departure from an Army I loved in 2001. The events
were all well documented, with meeting notes, letters I’ve kept on file, and
hard copies of e-mail I’ve retained.
This book has been a collective effort, and my role in it has only been
to string the sequence of events together into somewhat readable form. My
apologies for the numerous military acronyms, which the civilian reader may
find confusing, but it is intended for the military audience particularly
Catholics serving in the military so that they can know and understand
that they are being deprived of their heritage.
I am most grateful to a number of individuals who must remain anonymous,
either because I was unable to contact them to obtain permission to use their
real names, or for other reasons. I am very grateful to the Donnelly family,
Lt. Cleary, Tim, and LTC Kleinfeld; perhaps their real names will be used in
a future version.
We are most grateful to Paul Belien and Alexandra Colen for the inspiring
and most courageous example they’ve been to us and to so many other people.
We’re also grateful to the many French and Belgian families we met along
the way, most notably the Brions.
We are forever grateful to the many priests who helped us: Fr. Gerald
Duroisin, Msgr. Edward Spiers, Fr. William Hudson, Fr. Domingos Pereira, Fr.
Hervé Hygonnet, Fr. Prasad Marneni, Fr. Josef Bisig, Fr. Arnaud Devillers,
Fr. Marc-Antoine Dor, Fr. Larry Jensen, Fr. Charles Troncale, Fr. James
viii Acknowledgements
Jackson, Bishop Joseph L. Howze, and Msgr. Gilles Wach.
I am most grateful to those who helped in the editing for both readability
and content: Dr. Ronda Chervin, Dr. Joseph Bonometti and his lovely wife
Peggy, Anne Kootz, and my old friend John Labrucherie who I haven’t seen
in years.
Additional thanks to those who reminded me of the necessity and urgency
of getting this into print: Charles Coulomb, Michael Davies
and even Zach
All servicemen should be forever grateful to Brig. General Earnie Callender
USAF, for setting an uncommonly good example for general officers to follow.
We have more admiration and gratitude for him than he will ever know.
I am personally grateful to Chuck Wilson and the Saint Joseph Foundation
for the peace of mind they gave me after a sleepless night resulting from a
bogus threat of “excommunication.” Had they not been there, who knows
what may have resulted? A mad Green Beret on a rampage with guns and
I am also particularly grateful to Fred Haehnel for working to build
and expand Una Voce America at a time at which I needed the help this
organization could provide by putting me in touch with the right people
Michael Davies and Chuck Wilson, for example.
Thanks to Dr. Austin Welsh for throwing me a life preserver at the end
of my military career, and to my colleagues at Lyon College for their support
as I’ve worked on this book.
I am even grateful to the priests, mostly military chaplains, who treated us
with disdain and disrespect and even took the time to express their sentiments
in writing. Had they not done so, I would have been accused of exaggerating
because it is certainly not easy to believe that priests would behave in the
manner described herein. Again, we can see that even those who intend to
thwart God’s will end up contributing to His Greater Glory unwittingly.
Finally, I am forever grateful to Lorri for so thoroughly rejecting the
modern notions of motherhood and feminism in favor of the Catholic Faith,
and for John David, William, Clair, Louis, Annie, Thomas and Anthony for
so firmly embracing the traditional Catholic Faith we’ve strived so hard to
pass on to them. May they always do so.
Part 1
Je ne propose rien;
Chapter 1
From De Oppresso Liber
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet
Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr.
Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
President Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate, West Berlin, Germany,
June 12, 1987, in a speech that was delivered to the people of West Berlin, yet it was
also audible on the East side of the Berlin wall.
he November 1989 fall
of the Berlin Wall and the consequential
end of the Cold War caught me by surprise. I thought I would
be engaged in this monumental Cold War effort for the rest of my
life. Suddenly it was over. Just like that. And there had been no warning
that the end was in sight. . . just, from one day to the next, German kids
were climbing on the once formidable wall, drinking wine, singing, laughing,
mocking the ridiculous and absurd scenario that had existed for the last half
of the twentieth Century. Now what? What’s a Cold Warrior to do?
I had been commissioned at West Point on 27 May 1981. Even at the time
of my graduation I never believed that I would take great interest in being a
soldier. Four years at West Point had given me the knowledge I would need
as an officer, but, I must admit, the experience did not leave me with enough
desire to commit twenty years to the Army. I took my initial assignment with
the 7
Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California, assuming I would spend
the mandatory five years in the Army and then find a job working as an
electrical engineer somewhere in the area perhaps Silicon Valley. I had
4 From De Oppresso Liber to UNIX
more interest in eventually going to work in industry as an electrical engineer
than in being an Infantry officer. Initially I just went through the motions at
the Infantry Officer Basic Course at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Then somewhere during my time going through the Infantry training
at Fort Benning something clicked. It all came together. I found myself
actually enjoying the rugged outdoor life, the weapons ranges, the long road
marches. I discovered my agility at navigating with a map and compass, with
tactical thinking, and mission planning. I began to actually enjoy being a
soldier and I began to think like a soldier. As a Southerner, I was unafraid
of snakes, insects, and heat. As a competitive swimmer, I was unfazed by
the physical requirements. As a Catholic, I was unafraid of death. This final
point was not something I pondered excessively or even considered important
until much later in life, and I will expound upon it later. It’s not that being
a Catholic exempts one from the normal fear one experiences in times of
danger, but. . . I’ll explain later. My most delightful discovery at that time
was that I could do just as well as some of the top-of-the-class guys I hadn’t
been able to keep up with academically at West Point. Soon I found myself
volunteering for Ranger School. After all, everyone of importance seemed to
have one of those Ranger Tabs on their left shoulder.
When I first encountered my future wife I was sporting what’s known as
a “Ranger Buzz” the shortest haircut possible without shaving your head.
Through some small miracle, even though the two of us had attended high
school together, we had never met or spoken with each other. I say “miracle,”
because it’s quite likely that had she met me as a high school student she
wouldn’t have been in the least interested in ever again having anything to do
with me. The reasons for which I say this are best left unexplained, but I will
allude to the fact that they have to do with some rather bizarre hairstyles and
clothing fashions I fell in with in the 1970s. The fact that my future wife and
I never met is all the more interesting when one considers the extremely small
size of the high school we both attended, and that we were both members of
the same Catholic parish in predominantly Protestant Mississippi. In fact,
it must have been Divine Providence that we never met until I had been
away from home for long enough to get a good haircut. Well a cheap
haircut a 1/16 inch buzz that was required for Ranger School. During a
weekend leave in our home town in Mississippi I made a last minute decision
to attend a wedding, and after the reception, my sister Joan and her friend
(and my future wife) Lorri invited me to go with a group of their friends to
New Orleans. We made the two-hour drive and invaded the honeymoon of
the poor newly wed couple, then spent the evening visiting with them at Pat
From De Oppresso Liber to UNIX 5
O’Brien’s. By this time I had become more respectable, if it is possible to
be a respectable honey-moon invader. The groom, as it turned out, was an
Army Aviator (helicopter pilot) who would be flying missions for my Ranger
Class! The simple joy of spending an evening talking with Lorri and her
friends was soon over, but it left a lasting impression I tried to shake off as I
returned to the business of being a soldier.
I survived Ranger school, but by the time I actually reported to Fort Ord
for my first assignment in February 1982 I was ruined as a future electrical
engineer. I paid no attention to Silicon Valley didn’t even pay a visit
and I spent all of my spare time in rugged outdoor activities on the pistol
range, riding a motorcycle, hiking, or fishing. I never learned to enjoy and
appreciate the finer administrative details of running a military organization
with perfection, but I learned to love being an Infantry Platoon Leader.
After only eighteen months at Fort Ord, the company I was assigned to,
C Company 3/17 Infantry, transferred to the Republic of Korea. The entire
company was transferred together. This massive reassignment was based
on an early 1980s effort by the Department of the Army to reassign units,
instead of individuals, for rotation to the Republic of Korea for a rather
difficult one-year period. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The origins
of the concept, known as “COHORT,”
were in the regimental system in the
U.K. Supposedly, soldiers who entered the army at the same time would go
through Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training together, spend
an initial tour together in the US, and then rotate overseas to Korea. It
never quite worked for us the way it did in the U.K. for various reasons. Our
company arrived in Korea in August of 1983, and we spent a year working just
a few kilometers from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), at a small installation
called “Camp Grieves” which we affectionately referred to as “Camp Grievous.
Located just north of the Imjin River, the battalion at this post had the
mission of patrolling the US sector of the DMZ during the most difficult time
of the year in the dead of the bitter, cold Korean winter.
It was during a leave prior to the transition of my company from Fort Ord
to Korea that I met Lorri again and we were quickly engaged. Oddly enough,
just as a wedding had brought us together previously, now it was another
wedding that would bring us together for good. Her college roommate was
getting married to an old friend of mine from the AAU swim team days who
COHORT was the Army’s unsuccessful unit manning program of the 1980s. The
acronym COHORT is derived from “Cohesion, Readiness and Training. The program was
unsuccessful; studies showed that the constant rotation of officers and senior noncommis-
sioned officers kept COHORT units from reaching their full potential.
6 From De Oppresso Liber to UNIX
was now finishing SEAL training the difficult six-month BUDS (Basic
Underwater Demolition School) in Coronado. Lorri and I attended his
graduation, then the wedding ceremony, then in the days that followed we
discovered that we were meant for each other. People are fond of saying
that they “decided to get married” but if one considers marriage a divine
institution then one “discovers” or discerns one’s spouse or discerns some
other vocation in life. Our marriage had to wait through a one-year Korea
tour, which in retrospect would have been much easier had I not “discerned”
this marriage vocation just prior. After finishing a year with the 2
Division in the Republic of Korea, I returned to the US and we were married
less than a week later. We set off for Fort Benning, Georgia in September
1984, where I was assigned for the six-month Infantry Officers Advanced
Course (IOAC).
It was about this time that I began to study Spanish. Studying Spanish
and observing events in Central America led me to a genuine belief that
we were justified in taking steps to prevent the wholesale turnover of Latin
American governments to Cuban-sponsored guerrilla groups. It seemed that
their first target was always the Church. I read of the persecution of the
Church, the silencing of Cardinal Obando y Bravo in Nicaragua,
and the
use of the military to prevent the continued advancement of the communist
ideologues seemed quite appropriate to me. And it seemed that President
Kennedy, years ago, had placed into a position of honor just the type of
military outfit for times such as these the Special Forces, better known
as the Green Berets. So, after completion of the six-month Infantry Officers
Advanced Course at Fort Benning Georgia, I transferred to Fort Bragg,
North Carolina to give it a try. After a rather painful six months in the
Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) I earned the Green Beret and was
assigned to the 7
Special Forces Group as the commander of an A-Team,
Operational Detachment A-735.
Much of what followed was quite interesting, but outside the scope of this
book. I derived more satisfaction from being an A-Team leader than any
other position I ever held. If I could have done it, I’d have stayed several
years; however, after a mere two years I was forced to transfer to a staff
Lorri and I had no children at this point in my military career. I was
deployed sometimes nine or ten months out of the year, and with my misplaced
priorities the most important thing to do was to get my wife into the work
For an excellent overview of the reality of the Sandinista era, read Nicaragua: Corozon
Herida de las Americas.
From De Oppresso Liber to UNIX 7
force to make some money. I paid her tuition for a masters degree in Physical
Therapy at Duke University and licensure as a Physical Therapist so that
she could earn a second income, as if we needed that instead of children.
In 1988 I departed from the 7
Special Forces Group and we relocated
to Colombia, South America. I was assigned as the Exchange Officer at
the Escuela de Lanceros, the “Lancero School,” at Tolemaida, a Colombian
training center about 100 kilometers south of Bogota. Taking this position
required that I first complete the Lancero course, a very difficult two-month
commando course similar to our own US Army Ranger School. I did so, but
by the end of the two months a serious case of dysentery and malaria left
me looking like a skeleton or a refugee the kind of sight that has become
all too familiar in the “enlightened” times in which we live. It was worth
the effort, though, in more ways than one. The kind of humiliation and
suffering one goes through to get through the training was beneficial to me
as an American, since Americans tend to deliberately deprive ourselves of
the normal level of both humility and suffering, having lost any notion of the
importance of humility and the redemptive value of suffering. Despite the
difficulties of getting through the training, the time I spent as an instructor
at the Escuela de Lanceros was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and if I
had been able to stay longer I certainly would have. The Colombians were
kind and gracious. We were assigned a set of Colombian Officer Quarters,
and we quickly established some good friendships with the people around
us. There were very few Colombians who spoke any English, so Lorri had to
learn Spanish as well. She quickly became conversant in Spanish, established
a circle of friends among the officers’ wives, learned to cook Ajiaco and other
Colombian dishes, taught her friends some of her favorite recipes, and worked
a few hours in the military hospital from time to time.
My assignment was to give some of the instruction for the Lancero School,
which included marksmanship, patrolling, riverboat operations, rope bridge
construction, and such things. There were some periods of time during which
I was busy day after day from 4:00 in the morning until late at night. But
then, when there was not a course in session I was virtually free to travel
around the country. We were able to get to know this beautiful Andean
country well.
Colombia suffered during this period; there was an outbreak of violence
prior to the 1989 elections, and three of the leading presidential candidates
were assassinated. The spouses of all US Military and State Department
personnel were temporarily evacuated back to the U.S. Despite Colombia’s
difficulties, it soon became apparent that the Cold War was over. We had
8 From De Oppresso Liber to UNIX
no access to television in Tolemaida, but during a brief trip to Panama in
late 1989 I had access to cable TV and an opportunity to catch up on the
news from the US point of view. It was then that I had the shocking but
pleasant CNN view of German kids climbing on “The Wall,” drinking wine,
and breaking off pieces of the formerly formidable barrier with pickaxes and
What to do? As much as I loved being a soldier, I had not expected this
and began to wonder if there wasn’t some other way I should be spending my
time. Would there still be a need for highly trained Special Forces soldiers?
A friend of mine suggested that I could go to work as a hit man for the Mafia.
I was open to all suggestions at the moment, but they had to be within
reason. . .
A few weeks later, I was running a range for a Lancero class when I received
a message to contact the U.S. Military Advisory Group (MILGROUP) in
Bogota. I called Major Yul Campos on the microwave telephone, who informed
me that my assignment officer was trying to contact me. It turned out to
be an assignment in which I would go to graduate school to learn about
computers and then go on to a two-year position in which I would be working
as an Army “Systems Automation” Officer (or, in other words, an Army
computer guy). I didn’t think twice.
What a radical change! I left the world of Special Forces, the Latinos, the
great outdoors, and the frame of thought I had been living in for years and
found myself in a mysterious and fascinating world of emerging computer
technology. All of what I had studied years ago as an Electrical Engineer
was still relevant, but programming had taken on a whole new meaning.
Whereas I had previously spent an entire semester just learning a few basic
constructs for a program, now such things were covered in the first few weeks
of class. I learned the exciting basics of computer networks, how computers
are designed, artificial intelligence (simulation of the human thought process),
databases, and analysis of algorithms the study of efficiency of programs
and automata theory. I studied digital logic, computer architecture, assembly
language, and parallel computing. It seemed like an endless process: the
more I learned, the more I discovered that there was to learn.
While we were in Atlanta Lorri worked for a short period of time as a
physical therapist, but she soon left her job when our first child, John David,
was born. We had been married for seven years by the time he came along,
and we had become quite set in our ways. This invasion of our privacy was yet
another change in our radically changing lives! We suddenly found ourselves
beginning to consider the future.
From De Oppresso Liber to UNIX 9
I graduated in June 1992 with a Masters Degree in Computer Science
from Georgia Institute of Technology. We moved to Dayton, Ohio, and I was
assigned as one of the faculty members at the Air Force Institute of Techonolgy
(AFIT) in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. About
half of my students were Army officers and the other half were Air Force
officers. I taught classes in introductory and advanced digital hardware and
computer networks. There were so many interesting problems to solve, and
so many fascinating things were happening in the world of technology. The
intellectual environment was so stimulating that, even in my spare time I
would find myself thinking about concepts that I would like to test in the
digital hardware lab or daydreaming about programs I wanted to write. I
did some research on a parallel processor, the INTEL Hypercube, and even
managed to get a paper published in conference proceedings.
Life was good. I had found a new home I was now a computer guy!
That’s one way to recycle a Cold Warrior.
Chapter 2
And Then it Happened. . .
t was sometime in early May
1993, and I was deep in thought. I
don’t recall exactly what the subject was; perhaps something we would
be doing in the hardware lab that week. Or, perhaps it was the some
network software. Maybe it was some upcoming lab project. Who knows?
Something intriguing. Something fascinating. Whatever the case, what I was
thinking about had absolutely nothing at all to do with the Holy Sacrifice of
the Mass.
Lorri huffed, slapped her missalette with the back of her hand, and
slammed it noisily into the back of the pew in front of us. She crossed her
arms, and glared at the short-dressed lady doing the reading. My wife’s
evident fury brought me back to the awareness of my surroundings, and the
horrible realization that I had been daydreaming instead of paying attention
to what was going on in church. This couldn’t be good. I had become
accustomed to thinking about all kinds of things during Mass. I knew it was
wrong, but I could never seem to concentrate for some reason. What was
Lorri so angry about, anyway?
“Stupid politically-correct. . . idiots . . . this is ridiculous!”
My heart skipped a beat. She was furious. “What’s the matter?” I
whispered, immediately regretting that I hadn’t just waited to find out later.
Without saying a word she picked up the missalette again, found the text
that the lady with bare legs and a mini-skirt by the altar was reading. Darts
shot from her eyes as she pointed to the text of the scriptures. I followed
along, observing that wherever there was a reference to “him,” or “he,” or the
Almighty “His,” or any other reference to anything masculine it was being
10 And Then it Happened. . .
changed to the feminine form. This lady was changing the Sacred Scriptures,
the Word of God! The nerve! Feminism had gone too far this time. We
had become accustomed to seeing it all around us; angry feminists were
everywhere, making all kinds of ridiculous demands, condemning the Church
for not ordaining women (or, rather, “womyn,” some feminists preferred, in
order to avoid the string of characters “men”) and insisting on all kinds of
paybacks from the “male dominated society.
Hearing condemnations of the Church for every little this-and-that was
something that the both of us were long accustomed to. In predominantly
Protestant Mississippi people had held a strange view of us; we were ac-
customed to being in the minority, and we had always felt a special bond
with other Catholics who, we believed, held the same Faith as us. But here
was something new. This. . . this “Catholic” lady was actually changing the
scriptures! The priest sat nearby, doing nothing about it. Did he approve?
Why didn’t he just read it correctly himself? Was this lady one of those
liberal pro-abortion Catholics? If so, why was she up there on the altar? And
who gave her the right to change the scriptures?
We had chosen the house we rented in Dayton partly because it was close
to the church we were now sitting in Corpus Christi. The idea of walking
to Mass on Sundays seemed so romantic and quaint, yet we had been mildly
disappointed from the first day. The pro-life activists in the congregation
were not allowed to distribute literature; and we found that almost everyone
else was overjoyed about the recent election of Bill Clinton as president. What
was that all about? Isn’t each abortion a murder, according to the Catholic
Church? Hadn’t he just run his campaign on keeping this act of murder
“legal?” What about his administration Jocylen Elders, for example
hurling these bizarre accusations against our “male dominated Church?” His
efforts to force the military to accept open homosexuality? How could these
people, supposedly Catholics, support the Clinton administration?
And why were there “altar girls?” Since when was this allowed?
In the military we had always had to move around; each time we re-
located, we would simply find the nearest Catholic Church and that’s where
we would attend Mass. But it seemed since our return from Colombia, we
had consistently been disappointed with whatever parish Church we selected.
The thought of having moved into the house we were renting specifically
to be close to this church, which was apparently run by operatives of the
Democratic Party, was unnerving. I put the thought out of my head, or just
blamed myself.. . . I was the problem. I was at fault here. I had been sitting
there thinking about work and all kinds of other things during Mass, which
And Then it Happened. . . 11
may have been a sin, and I needed to go to confession, get my head back in
the present, and be a good Catholic.
Lorri, who had been much more aware and silently suffering because of
these shenanigans for some time, had long since found an interesting Bible
Study to attend with a group of other women in the downtown Dayton area.
Many of them were former Catholics, and the Bible Study was based on
a rather fundamentalist view of the scriptures. The scriptures were to be
understood exactly the way they were translated into English. . . which of
course depended somewhat on the version of the English language used. Ex-
ceptions were often made when such interpretation could lead to the Catholic
understanding of the Scriptures; then it was considered to be “symbolic.
Despite these contradictions of this understanding of the scriptures, these
women were sincere. They had salvation in mind, not the Democratic Party
agenda. Lorri was now expressing a desire to attend “church services” with
these women. Her suggestion, after this feminist-scripture-rewrite incident
was essentially that we should go to their church to hear a dose of genuine
Christian doctrine, maybe to get a warning that Hell exists or that abortion
is wrong or something like that, and then go to Mass just to receive the
Sacrament and meet our Sunday obligation. I did a rare thing I began to
give serious thought to what was going on in the Church. I recognized from
the start that I was at least partly at fault here. Whatever was happening in
the Church at large that the priests and bishops had become so enamored
with the left-wing ideologies rattling loose in our society, I was clearly in the
wrong for not being seriously engaged as a Catholic; basically for not paying
attention and being engaged.
The following week a seminar was to be held at our parish a “Life in
the Spirit” seminar. My wife suggested that I go. She did not tell me this at
the time, but she had already started praying that I would take the lead as
the spiritual head of our little family, which now included one child. We had
no clue what a “Life in the Spirit” seminar was. All we knew was that I was
going to become more actively involved in the Church.
The event was to take the better part of the day on a Saturday. I arrived
on time, waited, and looked around as others arrived. About thirty people
were there. Then some speaker came in; he gave a motivational talk about
“speaking in tongues,” and then he began to do so. Or so he claimed. It
appeared to me that he was just babbling on like an idiot, but supposedly he
was doing the same thing the apostles had done when they had spoken to
the multitudes in various languages. Others joined in the babbling. The only
problem I saw, and I still see to this day, was that there was not a person
12 And Then it Happened. . .
anywhere in the room that could understand what the other was saying.
To get around this inconvenient and obvious fact, the babblers said that
they were “talking to God,” and expressing their love to Him in a language
understood by Him and by nobody else.
Then a priest came in and began to do the same thing! He babbled!
Afterward we spent some time in prayer, with most everyone around me
carrying on in this manner (I think I just said some Hail Marys), then we
read some scriptures, and then we broke into some small groups. This was
the interesting part. We were each encouraged to babble, in our small groups.
The group leader babbled, and then we went around the group of. . . oh, say,
about five. . . and everyone took turns doing it. Except for me. I was rather
ashamed of myself; obviously some recalcitrant, rebellious element on my
soul would not permit me to partake of this babbling, so I just shook my
head in shame.
Afterward we had a small reception, and a little old lady was crying tears
of joy; she had done it! She had finally done it! She had babbled! Oh,
Glorious Day! It appeared to be a most important accomplishment for this
poor woman.
I left in a daze.
Chapter 3
The Great Awakening
or some time I had been
having lunch once a week with several
other members of the faculty at the Air Force Institute of Technology.
The faculty members were a mix of civilian and military, we had a
variety of backgrounds, and it was something I always looked forward to.
On one such occasion shortly after having wasted a Saturday with this
babbling experience, I mentioned the bizarre babbling episode to a friend I
knew to be Catholic. Will was a good Catholic. In fact, a very good and
devout Catholic who seemed to know more than anyone I had ever met.
He was a bit older than myself. For many years he had been a fallen-away
Catholic, but he had returned to practicing his Faith in recent years and
brought his family along with him. His rather exasperated response is forever
etched in my memory: “I’m telling you for the last time you need to just
go to the Latin Mass!”
Now, according to my wife, sometimes people tell me things that I don’t
hear. I had heard Will say this same thing several times over the previous
months. Each time had evoked an image of a priest facing a high altar, with a
cloud of incense hanging over him as light shone through a colorful stain glass
windows. A nostalgic image from my childhood. A very beautiful, radiant
image. For some reason I had put it out of my mind each and every time.
But now with this new crisis emerging with my wife wanting to go
to a Protestant church to get some decent Christian doctrine, and with our
parish forbidding pro-life literature, encouraging people to babble like idiots,
and changing the Sacred Scriptures, I was ready to confront what he was
suggesting. It just so happened that this weekend Lorri was taking John
14 The Great Awakening
David to Mississippi for a week to visit her parents. I thanked Will for the
invitation and wrote down the directions. He said to get there fifteen minutes
early for the Rosary.
Mysterium Fidei
I arrived a few minutes early and walked into Holy Family Catholic Church,
which appeared to be a typical Catholic Church, as I had remembered them,
but had not seen in quite some time. Gone were the felt banners. Gone were
the short dresses, the hustle and bustle of people running around in their
various “ministries. Gone was the noise. There was complete silence, broken
occasionally by a cough, a kneeler dropping too hard, or the squalk of a baby
or a small child. Someone began leading the Rosary.
Most of us can point to a few defining moments in our lives, and they
usually come at an unexpected time. I was completely unprepared for what
followed. The Rosary concluded; there was a priest and there were altar boys;
and then the choir began singing. I have no idea whether it was the Asperges
Me or the Introit, but it was Gregorian Chant accompanied by an organ
the subtle organ accompaniment I now recognize to be from the Solemnes. I
felt chills from head to toe; there was something so supernatural about the
whole affair. I was able to detect strings of words that I recognized as they
continued on through what I now know to be the Missa de Angelis:
. . . Kyrie eleison. . . Christe eleison. . . That’s the “Lord have mercy. . . Christ
have mercy. . . ”!
. . . et crucifixus et pro nobis. . . and He was Crucified for us. . .
. . . unam, Sanctam, Catholicam, et apostolicam Ecclesiam. . . One Holy,
Catholic, Apostolic Church.. . .
This language was close enough to Spanish that it was easy for me to
follow. I knew no Latin, and even though I was occasionally lost there was
something so overwhelmingly beautiful about the whole affair that made it
inconsequential whether or not I understood a single thing.
The Epistle and Gospel were read. . . by the priest. There were still no
women flitting around on the altar, and I somehow knew, without a shadow
of a doubt, that I wouldn’t see any such thing on that day! I somehow knew
that there would be no announcements such as “everyone turn and shake the
hand of your neighbor,” or “do we have any birthdays today?” or “If you’re
a visitor would you please stand. . . I knew there would be no applause or
guitar music. There would be no platoon of eucharistic ministers or babbling.
The Great Awakening 15
There would be no liberal ideology infused in the sermon. . . in fact, when
the priest began his sermon, and it was unlike any I had heard in ages. He
actually had the courage to condemn sin! Not just the sins it’s politically
correct to condemn. We had for years been hearing condemnations from
the altar of the sins of bigotry, the sins of intolerance towards homosexuals,
the sins of not being “open to change,” and anything else that was seen
as offensive to the liberal agenda. Yet, we had been getting nothing but
complete silence on the issue of abortion. Complete silence on the spread of
the homosexual agenda. Or worse. . . one sometimes wondered if some of our
clergy were fostering support for it. The truth on this would take years to
reach the public eye.
After Mass I felt like I was in a different world. I met Will, his wife Cecilia,
and their two daughters on the steps outside the church. As it turned out,
they all sang in the choir. Then they invited me to lunch, and of course I
couldn’t resist, since my wife was gone and I’ve never been much of a cook
anyway. By now I was full of questions. I followed them to the officers
housing area they lived in at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. While we
were grilling on the patio, I started in with what must have sounded like an
interrogation. The answer to each question opened up ten new questions.
“What about this French bishop. . . didn’t he get excommunicated for
saying Mass in Latin?”
“That would be Archbishop Lefebvre. No, he got excommunicated for
illicitly consecrating bishops; not for saying Mass in Latin. Any priest or
bishop can say Mass in Latin. The Pope normally does during his Daily
“I thought Vatican II did away with Latin. . . didn’t it?”
“Vatican II said that Latin and Gregorian Chant should remain in the
Mass. Modernists hate it, so they removed it by convincing people that it’s
all forbidden.
“What’s a Modernist?”
“A heretic.
“Does the Catholic Church still teach that there’s heresy?”
“Why do you never here sermons condemning it?”
“Why do you never hear sermons condemning abortion?”
Now that was a good question! Why don’t you ever hear sermons con-
demning abortion? Why were the pro-life people at Corpus Christi treated
so badly? There were several genuinely dedicated pro-life activists there, and
yet they were never allowed to distribute hand-outs within the Church for
16 The Great Awakening
some reason.
Will continued on: “I never heard good sermons in the Novus Ordo.
You almost always get good Catholic Doctrine in sermons if you attend the
Tridentine Latin Mass regularly. We have the Indult Mass here.
“What’s ‘Novus Ordo?’ What’s ‘Tridentine?’ What’s ‘Indult?’ My head
was spinning.
“The ‘Tridentine Mass’ is what we had throughout the West up until a
few years ago. The ‘Novus Ordo’ is the new Mass. It’s been around since
about 1970. A few years ago the Pope asked all of the bishops to reallow
the old Mass. In some cases they’ve complied. In most cases they haven’t.
Anyway, it’s here in Dayton by ‘indult,’ which means the permission of the
As he continued, I couldn’t believe the story that began to unfold. Vatican
II had most certainly not required that Latin be removed from the liturgy,
and it certainly had stated clearly that Gregorian Chant was to be a part of
the liturgy:
“[T]he use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.
(Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, No. 36)
“The treasury of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great
care. (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, No. 114)
“The Church acknowledges Gregorian Chant as specially suited to the
Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride
of place in liturgical services. (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, No. 116)
Latin is to be preserved! Gregorian Chant has “pride of place!” Pride of
place? Until today, I hadn’t heard the first note of Gregorian Chant during
Mass since I was a child! Yet, what had been revealed to the public through
the news media over the previous thirty years what that the Mass was to
be strictly in the vernacular. The average American had no way of knowing
that he was being led astray.
The unfathomable began to cross my mind was it possible that Catholics
knew their Faith so poorly that we had been tricked? Unless one took the
time to actually pick up a copy of the Vatican II documents and read them,
how was one to know? Why was it that so few people ever took the time
to do this? Where were the priests and bishops who were supposed to be
explaining this to us, and why was I having to hear it from a lay Catholic?
“Well. . . Will explained, “It was the way in which these documents were
written that was the catch. Each of the above was followed by a but. . .
These three quotations and full citations can be found also below, in Chapter 1
, at
The Great Awakening 17
clause that left a loophole too big for the leftist ideologues to resist. Let me
give you an example:
‘The use of Latin is to be preserved in the Latin rites. . .
the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of
the sacraments, or in other parts of the liturgy, may frequently be of great
advantage to the people, a wider use may be made of it, especially in readings,
directives and in some prayers and chants.
“Now, in no way could one construe that the elimination of Latin from
the liturgy had ever been intended. However, that extreme interpretation
was the one that had prevailed.
By the time I said farewell I had a headache. It was too much to
comprehend for the moment, but I tried anyway. Intellectual candor means
occasionally having to accept a conclusion you hope you don’t have to reach.
I resolved to study the issue related to the status of the Tridentine Mass, and
accept whatever conclusion I arrived at.
This quotation is taken from the translation of Sacrosanctum Concilium available at
Chapter 4
Exactly What Did
We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement. . . we have
made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves.
Isaiah 28:15
he next weekend
Lorri and John David were back in Dayton with
me. At this point I had no problem convincing her of the need to
attend Mass at Holy Family instead of Corpus Christi. Shortly after
Mass began I looked over and saw her wiping tears from her eyes.
Over the next week I began to immerse myself in study in an effort to
understand what had happened. My joy at finding that the Mass I had known
as a young child had survived was accompanied by a profound disturbance
over the contradictions I was seeing. Why was it that we had been told that
Vatican II meant the Mass was to be exclusively in the vernacular if that was
not the case? What was important was not so much the Latin itself, but the
integrity of the Mass. In theory the Tridentine Mass could have just been
translated directly into good English. Instead, it appeared, at initial glance
through the information I could dig up on the subject, that the Tridentine
Mass had been scrapped for a new Mass composed by a committee which
included Protestants, people separated from the Catholic Church because
of their refusal to accept the authority of the Church for the first time
ever in history. But not really as a matter of fact it had never really been
scrapped. Or at least that was not entirely the intent. Or was it?
1X Exactly What Did Happen?
As it turned out, the “New Mass,” known as the Novus Ordo (“New
Order”), was not the direct result of the Second Vatican Council, but rather
came much later. It was the product of a committee led by an Archbishop
who was suspected of having been a Freemason. Archbishop Bugnini had been
a liturgical radical for years, and it was under his influence that the new Mass
was “designed,” with the help of some Protestant “experts,” and placed into
effect. In April 1976 Tito Casini, a leading Catholic writer in Italy, publicly
accused Bugnini of being a Freemason.
A few months later, October 8, 1976,
Le Figaro published a report stating that Archbishop Bugnini denied ever
having had any Masonic affiliation. He also denied the charges of Freemasonry
in his autobiography, but whatever the case, Paul VI assigned him to a useless
titular post in Iran within hours of being presented with a dossier on his
Masonic affiliations.
The changes Bugnini ushered in were radical. Nothing of this nature had
ever been attempted in either the East or the West. Liturgies of the Catholic
Church, or the Orthodox for that matter, were not designed by committees.
They had developed slowly and organically over centuries. Suddenly what
had once been considered Holy and Sacred was old and tiresome and had
to be replaced at all costs. But instead of the dawn of a great new era, the
results turned out to be more disastrous than anyone could comprehend
and very few can comprehend to this day. Mass attendance fell dramatically,
vocations slowed to a standstill, orders of priests and nuns were dying.
by the time Archbishop Bugnini was sent into virtual exile it was too late.
The damage was done.
Although the Novus Ordo was promulgated in Latin initially, it was very
poorly translated even mistranslated into English. In other vernacular
languages, such as Spanish, better translations had been produced, but in
English the mistranslations were so severe as to cause some people a small
number who were paying attention to wonder whether the Mass was still
valid. For example, I had always heard on Sundays:
This is my blood, which is shed for you and for
for the
forgiveness of sins. . .
which was translated from
Casini, Tito, Nel Furno di Satana (Florence: Carro di San Giovanni, 1976), p. 150.
Davies, Michael, Pope John’s Council (Angelus Press, Kansas City, Missouri 1992), p.
Jones, Kenneth C, Index of Leading Catholic Indicators: The Church Since Vatican
II (Oriens Publishing Company, St. Louis, Missouri, 2003).
Exactly What Did Happen? 1E
pro vobis et pro multis. . . (for you and for many).
The original translation indicates that Christ’s suffering redeems many,
but not all. The English translation seems to indicate that all are redeemed.
According to some, this simple error has led many to accept the heresy of
universal salvation. It was quite true, I had to admit, that Catholics no longer
believed as I had once been taught. . . that not all are saved. Whether or not
this mistranslation had led to the widespread belief of universal salvation,
one thing was clear: Catholics no longer seemed to believe in the concept
of Hell. Or if they did, they believed that nobody went there. It certainly
wasn’t something that would happen to us modern day people. All of this
had made it possible for modern Catholics to justify the strange ideologies so
many of them had embraced.
There were other mistranslations no small number of them. I heard a
few of them on that day, enough to begin to understand the gravity of the
situation. For example: Credo in unum Deum. . . translates to “I believe in
one God. . . ,” not “We believe. . . I obviously cannot speak for the person
standing next to me. Yet the translation that was used for the English liturgy
was “we. This coincided with an over-emphasis on the communal aspect of
the Mass to the detriment of accurate translation.
Furthermore there had never been any mandate to strip the altar rails out
of the churches, to receive communion standing, to remove the statues, and
to engage in the radical church-wrecking that had occurred. And “girl altar
boys” were strictly forbidden. This practice, in fact, was a very grave abuse
of the liturgy. It had been strictly forbidden in at least two postconciliar
(April 1980): Inaestimabile donum No. 18: “There are, of course,
various roles that women can perform in the liturgical assembly:
these include reading the Word of God and proclaiming the
intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful. Women are not, however,
permitted to act as altar servers.
(September 1970): Liturgicae instaurationes, No. 7: “In con-
formity with norms traditional in the Church, women (single,
married, religious), whether in churches, homes, convents, schools,
or institutions for women, are barred from serving the priest at
This document is available at the Adoremus website, http://www.adoremus.org/Inaes-
20 Exactly What Did Happen?
the altar.
“What are women doing reading the ‘Word of God’ anyway?” my wife
interjected when I showed her this. “This is contrary to St. Paul’s teaching
that women are to remain silent. What does this mean? Do they read the
Epistle and the Gospel? Just the Epistle? Just the Gospel? Who’s in charge
of this Church?”
“The Pope is in charge, John Paul II, and he says they’re not supposed
to be wearing vestments and pretending to be altar boys,” I said. “They’re
cross-dressers. Transvestites.
“Confused. Nice people can get confused. A couple of months ago when I
complained to you about this, you didn’t seem to think it was any big deal.
She was right, but I hadn’t known any better at that time. “That was
before I knew it was condemned by both John Paul II and his predecessor.
Anyway, don’t worry about it. We don’t have to go to Mass there anymore,”
I said.
She nearly dropped the book she was re-shelving and stared at me in
disbelief. “We’re just going to abandon all our friends at Corpus Christi and
start attending Mass at Holy Family? Just like that?”
How could she be so incredulous? “Of course! That’s exactly what we’re
going to do,” I said, and I think she instantly regretted that she had been
praying for me to take the lead as the spiritual head of the family.
As I studied and read I was flooded with images of people I had known
in my lifetime who had quit going to Mass. I simply couldn’t recall them
all. There were so many. All I knew was that as long as I could remember,
people had been leaving the practice of the Catholic faith in droves.
I remembered a co-worker I had met one summer while working in the oil
industry in Louisiana. “Ah quit goin ta Maaaass wheen they took th’ Latin
owt of it. I couldn’t staaand all that backslappin b-ll s--t.
I remembered a very shy girl I used to often see on the school bus when I
was in high school. “I can’t stand that hand-shake thing! Joe always sits in
front of me so he can stick his bony hand out at me and I have to shake it.
She was soon a Protestant.
I recalled a time at West Point, when a couple of lesbian cadets were
thrown out of the academy for being caught in the act, our priest lectured us
during the sermon to be tolerant of homosexuals. I was sitting next to my
dear friend and roommate, a fellow Catholic Mississippian (a couple of rare
This document is also available at the Adoremus website, http://www.adoremus.-
Exactly What Did Happen? 21
birds indeed!) He was much more politically astute at age twenty than I will
ever be. Women had only recently been admitted to the academy, and we
were severely warned that for us to make a big public scene of this lesbian
incident might endanger their continued presence at the Academy. Who were
we to judge them, anyway? Well, that was the last time my roommate ever
went to Mass. He soon became a pious and devout Baptist. This memory
brought back a flood of memories of other fellow cadets at West Point. So
many of them were Catholic, but so few went to Mass. Often I would invite
one of them to go to Mass. They never went. I recalled that one had said:
“No way. You go ahead I’m not going. My family goes to a church where
we don’t have to do all that handshaking kumbaya stuff.
I thought about the Catholic school I had attended in the first grade.
The sight of groups of twenty-five to thirty students walking in single file
lines, each group following a nun in full habit. The kindness with which she
had taught us to read, write, add, subtract, and avoid the eventual loss of
our soul. “When I get to heaven I’d better see each and every one of you
there. . . OR ELSE!”
This just didn’t all add up, not quite yet. Could it really be that the
Catholic Church had NOT changed as we had been lead to believe? Could
it be that we had all just had the wool pulled over our collective eyes, that
none of this was supposed to have happened?
Normally people will resist when some injustice is imposed on them. You
can’t fool all of the people all of the time. . . assuming that the majority
of Catholics in the US had been mislead by hostile media over the years.
Certainly there would have been some people aware of what was going on.
Was it just the hostile media? How could this have happened without the
collaboration of a large number of priests and bishops?
No matter what time of the week it was I couldn’t wait to talk to Will again.
On Sundays we continued to meet after Mass, and our families developed
a close friendship. During the week we usually found an opportunity to go
somewhere for lunch.
“So. . . Latin was supposed to be retained, and it wasn’t. Gregorian Chant
is supposed to be in the Mass and it isn’t, generally speaking. There was no
mandate for destroying the beauty of the Churches, and it was done anyway.
Why didn’t some people just rise up in protest?”
“Protest to whom?”
“I don’t know.. . . complain to the bishop. Isn’t he supposed to have a
handle on these situations?”
“Most bishops in the US don’t want anything at all to do with the Latin
22 Exactly What Did Happen?
Mass. With very few exceptions, they don’t care about anything but avoiding
“Why not? It’s so beautiful. The prayers are beautiful, and meaningful.
The music is beautiful. Why would anyone want to do such a thing?”
“Eventually some bishops may give permission in one location in their
diocese, in a way that’s so restrictive that you can’t possibly expect a
community to grow out of it. Like 6:30 in the morning, or in a drive-by
shooting district on Saturday night, or one Thursday night per month. Quite
frankly, there are a few bishops who recognize deep down that the postconciliar
‘reforms’ were an unmitigated disaster, but they’ll never admit it publicly
because it would mean having to admit that they all screwed up in a huge
way. They give out permission here and there. . .
“Well, why don’t they just complain to the Pope?”
“What good would that do? He doesn’t seem to get it. Remember
Archbishop Lefebvre? We see what happened to him.
“But I thought you said he wasn’t excommunicated for the Latin Mass.
You said it was for something else. Wasn’t it? What exactly did happen?”
“It’s a long story. . .
Chapter 5
The Second Vatican
The truth is that this particular Council [Vatican II] defined no dogma at all, and
deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, future Pope Benedict XVI, in an address to the Chilean
bishops, July 13, 1988
[T]he teaching authority of the Church, even though not wishing to issue extraordinary
dogmatic pronouncements,. . .
Pope Paul VI, discourse closing Vatican II, December 7, 1965
he vast majority
of the bishops assembled in Rome for the Second
Vatican Council had no revolutionary or radical inclinations. They
were assembled to agree upon modest, pastoral and disciplinary
changes that could help the Church to grow, evangelize, restore Christian
unity, and more fully accomplish Her mission on Earth, which is to bring to
all of mankind the means of salvation. The council was not doctrinal, as no
new doctrines were to be advanced. Some minor disciplinary changes were
to be proposed. For the first time in centuries, some modification would be
allowed in the Missale Romanum, but the modifications were to be minor. Of
course, the prayers would remain in Latin; any radical change was unthinkable
(Article 36). Steps were to be taken to ensure that the faithful could sing or
This document is available at the Una Voce website, http://www.unavoce.com/-
This document is available at the Vatican website, at http://www.vatican.va.
24 The Second Vatican Council
pray together in Latin (Article 54). All lawfully acknowledged rites were to
be considered to be of equal authority and dignity, and were to be preserved
in the future (Article 4). The treasury of sacred music was to be preserved
and fostered (Article 114) and Gregorian Chant was to be given “pride of
place in liturgical services” (Article 116). There were to be no innovations
unless absolutely necessary for the good of the Church, and any new forms
adopted would have to grow organically from existing forms (Article 23).
People throughout the world became aware that things would change
somewhat, but they were unaware of the degree to which they would see
any change. Most did not concern themselves with such things, placing their
trust completely in the hands of their priests, bishops, and the Holy Father.
They trusted the Church. In retrospect, they trusted in specific individuals
who were betraying Christ and His Church. Very few, as we would see, really
knew their Faith.
A number of people with exceptional intellect or some spiritual insight
became alarmed as events unfolded; Dietrich von Hildebrand, Evelyn Waugh,
J.R.R. Tolkien, Fr. Gomar DePauw, Fr. Malachai Martin, John Senior, and
many others. In several cases, the agreed upon and carefully advanced
“schema” for the council documents were abandoned and radical or ambiguous
texts were advanced, leaving loopholes and vulnerabilities for a radical postc-
onciliar agenda. Radicals, convinced that fundamental change was necessary
and unable to see the collapse that would accompany any attempt to radicalize
the Church, pushed for the most abrupt implementation possible. Archbishop
Anibale Bugnini, who controlled the committee (consilium) responsible for
implementation of the revised liturgy, adhered to the radical view.
that he could not sell a wholesale revision of the prayers of the Church to
the majority by honest means, he cited Vatican II as the authority by which
the prayers of the Church would be radically revised.
In 1969, four years after the closure of the council, a new rite was intro-
duced. Its introduction to bewildered and confused Catholics was carried out
in such a careless and crass way that none of the key points of the Vatican II
Document on the Liturgy were observed. In violation of Article 36, the Latin
language was not preserved, but rather was quickly and abruptly replaced
by the vernacular. For English speaking Catholics that meant a seriously
and fundamentally flawed English translation that still, Anno Domini 2006,
Annibale Bugnini, The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975, translated by Matthew J.
O’Connell (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1990). It is best to let him speak for
himself. To get an idea of his disdain for Catholic heritage, see particularly the section on
Sacred Music and the Liturgy pp. 885-917.
The Second Vatican Council 25
has not been corrected. Steps were not taken to ensure that the faithful
could sing or pray together in Latin, in violation of Article 54. All lawfully
acknowledged rites were supposed to have been considered of equal authority
and dignity, and all were to be preserved in the future, in accordance with
Article 4, but clearly this was not to be applied to the timeless Tridentine
Rite western Catholics were accustomed to at the time. No provision was
planned for its continued use. . . although, as we would eventually find out, it
was never formally abrogated repealed. While it had not been formally
abrogated, or replaced, practically speaking, it was. The treasury of sacred
music was not preserved and fostered (Article 114). Gregorian Chant was
not given “pride of place in liturgical services” (Article 116). Supposedly
there would be no innovations unless absolutely necessary for the good of the
Church, yet everywhere one turned one found countless innovations, all in
the name of “Vatican II. Or better yet. . . if there were no explicit support
for the innovation, it was railroaded through on the “spirit of Vatican II.
And despite the fact that any new forms adopted were supposed to grow
organically from existing forms (Article 23), what really happened was quite
different. The old rite was completely replaced in practice, but not by law
by a new one. Fr. Joseph Gelineau, S.J., a liturgical expert at the French
National Pastoral and Liturgical Center, who was considered by Archbishop
Bugnini to be one of the “great masters of the international liturgical world,”
once commented:
Make no mistake about it. To translate is not to say the same
thing with other words. It is to change the form. If the form
changes, the rite changes. If one element is changed, the totality
is altered. . . it must be said, without mincing words, the Roman
rite we used to know exists no more. It has been destroyed.
In short, what happened was nothing less than a revolution. To quote
another authority, Fr. Yves Congar, one of the artisans of the “reform”: “The
Church has had, peacefully, its October Revolution.
The use of the word
“Revolution” by myself or by Fr. Yves Congar should offend no one, since Fr.
Yves Congar is mentioned by Pope John Paul II as one with which he had
the “good fortune to work,” and to whom he is “particularly indebted.
Quoted in Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Open Letter to Confused Catholics (Angelus
Press, Kansas City, KS, 1986), p. 100.
John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), available at
26 The Second Vatican Council
Accompanying this revolution in the liturgy was the growth of a radical,
immoral, and angry “Catholic” social activism. Void of a spiritual element (or,
at least a good and holy spiritual element) this movement sought to topple
governments, realign alliances, re-draw borders, place women in seminaries,
and re-write legislation. Very often, nearly always, it was an ideological
movement of the left, and it played right into the hands of those who sought
to destroy any remnant of Christian civilization. Its more extreme elements
included Revolution Theologians, pro-choice “Catholics,” and homosexual
The devout Catholic watching the horrifying decay of Catholic culture,
morality, and decency, had not only the spectacle of a dying civilization to
deal with Monday through Saturday, but then on Sunday Morning he had
bad liturgy and guitar music. Gone were the beautiful Catholic hymns, so
meaningful and timeless. Out with O Sanctissima and in with Sons of God.
Out with Panis Angelicus and in with Kumbaya. (Yes, we actually sang
this, for those too young to remember. And yes, we held hands while doing
so.) Thomas Day describes what he calls the triumph of bad taste in “Why
Catholics Can’t Sing. A holder of a Ph.D. in musicology from Columbia
University, a member of the American Guild of Organists, and a man of
exceedingly good humor, he describes a scene that took place sometime after
the revolution. He was in the church practicing the organ while a Cuban
refugee who spoke no English mopped the floor. While playing the organ he
drifted into Veni Creator Spiritus. Dr. Day describes the encounter:
Suddenly, the Cuban man dropped his mop and came dashing up
the stairs of the organ loft. When he got to the organ (a little out
of breath) he started singing the grand old hymn, which he had
learned as a youngster. For a few brief minutes we were united by a
Latin hymn dealing with theological complications we could barely
follow. What united us was the sound of something uncommonly
beautiful, something which did not come from Cuba or the United
States, but from the “highest common denominator.
It is helpful to ponder this example, because it is often considered that the
preconciliar Mass was something for rich people, for the elites, for noblemen;
the upper crust. Yet it was the Mass for all Catholics of the West, and
regardless of social status any devout Catholic loved the Church’s beautiful
Thomas Day, Why Catholics Can’t Sing: The Culture of Catholicism and the Triumph
of Bad Taste (New York, NY: Crossroad), p. 105.
The Second Vatican Council 27
traditions, especially the music tradition. One has to wonder what evil lurks
in the mind of a priest or bishop who would further burden this poor Cuban
man by suppressing the beautiful Catholic music tradition in favor of Glory
and Praise (1984), which according to Dr. Day, “makes almost a complete
break with the past. With few exceptions “there is no old music in this
collection, nothing written before the 1960’s. The past is repudiated.
with all the talk of “the poor” and “social justice,” could the poor Cuban
janitor not have the beauty of the Catholic music tradition during Mass
rather than while mopping?
In addition to the destruction of the liturgy of the Roman Rite, something
even more sinister was developing behind the scenes. Something ugly beyond
comparison, scandalous, frightening. Many would become aware of it over
the next thirty years, but very few would discuss it publicly until after the
turn of the century. In some cases seminaries were being taken over by a
homosexual subculture. In other cases, homosexual cliques were infiltrating,
leading many into the worst form of sin and causing many others to abandon
their vocation rather than submit to sexual predators.
What was a devout Catholic to do under these circumstances? At some
point any person who loves the Church reaches a limit. If the ideological
agenda doesn’t offend, the music does. If not the music, the ugly architecture,
the felt banners, the milquetoast sermons, the banal English, the sheer lack of
piety and the disregard for anything on a spiritual plane, or the new catechism
texts employed against the children does. What happened to the belief in
the Eucharist? If people still believed in it, why were they suddenly touching
the consecrated hosts with unconsecrated hands? Why did so many women
no longer cover their heads in respect for the Real Presence? Why were men
wearing jogging suits?
Catholics recognized these problems to a degree which depended on how
well he or she knew his or her Faith. While the most astute recognized trouble
immediately, for others it took much longer. Others, like me, were just now
beginning to figure it out. It was difficult not to conclude that what was
happening in the Church did not come about as a result of something from
within the Church, but rather as a result of something hostile to the Church.
Pope Paul VI spoke of the “smoke of Satan” in the sanctuary: “From some
fissure the smoke of Satan entered into the temple of God.
Pope Paul VI
also spoke of the “auto-demolition” of the Church. The decline in baptisms,
Why Catholics Can’t Sing, p. 70.
Pope Paul VI, June 29, 1972, On the occasion of the Ninth Anniversary of his
28 The Second Vatican Council
the closure of schools, the dismantling of religious orders, the unhabiting of
nuns, and the beginning of the collapse of priestly vocations stunned Catholics
in the pews. The better one knew their faith, the more painful continued
Mass attendance was. Mass attendance declined by the millions.
A quick view of the numbers of seminarians entering seminaries in the
United States showed that a vibrant, healthy, and increasing flow of entries
up to 1965 had been replaced by an exponential decay.
In other words, the
decline in the number of seminarians could be described by an exponential
decay function just as the cooling of a hot brick thrown into the snow or
as one German Math professor is fond of showing the shrinking of the
foam head at the top of a cold Bavarian beer. The significance of this point
was lost on many, but nature does not allow reversals of exponential decays.
The Church in the United States would never again be at its pre-Vatican II
level of seminarians. Millions of souls would be left without the sacraments
and lose their faith.
And when did this process begin? In 1965 the year the of the conclusion
of the Second Vatican Council. What was one to conclude? Was this what
Vatican II was all about? However one may answer that question, one thing
was certain: the Church was in decline in America.
Kenneth C. Jones, Index of Leading Catholic Indicators: The Church Since Vatican
II (Oriens Publishing Company, St. Louis, MO, 2003).
Chapter 6
Girls Will Be Boys or
From UNIX to Eunuchs
Roman Catholic Christianity has a problem with women. This problem is deeply rooted
in its history, in its assumptions about gender and sexuality. The foundational thinker
of Latin Christianity, St. Augustine, in the late fourth and early fifth centuries
established certain assumptions that still plague Catholicism.
Rosemary Radford Ruether, Catholics for a Free Choice, Women, Reproductive Rights
and the Catholic Church, May 2006
For there will come a time when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but having
itching ears, will heap up to themselves teachers according to their own lusts and they
will turn away their hearing from the truth and turn aside rather to fables.
II St. Tim. 4:3–4
he inevitable happened
. Nobody stays in the same place for long
in the US Military. Some serious post-cold-war manpower reductions
were pushed through. Guys were bailing out left and right; the Army
was literally buying them out of the service by giving huge departure bonuses.
It seemed that it was no longer of any benefit to the US Army to have three
officers assigned to AFIT, so at some point we were all reassigned. In fact,
during the summer of 1993 I was reassigned to the US Army Computer
Science School at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Lorri was expecting at the time
we moved, and according to the Housing Office there was a four month
wait for housing at Fort Gordon. The way we saw it, we had no choice but
to rent a house in Augusta and plan on moving after the baby was born.
We found an apartment and spent the next few days unpacking, arranging
2X Girls Will Be Boys or From UNIX to Eunuchs
furniture, hanging pictures, stocking the refrigerator, and setting up in the
small apartment. As I hung the last picture the phone rang it was the
Housing Office.
“Captain Sonnier?”
“Yes. . .
“A set of quarters is now available for you to move your family into.
“Er. . . thanks. What happened to the four-month wait?”
“We were able to find an available house for you in much less time!”
Such is life in the Army. We spent the next few days re-packing everything
in the apartment and moving three miles to Fort Gordon.
Where would we attend Mass around here? I scanned the list of “epis-
copally approved” Tridentine Mass locations. There were none on Sundays
anywhere in Georgia! One Thursday each month there was one in Atlanta,
at 7:00 p.m. Fat chance I’d ever be able to make it to that one. Whatever
happened to the Pope’s plea for “generosity” with the old rite? We decided
that we just wouldn’t worry about it. We would just look for a good parish
the same way we had always done.
There was a weekly Mass at the Fort Gordon post chapel, so we decided
to go there first. There it was again girls all over the altar! Why? Wasn’t
this a serious abuse of the liturgy? When the Church has liturgical norms,
aren’t they to be respected? Or was it more important to pander to the
feminists than to worry about what the Church has to say about it?
I recall years ago accidentally walking into a homosexual bar in New
Orleans while looking for a restroom. It was dark, and as I looked around
and realized what was going on a sense of profound repulsion overtook me. I
wanted to vomit, but more than anything else I just wanted to politely leave
the establishment and never come back! The same feeling overtook me upon
seeing the girls on the altar; playing with their hair, primping, waving at
someone, or even trying to look serious. There could be no excuse for the
parent that put them up to it. It was forbidden by the Church, yet they were
doing it anyway! On an Army base, of all places! Sexual confusion on the
I met with the chaplain Fr. David Kernighan, to discuss it. He listened
politely to my concern, then laughed, waved his hand, and expressed amaze-
ment that I would have second thoughts about such a trivial issue. According
to Fr. David, there was no need to respect such guidance from the Church.
The Pope didn’t understand how things were in America; he had a “medieval
mentality,” as did Mother Theresa and other old people. Surely I didn’t want
to be like them. When he said the word “medieval,” the “e” was stretched
Girls Will Be Boys or From UNIX to Eunuchs 2E
out as long as possible. “Medieeeeeeeeeval!” Be scared. Be very scared. He
dismissed me as quickly as possible.
Attending Mass at Fort Gordon was obviously out. We found a nice,
rather traditional parish in downtown Augusta and began attending Mass
there. The priest gave good sermons, and he was obviously very orthodox.
He took an active interest in his flock, and came to our house for dinner when
we invited him. We missed the Tridentine Mass, but since we knew that we
were only here temporarily we were content with the situation. We would
just be happy, content “Novus Ordo” Catholics who had a great appreciation
for the Latin Mass.
On New Years Day, January 1994 our second child, William, was born. It
was about this time that I discovered that we would be moving again in a
mere six months. Life in the Army can involve lots of moves, and we were
definitely getting our share of it.
Then, out of the clear blue, something happened. Something bizarre.
A letter was issued from the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of
Legislative Texts. I say “issued,” but it’s not clear what exactly happened. A
letter from this office, bearing no signature, was sent by fax to news agencies
all over the world proclaiming a new truth. For many bishops, the first they
would hear of it was when they would read about it in the newspaper. The
letter stated, contrary to previous instructions, that now there really was no
clear prohibition of female altar servers because it was not mentioned in the
new Code of Canon Law.
Well! Neither is a motorcycle procession to the altar!
Now, it appeared, the Vatican had decided, in contradiction with previous
instructions, to allow “female altar servers,”. . . or had they? Not only was
there no signature on the document, but the Holy Father was in the hospital
for three weeks. Had he even been consulted on this? What was going on?
At least the letter made provisions that we would not have to accept this
new practice:
it will always be very appropriate to follow the noble tradition of
having boys serve at the altar.
And . . .
As is well known, this has led to a reassuring development of
Vatican Communication on Female Altar Servers, Congregation for Divine Worship,
30 Girls Will Be Boys or From UNIX to Eunuchs
priestly vocations. Thus the obligation to support such groups of
altar boys will always continue.
The only way to “support groups of altar boys” was, obviously, to have
exactly that groups of altar boys. But somehow I knew, based on how the
US bishops seemed to be doing everything these days, that we would have
this forced on us whether we liked it or not. Sure enough, the US bishops
quickly organized to issue new guidelines. On Thursday June 16, 1994, they
held a special assembly to discuss implementation; the result included the
following “suggested guidelines” for developing “diocesan guidelines”
1. Although institution into the ministry of acolyte is reserved
to lay men, the diocesan bishop may permit the liturgical functions
of the instituted acolyte to be carried out by altar servers, men
and women, boys and girls. Such persons may carry out all the
functions listed in no. 100 (with the exception of the distribution
of Holy Communion) and nos. 187 - 190 and no. 193 of the General
Instruction of the Roman Missal.
The determination that women and girls may function as
servers in the liturgy should be made by the bishop on the diocesan
level so that there might be a uniform diocesan policy.
2. No distinction should be made between the functions carried
out in the sanctuary by men and boys and those carried out by
women and girls. The term “altar boys” should be replaced by
“servers”. The term “server” should be used for those who carry
out the functions of the instituted acolyte.
Had the original document said anything about replacing the use of the
term “altar boys” with “servers?” Of course not. And of course, there was
no mention of the following from the original Vatican document:
it will always be very appropriate to follow the noble tradition of
having boys serve at the altar.
And . . .
As is well known, this has led to a reassuring development of
priestly vocations. Thus the obligation to support such groups of
altar boys will always continue.
Committee on the Liturgy, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, http://-
www.usccb.org/liturgy/current/servers.shtml. Originally published 16 June 1994.
Girls Will Be Boys or From UNIX to Eunuchs 31
So from one day to the next what had previously been a grave abuse of
the liturgy was to become mandatory obligatory in the vast majority of
locations. But how can something be a grave abuse of the liturgy one day
and acceptable the next day? Not to mention. . . how can something