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Bound by Truth

Bound by Truth

Authority, Obedience, Tradition, and the Common Good

By Peter Kwasniewski

378 pp

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About the Book

At the sixtieth anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the situation on the ground for Catholics is more chaotic than ever. A liturgical reform, meant to usher in a new age of full churches and ecumenical rapprochement, delivered neither; instead, churches are emptying and closing at an unprecedented rate. Meanwhile, an ancient old rite, grown to maturity in the Middle Ages, encrusted with Baroque pearls, and officially pronounced dead in the 1960s, has made an astonishing return around the world. Tolerated by Paul VI, permitted worldwide by John Paul II, declared free for everyone by Benedict XVI, and most recently put under ban once more by Francis, the Tridentine Mass remains a powerful and polarizing reality in the Church of Rome—an ark of holiness and beauty to the priests and faithful who love it, a belligerent “backwardism” to those who seek its abolition. In this state of spiritual civil war, questions of authority and obedience are never far from anyone’s mind.

Bound by Truth grapples with the momentous issues of authority, obedience, tradition, and the common good. Part I, “Papacy, Patrimony, and Piety,” addresses the teaching of Vatican I on the pope’s universal jurisdiction; the limits of his authority in light of other authoritative principles such as liturgical tradition and local custom; the properly Catholic way to interpret and follow the Magisterium; and the virtue of intelligent, God-fearing, and communally perfective obedience versus its vicious distortions—willful rebelliousness on the one hand, and a blind, thoughtless, self-destructive submissiveness on the other. Part II, “Faithful Resistance,” looks at historical examples of prelates who legitimately pushed back against papal overreach; discusses how clergy should navigate unjust episcopal decrees on private Masses, concelebration, the use of the Rituale Romanum, etc.; shares advice and strategies for laity who seek to promote and defend tradition in their dioceses; and draws inspiration from persecuted religious sisters, whether their tormentors were Soviet Communists or apparatchiks of the postconciliar ecclesiastical bureaucracy.


“Peter Kwasniewski is a sane and learned voice

crying out from within a Catholic Church which—in its earthly, visible aspect—seems to have lost its mind.”—SEBASTIAN MORELLO


“Examines the difficult topics of authority and obedience with forthrightness and a willingness to engage even the most controversial debates… a timely guide to how Catholics might respond when truth and tradition are under attack by those who should be their foremost defenders.”—ERIC SAMMONS


“As with his earlier books, so here, Kwasniewski emerges as an apostle of tradition and a paladin of the ancient Roman rite. A book to be treasured.”—MICHAEL SIRILLA


“Both summarizes the author’s recent thought and serves as a guide and resource for beleaguered faithful… theoretically challenging and eminently useful.”—STUART CHESSMAN


“Critiques the latest (and historically worst) abandonment of our grip on the cord that ties us, through tradition, to the Word Incarnate—and indicates the paths along which health and sanity will be recovered.”—JOHN C. RAO


“Offered with his usual mixture of scholarship and wit, Kwasniewski’s analysis is primarily and accurately applied to the situation in the Church, but the principles he explores in this book also admit of far wider application.”—CHARLES A. COULOMBE


“This thoroughly researched and cogently argued book could not have been published at a better time.”—BRIAN M. MCCALL

About the Author

Peter A. Kwasniewski holds a BA in Liberal Arts from Thomas Aquinas College and an MA and PhD in Philosophy from the Catholic University of America, with a specialization in the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas. After teaching at the International Theological Institute in Austria, he joined the founding team of Wyoming Catholic College, where he taught theology, philosophy, music, and art history and directed the choir and schola until 2018. Today, Kwasniewski is a full-time writer and lecturer known especially for his work on the liturgy and on music; his writings have been translated into over twenty languages. He regularly posts at his Substack Tradition & Sanity, and runs a publishing house, Os Justi Press. He is also a composer whose sacred choral music has been performed around the world.

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